Hypertrophy-Specific Training

This is a workout that I designed after years of studying hypertrophy-specific research. I now use myself (added additional 10-20 pounds), and have used successfully to train competitive bodybuilders for some time. It is NOT designed for competitive track athletes, Powerlifters or Olympic lifters. It is designed according to research looking specifically at muscle hypertrophy, not muscle performance. This kind of training is fine to put on size during the off-season, but do not use this routine if you are a performance athlete during the competitive season.

This subject deserves a lot more attention than I am able to give it here. I will cover the topic more thoroughly in the future, including references. In the meantime, if you want to grow as fast as possible, this type of high-frequency, high-intensity, low-volume training is most effective. If you are interested in this topic you may find a previous 3 part article interesting as well.

Sample Workout.

Each body part should be trained using the following exercises:

Body PartExercise(s)
LegsSquat or Leg Press & Leg Curls (Leg Ext. optional)
ChestBench (slight incline) & Dip (use dumbbells if shoulders bother you)
BackChins (W&N grip) & Seated or Bent Over Row (W&N grip)
ShouldersLateral Raise (Rear) and shoulder press
BicepsAny Aone@ curling movement per session (switch it frequently)
TricepsTriceps Push-down or Lying Tri Ext.
TorsoCrunch (w/weight) or machine


Workout should be performed 3 times per week.

Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday are rest days. Light cardio (20-40 min.) may be performed on rest days. Incline treadmill (brisk walk) should be first choice.

There is an obligatory increase in weight (from 5-20 lbs.) each workout. This means that at times you may be working with less than your maximum weight for any given rep scheme. This is by design. You will reach max poundages for a given rep range on the last workout of each two week block.

Repetitions will decrease every 2 weeks in the following order: 15 for 2 weeks Þ 10 for 2 weeks Þ 5 for 2 weeks Þ 5s/negatives for two weeks. 15’s can be skipped when you are about to start over after the first 8 week cycle. If you are feeling strain-type injuries coming on don’t skip the 15s.

Sets will be limited to 1-2 per exercise. There is no problem with a single set per body part as long as it is a maximum effort and/or the rep tempo and form is strictly controlled or the weight is extremely heavy preventing further sets.

Complete each workout using designated poundages even if muscles are sore from previous workout. It is important to know the difference between an injury and ordinary muscle soreness.

Following each 6-8 week cycle, a one-week break should be taken during which no, or very little, training should be performed. This time is used to recuperate and allow any minor over-use injuries to heal. Try to get plenty of sleep as well as participate in leisure activities outside of the gym.

The whole workout can be split into a morning and afternoon session. It can likewise be doubled, performing the same workout morning and evening. Keeping volume (number of sets and exercises) low is critical if doubling the workout.

Sample Two-Week Block using 10 reps.

10 Rep Maxs’ for all exercises were established previously and are as follows:

Squat = 10×235 lbs

Leg Curl = 10×70 lbs

Bench = 10×185 lbs

Chins = 10xBW+10 lbs

Dips = 10xBW+20 lbs

Rows = 10×150 lbs

Delts (Rear) = 10×30 lbs

Shrugs = 10×185 lbs

Bis = 10×45 lbs

Tris = 10×50 lbs

Squat = 2x10x135lbs
Leg Curl = 2x10x45 lbs
Bench = 2x10x165 lbs
Chins = 2x10xBW
Delts (Rear) = 2x10x5 lbs
Shrugs = 2x10x135 lbs
Bis = 2x10x20 lbs
Tris = 2x10x25 lbs
Rest Squat = 2x10x155 lbs
Leg Curl = 2x10x50 lbs
Dips = 2x10xBW
Rows = 2x10x130 lbs
Delts (Rear)2x10x10 lbs
Shrugs = 2x10x145 lbs
Bis = 2x10x25 lbs
Tris = 2x10x30 lbs
Rest Squat = 2x10x175 lbs
Leg Curl = 2x10x55 lbs
Bench = 2x10x175 lbs
Chins = 2x10xBW+5 lbs
Delts (Rear)2x10x15 lbs
Shrugs = 2x10x155 lbs
Bis = 2x10x30 lbs
Tris = 2x10x35 lbs
Squat = 2x10x195 lbs
Leg Curl = 2x10x60 lbs
Dips =2x10xBW+10 lbs
Rows = 2x10x140 lbs
(Rear)2x10x20 lbs
Shrugs = 2x10x165 lbs
Bis = 2x10x35 lbs
Tris = 2x10x40 lbs
Rest Squat = 2x10x215 lbs
Leg Curl = 2x10x65 lbs
Bench = 2x10x185 lbs
Chins 2x10xBW+10 lbs
Delts (Rear)2x10x25 lbs
Shrugs = 2x10x175 lbs
Bis = 2x10x40 lbs
Tris = 2x10x 45 lbs
Rest Squat = 2x10x235 lbs
Leg Curl = 2x10x70 lbs
Dips =2x10xBW+20 lbs
Rows = 2x10x150 lbs
Delts (Rear)2x10x30 lbs
Shrugs = 2x10x185 lbs
Bis = 2x10x45 lbs
Tris = 2x10x50 lbs

Workouts should be done in similar fashion for each rep scheme using the appropriate poundages determined by your *RM.

Use the training log form included to keep track of your performance. Make multiple copies for future cycles.


Muscle Groups:

Adjustments: 10RM routineAdjustments: 6RM routineAdjustments: 3RM routine
RepsSets 3&4RepsSet 3&4RepsSet 3&4
decr 5-10lb.
decr 0-5lb.
leave same
incr 5-10lb.
incr 10-15lb.
decr 5-10lb.
decr 0-5lb.
leave same
incr 5-10lb.
incr 10-15lb.
decr 5-10lb.
leave same
incr 5-10lb.
incr 10-20lb.