Muscle 2

Man doing lat pulldown exercise

Description

The 8-week Muscle 2 weight training program is designed to:

  • Train all of your major muscle groups
  • Build muscle in the 9–11 and 6–8 rep ranges
  • Strengthen your core and primal movement patterns
  • Introduce you to rep range alternation (undulating periodization)
  • Introduce you to the intensity technique of training to failure

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

In weeks 1, 3, 5, and 7, you will train in the 9–11 rep range; in weeks 2, 4, 6, and 8, you will train in the 6–8 rep range.

To understand why you will be alternating rep ranges, please read the Overview of men’s weight training programs.

Suitability

  • Lifters who have completed the Muscle 1 program
  • Anyone who has at least 6 months of consistent weight training experience

Instructions

  • Complete all four workouts (A, B, C, and D) in the order provided
  • The recommend workout schedule is ABXCDXX (where ‘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 to 90 seconds between sets
  • Rest for 1 to 2 minutes between exercises
  • Try to master the proper form of each exercise, including proper breathing technique. Also, try to develop a mental connection with your muscles and the movement patterns
  • If you get bored of an exercise, see the Overview of men’s weight training programs for alternatives
  • If training at home in the absence of cable machines and other specialized equipment, see below the exercise tables for exercise alternatives
  • Always use an amount of weight that will make hitting the rep range challenging
  • Whenever you have to increase the weight, add a maximum of 5 lb (or 2.5 kg) to upper-body exercises or 10 lb (or 5 kg) to lower-body exercises
  • In weeks 1, 3, 5, and 7, take the last set of every exercise to failure — that is, keep doing reps until you can’t do another rep in good form. This is an intensity technique known as training to failure. Note that for some exercises, such as the barbell squat, you will not be able to safely train to failure unless you have a training partner or spotter ready, in which case do not train to failure
  • Don’t forget to warm up before, and stretch after, each workout
  • Once you have completed the Muscle 2 program, you must take a deload week. Only then can you move on to the next program, or redo the same program
Workout A (Upper body)
ExerciseSets x Reps
*Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8
Medium-grip lat pull-down3 x 9–113 x 6–8
T-bar row3 x 9–113 x 6–8
Dumbbell bench press3 x 9–113 x 6–8
Seated dumbbell overhead press2 x 9–112 x 6–8
Cable face pull3 x 9–113 x 6–8
Triceps dip with a dumbbell between your feet2 x 9–112 x 6–8
Dumbbell cross-body hammer curl2 x 9–112 x 6–8
*If possible, take the last set of every exercise to failure
Workout B (Lower body)
ExerciseSets x Reps
*Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8
Barbell sumo squat3 x 9–113 x 6–8
Barbell one-leg hip thrust2 x 9–112 x 6–8
Seated or lying leg curl2 x 9–112 x 6–8
Standing dumbbell one-leg calf raise3 x 20–253 x 15–20
Lying side hip raise2 x 20–252 x 25–30
Bicycle crunch3 x 20–253 x 25–30
One-leg front plank2 x 60–90 s2 x 60–90 s
*If possible, take the last set of every exercise to failure. s = seconds
Workout C (Upper body)
ExerciseSets x Reps
*Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7Week 2, 4, 6, 8
Seated twisting cable row3 x 9–113 x 6–8
Barbell bench press3 x 9–113 x 6–8
Incline reverse-grip dumbbell bench press2 x 9–112 x 6–8
Dumbbell lateral raise2 x 9–112 x 6–8
Reverse dumbbell fly3 x 9–113 x 6–8
Decline EZ bar skull crusher2 x 9–112 x 6–8
Incline dumbbell curl3 x 9–113 x 6–8
*If possible, take the last set of every exercise to failure
Workout D (Lower body)
ExerciseSets x Reps
*Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8
Barbell Romanian deadlift3 x 9–113 x 6–8
Dumbbell Bulgarian split squat2 x 9–112 x 6–8
Seated or lying leg curl2 x 9–112 x 6–8
Machine seated calf raise3 x 20–253 x 15–20
Cable wood chop2 x 9–112 x 6–8
Weighted captain’s chair leg and hip raise3 x 9–113 x 6–8
Wheel rollout2 x 10–152 x 15–20
*If possible, take the last set of every exercise to failure

Alternatives for the cable/machine exercises