Lean Mass: 6 Week Workout Program to Build Lean Muscle

Workout Program to Build Lean Muscle
The most common goal in the gym is to build lean muscle. Give this 6 week workout program to build lean muscle a try and absolutely crush that goal!

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
6 weeks
30-45 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female
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Workout Description

When it comes to fitness goals, building lean muscle is among the most popular (seriously, 84% of our readers said so in our fitness survey).

And honestly, it should come as no surprise.

As a society, we glorify those who are lean, shredded, and have solid physiques with plenty of muscle mass.

So much so that a lot of us aspire to build lean muscle ourselves.

Well, today you’re in luck. Below is a 6 week workout program that will help you build lean muscle.

Check it out, read its description, and let us know if you have any questions in the comments section below!

Editor's Note: Make sure you’re doing all the right things you need to be doing to build lean muscle mass. For those looking for a more in-depth resource to teach them how to build muscle, we’ve created a FREE 5 day Muscle Building Email Course.

The course will teach you how your body builds muscle, how to utilize workout plans on our website to maximize muscle growth, how to eat to build muscle, how to supplement to build muscle and how to track your progress.

Sign up below today to learn and ensure you get the most out of this workout program.

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The Workout Program to Build Lean Muscle

The following workout is a 4 day split you can follow for the next 6 weeks to build lean muscle. It is written to focus on increasing hypertrophy by performing 2-4 exercises for each muscle group during that muscle’s training day, for 3-5 sets, and 6-12 reps (although we’ll keep everything 8+ here).

The rep tempo should be slow as time under tension plays a huge role in the amount of muscle damage that occurs during each exercise, a factor that is critical to building lean muscle. Aim for a 2/0/2 tempo and really try to focus on the muscle you’re targeting during each lift.

Lastly, rest periods between exercises and sets should be kept fairly short. You’ll want to keep it between 30-60 seconds of rest after each set, with 45 seconds being the sweet spot.

Day 1: Legs
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Squat 4 10
2. Machine Hack Squat 3 12
3. Stiff Legged Deadlift 4 10
4. Leg Curl 3 12
5. Dumbbell Lunge 3 8
6. Leg Press Calf Raises 3 12
7. Seated Calf Raises 3 12
Day 2: Chest & Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Bench Press 4 10
2. Incline Bench Press 3 12
3. Cable Crossover 3 12
4. Hammer Strength Chest Press 3 8
5. Barbell Bicep Curl 4 10
6. Rope Cable Hammer Curl 3 12
7. Preacher Curl 3 10
Day 3: Back
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Deadlift 4 10
2. Barbell Row 3 12
3. Lat Pulldown 5 8
4. Cable Row 3 12
5. Pull up 3 10
6. Hyperextension 3 12
Day 4: Shoulders & Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Seated Military Press 4 10
2. Lateral Raise 3 12
3. Front Raise 3 12
4. Reverse Pec Deck 3 12
5. Barbell Shrugs 4 12
6. Dips 4 10
7. Seated French Press 3 12

The Workout Program to Build Lean Mass FAQs

Below are a couple of the more frequently asked questions when it comes to building lean muscle.

If your question is not listed below, please don’t hesitate to ask us in the comments section following the article.

Q. Can I add exercises to this workout program to build more lean muscle?

You certainly can, but it is not necessary. Each muscle group is targeted with a fair amount of volume within this program.

Adding more exercises to the program probably won’t increase the amount of success you have with it. Building muscle takes time. After 6 weeks of this program, you’ll likely notice a fair amount of muscle growth, but fitness goals should be long term, not short sighted.

Q. What should I do after I finish the 6 week workout program?

After you have finished this 6 week workout program to build lean muscle, I’d recommend taking a week to deload.

Enjoy a little time away from the gym; I promise 1 week won’t be enough to lose all the gains you’ve made. During that time reassess your goals and celebrate the amount of lean muscle you’ve put on in the past 6 weeks.

If you want to continue on with the program after your deload week, you’re more than welcome to. Or your goals might change. In that case, check out our workouts database for a new routine.

Q. How should I eat during this workout program to build lean mass?

This will depend on your starting point. I always recommend people get to a healthy weight range for their body type. If you’re overweight and a beginner to hypertrophy based training, you might benefit from starting off in a calorie deficit.

If you’re underweight, or an otherwise intermediate-advance lifter, you’ll likely need to be in a calorie surplus to add on lean muscle mass.

After you’ve determined which is best for you, find your calorie needs using our bmr calculator.

Then, subtract or add ~250-500 calories from that number to put yourself in a deficit or surplus. Make that your new daily calorie goal and try to get there by eating your calories through whole food, nutrient-rich food sources.

Workout Program to Build Lean Muscle Supplements

Q. What kind of supplements should I take with this workout program to build lean mass?

Supplementation is going to be highly individualized.

If you struggle to meet your daily protein needs, a solid protein supplement will be extremely beneficial to you.

If you struggle to meet your daily calorie needs all together, then a mass gaining supplement could be beneficial to you to help you accomplish your goals.

One supplement that is cheap, effective, and backed by a lot of scientific research is creatine monohydrate.

Q. Can I do some extra workouts on my rest days?

Again, you can, but I wouldn’t recommend anything to strenuous. Recovery is crucial to the muscle building process.

If you’re going to do anything, do something light that you enjoy doing. I highly recommend recovery walks as a form of active recovery. You could also hit the foam roller and work on the mobility that is often lost during muscle building programs.

Q. Where are the abs?

Your abs are hit indirectly quite frequently with this program during all of the compound movements.

Since they are worked indirectly almost every training session, I don’t feel the need to target them with isolation work. If you find it would be beneficial to do so for your training goals, you’re more than welcome to check out our ab workouts database.

Also, it is important to note that compound exercises and lowering your body fat percentage is going to build a better, visible 6-pack over time than any amount of direct isolation work will.

Q. Anything else we should know to build lean muscle?

Building muscle takes a lot of time and effort. Not to mention, what you do outside of the gym is just as important as what you do inside of the gym.

Prioritize your diet. Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Eliminate unnecessary stress (meditate). And move every day (lightly on your recovery days).

You’ll get there and this 6 week program is an excellent start.

196 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 10/14/2019 - 11:13

Hi! seems to be a nice workout! What's the %rm for each exercise?

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Posted Mon, 10/14/2019 - 11:14

Hi Yorgui,

No recommended %rm for each exercise. Instead, go with RPE.

Use a 8-9 RPE on main compound lifts and 9-10 RPE on machine/accessory work.

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Posted Mon, 10/14/2019 - 11:17

so for example.
Day 1: Legs

1. Squat 8-9 RPE
2. Machine Hack Squat 9-10 RPE
3. Stiff Legged Deadlift 8-9 RPE
4. Leg Curl 9-10 RPE
5. Dumbbell Lunge 8-9 RPE
6. Leg Press Calf Raises 9-10 RPE
7. Seated Calf Raises 9-10 RPE

or am i wrong?

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Posted Mon, 10/14/2019 - 13:27

Hi Yorgui,

You nailed it!

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Posted Tue, 09/03/2019 - 20:26
Khalieq Ahamad

Hi I would just like to enquire that after you,v done your workout, how many minutes should you run on treadmill and how many calories should you burn,

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Posted Wed, 09/04/2019 - 10:59

Hi Khalieq,

Depends on your goals and lifestyle outside of the gym. If you're fairly active in your day-to-day life, you may not need additional cardio. If you're fairly sedentary, you might want to do enough to increase your actvity level for the day.

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Posted Thu, 08/22/2019 - 11:03

I enjoyed this workout. I gained lean muscle on this program. Even the wife noticed. I am going to do another cycle this week.
Workouts need extreme effort to be beneficial.

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Posted Thu, 08/22/2019 - 13:19

That's awesome, Dre! Congrats on your progress!

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Posted Fri, 08/16/2019 - 12:39

I like the look of this workout. I'm currently overweight but with a caloric deficit and this program will it help with fat loss?

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Posted Fri, 08/16/2019 - 16:27

Hi Manny,

Yep! You can utilize this program in a calorie deficit to lose weight.

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Posted Fri, 08/02/2019 - 13:28

Biceps day before back? Will that not affect back performance?

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Posted Fri, 08/02/2019 - 15:36

Hi Ben,

Easy fix. Utilize Wednesday as one of your rest days.

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Posted Mon, 07/22/2019 - 21:40

Great workout! Did it for 8 weeks and pack on 10 lbs. Each week I added 5-10lbs to my sets to push myself a little harder. Highly recommend this workout!

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Posted Wed, 07/10/2019 - 13:47
Azhar qazi

Hi josh..3month ago my body weight 76 i train harder to lose body fat ..now my current weight 64 ..i consume 1800 calories in a day..now i want some muscles building program..which program is for me..give me plz

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Posted Wed, 07/10/2019 - 14:09

Hi Azhar,

The program on this page is a great program for those looking to build muscle.

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Posted Thu, 07/04/2019 - 03:46

Amazing article. Its very important to know about all days exercise plan.

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Posted Fri, 06/21/2019 - 04:24
Fajer Alhamwi

Hey i never went to gym, iam 17, is it okey follow this program??? I am a bit skinny

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Posted Mon, 06/24/2019 - 11:12

Hi Fajer,

I'd recommend one of these instead: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/beginner

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Posted Fri, 06/21/2019 - 01:26

Hi Josh, I'm a beginner. Are the routines per day supposed to be done in the order they're listed? Can I achieve the same results if I don't do them sequentially, esp. since my gym gets crowded usually. Thanks in advance!

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Posted Mon, 06/24/2019 - 11:14

Hi AJ,

Yes, they are meant to be performed in the order listed - however, if equipment is being used, you can bounce around the program as needed.

For beginners, I'd recommend starting with one of these: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/beginner

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Posted Tue, 06/25/2019 - 03:21

Thanks for your response. Appreciate it!

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Posted Fri, 06/07/2019 - 21:03

Hi Josh,
How much weight should I be going up each session and or week? I’m excited to get started! I’m
Trying to get lean and strong, I’m hoping this can help.

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Posted Mon, 06/10/2019 - 10:04

Hi Stephanie,

It depends on the weights you have access to. Some gyms have dumbbells in 1lb increments, 2.5lb increments, and 5lb increments. Barbells, you'll usually have to jump ~5lbs at a time. There's nothing wrong with increasing slowly if able to do so. So long as you are increasing the weight used, you'll see results. Good luck with the program! Hope you enjoy it!

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Posted Thu, 05/30/2019 - 07:38

Hi Josh,

I have 2 questions regarding the program, the weigh will be increasing each set or remains the same? can i do it for 5x/week?

thanks for your help

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Posted Fri, 05/31/2019 - 16:52

Hi David,

You can really do either or. I like to pyramid my weight up during my sets, but everyone has their own preferences. So long as you are increasing weight throughout the duration of the program, you'll see results.

Sure! Just cycle through the workouts on training days.

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Posted Sat, 05/25/2019 - 21:18
Servando Garcia Jr.

The gym I go to does not have reverse pec deck machine. What should I do instead?

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Posted Tue, 05/28/2019 - 14:42

Hi Servando,

Any chest fly variation will do the trick.

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Posted Fri, 05/17/2019 - 13:37

my goal is build muscle and hit fat plz suggest me

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Posted Tue, 05/28/2019 - 15:10

Hi Khalid,

The program above can help with both of those goals.

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Posted Thu, 05/16/2019 - 10:27

This seems like a solid plan! What about cardio? I'm trying to hit a lean bulk now and I'm not sure how often I should throw cardio in.

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Posted Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:11

Hi Steve,

Cardio, during a bulk, is highly dependent on the individual. For nearly all phases, I personally recommend something low intensity as it won't affect your ability to recover from your workouts. 30ish mins of walking regularly throughout the week should give you a nice boost to your TDEE and assist you in your fat loss efforts.

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Posted Mon, 06/03/2019 - 06:37
Alex Sivak

Listen Brother you must hit the cardio seshs every time you beat your meat. I use this method at least 8 times a day. hope this is helpful luv alex

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Posted Tue, 05/07/2019 - 11:03
Gustave Nishimirwe

How possible is it to do this clean (without juicing) . It seem to be a pretty heavy load

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Posted Tue, 05/07/2019 - 13:52

Hi Gustave,

I'm a lifetime natural and have performed many programs that looked similar to this one.

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Posted Sun, 05/05/2019 - 15:45

Hi I was always told for a natural you should train each bodypart at least twice a week due to protein synthesis. This routine has you only working each bodypart once a week. What’s your take on this

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Posted Mon, 05/06/2019 - 11:05

Hi Steve,

My opinion is it depends. It depends on what you enjoy. Sure, training 2-3 times per week would be optimal. But what is more optimal is performing workouts that you actually like to do and get you into the gym. This allows you to be consistent long term. And that's the ultimate goal imo.

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Posted Sat, 05/04/2019 - 06:07

Josh what do you think ? split or full body

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Posted Mon, 05/06/2019 - 11:30


There's a time and place for both. Personally, I like to cycle between full body, upper/lower, and splits. Keeps things interesting and all of them serve a different purpose during the year.

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Posted Sat, 04/27/2019 - 18:37

Hi, i wanted to know how often i shuld complete one cycle, like in a week? 6 days? How should i spread in my week?

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Posted Tue, 04/30/2019 - 16:46

Hi Eyal,

There are 4 workout days in this program. You'd perform them (4 per week) on separate days for 6 weeks.

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Posted Sun, 04/21/2019 - 23:07

Hey so I’ve started this workout and I Jist want to make sure this is targeting my goals. So basically I’m 142 lbs. my goal is to lose fat And build muscle. Is this the right plan? What would you recommend? I carry most of my weight in my abdomen area. I am already slim

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Posted Mon, 04/22/2019 - 11:38

Hi Jasmine,

Yes, this is a good program for someone with either of those goals. To lose abdominal fat, you will need to eat in a calorie deficit consistently for a period of time.

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Posted Thu, 04/18/2019 - 02:26

Been doing this plan and IT WORKS.

I will go on doing it for a few more weeks for more lean mass. Too bad I didnt take a "Before" picture.

Thanks Josh.

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Posted Thu, 04/18/2019 - 09:03

Hi Mata,

That's AWESOME! Congrats on your success so far! Keep up the good work!

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Posted Thu, 04/18/2019 - 09:33


I downloaded the 10 week program, and God willing I will try it later in the year.

Do you have a youtube page, Josh?



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Posted Thu, 04/18/2019 - 13:52

No personal YouTube yet, but strongly considering it. I'm on IG, but not very active yet there either: https://www.instagram.com/coach_3ngland/- still very responsive.

Hope to start doing more on social platforms soon, but my main focus right now is creating content for M&S's website and YT channel.

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Posted Tue, 04/16/2019 - 10:33

How much weight do you recommend for the bar squats

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Posted Wed, 04/17/2019 - 10:20

Hi Jasmine,

Pick a weight you think you can use for the prescribed reps. If too heavy, move down. If too light, move up. You should finish each set feeling as though you have 1-2 reps left in the tank. A good rule of thumb is 75-85% of your working max for the prescribed rep ranges.

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Posted Mon, 04/15/2019 - 22:53

Hey! Can this workout be done in 3 days, if so what would you recommend as a set up? I asked only because I want to do 4 but that’s honestly a stretch for me and I know I can commit to 3 days

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Posted Tue, 04/16/2019 - 09:20