My friend Emelie wanted to get bigger and stronger, but wasn’t sure of how she should go about it. Since I can’t keep my opinion to myself, I went ahead and suggested a training program which will accomplish exactly that.
You will find the training program in this article. It is equally suitable for building muscle as well as getting stronger.
The Training Program
The training program consists of three workouts spread out over one week. Each workout contains three compound lifts that target several of your major muscle groups at once, and the goal is to stimulate all major muscles about 2–3 times per week.
Do all three workouts over the course of a week, while still making sure to get at least one day of rest in between workouts. You could for example train Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- Squat: 3 sets x 5 reps, then 2 sets x 8 reps
- Deadlift: 5 sets x 10 reps at 50% of 1RM
- Overhead Press: 3 sets x 5 reps, then 2 sets x 8 reps
- Bench Press: 3 sets x 5 reps, then 2 sets x 8 reps
- Front Squat: 5 sets x 5 reps
- Barbell Row: 5 sets x 8 reps
- Deadlift: 3 sets x 5 reps, then 2 sets x 8 reps
- Pull-Ups or Lat Pulldowns: 5 sets x 8 reps
- Bench Press: 5 sets x 10 reps at 50% of 1RM
Ok, so – three workouts with three exercises each is simple enough. But as you can see, the exercises come with some different variations in terms of sets and reps. Let’s go over them!
- 3 sets x 5 reps, then 2 sets x 8 reps: After warming up, you will be doing three sets of five reps, followed by two sets of eight reps. Use the same weight in all three fives, and the weight should be as heavy as you can manage. If you can complete all three sets of five with a good technique, you increase the weight by a little bit for the next workout. After the three sets of five, remove some weight and do two sets of eight. You can either do both sets of eight at the same weight or remove some weight for the last set.
- 5 sets x 10 reps at 50% of 1RM: Do five sets of ten reps at about 50% of your current 1RM in the exercise. This should be quite light, and you shouldn’t have to rest very long between sets.
- 5 sets x 5 reps and 5 sets x 8 reps: Nothing fancy here. Just use the same weight in all five sets, and increase the weight for the next workout when you manage to get all reps in.
No Curls? What About My Arms?
Since Emelie is a true “bro”, she was naturally worried as to whether her guns where going to get enough training.
Your triceps are gonna be worked as a secondary mover in the different pressing exercises you will be doing in each of the three workouts. As you can read in our article Bench Pressing Isn’t Enough for Maximal Triceps Growth, however, pressing alone isn’t enough for optimal triceps development.
Your biceps are gonna be worked as a secondary mover in the pulling exercises you will be doing in two workouts per week, but just like with the triceps, this is probably not enough for optimal growth.
You could address this by adding some arm work at the end of the workouts, or perhaps by adding a whole dedicated arm day to the program. If you want inspiration as to how to train your arms, check out our triceps and biceps training guides.
Just make sure you keep your eyes on the prize, which is to get stronger in the compound lifts. That is what really will make a difference for your physical appearance and strength.
Good luck with your training!
This training program is available for free in our workout log StrengthLog, which will also make it easy for you to keep track of the weight you used last time, as well as all your PR’s. Download it for iOS or Android.