Winter is upon us, and that means it’s bulking season — a time to make some serious gains and build slabs of lean muscle mass. Over the next 10 weeks, you’ll be put through an intense series of workouts with the primary focus being hypertrophy, a.k.a. muscle growth.

Adding size to your frame doesn’t have to take years, particularly if you have the right training program and bring a can-do, never-quit attitude to your training sessions. Ahead, we’ve got the exact workout program you need to add noticeable muscle mass in only 10 weeks, all you need to do is man up and commit to giving everything you’ve got.

At the end of the 10 weeks, you’ll be bigger, bolder, and badder than ever. Best of all, the increased mass gains will be muscle NOT fat.

Get ready folks, the next 10 weeks are going to be grueling, but well worth it at the end. Let’s get to it!

Nutrition

You’ve heard it before, to get big, you have to eat big, meaning you’re going to have to eat more calories than you currently are, and for some of you, it’s going to be A LOT more. The question is, how much more do you need to eat per day.

To maximize muscle growth and minimize fat gain, Ideally, you’ll want to be in a ~250-500 calorie surplus. Use the TDEE Calculator to figure out your daily maintenance calories (including your physical activity level), then add 250 calories to that number as a starting point. Eat this same amount for 2 weeks minimum. If after two weeks, you’re still the same weight, add another 100-200 calories and track progress. If you’re gaining weight steadily at a rate of 0.5-1lb per week, keep things as they are. If you’re still not gaining weight, keep adding in 100 more calories per week until the scale number starts moving in the right direction.

Mass Gaining Tips

Building muscle mass is hard work, especially when trying to do it in just 10 weeks time. But don’t worry, use the following tips over the next 10 weeks, and you’ll be amazed at how much size you can put on in just a short amount of time.

  • Progressive Overload

    For your muscles to grow they need to be subjected to increasing amounts of stress, in the form of added reps or weight to the bar, every time you repeat a workout. These next 10 weeks are not about maintaining, or simply “punching the clock.” If you want to get big, you’re going to have to earn it the hard way and really push your limits.

  • Train to Muscular Failure

    Muscular failure is not the same thing as total failure. End your set when you can no longer complete a full repetition with control. This ensures you’re pushing the envelope, but not at risk for developing excessive CNS fatigue.

  • Use a variety of rep ranges

    The old advice was that you have to lift heavy weights for lower reps to get big. Emerging research in the field of muscle hypertrophy is showing that size gains can be achieved with a wide variety of rep ranges.

    Heavy weights and lighter weights can build muscle; both approaches can work provided you push for muscle failure on each set. To get the best of both worlds, you’ll be performing a mix of moderate and high rep ranges over the next 10 weeks.

  • Form overload

    Your sole focus over the next 10 weeks is strictly on increasing muscle size. You’re not trying to outlift every other bro in the gym. Hypertrophy isn’t about seeing who can lift the most weight or use the most body English to get the weight up.

    Perform your reps under control, maximizing the work down by your muscles, not your joints, ligaments, and connective tissue. Get the most out of each weight, and focus on mind-muscle connection. Leave the swinging weights, grunting, and all that other nonsense for the people not making gains.

  • Increased Volume & Frequency

    Make no mistake, you can certainly build muscle with the old-school 4 or 5-day bro splits. They’ve worked for decades and they’ll continue to work, but recent research points to increased frequency as being superior for gaining muscle, especially for natural athletes.

    The reason for this is that muscle protein synthesis (MPS) levels are elevated for only about 48 hours following a workout. If you’re only training each body part one time per week, you’re not really maximizing your potential.

    Rather than hammer the snot out of one muscle group for an entire workout split the volume across two or more workouts per week and make use of the extra boost in MPS.

  • Sleep to GROW

    Sleep is the single most underappreciated aspect of building muscle. It’s when you sleep that your body does the major repair and recovery needed for your intense training. To maximize growth, take your sleep as seriously as you do your weight lifting. Aim to get 8-9 hours of quality sleep every night. You’ll wake up feeling better (and bigger) the following day.

10 Week Mass Gaining Workout

For the next 10 weeks, you’ll be following a 4 day following an upper / lower training split.

  • Rep tempo should be slower on the way down and more explosive on the way up. Ideally, take 2-3 counts to lower the weight and 1 second to raise it.
  • AMRAP = Perform As Many Repetitions As Possible in the given time frame
  • Rest-Pause = Perform as many quality reps as you can during the stated block of time. The goal is not to train to total failure. Rest when needed.

    Select a weight that’s roughly 80-85% of your 1-rep max. Perform as many quality reps as you can until you no longer complete another full rep. Rest for 10-15 seconds, and perform another “mini-set”, by executing as many quality reps as you can before failure hits. Rest again and keep banging out clean reps until the time is up.

    Rest-Pause training is a great method to increase work volume and force progressive overload. When you hit the prescribed number of reps for the rest-pause set within the given time limit, it’s time to up the weight 5-10 pounds and continue.

Schedule

You can train any 4 days per week, but ideally, your weekly workout schedule will be:

  • Monday: Lower Body A
  • Tuesday: Upper Body A
  • Wednesday: Active Recovery (yoga, stretching, light jog, walking, etc.)
  • Thursday: Lower Body B
  • Friday: Upper Body B
  • Saturday: Active Recovery
  • Sunday: Rest

Now let’s get to the workout!

Monday – Lower Body A

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Barbell Back Squat

4

8-10

90 sec

Romanian Deadlifts (rest-pause style)*
Time limit is 3 minutes

1

40

90 sec

Hack Squats

4

10-12

60 sec

Step Ups (rest-pause style)
Time limit is 3 minutes

1

AMRAP

60 sec

Seated Calf Raises
(Superset with Plank)

 3

15-20

0 sec

Plank

 3

Max Time

60 sec

 

Tuesday – Upper Body A

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Pull Ups (add weight if needed)

4

8-10

90 sec

Barbell Bench Press

4

8-10

90 sec

Seated Cable Rows (rest-pause style)
Time limit is 3 minutes

1

40

60 sec

Seated Shoulder Press (rest-pause style)
Time limit is 3 minutes

1

40

60 sec

Side Laterals (Superset with rear laterals)

 3

15-20

0 sec

Rear Delt Lateral Raise

 3

15-20

60 sec

EZ Bar Skullcrushers (Superset with incline DB curls)

 3

10-12

0 sec

Incline DB Curls

 3

10-12

60 sec

 

Thursday – Lower Body B

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Trap Bar Deadlifts

4

6-8

90 sec

Leg Press (rest-pause style)*
Time limit is 3 minutes

1

45

90 sec

Leg Curls (rest-pause style)*
Time limit is 3 minutes

1

40

90 sec

Reverse Lunges

3

12-15 / leg

60 sec

Standing Calf Raises
(Superset with Plank)

 3

12-15

0 sec

Hanging Leg Raises

 3

Max Reps

60 sec

 

Friday – Upper Body B

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

Bent Over Row

3

8-10

90 sec

Military Press

3

8-10

90 sec

Lat Pulldowns (rest-pause style)
Time limit is 3 minutes

1

40

60 sec

Incline Dumbbell Press (rest-pause style)
Time limit is 3 minutes

1

40

60 sec

High-to-Low Cable Crossovers (Superset with Face Pulls)

 3

15-20

0 sec

Face Pulls

 3

15-20

60 sec

Rope Pushdowns (Superset with rope hammer curls)

 3

10-12

0 sec

Rope Hammer Curls

 3

10-12

60 sec

 

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