What is the bodybuilding goal: lean, mass gain or dry muscle? There is no such thing as a bad bodybuilding training program for men, it’s just that you mustn’t set the wrong goal!
Other factors are important, such as the duration of the training, the number of repetitions to be done at each session in order to progress, and which loads to choose according to your level or objective.
These are all questions to ask yourself in order to start a program properly and to be sure of the intensity and recovery times. Basically, we all want to gain muscle. Then, to pass a milestone, either we decide to gain mass, or we go to the dry.
How do you know if you should gain mass, gain dry muscle or dry out?
Gaining mass means gaining muscle mass even if it means gaining some fat mass. This is an objective reserved either for very thin men (ectomorphs), or for already muscular bodybuilding enthusiasts who want to take a step forward.
If you are not in either of these two cases, you risk gaining too much fat with a mass gain program.
When in doubt, always choose the “dry muscle” or “dry mass” goal.
Dry muscle is about building quality muscle without fat.
Ready for dry muscle gain?
Dry muscle gain is about refining your physique by reducing your body fat as much as possible while maintaining your muscle mass. The goal is to get rid of the last layer of fat that prevents you from seeing the muscles that are well detached and thus appear more voluminous.
Other types of men’s bodybuilding programs exist (hardcore GVT, shred, HIT…) and are more specific. They can be used on an occasional basis to cycle and change the routine for more advanced bodybuilders. However, they should not be used on the long term because they are very stressful for the muscles.
What training exercises will help you reach your goals?
A men’s weight training program is always aimed at building muscle, but depending on the goal, it may be more suitable for building mass, gaining dry muscle or getting lean. Each type of men’s weight training program is designed to stimulate the muscles in an optimal way, taking into account the specifics of each objective.
- Cardio to strength training ratio
Some programs include only strength training, others only cardio, and still others a mix between the two. If you want to gain mass for example, your men’s weight training will be 100% weight training. Cardio is not recommended, as this activity is incompatible with gaining mass. Cardio can be used on an occasional basis if mass gain is poorly regulated and is accompanied by excessive fat gain that must be controlled. If your goal is to gain dry muscle, you should focus 75% on weight training with a small 25% cardio component right after the weight training session, between 15 to 20 minutes. Finally, if you want to get leaner, the cardio and weight training portions will be almost equal: 60/40. Because the combination of both
weight training + cardio is more effective on fat elimination than cardio or weight training alone.
- Isolation exercises VS basic exercises
Basic exercises (polyarticular) are the most effective for building muscle mass. They involve several joints and allow you to gain strength. For example, squats, bench presses, neck presses, deadlifts, pull-ups, etc. On the other hand, for dry muscle, even if you continue with the basic exercises, to maintain muscle volume, you combine them with isolation exercises that target specific areas and thus improve the shape of the muscle.
- Intensity of training
Intensity is an important factor to understand that applies to men’s weight training in general. Adding intensity can mean increasing either the loads, the volume or the frequency… If the frequency is high, the loads are medium. If you do a lot of sets and reps, you won’t be able to do it with heavy loads either. If you use heavy loads, you won’t be able to train too often to give your muscles time to recover.
How often should I train?
It is during the rest phases that your muscles develop. However, a male bodybuilding workout tires and stresses the muscles, which need to repair themselves. The frequency and duration of training are designed to avoid going beyond your recovery capacity and risking missing out on “muscle overcompensation”. A frequency of between 3 and 5 training sessions per week is recommended, depending on the objective. It is important to respect at least 48 hours of rest per week.
How long should a weight training session last?
The recommended duration of training is from 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes maximum depending on the intensity. Indeed, with heavy loads, you should shorten the duration of the weight training for men, while with more moderate loads you can lengthen it. However, you should not exceed 1 hour and 20 minutes at the risk of compromising anabolism and causing catabolism. A session that is too long is stressful for the muscles and generates a drop in testosterone and a secretion of cortisol. Rather than lengthening the session, it is better to apply intensity techniques (superset, degressive…).