Build total body strength with this 5-day strength-building program! You’re going to train five days a week and should be in and out of the gym in less than an hour.
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Increase Strength
  • Workout Type
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration8 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • Time Per Workout60 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Barbell, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
  • Target Gender Male & Female
  • Recommended Supps
  • Workout PDF Download Workout

Workout Description

This eight-week program is designed to help you get stronger throughout the entire body. Yes, the big three power lifts are involved, but this isn’t necessarily a powerlifting program. The goal will be to lift more weight with all the major body parts. 

You’re going to train five days a week, but none of these workouts will be that long. You should be in and out of the gym or weight room in less than an hour. We’re going to keep this to barbells and dumbbells as much as possible, but you can also expect some machine work. If you don’t have cables or machines, do the best you can with what you do have.

Recommended: Need help building muscle? Take our Free Muscle Building Course

FAQ’s Before We Start

Who are these workouts for?

Beginners and intermediate lifters that are prioritizing strength will see the best results from a program like this. Advanced lifters and competitive powerlifters may not see as much improvement, but they can certainly use this as a way to break the monotony of a previous program they were on.

Will this help me build muscle or lose fat?

You might notice some body composition changes if you’re following a nutrition plan that supports those goals. When it comes to fat loss, your cardio commitment will also play a role in that. To be clear, that is not the purpose of this program. This is designed and focused on strength.

Can I substitute exercises?

You can’t substitute the first lift of each workout. That is how you’re going to gauge the progress you make. If you can’t do them, then this is also not the program for you. As for the other exercises, if you need to swap something out because of the lack of equipment, just make sure you use something that works the same muscle. Our Exercise Database section has a lot of awesome choices to consider.

These workouts are short. Can I combine them or cut rest time to make it quicker or fit my schedule?

If you feel you can cut sometime between sets, then that would be ok. I do not recommend combining workouts so you have fewer days to train. These are meant for you to get in, train hard, and get out. Each muscle group also has ample time to work and recover. 

There aren’t enough exercises to target a specific muscle. Can I add those in?

If developing specific muscles are your focus, then you should also consider another program. Training for strength is different than training for hypertrophy. You’re using the weights and exercises for a different purpose. I do not recommend adding movements except if you want to add your own ab training into the program.

Strong man in the gym doing heavy barbell deadlifts

Max Out on These Lifts

Before you start the training, you will need to know where you’re starting at. So, you should max out on the following lifts over the course of a week.

  • Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift
  • Standing Barbell Press
  • Bent-Over Barbell Row

Max out on one lift each day. Don’t combine max-out days because the max on the second lift may be compromised. I suggest doing three to five warm-up sets followed by three singles to come up with your number. The final weight you succeed with is your max.

Recommended: The Best 15-Minute Warm-Ups

An example of maxing out for a squat may look like this:

  • 95 pounds x 5 reps
  • 135 pounds x 5 reps
  • 185 pounds x 3 reps
  • 205 pounds x 3 reps
  • 225 pounds x 1 rep
  • 245 pounds x 1 rep
  • 255 pounds x 1 rep

The weights listed are only examples. The weight you use could be lighter or heavier. Find those numbers and log them because you’ll need them.

Muscular man wearing a stringer tank doing lat pulldowns in the gym.

The Workouts

The goal is to train five days in a row with two days off. If you need to take a day off in between because of your school or work schedule, that is ok. Just make sure you take two complete days off from weight training a week. Light to moderate cardio is ok, but you shouldn’t push it.

The lifts you max out on are the opening lifts of each workout. Once you warm up, you will perform five working sets with the same weight. The weight you use will be a percentage of your max. That percentage will change each week. The chart below will show you what weights to use each week. This applies to all five opening lifts – squat, bench press, deadlift, standing barbell press, and bent-over barbell row. Rest for three minutes between each set of the opening lifts and two minutes between all other sets.

Week Sets/Reps Percentages
Week 1 Max Out Week (test your baseline)
Week 2 5 sets of 4 with 80% of your max
Week 3 5 sets of 3 with 85% of your max
Week 4 5 sets of 2 with 90% of your max
Week 5 4 sets of 4 with 80% of your max
Week 6 4 sets of 3 with 85% of your max
Week 7 4 sets of 2 with 90% of your max
Week 8 Max Out Week (retest)

On the eighth week, you’ll test out all five lifts again as you did in the first week. You should notice an improvement in all of them, but the amount of improvement will vary from person to person. You may also see more improvement in one lift than another.

Below are the workouts you will follow for the next seven weeks after your first max-out week. 

Monday - Squat

Exercise Sets Reps
Squat See Chart See Chart
Front Squat 3 5
Bulgarian Split Squat 3 8
Leg Extension 3 8

Tuesday - Bench Press

Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press See Chart See Chart
Incline Bench Press 3 5
Dumbbell Fly 3 8
Tricep Dips 3 8

Wednesday - Deadlift

Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift See Chart See Chart
Good Mornings 3 5
Lying Leg Curl 3 8
Walking Lunge 3 8

Thursday - Standing Barbell Press

Exercise Sets Reps
Standing Barbell Press See Chart See Chart
Front Raise 3 5
Seated Lateral Raise 3 8
Rope Tricep Extension 3 8

Friday - Bent-Over Barbell Row

Exercise Sets Reps
Bent-Over Barbell Row See Chart See Chart
Pull Up or Lat Pull Down 3 5
Rear Lateral Raise 3 8
Incline Dumbbell Curl 3 8


Some of you reading this may be wanting to lose weight, but restricting calories too much could hurt your strength cause. If you want a general guideline to follow, I would suggest sticking to these macro goals every day.

  • Protein - .75 -1 gram per pound of bodyweight
  • Fats - .5 grams per pound of bodyweight
  • Carbs – 1 gram per pound of bodyweight
  • Water – 1 gallon per day

You can break that up over 5-6 meals so they are smaller, or in three meals if that suits you best.

Strong male athlete foam rolling in the gym.


Any and all forms of recovery could help you maximize your potential. Massages, foam rolling, stretching, and percussive gun treatments would all serve you well. The most important one of all is sleep. If you’re not sleeping enough, you aren’t going to see the best results.

What to Do After This Program

After you max out again on the eighth week, you can either give it a second run or move on to another program based on your new goals. That is up to you. If you take this for the full run, we would love to see how you do. Share your results in our comments section so we can encourage each other.

Posted on: Mon, 09/25/2023 - 13:21

I cannot do standing military presses due to the height of the ceilings in my home gym. I usually resort to seated mil presses using an adjustable bench at 90 deg. I tried doing this non supported but a low back injury makes it excruciating. Any tips to help me maximize my lift? Thanks.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 09/25/2023 - 20:04

I have low ceilings too, Scott, and the low back injury isn't worth risking more damage to. Go with seated on the bench. Hope this helps, and let me know how it goes for you.

Posted on: Fri, 09/22/2023 - 03:52

This is a fantastic workout plan. It is great for beginners, however that is assuming that they understand how to correctly perform these moves. If you are a true beginner, save this and study each of the mobes in detail. This is to avoid injury and maximize efficiency.

For someone like me getting back into the gym, this is perfect

Ephraim raof
Posted on: Mon, 09/18/2023 - 15:56

Coach after i do the pr×80% i try it and i cant complete the set and feeling off and i feel like am losing strength not gaining it why does that happen and what should i do
Thanks and sorry for my bad English

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 09/25/2023 - 20:03

If you can't do the 80%, back down to what you can do and focus on doing the best you can with that. Are you recovering properly, getting good sleep, and getting enough protein? Could be a number of factors. How many reps are you getting with the 80%?

Posted on: Fri, 09/15/2023 - 08:57

I failed to do the second week for one body part? Should I repeat that week for all of the body parts or just that body part? Doing the second option will have me finishing a part like chest before the others.

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Posted on: Mon, 09/25/2023 - 20:01

Just repeat that bodypart when you can, and you will be fine.

Posted on: Thu, 08/31/2023 - 23:52

I'm trying to find a routine I can get into but my trouble is I got some pretty messed up knees from the military. What would you recommend I do as a substitute for squats or other knee intensive workouts?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 09/12/2023 - 11:07

Hi, J. I don't know the extent of the injuries you suffered, which makes it hard to choose the best exercises for you. I suggest talking to a doctor about your specific knee issues and finding the best alternatives that way. We have an extensive Exercises section that you can show your physician so you can find the best substitutions.

Posted on: Thu, 08/24/2023 - 18:01

Could a gym beginner use this programme? I have a skinny fat physique I’m 5’11 and weigh 160lbs with 16% body fat. I’m new to the gym (I haven’t trained since I was 19 I’m now 29) and would like to build my strength but ultimately I’d also like to gain more muscle and decrease my body fat. Would this be a good programme to start with?

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Posted on: Thu, 08/24/2023 - 21:53

This would be a great one for you, Carlos. Run it and let us know how it goes!

Posted on: Wed, 08/09/2023 - 15:52

I was wondering if my current workout routine is right for building muscle. Monday: chest and Triceps, 3 exercises each 3 sets 8-10 reps at 80%. Tuesday: rest. Wednesday: Biceps and Back, 3 exercises each 3 sets 8/10 reps at 80% Thursday: rest Friday: Chest and tries , Sat: rest , Sunday: Biceps and back. Continue work outs every other day, every other rest day is lower body / legs. Please let me know if I need to change anything any advice would be appreciated.

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Posted on: Sun, 08/20/2023 - 21:02

Not sure how long you've been doing this, but if it's working so far, keep going with it. I would say throw legs in there before the next chest and tris session, but again, if you find it to be working, run it as long as you can.

Posted on: Sun, 08/06/2023 - 00:07

What %of my one rep max do I do for the other 3 sub exercises

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 08/20/2023 - 21:00

% isn't considered for those. Find whatever weight that challenges you. You should be within two reps of failure with the weight you use. If you need to do 12 reps, then you can reach failure within 10-14. If you can do more than 14, go heavier. If you can't reach 10, go lighter.

Posted on: Thu, 08/03/2023 - 21:50

What weight do I use for the exercises that don't tell you how much of your one rep max?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 08/09/2023 - 09:29

Whatever challenges you. You should be within two reps of failure with the weight you use. If you need to do 12 reps, then you can reach failure within 10-14. If you can do more than 14, go heavier. If you can't reach 10, go lighter.

Posted on: Thu, 08/03/2023 - 20:16

I was wondering what percentage of my one rep max you should do for the 3 exercises in each category that don't say, or is it I just use the % from the chart for example second week monday for front squats should it be 3 sets of 5 reps at 80% one rep mex?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 08/09/2023 - 09:30

Those exercises are based on how you feel. You should feel challenged, but not so much that you can't finish. Percentages of 1RM weren't considered for those.

Posted on: Tue, 07/11/2023 - 12:41

Is it generally good practice to have 5 workout days then 2 rest days or would 3 workout days, rest, 2 workout days, rest be just as beneficial?

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Posted on: Fri, 07/21/2023 - 20:54

Either way works, Robbie. If you need the break after three, definitely take it. I always advise on the side of smarter recovery.

Posted on: Tue, 07/11/2023 - 00:32

Thank you, I'm enjoying this routine get getting back to the gym and this is pushing me to work harder. I had to figure out the appropriate volumes during week two for the rest of the routine. Are there specific volumes I should be achieving?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 07/21/2023 - 20:55

Hey Dean, thanks for reading M&S! As long as you're following the routine and feeling like you pushed yourself at the end, you're fine. Just track what you are doing and try to do a little better each week.

Posted on: Sun, 07/09/2023 - 12:07

What weight should be used for the 2nd-4th excercises each day?

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Posted on: Fri, 07/21/2023 - 20:53

Hi, John. Use weights that make you work hard, but you should be able to finish the set without sacrificing form. When you can do two more than what is recommended, go up.

Posted on: Thu, 07/06/2023 - 20:24

I have a question about week4 forward on the big lifts. Why does the amount of sets drop from 5 to 4? I would imagine that doing less sets of heavier weights might be the reason, but it's the same 80%, 85%, and 90%. Would there be any downside to just continuing with a set of 5 from week 4 onwards?

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Posted on: Fri, 07/21/2023 - 20:07

Taking that little bit of volume out can help you prepare for those max lifts, Fro. When you go for those last max lifts, I want you to be as strong and recovered as possible. I really hope you will follow the program as is because I think it will be worth it.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 08/24/2023 - 21:09

You could step up to intermediate if you like, but if it was me in your position, I would run this again with extra motivation to perform better this time around. You have the first 8 weeks of experience behind you. Now, see how far you can take it.

If you do prefer to take on another program, this can help you.

Posted on: Wed, 08/09/2023 - 23:10

Thank you for the feedback, it's much appreciated. I definitely followed it through as is. Since I am a beginner, I have alot more confidence in following the recommendations of someone much more experienced. Plus I didn't want to get hurt or pull something.

I definitely increased my max weights but not by as much as I'd hoped. This might be because I'm still getting back into regular lifting or just my smaller frame and poor diet.
The plan worked great overall though, I feel stronger and better after just those short weeks. And being at the gym for 30-40ish mins as opposed to the usual hour with my old routine also felt easier for someone like me.

Would you recommend that I do another 8 weeks on this routine or move up to intermediate? I'm also open to moving laterally to another beginner routine. The most challenging lift for me is the overhead press so I was tempted to substitute that with either dumbbell shoulder press or military press.

Posted on: Fri, 06/30/2023 - 17:45

Why do weeks 5 - 7 have fewer sets with the same reps and weight than weeks 2 - 4?

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Posted on: Wed, 07/05/2023 - 08:17

Two reasons, 1. Trading fewer overall reps and volume for more weight and intensity. 2. Less chance of a miss near the end. When you go for that new max, confidence is everything.

Posted on: Thu, 06/29/2023 - 13:26

How long should rest time be between warm up sets and 1 Rep max attempts on max out days?

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Posted on: Sat, 07/01/2023 - 07:29

Warm-ups around 1 minute. Max attempts as long as you need, but 5 minutes at the most.

Posted on: Sat, 07/01/2023 - 10:25


Posted on: Mon, 06/26/2023 - 16:45

Heading to the gym shortly to commence the first day of this program. Will update as I go along

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Posted on: Tue, 06/27/2023 - 08:03

That would be great, Tahj. Thanks for reading M&S!