by Jack Delinger (1955)
If you’re having difficulty gaining weight, don’t for one minute imagine you’re the only one with troubles. 80% of all bodybuilders go through the same trials and tribulations as you. Out of this vast number, a mere half-dozen will solve their problems through sheer luck. They’ll hit on the right combination of sets, reps, exercise and rest through the process of trial and error, and after many months of effort have gone by will eventually begin to put on the pounds. The rest will waste just as much time floundering around trying this or that routine without the remotest signs of success and will at last give up in despair and disgust.
I’m going to show you a sure way to gain bulk and power and I’m also going to show you how the “hit-or-miss” trainer and the “bulk-gaining failure” could have succeeded. All they had to do was try and completely understand their individual gaining problems, for the simple reason that when every side of a problem is understood, a man almost automatically knows what to do to overcome it. Plenty of people will tell you that your physical type has an influence on the degree of bulk you can obtain, and this is mainly true. Obviously no man with the framework of a Tony Sansone can hope to build the bulk of a Doug Hepburn. But such and individual CAN get rid of his skinny appearance, and gain the right amount of muscular massiveness and proportionate appearance that his frame is able to carry.
As for age preventing you from gaining bulk . . . I can’t go along with this theory either. Modern weight training has made it possible for anyone from 16 to 60 to gain weight. So long as a man enjoys good general health, no matter what his age or physical type, his body MUST and WILL respond.
Failure to gain can be caused by many things, and it is always advisable for a lifter to examine his own case objectively. Is he getting proper food and enough of it? Has he any focal points of infection? Does he smoke heavily? Is he getting sufficient rest? Does he find himself constantly worrying over trifles that have yet to even occur? Any one of these factors can mean the difference between success and failure to gain.
If you have bad teeth or tonsils, have them examined and treated. If you are a night owl, prone to missing sleep, start keeping regular hours. If you smoke heavily, cut down the number of cigarettes daily, or quit altogether.
Perhaps the best thing a bodybuilder can do if he wants to gain bulk is to see that his meals are big and hearty. A nourishing diet is the only way to add weight to your frame. There is no escaping this fact, so determine now that you will fuel your efforts with the proper quantity of healthful food.
You MUST eat three big meals daily and you MUST drink plenty of liquids . . . milk with your meals and milk or fruit and vegetable juices between meals. Your diet should be high in protein. All types of meat should be eaten, starch intake should be stepped up, a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables should be eaten in abundance. In addition to the above changes in your diet, you should make use of weight-gaining and protein drinks prepared in a blender.
Close companion of the adequate diet is the exercise routine. It is useless for you to perform exercises which affect only local muscle groups. Increases in body weight come from OVERALL increases. Obviously you stand to gain more weight if EVERY muscle group in the body is worked than if you exercise say, only your back or your arms. Yet at the same time, such a weight gaining schedule must be planned with an eye to energy conservation. In other words the schedule must use as FEW exercises as possible yet effect affect as MANY muscle groups as possible. This is where cheating versions of compound exercises can be used.
There’s one other factor to take into consideration that some may disagree with. Contrary to popular opinion that low reps build bulk, it is my personal experience that a system of working up to 15 repetitions is best for bulk building. This will create an appreciable appetite for food, and effect changes in metabolism that will lead directly to weight increases . . . through the more efficient utilization of the food eaten.
Take my experience as an example. At the time I made my biggest bulk gains I did six sets of every movement using 15-20 reps. I gained 33 pounds in a 2½ month period. It seemed like each time I stepped on the scales I’d gained a couple of pounds! And let me again emphasize the high reps, which I used with all the weight I could handle in the various movements . . . AND I kept myself supplied with plenty of nutrient-rich foods.
The very best time any man can begin a bulk training routine is right at the start of his lifting career. After he has gained all the bulk he wants he can then begin to specialize for proportion and muscularity. But bear in mind that a bulk program does not imply that you pile on mere flesh. Hard MUSCULAR BULK is what you MUST strive for. Don’t overdo the eating and think it will miraculously turn to muscle. Beyond a certain caloric level all you will gain is fat that will have to be lost at a later date. I have chosen some of the finest movements for building bulk and which form the basis of any bulk training program. The first one is . . .
1.) Heavy Bench Press – Lie on an exercise bench with a barbell held at arms’ length above your chest, hand spacing about an inch from the collars. Lower the weight down with a slight bounce off the chest press it back to arms’ length. As the reps become increasingly tough, bridge up off the bench to press the bar to full lockout. FORCE out each and every repetition. Cheat all you have to and don’t be afraid to take several breaths between reps. Start off with the reps performed in fairly strict style and then bounce and bridge the barbell up to force out the repetitions.
2.) Heavy Cheat Barbell Curl – What your best single curl performed in strict style?
Well . . . take that weight to use as your EXERCISE poundage in cheat curls. Standing, use your normal curl grip, bend forward at the waist, then return swiftly to an upright position, starting your curl at the same time and bending back a little to complete the curl. The motion of the body should assist the curl to the shoulders. Lower the weight back to starting position as steadily as you can and repeat the exercise. This movement, especially the lowering, forces the biceps into growth.
3.) Cheat Bentover Row – Grasp a barbell in your hands as you stand erect . . . your hand spacing should be a few inches wider than shoulder-width. Now bend forward at the waist until your body is level with the floor, forming right angles with your legs. Drop your body down a bit then pull swiftly up to just above parallel position, at the same time pulling the barbell up to the chest. The movement of the trunk and the pull up of the bar should be made together, so that body movement imparts motion to the barbell. Lower the weight steadily down from the chest and repeat the exercise. this is an all-round movement for the back.
4.) Squat – This movement has always been a mainstay of a weight gaining program since it works the largest muscle groups of the body. Take the weight off the squat racks, and spread your hands along the bar wide so the largest shoulder area supports the bar. Take three deep breaths, forcing the air in and forcing it out. On the third breath drop down into a deep squat and as soon as you hit rock bottom, bounce back up to the erect position, breathing out as you do so. Take another three deep breaths and repeat the exercise. Don’t forget to force that air into your lungs and force it out.
5.) Cheat Upright Row – Stand erect with a barbell held in your hands, fairly narrow grip, at full downward stretch of the arms. Lean the body forward a little at the waist and return it with a snap to upright position, at the same time pulling the bar up to the throat. The movement of your body and rowing motion should be made at the same time, so body motion helps with the pull up. Lower the bar down to commencing position steadily and repeat.
In all five of these movements, start off with a poundage you can handle for 9 repetitions and work to 15, 3 sets each exercise. As soon as you can manage the 3 x 15 increase the weight and drop back to 3 sets of 9.