Bulk Up With an Off-Season Muscle-Building Workout

Darren Sharper Squat

The fastest, most natural way to build muscle tone is to perform exercises that release muscle-building testosterone and growth hormones. And the surest way to get these juices flowing is by targeting the legs and glutes—the largest muscle groups in the body. A few sets of Biceps Curls simply cannot match Squats or Deadlifts when it comes to adding bulk. When you focus on your legs, you'll see muscle growth throughout your whole body.

This off-season, consider a muscle-building program that incorporates full-body workouts on non-consecutive days three to four times per week. You can also increase calorie intake with five or six small nutritious meals per day, and average at least eight hours of sleep for recovery. Learn about more techniques you can combine with your workouts to build muscle.

Begin each session warming up the upper- and lower-body muscles and end each workout with static stretches, holding each stretch 10-15 seconds.

Strength Day – Workout 1

  • Deadlifts, Barbell Squats OR Leg Presses
  • Dumbbell Front Lunges (5 reps per leg) OR Dumbbell Wall Squats
  • Pulldowns, Weighted Pull-Ups, Weighted Bar Dips OR Bench Presses
  • Prone and Side Planks (60 seconds each movement)

Sets/Reps: 5x5 at 80-90 percent one-rep max (1 RM) with two minutes of rest between sets

Hypertrophy Day – Workout 2

  • Farmer's Walks
  • Dumbbell Step-Ups (eight to 10 reps per leg)
  • Dumbbell Side Lunges (eight to 10 reps per leg each side)
  • Barbell Rows
  • Overhead Presses
  • Weighted Crunches

Sets/Reps: 4x8-10 at 70-80 percent 1 RM with 30-60 seconds rest between sets

Endurance Day – Workout 3

  • Box Jumps (on to a one- to two-foot box) OR Burpees combined with Med Ball Push-Ups (12-15 Burpees immediately followed by 12-15 Push-Ups with hands on a medicine ball)
  • Dumbbell Single-Leg Squats
  • Upright Rows
  • Pulldowns
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Row (12-15 reps per arm)
  • Prone and Side Planks (60 seconds each movement)

Sets/Reps: 3x12-15 at 60-70 percent 1 RM with 30-45 seconds of rest between sets


Jim Carpentier Jim Carpentier - Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health...
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