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Monster build-up (build-up program)

Monster Aufbau (Aufbauprogramm)

Monster structure

Part 3

3 months on the road to personal bests and new muscle mass

Mirror time!

During the last 2 months of our Monster training program, we have focused mainly on strengthening the nervous system and muscles at the expense of balanced muscle growth for an aesthetically pleasing appearance. That's okay. Let's face it, heavy foundational training will build a ton of overall mass, but it can lead to unbalanced development.

Why? By primarily using multi-joint exercises, we tend to focus more on our strengths, rather than our weaknesses. And this is because our bodies were made for survival - not to look good on the beach.

When you perform a set of bench presses, your body doesn't know that you want to build big pecs - it just knows that there's a damn heavy piece of iron in a dangerous position over your chest and that if you don't push it up, it's going to smash your ribcage.

Because of its survival instinct, your body relies on the muscles that are best suited to accomplish this task. If your triceps and shoulder muscles are stronger than your pecs, then they will do more of the work and be stimulated to grow more than your chest.

Phase 3 of the Monster Building Program will be the mirror phase in more ways than one. First of all, this phase will be the mirror image of what we have done so far: the training we will use will be the exact opposite of the other phases (lower frequency, more volume per muscle group, higher reps, more intense training techniques, less rest). This phase will also be the mirror phase because this is the phase during which we train to look good.

The training split

As I mentioned in the previous parts of this program, if you are training mainly for muscle growth, you will train each muscle group less often but with a higher training volume. On the other hand, if you are training for neural improvements, then it is best to increase the frequency with which you train each muscle group while reducing the daily volume.

Since this phase focuses only on maximizing muscle growth, each muscle group is trained once a week, but with more volume (about 12 to 16 sets per muscle group).

To get the most out of this program, we will use an antagonistic split with alternating sets. This involves training opposing muscle groups during the same training session, alternating one set for each of these antagonists. For example, if you are training chest and back on day 1, then the first exercise pairing could be dumbbell incline bench presses (A1) and pull-ups with additional weight (A2). In this case, you would perform a set of exercise A1 (press) alternating with a set of exercise A2 (pull-ups), which could look like this:

First set of A1
60 seconds rest
First set of A2
60 seconds rest
Second set of A1
60 seconds rest
Second set of A2
60 seconds rest
Third set of A1
60 seconds rest
Third set of A2
...etc.

The training split will then look like this:

Day 1: Torso (chest and back)
Day 2: Lower body
Day 3: Workout-free
Day 4: Arms (biceps and triceps)
Day 5: Workout-free
Day 6: Shoulders (front/side shoulders and rear shoulders/trapezius)
Day 7: Workout-free

The benefits of this type of training split are as follows:

  • It ensures balanced development of opposing muscle groups. This reduces the risk of injury while changing your appearance for the better.
  • It allows for greater neural activation of the trained muscle groups. Contracting a muscle after its antagonist has been contracted increases neural drive and thus maximizes muscle fiber recruitment. This leads to a greater force production potential and a stronger stimulation of muscle growth.
  • It minimizes reciprocal inhibition. If you exhaust a muscle group, then it will not present as much resistance when you train its antagonist. For example, when you perform a curl, you are not only fighting against the resistance of the weight, but also against the partial activation of the triceps. If you exhaust the triceps, they will be more fatigued and therefore not provide as much resistance for the biceps.
  • It increases the training density (more volume in less time) without affecting the recovery time of the trained muscle groups. This promotes the onset of an anabolic state, which is conducive to muscle growth.

The methods used

Each training session consists of 3 exercises for each of the target muscle groups. The first exercise is the basic exercise, which we perform with relatively heavy weights. After all, powerful contractions stimulate muscle growth and we want to be strong, not just look strong. Not to mention that heavy training increases myogenic tone, which will make your muscles look denser and harder even at rest.

The first exercise pairing is quite heavy. We use an undulating 7/5/3 load pattern for 6 sets (one set of 7 reps, one set of 5 reps, one set of 3 reps, one set of 7 reps, one set of 5 reps, one set of 3 reps).

Our second exercise pairing involves the primary support exercises, which are still basic exercises and not isolation exercises. For this we will use a reverse pyramid of 5 sets. Two sets of 10 repetitions, two sets of 8 repetitions and one set of 6 repetitions).

The final exercise pairing is the finishing touch - isolation training, which aims to ensure that the target muscles are properly stimulated. For this pairing we will use a specific training technique. Depending on the exercise, this could be regular sets to muscle failure plus additional partial repetitions, double contraction repetitions or isodynamic contrast repetitions. Three sets of this exercise pairing will be performed.

The program

This is a recommended program. You can make substitutions as long as they are in line with the philosophy of the program (in other words, you should not replace bench presses with crossover cable pulls).

Day 1: Torso

Exercise

Sets

Rest

A1

Dumbbell incline bench press

6

7/5/3/7/5/3

75 sec.

A2

Pull-ups with additional weight and parallel grip

6

7/5/3/7/5/3

75 sec.

B1

Bench press with wide grip

2/2/1

10/8/6

75 sec.

B2

One-arm dumbbell row

2/2/1

10/8/6

75 sec.

C1

Butterflys: regular reps + partial reps

3

10-12

1 min.

3 x 10-12 complete repetitions, then partial repetitions over the last half of the movement until muscle failure, then partial repetitions over the first half of the movement until muscle failure

C2

Pulldowns with outstretched arms (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6TfGZF3F38), double contraction

3

10-12

1 min.

Pull the handle to the bottom position, then move it halfway up again and then pull it back to the bottom position. This is one repetition.

Day 2: Lower body

Exercise

Sets

Pause

A1

Front squats

6

7/5/3/7/5/3

2 min.

A2

Romanian deadlift

6

7/5/3/7/5/3

2 min.

B1

Deadlift with wide grip and close foot spacing standing on an elevation

2/2/1

10/8/6

90 sec.

B2

Walking lunges with large steps

2/2/1

10/8/6

90 sec.

C1

Leg presses, full repetitions plus partial repetitions

3

10-12

90 sec.

3 x 10-12 full repetitions, then partial repetitions over the last half of the movement until muscle failure.

C2

Lying leg curls, double contractions

3

8-10

90 sec.

Move the weight all the way up, lower it halfway and then move it all the way up again. This is one repetition.

Day 3: No training

Day 4: Arms

Exercise

Sets

Break

A1

Scott curls with close grip

6

7/5/3/7/5/3

75 sec.

A2

Bench press with close grip

6

7/5/3/7/5/3

75 sec.

B1

Incline bench hammer curls

2/2/1

10/8/6

75 sec.

B2

Tricep press on reverse incline bench with SZ bar

2/2/1

10/8/6

75 sec.

C1

Scott curls with wide grip and set elbows: regular repetitions plus partial repetitions

3

10-12

1 min.

3 x 10-12 complete repetitions, then partial repetitions over the last half of the movement until muscle failure, then partial repetitions over the first half of the movement until muscle failure

C2

Tricep press on cable with a rope handle: double contractions

3

10-12

1 min.

Push the rope down to the lowest position, move it halfway up and push it all the way down again. This is one repetition.

Day 5: No training

Day 6: Shoulders

Exercise

Sets

Break

A1

Push Press (shoulder press with momentum from the legs)

6

7/5/3/7/5/3

75 sec.

A2

Barbell power shoulder lift (shrugs)

6

7/5/3/7/5/3

75 sec.

B1

Dumbbell shoulder press sitting with a hammer grip

2/2/1

10/8/6

75 sec.

B2

Rowing upright

2/2/1

10/8/6

75 sec.

C1

Side raise on cable: regular repetitions plus partial repetitions

3

10-12

1 min.

3 x 10-12 complete repetitions, then partial repetitions over the last half of the movement until muscle failure, then partial repetitions over the first half of the movement until muscle failure

C2

Rear shoulder muscles on the machine: double contractions

3

10-12

1 min.

Move the weight up to the maximum contraction, lower it halfway and then move it all the way up again. This is one repetition.

Cardio and abdominal muscle training

I can hear it now:

"Can I do cardio on this program?"
"Is HIIT okay?"
"Can I keep training my abs?"

The answers are: yes, yes and yes, as long as it's not at the expense of your goals for this program.

When it comes to cardio, you should understand that the more cardio you do, the harder it will be for you to build muscle. This 12 week program is not a fat loss program - it's a muscle building program. If your main goal is to lose fat and get defined, then this is not the program for you. To grow, you need a lot of nutrients beyond your body's basic needs. To lose fat optimally, you need to generate a deficit.

These two goals are therefore mutually exclusive. You can lose fat and build muscle at the same time, which is especially true if you are transitioning from a modest diet to a good diet. In this case, simply transitioning from junk food with little protein to a diet high in protein and high quality foods will allow you to build muscle and lose fat at the same time - at least for a while. The right supplement program can increase your chances of building muscle while losing fat.

However, if you want to build a large amount of muscle, you can't lose a significant amount of fat. Anything you do to lose fat (calorie deficit, tons of cardio, etc.) will drastically reduce your chances of building new muscle. Since the sole purpose of this system is to build as much muscle as possible, then excessive cardio is something stupid. Doing cardio more than twice a week will dramatically reduce the benefits of this program.

As for an abdominal workout, you can do some ab work during each training session. Either at the end of the training session (in this case I would use an abdominal circuit workout) or spread out between the sets of the planned workout.

Supplements to support this phase

As I mentioned in the first two parts of this article series, supplements, although not essential, can drastically increase the efficiency of each training phase.

In Phase 3, the final phase of our 12-week program, the goal is maximum hypertrophy. During this phase you should continue to use the basic supplements (fish oil, a high quality protein powder, fast digesting carbohydrates and post-workout BCAAs ), which I would consider to be concentrated food rather than supplements.

During this phase, it is very beneficial to increase the body's testosterone levels to maximize muscle growth. A high-quality testosterone booster is ideal for this.

Additional magnesium has also proven to be extremely effective during this phase. Taking it in the evening and at night is the best strategy (90 to 95% of all hard training individuals suffer from a magnesium deficiency and this can severely affect recovery, insulin sensitivity and testosterone levels).

I'll say it again: you don't necessarily have to use these supplements to grow, but if you're serious about reaching your full potential, then you should consider these as effective weapons in your arsenal.

Conclusion

As I mentioned in Part 2, the program described in this series of articles has been developed as a 12 week program and it will give you the best possible results when used in this way. However, if you wish, you can use this third phase on its own. However, you should be aware that in this case most of the gains will be hypertrophy gains. If you are interested in maximizing both your strength and muscle mass, then you should follow the entire program and also use the nutrients necessary for growth.

By Christian Thibaudeau

Source: https://www.t-nation.com/training/beast-building-part-3

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