Most guys that step into a gym have one thought in mind – mass. Guys just want to build bigger muscles. Maybe there is some level of psychological programming involved because guys grow up idolizing superheroes who have incredibly built bodies. Whatever the reason, usually when guys hit the gym it is to do some weight lifting workouts that will build their muscles.
Sure, sometimes you have to do cardio or other types of training, but for the most part it is all about muscle mass. So if that is the goal then what type of weight lifting workouts should you be doing? We have a few great types of training that have one goal – building mass.
The Top 4 Mass Building Workouts
These weight lifting workouts are all tried and true methods for building muscle size and strength.
- 5 x 5 Training – This is a classic training method created by Bill Starr back in the 1970’s. It centered around doing three big lifts – the bench press, squats, and power cleans over three days a week. He would have people train Monday, Wednesday, and Friday using heavy, medium, and light days. The concept was to do 5 sets of 5 reps of each exercise, increasing the weight on each set so the last set was a pure work set. Then by alternating heavy, medium, and light days it is like doing mini-cycles each week. Some people also include deadlifts in this routine.
- German Volume Training – This is another classic program from the 70’s that originated in Germany. You use a 3-day split to train your body over 5 days. For each body part trained you pick one exercise, preferably the best compound exercise. Then for that exercise you pick a weight you can do 20 reps with and start working. Perform a set of 10 reps, rest 60 seconds, then repeat until all 10 sets are done. Most people need to take longer rest periods near the end of the sets. When you can go straight through on 60 seconds rest increase the weight by 5 percent.
- High Intensity Training – This is also known as the Mike Mentzer method and is from the 1970’s as well. The concept is to use a typical 3 or 4-day split training routine but only do one or two exercises for each body part. Then, after warming up, you complete 1 set to all-out failure within the 5 to 8 rep target range. That means going to complete standard failure and then using techniques like rest-pause training or drop sets to perform additional reps until you cannot move the weight.
- Gradual Progression – This is more typical of a powerlifting routine. You perform a regular workout split and then perform one or two work sets per body part to failure at about 6 to 8 repetitions. Each time you work up to 8 or 9 reps you increase the weight the following workout by a few pounds and then start working the reps back up to 8 again.
There are some interesting correlations between all of these routines. The most notable is that they originated in the 1970’s or earlier. They also all look to overload the muscles, but go about it in different manners. From this we can draw the conclusion that numerous weight lifting workouts can be effective as long as you are able to overload the muscle. With these four programs you can also rotate between them for variety and to surprise and overload your muscles in new and different ways.