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
Split
Intermediate
6 weeks
4
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!

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.

120 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 12/04/2018 - 08:54
Adam

I loved the routine it really helped me build some muscle, for years I've had trouble knowing what to workout & what machines worked out what. Finding this made it so easy & had it laid out perfectly.. I've recomended this plan to all my friends & followers. The videos, instructions, & tips helped out a lot in correcting my form or explaining what to do. I just finished week 6 yesterday & now I'm take the week to relax, but ready to hit the gym again in no time! Thank you very much man)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 12/04/2018 - 09:40
JoshEngland

Hi Adam,

That is awesome my friend! Glad you enjoyed the program and thank you for recommending it to others!

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Posted Sun, 12/02/2018 - 03:48
Mike

How do I know what weights to add on to start this workout with? Seeing how there are multiply ones in this one. Should I go from high to low ex sample 15, 10, 5? or low to high 10, 15, 20?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 12/03/2018 - 12:31
JoshEngland

Hi Mike,

You can use the same weight if you'd like. Or you can pyramid up or down based on your personal preference.

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Posted Fri, 11/23/2018 - 12:40
Anish Soman

What about cardio??

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 11/23/2018 - 13:07
JoshEngland

Hi Anish,

Sure, you can incorporate cardio into this program if you feel it's necessary to accomplish your goals.

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Posted Wed, 11/07/2018 - 12:38
Kym

Hi Josh,
My goal is to loose about 25lbs as well and tone back up becasue I just had a baby ( I have been cleared by my doctor to workout). My issue spot is in fact my stomach and I know I need to add in Cardio and potentially ab work, but I dont know for sure if abs will really help or what type HIIT, interval or 2- 3 miles runs?

Also I have changed me eating habbits to veggies, protien and water only about 3 weeks ago with fasting for 16 hours ( from dinner to lunch the next day) and havent lost much weight as well as I get really fatigued and some times light headed in the gym and outside. Can you explain what im might be doing wrong?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 11/07/2018 - 16:40
JoshEngland

Hi Kym,

"Spot reduction" is somewhat of a myth at this point. The best approach is a well-rounded workout program that will help you maintain lean muscle mass and burn calories so you can look leaner.

In terms of your eating habits, the best approach is a balanced approach. Eating nothing but protein and veggies will make you deficient in carbohydrates and fats, as well as a some micronutrients. Not eating enough and not getting enough out of your diet in terms of nutrients might be why you're experiencing these.

Make smaller changes and implement more balanced approaches - and do this consistently and you'll see the results you are hoping for.

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Posted Sun, 11/04/2018 - 01:00
Ian

So we just follow the same 4 days for 6 weeks???

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 11/05/2018 - 08:37
JoshEngland

Hi Ian,

Yes, that is correct. Track you workouts and try to improve week to week.

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Posted Wed, 10/17/2018 - 13:33
Matt Flores

What about cardio?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 10/18/2018 - 09:17
JoshEngland

Hi Matt,

You can add cardio to this program as desired and depending on your individual goals. Personally, I'd add in hiit variables on workout days and low intensity steady state on rest days.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 10/22/2018 - 17:33
Matt Flores

It does!!! Thank you!!! I plan to 20-30mins of low steady state cardio after each workout.

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Posted Sun, 10/14/2018 - 20:38
Brendan

Hey Josh, loving this plan so far! I'm in the second week and just had a few questions. First, legs pretty much make doing cardio and abs impossible to complete for two days afterwards, so is it possible to make leg day my last workout of the week? Also wondering what exercise i can do to replace hyperextensions and hack squats as my gym doesn't have these machines. And finally for bent over barbell rows do you mean reverse rows? Thanks very much, loving the program!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/15/2018 - 14:20
JoshEngland

Hi Brendan,

Thank you for the kind words!

Sure, you can switch leg days for the end of the week.

Try barbell hack squats: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/barbell-hack-squat.html

Supermans: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/superman

And yes, I did mean barbell rows. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/bent-over-barbell-row.html

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 10/08/2018 - 20:11
Sarah

Hi Josh, I’m just in the first week of this program and loving it so much, I’ve always struggled sticking to plans but this is lenient enough in terms of working around my schedule that it’s great! You also got me to do legs which is pretty impressive since i almost always leave that to running and stairmaster lol, thanks very much for taking the time to make this and making it free!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/09/2018 - 10:02
JoshEngland

Hi Sarah,

That makes me so happy that you're getting good use out of the program and it's helping you in someway. That's exactly why I put out this content. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and for giving my programs a try!

Best of luck with your goals!

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Posted Sun, 10/07/2018 - 05:14
Jesse

Hi Josh, I’ve just started your 6 week program. I was wondering, when should I be putting in the rest days? Every other day, or two days workout, one day rest? Or 4 days workout and 3 days rest?
Thanks in advance!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/08/2018 - 12:58
JoshEngland

Hi Jesse,

You can add in the 3 rest days whenever it best suits your schedule each week.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 10/02/2018 - 19:07
Guillermo Guzman

For this workout , am I supposed to take breaks or should I keep working out the whole week, without stopping ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 10/05/2018 - 11:13
JoshEngland

Hi Guillermo,

3 rest days per week - choose them based on when you need to take them.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 10/02/2018 - 19:04
Guillermo Guzman

What days should I rest ? Can I rotate them?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 10/05/2018 - 11:12
JoshEngland

Hi Guillermo,

Whichever days best fit your schedule. They don't necessarily have to be on set days each week.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 09/30/2018 - 18:33
Drew Peterson

Looking to replace fat with muscle. I have about 10 lbs I would like to turn to muscle. How do I mix cardio in with this? Would 20 minutes of jogging before or after each workout be to much?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/01/2018 - 10:21
JoshEngland

Hi Drew,

This program can help you with your goals. However, you can't turn fat into muscle. That's not how it works. You can build muscle, you can burn fat, but you can't turn fat into muscle tissue.

You can add in cardio to this workout to increase the amount of calories you burn. I'd recommend performing it after your weight lifting sessions.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 09/24/2018 - 18:31
Gary Hoey

1. Should I do a warm up before starting a workouts for the day ?

Should I do any Cardio during the week ? like 25 mins for a couple days out of the 4 ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 09/26/2018 - 16:56
JoshEngland

Hi Gary,

For warm ups, start here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/warming-up-for-dummies

For cardio, 25 mins a couple days out of the week should be a good start.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 09/16/2018 - 01:32
Ali

Hey dear josh, in my country Because of the high price of supplements،we can not buy them.
That's why. can I cope with the meal.
The second question
What should be included in the meal?
ممنون که جواب می دین
Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 09/17/2018 - 09:13
JoshEngland

Hi Ali,

Check this article out to learn how to make a bodybuilding diet: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

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Posted Tue, 08/14/2018 - 15:28
Rick

What weight should I start at? is there percent of my max that is suggested to start at?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:40
JoshEngland

Hi Rick,

75-85% of your working max for the rep range prescribed should do the trick.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:58
Waqas

Hi Coach
Hope you are doing well. Coach I just swapped the days in this program as follows:
Day 1: Chest & Biceps
Day 2: Legs
OFF DAY
Day 3: Shoulders & Triceps
Day 4: Back

is this schedule is OK, i just re-arranged days for my convience but I'll keep the exercises same as in the workout.

Can I run this workout in straight 4 days without taking any day off? like out of seven days a week 4 days consecutive workdays and the remaining 3 days off.

Thanks & Regards
Waqas

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 08/14/2018 - 15:06
JoshEngland

Hi Waqas,

That should be fine.

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Posted Wed, 08/08/2018 - 13:47
Sidd

Hi. I would like to know while doing 2 body workouts in a days session how do i load up the weights. Lets say if im doing chest and biceps, if i go heavy on chest i wont be able to workout heavy on biceps. So how should the weights be alligned?.
Thank You

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Posted Sat, 08/04/2018 - 18:38
Waqas

Hi coach
Hope you are doing well.
Coach I was following your program for 21 day fat loss and I reduced 7kg to 8kg in three cycles, now I am planning to change the workout from fat loss only to lean muscle as this workout looks great for my future goals.
So is it ok for me to start this workout and is this workout also help me in lossing wait and building clean muslces or this one is only for building muscles.
Looking forward for your guidance.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/06/2018 - 09:07
JoshEngland

Hi Waqas,

Sure, this is a solid program to move on to during a muscle building stage.

Best of luck!

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Posted Thu, 08/02/2018 - 05:41
Debarjya

How much muscle can i gain from this workout?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 08/02/2018 - 09:49
JoshEngland

Hi Debarjya,

Depends on the amount of effort you put into it, the quality of sleep you get each night, your lifestyle outside of the gym, and your overall nutrition.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 07/30/2018 - 11:19
Cody Joe

Just got back in the gym last week and decided to use this program for its simplicity and due to the fact that it meets my goals of leaning out and building muscle. Any advice on what to do with the 3 days of rest workout wise? Or is it crucial to take those 3 days to recover?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/30/2018 - 15:08
JoshEngland

Hi Cody,

Yes, rest and recover. Go on a recovery walk or perform yoga if you feel the need to do something active.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 07/21/2018 - 03:28
Debarjya

ls this workout for muscle gains?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/23/2018 - 08:46
JoshEngland

Hi Debarjya,

Yes, that is correct.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 07/07/2018 - 07:57
Jj

Hi Josh!

I'm planning to try this program out but I've read some articles saying that it is best to hit each muscle group twice a week. I would just like to know if that really is advisable or not. Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/09/2018 - 09:28
JoshEngland

Hi JJ,

Depends on your goals and preferences. Hitting each muscle group twice per week can be very beneficial. However, to do this you'll need to decrease the amount of volume per training day.

So if you like high volume work, then body part splits are more beneficial. But if you want to maximize muscle size and strength, going lower volume and training more frequently can be beneficial.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 07/03/2018 - 19:01
Ryan

Could I make this into a super setting program? I prefer to train that way anyway. If so, how would you recommend doing this?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 07/05/2018 - 08:40
JoshEngland

Hi Ryan,

Sure, that should be fine. Simply pick your preferred exercises to superset. Alternatively you can check out this program:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/fast-mass-program

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 06/29/2018 - 13:28
Lauren

Hi Josh, I’m doing the 6 week diet and training for lean muscle mass program. Could I couple this workout routine with the diet plan? My caloric intake daily ranges from 1250-1450. I’m trying to slim down and lean up. Do I need to increase it or keep it how it is?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 06/29/2018 - 14:44
JoshEngland

Hi Lauren,

That calorie amount may be fine depending on your individual needs. I'd recommend testing it with this program. If you feel like you need to bump it up a bit after a couple of weeks, go for it.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:15
Ryan

Can I put leg day second instead of first. If so how can I re-order? Chest biceps first?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:43
JoshEngland

Hi Ryan,

Yes, that is fine to do. Simply swap the 1st 2 days.

Hope this helps!