Best Workout program to gain muscle mass

October 23, 2015
Smith Machine Squat

Exercise Selection. You’ll want to stick to major compound exercises (i.e. multi-joint movements that work several muscles or muscle groups simaltaneously) when devising a GVT program. We’re looking at maximum impact on the body from each exercise (since there will be so few exercises in the program). Exercises like squats, deadlifts, rows, military press are all good choices. Avoid isolation exercises like the bicep curl or calf raise.

Rest Periods. Rest periods for GVT programs are generally 60 or 90 seconds, though it's subject to experience and preference. Some prefer shorter rest periods on the upper body and longer on lower body exercises. The important point to remember is that your chosen rest period is timed and accurate. Failure to keep track of rest times will skew your progressions.

This is a serious training program, so you’ll also need to rest adequately on off days. Aim not to train the same muscle group more than once every 4-7 days.

Sets and Reps. The protocol for the program is 10 sets of 10 repititions. You’ll want to start with a weight that is 60pc of the amount you could lift only once.

Progression. When you are able to perform 10 sets of 10 reps on a particular weight you are ready to move up. Increase the weight by the smallest increment available for the next workout. Do not train to failure.

The Workouts:

The program is divided into three training days. You can select different body part combinations, but I have had the best results with the following program.

You’ll also note that there is an additional, more isolated exercise for each body part. This exercise is still to be performed in the 10 rep range but only for three sets.

(Click on the links to see me take you through how to do the individual exercise.)

Chest & Back

Barbell bench press 10 x 10
Bent over row 10 x 10
Chest fly 3 x 10
Lat Pull Down 3 x 10

Legs & Abs

Forward lunge 10 x 10 (see video above)
10 x 10
3 x 10
Weighted sit up 3 x 10

Shoulders, Traps & Arms

Military press 10 x 10 (see video above)
Upright row 10 x 10
3 x 10
3 x 10

Complete this training program for 6 weeks. At this point you can decide if you would prefer to move on to a less demanding program to allow your body to recuperate, or continue with GVT but lower the volume for a short while (2-4 weeks) before moving back into the 10 rep range.

You can expect some serious size gains with this training program - but remember that recovery is crucial. Do not underestimate the amount of rest you need after these workouts. Take a look at the weeks ahead and really make sure you do not have too many external stressors that would make recovery difficult.

You’ll also need to make sure you eat the right amount of calories throughout your time on GVT. Without a surplus of calories on this program you will struggle to recover let alone gain new muscle mass.

Scott Laidler is a personal trainer and personal development coach based in London. Contact Scott at for personal training and online fitness coaching.

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