Brutal Basics 5 Day Workout Routine For Mass & Strength

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Sometimes simple is better, and complicated is… Well… Complicated.

We are fascinated with the complex. The intricate. The deeply detailed. This is true for many things, but especially true for workout routines.

Give a powerbuilder a workout routine filled with complex set and rep schemes, eight exercises per body part, and all other kinds of fancy shenanigans, and they drool. Let the gains begin! Complex must be better.

Related: The Ultimate Muscle and Strength Workout

Not true.

This brutal basics 5 day workout routine is the perfect example. Yes, we’ll be training five days per week. This is challenging in and of itself. But each day’s training is straightforward. There is no BS to baffle you.

Just hard work on the basics, and progressive overload.

Here is a sample schedule:

Week 1 – Heavy Squats and Bench

  • Monday – Squat Triples and Quads
  • Tuesday – Bench Triples and Triceps
  • Wednesday – Off
  • Thursday – Deadlifts Eights and Hamstrings
  • Friday – Shoulder Eights, Abs and Calves
  • Saturday – Back and Biceps
  • Sunday – Off

Week 2 – Heavy Deadlifts and Shoulders

  • Monday – Squat Eights and Quads
  • Tuesday – Bench Eights and Triceps
  • Wednesday – Off
  • Thursday – Deadlifts Triples and Hamstrings
  • Friday – Shoulder Triples, Abs and Calves
  • Saturday – Back and Biceps
  • Sunday – Off

On the heavy lifts you will use a form of nonlinear periodization, alternating between heavy triples and eight rep sets week in and week out.

Heavy Triples – Start with 75% of your one rep max. Perform eight sets of three reps. If the last set feels manageable, meaning you are certain you were not close to failure, add five pounds to the bar the next time you perform this exercise.

Heavy Eights – Start with 60% of your one rep max. Perform five sets of eight reps. If the last set feels manageable, add five pounds to the bar the next time you perform this exercise.

For all other assistance exercises, add five pounds when it makes sense. Be hungry about progressive overload. You want to get strong(er). Failure to push yourself will only slow your gains.

Remember to keep good form for all reps. Don’t crank out that last rep if your form is slipping.

Overhead Press – You can use any variation. Seated. Standing. Military press. Behind the neck press. Dumbbells. Barbell.

Dumbbell Rows

5 Day Workout Routine

Week One Workouts

Squat Triples and Quads
Week One Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
 Squats  8  3
 Leg Extensions  5  15
 Leg Press  5  15
Bench Triples and Triceps
Week One Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
 Bench Press  8  3
 Dumbbell Bench Press  5  15
 Close Grip Bench Press  5  15
Deadlift Eights and Hamstrings
Week One Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
 Deadlifts  5  8
 Leg Curls  5  15
 Glute Ham Raise  5  10
Shoulder Eights, Abs and Calves
Week One Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
 Overhead Press  5  8
 Side Lateral Raise  3  15
 Ab Wheel Roll Outs  3  10 to 15
 Standing Calf Raise  3  15
Back and Biceps
Week One Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
 Barbell Rows  5  10
 Lat Pull Downs  5  15
 Seated Dumbbell Curl  5  15

Lat Pull Down

Week Two Workouts

Squat Rights and Quads
Week Two Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
 Squats  5  8
 Leg Extensions  5  15
 Hack Squats  5  15
Bench Eights and Triceps
Week Two Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
 Bench Press  5  8
 Dumbbell Bench Press  5  15
 JM Press  5  15
DEADLIFT Triples AND HAMSTRINGS
Week Two Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
 Deadlifts  8  3
 Leg Curls  5  15
 Reverse Hack Squats  5  10
SHOULDER Triples, ABS AND CALVES
Week Two Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
 Overhead Press  8  3
 Machine Press  3  15
 Planks  6  60 sec
 Seated Calf Raise  3  15
Back and Biceps
Week Two Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
 Dumbbell Rows  5  10
 Seated Cable Rows  5  15
 Reverse Grip Lat Pull Down  5  15
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Name: Steve Shaw

Bio: I don’t believe in magic training systems or rep ranges. My philosophy is simple: remain consistent, use the best possible exercises, focus upon progression and enter the gym looking to maximize each set. When you maximize each set, you maximize progress. Easy, obvious, insanely effective.