Natural muscle gain: our best advice! | Eric Flag

Natural muscle gain: our best advice!

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Hi, welcome to my little guide to muscle gain. After writing an article on "How to Successfully Hold in Handstand and Avoid Potential Mistakes“We want to talk about another subject today: that of mass gain.

Honestly, it's pretty straightforward and I can even sum it up for you in one sentence: "To gain muscle naturally, your goal is to get stronger and stronger with the bigger exercises."

If that's all you do, you'll go a long way. After, of course, it is necessary to detail a little that. We will discuss the exercises right after and I will even give you a complete program at the end of this article. So yes, it's all simple, but it's not easy or obvious.


Structure your workouts for your muscle gain

Let's start with the structure of your workouts and specifically the rep range you should be aiming for. That's the fairly standard and recognized table that can help a lot to link objectives to the right range. I specify that it is the table which is addressed to the normal people because, as usual; the rules change if you find yourself in the extremes.


Let's get straight to the point 👉: for effective mass gain, I advise you to spend as little as possible 80% of your time and effort to work large polyarticular exercises for sets between 4 and 8 repetitions. If you wish, you can put at most the 20% who remain in exercises ofisolation or to make a little more volume, and therefore for longer series.

A good session will include four or five different exercises for  3 to 4 sets each. Always start your workouts with the most intense short set exercises because these are the most important and you need to be cool to do them.

Moreover, it is also because of their intensity that they will require more rest time between each series.

The goal is to become stronger and stronger, which will require, over the course of the workouts, to increase the intensity of these to force your body and your muscles to adapt. And it is also precisely to help him do that that you eat excess calories. There are several ways you can do this, but a simple and effective method is to use only the first two as a double progression. (see below)


Here's the principle: you're going to aim to stay within a small range of reps for each exercise in your routine, and as soon as you hit the top, you're going up the total weight. For example, an exercise in the routine that I give you after is: Weighted dips for  three sets de 4 à 6 repetitions. The first few times you do the exercise, you will need to experiment a bit to find out what points you are capable of. But then, it's simple, as soon as one of your sets reaches 6 reps, you increase the weight of your three sets in your next session.

The goal and if today, I do 6, 5 and 4 reps at 15 kilos, in my next session, I will go up to 17 and a half or 20 kilos my three series. My reps will drop accordingly and I can work back up to 6 reps and so on again.

The best exercises for muscle gain

Now you need exercises to apply it to. And here is precisely a list of the most effective, in my opinion, and among which I advise you to choose to create your routines. I separated them by major muscle groups. And we start with the pectorals with of course, the bench et inclined to the bar or dumbbells which, with weighted dips, are the best exercises 👇

The pumpscan be a good exercise, but they are complicated to weight down gradually, in a practical and lasting way 👆

Let's move on to shoulderswith the standing military press et seated

At body weight, the progression of pike pumps to handstand push up, which you can even weight down afterwards, will help make them fat, just like your arms.

Finally, like the front of shoulders is often in great demand, side elevations et leaning forward may help round the sides and back.

We go to Both of you with weighted pull-ups, of course, in pronation or suppination according to what interests us the most. You will find our weight belt ideal for this. 

We add the deadlift, incomparable brute force exercise 💪

Le horizontal print at the bar or with a dumbbell.

For the lower body, there is obviously the squatting at the free bar and its frontal variation.

La leg press, which we often see.

The Weighted Pistol Squats that we see less often, as well as split squats and fentes barbell or dumbbells.

In terms of insulation, why not curls machine as well as, of course, if you are concerned about the size of your calves, to have them sit at the press or stand at the bar.

For the thump and abs, there are of course dozens of exercises, but in my opinion, these are more than enough next to everything else:

The leg raises suspended that you can also ballast.

The crunch weighted to the pulley.

As well as back and forth to the abs wheel.

We quickly end with the arms which in my opinion are already very well worked with bodyweight exercises such as pull-ups, dips and handstand push ups. But if you want to isolate your biceps ou triceps, my two favorite exercises are curls at the bar and elongated triceps extensions which allow progressive overload quite well.

So much for the exercises, as you can see, a lot of free weight, because doing a mass gain purely to body weight without using weight or ballasting, it is possible, but it is slower. It is more complicated to set up, to measure and it is thus less efficient in my opinion, in addition for the lower body, it is really very limited.

I will go over a few more important points again.

How often to train for muscle gain?

For training frequency, in my opinion, 3 à 4 times a week, this is ideal, but it is also to be seen according to the job, the time and the recovery of each one. Because recovery, that is everything you do outside of sport, is also very important. So there is a part of genetics, yes, but there is also a big part over which you have some control, like your nutrition, but also the quantity and the quality of your sleep as well as your level of daily stress. , to name the most important factors.

What about cardio in all of this?

So from the perspective of pure mass gain, it's not very useful, but in moderate amounts, it's not at all a bad thing. And of course, you may need it for some sports that you will be doing in parallel. After that, you should not lie to yourself, be muscular and heavy, it does not help much to run far and for a long time. So, it's up to you to know what your top priority is.

A complete routine for muscle gain

We now move on to the complete routine that I have prepared for you and which concerns rather beginners and intermediates, that is to say almost everyone. It consists of two sessions pushed and pulled to alternate with, if possible, at least one day of rest between each. As shown below, I recommend doing it three times a week or possibly every other day. Here are the details of the two sessions of this routine.







It's pretty much the routine I did myself when I finally figured out how to train and it gave me great results. Of course, the purpose of this article was to help you create your own routine. So, feel free to do it or modify it, especially the isolation exercises according to your preferences or to focus more precisely on your weak points.

And if not, another free and very popular free weight program, the 5x5 Stronglift that you can read about if you want. A very last very important point is that in your workouts you should always strive to do better than the last time. And so, it is absolutely necessary to know what you did the last time and thus to always write down your performances at each session.

This is now the end of this article, thank you for reading me, I hope you find it useful. You can also watch the video related to this topic just here !

See you soon, Eric