For many of us in the bulking season, the Christmas period is an ideal time to continue putting on mass - owing to the cold weather preventing the beach-bodies from being unleashed, and who can resist Christmas dinner and the endless turkey sandwiches that follow? However, as it is essential for any kind of muscular growth, the muscles need to be worked in different ways, as opposed to the same routine week in week out. In this article I look at a couple of routines that can be added into your training to keep working towards those gains!
The first routine I would recommend is a personal favourite of mine, and is great for adding volume to the muscles, and that is using the set-rep range of 10x10 for the major exercise for each muscle. Choosing the right weight for this routine is essential, and is usually around 15% off your maximum weight. For example with chest press, if your max is 80kg (4 reps), for the 10x10, 65kg will provide the perfect amount of resistance and challenge, but will also lead to one of the best pumps you can get at the gym, from my experience. Intensity is key in this routine, with rest time between 30seconds to 1 minute, depending on personal muscle fatigue, is adequate time. Incorporating 10x10 on flat bench, incline and decline in one session, amassing a total of 300 reps, is a great way of adding volume to the chest, and getting a great pump – note this method of training isn't necessary every week of training, but instead once every 3 or 4 weeks.
For a routine with fewer repetitions than 10x10, the following routine is a great way to push on past the one rep max and add some serious bulk. Working off a 4 week cycle starting with 4 sets of 4 repetitions in the first week, through to 4x3 in the second week, then 4x2 in the third, finishing with 4x1in the fourth week, while increasing the weight by about 5kg or 10kg each week . The following cycle will then start with the weight used in week 2 in the previous cycle, for 4 sets of 4 repetitions, and so on. This method is especially apt for heavier compounds like deadlifts and squats – and have helped me personally to break past my previous one rep max limits.
It is important to remember that not every method will work for everybody, and it is often necessary to find what methods work best for yourselves, however if you are at a dead-end or looking for new methods to try, then the afore mentioned routines are highly recommendable in my opinion – and here's hoping everyone's training continues well over the festive period!