T Nation

Your Best Muscle-Gain Program?


What was it, and how much did you gain?


5 day split - chest/arms/legs/back/shoulders (not necasserily in that order), 3-4 exercises per muscle group, 3-4 sets of 4-8 reps (ramped to max weight), 10-12 reps on light weight exercises.

140lbs to 180lbs in 5-6 months.

60kg x 3 bench to 100kg x 5
50kg x 10 squat to 140kg x 2
25kg x 4 overhead press to 70kg x 2
60kg x 4 deadlift to 140kg x 4
30kg x 6 DB row to 50kg x 14

Strength has improved for a couple more reps on each one since then (1-2 months ago) doing the same thing.

Progress probably would of been even better If I didn't try out an upper/lower/upper/lower program for 2 of these 7 months. Upper body development suffered.


Started an upper/lower body split about 3 months ago. Takes about 45 minutes to complete a workout. Lower Chest is lagging due to absence of dips but I hurt my chest doing them so I have taken them out.

Went from 165-173 LBs... around 9-10% bodyfat at 5'11".

I focus on low reps (5 max) for three sets on pretty much every exercise. Staples are: Standing Military, Bench, Bent BB rows, Chins, Deadlifts, Squats. Have made great progress although they might be 'noob' gains. My strength has improved and I'm getting swole as fuck.

Most important thing though isn't even the training, I bet everyone on this site trains pretty hard, but the EATING is what has given me the most progress.


My biggest hop in muscle gains was 48 pounds, ok part muscle part fat, but it was due to other many factors than training.


Eating as much as humanly possible, and lifting heavier weights. Gained 20-25lbs in about 5 weeks.


Eating, lifting, and resting. I have gained about 10-20 lbs of muscle per year for the last several years. I am kinda on the same program so I don't know yet what my terminal gains will be.


Went from 228 to 263 in about 6-7 months. During this time I picked one heavy exercise for each bodypart, ie. Bench press for chest, hack squats for legs etc. I then picked a certain rep range. I would try to increase the weight as frequently as possible in that rep range all while doing other exercises for each bodypart with the same formula. Ate a ton too, and rested a lot.

Turns out that plan really worked well. My strength has been going through the roof and I've been putting many pounds on many lifts.


Have you ever had points where you just can't add on another 2-3lbs on that lift for a few weeks? If so, how did you get past that sticking point?

What heavy exercises do you like to do for your back? I prefer DB rows over BB rows at this point, because whenever I go over 215lb on BB row it turns into a half-shrug body jerk =/


There are times when I can't get a certain weight up each week. If that happens, I don't get discouraged but instead keep trying week after week. It took me maybe 5 or so weeks to get from 335 x 3 to 340 x 3 on the bench but I just keep trying and trying and I eventualy got it. My max on bench has been soaring through the roof. It's at 375 now and steadily moving forward. This is from doing the things I mentioned before. http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2F&#/watch?v=DJBUDaW18-M&client=mv-google

That should be a 365 if anyone is interested.

As far as back exercises, well I train one session for width and one for thickness. The staples in my workout tend to be weighted chins, close grip pulldowns and hammer strength high rows for width and deadlifts and Db or Bb rows for thickness, although I prefer Db rows.


sounds like newb gains


Best muscle gain program was my first program (high school football lifting). Came in as a 165 lb scrawny freshman and left at a very solid 225 as a senior. A lot of newb gains, but also a decent first program as nearly all the players who stuck with it were pretty damn big and strong senior year compared to what they were (not to mention back to back region champions). Just a very basic program, but no matter how simple or complex a program is, it comes down to lifting as hard/heavy as possible and eating like a horse. Maxes for Bench/Squat/Clean improved from 200/115/135 to 345/500/285 on this program from fr. to sr.

Program was:

Bench 5x5
Incline Bench 3x5
Close grip Bench 3x12

Squat 5x10
BB Lunges 3x5
RDLs 3x10

Power Clean 6x3
Shrugs 4x10
Chinups 3x8
BB Bent over row 3x8

Box Squat for Speed 8x2
Speed Bench 8x2
Tricep Pushdowns and Skullcrushers


I also did a very similar program in hs powerlifting and had newb gains my sophomore year. but junior and senior year had very steady/consistent gains


The most superior way I have found to add muscle at this point is to increase frequency while still keeping decent volume. Hit each muscle 2x/week with as much volume as you can recover from and it adds mass like none other.

You can only hit a muscle so hard at once before there are diminishing returns, hitting it twice a week allows you an extra "growth session" as Dante likes to put it.


waylander, could you give an example, with just say one bodypart? I seem to have gotten it wrong coz whenever i train 2x a week per bodypart i cant recover and just do bad... what would be ideal volume, exercsies etc..

Lets just say for chest?


try doing a 4 day split
chest tris abs
back bis
shoulders traps abs

then just repeat this schedule throught out the week and just have sunday as your rest day... too many people try to base there workouts around the week your body has no clue what a week is. alls it knows is break down and grow and i have found that taking sundays off and just working the four day split over and over works great for me. not too much rest but not too little.