Muscle Building Workout Programs

When it comes to muscle building, there are many ways to achieve the same goal. No matter which program you choose, you must create a muscle-growth stimulus in the gym and then take in adequate nutrition to rebuild bigger and stronger. Follow a few basic muscle building programs to achieve your fitness goals quickly.

Beginner to Intermediate Mass Program

For four weeks, train three days per week. For example, do squats, back and chest on Monday. Then do deadlifts, arms, shoulders and calves on Wednesday. Repeat Monday’s workout on Friday. Use a compound movement first for one or two sets. Compound movements include pull-ups or lat pull-downs for back, bench presses for chest, upright rows for shoulders, barbell curls for biceps and weighted dips for triceps (see Resources for Exercise Guide). After this, add one or two sets of an isolation exercise, such as leg extensions for quadriceps, leg curls for hamstrings, under-grip pull-downs for back, dumbbell laterals for shoulders, concentration curls for biceps and triceps push-downs. Take each set to failure (aiming for nine to 12 repetitions), meaning that you stop each set when you can no longer perform a controlled rep.

Positions of Flexion

Train just short of failure for one week, but keep the weights challenging to prime for positions of flexion. Workout four days each week for the next five weeks, going to failure again. For example, you would workout Monday and Tuesday, rest Wednesday and workout Thursday and Friday. Structure the workouts similarly to the Beginner Mass Training program, except that you add one set of stretch overload between the compound movement and the isolation exercise for each muscle group to complete the three essential positions of flexion. Stretch exercises include stiff-leg deadlifts for hamstrings, sissy squats for quadriceps, dumbbell or machine pullovers for back, flyes for chest, incline one-arm lateral raises for shoulders, incline curls for biceps and overhead dumbbell triceps presses.

Five-Day Split

A five-day split means training shoulders on Monday, arms on Tuesday, legs on Wednesday, back on Thursday and chest on Friday. For each muscle group, use two supersets, which means doing a set to exhaustion of one exercise, followed immediately by a set of another exercise, comprising one superset. For biceps for example, do a set of concentration curls for 12 repetitions (isolation) and then do a set of barbell curls (compound movement) for 12 reps. Repeat this superset three times, increasing the weight (pyramiding) and subsequently decreasing the repetitions (12, 10 and then eight). On the second week, reverse the order of the exercises for each muscle group, doing the compound movement and then the isolation exercise. Following the previous example, you would do barbell curls first, supersetting with concentration curls immediately after. The third week, you would keep the exercise order from the second week, but add a fourth set of 15 repetitions to each superset. For example, do 12 reps, 10, eight and then another 15 with a slightly lighter weight, to make up four total sets for each superset.

About this Author

Andrew Bennett enjoys exploring health and fitness through his personal workouts, as well as researching the latest about the subject. As a natural body builder, Bennett enjoys the ongoing pursuit of health and wellness in all aspects of life. He writes articles, blogs, copy, and even award-winning screenplays.