Can anyone recomend trainning splits that have worked for them to pack on some lb’s of muscle mass. Picked out diet from t-mag so ok there, using supplements but not steriods. seems to me volume has worked for a lot of the bigger guys but every where i read for a natural people recomend low sets low reps. confused! anyone help???

Well recently I’ve been trying out a HIT style routine and it seems to be going well so far. I look at training from the perspective that its purpose is to make me stronger, diet is to make me bigger, but they affect each other. It all started when the thought struck me that I can only increase in strength by performing a set at 100% of my existing strength. Since any set for a bodypart after the 1st set wont be at 100%, why do it? (not including warmups) So now I’m training my whole body twice a week. Although I may change so that I train everything once a week, but still only using 2 days in the week. Of course, people with steroids might not come to this realisation because all the sets after the 1st that really just take from your recuperative abilities don’t as much because of said chemicals. As for eating… I’m not eating meals every 3 hours… I’m eating EVERY HOUR. Why? Because I’m sick of stuffing myself. If I break up that meal into three parts I don’t feel bloated. (besides, Lee Priest says he picks at food thru out the day, so…). Oh yeah, I’m using double progression. This means increasing either reps or weight on each exersize EVERY time. Its VERY hard… but if it works I’ll definitely stick with it. I’ve also been reading a lot from Author Jones, truely amazing writings! I know a lot of people say they’ve tried HIT and it didn’t work, but really, there are SO many variations that its easy to miss out on it.

Lew, there’s an old saying, “the best program is the one you aren’t on.” Translation-there really is no best training routine as the body adapts to any given workout eventually. As far as the volume/intensity thing goes, it is to a large part dependent on your genetics. I think most people would agree that reps should generally be in the 6-12 range, but there are exceptions. I have made the best mass gains keeping most of my reps in the 4-6 range as I am predominantly fast twitch. My training partner, conversely, is slow twitch and can’t lift really heavy weights but shines on a 10-12 rep approach. My two favorite programs (based on personal experience) are Dinosaur Training and Bill Starr’s 5*5. Lots of people really like GVT, but I didn’t get a lot out of it (arms responded well to it though). Diet plays a big role too-make sure those calories are at least 10% over maintenance and don’t overtrain. I do best on 3x/week, but that’s just me.

Periodising your training is definitely the way to go: my best results always stem from a change in load/volume/exercises etc. Many people trying to pack on mass seem scared to back off once in a while and give their body a chance to recover, but this is absolutley essential!
Right now I’m in the middle of a strength gaining phase (to help my sport performance) and I have based my programme around three basic lifts: squats; Romanian deadlifts; and, cleans. Each lift is the centre of attention - on any given workout. The rest of the workout, is spent covering smaller muscle groups. Here it is:
Squats 5 sets
B/b curls 3 sets
Close grip bench press 4 sets

Romanian deadlifts 4-5 sets
Push presses 4 sets
B/b rows 4 sets

Cleans (from floor)5 sets
Bench presses 5 sets

Calf and ab work take place on all three days, donkey calf raises and swiss ball ab curls are among my favourites respectively. You'd have noticed that I haven't included reps in my scheme. That's because I have been reducing them over an 8 wk period and increased loads accordingly. By week 8 I'll be down to one or two reps on my last set of the main 3 exercises and down to 5 reps on the "auxillary" exercises - all preceding sets are just preparation for the last set.

I lift in a 2-0-X-1 tempo, although the explosive concentric phase relates more to intent than actual movement speed (it's the thought that counts). Although having said that, I'll be switching to a quicker concentric movement velocity in my next phase. Despite having to encorporate other training into my week, I have been pleased with my progress, both in terms of strength and mass gained.

My best advice to you is to not be afraid of deviating from what you're currently doing. There is so much wasted effort out there from people that think they'll shrink if they have 2 weeks off, or if they go from doing 6 reps to 12 reps they'll lose strength etc. - don't be one of them! And if you change your programme and it starts working for you, chances are it was the change itself rather than the programme. The answer? Plan in advance to cycle intensity and change your programme regularly! Good luck! Iain.

Iain, thanks for answering my question just got a few points to ask you on.
Do you take any of your sets to failure either the ‘big 3’ lifts you base your workout on or the sub exercises? i am too intrested in sports performance as well your next phase will be quicker concentric movement velocity, what percentage of 1rm will you use? will you still base your workouts around the big 3? will you still keep the sets and reps the same? will you use poymetrics in this phase? thanks for all your help, Lew

Hi Lew. It has been almost 1 year since I started lifting again after a 3-1/2 year layoff. Goal 1 is to not become a slave to it and burn out again. Goal 2 is to make the most gains with least time spent in the gym.

I lift 3x a week, usually M-W-F, after work, 1hr max. Some cardio 2x a week on the off days.
Initially, I was doing all body parts each lift. I quickly plateaued after about 6 months. Then, keeping the same M-W-F schedule, I split my lifts between upper and lower body, alternating at each visit. This allows more intensity in the same 1 hour time period, and an average of 4-5 days rest for each body part. I began growing again. 3 months later, I discovered T-mag, learned how to eat, balance my development, and periodize my training between hypertrophy (medium weights, slower eccentric tempos, 10-12 reps) and strength (high weights, faster tempos, 2-6 reps).

Although set back recently with kidney stone and low back trouble, am still growing, and have already surpassed where I was at 35 after years of doing it ‘wrong’.
Good luck - Nylo