I'm trying to do some work out to gain mass and muscles. In order to develop muscles and gain weight:

  • Is it better to do full body workouts day after day or do specific muscle groups every day (monday chest, tuesday legs ...)?
  • Is it better to do workouts with heavy weights or light ones?
  • Is it better to do many sets with few reps or few sets with many reps?
  • Should I do the exercises rapidly or slowly?
  • How is this question, squarely asking for overall programming for body building, a duplicate of a specific question about reps and sets? The "duplicate" question doesn't answer half of this guy's question.
    – Eric
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 20:03

2 Answers 2


Here is a useful table that will help you get an idea of how you should be training:

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To put on as much muscle mass as possible, you should be aiming to utilize the ATP/Creatine Phosphate/Glycolytic energy system. So, 75-85% of your 1RM, 8-10 reps, 3-5 sets, and 1-3 minute rest time between sets.

  • What do the tempo numbers mean?
    – Aequitas
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 22:29

Your current experience matters a lot. I typically start people off by focusing on the major compounds - Squat, Bench, Dead, Pull ups, Overhead Press - first in order to build strength and to not waste time in the gym. This is three times a week. Basically the program Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe (I'd give this a read if your new) but with some slight differences.

When you first start out, you'll be getting really nice linear progression on your weights if you're eating right and nailing every workout so this is ideal. As progression slows down, I switch people over to an upper/lower split twice a week for each. Still focusing on progression and making sure form is great. You can start to add in more volume here but typically, if you're hitting more than 10 reps a set, it's too light.

If you're new, there's a rough outline to follow for your first 6 months to a year.

If you're more experienced, I'd emphasize hitting everything two times a week, but spread the volume out. I've found this allows me to stay leaner, make sure the muscle gets hit hard enough and then has 48 hours to recover (which is about how long muscle protein synthesis is heightened anyways following a workout) and make the most gains.

I've consistently added about 5 pounds of muscle a year after my first year where I put on about 20-25 pounds of muscle. I'm currently 6'3" 225-230 pounds and fairly lean. I could give you and show you all the exercise science studies that I base my workouts around from reading, but I've found that as long as you're consistent the margins of how much of a difference what one workout does vs another is negligible.

Stick to a program. Get heavier or more volume every workout/lift. Eat a lot. Grow.

You can get as fancy as you like, but I've found most people that worry too much about the tiny details like reps and weights and frequencies are the ones that end up quitting or making nearly no gains in any respectable amount of time. You may be different, but this is from 5 years of real world experience here.

Hope this helped!