This workout program incorporates an old-school training method and is designed to help you maximize your gains! Muscle Mass Inflation is a muscle building workout that will take you from small to swole.
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Build Muscle
  • Workout Type
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration8 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • Time Per Workout45-70 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Barbell, Cables, Dumbbells
  • Target Gender Male & Female
  • Recommended Supps
  • Workout PDF Download Workout

Workout Description

Whether you’re someone who has lost a lot of weight recently or you’re someone who is starting their fitness journey on the smaller side of the scale, many people are primed and ready to grow. The aspirations of getting bigger and stronger is an exciting thought.

All you need is a plan to follow because the energy is already there. While the process of working your way up the shirt sizes (in a good way) takes time, you can definitely hit the ground running and this eight week program could be the ticket you need to start your trip from small to swole.

Recommended: Need help building muscle? Take our Free Muscle Building Course

High Intensity Training

The workout program that is going to help you maximize those gains is based on an old-school method of training known as High Intensity Training (HIT). This isn’t the cardio system known as HIIT. The weight training version of HIT calls for a minimal amount of work sets while maximizing the effort you give in performing the sets you are going to perform. Among those most famous for using this type of training were past bodybuilding champions Dorian Yates and Mike Mentzer.

Most of the exercises in this program will call for you to perform one or two warm-up sets. You’ll do these with moderate weight that you should be in no danger or reaching failure with. The goal of these sets are to establish a mind-muscle connection, proofread your form, and prepare yourself mentally for those work sets to come. You will rest for two minutes between these sets.

The work sets in this routine are meant for you to perform to failure. Let’s define failure for this particular program. Failure means you can’t perform one more rep with proper form, even if you wanted to. If you have a partner to push you beyond that point, great, then push it for another rep or two.

For those of you that will be training alone, when you reach that point, ask yourself if you have one more in you. If you don’t or can’t answer “yes” with 100% confidence, rack the weight. Training beyond failure would be great if possible but it’s not worth the risk of injury and no one grows muscle while performing rehab or sitting on the couch with an injury.

The rep schemes are meant to serve as the points you reach failure. If you don’t hit these target ranges, make changes as necessary. Rest for three minutes between work sets.

Muscle & Strength Athlete Doing Lat Pulldowns

The Workouts

Because of the recent growth of people training at home or under alternative circumstances, these workouts are designed as basic as they can be while being capable of providing an environment for muscle building benefits.

The main items you will need for this program are a rack, bar, bench, some dumbbells or plate-loaded dumbbell handles, and a few resistance bands. If you need to substitute exercises because of the equipment you have, you can search for other choices in the M&S Exercise Guide section.

You’ll notice a lot of compound movements in this plan. The multijoint exercises are the ones that lay the groundwork for growth. There are also a few isolation movements so you can sculpt your masterpiece too. These workouts may be simple but doing them won’t be easy if you do them right. By the time you’re finished you should feel like you’ve done serious work.

Muscle Mass Inflation Day 1: Back and Biceps

Exercise Warm-Up Sets Work Sets Rest
Bent-Over Barbell Row 2 x 10-12 reps 2 x 6-8 reps 3min
Pullover 2 x 10-12 reps 2 x 8-10 reps 3min
One Arm Row 1 x 12 reps 2 x 8-10 reps 3min
Lat Pulldown 0 2 x 10-12 reps 3min
Barbell Curl 2 x 10-12 reps 2 x 8-10 reps 3min
Seated Hammer Curl 1 x 12 reps 2 x 8-10 reps 3min
Concentration Curl 0 2 x 10-12 reps 3min

Muscle Mass Inflation Day 2: Shoulders and Abs

Exercise Warm-Up Sets Work Sets Rest
Seated Barbell Press 2 x 10-12 reps 2 x 6-8 reps 3min
Single Arm Lateral Raise 1 x 10-12 reps 2 x 8-10 reps 3min
Upright Row 1 x 10-12 reps 2 x 8-10 reps 3min
Rear Lateral Raise 0 2 x 8-10 reps 3min
Hanging Leg Raise* 2 x 10-12 reps 2 x 10-12 reps* 3min
Weighted Crunch on Decline Bench 2 x 10-12 reps 2 x 10-12 reps 3min
*Hold top position for 3 counts before lowering

Muscle Mass Inflation Day 3: Legs

Exercise Warm-Up Sets Work Sets Rest
Front Squat 2 x 10-12 reps 2 x 8-10 reps 3min
Frog Squat 1 x 10-12 reps 2 x 10-12 reps 3min
Single Leg Extension 0 2 x 12-15 reps 3min
Romanian Deadlift 2 x 10-12 reps 2 x 10-12 reps 3min
Good Morning 1 x 10-12 reps 2 x 10-12 reps 3min
Single Leg Curl (any version) 0 2 x 12-15 reps 3min
Standing Barbell Calf Raise 1 x 10-12 reps 2 x 15 reps 3min
Seated Calf Raise 0 2 x 15 reps 3min

Muscle Mass Inflation Day 4: Chest and Triceps

Exercise Warm-Up Sets Work Sets Rest
Incline Dumbbell Press 2 x 10-12 reps 2 x 6-8 reps 3min
Flat Barbell Bench Press 2 x 10-12 reps 2 x 6-8 reps 3min
Floor Dumbbell Fly 1 x 10-12 reps 2 x 8-10 reps 3min
Seated Press Machine* 0 2 x 10-12 reps 3min
Close Grip Bench Press 2 x 8-10 reps 2 of 6-8 reps 3min
Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extension 1 x 10-12 reps 2 x 8-10 reps 3min
Single Tricep Pressdown 0 2 x 10-12 reps 3min
*If training at home, use a band around the back of a bench

The Training Split

This program will follow a weekly training split of two days on, one day off, two days on, and two days off. When it comes to building muscle, rest and recovery are just as important as the training, if not more so, so don’t try to add anything into this. Take those rest days and let that excitement for training build until you get back in the weight room on the scheduled day.

The days listed here are listed as Monday through Sunday but if you need to start your week on a different day, that is no problem. Just make sure you take the days off you’re supposed to.

Monday – Back and Biceps
Tuesday – Shoulders and Abs
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Legs
Friday – Chest and Triceps
Saturday and Sunday - Off

As the weeks progress, you should notice a gain in strength as well as size. If you’re noticing a weight you were using before isn’t getting the job done now, then either add weight or perform the reps slower so you can still make the movement more challenging.


Even though the objective is to build muscle and grow, cardiovascular fitness still matters. The old philosophy used to be that you should do no cardio at all. However, doing cardio at least a couple of times a week helps keep blood moving and will help with both cardiovascular and respiratory system health.

Perform 20 minutes of moderate level cardio two or three times a week either post-training or at a separate time of the day. If you work an active job and feel you don’t need this, then you can skip it but be honest when making that assessment.

Measuring Progress

The scale is one way to measure the progress for obvious reasons but it doesn’t tell the entire story. Use other metrics like clothes sizes, measurements, and take photos of yourself every two weeks to gauge how you’re doing. When you take photos, make sure you do so under the same lighting and the same type of day so all aspects are consistent. This will help you make the most accurate assessment.

Posted on: Thu, 01/11/2024 - 15:59

I've been doing old school full body workouts three times per week followed by a 20 minute jog.
Is this an equivalent upgrade so far as continued results go?
What I like about full body, if I miss a day it's easy to make up.
If you have a full body alternative to this let me know.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/14/2024 - 18:14

I think this would be a nice upgrade for you, Pedro. But, we do have other options for you at this link. If you like any of these better than this one, by all means proceed and let us know if you have any other questions along the way.

Tim Wilmetti
Posted on: Mon, 01/08/2024 - 19:58

I just started this plan this morning. Pumped to keep doing it. I noticed that the link for the "Front Squat" is incorrect. Is this the correct link?


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 01/09/2024 - 20:55

The one you shared is correct, Tim. Thanks for pointing this out!

Posted on: Mon, 01/22/2024 - 06:25

Thanks, Roger! Another question about the pullover on day 1. Isn't that a pec exercise? Or does that work out the back as well?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/28/2024 - 21:20

I'm not sure if it was you or someone else, but this question came up somewhere else here. It works both. The stretch to the back and pull back up works the lats, the top of the contraction and the squeezing of the dumbbell works the chest.

Posted on: Mon, 12/18/2023 - 18:33

Hi Roger. If your advanced could you add 1-2 more sets for each exercise. And also I was always told that if your natural you should hit each bodypart at least 2-3 times a week. What is your take on that. Thanks

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 12/28/2023 - 20:48

Hi Steve, you could add one more set to each, but I wouldn't suggest more than that.

My personal take: I've been training 25 years, never taken a steroid in my life, and found that splits like this one can work very well. Not knocking the 2-3 times a week argument, but I don't think it's the only way.

Posted on: Sun, 12/17/2023 - 12:56

Is this a good program for someone training kickboxing twice a week for 45 minute sessions?
The kb sessions would be my cardio and I can easily drop those to 30 minutes each.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 12/28/2023 - 20:46

I believe this would be a great one for you, Joe. If you really want to focus on size, then cutting to 30 minutes would be a good move.

Good luck, and thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Sun, 10/08/2023 - 15:33

This workout says beginner. How can I level it up to intermediate? I like the exercises.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 10/20/2023 - 08:45

One extra set for each exercise, and train with heavier weights. Also, cut the rest to two minutes.

Posted on: Tue, 08/08/2023 - 07:36

Hi Roger. This looks awesome.
Am Naturel & always been. Two questions if i may:
- Am short of time so Do you think i cld squeeze this routine into a 3 days program by doing Legs & chest / Back & shoulders/ Arms & abs Monday Wed & Friday keeping the same exercises?
- Secondly is there any reason why the Deadlift isnt part of the back routine

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 08/21/2023 - 21:11

Hi, Karim. Lifelong natural here too. Props for that choice.

1. I would suggest splitting shoulders and abs to make it a three-day plan. Shoulders with chest and triceps, abs with back and biceps. Leave leg day as is.

2. The bent-over row is already going to help with the lower back by forcing stability as would both the front squat and RDL on leg day. I didn't think you needed two deadlifts in the same program.

Posted on: Sun, 08/07/2022 - 16:40

Hey would this be better than upper and lower split

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 08/14/2022 - 09:47

If you're past the beginner phase and want to take the training to a new level, then yes. If you're a brand new beginner, upper and lower may be better until you get acclimated with training at a high intensity.

Hope this helps!

Justin Higgins
Posted on: Thu, 06/30/2022 - 13:07

When doing this plan do you do 2 warm up sets then 2 work sets of same exercise, or do you do it as a circuit 1 warm up of each then 2nd then all work sets?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 07/07/2022 - 08:25

Do the sets individually, Justin. Not a circuit program.

Posted on: Sun, 04/10/2022 - 15:11

Howdee dude :)

53 yrs old girl .....Started the program today.... OH YEAH BABY !!!

Bent-Over barbell row 10-12 (12) 60 10-12 (12) 60 6-8 (7) 80 6-8 (7) 80
Pullover 10-12 (12) 40 10-12 (12) 40 8-10 (10) 55 8-10 (10) 55
One Arm row 12 40 8-10 (10) 55 8-10 (10) 55
Lat Pulldown 10-12 (12) 99 10-12 (12) 99
Barbell Curl 10-12 (12) 35 10-12 (12) 35 8-10 (10) 55 8-10 (10) 55
Seated Hammer Curls 12 20 10-12 (12) 25 10-12 (12) 25
Concentration curls 10-12 20 10-12 20

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 04/25/2022 - 20:32

Love it, Lucie! How are you doing with the program now?

Posted on: Mon, 04/25/2022 - 21:22

its kicking ass I swear...

did a bit of progressive overload by 5 lbs on some exercise cuz i had no choice, some weights/bb were all taken eurrghhh

Bent-Over barbell row 10-12 (12) 70 10-12 (12) 70 6-8 (8) 105 6-8 (8) 105
Pullover 10-12 (12) 40 10-12 (12) 40 8-10 (10) 55 8-10 (10) 55
One Arm row 10-12 (12) 45 10-12(12) 45 8-10 (8) 60 8-10 (6_8) 60
Lat Pulldown 10-12 (12) 104 10-12 (10) 110
Barbell Curl 10-12 (12) 35 10-12 (12) 35 8-10 (9) 55 8-10 (10) 55
Seated Hammer Curls 10-12 (12) 22,5 10-12 (12) 25 10-12 (12) 25
Concentration curls 10-12 22,5 10-12 22,5

Ive taken a bit less time in between each set (maybe 20 sec now or a bit under 30 sec) while still taking 3 between each working sets, if that makes sense

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 05/16/2022 - 09:26

Sorry for my delay in responding, Lucie! Got locked out of the system for a bit. How you doing with this now?

Posted on: Mon, 05/16/2022 - 09:55

im doing good :)

Posted on: Sat, 04/30/2022 - 19:19

kicking my ass dude !!! Starting week 5 tomorrow.

Posted on: Fri, 07/02/2021 - 14:11

Is it ok to do cardio on the off days?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 07/06/2021 - 09:47

Hey Nate - yes you can. You'll want at least 1 complete rest day per week.

Posted on: Fri, 02/05/2021 - 19:12

Wow - this stuff is amazing !!
I’m back into it after multiple injuries and surgeries thanks to a serious accident.
Couldn’t be happier, or more importantly “confident” with your routine..

Thanks heaps for rejuvenating an old boy

Posted on: Sun, 12/20/2020 - 13:08

Is that enough to train every muscle group one time per week

Posted on: Mon, 11/30/2020 - 09:28

Hi, can i exchange barbell press with dumbbell press as i can carry more weight with the dumbell? And how and when should i deload in this workout?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 11/30/2020 - 10:51

Hey Ibrahim - you should do the exercises as written. You can do a week deload after the 8 weeks.

Posted on: Thu, 11/26/2020 - 12:29

Hello, Does "10-12 reps" mean that it is up to me to choose 10 , 11 or 12 reps per set? Or does it mean that I should add weight once I get to 12 reps or lower the weight if I cant get 10 reps? Thanks for the great programm.

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Posted on: Mon, 11/30/2020 - 09:31

Hey Akis - great question! You should add weight once you can complete 12 reps per set. If you can't get to 10 reps with the weight you chose, lower the weight.

Posted on: Mon, 11/23/2020 - 06:51

Hi, how much rest time between warmup sets?

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Posted on: Mon, 11/23/2020 - 10:08

Hey Ibrahim - you'll rest 3 minutes between sets

Posted on: Sun, 11/22/2020 - 21:45

Can I add another leg day to this?

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Posted on: Mon, 11/23/2020 - 10:07

Hey Angela - it's recommended to follow the program as written.

Posted on: Sun, 11/08/2020 - 18:22

Hi. How much rest time between each 'Work Set'? Thanks

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 11/09/2020 - 09:53

Hey Jamie - 3 minutes between each set.

Posted on: Sun, 09/20/2020 - 08:15

Warm set and work sets does the weight change

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 09/25/2020 - 15:28

Hey Zino - For warm up sets, try using 50% of the weight you're using for the working sets.

Posted on: Sun, 08/16/2020 - 07:13

What should i workout after this program

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 08/19/2020 - 11:07

Hey Asllan

If you're enjoying this program and still seeing results you can continue with it and keep progressive overloading. If you're looking for something new I recommend this 4-day split: