Muscle and Strength – The Ultimate Workout Routine to Build Both
“How Much Ya’ Bench?”
The most popular question ever in any fitness arena. We all want it… muscle and strength, but a lot of us think that we need to choose between the two.
Nonsense! We can have both of them!
When you’re at the gym and you see a big guy lifting, he is usually moving weights greater than the pencil-necks, right? While strength is not directly correlated with size, people with big muscles usually lift more weight than those who don’t even look like they lift.
While many bodybuilders have their heart in the right place… determined to train their hardest week after week, month after month, and year after year, they never quite get any stronger or bigger. The reason is simple. They are missing the key element to their training that is best explained with a two-word concept.
These two words are the cause of many bodybuilders missing out on making the strength and lean mass gains they are training so hard for. This critical and gains inducing concept is progressive overload.
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Progressive Overload Drives Muscle and Strength Gains
Progressive overload is the practice of increasing either reps or weight workout to workout. This increases the stress on the muscle and causing it to improve, grow and get stronger.
Bodybuilders get caught in a rut and I see this all the time, they never improve! Powerlifters, on the other hand, are all about periodization (using different phases of training) to increase their strength and ultimately their 1-rep max. What if we combined the volume and muscular overload of bodybuilding with a powerlifting base to build strength and maintain constant progression?
That’s right, you get the ultimate training system for both muscle and strength.
You Need to Determine Your One Rep Max
First we will need to determine our 1-rep max (1RM). This is what the programming for the bread and butter exercise, or the prime movement for each workout is based on. Use the following calculator to estimate your one-rep max for each lift:
Use this calculator to determine your estimated 1-rep max based on a heavy weight and number of reps you know you can perform. For example: 225lbs x 5 reps on the bench press. You will need to calculate your estimated 1-rep max (1RM) for the bench press, squat, deadlift, and shoulder press
All calculations for weeks 1-5 use the 1RM you calculated above. Week 6 uses the new 1RM value you earned in week 5.
Earning Pull-Up Max Reps
Pull-ups are calculated and planned based on reps performed with a constant weight. This can be your bodyweight or with added resistance.
Here are the steps you take to earn your pull-up one-rep max:
- Can be performed wide-grip overhand or neutral grip (just be consistent)
- Take however many pull-ups you think you can do and do half as many
- Rest 2 minutes and then do one all out set to failure to find out your true maximum number of reps
- Once you can meet or exceed 20 reps as your max reps with your bodyweight, you will need to add 5-10lbs with a dip belt, weight vest, or simply holding a DB between your feet. Then you will perform the above to find out your max reps with the new added weight. From this point you can add another 5lbs every time your max reps exceed 15 reps
- If you are just beginning and cannot perform an unassisted pull-up, you should begin with an assisted pull-up machine using the amount of resistance that allows your max reps to be around 5. Using this resistance level, use the method described above to find out your maximum reps with that amount of resistance. You will use that estimate, with the same amount of assistance weight for your program. Your goal is to be able to do at least 10 reps at a certain assistance level before you increase the difficulty for the next cycle by removing as much of the assistance weight as you are comfortable with. Your goal is to work the assistance down to a minimum and to be able to perform unassisted pull-ups.
No Programmed Weight for Secondary Exercises?
There are no programmed weights for the auxiliary (secondary) exercises because they are better accomplished by feel. Think of them as electives in college. You have your major courses pre-determined by the curriculum, but the credits you need to fill beyond that can come from a variety of classes.
Form is paramount here because our goal is to provide maximal stimulation to the targeted muscle group. Pick a weight you are comfortable with for week one, and increase it only if you are able to achieve the targeted rep range easily with perfect form.
Also don’t be afraid to lower the weight if you were particularly drained by the main movement of the day. Correct form and targeted muscle recruitment is the key.
Progression Chart for Weeks 1-6
Make sure to calculate your workouts before you even go into the gym. This will help you to visualize the lifts. If your estimated 1-rep maxes are accurate, you WILL accomplish these lifts and it is more of a to-do list than a question of if you can or can’t do it!
If any calculations give you a number that isn’t whole or not possible, round up or down to the nearest possible weight depending on how you feel, just make sure you note what you did! Example: 265lbs x .65 = 172.25lbs (not a possible weight), I am feeling strong so I will round to 175lbs.
- Week 1: WarmUp, 1RM x .65 x 8 reps, 1RM x .60 x 9 reps, 1RM x .55 x 10 reps
- Week 2: Warmup, 1RM x .60 x 10 reps x 5 sets
- Week 3: Warmup, 1RM x. 70 x 7 reps, 1RM x .65 x 8 reps, 1RM x .60 x 9 reps
- Week 4: Warmup, 1RM x .8 x 5 reps, 1RM x .75 x 7 reps, 1RM x .70 x 8 reps
- Week 5: Warmup, 1 RM x .50 x 6 reps, 1 RM x .70 x 5 reps, 1RM x 1.05 x 3 reps
The final set of our main movement from week 5 is 5% greater than your initial 1RM. Provided you are able to complete 3 repetitions, it is your new 1RM to be used starting in week 6, and through the next cycle of your progression.
- Week 6: (DELOAD) Warmup, NEW 1 RM x .65 x Failure, NEW 1 RM x .65 x reps from first set/2, NEW 1 RM x .65 x reps from first set/4
After setting a new 1-rep max in week 5, week 6 is meant to serve as a functional deload, where repetitions are increased and weight is decreased. After week 6, start again with week 1.
In each week except 2 and 5, feel free to exceed the prescribed repetitions for the second and third working sets if you are able, to challenge yourself further!
Muscle and Strength 4 Day Workout Routine
Here is a sample schedule:
- Day 1 – Bench Press and Biceps
- Day 2 – Off
- Day 3 – Squats, Legs and Calves
- Day 4 – Pull-Ups, Back and Triceps
- Day 5 – Off
- Day 6 – Deadlifts and Shoulders
- Day 7 – Off
|bench Press and Biceps|
|Bench Press – See Progression Chart Above|
|Machine Chest Press||2||20|
|Dumbbell Flye – Stretch Emphasized||3||13|
|Dumbbell Alternating Curl||3||8|
|Hammer Rope Cable Curl||3||12|
Bench Press – Can be free weight or Smith machine, barbell or dumbbell, incline, decline, or flat. Just be consistent for AT LEAST the entire 6-week phase.
|Squats, Legs and Calves|
|Squats – See Progression Chart Above|
|Barbell or DB Lunges||2||10|
|Leg Extension/Leg Curl Superset||2||12|
Squat: Can be front or back squat, Smith machine or free weight. Just be consistent for AT LEAST the entire 6 week phase!
|Pull-Ups, Back and Triceps|
|Pull-Ups – See Progression Chart BELOW|
|Close Grip Bench – Triceps Focus||3||10|
|Triceps Rope Extensions – See Below|
Pull-ups: Can be wide grip overhand or neutral grip. Just be consistent for AT LEAST the entire 6 week phase!
- Week 1: Max reps x .6 x 5 sets
- Week 2: Max reps x .7 x 4 sets
- Week 3: Max reps x .8 x 3 sets
- Week 4: Max reps x .9 x 3 sets
- Week 5: Max Reps x 1 x 2 sets
- Week 6: Max Reps x 1.2 x 1 set
Triceps Rope Extensions: 30 reps, start with one weight and lower as necessary at failure until 30 reps are achieved
|Deadlifts and Shoulders|
|Deadlifts – See Progression Chart Above|
|Shoulder Press – See Progression Chart Above|
|One Arm Side Dumbbell Laterals||3||20|
|Cable Rope Face Pulls||2||12|
Deadlift: Freeweight barbell is strongly preferred, but Smith machine or dumbbell can be substituted. Just be consistent for AT LEAST the entire 6 week phase!
Shoulder Press: Can be barbell, dumbbell, or Smith machine. Just be consistent for AT LEAST the entire 6 week cycle.
Cardio During This Program
I usually recommend high intensity interval training, but this is a very demanding program and we want to promote recovery. For this purpose, I recommend at least 2-3 sessions at 20 minutes each post workout (or anytime NOT preworkout, see this) for overall health. Increase cardio as needed to keep losing fat or if trying to gain lean mass, keep it at the recommended 2-3 times per week.
Your Muscle and Strength Building Diet
We have a viable option for both dieting and gaining lean mass!
We will keep it simple. A pre-workout with adequate beta alanine and creatine, an intra-workout to fuel your muscles during training, a pump inducer to provide sick blood flow and pumps, a NAD-enhancer and finally a performance carbohydrate and high quality protein for fuel!
Pre-Workout (Consume 30 minutes prior to your workout)
Intra-Workout (Sip during training)
Post-Workout (Consume immediately after training)
- MTS Nutrition Machine Whey
- MTS Nutrition Carb 10™
If under 200lbs, consume 1 scoop Carb 10™ with 1 scoop Machine Whey™. If over 200lbs, consume 2 scoops Carb 10™ with 1 scoop Machine Whey™.
HPN P3®: Hard-hitting, clinically dosed pre-workout to create the perfect training environment.
MTS Nutrition Vasky™: The ultimate pre-workout pump inducer PERFECT for stacking with P3.
HPN Nr™: Increase NAD levels to take muscle endurance and pump beyond imagination.
MTS Nutrition Carb 10™: Low molecular weight carbohydrate designed to saturate muscles quickly with fuel for the most epic pump.
CORE Nutritionals CORE ABC™: Hyper-Saturate your muscle cells with BCAA alongside beta alanine.
MTS Nutrition Machine Whey™: Create rapid amino flooding into your muscles to maintain the pump and promote recovery post workout.
May the muscle and strength be with you
After six weeks on this program you will walk into the club with your arms bursting out of your sleeves. You know that when asked “How much ya’ Bench?” that you will have a damn impressive answer!
Go make gains and get stronger because doing both at the same time, That’s Not A Game!