Muscle Palace

Thursday, June 08, 2017

The 6 Golden Rules of Building Muscle Mass (Skinny Guys Too)

How to Gain Muscle Mass

Before you even start reading this you should know that this article is dedicated to all guys (and girls too) over there that want to gain muscle mass fast and NATURALLY. You won't see the same tips here as on many other fitness websites and blogs. 

I am saying that because a lot of fitness websites, magazines, and blogs advertise the same split workout routines and diets that are inspired by popular bodybuilders that have over 200 pounds of muscle mass, the perfect muscle definition and - THEY ARE ON STEROIDS. Or like gym rats like to say, they are on THE JUICE. 

I will be completely honest with you guys, especially for beginners and hard gainers, you can't build 20 pounds of muscle for one or two months. It is very hard to gain such amount of muscle for one year, even with the perfect workout routine and diet. After your first year of training in the gym, it will become harder and harder to gain muscle. There is no healthy shortcut to muscle gain, not without the risk. On the other side, you have the anabolic steroids which I don't recommend to anyone but that is another topic.



All of the supplements in the world won't get you such a muscular body. Gaining muscle mass is a steady process, it takes a lot of time and it demands a lot of sacrifice and persistence. First three months of your journey to muscle building are the crucial months because you will see the big difference in the mirror in that period of time if you don't follow the wrong tips. 

1. Follow the right workout routine

Don't look for workout routines of professional bodybuilders that demand you to train 5 days a week and high volume. That is not the right way to naturally gain muscle mass and it definitely won't work for beginners. It can also lead to overtraining which can destroy your precious muscle gains.

Recommendation: Try with one of the full-body workout routines that are proven as the most effective for muscle gain. 

2. Lift heavy and in a lower rep range

When it comes to training for muscle gain you should focus on lifting heavier weights and strength gain. By becoming stronger you would be able to give your muscles a reason to grow more and more, of course, if you feed and rest them properly. 

Progressive overload is the key to muscle gain, so at the beginning try to train with a medium rep range like 6-8 reps for a set to become stronger and build muscle in the same time and when you see that the weights are becoming lighter add more weight plates and lift in the same rep range. After some time you can switch to 8-12 rep range that is proven as the best rep range for muscle hypertrophy but you should dedicate at least one or two months of training to building strength.

3. Compound Exercises

Progressive overload and compound movements are the sure way to building muscle mass. Improve your lifting on the bench press, rows, shoulder presses and squats and you will see results. By lifting more and more your muscles will grow. That sounds like a rhyme, but that is true. Avoiding big lifts like bench press and squats can be a very big mistake and it can cost you a lot of muscle gains.

You can find the best muscle-building exercises by clicking on this link:

4. Consume more calories than you burn

If you consume more calories than you burn every day you will gain weight and by consuming a lot of calories from right foods you will gain muscle mass. If your target is only to gain weight you can do that by eating a lot of junk foods that are high-caloric and will build you a nice belly and probably man boobs. 

You will need to consume a lot of calories from whole foods and shakes to gain muscle mass but you should check out which foods are the best for building muscle without gaining fat.

If you are a real hard gainer don't be afraid of some cheat meals from time to time especially after the workout when you need a lot of calories to fuel your muscles. You won't read it on many other websites, but it is hard to follow a totally strict diet and gain muscle mass for hard gainers. One homemade pizza with cheese and tuna after a hard workout can help you to build muscle faster. 

It is common that people gain some fat together with muscle mass but it is not the end of the world, you can do more cardio and focus on shredding after you reach the desired amount of muscle mass. But remember, grab a cheat meal from time to time, once or twice a week, not after every workout or every day.

5. Proteins, Carbs, and Fats

Protein is the most important nutrient for muscle growth, but without carbs and healthy fats, you won't get far. You need all those three macronutrients to build muscle mass. You are going to need a high protein intake (1 - 1,2 g of protein for each pound of your body weight), and twice as high carbohydrates intake. 

Fats from foods like avocado, olive oil, and nuts are also recommended as they are very healthy and high in calories. You will consume 8 - 9 calories for each one gram of fat, so by eating 100 grams of peanut butter, you will consume 50 grams of fat which is equal to 400 - 450 calories. That amount of peanut butter also provides 25 g of protein and 20 g of carbohydrates.

Don't be afraid of healthy fats, they can be very helpful to hard gainers to gain lean muscle mass faster. Saturated fats that are found in dairy and meat products may increase testosterone levels and may also promote strength and muscle gain.

6. Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night

You lift heavy, force your muscles to grow and feed them with the right choice and amount of food, you are almost there. Only one step left - REST. Your muscles grow while they rest so the rest is important as much as are your workout and diet. When you don't sleep enough hormone called cortisol is increased and it makes harder for you to build muscle. Also, don't train more than two days in a row because in order to build muscle mass your muscles need to rest and recover.

I am highly recommending you to follow these 6 steps and also to buy supplements that promote muscle growth and that can help you build muscle mass faster. Don't waste your money, buy only the supplements that you really need.

Monday, May 29, 2017

3 Best Full-Body Workouts to Build Muscle Mass Fast

Best Workout to Build Muscle

There are plenty of training programs for muscle growth or weight loss out there. When it comes to muscle building the most effective way is to follow a full-body workout routine. If you are a beginner in lifting, full-body workouts will give you the best results in strength and muscle gains. Full-body training is the best and the fastest way to naturally build muscle mass.

Why are Full-Body Workouts the best for building muscle mass?

For decades, many bodybuilders built their muscular physiques with simple, three-day-per-week workout programs. They didn't split their training days into chest days, back days, arms days and so on. Old-school bodybuilders trained all muscle groups three times per week and they grew very big and strong.

Just look at guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Reg Park. Before he used steroids Arnold built his body with very popular Reg Park's 5x5 Workout Program and his own "The Golden Six" Workout. 

Full-body training gives the best stimulus to our HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and ramps up the protein synthesis. 

1. StrongLifts 5x5

Full-Body Workout for Mass

Stronglifts 5x5 Workout is one of the most popular strength workouts on the web. People all over the world tried to build their body with this workout routine and some of them shared their results on Stronglifts website:

This very popular workout program is not invented in the last few years, it is actually inspired by original Reg Park's 5x5 technique from the 1960s.

Stronglifts 5x5 is probably the simplest and most effective workout to build muscle and gain strength. For those who didn't hear about it, this workout will probably look too simple but you must know that complicated isn't always the best option.

On Stronglifts you have three training days per week and only equipment that you will need are barbell and weight plates. You will perform only 5 exercises - Squats, Bench Press, Deadlift, Overhead Press and Barbell Row. Those 5 exercises are the compound movements that are the most effective in muscle building and together they work your whole body. These 5 exercises would be performed in 5 sets of 5 reps on each training day.

The main rule of this workout is to pursue a progressive overload by adding 5lb each workout. That will trigger your body to get stronger which leads to muscle growth. The progressive overload is the most important thing in building muscle mass. Without giving your muscles a reason to grow, they will stay the same, so by increasing the weight on each workout, you are forcing your muscles to grow bigger and stronger. 

StrongLifts 5x5 Week 1
Monday - workout AWednesday - workout BFriday - workout A
Squat 5x5Squat 5x5Squat 5x5
Bench Press 5x5Overhead Press 5x5Bench Press 5x5
Barbell Row 5x5Deadlift 1x5Barbell Row 5x5

StrongLifts 5x5 Week 2
Squat 5x5Squat 5x5Squat 5x5
Overhead Press 5x5Bench Press 5x5Overhead Press 5x5
Deadlift 1x5Barbell Row 5x5Deadlift 1x5

You see how simple it is? There is no simpler workout program and probably no more effective workout than this one. Try it out for 8 weeks and see will it work for you. 

2. German Volume Training

Best Full Body Workout

Workout routine like StrongLifts 5x5 and many other full-body workouts can give the best results to beginning lifters but GVT provides the best results in muscle gains for advanced lifters that are trying to break the muscle growth plateaus. 

German Volume Training has been used by bodybuilders, powerlifters and Olympic lifters in order to reach new training goals and pack on more muscle. It is a time-tested training system which can help you to achieve massive muscular growth.

The main principle of GVT is simple, subject your muscles with enough volume to force them to grow. 

Other basics of German Volume Training are:

  • Go hard with compound movements (Bench Press, Squat, Overhead Press, Deadlift, Rows)
  • Perform 10 sets of 10 reps for each primary exercise
  • Do not train to failure on any of the sets
  • Start with 60% of your 1 RM (rep max) and only add weight if you are able to perform 10 reps for each 10 sets
  • Train the antagonistic muscle groups (Chest and Back, Biceps and Triceps, Quads and Harmstrings)
  • Slow and controlled eccentric phases (3-4 seconds depending on the exercise)

The following is the sample GVT program:

Monday - Chest and Back

Bench Press - 10 sets of 10 reps
Chin Ups - 10 sets of 10 reps
Incline Flyes - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
One Arm Dumbbell Rows - 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Tuesday - Legs and Abs

Squats - 10 sets of 10 reps
Leg Curls - 10 sets of 10 reps
Weighted Sit Ups - 3 sets of 15-20 reps
Calf Raises - 3 sets of 15-20 reps

Wednesday - Rest

Thursday - Arms and Shoulders

Dips - 10 sets of 10 reps
Dumbbell Curls - 10 sets of 10 reps
Dumbbell Lateral Raises - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Bent Over Lateral Raises - 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Friday - Rest

Saturday - Repeat the cycle starting from Day 1 (Monday)

3. Arnold's "Golden Six" Workout Routine

The Golden Six Workout Routine

When you search for Arnold Schwarzenegger's workout routines on the web you can find many body part split routines but that is not how this legend of bodybuilding built his impressive physique. Before Arnie started experimenting with steroids he used only full-body workouts to build muscle mass. He was a huge fan of Reg Park and his already mentioned 5x5 workout program and later he created his own full-body workout called "The Golden Six". 

The Golden Six is a workout program that is based around six main exercises and it was often prescribed by Arnold Schwarzenegger for his clients that wanted to build muscle mass fast.

Check out the sample Golden Six Routine:

Barbell Squat - 4 sets of 10 reps
Barbell Bench Press - 3 sets of 10 reps
Chin Up - 3 sets of maximum reps
Behind The Neck Press - 4 sets of 10 reps
Barbell Curls - 3 sets of 10 reps 
Sit Ups - 3 sets of maximum reps

Perform a workout 3 times a week by using exactly these 6 exercises and these numbers of sets and reps. That is the whole schebang, much simplier than later workout routines published by Arnold. Don't forget about progressive overload so when the weight starts to become light add more weight plates. 

All these three Full-Body Workouts are good for muscle hypertrophy and you should try each of them for some amount of time. My personal recommendation for beginners is the first one, StrongLifts 5x5, but you should experiment with all three workouts.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Back Workout for Mass - 5 Exercises for Building Bigger Lats

Best Exercises for Lats

If you are looking for the workout to add size and thickness to your back then you are in the right place. This article is about building the body part that is mostly neglected - back. That is because many lifters are interested only in muscles that they can see in the mirror like chest and arms, but they are not aware that they are making a big mistake.

Training upper back muscles including rear shoulders is very important for either proportional and good looking physique and also to have stronger and healthier muscle joints. Focusing only on your front muscles like chest and front deltoids can make your posture look bad and you can also end up with an injury. Also, a strong athlete physique demands developed back muscles same as chest and arms.

Now, check out these photos and think about it. Do you find having big and thick lats attractive? I am sure you do.

Best workout for lats

mass building back workout

Build Bigger Lats

I don't judge anybody, I also neglected my back muscles at the beginning but I hope that I will convince anyone to focus more on training all body parts equally. Legs too, don't avoid leg day or you will end up looking like a rooster.

Okay, back to lats. The latissimus dorsi often referred as just lats, is the biggest muscle in the upper body. The most effective way to build big lats is to get stronger by performing compound movements like pull ups and rows and progressively add more weight as you get stronger. Progressive overload is the best way for natural people to build muscle. 

Pull ups are a bodyweight exercise that is probably the best option for building bigger lats alongside with bent-over rows. Contrary to popular belief, wide-grip pull ups are not that good for bigger lats because of the shorter range of motion. The pull up with a shoulder wide grip is the best pull up option and most effective for lats development. 

Did you ever see anyone that can do up to 20 bodyweight pull ups in one set and that doesn't have thick and wide lats? Yeah, me neither. Pull ups are mainly a lat exercise but they also hit biceps, especially the underhand variation called chin up.

What's with the rows?

Bent-over and T-bar rows are great mass-building back exercises. Together with Deadlifts and Pull Ups, Rows are enough to fully develop your back. As for grip width, when it comes to bent-over rows stick with the shoulder-width grip which is the most effective for full activation and stretch of the lats. 

The supinated grip (reverse grip barbell row) is shown as great for building biceps and interestingly has the better effect on lats. 

Best Exercises for Bigger Lats

So we covered rows and pull-ups, let's see some other exercises that are great for building big lats:

Perform Reverse-Grip Lat Pull Downs to fully contract and stretch your lats. Stick with the shoulder-width grip and keep your chest high while performing the exercise. 

Seated Cable Rows are also great for building lats. To put more stress on your lats and lower the activation of biceps keep your chest high during all of your back movements. 

Add Close-grip Lat Pull Downs and you have 5 exercises that you should include in your workout for bigger lats.

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Lesson from Pre-Steroid Era Bodybuilders - How did 100% Natural Bodybuilders Train?


This article is devoted to the old-school bodybuilding legends and bodybuilding lessons that we can learn from pre-steroid era natural bodybuilders.

When exactly did steroids come to the market?

The first anabolic steroid use was noticed at the 1954 World Weightlifting Championship in Vienna when it is discovered that the Soviet's bodybuilders were injecting testosterone. A few months later, physician of the US Olympic Weightlifting team tested testosterone injections of three lifters of that time - John Grimek, Jim Park and Yaz Kuzahara.

For all of them, the results were dissapointing and injections didn't cause any muscle gains for them. Results began coming in by 1956 when Nilevar, the first anabolic steroid, was released in the USA for use in wasting conditions. In the 1958 or 1959, Zeigler decided to try the new Dianabol together with Bill March, Tony Garcy and John Grimek.

Natural Bodybuilders
Bill March

There were also people who claimed that the fist Mr. Olympia Larry Scott was also using anabolic steroids - Nilevar in the time when he won the title. He didn't admit back then in the 1960s but he did later but never specified the date when he first used Nilevar. 

Take a look how Larry Scott looked when he won the Mr. Olympia title in 1965:

Steve Reeves - The First Mr. Olympia

Okay, so he was maybe using steroids but what is with the bodybuilders today? They look probably 3 times bigger than Larry Scott. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, the legend of bodybuilding, admitted that he used steroids for some time but alright, he is still a legend and he will be forever. But my point is, look at those Mr. Olympia competitors now, what do you see? I see some big unnatural figures posing there and pretending they are beasts.

I know that I sometimes write about workouts and tips of some steroid users but that is because the real naturals are very rare and the real natural bodybuilders are not famous and respected enough. They are in shade of all these modern bodybuilders. Check out how bodybuilders look today:

Modern Bodybuilders vs Naturals

Maybe some of you that are reading this respect those guys but I must say that they look freakish to me and not aesthetically pleasing at all. The Bodybuilding lost its values by the beginning of Steroids Era.

If you don't agree with me you should stop reading this article right now. I don't want to sound rude, but this really isn't the article for you.

For those guys that think that they will gain this amount of lean muscle mass without steroids, I must say something - YOU WON'T. You will never look like Phil Heath or Kai Greene, not without testosterone injections or any other anabolic steroids.

Also, guys like Lazar Angelov, Ulisses Jr., and Sergio Constance, aesthetic bodybuilders, are on steroids. So, if you aim to get the physique like theirs, you need to start using steroids and wait for the damage of theirs side effects. 

Ulisses Jr. - Totally on Steroids

Lazar Angelov - The Fake Natty

Many of you that are reading this article would know all of this but there still those that don't know such things and should be informed. You will never get those physiques naturally, so focus on following workout routines and tips of natural bodybuilders to build lean muscle mass steady and naturally.

One thing is sure - no bodybuilder or lifter was using synthetic steroids before 1955 because they were not available back then.

What can we learn from Pre-Steroid era bodybuilders:

1. Full-Body Training

Pre-steroid era bodybuilders built their physiques mostly by following full-body workout routines. Training all muscle groups three times a week was just more effective for them and produced more muscle gains. By the beginning of steroids era, the split training became popular and many guys in gyms are lowering their chance of building more muscle mass because they are following the same routines that steroid bodybuilders follow.

One of the most popular old-school bodybuilding workout routine is the Reg Park's 5x5 Workout that was used by many famous bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

You can find this workout program in another article:

Natural Bodybuilders
Reg Park

One of also very popular workout full-body routines is the Arnold Schwarzenegger's "The Golden Six" which Arnie performed in his pre-steroid days. This is very good choice for natural lifters.

You can found more articles on full-body workouts and their effect on muscle and strength gains:

2. Higher Volume

The Natural Bodybuilders used to train like athletes not like this puffed-up bodybuilders of today. Leroy Colbert was the first bodybuilder that build 21 inch biceps totally steroid-free and he said many times that he started to gain more muscle mass when he started pushing the boundaries and performed his workout with a higher volume. He performed 10 sets for each exercise in the time when his arms started growing so fast.

Leroy Colbert

He was not the only one who increased the number of sets from 3 to 6-8. Many other old-school bodybuilders have done that too. Higher volume was the key to their natural muscle building.

I recommend you to try the German Volume Training which includes performing exercises with 10 sets of 10 reps. 

3. Rest and Muscles Recovery

You've probably heard that rest is crucial for building muscle mass and that our muscles grow when we rest after we train and feed them. Old-school bodybuilders used to train on non-consecutive days like Monday - Wednesday - Friday and left their muscles much time to recover which was vital for their muscles gain.

For more information check out these two articles that inspired me to write this article:

5 Bodybuilding Lessons From The Pre-Steroid Era - Healthy Living, Heavy Lifting

History of Steroids in Bodybuilding

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