mass gaining

mass gaining

The term "mass phase" in bodybuilding stands for a period of time in which both training and diet are designed to achieve an increase in body mass. The build-up of mass should help to increase muscle mass, but keep the associated build-up of fat within limits.

In addition to proper training, building mass also includes proper nutrition and the right supplements. What you may not know yet: The sleep factor also contributes to successful mass gain.

Let's start with the training.

What are the characteristics of the right training for building mass?

Strength athletes who quickly build up extraordinary body mass almost exclusively perform complex basic exercises, i.e. difficult compound exercises.

Exercises for building mass

  • The chest bench press
  • Squats for the legs
  • Shoulder presses for the shoulders
  • Deadlifts for the back
  • Barbell rowing
  • Barbell curls
There are also other exercises such as pull-ups and dips, which are conducive to mass building.

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Regular exercise

Regular training is also important, otherwise you will not be successful with your exercises. The term supercompensation sums up well why only regular training brings the desired effect. Supercompensation is to be understood as the ability of the human organism to adapt, which, as a result of an intensive training load, leads to an increase in performance and muscle mass.

Training intensity

It is also necessary to use a certain training intensity so that the above-described adaptation processes are set in motion. A slightly supra-threshold stimulus must be brought about by means of the training load, then the body begins with the desired adaptation processes. That means you have to push your limits in training. If you reach muscle failure at the end of your training set, you have fulfilled an important requirement for building mass. Training to failure addresses muscle protein synthesis and much more so than training that is not performed to failure.

Duration of the training

Exercise duration is another important factor in successfully building mass. A training session should by no means last longer than 60 minutes, otherwise the hormonal environment will change to your disadvantage. In the first 30-45 minutes of training, more anabolic, i.e. muscle-building hormones such as testosterone and HGH are released. After this period, however, the level of the catabolic, i.e. muscle-degrading stress hormone cortisol increases. This would rather prevent rather than promote mass build-up. So a training duration of about 45-60 minutes is absolutely sufficient and will have a positive effect on your muscle mass.

The training volume

The total amount of stress stimuli within a training unit is referred to as the training volume. There are two different approaches here. The term "high volume" describes a high training volume. The term "high intensity" stands for a low volume with high training intensity at the same time. Since everyone is different, you just have to try out which approach works better for you.

The following number per workout and body part is recommended:
  • Arms - 6-9
  • Chest - 9-12
  • Shoulders - 6-9
  • Legs - 12-15
  • Back - 12-15

Proper nutrition for mass building

Training alone is not enough if you want to build up mass in a targeted manner. Proper nutrition is an essential component in this process. The body needs sufficient nutrients and building blocks so that it can gain muscle mass after intensive training.

The nutritional balance should look hypercaloric. This means that you have to get more calories from your diet than you use. This creates an excess of calories. It is helpful if you know about your own calorie consumption. Because if the calorie intake is too large, the whole thing can backfire. A calorie calculator can calculate your basic and total calories burned based on your activity and taking your personal data into account.

What is essential here is the total turnover, as this determines the limit to the calorie surplus as the sum of activity and basal metabolism.
But it's not just the calories themselves that matter, you should especially consume high-quality foods that provide valuable calories.


Proteins are the alpha and omega of building muscle, but they are not the only criterion for a mass building diet. An excess of protein is actually harmful as it is said to have negative effects on kidney function. At least if proteins are consumed in excess. In a person with healthy kidneys, with a protein intake of 2.8 g / kg body weight per day, no deterioration in kidney function is to be expected. A common recommendation for athletes who want to build up mass is a protein intake of 2.0 g / kilogram body weight per day.


Fat also plays a role in building mass. From an energetic point of view, it delivers the highest calorie density. With this in mind, fat is of particular interest to people who have difficulty gaining weight.

Fatty acids can be divided into three categories:
  • saturated fat
  • monounsaturated fatty acids
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids
All fatty acids are important for a healthy diet and mass building. Saturated fats have a bad reputation, but moderate intake of these fats helps maintain testosterone levels, which are known to be important for building mass.

When consuming polyunsaturated fatty acids, you should pay attention to the correct ratio. Because omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids can cancel each other out in their effects. The omega 6 fatty acids should be in a ratio of three to one to omega 3 fatty acids.


Since carbohydrates are energy sources, they are important for performance. They also fulfill a valuable function: They are signal transmitters for the anabolic hormone insulin. The anabolic properties of insulin are essential for building mass. Because without insulin there is no muscle building. It acts as a transporter for nutrients to the muscle cells and at the same time suppresses the muscle-degrading stress hormones that can occur in the form of cortisol after a workout, for example.

If you consume around 3-5 g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per day, your carbohydrate intake will be approximately sufficient.


It is also very important that you treat yourself to an adequate supply of micronutrients. These are not only important for building mass, they are essential for keeping your whole body healthy. Micronutrients, also called vital substances, include minerals, vitamins and secondary plant substances. For the most part, our body is not able to produce these on its own. It is all the more important to have an adequate intake through diet. Because of their activity, athletes in particular have a high need for micronutrients and the risk of a deficiency is high.

So it is important that you eat fresh fruit, vegetables and salad every day and possibly take nutritional supplements so that you are adequately supplied in this area.


In order to gain mass, it is important to choose the right supplements. This term refers to dietary supplements that can support you in your goal of gaining mass.
First of all, protein powder should be mentioned. You can mix this into a protein shake and thus have well covered your daily protein requirement. This helps build and maintain muscle mass.
Creatine is also an important supplement that has been shown to increase your physical performance. Creatine is worth its weight in gold, especially for intense short loads, for example as part of a speed strength training. A daily consumption of approx. 3 g is recommended.
The weight gainer is a suitable supplement that you can take in the morning or after training. It combines carbohydrates, proteins and in many cases also creatine and other substances, so that you are well supplied with all important substances.
In addition, dietary supplements with amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals are important in order to effectively support you as an athlete.

Sufficient regeneration

It is also important that you make sure that you give your body enough time to regenerate. Because with every training session, the body is exposed to high levels of stress. If you train too often and too hard, you end up overtraining, which leads to excessive demands, but not to mass gain.


Getting enough sleep is a growth factor. In this sense, your lifestyle habits also play an important role in achieving your goal. Because a variety of psychological and physical regeneration processes take place during sleep, which are crucial for your health and even for building mass. Because the muscles need the opportunity to grow. This happens at rest, in regeneration periods. How much you should sleep cannot be said in general. The human need for sleep is very different from person to person. Usually about 6-8 hours are considered optimal.

The interesting thing is that too much sleep can be just as harmful as too little.

Long-term lack of sleep, at least, has serious consequences for mass gain and your health. For example, this can result in your cortisol levels increasing during the day. As a rule, cortisol levels are highest in the morning and then level off again during the day. When there is a chronic lack of sleep, the body produces an excess of cortisol. This ensures the breakdown of muscle mass. Basically, the body always increases the production of cortisol when you are suffering from psychological or physical stress. For this reason, you should learn to love your health and mass building, learn good stress management and avoid unnecessary stress.

Getting enough sleep is also related to testosterone and other growth hormones. As mentioned above, testosterone promotes mass building.

However, it is not only important how long you sleep, but also that you sleep well. For this, darkness is necessary, because in the dark the production of the sleep hormone melatonin is favored. In addition, of course, a comfortable mattress that is adapted to your body and also a low level of background noise are important in order to be able to sleep really relaxed.

So: Not only sport and training are important for building mass, sleep, regeneration and a break are also important. Then you will achieve your goal of building mass.