Jump to the routine

Dennis James’s Mass-Gain Diet and Training Program

This is how James prepped for his final pro show.

Jump to the Routine
  • 5 Days

  • 29

  • No

Dennis James
Kevin Horton / M+F Magazine
Dennis James
Kevin Horton / M+F Magazine

The Flex Mass-Gain Diet

Training is only a small part of the battle in the pursuit of more size. To get big, you need to eat big. Follow the sample daily plan below to help you add the mass you desire.

Meal 1

  • 3 whole-grain pancakes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 slice fat-free cheese
  • 1 slice turkey bacon
  • 1 glass orange juice
  • 8 oz low-fat milk (2%)

Meal 2

  • 2 scoops whey protein
  • 1 low-fat bran muffin

Meal 3

  • 6 oz flank steak
  • 2 cups pasta, cooked with tomato sauce
Dennis James's 10 Tips for Building a Massive Physique

Dennis James’ 10 Tips for Building a Massive...

Adopt these fundamental training and nutrition tactics to build summer muscle.

Read article

Meal 4

  • ½ can white tuna in water with 2 tbsp low-fat mayo
  • 2 slices whole-wheat bread
  • 1 apple
  • 8 oz low-fat milk (2%)

Meal 5

  • 7 oz chicken (1 large breast)
  • 12 oz baked potato
  • 1 cup peas or corn

Meal 6

  • 1 scoop whey protein mixed with 16 oz low-fat milk (2%)
  • 2 to 3 slices whole-grain bread with low-sugar jam

Total Macros

  • Calories: 3,690
  • Carbs: 412g
  • Protein: 286
  • Fat: 95g

The Workout

This sample program—based in part on James’ preparations for his final pro show, the 2012 Masters Olympia, where he finished third—assembles his training tips into one comprehensive weekly workout program.

Routine

Want a copy on the go?
Print

Monday: Chest

Do three to four sets of every exercise listed, pyramiding up the weight set to set, and cycle between two weeks of four-to-six-rep sets and two weeks of eight-to-12-rep sets.

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Exercise 2 of 29

Dumbbell Press

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Exercise 3 of 29

Incline Dumbbell Flye

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
--
Reps
Or flat bench
Rest
--

Tuesday: Quadriceps

Do three to four sets of every exercise listed, pyramiding up the weight set to set, and cycle between two weeks of four-to-six-rep sets and two weeks of eight-to-12-rep sets.

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 6 of 29

Leg Extension

Equipment
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Exercise 7 of 29

Barbell Squat

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Exercise 8 of 29

Leg Press

Equipment
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--

Wednesday: Shoulders

Do three to four sets of every exercise listed, pyramiding up the weight set to set, and cycle between two weeks of four-to-six-rep sets and two weeks of eight-to-12-rep sets.

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 10 of 29

Dumbbell Press

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Or barbell press
Exercise 11 of 29

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Exercise 12 of 29

Dumbbell Front Raise

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
or barbell front raise
Exercise 13 of 29

Barbell Shrug

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Wide or close grip upfront row

Thursday: Back

Do three to four sets of every exercise listed, pyramiding up the weight set to set, and cycle between two weeks of four-to-six-rep sets and two weeks of eight-to-12-rep sets.

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 14 of 29

Pullup

Equipment
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Exercise 15 of 29

Dumbbell Row

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Perform on hammer strength machine if possible.
Exercise 16 of 29

Barbell Bentover Row

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Exercise 17 of 29

One-arm Dumbbell Row

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--

Friday: Arms

Do three to four sets of every exercise listed, pyramiding up the weight set to set, and cycle between two weeks of four-to-six-rep sets and two weeks of eight-to-12-rep sets.

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 18 of 29

Cable Pressdown

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, V-Handle Attachment
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Exercise 20 of 29

Seated Barbell French Press

Equipment
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Perform with an EZ-bar if possible.
Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Exercise 22 of 29

Cable Kickback

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, D-Handle Attachment
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Perform one arm at a time.
Exercise 23 of 29

Cable Biceps Curl

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, Straight Bar Attachment
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--

Saturday: Hamstrings and Calves

Do three to four sets of every exercise listed, pyramiding up the weight set to set, and cycle between two weeks of four-to-six-rep sets and two weeks of eight-to-12-rep sets.

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 24 of 29

Seated Hammer Curl

Equipment
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Exercise 25 of 29

Lying Hamstring Curl

Equipment
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Exercise 26 of 29

Stiff-leg Deadlift

Equipment
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Exercise 28 of 29

Standing Calf Raise

Equipment
Box
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
Exercise 29 of 29

Seated Calf Raise

Equipment
Bench
Sets
--
Reps
--
Rest
--
See all of our tutorials