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The Winter Bulk: Mass Workout Routine


Building mass in the winter is second nature to most bodybuilders, who use the lull in competitions and cold weather to maximise their training and pack on size. Before summer rolls back around and you want to get your larger frame out and on display, you’ll need to hit the gym hard to pack on size.

Don’t worry – MaxiNutrition (Formerly Maximuscle) has prepared an easy-to-follow winter bulk routine that employs lots of compound lifting to help throw on size quickly. However, before you start, you’ll need to keep the following tips in mind.maxi

Eat more (healthy) calories

When you’re bulking, eating at a caloric surplus is vital – you can’t grow without food. However, you can’t throw food down your throat with no regard for its nutritional profile. While protein is vital for muscle gain, you also need to keep eating healthy food. Swap refined carbohydrates for wholegrains, fizzy drinks for water and sweets for greens. Bulking season is no excuse to pig out on poor quality food.

It’s also a great period to start supplementing your diet with protein drinks to help up your calories and support your work in the gym.

Rest more

Rest is so vital to the muscle building process that it can almost make you feel like you’re being lazy. Without enough rest though, your muscles can go into a state of catabolism as a result of the stress hormone, cortisol. Rest helps your muscles repair – so get plenty in. It’s winter after all.

Compounds are king

Despite the isolation split favoured by many gym-goers, the best way to pack on mass is to perform heavy compound lifts. These promote the greatest release of testosterone, as they recruit the most amount of muscle groups. Bicep curls won’t get you huge – but deadlifts, squats and bench can.

The 4 week program

The following is a sample 4-day-per-week program that can be used throughout winter. Because mass is the goal, we’ll be cycling through a two-week ‘strength routine’ followed by a 2-week ‘volume’ phase to maximise gains.

During the plan, you should ensure you’re lifting close to failure. What this means is that you should feel fatigued by the last few reps of each set. If it’s easy, it isn’t working.

The first two weeks of the program see you performing heavier lifts for around 6-8 reps at 70-80% of your 1 rep max.

First 2 weeks

Fit rest days in where desired. In the second week, up the weight amount anywhere between 1-5kg.

Day 1 – Back

  • 5 x 8 Barbell Shrug
  • 5 x 8 Dumbbell Raise
  • 3 x 8 Deadlift
  • 5 x 8 Bent Over-Rows
  • 3 x 6 Pull-Ups

Day 2 - Chest

  • 5 x 6 Bench Press
  • 5 x 8 Pec Flys
  • 5 x 6 Incline Bench
  • 5 x 8 Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

Day 3 - Legs

  • 3 x 8 Barbell Squat
  • 5 x 8 Leg Extension
  • 5 x 8 Dumbbell Lunges
  • 3 x 8 Front Squats

Day 4 – Arms and Shoulders

  • 3 x 8 Military Press
  • 5 x 8 EZ Bar Bicep Curls
  • 5 x 8 Overhead Tricep Extensions
  • 3 x 8 Chin-Ups

Second 2 Weeks

This phase focuses on volume to induce hypertrophy. Ensure you’re lifting a weight that leaves you fatigued by the end of each set.

Day 1 – Back

  • 5 x 12 Barbell Shrug
  • 5 x 12 Dumbbell Raise
  • 3 x 10 Deadlift
  • 5 x 12 Bent Over-Rows
  • 3 x 10 Pull Ups

Day 2 – Chest

  • 3 x 10 Bench Press
  • 5 x 12 Pec Flys
  • 3 x 10 Incline Bench
  • 5 x 12 Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

Day 3 - Legs

  • 3 x 10 Barbell Squat
  • 5 x 12 Leg Extension
  • 5 x 12 Dumbbell Lunges
  • 3 x 12 Front Squats
  • 5 x 12 Seated Leg Curls

Day 4 – Arms and shoulders

  • 3 x 12 Military Press
  • 5 x 12 EZ Bar Bicep Curls
  • 5 x 12 Overhead Tricep Extensions
  • 5 x 12 Dumbbell Shrugs
  • 3 x 10 Chin-Ups

By running this program over the course of a few months, you should start to see great results. Ensure your protein intake is high, as your body can only build muscle in the presence amino acids. You can find a huge range of mass building supplements such as our whey protein shakes and dietary advice around the rest of our site. Hit the gym hard this winter and you’ll emerge with more mass and a better route into the summer shred.