5 Muscle Building Workouts To Increase Muscle Mass

guy doing barbell bench press

It goes without saying that the gym has an overly positive effect not only on your looks but your health as well. According to the certified trainer, David Atkinson and the assistant professor of the California State University – Todd A. Astorino, regular training helps you fight off diseases, and it stimulates proper functioning of your heart.

When you set out to increase your muscle mass, however, there are many things that you'd have to account for. Identifying the perfect muscle building workout, of course, remains a top priority.

shirtless guy with 8-pack abs posing

There is a huge range of different bodybuilding programs available and choosing the one tailored to your requirements and goals is critical. It's essential to understand the factors which contribute to gaining muscle mass which is clean and free of fat. Below are 5 of the best workout plans for men to build muscle.

The Best Workout Routines For Packing Muscle

  • The 5 x 5 Program
  • German Volume Training
  • ​The FST-7 Training Program
  • ​Upper Lower Split Training
  • Full Body Workouts

The 5 x 5 Program

The so-called five-by-five program is surely amongst the most popular workout plans for men to build muscle.

The idea behind the program is to complete three main exercises which target your leading muscle groups. You should get to five sets and include five repetitions in each set. At the end of the workout, you can also add additional exercises targeting isolated muscle groups. However, this is not required by the program.

Pros

The biggest advantage of the program is that it's high-frequency training. You will stimulate massive amount muscle fibers every single day. This is going to lead to a significant release of testosterone, which, on its part, promotes the proper and constant growth of your muscle mass.

man doing barbell Bench Press

Additionally, due to the intensity of the training, you are likely to find yourself a lot hungrier. And, as we all know, proper and frequent nutrition is paramount to building muscle mass.

Cons

It's inappropriate for beginners. That's just it – if you are new to the gym, you are likely to find yourself overtrained after the first week. It is best to have about 3-6 months of lifting experience behind your back to walk into this routine comfortably.

Sample Workout

Start off with 5 x 5 sets of barbell squats and follow them by five medium grips flat bench press, 5 bent over barbell rows, five pull-ups, and five side lateral raises. Of course, you can alternate exercises to shock your muscles even more.

German Volume Training

German volume training is similar to the muscle mentioned above building workout. The idea behind this routine is to place emphasis on two main groups of muscle each day, alternating them within a time span of three days per week.

Pros

If you follow proper nutrition protocols and you have some experience behind your back, this workout will help you gain effective muscle mass in short periods of time. A tip of advice – make sure that you are on a high-calorie diet.

ripped guy holding kettlebells

Cons

If you intend on combining the German volume training routine with addition isolated muscle group workouts, you might find yourself overtrained. What is more, this is not the best exercise for maximizing your strength.

Sample Workout

The idea here is to choose one main activity for your large muscle groups and hit it hard by doing ten sets of 10 reps. Once you have them done, you can do some isolation exercises, lowering down the sets to 2-3 but keeping the reps between 10-15. The weekly routine is broken down into the chest and back, shoulders and arms, legs and abs.

The FST-7 Training Program

One of the primary objectives of this particular muscle building workout plan is to achieve the maximum stretch of your fascia tissue. This is the connective tissue which surrounds your muscle. As you pull the tissue, you will primarily stimulate massive muscle growth.

The designation of the set-up is to hit the last exercise for your targeted muscle group hard. Do seven sets of 10 to 15 reps each on the final task. It's also important to keep your rest time down to the minimum – around 30 seconds between the sets.

Don’t worry about lowering the weight on the last exercise – the idea is to shock the muscle and to stretch the connective tissue as much as possible.

Pros

The workout plan allows tremendous flexibility when it comes to the overall structural design of your muscles. This is despite the obvious extensive stretch of your fascia tissue. The workout allows you to specialize and put emphasize on certain muscle groups by putting in more exercises.

man doing dumbbell pullover workout

Cons

The main disadvantage of the FST-7 training routine is the recovery time. If you fail to implement proper nutrition protocol, you might find it hard to keep up with the recovery. This can lead to troubles in your performance.

Sample Workout

The exercises in each day are employed by you. You will be working out five days a week and taking two days to recover. The first day you hit biceps, triceps, and calves. The second day you hit legs. Take the third day off. The fourth day you should do chest and triceps. Follow up with the fifth day of back and calves. Day six is designated for shoulders and biceps and day 7 is your rest day.

Upper And Lower Split Training

This is another intensive workout which intends to hit each muscle groups two times every week. The characteristic thing here is the split – targeting upper and lower body consecutively.

Pros

Unlike the routines mentioned above, this is one which allows beginners the perfect opportunity to step up if they are looking to build some serious muscle. This is mainly because it allows more resting periods than the previous routines.

girl doing leg press hack squat machine

Cons

The truth is that this is one of the rare cases of a muscle building workouts without any significant individual disadvantages. It’s just so versatile that you can interchange and substitute exercises based on your personal preference.

Sample Workout

The main intention is to hit your main exercises heavy with short four sets of 5 reps. Keep in mind that you can substitute and alternate the exercises as you see fit. An excellent workout schedule can look like this.

  • Day 1: Barbell squats, dumbbell lunges, leg extensions, lying leg curls, standing calf raises, hanging leg raise.
  • Day 2: Dumbbell bench press, bent over barbell row, standing military press, reverse flies, side lateral raise, bench dips
  • ​Day 3: Deadlift, dumbbell step-ups, leg press, seated calf raises and standing calf raises
  • Day 4: Barbell incline bench press with medium grip, wide-grip lat pulldown, seated cable rows, dumbbell bicep curl, incline dumbbell curl, push-ups

Full Body Workouts

Needless to say, full-body workouts are incredibly appropriate for gaining muscle mass. There is little to no room for adaptation on behalf of the muscle which is always what you want to achieve.

The 5 x 5 program that we mentioned above could be considered a full-body workout to some extent as you will be working out almost all of your main muscle groups every day. However, an actual full-body workout will include one heavy exercise for every main muscle group every day.

Pros

This is appropriate for beginners when they start their gym journey. Of course, they have to adjust the weight and reps accordingly to prevent injuries. This is amongst the best workout routines because it allows a lot of flexibility as you can use different exercises that you find appropriate.

guy doing barbell biceps curl workout

Cons

The main disadvantage of all full-body workouts is that you can't specialize in a particular muscle group. You have to perform different integral exercises for each main muscle group which doesn’t allow emphasizing.

Sample Workout

The idea is to hit all of the major muscle groups every day with one heavy exercise. At the same time, you should throw in a few isolation exercises to keep your overall volume under proper control.

Main exercises follow low-set, low-rep configuration with maximum weight while isolation exercises follow high-set, high-rep plan with lower weight. You can adjust the exercises as you see fit.

personal trainer spotting guy doing dumbbell chest press

Ultimately, all of the five muscle building workouts will help you gain a lot of mass. They are specifically designed for this purpose. All of them entail a lot of intensity which is going to shock the muscle and stimulate it to grow as it rests.

However, giving a straight advice without being familiar with your current condition and expected results is unserious. The best approach is to try out the one which seems most beneficial to you based on your lifting experience and personal preferences.

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