Can you gain 10 lbs of muscle in one month? The answer is both YES and NO. You can gain 10 lbs of weight in a month, and that weight doesn’t necessarily need to be fat, but it wont be lean muscle mass either. The explanation lies in the two types of hypertrophy.
The first one is called sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and it represents an increase in the non-contractile muscle cell fluid, called sarcoplasm. This fluid accounts for 25-30% of the muscle’s size. The sarcoplasm consists of nutrients, glycogen, capillaries, and mitochondria proliferation.This type of hypertrophy is mainly a result of high rep, high frequency “bodybuilding-type” training. Although this looks like gained muscle, it doesn’t do any functional work – there is no strength increase.
The second one is called myofibrillar hypertrophy and it represents enlargement of the muscle fiber as it gains more myofibrils, which contracts and does all the functional work – creates tension in the muscle.With this type of hypertrophy, the area density of myofibrils increases and there is a significantly greater ability to exert muscular strength. This type of hypertrophy is best accomplished by training with heavy weights for low reps.It represents around 65-75 % of the body’s muscle mass.
If you haven’t trained with high volume until now, you can increase your muscle mass for 10 to 20 lbs (depending on your genetic potential) in a month or two using the sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. You will train all body parts twice a week doing 10-12 sets a body-part, using low weights, low intensity and 10-12 reps per set. Choose one of the splits listed bellow:
Monday – Chest/Back
bench press – 8 sets of 10-12 reps
pull downs – 8 sets of 10-12 reps
dumbbell fly – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
dumbbell row- 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Wednesday – Legs
Squats – 6 sets of 10-12 reps
leg extensions – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
lying leg curl – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
abs – 5 sets of 10-15 reps
Friday – Arms/shoulders
Barbell curl – 5 sets of 10-12 reps
Close grip Bench press 5 sets of 10-12 reps
Lateral raises 5 sets of 8-10 reps
Bent over lateral raises 5 sets of 8-10 reps
Monday – Upper body
Tuesday – Lower body
Thursday – Upper body
Friday – Lower body
The bad news is that sarcoplasmic fluid takes only 25-30% of the muscle mass. This means that in a short time you’ll stop growing if you don’t add weight to the bar. And this is the point where most of the newbie lifters get stuck, (remember, in sarcoplasmic hypertrophy there is very little or no strength increase involved ) which means it’s almost impossible to increase working weights.
In conclusion : 10 lbs of sarcoplasmic weight in a month can be gained, but a better solution is a smart routine, where low reps and high intensity will be used for myofibrillar hypertrophy. High volume phases (high rep ranges, more sets and lower intensity) will be used once the strength levels are high enough.