7 Muscle Building Routines for Muscle Mass and Strength

beyond failure training

Are new routines to your bodybuilding workout harmful? This is a question many people have asked when it comes to their training. The answer is that muscles will not continue to grow and get stronger when they get used to the same exercise regimen. Hence, changing a training regimen periodically is a very good idea. Check out the following workouts if you’re looking for some variation:

Routine 1: Four Day Training
This routine is a four day routine. Hence, no training should be done for three days out of the week. Instead, these three days should be used for necessary rest. The days that are to be taken off are Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

Monday is for training the chest, biceps, and calves. For the chest, do flat bench presses, close grip bench presses, flat dumbbell flies, and incline dumbbell presses. For each one of these chest exercises, do four sets of eight repetitions. For the biceps, do straight barbell curls and close EZ bar curls. For each of these exercises, perform four sets of eight repetitions. For the calves, do standing calf raises and seated calf raises. For each one of these, do fours sets of twelve repetitions.

Tuesday is for training the legs and abdominals. For the legs, do squats, leg extensions, stiff-legged dead lifts, leg presses, and leg curls. For each of these leg exercises, perform four sets of eight repetitions. For the abdominals, do straight leg lifts, knee bent leg lifts, and incline sit-ups. For each of these, perform four sets of twelve repetitions.

Thursday is for exercising the back and calves. For the back, do dumbbell rows, reverse barbell rows, cable pull downs, barbell shrugs, and rear shrugs. Perform four sets of eight repetitions for each of these exercises. For the calves, repeat the same exercises, sets, and repetitions as done on Monday.
Decabolic for Muscle MassSaturday is for exercising the shoulders, triceps, and abdominals. For the shoulders, do front military presses, rear military presses, and bent over laterals. Do five sets of twelve repetitions for each of these shoulder exercises. For the triceps, perform nose breakers, triceps pushdowns, and dips. Perform four sets of eight repetitions for each of these exercises. For the abdominals, repeat the same exact exercises, sets and repetitions as performed on Tuesday.

Remember that Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday are the days of rest. These days are just as important as training days because muscles need the rest so that they can actually grow. Give your muscles the earned and well deserved time off!

Routine 2: Periodization
When someone has the goal of becoming more muscular, they have to methodically plan out their nutrition, and of course, their training. Knowing what genetic body type you are will make this goal somewhat easier. Since body types vary, so will the ideal style of training, frequency, duration of each session and type of program to use.

To build a muscular body you have to set both short term and long term goals. Short term you have to construct a program that will help to increase strength and muscle mass over different phases. This is better known as periodization. Long term you will have to change your training based on adaptation. As soon as your muscles become too accustomed to particular program, it is best advised to alter an aspect of your training to prevent stagnation and plateaus.

Periodization is a type of training that allows an individual to overload the muscles while making periodic changes each week to prevent adaptation. The premise behind it is that an individual must continue to challenge themselves at great enough intensity to induce anatomical and physiological adaptation. If this is not the purpose of the program, then it is considered to be “maintenance”. To develop complete muscularity, 3 stages must be used to prepare the individual for lifting greater weight.

Front Squats
A simple, but extremely effective periodization program is usually 12 weeks in length, and focuses on squats, deadlifts and bench press since they use the majority of muscles in the body. Lifting heavy weights with low reps will not cause a person to become to big, cumbersome, or inflexible. Bulk and size is dependant on diet, cardiovascular training and neglect of periods of moderate repetitions. That’s why the following program can develop a lean, muscular physique if that is your goal.

Period 1 (4 Weeks):
This period focuses on strengthening connective tissue surrounding the muscles to prevent future injury. It also helps with coordination and nervous system changes that allow for better muscular contractions and strength. Period 1 usually consists of 3-5 sets of 10 repetitions for each of about 4 exercises.

Day 1
Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
Exercises: Bench press, Military Press, Flat DB flyes, Cable pushdowns Reps: 10-12
Frequency: 2 times per week

Day 2
Back, Biceps, Abs, Calves

Day 3

Period 2 (4 Weeks):
This period involves greater intensity (weight) with slightly less volume (reps). Much of the same reasons of period1 are involved in period 2, except here the objective is to break the staleness after 4 weeks, and the plateaus that usually occur by this point. The second period is when people are usually surprised by their own strength. Period 2 usually consists of 4 exercises, 3-5 sets, and 6-8 repetitions with slightly less more rest between sets.

Day 1
Exercises: Squat, Leg Press, Leg Extension, Leg Curls Reps: 5-8
Frequency: 2 times per week

Period 3 (4 Weeks):
During period 3 individuals are entering a period of great intensity with even less volume. Connective tissues and coordination would have reached their peak, and strength should continue to improve. The largest goal of this period is to provide a new and greater stimulus to the muscle and break down more potential plateaus. The major exercises continue to be the compound movements, reps are in the 4-6 range, sets are also 4-6 of 4 different exercises:

Day 1
Exercises: Deadlift, Lat Puldowns, Seated Rows, Bent-over Barbell Rows.
After 2-3 cycles of periodization, 4-5 days per week, 1-2 bodyparts per day programs are suggested for 8-10 weeks.
army boot camp workout
Routine 3: Army Boot Camp
I started seriously working out, while I was in army boot camp. For all those guys that are in the military and are expected to run long distances or march long distances. Don’t worry about getting big. Your job requires you to have endurance and strength. Strength that will last all day. So don’t go into the gym and go heavy for only 1 to 6 reps. That’s not the Army Ranger Workout. You need to go into the gym and do 4 sets of 12 reps. That doesn’t mean stay at the same weight. When you can do a weight for 4 sets of 12 without a spot. It is time to go up in weight. even if your partner has to help you with the last 4 reps still go for 12 reps. Stay there for an hour. Concentrate on the areas that your job requires you
to excel in.

Remember this formula:
Pushup = Bench press, Dumbbell Flies. Military Press, Lat pull downs, Pull ups, Dumbbell Rows, and Barbell Rows.

Go to the gym for no less than 45 minutes a day and no more than 1 hour. Work at a fast pace, with no more than 1 minute breaks in between sets. Go for 6 days a week and divide workout like this.


When you do legs you need to do 4 sets of 20 of every exercise. Legs can endure much more than the upper body and there is much more required.

The formula for this is:
Legs = Squat, leg curls, leg extensions, Leg Press, calf raises, and what ever else you see people doing in the gym that doesn’t appear to be dangerous.

Now only do this workout if things like running, road marching, and PT tests wear you out and you barely meet minimum requirements. This is why I started working out. I found workouts like this in muscle mags and by watching other guys that have been in the military for a long period of time.

My accomplishments after my boot camp workout were:

*PT Score was 296-300 on average, every time.
*EIB road march 2 Hours. 5 Minutes. 1st place out of 500
*Chosen to represent my battalion in the biathlon competition.
Placed 3rd in every division in Alaska.
*Chosen to represent my battalion in division orienteering
competition. Placed 3rd in Alaska. Ran 18 miles that
day with a broken foot that I tripped over while looking at the
map while I was running. Lost my watch and still came in 20
minutes early.
*Represented my company in the battalion obstacle course and
won 1st place.
*1 of 5 men in battalion chosen to be one of the battalion scout

One other thing that I attribute my success to was while everyone else was out in the bars drinking their beer and whiskey, I was doing something like hiking, camping, rock climbing or some other adventure. Now that, I can brag about for the rest of my life. I wasn’t always like that. I have seen both sides. One day I woke up and realized that life was too short to live small and sell myself short.

I am not bragging! I am just letting you know that this can be you and you can get results just like I did. I was fat, lazy, unmotivated and only met life half way. When I made up my mind that this is who I wanted to be, 6 weeks later I started to shine. I had sergeants asking me what I think we should do and I was just a private. So remember to be a leader, not a follower. You set the example for others to follow. That’s all I got to say about that!

Strength TrainingRoutine 4: Beyond Failure Training
Beyond failure training was made popular by Trevor Smith. His beliefs were that the body is capable of a lot more stress than we give it credit for and that when the body fails, the set just begins. Beyond failure training is very simple in concept, but very hard to do and few people will ever do it because it hurts so much.

Training past failure demands that when you are doing a set, as you begin to go to failure, where you cannot complete a full range of motion on your own and you are at momentary failure, your training partner assists you in completing a few more repetitions with the same weight before you are allowed to stop. At this point you are pumped beyond belief, but it is not over yet! Your partner immediately drops the weight down around 40% and you continue with the set until you cannot get any more reps. Your partner again assists you to get and additional number of reps until you are fried. Then once again your partner drops the weight so you can continue your journey into no-mans land and once you begin to fail he again assists you in getting additional reps. Then and only then is your set complete. You do only 1 or 2 “sets” as above for each exercise.

The Beyond Failure Training suggested workout:

Day 1
Chest and Calves
Pec Deck
Incline Barbell Press on Smith Machine
Donkey Calf Machine
Seated Calf Raises

Day 2
Shoulders and Triceps
Single Arm Cable or Machine Laterals
Front Presses on Smith Machine
Tricep Pushdowns

Day 3

Day 4
Back and Biceps
Pullover Machine
Machine Rows
Lat Pulldown
Machine Curls
Best Testosterone BoosterDay 5
Leg Extensions
Leg Press
Leg Curls

Day 6

Day 7

Here are some important rules to remember when following beyond failure training:

You will tend to need an hour or so to recover from the workout so that you can perform your daily functions.

You will find that after 6 (8 weeks max) that you will start to get burned out training this way. When you do, reduce the intensity for a few weeks until you feel ready again to give it your all.

* You can only train once a day for a maximum of 4 times a week.
* You can only spend a maximum of 45 minutes in the gym per session.
* It is very painful and you will tend to have anxiety before your workouts.
* You must keep all other physical activities to a bare minimum during your 6-week training cycle to insure maximum recovery and energy available for the workouts

It is imperative that you have adequate nutrients in your body at all times. You need to make sure you are getting 2-2.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day along with 2 – 3 grams of carbs depending on your metabolism (if you are carb sensitive cut it back to 1.5-2 grams and compensate the calories with extra protein.

Make sure you are getting at least 7 hours of straight sleep a night along with a good hour nap at some point in the day or evening. If this is not feasible, try and get 8 hours of sleep per night.
Chest Muscles
Routine 5: The Workout Your Mother Warned You About
For the last three months, I have been following this bodybuilding workout, and it built my mass, strength and ripped my body fat to a very low level.

10 sets of 10 of the following:
Flat bench press
Seated military press
Lying tricep extensions

10 sets of 10 of the following:
Bent over rows
Flat bar bicep curls
Power cleans

10 sets of 10 of the following:

10 sets of 6 of the following:
Flat bench press
Seated military press
Lying Tricep Extensions

10 sets of 6 of the following:
Bent over rows
Flat bar bicep curls
Power cleans

On the following Monday, you do the same exercises as your regular Monday workout but you do 10 sets of 3. On Tuesday, do the same exercises, 10 sets of 3. On Wednesday, do dead lifts, 10 sets of 6. On Thursday start over with 10 sets of 10 and just keep this routine rolling, with 10′s, 6′s, and 3′s.

This is an awesome workout and after about 4 weeks you will notice that your gym time is really paying off.
Bigger MusclesRoutine 6: Get Maximum Muscle in the Shortest Time
How can I put on the most muscle in the shortest amount of time you ask? This routine is designed to add the maximum amount of muscle mass to your body in the shortest amount of time. This workout includes the three major weight training movements combined with the two best resistance exercises.

This Program is split into two different parts:

Part 1
Bench Press: 5 sets of 8 to 15 reps. This is the best upper body mass building exercise. It will work your chest, shoulders and triceps. Start off with a light warm up set for 15 reps, followed by a medium warm up set for 12 reps. Next do 3 heavy sets of 8 to 10 reps each.

Dead Lift: 5 sets of 10 reps. This is the best over all mass building exercise, however it must be performed properly or there is a risk of serious injury. Do a light warm up set followed by a medium warm up set. Next do 3 heavy sets. It is more important to use proper form on this exercise that to use a maximum amount of weight.

Part 2
Parallel Bar Dip: 5 sets of as many reps as possible. This exercise will build your chest, shoulders and triceps. Use super sets to combine this exercise with the next exercise.

Pull Up: 5 sets of as many reps as possible. Do this exercise with a medium to narrow grip with your palms facing you. This will build the biceps and lats.

Squats: 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps. This is the best lower body mass building exercise. Start off with a light warm up set for 15 reps followed by a medium warm up set for 12 reps. Next do 3 heavy sets.

Alternate Part 1 of this routine with Part 2 every other day with a day of rest in between each workout for 6 to 8 weeks.

Here is a good example of how to apply this routine:

Week 1
Monday: Bench Press and Dead Lift
Wednesday: Parallel Bar Dip, Pull Up and Squat
Friday: Bench Press and Dead Lift

Week 2
Monday: Parallel Bar Dip, Pull Up and Squat
Wednesday: Bench Press and Dead Lift
Friday: Parallel Bar Dip, Pull Up and Squat

Continue to follow this mass building routine for 6 to 8 weeks for maximum results.
Dumb Bell Lift
Routine 7: Extreme Muscle Building

This bodybuilding workout put the most muscle on my body. This 3 part split bodybuilding workout routine involves heavy weight lifting and takes 3 weeks to complete one cycle. Follow this workout for 9 weeks (3 cycles) for the maximum benefit. It helped me put on the most amount of muscle during my early days and is guaranteed to do the same for you. Remember that you’ll get out of it what you put into it.

Part 1 – Monday (Week 1)
Chest and Back Muscles

BENCH PRESS: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
Super Set with WIDE GRIP PULL UP OR PULLDOWN: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps

INCLINE BENCH PRESS: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps
Super Set with BARBELL ROWS: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps

DUMBBELL FLY: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps
Super Set with SINGLE DUMBBELL PULL OVER: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps

Legs and Abdominal Muscles

* LEG EXTENSION: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps
* SQUAT: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps
* LEG CURL: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps
* CALF RAISE: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps (Use a standing calf machine)
* CALF RAISE: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps (Use a seated calf machine)
* CRUNCHES: 3 to 5 sets of 25 to 50 reps
* Super Set with LEG RAISE: 3 to 5 sets of 15 reps

Shoulders and Arms

Do these first 3 exercises in a TRI-SET formation

* SHOULDER PRESS: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps
* SIDE LATERAL: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps
* REAR LATERAL: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps

* BARBELL CURLS: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps
* Super Set with TRICEPS EXTENSION: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps (Use a flat bench & E-Z curl bar)
* DUMBBELL CURLS: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps
* Super Set with TRICEPS EXTENSIONS: 3 TO 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps (Use a cable pulley)
* REVERSE CURL: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps (Use an E-Z curl bar)
* Super Set with WRIST CURLS: 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps


Chest and Back Muscles

Saturday & Sunday

Part 2 – Monday (Week 2)
Legs and Abdominal Muscles

Shoulders and Arms


Chest and Back Muscles

Legs and Abdominal Muscles

Part 3 – Monday (Week 3)
Shoulders and Arms


Chest and Back Muscles

Legs and Abdominal Muscles

Shoulders and Arms

Follow this cycle for 9 weeks for maximum results. If you stick to it, you’ll add on at least 20lbs of muscle mass with noticeable increases in strength. You fat levels will drastically be reduced as well.

To reiterate, muscles need some variation in order to grow and get stronger. Hence, bodybuilders should try out new routines (like the ones mentioned here) every so often. To learn about even more effective bodybuilding programs, visit the Stacklabs.com blog.

Have you tried any of these routines? Please share your experience.


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