Monday, July 27, 2015

Lean Mass Made Simple and Fast!

Lean Mass Made Simple and Fast!
The Ultimate 9-Week Program for Lean Muscle Growth

By Matthew Sloan

The author, Matthew Sloan, before embarking on his 9-week program for Lean Muscle Mass

Muscle growth.  We all want it.  And we want it fast!  Any serious lifter knows that there is a limit to how much muscle one can put on in a short period of time, but a well-designed program—combined with a nutritious diet and effective supplementation—can ensure optimal results. So before I get to the program, and why it’s effective, lets go over nutrition and supplementation.

For nutrition, there are only a few "must-dos":
-You must be in a caloric surplus. By this, I mean you must be consuming more calories than you are burning daily. In order for your muscles to grow, you need the extra calories, but since this program is about " lean muscle growth", I would recommend a caloric surplus of 300-500 calories. Example: If you are burning 2500 calories daily, consume 2800-3000 calories. This caloric surplus is a slight one to ensure little to no fat gains.
-Consume 1 gram of protein per pound of lean muscle mass. Example: If you weigh 200lbs at 10% bodyfat, then get at least 180g protein daily. Many eating regimens recommend too much protein when 1 gram per bodyweight is more than enough to build muscle. Studies have shown this[1].
-At least 40% of calories should come from carbohydrates. Too many people are scared of carbs due to insulin reasons. But carbs are very important in having plenty of energy for successful workouts, and for sufficient amounts of glycogen stored in the muscle cells. Trust me, carbs are not the enemy. For me, I even have 65% of my calories from carbs, and I have no problem with staying lean (and I am in no way one of those people who can just eat whatever and stay lean year round[2]).

For supplementation, just keep it simple. Here are the few supplements I would recommend for this program:
-Creatine: This is one of the most proven to be effective supplements. Multiple studies have been done on creatine to show that it is safe for all ages. Creatine can help with your strength and power in the gym, resulting in a better workout, which eventually results in more gains.
-Branch Chain Amino Acids(BCAA'S): BCAAs make up protein, and are important in the preservation of muscle. I take 1-2 scoops intraworkout.
-Multivitamin: This can help ensure that you get sufficient amounts of micronutrients daily.

These are the only supplements that I would consider necessary.  Other supplements that you might want to consider could be a pre workout and/or a recovery supplement such as glutamine.

So these are the main key points for your nutrition and supplementation during this program. Now to the fun stuff: the training! This program was inspired by the “German Volume Training” articles of Charles Poliquin[3]. It revolves around a 10x10 routine, but with a few key variations to prevent plateaus—and to aid in maximizing hypertrophy. Here is the training split for this program:

Monday: Back and Biceps
Tuesday: Legs
Wednesday: Chest and Triceps
Thursday:Cardio and Abs
Friday: Shoulders
Saturday: Back and Biceps
Sunday: Legs

There are always 4 rest days between each training session for a particular muscle group. This ensures that your muscles have recovered enough to be trained again, and that they have plenty of time to grow.

Cardio is not necessary on this program since this is not a fat loss regimen, but there is no harm in doing it if you so like. There have even been studies regarding the benefits cardio has for building muscle.

So here is the layout for a training session:
 Example Leg Day:
Squats 10x10
Leg extensions 2x25
Lying Hamstring Curls 2x25
Calf Raises 2x25
Matthew performing a set of barbell curls—always a good 10x10 exercise on "back and biceps" day

You will always choose one compound movement for the muscle groups, and do your 10x10 routine. This is to get in that high volume—and, yes, it is difficult. You should choose a weight that you could get about 15 reps with. If you hit failure before 10 on a set, then just strip the weight by 5-10 lbs. So after you do your 10x10, you will throw in 2 to 3 isolation exercises for the bodypart. And do 2 to 3 sets of each exercise for high reps. This is done in order to pump the muscles full of blood. Make sure on the isolation exercises to get maximum stretches and contraction on the muscles throughout each set.

Arnold used to say that the muscles needed to be "shocked", never knowing what was "coming at them". Although that was a weird way of putting it, he really just meant to implement some variation in your training. Variation can help prevent plateaus, and in the case of this program, result in the growth of all types of muscle fibers (the slow and the fast twitch fibers). To achieve this during this 9-week program, your training will have slight rep range changes in three-week increments. So for the first 3 weeks you will stick with the traditional 10x10 for your compound movement. And then the next three weeks (week 4-6), your compound movement will be with heavier weights, but for 10x5. And then for your last three weeks (week 7-9), your compound movement will be with lighter weights, but for 10x15.  These changes will help to ensure that you don't plateau, and will ensure the growth of all muscle fibers. Here is one more example of a training day:
Chest and Triceps:
Incline Dumbbell presses 10x10
Incline flyes 3x20
Wide grip push-ups 3x20
Weighted Triceps Dips 10x10
Overhead triceps extensions 3x20
Cable triceps extension 3x20
Matthew performing a set of chins—another good 10x10 exercise

Hopefully now you understand the layout of the program, and are able to design it with effective movements. As long as you stick with the basic guidelines of the program, you can manipulate the variables and find what works best for you! So keep your nutrition and supplementation on point and train with intensity and watch those muscles grow!

(Matthew’s Note: Follow us on Instagram at SLOAN.STRENGTH for updates on the Integral Strength blog and to help us grow! Be on the lookout for new articles weekly!)

[1] Just “Google” it!
[2] C.S.’s note: Before this year, my son was always described politely as “husky” or “thick boned” by family members.  Losing bodyfat for him was not something that happened overnight.
[3] C.S.’s note: Apparently my son is one of those still under the impression that Poliquin’s so-called “German Volume Training” was something revolutionary.  Please see my post entitled “Vince Gironda’s Weight Gaining Tips”.

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