Have you been going to the gym for a few months but not noticing any difference in your physique? A good reason for this is you might not truly understand what it takes to build muscle. Sure, going to the gym and lifting some weights doesn’t hurt and gets you out of the house; but why can’t you build slabs of muscle?

Muscle building isn’t a science. You lift weights, eat, sleep, and recover and you will build muscle right? There is one important key factor missing, consistency. In order to truly build muscle you have to be consistent in your diet, training, and recovery.

Many people search for a magical program that will “add slabs of muscle” or “get you shredded in 6 weeks” but they all seem to have something in common that fails the people who try them. Progressive overloading is where each training session you go to the gym you try to add reps to your set or add weight to the bar for every exercise. Progressive overloading is what makes your body stronger and build muscle.

The Program

Anyone can benefit from this program, but it is geared more towards the novice lifter. The program is a 3 day split; Monday, Wednesday, Friday. The actual days you do this on do not matter as long as you are consistent. I would highly recommend a day of rest in between each session.

This program consists of mainly barbell compound movements that will give you the best “bang for your buck” for the time spent in the gym. These big compound lifts are followed up with assistance lifts that will help build upon these compound lifts and give you a balanced physique.

The set and rep scheme for this program is 3 sets and 6 reps per set on Monday and the same weight on Friday for 3 sets of 8 and on Wednesdays you do 3 sets of 8 for each workout.

Below is a list of the workouts:


  • Squat
  • Bench
  • Barbell Row
  • Pull Ups
  • Tricep Extensions


  • Deadlift
  • Military Press
  • Face Pulls
  • Seated Rows
  • Curls


  • Squat
  • Bench
  • Barbell Row
  • Pull Ups
  • Skull Crushers

The program works by using progressive overloading. Start with weight you can do for 6 reps and build from there. That next week strive to add 5 pounds to each of your compound lifts. If your gym does not have 2.5 pound plates, I would highly recommend investing in a set. Being able to add 5 pounds per compound lift is much smoother than trying to build up and jump 10 pounds.

If you do not have 2.5 pound plates and do not have the means to purchase them, I would suggest this scheme for your compound lifts:

  • Week 1: Monday: Do the weight for 6 reps; Example: 135×6 on bench press.
  • Week 1: Friday: Do the weight for 8 reps; Example 135×8
  • Week 2: Monday: Do the weight for 10 reps; Example 135×10
  • Week 2: Friday: Do the weight for 12 reps; Example 135×12
  • Week 3: Monday: Add 10 pounds and do 6 reps; Example 145×6
  • Week 3: Friday: Do the weight for 8 reps; Example 145×8

Follow this scheme and you will build muscle. Accessory lifts can be progressed in the same fashion. The point is to continuously progress by adding more reps or weight.

If you get weeks into the program and start continuously missing your lifts, back it off and deload. Cut the weights in half for a week. If after that you still miss I would recommend cutting 10 pounds per compound lift and start building up again.


Click here for a free Excel document laid out with the 12 week program. Print out for a paper log or use on the computer.

I write about the importance of keeping a log here, check it out.

Any questions or comments, leave them below.

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Written by Cutty