This workout combines the main mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy to help you build some serious muscle. Try this split to put on quality summer mass!
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Build Muscle
  • Workout Type
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration12 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • Time Per Workout45-60 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Barbell, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
  • Target Gender Male & Female
  • Workout PDF Download Workout

Workout Description

The MAUL program is based on the time tested, proven principles of strength and muscle growth.

This 5 day routine is strategically designed to produce adaptations using the 2 main mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy: mechanical tension and muscle damage.1

What is Mechanical Stress?

Mechanically induced tension produced both by force generation and stretch. This stress is typically formed when lifting at a high intensity (i.e. 1-5 repetitions). Mechanical stress has been shown to produce the greatest increases in strength.2

What Is Muscle Damage? 

Localized damage to muscle tissue which generates a hypertrophic response.

Related: Total Body Beatdown - A German Volume Training Routine

The tension necessary to produce this result is typically found in the 8-12 rep range – where intensity is still relatively high, but due to the higher volume, the muscle is placed under tension for a prolonged period of time.

What is Undulating Periodization?

Varying your rep ranges and/or intensity from session to session has been shown to produce greater strength gains than the traditional linear periodization model.3

The method by which the program works is quite simple; the stress produced by your mechanical tension training days will increase strength. The adaptations from your heavier lifting days will then allow you be stronger in your hypertrophy training – allowing for even more muscle damage (which creates muscle growth).

More muscle mass equals more strength – and thus it becomes a vicious cycle of gains.

MAUL Training Squat

What is Volume?

Volume is represented by the equation (Sets x Reps x Weight Lifted = Total Volume).

The research has made it very clear that the most critical pathway to building new muscle is progressive overload.4 The simplest and most practical way to achieve progressive overload is through increasing your total volume .

This can be accomplished by performing more reps without sacrificing the intensity, or increasing the intensity (weight used) without sacrificing the volume (sets x reps).

Related: Arnold Schwarzenegger Volume Workout Routines

In this program the goal for progression with your main lifts (e.g. bench press, overhead press, deadlift, and squat) will be the latter. However, when it comes to smaller isolation or auxiliary movements (e.g. bicep curls, pushdowns, etc.), the former may be a more viable method (more on that later).

What is Intensity?

Intensity is the amount of physical power the body uses to perform a lift. A 2002 study conducted on 32 men compared low, moderate, and high rep training.5

The low and moderate rep groups produced significantly more hypertrophy than the high rep group – proving the importance of training at a higher intensity when strength and muscle growth are the goal.

What is Training Induced MPS?

The synthesis of muscle protein is essential to the body’s ongoing growth, repair, and maintenance of its skeletal muscle. Studies suggest that muscle protein synthesis is more than doubled at about 24 hours following an intense training bout.6

Muscle protein synthesis then begins to drop back to baseline at about the 36 hour mark.

Take for example an athlete who trains his chest directly, 1 time per week: he’ll elevate muscle protein synthesis just 1 time (see the chart below).

MAUL Training Chest Chart 1

For an athlete who trains with using a higher frequency program like MAUL, he will bench press 2 times throughout the week, elevating protein synthesis twice as much as the athlete who trained his chest just once (see the chart below).

MAUL Training Chest Chart 2

What is The Repeated Bout Effect?

Research has demonstrated that when we train a muscle group more frequently (to a degree) it increases our ability to recover and adapt. This is known as the repeated bout effect.7 More efficient recovery and adaptation makes for: extended progression without a plateau, linear strength increases, and more overall muscle growth.

what method of Progression do we use?

The method of progression with the heavier compound lifts is simple: increase the weight slightly, each week, without sacrificing volume. 

With the accessory lifts, you’ll notice there is a repetition range (i.e. 10-12). The goal is to complete each set, for the higher end of the prescribed reps. Once you’ve accomplished that, increase the weight slightly and repeat.

Related: Never Stop Making Gains! Use Micro-Progressions For Growth

If you fall short, continue next week using the same weight and aim to outperform your last performance.

Repeat that until you’ve managed to hit every set for the high end of the prescribed reps.

Day 1 Upper Body Mechanical Stress
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Bench Press 3 5
2. Incline Dumbbell Press 3 6
3. Rack Pulls 3 5
4. Seated Row 3 8-10
5. Overhead Press 3 6
6. Barbell Shrug 3 6-8
7. Barbell Curl 3 8-10
8. Close Grip Bench Press 3 8-10
Day 2 Lower Body Mechanical Stress
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Squat 3 5
2. Leg Press 3 6
3. Stiff-Legged Deadlift 3 8-10
4. Hamstring Curl 3 10-12
5. Calf Raise 3 10-12
Day 3 Upper Body [a] Muscle Damage
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Deadlift 2 5
2. Bench Press 3 10
3. Cable Cross-Over (Low to High) 4 12-15
4. Bent Barbell Rows 4 10-12
5. Lat Pulldown 4 12-15
6. Barbell Shrug 4 10-12
Day 4 Upper Body [b] Muscle Damage
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Overhead Press 3 10
2. Dumbbell Shoulder Press 2 12
3. Lateral Raise 4 12-15
4. Face Pull 4 12-15
5. Barbell Curl 4 10-12
6. Incline Curl 4 12-15
7. Rope Pushdown 4 10-12
8. Overhead Triceps Extension 4 12-15
Day 5 Lower Body Muscle Damage
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Squat 3 10
2. Leg Press 3 12
3. Leg Extension 4 10-12
4. Hamstring Curl 4 10-12
5. Calf Raise 3 10-12

Direct abdominal training is recommended but not required. Feel free to include direct ab training after your workouts or on rest days.

  1. Shoenfeld, BJ. 2010. The Mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy and Their Application to Resistance Training. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 24(10):2857-72
  2. Shoenfeld, BJ. 2014. Effects of different volume-equated resistance training loading strategies on muscular adaptations in well-trained men. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 28(10):2909-18
  3. Rhea, MR. 2002. A comparison of linear and daily undulating periodized programs with equated volume and intensity for strength. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 16(2):250-5
  4. Goldberg AL, Etlinger JD, Goldspink DF, Jablecki C. 1975. Mechanism of work-induced hypertrophy of skeletal muscle. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 7(3):185-98
  5. Campose, GE. 2002. Muscular adaptations in response to three different resistance-training regimens: specificity of repetition maximum training zones. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 88(1-2):50-60
  6. MacDougall, JD. 1995. The time course for elevated muscle protein synthesis following heavy resistance exercise. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology. 20(4):480-6
  7. McHugh, MP. 2003. Recent advances in the understanding of the repeated bout effect: the protective effect against muscle damage from a single bout of eccentric exercise. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. 13(2):88-97
Posted on: Wed, 11/22/2023 - 10:54

Hi, I’ve run this program in the past and had great results and was planning on running it again. I was wondering if I could do the compound lifts in a 5/3/1 style. So instead of doing 3x5 on the compounds could I do 3x5 one week then the following week do 3x3 and then in the third week do 1 set of 5, 1 set of 3 and 1 set of 1 and then reset with more weight the following week and back to 3x5 and repeat

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 11/29/2023 - 20:49

Hey Matt, thanks for reading M&S! I actually think that is a solid idea. Give it a go and let us know how it works for you.

Posted on: Wed, 05/24/2023 - 12:40

Hello. What workouts can you recommend for Ectomorph-type Male ? and what Diet u recommend for me ( Ectomorph-type Male ) ? i have 3 weeks of training .
thank u

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 05/29/2023 - 08:08

I think this program will help you, Khalil. You can read more about food at this link.

Posted on: Mon, 11/14/2022 - 20:41

Hello. What workouts can you recommend for Ectomorph-type females?


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 11/20/2022 - 17:23

Are you a beginner or have you been training for a while?

Posted on: Thu, 12/09/2021 - 23:06

Hallo.I would like to ask if I could change from day 3, the barbell shrug,with upright rows?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 12/10/2021 - 17:42

Sure, Lambros.

Posted on: Mon, 10/12/2020 - 07:23

Should I go as heavy as possible in mechanical stress days , and lighter in muscle damage days ?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 10/12/2020 - 09:26

Hey Alaa - Mechanical stress days will be heavier than muscle damage days. When choosing a weight for any workout, you should choose something that is challenging but still allows you to perform the movement safely and with proper form for the given number of reps.

Posted on: Tue, 06/22/2021 - 11:56

no i do not. sorry for being late

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:22

Hey Nahome - do you have prior lifting experience or is this program your first time utilizing resistance training?

Posted on: Mon, 05/03/2021 - 10:35

hi abigal im a begginer to lifting and im a freshman in highschool tryna get bigger, since thats my main reason to do this workout. instead of 5 days can i do 4 since i dont think 5 days is good for a begginer? 2 days of muscle stress and two of muscle building. Also after i leave my bulking stage of lifting my main goal is to become more powerful, do you know which workout will help me get more powerful and faster? can you drop a link.

Posted on: Thu, 09/26/2019 - 15:21

just a little confused here when it comes to how to carry out this training schedule. I only work out between Mon-Fri when there is no time on the weekend, so I wonder if this training program would work to run Mon-Fri and then Sat-Sun rest?

Posted on: Tue, 05/14/2019 - 09:38

Hi josh ,
Instead of PPL , I can do this program . How can separate this program in 4 days ? I want to use all movement which you shared in above program ?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 05/14/2019 - 16:52


Perform the workouts listed on your training days and simply cycle through them in order each day you train.

Sean Fuller
Posted on: Mon, 04/22/2019 - 15:19

I am a little confused on day 3: the first exercise looks like it is heavy deadlifts, like on the mechanical stress days, but the rest of the day is muscle damage stuff. I am curious to the reason to start the workout with a heavy lift, as I am still pretty new to this Haha.

Posted on: Sun, 01/27/2019 - 14:47

Hi, I’ve been lifting for about 17 years and I get a lot of info from this site. So thanks for all your work
I did this workout for three weeks but ceased from doing it any further due to confusion on days 3, 4 and 5. I’d like to give it another go but was wondering if I could switch days 4 and 5 as when I did day 4 as currently constructed I was weak from having just done an upper body on day 3 and I felt I was straining and at potential risk for injury.
Is there a reason for back to back upper days that is beneficial or can I make the switch without impeding progress?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 01/28/2019 - 09:43

Hi Hugh,

You can make that switch. Shouldn't be an issue.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 01/28/2019 - 09:43

Also, I think there was intended to be a rest day in between the two upper days, but I could be wrong.

Posted on: Sun, 02/03/2019 - 16:34


Posted on: Tue, 12/11/2018 - 13:40

Let me start by saying I've been training for years, I have seen nothing but significant strength gains while on this program, as well as a transformation in my body, a top notch training program for anyone. I have increased all my major compound lifts since starting this 6 weeks ago.

Posted on: Mon, 01/28/2019 - 19:29

For days 1&2 do you increase weight with each set or use your heaviest throughout?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 02/05/2019 - 15:03

Hi Sanjay,

You can do either. Personally, I'd increase the weight with each set.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Wed, 06/27/2018 - 05:32

Is this split/plan enough for chest growth?I wanna try fst7 but there's only 2 exercises in each chest day...

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 06/27/2018 - 10:01

Hi Trafalgar,

Yes, there is enough chest work in this program to spark chest growth.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Thu, 05/31/2018 - 15:52

Would this be a good program for intermediate lifters?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 05/31/2018 - 16:36

Hi Dany,

Sure, this should be a fine program for someone who is intermediate.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Sun, 08/20/2017 - 17:17

Hey, looks good to me but isn't 2 sets for some exercises quite low? can I increase to 3 sets? and I've been training for 3 months, 15 years old, 68kgs (started at 60-61kgs) and 171cm, will this program build noticiable strength and muscle to me? because I am abit weak.

Posted on: Sun, 03/05/2017 - 12:40

hey, what would you recommend to do to warm up before the different exercises? will you do different exercises to warm up different muscles to perform a spesefik exercise? Or, run some Setes before your working Setes with lower weights?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 03/06/2017 - 09:35
Posted on: Mon, 10/31/2016 - 08:18

Hi Alain. Can you run this program on a cut?

Posted on: Sun, 10/30/2016 - 13:22

Starting this tomorrow. Looks pretty solid, has anyone done this for a fair amount of time? How long did you do it for? And what were your resulsts like? Did you keep the two upper muscle damage days consecutive? Lots of questions but just curious how others have done this.

Posted on: Fri, 08/26/2016 - 23:18

Awesome workout split. If this is the Beginner level, what are the intermediate and advanced progressions? Or is the weight for each the only progressions.

Posted on: Tue, 06/14/2016 - 09:02

When and how are the rest days supposed to be incorporated???

alain gonzalez
Posted on: Tue, 06/21/2016 - 10:00

However you want to space is out is fine, as long as you're getting the work done within the week. I personally like going 2 days on, rest, 3 days on, rest, etc. Another option might be 5 days on, 2 off, repeat. Ultimately, you want to schedule the training in a way that (1) fits your life schedule and (2) allows adequate recovery.

Posted on: Mon, 06/13/2016 - 09:03

I like the way this program looks but what is the rest time between sets? I've always typically gone with no less than 30 secs to no more than a minute. What would you recommend?

alain gonzalez
Posted on: Tue, 06/21/2016 - 09:58

Because the main focus is progression, it's imperative that you rest long enough to ensure you're primed and ready for the next set, especially on mechanical stress days. For your muscle damage days, I'd say 45-90 seconds would be ideal.

Posted on: Sun, 06/05/2016 - 23:22

Hi Alain, nice article however is the seated cable row meant to be in the lower body mechanical stress day 2 ? and also what would you recommend for rest days? 3 on one off? Looks like a solid workout routine will be jumping on it soon.

alain gonzalez
Posted on: Mon, 06/13/2016 - 18:06

Nope. That must be a typo. Thanks for pointing it out! However you want to space is out is fine, as long as you're getting the work done within the week. I personally like going 2 days on, rest, 3 days on, rest, etc.

Doniver Purse
Posted on: Fri, 06/03/2016 - 16:02

are the total volume amounts supposed to be the same for both mechanical stress and muscle damage

alain gonzalez
Posted on: Mon, 06/13/2016 - 18:09

Nope. Because you're training for different adaptations in each, you should compare the volume from mechanical stress training to other mechanical stress days and so on.