- Main GoalBuild Muscle
- Workout TypeSplit
- Training LevelBeginner
- Program Duration12 weeks
- Days Per Week4
- Time Per Workout30-75 minutes
- Equipment RequiredBarbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
- Target Gender Male & Female
- Recommended Supps
- Workout PDF Download Workout
It’s that time of year where the gym population grows and the resolutions are made.
People from all walks of life are setting new goals, and getting in shape is among the most popular resolutions made.
Maybe you’re someone who is brand new to this world of fitness and looking to start on the right foot. Perhaps you’re one of the many who started and stopped short but is now ready to re-commit to the mission of achieving your best.
Regardless of which category you fall in, we’re here to help you succeed.
12 Week Transformation Workout Overview
The program that follows is a 12-week routine that is designed to help you improve strength, size, endurance, conditioning, and overall health. The way this will work is we're going to keep the body guessing and focus on each aspect of your fitness one at a time.
There are three different sets of programs here. You’ll alternate which program you follow each week. You won’t do the same workout twice in a row throughout the entire process.
One week will focus on power and strength, the next on hypertrophy (muscular size), and the final one will help with conditioning and muscular endurance.
The training days will change and muscle groups you train will change. Each week will have its own different type of cardio too so you can burn calories different ways just like you'll train the muscles in a different way.
Weeks 1, 4, 7, 10 Workouts
This phase is devoted to power and strength. So the plan is to go heavy, heavy, heavy. You need to be able to achieve the desired reps but if you can do two reps more, go up. Make sure you keep your form in check too. Just because you’re trying to move serious weight doesn’t mean you get to swing and use momentum. No one benefits from that in the long run.
Rest for two minutes between sets. During this time you should change weights if necessary, drink your water or BCAAs, and focus. Commit your entire mental state to the next set.
Your cardio is going to take place post weight training and will be done in High-Intensity Interval Fashion. For 40 seconds you're going to go at a moderate pace. The next 20 seconds will be all-out max effort. That's one minute total. Repeat that pattern for 12 minutes.
Monday: Chest, Side Delts, Triceps
|Barbell Bench Press||3||5|
|Incline Dumbbell Press||4||6|
|Single Arm Dumbbell Lateral Raise||3||8|
|Cable Lateral Raise||3||8|
|2 Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension||3||8|
|Close Grip Pressdown||3||10|
Wednesday: Back, Rear Delts, Biceps
|Pendlay Barbell Row||3||5|
|Close Grip Pullup||4||6|
|Incline Bench Rear Delt Fly||3||8|
|Hammer Dumbbell Curl||3||8|
Friday: Legs and Abs
|Single Leg Press||4||6|
|Standing Leg Curl||3||8|
|Seated Calf Raise||3||10|
|Hanging Leg Raise||3||10|
Weeks 2, 5, 8, 11 Workouts
The focus shifts to muscle building and stimulation at this point. You’ll notice that there are different exercises than last week and the rep ranges are different. The goal now is to complete the reps and feel quality muscle contractions each time. You shouldn’t reach failure at any point.
When the reps decrease, add weight. And when the reps go up, you should lower the resistance. Your rest periods here will drop from 2 minutes to 90 seconds. We want to give the muscles time to recover but also want to maintain a decent pump.
As for the cardio, you’re going to still do HIIT but the pattern changes. Alternate 2 minutes of low to moderate effort with 1 minute of high effort. It shouldn’t be all-out this time but push yourself during those one-minute stretches. Six rounds total will be 18 minutes of work. Do these sessions post-weight training.
Monday: Chest and Side Delts
|Incline Smith Machine Press||3||12, 10, 8|
|Dumbbell Fly||3||8, 10, 12|
|Seated Lateral Raise||3||10|
|Machine Lateral Raise||3||12|
Tuesday: Back and Rear Delts
|Bent Over Barbell Row||3||12, 10, 8|
|One Arm Dumbbell Row||3||8, 10, 12|
|Bent Over Rear Lateral Raise||3||10|
Thursday: Arms and Abs
|EZ Bar Curl||3||12, 10, 8|
|Incline Dumbbell Curl||3||8, 10, 12|
|Close Grip Bench Press||3||12, 10, 8|
|Single Arm Pressdown||3||8, 10, 12|
|Weighted Decline Situp||3||12|
|Lying Leg Raise||3||12|
|Front Squat||3||12, 10, 8|
|Single Leg Extension||3||8, 10, 12|
|Standing Leg Curl||3||10|
Weeks 3, 6, 9, 12 Workouts
When it comes to the weight training, this will be the toughest week of all because the focus is now on endurance and conditioning. For those of you that are new to training, supersets are performing two exercises back-to-back without rest. Trisets are when you do three in a row before taking a break.
You won’t go heavy here because you need to focus more on finishing the sets. Moderate weights will be just fine at this point. Just make sure you keep the form in check.
There is no rest between the exercises within the superset or triset but you do get 60 seconds to recover. This will take a toll on you mentally too but fortunately, as you progress, the mental strength will increase as well as the physical strength.
Since you're going to be going harder in the weight room, the cardio will be low intensity. Walking on a treadmill or riding a bike will suffice. Perform 25-minute sessions on the days you don't train with weights.
Monday: Chest and Back
|A1. Incline Bench Press||3||10|
|A2. Pull Ups||3||10|
|B1. Dumbbell Bench Press||3||12|
|B2. 2 Arm Dumbbell Row||3||12|
|C1. Cable Crossover||3||15|
|C2. Wide Lat Pulldown||3||15|
Wednesday: Shoulders and Abs
|A1. Machine Shoulder Press||3||12|
|A2. Lateral Raise||3||12|
|A3. Bent Over Lateral Raise||3||12|
|B1. Ab Crunch Machine||3||15|
|B2. Reverse Crunch||3||15|
|B3. Bicycle Crunch||3||15|
Thursday: Biceps and Triceps
|A1. Barbell Curl||3||10|
|A2. Lying Tricep Extension||3||10|
|B1. Seated Dumbbell Curl||3||12|
|B2. 2 Arm Dumbbell Kickback||3||12|
|C1. Cable Bar Curl||3||20|
|C2. Rope Pressdown||3||20|
|A1. Goblet Squat||3||15|
|A2. Leg Extension||3||15|
|B1. Romanian Deadlift||3||15|
|B2. Seated Leg Curl||3||15|
|C1. Seated Calf Raise||3||20|
|C2. Standing Calf Raise||3||20|
Hi. Does it matter what type of cardio we do or can we just bounce between bike, elliptical, rower, etc? I'm about to start this program. Thanks.
Do more than one type, Brendon. That keeps the routine interesting and forces your body to get better in more than one way. Make a schedule of different options or simply go random. Do what you find keeps you consistent? Make sense?
I haven't worked out in years. I am about to start working out again with my son but looking for a good plan to follow. We only have Sunday through Thursday to workout though. I know in the beginning we will just be finding our grove together. Wont be able to go the full 4 days till wrestling season is over. Would it be fine to follow this plan but doing the days back to back?
Man, Jacob. You haven't worked out in years, but you're ready to go in the deep end by training four days in a row. If you have no other option, then go lighter so you don't trash your body right out of the gate. Slowly progress as the weeks pass. I don't know how old your son is, but if he's young, then he should follow this same approach. Even then, I would suggest a day off for him in between until he is familiar with training.
Is this workout plan good for endomorph body types?
If you follow a nutrition plan that supports fat loss, then yes it could help you along with cardio.
Should we do any warm up sets, or use the first set as a lighter weight set (I'm wondering particularly with things like bench press and squats where the weights will tend to be heavier). Thanks, Roger. Looking forward to mixing it up and giving this routine a go to kick off the new year. Cheers.
Hey Ashton, do one or two lighter sets before starting the three work sets. So for bench and squat, you would do five total. Hope this helps, thank you for reading M&S, and please let me know how this goes for you in 2023!
Awesome. Really appreciate your reply. Thank you!
is it ok for skinny guys to skip cardio?
I don't suggest skipping completely, but less sessions is definitely ok. Do one a week so you can at least keep good cardio shape.
Are the workouts designed to be a circuit or do you finish the 3 sets of first exercise then move on to next exercise
The pairs are to be done in supersets. For example, A1, no rest, A2, rest. Repeat until you do the number of sets for each exercise.
If you don't see the letters next to the numbers, you do those as regular straight sets.
Hey Roger, I’m about to start this program, and I was just wondering if it will also knock off a little belly fat? Or is that going to depend more on my diet?
Diet determines all, Brandon! That said, it can help you trim down the waistline as long as you eat responsibly.
Hi Roger, How can I adjust this nice program to be on the intermediate or advanced level?
What's good, Khaled? Add drop sets to the final set of each exercise. Push those to absolute total failure, then superset them with isometric contractions at the end of the set. For examples, when you do curls, do a drop set for the final set, then flex for as long as you can.
1st week done but still learning for cardio is just running or swimming count as well
They count, Joseph. Let us know how it goes for you. Thanks for reading M&S!
may I ask you about the integration of Citrulline and beta alanine together with creatine? How much to take each and when? And aside from creatine, should I also take the other two on rest days? I train in the evening at 8 pm until 9:30 pm and have dinner at 10 pm. what are your tips? Thank you so much
What's good, Raffaele?
Citrulline and beta-alanine can be taken pre-workout. I do 1500 mg of citrulline and 2000 mg of beta-alanine. You can take citrulline on rest days, but I suggest saving the other one for training days only. Hope this helps, and thanks for reading M&S!
Hey Roger on week 3 on the days we don’t lift weights, during the 25 minute sessions, are we still doing low intensity or regular cardio?
I suggest regular cardio, but you can do either, Jake. Thanks for reading M&S!
Can I have a list of substitute exercises
I have no idea what you have access to or your reasons for changing exercises. You can find an extensive set of choices for you to swap at this link.
Thank you for this workout, I’m thinking to use it for restart after summer holidays. I’d like to start gain muscle and I think this is really a great workout.
I’ve a little question, in the weeks:3, 6, 9, 12
The workout days is Monday, Thursday,Wednesday and Friday
It’s ok or a little mistake, in other weeks the workout days is:
Thank you so much
The days listed are optional, Raffaele. If you need to shift them based on your schedule, go for it. I did that intentionally because that was how I did the workouts when I ran this myself before writing the article.
Thank you so much Roger!
I start this program today
Thank you so much
Is this a good program for a advanced natural? The reason I ask is that you are only hitting each bodypart once a week. I know you are still hitting body parts indirectly so what is your take. Thanks
Yes, this is a great option for you. Make the most out of each set, and do your best with recovery, and you can make gains on this one.
Amazing program! I just finished it and I gained alot of strength and muscle mass. What do you recommend for a new level workout? My goal is to gain more mass and little bit of strength, so im focused on muscle mass more.
Casper, I love reading when people see results. Thank you for posting and sharing. Since mass is the priority, run with this one.
Hello and thank you for this program. I just finished this and have nice results.
I am quite lost in the type of program to choose after this one … which one is good to continue to build muscle ?
Thank you !
Sorry for the delay, Jean. If you haven't chosen one yet, how many days a week can you train?
So I noticed that some days are missing from the weeks and was wondering if those were designated rest days or if it was okay to still go to the gym and workout. I'm just very used to a 5 day a week schedule and was wondering what might be best for the situation.
If you don't see the day on the schedule, it's designated as a rest day, Garrett. I suggest taking the day to recover so you can be at your best when the next training session comes.
Done with this program. I gained strength, stamina and muscles. But my belly fat and love handle is quiet stubborn. My goal is to lose this fat. Any workout you can suggest? Thank you.
Here you go, Cesar. Try this one. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/12-week-fat-destroyer
Make sure you check this one out as well if you haven't already. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/fat-loss
I started this program and I'm on the 5th week. What program is next after I'm done with this 12week workout?
It would depend on what your goal is after the 12 weeks is up, Cesar. Wait until you see the full results from this program before making that decision.
Thanks again, Roger.
Am in between a beginner and intermediate gym goer. At what weights shall I start this program? Thanks.
The weights that provide the best challenge, Anthony. As long as you reach the target rep range without sacrificing form, you're good.
Thanks, Roger for the response. Having said that, shall I try to increase it every next workout or how often shall I increase the weight of the same exercise? Will it be as long as I am comfortable doing so? Cheers for the help and support!
Yes, Anthony. When you're comfortable going up, go up. There is no rigid method to increasing work capacity. If you feel you can add weight, do it. You may need 10 pounds one week, and none the next. Do what is best for you on that day.
Awesome, Roger! Thanks for promptly and patiently answering my queries! Cheers
Isn't it weird to have a chest exercise in the back & rear delts day on week 2?
If you're referring to the pullovers, that is also a lat exercise. Actually, if you do it correctly, the lats will work more than the chest.
The workout states that HIIT is to be done after the workout, but I don't see any specifics listed for HIIT other than 40 second moderate and 20 seconds full go