T Nation

What Workout for Mass?


I'm new to T-Nation and this is my first post. Here's some background info: Since January of this year I've been going to the gym four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday) and eating mostly whole foods. I started doing these things just to 'be healthy' but more importantly, they seriously boost my energy level and productivity. I hadn't really made many gains in size or strength, but I wasn't pursuing those goals at the time.

For a while now I've been thinking that I should make some changes to get more out of my gym time, and put on some mass. Sure I'd like to get stronger, but my primary new goal is to add lean mass to my frame. At the moment I'm 6'1" and weigh about 180 lbs.

So far, from my reading, it seems that I need to increase my caloric intake big time (which is fine by me) but I was wondering what workout you guys would recommend. I really like going to the gym those same 4 days each week because it fits right into my schedule and is a great way to start the day, BUT most of the workouts I've looked at for beginners seem like they call for 3-days per week. Any suggestions?




tbh honest i have been doing split routines for a while and have not seen any results, so i have decided to go back to a 3 day program as i feel i am still a beginer

But i might be different for you.

Go for the 5x5 program or German volume training and you shoudl put some serious mass on


For mass?

the workout is eat and lift iron


Well it looks like my best options call for 3 days a week... so be it. I'd still like to get some sort of work out on the fourth day (running, swimming, biking, etc...), even if it is low intensity. Assuming I eat enough to compensate for the calories burnt, will this interfere with my body's ability to put on muscle?


Key word is "low intensity" for any activity on the fourth day. As long as you're an absolute novice, you won't be able to tax your body enough to worry about your body's ability...but take it easy, anyway.

Personally, I'd use this fourth day as a "prehab" day, doing mobility drills, stretching, postural exercises, prehabilation work (rotator cuff, lower trapezius, glutes activation, core strengthening...), foam rolling. I know all this work should be done before every work out, but it never get enough time/attention.

If you don't know what all those "things" are, read Robertson, Cressey and Boyle articles on T-Nation (or buy two DVD: Inside Out and Magnificent Mobility).

Welcome to weight training!


I have been on the 5X5 routine with 80% of 1RM for a while. 4 days a week with the iron and at least two days with 45 minutes of hard cardio. This routine has proven to give me the best return on my time in the 4 years I have been lifting. I'm also putting some "rest pause" in my 5th set and pushing some of my exercises to failure. I hurt like hell but the gains have been significant. If you like I can be more specific about the day to day of it!!

Hope this helps Joe


Thanks for the idea Dentfixer. I looked around online for the term "5X5 routine with 80% of 1RM" and found a few different takes on that. If you wouldn't mind going into more detail, I'd appreciate it.


Starting Strength, Stronglifts 5x5 (both best suited for beginner), Bill Starr's 5x5, Madcow 5x5 (those are for intermediate lifters), are all good programs. Guideline: if you can't squat 2x bw, you're a beginner.

I just let you know that Dentfixer main goal has been fat loss, whilst yours seems to be putting on lean mass; too much cardio can slow down the process. As they say: "Different talks for different folks".


This is stupid...

If you're already used to going to the gym 4 days a week, there is absolutely no need to start going three days a week just because completely incompetent novices can't handle anything more than that.

In my opinion 4 days a week in the gym should be your minimum if you are looking to pack on a significant amount of muscle mass.


Your BEST options??? I don't think you've dug deep enough and weighed nearly enough options. Instead of reading these articles and taking everything as gospel, talk to some really big guys. Check out the threads of the really big guys in the bodybuilding forum. You'll be hard-pressed to find any that train only 3 days per week.


That is if you can filter through all the waste of time posts in there to get the good stuff.

To the OP, whichever program you do, as long as you are putting in maximum effort and eating a ton (reasonably clean), you should make progress.