When aiming to build muscle, We all want a muscle building program that’s easy to follow and helps us get the best results. Muscle building programs come in all types of design and there are many variables to look at. But one thing that stands out to me as a huge benefit in muscle building programs is when they are designed with workout phases.
A muscle building program that’s designed with phases is usually more user-friendly because the program is flexible and you get a better understanding of what you are doing. In such programs, each phase usually runs for a certain amount months and designed to do something different for your body or has a specific method to help maximize your results. This type of program structuring allows lots of flexibility with when and how you can use the program and what you can use it to do. As an example, one of the best muscle building programs designed in phases that I’ve come across is VIMB.
This program is designed with 3 phases (every 2 months) that has a different program structure that impacts the muscle and fat loss differently. This allows users with different needs and goals to use the program accordingly to get what they want out of it. For example, a beginner can go through all three phases of the program to transform their body. And if you are an experienced lifter who is already in decent shape, but need to maximize definition or gain strength without size, you can jump right into the advanced phase that allows you to do that.
Also, working out in phases allows you to control excess body fat. It is in your best interest to take an approach where you alternate getting lean, with putting on mass, because your body fat levels can quickly get out of control when you do too many months in a row of just gaining muscle. For example, you can workout for mass for 2-4 months and then make sure to get lean (1-2 months) to see how much of that mass is actually muscle. This is an ideal approach.
Here is a Short Summary of the Workout Phases In VIMB.
Designed for quick muscle gains, by focusing on the higher rep range and limiting rest periods in between sets. This creates “cumulative fatigue” where each set builds upon the previous set. The growth in this phase is largely due to sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. This is an increase in the fluid (sarcoplasm) within the muscle cells.
“Hardening up” the muscle gained from phase I while continuing to increase muscle mass (but now at a slower rate). We are focusing now on the mid rep range with longer rest periods. Each set is separate from the previous set and now we are maximizing tension and avoiding “cumulative fatigue”. This rep range and rest schedule build actual muscle fiber (myofibrillar hypertrophy).
Pure density training for maximum definition while purposely avoiding further muscle growth. You will be doing sets in the 2-4 rep range and rest long enough in between sets to lift heavy weights. There will also be a focus on HIIT to lose any excess body fat. This isn’t a bulk and cut program, but you will simply try to get really lean in this phase.
This is a strategy used after a period of time in phase III to get what I like to call the “Shrink Wrap Effect”. You begin this phase 3 weeks before an event or vacation. This will make the skin tight around the muscles for maximum definition, and this is long lasting (NOT like carb-depleting and carb-loading). See a review of the program here and decide whether this is a program that would work for you.
Photo credit: @zacsmithfitness Instagram