Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
9 Jul

How to Gain Weight and Build Muscle

So you wanna put on some lean muscle mass. And you want to do it within the context of the Primal Blueprint, but aren’t sure where to start. It’s a common question and it’s about time I addressed it head on.

As I’ve made pretty clear, our ultimate goal is to achieve positive gene expression, functional strength, optimum health, and extended longevity. In other words: To make the most out of the particular gene set you inherited. These are my end goals, and I’ve modeled the PB Laws with them in mind. But that doesn’t mean packing on extra muscle can’t happen with additional input. After I retired from a life of chronic cardio and started living Primally, I added 15 pounds of muscle, while keeping low body fat levels without really trying, so it’s absolutely possible for a hardgainer to gain some. The question is how much and at what expense?

I’d be the first to tell you that lean body mass is healthier than adipose tissue. Generally, the more lean mass a person has, the longer and better they live. But to increase mass at the expense of agility, strength, or speed is, in my opinion, counterproductive. What would Grok do – go for enormous biceps or the ability to haul a carcass back to camp? Unless you’re a bodybuilder (nothing wrong with that, mind you; it’s just not my focus), I can’t advise simply packing on size without a proportional increase in actual strength. Those bulging biceps might look good on the beach, but then again, so does the body that comes with keeping up with the younger guys, knocking out twenty pull-ups in a row, and lifting twice your bodyweight. Form is best paired with a healthy serving of function. The two are quite delicious together, and, luckily, following the PB allows us to get both without sacrificing either.

Of course, we’re all built a little differently. The basic building blocks are the same in everyone, but sexual reproduction (as opposed to asexual reproduction) has the funny habit of producing unique genetics and small variations that affect the way we respond to our environments. It’s why some people are short and some are tall, or why some of us respond better to carbohydrates than others. Even though we all pretty much operate the same way, there IS a range of possible outcomes that is proscribed by your direct ancestors. By that same token, some people just naturally have more muscle mass. They’re usually innately more muscular than the average person, and putting more on through resistance training is often an easy task. Then there are those who can’t seem to gain a pound: the hardgainers. They might be increasing strength, but it doesn’t seem to translate into visible muscle mass. Now, my initial advice for a hardgainer is this – don’t worry too much about it! As long as you’re getting stronger, you’re doing it right.

Let’s face it, though. You’ve probably heard that enough already. It’s fun being the lanky guy at the gym who can lift more than most, but you’re dead set on bulking up (who doesn’t like a bit more muscle to go along with that strength?), and you want to do it in a Primal context. Besides, continuing to increase strength will eventually require increasing size. To do so, you have to target the very same anabolic hormones that others use to get big, only with even more enthusiasm and drive. Like I said, we all have similar engines, but some require more fuel and more efficient driving (sorry for the corny analogy). Activating these hormones will work for anyone, provided they work hard and eat enough food.

The main hormones that contribute to muscle anabolism are testosterone, growth hormone (GH), and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). A little more about each and how to utilize them:

Testosterone

Crazy bodybuilders don’t inject themselves with anabolic steroid hormones that are based on testosterone for nothing. Among other roles, testosterone is an important muscle-building growth factor that favorably affects protein synthesis in addition to working with other hormones (like GH and IGF-1) to improve their function (more on this later). If you want to increase strength and build muscle, testosterone is absolutely required (don’t worry, though: no injections necessary!).

Growth Hormone

It’s right there in the name, isn’t it? Growth hormone. It helps muscle grow and, perhaps more importantly, it burns body fat. After all, leaning out is a big part of building muscle (or else you’ll just look puffy) and GH will help you do it.

Insulin-like Growth Factor 1

IGF-1 is extremely similar in effect to GH, as it should be – GH stimulates IGF-1 production in the liver. In fact, it’s suspected that IGF-1 is actually responsible for most of the “growth-promoting effects of circulating GH.”

Anabolic hormones all work together. In fact, to maximize their muscle-building potential, you must have all three present. Testosterone increases IGF-1, but only in the presence of GH. GH promotes skeletal muscle cell fusion independent of IGF-1, but the two are most effective in concert. Luckily for you, the types of exercises that stimulate the secretion of one will generally stimulate the secretion of the others. Funny how that works out, huh?

Enter The Central Nervous System

In order for your body to start pumping out these delicious anabolic hormones, you must first give it a reason to do so. I might even say you should give your genes a reason to express themselves. The most effective way to do this is by notifying the central nervous system. Now, the CNS can be a stubborn bastard, but he’s all you got when it comes to interpreting stimuli and relaying messages to the rest of the body. He’s not easily perturbed, and he won’t bother if you aren’t serious. If you insist on doing nothing but light aerobics or tiny isolation exercises, your CNS will barely notice. If you want to get your CNS’ attention, pick up the intensity. Run some sprints or do some heavy lifting. When you do an exercise like the squat with a heavy weight, all hands are on deck. Your CNS realizes that some serious exercising is going down and notifies the hypothalamus, which in turn talks to your pituitary gland. This tiny – but vital – member of the endocrine system is the gland that dispatches luteinizing hormones to tell the testicles to secrete testosterone. It’s also the gland that synthesizes and secretes GH. IGF-1 is mostly produced by the liver, but its production is facilitated by the presence of GH, so we can see that it all comes down to CNS stimulation. Chronic cardio doesn’t affect your CNS in any meaningful way, so that’s why we tend to avoid it; vigorous sprints, hard and heavy lifting, and anaerobic output will get its attention, so do plenty of these to maximize muscle growth.

Cortisol: A Hormone to Avoid

Promoting muscle and strength growth also requires avoiding excess amounts of catabolic (muscle wasting) hormones like cortisol. Cortisol is the major stress hormone, and it exists for a very legitimate reason (dealing with “flight or fight” incidents, inadequate sleep, anxiety), but in large amounts cortisol increases serum amino acids by breaking down muscle, inhibiting protein synthesis and reducing amino acid uptake by the muscles – all awful things for muscle growth. Compounding the problem even further, the broken-down muscle is converted into blood glucose, which then raises insulin secretion and increases insulin resistance while promoting fat storage. And we all know how great those muscles look with a nice layer of adipose tissue covering them up! On a serious note, most people following the PB already minimize cortisol by getting plenty of sleep and reducing stress, but if you’re preoccupied with building muscle mass and engaging in extended workout sessions to achieve it, avoiding excess cortisol can get tricky: excessive exercise without enough recovery time actually increases cortisol. It makes sense (think of it like your body’s telling you it needs a day or two off), but the desire for more muscle mass drives many to work out to the point of counter-productivity. Just be careful, and give yourself at least a day of rest after a particularly grueling session.

Lift Really Heavy Things

If you haven’t figured it out already, you’re going to be doing some heavy lifting in order to put on lean mass. The foundation of your routine should be the big compound lifts: squats, deadlifts, presses (bench and overhead), pull-ups, rows, dips, snatches, power cleans, clean and jerks. These engage multiple muscles while triggering your hormonal response systems. Bodyweight stuff, while valuable, simply isn’t going to get you the strength and mass increases you’re looking for. Testosterone, while useful, only gets really anabolic when you start lifting. You need to get under some decent weight, enough so that your CNS and endocrine system are blasted, but not so much that you can’t maintain proper form.

A popular routine is the 5×5 method. Popularized by programs like StrongLifts and Starting Strength, doing compound lifts for five sets of five reps allows you to strike a balance between strength building and superficial muscle hypertrophy. Done this way, your hypertrophy won’t be purely sarcoplasmic, which results in fluid-filled muscles that look big but don’t see a corresponding increase in actual strength. Instead, the 5×5 method promotes myofibrillar hypertrophy: hard, dense muscle fibers that increase strength and size (with no puffiness). That’s real muscle that would make Grok proud.

If you’re lifting heavy and lifting hard, keep your workouts spaced at least a day apart and don’t lift more than 3x/week. Three exercises per session should be perfect. That may not sound like much, but it’ll be plenty if you do it right. Remember, you’re doing big compound movements that will really shock your system, with an emphasis on intensity and power. You don’t want to overwork yourself, release a bunch of cortisol, and set yourself back a few weeks.

Squats and deadlifts are absolutely required. No excuses. They engage the most muscles and produce the biggest hormonal response. They will be the bedrock of your mass building campaign. Most programs recommend doing squats every session, and I tend to agree. You can handle it. Deadlifts are a bit more taxing and so should be relegated to every other workout. So, one week you’ll deadlift once, the next week twice. You can also sub in power cleans for the occasional deadlifts (or do them in addition) if you’re comfortable with such a complex movement. Presses are paramount, both overhead and bench. I’d alternate both types of presses every session. Pull-ups are great, but weighted pull-ups are even better. Same goes for dips. Just try to get one pulling, one pushing, and one squatting exercise in each session.

An example for beginners, with sets coming first in the sequence:

A
Squat 5×5
Pull-ups 5xFailure (add weight if “Failure” is becoming more than 12 reps)
Overhead Press 5×5

B
Squat 5×5
Deadlift 1/2/3×5 (your choice; deadlifts can be incredibly taxing, and with exhaustion comes poor form, so be careful; sometimes it’s better to do a really heavy load for a single set)
Bench Press 5×5

C
Squat 5×5
Pull-ups 5xFailure
Overhead Press 5×5

Do this sequence every week (maybe Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and steadily increase the weight each session. Once you’re making progress, feel free to add in other exercises like dips or more Olympic lifts. For more mass, more lactic “burn” (and more GH secretion), reduce your rest periods between sets or even superset them. If you feel like doing some cardio, stick to sprints once weekly, or even a Crossfit-style metcon (metabolic conditioning) workout, maybe some Tabata burpees. The key is conserving strength and giving your body time to rest and recover for the next round of squats, deadlifts, and presses.

This “program” can be tweaked and altered. Just make sure you’re doing big movements while maintaining extreme intensity and great form. Oh, and always make sure to squat and deadlift. Always. They produce the most testosterone, GH, and IGF-1.

Eat Lots (I Mean Lots) of Plants and Animals

No one would ever call the Primal Blueprint a protein-sparing plan, but you’re going to have to eat even more than before. Stuff yourself. I always say that body composition is 80% diet, and that goes for putting on mass as well as losing fat. You need to provide plenty of protein for all those hormones to synthesize, after all.

  • Never let your protein intake go lower than 1g/lb of body weight when you are aiming to add long-term muscle. It’s the building block of muscle, and your body is going to be starving for it.
  • Eat plenty of saturated and monounsaturated fat. Fat blunts insulin secretion while increasing testosterone production. Insulin may be useful for stuffing your muscles full of glycogen, but that’s not what you’re going for… right?
  • Dietary fat, in conjunction with all the GH you’ll be producing, also spares muscle wasting.
  • You may have heard of the popular GOMAD method – Gallon of Milk a Day for easy mass-building. It undoubtedly works, but a gallon of milk isn’t exactly Primal and I can’t recommend it. Instead of milk, why not a dozen eggs a day? ADEAD? If you can manage it, eating them on top of your regularly scheduled meals is a great source of affordable protein, fat, and vitamins (Vitamin A in particular may have pro-anabolic effects).
  • Eat often. If you’re going for pure size and strength, fasted workouts and skipped PWO meals may not be the ticket. You’ll burn more fat with the extra GH secretion and existing muscle will be spared, but you may be missing the chance at prime protein synthesis when you fast. A PWO meal of protein and fat will still blunt the insulin secretion and provide fuel for your muscles.
  • Increase caloric intake. You’re going to be expending so much energy on the lifts (and you’ll continue to burn through it even on rest days) while eating clean, Primal foods (and keeping insulin low as ever) that fat accumulation shouldn’t be an issue at all. Eat!
  • On those days when you do expend a ton of energy – maybe on your metcon or sprint day – having a Primal-friendly starch, like squash or sweet potato, is a decent way to replenish depleted glycogen stores.
  • Eat a big piece of fatty meat every single day. Steak, whole chicken, lamb leg, organs, whatever. Just eat a solid piece of animal flesh for a powerful protein infusion on a daily basis.
  • A hardgainer is often someone who doesn’t eat enough. Sure, genes play a role, but you can ultimately have a significant say in how those genes rebuild you. To a point. Eat more and lift harder to grab the reins.

I’m a firm believer in the body’s natural ability to achieve proper homeostasis, provided we supply the right environment and the right foods. For some of you, that might mean lower body mass, lower than you’d like. In my opinion, that amount of muscle is probably “right” for you and I wouldn’t recommend going above and beyond to achieve more of it… but I also wouldn’t condemn it, especially if it’s pursued in accordance with the Primal Laws. As for me, I am comfortable where I’m at and tend not to seek added mass (I’m also at a point where lifting heavy increases my risk of injury, and I HATE downtime). But if you are a hard-gainer looking to add a few, as long as it’s not just show muscle and you can actually lift some decent weight and at the very least manipulate your own body weight comfortably, eat those dozen eggs and gain that weight.

Prefer listening to reading? Get an audio recording of this blog post, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast on iTunes for instant access to all past, present and future episodes here.

Gio JL Flickr Photo (CC)

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Calories comes from fat like avocado, fresh butter, coconut oil, etc.

    When you combine quality protein and fat, your body makes it own glucose so you shouldn’t be eating carbs like rice, pasta etc. Your body prefer source of energy is fat not carbs.

    look up Brian Peskin. he is the leading expert on human diet.

    Karl Roberts wrote on October 24th, 2011
    • It’s extremely difficult to get that many calories from fat and protein. A lot of fat gives you diarrhea, or people would just slug back olive oil or lard to bulk up. As to conversion of protein to glucose, you don’t actually need the glucose to bulk up, but you eat glucose because you can only eat so much P and F.

      I agree on the pasta, and somewhat on the white rice. It’s fairly low on the bad scale. Sweet potatoes, yams, plantains, and bananas would be good sources, but that gets pricey, too.

      You have to balance health, costs, and calories and make the best decision that gets you to your goals.

      Roland wrote on October 24th, 2011
  2. I don?t even know how I finished up here, but I thought this publish used to be great. I don’t recognize who you might be however certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  3. magnificent submit, very informative. I ponder why the other experts of this sector do not realize this. You must continue your writing. I am sure, you have a great readers’ base already!

    Xtreme No wrote on October 28th, 2011
  4. Would you do this like a circuit?
    i.e. 5 squats, pull-ups, 5 overhead presses, repeat sequence 4 more times OR 5 sets of squats, 5 sets of pull-ups, 5 sets of overhead presses.

    Giglibot wrote on November 2nd, 2011
  5. An informative article with great tips on the best way to gain muscle and increasing weight. Also good to see some diet tips, a lot of people don’t realise what to eat to gain muscle and that eating correctly is a key part to getting results and the body you desire.

    Henry | Best Way To Gain Muscle wrote on November 8th, 2011
  6. Hi Mark,

    Is there an optimal amount of protein that the body can digest at each meal? The reason I ask is that at 210lbs, to build muscle I need 210g of protein daily as per the guidelines above. Which, over 5 meals a day (my typical daily average) is +40g per meal. Should the 210g be spread over additional protein-only meals/shakes or can the body efficiently digest 50g at each sitting?
    Thanks.

    Gavyn wrote on November 21st, 2011
    • Gavyn,

      Your body will can handle well over 50g per meal. All protein is eventually digested and then distributed through various channels in your system (blood, liver, etc.) for use down the road. You have constant protein reserve at the ready!

      Roland

      Roland wrote on November 21st, 2011
      • I agree with Roland. I routinely eat meals containing over 100grams of protein and have had no issues leaning out and building muscle. Don’t buy into the myth of your body only being able to digest 40 grams at once. Go for it and eat big!

        Frank wrote on December 22nd, 2011
  7. Hi Mark, I work Monday to Friday on a farm so I can’t exactly go to the gym every other day. There is plenty of physical work on the farm but increasing strength is a goal of mine over the next few months. What are the best exercises that I could do without weights on the farm? Would push ups, chin ups and boy weight squats be enough?

    Chris wrote on December 2nd, 2011
  8. I have a question about presses and my body type.

    My torso is a little on the shorter side, but my arms/legs are extremely long in proportion to the torso (the end of my middle fingers reach about 3/4 down my thighs). I started a more serious lifting program recently and found that I had solid beginnings and progress on DL, Squat, pullups,chinups,dips, etc. But benching and overhead presses are completely pathetic, it’s embarrasing how little weight I can press in either case. I assume this is because the center of gravity is an issue with extended arms, and compressing decompressing my arms at the down position is really tight on space. Also I’m just weak : >

    Any pointers on how to deal with this? Here are the regular upper body exercises I do and Within these exercises is there enough to cover most of what I would get from the bench / overhead press?

    weighted pull ups, weight chin ups, weighted dips, weighted inverted ring rows, weighted ring push ups with feet elevated, pushups with feet elevated, overhead press pushups with feet elevated.

    Or do I need to adjust my press technique in some particular way and/or just lower my expectations?

    Joe Brancaleone wrote on December 2nd, 2011
    • Joe,

      The description of yourself matches my profile almost perfectly. I’m giving the Sronglifts program a go for a while. If you haven’t read up on it, the essentials are a 5×5 program using 5 lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench, overhead press, and barbell row). You workout 3 times each week, doing 3 alternating lifts each workout (squats are done every workout, so really only 2 lifts change). The interesting part, though, is the low weight with which you beging lifting. The programs starts you at 45 lbs (so just the bar) for everything except deadlifts and rows, which start at 65 lbs. This is done to facilitate the mandatory 5 lbs increase that is to take place each time you workout. It is a little embarrassing to be doing squats and deadlifts with such light weight, but if you are able to add 5 lbs every time you lift, you can see that by the end of the 3 month period you will be lifting a significant and satisfying weight. I’m just beginning so I can’t offer any personal evidence of the validity of the system, but I feel that while I might not be able to add 5 lbs to my overhead press every time I lift, I will certainly see an improvement… with the paltry weight that I can currently presss overhead, an improvement won’t take much. I hope you find something that works for you. Take care.

      Josh wrote on January 6th, 2012
      • That’s a great program. I know alot of people at the gym doing it as well. Have you tried the diet that sorta goes along with it? It’s called the Anabolic Diet and it works pretty well for putting on size and strength. I tried it for a while and it worked really well for me. I even did a primal version. Its 5 days of fat/protein then all weekend you refill muscle glycogen by eating mainly carbs. That monday/tuesday after the carb refill is bloody amazing! I felt like the HULK!!

        Frank Sabia wrote on January 6th, 2012
  9. interesting read. I am a not-so-hard-gainer, but I have been really sick for 3 months, eating hardly anything and not able to workout. I lost about 10 pounds. I have been back in the gym for six weeks and only gained back about 6 of them (I know I can grow more, I once gained 6 pounds in 3 weeks!) feeling a bit frustrated. any advice?

    mike wrote on December 14th, 2011
  10. Great article. I want to begin adding some muscle to my very lanky frame, and have had a keen interest in the old school (and still brilliant) “art” of Vince Gironda. I notice your primal diet is sort-of a modified version of his, as well as your information here. It has the scientific back-up, similar strong points, and adds for the same basic day of light carbs to help balance out your body. I have been reading Vince’s stuff relentlessly, but being it’s old and you get no user-input, I think you’ll be my new read for a change of pace.

    Hooray for eggs! =)

    Joey wrote on December 29th, 2011
  11. That’s a really comprehensive post on building muscle for beginners or hard gainers.

    Personally though I think when you have been training for a while squatting every session becomes too much, and should be cut to alternate sessions.

    Also I think using 5 X 5 with the same weight becomes too taxing as well. Better in my opinion to use the first two sets as work up sets, and do the last three sets with the top weight. Train hard but avoid failure with a routine of this sort.

    David wrote on January 8th, 2012
  12. Great post, I always though I was a hardgainer (and in fact I am), but the truth is that, as you said, diet is 80% of your results.

    I began to eat more and specially pay attention to post workout nutrition and I bulk easily 5 pounds in one month (it used to take me a year to put so much weight).

    5×5 is a great method, I also used HST which gave me great results.

    Thanks for the post!

    David wrote on January 9th, 2012
  13. Well explained. Thanks

    Rajesh Sharma wrote on January 11th, 2012
  14. great article Mark . Not only does building muscles great for weight gain, it is also great for burning body fat and losing weight..

    Charles wrote on January 12th, 2012
  15. I would classify myself as an easygainer, but I still benefitted greatly from reading this article. This is an excellent starting point for more research into the area of natural hormone production (This is how I discovered I should avoid Soy). Keep them coming Mr. Sisson!

    Patrick Wilson wrote on January 16th, 2012
  16. Hi! I enjoyed this posting and also shared it with my fans on facebook! I have been following the paleo diet (low carb, no grains) since Februar 2010 and lost ~50 pounds (no chronic-cardio, just weekly strenth and daily walks)! Back to my weight 12 (!!!) years ago! I want to promote the paleo diet and HIT (training) as best as I can. Thank you!

  17. Great article. When my protein levels dip much below the 1g/lb. level, I notice a sharp dip in strength. I’d also like to add “Carry, drag, and pull heavy things!” In addition to regular lifting, these types of exercises put a different type of strain on the body, and cause a type of whole body adaptation I don’t think you get otherwise.

    TrainerMike wrote on February 2nd, 2012
  18. This is the way I have been training for the last two months and I have seen an increase in both size and strength, but still I have to learn more about paleo nutrition.

    The fact of restricting carbs for the PW meal being a hardgainer is something that did not work for me when I was trying to put more weight on.

    Great post,

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    David wrote on February 5th, 2012
  19. I welcome all suggestions on the road to get started. I’m female, 45, and weight is at 105 lbs, 5 ft tall, yet I look fat because the bulk of the weight is centered around lower abs, and hips. The past two months I have been at the gym 3-4 times a week with little results (I did drop from 108 to 105) but the INCHES will not come off. I’ve received a lot of ‘misinformation’? on what to do. Now I’m totally confused!

    I’ll do 45 mins of high cardio on the elliptical every time I am at the gym in addition to the weights (and I primarily use the free weights – barbells and dumbell exercises). I also was told my carb intake is too high. I know I do not eat enough calories, which is why I cannot understand no loss of inches! My caloric intake is about 500 less maybe more than what I should consume; however, I will say that it is true the bulk of those short calories come from carbs. I was going to try a very low carb diet, but not sure what to do. I had NO energy or strength the last time I tried an Atkins diet and could not work out at all. I need a plan of action. I’m going to order the Primal Blueprint book at Amazon.

    In the meantime, high carbs, low carbs? more cardio? or reduce cardio? increase calories (I don’t want an even larger midsection)? Help!

    Linda wrote on February 10th, 2012
  20. I’m 33 yrs old, 5’10”, 160, 11-12% BF.
    Been lifting since college, mixing up split routine, full-body, bodyweight only training, etc. My BW was consistently at 170 until about 8-10 months ago when I started losing weight with no change in calorie intake (right around 2000cal/day). Now I’ve been holding at 160 for the last 6 months.
    Would I be considered a hardgainer?

    James wrote on February 14th, 2012
  21. Why are you at a point where lifting heavy things increases your chance of injury? Is it age? Just wondering because in the article you recommend lifting heavy things but then say you don’t…
    Cool site, by the way!

    Mick wrote on February 17th, 2012
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    John Matthews wrote on February 21st, 2012
  23. A great article on sound nutrition and training principles for hard-gainers, and the comments are fantastic as well. I do agree that it is important to take in some carbs immediately post-workout as you want to stimulate some insulin release and stop protien-breakdown aftera grueling training session. But how much will depend on the individual. For me, a cup of mixed fruit, (usually berries), some protein and saturated fat are the perfect mix and I’ve managed to retain most of my muscle mass even though I train heavily, (3 – 4 hours a day, a mix of Bikram Yoga and Weights). If you have to train a lot, then you have to eat more, and you have to constantly replenish liver and muscle glycogen. Thanks for sharing all the great information!!!

    Michelle wrote on February 22nd, 2012
  24. The best way I find to gain muscle mass is to start the session by lifting really heavy. For example the chest. I would do a bench press of about 60% maximum and lift for 5 reps. I would then move to about 80% and do 3 reps. I would then do my work set for a maximum of 4 reps. decrease the weight by 10% and do 5 reps, decrease again by 10% and do 5 reps.

    For the rest of the chest workout I would select a weight I can do for 6-15 reps and really work toward fatigue hitting all angles of the chest.

    I would do this for all muscle groups for about 2 months and then switch to a program like Mark described above for a month. This would limit plateaus and make sure you gain a mix of sarcoplasmic (size) muscle and myofibrillar (strength) muscle.

    Michael @ somebodylied.com wrote on March 10th, 2012

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