One of the most exciting things about bodybuilding and weightlifting is packing on muscle mass. It’s just amazing to watch your body respond and grow.
In this post, you’re going to get an entire bulking workout and meal plan.
So you’re going to have to go shopping for new shirts soon because you’re about to be busting out of your ‘smediums!’
You’ll also learn some tactics to use both in the gym and kitchen to build even more quality muscle while still maintaining some definition.
Bulking Workout Plan
Your bulking workout plan is going to be based on a mixture of lifting heavy at the beginning of your workouts and pumping out those reps towards the end.
This means you can also expect to get stronger while you’re packing on muscle mass. And that’s what makes this type of workout so enticing.
Bulking Training Split
You’ll be hitting the gym 5 days a week. And you train most muscles once a week, like a typical bodybuilding program.
However, you’ll hit back and legs twice a week. I’ll explain more about that later.
Here’s your training split for bulking:
- Monday: Legs (heavy focus on quads)
- Tuesday: Back and Biceps
- Wednesday: Chest and Triceps
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: Legs (more focus on hamstring)
- Saturday: Shoulders and Back
- Sunday: Rest
*Feel free to switch the days around to fit your schedule. And if you want to stick to a Monday through Friday schedule, you can just train 5 days in a row and take the weekends off.
What…legs on a Monday? You’ll thank me for this because hardly anyone trains legs on Monday. So the leg press and squat rack will be all yours!
As legs respond best to higher volume this will be a longer workout. To make sure you’re mentally prepared!
You’re going to focus more on quads but remember, you have a second leg workout coming up in a few days. You’ll do more for hams during that workout.
- Warm-up with leg extensions
- With 5 sets each, you’re going to spend some quality time in the squat rack and on the leg press
- You’ll work up to some heavy weights on squats
- The remainder of your workout will be higher reps (you’ll find that your quads will respond like crazy to this!)
- For calves, only rest 30 seconds between sets
|Exercise||Sets x Reps|
|Leg Extensions||3 x 15|
|Squats||5 x 8, 6, 3, 3, 3|
|Leg Press||5 x 15|
|Lying Leg Curls||4 x 10|
|Single Leg Extensions||4 x 20|
|Dumbbell Lunges||2 x 12|
|Seated Calf Raises||7 x 15|
Why train legs twice a week? Legs are your largest muscle group and they’re going to make up the ‘bulk’ (yes, the pun was intended) of your overall mass. So it makes sense to pay extra attention to them.
Also, you’ll notice that this first leg workout is more quads-focused. When you get to your next leg workout, you’ll see that there will be a difference in exercises and you’ll but more focus into your hamstrings.
After you finish reading through this bulking workout and meal plan, be sure to check out my post: Training Legs Twice a Week: How to Build Bigger Legs
Back and Biceps
Like your quads, back requires more overall volume for superior muscle gains. It’s also a complex muscle with many different parts. So you’ll be hitting your back from different angles.
You should always train hard but train back harder. It will pay off!
After back training, you’ll hit some biceps. Your biceps will already be primed from all the pulling you’ve done on your back exercises.
- Use full range of motion for all back exercises; no half-reps
- For dumbbell rows, take a little longer (4-5 seconds) on the descent, the negative part of the rep
- Do a drop set on your final set of lat pulldowns
- For seated rows, make sure you contract your back muscles when you pull the handle back towards you (hold it there for a couple of seconds and flex)
- Do a drop set on your final set of incline curls
|Exercise||Sets x Reps|
|Bent-over Rows||5 x 10, 8, 8, 6, 6|
|Dumbbell Rows||4 x 8|
|Lat Pulldowns||4 x 10|
|Seated Rows||4 x 10|
|Barbell Curls||3 x 8|
|Incline Dumbbell Curls||3 x 10|
Chest and Triceps
Need to get something off your chest? A few hundred pounds of iron!
Chest and triceps day is going to look similar to your back and biceps workout with 4 exercises for chest and 2 for triceps.
- This may be different for you but you’re going to warm up with a couple of sets of pec dec flyes (or any type of flyes) first – don’t go heavy or burn out on these
- For bench press, you’ll be doing the 5 x 5 strength training method
- Do a drop set on your final set of incline dumbbell flyes
- For cable pressdowns, you’re only going to rest 30 seconds between these sets (similar to the calf exercise you did on leg day)
- The reason you’re doing more for triceps than you did in the prior workout for biceps is that your tris make up the ‘bulk’ of your arms (I swear I’m going to use that bulk pun several more times)
|Exercise||Sets x Reps|
|Pec Dec Flyes||2 x 10|
|Bench Press||5 x 5|
|Incline Bench Press||4 x 8|
|Incline Dumbbell Flyes||4 x 10|
|Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extensions||3 x 8|
|Cable Pressdowns||7 x 10|
5 x 5 is an awesome training technique to get stronger but you’re also building muscle mass with 5 x 5 because of the overall volume.
After reading this post, come back to this and read about my full 5 x 5 program in this post: Advanced 5 x 5 Workout for Fast Muscle and Strength Gains
Leg Day (Again)
For your second leg day, you’ll be focusing more on your hamstrings. However, you will still hit your quads again too.
You’ll start out with stiff-leg deadlifts working your way up to some heavier weights.
**Now, you may be wondering why regular deadlifts aren’t in this program. Remember, this is a bulking program to help you pack on muscle mass. The focus is not on strength, but size. Strength gains will be a ‘side-effect’ from this workout.
You’ll also do some quads in on your second leg day. Quads are something you absolutely want to train twice a week to maximize gains.
- For stiff-leg deads, it’s imperative that you use controlled reps, don’t round your back, and force your hamstrings to pull the weight.
- Leg press will be done with your feet close together and a little higher up on the platform. This will help target your hamstrings more (and of course, these will also work your quads).
- Do a drop set on your last set of seated leg curls.
- Single leg curls can be done on a standing leg curl machine or the lying leg curl machine.
- On your last 2 exercises (leg extensions and calve raises), only rest 30 seconds between sets.
|Exercise||Sets x Reps|
|Stiff Leg Deadlifts||5 x 10, 8, 8, 6, 6|
|Leg Press (feet-close)||4 x 15|
|Seated Leg Curls||4 x 10|
|Single Leg Curls (standing or lying)||4 x 10|
|Leg Extensions||7 x 15|
|Standing Calf Raises||7 x 15|
You’ve probably noticed several exercises where you’re doing 7 sets. This is mimicking the FST-7 training method (created by pro bodybuilder coach Hany Rambod).
After you finish this post, I encourage to read more about how FST-7 can chance the shape of your muscles in this post: FST-7 Workout Routine for Mass Gains
Shoulders and Back
Your final workout of the week will be shoulders and back on the same day. And this is going to be your second time training back this week.
Shoulders are a great way to end the week. If you think about it, you’ve already hit your shoulders twice this week because you incorporate shoulders in practically every upper body exercise that you do.
It’s not that you shouldn’t train shoulders directly, and hard. But by this point, you don’t need as much volume.
Your second back workout is going to done with higher reps. You’ve already hit your mass building exercises for back. Today you’re going to pump a ton of blood into those muscles to expand them (aka add more mass).
- For all shoulder exercises, concentrate on making your shoulders do all of the work. In other words, no jerking movements.
- Superset your last 2 shoulder exercises, lateral raises and bent-over raises (these are both done with dumbbells).
- Pump out those reps for your back exercise; however, do NOT get sloppy.
- Make sure you’re using the full range of motion for your back.
|Exercise||Sets x Reps|
|Cable Lateral Raises||2 x 10|
|Seated Dumbbell Press||4 x 10|
|Lateral Raises||3 x 10|
|Bent-over Raises||3 x 10|
|Reverse Grip Rows||4 x 15|
|Close-grip Pulldowns||4 x 15|
|Cable Pullovers||3 x 15|
Ending your workout week with shoulders and back is perfect for your bulking workout routine. You’re pushing your muscles to the next level by hitting them an additonal time.
Remember, your incorporated shoulders in your earlier upper body workouts, and of course you’re hitting back directly again in this workout).
What To Do on Rest Days
Rest days don’t mean you should lay on the couch all day and watch Netflix (although one day of that may be okay). It just means you’re not lifting weights.
Feel free to do some light cardio on your rest days. In fact, you should be doing some form of cardio 3-4 times a week.
I realize that many want to exclude cardio when bulking. But doing a few sessions of light cardio each week is not going to eat into your gains. Too much cardio, of course, will.
So keep it in moderation. For cardio, while bulking, just do something like a 20-30 minute walk 3-4 times a week.
You also want to make sure you’re eating plenty of calories and get enough quality sleep to build new muscle, and more importantly, recover from your workouts (which in essence builds new muscle).
We’re going to get into your bulking meal plan next…
Bulking Meal Plan
You can train hard and heavy but you’re not going to gain one pound of muscle mass if you don’t have a meal plan strategy for bulking. So let’s ‘dig’ into the types of meals you need for mass gains.
This is going to be 6-meals a day. I’m going to give you the contents of each meal and the approximate times you should be eating.
*This bulking meal plan is only an example. Feel free to cater to your meals to your needs, schedule, and foods that you prefer. This is meant to be used as a template to create your own bulking meal plan.
Bulking Meal 1
- 4 whole eggs
- 2-3 sausage links
- 2 servings of oatmeal
- 1/2 cup of blueberries (these can go in your oatmeal; also serves as a sweetener)
- bagel with cream cheese
Bulking Meal 2
- 8-10 ounces of almond milk
- 2 scoops of whey protein powder (ALLMAX ALLWHEY is my recommended protein)
- 1 banana
- 1/3 cup of frozen berries
- 1 serving of natural peanut butter
- 5-10 grams of creatine monohydrate
Bulking Meal 3
- 8-10 ounces of lean ground beef or turkey
- 1.5 servings of pasta
- 2 servings of green vegetables
- 2 pieces of garlic toast with butter
**One of the perfect strategies for your bulking meal plan is called flexible dieting. This concept allows more freedom in what you eat as long as you’re hitting your macros.
You can read more about flexible meal plans (including calories-specific plans that go up to 5,000 calories a day) in my post: Flexible Mass Building Meal Plans.
Bulking Meal 4
- 2 cups of Greek yogurt
- 1 apple
- 1-2 servings of almonds or cashews
Bulking Meal 5
- 8-12 ounces of sirloin steak
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1.5 servings of Jasmine or brown rice
- 2 servings of green vegetables
Bulking Meal 6
- 8 ounces of almond milk
- 1-2 scoops of whey protein powder
- 2 servings of almond butter
- 1/3 cup of berries or 1 banana
- 5-10 grams of glutamine
**Again, this bulking meal plan is just an example. You should make any necessary changes and simply use this as a guide to create your own.
More Resources for Bulking Up
In addition to your bulking workout and meal plan, I want to provide you with some more resources. These are going to help you pack on some serious muscle mass in a shorter amount of time.
I’m also covering a couple of premium supplements in this section (and you may have noticed I included creatine and glutamine in your protein shakes in the bulking meal plan above).
Supplements aren’t absolutely necessary to make gains, but they can help you take things to the next level and pack on mass more efficiently. It’s your choice whether to take them or not.
- TestoFuel – My recommended testosterone booster for packing on mass
- 4 Gauge – My recommended pre-workout for intense workouts
- Prime Male – This is a natural formula for men over 40
- Anabolic Cooking – Over 200 muscle-building recipes
Lastly, have fun with your bulking workout and meal plan. It’s an exciting time because this strategy will give you visible results in no time!
I hope you enjoyed this post and found value in it. Now go slam down your pre-workout drink and hit the gym!
Excuses Don’t Build Muscle,