This workout plan is not for the faint of heart. Before I talk about how this works for men like myself you have to understand that I started this routine after years of consistent lifting. This is not recommended for jumping right into.
If you are new to the gym and have really not lifted seriously in your life then let me refer you to a great program that I actually cycle back in every now and again for strength gain. This is great to start off and really teaches you form and how to power lift properly. Since power lifting is a pretty significant part of the workout I do it is extremely important that you understand the concepts of proper lifting before you dive into the workout I am going to outline below. Click here to check out my favorite Starting Strength workout.
Why I Created My Own Workout
So as I’ve said before I’m a naturally skinny dude. There’s no doubting this or arguing that it’s easy for me to gain weight, that is why my workout is tailored to packing on size while still gaining strength. A lot of the time this seems impossible. Let me assure you, it is not impossible.
I’ve often come across different workout forums and everyone will be arguing back and forth about what is the best way to gain size. Some people stand firmly behind power lifting and some stand firmly behind hypertrophy. The fact of the matter is, there’s no one magic solution here that will encompass everyone’s needs.
Every person has a different body type and every person is at a different level in their lifting career. This is important to note because many people may perform workouts slightly different, or may not know how to modify their workouts for effective muscle confusion after a few weeks of consistency.
Here’s where my workout is different. I have written this up in a manner that should clearly outline what workouts you should alter in and out of the routine.
Struggling With Muscle Gain
I fluctuate in weight and size a lot when I miss the gym due to injury or sickness. Usually if I begin to hydrate steadily I can narrow my actual weight to within 1-2 pounds. Make sure that you are weighing yourself every day at around the same time. The best time to weigh in is in the morning, no clothes, not full of water if you know what I mean.
There have been times when I’ve lost 15-20 pounds over the course of a month. Believe me, it is so much easier to lose a ton of weight than pack it on for me. This is why when I managed to go from 158 to 177 using this workout I was genuinely surprised. I have to say it wasn’t all the workout. I was eating the right stuff consistently, I was also making healthy shakes daily. You can snag a NutriBullet here , it makes life so much easier.
Let’s get into the workout… I’m serious, you will hurt yourself or over do it if you don’t build up to this workout using other means first. It’s a guarantee.
First, I’ve given this to a couple friends who have been lifting for quite some time, and they were seeing decent results. So there are some testimonials out there aside from just me. I sincerely encourage you to give it a shot if you are trying to add some size and see what it does for you after about 6 weeks.
I do want to outline a couple things that are important here. Anything with Power next to it means you should be lifting it heavy. I don’t include warmup sets and stretching in here because those should be a given at this point. Anything that includes hypertrophy is slightly lower weight or ramping up as you drop reps.
Here’s an example. If I say you have a 5×5 Deep Back Squat (Power) this means that I expect you to start at a relatively heavy weight, and ramp up to whatever you possibly can squeeze out 5 reps of on your last set. Say you start with your squat at 185, my next set would likely be 205, then 225, then 245, and finally 265. The last set should be a real struggle, and if you can’t get 5 reps, rack the bar, wait for a few seconds, and then crush your last couple reps.
Another example… If I say Leg Press (Hypertrophy) 4×8-12 this means that you should be starting at a lower weight than you would in a 5×5 (Power) situation. You would generally go for a weight that you can at first barely squeeze out 12 of. As the sets go on you may not be able to get as many reps so you will be able to hit 11, 10, or 8 on your last 3 sets. Make sure that these sets are to failure and that you can’t push out a couple extra reps. If you can do more reps, increase the weight.
Okay, now that all of that is cleared up, I’m gonna list this out for you:
Day 1: Legs
- Squat (Power) 5×5
- Hack Squat (Power) 3×6
- Romanian Deadlift (Power) 3×6-8
- Leg Press (Hypertrophy) 4×8-12
- Leg Extension (Hypertrophy) 2×12-15
- Leg Curl or Kickback (Hypertrophy) 2×12-15
- Calves (Burnout) 3xFailure
Note: If this workout is too much in one day, remove Leg Press from your workout, or remove Hack Squats, or both. After a few weeks when you need muscle confusion, cycle these workouts back in and remove Romanian Deadlift and Leg Extension.
- Deadlift (Power) 5×5
- T-Bar Row (Power) 4×6
- Weighted Pull Up (Failure) 3 sets
- Pendlay Rows (Hypertrophy) 3×8-12
- Rack Chins (Hypertrophy) 3×8-12
- Seated Cable Rows (Burnout) 2 sets
- Camber Bar/Straight Bar Curl (Power) 5×5
- Dumbbell Concentration (Hypertrophy) 4×8-12
- Hammer Curl (Power) 3×6
- Cable Curl (Burnout) usually run up the stack as heavy as possible and back down.
Note: If this workout is a bit overwhelming substitute out the T-Bar Row or the Pendlay Rows or substitute out the Rack Chins. I wouldn’t pull all three out as you will limit the muscles targeted in the workout. These can be cycled in and out for muscle confusion.
Day 3: Shoulders/Abs
- Military Press (Power) 5×5
- Upright Row (Power) 4×6
- Dumbbell Arnold Press (Hypertrophy) 4×8-12
- Side Delt Raise (Burnout) These can be a cable delt raise for resistance or free weights.
- Front Delt Raise (Burnout) Same as Side Delt Raise.
Note: I will create a separate workout that you can find here for Abs. Core is its own animal and you have to really focus on just that to see results. Just stick to what you’re currently doing unless you want to incorporate my ab workout.
Day 4: Rest
This is by far the most important day of the week. If you don’t rest you will not be fully recovered for the next set of days including the next week. In addition, if you don’t rest on this day your shoulder soreness will take all of your strength away from your highly coveted chest/tris day coming up next.
Day 5: Chest/Tris
I saved the best for last here. This is my favorite day, and generally everyone else is getting this one in on Monday. So I have moved it to Friday (or Day 5), because I hate the bench getting backed up and people who aren’t serious about the gym generally don’t lift on Fridays so bam.
- Barbell Bench (Power) 5×5
- Dumbbell Fly (Hypertrophy) 4×8-12
- Incline Dumbbell Press (Hypertrophy) 3×8-10
- Decline Dumbbell Press (Hypertrophy) 3×8-10
- Weighted Dip (Power) Lots
- Weighted Push-Up (Power) More Lots
- Cable Fly (Burnout) 3 sets
- Skull Crush/French Press (Power) 5×5
- Overhead Tricep Extension (Power) 3×6
- Tricep Push Down (Hypertrophy) 3×8-12
- Cable Kickback (Burnout) 3 sets or go up and down the stack.
Note: This is the most brutal day. I fully expect you to remove or substitute days. I generally remove the push-ups when I get a little overworked. In addition I can pull out the cable fly burnout because I already hit a good fly session with dumbbell flys and vice versa. As far as triceps go, if you want to pull something out make it the overhead tricep extension.
Also important on this one… Make sure that you do this in order. At least with the weighted dips. If you bust out tricep sets or do a cable fly burnout you will not be able to do your weighted dips, or you will get yourself injured.
Day 6-7: Rest
I travel out of town a ton, this means that I’m usually pretty far away from my home gym. Ideally you can find one to workout at or you can read my article on working out and traveling here. This has some helpful ideas if you aren’t around on weekends.
The main reason I dedicate these days to rest, however, is because your body needs this recovery time to prepare for the next week. Believe me, this is not an easy workout. If this is done right your soreness level will be insane for the first couple weeks. I advise you to take your rest days in full, eat well, and use them for a significant recovery before blasting those legs again.
Try this one out for a few weeks and leave me a comment on how you did! If you hated it let me know also. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and ask. I’ll be sure to answer whatever questions you have to throw at me.