Uploaded by sdacsdfsd

Hypertrophy Program Overview

By Eddie Perez
INTRO ................................................................................................... 4
VOLUME ............................................................................................... 6
EXERCISE SELECTION ...................................................................... 7
REP RANGES EXPLAINED.............................................................. 11
PROGRESSION .................................................................................. 13
WHY DO WE USE “RIR”? ................................................................ 14
TEMPO ................................................................................................ 15
DELOADS............................................................................................ 16
AMRAP TESTING ............................................................................. 17
INCREASING VOLUME .................................................................... 18
BREAKING THE PLATEAU ............................................................ 20
DIET ..................................................................................................... 21
CARDIO ............................................................................................... 22
TECHNIQUE RESOURCES .............................................................. 23
THANK YOU ...................................................................................... 24
This program and its guidelines are not a substitute for
medical advice, or as a substitute for medical treatment,
nor is it intended for the treatment or prevention of
disease. Use of the program and its guidelines herein is
at the sole choice and risk of the reader.
You will need Microsoft excel to open and run the spreadsheet for this
program, the good news is that you can use it on Microsoft’s website for
free. You can also download the excel app on your smart phone and
download the program on there, that way you can view your program
and jot down what you lift while at the gym right from your phone.
This program was designed with the beginner to intermediate lifter in
mind, someone whose been training consistently for 3 months or more
who is interested in building muscle mass, with strength too being
important however not a priority, at least not an immediate priority.
While this program can work for the advanced athlete, some but not all
would strive on more volume, which is where adding a 5th training day
can become more useful other than typical reasons such as “team no
days off”. I wont go into much detail as to why training 4 days per week
is awesome, but the recovery benefits and free time to do other stuff is
The amount of volume in this program is based on the latest metaanalysis on volume that showed 10 sets per muscle group per week is
much better than any less than that. However, there is not much
research on higher volumes, but a generally accepted set number based
on several experts is somewhere around 10-20 sets per muscle group
per week, with the low end for beginners, the middle area for
intermediates, and the high end for the advanced. There are of course
exceptions, but this is a good starting point.
The amount of volume in this program, the frequency, and the
progression scheme, is built around beginner to intermediate lifters. Not
a true beginner as in just started lifting weights yesterday, but someone
whose been at it for maybe 3 months or longer and has learned how to
perform the compound lifts safely. Truth is, most people in a typical gym
would probably benefit from a set up such as this. Progress really starts
taking off when you have a plan to progress.
This is an upper/lower split. Ideally, you want 1-2 days rest between
upper/lower sessions. So for example you could train Monday/Tuesday
and Thursday/Friday. Or Monday/Tuesday and Friday/Saturday. Don’t
be afraid of mixing up the days in another order depending on your
schedule. One of the perks of training with this split is the amount of
freedom you have for variability for other life events, hobbies, work, and
so on. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that you want at least 48
hours before training the same muscle group again.
As already stated, per a recent meta-analysis, we know that training
each muscle group via 10 sets or more per week is better than less than
10 sets per muscle group per week for maximizing muscle growth. The
top limit we don’t know, as it hasn’t been studied enough yet. What we
do know there is a dose response relationship between volume and
hypertrophy, to a point. There is data showing that after a certain point,
doing too much volume can actually hinder growth.
This is partly why training each muscle twice per week is shown to be
superior to once a week. Since to accumulate enough volume in just one
session to maximize hypertrophy for the week, one would actually slow
down hypertrophy, as strange as that sounds; as one study showed that
5 sets per muscle group per session was superior to 10 sets. Indeed, one
can do too much in one session. One can also do too much within the
For the record, I am not listing references in this PDF for studies or
research I mention. I list references on my Instagram and Website as well
as speak further on the topics on there if you’re interested in learning
more behind that.
One thing we know about volume is that it is very individual. Some folks
can get by on less and others need more to grow at the same rate. This is
also dependent on training age, gender, and other factors. As ones
training age increases, one may be required to perform more volume. So
it is best to do only as much as needed in order to progress, as we
already said that doing more than necessary may only slow you down.
I know some people may think the amount of volume in this program is
not enough, but resist the urge to do more. More often than not, most
people will be able to progress on this amount prescribed. I know a lot
of people who do double the amount of volume in here, but their sets
stop too soon, meaning far from failure. In this program, we train very
close to failure (at least 3 reps prior to it).
When choosing an exercise you have to keep in mind the practicality
aspect. Since this programs primary objective is building muscle, you
can choose any exercises you wish. However, we do have our main 3
lifts where we progress based on percentages (more on this later).
These 3 are a squat, bench, and deadlift. You can choose any of the
following in the list below for your main lifts, as it doesn’t have to be a
certain variation of those. Remember, no exercise is essential when it
comes to building muscle; progressive tension overload is what we’re
So pick movements you enjoy, that you can feel the targeted muscle, and
that are sustainable for you. If squatting is hurting your knees but leg
pressing doesn’t, then just leg press. Yes, you should definitely look into
perfecting your squatting technique by reading, watching, observing,
learning, and seeking out a qualified coach; as you may be doing
something wrong that’s causing you pain. But, don’t pick a movement as
your main one for progressing when it’s causing you pain.
When it comes to how many movements per muscle group, I
recommend picking 1-2 and sticking with them. So for example, you will
do a row twice weekly, so you could have one exercise for both days, or
one for each day. But don’t swap them out frequently for the sake of
confusing the muscle or whatever that means, you shouldn’t try to fix
what isn’t broken. If you are still progressing at an exercise and it isn’t
causing you any pain, is there really any need to swap it out for
something else? If you have become bored of it then sure, after all,
sustainability is key, and you’re more likely to do something if you enjoy
With that said, for compounds, I would recommend keeping them in
rotation for at least 3-4 months. For isolation exercises, you can swap
them out for a new exercise as early as every 4 weeks if you wanted. But
it isn’t needed as long as you’re progressing and pain free. The reason
we don’t want to switch out compounds too frequently if we can avoid
to is because they are more technical and harder to master. So if you
back squat for 4 weeks and then switch to a front squat, you switched
when you were barely getting the hang of the back squatting technique,
and now you have to spend the next 4 weeks mastering the front squat.
Thus, you will always be stuck in the learning phase when you could
have been progressing. I’m sure you have experienced this, when you
first step foot in the gym, your bench press was nearly non-existent,
well at least mine was. For example, mine was 60lbs. After just 4 weeks,
I was benching 100lbs, and just a couple months later I was already at
135lbs. That is a lot of weight to add in just 3 months if you think about
it. As for the first few weeks, strength will sky rocket, but this isn’t
because of muscle mass gains, they are neurological gains. You are
learning how to do the movement efficiently and produce force with the
muscle you have. But you’re relatively weak at first because you don’t
know how to lift the weight as efficiently as possible. But you won’t
actually grow until you learn how to so you can stress your muscular
If you could only bench 100lbs for 3 and weeks later you are doing 135
for 5, do you really think the 100lbs x 3 was sufficient in causing
hypertrophy? Definitely, as you went from no training to some training,
but it wasn’t maximizing hypertrophy that’s for sure. So my point in all
this is to not keep yourself in a learning phase, but rather in a
progressive phase for as long as you can.
Horizontal Row variations (recommended):
Chest supported machine row
Seated cable row
Pendlay Row
Dumbbell row
Inverted row
Horizontal Push variations (recommended)
• Dumbbell press (flat, decline, or incline)
• Barbell bench press (flat, decline, or incline)
Vertical Pull variations (recommended)
Pull-down (medium grip overhand or neutral grip)
Pull ups
Chin ups
Single arm pull-down
Vertical Push variations (recommended)
Single arm DB overhead press
Double arm DB overhead press
Hammer Strength machine overhead press
Barbell overhead press
Squat variations (recommended)
• Barbell back squat (high bar or low bar)
• Front squat
Leg press variations (recommended)
• Leg press
• Hack squat or similar
• Smith machine squat
Deadlift variations (recommended)
RDL (Romanian deadlift)
Good mornings
Deadlift (sumo or conventional)
Trap bar deadlift
Hip Hinge variations (recommended)
• Hip thrust (barbell, dumbbell, or machine)
• Cable pull-through
• Back extensions
Triceps Extensions (recommended)
• Lying overhead extension
• Cable pushdown
Bicep Curls (recommended)
Barbell standing
Incline dumbbell
Bayesian curl
Preacher curl
The first 2 upper/lower days of the week are going to be your lightest
days of the week with the highest rep ranges, and your second
upper/lower sessions will be the heaviest days of the week. Why?
Because variation is fun, and daily undulation (DUP) seems to be an
effective programming strategy for making gains.
The exercises in bold are your main lifts where the load is based on
percentages. You will have to enter your 1RM for each of these lifts on
the “Inputs” page so that the correct loads appear in the program for
you to lift. If you have no idea what your 1RM’s are or if you chose a
movement where it isn’t as practical to test (for example, an RDL), you
have 2 options:
1. Choose a load based on experience on what you think you could
lift for the given rep range with at least 2-3 reps in the tank, and
use that.
2. Or use the following 1RM calculator on the “Inputs” page. This
won’t be 100% accurate but it will land you in the ball-park and
you can use this number as your 1RM for load prescription and
So for your first 2 upper/lower sessions on your main lifts (remember,
in bold); you’ll notice you have the percentage/load and a rep range, for
example, on the horizontal push (which could be a bench press for
example) you have 60% of your 1RM for 10-15 reps. So if your max is
225, you would have to lift 135lbs for 10-15 reps.
Your first set has to end about 2-3 reps before failure. So if you stopped
at 12 reps because you felt you could only do 2-3 more reps; the goal for
the remaining sets is to do 12 reps again. By design, your subsequent
sets will be harder and closer to failure as fatigue comes into play. You
do this every week until you can do all sets at the top end of the rep
range, you then add load. Once you are able to do all sets at the top of
this rep range, you will add load to the bar for that particular exercise
on that specific day by 2.5%. You can do this easily by changing the
percentage listed and it will automatically spit out the new numbers to
lift based on the increase. This will be around a 10lb increase.
For your second upper/lower sessions on the main lifts, the set up is a
bit different. You’ll notice that each rep target for each exercise is 6 reps.
You will do 6 reps for all sets with the prescribed weight based on the
programmed percentage.
Remember though, we want progressive tension overload. So if you are
able to bang out another rep or 2, or add 5 more pounds etc. We want it
to be because you actually got stronger (which is a good indication
muscle growth is occurring), and not because you used some extra
momentum to get that extra rep or lift that extra load.
Lastly, the progression scheme for all other lifts is the same as your first
2 upper/lower days. So for example; day 1 has bicep curls for 3 sets of
12-15 reps with a first set RIR of 2. So, choose a load you can do around
12-15 reps and stop when you have 2 reps in the tank. For the following
2 sets, you’ll aim for the same rep number you did on the first set.
For example, this is how it may play out:
40lbs x 14 w/2 reps in reserve
40lbs x 14 w/1 rep in reserve
40lbs x 14 w/ no reps in reserve
Your reps in reserve will naturally drop as fatigue accumulates. This is
by design.
Okay, so on days 3 and 4 for your main lifts (days 1 and 2 progression
were covered in the last section, along with accessory and isolation
exercises) you will only add load if your last set RIR is at least 1 or more.
So for example, if you deadlifted 3x6 with 350lbs, and your RIR (reps in
reserve) of your last set was 1 or more, you will add weight the
following week. This increase in load is pre-programmed, so simply
repeat the weight again if your last set’s RIR is less than 1 (too close to
Remember, this is for your last set only. Why? Because if you had for
example 3 or 4 reps in reserve on your last set, it means your first 2 sets
were probably 5+ RIR, which is kind of easy, so we can easily afford a
jump in load the following week. If your last set RIR was around 1-2, it
means your previous 2 sets were maybe 3-4 in reserve, which is a more
reasonable effort level, but it means there’s a little left in there
(especially after a week where you have the chance to adapt and get
If your last set was a real grinder, as in you definitely did not have
another rep in there, don’t be discouraged. Just keep the load the same
the following week and focus on crushing it and making it feel easier.
If you failed a rep; assuming it wasn’t a technique error or just lack of
focus/too much stress, I would recommend decreasing load by about
2% the following week to give yourself a chance to adapt.
You can easily make these percentage increase/decreases on a
particular lift by changing the percentage, and it will automatically spit
out the appropriate numbers to lift.
Your RIR is your effort intensity, as we already elaborated, this stands
for reps in reserve, or how many reps are left in the tank. This is to keep
the wild ones out there who always train to failure to a more
appropriate intensity that is more suitable for keeping a balance
between fatigue and training in order to maximize volume and progress,
as well pushing the lifters out there who typically train too far from
failure. Without sufficient exertion in a set, it is almost useless.
Far too many lifters stop a set too early, according to a recent study.
They found that 40% of lifters (in that study) were leaving 7+ reps in
reserve on the bench press. This is basically a warm up. In the study, the
lifters were told to lift a load to failure where they normally lift for 10
reps in training. So if you can do 17 or more reps with a given load yet
you’re in the gym doing 4 sets of 10; I’m sorry but you’re leaving
precious gains on the table.
It isn’t until the last few reps (last 5-6) where motor unit recruitment is
at an all time high. This is also where rep speed has significantly slowed
down due to fatigue. These 2 in combination with each other are what
cause mechanical loading, which is what causes muscle to grow. So in
general and for this reason, most sets should be around 1-3 from failure.
You should lift the concentric (lifting phase) with maximum intended
velocity, or as hard as you can. The eccentric (lowering phase) should be
controlled enough to set you up for the powerful concentric, somewhere
around 1-2 seconds. There is evidence to suggest that slow eccentrics
(lowering phase) with the fast concentric results in superior
hypertrophy gains than faster eccentrics. More research is needed, but if
you want to give that a shot, I recommend slow 4 second eccentrics on
your isolation lifts only, followed by the powerful concentric. So that
would be a bicep curl with maximum intended velocity, followed by a 4
second lowering phase, repeat until all desired reps are completed.
The deload in this program is scheduled to be on week 7. They are
intended to dissipate any lingering fatigue that could affect your
performance and progress going forward. They also give your joints a
break. You’ll notice, that only the first 2 days are technically a deload.
While the last 2 days calls for a AMRAP testing (more on this soon)
On your first 2 days, we simply dropped 1 RIR point, so you’ll be leaving
3 reps in the tank. And you’re doing 1 set less per exercise. So you’re
still getting a training effect. For the main lifts, sets and reps are preprogrammed with a given percentage of your 1RM. For the other days, I
recommend dropping a couple pounds and leaving 3 reps in reserve.
These 2 days will help eliminate some of your accumulated fatigue.
And just in case you’re worried about losing gains by taking it easy:
There was a study done where the researchers compared training 24
weeks straight to another group who trained for 6 weeks followed by 3
weeks off, followed by 6 weeks of training again, followed by another 3
weeks off, and then 6 more weeks of training (24 weeks total with only
18 weeks of actual training); they found that chest and triceps cross
sectional area at the end of the 24 week study was the same between
This doesn’t mean that’s how you should train. Rather, it goes to show
that you shouldn’t be afraid of more frequent de-loads. And that the
occasional 1-3 weeks off the gym due to vacation, work, life, school etc
isn’t really going to affect you in the grand scheme of things. I don’t
condone slacking, as training is how you grow and get stronger, but rest
is important too. I’ve been injured in the past because I would train
ridiculously hard for 12-16 weeks straight without a single de-load,
thinking it would set me back. What ended up happening was being
forced to lay off a particular lift for months while I got healthy again.
This is the fun part of the deload week. On week 7 day 3 upper day, you
have 4 AMRAP sets to do. AMRAP stands for as many reps as possible.
The goal here is to hit a new record, and so that overtime you track your
progress. If you use to Pendlay Row 155lbs for 10 reps, and can now do
it with 175lbs, or 155lbs for 13 reps, for example, assuming technique
was unchanged; it’s a good sign you built some muscle.
On day 4, you’ll have only 2 AMRAP’s to do, which will be the toughest
ones, since it’s legs lol. For your main lifts, use the percentage listed,
which is 85% of your 1RM. Expect to hit around 5-6 reps, but ideally
more of course. The goal here is to improve overtime and to establish
new 1-Rep Maxes so that you can run this program with new and
improved numbers, which will subsequently mean higher weights for
the same rep targets.
So if you managed to squat 85% of your 1RM (let’s say this is 250lbs) for
8 reps, you will type in those numbers on week 7 at the bottom of the
program to determine your new estimated 1RM. In our example, this
would translate to a ~315lb squat, which would mean your new 85% is
~270lbs, and no longer 250lbs. You will then use 315lbs as your new
squat 1RM to run this program again.
Got it?
For the other 3 lifts (overhead press, row, and vertical pull), you will
simply aim for a new 10-rep max. So maybe you tackle weighted pullups with 25lbs attached (for example) and go to town. Regardless of
how many you perform, your goal next time you test is to either destroy
that number, or to do the same rep target with increased load.
Because these tests will be used as a proxy for muscle growth; feel free
to give week 7 a test run before jumping into week 1. Just to see where
you’re at. This week would also serve as a nice transition from your
previous training week/program to this one.
What about volume increases? Volume does have to increase at a
certain point in your training career when your body adapts. You see,
muscle grows from mechanical tension, which occurs when you take a
sufficient load and perform reps to a sufficient level of stress, meaning
close to failure, while also doing this enough times (as in enough total
sets or volume). Now it is true that getting stronger influences volume
load or tonnage. For example, if you take your 5-rep max from 205lbs to
245lbs, volume just went up by default, even if the number of sets you
did are the same. But, we can’t get stronger forever, and volume load
doesn’t paint the entire picture.
The whole volume thing has been way overblown. People think volume
load or tonnage is everything, that training at a lower volume than you
were previously = a waste of time, treating volume as this calculation
that can be neatly quantified. For example, 70% of your 1RM for 10
reps is indeed more volume than 75% for 8 reps.
Volume load = sets x reps x load lifted.
For example, your 1RM on bench press is 300lbs, 70% would be 210lbs,
and 75% would be 225lbs. One set at the rep target I mentioned above
with either loads will land you around 2 reps from failure. Both effective
sets, but if you do the math, 210lbs x 10 = 2,100lbs of volume. Yet
225lbs for 8 is 1,800lbs of volume.
Does this imply that doing 10 reps is better than 8 reps for muscle
growth? No, that is absurd. Research is pretty clear, so as long as the
number of sets are equated (within certain intensity zones or rep
ranges), that hypertrophy outcomes are the same. So the rep range you
choose largely comes down to what is practical for a given exercise.
Before we get into how to add volume to your program if needed be, we
should first discuss when.
First off, how do we identify a plateau? Well, to me, it means that you
are unable to add any load or any reps to a particular lift or exercise for
2 months. Of course, there are scenarios that could affect your ability to
do so, and if the case, adding volume would not be the answer. Let’s look
at those scenarios shall we:
1. Are you eating enough to gain bodyweight? – Yes, you can be
dieting during this program but if you aren’t, you should be
looking to maximize your progress by eating enough food.
2. Are your stress levels in the norm, or have they been exacerbated
3. Have you been slacking with training consistency?
4. Are you sleeping enough? I recommend 7-9 hours per night on
5. How is your technique and form? Believe it or not, how you
execute a lift can leave you with little to no progress. You may be
able to add load and reps (by cheating), but limiting muscle
growth while doing so. A great example of this is calf raises. Most
people bounce them allowing their Achilles tendon to do most of
the work. I recommend pausing each calf raise at the bottom for 2
full seconds before initiating the following concentric to dissipate
any Achilles tendon involvement. Your calves won’t know what
hit them.
If you truly are good to go in all 5 of these instances, yet you aren’t
progressing anymore after 2 months of hard work. Then you could say
for certain that you have hit a plateau.
The easiest way to do this is to add 1 set on each given lift you have
stalled in. For example, if only your squat has stalled, add one set to the
day it has stalled in, or both days, if they are both stagnate. This can
easily be done if you use the spreadsheet provided to track your
training, as the program sheets allows you to change exercises and the
number of sets to suit your preference, and individual volume
This is also why structure and a well laid out plan is important, to be
able to detect why you aren’t improving and to be able to come up with
a solution. Rather then googling the latest secret to big biceps on the
Internet. So in general, if progress has stalled and you are recovered;
increase volume. If you stalled, were not recovered, yet progress did not
recover after a de-load week, volume must decrease.
Overall, don’t sweat it too much; most of you will be able to tolerate the
amount of volume listed in this program and progress just fine. Some of
you may actually think the volume is too low. But it’s important to trust
the process. This program is built on scientific principles. I am confident
that if you follow this program as written, follow the de-load guidelines,
eat enough, sleep enough, and have correct technique, that you will
progress on it for a very long time.
While any muscle and strength building program is going to be best
done under a fed state (i.e. calorie surplus or bulking), you can also be
dieting during a program of this kind. No adjustments are necessary in
the program whether dieting or not. What builds muscle best preserves
muscle best, so it’s best to keep everything as is.
You hear all the time that volume must be reduced when you transition
from a surplus to a diet. But, a large part of this takes care of itself as the
diet prolongs; as typically, at a certain point in the diet (if you get lean
enough), strength may go down a bit. This isn’t bad, so as long as
strength isn’t rapidly dropping, or dropping when you still have plenty
of body fat. When you get lean enough, leverages change, and this affects
If this discourages you, definitely look at your bodyweight to lifting
ratios; you’ll often find you’re stronger pound for pound now, assuming
the diet wasn’t too aggressive. For the most part in the diet though, you
should be able to gain strength. If you aren’t, something may be horribly
wrong in your diet.
I recommend eating 1g/lb or 2.2g/kg for protein. A little less is okay if
you’re in a surplus, and a little more won’t hurt if you’re dieting.
As for supplements, I recommend nothing more than Creatine
Monohydrate (3-5g per day everyday), caffeine for hard training days,
and maybe some protein powder if you have a hard time getting in
enough from food alone.
To be honest, if you want the best and fastest possible results, I would
recommend excluding cardio altogether. But, I understand some people
enjoy doing cardio. If you do, you should do it on “off days”, or after your
gym session, not before. Research has shown that keeping any
cardiovascular exercise apart from a resistance training limits the
interference effect. I would say no more than 3x per week, limiting each
session to 20-30min, and preferably cycling over running. If you do that,
the interference effect will be small to non-existent. As for determining
the type of cardio, do which you enjoy.
Here are some trustworthy resources you can go to for exercise
technique and proper form. I recommend checking them all out when
you have the time. They certainly helped me quite a bit even though I
was quite competent when I first came across most of them. Even if you
have the best technique in the universe, you will likely still take away
something practical from these. I would start with the videos first as the
written articles I listed are pretty long.
https://youtu.be/t2b8UdqmlFs and/or https://youtu.be/y5XJ5XspJxo
Written format: https://www.strongerbyscience.com/how-to-squat/
Bench Press:
https://youtu.be/IwpbvOc2g7I and/or
Written format: https://www.strongerbyscience.com/how-to-bench/
Romanian Deadlift:
Deadlifts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fc4_hq7tjkU and/or
Written format: https://www.strongerbyscience.com/how-to-deadlift/
First, I want to say thank you for purchasing my program. Chances are,
if you’re reading this then you are a supporter of the Strength Guide
page on IG. Every like, comment, tag, and repost has allowed a larger
reach so we can educate people on how to train smarter.
In this program, I give you the training principles embedded in the
program, as well as the tools needed to adjust based on your preference,
needs, and rate of adaptation. This program is by no means perfect or
perfect for every single individual, no program ever is. But hopefully,
the structure is just what you need to take you to the next level. If you
go into the gym with the mindset that you are now stronger and with
expectations to improve, you’ll see great gains. I am confident that if you
were not doing anything like this before, and sort of just winging your
training, going hard, but with no structure, system, and progression
schemes like this, that you’ll find success running this program.
While the purchase of this program does not include ongoing
communication, feel free to email me if you have any questions or
concerns regarding a certain aspect of this program. And I will send a
reply to you as soon as I am able which will hopefully clear up any
confusion. My email is strengthguide1@gmail.com
- Eddie Perez