30 day Fitness plan for Men
Recognizing deception is key, especially in the lay population (i.e. cutting sleeves off a T-shirt from a youth baseball league 10 years ago so it appears tight and they large). Early detection is the key to prevention.
The Best Strength Training Program
The primary goal of this phase is to introduce proper tension, volume, and intensity over the course of the month to allow for the most rapid strength gains without inhibiting recovery.
The best strength training program for the hardgainer is surprisingly a full body workout 3 times per week, or an upper/lower split each done 2 times per week. Why? With typical bodybuilding programs you need to use multiple exercises to induce hypertrophy in the muscle.
Isolation exercises in intermediate to advanced bodybuilders can create a lot of muscle breakdown (and subsequent amino acid uptake by the muscles).
In the amateur lifter who lacks muscle mass, less total volume is needed to get the same relative amount of breakdown. Not to mention, isolation exercises in the beginner are done with such insignificant weight it's common sense to stick with heavier exercises.
The 3-day full body program is rather difficult for many to digest. We've been bred to think that more is better. But more isn't better. Better is better. For someone struggling to gain mass, a different approach must be taken. Allow me to explain the benefits of a 3-day program.
A 5-day per week body part split only gives us 4 opportunities to hit each muscle group for the month (once per week). With a full body split we have 12 growth opportunities (3 per week) over same period and an upper/lower split, 8 (2 per week).
With a high metabolism, more time is better spent out of the gym. Exercise causes an increase in energy expenditure and, in terms of gaining muscle, can only be countered by increased food intake.
To my way of thinking, 12 growth opportunities without too much of an increase in metabolism is a phenomenal way to ignite muscle growth.
We know that muscle is built outside the gym, so prioritize rest. Couple this with the fact that Rhea and colleagues (2003) found 3 times per week training to be best for beginners.
It has been shown by, again, Rhea and colleagues (2002) to be better for strength gains. This brings us to a 3-day per week full body program with a rotating rep scheme for maximal hypertrophy gains over the next 4 weeks.
You may have expected the next high volume program packed with tons and tons of exercises and workouts over the next 30 days, but this isn't it. Evidence based knowledge is going to prove superior if you do two things:
- Train hard
- Believe in the program
You'll notice I've selected 3 tempos for this phase: slow, controlled and fast. The only thing you need to be counting during a set is the number of reps. If you know what tempo is prescribed you can easily adjust the rhythm of each rep to roughly match it close enough.
Tempos are one variable guys look at on a program, but never pay much attention to. Let me tell you this is critical to increasing the time under tension - which will ultimately influence the quantity of muscle growth.
A slow tempo should come out to roughly a 4-5 second rep. A controlled tempo is a 2-4 second rep and a fast rep is a typical just-lift-the-dang-bar pace.
The concentric, or exertion, portion of every lift shouldn't be controlled. When you accelerate a weight fast, or attempt to, you increase the amount of force the muscle is producing. This will help increase the growth response. With tempos, only tweak the eccentric (lowering) or pause at the bottom.
|Monday||5 x 5 reps||Slow||120 seconds|
|Wednesday||4 x 10 reps||Controlled||90 seconds|
|Friday||3 x 15 reps||60 seconds|
|2 x 20 reps||Fast||30 seconds|