Get Huge Fast! The 2 Year Plan For Extreme Mass

Here it is! The ultimate guide to packing on muscle mass. 6 stages, two years of training. Learn how to eat, what supplements to take, and how to train. Every set is detailed.

Sit down, and listen up. I’m going to train you.

You will get big, and you will get strong. But you have to do exactly as I say. Ready? Of course you’re ready! Well then, what are we waiting for…let’s get lifting.

What I’m about to present to you is my 2 year plan for massiveness. It is a step by step, 24 month map to maximizing your muscle mass. I am not playing games here, and this is not hype. This system will work if you follow it.

What does it mean to “follow” this 24 month plan? Ah! Glad you asked. It means:

  1. Never missing a workout. No excuses. To pack on muscle mass you need to be persistent. Taking weeks off won’t cut it.
  2. Never missing a meal. Starting to see the big picture yet? Eat to grow, eat to grow. All the hard training in the world won’t matter if you don’t eat properly.
  3. Trusting in the process. This program works. End of story. Believe and achieve.

Listen, there are a ton of theories and studies on the Interwebz. This plan involves common sense, straight forward hard work. If you jump off my plan every 2 weeks to follow the latest workout program of Mr. Olympia, or to follow the advice of the latest study, you will fail.

Eat, train and believe!

Dumbbell Curls

Before You Begin

Master Exercise Form

To become a master of muscle building, you also have to become a student of lifting. Learning proper form is essential. Watch the videos and read the descriptions for exercises listed in the following programs. Practice good form. Ask questions about good form in the forum.

Good form is essential. Training injury-free allows you to grow more quickly. No more bouncing the bar off your chest during bench press. No more cheat curls.

Ab and Bicep Obsession

I understand you want a six pack. I also understand you want big Arnold biceps. So when you peruse my workouts, you will most likely be asking the following questions:

  1. Where is all the ab work? I treat abs just like I treat every other minor body part, meaning that I DO NOT overtrain abs. You do not need to perform 16 sets of abs 5 times per week. This is not the route to a six pack. A six pack comes from diet, AND a six pack comes after you have first added enough muscle to your physique to frame that six pack and make it look good.
  2. Where is all the bicep work? Nothing builds bigger arms then heavy, compound lifts. You need to perform big, beefy exercises to build monster arms. Performing 20 sets of curls twice a week isn’t going to help you much. This program focuses on building your arms the fastest way possible, and that’s with heavy, heavy weight using heavy compound lifts.
The Importance Of Squats and Deadlifts

Squats and deadlifts rule the land of muscle building. Check out the Barbell Squats

The Cornerstones Of This Program

The cornerstones of this program are:

  1. Simplicity. Complex, elaborate training systems might be sexy; slick training protocols like myo-reps, slow negatives and TUT might be sexy…but we aren’t looking to get married here. We’re looking to build muscle. This program uses simple, basic, good ‘ol fashion hard work.
  2. Progression. Want to get bigger? Try to perform more reps on every set. Want to get stronger? Try to perform more reps on every set. Want to be weak and small? Waste sets by giving half-hearted efforts. Nothing confuses the body greater than repeated attempts at more reps and heavier weight.
  3. Heavy Compound Lifts. Isolation exercises have their place in lifting. But they should always come AFTER an ample amount of heavy, compound lifts. Heavy, compound lifts tax multiple muscle groups and force the body to respond and grow.
  4. Training Shy of Failure. Do not train to failure. Perform reps until you believe that you might fail on the next rep, then stop the set. Training to failure is unnecessary, and takes away vital energy and strength that you will need for future sets.
  5. Food. Building muscle requires a surplus of materials. You can’t build an addition to a home or business using existing resources. You must bring in new materials. To grow, you need to eat more than it takes to maintain your body weight. Understand that it is virtually impossible to add muscle without adding some fat. And it is even more difficult to build muscle and lose fat. Put these ideas out of your head. We’re here to get big.
What Kind of Gains Can You Expect?

Beginners who lift hard and eat correctly can make amazing progress – and when I say amazing, I mean amazing.

In my first two years of lifting I gained over 20 pounds of muscle, my bench press improved by nearly 200 pounds, and I was squatting close to 400 pounds. Not bad for a small-boned, weak an unathletic teenager.

On this program you can expect:

  • Muscle Mass. Expect to gain 15 to 25 pounds of muscle during these two years. Picture what 25 pounds of hamburger looks like, and then add that to your body. That’s a lot of growth!
  • Strength. If you want a beefy bench press, you’ve come to the right training program.  You can expect to add 100 to 150 pounds to your bench press max during the next 2 years. And expect to add at least 150 pounds to both your deadlift and squat total.

Picture yourself in 24 month’s time…thick as a brick, benching close to 300, and squatting mammoth poundages. Every brah within 30 feet of you will start asking:

  • Dude, what supplements are you taking?
  • Broseph, you take steroids?

Bench Press

The Plan

  • Phase 1“Crawl”. Stage duration, 2 weeks. During the crawl stage, you will hit the gym 3 times per week, practicing exercise form with light weight.
  • Phase 2“Stand”. Stage duration, 2 weeks. During the stand stage, you will hit the gym 3 times per week, slowly adding weight to exercises while practicing form.
  • Phase 3“Walk”. Stage duration, 1 month. During the walk stage, you will start to slowly push yourself. You will be working out three times per week, systematically adding weight to each of your lifts.
  • Phase 4“Charge”. Stage duration, 2 months. It’s time to “get it on”. During the charge stage you will start to push yourself on every set of every workout.
  • Phase 5“Crush”. Stage duration, 4 months. Now that you have built up some strength and confidence, and no longer feel “shaky” under the bar, it’s time to get hard and heavy. Training during the crush stage will involve fewer exercises, and more sets of basic, heavy compound lifts.
  • Stage 6“Destroy”. Stage duration, 16 months. This is the stage where the rubber meets the road. You will be grinding out reps and sets for 16 months, pushing as hard as possible, and getting bigger and stronger each month.

Don't cut corners, believing that if you rush into the next stage you will achieve faster results. This won't happen. Muscle building requires dedication to the process. Each stage is vital to your overall success. In the end, all that will matter is the effort you are making on each and every set, and the use of a smart diet.

Here are some ways to fail in the next 2 years:

  1. Exercise Swapping. These programs contain basic, core movements that are effective for Building muscle mass and strength. You can't expect to swap out deadlifts, squats, or any other vital exercise and make the same fast progress.
  2. Adding Volume. Don't add additional sets to these workouts. Adding in another arm day isn't going to speed up the arm building process. Adding in another chest day isn't going to speed up chest building. Muscle building isn't simply..."do more, get more." Muscle building requires recovery, sleep, food AND weight training.
  3. Adding Intensity. You do not need to add in rest pause work, giant sets, drop sets, or prolonged rep tempo to this system. The amount of weight you will be using during the next 24 months will be all you need to gain fast muscle mass.

Bench Press

Crawl - Stage 1

  • Stage Length - 2 weeks.
  • Workouts - 3 times per week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Goals - Practice exercise form with moderately light weight, and develop a weekly workout and eating routine.

This is the most vital stage of the program. If you miss a workout during this 2 week period, it's a sure fire sign that you will fail during the coming 2 years. So get to the gym! It's time to commit. It's time to sell out to the process. You want this, so do it. Make it a priority. You deserve success. If someone asks you to do something and it takes you away from a workout, answer no.

How Much Weight Should You Use?

You want to pick a weight that allows you to perform all sets without coming close to failing on a rep. Start light. Remember, you are in the gym during these 2 weeks to practice good form. You should not feel taxed after a set. Rest 60 seconds between each set, and keep moving.

Stage 1
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 2 10
Bench Press 2 10
Romanian Deadlift 2 10
Seated Barbell Press Behind The Neck (with back support) 2 10
Bent Over Row 2 10
Leg Press 2 10
Leg Curl 2 10
Barbell Curl 2 10
Seated Calf Raise 2 10
Sit Ups 2 10

Stand - Stage 2

  • Stage Length - 2 weeks.
  • Workouts - 3 times per week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Goals - Continue to practice exercise form. Add a small amount weight to the bar each week. You should not be challenging yourself with weight yet, and no set should be overly taxing nor close to failure.

The stand stage is a "prep" phase. By slowly adding weight, you will begin to learn about your body's limitations for each exercise. On some exercises, adding 5 pounds will feel like you've added 50. And on some exercises, adding 10 pounds may feel like you've added a feather.

When you do add weight and it still feels incredibly light, make sure to add a bit more then next time you perform the exercise. If it feels too heavy, back off the weight just slightly. During this stage you want to eventually get the the point where you have found a weight that is challenging without being taxing. This is a hard "zone" to define. Basically, you should mentally feel like...wow, if I add just a bit more weight, this is going to get difficult.

Stage 2
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 2 10
Bench Press 2 10
Romanian Deadlift 2 10
Seated Barbell Press Behind The Neck (with back support) 2 10
Bent Over Row 2 10
Leg Press 2 10
Leg Curl 2 10
Barbell Curl 2 10
Seated Calf Raise 2 10
Sit Ups 2 10

Pull Ups

Walk - Stage 3

  • Stage Length - 1 month.
  • Workouts - 3 times per week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Goals - Systematically add weight, starting to challenge yourself.

It's time to get more aggressive about adding weight. Workouts are now split up, and new variations of exercises are added. Each week you will add 10 pounds to heavier lifts, and 5 pounds to smaller lifts. For some lifts you may approach training to failure, which simply means that you can't complete another rep. If you reach this point with an exercise, do not continue to add any more weight. Continue to use this amount of weight throughout the remainder of the walk stage.

Continue to focus on, and practice quality exercise form. As the weight gets heavier, you may notice that the weight shakes or feels unstable, and it's harder to keep good form. This shakiness will improve in the coming weeks as you gain strength, and is the primary reason why you are not ready to train full steam yet.

You will be performing Workout A and Workout B as follows:

  • Week 1 - A, B, A
  • Week 2 - B, A, B
  • Week 3 - A, B, A
  • Week 4 - B, A, B
Stage 3
Workout A
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat +10 3 10
Bench Press +10 3 10
Romanian Deadlift +10 2 10
Bent Over Row +10 3 10
Barbell Curl +5 2 10
Sit Ups 2 10
Stage 3
Workout B
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Press +10 3 10
Seated Barbell Press Behind The Neck +5 3 10
Leg Curl +5 2 10
Deadlift +10 3 10
Close Grip Bench Press +5 2 10
Seated Calf Raise 2 10

Dumbbell Bench Press

Charge - Stage 4

  • Stage Length - 2 months.
  • Workouts - 3 times per week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Goals - Time to push yourself and learn your limits! You will be training hard, and training heavy

Play time is over. It's time to push yourself. You will be working as hard as possible on every set of every workout. Try for as many reps as possible without training to failure. Stop a set when you feel like you may fail on the next rep. If you hit 10 reps for a set, do not perform any more reps. When you can perform 10 reps for all the listed sets with a given weight, add more weight!

Exceptions - Do not train near failure for squats and deadlifts. Leave a couple extra reps "in the tank."

Some new exercises have been added for the charge phase. Always keep good form when pushing for more reps. No exceptions.

Stage 4
Monday
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 3 6-10
Bench Press 3 6-10
Barbell Rows 3 6-10
Leg Curls 3 8-15
Sit Ups 3 10-25
Stage 4
Wednesday
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift 3 5
Seated Barbell Press Behind The Neck 3 6-10
Barbell Curls 3 6-12
Seated Calf Raises 3 8-20
Side Bends 2 8-15
Stage 4
Friday
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Press 3 8-20
Close Grip Bench Press 3 6-10
Pull Up or Lat Pull Downs 3 6-10
Romanian Deadlifts 3 6-10
Sit Ups 3 10-25

Crush - Stage 5

  • Stage Length - 4 months.
  • Workouts - 3 times per week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Goals - You are learning about your body, and its strengths and weaknesses. During the crush stage you will live for progression - adding more reps and weight, using good form.

This will be a great period for muscle and strength gains. Workouts will be hard, focusing on a greater volume of heavy compound lifts. Continue to try for as many reps as possible without training to failure. Stop a set when you feel like you may fail on the next set. If you hit the top recommended rep range for a set, do not perform any more reps. When you can perform the top recommended rep range for all the listed sets with a given weight, add more weight!

Exceptions - Do not train near failure for squats and deadlifts. Leave a couple extra reps "in the tank."

If you have questions about form at this point in the program, make sure you ask for help in the forum

Please notice the addition of a 20 rep set of squats on Friday. During this set, it is recommended that you take several deep breaths in between each rep. This single set will be brutal - and brutally effective!

5x5 Exercises - 5x5 exercises are performed as follows:

  • Set 1 - 60% of working weight for 5 reps.
  • Set 2 - 80% of working weight for 5 reps.
  • Sets 3-5 - 100% of working weight for 5 reps.

No NOT worry if you can't complete 5 reps for all sets. Keep pushing until you can, and then add weight!

Stage 5
Monday
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 5 5
Bench Press 5 5
Barbell Rows 5 5
Leg Curls 3 8-15
Sit Ups 3 10-25
Stage 5
Wednesday
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift 5 5
Seated Barbell Press Behind The Neck 5 5
Barbell Curls 3 6-12
Seated Calf Raises 3 8-20
Side Bends 2 8-15
Stage 5
Friday
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 1 20
Close Grip Bench Press 5 5
Pull Up or Lat Pull Downs 3 6-10
Romanian Deadlifts 5 5
Sit Ups 3 10-25

Destroy - Stage 6

  • Stage Length - 16 months.
  • Workouts - 4 times per week. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
  • Goals - By the end of this stage, you should have gained upwards of 25 pounds of muscle in 2 years, as well as being strong as an ox.

Time for a change. You are lifting heavier weights, and taxing your CNS. You will be moving to a 4 day split routine. This split will focus on a variety of rep ranges, helping you to maximize hypertrophy (muscle growth). Continue to push yourself on every set, adding more reps and weight when you can. Also continue to refrain from training to failure.

For the next 16 months, you will be using the following sets and rep ranges, and progression patterns:

  • 2 sets x 4-6 reps. Use the same weight for both sets. When you can perform 6 reps for BOTH sets, add weight.
  • 2 sets x 6-12 reps. Use the same weight for both sets. When you can perform 12 reps during your first set, add weight the next time in the gym. If you complete 12 reps on your first set, do NOT add weight for the second set.
  • 2 sets x 12-15 reps. Use the same weight for both sets. When you can perform 15 reps during your first set, add weight the next time in the gym. If you complete 15 reps on your first set, do NOT add weight for the second set.

You will be using the following training split:

Stage 6
Monday
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 2 4-6
Bench Press 2 6-12
Incline Barbell or Incline Dumbbell Press 2 6-12
Dumbbell Bench Press 2 6-12
Dumbbell Flyes 2 12-15
Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Standing Barbell Curl 2 6-12
Seated Dumbbell Curl 2 6-12
Concentration Curl 2 12-15
Abs
Exercise Sets Reps
Weighted Sit Up 3 10-25
Stage 6
Tuesday
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 2 4-6
Squat 2 6-12
Leg Press 2 6-12
Leg Extension 2 12-15
Hamstrings
Exercise Sets Reps
Romanian Deadlift 2 4-6
Romanian Deadlift 2 6-12
Leg Curl 2 12-15
Calves
Exercise Sets Reps
Standing or Seated Calf Raise 2 10-20
Stage 6
Thursday
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Behind The Neck Press 2 4-6
Seated Dumbbell Press 2 6-12
Upright Row 2 6-12
Side Lateral Raise 2 12-15
Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Close Grip Bench Press 2 4-6
Skullcrushers or Seated French Press 2 6-12
Tricep Extension 2 12-15
Abs
Exercise Sets Reps
Hanging Leg Raises 3 10-25
Stage 6
Saturday
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift 2 4-6
Barbell Rows 2 6-12
Pull Up or Lat Pull Down 2 6-12
Dumbbell Row or Seated Cable Row 2 6-12
Straight Arm Lat Pull Down 2 12-15
Traps
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell or Barbell Shrugs 3 6-12
Rear Delts
Exercise Sets Reps
Bent Over Reverse Flyes 3 12-15

Eating Plans

It's time to eat. I will remind you that this "get huge" plan is not for the ab obsessed. I have provided several different eating options, some more aggressive then others. You will put on some fat during these 2 years, but keep in mind that the fewer calories you eat, the harder muscle building becomes. In most cases, even with the most aggressive eating plan, you should be gaining more muscle then fat.

If you make great muscle gains during your first year of training (and you should!), I recommend sticking with a more moderate diet during year two. The more muscle you gain in your first year of training, the less muscle you will gain in year two. So there is no sense overeating in year two of this plan.

If muscle/weights gains are coming too slow for you, there is only one thing to do - eat more! If you find that you are packing on pounds too rapidly, there is only one thing to do - eat less!

On the average, a trainee can gain around 16 pounds of muscle during his first year of training and 8 pounds during his second. Make it a goal to gain 2 pounds each month during year one, and one pound each month during year two. This would be a total gain of 24 pounds of muscle and only 12 pounds of fat. And that is an incredible amount of muscle mass! The extra few pounds of fat can be lost rapidly during a cut, but the muscle mass lasts a lifetime.

Find Your Maintenance Level

Muscle building requires that you learn about your own body. You must find out what your daily caloric maintenance level is to be successful with this plan. Simply stated, you need to find out how many calories you can eat per day without gaining or losing weight. How do you do this? Here is my suggestion...eat exactly 3500 calories per day for 2 weeks. No more, no less.

If you gain weight during this period, cut back by 300 calories per day and watch the scale again. If you lose weight during this period, add 300 daily calories. Continue "zeroing in" until the scale holds steady. This is your daily caloric maintenance level.

Now that you know your "maintenance level", it's time to pick a bodybuilding diet. Here are your choices:

  1. The Moderate Bodybuilding Diet. On the average, eat 300 calories above your daily maintenance level.
  2. The Aggressive Bodybuilding Diet. On the average, eat 500 calories above your daily maintenance level.
  3. The Zig Zag Bodybuilding Diet. On non-training days, eat your daily maintenance level. On training days, eat 500-600 calories above your daily maintenance level.

Which plan is best for you? This is a very complicated question. I will make some general suggestions, but you must understand that these suggestions are not be-all, end-all answers. You must still be wiling to monitor the scale and make appropriate adjustments.

  • If you easily gain fat, start with the moderate diet.
  • If you have a hard time gaining weight, start with the aggressive diet.
  • If you feel you're about average, it's ok to try any diet plan.
How Much Protein Should You Eat?

Good question! In general, I recommend eating at least 30 to 40 grams of protein every 2.5 to 3 hours. There are a wide variety of dieting approaches in the bodybuilding realm. My simple recommendation is to eat your daily protein, make sure you eat enough healthy fats, and consume the rest of your calories in carbs. You can count grams if you want, but it is not necessary for this program. It IS necessary to eat enough, and that should be your primary focus.

Get Huge Fast Supplement Plan

The "Get Huge Fast" supplement plan is a template. Times are provided for example purposes only. Adjust it as needed:

  • 6 am - Upon Waking - 5 grams of BCAAs and 5 grams of glutamine.
  • 6:30 am - 1 gram fish oil, multivitamin.
  • Noon - 1 gram fish oil.
  • 2:30 pm - 40 grams of waxy maize (with whey protein drink).
  • 3:00 pm - 30 minutes Pre-workout - 5 grams of BCAAs, 5 grams of creatine, nitric oxide supplement.
  • 3:30 pm - Workout.
  • 4:30 pm - Post-Workout - 5 grams of BCAAs, 5 grams of glutamine, 5 grams of creatine, 40 grams of waxy maize.
  • 5:30 pm - 1 gram fish oil.
  • 8:30 pm - Before Bed - 5 grams of glutamine, ZMA.

Optional - Beta- Alanine. Promising research is revealing a synergistic relationship between creatine and beta-alanine. Beta-alanine must be taken every 4 hours at approximately 750 to 800 mgs. It also also a good idea to supplement with taurine when using beta-alanine. For more information on the beta-alanine/creatine stack, please read: Stacking Creatine and Beta-Alanine For Better Results.

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475 Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 01/08/2011 - 19:57
shaun

hi steve

Im 15 years old and just new to lifting i can bench about 35kg max for a few sets, i weigh about 130lbs will this workout help me gain muscle, im kinda skinny :P

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 01/11/2011 - 11:18
Steven

Absolutely.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 01/07/2011 - 17:37
Matt P

Steve
You have shown me the plan I've been searching for. Thank you for that. After reading some of the comments and your responses I feel comfortable and confident in starting at Stage 4 with my experience. I do have one question. During the final stage or at any point between stage 4 and 6 should I change a lift or stick to the lifts perscribe? My only concern is plateuing; or is that not an issue as long as I keep my intensity up?

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 01/11/2011 - 11:17
Steven

Hi Matt,

Stick with the lifts. It is a myth that exercises need to be changed or else plateaus will hit. A true plateau in strength is generally something like a 4 week period where you have no increase in reps. These can happen once you start to get very strong, but are rare for most intermediate lifters. Also, keep in mind that even if you aren't adding reps/weight every workout, this doesn't mean your are plateauing with size gains. Adding only 1-2 reps per lift each month is still a great way to get big and strong over a long period of time.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 01/06/2011 - 22:16
Ross

Hi Steve,

I'm looking to change my workout regime and your one sounds just the ticket.

Ive been doing the M&S workout 'Intermediate Boxing/MMA Workout' for about 18 months now and substituting the boxing with swimming and running because i have nowhere to hang the bag anymore. I'm happy with the results but now i want to get bigger.

can you please tell me if when i start your program do i need to scale back the weight i'm already lifting to start with 'back to basics' so to speak.

also how will changing to different exercises effect what muscle already achieved eg there not getting workout as much anymore.

can i throw in one arm dumbell rows and shrugs to the program without compromising the end result?

can i skip some stages as youve mentioned in other posts or start from the beginning.

Forgive me if some of my many questions are stupid but im not bodybuilding literate.

thanks heaps for your help

Cheers Ross

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 01/07/2011 - 09:14
Steven

Hi Ross,

I wouldn't scale back the weight too much. I would rather start with Stage 3 or 4 and get use to this style of training, these exercise and progression for a few months.

Change exercise won't impact muscle, at least in this case. The exercises in this program are very effective muscle builders and will only benefit you.

Regarding rows and shrugs, it depends on the stage you are on. I don't recommend adding work on fullbody stages. You could swap them in for existing exercises of course, probably instead of barbell rows.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 01/05/2011 - 15:04
nolanski

Hi Steve, Just read this workout from the link for the M&S 2011 Transform you Body Guide. I've been working out for about 15 years, on and off. I consider myself to be in decent shape and this summer embarked on a weight-gaining and muscle-building program. I have had some success packing on weight and getting stronger using splits, alternating muscle groups from one workout to the next. In the process, I have also put on more bulk in my middle and don't look as toned as I used to, although I admit, a good bit bigger.
My question: is it okay to start at the "Charge" stage if I already feel pretty comfortable with moderately heavy weight and have been pushes my upper limits for the past few months? Also: if I follow the diet and workout plan closely, will I need to do any extra core-training to get my abs shredded up? Do you suggest doing/avoiding any extra cardio?
Sorry for the long question. I'm better at picking a single plan and sticking to it, but rarely have a found one so seemingly all-encompassing and thorough. Thanks!

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 01/11/2011 - 11:14
Steven

Hi Nolanski,

Sure, the Charge system would be a great place to start. A fullbody approach can tax the body in all new ways, so it may take several weeks to get use to one, but stay patient.

As far as diet, it will be hard to gain muscle while also shredding your abs. The extra muscle will make the rest of your body look more defined, but generally abs can only be obtained through a cutting diet like this:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-for-cutting-...

Generally it boils down to priorities...which is most important for you right now...adding a bit of muscle, or maintaining your abs? A few people can do both at the same time, but it's very hard. Extra cardio alone generally won't do the trick.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 01/02/2011 - 19:33
John

Greetings Steve,
I've been hanging onto your article since September, and just rediscovered it in the bottom of my gym back. I joined a gym back in the summer and have been going steadily since, missing only a few days here and there. I'm still the same size as I started. (148/150lbs at 5'8") I guess I'm the ectomorph type and looking to build. My weight has held steady these past several months though - no gain that isn't followed eventually by a loss. I have gained strength and tone - just nothing in measurable size. My max bench is a couple reps with 215lbs. (w/spotter) I should also probably mention I'm 46.

I'm considering starting your program tomorrow. (1/3/2011) My goal will be to complete your first year's worth of the plan and then evaluate where I stand. My larger concern will be diet. I seem to have a mental block with eating enough. My only supplement is Elite Whey Protein before and after workouts. I usually also take a banana and a snack bar to eat during workouts as I often get jittery/shaky mid-workout.

Any specific considerations (deviations) for an 'older' person taking on your program?

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 01/11/2011 - 11:07
Steven

Hi John,

Best of luck with the program. Eating is a real cornerstone of developing muscle. Just remember that all the hard training in the world won't help you unless you eat smart.

I am 43 myself, and think this program is a very solid approach for anyone 40+ simply because it is not focused on a crazy amount of volume. My best advice is to do what you can, when you can do it. Always stay focused on that "one more rep", using good form of course. Slow, steady rep increases will help the body grow best.

Also, check out these articles on eating:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-to-gaining-m...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

Far too many guys don't push themselves or eat properly, and that can dramatically limit progress.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 01/11/2011 - 17:31
John

Thanks for the reply Steve.
I'm in week two now of the 'crawl' phase but I did modify it a bit since I've already been doing various workouts since the summer. I'm doing 3 sets of 10 reps, instead of 2, and I added another exercise. (by accident but I kept it once I realized I was doing "11" and not 10 exercises as prescribed.) I'll adjust next week once the next step of the program kicks in. I'm looking forward to kicking it up a notch.

I admit the squats kicked my keester. It's taking awhile to get comfortable with that one and I'm not even putting weight on the bar! My only 'lower' work ever was jogging. This is a whole new world.

I'll check out those other 2 articles as I know I have to work on the eating part. I eat smart, just not 'enough' I guess to get muscle to grow. I've never been an over-eater or grazer, so I have been the same build for a lot of years. Trying to "eat again" within a couple hours of having eaten is tough. I just "feel" like I shouldn't. (habits)

Cheers.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 12/24/2010 - 03:02
Matt

Hi steve, thanks for all the great advice.

My question this time around is: Is it alright to swap dumbell bench press with barbell bench press for saftey reasons.I dont have a spot and will soon be doing 5 sets 5 reps with weight that I cant roll off my chest haha.or is there other options such as hammerstrengh equipment ect ect ..

Thanks in advance

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 01/05/2011 - 14:34
Steven

Hi Mat,

Absolutely!

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Posted Mon, 12/20/2010 - 05:23
Ahmad Hussain

I'm going to be getting onto this soon Steve. Looks great.

I'll probably start off with the walk stage myself, since I've been hitting the gym for close to 3 months now.

I've got a query:

I've been on the forum for a while now, and have been absorbing alot of what is being said by the more experienced members here.

One common theme I've detected is, workouts need to be changed around every 3 months or so to keep the muscles activated and guessing.

Stage 5 lasts for 16 months. Should I be worried about getting into the redundant mode, where my muscles just get used to doing the same bunch of exercises week in week out?

Cheers!

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 12/20/2010 - 10:13
Steven

Hi Ahmad,

The need to change workouts frequently is really off target. As long as you are adding weight and pushing yourself in the gym on every set, you do not need to constantly change workouts.

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Posted Mon, 12/20/2010 - 00:27
TIM

I'm a beginner, looking to tone my body and gain strength only.

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Posted Sat, 12/18/2010 - 22:14
Sam

oh and more question, let's say i could perform an exercise (charge phase) for more 10 reps (but just stopped at 10) for the first set, should add more weight for next set? or add weight on the next time i hit the gym?

Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 12/19/2010 - 16:53
Steven

Hi Sam,

Don't add weight on that workout. Add it the next time. This workout not only conditions your muscles, but works to condition your joints, connective tissue and central nervous system. It's better to stay methodical that to rush up the ladder too quickly. This can also help to stave off injuries and strains, by allowing the body time to adapt.

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Posted Sat, 12/18/2010 - 22:11
Sam

for Charge phase, for exercises that have reps more than 10, am i supposed to move up the weight when i hit the maximum rep range of the exercises? or just move up when i can do them for 10 rep?

Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 12/19/2010 - 16:51
Steven

Hi Sam,

You move up in weight when you can hit the rep goal for that exercise.

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Posted Fri, 12/17/2010 - 16:41
dan

Im starting on stage 3. Im pretty small and want to gain weight should i do it at 6-8 reps or 10 reps like it says. And you have to add weight to it each week?

Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 12/19/2010 - 16:50
Steven

Hi Dan,

Stick to the plan as designed.

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Posted Tue, 12/14/2010 - 01:30
Matt

Hey steve. I have a question about my diet. For the last month I have been consuming exacly 3500 calories a day.

265 grams protein
65 grams good fats(peanut butter, raw almonds)
and the remainder of the calories come from carbs

In the last month I have not gained any weight but have seen result in my numbers (eg.Bench press has gone up 15 Deadlft up 30 ect....)Also I see results in my physic.

My question is:Should I increase my calories intake or should I mantainthe 3500/day? Am I not getting the best possible gains(increase in strength) if I am not gaining any weight?

Thanks in advance

Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 12/19/2010 - 16:49
Steven

Hi Matt,

Since you haven't gained any weight I would jump up to 4000 per day for a month. You have a very fast metabolism and once you hit that sweet spot and can gain 1-2 pounds per month you will see better strength gains as well.

if 400 doesn't work, start adding 300 more per day each month until you do start gaining weight.

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Posted Mon, 12/13/2010 - 15:46
Craig

Hi Steve --

At the beginning of the article, you state that the beginner should, on average, expect to gain 25 lbs. of muscle in two years. After two years, if someone stays on this program, about how much in futther gains can be expected before the body plateaus and in what time frame?

Btw, I've been on a modified program similar to your two-year plan and have gained on average about a pound to two pounds of muscle a month for four months now.

Thanks, Steve, for your great advise!

Craig

Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 12/19/2010 - 16:47
Steven

Hi Craig,

In general the muscle gain curve looks something like this:

Year 1 - 16 pounds
Year 2 - 8 pounds
Year 3 - 4 pounds
Year 4 - 2 pounds

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Posted Fri, 12/10/2010 - 01:39
Erick

Can you elaborate more on the CRUSH STAGE where it says to use 60, 80, 100 percent of working weight?

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 12/10/2010 - 12:57
Steven

Hi Erick,

By the time you hit the Crush stage you should have a good grasp of what weight you can use for 5 rep sets of squats, bench etc.

Say for example you can perform heavy bench presses with:

225 x 5
225 x 5
225 x 5

Your first 60% set would be "about" ...135 pounds x 5 reps.
Your second 80% set would be "about" ...180 pounds x 5 reps.

So your 5 sets would be:

135 x 5
180 x 5
225 x 5
225 x 5
225 x 5

When you are able to perform 230 x 5 for 3 sets, then you would multiply 230 x 60% and 80% for your first 2 sets.

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Posted Tue, 12/07/2010 - 17:36
antony banks

Hi Steve, just another quick question!!!!! Just moved up to stage 5 and have added wieght to all my lifts. After a recent question u answered i av swooped dumbell bench for flat bench. the problem is i can do 3 x 5 sets with the 37kg but the next db are 42kg and im strugglin to get 2 - 3 reps per set, is this enough are would it be better to do one set with the 42kg and drop back down to the 37kg for two sets of 5 are more till i improve?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 12/08/2010 - 09:00
Steven

Hi Anthony,

In your case, I would stick with the current dumbbells until you can get 7-8 reps for all 3 sets, and then move up in weight.

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Posted Wed, 12/08/2010 - 15:35
antony banks

Cheers for the advice.

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Posted Sun, 12/12/2010 - 15:28
antony banks

Hi steve, are you sayin use the 37kg or 42kg?

Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 12/19/2010 - 16:43
Steven

37kg until you can get 7-8 reps.

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 12/23/2010 - 13:05
Steven

Thanks! Hope you and yours have a great Christmas and a better 2011!

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Posted Wed, 12/22/2010 - 16:04
antony banks

Hi Steve, as the year comes to a close just thought I would drop u a line and wish you and your family all the best for the festive season and the new year. Thanks for all the great articles you write and the answer to the question that i and many others ask. All the best for 2011. yours in sport, Antony.

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Posted Tue, 12/07/2010 - 10:41
francis

hi i have 2 questions. first i want to workout at home so can you list the equipment i would need to have. And second im 5'10 and weigh 92kg so will i lose fat by doing this workout or should i cut down on calories? thanx ;)

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 12/07/2010 - 14:32
Steven

Hi Francis,

You will need standard plates and 2 adjustable dumbbell handles, a barbell and 300 pounds of Olympic weights, a bench and a sumo squat rack or squat rack with adjustable pins. You can perform many exercises in the rack, setting the pins at a safe height should you fail with the weight.

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Posted Mon, 12/06/2010 - 19:02
Haiduc

Hi Steve,

Great program! I started on it early July and I’ve been really pleased with my gains thus far. I've followed the reps/set counts and even the timing, focusing on form the whole way thru. Now I realize I was not tremendously strong to begin with, but hey, we all gotta start somewhere. Regardless, These are my results thru Stage 4. Please let me know if I'm lacking behind, or over-emphasizing somewhere so that I can focus properly and maximize gains going forward. I'd hate to end up with "lop-sided" results. Oh, and in case it matters, I'm 5'9", 185 lbs, 34 yrs young! Have been lifting only 2 yrs.

Squats :
Start – 95 lbs, Now – 225 lbs (136% increase)

Flat bench:
Start – 105 lbs, Now – 165 lbs (57% increase)

Romanian Deadlift:
Start – 95 lbs, Now – 225 lbs (136% increase)

Seated Barbell Press:
Start – 65 lbs, Now – 95 lbs (46% increase)

Bent over Rows:
Start – 85 lbs, Now – 135 lbs (58% increase)

Leg Press:
Start – 115 lbs, Now – 215 lbs (87% increase)

Leg Extensions:
Start – 70 lbs, Now – 130 (86% increase)
(3 sets, 15 reps each)

Barbell Curl:
Start – 50 lbs, Now – 90 lbs (80% increase)
(3 sets, 12 reps each)

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 12/07/2010 - 08:57
Steven

Hi Haiduc,

Great progress! This is exactly how the program should be run. I dedication to the process like this is the cornerstone to progress. Your numbers are looking very good. Keep up the hard work!

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Posted Wed, 12/01/2010 - 10:52
Jerimi

Steve,

Great Program, I've been looking for something like this for awhile now to help me develop some long term goals, now my goal is to stick to your 2 year plan! One question though, I am going to be strictly using free weights and don't have access to a leg press. Do you have a substitute excercise that I can use to replace the leg press?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 12/01/2010 - 14:31
Steven

Hi Jerimi,

I would replace leg presses with barbell/dumbbell lunges, or front squats.

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Posted Thu, 11/25/2010 - 16:45
antony banks

Hi Steve, after following your advice, i have just finished stage 4 of your program. Cant believe how much i am enjoying it. Feel im now on the right track. Im really lookin forward to starting the crush stage. Please could you answer me a couple of questions? First, is it ok to swap bench press for dumbell bench press? What wieght should I use for the 20 rep squat set, I am currenty using 100kg plus bar for 6 to 8 reps. cheers steve.

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 12/01/2010 - 14:29
Steven

Hi Anthony,

Dumbbell bench press is a solid choice.

For 20 rep squat sets, it's best to start moderately light until you get the hang of performing them, and then add weight when possible. I would probably try 135 pounds.

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Posted Thu, 12/02/2010 - 16:12
antony banks

Cheers Steve.

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Posted Mon, 11/22/2010 - 15:59
Luigi

Hi,

when you write add 10 or 5 lbs do you mean on each side or on the overall?

Thanks

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 11/22/2010 - 16:47
Steven

Hi Luigi,

Overall.

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Posted Wed, 11/17/2010 - 10:59
Ryan

Hi,

Thanks for this great workout. I have been lifting weights for the past 6 months and completed two major workout programs - Vince Gironda's 8x8s (a lot of isolation exercises) and Tom Venuto's "The New Bodybuilding Workout" which incorporated compound movements and a few isolation exercises. I have become much stronger in every body partand built five, six pounds of muscle. Based on this, at which stage do you recommend I begin?

With Kind Regards,
Ryan

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:45
Steven

Hi Ryan,

With your experience I would start at Stage 3. it will take a few weeks to get used to a fullbody workout, so this is a good place to start.

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Posted Sun, 11/14/2010 - 19:39
Andrew

Hi Steve,

Me and a buddy have been doing you program for a while now and are just about to start stage 4. I have a couple quick questions about your rep targets. For some exercises you have different rep ranges 6-10 and 5 and 6-12 etc. and especially the leg curl which is 8-15 Should we stick with the same weight until we can do the max reps that is listed for that exercise? Or do we continue to increase weight when we can do 10 for all 3 sets?

thanx alot for the time you spent on this

andy

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 11/15/2010 - 13:36
Steven

Hi Andrew,

For leg curls you could simply add weight when you hit 15 reps on your first set. This might mean only being able to hit 12-14 reps on your next workout, but that's ok. Or you certainly could make it a goal to hit 10 reps for all 3 sets. There is no perfect way, to be honest. I would use whatever system motivates you the most. As long as you are pushing yourself for more reps on every set, you're in a good place.