Lean Mass: 6 Week Workout Program to Build Lean Muscle

Workout Program to Build Lean Muscle
The most common goal in the gym is to build lean muscle. Give this 6 week workout program to build lean muscle a try and absolutely crush that goal!

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Intermediate
6 weeks
4
30-45 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female
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Workout Description

When it comes to fitness goals, building lean muscle is among the most popular (seriously, 84% of our readers said so in our fitness survey).

And honestly, it should come as no surprise.

As a society, we glorify those who are lean, shredded, and have solid physiques with plenty of muscle mass.

So much so that a lot of us aspire to build lean muscle ourselves.

Well, today you’re in luck. Below is a 6 week workout program that will help you build lean muscle.

Check it out, read its description, and let us know if you have any questions in the comments section below!

The Workout Program to Build Lean Muscle

The following workout is a 4 day split you can follow for the next 6 weeks to build lean muscle. It is written to focus on increasing hypertrophy by performing 2-4 exercises for each muscle group during that muscle’s training day, for 3-5 sets, and 6-12 reps (although we’ll keep everything 8+ here).

The rep tempo should be slow as time under tension plays a huge role in the amount of muscle damage that occurs during each exercise, a factor that is critical to building lean muscle. Aim for a 2/0/2 tempo and really try to focus on the muscle you’re targeting during each lift.

Lastly, rest periods between exercises and sets should be kept fairly short. You’ll want to keep it between 30-60 seconds of rest after each set, with 45 seconds being the sweet spot.

Day 1: Legs
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Squat 4 10
2. Machine Hack Squat 3 12
3. Stiff Legged Deadlift 4 10
4. Leg Curl 3 12
5. Dumbbell Lunge 3 8
6. Leg Press Calf Raises 3 12
7. Seated Calf Raises 3 12
Day 2: Chest & Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Bench Press 4 10
2. Incline Bench Press 3 12
3. Cable Crossover 3 12
4. Hammer Strength Chest Press 3 8
5. Barbell Bicep Curl 4 10
6. Rope Cable Hammer Curl 3 12
7. Preacher Curl 3 10
Day 3: Back
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Deadlift 4 10
2. Barbell Row 3 12
3. Lat Pulldown 5 8
4. Cable Row 3 12
5. Pull up 3 10
6. Hyperextension 3 12
Day 4: Shoulders & Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Seated Military Press 4 10
2. Lateral Raise 3 12
3. Front Raise 3 12
4. Reverse Pec Deck 3 12
5. Barbell Shrugs 4 12
6. Dips 4 10
7. Seated French Press 3 12

The Workout Program to Build Lean Mass FAQs

Below are a couple of the more frequently asked questions when it comes to building lean muscle.

If your question is not listed below, please don’t hesitate to ask us in the comments section following the article.

Q. Can I add exercises to this workout program to build more lean muscle?

You certainly can, but it is not necessary. Each muscle group is targeted with a fair amount of volume within this program.

Adding more exercises to the program probably won’t increase the amount of success you have with it. Building muscle takes time. After 6 weeks of this program, you’ll likely notice a fair amount of muscle growth, but fitness goals should be long term, not short sighted.

Q. What should I do after I finish the 6 week workout program?

After you have finished this 6 week workout program to build lean muscle, I’d recommend taking a week to deload.

Enjoy a little time away from the gym; I promise 1 week won’t be enough to lose all the gains you’ve made. During that time reassess your goals and celebrate the amount of lean muscle you’ve put on in the past 6 weeks.

If you want to continue on with the program after your deload week, you’re more than welcome to. Or your goals might change. In that case, check out our workouts database for a new routine.

Q. How should I eat during this workout program to build lean mass?

This will depend on your starting point. I always recommend people get to a healthy weight range for their body type. If you’re overweight and a beginner to hypertrophy based training, you might benefit from starting off in a calorie deficit.

If you’re underweight, or an otherwise intermediate-advance lifter, you’ll likely need to be in a calorie surplus to add on lean muscle mass.

After you’ve determined which is best for you, find your calorie needs using our bmr calculator.

Then, subtract or add ~250-500 calories from that number to put yourself in a deficit or surplus. Make that your new daily calorie goal and try to get there by eating your calories through whole food, nutrient-rich food sources.

Workout Program to Build Lean Muscle Supplements

Q. What kind of supplements should I take with this workout program to build lean mass?

Supplementation is going to be highly individualized.

If you struggle to meet your daily protein needs, a solid protein supplement will be extremely beneficial to you.

If you struggle to meet your daily calorie needs all together, then a mass gaining supplement could be beneficial to you to help you accomplish your goals.

One supplement that is cheap, effective, and backed by a lot of scientific research is creatine monohydrate.

Q. Can I do some extra workouts on my rest days?

Again, you can, but I wouldn’t recommend anything to strenuous. Recovery is crucial to the muscle building process.

If you’re going to do anything, do something light that you enjoy doing. I highly recommend recovery walks as a form of active recovery. You could also hit the foam roller and work on the mobility that is often lost during muscle building programs.

Q. Where are the abs?

Your abs are hit indirectly quite frequently with this program during all of the compound movements.

Since they are worked indirectly almost every training session, I don’t feel the need to target them with isolation work. If you find it would be beneficial to do so for your training goals, you’re more than welcome to check out our ab workouts database.

Also, it is important to note that compound exercises and lowering your body fat percentage is going to build a better, visible 6-pack over time than any amount of direct isolation work will.

Q. Anything else we should know to build lean muscle?

Building muscle takes a lot of time and effort. Not to mention, what you do outside of the gym is just as important as what you do inside of the gym.

Prioritize your diet. Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Eliminate unnecessary stress (meditate). And move every day (lightly on your recovery days).

You’ll get there and this 6 week program is an excellent start.

175 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 06/07/2019 - 21:03
Stephanie

Hi Josh,
How much weight should I be going up each session and or week? I’m excited to get started! I’m
Trying to get lean and strong, I’m hoping this can help.

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Posted Mon, 06/10/2019 - 10:04
JoshEngland

Hi Stephanie,

It depends on the weights you have access to. Some gyms have dumbbells in 1lb increments, 2.5lb increments, and 5lb increments. Barbells, you'll usually have to jump ~5lbs at a time. There's nothing wrong with increasing slowly if able to do so. So long as you are increasing the weight used, you'll see results. Good luck with the program! Hope you enjoy it!

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Posted Thu, 05/30/2019 - 07:38
David

Hi Josh,

I have 2 questions regarding the program, the weigh will be increasing each set or remains the same? can i do it for 5x/week?

thanks for your help

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Posted Fri, 05/31/2019 - 16:52
JoshEngland

Hi David,

You can really do either or. I like to pyramid my weight up during my sets, but everyone has their own preferences. So long as you are increasing weight throughout the duration of the program, you'll see results.

Sure! Just cycle through the workouts on training days.

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Posted Sat, 05/25/2019 - 21:18
Servando Garcia Jr.

The gym I go to does not have reverse pec deck machine. What should I do instead?

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Posted Tue, 05/28/2019 - 14:42
JoshEngland

Hi Servando,

Any chest fly variation will do the trick.

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Posted Fri, 05/17/2019 - 13:37
Khalid

my goal is build muscle and hit fat plz suggest me

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Posted Tue, 05/28/2019 - 15:10
JoshEngland

Hi Khalid,

The program above can help with both of those goals.

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Posted Thu, 05/16/2019 - 10:27
Steve

This seems like a solid plan! What about cardio? I'm trying to hit a lean bulk now and I'm not sure how often I should throw cardio in.

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Posted Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:11
JoshEngland

Hi Steve,

Cardio, during a bulk, is highly dependent on the individual. For nearly all phases, I personally recommend something low intensity as it won't affect your ability to recover from your workouts. 30ish mins of walking regularly throughout the week should give you a nice boost to your TDEE and assist you in your fat loss efforts.

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Posted Mon, 06/03/2019 - 06:37
Alex Sivak

Listen Brother you must hit the cardio seshs every time you beat your meat. I use this method at least 8 times a day. hope this is helpful luv alex

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Posted Tue, 05/07/2019 - 11:03
Gustave Nishimirwe

How possible is it to do this clean (without juicing) . It seem to be a pretty heavy load

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Posted Tue, 05/07/2019 - 13:52
JoshEngland

Hi Gustave,

I'm a lifetime natural and have performed many programs that looked similar to this one.

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Posted Sun, 05/05/2019 - 15:45
Steve

Josh
Hi I was always told for a natural you should train each bodypart at least twice a week due to protein synthesis. This routine has you only working each bodypart once a week. What’s your take on this

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Posted Mon, 05/06/2019 - 11:05
JoshEngland

Hi Steve,

My opinion is it depends. It depends on what you enjoy. Sure, training 2-3 times per week would be optimal. But what is more optimal is performing workouts that you actually like to do and get you into the gym. This allows you to be consistent long term. And that's the ultimate goal imo.

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Posted Sat, 05/04/2019 - 06:07
FATİH BİRKAN

Josh what do you think ? split or full body

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Posted Mon, 05/06/2019 - 11:30
JoshEngland

Hi FATİH,

There's a time and place for both. Personally, I like to cycle between full body, upper/lower, and splits. Keeps things interesting and all of them serve a different purpose during the year.

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Posted Sat, 04/27/2019 - 18:37
Eyal

Hi, i wanted to know how often i shuld complete one cycle, like in a week? 6 days? How should i spread in my week?

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Posted Tue, 04/30/2019 - 16:46
JoshEngland

Hi Eyal,

There are 4 workout days in this program. You'd perform them (4 per week) on separate days for 6 weeks.

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Posted Sun, 04/21/2019 - 23:07
Jasmine

Hey so I’ve started this workout and I Jist want to make sure this is targeting my goals. So basically I’m 142 lbs. my goal is to lose fat And build muscle. Is this the right plan? What would you recommend? I carry most of my weight in my abdomen area. I am already slim

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Posted Mon, 04/22/2019 - 11:38
JoshEngland

Hi Jasmine,

Yes, this is a good program for someone with either of those goals. To lose abdominal fat, you will need to eat in a calorie deficit consistently for a period of time.

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Posted Thu, 04/18/2019 - 02:26
Mata

Been doing this plan and IT WORKS.

I will go on doing it for a few more weeks for more lean mass. Too bad I didnt take a "Before" picture.

Thanks Josh.

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Posted Thu, 04/18/2019 - 09:03
JoshEngland

Hi Mata,

That's AWESOME! Congrats on your success so far! Keep up the good work!

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Posted Thu, 04/18/2019 - 09:33
Mats

Yup.

I downloaded the 10 week program, and God willing I will try it later in the year.

Do you have a youtube page, Josh?

Thanks.

Mats.

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Posted Thu, 04/18/2019 - 13:52
JoshEngland

No personal YouTube yet, but strongly considering it. I'm on IG, but not very active yet there either: https://www.instagram.com/coach_3ngland/- still very responsive.

Hope to start doing more on social platforms soon, but my main focus right now is creating content for M&S's website and YT channel.

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Posted Tue, 04/16/2019 - 10:33
Jasmine

How much weight do you recommend for the bar squats

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Posted Wed, 04/17/2019 - 10:20
JoshEngland

Hi Jasmine,

Pick a weight you think you can use for the prescribed reps. If too heavy, move down. If too light, move up. You should finish each set feeling as though you have 1-2 reps left in the tank. A good rule of thumb is 75-85% of your working max for the prescribed rep ranges.

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Posted Mon, 04/15/2019 - 22:53
Jasmine

Hey! Can this workout be done in 3 days, if so what would you recommend as a set up? I asked only because I want to do 4 but that’s honestly a stretch for me and I know I can commit to 3 days

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Posted Tue, 04/16/2019 - 09:20
JoshEngland
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Posted Mon, 03/25/2019 - 14:17
Edvin

So monday through thursday I have boxing for 1/1.5hrs alternating, where I work quite hard. Would this workout still be suitable possibly after boxing, or on weekends?

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Posted Wed, 03/27/2019 - 16:51
JoshEngland

Hi Edvin,

It's doable. However, if your goals are boxing related and performance based, this program might not be the best option.

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Posted Wed, 03/20/2019 - 07:16
Alexander Ramov...

Hey,
Nice and simple workout here thanks!
Just wondering - how should i split the sets? 2 days on, a day rest, then 2 days on again?
Also on my rest days is it ok to do cardio or will that affect my muscle growth?
Thanks,
Alex

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Posted Wed, 03/20/2019 - 11:34
JoshEngland

Hi Alex,

That split would be perfect. Yes, you can do cardio on your rest days. It shouldn't affect your muscle growth and may actually promote it depending on the form of cardio you do and your nutrition.

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Posted Wed, 03/20/2019 - 11:34
JoshEngland

Hi Alex,

That split would be perfect. Yes, you can do cardio on your rest days. It shouldn't affect your muscle growth and may actually promote it depending on the form of cardio you do and your nutrition.

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Posted Fri, 03/15/2019 - 00:30
SYED

Hi Josh
I am a bit confused with regard to weight. What weight should be lifted for fat burning should it be low weights or heavy. Appreciate if it could be clarified.

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Posted Fri, 03/15/2019 - 09:35
JoshEngland

Hi Syed,

Weight selection doesn't really change during fat loss phases. Training and intensity can remain fairly regular regardless of what phase you are in.

What will be different is your nutrition. For fat loss, aim to be in a deficit and consume as much protein necessary to prevent muscle loss.

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Posted Thu, 02/28/2019 - 21:11
Steve

Josh. I always thought working a bodypart once a week isn’t sufficient for naturals. And it’s on good for people on Gear. For naturals I thought you should hit each bodypart at least twice a week due to protein synthesis . Thanks

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Posted Fri, 03/01/2019 - 11:51
JoshEngland

Hi Steve,

Yes, for the goal of building muscle, more frequent training bouts will be beneficial. This is scientifically proven. That's not to say body part splits don't have their place in muscle building.

What a lot of science fails to acknowledge is the enjoyment level of the program. Someone who enjoys body part splits and is more consistent with their training is going to have more success than someone who does full body workouts 3-4 times per week inconsistently over time.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 02/28/2019 - 14:33
Taher

Can i add one day fullbody workout to this program?
If i want to compose fullbody routine with this routine
What does workout look like?

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Posted Fri, 03/01/2019 - 11:55
JoshEngland

Hi Taher,

Sure, that should be fine.

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Posted Sat, 02/23/2019 - 07:31
Alex

how should i eat on rest days

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Posted Mon, 02/25/2019 - 09:17
JoshEngland

Hi Alex,

Similarly to how you eat on your weight training days.

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Posted Sun, 02/10/2019 - 19:39
Manuel

Ehat about cardioin this 6 week

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Posted Mon, 02/11/2019 - 10:29
JoshEngland

Hi Manuel,

You're more than welcome to pair cardio with this program if you wish.

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Posted Sun, 01/27/2019 - 08:40
John

Hi Josh, i am a beginner and about to start with your program. The information i seek was nowhere to be found in all the different fitness plans, maybe it is something totaly obvious, but i dont know it. I am supposed to do these excersises one after another (like all sets of one excersise and than continue with different excersise) or i do them simultineously (like one set of this then one set of the next one and so on). Thanks for your reaction!

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Posted Mon, 01/28/2019 - 09:49
JoshEngland

Hi John,

Perform all the sets of one exercise prior to continuing with the next exercise.

Best of luck with the program!

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Posted Fri, 01/04/2019 - 12:40
Trevor Cruce

So with these work outs where it says for example 4x10 would you still get the results of lean muscle/mass if you start at the top of the pyramid with your real 10 rep weight and go down. Since it progressively gets harder,, is it saying in the work out go down in weight from there?

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Posted Fri, 01/04/2019 - 16:09
JoshEngland

Hi Trevor,

Sure, you could do it that way. Personally, I start out programs using the same weight for each set and then as the weeks go on try to move up in weight on at least one set per exercise.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 12/26/2018 - 15:24
Ryan

I have a question about rear delt training before or after back. Is it okay to train rear delts the day before or after back? It looks like if you did 2 days on 1 day of that is how the program would play out (back then shoulders and triceps the next day).

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Posted Wed, 01/02/2019 - 13:52
JoshEngland

Hi Ryan,

It should be fine. If you're concerned tho, you can alter this program in whatever way you feel best fits your needs and experience level.