T Nation

Routine to Gain Mass?

Hey guys, been following T nation for a bit and just registered today. Already learning a lot and hoping to learn some more.

So basically, straight to the point, I want to gain more mass the quickest way possible. Natural is the goal of course.

Some quick background info.

I am at about 144-147 pounds right now. My initial goal was to get to 150 then shred down and maintain an aesthetic physique, well now I am wanting to get to 160 then shred down and maintain 148-150ish at a decent body percentage. Trying to look like Josef Rakich year round, if you guys know him at all.

I am also 5 foot 4, so that weight i should look pretty big in my opinion. About December last year or a bit before that is when I started going back to the gym and i weighed about 120-123 pounds. So with my diet and workout routine I was able to get strong and add mass and all that. My diet is not perfect and still trying to get as close as I can to semi perfect. I do get my protein intake at 1 to 1.5 grams of per body weight via food and protein shakes.

Another thing is I am not too new to all of this, I have always been semi fit for the most part, spent about 4 years in the military and during that time is when i started to actually hit the gym and learned most of what I know for the most part. That being said I am thinking I am at close to intermediate. In my opinion the weight I am pushing is pretty decent.

I am currently doing a 5 day split = Back, Chest, Legs, Shoulders, Arms, Rest, Rest.
I do the 3 main lifts for the most part on the designated days, Deadlifts on backday, Bench on chest day though I mainly use dumbells, and same for the shoulder press. I always squat with a barbell or at least a variation of it. With arms I try to hit all the “heads” of the body part, I do palms in, palms down, palms up for biceps with variation of exercises. and then for the tris I do similar, i do a pushdown and skull crusher kind of tri exercise and then a behind the back, I was told that is how I could hit all of the “heads”.

I have been doing heavy weight, moderate weight and light weight. and by tomorrow it will be my 3 week of light weight, and hoping to continue it for another 2 or 3 weeks then switch back to heavy, unless told otherwise by you guys. I have read that is good to switch routine to keep the muscle confused.

So basically, I am thinking I should go back down to a push/pull split 4 times a week, to hit each body part twice, and go heavy of course. Its either that or this thing i read P/RR/S training, haven’t fully read it but i have it bookmarked to go back to sometime this week.

So hopefully you guys can give me some insight on what to do, I am hoping to do a amateur competition sometime in the near future, just always wanted to do that.

Also I apologize in advance for my grammar, not my main language and also for the terms I used, though I am sure you guys know what I am talking about.

If you guys need any more details or questions or anything let me know.

Hope to hear from you guys soon!

Sorry. Routine to gain mass don’t exists.

What did you eat yesterday?

I am quite certain there is, because I am sure lifting heavy weights while help you gain mass, opposed to running everyday.

I am looking for what would be better, push/pull, push,pull,legs, full body 3-5 times a week. something like that.

You missed the point. “Mass” doesn’t come from barbells. It comes from protein, carbs, and fats. Your first post had three paragraphs talking about training, two sentences talking about your diet.

As Chris mentioned. X2

You can gain mass on full body, p/p/l, upper/lower, 5/3/1, Greyskull, etc, etc, etc.

What did you eat yesterday.

okay my fault, misunderstood.

my diet are usually the same.

breakfast i eat 4 eggs, and the healthiest breakfast sausage i can get at my local store and either a servign of oatmeal or wheat bread

my lunch is usually sweet potatoes, 2 chicken tenderloins and i use that flavor god seasoning if that matters

then i take my mass gainer shake but only drink half a serving so it has 625 calories with 25 grams of protein

then i workout and during my workout i take my bcaa and pre workout prior to that

then i drink my protein shake 45 grams, creatine and l glutamine

my dinner consist of rice and some kind of meat whatever i end up cooking, typically get a minimum of 25 grams of protein on this one.

then before i sleep i take casein.

also twice a day after breakfast and after dinner i take multi vatamins and fishoil.

i will be adding 4 small scoops of natural peanut butter, which will add about 400 calories and about 16 grams of protein and some fat.

typically i get around 120 - 160 grams of protein. i dont count all of macros which i know i should but i am still getting in the groove of things when it comes to diet.

that being said. being i guess an ectomorph, with my standing on my workouts, what will benefit me more in someone my situation. i love going to the gym and do not mind going 5 days a week and even 6 if my schedule permits, but if i can get the same results going 4 a days doing a different program than what i have been doing, ill rather do that.

thanks again for the replies guys.

Any workout will do. I know that’s a slightly frustrating answer and you’re hoping someone will give you the definitive workout for mass gaining, but it’s really the case that any workout, provided it’s not completely retarded, will help you gain mass provided you attack it with sufficient intensity and eat properly.

I personally like to train a push/pull/legs routine with an off day in between every workout. So it really goes push/off/pull/off/legs/off and so on. There’s nothing magical about this; I just like to train this way. I don’t like being constrained by having my leg day ever Monday, Chest every Thursday, etc.

You really just have to think about your weekly schedule (how many days can you train? Will you be training on the same days every week?) and your own personal preference (do you like to smash the fuck out of a single body-part per session? Do you prefer a full-body workout?). A routine you can stick to week in, week out, is the perfect routine, regardless of what the routine actually is.

There are a few guidelines when it comes to bodybuilding training, but they really are just guidelines rather than rules.

-3 to 5 sets per exercise
-3 to 5 exercises per muscle group
-8-12 reps per set of your compound exercises (although sometimes a little lower, sometimes a little higher)
-12-15 reps per set of you isolation moves (although sometimes a little lower, sometimes higher)
-start with your big compounds
-finish off with the isolation
-use your isolation exercises primarily to bring up body parts you don’t feel get as stimulated as others when doing compounds

Alternatively, you could always just do 5/3/1…


Thanks Yogi1

Yea I as of now and at least until the next 10 weeks for sure, I am definitely able to train 5 days a week maybe 6 days if I really wanted to. Right now I am doing about 4-5 sets per exercise and my rep range is between 15-40. For example my chest day I will do flat bench dumbells 2 warm up 4 actualy sets with a rep range around 20-25. then i jump to incline after with 4 sets of about 20-25 as well. after those i do my isolation exercises with about 3 flies and a couple of them super setting with push up variations. then finish the workout with abs for that specific day. I do rest between 45-90 sec per set and 3-4 mins in between exercises.

In about 2-3 weeks my original plan is to stick to 5 day split. back,chest,legs,shoulders,arms,rest,rest. My rep range will be between 4-12 depending on the exercise. Also planning to rest between 90sec-120 sec per set, and 4-5 mins per exercise. For example my highest weight i can push on shoulder dumbell presses are at about 60-65 pounds around 4-6 reps. but for a shoulder lateral raise with the dumbells i can do about 35 pounds at 8 reps or so but i feel slight discomfort on my shoulder so i usually drop the weight and do more reps instead. this goes the same for the rest of my isolation exercises.

With all of that I am planning to keep my diet except adding the peanut butter which should hopefully help me gain some mass. According to the calculators i need about 2100-2200 cal to maintain, and according to the food tracker app i have I exceed that with at least 300 cals.

But I just basically wanted peoples input, from someone that was in my situation or something.

well a couple of things that I would personally do differently:

Rep ranges are awfully high throughout. I wouldn’t do all of my work in as high a rep range as that. Personally I believe that the two mechanisms behind muscle growth can be explained simply in terms of strain and burn.

Lift weights so heavy you have to strain against them, and lift weights so many times it burns. Your rep range is providing a lot of burn but not much in the way of strain. Pick a big lift per exercise (bench for chest, deadlift for hamstrings, etc.) and work up to a top set of 8 (or 6, or 5, whatever but on the lower end of the rep scale). You want to get strong.

I’m also not wild about the 5 days training in a row thing. It depends on individual recovery and so yours could be excellent, but I would be dragging ass a bit come day 5. I think 4 sessions would mean you’d be fresher and more able to bring da noise.

I would combine your arm and shoulder workouts, and take a day off midweek. So chest/back/off/legs/arms and shoulders/off/off. 4 days is plenty.

One last thing is I can almost guarantee that weight is far too heavy for lateral raises. Drop the weight right down and really concentrate on feeling the muscle working. This is advice you will hear a lot.

So that’s what I would change, although if it’s working for you then have at it.

Hope that helps.


Thanks man, I might try that 4 a day routine, I initialy started with a 3 day full body split, then went to push and pull, then 4 a day like your recommend though a little different, shoulders was by its self, then tris with chest and bis with back. then from there i went to 5 a days. all of those were heavy and my dead lift from 135 pounds went up to 335. and my squat went from 115 to 255. my bench only went to about 185, i never tried to push more than that though because i dont have a spotter. that being said i believe i got pretty strong, especially for my body weight i think those lifts are somewhat decent. once i got to that then i started switching from light to heavy, lgiht to heavy, in about 5-6 week each. The reason my reps are so high is because i start low weight and then add either 5 or 10 pounds each week for that specific. but again i didnt realize i was going too high of reps.

Anyways, in about 2 or 3 weeks I will do a 4 a day split for about 4 weeks or so and see how that goes, though for the mean time? i should then increase my weight to lower my reps then for the next couple weeks or so? basically for example for my chest, i will be pushing 50 pounds each dumbell and do about 20 reps, so i should just make that liek 60-65 pounds and do less? most i pushed was 80 pounds and only 3 or 4 reps. I started at 30-35 pounds then increased 5 pounds each week, and tried to maintain the reps but goal was to do no less than 15 reps. Though with all of this I do get a decent workout and pump and all that.

Or should I jsut do one more week, to make it 4 weeks total then jump back to heavy?

Since i posted my last reply I have been perusing through the forums and reading stuff,I’ve decided I am gonna go back to heavy weight tomorrow instead of waiting another 2 or 3 weeks. gonna stick to the 4 set 4-8 rep range. and 8-12 for isolation exercises. hopefully it will ready me for arnolds golden 6 workout. then after doing that for about 6 weeks, hopefully i can do the colbert routine. I just gotta find exercise that i can do at my gym since i have limited machines and such, no hack squat machine for example.

Also out of curiosity, if i did not want to squat would leg presses be a good substitute for that exercise. The reason why I ask is for future reference when i do a full body workout, ill most like have deadlifts in it if not I will have some kind of back exercise, and barbell squats seem to work my lower back quite a bit, mainly legs of course but i feel it in my back, as opposed to the leg press, i only feel it on my hams, quads and glutes.

I think you nearly answered that question yourself. If you need a full body compound movement that emphasises legs, than go hard at squats.

If you feel you have sufficiently worked (or are going to work) your back, but still need a decent leg builder or leg pump, than the leg press is your friend.

In the same token, if leg extensions, leg curls and calf raises are your idea of a leg day than you are leaving gains on the table IMO.

Thanks man, I just had to confirm. I usually doubt the information that I am not 100% sure at.

That being said. My leg day always consisted of Barbell Squat, Angle Leg press, Leg Extension, Leg Curl, Then I add a squat variation, Like a goblet squat or plie squat, limited equipment and the dumbells only go up to 100 at my gym. So these weights are somewhat lighter for me. Then after that I add A lunge variation and to finish it off i do Body squats with my heels on plates to incline it.

When I did full body initially my weight was still light, I was pushing almost half or less weight than I am pushing now, thats why I am not sure if I was gonna be able to do a deadlift and barbell squat the same day but i know i can do a deadlift and a leg press.