How to build muscle: A hypertrophy program is designed not to increase strength or improve athletic performance (although there is an overlap, of course), but to primarily cause muscular growth by increasing the size of your muscle fibres. Hypertrophy is simply the increase in size of an organ or tissue through the enlargement of the cells that comprise it.

Remember, this plan is not designed to improve strength or power. This program is strictly for the purpose of gaining serious muscle size.

  • Main Goal: Build muscle
  • Program Duration: 10 weeks
  • Days Per Week: 4
  • Time Per Workout: 45-60 minutes

Weekly training schedule

  • Day 1 – Upper Body
  • Day 2 – Lower Body
  • Day 3 – Off
  • Day 4 – Upper Body
  • Day 5 – Lower Body
  • Day 6 – Off
  • Day 7 – Off

Workout Description

The upper / lower body split works well both with, and without a training partner. If training with a partner, keep rest periods brief. After your partner’s set is finished, you should waste little time before hitting your next set.

Each training day is balanced. You start by challenging major muscle groups with 3 sets of compound or taxing machine exercises. Next, you follow up by finishing a muscle group with a more isolation-style movement that typically focuses on the use of 3 second negatives. Lastly, you work smaller muscle groups with 3 sets each, using 3 second negatives when it makes sense.

How to build muscle: Upper body training days

Upper body training days follow this scheme:

  • Chest – 3 sets, compound
  • Back – 3 sets, compound
  • Shoulders – 3 sets, compound
  • Chest – 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Back – 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Shoulders – 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Triceps – 3 sets, isolation or machine/cable exercises. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Biceps – 3 sets, isolation or machine/cable exercises. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.

Lower body training days

Lower body training days follow this scheme:

  • Quads – 3 sets, compound
  • Hamstrings – 3 sets, compound
  • Calves – 3 sets, taxing machine or isolation
  • Quads – 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Hamstrings – 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Calves – 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Abs – 3 sets, isolation or machine/cable exercises.
  • Abs, Lower Back or Obliques – 3 sets, isolation or machine/cable exercises.

how to build muscle

How to Build Muscle: Upper / Lower Body Split

Day 1
Upper Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 3 6-12
Barbell Row 3 6-12
Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press 3 8-12
Pec Dec – 3 sec negative 2 10-12
V-Bar Lat Pull Down – 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Side Lateral Raise 2 10-15
Cable Tricep Extensions – 3 sec negative 3 8-12
Cable Curls – 3 sec negative 3 8-12

 

Day 2
Lower Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 3 6-12
Stiff Leg Deadlifts 3 8-12
Standing Calf Raise 3 10-15
Leg Extensions – 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Leg Curl – 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Seated Calf Raise – 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Cable Crunch – 3 sec negative 3 10-12
Cable Pull Through w/Rope 3 10-12
  • DAY 3 – REST
Day 4
Upper Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-12
Rack Deadlifts – 3″ to 5″ off ground 3 5-8
Military Press 3 8-12
Machine Chest Press – 3 sec negative 2 8-12
Pull Ups or Machine Rows – 3 sec negative 2 8-12
Machine Shoulder Press – 3 sec negative 2 8-12
Dumbbell Curls – 3 sec negative 3 8-12
Machine Tricep Dip – 3 sec negative 3 8-12
  •  
Day 5
Lower Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Press 3 10-20
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts 3 8-12
Leg Press Calf Raise 3 10-15
Hack Squat 2 8-12
Seated Leg Curl – 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Seated Calf Raise – 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Planks 3 60 sec
Hyperextension 3 10-12
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