During the past 29 years that I have been writing for the various bodybuilding magazines I have received letters from the readers requesting answers to their bodybuilding and nutritional problems. Of all the letters, at least 75% are from those who want to get “brutally huge” and powerful as fast as possible. It then seems that gaining muscle weight is still the foremost concern of the average bodybuilder.
A majority of you began training because you were below that certain muscular body weight that you personally considered ideal. From my 30 plus years of active involvement in the iron game both as a former bodybuilding and powerlifting competitor and as a contributing consultant to many of the bodybuilding magazines, my observations lead me to the conclusions that bodybuilders are perpetually on a ceaseless search for greater muscle size and want to “be big”, no matter what their body types dictates! Most bodybuilders also reach a point when they feel their power would go up in a big jump if they could just add a few pounds of muscle body weight.
Gaining muscle body weight should be a relatively simple process, yet, it has always been given the status of a major problem! The down-to-earth concepts of gaining muscle body weight has suddenly been dignified with a lot of technical jargon. It has now become a deep science complicated with sophisticated advertisements and articles about metabolic programming. Frankly, I find it amazing!
You, the average bodybuilder who is underweight or who simply want more Herculean muscle mass, needn’t be frightened by these seeming difficulties. Like the vastly over-inflated “science of bodybuilding” itself, most of this concern is totally un-necessary. Except for the very few advanced bodybuilders who might lie awake at night worrying about a blurred “cut” in his left pectoral, gaining muscle weight can still be a simple, quick and sure process.
What I propose to do in this article is present to you a unique but basic 4 Phase Program, that will accelerate your muscle body weight gains and double your present power, but first let’s review a few crude, basic, unglamorous facts. A normal health body maintains its average body weight by consuming a certain number of calories per day. If you continue consuming that number of calories but reduce the amount of your daily physical activities, your body over a period of time will become heavier. By the same token when you increase your daily calorie consumption but maintain your daily physical activities you will also gain weight. It seems pretty simple when I explain it this way, doesn’t it? Why then, do some bodybuilders fail to gain Herculean muscle mass as readily as others? That’s not quite as simple but is still not a big mystery.
Some bodybuilders have a faulty metabolism that prohibits the assimilation of use of food (nutrients) into a muscle weight gain. Others have peculiarities of body chemistry that causes shortages of iron, copper, B vitamins, enzymes or trace minerals that are vital to the gaining cycle. Other bodybuilders have such a faulty nutritional program that they do not consume the vitamins and natural elements they need; instead they are merely shoveling down “empty calories”. Still others have digestive difficulties that allow the food they have consumed to be passed off as waste without being fully utilized. With rare exception, each of these conditions responds to eating correct foods in sufficient amounts, use of natural supplements and regular exercise with heavy weights.
All of the top champions in competitive bodybuilding recognize the value in obtaining Herculean muscle mass and power, for it has allowed them to make gains in muscle body weight, measurements, strength and endurance. Perhaps you may be wondering at this point whether adding Herculean muscle mass is good for one’s physique. I will let you be the judge of this as you consider the following: Bill Pearl was beaten in the 1956 NABA Mr. Universe by Jack Delinger. It was shortly after this narrow defeat that Bill decided to get Brutally Huge, and did so by increasing his muscular body weight to 255 pounds. It was at this new body weight that he had a 55″ chest, 60″ shoulder circumference, and 21″ upper arms. My good friend, the late, John Grimek who was never defeated in any amateur or professional bodybuilding contest that he entered, once increased his muscle body weight to a Herculean 250 pounds at a height of only 5’8 ½”.
Some of the top physique champions of yesteryear have gone to some real extremes nutritionally to gain Herculean muscle mass. Bruce Randall, a former Mr. Universe winner once reached a body weight of 400 lbs. by following such dietary measures as drinking an average of 8-10 quarts of milk per day (though one day he drank 19 quarts of milk), an average of 12-18 eggs per day, along with 7 lbs. of meat per day. Bruce gained this Herculean size as a means by which to try and break some of Paul Anderson’s lifting records. This was the absolute extreme in eating for the purpose of gaining Herculean size that I ever observed.
However, there was a bodybuilder I met up with in Miami, FL back in the late ‘60s who could run a close second to Bruce Randall’s “Shovel Method” (this termed was coined by Dr. Terry Todd when referring to gorging one’s self with gargantuan heaps of food) of eating. His name was Richard Simons and it was during that era (‘60s) that he was one of the prolific writers for Iron Man Magazine. This guy went on a 21 day program of intense training and a stepped up daily calorie consumption. He increased his daily calorie consumption from 5,000 to 9,000. To do this he was downing six to nine quarts of milk per day, along with 3 lbs. of meat-mostly hamburger, but for the sake of variety he would also eat plenty of cheese, fish and tuna. His protein consumption was a 250-390 grams per day and to make sure that it was properly assimilated he would drink 1 quart of papaya juice daily. He took in plenty of vitamins and minerals in supplement form.
His workouts consisted of high sets and reps utilizing maximum poundages and perfect form at all times. By following this program of heavy duty eating and heavy training he gained 25 lbs. of Herculean muscle mass in 21 days and weighted 225 pound at the height of 6’2″. His upper arms measured 18 ½”, forearms 15 ½” with a wrist of 7.8″, chest 51 ¼”, waist 34″, thighs 28 ¼” and calves 16 ½”. He told me that his primary goal was to one day weigh in at a rock hard 255 lbs. To do this he would go up to 300 pounds in body weight and then train back down slowly to his goal of 255 lbs.
Being a free-lance writer, in the fields of bodybuilding, powerlifting, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, etc. I have had the unique opportunity to not only observe the techniques for gaining Herculean muscle mass and power from the previously mentioned bodybuilders, but many other outstanding ones as well. All the champions that I have talked to about the subject of building Herculean muscle mass and power universally agree that its success is based on a 4 phase program which consists of the following:
1) POWER PROGRESS TRAINING SCHEDULE
2) TOTAL REST AND RECUPERATIVE SLEEP AND REST PERIODS
3) SUPER NUTRITION
4) POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE
In this age of bodybuilding sophistication, I realize that this 4 phase program will seem too easy, but be assured that it does still work. I will now discuss each phase individually. The first phase is the…
POWER PROGRESS TRAINING SCHEDULE
The exercise plan is “set-up” on a 90-day schedule by which you will work the 3 major and 4 minor muscle groups of the body (thighs, chest, back, deltoids, biceps, calves, and abdominals) on two non-consecutive days per week. These muscle groups are the important ones for gaining muscular bodyweight and power fast.
The calves and abdominals are structured into the schedule more for the intended purpose of improving your muscular shape and bodily proportions which have previously been unresponsive or neglected.
Depending on your past training experiences and capacity for hard work you can either work all seven muscle groups in one total body workout but if you don’t have the time necessary to give in a day to complete the entire training schedule you could go with a split training schedule where you utilize the popular PUSH/PULL system, where you train pushing and pulling muscles on a three on/one off. For example, during week one you might train thighs, calves, and abdominals, on Monday and Friday. Chest and deltoids can be trained on Tuesday and Saturday. Back and biceps are trained on Wednesday and Sunday. Thursday is a total rest day.
Beginning week number two, Monday is a total rest day with Tuesday beginning the training cycle all over again. If this type of a training schedule is not allowing you enough rest time between workouts, then you might adopt a modified version of the above where you train thighs, calves, back and biceps on Monday. Total rest on Tuesday, then on Wednesday work chest, deltoids, and abdominals. Total rest on Thursday and on Friday begin again with Monday’s schedule. Total rest from any workout is required on Saturday and Sunday of every week on this modified training schedule. Your training schedule should be kept simple and uncluttered.
The exercises you select are up to you but here is a listing some of my recommendations.
THIGHS-Barbell back squat and/or barbell hack squats
CALVES-One-legged heel raises and/or donkey heel raises
ABDOMINALS-Quarter ab crunches “Gironda style” and/or leg raises
CHEST-Supine barbell bench press and/or incline dumbbell press
DELTOIDS-Barbell press behind neck and/or barbell upright rows
BACK-Measured movement power deadlifts and/or barbell bent over rowing. The measured movement power deadlifts begin where the barbell is positioned just below the knee.
BICEPS-Barbell curls and/or dumbbell curls
Suffice it to say that I do not have enough scope and spaced reserved in this article to go into a description of the technique emphasis of the exercises listed.
“LOW SET, MODERATE REP, HEAVY POUNDAGE” PRINCIPLE
You should consider working each of the seven muscle groups for 5 sets of 6-8 reps (excluding 1-2 muscle specific warm-up sets of one exercise each, the exception being for the calves and abdominals where the rep pattern should be 15-20 per set. The number of work sets may seem low but this is one of the best ways to avoid “Self Destruct Training.” As Lee Haney, 8 time IFBB has said on many occasions, “STIMULATE not annihilate!”
Intensify the 5 Sets/6-8 Reps Methodic with the…
12 WORKOUTS POWER-REPS INCREMENT SCHEDULE:
Using a hypothetical power poundage of 500 lbs. in the Barbell back squat, the following 12 workouts power-reps increment schedule reveals how to intensify the 5 Sets/6-8 Reps Methodic.
1st Workout: 5 sets/6 reps “x” 500 lbs.
2nd Workout: 4 sets/6 reps “x” 500 lbs.
1 set/7 reps “x” 500 lbs.
3rd Workout: 3 sets/6 reps “x” 500 lbs.
2 sets/7 reps “x” 500 lbs.
4th Workout: 2 sets/6 reps “x” 500 lbs.
3 sets/7 reps “x” 500 lbs.
5th Workout: 1 set/6 reps “x” 500 lbs.
4 sets/7 reps “x” 500 lbs.
6th Workout: 5 sets/7 reps “x” 500 lbs.
7th Workout: 4 sets/7 reps “x” 500 lbs.
1 set/8 reps “x” 500 lbs.
8th Workout: 3 sets/7 reps “x” 500 lbs.
2 sets/8 reps “x” 500 lbs.
9th Workout: 2 sets/7 reps “x” 500 lbs.
3 sets/8 reps “x” 500 lbs.
10th Workout: 1 set/7 reps “x” 500 lbs
4 sets/8 reps “x” 500 lbs.
11th Workout: 5 sets/8 reps “x” 500 lbs.
12th Workout: 5 sets/6 reps “x” 505-510 lbs.
You can easily see from the listing above how the power-reps progressions are made. On the exercises for the thighs and back you can increase your poundage 5-10-15 lbs. and on the exercises for the chest and deltoids poundage increases can go from 2.5-5 lbs.
Rest 5-6 minutes on exercises for the thighs, back and chest. For the deltoids, calves and abdominals rest 2-3 minutes between sets. Rest between actual exercises should only be long enough to allow you to change the poundage.
One of the best ways to keep your muscle gains momentum going is to vary your training volume and intensity.
To do this you might consider using the Tonnage System where you multiply “x” the tonnage (lbs.) “x” times the total number of reps (volume) performed in the particular exercise “x” times the percentage (%) of your current one-rep maximum “x” times the distance (foot lbs.; example: a 3-inch movement is .25) “x” the number of sets. When you have completed this the tonnage (lbs.) is then divided by the number of reps (volume) to find the mean intensity. This is the average weight on the barbell used during this exercise. To find the relative intensity divide your top exercise poundage used for an exercise into you current one-rep maximum.
Other ways to keep the muscle gains momentum flowing is to alter your exercise performance bio-mechanically. You can do this by altering your stance, grip, bar placement, the movement itself, speed of the movement in the rep itself as well as periodic use of a different exercise altogether. Use dumbbells in the place of barbells, etc.
Enter phase two…
TOTAL REST AND RECUPERATIVE SLEEPAND REST PERIODS
RECUPERATIVE is very important!! If you don’t recuperate, you are not going to be ready for your next workout and you’re at a setback. You don’t make the gains, you are striving to hold to that you made for the week before. You should get your rest and I mean NAPS during the day. Ted Arcidi (the first man to bench press 700 lbs. officially) takes a 1.5-hour nap every day. Ted says that most body growth takes place during the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Ted believes that you must have TOTAL REST.
As far as getting a good solid 8-10 hours of sleep at night, there are a number of important steps which should be taken. NEVER GO TO BED ON AN EMPTY STOMACH (eat a little something and perhaps a small glass of your favorite blender drink. Don’t eat foods which might cause you an upset stomach nor should you drink to much liquid either of which might cause you to awaken in the middle of the night.) YOUR BEDROOM SHOULD BE WELL VENTILLATED (cool, but not cold), BED SHEETS AND BLANKETS SHOULD ALWAYS BE CLEAN, YOUR BEDROOM SHOULD BE PITCH BLACK AND AS NOISEPROOF AS POSSIBLE. I have always found it to my advantage to take a nice tepid shower prior to going to bed. This helps to induce a fast, sound slumber.
The third phase of the program for Gaining Herculean Muscle Mass and Power Fast is…
Eliminate all white sugar from your daily diet-use honey or raw sugar instead and use it liberally. No more white bread and rolls-use whole wheat or corn bread only. Eliminate fancy desserts, pies, cakes, cookies and pastries-instead use natural ice cream, banana pudding (sugar free), natural brown rice pudding or a dish of sliced bananas, dates, figs with honey; serve all of these with cream. Drink 3-4 quarts of certified low-fat raw milk each day, a Chuck Sipes favorite for gaining (at least one pint or more with each feeding). If you have a problem with sugar lactose in the milk, there is a milk on the market now in which the sugar lactose has been removed. Milk should be sipped and never gulped and in fact it should take you 30 minutes to drink 8-10 ounce of milk. Make sure of heavy cream or at least half and half. Vince Gironda “The Iron Guru” told me many years ago about a rather unique weight gaining trick where equal parts of Ginger Ale and half and half is used between main meals. You can also use half and half on cereals, with sliced fresh fruits and puddings. Add unsalted natural peanut butter in large amounts; on whole wheat and 12-grain breads, in sandwiches, blender shakes. Concentrate on consuming plenty of the following: cheese, bananas, unsalted peanuts, all nuts, raisins, dates, fresh figs, potatoes, yams, corn and beans.
No matter what else you eat, start the day with a breakfast of one of the following:
Whole Brown Rice: about five minutes before it’s finished, add a half cup of raisins and a half cup of dairy cream, stirring it in. Serve with a liberal supply of cream, honey and wheat germ stirred through it.
Cooked Oatmeal:rather than combing water with the oats when cooking, make up the oatmeal with whole milk instead. About five minutes before this is finished add a half cup of diced dates, and a cup of cream. Serve as above, with cream, honey, tablespoon of safflower oil and wheat germ flakes stirred through it.
Also have a big bowl of soup with at least one meal a day, but use only split pea, potato, black bean or lentil. Add a little cream or wheat germ. It is better to eat small feeding every 3 hours or so. Five 1000 calorie feedings are easier to digest and assimilate rather than three 1500 calorie meals, and keeps the stomach from stretching or distending. It is important to never skip a meal when you are attempting to gain additional muscle mass. Instead of a coffee break at work, drink a pint or two of milk. Better yet you might have a pre-mixed blender drink. A couple of these drinks which come to my mind are as follows:
4 raw eggs (boil for 15-20 seconds)
½ pint heavy dairy cream
½ cup mountain honey
1 cup non-fat powdered milk
1 cup Beverly Milk and Egg Protein Powder
Add 1.5 quarts of whole milk
1 cup whole non-fat milk
½ cup heavy dairy cream
2 tablespoons Brewer’s Yeast powder
1 tablespoon flax seed oil
2 raw eggs (boil for 15-20 seconds)
1 tablespoon unsalted natural peanut butter
1 scoop natural ice cream.
Instead of going the doughnut route at coffee breaks, eat yogurt, protein tablets by the handful, peanut butter tiger milk bars, and unsalted sunflower seeds. Above all as an active bodybuilder be sure to include plenty of water packed (sodium free) tuna, fish and chicken breast in your daily eating regimen.
The supplementation in your daily diet is an important issue but not as complicated as you might think. Three high potency multi-vitamin/mineral tablets from natural sources (Beverly International Vitamin Paks); at each main meal, take one. Use 2-4 bromelain (Bromelain/Papain Digestive Enzyme) tablets AFTER EACH MEAL OR SNACK THAT YOU EAT. Two tablespoons per day of wheat germ or other blended germ oils. Brewer’s yeast in powder or flakes can be added to blender shakes and you should get 2-4 tablespoons every day. Raw embryo wheat germ flakes should be added to cereals, soups, puddings-at least four big tablespoons per day. Let me say that a more extensive supplement program could be used with benefit.
I will be the first to admit that the eating regime I have talked about in this article is unbalanced for normal living. It is swimming in fats, and swarming with nasty carbohydrates. It’s intended for bulking up the body and will do exactly that; it is NOT recommended for use throughout the year. The bodybuilder who wants to bulk up another ten or twenty pounds is not interested in technicalities nor pseudo-scientific nonsense about cuts and striations.
Using this nutritional program you’ll get those extra additional pounds if it is combined with the other three phases detailed in this article. Only then will you reach your new weight with a well built and solid physique. The fourth and final phase for Gaining Herculean Muscle Mass and Power is a…
POSITIVIE MENTAL ATTITUDE
Bill Pearl once told me “A proper mental attitude plays a large role in your efforts to build size and strength. When thinking positive thoughts, one has a happy outlook on life. You should think positively about all your daily activities, physical, mental and moral. It will aid you in your training n the gym as well as your personal life. A healthy, positive attitude will improve your body and help make you a better person.”
Adopt the attitude of a champion by developing a positive self image of yourself, set some specific goals both short and long term. Above all have that burning intense desire to succeed and THINK BIG!!!
A CLOSING COMMENT
It may seem as though you are taking in literally thousands of calories per day and you are. John Parrillo, a recognized exercise and nutrition expert says that male bodybuilders should eat up to 10,000 calories a day and women up to 6,000. He goes on to say that not everyone needs to consume this many calories and some may need to consume even more. He says that it all depends on a person’s individual metabolic rate and exercise level.
Even with all the calories you might be taking in on a daily basis, there is a fluctuation in everyone’s bodyweight, so do not become discouraged if it bounces up and down from time to time and this is especially true during the first week or two, for your system is simply adjusting to the increased dietary and hard workouts you are putting it through. There are a couple of key points which may help you to speed up the gaining process. First and foremost, if you a smoker make an effort to cut back and eventually quit altogether. Smoking raises the blood sugar level in the body and this in turn depresses your hunger. Not only that, but the nicotine speeds up the metabolism and shrinks the blood capillaries for up to 8 hours which in turn interferes with the vital muscle growth factors.
Secondly, after eating a main meal lie down for a while but with your feet and legs elevated. Why? Well Vince Gironda, the “Iron Guru” said that this action has a two fold effect. First it tilts the stomach on its side and this allows about 1/3 of the blood in the body to pool itself in the stomach, which increases the assimilation or digestion of food. Secondly, the food tends to remain in the stomach longer.
Well there you have it, the 4 Phase Program for GAINING HERCULEAN MUSCLE MASS AND POWER FAST! Stay flexed!!!