Over the years, I’ve spent hundreds of hours reading about different training protocols. Some have fancy rep schemes, exercise selection, crazy amounts of different exercises – but few give a simple a simple progression strategy. And we need to make progress in order to grow. I class progression as any of the following –

* Do same work in less time

* Do heavier work

* Do more work in same time

* A combination of all three

I have designed a program that lets us do exactly that – progress. You will choose 4 upper body and 2 lower body exercises, do 20 reps in total of some, 40 reps in total of others – add weight if too light and train each exercise frequently over a 6-week period.

So, if you are looking to pack on a lot of size in a short space of time and want a simple (remember simple, not easy) program to get you there, then give this here a try…

6-Week Strength & Size Program

Day 1 – Upper body

Day 2 – Lower body

Day 3 – Rest

Day 4 – Upper body

Day 5 – Lower body

Day 6 – Active recovery

Day 7 – Rest

Upper body pressing exercises (20 reps)

* Bench press

* Flat dumbbell press

* Push press

Upper body pressing exercises (40 reps)

* Incline barbell/dumbbell press

* Decline barbell/dumbbell press

* Dips

* Press-ups

* Military press

* Dumbbell shoulder press (seated)

Upper body pulling exercises (20 reps)

* Barbell rows

* Weighted chin-ups

Upper body pulling exercises (40 reps)

* Pulldowns

* Pull-ups

* Machine/cable rows

* Dumbbell rows

Lower body exercises (20 reps)

* Squats

* Deadlifts

Lower body exercises (40 reps)

* Squats

* Deadlifts

* Romanian deadlifts

* Sumo deadlifts

* Heavy kettlebell swings

* Leg press

* Hack squats

* Barbell/dumbbell lunges

Example Workout

If choosing a horizontal pressing movement as the main exercise for upper body pressing, make the secondary (40 reps) exercise a vertical pressing exercise or vice versa. For example, if bench press is main (20 reps) pressing exercise, then choose military press or dumbbell shoulder press as secondary exercise. Similarly for pulling exercises, you are looking to have one horizontal pulling movement (some sort of row) and a vertical pulling movement – pull-ups or pulldowns – one as primary (20 reps) exercise and the other as secondary (40 reps) exercise.

With lower body exercises, you are looking to have one squat/press movement and one hinge (deadlift) movement. So if choosing squat as primary exercise, a possible choice for secondary movement would be Romanian deadlift.

Day 1

* Bench press – 20 reps @ 4 Rep Maximum (30 seconds between sets)

* Dumbbell shoulder press – 40 reps @ 8 Rep Maximum (45 seconds between sets)

* Barbell rows – 20 reps @ 4RM (30 seconds between sets)

* Pulldowns – 40 reps @ 8RM (45 seconds between sets)

Day 2

* Squats – 20 reps @ 4RM (30 seconds between sets)

* Romanian deadlifts – 40 reps @ 8RM (45 seconds between sets)

Day 3

* Rest

Day 4

* Same as Day 1

Day 5

* Same as Day 2


The progression model is simple – use as many sets as it takes to reach desired rep total for particular exercise, but if you achieve more reps than prescribed for first set, then increase weight next workout. For example, if in the previous workout you managed to barbell row 80kg for 4 reps but this workout managed 5 reps, increase weight for barbell row by at least 2.5kg at next workout.

Each set is taken to mechanical failure, so if you notice that your form is starting to break down or if you feel you will not make the next rep, then this is a sign that it is time to end that particular set and rest. It may be that you are down to just sets of 1 rep at the end – not a problem as long as you hit the 4RM or 8RM for the first set.

Additional exercises

Feel free to add any of the below exercises for 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps at the end of your workouts or on recovery days, but note these exercises are by no mean essential to the effectiveness of the program.

* Face pulls

* Cable pull-throughs

* Hyperextensions

* Bicep curls

* Tricep extensions

* Ab roll-outs

* Hanging leg raises

Day 6 – Active Recovery

This is the day of the week where you can do whatever physical activity you fancy. Play your favourite sport, go hillwalking, go a bike ride – whatever you want. Just enjoy yourself and take a break from the rigours of training and enjoy the body you are working hard to create and maintain.

Do this workout for 6 weeks. Train each exercise 12 times. Increase your strength and work capacity, and enjoy your size and strength increases!

(And don’t forget to let me know your experiences with the program!)



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