- 4 Jul 2011
How to Gain 30 Pounds of Muscle in 6 Weeks
By Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D.
Bulging with Basics
Veteran gym rats aside, chances are good you have never heard about one of the most effective ways to build muscular size and strength, no matter how much chrome you have pumped in gyms that look like medical clinics or fern bars. That's because muscledom's marketers hawk personal trainers, designer sweats, da Vincian equipment, convoluted routines, mega supplements and name brand gyms - they sell a ton of sizzle for each ounce of the steak you want. Before the next time you lace up your Reeboks, consider getting big and strong by lifting weights the old fashioned way.
Half a century ago, a decade before Arnold was born, the pioneers of the Iron Game had equipment that was crude by today's standards and none of the food supplements or drugs that have spawned the current crop of bodybuilding and lifting champions. Nonetheless, these hardy souls developed a system virtually guaranteed to pile muscular bulk on even the frailest physique, a system that works as well today as it did then.
Men who have been unable to register significant gains with other routines were suddenly gaining twenty pounds of muscle in a month or two. If you have trouble visualizing these results in bodybuilding terms, look at twenty pounds of lean beef in the butcher shop and picture that much mass added to your chest, shoulders, arms, back and legs. That sort of progress turns befores into afters, transforming proverbial ninety-eight pound weaklings into hunks who no longer have to worry about getting sand kicked in their faces. The system that produces these results is simple, but not easy. It builds real muscle, increases one's strength enormously, and gives the cardiovascular system something more than a tickle in the process. About the only drawback to following this routine is that you will outgrow your clothes.
The nucleus of this venerable program is one set of squats - twenty reps in the set, to be sure, but just one set. Additional exercises are incidental, two or three sets of several other basic exercises at most, and the general caution is to err on the side of doing too few additional exercises rather than too many. With one set of squats plus a couple of sets of bench presses and bent over rows as the prototypical routine, these workouts hardly compare to the half-day affairs common to today's bodybuilding and lifting stars or to what's hyped in the glossy muscle magazines. Make no mistake about it, however, this one set of 20-rep squats is not your ordinary cup of iron tea: Whatever our recipe might lack in complexity of volume will be more than recouped in intensity.
In addition to the 20-rep squats, trainees are advised to eat a lot of wholesome food, drink at least two quarts of milk a day, and to get plenty of rest in between the twice- or thrice-weekly workouts. That's it: one set of 20-rep squats, a couple of other basic exercises, plenty of good food, milk and rest. But, oh, those squats!
The specific approach to the 20-rep squats is nearly as simple as the overall program. First, load the bar to what you normally use for ten reps. Now, do twenty reps - no kidding. Second, every single workout, add at least five pounds to the bar. These two elements are what separate the men from the boys and produce results, by simultaneously embracing the two cardinal principles of weight training: overload and progressive resistance.
The overload principle states that unless you do more than you are used to, you won't build muscular size or strength. All those training cliches like "no pain, no gain" reflect the overload principle. By requiring twenty reps with your normal ten-rep poundages, you are forced into overload mode. The principle of progressive resistance goes back to Milo of Crotona, who carried a calf a given distance each day in ancient Greece - as the calf grew, so did Milo, getting bigger and stronger for his efforts. Adding five or ten pounds to your squat bar every workout simulates the process of carrying a growing calf and most people, urbanites especially, find it more convenient.
Back to the squats!
Taken from pages 21-23 of Super Squats
by Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D.
Copyright Randall J. Strossen, Ph.D