This 4 day workout will help you stretch sleeves, build mass, and bump up that number on the scale. You'll also learn about proper nutrition for your mass building goals.
Workout Summary

Workout Description

Many people who find their way to Muscle & Strength are looking to build just that – muscle and strength. Whether it’s a teenager just starting in the gym or a college student trying to impress others, size is the prize, and they want to do whatever it takes to get it.

Good news: we have a plan that will help you stretch sleeves, build mass, and bump up that number on the scale. If you can commit eight weeks to this as if your future depends on it, then you can kickstart your journey to getting swole.

Side profile shot of a muscular man doing dumbbell bicep curls in the gym.

FAQ’s

Can I change the exercises or the order?

If you need to replace an exercise because you don’t have the equipment or tools to perform it, then you can change the exercise to a similar one. For example, you can replace a press with a press or a squat with another squat. Don’t change an exercise for another because one is easier than the other. If you want to grow, you’ll have to work. Taking shortcuts helps no one, and we want to help you.

Related: Lower Body Alternatives to Your Favorite Gym Machines

As for the order, if your gym is set up so that it would be easier for you to train consistently, go for it. However, these movements are in place so you can train everything from as many angles as possible. Each movement should support the one before it. This plan doesn’t do that 100 percent, but it will serve you very well if you follow it as recommended.

Related: Upper Body Alternatives to Your Favorite Gym Machines

Can I use this for fat loss?

This particular program is meant for those who are either new to training or have a strong desire to get bigger and stronger. You would have to alter your cardio, nutrition, and training to convert this to a fat-loss program. If fat loss is your goal, then you can check out many of our other awesome programs here at M&S.

Related: 12 Week Fat Destroyer: Complete Fat Loss Workout & Diet Program

So, I can eat whatever I want, right?

No. If you want to build quality mass and muscle, then you need to support those muscles with quality calories. I’m not saying you can’t treat yourself once or even twice a week, but overall, you should eat big (and healthy) to get big (and healthy).

Related: How To Plan Your Muscle Building Diet

How much size will I put on?

That is up to you and how hard you work. There is no specific way to guarantee the set number of pounds or kilograms you will gain on any program. Your training effort, experience, recovery, food, and supplements (if you take any) will all be factors in that. Some of you may gain five pounds while others will gain 15.

Related: How to Build Muscle: 5 Step Guide to Lean Gains

This is simple. How can I make it harder?

This plan is meant for beginners, and we want to keep it simple for them to start. If you need intensity boosters, more advanced exercises, and other ways to challenge yourself, we have other options for you to take on. 

Close up shot of a muscular man making healthy food in the kitchen.

Find Your Nutrition Numbers

Speaking of eating, let’s talk about nutrition. We don’t have too many specific diets because there is such a wide array of healthy foods, and the M&S community consists of many people from many cultures. What we do offer is guidance to help you determine your diet, and that is what we’re doing here.

During my time as a personal trainer, I worked with many people who wanted to grow for sports or simply for self-confidence. I recommended the same formula that helped me when I was a 125-pound senior in high school starting on my fitness journey. 

Related: How To Determine Your Daily Calorie And Macronutrient Intake Levels

I set daily goals of eating 1 gram of protein, 2 grams of carbohydrates, and .5 grams of fats per pound of body weight. I then took all those numbers and divided them by 6. That determined how much I was to eat per meal. So, using my beginner self as an example, I needed to have 125 grams of protein, 250 grams of carbs, and 65 grams of fat (I rounded up).

Per meal, that looked like this:

  • 20-25 grams of protein
  • 40-50 grams of carbs
  • 10-12 grams of fats

Why six meals? There have been a lot of arguments over the years about whether three or six meals are best for muscle growth. I’m going to be completely honest, it was easier for me to eat the smaller meals, so that was what I did. There’s something to be said about finding the best way for you.

Then, there’s water. For people wanting to grow, I always suggested a gallon of water a day, and that was what I did myself. Eight glasses are considered the standard, but if you want to grow and are training hard, then you need extra hydration.

Related: How to Time Your Pre and Post Workout Nutrition Intake

Muscular man doing walking barbell lunges in the gym.

Workout Overview

Every exercise in this program will call for four sets of 12, 10, 8, and 6 reps. This means you will gradually lift heavier weights for fewer reps, which should be a little more difficult. You won’t be able to go to failure on all four sets. You should only push yourself to the end of the six-rep set. 

Many of you are familiar with Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE), which is a gauge to determine how hard you’re working. You can use that formula to determine the weights you use. My suggested plan would look like this: 

  • Set 1 – 12 reps, RPE 7
  • Set 2 – 10 reps, RPE 8
  • Set 3 – 8 reps, RPE 9
  • Set 4 – 6 reps, RPE 10

And if you're looking for a suggested training schedule here are a few examples below:

Example 1:

  • Monday: Workout 1
  • Tuesday: Workout 2
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Workout 3
  • Friday: Workout 4
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Rest

Example 2: 

  • Monday: Workout 1
  • Tuesday: Workout 2
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Workout 3
  • Saturday: Workout 4
  • Sunday: Rest

Example 3: 

  • Monday: Workout 1
  • Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday: Workout 2
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Workout 3
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Workout 4

Remember, the best workout schedule is one you can follow. 

8 Week Mass Building Workout for Beginners

Workout 1 – Chest/Shoulders

Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Bench Press 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Dumbbell Bench Press 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Cable Crossover 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Tricep Dip 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Seated Dumbbell Press 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Lateral Raise 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Machine Reverse Fly 4 12, 10, 8, 6

Workout 2 - Back

Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift 4 12, 10, 8, 6
One Arm Dumbbell Row 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Lat Pull Down 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Seated Row 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Single Arm Lat Pull Down 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Hyperextension 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Dumbbell Shrug 4 12, 10, 8, 6

Workout 3 - Legs

Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Squat 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Hack Squat 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Leg Press 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Dumbbell Lunge 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Lying Leg Curl 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Seated Calf Raise 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Standing Calf Raise 4 12, 10, 8, 6

Workout 4 - Arms

Exercise Sets Reps
Close Grip Bench Press 4 12, 10, 8, 6
One-Arm Seated Overhead Tricep Extension 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Straight Bar Tricep Extension 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Barbell Preacher Curl 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Incline Dumbbell Curl 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Cable Curl 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Seated Barbell Wrist Curl 4 12, 10, 8, 6

Cardio

There is a misconception that you shouldn’t do cardio at all if you want to gain mass. This isn’t accurate. Cardio is very important for aerobic health, recovery, and overall wellness. You don’t have to go run marathons or spend an hour on a Stepmill, but you should be doing active walking or cardio three to four times a week. 

Schedule 20 minutes either after a workout or away from training. You should feel like you put in effort, but don’t take it to an extreme. You just want to be moving, not torching every single calorie you put in your body.

Fit man doing cardio on the stairmaster in the gym.

Recovery

Even with all the work that is on the program, there is going to be a temptation to do more. I would suggest channeling that energy and enthusiasm towards your recovery instead. Get a massage, use a foam roller, or devote time to extra stretching. The mindset should be that you’re preparing for that next workout and want to be your best for it.

Beyond that, your calories and sleep are also going to help you maximize recovery. That is why even though you want to grow, you need to be eating quality calories and getting great sleep.

Conclusion

The method of building mass can be simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. You’re going to work hard and will have to eat and recover smart to reach those goals. However, that doesn’t mean It’s impossible. It can be done, and yes, you can do it. If you have questions as you go through the process, hit us up in the Comments section, and we’ll do our best to help you along the way.

81 Comments
Daniel F
Posted on: Wed, 06/26/2024 - 12:18

Hello! Came here from your 8 Week Strength Training program.

I was wondering, can I have a core only day between days 2 and 3? If so, do you have a recommendation for what workouts I can use?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 06/26/2024 - 20:16

What's good, Daniel? We appreciate you using our programs!

Sure, a core day would be a solid idea. We have plenty of options for you to choose from, but I will toss a couple your way to see if they help.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/15-minute-core-conditioning-w...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/3-ab-workouts-build-8-pack

Vugo
Posted on: Fri, 06/14/2024 - 09:41

Hey!
I think this workout fits me perfect, although I currently workout at home, which brings me to my question:
I only have a "Multi-Tasking" machine. You can do bascially all exercises on there- except the Dumbbell ones/deadlift.
What I want to know is: Would this workout still make sense if I replaced all the non- possible exercises with more reps on others?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 06/18/2024 - 08:18

Hi Vugo, thank you for reading M&S!

You can still make it work as long as you challenge yourself with the exercises that you swap in for those you can't. I think you can make good progress. Let me know how you do along the way. Here to help as best as I can.

Vugo
Posted on: Wed, 06/26/2024 - 03:17

Hi Again!

Thank you so much! I actually already feel some progress in weights and reps I can do. Also, thanks for the all-round tip too. I started doing extra workouts for calves, and I'mt not skipping any more leg sets. I will also try my best with Progress pictures. I will keep you updated atleast once every month, I just have another question about the diet.
Do I have to specifically pay attention to one thing? I drink lots of water right now, and try to eat the least sugar possible. Have you got any other things I need to look out for in the diet?

Thanks again, can't wait for your reply :)

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 06/20/2024 - 08:09

I appreciate the kind words, Vugo. Well, let me know where you are right now. Give me some details on how long you have been training, what your physical shape is now, and what your goals are. I want to provide the best answer possible here.

Vugo
Posted on: Thu, 06/20/2024 - 08:48

Hi, and thanks again for the reply! :)

I've been doing pushups and ab training for around 3 months. My triceps is relatively big, by biceps doesnt really have a peak yet( it is there, but relatively flat). My abs are also there, and my chest too. I'm at the point where if I flex my chest, I actually feel muscles in there, but it's still small. My back is at the same stage as my biceps, although my shoulders are my largest muscle ( probably due to all exercises).
My goals are mainly pecs, bi-and triceps. I want the form of the pecs to be visible through like a T-Shirt ( I hope you know what I mean) while not beeing flexed. The other muscles will probably slowly come, but I just want a well built physique with my strongest points beeing chest and arms.

Thanks, and can't wait for your response
Note: I've experienced my first actual "pumps" through this workout, so thanks a lot!

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 06/20/2024 - 08:56

Ok, this helps me a bit. Thanks for the information.

First off, the goal should be to improve everything. Don't place so much emphasis on some areas that you neglect others. I get that chest and arms are awesome, but the legs need to come up too so the entire physique looks impressive. I am not saying you are doing that, but I don't want you to fall in that trap. So, I offer that early advice.

Second, I can see you gaining around 10 pounds on this if your nutrition and recovery are on point. I won't say the transformation will be drastic, but if you take pictures today and again in a month, you will see a difference. However, you have to go all in on this and leave no stone unturned. Every thing you eat either helps or hurts you, so eat wisely. Every rep you do or skip can help or hurt you. Going to the other extreme and doing too much beyond this will also be risky. So, don't overtrain either. Your recovery from the last workout prepares you for the next one.

Good luck, and keep me posted on how you are progressing! We are here to cheer you on!

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 06/26/2024 - 20:09

Glad it is serving you well. Here is a guide on how to eat and what to pay attention to.

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

Vugo
Posted on: Tue, 06/18/2024 - 11:36

Hi, and thanks for the reply!

First 2 days are awesome, I just have a new question :)

I've looked a various videos on the topic what to expect, but I think you are more of an idol for me than most fake natural fitness influencers. So, I eat lots of protein and carbs, take no drugs, medication or creatine. Could you give me a raw answer on what to excpect in like the first week, month etc? I would really,really appreciate it so I don't get insecure about progress again.

Thanks, can't wait for your reply and I hope you have an awesome day!

Anthony
Posted on: Fri, 06/14/2024 - 08:03

What's the rest time between sets

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 06/17/2024 - 07:45

2 minutes, Anthony. Good question.

Steve
Posted on: Sun, 06/02/2024 - 15:42

Hi,

Quick question. Are the workouts written in the order they are intend to be done? For example, day 1 - are we meant to overload the chest first before moving to shoulders, or would it be appropriate to alternate the chest and shoulder exercises?

Thanks

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 06/10/2024 - 06:31

Hi Steve, you should follow the order they are provided in. If training shoulders is a very high priority for you, then you could make changes, but keep in mind your strength in the other movements could be affected. Thanks for reading M&S, and I hope this program helps you.

Isaiah
Posted on: Fri, 05/24/2024 - 21:12

Hey, so I am going to start this routine over summer break. Although I will also be taking up baseball and some pre season cross country practicing as well. As I saw from some comments you recommend that I don’t do any other activity but in my case I kind of have to and would like to. So do you suggest I make any changes? I was thinking more food related. For example would I need to eat more carbohydrates, proteins, etc? Anyway, please get back to me as soon as you can, also I currently weigh about 145 lbs.

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 05/28/2024 - 08:43

What's good, Isaiah? Yeah, you would need to up the protein and carbs a bit. Make sure they are healthy sources and you add them in around your training. Also, recovery is VITAL. Sleep, stretching, massages when possible, and water, water, water. Other than that, you should be fine. Good luck this summer!

Jake
Posted on: Fri, 05/24/2024 - 01:03

Super excited to go through this program! I don't have access to a few of the machines necessary to do some of the workouts though, what would be the best way to find alternatives for those?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 05/27/2024 - 20:59

We have a lot of options for you at the top of the site in the Exercises section, Jake. Pick the muscle group and look over the movements. We should have plenty for you to work with. Thank you for reading M&S!

Faris
Posted on: Sat, 05/18/2024 - 19:49

can i substitute cable crossover to machine fly? because in my gym the cable machine is always full of people

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 05/27/2024 - 20:58

I get that, Faris. Go for it!

Onur
Posted on: Wed, 05/15/2024 - 16:02

I have 2 questions wwhat i can do instead of deadlift i have scoliosis not a big deal my doctor allows me to workout however i just dont like deadlifts at all what are other alternatives and second qyestion is what to do after finishing this workout, thanks a lot by the way

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/17/2024 - 20:20

Hello Onur, if you are able to do rack pulls, then those would work. If not, then do hyperextensions for the lower back.

After you finish this one, you can either run it again or choose another one from this link based on your new goals.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-choose-your-next-train...

Either way, thank you for reading M&S, and I am honored you are using my program!

Nolan West
Posted on: Wed, 05/08/2024 - 16:56

I just completed this 8 week program and thankfully was able to see great results is mass and strength. This was my first time working out in years and I stayed to the program and saw results. I am wondering what program to do next to build mass or if I should start this over same 8 weeks over again?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/17/2024 - 20:18

So glad this served you well, Nolan! You can run it back one more time or choose another one from this list.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-choose-your-next-train...

JP
Posted on: Fri, 05/03/2024 - 10:33

My coworker recommended this routine to start training, I’m 25, 5’ 8” and 130 lbs. it’s been great so far the first week but I’m wondering if there’s another type of squat or freeweight exercise I can replace for the day 3 barbell squat. I have been suffering from shoulder dislocations (5 in the last two years) and last night the squats pushed my shoulder out (anterior dislocation) on the 3rd rep. The hands behind the head to hold the bar seem to be a no go, the “reaching for the seatbelt” motion is something I can’t really do. I’ve been training my shoulders with resistance bands for 4 months since the last dislocation so it was a bit of a setback. I do need to keep strengthening those muscles though.

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/17/2024 - 20:18

Hi JP. I would suggest focusing on a leg machine or doing goblet squats with a dumbbell in your hands to the front. Follow your doctor's or therapist's advice for the shoulders for sure. Hope the rest of the program is helping you.

Ivan G
Posted on: Mon, 04/29/2024 - 22:06

First off big thanks for providing this to the community!! 2 questions.

For this program is it just rinse and repeat for 2 straight months?

And for barbel squat, I dislocated my shoulder so putting my hand behind my head and squating is virtually impossible. Any recommendations for a substitute?

Thanks again

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/10/2024 - 21:21

Ivan, thank you so much for reading M&S!

Yep, rinse and repeat for two months. Sometimes consistency is the key.

If you have access to a safety squat bar, use that. If not, goblet squats, front squats, or dumbbell squats are all good alternatives.

Curt Klebaum
Posted on: Mon, 04/29/2024 - 20:58

I’m 72. An active fitness weightlifter before 2020 slacked while gyms were closed then moved to a small town with no gym for 50 miles. Then I found a little wellness center on the Paiute reservation next to my town. They let me join so Ive been halfheartedly back to the weights. I have to say I am very pleased with this program I just started. It’s challenging and interesting with the changes in weight and reps. Feeling motivated again Thanks!

Ghaith Kamal Aldeen
Posted on: Sun, 04/14/2024 - 06:14

Hello coach what can I play for six packs?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 04/14/2024 - 10:14

Any of these workouts will help you with ab training. Plug one or two a week in at the end of the workouts you choose to do them with. Keep in mind that nutrition matters a lot if you need to get leaner to see that six-pack.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/abs

Jeremiah
Posted on: Wed, 03/27/2024 - 13:25

Hi, I'm a hs freshman distance/cross country runner who wants to gain muscle without sacrificing my speed. what alterations should I make to this program to fit my needs?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 03/28/2024 - 20:44

Hi Jeremiah, thank you for reading M&S.

The only change I suggest is to make the running the cardio. Don't worry about the extra sessions. The workouts should not interfere with your speed as long as you continue to run and focus on mobility and flexibility. If you have any questions or issues along the way, let us know and we will try to provide answers. Good luck!

Dayang
Posted on: Thu, 03/14/2024 - 01:44

Hi Roger,

I know it says mass building but can I lose weight with this workout if I do calorie deficit?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 03/23/2024 - 17:01

You can with proper recovery and cardio.

Marin
Posted on: Mon, 03/11/2024 - 05:42

Can someone explain me? How do I train this?
That the Workout 1 means day 1 ?
Workout 2. Day 2 ?
Workout 3 Day 3
Workout 4 day 4

Do I train Monday and Tuesday and then have a stop?
I train Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday, and then have a stop. ?
Or is it supposed to train one workout from 1 then another from 2 then another from 3 ?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 03/13/2024 - 08:47

Hey Marin, so here's the crazy and wild thing about this workout. I didn't put days of the week on here because I know everyone has different schedules. So, as long as you do them in the order I laid out, you can do them on whichever days you have available to train. Two days on, one day off, repeat,or every other day, or anything in between. The only other recommendation I would add is that if you do all four in a row, then you should take two days off to recover. Other than that, do them on the schedule that best fits you.

Musta
Posted on: Sun, 03/10/2024 - 19:40

What can I replace with single arm lat pull down?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 03/13/2024 - 08:43

You can swap out the regular version for single, Musta.

Macario I Machado
Posted on: Sun, 03/10/2024 - 17:47

Is this Workout for a 69 year old Senior, Noe a newbie at the Club...

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 03/13/2024 - 08:43

As long as you're healthy overall and have no training restrictions, you can do it Macario. Let us know how you like it. Thanks for reading M&S!

Adan
Posted on: Wed, 03/06/2024 - 01:26

I don't quite understand (RPE).. What does it mean exactly?

How am i suppose to use it?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 03/13/2024 - 08:42

Hey there, Adan. Essentially, RPE is how hard you're working on a scale of 1-10. 1 being barely at all, 10 being as hard as possible. Hope this helps.

Tony
Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2024 - 13:37

Are these 4 consecutive days, then rest 3?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2024 - 18:48

Hey Tony, that is not recommended. The best split would be two days on, one day off, two days on, two days off. However, if you need to train three days in a row because of your schedule, I get it. Just don't do all four in a row without some type of break in between. That could negatively impact your recovery.

Rishabh
Posted on: Sat, 02/17/2024 - 04:12

I have been training since 6 months and going great with this program. My doubt is about the cardio portion . When I started hitting the gym i was 89 kgs and 178 cm. As of now I'm 80 kg but my trainer has advised me to stay away from the treadmill even though i only walk on incline for 20 minutes 5 times a week.He's of the opinion that i will lose muscle mass but here i am more worried about my belly fat. The only cardio that he's suggesting is to hop on the cycle for 10 minutes not more than 2 times a week on hard mode. Also asked me to increase Burpees. I'm not very skinny but I was looking to get definition. Would this help me ?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 02/22/2024 - 10:12

It appears that your trainer is a big fan of High Intensity Training. Burpees are going to be more productive than treadmill when it comes to burning calories. If you keep it short and sweet, you won't lose muscle mass, and as long as you keep the diet on point, you can get leaner.

Steve
Posted on: Sat, 02/10/2024 - 16:05

Hi
Firstly thanks for all these workouts. I started them some 6
months ago and for the first time have actually put some weight on and most is all muscle.

To questions is 60-90 seconds ok for the rest period between sets?

Secondly, is it best to do a straight up and down motion or push at the top?

Cheers,
Steve

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 02/15/2024 - 18:49

Steve, I'm thrilled this program has helped you. Congrats on your progress and thank you for using my workout.

60-90 is solid for rest, and straight up and down is preferred, but if you want to push at the top, you can. Just stay safe when you train.

Christopher S
Posted on: Tue, 02/06/2024 - 16:59

Hey there, just for clarification about this 8 week program

In terms of the sets/Reps, do I Increase the weight for each Rep during the workout? Please explain if I'm increasing the weight on a daily basis, during each workout, or weekly basis