When it comes to picking a mass building workout plan, a lot of factors come into play. First and perhaps foremost, you have to look at its practicality. The idea is to maximize on the results and not waste your time with an inefficient program. Secondly, you want to evaluate its functionality. Do its splits help with full-body muscle growth? These are some of the major aspects that we have analyzed and incorporated in this 12 weeks mass building workout plan. We have also evaluated the training frequency and assure you it is realistic. Take a look and feel free to try it out!
The Workout Schedule
The following 12 weeks mass building workout uses an upper and lower body split. There are two versions of the upper and lower body workouts. The first version is supposed to be performed through the first two days of the week and the other phase after a day. Here is an outlook of what this means:
- Monday: Day 1, Upper Body Version 1
- Tuesday: Day 2, Lower Body Version 1
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: Day 3, Upper Body Version 2
- Friday: Day 4, Lower Body Version 2
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: Rest
Similarly, the plan utilizes both machines and weights. So, it would be best if you performed such a routine in the gym or got the necessary equipment. If the routine feels easy down the line, try increasing the intensity by adding reps or sets (4).
You can also consult with your trainer to determine if you can perform the variations of various exercises for increased intensity. With that out of the way, let us take a look at the workouts:
Upper Body Mass Building Workout: Version 1
- Overhead press (Reps 8-10, sets 3, 1-2 minutes rest between sets)
- Lat pull-downs (Reps 8-10, sets 3, 1-2 minutes rest between sets)
- Incline dumbbell press (Reps 8-10, sets 3, 1-2 minutes rest between sets)
- Lying tricep extensions (Reps 10-12, sets 3, 1-2 minutes rest between sets)
- Reverse curls with bar (Reps 12-15, set 3, 1 minute rest between sets)
- Incline dumbbell overhead extensions (Reps 8-10, sets 3-4, 1-2 minutes rest between sets)
- Chest supported row (Reps 8-10, sets 3-4, 1-2 minutes rest between sets)
Lower Body Mass Building Workout: Version 1
- Romanian deadlift (Reps 8-10, sets 2, 2 minutes rest between sets)
- Weighted step-ups (Reps 10-12, sets 2, 1-2 minutes rest between sets)
- Seated leg curls (Reps 8-10, sets 3, 1 minute rest between sets)
- Good morning (Reps 10-12, sets 2, 1 minute rest between sets)
- Barbell jammer press (Reps 8-10, sets 2, 2-3 minutes rest between sets)
- Isometric calf raise with dumbbells (Reps 8-10, sets 2, 1 minute rest between sets)
- Curtsy lunges (Reps 10-12, sets 3, 1 minute rest between sets)
Upper Body Mass Building Workout: Version 2
- Triceps pushdowns (Reps 12-15, sets 2, 1minute rest between sets)
- Lateral raises (Reps 10-12, sets 3, 1 minute rest between sets)
- Seated cable row (Reps 8-10, sets 3, 1-2 minutes rest between sets)
- Dumbbell flyes (Reps 12-15, sets 2, 1 minutes rest between sets)
- Barbell shoulder press (Reps 8-10, sets 2, 1-2 minutes rest between sets)
- Bent over triceps kickbacks (Reps 10-12, sets 3, 1-2 minutes rest between sets)
- Lying skull crushers (Reps 8-10, sets 3, 1-2 minutes rest between sets)
Lower Body Mass Building Workout: Version 2
- Dumbbell walking lunges (Reps 12-15, sets 3, 1-2 minutes rest between sets)
- Bulgarian split squat (Reps 8-10, sets 2, 2 minutes rest between sets)
- Dumbbell shoulder squat (Reps 8-10, sets 2, 1 minute rest between sets)
- Standing calf raises (Reps 12-15, sets 3, 1-2 minutes rest between sets)
- Banded lateral walk (Reps 10-12 per side, sets 3, 2 minutes rest between sets)
- Sumo deadlift (Reps 8-10, sets 2, 1-2 minutes rest between sets)
- Stability ball hip thrust (Reps 8-10, sets 3-4, 1 minute rest between sets)
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Points To Remember
Below are some important points you need to remember throughout this 12 weeks bodybuilding program:
The Priority Is Progress And Not Perfection
The idea of nailing everything by day two or three is flawed, which is why we are not for it at all. We understand that we are all built differently and therefore react differently to routines. Some will need more time to train with a plan while others are good to go in a week’s time.
We are not pressuring you to nail the plan within a week. Instead, we are asking you to take baby steps that allow you to train with the intent. Focus on the proper form of every exercise to help you achieve maximum results (4).
This Workout Plan Is Flexible
Do not get hurt trying to crush this workout. No, that is not the intention of this plan. We have made this workout plan as flexible as we can to help you adjust it to match your needs. It means that you can, therefore, make slight changes that will help gain the most from this routine without getting hurt.
For example, if the reps become overwhelming, you can always reduce them. Similarly, you work with a lower number of sets instead of what we have given to prevent you from getting smoked. Nevertheless, we remind you to make these changes with the help of your trainer.
Pain Does Not Symbolize Gain
Although there is a saying that no pain equals no gain, we believe that optimal results should not come at a cost of pain. Instead, we believe that you can train your muscles, even with weights and not experience pain. However, expect muscle soreness if you train using a new routine. It is common and easy to treat at home using heat methods like taking a hot shower.
Patience Is Key
Perhaps the most important thing you need when following this muscle gain workout plan is patience. Seeing the bigger picture is good as it is motivating. However, for a select number, the bigger picture may force them to take drastic measures in a bid to build muscle fast.
Lifting heavier weights will not help you build muscle overnight. As we earlier determined, muscle growth rate depends on factors such as age, gender, and fitness level. Be patient with your body as you put in the work. In the end, you will reap what you have been sowing.
How Long Will It Take To Build Muscle?
Gaining muscle is a slow process. It may take a month or longer to notice muscle growth. Again, the duration it will take you to notice such changes depend on several factors. These include your age, gender, physique, consistency, and fitness level. Let us look at how each of these factors affect muscle growth.
Age directly influences muscle mass and strength. So, as you turn older each year, your muscle strength and mass decreases. Men report the highest decrease as the process occurs at a faster rate than in women (4). This means that seniors may take a longer time to report muscle growth when compared to younger people.
Unfortunately, gender differences also play a crucial role in muscle growth. Although the 12 weeks mass building workout will benefit both genders, men will report the gains earlier than the women (3).
Men are believed to build muscle faster due to high testosterone levels. Testosterone is responsible for muscle growth by stimulating protein synthesis, a process that leads to muscle hypertrophy (6). Hypertrophy refers to the increase or growth of muscle cells.
Beginners may see muscle growth after several weeks or months of doing a practical muscle building program. However, advanced lifters may take a bit longer because they have to do the most in switching up their resistance training programs.
Building muscle also depends on your consistency. If you continually challenge your muscles, you will report muscle growth faster. Remember that the best way to challenge muscle is by increasing resistance or weight (5).
Different body shapes affect muscle building differently. Take a look at some common body shapes and how they may affect the muscle building process:
- Mesomorphic body type. This body type tends to be muscular. Individuals with this physique have an added advantage over others when it comes to building muscle mass (5).
- Endomorphic physique. This physique tends to be curvy. Individuals with such a body type cannot build muscle faster than those with the mesomorphic shape. However, they can build muscle mass through strength training (5).
- Ectomorphic body shape. Individuals with such a physique tend to be slim or have a straight frame. Unfortunately, such people take the longest than those with the other body types to build muscle. Nevertheless, they have a great chance of increasing muscle strength by doing resistance training activities (5).
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Easy Bodybuilding Meal Plan To Follow
The following workout plan is half the equation because for you to get buff, you also have to eat right. According to Medical News Today, you need to consume a high calorie and protein rich diet as it helps with muscle mass growth (2). Some of the foods you can incorporate in such a diet include (1):
- Fruits and vegetables. These are a staple of healthy diets and this diet is no exemption.
- Lean Meat. This is an excellent protein source and also rich in iron that helps in oxygen transportation to the muscles. WebMD also states that lean meat also contains amino acids like leucine that trigger muscle growth (1).
- Beans and Whole Grains. These foods have enough protein content to help with energy production and muscle repair. Similarly, these foods are excellent sources of fiber, antioxidants, quality carbs, and vitamins.
- Eggs. Eggs are excellent post-workout snacks. They have all the essential amino acids, and contain other nutrients including lutein that helps with eye health (1).
- Nuts. These are other excellent post-workout snacks that have good protein content. They are also packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and healthy fats.
- Low-fat Dairy Products. These are also good as they contain high-quality carbohydrates, protein, and essential vitamins like vitamin D. Sports experts recommend chocolate milk as a post workout drink (1).
When it comes to the recipes, they may vary depending on one’s preferences. Even so, nutritionists recommend that you seek help with portion control. Remember that food portions have a direct impact on your calorie limit. Here are some recommended healthy bodybuilding recipes from Medical News Today (2):
- Greek yogurt with some walnuts or almonds, fresh berries, and whole grain granola
- Scrambled egg whites with herbs, peppers, cheese, and Ezekiel bread
- Scrambled egg whites and oatmeal with fresh berries
- Grilled fish with a spinach and broccoli salad
- Grilled chicken breast over spinach with almonds and sliced strawberries
- Chicken (grilled) with black beans, bell peppers, and onions over romaine lettuce
- Grilled fish with green beans and quinoa
- Brown rice with shrimp stir-fried with onions, broccoli, and peppers
- Sirloin steak with asparagus and sweet potato
- Carrot sticks and hard-boiled eggs
- Protein shake
- Almonds and an apple
Tips On How To Start Lifting For Mass
Below are some expert-approved strategies, which if implemented can help you build muscle mass faster and safely:
Using Heavier Weights
Now, when we use the term heavier we do not mean overwhelming. Instead, we are merely directing to the fact that the weights must be heavy enough to give your muscle a thorough workout. In a nutshell, look for loads that will challenge you and not make you strain.
Gradually Increasing Reps
The other effective tip when aiming to build muscle is increasing the routine’s repetitions gradually. Opt for reps that will tire your muscles and then gradually increase over time and as you grow stronger (1).
Gradually Increasing Weights
Make sure you also gradually increase the loads, and over time. Start with comfortable loads, and when you feel they are too easy to use, increase the weight.
The Bottom Line
It is useful that you use a practical muscle building workout plan if your goal is increasing muscle mass and strength. The workout plan must contain a useful split, such as a lower and upper body split.
This 12 weeks mass building program is the best strength training program of all muscle building workout plans as it meets these criteria and more. More than this, it fits the bill as it has useful workouts that all target different muscle groups. Note that the plan is merely an outline detailing the exercises to perform.
You can structure the exercises in any manner you feel so long as they are properly executed. Nonetheless, the workouts have to complement each other. Similarly, you can change the number of reps and sets you perform depending on the intensity you want.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 7 Muscle Foods for Men (2011, webmd.com)
- Bodybuilding meal plan: What to eat and why (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Comparison of upper body strength gains between men and women after 10 weeks of resistance training (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How long does it take to build muscle? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- How to build muscle with exercise (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Testosterone physiology in resistance exercise and training: the up-stream regulatory elements (2010, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)