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Weight gain in bodybuilding

Weight gain in bodybuilding


A bit like the cycle of the seasons, once these few months have passed and you've been able to proudly show off the results of your hard work, you'll be back on a mass gain cycle.

Like any objective, this cycle needs to be thought through and prepared in advance, so as not to forget anything, just like a strategy that needs to be put in place to achieve that objective.

In this article, I'll try to help you put this strategy in place.

what do we mean by mass gain?

For many people, mass gain boils down to weight gain, but what do we want - kilos of fat or kilos of muscle?

For me, good mass gain means gaining muscle with a limited amount of
fat, so as not to have to undergo an excessively strict diet later on, which will erode the hard-earned muscle.

For quality mass gain, it's imperative to have the right diet. You need to absorb enough nutrients to have the building blocks in sufficient quantity (proteins), the energy-providing elements as well (carbohydrates) and good fats (lipids) to provide the body with the ability to produce the hormones responsible for muscle growth (testosterone, growth hormone, insulin). Without this focus on nutrition, all your efforts in the gym will be in vain.


There's no set rule for the distribution of nutrients, but they could be broken down as follows: 30% protein, 55% carbohydrates and 15% lipids.

Of course, as each individual is different, it will be necessary to adapt to each case.

It's important to know that there's no point in overloading yourself with protein, as your body won't be able to assimilate it all, and you'll be throwing your money down the drain: 2.5g / kg bodyweight is more than enough.

For an 80kg athlete, this comes to 200g of protein/day.

The quality of your carbohydrates will also be important. Choose complex sugars such as brown rice, wholemeal pasta, potatoes, wholemeal bread and oat flakes. Simple sugars will be present at key times, such as breakfast to quickly replenish glycogen stores, and the post-training meal.

For lipids, opt for sources such as walnut and olive oils, and oilseeds (nuts), which contain more omega 3, 6 and 9.

Incorporate food supplements into your diet to facilitate nutrient intake and optimize your training.

training for mass gain

Gaining mass means stimulating as many muscles as possible in as little time as possible, to give the body time to recover and grow.

the use of basic, poly-articular movements is the order of the day, and there's no point in seeking isolation during this period unless there's a weak spot to be filled.

Half-body training is best suited to weight gain, as it allows you to divide your body in two and focus training on one part or the other. On the basis of four sessions a week, this will enable you to work the whole body twice.

Two basic exercises for the larger muscle groups, with the exception of the thighs, and just one for the smaller groups. Change exercises between session 1 and session 2 for the same part of the body, to work the muscle from different angles. The loads used should enable you to work as strictly as possible and with full amplitude.

Bodybuilder en prise de masse

Example of a weight gain program

Session 1: Pectorals / Dorsals / Shoulders / Biceps-Triceps

  • Bench press: 5x8-10 reps
  • Incline press: 5x8-10 reps
  • Pull-ups: 5x10 reps (add weight as you go)
  • Rowing bar: 5x 8-10 reps
  • Military bench press: 5x 8-10 reps
  • Lateral raises: 5x 10-12 reps
  • Curl barre / Extension barre EZ: 4x 10-12 reps (superset to optimize congestion)

Session 2: Quadriceps/Ischios/Calves

  • Squat: 6x 15-8 reps
  • Incline press: 5x 12 reps
  • Deadlift (legs extended): 5x 12 reps
  • Standing heel raises: 6x max reps (heels down well at each reps)
  • Abs: Crunch 5x to burn

Session 3: Same groups as session 1

  • Inclined bench press: 5x 8-10 reps
  • Decline press: 5x 8-10 reps
  • High pulley chest press: 5x 12-8 reps
  • Low pulley pull: 5x 12-8 reps
  • Dumbbell press: 5x 8-10 reps
  • Chin Rowing: 5x 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Curl / Dips: 4x 10-12 reps (superset and weight yourself for dips)
  • Abs: Crunch 5x until burn

Session 4: Same as session 2

  • Incline press: 6x 15-10 reps
  • Hack squat: 5x 12 reps
  • Lying leg curl: 5x 12-10 reps
  • Standing heel raises: 6x max reps

What's important in this program is once again to respect the exact technique of the movements, and to handle loads that don't allow you to go beyond the indicated reps. If you can do more, then increase the load.
Remember that the eccentric phase (the phase of the movement where the load is controlled) is just as important as the concentric phase, if not more so. Rest time between sets should not exceed 1min 30.

The sets indicated are the actual work sets, so remember to do two or three warm-up sets beforehand.

To keep your cardiovascular system in shape and maintain a reasonable body fat level, incorporate three 45-minute cardio sessions per week. This will help improve muscle quality and recovery.

And finally, to optimize your efforts in the gym, get plenty of rest. Sleep is an important element
in muscle building, because it's during sleep that the hormones responsible for growth come into action, repairing the muscle fibres broken during the sessions. Rest is also necessary between sessions, so don't hesitate to incorporate one or two rest days into your schedule.

Now it's up to you, and don't forget that this program is just one example among many, and that you can adapt exercises with barbells and dumbbells - the key is to use movements that will stimulate as many muscles as possible at the same time.

Author Alexandre CARPENTIER

Bodybuilding Champion N.A.C 2012

Alexandre shares his experience of bodybuilding with MegaGear blog readers

Posted in: Bodywork