4 Day Gym Workout Routine for Men

Here is a 4 day routine that utilizes a 5×5 scheme for the compound movements and a higher 8-12 reps for accessory movements. In order for you to get the best results with this program, be consistent and always strive for progression. Check out below what rep goal means.

Goal Of This Workout

This routine is designed to maximize your results by utilizing big compound lifts and supplementing with a good variety of accessory lifts.

This routine is designed for anyone who is looking to build strength and muscle.

It is recommended that you are comfortable with your form in the big compound lifts and you have are able to consistently train if you are to make the most of this routine.

Diet and Nutrition Tips

You can beat your muscles down in the gym but the only way to recover (build) muscle is to fuel your body with quality food.

I try to stick to an 80/20 rule when I look at nutrition. This means that 80% of my meals are prepared by me and I make sure to get the best quality food that I can.

No, this doesn’t mean you have to get natural grass fed free roaming cows who get massages every day and free range chickens who get to walk the beaches to benefit from eating whole foods.

Learn to Cook

Cooking isn’t as hard as you may think. I never was allowed in the kitchen as a child so trust me when I say anyone can do this with some patience. The trick is learning technique and then going after the complex meals.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know how to cook 5 course gourmet meals, but I have no problem eating enough varieties of a protein and vegetable to keep me happy. I made a pretty good meatloaf and lasagna once.

Long story short here is the sooner you learn to cook, the sooner you will notice changes in your performance and physique.

Recommended Supplements

Note: If you cannot get good foods into your mouth, this section is irrelevant. You really can’t out train and out supplement a crap diet.


MTS Nutrition Clash

I personally like apple mango, but all flavors are good.

This is a great blend without too many stimulants.


MTS Machine Whey Protein: 5lbs

This is in my opinion the best tasting protein on the market. Period.

Great blend with no secrets, no amino spiking, and it is some of the best in the industry.

So far I’ve had Red Velvet and Cookies and Cream. Both are A+.


MTS Nutrition Machine Fuel

Marc Lobliner has his sweetening on point with these supplements.

I’ve used mixed berry and grape and I love them both.


Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men

Once you get your diet on point, taking a multi-vitamin is important as a strength athlete.

Get the most of your gains and life with this multi-vitamin.

Cardio and Conditioning Tips

I would recommend doing a short 20-30 minute cardio session post workout at least twice a week for optimum muscle growth and recovery.

If you are running low on time, a short 5-10 minute high intensity interval session at least twice per week will help with maximizing your progress.

Note: Some low intensity walking, hiking, bicycling, etc is helpful to improve your quality of life and recovery from your workouts.

Workout Schedule

Here is a sample schedule:

  • Day 1 – Workout A
  • Day 2 – Workout B
  • Day 3 – Off
  • Day 4 – Off
  • Day 5 – Workout C
  • Day 6 – Workout D
  • Day 7 – Off

The benefit to starting on a Monday is while everyone is benching and hogging the dumbbells, you are squatting and doing legs and not have to wait for any equipment. This is convenient so you can go in with your prepared session and smash it out.

4 Day Gym Workout Routine for Men

Workout A
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Squats 5 25
Leg Press 3 36
Front Squat* 3 24
Standing Bent Over Laterals 3 36
Planks** 3


Workout B
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Bench Press 5 25
Incline Chest Flies 3 24
Skull Crushers 3 36
1 Arm Tricep Extensions 3 36
Standing Bent Over Laterals 3 36


Workout C
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Deadlifts 5 25
Bent Over Barbell Rows 5 25
Pull Ups 3 24
Standing Bent Over Laterals 3 36


Workout D
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Military Press 5 25
Dumbbell Shrugs 3 15
Lateral Raises 3 36
Standing Bent Over Laterals 3 36
Planks** 3


Workout Tips

Rep Goal – This is the total reps you have to complete in the given sets. For instance a 3 set 36 rep goal would basically be 3 sets of 12.

*- Front squats can be impossible for someone with bad posture such as myself.Β  If you cannot do front squats, use a hack squat machine; most gyms have one labeled a hack squat machine or a V Squat. If you can’t do either of these, leg extensions will work as well.

** – Planks aren’t the same rep goal scheme as other lifts. When you are supposed to do planks, do 3 sets of 1 rep and record your results for each set. The goal to beat for next time is to beat the combined time of those 3 planks. Keep the rest short; 60 seconds and really squeeze the abs and back and keep that core tight.

You might have noticed bent over lateral raises on every day; most people have underdeveloped rear delts and this is a great exercise that will hit multiple muscles which include rear delts, lats, and traps. I recommend these over a reverse pec deck because most people do not use the machine correctly.

If you have been spending time developing rear delts or are a wuss and want to do pec deck, then disregard the last few sentences.


Leave your comments, questions, or results below! I answer them all.

245 thoughts on “4 Day Gym Workout Routine for Men”

    • Yeah, I have in there that you should throw in 2 or 3 sessions of cardio for active recovery and fat loss.

    • Really there is no set time constraint. Depending on your level of experience, your recovery time on heavy compound lifts can differ greatly. Of course, the longer you are in the gym, the more energy you are using. I try to stay within an hour to an hour and a half for weight training. If you’re spending too much time in between sets and talking to people or just not keeping focused, work on that. Learn to read your body and push yourself hard.

      Hope that helps Matt

  1. Thanks a lot for the workout plan. Just a couple of questions, though:

    1. What percentage of the max weight for each exercise do you start with?

    2. Is each set a different weight, and are you adding weight per set?

    3. Is there a time line for the “Rep Goal” or do we start with these numbers at smaller weights?

    4. Is there enough abs workouts or do you recommend doing something more for that?


    • Thank you for the questions!

      1.) When I start a new program, I recommend starting with 80% of your 1 rep max weight.

      2.) Each set is the same weight. So when I do deadlifts, I’ll do my warmups, then I’ll do 455×5 for 3 sets and that’s my rep goal.

      3.) The rep goal system is somewhat loosely defined, it is mostly used to ensure you progress some way in your routine all of the time. Gaining a rep or two a week on the same weight may not sound like much, but when you start getting to heavy heavy weight, gaining 5 pounds is actually pretty good.

      4.) Ab workouts are always good. Most of the workouts I write are based around performance and most people’s core aren’t lacking in the beginning. There is no need to spend an hour doing ab work when you can’t even squat bodyweight yet. So yes, you can add in ab exercises into your routine as you wish. You could also add them in on your day(s) off, it is mostly up to preference.

      I hope this helps!

  2. What kind of foods/meals do you suggest for post workout/recovery and how long should you wait before you eat after a workout?

    • Check out this article, it is about the best muscle building foods. Anything with a good source of protein, a good amount of dietary fats and some carbs is great for post workout. I train fasted so I need food afterwards, a protein shake just doesn’t cut it.

      There is no “wait time” or “anabolic window” for post workout nutrition, just eat when you can. Some people get upset stomachs if they eat directly after training, but if I could get food in me sooner than I do now I would.

    • This is a face pull, this is a pull up. The face pull works your rear delts, traps and other parts of your upper back while a pull up hits your lats, biceps, etc.

      Face pulls are important because every pressing movement we do, in order to keep our shoulders healthy, we need to pull and work the rear delt.

      Hope this helps!

    • The sets listed are called your working sets. Don’t count your warmup lifts. Warm up properly, however works best for you and then start your rep goal on your “working sets.” So say you deadlift 485, do your warmups and then you try to get 485×5, 485×5, 485×5 for your rep goal.

    • Barbell rows, pull ups, and deadlifts all hit your biceps. Add in some bicep work if you would like, but I would not recommend anything more than 4 sets of 12 on direct bicep work.

  3. For the rep goals you have given, they seem pretty high. Do you want to hit that goal on each set or is that a total rep goal for that exercise?

    • :). If there’s a 5 set and 25 rep goal, you try to get 25 reps as quick as you can, so say 7 reps, 7 reps, 5 reps, 4 reps, 2 reps and you hit your goal. If you get more than 25 you will move weight up next week. It’s a simple way to see how you are progressing.

  4. i am 20 and 1.67 metre measured barefoot, i wanna grow atleast 7 inches more, i.e 2 0r 3 inch wud be good, temme please the ways , i am so down wid lack of confidence. am pure veg btw. i bought ankle weights today, tellme if dey r harmful n can damage bone ligament

    • From what I know ankle weights are not bad on joints or ligaments. As for growing taller, I think you may have hit your peak. Some people still grow in their 20s but I do not think you will see 2 or 3 more inches. Good luck with that!

  5. Hey, I’m new tot he gym, and right now am a pretty skinny guy. If i use this work out routine how long will it take before i start seeing very noticeable results?

    • M,

      Start slow and steady with this routine and start increasing the amount of good whole foods you eat and within a month or two you will start noticing your body recompositioning. Within 6 months you will have gained a lot of strength and muscle and by 1 year you will have people asking you how the hell have you made so many gains.

      Get to work! πŸ™‚


  6. 2 questions: My gym only has a shoulder press machine with cable, is this ok to replace military press? Also, do I need to add exercises to isolate abs to this routine to work on getting a six pack?

    • There is no replacement for a squat but leg presses can be used. At least you’re getting in the gym and moving those muscles.

    • If you have no bar and rack to do any barbell overhead press, I would advise dumbbell overhead pressing, but machines would be third on the list. Once again, you’re moving those muscles. You won’t get the same results but it’s better than nothing.

      Abs are from having a strong core and low bodyfat percentage. Doing a bunch of situps and crunches don’t make abs, being strong and having lower bodyfat will.

      Feel free to add in abs if you wish, they do not hurt to do but you won’t get a six pack from them.

      Good luck!


  7. Hey Cutty,

    Two of us started your workout plan today one couple of questions though

    1) For how many weeks/months should we continue this?

    2) Is it very essential to take break in between? we started it today and Sunday is off for the gym so we plan to go till Friday non stop.
    3) When I search for the workout technique on youtube few of them have different styles, like skull crush some do lying down some standing which one to follow? Do you have your own videos to explain each exercise?

    Thanks much for your efforts to put this workout..

    • Congratulations on starting the routine with a friend. This routine is actually designed so that you can run this year round with the rep goal system. I usually will run mine for 12 weeks and see where my sticking points are. I’m a powerlifter so I worry more about the weight, form, and fixing my weaknesses.

      1.) Give the program 12 weeks to run its course, log everything and see your results at the end, then you can continue if it’s still working or try a different type of routine.

      2.) Work capacity is different for every person. On a 4 day split I used to take the weekends off, then do Monday/Tuesday, Wednesday off, Thursday/Friday, off Saturday. So basically 2 days on, 1 off, 2 on 2 off. Find whatever works best for you, it doesn’t necessarily matter, just make sure to get plenty of rest and eat plenty of food so you can recover.

      3.) I’ve been debating about doing my own videos on different exercises mostly because there are different forms for different people and there are a lot of people who like to call out others. The videos where you see the people laying down with your arms pointing straight up like a lockout on bench press then bending at the elbows and lowering the bar down towards your head is the skull crusher I’m talking about. πŸ™‚

      Good luck with the routine, keep in touch and let us know how it goes!

    • A high rep/low weight scheme is a bodybuilding type parameter due to the hypertrophy gained from the time under tension. The lower rep/high weight is a strength building parameter which also builds thick lean muscle. This routine is intended to get you stronger and have a functional athletic body.

      Neither parameter is better or worse, it depends on the goal.

    • Is there an inbetween? I’d like to improve my muscle size, not to bodybuilder size but so it’s pretty noticeable. Lean muscle doesn’t sound that noticeable

    • Lean muscle is just the saying for muscle.. Lean mass, etc. Muscle is muscle, but the hypertrophy range (10-20 reps) makes your muscles appear larger because of the amount of blood being pumped into the muscle which stretches the myofascia which is like a thin lining around your muscle. That’s why bodybuilders and strength athletes get deep tissue massages and foam rolling because it massages and helps stretch that fascia, or a myofascial release.

      I use 8 reps on some people, it seems to be a good medium of heavy with some reps and gives you plenty of time under tension. Some workouts I have a 3 set, 24 rep goal which is generally 3 sets of 8 is the goal. You are going to gain muscle period and I’ve lifted almost religiously a low rep heavy weight and I have quite a bit of muscle. I’m not a huge bodybuilder or massive person like Derek Poundstone or Scott Mendleson, but it’s the same thing.

      No matter what you do as long as you strive towards putting more weight on the bar, recovering properly, and eating right, you will gain muscle and strength.


    • The reason for the rep goal scheme is so that you can lift maximal weights and gauge progress. You should be barely able to squeeze out that last rep on the last set. For example I’ve had clients where they would get 10, 5, 5, 3, 2 reps on their squats. If you are able to do 25 reps on the exercise you’re doing you are using a weight that is too light for this program to work.

      Hope this helps!

    • Thank you, I will work on gathering videos and images of what exercises they are and make it so you can click on the exercise to see how it is done!

      Great idea!

  8. I just wanted to know what the goal of this workout is. It looks really great but I wanted to know if this workout will help build muscle and definition or just strength ? I also want to know if we will be able to see external changes.

    • This workout is built on the foundation of building aesthetic muscle and building athletic strength. This means that you will be able to grow muscles like a bodybuilder and have usable strength in and outside of the gym. Eating properly and getting enough recovery between sessions is guaranteed to give you some great muscle gains and a lot of strength.

    • Calves are used on every big compound lift. You shouldn’t have to hit calves once you start hitting heavy squats and deadlifts. Feel free to add in some calf work on Workout A. The reason I do not have direct calf work because most people I see that do direct calf work never grow calves, but people who have heavy squats and deadlifts have beefy legs and calves; it just comes with the territory.

    • Raj,

      Any form of activity that gets your heart rate elevated is great to use. I encourage people to do things they enjoy doing for cardio, instead of dreading cardio and more likely to skip it. Play basketball, hit a heavy bag, use a cardio machine, run outside.. Whatever it is, enjoy it and realize that you are on a journey to doing something great!

  9. Hey Cutty,
    Thanks for your valuable post in here. I have taken up your exercise routine and I am happy to see the results already, and also as advised I am doing the abs in my day offs, also I have added calf, forearm exercises too.
    Is it okay or should I do those on regular workout days?

    Best Regards

    • Vel,

      I’m glad to see that you are having luck with the program. Adding these exercises in are okay as long as you are able to recover properly. Once you start getting really fatigued and unable to complete your lifts because of fatigue, reassess what you are adding in. You will build forearms from all pulling and rowing motions, you will build calves on heavy deadlifts and squats.

      Keep doing what you are doing and listen to your body, you will get some valuable information from it. πŸ™‚

      Good luck!


  10. Hey Cutty,

    I just started the program and have one question. Is there any set rest times between sets when trying to reach the rep goal for each exercise?


    • Phil,

      The rest times is really just when you are ready. I find 30 seconds to 3 minutes between sets depending on the exercise works best for me. Keep the intensity high, but no need to rush into another set if you aren’t ready.

      Good luck, let me know how it goes!


  11. Hey Cutty,
    First of all, Thanks for all you’re doing.

    I Trained karate for 16-17 years, with some competitive success, but I stopped around 3 years ago and I’ve so absorbed in my job that I completely let go of myself. As you can imagine, going from exercising 16-20h/week to 4-5h, at most, takes a toll on your body, especially if you take too long (as I did) to reduce your calorie intake. It’s not that I’m “overweight” by conventional measures, because I’m not, but I now have around 18-20% body fat when I had 8% and I have lost a lot of lean mass, especially on my upper body.

    The thing is: my job doesn’t allow me to go back to a fixed exercise schedule, meaning I have to do something I never did: get into a gym. And I have no idea what to do or where to start. I don’t know the machines,I’ve never used most of them or compound weights and I do tend to overwork, since my head remembers what I used to be able to do, not what it cAn actually do now.

    I know this is a dumb question but where so I start?

    • Start slow. Nothing will get you hurt quicker than going to the gym trying to do what you used to be able to do. I don’t know what all goes into training karate (which I would love to learn) but I would invite you to start doing some of the types of exercises you did when you were training.

      Getting active and changing back to a healthier and lower calorie intake lifestyle will start to get you lean. I would recommend any of my programs including this one, this one, this one, or this one. Start out with just getting active and learning the exercises with just the bar. I’m writing up articles right now on a ‘how to build bigger’ series that gives a bunch of cues to use when performing exercises to do them correctly, safely, and to do more weight.

      So no matter what you do to start, start by starting. If it is going to the different gyms and seeing what would work for you, maybe just walking and trying a couple random machines. Anything to get the thought process and body in motion is going to be a good start. Everyone starts somewhere and I bet everyone’s made mistakes.

      Keep asking questions!


    • Squats, rows, pull ups, and deadlifts are all bicep builders. If you run the program and you find that you are recovering well, add in a few sets of curls 2 days a week. My clients are happy with the muscle and strength gains they get off of this routine without direct bicep work.

  12. My weight : 96kg ; height : 5’9 inch
    I had recently started gym. My aim is to reduce weight upto 70 kg and build good body. Which exercise should I do. Please help

  13. Hey,

    I was wondering if I should be feeling exhausted after each exercise? Back then (I have only done 3 months of gym total) I used to do biceps and I often feel that I can do another whole two sets. If I increase weights, I can’t lift or lift it with a proper form.

    Or is following the Rep Goal System just good enough for me?

    • The rep goal scheme works and is proven because you are progressively overloading. You promote muscle and strength gains when you lift weights, you do not have to completely kill yourself after each session, but be sure you’re doing the most weight you can with proper form. There is no use in doing an exercise if you’re using too much weight to do it correctly.


    • Thanks dude. I’ve a couple more questions.

      Is it okay if I made this a 4 day gym routine for 6 days instead of a week? This way I can squeeze in more workout days into a month.

      And do I have to have a warm up for each exercise?

      Thanks again.

    • Going to the gym isn’t what builds muscle, the sleep, eating, and recovery is what builds muscle. Going to the gym every day doesn’t help you build muscle, it can actually keep you from building any. I’ve had a few people go from 5 and 6 day routines down to 3 days a week and build more muscle.

      Warming up is a must for every exercise so your nervous system is ready to move heavy weights and you don’t strain a muscle that is not ready to be used yet.


  14. Thanks for this Cutty,

    I am about 190 and trying to lose weight. i am about 20 percent body fat. i have a decent chest and biceps but am trying to seriously cut down on body fat/weight. Do you recommend lifting heavy or should i lift lighter/more reps? Thank you!

    • I haven’t done any articles on the metabolic response to lifting heavy/strength training. Of course ANY resistance training is going to give you a stronger and faster metabolism to burn bodyfat, which is good. The stimulus you use isn’t quite as important as actually getting up and doing it. Whatever type of work you decide to do will help you lose bodyfat, there really isn’t anything “technically” better than the other for weight loss.

      Choose something that will bring you to the gym and challenge you, clean up your diet some and you are going to like the results. I’ve found that weight control is easier for me with strength training, I tend to be more motivated to go balls out training, than to go through 4 sets of 12 burning.

      Pick your favorite and stick with it. Don’t be afraid to get more active doing something you enjoy like biking or shooting hoops, every little bit burned helps.

      Let me know if you have any other questions,


  15. I just started this program after some significant time off from lifting. I have been focused on running and weight loss and kind of ignored the lifting portion. So far, I love it.

    • Great to hear man. If you’ve been off a while from not lifting you will probably have some pretty bad muscle soreness for a while, stick with it and you’ll get used to the volume again.


  16. My gym does not have a lot of free weights, basically just dumbells up to 65 lbs. What is your recommedation for doing Deadlifts and Barbell rows? Would a Smyth Machine work???

    • Since you are limited in equipment, I would invite you to check out this routine. It uses all dumbbells and there are dumbbell deadlifts and 1 arm rows which don’t stimulate the body the same as a barbell variation but will give you a great workout. I don’t recommend the smith machine but if you try it and you like how it feels, go for it.

      Let me know if you have any more questions,


  17. Hey Cutty, I am considered to be in good shape, fit, strong, but I can’t seem to do a pull-up to save my life. I get to that portion of my workout and I have to head over to machine with the assisted pull-ups/dips in order to do my set. Can you advise on how I can improve in this area?


    • Really just increasing the weight and working on getting better with pulling. Work on building all of your rows including your barbell rows. I’ve never really been good at pull ups but I can row a lot of weight. I’ve seen people who can do a lot of pull ups but can’t hardly row anything so just stick with it and you will eventually get stronger.

      Doing the exercise and progressing in weight or reps will eventually get you able to do pull ups.


  18. hey cutty I am new to this whole gym I just need a workout to loos fat I am new to the gym world and I just don’t wanna look stupid of not knowing what to do. Can you help me out

  19. Love the power shrugs. I did them last night and tried to pull my shoulders up to the tops of my ears. I can feel it in my entire upper back today.

    I was reading some of your other posts and noticed that you said this particular workout is good for building strength, not necessarily building muscle. What is the difference? I was to get stronger, but I also want to have the shoulder size I had when I was 20 and still playing ball. Would I be better off switching routines, or should I stay with this for 12 weeks and then change over?

    • Without getting technical, building strength means making your nervous system able to recruit more muscle to do a lift. Building muscle is forcing blood into the muscle, causing hypertrophy. When you build muscle, you get stronger, and when you get stronger, you build muscle.

      You’re going to be sore and you’re going to build muscle, but you’re also teaching your nervous system to be more explosive and recruit all of your muscle fibers to pull. If you’ve tried the slow controlled movements, you’ll feel the pump and you’ll get stronger, but for strength building it’s all about increasing power and doing more weight.


  20. I’m starting this routine tomorrow morning and I’m going to do it for 12 weeks. I’m turning 25 in exactly 12 weeks so I’m thinking of this as my own birthday present to myself!

    • Congrats on the choice. Be sure to check in and let me know how it’s going. You should take some before and after pics so you can really see the changes. No need to share them unless you want to, but I think you will be shocked how much of a transformation 12 weeks will give you.


  21. Cutty, I like the work out plan, going to start this one tomorrow. Huge question that no one touches on. I am 6’5 and 165 pounds, 30 years old, to say the least i am skinny and want to gain a good 60 pounds (not of fat) I have always tried to gain weight but it doesn’t work. I have tried weight gainer shakes, 5000 calorie shakes 3 times a day eating 10 peanut butter jelly sandwiches for lunch, anything and everything that people have recommended. Yet still I see myself at this weight. I would love to be 6’5 220 but nothing works. Aside from the last option that people tell me (steroids) do you think the usual eating and working out will suffice? Or to your knowledge is there something else I can do in addition to this?
    Your response is appreciated.

    • William,

      Sorry it took so long to respond I’ve been bed ridden with a pretty bad flu. How long did you spend trying to gain weight? Your body can take 2+ weeks to switch gears into a weight gaining mode, so a couple of big eating days mixed in with some regular eating will only make your metabolism faster and probably not help you gain much.

      I think if you know how many calories you need to eat to maintain weight, add about 500 calories a day to that consistently and record your progress for at least 4 weeks. It doesn’t make sense that you don’t gain any weight at all if you ate over 15000 calories a day, there’s no way that you can burn all of that off. It’s not uncommon for people to see a prolonged “change” in their progress in diet. IE trying to lose weight or gain weight might take longer than a week to really get the ball rolling, even if you’re eating well under maintenance or over. If you can commit to consistently training on this routine and consistently eating 500 extra calories a day for 12 weeks, I don’t doubt you’re going to gain muscle mass and strength. If you don’t then there’s either a hormonal issue or you aren’t being accurate enough in your calories.

      Please ask more questions I’ll be around more to answer them πŸ™‚


  22. This workout seems very interesting and I think I’m going to start it on Wednesday. I am 5’9″ and 215 right now, 36 years old. I am a police officer and I’m trying to train for strength and speed as it’s obviously becoming harder to catch people and fight to subdue (cop in a major American city, lots of violence). Three questions…. Would you reccommend HIIT for cardio? Also I didn’t notice any compound bicep or tricep excercises, should I do one? Also i work graveyard shifts, do i train in the morning before bed, or at night before I go in? Thanks for the help!

    • HIIT will be good for conditioning yes. You will gain power and explosiveness from strength training and then you need conditioning training so you can have better ability to run longer and faster and generally a healthier life.

      The way the routine is designed is enough for arm development. I think you would be alarmed to see the amount of people that don’t do direct arm work but have big ass arms because they do heavy compound exercises. You grow huge triceps from heavy pressing and big biceps from huge deadlifts and rowing.

      If you have energy and time to do the extra arm work then I’m not going to tell you not to do them, but you don’t need them.

      Train when you feel the best. I always would train after work and once I started training in the mornings before school and work and I never went back to training at the end of my day. Train when you can and when you feel the best.

      Any other questions let me know,


  23. Thanks for the help. I’ve been training for about 20 years now (damn I’m old), and I’ve been looking for something new. Don’t really have the time to crossfit nor do they provide child care. I’m thinking of doin arms on one of the days off w/ cardio. You reccommend abs done on only days off besides planks?

    • The idea is to have enough time/energy to recover. So if you eat enough and get plenty of sleep you are fine doing the exercises whenever it best suits your schedule.


  24. Hi Cutty, Happy New Year.

    I just spent the last week working off the 7 lbs I gained on vacation over Christmas. This workout helped a great deal in that little adventure.

    I have been on this program for 8 weeks and I love it. I have seen significant gains in many areas of my workout. However, I am still struggling with a couple of things. Number one, my Bench. I used to bench a ton of weight, hitting my chest twice a week. Since my shoulder injuries and the long hiatus I took from the gym, I can’t seem to stimulate any growth in this area. there has been growth, but maybe i’m just being impatient. Would you reccommend a supplemental exercise on bench days that could help light a spark? Secondly, I think I have been doing Lateral raises incorrectly. I start with the weight in front, elbows bent. I look around the gym and see other guys starting with the weight on the side, elbows straight. I check the internet and get every variation in between. I was curious as to what you reccomend. Oh, lastly, the leg press. My gym has standing, seated, 45 degree. and probably two other machines that I’m not even aware of. What’s your choice?

    Again, thanks for everything. I love this workout. I originally planned on doing it for 12 weeks and then switching things up, but now I think I may stick with it a while longer. What do you think?

    Matt S.

    • Matt,

      Glad to hear things are going well. There are a couple of things I will invite you to try and see which you like. First, does the shoulder injury hurt when you bench or did you just lose the power and strength in the bench press?

      If it hurts in the bench I might suggest purchasing a Slingshot to help keep the shoulder more protected. There are a few different ones like the catapult and something else but all of them are similar. Those will help keep your shoulder protected and actually will help you press more and overload your lockout too.

      If your shoulder is fine, I would suggest replacing the lateral raises with another bench session. Maybe go a little lighter and do 3 sets of 8 or 10 and see how that works. A lot of times a heavy pressing day and a rep pressing day each week helps some people.

      If you want to keep using the lateral raises and try to do something just with the pressing session you have now, try using a longer pause rep for the 5×5, a little bit longer than what a competition bench would be. Basically touch chest, count one thousand one, say press in your head and then press. This is going to stimulate lots of growth and help get you some power. Lateral raises are different for everyone, I usually say try to keep your elbows just slightly above the dumbbell, I do the side laterals basically with a bent arm like I’m flapping my wings.

      Try all of the above, but I think you might be best off with 2 bench sessions a week if your shoulder is healthy and up for it. Honestly just run this as long as you can.. you can make small adjustments along the way. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. πŸ™‚

      Any more questions let me know,


    • Cutty, thanks again for the advice. The shoulder does not hurt when I bench, I just lost power. I am going to keep my press routine as is, and try replacing the lat raises with the extra bench session so long as my delt progress won’t suffer. I figure that I am still hitting the whole shoulder pretty hard with the military press. What about the leg press, any suggestions on which machine is better over all? I appreciate all that you do for us out here in the cloud.

    • Use whatever leg press you feel best with. I always liked the 45 degree ones with sleds but we also have one that is kind of like the 45 but it hinges instead of slides and that one is ok too. The standing one is more like a hack squat which is a completely different movement.

      Just find one you like and run with that.

      Thanks for the kind words,


  25. What’s up Cutty… Did workout A and B, felt really good. It’s good to be able to turn to u guys for ideas and thanks for the hard work. Tomorrow is supposed to be down day but I’m gonna go do some cardio and core, maybe biceps being there is not a specific excercise. Any suggestions for core and Bi’s?

    • Thanks for the kind words.. I’ve always done planks and side bends for core and then I really don’t do a lot of bicep isolation work but I would offer doing 3 or 4 sets of 15-20 reps of whatever you like best.


  26. Hi im in the gym 2-3 times a week.
    I do a basic work out but not sure that what im doing is right for me? Im 26 years old , 82 kg, eat a good diet. Is there a work out/routine you can suggest for me? But with a bit of all upper, arms , core and legs?

    • Check out any of my workouts and find one that you can fit into your routine. The key is to find something you have the time for and can work at consistently.


  27. It’s not about having time, it’s about making time.

    I saw that in your motivational post and it really hit home with me. I am a teacher, a husband and a father of two small kids. Making time to workout, prepare healthy meals, coach little league, make it to ballet on time, spend time with my wife, grade papers, is a daily challenge. But man, I love it. Thanks for all your help and advice.

    • I’m glad to hear that hit home for you. Sometimes it doesn’t sink in and when I tell others to make time for yourself, they get mad when I tell them I notice they spend 2 hours a day playing candy crush and on Facebook instead of doing something positive for yourself.

      I believe Brian Tracy says – “Successful people do what they have to do whether they FEEL like it or not.”

      Let that one sink in with you. You have a full plate, but I think you will find the motivation and the way to accomplish everything you need.


  28. Quick question: Any truth to the idea that higher reps yield a more define physique? Or does that stem from diet and cardio? I’m gaining strength with this program, no doubt, but after 12 weeks, I want to start seeing some cuts. Just curious.

    • “Cuts” refer to your diet. You will need to start running in a small calorie deficit and start burning off some body fat to start seeing more definition.

      There are such things as hypertrophy ranges which help build muscle but you also can get big muscles from low reps as well. It’s all about the nutrition and recovery to your goals.

      Keep them coming!


    • At the risk of sounding like an adolescent girl…I want to make my chest a bit bigger. I’m seeing gains in strength, but not size, specifically the upper chest. I pair incline DB press with my bench and flys, but was wondering if you could recommend another exercise to assist in this area.

    • Are you eating at a caloric surplus? That’s going to help you build muscle. Muscle growth doesn’t happen overnight, it takes a while to “show” any growth.

      I think you are hitting chest enough but maybe work on getting more better quality food and making sure you’re getting plenty of sleep. Your muscles are torn down in the gym and rebuilt outside of the gym.


    • I get roughly 3000 calories daily, mostly protein and leafy, green veggies. All my carbs come in the way of whole grain. I don’t eat sugar and make sure my fats are the healthy kind. I also supplement with whey isolate. It’s the sleep portion of the equation that is tripping me up. I average about 6 hours a night, so I guess I will work on that. Thanks for all the tips.

    • Sleep is where your body recovers the most. I can’t quote scientific research, but when you sleep your body shuts down and slows down other functions and works on rebuilding your muscles.. I would definitely try to aim for 8 hours.

      Also if you’ve been eating the same and having this stall and not gaining any weight, try to bump up your intake by ~300 calories a day. This is a slow and safe bulk that won’t make you get “fat.” Basically in two weeks you will gain a pound which will be some muscle and some fat.

      Don’t rush the process because all you do is put doubt in your mind and question the tried and proven methods that work :).


  29. One more thing…I have noticed a trend amongst some of the “athletes” at my local gym. Several guys some of which are pretty huge, do nothing but half-reps on most of their exercises. I don’t make a habit of judging technique, but if there is an exercise I am struggling with I will watch another lifter to try and get an idea of how to tweak my technique. I’m frustrated because I see guys half my size putting up 50-75 lbs more than me on the bench, but their are not using full range of motion. Same thing on military press. Am I missing something here? It doesn’t seem like they are maximizing their effort. Is there a benefit to this type of lift or is it mostly for show. I realize that lifting is a one-man show…to each his own, but my competitive side is having a hard time with it.


    • Half reps and not using full range of motion is only something I would only recommend to elite lifters who are extremely advanced and use things like board presses to overload their lockouts, etc. The guys at your gym are either using a “bro science” time under tension half reps, they are trying to look like they put up more, or they just don’t know any better.

      I’ve written a whole series on how to get stronger on all of the main compound lifts with a barbell (look on the side, it’s a menu) and if you stick with full range of motion movements you will see that you are going to surpass them shortly. Also when you look at these guys that are huge, look at the physical size of them, how long they have been lifting, etc. I’ve seen guys that are 240 pounds that can squat 600+ for reps that don’t look like they even lift simply because they choose to have more body fat on their bodies. Their arms are 19″, they have to wear pants 2 sizes up from what they regularly do because their legs are too big. If they were to cut down to under 15% bodyfat they would look huge like the guys you see are.

      There are people in my gym that half rep 135 on bench and look jacked but they get on the scale and weigh 145 pounds and they have low bodyfat… There’s a difference. I think if you stay going and working on getting stronger, eat healthy and recover.. A year is going to go by and you’re going to glance in the mirror and you will be freaked out how much your body has changed.


  30. I have been lifting for 20 years (I’m 35) and I have learned more from you in the past 12 weeks than I had from my high school coaches, and college S&T coaches combined. Thanks again…


    • Thanks man, I’m glad to hear. That’s my main goal is to help people out and try to get people towards reaching their goals.

      Let me know if you need any more help!


    • Last question of the day…Creatine. What are your thoughts? My ultimate goal is to build lean mass, get down below 8% body fat and hang on to my semi-chisled physique as long as I can. Does creatine fit into this plan or should I just keep with the protein? Just curious.

    • Sorry for the delay, got distracted today. Creatine is great it helps with recovery and should increase performance in the gym. Just take 5g of creatine monohydrate a day and you’ll notice some great increases after a few weeks. No need to creatine load, I haven’t found any benefit and it’s not that much quicker.


    • Good morning,

      Things are going great with my routine. I have seen steady gains in most areas and am genuinely happy with the manner in which I have been progressing. Unfortunately, my football career has left me with nagging injuries that I don’t anticipate getting better anytime soon, if ever. I have learned to live and work through most of them, however sometimes they are exacerbated by certain exercises. I have chronic tendonitis in my triceps and skullcrushers cause some serious inflammation. I have been researching an alternative exercise but wanted your opinion as to something I substitute that will still target the muscle properly.

      While on the subject of arms, I know that the biceps grow and define quite nicely with simply by doing my normal workouts and compound lifts, but hey, summer will be here soon enough and a little tone and definition in the arms never hurt anyone, so what is your favorite bi exercise?

      BTW – Deadlifts are quickly becoming my favorite exercise. I set a long term goal of 600 lbs and really feel that in two years time I can get there. Bench is on the rise, but I saw some old dude throw up 315 like it was nothing and it felt like a drop kick to my ego. My days of 425 a bench are far behind me, but I’d like to get as close as I can. I bench twice a week, once with the 25 rep goal and then again on shoulder day with lighter weight and higher reps. Both are flat bench. Would incorporating incline bench help to increase power and strength? Sorry for the barrage of questions, but I finally had time to sit down and type it out. Look forward to hearing from you.


    • Matt,

      Glad to hear that things are progressing well. With the skull crushers, find something that works for you. See how you like a close grip bench. That has some good carryover to bench as well.

      I’m always a fan of some EZ Curl bar preacher curls.. either that or concentration curls. I’m glad to hear deadlifts are becoming your favorite, I’ve always liked deadlifts and squats and hated bench. I find a lot of people like to match dumbbell incline bench with their flat bench and it seems to help build a pretty good strength and muscle base.

      Glad to hear from you, keep up the work!


    • When I began this program back on November 7th, 2013, I was out of shape. I took too many years off at the gym to be worth a damn. Now, I have never been able to do a pull-up, so when I began this routine I knew I was in for a tough time. My first time doing them I had to use the assisted pull-up machine set at 105 lbs. I was able to get 23 of the 24 reps. I remained stuck on that for 3 weeks. This past week I was able to get 20 of 24 reps unassisted, relying on nothing but my own strength for the first time in my life. And I have also added 200 lbs to my dead lift in the same amount of time. Thanks again for your help.

    • Matt,

      I’m glad to hear things are progressing for you. It seems like you’re building up a pretty good strength base and I’m glad to hear that.

      Be sure to ask any questions you have.


  31. Cutty, I have developed an issue with my neck. It seems that I have a pinched nerve somewhere that is going to need some chiropractic care to cure. That’s not really in the cards for me. The only time I notice a negative effect on my lifting is during military press. My shoulder gets numb and tingling, all down my arm. It lasts about 15 seconds and goes away, but there is a definite loss of strength. What exercise do you recommend as a substitute so I can give my neck a chance to rest and reduce the inflammation, while at the same time, get the pump I am looking for in my shoulders.


    • Hit an inversion table, it might actually help you out. I know a lot of people that shift or pull something and it helps.. worth a shot at least.

      Try to see if a higher dumbbell incline works (like a 60 degree) it will help hit your delts with some help from pecs. It all depends on how high you can lift your arms before it’s pinched. Side lateral raises will hit delts as well and shouldn’t mess with your pinched nerve.

      Ask your doctor or a professional about inversion table and foam rolling. I am not extremely familiar with rehab and if it’s something with spine and pinched nerves it can make it worse. Just some suggestions that I may or may not have done to help but don’t do anything until you get a professional to say it’s ok.

      Good luck dude,


    • Cutty, How can I tell if I am over training? I am way more tired and sore than I have been in the past. Grant it, I am lifting heavier weight, but the last couple of workouts, I haven’t been able to lift what I did the week before. I’m not sure if I’m in my head, or if its time to pull back for a week. What do you think?


    • Take a week and do 50% work on main lifts, do a couple accessories you like to do and get out. Try to get some extra food in and get some more sleep. I forgot, have you added anything extra in before you started to get fatigued out?

      The nervous system determines your strength and if you’re beating it down and unable to recover fully you’re gonna lose strength, feel fatigued, could even get sick and catch a cold or something. I would take the rest of this week and next week and do 50-60% to stay moving.. Work on still pushing great reps, you should start to feel a difference next week this time.

      Check what you’ve added, you might have found your limit.. there’s a capacity limit and that’s really what I feel overtraining is. I’ll add an article about this soon to help give my views on overtraining.

      Let me know,


    • I have added at least one supplemental exercises to each lifting day and I cardio train 3 days a week minimum. Most of my fatigue is in my upper body, but lately, I have soreness in the lower body as well, not typical muscle soreness, im used to that. The joints in my knees and hips are on fire lately. I think some extra rest is a good idea, but I wont feel right doing nothing. I’m going to take your advice and cut back to half, just to keep the blood flowing. Looking forward to your article.


    • Might just be a hiccup, definitely sounds like you’re hitting that point where keep pushing the same stuff won’t help any. Let me know how you feel in a couple weeks, I bet you feel good afterwards.


  32. Sup cutty! The 4 day gym work out is comin along really well. 1 of the off days I’m still hitting bis and cardio. Lost. 6 lb, strength increasing every week. Question is : can I work in cleans somewhere? And doin front squats I used to rest barbell on shoulders, but I’ve been doing the “military press style”. Does it matter which way it’s done? Military press style I feel very off balance…, thanks for all the help bro!

    • You can alternate front squats and cleans in. Hold the bar for front squats however works best for you man.

      Glad that things are progressing!


  33. Cutty,
    Hey man I started doing this program and I have a couple questions for you. I actually started a couple weeks ago but I started off at a lighter weight as if to “almost start over again.” Is that going to allow me to get the same kind of gains or should I have started this program where I was already?

    Question number 2. On some of the days I feel like I’m not doing enough so I add in some exercises plus I alternate on the other non compound lifts. Or I do abs after. Is this a problem as I may fatigue myself faster? I know once the weight gets higher again for me I won’t need extra movements.

    • Starting a program light is fine it helps you recover from heavy lifting and is good, you aren’t going to “lose” anything. If you like the extras that you’ve added, run with them until you start missing lifts and feeling fatigued. Once you start getting to the point where things just seem so heavy, start cutting out the extras and see how it helps.


  34. Hey thanks man for the response I really appreciate it. Another thing that has been bothering me is when I seen this routine I loved the 5×5 setup, but I stopped doing a pretty high volume routine with a lot of sets. What is the differences from cutting down the set number from what I use to do, about 20 sets per my routine compared to what you have for us here? I want to build muscle and strength without neglecting anything. I guess maybe I feel this way because of the cut in sets?

    • Quality over quantity. These extremely high volume sets you see the IFBB pros do are because of the gear they are on. You don’t have to kill yourself, you won’t recover fully and it doesn’t make sense to do it.

      It takes time to build muscle and strength, but when one day you’re going to do an exercise and you’re going to tell yourself “whoa I can’t believe I did that.” Keep working hard.


  35. Cutty thanks man for the advice, I really appreciate it and it makes a lot more sense than what I’m use to getting.

  36. Cutty, Well, I went to the orthopedic for the problem I have been having with my shoulder. He says I have a pinched nerve in my neck and need some physical therapy to fix it. Great. He also said, no upper body lifts for 2-3 weeks. Not so great. I can’t go 3 weeks without lifting. I don’t feel like my “injury” impedes my work out. However, I do want to get better and I have noticed loss of strength because of the nerve issue. That being said, which exercises on this 4 day routine would you reccomend that I avoid? I’m scheduled to do work out C today.

    Part 2:
    I have gone off the deep end when it comes to eating. The last few nights I have gone carb crazy and have binged on dry cereal and chips (two of my favorites…mmmm chips). I am looking for a “healthy” late night snack that could satisfy my salty-crunch cravings. Also, tips on controlling the beast (binge attacks) could probably do us all a lot of good.

    • I’m about to go train, let me think of that on my way to and from the gym. I have binging problems that I’ve been working on and I have other people I can ask for advice on salty/crunchy healthy snack. I sometimes get hungry at night and want to smash some sweets so I’ll peel a couple oranges and eat those and be full afterwards which helps me.

      Give me a few hours and I’ll have something to help hopefully lol.


    • I would listen to the doctor and lay off upper body lifts for the 2-3 weeks. I can’t condone going against a doctor’s suggestion. If pressing is what makes it strike that nerve, then maybe isolation work could be ok.

      Once the nerve issue subsides you can go back to hammering upper body.

      I’ve had to treat my eating habits like I do my heavy volume work; you have to be mentally prepared. Know your goals and stick to them. As much as I hate doing volume work I just keep saying “5 reps” or whatever it is and I just stick with it and do it. You’re going to slip up but if you cut down binging as much as you can it will work. Know your triggers and try to eat more fiber and foods with less calories. You could binge on two pounds of vegetables and only get like 300 calories.

      For the snacks, I don’t really know what you could replace. I would suggest finding something that might be completely different from what you normally would try. Any type of vegetable would be great, I like granola but it can be a calorie packer as well as any type of nut. If you can control how much you eat of the snacks, nuts are great because it’ll give you the fats you may be missing.

      Come up with some ideas and see what kind of healthy low calorie snack you can make and let me know what you come up with!


    • Thanks for the reply, i’m still gonna do cleans though. It’s the “push” exercises that aggravates things. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks for your advice.

    • I feel better than I have in a long while. Great session today. I keep adding weight to my DL and keep hitting my reps. I’ll be sore as shit tomorrow, but the good kind. Doc put me on cortisone for inflammation and ses to be working. Still no luck on a healthy snack though. Damn chips are calling my name again.

    • You should try to maybe take some ziplock bags and make individual servings. That’s what I’ve had to do with some things so I can get my treat without going overboard. Glad to hear health is feeling good. Keep getting the deadlift stronger. You’d be surprised how great of a body you can build off heavy squats/bench/deads.


    • If you’ve been feeling good on the routine, add them in and see how it goes. Some people can add extra work in and some can’t so try it out!


  37. I have read all your workout plans and I am having a problem choosing the right one for weight loss. I am 5’11 and weight 275 pound. I want to lose about 75 pounds in a year or year 1/2 and I know my main focus is on my eating habits. I work with a moving company so i typically eating on the run. Since i want to eat healthy should I eat a big breakfast and have a protein shake for lunch and dinner with some kid of fruit and maybe some multi vitamins. I have lifted before but haven’t lifted in a year. Should I use my old max or should i find a max before I start one of your workoutst.

    • Check out my article on intermittent fasting. You could definitely get away with eating a huge breakfast and then having a protein shake for lunch and whatever else for dinner when you get home. Picking whole foods will give you more food for calories and you can actually still enjoy bacon and steak.

      All routines I create will help promote calorie burning and fat loss as well as building muscle. The body is made in the kitchen, so eating right and staying active is great. I would use your old 1 rep max as an idea but know it’s gone down. I would start at 60% of your old 1 rep max and start from there.

      Any more questions, let me know.


  38. Cutty, How’ve you been? I gotta tell you, I love this routine, but I have been having some issues lately. I have been following this program strictly since the beginning of November and have seen some very positive results. Over the past couple of weeks however, it seems as though I have been back-sliding. My numbers have been going down, mostly in my upper body lifts. I do not seem to be having any issues with my squats or deadlifts, but its getting to the point where I don’t even want to get in the car and head to the gym on Saturday (bench day). I was seeing nice gains in my bench, but it feels like the bottom dropped out. I’m toying with the idea of going back to a 10-8-6-4-2 routine on the bench in the hopes that something different will spark some growth. I know I’m not as young as I used to be (i’m 35) and I shouldn’t expect to gain and recover as quickly as I did 15 years ago, however, 35 is not old and I should be getting stronger than I am. What do you think?

    • I think a good de-load week with a little bit of extra food would do you a lot of justice. When I used to have great progress with linear progression and all of a sudden I’ll start missing lifts and it feels as if the weight has doubled. Taking a week off and doing 50% weight on your lifts and basically getting in and out of the gym or even take off a week and enjoy some time off, you will come back fresh and ready to go.

      I usually start having sore joints, extra fatigue, and I can tell when I’m starting be unable to recover quick enough because my grip is weaker for lifts.

      Before switching off since you’ve been seeing such great results, try the deload and get an extra cheat meal or two in, and get some extra hours of sleep. You’d be surprised how extra stress in the workplace or life can affect your lifts as well.

      Keep smashing weight,


    • Sounds like a good plan. Ill check back in a week or so and let you know what’s what. Today I am going to do some light leg work, minimal cardio and soak in the hot tub for about 30 minutes.



  39. Well, I got back at it yesterday after a full week off, just eating and relaxing. I felt pretty good after yesterday. I’m still sore and tired, but the good kind. I think my body had had enough and needed a break. I’m still apprehensive about hitting the bench this weekend, but I read your article on how to build a bigger bench and I am convinced that I have been doing some things wrong, and that I have been doing them wrong for a while. My plan is to start over. I am going to drop the weight down and focus on form and technique. I am going to make sure that I do everything the same (and correctly) on every rep. I’m not going to focus on the weight. Too often I get wrapped up in what the guys around me are doing and that puts me in the wrong frame of mind. I need to remember that my session is about me and making myself stronger, not the other guy. If you have any suggestions, I am always open to them.



    • I’m glad you feel refreshed after some time off. The tips work and I think if you drop the weight and work on form for a while it will help. Try to do a 1 second pause on your chest staying tight then pressing.. I’ve been using it lately and I feel it’s helping.

      People around me always try to one up me which when I’m doing 60% work I look like a punk but I just ignore it.. It still bothers me but I know my body can’t perform at 100% max weight all of the time so I just save it. Just see what helps you stay focused on your sessions, I try to ignore everyone if I can.


  40. Cutty, What are your thoughts on vita-paks such as GNC’s Ripped Vita Pak? im looking for a little push in the the fat loss department .

    • They are okay but for the money I’d rather see someone buy more fresh foods and eat that. Instead of going out and eating a number 5 at burger king, make a big baked potato, a couple chicken breasts and some other veggie you like and you’ll have half the calories and a lot more filling. Little stuff like that help.


    • I couldn’t agree more. I do all of the cooking in the house. We stay away from processed foods and value meals. I even grow all of my own vegetables in the spring and summer. Lowfat, high protein, something green at every meal. I think the kids are getting sick of chicken breasts and pork roast, but grilling season is upon us. I was just looking a multivitamin pak that would supplement my diet with optimum results.

    • Multivitamins don’t hurt to have, if you can afford them go for it. Some people try to take vitamins hoping it will offset the taco bell they eat every day and it doesn’t work like that (trust me I’ve tried haha).

      I would love to have a garden of my own, I’m jealous.


  41. Hey…I am a researcher….my daily routine is like sitting for probably 8-10 hours with slow walks here and there….I am 5′ 10″ and have 85 Kgs weight….I am skipping one meal to reduce the weight but it isnt really working….I want to start the workout however, dont know where to start…I would love to lose about 10 Kgs at least and want to tone up my body by having some nice cuts not like muscle building but a nice slim cuts. Please recommend me some routine and daily routine should be for 1 hour maximum. Please suggest.

    • Any workout will help bud, cut down on some carbs and fat, try to get a bit more exercise in during the day (think: move around) and follow a short routine in the gym. It can be hard to find time during the day to help get you in shape but you need to make the time and it would help. If you do 10 minutes a day 6 times through the day you have exercised an hour if that helps put it in perspective.

      Any other questions, let me know.


  42. Cutty, i Noticed that my shoulder strength is lacking in comparison to the rest of my body, you can also visibly notice it i have been doing your program for a month now already seeing amazing progress in my overall strength the routine is perfect for my work schedule. I was wondering if there is something i should do to help my shoulders “catch up” you could say or if i should just stick to the program and it will all work out,

    Thanks for the tips,


    • Schall,

      Glad to hear things are progressing well! Change the military press from 5×5 to 4 sets of 12. Also on shoulder day add in another shoulder press machine at the end of your workout and do 2 burnout sets with medium weight.

      Try that for at least a month and see how things pan out. Let me know how it goes!


  43. Hi Cutty, after doing this program and seeing great results i have flatlined, just like Matt up there. I’ve tried the de load and it didn’t seem to help for very long, I was thinking of switching to your 4 day intermediate strength program…. Or am I passed that already?

    • A minimalist program would be something like a 3 day workout, 3 sets of 3 on the power lift and a couple of assistance exercises built specifically for you.

      Monday – Squat 3×3, Stiff leg DL 4×8, Hack Squat 4×8
      Wed – Bench 3×3, Close Grip Bench 4×8, Incline DB 4×8
      Fri – Deadlift 3×3, 1 Arm DB Row 4×8, Lat Pull Downs 4×8

      Very minimal, in and out quick, heavy weights, etc.


    • Thx cutty, so u think that would stimulate some growth? I’m used to going 5-6 times a week cause I love it, it may make me crazy but it could be I over trained…. I like to look in half decent shape, but my strength endurance is most important for work.

    • I know more elite athletes that train 3-4 days a week than I do that train 5-6 times a week. Without PEDs you can’t recover enough and you hit walls.

      Strength training builds muscle and helps you lift heavy ass weight. It’s a good change of pace and I think even running 8-12 weeks will help a lot.

      With strength training you can go up to 90 seconds or so, it’s more important to “be ready” for the next set, but walking around texting or talking to someone isn’t going to help you get anywhere.


    • Thanks a lot dude, I’ll give it a try for a bit… I may add some shoulders in there tho, it’s my second favorite! I think I can speak for us all when I say we really appreciate all ur advise, and aside from the personal satisfaction of helping like minded people, I hope ur gettin compensated…. Lol thanks for everything dude

    • Thanks for the kind words. Every routine I write is either being run by someone or one that I have or would run. Adding in some extra shoulder work would be okay but don’t go overboard with it.

      The arms and abs get hit with all of the big compound lifts, adding in a couple sets of isolation would be okay but most people are having great results without adding in a lot of extra isolation work.


  44. Just tried the 4 day power workout, I feel great dude. I think u were right, I was over training. Took the last 4 days off. Ate n slept. The last workout calls for 2 days on, 2 days off, 2 days on 1 day off. And I wasn’t following it correctly sometimes doing 4 days in a row, adding excercises, ect. This time on “off days ” ill do cardio (target HR or HIIT) and abs. Thx for everything dude, ur advise has gotten me great gains in strength as well as decrease in BMI.

    • Glad to hear man.

      You’d be surprised how less is more. A lot of this “workout every day” and super high volume stuff is spread around but in all honesty it’s meant for people on PEDs, not naturals.


    • Well Cutty, it’s been a while. I have been sidelined by a neck injury. I talked to my PT yesterday to see when I can get back in the gym. She said I can lift, but my days of picking up and putting down heavy ass weight are pretty much over. No Bench, No Military, minimal squat and deadlift. I have no Idea what to do in the gym now. Any recommendations on how to adjust my workout so I can still build muscle without aggravating my injury (Compressed nerves and degenerating discs). I have been out of the gym over a month and looking in the mirror is starting to piss me off. I asked her to help me compose a work out routine, but she didn’t get it. When she mentioned the Smith Machine, I stopped listening. I will gladly take any advice you may have.


    • I’m sorry to hear injuries are getting the best of you and your training. I have a machine only workout that you could try and see how it works out. If you like it or want me to make something else I can see what I can come up with.

      Get better man.


    • I’d rather do 50-60% with free weights and DB than use the machines. I’ll just have to take it easy for the next 6 months. I am going to take the 4 day work out and decrease the weight, increase the reps and keep things minimal. In and out, plenty of rest. I may not be able to compete with the big boys any more, but at least I’ll still be there.

    • also, she recommended that i focus on upper back strength, but I need to avoid shrugs. What lifts do you suggest?

    • Good deal I didn’t know how limited you are.

      I would do face pulls every day, it really hits your upper back and traps.


  45. Hey cutty I’ve been isolating for like 2 months now and it’s getting old and boring
    I’m looking to get strong as shit and build muscle at the same time do you think this workout will be right for me
    I was thinking on like 2 of the off day I would do some kinesthetic workouts and some tire flips
    I’m training for this spartan race in August I’m trying to just overdue it and really get a great workout in I feel like this routine isn’t enough alone for me what do you recommend

    • Jason,

      This workout would be perfect, do all of calisthenics you would like on off days, make sure to get plenty of sleep and food and you’ll be good to go.

      Let me know if you have any other questions,


    • I’ve had about 30 people run this program and there’s never been anyone who’s arms didn’t get bigger. Your compound lifts build your arms but if you must add in extra work, do it on off days.


    • Tomorrow I was going to do tire flips and calethestics
      Will this be too much?
      Also it says skull crushers and tricep extensions on workoutB isn’t that the same workout twice???

    • Jason,

      Just listen to your body, you might need to adjust workloads to suit you, but I would not change anything until you find yourself too worn out.

      I call tricep extensions the exercise used with a rope on the cable machine or another attachment.


  46. Can I alternate my hand position on the power shrug as if I’m doing a deadlift?? Or does that defeat the purpose
    Also I love powerlifting now thanks to you I’m sticking with this for a while.
    Also killer workout routine I’m all about powerlifting bow thanks to you I’ve already increased my dead lift by 100lbs

    • Thanks man, means a lot to me. I got bit by the powerlifting bug a while ago and have been running it since.

      Keep me updated on progress!


  47. Hello once again Cutty. I have been using this routine since early november. I have tweaked it to compensate for some minor injuries I had, but my doctor says I’m good to go. However, I want to change things up a bit. Where would you recommend I go from here?


    • Yes, yes I do. Is it similar to the rep goal workouts in that I should add 5 lbs every week? Are the walking lunges weighted. Also is it 20 reps each leg, or 10 each (20 total)?

    • Yessir, same everything just different exercises.

      The walking lunges can be weighted with a barbell on your back like a squat, held up on your chest like a goblet squat, or a dumbbell in each hand and you will want 10 each leg.

      Let me know what you think,


    • I am looking forward to it. I am going to finish the week on my current program and start this one on Monday. Although, I might switch my chest day. I dont want to battle for a bench.


    • I prefer doing chest on Wed or Friday, switch the days around to best fit your gym. I’m about to quit my gym and try to find a new one or save up to get some equipment for myself I guess.

      Good luck and keep me updated.


    • My honest opinion is they are not worth the money.

      I’m not sure your age but if the 75 has anything to do with your birthday, you aren’t at that point where you would even benefit from a t-booster.

      Spend that extra money you would on the t-boosters on some healthy foods and a better bed instead.

      I’ve a wasted so much money trying different supplements out and t-boosters really don’t do much of maybe a 1% increase in test and probably make you horny(er).


    • Thanks. I’m 35, and I thonk along the sme line as you do. But, you read the magazines and see the commercials, and it gets you thinking, “man that guy is ripped. T boosters huh? Thanks Muscle and Firtness. I’ll go buy some.” Any way, thanks for the advice. Hope you find a new gym with les D-bags in it.

      Rack your damn weights,


    • Cutty, I have been making BIG gains in my dead lift. I pulled 485 for 3 reps yesterday. I want to try for a max pull, but I want to do it right. In your opinion, how should I prepare? Should I keep my current path, or reload for a week and then head in balls-to-the-wall 2weeks for now? I feel strong, but I don’t want to risk injury. Your advice is much appreciated.


    • Finish this week normal, next week do 60% of what you’re doing now for a couple sets of triples on your last sets and then you can either take a week off after that like you would prepare for a meet, or if you just want to test your deadlift I would say skip up until like Friday or whenever you regularly do your deadlift, do it towards the end of the week.

      Eat up and get some extra sleep and get some vids.


  48. I just started this workout chart,want to know what should I do in off days .I planned to do 1000skipping,100 push-ups,50 pull-ups is it ok or should I change something

    • When you use the rep-goal system 5 sets with a rep goal of 25 reps means you are trying to get a total of 25 reps in 5 sets. The trick with the rep goal is you don’t limit yourself on a set, so if you can squeak out 8 or 9 reps in that first set, great. You are basically going until almost failure and keeping a tally of your reps.

      The reason this works is because you can watch your progress in terms of reps instead of being stuck at a weight of 5 sets of 5 reps.

      If you have any more questions, ask away.


    • Yeah, clean up your diet some and get in some extra activity outside of the gym and you’ll lose weight fast.

      Let me know if you have any other questions,


    • Tyrell, I started this program over a year and a half ago. I cut tremendous amounts of fat by using this and incorporating a healthier diet. The key to weight loss is building muscle and burning more calories than you comsume. Consider the My Fitness Pal companion app to help you track your calories. It works if you work it.


  49. Good day I am sso glad I found your webpage, I really found you by accident, whiile I was researching on Digg for something else,
    Anyways I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a fantastic post and a
    all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back
    to read more, Please do keep up the great job.

    • Matt,

      You can do that easy man, just tighten up on the diet and work on getting some more conditioning in. You can see how your body is responding in a couple of weeks and then you have 5 months to keep adjusting. You have plenty of time if you start now.

      Good luck and let me know how it’s going,


  50. Hey Cutty,

    I’m just starting out at the gym and am cooking more meals at home. I’m 5’8″, 205 lbs. I’d like to get back to 175 with lean muscle. Any suggestions?



    • If you start cooking most of your meals at home and controlling portions you will drop a bit of weight initially and then slowly reach your goal with enough consistency. Cut out soda and other sugary drinks initially and then start “eating to fuel your body” instead of eating everything you like. I try to have people stick to an 80/20 rule so 20% of your calories can come from whatever you want as long as the 80% is from nutritious quality food.

      Slow changes in diet will make great changes in your waistline and then training in the gym will help build muscle and further along your progress. It’s almost impossible to out train a crappy diet so consistently do whatever you can and strive for better.

      If you have any more questions feel free to ask!


  51. 2 weeks into this workout and I really enjoy it. One question, and I’m sure you get it all the time. Biceps. Will it hurt my recovery if I throw a 3×12 spider curl in at the end of back day? Just for a little extra help. My biceps grow very very slowly.

    • If you feel alright, it won’t hurt to add in some extra bicep work. 3×12 would be fine, just don’t go crazy and add like 4 more bicep exercises πŸ™‚


    • Generally I recommend trying to increase the weight each week. If you increase and then start to fail on the last reps of each set, keep the weight and then train until you can complete all reps of all sets.

      The goal is to progress somehow whether that’s increasing weight or increasing the amount of reps that you are able to do.


  52. Is it ok to add more accessory movements? Bicep curls, calves, crunches, etc.. Or will it defeat the purpose of the program? Thanks.

  53. Hi This looks really great will give it shot. Just a few questions?

    1) After doing Deadlifts, wouldnt it be harder to do bentover rows? I feel like my back would be too fatigued for them.

    2) Can I switch the leg press for a hamstring exercise?

    • Hi Sarmed,

      I’ve never had issues with doing bent over rows after deads, try them both ways and see how you feel. If you feel fatigued either way, you can replace with some 1 arm dumbbell rows or use the machine that simulates bent over rows but gives you a pad to lay on. That’ll keep you from fatiguing your lower back.

      Leg press is already in the routine. If you don’t want to do front squats I would recommend using the hack squat machine, goblet squats, or lunges. Leg extensions are alright but they put a lot of stress on your knees.

  54. First off, love the site. I am 48, but new to weight lifting. This has been by far the best site I’ve found for what I feel like is realistic information. So many sites seem to be centered around guys who are much more advanced than I am. I’m lifting to lose fat and regain some of the strength that I’ve lost as I’ve gotten older. I’m 6’1″ and 230 pounds with 29% body fat. I really don’t care how much I weigh, but I definitely need to get leaner. I’m hoping lifting does the trick. I tried running a few years ago. Lost a lot of weight, finished a marathon, looked like I was sick. I don’t need to be skinny; I need to be leaner.

    I’ve been doing this plan for about a month and have gained 8 pounds. I think its working because my pants still fit the same, so I’m assuming the weight gain is muscle. I haven’t changed my eating because I have been focusing on learning how to lift. Now the plan is to adding in an 80/20 eating plan. I really enjoy lifting. I don’t even mind doing 20 minutes of intense cardio after my workout.

    Sorry for all the personal info. I just wanted to let you know that there are people out there who are having success using your site and appreciate it. Now a couple questions.

    When do you take creatine? I just started using 5g a day, but am wondering if there is a best time. Some things I’ve read say right before a workout, others right after, and some say both.

    Are there alternatives to standing bent over laterals? Instead of doing them every workout it would be nice to have another rear delt exercise to mix it up.

    Again, thanks so much for putting together such a great site.

    • Darin,

      Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad I’ve been able to connect with you in that sense. I’ve known a few people that “cardio’d” their weight away and they look pretty sickly afterwards due to all muscle loss. Weight gain is okay – it means you’re building some muscle and recomping your body. Cardio and conditioning is good – I look at it as heart conditioning more than a way to lose weight.. because running on a treadmill for 20 minutes and only burning a couple hundred calories just doesn’t seem the most efficient way to burn calories :).

      80/20 is a great way to go – you aren’t limiting yourself so much that you have super cravings and you are giving yourself some room to not start becoming orthorexic or develop bad ocd tenancies with your eating. I personally would take creatine as soon as I would wake up – granted I went to the gym shortly after, but I don’t feel that timing is necessarily that important. If it is, it’s only by a marginal % which you shouldn’t worry about. I would recommend coming up with a routine and sticking to it. If that means waking up every morning and taking your supplements and downing the creatine then, or before bed, or after your workout, whatever works… just be consistent.

      In regards to the bent over laterals, higher volume face pulls and reverse pec dec would be two other good options. I’ve noticed an improvement with my shoulders now that I work my rear delts. I had a bad imbalance in my front delts from all of the pressing and front deltoid movements that my shoulders were not healthy – it is a common thing that many people don’t care too much about. Face pulls and the bent over laterals are great for your traps as well.. it’s one of my favorite movements really.

      Thanks again for all of the kind words, I’m glad to hear you’re back at it and I’ve been able to help. If you have any more questions feel free to throw them up!


  55. Bringing this back from the dead, LOL…

    I found your workout while searching for some things I could do in a home gym. I’ve been lifting on and off for 40 years, so I know tons of exercises, but I’m also smart enough not to re-invent the wheel.

    My question… I HATE front squats. I can’t seem to be able to hold the bar and it not hurt me in some way. I read to do hacks or V’s or even extensions, but you mention a hack squat machine. How about the old style, old school barbell hack squats? I used to love them, or maybe even DB box squats. Which would you suggest? I want to do BB hacks, but this is your workout, so I’m asking you for your opinion.

    The rest of it I have down except for the pullups, which I don’t have the strength to weight ratio to do right now (plus a REALLY bad left shoulder), but will sub in lat pulldowns for for the time being.

    Ideas? suggestions?

    • Paul,

      Hacks or heavy goblet squats would work out pretty well. Everything else sounds great man, let me know how it goes if you decide to try it.

  56. Starting my second week… added curls in on day three. Just 3 sets of 8… will alternate EZ bar and seated alternating. Just wanted a little more arm work than the back work was providing.

    Also, I’m going to slack off on the bent overs. Probably two days a week instead of four.

    I really love the base workout that you provided!

    • There is plenty of bicep work from the pulling and compound exercises for your arms to grow. If you feel that you need to do endless sets of curls, feel free πŸ™‚

  57. Would it be okay to do these workouts Monday thru Friday? And just do cardio/hiking on my 3 days off? I only have access to my gym Monday thru Thursday

    • Yes, I just gave an example of when you could ideally do it. Making it fit around your schedule is something that will help you stay consistent and make some huge gains.

  58. Let’s say someone had an odd obsession with the Power Clean, but otherwise thought this plan was totally on target for them. Would you include it on deadlift day as a substitute for bent over rowing? Somewhere else? It’s not necessarily a core goal, but I find explosive a good complement to strong.

    • Power cleans are great for explosiveness and overall athletic ability. You could replace bent over rows, you could replace deadlifts and then add in lighter/more volume deadlifts so your nervous system would not get too punished.

      Let me know what you try out and what works. I’d like to start incorporating more Olympic moves into workouts.

  59. How long do you recommend sticking with this cycle? Currently getting back to it with a basic beginner regimen for a month and other follow on workouts are suggested for 8 – 12 weeks. Where do you go from here? To a cardio heavy routine? The same kind of four day split just in a different order on different days?

    • If you are making progress on a workout, there’s no reason to change. There’s some notion that you have to jump around and do new things to make progress in the gym.

      Progressively overloading and following a consistent workout is what allows you to track progress, find what works and what doesn’t, and gives you a solid foundation to then build up other weak points.

      “If it ain’t broke, don’t fit it”

  60. hey cutty barely starting with the workout routine my question is can the res days be moved i was looking to workout more of a monday to thursday deal and friday at times and second question can my wife see results with the same routines for course lighter weight thanks

    • You can move the days to fit your schedule, I just merely wanted to give you a general idea.

      The workouts can be done by anyone and they will see great progress with consistency and progressively overloading.

  61. Hi. Is it recommended to do these excercises in the order you listed them or can we shuffle them up? Sometimes certain machines and/or weights are being used and I don’t like to wait.

    • You can do any exercise in any order, although I would invite you to do your big compound lifts first. That way you have a fresh body and the accessory exercises are more or less training a muscle that’s pre-exhausted. This helps promote growth. Doing the smaller exercises before you do the big compound lifts are okay, but you will be more prone to injury due to pre-exhausted muscles.

      Hope this helps!


  62. Yes, thank you! I just started this program and prefer to do the heavier lifts first, like you have them listed. They can be draining but, sometimes, on those crowded evenings, it’s just not an option.

    • Right, modify your workout when needed, but I generally do the heavy lifts first. Let me know how you progress!

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