I’m always asked, “How can I get bigger?” Nutrition is the first thing that comes to mind. If you want to gain size, eating a lot of the right things is what will help get you there. However, I know that you want to do it in the gym, so I am going to give you the first 5 Tips that come to mind. I’m not going to get into the science behind this because I know you don’t want to hear it. You want to know how to put size on and you want to know now, so let’s get to it.
#1) Lift Heavier:
Lifting lighter weights for more reps has some merit; however, if you want to get bigger and put on more size, you need to push or pull something heavy. We like to use one of the prime exercises for this method: bench, squat, deadlift, or trap bar. We do this prime exercise between 2-6 reps for anywhere from 4-8 sets depending on the intensity range we are working on that day. This allows us to move heavy weight on major exercises while increasing strength and gaining mass.
Example: Bench Press (75-85% Range of your 1 rep max) 5 sets/5 reps
#2) Increase TUT:
TUT is the acronym for Time Under Tension. This is the time spent while we are actually performing an exercise. The longer we are under tension, the more our muscles are working, and the more mass we are going to build. This can be accomplished in a few ways.
-Increase the reps
-Decrease the Rest Period
-Increase the Eccentric Portion of the Lift: this is the part of the lift where the muscle is being stretched. An example of this is when you are lowering the bar in a bench press. Try doing a 3-5 second lowering phase of the lift. Trust me, you’ll feel it!
-Increase the Isometric Portion of the lift. One of the Law of Physics states “in order for something to change direction, it has to come to a complete stop before this can happen.” This is no different in lifting weights. What you can do is pause the weight at the bottom portion of a lift for a short time. For instance: pause at the bottom of a Squat for 3 seconds before completing the lift.
These are all great ways to increase the time under tension which will translate to more mass gains.
#3) Focus more on Upper Back:
Upper Back is the new chest! The upper back is comprised of small muscles that can be worked and benefit from a high amount of volume. We’ve all see the dudes with the yoked upper back, they look freaking huge. By working upper back exercises into your program, you will also alleviate and prevent shoulder injuries/issues. These muscles begin to weaken as we age, because they are known as “Phasic” muscles. Phasic muscles are prone to weakness and inhibition which will lead to shoulder issues. By working your upper back, not only will you gain size but also injury prevention.
#4) Higher Reps (on accessory movements):
We discussed time under tension and one of the ways to employ it is by increasing the amount of reps; however, I want to discuss exactly where you put these in to get the most out of your program. Like I said, use your prime movement exercise to gain strength and size, but use your accessory exercises to really dig into the mass portion. For instance, if you are performing something like Lat Pulldowns in your program, there is no point of cranking up the weight and pulling yourself out of the seat as you rock back to get the bar halfway to your chest. Try going lighter and do more controlled, quality reps.
Example: Lat Pulldowns 3-4 sets 10-15 reps (quality reps)
#5) Put your whole body under tension:
If you want to get more size on your frame, create full body tension in your workout. When we create a crazy amount of tension throughout our body, muscles, tendons, nerves are firing and good things are happening. We like to use heavy sled pushes, farmer walk variations, and sand bag carries/movements etc. to create this tension. Don’t believe me? Pick up a set of 100 lb. dumbbells and take them for a walk and tell me how you feel. You will feel it from your legs to fingers. Remember, grip is one of the best ways to cause tension in our bodies. If we squeeze something hard or are holding on to something for dear life, we create an absurd amount of tension in our bodies which will translate to muscle growth.
Example: Heavy Dumbbell Farmers Walk: 3-4 sets for 40 yards
These are all great examples that you can implement into your workouts and begin to see some great results not only in size but also strength. Remember, a bigger muscle is a stronger muscle. You don’t have to put these all in one workout, but by implementing some of these methods, you will see great results.