Whatever your training goal is, you’ll probably get better results from your workout if you follow a customized plan. That way, it will address your specific needs, likes, and abilities. The one thing most lifters SHOULDN’T do is follow a workout from a professional, drug-enhanced bodybuilder as workouts like that are generally too intense, too long, and too unrealistic for the average lifter.
That said, writing the perfect bodybuilding program is not easy. It IS a skill you can (and probably should) learn, but you’ll undoubtedly make plenty of mistakes along the way, and those mistakes could rob you of valuable training time.
Alternatively, you could hire a coach to write one for you. Unfortunately, professional program design can be expensive, and some coaches are better than others. There is also no guarantee that the workout you buy really is written specifically for you; it could be a cookie-cutter program.
So, to save you from writing your own workout or buying one from a pro, we’ve put this program together to help you build muscle and get stronger.
Is it the perfect program? Probably not! But if you apply yourself, it should still produce great results.
Best of all, it’s free, and you won’t have to give up your job and move into the gym to do it, so welcome to our myo-reps workout for size and strength.
At its core, this is a powerbuilding program. That means it’s built around several key strength-building exercises backed up with some hypertrophy-orientated assistance exercises.
It’s a four-day split, so you’ll be training four days a week, which leaves plenty of time for rest, recovery, and growth. Each workout should take 60 minutes or less, so it should be manageable even if you don’t have a lot of time for training.
The key feature of this workout is the use of myo-reps for the assistance exercises. Myo-reps are a proven hypertrophy training method that all but guarantees a wicked pump and serious muscle growth. As well as being very intense, myo-reps are also very time efficient.
What are myo-reps, you ask? We’ve written an in-depth guide to this training method, which you can check out here. But, to save you the trouble, here’s a summary of this training method:
When you do a regular set of any exercise, only the final few reps are productive. For example, if you do 12 reps, only the last 3-4 are intense enough to trigger hypertrophy. If you do three sets to total 36 reps, that means two-thirds of your training is unproductive.
With myo-reps, your rests between sets are much shorter, which raises the intensity of your workout and prevents a whole lot of time-wasting.
Using myo-reps goes like this:
- Activation set– choose a light to moderate weight that will force you to fail somewhere in the 12-20 rep range. Rep out until you are within a rep or two of failure, and make a note of how many reps you do.
- 3-5 mini-sets– rest 10-15 seconds, and then do 25% of the reps of your original set. So, if you did 12 reps, pump out another three.
- Repeat– rest another 10-15 seconds, and then do a second “mini set.” Continue until you are either unable to do three reps or you complete five mini sets in total.
Here’s an example of myo-reps, with the productive reps in bold:
- Set 1: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15(activation set)
Rest 10-15 seconds
- Set 2: 1 2 3 4 (1stmini set)
Rest 10-15 seconds
- Set 3: 1 2 3 4 (2ndmini set)
Rest 10-15 seconds
- Set 4: 1 2 3 4 (3rdmini set)
Rest 10-15 seconds
- Set 5: 1 2 3 4 (4thmini set)
Rest 10-15 seconds
- Set 6: 1 2 3 4 (5thmini set)
Because myo-reps are so intense, you only need to do one run-through per exercise. This makes sense because you’ll probably accumulate 20 or so reps that take you very close to failure, and more would simply be overkill.
But, while myo-reps are very good for hypertrophy, they’re not much good for building strength. Myo-reps cause a lot of metabolic stress and a powerful pump, but the weights are too light to do much for your strength.
Don’t worry – that’s why this workout contains some heavy, lower rep exercises chosen specifically to create lots of mechanical tension, stimulate your nervous system, and make you stronger.
The combination of heavy weight, low rep strength training and myo-reps is the perfect formula for bigger, stronger muscles.
Enough talk; it’s time to train! This is your split for the next few weeks:
|Chest and biceps||Legs||Rest||Back and triceps||Rest||Shoulders and arms||Rest|
As you can see, this workout emphasizes your biceps and triceps, training them twice a week. After all, who doesn’t want bigger, more muscular arms?!
Workout #1 – Chest and Biceps
|1||Barbell bench press||4||6||2-3 minutes|
|2||Close grip dumbbell press||1||Myo-reps||1-2 minutes between exercises|
|3||Incline dumbbell flys||1||Myo-reps|
|5||EZ barbell curls||1||Myo-reps|
Workout #2 – Legs
|2||Romanian deadlift||4||6||2-3 minutes|
|3||Leg extensions||1||Myo-reps||1-2 minutes between exercises|
|6||Standing calf raise||1||Myo-reps|
Workout #3 – Back and Triceps
|2||Lat pulldowns||1||Myo-reps||1-2 minutes between exercises|
|3||Seated cable rows||1||Myo-reps|
|4||Straight arm pulldowns||1||Myo-reps|
|5||Cable triceps pushdowns||1||Myo-reps|
Workout #4 – Shoulders and Arms
|1||Seated dumbbell press||4||6||2-3 minutes|
|2||Lateral raise||1||Myo-reps||1-2 minutes|
|3||Barbell curls||3||8-12||60-90 seconds|
|4||Incline dumbbell curls||1||Myo-reps||1-2 minutes|
|5||Skull crushers||3||8-12||60-90 seconds|
|6||Overhead triceps extension||1||Myo-reps||1-2 minutes|
While we haven’t programmed it, you should also do some direct core training after 1-2 of these workouts. Feel free to do straight sets or myo-reps as preferred. Good options include rollouts, cable crunches, hanging knee raises, and weighted side bends. Weighted core exercises are generally best for building a strong, muscular midsection.
Get the most from this workout with the following tips!
Before each workout, make sure you prepare your muscles and joints with a thorough warm-up. Do 5-10 minutes of light cardio followed by some dynamic mobility and flexibility exercises. Finish up your warm-up by doing a few progressively heavier sets of the key strength exercises.
For example, if you’re planning on using 220lb for squats, do:
- 10 reps – 45lb (empty bar)
- 8 reps – 90 lbs
- 5 reps – 135 lbs
- 2 reps – 180 lbs
- 1stwork set – 220lb
Because you’ll be well warmed up, and the weights aren’t that heavy, you should not need to warm up for the myo-reps.
Make your workouts progressive
Don’t sabotage the program by using the same weights week after week. Instead, do your best to add even a few pounds to each exercise to overload your muscles. However, do not add more weight if it means you have to cheat to complete your reps. In most instances, cheating makes your workout less productive and also increases your risk of injury.
Follow the plan for 6-8 weeks
After 6-8 weeks, even the best program will stop working. Stick with this workout for as long as it produces results. But, if you notice that your progress is starting to stall, it’s time to switch programs.
Recover like a boss
Intense workouts take a lot out of your body, causing muscle breakdown and glycogen depletion.
Put back into your body what exercise takes out by:
- Eating healthily and plentifully
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Not doing too much extra physical activity between workouts
- Avoiding stress whenever you can
- Use supplements, such as whey protein, BCAAs, and creatine
Myo-Reps Workout – Wrapping Up
While we actively encourage you to learn how to write your own bodybuilding workouts, it’s often nice to disengage your brain and follow a plan written by someone else. While such a workout might not match your needs and goals perfectly, it should still help you on your quest to get bigger and stronger. After all, any workout is better than the alternative – not training at all.
This four-way myo-reps program is ideal for experienced beginners and intermediate lifters. Advanced exercisers could use it too, especially after a layoff or deload.
Is it the perfect workout? Of course not, as no such thing exists. But, you are looking for a balanced, time-efficient workout that will build muscle and strength, you could do a lot worse than our myo-reps workout.
Hello. I’m working out of my home gym. Any suggestions for alternatives to leg extensions, leg curl, and leg press?