Action Steps For Creating Muscle Mass And Strength – Part 1

Dennis Weis

Articles, Muscle gain, Strength and performance

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Action Steps For Creating Muscle Mass And Strength – Part 1

Action Steps For Creating Muscle Mass And Strength – Part 1

During the past 40+ years that I have been writing for the various bodybuilding magazines, I have received hundreds upon hundreds of letters (and e-mails) from the readers requesting answers to their bodybuilding problems.

Of all the letters and e-mails, at least 75% are from those who want to get huge and freaky muscle mass and strength as fast as possible. It then seems that gaining muscle weight is still the foremost concern of the average bodybuilder.

A majority of bodybuilders began training because they were below that certain muscular bodyweight that was personally considered ideal. It, therefore, seems that bodybuilders are perpetually on a ceaseless search for greater muscle size, no matter what their body types dictate!

Most bodybuilders also reach a point where they feel their strength would go up in a big jump if they could just add a few pounds of muscle.

Gaining muscle bodyweight should be a relatively simple process, yet, it has always been given the status of a major problem! The down-to-earth concepts of gaining muscle bodyweight have suddenly been dignified with a lot of technical jargon.

It has now become a deep science, complicated with sophisticated advertisements and articles about metabolic programming. Frankly, I find it amazing! You, the average bodybuilder who is underweight and desperately wants more huge and freaky muscle mass and strength, needn’t be frightened by these difficulties.

Like the vastly over-inflated “science of bodybuilding” itself, most of this concern is totally un-necessary. Except for the very few advanced bodybuilders who might lie awake at night worrying about a blurred “cut” in his left pectoral, gaining muscle weight can still be a simple, quick and sure process.

What I propose to do is present you with an encapsulated overview of the very best and proven (anabolic) muscle mass training and nutrition action steps which will accelerate your muscle weight gains and dramatically increase your current strength.

For Part I of this article, take a look at the following (anabolic) muscle mass training action steps that have produced eye-opening second-to-none, muscle mass and strength, results, in the gym-where it counts, for hundreds…even thousands of dedicated hardcore bodybuilders world-wide. I personally feel and think you’ll agree, that ultimate credibility is results.

(Anabolic) Muscle Mass Training Action Steps:

Warm-up with a cardio-respiratory exercise for only 5-8 minutes or so. Stationary cycling, Versa climber, X-Country Skier (Nordic Track), stair stepper, or rope skipping (start with a slow cadence and work up to a relatively brisk pace the last minute or so).

Generally the acquisition of size and strength is accomplished by performing anabolic Neuro-Muscular-Activation (NMA) Exercises such as:

MAJOR Muscle Groups: Thighs B-Bell:Back or Front Squats, 45° Machine Leg Press Traps B-Bell: Cleans, Shrugs Lats B-Bell Bent-Over Rows Lower back B-Bell: Deadlifts, Chest B-Bell: Flat Bench Press, Incline Bench Press

MINOR Muscle Groups: Delts B-Bell: Press Overhead, Triceps EZ Bar: Close-Grip Bench Press, Biceps B-Bell: Curls

Do not do more than the listed number of exercise sets and reps for the myofibril and mitochondria zone programs (or any program for that matter), you’ll create an environment for over-training the muscle.

The myofibril zone rep (where 4 to 8-9 explosive and focused reps can be performed) tempo or speed should be performed in a rapid-fire 2 seconds or less (½ second) in the positive phase and 5-10 seconds in the negative phase (matching the tension to the strength).

Pro-TipPrior to the beginning of the positive phase-starting point and/or completion of the negative phase execute an exercise in Dead Stop Rep (DSR) style. Pause for a full 4 seconds at the starting point of each consecutive rep (or every 3rd rep at the least). Doing so increases the IGF-1 receptors in the muscles.

The selection bias exercises this technique works well with includes and is not limited to: Bodyweight Only Sissy Squats, Calf Machine Heel Raises, Barbell Stiff-Legged Deadlifts, Barbell Shrugs, One-Dumbbell Pullovers, Barbell Bent-Over Rows, V-Handle Seated Low Pulley Cable Rows, Dumbbell Flyes, Incline One-Arm Dumbbell Lateral Raises, Barbell Triceps Extension Overhead, Incline Dumbbell Curls and Palms Up Barbell Wrist Curls etc.

Pros And Cons To Consider:

Pros: Doing the DSR will eliminate the momentum factor (the kill switch of muscular tension), and stimulate a 2-way muscle and strength gain factor. 

Cons: Non improvement of quickness and power.  And the Dead Stop Rep style of training is generally effective for only 6 workouts.

The mitochondria zone rep, (where 10-12 to 15 and more reps can performed) tempo or pace should be performed slowly, deliberately and rhythmically. There are no “pace-break” pauses at any point during a rep or between them.

TECHINICAL LIMIT PRINCIPLE:  If a photo-sequence and/or film freeze frame analysis were conducted, on select workout repetition levels, it should optimally reveal a proper bar pathway (aka-geometry of bar movement) to be exactly (identically) the same for the 1st through to the final rep.

The Rep Tempo, speed, (acceleration in the positive/concentric phase and the degree of control in the negative/eccentric phase), will vary but not the biomechanically pathway of the bar for the assigned exercise.

Bodybuilders familiar with negative reps protocol – Only add one negative rep per myofibril zone set.

Depending on your Rate of Fatigue rest-pause approximately 4.0-6.0 minutes between each of the myofibril zone exercises, unless a one series super-set and/or tri-set is indicated in which case there are no rest-pauses.

Rest-pause 1-1.5 minutes between each of the mitochondria zone sets unless a one series super-set is indicated in which case there are no rest-pauses.

When more than one series of a super-set or tri-set is indicated in any training program, rest-pause briefly between series.  Here are some other minimum-maximum rest-pause considerations.

Research reveals that blood testosterone and glucose levels peak at about 20 minutes into a high-intensity workout and then begin to decrease at around 40-70 minutes later. A training session should not exceed 90 minutes max, especially if you want to reap the benefits of the anabolic supercharging growth hormones.

And remember natural testosterone production varies with respect to age as the following graph reveals.

Immediately after you have finished pumping the heavy iron cool down on a stationary cycle or some other piece of cardio equipment for five to six minutes starting at medium intensity decreasing to a lower intensity. A cool down as described will assist in removing lactic acid (ATP) and accelerate post recovery.

Maximum or Cumulative Fatigue Bodybuilding – Make sure the muscles aren’t in a state of fatigue from a previous workout. The metabolic recovery clock in the body needs anywhere from 24 to as many as 72 hours of total rest and recuperative sleep between workouts for muscle restoration and growth to take place.

Muscle biopsy studies have confirmed this fact. The chemical and reserve chemical (necessary for muscular contraction) levels in localized muscle tissue return to normal very quickly after a workout. There is, however, a certain altered chemical energy inner stage in the muscle that can be replenished only with these positive rest and relaxation periods. Recovery must always precede the growth zone.

Here’s what happens when you don’t allow sufficient recovery time:

  • You no longer enjoy your workouts, and as a result you experience unusual physical strain during a routine that used to be just a pleasant challenge.
  • Your muscles do not achieve the desired pump, so it takes you more sets to achieve the proper burn in the muscle.
  • You notice a drop in overall body measurements (though a decrease in body weight without overtraining can also produce this condition).
  • You experience an unexplained performance decrease in training poundage’s.

The workout program provided is designed to overload specific muscle group on particular days (Mon-Wed-Fri). The key to building muscle mass is to train in accordance with your ability to allow for recovery of the adrenals, localized muscles and central nervous system. The adequate intervals of rest days (Tue-Thr-Sat-Sun) provide for this.

Ride the edge recovery tips: If possible implement post workout restorative means such as: self-massage, dry heat sauna (a rise in body core temperature from a session in the sauna can activate growth hormone release), Jacuzzi and hydrotherapy shower.

One of the best hydro restoration (“Scottish”) pulsating showers is to alternate hot water at 115°F to cold water at 60°F for 30 seconds each for 4-6 series.  The shower produces negative ions which assist in cellular level muscle recovery.

Also, back in the day when bath tubs were much larger hot, 106°F, Epsom salt ‘muscle bath’ soaks of 12-15 minutes were a tremendous hydrotherapy alternative.

Performed 4-8 hours after training, on the eve prior to a rest and recovery day, these effective methods will accelerate muscle recovery tremendously by facilitating the removal of lactic acid and other toxin by-products.

Pro-Tip:  After every 10-12 week course of maximal training effort schedule an inactive lay-off aka-“OFF TIME”of one to two weeks from pushing the heavy iron completely and enjoy life.  It is however a good idea to do   some active rest cardio, such as power-walking or hiking etc.

Get at least 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep or more each night. Why?  Because muscles grow during sleep due to GH release which is preferentially secreted during certain phases of the sleep cycle (usually shortly after falling asleep).  You can’t directly program an increase of GH release during a period of prolonged sleep, be it 8-9 or even 12 hours.

Another way, though somewhat unconventional, is to get more GH during the sleep process is by breaking the sleep pattern up into two naps of 4-4.5 hours each.  This way you will get a proportionate increase in HG release.

And if you have trouble getting to sleep take 1-3 mg of Melatonin a half-hour before bedtime (Ref:  Melatonin Transdermal Time-Release Patch at  Also, recent research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reveals that a teaspoon of natural honey consumed 45 minutes to one hour prior to hitting the sack accelerates the sleep process.

Honey increases the activity of serotonin, a ‘calming’ neurotransmitter in the brain   In addition honey sends a signal to the brain to curtail the release of orexin (a substance that promotes mental alertness i.e. keeps the brain awake during the day and can interfere with falling asleep at night).

RELAX… AND BUILD MUSCLE MASS FASTER: Don’t forget the benefits of relaxation.  Many champions of iron agree that 3 hours of relaxation during the day is equivalent to a full night of restful sleep.

Power naps also benefit the relaxation process. Ted Arcidi, first man to officially bench press 700 pounds, used to take a 1.5 hour nap each afternoon (usually before 3:00 p.m. Naps taken after 3:00 p.m. can interfere with nightly sleep patterns.) when he was in training for those monumental 700+ pound world record bench press assaults.  Your body and mind will benefit from this greatly.

Summed up, relaxation takes stress of the mind and body and contributes to better growth hormone release. So learn to relax more (Don’t be disgusted and angry. Be calm-poised), enjoy life and be GOOD to yourself.  It will pay off in more muscle mass gains.

MIND REPS VISUALIZED Become a Master of Training. With laser (metaphysical) concentration focus on doing each exercise in a controlled or flawless manner with perfect form (MAX CONTRACTIONS AND FULL EXTENSIONS) and extreme precision This means you should never do repetitions in a jerking or bouncing manner.

DYNAMIC TRAINING FREQUENCY OPTIONS: Choose a training frequency option (for example 2-On /1-Off, 1-On/1-Off repeat frequency) which best accommodates your current daily lifestyle, recovery ability tolerances(localized muscle and central nervous system), major and minor muscle groupingpreferences, and number of training sessions dedicated to select muscle groups.  Here are 15 more-Dynamic Training Frequency Options. 


Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
Quads Back Delts Off
Hams Traps Triceps
Calves Chest Biceps


Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Quads Chest Back Triceps Off
Hams Delts Traps Biceps
Calves Abs

OPTION 3: 2-ON, 1-OFF/2-ON, 2-OFF

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Legs Delts Off Back Chest Off Off
Abs Triceps Traps Biceps


Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6
Legs Delts Off Back Chest Off
Abs Triceps Traps Biceps

OPTION 5: 3-ON, 1-OFF/2-ON, 1-OFF

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Quads Chest Back Off Delts Traps Off
Abs Triceps Hams Calves Biceps


Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Quads Chest Back Delts Hams Off Off
Calves Triceps Biceps Traps Abs


Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Days 9-10
Quads Delts Off Back Hams Off Chest Triceps Off
Abs Traps Calves Biceps


Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Days 9
Chest Delts Off Quads Chest Off Delts Quads Off
Calves Arms Hams Calves Arms Hams
Abs Abs Back Abs Abs Back


OPTION 9: Every-Other-Day SPLIT

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Back Off Back Off Quads Off Back
Chest Triceps Hams Chest
Delts Forearms Calves Delts

OPTION 10: Push/Pull 1-ON, 1-OFF/1-ON, 1-OFF/1-ON, 2-OFF

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Quads Off Back Off Chest Off Off
Hams Biceps Delts
Calves Triceps

OPTION 11: 1-On, 2-Off/1-On, 3-Off (6 Week Rotation)

Week No. Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
1 WOA Off Off WOB Off Off Off
2 WOC Off Off WOA Off Off Off
3 WOB Off Off WOC Off Off Off
4 WOA Off Off WOB Off Off Off
5 WOC Off Off WOA Off Off Off
6 WOB Off Off WOC Off Off Off

 OPTION 12: 2-On, 1-Off (9 Week Rotation)

Week No. Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7

OPTION 13: 5-On, 2-Off (3 Week Rotation)

Week No. Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7

OPTIONS 11-12-13: Abbreviations: WOA, WOB, WOC symbolizes muscle group(s): WORKOUTS A, B, and C

The Final Comment…For Now 

By following the guidelines and suggestions set forth in this article, you will be able to make the most of what you have to work with when it comes to training for muscle mass and strength results.

Look forward to the second part of this article where I will share (anabolic) Nutrition action steps !

Pax vobiscum or Peace be with you,

Dennis B. Weis

Dennis B. Weis is a Ketchikan, Alaska-based previous top level titled Power-Bodybuilding champion. He is also a hard-hitting, uncompromising freelance professional writer and investigative research consultant in the fields of bodybuilding, nutrition, physiology, and powerlifting.

During the past three decades he has established a small but dynamic one-man business to service male and female bodybuilders, fitness buffs, and powerlifting enthusiasts of all types with very personal (one to one or mail order), and highly professional instruction on all phases of physical excellence.  He has coached literally hundreds of select clients, one of the most notable being a personal training advisor to the 1983 Miss Minnesota winner.  One of the training tools he uses as a personal trainer is the revolutionary and famous Samra R.E.S.T. Principle.