It’s almost every week that someone reaches out to me in a panic and asks what is the best workout routine for bulking. It’s almost always the same scenario. They have an extremely short time frame in which they need to put on 20 pounds of muscle.
I always try to let them down easy and let them know that they aren’t going to build 20 pounds of muscle in 1 month. In fact, if you have read my article how long does it take to gain 20 pounds of muscle, you will know it takes a while.
As a beginner, you should be able to gain about a half pound of muscle per week. That is of course if you are eating at a caloric surplus. You cannot build muscle in a caloric deficit.
Knowing this, you can now take this information and understand 2 things. You MUST eat at a caloric surplus. And you MUST understand what is possible in your timeframe. To help with expectations, read realistic fitness goals for beginners.
If you can get those first 2 things down, you now move on to your final challenge. What is the best workout routine for bulking?
The first thing we must understand when it comes to workout routines is that if you want to build muscle, you have to do some variation of weight training.
I recommend working out 3-5 days per week. If you are eating at a caloric surplus, and being consistent, there is ZERO chance that you won’t put on muscle. Your body will have no choice.
3 days per week routines for bulking
If you are a beginner, your best option is to start with a 3 days per week workout routine for bulking. Why? Because at this point, your muscles are going to grow regardless of how many days per week you workout.
And, you want to make sure that you don’t overtrain your muscles. I can tell you that for me, eating at a caloric surplus was the most difficult part of building muscle. It takes way more dedication than showing up at the gym 3 days per week.
Here is how you make sure you are eating enough calories to build muscle. Step 1 is to learn how to calculate your maintenance calories. Step 2 is to download a free app like MyFitnessPal to track every single calorie that you eat. Step 3 is to eat at least 500 calories per day over your maintenance.
If you can pull those 3 steps together and workout 3 days per week, you are going to find that you are building muscle at a pace that you didn’t find possible.
But how can you be sure you are doing the right weight training routine?
Here are 3 plans that we personally created for building muscle:
As you can see, you have plenty of options. If you are committed to building muscle, don’t be the person who goes to the gym and neglects their nutrition.
You have seen overweight people that go to the gym and don’t lose a single point. That is because you cannot lose belly fat in a caloric surplus. In the same vein, you can’t build muscle if you are not in a caloric surplus.
4 days per week routines for bulking
If you have moved on from the beginners stage and want something a little bit more challenging, it might be time to move up to 4 days per week.
For me, 4 days per week is my sweet spot. It works perfectly with my schedule, and gets the job done. However, if you are an absolute beginner, I highly recommend sticking with 3 days per week, at least for a few months.
Why? Because you need to understand that building muscle is going to take time. And increasing the days per week that you workout is not going to increase the rate that your muscles grow.
This seems to be a major problem in the fitness industry. People are sold the idea that there are easy solutions to getting what they want. There isn’t. You might be able to get short term fat loss results, but sustained muscle gain is something else.
On a 4 day schedule, what is the best workout routine for bulking?
If you download our app, we have 3 routines in there for those that want to workout 4 days per week and gain some serious muscle.
If you aren’t the app type, take a look at our 4 day workout routine for weight loss and muscle gain. Don’t worry about the title. As long as you are eating at a caloric surplus, you will have no issues gaining muscle while on this program.
Of course, you would lose weight if you were eating at a caloric deficit. Always keep this in mind when you are working out. If you are losing weight, it is probably because you aren’t eating enough calories.
5 days per week routines for bulking
We are finally on the serious business workout routines. 5 days per week! I want to reiterate something that I talked about in the last section. Working out more days per week is not going to increase the rate at which you build muscle.
So why would someone want to workout 5 days per week instead 3 days per week. First of all, working out releases endorphins. Second of all, you will eventually outgrow working out 3 days per week. Meaning that you may hit a plateau.
Switching to 4 days per week, or 5 days per week can help you bust through that plateau. But remember, you can still only build up to a half pound of muscle per week. Don’t get too carried away thinking that you will be some muscle building robot that can beat the system.
Your body is the system, and it dictates that in order to put on half a pound of muscle per week, you absolutely must workout enough, eat at a caloric surplus, and do this consistently over a long period of time.
If you have been following along with our workout plans, you will find that there are similarities between them all. They all involve weight training of some sort. This is a necessity for building muscle.
With that being said, if you insist on working out 5 days per week, downloading our app is going to be the best source of workout routines at your fingertips.
We have 3 built-in workout routines for 5 days per week. And if that isn’t enough, you have the capability of creating your own custom workout plans with unlimited exercise options.
Main Point: What is the best workout routine for bulking?
If you have read this whole article, can you answer our question now? What is the best workout routine for bulking? As you have realized, it is more about personal preference and strategy than it is about finding the perfect routine.
Once you realize that building muscle is a combination of multiple disciplines, then you will start gaining muscle at a rapid pace.
You must be on board with eating at a caloric surplus every single day. And you also must be on board with weight training. If you combine these together and do it for an extended period of time, you will build muscle at a pace you never thought possible.
When I first combined all of these together, I built over 20 pounds of muscle in the first year. I couldn’t believe it. Then I followed it up with similar gains the next 2 years straight. For context, I was very skinny, and I needed to put on a lot of pounds.
Ultimately, I put on 70 pounds over the course of about 3 and a half years. Then I had to dial it back when my wife said I built too much muscle.
When you follow a plan and eat right, anything is possible. Take it from me. The guy who thought that it just wasn’t in capability to put on muscle.