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!
Recommended: Need help building muscle? Take our Free Muscle Building Course
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
|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
|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
|2. Barbell Row||3||12|
|3. Lat Pulldown||5||8|
|4. Cable Row||3||12|
|5. Pull up||3||10|
Day 4: Shoulders & Triceps
|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|
|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.
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.