A friend of mine began regularly coming to my gym after he graduated from college. He has been working out consistently for 4-5 days per week for several months now and has made no visible progress on his own.
Last week while we were talking, he finally asked me for help gaining some muscle since what he was doing has worked. I told him I'd do some brainstorming and get back to him, but that I'd be more than glad to help.
Here's the interesting part. For the last 4 years, he was a scholarship cross-country runner at a major D1 university. He's in phenomenal condition and is mentally tougher than anyone I know when it comes to physical exercise and battling fatigue. He's got the work ethic and drive, I just need to give him a little direction.
The goal is to add 10-15 lbs of lean mass, while still maintaining his ability to run 5 or so miles at a fast pace.
I'm hoping to get some input and bounce some ideas off of the vets, to try to formulate the most effective mass building program from someone with this unique type of background.
Right now, I would estimate that he is 5'8" and weighs somewhere around 140 lbs with single digit body fat. He has definition, but no considerable muscle mass; He is somewhat weak for his size.
His conditioning is phenomenal. When he was in college, he ran anywhere from 100-115 miles every week, which I think is unreal. His track coach did not have him lifting weights. He won a few races over the years, so he runs fast. I've seen him set the treadmill as fast as it can go and just cruise for 5 miles.
I'm putting him on a 5 day split, focusing on a single muscle group per day. I'm including all of the major compound movements we love (squat, dead, military press etc.), and I'm not too worried about determining the specific exercises.
I'm going to suggest that he rest no more than 90 seconds in between sets, so that he can work on maintaining his endurance while lifting. If you object to this rest interval, why and what would be better?
What sort of rep scheme and volume size do you guys think would be the best to force his body to grow? He is unique because all of the years of intense running have resulted in his muscles being primarily composed of slow twitch fibers.
Since he has accumulated a majority of these type of fibers, would it be best to have him doing a low rep program that is more geared towards increasing strength? Like a 5x5 style program? The idea here would be to challenge and improve his body's weakest factor: his lack of fast twitch fibers.
Or would it be best to have him working in the classic 10-12 range? If so, why? I'm suggesting this range for at least the first 2 weeks, with my idea being that more reps will give his CNS more practice recruiting the necessary motor units for each exercise and that he will get comfortable with properly executing each exercise.
Or would a combination of sets of 10-12 and sets of 5-8 be best?
For volume, I'm planning somewhere around 5 exercises per session with a minimum of 20 total work sets. Would you recommend a higher or lower volume and why?
Thanks in advance for the input and ideas!