An Intermediate Mass Program
by Anthony Ditillo
During the past eight or nine years of writing for Iron Man magazine I have received many letters from aspiring trainees, all seeking physical improvement in one form or another. By far, the most popular subject on the minds of most young men is the increase of muscle size and all over body mass and power. The routine I am going to outline presently is in direct response to these letters.
This routine is NOT for the advanced man. He would never respond to the amount of work I’m going to advise herein. Being advanced necessitates diversity in performance and volume of work as well as tightening up the dietary schedule, since continued weight gain would NOT be desirable for the truly advanced man who has already gained sufficiently in basic bodyweight.
For the majority of beginners and intermediates, three total body workouts per week seems to be just about right. You will have two heavy days and one medium day, for variety and recuperation. On you two heavy days the movements are heavy and basic. The repetitions are kept low to enable you to use truly heavy weights to ensure mass gains. The first and second sets should be warmup sets. Sets three, four and five are to be performed with all the weight possible for the required reps. Rest no longer than one minute between sets. When sets three, four and five can be done fairly easily, add ten pounds to your upper body movements and twenty pounds to the lower body movements. The entire schedule consists of between twenty-five and thirty sets. Surely this much work can be finished within ninety minutes.
Wednesday’s workout consists of two strenuous freehand movements which will give the joints, ligaments and tendons time to fully stretch during performance and also greatly add to your conditioning and shape. The two sets of Full Squats will enable aerobic conditioning, as well as metabolic stimulation, which in turn will greatly intensify your ability and desire to assimilate protein and nutrients.
Use half your twenty-rep limit for set number one and go for broke on set number two. Do these (as well as the benches) using some type of safety rack or device. Stiff-legged deadlifts should be done lightly and performed fluently for a flushing throughout the entire lower back. It will also give you the lower back development of a gorilla, if you perfect its performance. Wednesday’s workout consists of approximately twenty sets and could be done in one hour, should you care to push it. You could superset the chins and dips to further flush the tissues and also, weight can be added to your own bodyweight as strength permits.
These routines are for the goal of adding muscle size, strength and power for the beginner and intermediate trainee. They are short because rest is necessary for the would-be strongman in order for complete recovery. Believe me, as you progress from intermediate to advanced you’ll have more than enough problems trying to find enough time and training energy to continue to gain. So why jump into this situation prematurely! Better to rest and grow.
As far as nutrition is concerned, I feel a well-rounded diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grain cereals, eggs, fish, poultry and meats, adding on milk and milk products should do nicely for the average fellow. A basic protein powder mixed with skim milk, a few soft-boiled eggs, peanut butter, bananas and a choice of flavoring should work if one is desperate to put on a few pounds.
Finally, I encourage you to believe in yourself and in your actions. For your actions make you what you are and your dreams and plans are possible future actions. Remake yourself continuously.
Monday & Friday (heavy days)
Press Behind Neck – 5 sets of 5-7 reps.
Bentover Barbell Row – 5 sets of 8-10 reps.
Barbell Curl – 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
Lying Triceps Press – 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
Half Squat – 5 sets of 8-10 reps.
On your off days, do four or five sets of calf raises and light abdominal work.
Wednesday (medium day)
Dips – 4-5 bodyweight sets doing all the reps you can.
Chins – the same as dips.
Full Squats – 2 sets of 20 reps as described.
Stiff-Legged Deadlift – 2 sets of 10-15 reps using light to medium weight.
Anyone interested in a personal routine and diet should address all inquiries to Tony Ditillo,