How To Use P90X To Build Mass

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Guys have a thing for mass. It’s hard to explain, really, but boys seem to grow up wanting nothing more than to be big. Guys want speedboats and trucks, and they want to look like the Hulk®, regardless of what their wives may think of green skin. If this sounds like you, here’s the article you’ve been looking for: customizing P90X for mass.

Even if mass is your only goal, make sure to read the other articles in the series on customizing the X. The principles discussed in these articles will be put to use here. To look like the Hulk, you don’t need to be a physicist who’s accidentally exposed to gamma rays, but you do need to consider science as we know it, particularly the question, “What is mass?”

What is mass?
Because many of our Success StoriesFormer Competitive Bench Presser Loses 28 Pounds in 60 Days. Read more ... », not to mention Tony, aren’t exactly skinny, we must begin by defining mass—something most of you are looking for more of. Physics-related talk about inertia, gravity, and force aside, as we’re using the term here, mass simply means size. As in the root of the word massive. A program targeting mass is concerned with one thing: muscleSee How I Gained 20 Pounds of Lean Muscle with P90X. Read more ... » growth (from here on in referred to as hypertrophy), and a lot of it. In a training cycle for mass, we should target hypertrophy even at the expense of other fitnessCIZE and Shakeology: Fun. Nutrition. Results.. Read more ... » goals. P90X is not a system designed for mass. It’s designed for overall fitness, which means that ultimate gains in targeted areas, like speed, strength, flexibility, and muscle growth, are compromised to provide a program that improves all your body’s physical energy3 Day Refresh and Shakeology: Break Bad Habits. See Success.. Read more ... » systems during one 90-day effort. We feel that this is the preferred training system, because it addresses the big picture. But if your picture is quite literally being bigger, you’ll need to read on.

Foundation
You’ve read about the capacity for improvement throughout this series, so here’s where I tell you to do a round of P90X as it’s designed before embarking on a mass-specific program. It’s healthier, sure, but it’s more than that. Training all of your body’s energy systems until they’re running efficiently increases your body’s ability to do, well, anything. And “anything” includes looking like Lou Ferrigno. Once you’ve done a round of the X and aced your Fit Test, the foundation has been laid. You’re ready to start gettin’ big.

Resistance
Tony loves the word specificity. He often uses it when referring to exerciseIs This the New Celebrity Diet?. Read more ... » movements, but we’re going to use it to refer to the equipment you’ll need. With mass as your goal, you’d better acquire specific resistance equipment. The simplest form is weights; however, mass can also be created by using other forms of tension, like resistance bands. The bottom line is that if mass is your goal, you’ll need to have more weight available than you’ve been using. Body weight and plyometric movements can be used effectively for strength training, but strength and hypertrophy are not synonymous. To make hypertrophic gains, you’re going to need to find ways to make your body fail at a given number of repetitions. You’ll want an array of weights and bands, and some extra devices like ankle and wrist weights, or a weight vest, to add resistance to all the movements you’re doing.

The difference between size and strength
Hypertrophy training simply increases the size of the muscle. Strength training increases the efficiency of the muscle. Large muscles have a greater capacity for strength. Absolute strength is the ability of the muscle to use all of its muscle cells for movement. People in sports dependent on strength-to-weight ratios target high muscular efficiency in their training, whereas those in sheer size-dependent sports will focus more on hypertrophy. Most sports are somewhat dependent on both size and strength, which are ideally improved during different cycles of training.

Periodization
The periodizational concepts that have been discussed in previous articles need to be explained here before a mass schedule is created. Remember that a standard schedule would look similar to this:
Foundation phase (Power 90® or what you did pre-X) + block 1 + transition/recoveryWhat is a Recovery Workout?. Read more ... » + block 2 + transition/recovery + block 3 + recovery = peak (final Fit Test)

The difference here is that we’re going to structure an entire training cycle based only on hypertrophy. This means we won’t be setting up a peak phase. Over a long period of time, you’ll want to teach your muscles how to function more efficiently. We’ll get to this at the end. For now, we’ll just say that there’s still a periodizational approach to consider. You’ll still adapt, gain, and plateau over time, so we’ll need a structure to keep this happening. But the structure will be dependent simply on rep schemes (the number of repetitions that you target to bring you to failure) and progressive overload. The blocks of our 90-day schedule will each target a different number of repetitions, which you’ll want to aim for to induce failure. But because we’re not changing the schedule much, and thus creating less Muscle Confusion™, we won’t need such frequent recovery phases.

Progressive overload
Hypertrophy is all about creating progressive overload. To create muscle growth, you must keep stimulating the muscles during each workout. This requires that you add weight as necessary to create failure at similar points in time. (We use reps as a reference point but the actual measure is force over a given amount of time.)

Recovery
The more we can focus on hypertrophy, the more muscle we’ll gain. Since we only have so much energy to expend, this means we should spend less time working on other areas. This is where you’ll see the biggest differences from the traditional P90X schedules. When you’re not training for hypertrophy, your entire focus should be on preparing your body to create more hypertrophy. Therefore, the P90X mass schedule will have a lot of active recovery and flexibility work and very little intense cardio. This means we’ll spend more time recovering during each training block and taking fewer periods focused solely on recovery.

Putting it all together
Before we get to the schedule, here are some general things to consider. The first is pacing. Instead of following the kids in the videos, target your rep scheme (and push pause when necessary). Do each set to failure, or as close as you can get, without exceeding your targeted number of reps by more than a couple. If you lack enough weight to induce failure, try slowing down the movements so that you’re holding your contraction long enough that you’re fighting the pump. The force over time equation only works if you’re pumped silly. With this in mind, do not use the pause button simply to increase the time between exercises. You want to be pumped through the entire workout. No pump = no growth.

A good way to choose the resistance for each movement is to use enough so that you can only do the lower number of your targeted rep scheme. Once you can do the higher number, it’s time to increase the resistance. Do your repetitions slowly and with control. Speed is for power, not size. Focus on perfect form and only add weight when you can do each rep with great form. When you’re done, you’re done. You don’t need to finish an entire workout if you’re struggling. Once you lose the ability to move the weight or do the move in strict form, stop the workout. Any further training would only create more breakdown than you could recover from and increase your risk of injury.

Your dietPiYo Diet: Get the excess fat off you!. Read more ... »
You won’t be burning as many caloriesHow Many Calories Should I Eat?. Read more ... » as you would during the Classic schedule of the X. If you eat the same amount, you may gain more mass, but you’ll also gain more body fatHow to Reduce Body Fat Percentage. Read more ... ». This might or might not be acceptable, so pay attention and adjust your diet as necessary. If you want mass, then you need to eat enough for your body to put on weight.

Block 1, phase 1
Weeks 1 through 3
• Day 1: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps
• Day 2: Cardio X, Ab Ripper X
• Day 3: Legs & Back
• Day 4: X Stretch; Ab Ripper X or AbsHow to get rid of your muffin top. Read more ... »/Core6 Moves for a Six-Pack, An Isometric Core Workout from Tony Horton. Read more ... » Plus (from P90X® Plus)
• Day 5: Back & Biceps
• Day 6: Yoga10 YOGA POSES YOU MUST SEE TO BELIEVE. Read more ... » X
• Day 7: Off
Targeted number of reps: 8 to 12 (focus on 10 to 12)

Block 1, phase 2
Weeks 4 through 6
• Day 1: Chest & Back
• Day 2: Cardio X, Ab Ripper X
• Day 3: Shoulders & Arms
• Day 4: X Stretch; Ab Ripper X or Abs/Core Plus
• Day 5: Legs & Back
• Day 6: Yoga X
• Day 7: Off
Targeted number of reps: 8 to 12 (focus on 8 to 10)

Recovery Block
Week 7
• Day 1: X Stretch
• Day 2: Yoga X
• Day 3: Core Synergistics
• Day 4: Kenpo X
• Day 5: Yoga X
• Day 6: X Stretch
• Day 7: Off
Block 2, phase 1
Weeks 8 and 9
• Day 1: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps
• Day 2: Cardio X, Ab Ripper X
• Day 3: Legs & Back
• Day 4: X Stretch; Ab Ripper X or Abs/Core Plus
• Day 5: Back & Biceps
• Day 6: Yoga X
• Day 7: Off
• Day 8: Chest & Back
• Day 9: Cardio X, Ab Ripper X
• Day 10: Shoulders & Arms
• Day 11: X Stretch; Ab Ripper X or Abs/Core Plus
• Day 12: Legs & Back
• Day 13: Yoga X
• Day 14: Off
Targeted number of reps: 6 to 10

Block 2, phase 2
Weeks 10 and 11
Same schedule as weeks 8 and 9
Targeted number of reps: 4 to 8

Block 2, phase 3
Week 12
Same schedule as weeks 8 and 9
Targeted number of reps: 4 to 6

Final note: This is an entire cycle of training based only on hypertrophy. To have an athletically efficient physique, you should do other training cycles that target different goals. Even if your only goal is hypertrophy, training these other systems properly will improve your body’s physical systems and increase your capacity for muscle growth, as well as the speed at which you can add or shed muscle and fatHow to get rid of back fat. Read more ... ». So while you can tweak and reuse this basic structure over and over, it will also benefit you to get back to basics and do P90X Classic from time to time.

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