Muscle and Strength

Muscle and Strength training program

Suitability

  • Lifters who have completed the Muscle 2 program
  • Anyone who has at least nine months of consistent weight-training experience

Description

This 12-week Muscle and Strength training program is designed to:

  • Train all of your major muscle groups
  • Build muscle as derived from the 9–11 and 6–8 rep ranges, and build strength as derived from the 3–5 rep range
  • Strengthen your core and primal movement patterns

The program consists of two pull–push splits, which means that there are four workouts (A, B, C, and D). Workouts A and C will train the pull muscles of your body; workouts B and D will train the push muscles of your body.

Note: I am aware that two of the exercises in the push workouts—bicycle crunch and wheel rollout—are pull exercises. I included them there because there’s a lack of great push exercises for the core.

For each exercise, I have given you the number of sets and reps to complete. The reps are presented in the form of a range. For example 3 x 6–8 means complete 3 sets of 6–8 reps. In weeks 1, 4, 7, and 10, you will train in the 9–11 rep range; in weeks 2, 5, 8, and 11, you will train in the 6–8 rep range; and in weeks 3, 6, 9, and 12, you will train in the 3–5 rep range.

Please read the Overview before you start this program.

Instructions

Complete all four workouts once a week, in the order provided. The recommend schedule is ABXCDXX (where “A”, “B”, “C”, and “D” each represent a workout day, and “X” represents a rest day). Try not to work out for four days in a row and have three days off.

Complete the exercises in the order provided. Perform all of the sets for each exercise before moving on to the sets of the next exercise. Rest for 30–60 seconds between each set, and take a 60–90-second break between each exercise.

Try to master the proper form of each exercise, including proper breathing technique. As you train, try to develop a mental connection with your muscles. If you are unable to perform one of the exercises for some reason, see the Overview for alternatives.

Choose a weight that will make hitting the rep range challenging. For example during the weeks when you have to perform 6–8 reps, if you can’t manage 6 reps without breaking form, the weight is too heavy. If you can complete more than 8 reps without breaking form, the weight is too light.

Increase the weight whenever the reps become easier. Add a maximum of 5 lb or 2.5 kg to upper-body exercises, and a maximum of 10 lb or 5 kg to lower-body exercises.

In weeks 1, 4, 7, and 10, take the last set of every exercise to failure, put down the weights, wait for 15–20 seconds, pick the weights back up, and continue until you hit failure again. This intensity technique is known as rest-pause training. Note that you can’t use it on some exercises, such as the barbell squat, unless you have a spotter.

Don’t forget to warm up before, and cool down after, each workout. Each workout, including the warmup and cooldown, should take no longer than an hour.

Once you have completed the Muscle and Strength training program, you must take a deload week (a week during which you must either rest or train lightly). Only then can you move on to the next program, or redo the same program.

Workout A
Exercise Sets x Reps
*Weeks 1, 4, 7, 10 Weeks 2, 5, 8, 11 Weeks 3, 6, 9, 12
Barbell squat 3 x 9–11 3 x 6–8 3 x 3–5
Dumbbell side lunge 2 x 9–11 2 x 6–8 2 x 3–5
Barbell bench press 2 x 9–11 2 x 6–8 2 x 3–5
Low cable cross-over 2 x 9–11 2 x 6–8 2 x 3–5
Seated dumbbell overhead press 2 x 9–11 2 x 6–8 2 x 3–5
Triceps rope push-down 2 x 9–11 2 x 6–8 2 x 3–5
Bicycle crunch 3 x 30–35 3 x 35–40 3 x 40–45
Machine standing calf raise 3 x 20–25 3 x 15–20 3 x 10–15
*Perform a rest pause for the last set of every exercise
Workout B
Exercise Sets x Reps
*Weeks 1, 4, 7, 10 Weeks 2, 5, 8, 11 Weeks 3, 6, 9, 12
Hyperextension (weighted) 2 x 9–11 2 x 6–8 2 x 6–8
Seated leg curl 3 x 9–11 3 x 6–8 3 x 3–5
Pull-up (weighted) 3 x 9–11 3 x 6–8 3 x 3–5
Bent-over barbell row 3 x 9–11 3 x 6–8 3 x 3–5
Cable face pull 3 x 9–11 3 x 6–8 3 x 3–5
Dumbbell curl 3 x 9–11 3 x 6–8 3 x 3–5
Cross-body hammer curl 2 x 9–11 2 x 6–8 2 x 3–5
Hanging leg and hip raise (weighted) 2 x 9–11 2 x 6–8 2 x 6–8
*Perform a rest pause for the last set of every exercise
Workout C
Exercise Sets x Reps
*Weeks 1, 4, 7, 10 Weeks 2, 5, 8, 11 Weeks 3, 6, 9, 12
Incline leg press 3 x 9–11 3 x 6–8 3 x 6–8
Dumbbell rear lunge 2 x 9–11 2 x 6–8 2 x 3–5
Incline reverse-grip dumbbell press 3 x 9–11 3 x 6–8 3 x 3–5
Dumbbell pullover 2 x 9–11 2 x 6–8 2 x 3–5
Triceps dip (weighted) 2 x 9–11 2 x 6–8 2 x 3–5
4-way plank** 2 x 120 s 2 x 180 s 2 x 180 s
Wheel rollout 3 x 12–15 3 x 15–18 3 x 18–20
Machine seated calf raise 2 x 20–25 2 x 15–20 2 x 10–15
*Perform a rest pause for the last set of every exercise.
**Rotate from front to side to back to other side, 30 or 45 seconds each.
s = seconds.
Workout D
Exercise Sets x Reps
*Weeks 1, 4, 7, 10 Weeks 2, 5, 8, 11 Weeks 3, 6, 9, 12
Barbell deadlift 3 x 9–11 3 x 6–8 3 x 3–5
Lying leg curl 3 x 9–11 3 x 6–8 3 x 3–5
Bent-over dumbbell row 3 x 9–11 3 x 6–8 3 x 3–5
Dumbbell lateral raise 3 x 9–11 3 x 6–8 3 x 3–5
Dumbbell lying external shoulder rotation 2 x 9–11 2 x 6–8 2 x 6–8
Dumbbell preacher curl 2 x 9–11 2 x 6–8 2 x 3–5
Barbell reverse curl 2 x 9–11 2 x 6–8 2 x 3–5
Cable wood chops 2 x 9–11 2 x 6–8 2 x 6–8
*Perform a rest pause for the last set of every exercise

Medical disclaimer

Just to be safe, please consult your doctor before starting any training or dietary programs. WeightTraining.guide will not be liable for any incidental, consequential, or other damages arising from the application of the information presented on this website.

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