Unlock unmatched strength with this 5-day strength-building workout. This plan incorporates power, speed, and explosive movements to help you move serious weight in 8 weeks.
Workout Summary

Workout Description

The beginner gains people see when they first start training are always enjoyable. It makes us want to do more, lift more, and feel even more powerful. The downside is that eventually, the gains may stall and what previously worked may not be as effective.

When these “plateaus” arrive, stop doing what the rookies do and try something different. 

Before we proceed, a word of advice. This program is likely a change from what you’re used to as it focuses primarily on lifting heavy.

If you’re concerned about shape and getting shredded, this is not the program for you. If you want to move some serious weight in eight weeks that you don’t think you can move today, keep reading.

Nutrition and Recovery Matter 

The workouts will be key to getting stronger, but this is no time to slack on the diet. The food you eat matters even more now because you are trying to make your body do something it can’t do now. So, 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day, 1.5-2 grams of carbs per pound, and .5 grams of fats are what I would suggest. You can slightly alter those numbers based on your experience, but it should be close to those numbers. Also, 1 gallon of water per day.

As for recovery, sleep is the biggest one so get a lot of it. You could also do massages, cold plunges, stretching, and chiropractor work. They aren’t all necessary but will help and will positively influence your success in this program. 

Related: Whey Protein Powder: Complete A-Z Guide For All Types Of Whey Supplements

Fit man doing banded stretches in the gym.

Before We Begin

Commit one day to the gym and get your best five rep max on the following lifts.

  • Standing Barbell Press
  • Front Squat
  • Deadlift

We aren’t going to go full powerlifting here. Reps are still important. Whatever your five rep max is on these lifts is what we intend to improve.

You will start on week 1 by doing three reps with that weight. The next week, you will go up to four, then five after that. If you get to five sets of five with your five-rep max, then you get to go up in weight because clearly you got stronger. If not, stay there the next week and do the best you can. 

After eight weeks, you will test those numbers again, and you should find they are better. Details of each workout and why you’re doing them are included with each day on the schedule.

Workout 1: Push Power Day

Since this is about overall strength, we are making the top movement the military press. You have to use your legs and core for stability, and you need the shoulders and triceps to push that bar up. Don’t worry about the chest, though. We got you covered with the next two movements, and the last two will pump up those triceps, even with heavy weight.

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Military Press 5 3-5 3 min
Incline Bench Press 4 3-5 3 min
Dumbbell Bench Press 3 5 2 min
Tricep Dip 3 5 2 min
Overhead EZ Bar Tricep Extension 3 5 2 min

Workout 2: Legs Power Day

Leg day means squats are on the menu. Front squats target the quads and challenge your core to stay strong. The strength you gain with this will transfer to the traditional back squat. Next, we jump into a basic back squat with a pause for the glutes. Do not use the same weight for both exercises. Adjust as needed. The rest of this leg day is self-explanatory but go heavy on all of them. And if you aren’t close to failure, up the weight.

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Front Squat 5 3-5 3 min
Pause Back Squat* 4 3-5 3 min
Hack Squat or Leg Press 3 5 2 min
Seated Leg Curl 3 5 2 min
Leg Extension 3 5 2 min

*Note: To perform a pause squat, slowly lower into a squat. Once you're in the lowest position, hold the weight for about two seconds killing any momentum you may have. After two seconds, return to the starting position.

Workout 3: Pull Power Day

You get to have some personal choices on this one. The main movement is the rack deadlift with the barbell at knee height. However, take them on if you can handle full deadlifts after the leg day. If you have lower back issues, do more pull ups, which follow the deadlift on this one. One-arm rows are great for improving unilateral strength and symmetry, and we isolate the biceps and traps. 

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Trap Bar or Barbell Rack Pull 5 3-5 3 min
Pull Ups 4 3-5 3 min
One Arm Dumbbell Row 3 5, each side 2 min
Concentration Curl 3 5 2 min
Shrug (with hold) 3 5 2 min

Frontal shot of a strong woman holding a barbell on her back.

Workout 4: Lower Dynamic Day

Today we will focus on speed and explosion. For the first two speed exercises, lower the weight under control and explode up as fast as possible. During the speed pause squats, pause at the bottom of the movement for two seconds. Then explode back up to the starting position. Whatever weight you used for those exercises on your power days, use half of that for this. So, if you deadlift 250 pounds for the power day, use 125 on this day. 

As for the other three movements, focus on the contractions and use moderate weight. This is where the physique development component will come in. For the last 3 exercises, use lower weight to focus on quality contractions.

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Speed Front Squat 6 3 30 sec
Speed Pause Squat* 6 3 30 sec
Leg Press 4 4 30 sec
Seated Calf Raise 2 6 30 sec
Lying Leg Raise 2 6 30 sec

*Note: To perform a pause squat, slowly lower into a squat. Once you're in the lowest position, hold the weight for about two seconds killing any momentum you may have. After two seconds, explode up to the starting position.

Related: 3 Ways to Break Through Squat Plateaus

Workout 5: Upper Dynamic Day

You will see we combined push and pull into one day here. The same principles from Day 4 apply on Day 5. Use 50% of the weight you used earlier in the week for the first two movements but move quickly. The last three should be all about quality reps and contractions.

During the speed exercises, you want to move explosively during the concentric part of the movement. For the speed barbell press, explode during the "push" part, as you go overhead. For the rack pulls, explode during the "pull" part, as you lift the weight to the top position. 

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Speed Barbell Press 6 3 30 sec
Speed Trap Bar or Barbell Rack Pull 6 3 30 sec
Lateral Raise 4 4 30 sec
Barbell Curl 2 6 30 sec
Tricep Extension 2 6 30 sec

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this workout suitable for me?

If you have been training for less than one year, then no. We have plenty of other great strength programs for you here on M&S, but this one is for the advanced lifters (male and female) that are making power a priority. 

Can I substitute exercises?

If there is something that you can’t do because of a medical issue or injury, then swap for something that provides a comparable challenge that you can do after speaking to your doctor. If you simply don’t like the exercises or don’t have the weight to provide the challenge you need, then you should also consider another program.

Can I train five days in a row?

Yes! These workouts were created so you can either take a day off or train five days in a row. The only caveat is that you can’t change the order of days you train or the exercise order. Those are in place to help you reach strength goals and recover properly while also helping you maintain or improve your physique shape.

There aren’t enough exercises for a certain muscle group.

This program is purely for strength-gaining purposes with a slight focus on muscle shape. This is not meant for physique development. However, every muscle group has been targeted except for forearms.

Strong man doing a heavy barbell squat in the gym.

Can I use a belt or lifting straps?

Belts, elbow sleeves, and knee sleeves are recommended for sure. However, since the goal is to get stronger, I suggest leaving your straps in the gym bag. Let’s focus on making everything stronger, including the grip. If you do this, your forearms will also see improvement.

How do I incorporate cardio?

Cardio can be done, but I suggest keeping it to steady state for this program. Save the energy for the weights and not on HIIT. 20-30-minute sessions after each workout or separately during the day would be plenty as long as the nutrition and recovery are on point.

Conclusion

Remember that we are here to help. Just hit us up in the Comments section below if you have any questions. Also, share your feedback and results if you give this the full run.

6 Comments
Anthony
Posted on: Tue, 07/09/2024 - 09:19

Hi

I have been looking into the antagonistic method of training. I can't seem to find a programme that suits my needs. I have a bench press, ez bar and preacher curl base and dumbbells in my home gym. I would like a programme that hits the upper body muscles twice a week and legs once with the intention of building muscle mass. Can you suggest a programme or point me to somewhere / someone that can?

Thanks for your time.

Regards

Anthony

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 07/12/2024 - 08:21

Hey Anthony, see if we have something that will help you here. If not, I will try to come up with suggestions.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-choose-your-next-train...

Geoffrey
Posted on: Mon, 07/01/2024 - 21:16

I workout in my garage. I've collected a good amount of equipment but no such luck with leg press or hack squat machine. What alternative exercise would you suggest for the first hack squat/leg press in addition to the second leg press exercise? Thank you!

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 07/05/2024 - 12:51

Hey Geoffrey, let me know what you got, and I will come up with the best alternatives. I don't want to waste your time with more exercises you can't do.

AJ Krakowski
Posted on: Sat, 07/06/2024 - 08:24

Hey Roger!

I’m not the original poster but I have this same question.

I work out at home and have a power rack, barbell, tons of plates, and dumbbells.

I always struggle with finding an alternative to leg press, leg extension, and leg curl alternatives.

Any ideas?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 07/11/2024 - 05:09

What's good, AJ? Thanks for reading M&S!

In your case, I would swap in sumo squats for the leg press, goblet squats for the leg extension, and kettlebell swings (but with a dumbbell by holding onto the sides) for the leg curls. Hope this helps!