My next training journey to gain muscle mass

Hi, my name is Javier.
I am 40 years old and I am 1.83cm tall. After a strong diet and a lot of cardio I have lost a lot of weight (18kg, from 96kg to 78kg), but I have also lost muscle. My goal now is to gain muscle mass but trying not to gain weight and losing the fat that I still have left.
I started using Freeletics a few weeks ago and I am about to complete the “ Fit For Life” training journey. I normally train 5 days a week and at home. I don’t want training that includes running because my knees are affected, for cardio I use an elliptical bike at home or go out on the mountain bike one day each week.
My question is which training journey to follow from now on to achieve my goal, I am hesitating between these ones:

  • Dumbbell Strength ( *Cardio * Muscle ***): It seems very appropriate for gaining muscle, but I don’t know if it will be too technical or repetitive for a beginner. The sessions are a little longer, which in principle is not a bad thing for me because the ones I am doing now seem short.
  • Everyday Strength ( Cardio* Muscle***) : It also seems very appropriate for gaining muscle but it says that it has “advanced exercises” and it is still too technical for a beginner like me.
  • Weights Free Gain ( Cardio* Muscle***): It seems a very good option for me but I don´t know if it will be too technical or if it gain less muscle mass than with dumbbel strength.
  • Explosive strength ( Cardio** Muscle**): In the description it says “you gain muscle without gaining fat”, which is my goal, but however it only has two muscle points, in the others it says 3.

Let’s see if anyone who has made them could recommend me.

On the other hand, my current equipment is plates dumbbells up to 20kg (10kg each dumbbell). Would you recommend buying more plates to reach more weight or also getting a weight bench? Or will what I have be enough for now?

Thank you so much.

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Hi @javiervazquezmoreno , congrats on your weight loss journey!

I think the dumbbell gains would be a great option, but you would need more dumbbells and a bench to really take advantage of everything it has to offer.
I have done the weight free gain, and was quite surprised by the results. If you stick to a strict diet, and add dumbbells in the equipment section, it could be a great combo.

I felt like the journey is really good to build muscle with heavy bodyweight exercises like pull ups and push ups progression, but it lacked of the HIIT/cardio side to keep the fat off.

If you can, maybe the weight free gain (add the dumbbells in the settings as available equipment), and try to run once a week or do an extra GOD workout?

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Thank you very much for your answer!
So do you think the weigh free gain will be better for me?
Aren’t they very technical exercises for a beginner? The thing is that in the description it says that it is based on advanced exercises.
Thank you so much.

Hi Javier, I actually haven’t done the other journeys you suggested so I can’t really say.
The weight free gain had some more complex progression, but the Coach will adapt to your current level, and it knows what you’re capable of doing.
It will make you progress towards harder exercise for sure. Building your strength up throughout the journey.

You can always try a week to see how it looks like! Always remember to give accurate feedback to the Coach and your training will adapt.

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Thank you very much @TomG !

Anyone who has tried “Dumbbell Strength” and the “Weights Free Gain” could recommend wich one is better to gain muscle mass for a beginner?

Thanks a lot.

I have tried both the ‘dumbell’ and ‘weight free gain’ programmes. Although I admit that I quit the dumbell programme midway through as it was very repetitive and I started to lose interest!

The coach will adapt exercises based on your feedback so it will attempt to keep up with the pace you are working at. You can always check the daily schedule and if you feel it’s going to be too difficult or easy you can request it to adapt the workout.
Unfortunately I didn’t notice much muscle gain with the ‘weight free gain’ programme despite adapting my vegetarian diet and monitoring my macros. I have now gone onto the ‘hybrid’ programme.

Overall, my personal view is to try the weight free gain programme as this has a varied amount of exercises to keep you motivated, whilst building your core and functional strength to allow you to progress onto more advanced exercises. I wouldn’t worry too much about the ‘technicalities’ as you can always adapt exercises to your comfort level e.g seated push ups or band assisted pull ups. To really gain muscle mass you need to add challenging stimulus which can be done with bodyweight exercises but arguably better with added weights. So far, I’m only one week into hybrid and it seems positively more challenging then either of the above two mentioned programmes! Good luck and main thing is to keep enjoying the workouts :slight_smile:

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Thanks @gemmapritesh !!

Hello Javier,

I would recommend the Dumbell gains but you will need to have a bench and some weights. The program will adapt to the dumbells if you only have smaller dumbell sizes by adding more reps so that is no problem.

Remember that gaining strength will take time because your muscles take time to built. It will probably take more then one journey to see results. Just do the excercises 3-4 times a week and make fun whenever you want. Results will come.

And yes, I have done both programs.

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Thanks a lot @ruudduits
It seems a good option. Maybe I´ll try to do 4 days of Dumbell Gains with freeletics and two days of cardio each week (combinating one day of elliptical at home with another one of Mountain Bike).


Hi Javier.

So I have completed the weights free gain as my first journey and I am 6 sessions away from finishing tye dumbbell gain.

Both are good journeys for muscle definition, in my case I didn’t gain much weight, maybe a lot of body recomp (here is wishful thinking).

In the case of dumbbell gain, I missed a lot the cardio part. Hence I added runs in my rest days, I workout 3 times a week. I am not very clear on the weights you have available, that being said, I would recommend a wide range. If you have upto 20kg, that is fine but make sure you also have lower ones, as the last stage focuses on high reps and low weight.

I was limited by my dumbbells. I have pairs from 1 kg to 10kg. 10 kg is way too low so I ended up having high reps throughout the second and third part of the journey. That made sessions 2 hours ling which wasn’t a problem but also not the best. So make sure you have some in-betweens on those 10 and 20 plates. You need a bench as some exercise require it, there are options like a yoga ball or others but those can bring back pain, so best to get the bench.

Weights free gain was very nice. I have practice sports all my life but was out of shape, the coach did tailored to this and by then end I was cutting (at least) 50% of time in my god workouts and I definitely felt more strong, although that didn’t exaclty translate to the weighting scale.

I have seen comments in these two journeys saying that one or the other focus on upper body, that was not my case. Everytime I had lower body and upper body intervals, with WFG focusing the god workout on full body routines.

Bare in mind that with dumbbell gain you can play with you HR. If you manage to stay within zone 2 and keep rest at a minimum, you will burn fat and somehow increase your aerobic response. So its a balance, I am not an expert on this but I have read my share of articles to see the impact of zone 2 training (albeit this is tailored for runners).

My recommendation, dumbbell plus cardio on you rest days but do get more plates and a bench.

As for my next one I am deciding between explosive strength and maybe a rerun of WFG, I jsut don’t have the dumbbells to make the best of dumbbell gain journey.

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Thanks a lot @sergiofajardo . I´ll follow your recommendation!

Hi Javier. The program is important, but don’t forget two important aspects in the process: first, to buid muscle, you need a proper diet, and you have to make sure you reach a razonable protein goal (talking about natural foods that have protein, like fish, white meat, eggs, soy… and so on). Second, you have to get away from your confort zone. In order to build muscle, you have to train near failure. Of course you won’t do this in the first sessions, but, with time, if you don’t do this, it’s Hard for you to see your muscles continue to grow. Cheers.

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Thanks @antoniomota2004 , I take note!

Hi Javier,

They are both excellent journeys for building muscle. Im just about to complete my 3rd WFG and each time the journey has been very different and challenging. I was pretty new to exercising when. I started and found that if you give the coach accurate feedback the the sessions build you up to the more complex movements. I’m planning my 3rd dumbbell journey next as while I find the exercises more repetitive it’s great for fixing imbalances as I’m very right sided.

Good luck whichever you choose and I honestly think the journeys complement each other over the longer term. Enjoy!


Thanks a lot @Paul1 !