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Muscle Gain: Size, Symmetry and proportion.

Muscle Building Guide for Beginners. Part 5.

Check out the Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | & Part 4

Before embarking upon the second phase of 4 weeks you have some decisions to make. As you might recall from the fourth part of this guide, Lats didn’t get any proper training in the first phase and legs were only trained with deadlifts, leaving out the coveted squats. What kind of shitty program doesn’t have squats! Hold on, Tiger.

The first phase was brutal as it is, adding rows/pull ups/squats would have been Overkill for Newbies. The first phase was set up to be completed within 45-50 minutes even if you consider resting 5 minutes before moving onto the next compound lift and 2 minutes between sets.

The decision you have to make here is whether your leg requires more work or your lats. Many people have naturally developed legs while others have wide Lats, only the most genetically gifted are built in both areas before starting any training regime and there are many skinny as a stick guys as well. The relation is usually inversely co-related.

You see plenty guys walking around with wide back/Lats and skinny legs. And we also see plenty of fat guys with Thick legs but underdeveloped Lats. I’m not asking for a life-long sacrifice here. Just for the sake of recovery you have to choose one for the next 4 weeks or if you’re lacking in both areas we will address that too with split specialization in the third phase.

After the first 4-week Bulk phase, 5-7 lbs of mass gain in expected conservatively. Your strength is bound to increase, all your 1RM numbers would be up. Calculate them afresh before starting the second phase. This is the bare-minimum figure, many would have gained around 10 lbs. Most probably those who felt recovery wasn’t a problem and went for 4 sets instead of 3 as per the guidelines in the fourth part. Let’s start with the Second phase now.

For the second phase:
Bench Press : 4 sets of 8 reps at your 8 RM. Rest 1-2 minutes between sets. This will cover your total volume requirements for Pectorals and half of the volume for the triceps and front deltoids.
anatomy chart showing muscle groups being targeted with bench press

Deadlift : 4 sets of 6 reps at your 6 RM. We tend to get stronger in the deadlifts way faster, hence the 6 RM range. Rest 1-2 minutes between sets. Deadlift after bench to give your shoulder girdle some rest. Will cover most of the volume for legs, lower back, traps, and abdominals.
anatomy chart showing muscles worked with deadlifts

[Optional] Bent-over-dumbell rows: 4 sets of 10 RM on both sides: so you would be doing, 40 reps for each Lat. Placed here to give your Biceps some rest before hitting barbell curls later on. Will work you Lats singularly and you biceps as well. Learning the proper technique is very important to eliminate input from the arms as much as possible. You can also do the lat pull down machine in a gym with the same rep and set scheme. The ultimate workout for Lats is the Pullups, but they’re too hard and taxing on the system when included in a full body routine like this one. Pullups are best suited for intermediate lifters training in splits.
anatomy model highlighting Lats muscles

Overhead press : 4 sets of 8 RM Your shoulder girdles are primed after the first phase to take on heavier load and volume. will cover all the volume for your lateral(middle) & rear delts and the remaining half of triceps & front delts. It will cover some of the abdominals, Traps and Lats as well (more and more lats are applied as you go heavier).
anatomy chart showing muscle worked in overhead press

[Optional] Squats: 3 sets of 8 RM: will work your legs to the maximum considering you’re also doing 24 reps on the squats. For the “6 pack abs” seekers, you don’t need any special exercises to target them out if you’re doing your deadlifts and squats, occasional planks could be added.
anatomy model showing muscles worked while performing squats

Barbell curls : 3 sets of 10 RM : will cover all the volume requirements for Biceps and forearms and work some of the lower back as well.
 chartshowing muscles worked while performing barbell curls

You’re done.

Expect 6 to 8 lbs of new gains adding up to 12 to 15 lbs in total as the second phase ends. It goes without saying that strength is immensely improved compared to what you started with as long as you’re progressing and adding weight once completing all the sets with listed RM reps. The progression usually happens in the following sequence: Taking the bench press as an example, you are doing 4 sets of 8 RM. The first workout you could manage 8, 7, 6, and 5 reps. You may progress in the next workout up to 8, 7, 7, 6 reps. After few more workouts, you would be able to manage 8, 8, 8, 7 and finally 8, 8, 8, 8! That’s the time to add 2 kgs(5 lbs) more on the Bar. Note that you’re not intentionally stopping short of 8 reps, muscle failure is not letting you complete those reps. Don’t get disheartened if you couldn’t manage the reps, it’s all part of the process. I’ve discussed this extensively in part 1 &part 4.

Last 4-week Phase

Overhead Press : 5 sets of 8 RM

Deadlifts : 4 sets of 6 RM

Barbell Curls: 4 sets of 8 RM

Bench Press: 5 sets of 6 RM

Rows 4 sets of 8 RM each Lat or Squats 3 sets of 6 RM: : Chose one according to you needs. For the leg heavy fella, dedicating both the second and third phases to Rows would be ideal, your legs are getting decent training from Deadlifts anyway. For the Pencil Leg beginner, dedicating both the phases to squats is the way to go. If you’re feeling greedy and want both, then, Either do rows in the second phase and squats in the third or do BOTH in BOTH phases. You’re SUPERSAIYAN!! GO BEAST MODE AND KILL IT. don’t kill yourself, though.

I've been pushing the Nutritional aspect of the bulk for quite a while now. Mainly because the guidlines are uber simplistic provided you've read ALL the fundamental articles. Kidding; not all of them, just the whole four part MACROs series so that you can make good food choices for yourself and the three part BMR-DEE series so that you can calculate your Daily energy/calorie requirements.

After you're done with those you can figure it out for yourself but i guess not everyone went to college and learned to apply abstract ideas in real life. Don't worry homies, I've got yo back. A 6th part only catering to nutrition is in the pipeline. Or you can just add 1000 extra calories to your DEE, have your protien intake at no less than 2 gram/Kg of lbm(LBW) and you're good to go. The fourth part of the macros series have bulk guidelines.

Check out the Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | & Part 4
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