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The 12-Week Clear Muscle Challenge Workout

Paired with MuscleTech's Clear Muscle, this workout is designed to build muscle through a 3-phase training protocol that focuses on hypertrophy, power, and strength!

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Full Body
Advanced
12 weeks
3
60-90 minutes
Bands, Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
Male

Workout Description

The Clear Muscle 12-week challenge is a program designed to build more muscle, and gain strength through workouts based on foundational exercises. The core of the program is broken down into 3 phases that consist of non-linear periodized resistance workouts for the first 8 weeks, followed by a 2 week overreaching cycle, and finally a 2 week taper of the training volume. Phase 1 (8 weeks) is a periodized resistance-training program; Phase 2 (2 weeks) is a two week overreaching cycle; and Phase 3 (2 weeks) is a 2-week taper.

PHASE 1

Daily Undulating Periodization
Rotating between different types of workouts in a set period of time. In the example provided, in Phase 1, there are three distinct workouts which utilize varying volume, intensity and rest intervals. These three workouts are rotated in a M-W-F training split or three workouts to be completed in a 7 day period. Essentially this is alternating between different styles of training within a one week period.

WEEK 1

Monday (Hypertrophy) Sets Reps
High Bar Close Stance Squats 3 12
Barbell Bench Press 3 12
Conventional Deadlifts 3 12
Weighted Pull Ups/Weighted Dips (Superset) 3 12
Overhand Bent Over Row 3 12
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 12
Standing Barbell Curls/ Rope Tricep Ext. (Superset) 3 12
*60 second timed restRM – Rep max (to failure)
Wednesday (Power): Use 40% of 1RM Sets Reps
Close Stance Squats 5 5
Barbell Bench Press 5 5
Conventional Deadlifts 5 5
*3 minute timed rest
Friday (Strength) Sets Reps
Close Stance Squats 5 5
Barbell Bench Press 5 5
Conventional Deadlifts 3 5
Weighted Pull Ups/Weighted Dips (Superset) 3 5
Overhand Bent Over Row 3 5
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 5
Standing Barbell Curls/ Rope Tricep Ext. (Superset) 3 5
*3 minute timed rest

WEEK 2

Monday (Hypertrophy) Sets Reps
High Bar Close Stance Squats 3 10
Barbell Bench Press 3 10
Conventional Deadlifts 3 10
Weighted Pull Ups/Weighted Dips (Superset) 3 10
Overhand Bent Over Row 3 10
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 10
Standing Barbell Curls/ Rope Tricep Ext. (Superset) 3 10
*60 second timed restRM – Rep max (to failure)
Wednesday (Power): Use 50% of 1RM Sets Reps
Close Stance Squats 5 4
Barbell Bench Press 5 4
Conventional Deadlifts 5 4
*3 minute timed rest
Friday (Strength) Sets Reps
Close Stance Squats 5 4
Barbell Bench Press 5 4
Conventional Deadlifts 3 4
Weighted Pull Ups/Weighted Dips (Superset) 3 4
Overhand Bent Over Row 3 4
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 4
Standing Barbell Curls/ Rope Tricep Ext. (Superset) 3 4
*3 minute timed rest

WEEK 3

Monday (Hypertrophy) Sets Reps
High Bar Close Stance Squats 3 10
Barbell Bench Press 3 10
Conventional Deadlifts 3 10
Weighted Pull Ups/Weighted Dips (Superset) 3 10
Overhand Bent Over Row 3 10
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 10
Standing Barbell Curls/ Rope Tricep Ext (Superset) 3 10
*60 second timed restRM – Rep max (to failure)
Wednesday (Power): Use 50% of 1RM Sets Reps
Close Stance Squats 5 4
Barbell Bench Press 5 4
Conventional Deadlifts 5 4
*3 minute timed rest
Friday (Strength) Sets Reps
Close Stance Squats 5 4
Barbell Bench Press 5 4
Conventional Deadlifts 3 4
Weighted Pull Ups/Weighted Dips (Superset) 3 4
Overhand Bent Over Row 3 4
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 4
Standing Barbell Curls/ Rope Tricep Ext. (Superset) 3 4
*3 minute timed rest

WEEK 4

Monday (Hypertrophy) Sets Reps
High Bar Close Stance Squats 3 8
Barbell Bench Press 3 8
Conventional Deadlifts 3 8
Weighted Pull Ups/Weighted Dips (Superset) 3 8
Overhand Bent Over Row 3 8
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 8
Standing Barbell Curls/ Rope Tricep Ext. (Superset) 3 8
*120 second timed restRM – Rep max (to failure)
Wednesday (Power): Use 60% of 1RM Sets Reps
Close Stance Squats 5 3
Barbell Bench Press 5 3
Conventional Deadlifts 5 3
*3 minute timed rest
Friday (Strength) Sets Reps
Close Stance Squats 3 1
Barbell Bench Press 3 1
Conventional Deadlifts 3 1
*3 minute timed rest

MuscleTech Clear Muscle

WEEK 5

Monday (Hypertrophy) Sets Reps
Low Bar Slightly Wider than Shoulder Width Squats 3 12
Barbell Bench Press 3 12
Sumo Deadlifts 2 12
Conventional Deadlifts 1 12**
Weighted Pull Ups/Weighted Dips (Superset) 3 12
Underhand Bent Over Row 3 12
Barbell Shoulder Press 3 12
Seated Dumbell Curls/Skull Crushers (Superset) 3 12
*60 second timed restRM
**30 second timed rest
Wednesday (Power/ Accommodating Resistance): 40% 1RM w/Bands Sets Reps
Low Bar Slightly Wider than Shoulder Width Squats 5 3
Barbell Bench Press 5 5
Sumo Deadlifts 3 5
Conventional Deadlifts 2 5
*3 minute timed rest. Use bands for accomodating resistance
Friday (Strength) Sets Reps
Low Bar Slightly Wider than Shoulder Width Squats 5 5
Barbell Bench Press 5 5
Sumo Deadlifts 2 5
Conventional Deadlifts 1 5
Weighted Pull Ups/Weighted Dips (Superset) 3 5
Underhand Bent Over Row 3 5
Barbell Shoulder Press 3 5
Seated Dumbbell Curls/Skull Crushers(Superset) 3 5
*3 minute timed rest.

WEEK 6

Monday (Hypertrophy) Sets Reps
Low Bar Slightly Wider than Shoulder Width Squats 3 10
Barbell Bench Press 3 10
Sumo Deadlifts 2 10
Conventional Deadlifts 1 10
Weighted Pull Ups/Weighted Dips (Superset) 3 10
Underhand Bent Over Row 3 10
Barbell Shoulder Press 3 10
Seated Dumbell Curls/Skull Crushers (Superset) 3 10
*60 second timed rest
Wednesday (Power/ Accommodating Resistance): 50% 1RM w/Chains Sets Reps
Low Bar Slightly Wider than Shoulder Width Squats 5 4
Barbell Bench Press 5 4
Sumo Deadlifts 3 4
Conventional Deadlifts 2 4
*3 minute timed rest. Use Chains for accomodating resistance
Friday (Strength) Sets Reps
Low Bar Slightly Wider than Shoulder Width Squats 5 4
Barbell Bench Press 5 4
Sumo Deadlifts 2 4
Conventional Deadlifts 1 4
Weighted Pull Ups/Weighted Dips (Superset) 3 4
Underhand Bent Over Row 3 4
Barbell Shoulder Press 3 4
Seated Dumbbell Curls/Skull Crushers(Superset) 3 4
*3 minute timed rest.

WEEK 7

Monday (Hypertrophy) Sets Reps
Low Bar Slightly Wider than Shoulder Width Squats 3 10
Barbell Bench Press 3 10
Sumo Deadlifts 2 10
Conventional Deadlifts 1 10
Weighted Pull Ups/Weighted Dips (Superset) 3 10
Underhand Bent Over Row 3 10
Barbell Shoulder Press 3 10
Seated Dumbell Curls/Skull Crushers (Superset) 3 10
*90 second timed rest
Wednesday (Power/ Accommodating Resistance): 55% 1RM w/Bands Sets Reps
Low Bar Slightly Wider than Shoulder Width Squats 5 4
Barbell Bench Press 5 4
Sumo Deadlifts 3 4
Conventional Deadlifts 2 5
*3 minute timed rest. Use Bands for accomodating resistance
Friday (Strength) Sets Reps
Low Bar Slightly Wider than Shoulder Width Squats 5 3
Barbell Bench Press 5 3
Sumo Deadlifts 2 3
Conventional Deadlifts 1 3
Weighted Pull Ups/Weighted Dips (Superset) 3 3
Underhand Bent Over Row 3 3
Barbell Shoulder Press 3 3
Seated Dumbbell Curls/Skull Crushers(Superset) 3 3
*3 minute timed rest

WEEK 8

Monday (Hypertrophy) Sets Reps
Low Bar Slightly Wider than Shoulder Width Squats 3 8
Barbell Bench Press 3 8
Sumo Deadlifts 2 8
Conventional Deadlifts 1 8
Weighted Pull Ups/Weighted Dips (Superset) 3 8
Underhand Bent Over Row 3 8
Barbell Shoulder Press 3 8
Seated Dumbell Curls/Skull Crushers (Superset) 3 8
*120 second timed rest
Wednesday (Power/ Accommodating Resistance): 60% 1RM w/Chains Sets Reps
Low Bar Slightly Wider than Shoulder Width Squats 5 3
Barbell Bench Press 5 3
Sumo Deadlifts 3 3
Conventional Deadlifts 2 3
*3 minute timed rest. Use Chains for accomodating resistance
Friday (Strength) Sets Reps
Low Bar Slightly Wider than Shoulder Width Squats 3 1
Barbell Bench Press 3 1
Conventional Deadlifts 3 1
*5 minute timed rest

MuscleTech Athlete

PHASE 2

Overreaching
A period of very high training stress that can result in a short term decrease in performance and muscular gains. Full recovery from this phase of training results produces accelerated gains in size and strength. It’s the equivalent of taking one small step back to advance two steps forward as far as progress is concerned.

WEEK 9 & 10

Monday (Hypertrophy) Sets Reps
High Bar Close Stance Squats 3 8
Barbell Bench Press 3 8
Conventional Deadlifts 3 8
Weighted Pull Ups/Weighted Dips (Superset) 3 8
Overhand Bent Over Row 3 8
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 8
Standing Barbell Curls/ Rope Tricep Ext. (Superset) 3 8
*60 second timed rest
Tuesday (Hypertrophy) Sets Reps
Leg Press (Close Foot Placement) 3 8
Incline Barbell Bench Press 3 8
Military Press 3 8
Supinated Pull Ups/Dips (Superset) 3 8
Bent Over Row 3 8
Hammer Curls/Close Grip Bench (Superset) 3 8
*60 second timed rest
Wednesday(Hypertrophy) Sets Reps
Low Bar Slightly Wider than Shoulder Width Squats 3 12
Barbell Bench Press 3 12
Sumo Deadlifts 2 12
Conventional Deadlifts 1 12
Weighted Pull Ups/Weighted Dips (Superset) 3 12
Underhand Bent Over Row 3 12
Barbell Shoulder Press 3 12
Seated Dumbell Curls/ Skull Crushers (Superset) 3 12
*60 second timed rest
Thursday(Hypertrophy) Sets Reps
Leg Press (Wide Foot Placement) 3 12
Incline Barbell Bench Press 3 12
Military Press 3 12
Supinated Pull Ups/Dips (Superset) 3 12
Bent Over Row 3 12
Hammer Curls/Close Grip Bench (Superset) 3 12
*60 second timed rest
Friday (Strength) Sets Reps
Squats 3 1
Bench Press 3 1
Conventional Deadlifts 3 1
*5 minute timed rest
Saturday (Wingates) Sets Reps
30-second Wingates 2 1
*2 minute timed rest

PHASE 3

Taper
A phase of training that utilizes a reduced training volume to allow the body to fully recover and restore size and strength to peak levels. High intensity lifts are incorporated to keep the muscles full and strong without depleting the body to any significant extent. Athletes will find their muscles can fill out to max levels and strength is optimized with this phase of training.

WEEK 11

Monday Sets Reps
Squats 5 5
Barbell Bench Press 5 5
Deadlifts 5 5
*180 seconds timed restRM – Rep max (to failure)40-60% 1 RM
*maximal intended velocity repetitions
Wednesday Sets Reps
Squats 3 3-5
Barbell Bench Press 3 3-5
Deadlifts 1 3-5
Pull Ups/Dumbbell Shoulder Press (Superset) 1 3-5
Bent Over Row 1 3-5
Barbell Curls/ Triceps Extension (Superset) 1 3-5
*240 seconds timed restRM – Rep max (to failure)> 90 % 1 RM
*RM Loads
Friday Sets Reps
Squats 5 5
Barbell Bench Press 5 5
Deadlifts 5 5
*180 seconds timed restRM – Rep max (to failure)40-60% 1 RM
*maximal intended velocity repetitions

WEEK 12

Monday Sets Reps
Squats 3 3-5
Barbell Bench Press 3 3-5
Deadlifts 1 3-5
Pull Ups/Dumbbell Shoulder Press (Superset) 1 3-5
Bent Over Row 1 3-5
Barbell Curls/Triceps Extension (Superset) 1 3-5
*240 seconds timed restRM – Rep max (to failure) >90% 1RM
Wednesday Sets Reps
Squats 5 5
Bench Press 5 5
Deadlifts 5 5
*180 seconds timed restRM – Rep max (to failure) 40-60% 1RM
*RM Loads
Friday Sets Reps
Squats 3 1
Barbell Bench Press 3 1
Deadlifts 3 1
*5 minutes timed restRM – Rep max (to failure)
*Highest counted as 1RM

33 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 02/17/2016 - 10:57
Nick

For ex: on week1 Friday workout your only suppose to do 5 reps. Should I be using the 40% 1rm from Wednesday and have it b light or should I b maxing out on the 5th rep?

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Posted Mon, 10/12/2015 - 12:52
Garrett

Hi Mike,
In phase 3 for the 5x5 days it says rep max (to failure) 40-60% 1RM. I am assuming this means to do as many reps as you can with a weight no more than 60% 1rm. So if I can do 8 high explosive reps with 60% is that what I should be shooting for. Or should I be stopping after 5 reps. Thanks!

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Posted Mon, 07/13/2015 - 11:28
Garrett

Why do you start at 40% 1rm for week 1 then 50% week 2 etc...? Why wouldn't you just lift the weight you would get 5 reps from? For me, If I am lifting 40% of 1rm I would be doing 20 reps, not 5. For example my 1rm on bench is 295, so 40% is only 118.

MikeWines's picture
Posted Tue, 07/14/2015 - 09:54
MikeWines

Garrett,
The power workouts are based upon bar velocity and the ability of the lifter to accelerate the weight as fast as possible. The weight is supposed to feel light, it's about applying intent to the bar to move it as fast as possible in order to receive the neural and physiological benefits.

MikeWines's picture
Posted Wed, 07/15/2015 - 09:45
MikeWines

Garrett,
I wouldn't recommend you go that high. Usually peak power occurs between the 40-60% range and as such, that's where you'll get maximal bar acceleration. Go to high and you begin to train different neural and motor components.

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Posted Wed, 07/15/2015 - 10:03
Garrett

But starting week 5 you start adding chains and bands so wouldn't that increase the %. For example week 8 at 60% with chains, I calculated to be about 75-80% of my 1RM. Considering chains weigh about 20 lbs each so 40lbs added to the bar or another 15-20%. What would you recommend for people like me with out chains or bands than for weeks 5-8? Thanks!

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Posted Thu, 07/16/2015 - 23:46
Garrett

What weight of chain should I use each side and what resistance of bands should I use if I can find them

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Posted Wed, 07/15/2015 - 14:29
Garrett

Also, I just did my first Wednesday (power) using 40% and 5 sets of 5 reps. It hardly felt like I worked out at all. Is this normal for the program?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Fri, 07/17/2015 - 10:21
MikeWines

For bands, it's tough to measure the exact tension as you'll need something like a fish scale or another more advanced weighing tool. The most important factor is to keep the band tension consistent and then manipulate the bar weight in order to generate an overload.

For chains, I would ensure you have ones long enough to reach the ground with your arms extended that could range anywhere from 40-100lbs depending upon your experience level and what you're trying to accomplish (absolute strength versus explosive strength)

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Posted Tue, 07/14/2015 - 10:25
Garrett

Thanks! If I don't have chains or bands could I use the following:
week 1 -40% 1RM
Week 2/3 - 50% 1RM
Week 4/5 - 60% 1RM
Week 6- 65% 1RM
Week 7 - 70% 1RM
Week 8 - 75% 1RM

Or what would you recommend?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Thu, 07/16/2015 - 09:43
MikeWines

The bands and chains are accommodating resistance, meaning that they will provide more resistance at specific points in the range of motion. Chains should touch the ground when the weight is unracked that way they become shorter as the weight is lowered. The resistance will be lowest at the bottom of the movement and highest at the top. The same is true for bands as well since they are stretched most at the top and least at the bottom.

In that way, bands and chains are resistance but they are a different form of resistance than cables or free weights.

MikeWines's picture
Posted Thu, 07/16/2015 - 09:44
MikeWines

Have you recently maxed out? Are you sure those numbers are correct?

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Posted Thu, 07/16/2015 - 09:47
Garrett

Yes, I just hit that 295 as my best yet. I am 5'8" 170lbs.

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Posted Mon, 10/19/2015 - 12:40
Garrett

ok, so stop after 5 reps even if you could do more?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Mon, 10/19/2015 - 13:57
MikeWines

Yes, the idea of speed work is to maximize bar velocity within each individual rep. If the repetitions are too high then you'll lose that velocity during fatigue.

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Posted Fri, 10/16/2015 - 12:20
Garrett

Hi Mike,
In phase 3 for the 5x5 days it says rep max (to failure) 40-60% 1RM. I am assuming this means to do as many reps as you can with a weight no more than 60% 1rm. So if I can do 8 high explosive reps with 60% is that what I should be shooting for. Or should I be stopping after 5 reps. Thanks!

MikeWines's picture
Posted Fri, 10/16/2015 - 16:27
MikeWines

Garrett,

For the 5x5 scheme, the sets and reps are not ranges or minimums, that's the prescribed set and rep range. The goal is bar speed, not weight.

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Posted Mon, 11/30/2015 - 11:43
isaiah

Yeah i hear you same for me

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Posted Sat, 05/23/2015 - 17:39
Casey

The rec center that I go to does not provide chains or resistant bands. Should I just use heavier free weights?

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Posted Thu, 03/12/2015 - 23:12
Brad

Hey M&S,

I was wondering what could be a possible alternative to the deadlift. I injured (2 buldging disks about 14 months ago) my back doing deadlifts and would rather not do that exercise is possible. What is another exercise you would suggest or anyone?

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Posted Thu, 03/05/2015 - 23:15
shane

Any one get there questions answered? I am unsure what amount of weight to use on day 1 and 3. any advise?

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Posted Wed, 03/04/2015 - 18:20
Artur

Sorry Im confused. So first day 3 sets 12 reps. Rep Max ( to failure) Is that mean the same weight for 3 sets or first haviest then lighter to still reach 12 reps? Thanks.

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Posted Mon, 03/09/2015 - 03:07
Joyanta

Hi Arthur,

I am using the weights on an increasing mode..Moderate to Heaviest!!

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Posted Mon, 02/23/2015 - 00:09
Joyanta

I am from Kolkata, India and a regular reader of M&S portal. Though my work sessions are erratic, still I find time to do a good workout. I am an ardent fan of Team M&S and would love to meet all you guys one day to get some first-hand information about health and fitness. So, 4 weeks gone!!! and I can already feel the pump and strength within me. 8 weeks more....thanks a lot Team M&S!

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Posted Tue, 01/20/2015 - 17:38
saleh

Please clarification over me I did not understand on Wednesday and how I put 40% of the weight and how much time to rest between sessions and Mamni Rm

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Posted Tue, 01/20/2015 - 10:46
saleh

Please clarification over me I did not understand on Wednesday and how I put 40% of the weight and how much time to rest between sessions and Mamni Rm

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Posted Mon, 01/19/2015 - 18:14
Richad

So do you got to your max weights to failure on the first day ie Mondays

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Posted Mon, 01/19/2015 - 12:49
Anthony

Can you please explain the rest times and rm to failures to me in a bit more detail?
Thanks much appreciated

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Posted Thu, 01/29/2015 - 19:55
Aleem Uddin

Hello Anthony, did you manage to figure it out? i am confused too.

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Posted Sun, 01/18/2015 - 08:19
Dan

I'm going to give this workout a run!

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Posted Wed, 01/14/2015 - 08:44
Thor Hammersted

I have read you shouldnt mix hypertrophy and strength workouts. true or false?

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Posted Fri, 01/09/2015 - 14:06
Kmac20

Great routine M and S...the last couple have been flubs but this one looks great
The last poster obviously doesn't know what a speed set is

I'm gonna do this but sub speed deads for cleans on power day,
Add in farmers walks and remove leg press- the most injurious excersize in the gym

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Posted Fri, 01/09/2015 - 10:29
Justin

For the first three weeks, "power day" is 50% of your 1RM??? Is this a joke?