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The perfect workout to improve form, build muscle, and boost mobility

Grow monster-size mass and bulletproof your joints with this routine.

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The perfect form workout to build muscle and boost mobility
Christopher Kimmel/Getty Images
The perfect form workout to build muscle and boost mobility
Christopher Kimmel/Getty Images

Talk to enough big, strong guys with admirable physiques and you’ll notice that one complaint keeps coming up: They’re all hurt.

There seems to be an unwritten rule that training to build muscle has to wreak havoc on your joints—but we’re about to break it. In fact, you can have a great-looking body without wrecking it along the way.

This plan incorporates careful programming, mobility, and corrective exercise to help you safely build both muscle and strength.

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How it works

Lifting weights compresses the joints, and can lead to injury. There are two main ways to prevent lifting-related aches and pains: Master perfect technique so your body can bear the stress of heavy weights as safely as possible, and vary the loads you use so you never undergo too much stress for too long.

Our program improves technique by way of mobility, with exercises such as the face-pull that activate and balance out the muscles around the shoulder to allow for safe, efficient lifting. These moves actually help you perform your bench press better, so we tucked them in between your first few sets. We also change the sets and reps on your main lifts weekly to vary the stimulus.

All these safety precautions make you a better lifter, so it’s easier to add muscle.

Directions

Perform each workout (Day I, II, and III) once a week, resting a day between each session.

Routine

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Day 1

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 8

Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
6
Reps
5, 5, 5, 5, 5, as many as possible
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 3 of 8

Face Pull

Equipment
Cable Machine
Sets
2
Reps
20
Rest
120–180 sec.
Exercise 4 of 8

Incline Dumbbell Row

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
Hold for 30–60 sec.
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 5 of 8

Incline Dumbbell Row

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
20
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 6 of 8

Bentover Lateral Raise

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
1
Reps
12-15
Rest
90-120 sec.
Exercise 7 of 8

Wide-Grip Pushup

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
1
Reps
50–100
Rest
As needed
Exercise 8 of 8

Triceps Pushdown

Equipment
Elastic Band
Sets
1
Reps
100-150
Rest
As needed

Day 2

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 9 of 8

Squat

Equipment
Squat Rack
Sets
5
Reps
8, 8, 8, 8, as many as possible
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 10 of 8

Goblet Squat

Equipment
Kettlebells
Sets
2
Reps
3-5
Rest
0 sec.
Pry your knees open to increase hip mobility.
Exercise 11 of 8

Bulgarian Split Squat

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
30–60 sec. (each leg)
Rest
120-180 secs.
Exercise 12 of 8

Romanian Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
8-12
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 13 of 8

Dumbbell Split Squat

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
15 (each leg)
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 14 of 8

Chinup

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
4
Reps
8-12
Rest
90-120 sec.
Exercise 15 of 8

Stepup

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
1
Reps
50 total (each leg)
Rest
As needed
Exercise 16 of 8

Straight-Bar Curl

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
1
Reps
100
Rest
As needed

Day 3

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 17 of 8

Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
9
Reps
3; as many as possible for the remaining sets
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 18 of 8

Lateral Raise

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
1
Reps
5
Rest
120-180 sec.
Perform exercises 1B. through 1E. as a sequence, going straight from one exercise to the next. That's one set. Do two rounds before moving on to the next exercises.
Exercise 19 of 8

Front Raise

Equipment
Resistance Band
Sets
1
Reps
5
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 20 of 8

Dumbbell Overhead Press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
1
Reps
5
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 21 of 8

Bentover Lateral Raise

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
1
Reps
5
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 22 of 8

Dumbbell halo

Equipment
Sets
2
Reps
10
Rest
90-120 sec.
Substitute the dumbbell for a plate if you can.
Exercise 23 of 8

Seated dumbbell overhead press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
10-15
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 24 of 8

Front Raise

Equipment
Resistance Band
Sets
4
Reps
10–12
Rest
0 sec.
Use an EZ-curl bar.
Exercise 25 of 8

Bentover Lateral Raise

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
15-20
Rest
90-120 sec.
Exercise 26 of 8

Shrug

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
1
Reps
100
Rest
As needed
Exercise 27 of 8

Wide-Grip Pushup

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
1
Reps
100
Rest
As needed
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