Build muscle and strength with this workout program that combines two strength based weekly workouts with three hypertrophy size building weekly workouts.
Workout Summary

Workout Description

A topic that is constantly under debate in the bodybuilding community is how to build muscle at the fastest rate possible.

One camp has the opinion that it’s all about getting strong.

The other camp will argue back that most powerlifters look like fat guys who don’t even workout.

The truth of the matter is, gaining strength and nutrient delivery (i.e. the pump) are equally important. It would almost be like asking which organ is more important; your heart or your liver? You would be dead without either.

This size and strength training program focuses on gaining strength and blood volume training so you get the best of everything.

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Training Frequency

Studies show that muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is elevated 2-3 days after training a specific muscle group.

To maximize MPS, each muscle group will be trained once every 3-4 days in the size and strength training program.

Athlete Performing EZ Bar Bicep Curls

Overtraining and Stress

Muscle mass gains don’t happen in the gym. It’s after your workout when you are resting that your body actually repairs and rebuilds the muscles you broke down during your workout.

Doing another workout before your body has had a chance to fully repair the broken down muscles from your first workout would obviously be counterproductive. Workouts in the size and strength program are intense to stimulate the muscle to grow, but short so you don’t over train.

There are three main stress hormones in the body; cortisol, catecholamines and Neuropeptide Y (NPY). NPY is only released during times of perceived chronic stress.

NPY is particularly evil in that unlike the catecholamines and cortisol, which are mainly catabolic hormones (i.e. they burn fat), NPY makes you gain fat. When NPY is released in large amounts, it causes fat cells to go from immature baby fat cells to full-grown, mature fat cells. To make matters even worse, cortisol enhances the efficiency of NYP to develop more fat cells.

Other negative effects of overtraining include:

  • Reduced muscle protein synthesis and increased muscle protein breakdown
  • Reduce growth hormone release
  • Metabolism slowdown
  • Water retention
  • Disrupted sleep patterns

Strength Phase

The first 2 workouts in this program focus on big compound movements such as the deadlift, squat, and bench press. The goal rep range is 4-6. Rest periods will be 2-3 minutes between sets. The strength phase is all about moving as much weight as possible.

I recommend rotating your strength phase movements every 4-5 weeks so you make consistent progress. For example, you could substitute squats with front squats.

Size Phase

The next 3 workouts in this program focus on blood volume and nutrient delivery. The goal rep range will be 8-12. Rest periods will be 60-90 seconds between sets. The size phase is all about getting as big of a pump as possible.

Make sure to use exercises in the size phase that you have a good mind to muscle connection with. Feel free to swap out one of the exercises I have listed for a different exercise if you get a better feel from that exercise. For example, you could substitute standing dumbbell bicep curls with standing EZ-bar bicep curls.

Athlete Performing Bent Over Rear Delts Flys

Ab Training

Some people might argue that direct ab training is not needed since the abs get so much indirect work from big compound lifts like squats, overhead barbell press and deadlifts.

Although that is true, I personally feel that to make the abs really ‘pop’, direct ab work is needed. At the very least, it can’t hurt. In the size and strength training program, you will be training abs three times per week. Add the ab workout to the end of three workouts each week.

Cardio

I do not recommend doing a lot of cardio on an intense workout program like this. Cardio taps into your body’s recovery ability and puts you at risk of over training. It’s also simply not needed.

Cardio isn’t magic. It simply burns calories. You could achieve the same effect by simply removing calories from your daily diet. Keep cardio minimal on this program. If you want to add in cardio, keep it low intensity.

Supersets

Supersets are when you perform two exercises back to back with no rest in between.

After finishing the first exercise, you immediately start the second exercise. After both exercises are completed, you take the prescribed rest period.

5 Day Muscle & Strength Workout Weekly Schedule

  • Monday: Upper Body Strength
  • Tuesday: Lower Body Strength
  • Wednesday: OFF
  • Thursday: Back/Shoulders Size
  • Friday: Chest/Arms Size
  • Saturday: Legs Size
  • Sunday: OFF

Monday: Upper Body Strength Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Weighted Wide Grip Pull Ups 2-3 4-6
2. Bent Over Barbell Row 4-5 4-6
3. Narrow Grip T-Bar Row 2-3 4-6
4. Standing Overhead Barbell Press 4-5 4-6
5. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4-5 4-6
6. Weighted Dips 2-3 4-6
7. EZ Bar Skullcrusher 2-3 4-6
8. EZ Bar Bicep Curls 2-3 4-6

Rest periods: 120-180 seconds between sets.

Tuesday: Lower Body Strength Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Squats 4-5 4-6
2. Hack Squats 2-3 4-6
3. Deadlifts 4-5 4-6
4. Lying Leg Curls 2-3 4-6
5. Standing Calf Raise 4-5 4-6
6. Seated Calf Raise 2-3 4-6

Rest periods: 120-180 seconds between sets.

Thursday: Back/Shoulders Size Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1a. Wide Grip Pull Down 4-5 8-12
1b. Narrow Grip Pull Down 4-5 8-12
2. Chest Supported Machine Row 4-5 8-12
3. Narrow Grip Low Pulley Cable Row 2-3 8-12
4a. Straight Arm Rope Pull Down 2-3 8-12
4b. Lower Back Hyperextensions 2-3 8-12
5. Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4-5 8-12
6. Standing Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise 2-3 8-12
7. Standing EZ Bar Front Raise 2-3 8-12
8. Dumbbell Rear Delt Lateral Raise 2-3 8-12
9a. Cable EZ Bar Upright Row 2-3 8-12
9b. Rope Face Pull 2-3 8-12

Rest periods: 60-90 seconds between sets.

Friday: Chest/Arms Size Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Incline Barbell Bench Press 4-5 8-12
2a. Flat Machine Chest Press 2-3 8-12
2b. Incline Dumbbell Fly 2-3 8-12
3. Cable Crossover 2-3 8-12
4. Narrow Grip Bench Press 2-3 8-12
5. Seated Overhead EZ Bar Tricep Extension 2-3 8-12
6. Single Arm Cable Press Down 2-3 8-12
7. EZ Bar Preacher Curl 2-3 8-12
8. Standing Alternating Dumbbell Hammer Curl 2-3 8-12
9. High Pulley Single Arm Bicep Curl 2-3 8-12

Rest periods: 60-90 seconds between sets.

Saturday: Legs Size Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1a. Seated Hamstring Curl 4-5 8-12
1b. Leg Extension 4-5 8-12
2. Front Squat 4-5 8-12
3a. Leg Press 4-5 8-12
3b. Barbell Walking Lunge 4-5 8-12 Each
4a. Abductor Machine 2-3 8-12
4b. Adductor Machine 2-3 8-12
5. Glute Kick Backs 2-3 8-12 Each
6. Donkey Calf Raise 4-5 8-12
7a. Seated Calf Raise 4-5 8-12
7b. Single Leg Calf Press 4-5 8-12 Each

Rest periods: 60-90 seconds between sets.

Ab Workout: 3X Per Week

Exercise Sets Reps
1a. Hanging Leg Raise 3-4 8-12
1b. Decline Sit Up 3-4 8-12
2a. Lying Leg Raise 3-4 15-20
2b. Cable Crunch 3-4 15-20
3. Cable Wood Choppers 3-4 15-20 Per Side
4. Barbell Ab Roll Out 3-4 Failure

Rest periods: 60-90 seconds between sets.

137 Comments
Danny
Posted on: Fri, 02/16/2024 - 09:57

New here does a or b mean it’s my choice ?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 02/16/2024 - 11:06

Welcome, Danny! No, that means it is a superset, so you are to do both back-to-back before taking any rest. Hope this helps!

Danny
Posted on: Sat, 02/17/2024 - 17:17

Thank you

Alberto
Posted on: Thu, 02/15/2024 - 06:54

Can I do upper body strength on Monday and back/shoulder size on wednesday or it's too early? I can't workout on Thursdays...

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 02/16/2024 - 11:07

I feel like that would be too early, Alberto, but you can certainly try for yourself and see how you hold up. You can also simply take each day as they come without following a strict seven-day schedule. If you have to put off a workout for a day, it would be ok.

Amit
Posted on: Thu, 12/14/2023 - 03:19

Studies show that the max recoverable volume for abs is 25 sets a week. Here there are 45 sets of isolation ab sets a week, isn't that extremely excessive?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 12/18/2023 - 18:06

Leaving this for the author to answer, but I personally have found that higher volume ab workouts weekly have helped me as long as I didn't use extra resistance. Will also leave this open for others to chime in if desired. Thanks for reading M&S!

Dean
Posted on: Mon, 10/02/2023 - 08:32

Hey Trevor, looks like great workout. Started yesterday. Is there a diet you go for this particular workout?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 10/18/2023 - 11:21

Hi, Dean. Trevor didn't offer a specific diet, but this mass guide can help you build muscle and strength while you're training on this program.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/complete-guide-how-to-increas...

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 10/18/2023 - 11:21

Hi, Dean. Trevor didn't offer a specific diet, but this mass guide can help you build muscle and strength while you're training on this program.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/complete-guide-how-to-increas...

Daniel Pilman
Posted on: Thu, 08/31/2023 - 05:28

Thought process of supersetting lat pull-down then close grip? That’s so taxing

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 09/05/2023 - 19:55

Can't explain for the author, Daniel. It is taxing, but if the lats are a weak part that needs bringing up, it could certainly help. If you wanted to superset a row instead, you can do it.

Aleks
Posted on: Fri, 08/11/2023 - 13:08

What should I do after the 10 weeks are over?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 08/24/2023 - 21:27
Michele Grena
Posted on: Wed, 07/12/2023 - 05:40

Hello. Stupid question, when there is a number with 'a' or 'b' next to it, does it mean that you should chose one of those options for your workout?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 07/23/2023 - 09:29

Thanks for the question, Michele. And it is not stupid. When you see a letter, those are supersets, meaning you do both. Perform exercise A, then B with no rest. When you finish Exercise B, then you rest. Thanks for reading M&S!

Zak
Posted on: Thu, 06/08/2023 - 07:46

Hi,
I'm not see any conection between the superset exercises,
what the logic behind that ?
for example:
1a. Seated Hamstring Curl 4-5 8-12
1b. Leg Extension 4-5 8-12
thanks

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 06/08/2023 - 09:15

They are simply combinations that allow you to train harder and with less time. Some of them do have function, such as the leg curl and leg extension both being isolation exercises or the chest presses paired together. Others are simply for convenience and to save time.

Danilo Fauster
Posted on: Fri, 05/12/2023 - 09:57

I always get confused with supersets.
Does that mean that I should do like:
1a all at once and then procede to 1b and do it all
Or
Do 1a and then 1b, 1a then 1b and so on?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 05/15/2023 - 15:55

The second choice, Danilo. Do 1a, then 1b, then rest. Do 1a again, then 1b again, then rest again. I hope this helps.

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 05/15/2023 - 15:55

The second choice, Danilo. Do 1a, then 1b, then rest. Do 1a again, then 1b again, then rest again. I hope this helps.

Stuart Parker
Posted on: Tue, 04/11/2023 - 09:50

What is the best work out for someone just starting up in the gym to build muscle and strength

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 04/26/2023 - 21:10
Kalyan
Posted on: Mon, 12/26/2022 - 07:40

Hello,
I was confused this statement actually - "Add the ab workout to the end of three workouts each week"
You mean pick 3 AB workout and perform each week the same for three days?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 12/30/2022 - 16:26

That means take the ab workout on the article and do it three times a week. You can do it on any three of the scheduled training days you like, but make sure you do it three times.

Hisham Zeitoun
Posted on: Wed, 12/14/2022 - 04:09

Hello everyone I would like to ask about the 1a and 1b in the workout is it supersets with eachother or what else
Thank you in advance

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 12/22/2022 - 06:16

Correct: you do these exercises as supersets.

Ryan
Posted on: Sat, 12/10/2022 - 21:48

Hi! Just wondering, can I do back/arms on Thursday (instead of back/shoulders) and chest/shoulders on Friday (instead of chest/arms)? Or does that mess with the effectiveness of the program to build muscle mass and strength?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 12/11/2022 - 14:25

You can do that, Ryan. Let us know how it goes for you. My guess is you will still see positive results.

Richard
Posted on: Tue, 11/08/2022 - 20:51

What would be a good step up from this workout routine after the 10 week mark? Coming up on the half way point which makes me want to ask.

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 11/13/2022 - 21:36
Ryan
Posted on: Thu, 10/06/2022 - 16:19

I’ve always heard and read to NOT work out chest the day after shoulders. However, this program calls for it. Is this okay? Can you provide any insight as to why the program is designed this way? I just don’t want to overtrain my delts and succumb to an injury by doing heavy volume chest the day after heavy volume shoulders. Thanks!

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 10/09/2022 - 15:42

What's good, Ryan? Thanks for reading M&S! So, for the most part you're right. I wouldn't personally recommend chest after shoulders, but if you have healthy shoulders, and you can concentrate on using the chest more than the shoulders on chest day, then it would be ok. The volume here shouldn't be too much for the front delts. However, if you do feel that concerned, switch the days so you do chest before delts. Ultimately, your comfort with the program is what will keep you consistent and bring results. Hope this helps!

Landon Frye
Posted on: Mon, 09/26/2022 - 18:53

Can this also be a fat lost program? I’m trying to build muscle while losing fat?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 09/27/2022 - 13:38

If your diet is supporting your fat loss efforts, then yes, you can use this program.

Diogo meisser
Posted on: Wed, 09/21/2022 - 00:37

Can I only do the size workouts of this workout plan and do one rest day before repeating the size workout cycle again. I’m not really looking for strength and found this workout plan fun. However, if this is a bad plan or if there is a better size workout could someone aid me with that?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 09/24/2022 - 09:48

If size is your prize, then it's actually not a bad idea. Let us know how it goes for you, Diogo.

Irene
Posted on: Wed, 08/17/2022 - 19:35

Hello!!! I’ve been doing this workout for the last three weeks and As a female I am thoroughly enjoying it. I would like to ask if there is a problem if I add in both leg days hip thrusts of 3-4 sets, to I have more focus on the glutes?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 08/19/2022 - 07:47

Hi, Irene! So glad you're enjoying this workout. Sure, add the hip thrusts in. Please let us know how that works for you because others may benefit from your experience. Thank you for reading and supporting M&S!

Mattia Marchese
Posted on: Sat, 07/02/2022 - 05:53

Hi, I just finished this workout routine! I did the 8 weeks hypertrophy 4 days split before this one. What would you recommend for my next one? Main goal is increase muscle mass

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 07/08/2022 - 09:29

Glad you like our workouts, Mattia. Give this a run.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/hit-mass-4-5-day-splits

HD
Posted on: Wed, 06/15/2022 - 11:19

I'm trying this program and I really like it but I make some changes because I don't have enough time to do a full workout on saturdays and If I have time, doing active recovery helps me better to recover than an off day.

Mon: Lower Body Strength + Abs
Tue: Upper Body Strength
Wed:Legs Size + Abs
Thu:Back/Shoulders Size
Fri:Chest/Arms Size + Abs
Sat:Active recovery (Running or Cycling) or Rest
Sun:Rest

Any comments or suggestions? Thank you.

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 06/16/2022 - 08:07

Roll with it, and let us know how it goes, HD.

HD
Posted on: Tue, 07/05/2022 - 11:02

Hi Roger,

I have tried it and I have to admit that Legs Size day + abs (On wednesday) it's the most challenging day but I don't have any other issue with my modification of the program.

JoeJoe
Posted on: Mon, 05/30/2022 - 13:16

Hi
I really want to start this routine. I read that cardio must be kept to a minimum low intensity 30 minutes but how many times in the week should I include it? Thank you.

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 05/30/2022 - 19:15

What's good, JoeJoe? If you want to do cardio, schedule 2-3 sessions for 15-20 minutes each at a moderate pace. You can do this first thing in the morning, or after your weight training is done.

JoeJoe
Posted on: Mon, 05/30/2022 - 23:19

Thank you roger. Very much appreciated

Sal
Posted on: Mon, 05/02/2022 - 15:07

Hi Roger,

I'm starting the workout today but I'm abit confused overtwo things:
1-why are some workouts A / B? Do we get to pick either A or B?
2-when do we do supersets in this workout?
Thanks in advance
Sal

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/20/2022 - 22:00

Hey Sal!

A and B means that the exercises are in a superset. Do A first, then B. Anytime you see A and B, those are the supersets.

Sean
Posted on: Thu, 04/07/2022 - 13:29

Hiya, I was wondering would a solid 5 day Monday / Friday program work with this routine, and possibly switching some days about, so strength on Monday Tuesday fine. Wednesday back/shoulder, and alternating Thursday with Leg size and Friday with chest and arms, rest on the weekend? What do you think?