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Home » 6 Week Workout Program to Build Muscle: Ultimate Guide (PDF)

6 Week Workout Program to Build Muscle: Ultimate Guide (PDF)

A picture of a muscular man posing as the featured image for the 6 week workout program to build muscle.

Finding, not to mention making, an effective weekly workout plan for muscle gain is no easy task. It can be quite confusing and overwhelming, especially for beginners. This program took quite some time to write out, but it was totally worth it! This 6 week workout program to build muscle is specifically designed for beginners, intermediates, and pro lifters alike – clear-cut and easy to follow. (Also, I have made the program into a PDF, if you wish to download it, the download URL is in the Program Summary).

This science-base workout plan is designed for the best muscle and strength gains.

For all of my fellow beginner lifters, I recommend watching the video below as I go over some helpful tips about this workout program. As well as discuss the important elements that make this program effective.

A good muscle building workout plan is principal when your goal is to add on mass and strength. The Internet and social media have given us access of an overwhelming amount of information. However, this has made it hard and confusing to distinguish a good workout program from a  bad one.

Workout Program Summary

Goal: Build Muscle
Training Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Duration: 6 Weeks
Days Per Week: 3-6 Days
Workout Length: 45-60 minutes
Equipment: Yes
 

What Makes The Weekly Program SO Effective For Muscle Gains?

A picture of a man performing push-ups - to demonstrate one of the exercises used in the weekly workout program.

First, let us have a quick look at what makes the program great for muscle and strength gain.

You have probably heard the phrase “Abs are made in the kitchen”, right?

Similarly to weight loss, muscle growth is incredibly dependant on your diet.

If your diet is crap, then your results will be crap, too. It doesn’t matter how much you time you spend in the gym.

However, there is a lot that goes into designing a workout plan for muscle gain.

As I have said, the goal is to provide you with the best muscle building program. A workout program that delivers results and can be used for years, and years.

Hell, something you can pass down to your grandchildren, even.

Therefore, in order to do that, we need to apply a few scientific methods that best utilize muscle rest time, work load, muscle activation, and the biomechanics (functionality) of muscles groups.

Can’t I Just Use Dwayne Johnson’s Workout Program?

A comment I hear very frequently is – “He’s muscular. So, am going to use their workout program, then I will become muscular”.

Firstly, what works for one person, may not necessarily work for another. This is why a more “standardized” approach is necessary. You can tweak and alter your program as you progress. To make it better suited for your goals, and your body. But celebrity workouts are often times demotivating and frustrating.

Moreover, beginners are the prime demographic for those workout programs.

Beginner lifters commonly experience something called “newbie gains”.

As a result, if you’ve done little-to-no weights training in the past, you’ll experience muscle growth just by doing a couple of push-ups every week. Newbie gains are incredibly decieving.

Not to mention that the majority of big celebrities, like Dwayne Johnson, use anabolic steroids to enhance their appearance.

Obviously steroid users are capable of resting, and repairing, at un-human rates they can afford a 2 hours triceps workouts, and other crazy tropes.

This makes their workout programs, not only ineffective, but straight-up dangerous – due to overtraining and injury.

So, what makes this weekly workout plan different from the rest?


READ MORE: 27 REASONS WHY YOU’RE NOT LOSING WEIGHT


Or others, that do not give your muscles enough time to rest between workouts thus leading to over-training.

As a result, over-training leads to muscle loss. So, if we want to build muscle, we want to eliminate any potential of muscle loss from happening.

How Does The 6 Week Workout Program Work?

Rep Tempo

Your rep tempo should be slow and controlled. Focus on the eccentric contraction of the muscle.

For example when you are lowering the barbell during a curl, a bench press, or when you’re lowering yourself on a chest dip.

And aim for a resting tempo of 60 seconds. Give your body enough time to rest and regain its lost minerals to ensure you have enough energy during sets.

Remember that the reps indicated is what you should be aiming to do with weights that allow you to do just 8 repetitions with correct form.

But it’s ok if you don’t really know your limit yet.

If you notice that you can do 8 reps with 20lbs, but the last 2 sets are cheated, then lower the weight. The last thing that you want to happen is for you to injure yourself during a workout.

Weekly Split of Workout Program

While most traditional workouts plans follows a weekly split where you train each muscle once per week (the notorious bro split).

However, our workout program follows a push/pull/legs (ppl) split .

The PPL split is best for promoting muscle growth.

Why?

The workout plan is designed so you can exercise 3 or 6 times a week. However, if you want to maximize muscle gain, then you should aim for the 6 day split.

If you are a beginner, you will find it hard going to the gym 6 times. This is simply because your muscles will not have fully rested. Start of with 3 days a week and progress towards the full 6 days to maximize your results.

Also, it does not have to be either 3 or 6. You can go 4-5 times. Use the extra 1 or 2 visits to focus on lagging muscle groups.

For example, if you notice that your chest is not as developed as you want it to, then just do one extra push day after you finish the 3 day split.

Muscle Protein Synthesis – The Driver Of Muscle Growth

By exercising your muscles once per week you are not benefiting from protein synthesis.

In brief, Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS) is the reason why your body builds muscle (studysource).

Moreover, it lasts for about 36-48 hours after exercising. In other words – after your workout you have a 2-3 day window in which you can build muscle.

With traditional muscle building beginner workout plans you’re activating muscles protein synthesis once instead of twice and as a result you are losing out on potential gains.

In contrast our workout plan allows you to activate protein synthesis twice in the week, creating a more favorable environment for muscle growth to freely occur.

Muscle Bulding Workout Techniques

Furthermore, adding “drop sets” and “negative sets” help boost strength and muscle gain, and quite often can completely transform a workout for the better.

If you are not aware what those terms mean, here is a quick explanation:

Negative Sets

Negative sets require either a spotter or assisted equipment. It involves doing 4-5 repetitions of eccentric movement with weights that are beyond your capacity. If you don’t have a spotter who can help you, that’s fine.

Negative sets can often be swapped for drop sets.

For example, let’s say that you’re doing barbell curls – your average weight with which you are capable of doing 8 repetitions is 45lbs.

Then you raise that weight to 65-70lbs,your gym buddy (spotter) would help you raise the weight and what you are responsible for is lowering the weight in a controlled fashion to its starting position.

Lastly, you will see a “Negative set” tag underneath the name of an exercise in the workout program where I have recommended doing negative sets Negative sets are usually done as a last set.

Drop Sets

Drop Sets: It’s where you strip the excess weight (taking away roughly 20-25%) so that you can do 1-3 more repetitions of a certain exercise. As you would probably notice, I have recommended doing drop sets for exercises where most commonly the lowest rep range is 5 or 6.

For example, using the same exercise example as for the negative sets, imagine you are doing biceps barbell curls with 50lbs. This weight is ideal for you to properly carry out 5 or 6 repetitions. You bring the weight down to 35-40lbs and do another 1-3 correct repetitions.

For the exercises in this workout program that I have recommended doing drop sets, you will see a “Drop Set” tag. Remember that the Drop set should be performed for the last set of the exercise where you will have the lowest rep range following weight progression.

Exercise Guides

Finally, all the exercises have a link to a video where the exercise is performed. This is until I build a library of my own with visual demos of exercises. For now, though, this will do.

The Ultimate 6 Week Muscle Gain Workout Plan

Day 1: Pull (Back and Biceps)

Exercise Sets Reps
Exercise 1:
Bent Over Barbell Rows (Mass) (Video)
Drop Set for the last set
4 6-12
Exercise 2:
Wide Grip Lat Pull Down (Mass) (Video)
4 8-10
Exercise 3:
Lat Pushdowns (Isolated) (Video)
4 10-12
Exercise 4:
Barbell Biceps Curls (Mass) (Video)
Drop Set for the last set
4 6-8
Exercise 5:
Preacher Curls (Isolated) (Video)
3 8-12
Exercise 6:
Hammer Curls (Isolated) (Video)
4 8-12

Day 2: Push (Chest, Triceps and Shoulders)

 

Exercise Sets Reps
Exercise 1:
Bench Press (Mass) (Video)
Drop Set
4 8-12
Exercise 2:
Chest Dips (Mass) (Video)
4 8-12
Exercise 3:
Overhead Triceps Extensions (Mass) (Video)
4 8-12
Exercise 4:
Triceps Pulldown (Isolated) (Video)
Negative Set 
3 10-12
Exercise 5:
Sider Lateral to Front Raise (Isolated) (Video)
4 10
Exercise 6:
Shoulder Press (Mass) (Video)
3 8-12

 

Day 3: Legs

Exercise Sets Reps
Exercise 1:
Squats (Mass) (Video)
4 8-12
Exercise 2:
Dumbbell Lunges (Mass) (Video)
4 8-12
Exercise 3:
Leg Curls (Isolated) (Video)
5 10-12
Exercise 4:
Leg Extensions (Isolated) (Video)
Drop Set or Negative Set 
5 12-15

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Pull

Exercise Sets Reps
Exercise 1:
Deadlift (Mass) (Video)
3 6-10
Exercise 2:
Cable Rows (Mass) (Video)
4 8-10
Exercise 3:
Pull-ups (Burn out) (Video)
4 Until Failure
Exercise 4:
Alternating Dumbell Curls (Mass) (Video)
4 8-10
Exercise 5:
Seated Incline Curls (Mass) (Video)
Drop Set
4 8-10
Exercise 6:
Spider Curls (Isolated) (Video)
4 8-12

Day 6: Push

Exercise Sets Reps
Exercise 1:
Incline Bench Press (Mass) (Video)
Drop Set
4 6-10
Exercise 2:
Cable Crossover (Isolated) (Video)
Drop Set
4 8-12
Exercise 3:
Skull Crushers (Mass) (Video)
4 8-10
Exercise 4:
Cable Overhead Triceps Extensions (Mass) (Video)
4 8-10
Exercise 5:
Lateral Raises (Isolated) (Video)
4 10-12
Exercise 6:
Single Arm Linear Jammer (Mass) (Video)
4 8-10

Day 7: Legs

Exercise Sets Reps
Exercise 1:
Machine Hack Squat (Mass) (Video)
3 8-10
Exercise 2:
Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat (Isolated) (Video)
4 10-12
Exercise 3:
Romanian Deadlift (Mass) (Video)
3 6-8
Exercise 4:
Bodyweight Squats (Burn out) (Video)
4 12-20

List of Substitute Exercises

As I previously mentioned it is wise to alternate between exercises and not have the same routine. Adding variability to your workouts prevents your body from getting accustomed to them. Thus, preventing you from hitting a plateau and boosting muscle gain.

When substituting exercises make sure that you follow the (Mass) and (Isolated) markers. For example, you swap your Bench Press (Mass) for Decline Bench Press (Mass). Rather than Bench Press (Mass) for Cable Flyes (Isolated).


READ MORE: TOP 13 REASONS WHY YOU’RE NOT GAINING MUSCLE


Mass marked exercises are those that help you build crude muscle mass and strength. Isolated exercises are those that isolate the muscle allowing you to target its full range of motion.

Also, those marked with (Burn out) are exercises that are those added at the end of the workout just to exhaust the muscle. They also help increase the workout’s volume.

Also, make sure that you alternating between the exercises that are already in the program.

Because some muscle groups do not have a lot of compound or isolated exercises to choose from, you can use the ones already listed should be enough to work off of.

Chest Substitute Exercises

Mass Isolated Burnout
Decline Bench Press Dumbbell Flyes Incline Pushups
Close Grip Bench Press Incline Dumbbell Flyes Ball Pushups
Dumbbell Pullovers Butterfly Machine
Decline Bench Press Flat Bench Cable Flyes
Machine Chest Press Low Cable Crossover
Dumbbell Bench Press Cable Chest Press
Dumbbell Incline Bench Press

Back Substitute Exercises

Mass Isolated Burnout
Farmer’s Walk Single Arm Lat Pulldown Rowing Machine
T-Bar Row Back Extensions
Dumbbell Pullovers
Close Grip Pulldowns
Reverse Grip Pulldowns
Dumbbell Rows

Biceps Substitute Exercises

Isolated Burnout Mass
Concentration Curls Pull-ups Zottman Curl
Incline Hammer Curls No-Plate Barbell Curls Close Grip Pulldowns
E-Z Bar Curls Inverted Rows
Cable Curls
Overhead Cable Curls
Machine Biceps Curls

Triceps Substitute Exercises

Mass Isolated Burnout
Triceps Dips Reverse Grip Extensions Diamond Pushups
Close Grip Bench Press Dumbbell Kickbacks
Tate Press

Shoulder Substitute Exercises

Mass Isolated Burnout
Standing Overhead Barbell Press Reverse Flyes Pike Pushups
Arnold Shoulder Press Dumbbell Front Raises
Clean and Jerk Bus Drivers
Barbell Shrugs
Kattlebell Swings

Leg Substitute Exercises

Mass Isolated Burnout
Leg Press Hamstring Curls Bodyweight Lunges
Squat Machine Calf raises Box Squats
Sumo Deadlifts
Sumo Squats

Nutrition and Supplementation Notes

As mentioned, I will not go into too much depth but provide enough for you to understand the fundamentals to nutrition and supplementation when building muscle.

That’s a whole other topic on its own.

One thing that you need to understand is that in order to build muscle, you need a good diet. A workout program is only half of the work.

1. Nutrition

I recommend starting off with our calorie calculator which will show you how many calories you need to take in order to build muscle.

There is no need to bulk and eat excessive amounts of calories. Crazy surpluses like 500-1000 calories above your amount to maintain your weight is unnecessary and will do nothing more but make you fat.

Try your best to eat clean food. There’s no need for you to be on a perfect diet, but just make sure that you are not over indulging on junk food.

Make sure that you are eating enough protein. While, there are a lot of reports that claim that it is not necessary to consume exactly 1g of protein per 1lbs of your bodyweight, there are also a lot of reports that claim that this amount promotes anabolism and ensures muscle preservation.

2. Supplementation

You don’t really need supplements to build muscle. That being said, supplements will help you improve muscle gain through their anabolic properties.

Whey protein is a must. Drink whey protein after your workout to ensure that you stop the post-workout catabolic effect and enter an anabolic state. Whey protein shortly after a workout has been shown to create a favourable environment for growth hormone production. Increasing post-workout whey protein to 40g is shown to enhance protein synthesis by up to 20%.

The second one is creatine. I have written an in-depth guide to creatine (there’s an infographic there) where I cover everything from what is creatine to the muscle building properties of creatine. The TLDR of creatine is that it helps with power output during your workout and ensure that you give it your 100% when exercising.

Beta Alanine will also help you increase the intensity of your workouts.

Lastly, omega 3s. They help with muscle inflammation, increase recovery time, and create an anabolic environment for your muscles through mTOR pathways. I have written an in-depth article about how omega 3 fatty acids improve muscle growth.

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3 thoughts on “6 Week Workout Program to Build Muscle: Ultimate Guide (PDF)”

  1. Great workout routine. I’ve been going through some of your articles, and just wanted to say that you have a lot of fantastic information on your site. Many can benefit from your articles opposed to those that promote fad diets and quick fix fantasies such as “lose 15 pounds in 1-week”. The information in your posts are real, thank you.

  2. Hi! Looks great! Could you clarify how many reps we should aim for in a given range (e.g. 4 sets of 8–12 reps)?

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