Ultimate Mass, infinite_labs
Ultimate Mass, infinite_labs

The Ultimate Workout Guide to Mass

Table of Contents

The Ultimate Beginner’s Workout to Getting Jacked

by: Robbie Durand

Getting bigger in the gym is not like most sports where the more you work at the game, the better you will get. Muscles grow while they are resting.

An acute increase in testosterone occurs with resistance exercise, but prolonged workouts with insufficient rest and recovery can lead to over training and reduced testosterone. This is why getting bigger in the gym is more than being dedicated and performing grueling workouts every day. Doing intense workouts for prolonged periods of time can lead to decreases in testosterone.

ultimate guide to mass, infinite_labsFor example, when subjects performed a high volume resistance training protocol which consisted of 50 total sets of upper and lower body exercise with repetitions of 5 and 10 RM loads with 90-second rest periods between sets resulted in no change in testosterone during exercise and immediately after exercise; shockingly there was suppressed total and free testosterone for up to 13 hours after exercise.

Another study monitored elite Olympic lifters testosterone concentrations to twice daily training for 1 week. Elite Olympic weightlifters trained twice a day using similar volume (> 90% of a 1-RM) but different exercises. The morning session (9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.) consisted of Olympic snatches, clean & jerks, and front squats, while the afternoon session (3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.) consisted of power snatches, power cleans, and back squats. Testosterone started to decrease after the first training day and continued to decrease systematically over the course of the training period. When the training stress was reduced to one training session a day, serum testosterone concentrations started to increase, and after 1 full day of rest, values returned to the pre-training level.

In a way, bodybuilding is like going out for a suntan, if you stay too long, you will get burned! The key is intense and infrequent workouts.

In men, muscle mass and strength are often described as being associated with increased testosterone levels. Testosterone plays a large role in the muscle hypertrophy and strength gained resulting from resistance exercise. If you don’t think testosterone is essential for muscle growth, take a look at this study. One study documented that without testosterone, you can expect impaired strength gains from a heavy resistance training protocol. In the study, young men performed several weeks of performing a resistance training program while receiving a medication that turn blunts the production of testosterone. The strength-training period of eight weeks included exercises for all major muscles (three to four sets per exercise x six to 10 repetitions) and one-minute rest periods between sets. The protocol was designed to cause acute increases in testosterone, which has been validated by previous investigations. The subjects who received the testosterone suppression medication had a decrease in testosterone that was 10 percent lower than that of healthy males, whereas testosterone remained constant in the placebo group.

So here is where the importance of testosterone becomes apparent for muscle strength and weight loss. The group that received the testosterone-suppressing medication showed no changes in strength after training, whereas the placebo group had increased strength gains. Body fat mass increased in the testosterone suppression group while it decreased by 1.3 pounds in the normal group. The testosterone blunting medication group made a small gain in lean mass, but not as much as the placebo group. So this study demonstrates that maintaining or increasing testosterone levels are essential for strength gains.

Factors Affecting Testosterone Concentrations During Exercise

Resistance exercise has been shown to increase acutely total testosterone concentrations during high-intensity exercise. The magnitude of elevation in testosterone has been shown to be affected by the muscle mass involved (i.e. exercise selection), exercise intensity and volume, nutritional intake.

Multi-Joint Exercises Produce Larger Increases in Testosterone

Large muscle mass exercises such as the Olympic exercises, clean and jerk, deadlifts, squats, and jump squats, have been shown to produce substantial elevations in testosterone compared with small muscle-mass exercises. Although most people would rather perform a bench press than jump under a squat bar, the bench press is not going to increase testosterone production like a squat.

For example, researchers investigated the effects of 5 sets of 10 repetitions of bench press versus 5 sets of 10 repetition jump squats, with 2 minutes rest between sets in 12 resistance trained men. Testosterone was raised higher following the jump squat (15 %) then the bench press (7%). This suggests that exercises which recruit the most substantial amounts of muscle tissue will cause the greatest increases in testosterone. For example, squats have been shown to increase testosterone levels more than single joint exercises such as leg extensions. If you are looking to put on size and strength, walk right past that leg extension to the squat rack. Testosterone levels did not increase from pre to post exercise for younger and older men to upper and lower body isolation-type (leg extension) resistance training on a Nautilus machine consisting of 3 sets of 10-repetitions. Contrary to these findings, significant increases in testosterone responses of older and younger men in response to high intensity large muscle mass squat (large muscle mass) protocol.

Squats for Bigger Arms?

For example, one study measured muscle strength changes in the bicep strength following 9 weeks of resistance training. However, one group performed a workout consisting of bicep curls only and a second group performed squats prior to bicep curls. Performing bicep curls exercises only failed to elevate testosterone significantly. However, testosterone was significantly elevated when squats were performed first, and muscle strength increased to a greater extent as well when both lower- and upper-body exercises were performed.

These data provide support for performing large muscle mass, multiple-joint exercises early in a workout and smaller muscle mass exercises later in the workout when training to enhance muscle strength.


3 reasons athletes need creatine, infinite_labsDeadlifts Better than Bench Press

If you go to most gyms, you will see that just about every bench press is being used and the deadlift rack is empty. If you’re looking to increase your testosterone levels, then start deadlifting. It has been reported that significant increases in testosterone occur after deadlifts in college-age men; however, maximal and submaximal efforts in the bench press resulted in smaller increases in testosterone.

You can still perform isolation exercises such as bicep concentration curls, just perform these exercise after the larger exercise. For example, if an athlete performs squats before biceps curls, the biceps may be exposed to higher levels of circulating testosterone. Some of the best multi-joint mass building exercises you can do are: Olympic lifts such as the power clean and clean and jerk, deadlifts, squats, bench press, overhead military press, bent over barbell row, etc

Short Rest Periods Produce Larger Increases in Testosterone

An intense bout of resistance exercise produces acute changes in testosterone which have been linked to those cellular processors involved in protein synthesis and muscle growth. Resistance training routines, that incorporate short rest periods between sets, produce higher testosterone concentrations than training protocols that use the same workload and prolonged rest periods.

For example, male strength athletes performed two different training intensities while maintaining similar rest periods (3 minutes). The first session consisted of:

-Maximal strength training session or power lifting program (20 sets x 1 RM x 100 %),

…while one week later they performed a…

-Sub-maximal bodybuilding training session (10 sets x 10 RM x 70%).

Testosterone levels with maximal training (20 sets x 1 RM) did not change immediately and 1-hour post exercise, however, testosterone and cortisol responses to submaximal training (10 sets x 10 RM) increased during after and 1 hour post-exercise with the submaximal training loads.

It was concluded that high-intensity resistance exercises can stimulate testosterone production, while low-intensity heavy resistance exercise does not. If you perform a high-intensity bout of heavy resistance exercise, regardless of previous training experience, you will increase testosterone production.


muscle mass, infinite_labs

It’s not the Weight, but the Intensity

Testosterone responses to resistance exercise in men are less with power lifting type resistance training protocols than those that use bodybuilding type protocols. One study compared testosterone responses to two protocols, which utilized different intensities of squats, front squats, and leg extensions yet workload remained constant.

-One protocol was a moderate intensity, bodybuilding type protocol (70% of a 1-RM) and the other protocol was

-A power lifting type workout (100% of a 6-RM).

Testosterone responses were higher during and one hour after the 70% protocol compared to the 100% protocol. So now you understand that training intensity should be at least 70% or more to stimulate sufficient rises in testosterone production. Another study compared bodybuilders and power lifters of the same age, size, and experience to an intense resistance training protocol, which shorten rest periods. The experimental sessions consisted of 3 sets of 10 repetitions of 10 exercises with 10-second rest periods between sets and 30 to 60 second rest periods between exercises. Testosterone increased in both groups, but regardless of previous training experience, both bodybuilders and power lifters had similar increases in testosterone concentrations.

In 2006, researchers reported that novice men could boost their testosterone levels by 40% with a three days a week routine. Subjects were assigned to a 4-week sub-maximal strength training routine, which was to be conducted on three days of the week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). All of the exercises were done in 3 sets of 10 reps, with 3 min recovery in-between the sets, and with a weight that was 70-75% of the trainees one-rep max (1-RM).The resistance training routine itself consisted of 7 basic exercises in the following order: bench press, seated-pulley, knee extension, behind the neck press, leg press, bicep curls and tricep pull-downs.

At the end of the study, there was a 40% increase in resting testosterone in just four weeks of training.

ultimate guide to mass, infinite_labsWhy You Should Care About Increases in Acute Hormones

Many studies debate as whether long-term increases in anabolic hormones are necessary for muscle growth, but one of the main reasons involves androgen receptors. When testosterone levels increase in response to resistance exercise, it is the unbound fraction of testosterone or free testosterone that is biologically active and able to interact with androgen receptors (AR). It’s much like a car that is driving around looking for a parking spot (i.e. free testosterone). If there are no parking spots (i.e. androgen receptors), then the car is going to keep driving around looking for a place to park in (i.e. androgen receptors).


The Keys Points of the Article are:

– Bodybuilding programs that incorporate multi-joint exercises are best for increasing testosterone. Squats, deadlifts, jump-squats, and Olympic exercises are all great exercises.

– You should train with a weight that is about 70-80% of your 1-RM and rest between a minute and a minute and a half between sets.

-Power lifting type exercises involving 1 repetition of a maximum weight are not conducive for testosterone levels

-Perform a minimum of three to four sets per body part.

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