Jump to the routine

The Simple and Effective Training Plan for Putting on Mass

This six-week training program takes the complication out of mass gain.

Jump to the Routine
  • 6 weeks

  • 52

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Bodybuilder Roelly Winklar working out his upper body with an incline barbell bench press
Per Bernal
Bodybuilder Roelly Winklar working out his upper body with an incline barbell bench press
Per Bernal

We’ve all known people who make things more complicated than they need to be. At work, there’s the boss who requires meeting after mind-numbing meeting and procedures that rival a NASA rocket-launch sequence. (Come on, how many steps does it really take to order new staplers?) For you, Office Space seemed more like a documentary than a comedy. At home, deciding what’s for dinner can become a guessing game if your significant other is either too picky or not picky enough. But the gym is supposed to be a safe haven from the lunacy of your daily life. There’s no good reason to make it harder than necessary with a difficult-to-follow, overwrought training program when a straightforward approach will get you exactly where you want to go—and faster.

This six-week plan cuts through all the noise. At its heart, it’s plain yet powerful. Splitting the body over four training days, you’ll use a selection of unpretentious and effective exercises, sans complex techniques and tricks. Lift a heavy weight for the prescribed reps, rest two minutes and do it again. See? Simple.

Fundamentals Focus

The program breaks down your training as follows:

  • Day 1 is chest and triceps
  • Day 2 is legs
  • Day 3 is shoulders, traps and abs
  • Day 4 is back and biceps.
  • Weeks 1, 3 and 5 of this six-week plan, you’ll do six reps per set with one “pump” set of 25 to finish each exercise
  • Weeks 2, 4 and 6 you’ll do 12 reps to failure on all sets (except for calves and abs).

The 6/25 rep scheme in the odd-numbered weeks is an excellent hybrid designed for strength and mass development, encouraging muscle breakdown, rebuilding and growth. The low-rep, high-intensity sets are followed by sets of 25 reps that flush the target muscle with blood, giving you a serious pump. And that pump isn’t just for show, friends. Working out produces waste products in the muscle cells—the result of burning glucose and fat to fuel muscular contractions. That waste buildup draws water inside muscle cells, and as with a balloon, the more water that the muscle cell can hold, the bigger the pump you’ll experience. The pump essentially stretches the muscle cell, making the muscle itself momentarily bigger and initiating biochemical pathways that prompt permanent growth.

The strategy in the even-numbered weeks is to hit the muscle-hypertrophy sweet spot: 12-rep sets, each to failure. You want to pick a weight with which you can get 12 reps – no more – so err on the heavy side. Say you get eight reps with a weight and fail – that’s no problem, just immediately reduce the weight by 20%-30% and finish out your last four reps. Or an attentive spotter can help you through some forced reps to reach the target.

Straight to the Point

Although this program is devoid of fancy tricks, that doesn’t mean it’s not potent. You can build size and strength, and best of all, make the gym your “quiet place” from all the complications of work, home and family. If you were a contestant on a certain previously mentioned game show, you might even say, “What is ‘the perfect solution?’”

Training Plan

In this program, you’ll perform each workout once per week and take three days off each week (for example, lift on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday). Use this six-week training plan once, or repeat it—it’s built for results both in the short term and over the long haul.

Simple Mass-Gain Split

Day 1: Chest + triceps

Day 2: Legs

Day 3: Shoulders + traps + abs

Day 4: Back + biceps

Weeks 1, 3, 5: 3 sets of 6 reps plus a pump set of 25 reps

Weeks 2, 4, 6: 12 reps to failure on all sets (with the exception of calves and abs)

Deadlift barbell at gym

6 Best Exercises for Maximum Gains

See why these moves are a must for serious weight trainers.

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Routine

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Weeks 1, 3, 5

Day 1: Chest + Triceps

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets. In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Equipment
Smith Machine
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 3 of 52

Incline Dumbbell Flye

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 4 of 52

Weighted Dip

Equipment
Ankle Weights, Dip Station
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 5 of 52

Bodyweight Dip

Equipment
Dip Station
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets. In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 7 of 52

Cable Pressdown

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, V-Handle Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.

Weeks 1, 3, 5

Day 2: Legs

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 9 of 52

Barbell Squat

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets. In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 10 of 52

Leg Press

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 11 of 52

Romanian Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 12 of 52

Lying Leg Curl

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 13 of 52

Standing Calf Raise

Equipment
Box
Sets
4
Reps
25
Rest
--
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets.

Weeks 1, 3, 5

Day 3: Shoulders, Trap + Abs

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 14 of 52

Overhead Barbell Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets. In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 15 of 52

Barbell Upright Row

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 16 of 52

Bent-Over Lateral Raise

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
Perform seated. In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 17 of 52

Barbell Shrug

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets. In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 18 of 52

Hanging Knee Raise

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
2
Reps
20
Rest
--
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets.
Exercise 19 of 52

Kneeling Cable Crunch

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, Rope Attachment
Sets
2
Reps
20
Rest
--

Weeks 1, 3, 5

Day 4: Back + Biceps

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 20 of 52

Barbell Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets. In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 21 of 52

Barbell Bent-Over Row

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 22 of 52

T-Bar Row

Equipment
Barbell, V-Handle Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 23 of 52

Lat Pulldown

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, Lat Pulldown Bar
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 24 of 52

Barbell Biceps Curl

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets. In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
6
Rest
--
In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.
Exercise 26 of 52

Dumbbell Preacher Curl

Equipment
Dumbbells, Preacher Bench
Sets
3
Reps
6
Rest
--
How to
In addition, perform 1 pump set of 25 reps.

Weeks 2, 4, 6

Day 1: Chest + Triceps

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 27 of 52

Barbell Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
--
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets.
Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
--
Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 30 of 52

Pec Deck Flye

Equipment
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 31 of 52

Cable Pressdown

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, V-Handle Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
--
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets.
Exercise 32 of 52

Bench Dip

Equipment
Bench
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 33 of 52

Cable Kickback

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, D-Handle Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
--

Weeks 2, 4, 6

Day 2: Legs

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 34 of 52

Leg Press

Equipment
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 35 of 52

Barbell Hack Squat

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 36 of 52

Glute-Ham Raise

Equipment
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 37 of 52

Seated Leg Curl

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 38 of 52

Seated Calf Raise

Equipment
Bench
Sets
4
Reps
25
Rest
--
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets.

Weeks 2, 4, 6

Day 3: Shoulders, Traps + Abs

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 39 of 52

Cable Lateral Raise

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
--
How to
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets.
Exercise 40 of 52

Arnold Press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 41 of 52

Dumbbell Upright Row

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 43 of 52

Incline Dumbbell Shrug

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
--
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets.
Exercise 44 of 52

Reverse Crunch

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
2
Reps
25
Rest
--
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets.
Exercise 45 of 52

Double Crunch

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
2
Reps
25
Rest
--

Weeks 2, 4, 6

Day 4: Back + Biceps

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 46 of 52

Lat Pulldown

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, Lat Pulldown Bar
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
--
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets.
Exercise 47 of 52

Dumbbell Row

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
--
Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, Straight Bar Attachment
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 49 of 52

Weighted Pullup

Equipment
Dip Belt, Pullup Bar, Weight Plates
Sets
4
Reps
12
Rest
--
Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
--
Doesn't include 1-2 light warmup sets.
Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 52 of 52

Preacher Curl with Cable

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, EZ-Bar, Preacher Bench
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
--
Exercise 53 of 52

Hammer Curl

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
--
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