The top priority for anyone who wants to pack on serious muscle mass is to determine the best bodybuilding workout plan. This is especially true for those who have a specific fitness goal in mind.
Different exercises affect various muscles differently. This means certain exercises bulk up specific muscles. Because of this, you need to choose the best workout routine to fit your bodybuilding workout plan.
Top 5 Bodybuilding Workout Plans to Build Muscle
1. The 5×5 Program
The Five-by-Five Program is for anyone looking to gain massive amounts of strength and muscle mass. The 5×5 focuses on three main exercises that target main muscle groups in your body, but as the name suggests, you will be doing five sets of five repetitions for each of the exercises. Each of the exercises in the 5×5 program targets multiple muscle groups. You can add in a few sets of isolated exercises at the end of each workout if you want a bit more variety.
Olympic weightlifter and coach, Bill Starr, originated the 5×5 program. There are many variations of the program today, but Starr’s version remains very popular.
Bodybuilders using the 5×5 programs often exercise every other day. Starr performed the exercise routine on three days each week. On Mondays, he would perform squats, power cleans, and bench presses. During his Wednesday workout, Starr would do squats, power cleans, and incline bench presses. He would then do squats, power cleans, and overhead presses on Fridays.
2. High-Intensity Interval Training
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a great approach to muscle growth and burning body fat. In fact, research shows that HIIT significantly improves muscle size and quality. This bodybuilding workout plan involves intense periods of high-intensity exercise followed by a gentle activity or complete rest. In other words, you exercise hard for a few minutes and then rest.
It is hard to keep up the intensity of a workout that this plan requires, so you cannot do HIIT for long. The key to muscle growth is to keep your HIIT session under a half hour and to break it up into small bursts of exercise. You can do a series of 20-second sprints and 40-second rests for 10 minutes, for example.
Certain exercises work better for HIIT than others. To achieve the true high intensity of High-Intensity Interval Training at the gym, use full-body workout movements. For example, do burpees, kettlebell swings, kettlebell clean and presses, dumbbell snatches, hill sprints, and sprint intervals on the rower. Avoid single-joint exercises, such as bicep curls and triceps extensions, as they do not offer the same muscle growing benefits of full-body workout movements.
Burpee Definition: A burpee is a highly effective full-body aerobic exercise. To perform a burpee start in standing position, do a pushup, and then jump. Repeat.
You might want to try this HIIT workout routine, recommended by Men’s Journal, the next time you are at the gym:
- Intense exercise: 7 minutes
- Rest: 2 minutes
- Intense exercise: 6 minutes
- Rest: 2 minutes
- Intense exercise: 5 minutes
- Total workout time: 22 minutes
3. Shortcut to Size
Shortcut to Size is a 12-week program that helps you gain weight and build muscle. This science-backed, gym-tested bodybuilding workout plan is appropriate for those with novice to intermediate fitness levels.
Shortcut to Size uses “periodization,” in which you change up your training at specific times to maximize your muscle growth. You start with high reps with light weights, and then you progressively change to heavier weights at fewer reps. Cycling through the weights and repetitions confuses your muscles so your muscle growth does not stagnate.
Typical periodization programs switch cycles every 4 to 6 weeks. The problem with these programs is that your muscles adapt more quickly than that. Shortcut to Size changes your weights and reps every week, in a period known as a microcycle.
4. German Volume Training
German Volume Training is simple and amazingly effective for muscle building. This full-body workout uses multi-joint, compound exercises, slow eccentrics, and high volume to build more muscle than you ever thought possible in such a short amount of time.
German Volume Training targets the nerves that cause muscles to contract. The exercises in German Volume Training subject these nerves to repeated bouts of large amounts of stimulation. Specifically, the muscle building approach calls for ten sets of ten reps of a single exercise. Once you are able to complete ten sets of ten reps at a predetermined starting weight, you can increase the weight. This allows the body to adapt to the extraordinary stress of the exercise in ways that really pack on the muscle.
A daily workout with German Volume Training might include 10 sets of 10 reps of dumbbell bench press and 10 sets of 10 reps bent over barbell row, 3 sets of 10-15 reps of butterfly, and 3 sets of 10-15 reps of incline bench pull for an upper body workout.
5. FST-7 Training Program
FST-7 does not specifically lay out which exercises you need to perform on any given session. It does not focus on specific muscle groups, like those in your upper body or legs. Instead, Fascial Stretch Training provides guidelines on the last exercises you perform on each body part during that session.
The intent of Fascial Stretch Training (FST-7) is to stretch the fascia, which is that soft connective tissue that surrounds your muscles. The fascia maintains the structural integrity of your body by providing support and protection. The body’s fascia also acts as a shock absorber as you perform daily activities both inside the gym and out. Stretching the fascial tissue helps the muscle get the minerals, amino acids, and oxygen the tissue needs to grow.
To perform FST-7, simply do seven sets of 15 reps for the last exercise you do for each muscle group. For best results, keep your rest period short. Your rest periods should total about 30 seconds.
Need inspiration for your bodybuilding workout plans? Take a look at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s blueprint training program in this video!
Building muscle is easier when you use a tried and true bodybuilding workout routine. If one workout routine does not promote the right amount of muscle growth within a couple of months, switch to another. For best results, speak with a trainer who can suggest a bodybuilding workout schedule with compound exercises that give you the muscular shoulders, legs, and upper body you want in the least amount of time possible.
Does your workout routine work for you? Don’t hesitate to share it in the comments section below!