The Elite Physique

Building Muscle Off-Season

building muscle off season

Building Muscle Off-Season is The Ticket to Muscle Development…

Building muscle off-season and bulking are two different concepts. Building muscle off-season is just that, building your metabolically active tissue to enhance your physique, gain strength, and increase your basal metabolic rate. When you put more emphasis on muscle gain in your off-season training, you will gain muscle and fat, although you do not have to gain an outrageous amount of body fat. Nonetheless, your body fat percentage will increase in the off-season and your physique will smooth out. This is due to higher calories and more complex carbs to fuel your workouts and to support your recovery.

Bulking is a misunderstood term. Bulking is simply fattening up. Bulking is when you eat a surplus of calories, more than the body requires. Granted, you do need more calories and carbs in a growing phase, but any excess will only be stored as fat. Keep in mind that more is not always better. Quality will override every time.

If you want to keep your body fat in control and build quality muscle, don’t be afraid to gain a few pounds and see the body fat percentage go up a little in the off-season. As long as you keep your diet quality, the extra fat you add will be easy to remove when it comes time to diet down again.

When it’s time to increase calories, do so slowly, 5-10% every couple of weeks to ensure you are not consuming more calories than your body can use. Increase your carbs and protein slowly also so you are able to stay in control better.

lat pulldown on hammer strength

 

Training and Building Muscle Off Season

Now we are going to cover some techniques on building muscle off-season so you can capitalize on your growing phase. Generally, your best growing format is to train 3-4 days a week with rest spaced in equally. However, many are very eager in their new endeavor and can’t resist but to train more. With this in mind you can train up to 5 days a week and take advantage of some highs and lows to and keep a variety in your muscle building phase. The idea is to combine heavy and light training days with rest.

1.) Heavy Training Day – Lift heavy poundage for 6-8 reps, lifting to muscle failure

2.) Light Training Day – Use 75% of your one rep max and train in the 10-12 rep range to muscle failure

3. Rest – To allow the muscles to recover so they can grow bigger and stronger

This is the training format for building muscle off-season. Don’t make it any harder than it needs to be. You will use the above format each day. Train heavy one day, train light the next, and implement rest the third and start over with training heavy.

For the week, starting on Monday, your training format will be to train two days on and take one day off. Since there are an odd number of days in a week, your daily rotation (which day each body part is trained) will vary weekly.

The best split for off-season training would be:  Back/Calves, Chest/Abs, Back/Calves, Shoulders/Abs, and Arms/Calves.

H = Heavy
L = Light
Rest

Mon – H

Tues- L

Wed

Thurs – H

Fri – L

Sat

Sun – H

Legs

Chest

REST

Back

Shoulders

REST

Arms

Mon – L

Tues

Wed – H

Thurs – L

Fri

Sat – H

Sun – L

Legs

REST

Chest

Back

REST

Shoulders

Arms

Mon

Tues -H

Wed – L

Thurs

Fri – H

Sat – L

Sun

REST

Legs

Chest

REST

Back

Shoulders

REST

Mon – H

Tues – L

Wed

Thurs – H

Fri – L

Sat

Sun – H

Arms

Legs

REST

Chest

Back

REST

Shoulders

Mon – L

Tues

Wed – H

Thurs – L

Fri

Sat – H

Sun – L

Arms

REST

Legs

Chest

REST

Back

Shoulders

…and so on.

When building muscle off-season, always begin with the power movement, also referred to as a compound movement, so you can recruits all the muscle fibers simultaneously. The power movement is the foundation exercise for that particular body part. Once you complete 3-4 sets with the compound exercise, follow up with 2-3 auxiliary movements.

Example:

Legs
Squats Leg Press
Leg Extensions OR Hack Squats
Leg Curls Stiff Deads
Lunges Step-Ups
Chest
Flat Bench Press Flat DB Press
Incline DB Press OR Incline Press
Pec Deck Incline Flys
Back
Dead Lift Low Cable Pulley
Lat Pulldown OR Chins
Bent-over Rows Seated Rows
Shoulders
Shoulder Press DB Shoulder Press
Lateral Raises OR Upright Rows
Front Raises Front Raises
Rear Delt Row Rear Lateral Raises
Arms
Overhead Extensions Rev Overhead Extensions
Skulls OR Decline Skulls
Bench Dips Pushdowns
Wide Grip Curls Straight Bar Curls
Narrow Grip Curls Hammer Curls
Reverse Curls Alt DB Curls

As you alternate body parts each day, you will also alternate heavy and light training with rest each day.

1.) First Step – Get a training log. Be sure to log every lift to note your progress.

2.) Second Step – Find your one rep max for each lift so you can take advantage of your heavy and light training days. Find your one rep max: Click Here

3.) Third Step – You may take a preliminary week to find your one rep max and rep range for each lift.

Heavy Training – Your heavy training day will be focused on mass gain primarily. You will choose one mass builder and 2-3 auxiliary exercises. Do 3 sets in the 6-8 rep range to complete muscle failure. If you can do more than 8 reps the weight is too light and vise versa.

Light Training – Your light training day will still focus on muscle building, but it’s less intense to prevent overtraining or burnout too early in your mass gain goals. Use 75% of your one rep max. Again, choose one mass builder and 2-3 auxiliary exercises. You can do 3-4 sets in the 10-12 rep range to complete muscle failure. Just as with the heavy days, if you can do more than 12 reps the weigh is too light and vise versa.

The key to building muscle off-season is that you must focus on progressive overload each and every workout. This means to either increase reps or poundage, without going over your designated rep range. Following a strict format is very important.

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Most Important Element I Can Share...

Your muscle gain results are a factor of your nutrition, training, and rest. If any of the three get out of balance, adding muscle can be difficult.  Now, if you want my secret sauce to building muscle off-season so you don't gain a lot of body fat, you should download Iron Dolls. It's my step-by-step women's female bodybuilding book. Follow it, and you will transform.

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Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT

Most Important Element I Can Share...

Karen Sessions is an author, competitive natural female bodybuilder, professional fitness coach and nutritionist

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