Last year I managed to gain 15 pounds of lean mass. From 165 LBM to 180 LBM. I am 6' 3/4". I estimate my natural LBM limit is 200 (if I do not use steriods, which I have no intention of using).
Last year I did a routine anchored by the deadlift, squat, bench press, and military press. All exercises were performed at 2X5. I increased weight as soon / often as I could.
This year I was going to modify my routine a bit and use a Hepburn routine I came across. I plan on following this for Deads, Squats, Bench, and maybe Military press.
My goal is to gain 5-10 pounds LBM in the next 12 months. Will this routine get me there?
Start by doing a series of warmup sets. You don't want to do too many because they'll tap into your reserves, and you're going to need all your reserve strength to complete this workout. Three or four sets are usually enough. Once you're warmed up, select a work weight that's a bit lower than your best single and proceed to do five singles with it. After you finish that, drop back 50 pounds and do five sets of five. You may think that's a lot of sets and reps, and you're right. That's why this program only works for advanced lifters. The routine for one exercise will take about an hour and 15 minutes to complete. You can do your warmup sets and the first couple of singles quickly, but then you have to slow your pace for the final singles and the sets of five. You'll discover that the fives are more demanding than the singles, but they're really the meat of the routine. They help expand your base and push the singles higher. On the squat and deadlift the difference between the singles and the fives should be more than 50 pounds – 75 or 100 might be more appropriate. You can determine that by trial and error.
Here's how the Hepburn routine would play out for someone who's benching 335: warmup sets of 135x5, 225x5, 275x3, 295x2, then five singles with 325, followed by five sets of five with 275.
Assuming you were successful in using the above numbers, the next time you do Hepburn's routine, your lifts will look like this: warmups of 135x5, 225x5, 275x3, 300x2; five singles with 330; five sets of five with 280. Notice that the numbers on both the singles and fives move up only five pounds.
The key to making this routine work is to always make all of your reps, and I mean every one of them. Should you fail on any of your sets, you must stay with those same numbers the next time you do the routine. Any hedging, and you won't make the same progress you would if you stuck with the regimen religiously.
I tried it this morning on the deadlift. I did single reps @ 495. I failed on the 5th rep. I did sets of 5 @ 405. I only completed 3 sets.