How to Gain Lean Muscle Mass

Last week I wrote about the 21 day fat flush. Today we have completely different topic. The eternal

Muscle training at Shape Up Fitness & Wellness Consulting

Is your muscle mass increasing?

quest for lean muscle mass and what we can do to not primarily gain body fat.

This is not nearly as easy as you think unless you have by nature a more mesomorph body type. You are one of those people who look at weights and gain a pound of muscle doing so.

For most of us that is not true. If you are the person that is really lanky and lean, aka have an ectomorph body type, then gaining lean muscle is more difficult. The same goes for someone who is shorter and more prone to accumulate body fat. Changes in their nutrition can easily lead gaining weight…the wrong kind that is.

What is the best way to approach it?

Your pantry

  1. Throw away cookies, candy. You can keep whole brown rice, potatoes, & whole grain bread if you desire. Try to keep low processed carbs in your pantry.  :-)
  2. As with the fat flush I recommend consuming foods that are highly unprocessed. For that reason I like the paleo forum for my protein & veggie recipes.
  3. Veggies are an important source of vitamins, phytonutrients, etc, so they stay an important part of your nutrition.
  4. Prep your food (slice veggies, fruits). Cook your meals for the whole week (5 days at least)
  5. If you are still working out at home, this is the time you might want to get a gym membership. If you really want to gain muscle mass then the more diverse equipment at the gym (cables, dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls, etc) are more likely to be what you need then your two rubber bands and three dumbbells. Don’t get me wrong, you can get it done at home but the gym is the better place.

How to eat!

The food rules are different for someone who wants to gain muscle mass versus losing body fat. Here is the reason why. You need fuel and not too little of it. If you are constantly below your caloric needs you will never gain mass. Just like weight loss, habit changes introduced one at a time over the course of a couple of weeks have the biggest chance for success.

  1. Eat faster and until you are full with each meal unlike weight loss clients who should eat slowly and until they are about 80% full.
  2. Vegetable portions: 1 fist size for women, men: 2 fist sizes
  3. Have protein with each meal. Women: 1 Palm size, men: 2 palm sizes. Your choice of beans, fish, meat, poultry, greek yogurt, some cheese, etc.
  4. Have fats: Women: 1 thumb-tip size, men: 2 thumb-tip sizes
  5. Carbs is where the big difference is. You need energy to perform well in your training. Taking in 1-2 cupped handfuls of carbs/meal for women or 2-3 cupped handfuls for men will provide you with a higher carbohydrate intake that supports gaining muscle mass in conjunction of your high protein intake (~1-1.25g/lb of body weight)
  6. Supplements taken daily: Creatine (5g) during submaximal training and a carb+protein drink (30g of carbs/10gs of protein)  prior & during workout.
  7. Have a protein/carb rich meal after your workout.

How to go about exercise:

  1. You will have 4-5 quality workouts per week.
  2. Two rest days or cross training (~15-20 min of cardio)
  3. Your warm up is still dominated by the sequence: foam-rolling, stretching + dynamic warm up
  4. Cardio does not play a big roll during this training phase. Remember the goal is to gain weight, more specifically muscle mass. We want the signals to your body pretty clear, especially if you are ectomorph!

Weekly Training Routine

This routine is designed to preserve or build lean muscle mass, You will have 2-3 days off or have some light cardio during these days.

Monday Knee Dominant/Pushing Workout (60 min)

  1. Warm Up
    1. Foam Rolling: Glutes, back, quads, shoulder area, lats
    2. Stretch: hamstrings, calves, quads, hip flexor, chest,
    3. Active Warm Up: (sets of 10) squats, push ups, side lunge, band pull aparts, band walks
  2. Workout
    1. Group
      1. Single Leg Squat with Dumbbells on Bench (4-5×8)
      2. Alternating Dumbbell Chest Press (4-5×8)
      3. Wall Angels (facing the wall) (3×12)
    2. Group
      1. Front Box Squat Barbell (3-4×8-10)
      2. Half-kneeling single arm shoulder press with kettlebell, bottom up (3-4×12)
      3. External Rotation on cable (3×12)
    3. Group
      1. Triceps Overhead cable extension (4×12)
      2. Pec Flys Cable (4×12)
      3. Snow Angels on Foam roller (Chest Stretch

Tuesday Hip Dominant/Pulling (60-70 min) 

  1. Warm Up
    1. Foam Rolling: Glutes, back, quads, shoulder area, lats
    2. Stretch: hamstrings, calves, quads, hip flexor, chest,
    3. Active Warm Up: (10 each) single leg deadlift pattern w/ med ball, band pull aparts, Glute bridges, band walks, high knee runs, side shuffle
  2. Workout
    1. Glute Bridges (4-5×8) w/ 70-90s Rest Interval
    2. Pairing
      1. Pull Ups narrow grip (4-5×8 w/ assist or additional weight as needed)
      2. Side lunges w/ dumbbells (4-5x10ea side)
    3. Group
      1. Single arm Row (3-4×10)
      2. Cable Single arm Deadlift (3-4×10)
      3. Alternating Hammer Curls Dumbbell (3-4×12)
    4. Group
      1. Plank (3x45s)
      2. Concentration curls dumbbells (3×15)
  1.  Thursday Knee-dominant/Pressing (60-70 min)
    1. Warm Up
      1. Foam Rolling: Glutes, back, quads, shoulder area, lats
      2. Stretch: hamstrings, calves, quads, hip flexor, chest,
      3. Active Warm Up: (sets of 10) squats, push ups, side lunge, band pull aparts, band walks
    2.  Workout
      1. Group
        1. Reverse Lunge w/ knee lift (4-5x8ea)
        2. Barbell Bench Press w/ 4s eccentric movement (4-5×8)
        3. Dead Bug (3-4×45-60s)
      2. Group
        1. Leg press (3×12)
        2. Alt. Shoulder Press Dumbbell S (3×12)
        3. Single leg squat holding on to TRX (3x12ea)
      3. Group
        1. Single Arm Underhand Triceps Extension (5×15)
        2. Lateral Arm Raises (4×15)

Friday Hip Dominant/Pulling (60-70 min) 

  1. Warm Up
    1. Foam Rolling: Glutes, back, quads, shoulder area, lats
    2. Stretch: hamstrings, calves, quads, hip flexor, chest,
    3. Active Warm Up: (10 each) single leg deadlift pattern w/ med ball, band pull aparts, Glute bridges, band walks, high knee runs, side shuffle
  2. Workout
    1. Sumo Deadlift (4-5×6)
    2. Pairing
      1. half kneeling lat pull (4-5×8)
      2. Single leg bridge (5×8)
    3. Group
      1. Dumbbell Row, supinated (3-4×10)
      2. Band walk (3-4×4)
      3. 7/7/7 biceps Curls (3-4xsets)
    4. Group
      1. supine single leg tuck in on cable (3x15ea)
      2. Reverse Cable Flys (3-4×13)
  • Saturday steady state cardio
    1. optional core and arm workout
  • Sunday off

As always, you want to make sure that your form is good!

Let me know if you need any help!

Michael

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