Last week, a fantastic debate was published on YouTube on the topic of bulking…
Advanced Mass Gain
Omar is a guy I’ve been following for a long time; probably about 5-6 years. He’s one of the several guys I’ve taken ideas, philosphies and tips from, over the course of the years, and whilst I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says, I think he’s awesome. He’s smart, strong, and entertaining.
Totalling over 1450 pounds, the guy is a very advanced athlete, looking to take his numbers to the next level. He is currently training for hypertrophy/mass, and has recently posted a video on YouTube here, detailing his training strategy for reaching his size goals. As it is size he’s currently training for, rather than numbers (strength), the goal is to get himself up to 195 pounds.
He is sat at 185 currently, and aims to be 195 by the summer (ish), and after that will have Eric Helms coach him and help him to get shredded.
Omar’s Training Routine
As is typical for a mass-geared routine, he is training 6 times per week (!) with a very high volume approach. As we all know, training volumes need to increase over time in order to gain more mass and become stronger.
Not only is it high volume from the word go, but there are of course incremental volume increases every 4 weeks to ensure progressive overload is constantly being enforced. These are in the form of an extra couple of sets per workout. These are also cycled. So it’s not increasing every single month into the summer, there are periods where it tapers off temporarily.
Now, the key difference between him and myself, is that he progresses a little slower. Whilst he needs to force the progressive overload on a monthly basis, for myself, I can probably do it every other week. Depends on the size of the calorie surplus, sleep and other recovery factors, but generally this is how it works at the moment.
Another interesting point to note is that although he is training six times per week, he isn’t doing the typical Bodybuilder split. He is training full-body. I’ve been saying for a while that if you’re a busy dude, doing splits is a waste of time. You could get your work in in far less time using full-body training.
Although he says it isn’t full-body training, it is. What he means is that there is a different focus/emphasis for each day. This is how recovers from workout to workout; some bodyparts are only having a small session sometimes. They are gradually accumulating fatigue, but whenever they do get a minor rest, they do recover, adapt and grow.
Deadlifts, he says, are NOT being emphasised during his mass-gaining phase for a couple of reasons:
- They are too taxing. They simply take away energy from work you could be doing on general back work etc.
- You don’t need much volume on them (relative to other exercises) in order to actually progress at a decent rate.
He’s right. Although I absolutely love deadlifts, I find that if you exceed 5-6 working sets per week on them even if high rep (and low intensity sets), it becomes very difficult to perform siginificant effective volume on other exercises. They are too demanding.
However, if you stick to 2-4 difficult deadlift sets per week (6-12 reps), then you can still get all of the benefits from them without the recovery issues.
Finally, it goes without saying that the vast majority of his work performed is in the 60-80% range. Doing high volumes of work with high intensities is asking for a disastrous injury.
When training for strength, intensities go up and total volume drops. Mass training and mass goals are a little different.
The Importance of Recovery
He emphasises the importance of recovery and how much focus he is putting into his nutrition, sleep and “external” factors, which basically means stress.
Men over 40, and just about anyone who wants to achieve lofty goals that will set them apart from the rest of the herd, you can learn something from Omar here.
In order to grow and gain muscle mass you have to not only recover, but also positively adapt. On such a high volume routine, it becomes even more important. In a lot of ways, he is almost walking a tightrope like a lot of men over 40.
- He will be getting at least 8 hours of sleep per day
- He will be doing some form of general activity per day – his goal is to help with DOMS and nutrient partitioning, but for older guys, this will help with hunger hormones also
- More important than any of this, he will be planning everything out meticulously
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. I will do a blog series on planning and how to get organised; of course specifically for nutrition & training.
If you enjoyed this article and are motivated to lose weight, feel free to check out my coaching services here. Thanks, I appreciate it.