My PPL Program for Building Muscle FAST
What’s up superhumans? Due to popular request, I’ll be revealing my current workout program and explaining the logic behind everything. I’ll also cover how you can modify it to fit your needs and equipment availability.
Warmup Sets: To improve mind-muscle connection and reduce the risk of pain and injury I like to do 1-2 warmup sets for each exercise and get some blood flowing. I’ll usually do about half the weight I normally do and aim for about 20 reps. I do not go to failure on these.
Training To Failure: Imagine you can get 10 reps of 225lbs on bench press before your muscles give out. Now imagine someone had a gun pointed at you. Would you still get 10? No, you’d probably get close to 15. THAT is failure. It takes lots of practice, self-honesty, and discipline to consistently hit true failure, but it makes a world of difference when it comes to the gains. I only do 2 sets per exercise usually, but the two I do are taken to failure or at least 1-2 reps away from true failure. Anything less is a waste of time. Signs you are taking a set to failure: shaking violently the last few reps, your face is red, you are dripping sweat, the weight comes up significantly slower than previous reps, breathing heavy, and grunting.
Rep Ranges: 6-20 reps per set. Normally, I train in the 8-12 rep range, but certain muscles, like quads for example, respond better to 15-20 reps. The lower end of the rep range is generally going to yield more strength gains, while the higher end is generally better for hypertrophy. On a ketogenic diet or aggressive cut, I’ll do heavier weight and fewer reps (5-8) for my compound movements to adapt to my low glycogen state.
Reverse Pyramid: After warming up, I like to start with my heaviest weight first as my muscles are most fresh. I’m aiming to hit around 8 reps here, but if I only get 7 or 6 it’s not the end of the world. Next set, I decrease the weight but try to get more reps in. Usually, I’ll get around 10-12 here, but if I’m able to hit 15 I absolutely will.
Mid-Set Rest: A mini rest comes in clutch when you start tiring out before hitting your rep goal. If I’m going for 12 reps and start tiring out at 9, I’ll take a ~5 second rest at the top or bottom of the movement to gather the energy to finish it out.
Partials: When I’ve hit failure on a set, I’ll often keep going and do a few more half reps, followed by a few quarter reps to make sure I’m overloading the muscle. I do this somewhat intuitively and base it on how pumped I feel, how exhausted my muscles are, and how badly I’d like that particular muscle to grow. Partials have been an absolute game-changer for busting through plateaus and gaining mass quickly.
Sets Per Muscle Group: I believe 6-12 sets per muscle is ideal for maximizing muscle growth. Less and you’re leaving gains on the table. More and you’re not really getting much additional benefit if any. If I need to focus on a lagging muscle, I’ll lean towards doing more sets and vice versa. I also take other exercises that train multiple muscles into consideration. You’ll notice I only have 2 sets of direct front delt and tricep work. This is because the front delts and tris are heavily targeted during all my incline pressing.
Rest periods: On heavy compound movements like squat or bench, I’ll take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes to restore ATP and catch my breath. On isolation movements like curls or tricep pulldowns, I’ll keep the rest minimal at 30-60 seconds.
Progressive Overload: You should be doing more every single time you train. Did 8 reps on pulldowns last pull day? Better be doing 9+ reps next time. When diet and rest are dialed in, you should be doing more reps or more weight every week. If you haven’t been able to add reps or weight for more than 2 workouts, you need to reevaluate your diet or rest. This means TRACKING YOUR WORKOUTS IS NOT OPTIONAL. Whether you use Strong App, a notepad app, or a physical notebook, you should be logging all your sets so you know what weight/reps are needed to achieve progressive overload the following week.
Rest: You generally want to rest 3 days before training a muscle group again. 7-8 hours of sleep is ideal; lack of sleep is one of the main reasons people fail to make gains. Some muscles like calves and forearms respond better to volume and can/should be trained more frequently like ED or EOD. You very well might want to add some biceps/forearms on leg day and some calves on push day. Or maybe you’ll want add some rear delt flyes on push day to bring those up and get that “3D” look. Use your discretion and experiment with frequency to determine optimal frequency.
Dumbbell (DB) Incline Bench Press
Primary: Upper Chest
Secondary: Shoulders, Triceps
Substitutes: Barbell Incline Bench Press, Incline Chest Press Machine, Incline Dumbbell Flyes