Trans4mind Home Page
~ Making the Human Heart Visible ~

Looking for a better life?

Our online, interactive video workshops present the most effective methods of personal development, combined with personal support from expert life coaches.

Explore Article Library

How To Weight Train For Maximum Muscle Gain

By Anthony Ellis

Weight training involves the use of equipment that enables variable resistance. This resistance can come in the form of "free weights" like barbells and dumbbells, machines that use cables or pulleys to help you lift the weight and bodyweight exercises like pull-ups or dips.

Free Weights vs. Machines vs. Bodyweight Exercises

For maximum muscle gain, the focus of your workouts should consist of free weight exercises. Not machines or bodyweight exercises. This is not to say that you should not use machines or bodyweight exercises, but they should not be the focus of your training. To get an effective, muscle blasting workout, you must stimulate the most muscle fibers as possible, and machines do not do this.

The main reason for this is a lack of stabilizer and synergist muscle development. Stabilizer and synergist muscles are supporting muscles that assist the main muscle in performing a complex lift. The more stabilizers and synergists worked, the more muscle fibers stimulated. Multi-jointed free weight exercises like the bench press, require many stabilizer and synergistic muscle assistance to complete the lift. On the other hand doing a bench press using a machine will need almost no stabilizer assistance.

Since machines are locked into a specific range of motion and help to support the weight along that path, they fail to stimulate the muscles that surround the area you are working (stabilizers). This is a mistake. If your stabilizer muscles are weak, then the major muscle group will never grow!

Free weight exercises like the dumbbell press or squat, for example, put a very large amount of stress on supporting muscle groups. That's why you will get fatigued faster and not be able to lift as much weight as you did on the machine. But you will gain more muscle, become stronger very quickly and have a true gauge of your strength.

If you use machines in your program, they should be used to work isolated areas and only after all multi-jointed exercises have been completed.

Beginners should begin with a limited combination of machine exercises, bodyweight exercises and mult-jointed free weight exercises. Before increasing the weight levels, they should work on becoming familiar with the proper form and execution of each. Soon, bodyweight exercises will become insufficient to stimulate growth and they will need to focus on more free weight exercises.

Multi-Jointed Exercises

The exercises that work the large muscle groups are called compound (or multi-joint) movements that involve the simultaneous stimuation of many muscle groups. These compound exercises should be the foundation of any weight training program because they stimulate the most amount of muscle in the least amount of time.

Here are the basic movements:

* Bench Presses (works the chest, shoulders, tricep)

* Overhead Presses (shoulders, tricep)

* Pull-ups/Barbell Rows (back, bicep)

* Squats (legs, lower back)

* Deadlifts (legs, back, shoulders)

* Bar Dips (shoulders, chest, arms)

I cannot overemphasize the importance of these exercises. Do not start an advanced weight training program without them!

They will overload your entire skeletal and muscular system like no machine could ever do, giving you and effective workout in a very short period of time. If you can only do a few exercises, then do these. They have been proven (and not just by me) to encourage muscle and strength gain unlike any other exercises.

Lift Heavy Weight

To build mass, you must weight train with heavy weights. By heavy, I mean a weight that is challenging for you -- not me, or anyone else. To consider a weight heavy, you should only be able to do a maximum of 8-12 reps before your muscles temporarily fail. A weight is considered "light" if you can do more than 15 reps before muscle fatigue sets in.

Heavy weights stimulate more muscle fibers than lighter weights. It's that simple. More muscle stimulation means more muscle growth.

Don't Overtrain

Heavy weight training puts a huge strain on your body, so adequate rest and recuperation after your workouts is essential. If you are prone to train too often, several things happen:

You don't give your muscles enough time to recuperate between workouts. If your muscles have not repaired themselves, you will not be at maximum strength for your next workout. Rest is essential. Other than eating, this should be your main focus.

You are setting yourself up for burnout or an injury. I know you are motivated and excited about working out, but don't be careless. You must pace yourself, you want to be able to keep this up for a long time, not burnout before you reach your goals. I only weight train 3 times per week, that's all. Anymore than that and I would not give my body enough time to repair and build new muscle.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not grow while working out, you only grow when you are resting.

Below is an example mass workout. I did 4 heavy sets for 4-8 reps each.

Wednesday (legs, abs)

* Heavy Squats, leg extension superset

* Seated Calve Raises, 4 strips sets

* Crunches (4 sets of 20)


Friday (chest, shoulder, triceps, abs)

* Flat bench press, incline dumbbell flyes superset

* Shoulder press, side raises superset

* Tricep pushdowns

* Reverse incline leg raises (3 sets of 20)


Sunday (back, biceps, abs)

* Wide grip pull-ups, latbar pulldown superset

* EZ bar bicep curl, incline dumbbell curls superset

* Crunches (4 sets of 20)

Nothing fancy, but effective.

About The Author

Former "skinny guy" Anthony Ellis is the author of Gaining Mass! The most widely used weight gain program in the world. This unique program designed to help people gain weight and build muscle, is currently being used in over 90 countries Click here for more information


Careers & Employment
Grief & Loss
Kids & Teens
Public Speaking
Self Help
Self Improvement & Motivation
Sexual Relations
Stress Management
Travel and Leisure

From our extensive site, you'll find good info on many topics using this search:

A great way to support your Trans4mind Training is to use these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

  • The Next Level ~ Designed to radically boost your performance in any field. It's based on a technique used by top athletes and other successful people to help them make a big stride forward.
  • Create Your Own Reality ~ Use the power of your unconscious mind to transform your life.
  • Deeper Self Respect ~ Use hypnosis to connect with your true inner worth.
  • Detach From Fear ~ Tune out nervousness and anxiety with hypnosis.
  • Generalized Anxiety Treatment ~ Use hypnosis as a generalized anxiety disorder treatment and you can feel calm today.
  • Improving Concentration and Focus ~ Learn how to discipline, direct and command your mind to improve your performance.
  • Exercise Motivation ~ Give you powerful keys to getting back on track with your exercise - and staying there.
  • Overcoming Shyness ~ Provides an invisible security blanket allowing you to develop social ease and overcome shyness.
  • Quick Confidence Booster ~ An audio hypnosis session that's specifically designed to get you (quickly!) back on track.
  • Stop Negative Thoughts ~ Learn powerful hypnotic techniques to stop negative thoughts before they start.
  • Overcoming Procrastination ~ Let hypnosis help you get on with what you need to do, when you need to do it. Let nothing hold you back.
  • Think Thin ~ Use hypnosis to re-train your brain and lose weight naturally... that's how to get and stay slim.
  • Fall Asleep Fast ~ Relearn how to fall asleep fast and enjoy a good night's sleep.
Search on an issue that interests or concerns you...

Trans4mind Training is the best thing we've ever done! It's a series of interactive video workshops covering the key challenges we all face in life - to help you achieve greater inner peace and true fulfillment.
Copyright © 1997-2016 Trans4mind Ltd