Strength Training / Muscle Building

This page includes routines primarily aimed at building strength and muscle. Be aware that the differences in training for general strength and training for muscle growth (or hypertrophy) are often vastly overstated. All of the programs on this page are effective at getting you both bigger and stronger, provided you eat to support it. A bigger muscle is a stronger muscle and vice versa.

As you make your choice, don’t forget the importance of having at least some cardio in your overall fitness plan, even if it’s not your primary focus. Read more about the benefits here: Why You Should Do Cardio

Choosing a Routine

The choice of a workout routine is one of the most heavily debated topics, bar none, especially among those just getting started. It can often feel overwhelming or like you have no idea what’s right for you, what’s the best choice, what’s the most effective, and so on. The truth is that this choice doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. Your effort and consistency over time are, by orders of magnitude, much greater drivers of your results than the specific routine you follow.

If you’re on this page, your goal is probably to get bigger and/or stronger. Every routine listed on this page has been vetted and used by many people, successfully, to achieve gains in size and strength. It truly matters very little which one you pick, as long as you work hard at it, eat correctly, and give it enough time. Don’t get caught in the weeds trying to compare volume or intensity or pulling up an INOL chart or pouring through PubMed studies. Pick literally anything you find here and bust your ass at it for six months. It is impossible for you to waste your time on any of these routines unless you sandbag or eat like a dummy.

The true important factors to consider are these:

  • If you have access to all of the equipment that the routine requires, or can make reasonable substitutions
  • If you can handle the time investment the routine requires – both in session time and number of days

Mismatches in these factors will have the greatest effects on your ability to work hard at your routine and be consistent in your execution. Don’t get married to a six day routine if you know that a three day routine will fit better into your life and schedule just because you fear missing out on gains.

If you are a complete beginner, we strongly recommend getting your feet wet with one of the following, depending on your equipment access:

  • r/Fitness Basic Beginner Routine
  • r/Bodyweightfitness Recommended Routine
  • Dumbbell Stopgap or Dumbbell Stopgap PPL


Barbell / Compound Lift Focused Routines

Dumbbell Focused Routines

Bodyweight / Home / Minimal Equipment Routines

Hotel / Apartment / Planet Fitness-like Gyms