Have you ever wondered how much lean muscle mass you can add to your body in just four weeks? And have you then been disappointed when a month of hard lifting failed to deliver the physique-transforming changes you were anticipating?

While training hard is very important to building a bigger and stronger body, it’s just as important to train smart. And that means following a structured and progressive training plan that ensures you leave no stone unturned in your question to pack on serious size.

We’ve put together the following 16-session training block for you to follow for the next 28 days. Try to increase the weight (or reps, if at first you can only manage the lower end of our rep target) each week.

How the plan works

Packing on as much muscle mass as possible over four weeks requires you to push yourself harder than ever before. So before you begin, make sure you are feeling healthy, energetic and injury-free – then follow this hypertrophy training plan as closely as possible. It’s been designed to grow your major muscle groups, especially your chest and back, so that you radically transform your physique.

The four-week plan is made up of four sessions a week, which you will ideally do on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday or Sunday. The Monday session targets your chest and back; the Wednesday one your legs and shoulders; the Friday session your chest and triceps; and the Saturday one your back and biceps. This means you’ll work your major upper-body muscles either directly or indirectly twice a week, and it’s this big increase in training volume that will stimulate these muscles to grow bigger quickly.

Each workout is made up of five moves, all performed as straight sets. So do the moves in order, keeping to the sets, reps, tempo and rest periods, and lift as hard and as smart as you can.

Tempo training

To get the full effect from these workouts, you need to stick to the four-digit tempo code for each exercise. The first digit indicates how long in seconds you take to lower the weight, the second how long you pause at the bottom of the move, the third how long you take to lift the weight, and the final digit how long you pause at the top. The accumulated time under tension increases your heart rate to burn body fat and break down muscle tissue so it’s rebuilt bigger and stronger. Keep each rep smooth and controlled so your muscles – not momentum – do the work, and move through a full range of motion.

Workout 1: Chest And Back

1 Bench press

Bench press

Sets 5 Reps 12 Tempo 3010 Rest 60sec

Lie on a flat bench, holding a barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart using an overhand grip. Brace your core and press your feet into the ground, then lower the bar towards your chest. Press it back up to the start.

2 Bent-over row

Barbell bent-over row

Sets 5 Reps 12 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Hold a barbell using a shoulder-width overhand grip, hands just outside your legs. Bend your knees slightly, then bend forwards, hingeing from the hips and keeping your shoulder blades back. Pull the bar up towards your sternum, leading with your elbows, then lower it back to the start.

3 Chin-up

Chin-up

Sets 3 Reps 6-12 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Hold a chin-up bar using a shoulder-width underhand grip. Brace your core, then pull yourself up until your chin is higher than the bar, keeping your elbows tucked in to your body. Lower until your arms are straight again.

4 Incline flye

Superset workout one: 2B Incline dumbbell flye

Sets 3 Reps 12 Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec

Lie on an incline bench holding a dumbbell in each hand above your face, with your palms facing and a slight bend in your elbows. Lower them to the sides, then bring them back to the top.

5 Diamond press-up

Diamond press-up

Sets 3 Reps 6-12 Tempo 2110 Rest 60sec

Start in a press-up position but with your thumbs and index fingers touching to form a diamond. Keeping your hips up and core braced, bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the floor. Push down through your hands to return to the start.

Workout 2: Legs And Shoulders

1 Back squat

Barbell back squat

Sets 5 Reps 12 Tempo 3010 Rest 60sec

Stand tall with feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell across the back of your shoulders. Keeping your chest up and core braced, squat down until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Drive back up through your heels to return to the start.

2 Overhead press

Overhead press

Sets 5 Reps 12 Tempo 3010 Rest 60sec

Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell across the top of your chest with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your chest up and core braced, press the bar overhead until your arms are straight, then lower it back to the start.

3 Barbell split squat

Barbell split squat

Sets 3 Reps 6 each side Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec

Stand tall with feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, holding a bar across the back of your shoulders. Keeping your chest up, take a big step forwards with your right foot, then bend both knees to 90°. Drive back through your right foot to return to the start. Repeat for six reps, then switch legs and do another six reps with your left foot forward.

4 Barbell high pull

Barbell high pull

Sets 3 Reps 12 Tempo 1010 Rest 60sec

Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell with an overhand grip and arms straight. Keeping your chest up and core braced, pull the bar upwards, leading with your elbows, until it reaches chin height. Then lower it back to the start.

5 Lateral raise

Dumbbell lateral raise

Sets 3 Reps 12 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Stand tall, holding a light dumbbell in each hand by your sides, palms facing each other. Keeping your chest up, your core braced and a slight bend in your elbows, raise the weights out to shoulder height. Turn your thumbs down at the top, then lower back to the start.

Workout 3: Chest And Triceps

1 Bench press

Bench press

Sets 5 Reps 12 Tempo 3010 Rest 60sec

Lie on a flat bench, holding a bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart using an overhand grip. Brace your core and press your feet into the ground, then lower the bar towards your chest. Press it back up to the start.

2 Seated dumbbell overhead press

Seated dumbbell shoulder press

Sets 5 Reps 12 Tempo 3010 Rest 60sec

Sit on an upright bench holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, palms facing forwards. Keeping your chest up, press the weights directly overhead until your arms are straight, then lower them back to the start.

3 Hammer-grip dumbbell press

Sets 3 Reps 12 Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec

Lie on a flat bench, holding dumbbells by your shoulders with palms facing each other. Drive your feet into the floor and press the weights straight up, then lower them slowly back to the start.

4 Dumbbell triceps extension

Dumbbell triceps extension

Sets 3 Reps 12 Tempo 1010 Rest 60sec

Stand tall holding dumbbells in each hand over your head, arms straight. Keeping your chest up, core braced and elbows pointing up, lower the weights behind your head, then return to the start.

5 Diamond press-up

Diamond press-up

Sets 3 Reps 6-12 Tempo 2010 Rest 60sec

Start in a press-up position but with your thumbs and index fingers touching to form a diamond. Keeping your hips up and core braced, bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the floor. Push down through your hands to return to the start.

Workout 4: Back And Biceps

1 Pull-up

Superset workout one: 1B Pull-up

Sets 5 Reps 6-12 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Hold a pull-up bar using an overhand grip with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Brace your core, then pull yourself up until your lower chest touches the bar. Lower until your arms are straight again.

2 Barbell biceps curl

Barbell biceps curl

Sets 5 Reps 12 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Hold a barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart using an underhand grip. Keeping your chest up, core braced and elbows tucked in to your sides, curl the bar up to your chest, squeezing your biceps as you go. Lower it back to the start.

3 Chin-up

Chin-up

Sets 3 Reps 6-12 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Hold a chin-up bar using a shoulder-width underhand grip. Brace your core, then pull yourself up until your chin is higher than the bar, keeping your elbows tucked in to your body. Lower until your arms are straight again.

4 Reverse-grip bent-over row

Reverse-grip bent-over row

Sets 3 Reps 12 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Hold a bar using a shoulder-width underhand grip, hands just outside your legs. Bend your knees slightly, then bend forwards, hingeing at the hips and keeping your shoulder blades back. Pull the bar up towards your sternum, leading with your elbows, then lower it back to the start.

5 Dumbbell biceps curl

Dumbbell biceps curl

Sets 3 Reps 12 Tempo 2011 Rest 60sec

Hold dumbbells by your sides with straight arms, palms facing forwards. Keeping your chest up, core braced and elbows tucked in to your sides, curl the weights up, squeezing your biceps as you go. Then lower them back to the start.