To celebrate the release of The Escape Plan, it's Arnold Week here at Muscle & Fitness! Stay tuned all week for Arnold-approved workouts, meal plans, and tips.
Gain muscle or get lean? It’s an age-old conundrum that plagues physique-builders the world over. To those looking for both it can often feel like the Judgment of Solomon—an agonizing choice that inevitably leads to an all-or-nothing scenario. However, there is a way, but it ain’t easy. yet if you’re willing to put in the effort, lean mass can be yours. The question is: Are you willing—and ready?
The Lean Mass-15 routine is a four-week plan that features a number of advanced training principles designed not just to build muscle, but increase cardio function and burn fat as well. that’s because, with its intense pacing and active rest periods, it’s partly a HIIT cardio routine—just one that also builds muscle.
Because of its intensity, this is not the type of routine you’ll want to follow for more than four consecutive weeks. A better strategy is to substitute it for your regular routine every four weeks, to give your body a chance to recuperate from this program, and because we always advocate switching things up on a regular basis. The body is always adapting to stress placed upon it (that’s exactly what’s going on with muscle growth), so when it begins to get used to LM-15, you’ll shock it with a new routine, and then go back again.
For the next four weeks, you’ll be moving a lot and resting little. Most of the rest periods, in fact, are active, which means about 95% of the 75 minutes you’ll spend in the gym each day will have you in motion. We understand a lot of guys find it hard to carve out 75 minutes for training, while others can manage 90 minutes or more. Don’t worry—this program packs maximum volume into minimum time for a workout that is as effcient as it is productive, and you can adjust the timing of it by slowing down or speeding up the pace. You’ll just need to adjust the weights used.
One other word about this routine: It is designed to elicit muscle hypertrophy, not necessarily strength, although increased strength is a natural by-product of any kind of resistance training. However, while it’s been said that a stronger muscle is a bigger muscle—and there is a general truth to this statement—it needs to be taken in proper context. A well-trained muscle is always going to be stronger and bigger than an untrained one, and it’s pretty safe to say that a guy who can squat 405 for 10 reps is going to have bigger quads than one whose 10-rep max is 135. But when it comes to volumizing muscles, heavier isn’t always better. Case in point: Ed Coan is arguably the strongest man, pound-for-pound, who ever lived. Standing 5'6" at a body weight of around 220 pounds, Coan squatted 1,019 pounds, benched 584, pulled a 901 deadlift, and has held more than 70 world records. Yet while Ed is impressively thick, he’s never carried anywhere near the lean muscle mass of pro bodybuilders of similar height—guys like Dexter Jackson, Branch Warren, Shawn Ray, and Lee Labrada, who, alternately, couldn’t have come near a 1,000-pound squat on their best days. So don’t worry if you’re not turning heads in the gym with the weights you’re using here; you’ll be turning them on the beach. Just remember: If you’ve got time to talk to your buddy about sports while doing the LM-15, you’re doing something wrong.
And check out our Editor-in-Chief Shawn Perine's supplement recommendations.