What Type Of Workout Would Be The Most Effective While Bulking?

What type of workout would be the most effective while bulking? Our forum members give some brief but very descriptive workouts, meal plan ideas, and supplementation for a bulking workout! Learn more here and try them out.

Topic: What Type Of Workout Would Be The Most Effective While Bulking?

The Question:

The season of cutting is quickly coming to a close. Now our focus turns to bulking and building more quality muscle mass and strength. The question now is how do we do that without gaining to much fat.

What is the best workout during a bulking phase of training? Be as descriptive as possible. List sets, reps, etc.

What type of diet would you follow during this type of training? Be specific.

What supplementation plan would you follow?

Bonus Question: Have you ever followed a plan that was exclusively tailored to bulking? What are the positives to this type of training? What are the negatives to this type of training?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

New Prizes:

  • 1st place - $75 in store credit.
  • 2nd place - $50 in store credit.

1st Place: h0ckeyfreek20


The time for taking our shirts off and strutting around the beach is over. For some of us, it's a happy ending to the starvation diet we know as "cutting." Summer is gone and it's time to start bulking again for winter. Many things come to mind when you hear the term Bulk: new diet, a new supplement plan, new workout routines, etc. Today, we are here to talk about all of these!

What Is The Best Workout During A Bulking Phase Of Training?

While bulking, a strength routine is a must. More strength = more size. Therefore, the best workout routine while bulking is undoubtedly a 5x5 routine. A 5x5 routine is the one of the most reputable strength routines there is. But, as anyone who has researched a 5x5 program knows, there are several versions of this routine.

The 5x5 program that I have made the best gains off of was written by Madcow. It is known as Madcow's write up of the 5x5. Myself, as well as many others, believe that it is the best write up of this program. I made huge gains in strength, as well as size from this routine and many other have stated the same.

This program requires three workouts per week and there must be at least a day between workouts. The program focuses mainly on compound movements such as squats, bench, rows, deadlifts, dips, etc. Below is a brief overview of the program.



  • Squats: 5x5: 5th set should be the same weight as last Friday's triple
  • Bench Press: 5x5: 5th set should be the same weight as last Friday's triple
  • Rows: 5x5: 5th set should be the same weight as last Friday's triple


  • Weighted hyperextensions: 2x8
  • Weighted Sit-ups: 4x8

print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Monday.



  • Squats: 4x5: First three sets are the same as Monday's. 4th set is the same weight as the third set
  • Incline Bench/Military Press: 4x5: Increase weight 10-15% each set
  • Deadlifts: 4x5: Increase weight 10-15% each set


  • Sit-ups: 3x25

print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Wednesday.



  • Squats: 4x5(Same weight as Monday) + 1x3 (2.5% above the weight of Mondays last set) + 1x8 (Same weight as your third set)
  • Bench: 4x5(Same weight as Monday) + 1x3 (2.5% above the weight of Mondays last set) + 1x8 (Same weight as your third set)
  • Rows: 4x5(Same weight as Monday) + 1x3 (2.5% above the weight of Mondays last set) + 1x8 (Same weight as your third set)


  • Weighted Dips: 3x8
  • Barbell Curls: 3x8
  • Overhead tricep extensions: 3x8

print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Friday.


You should hit your current 5 rep max at week 4 of this routine. The routine calls for adding 5 pounds per week to each compound exercise. If you fail to get all 5 reps just repeat the same week over again next week.

Diet: What Type Of Diet Would You Follow During This Type Of Training?

As we all know, diet is a huge part of any bodybuilder's life. On a bulk, the only thing a bodybuilder should be worried about is getting down as many calories as possible. Below I will include a meal plan that adds up to about 3080 calories, 258 grams of protein, 90 grams of fat, and 303 grams of carbs.

Meal 1:

  • 1 cup oats, LSA mix, honey, skim milk
  • 2 whole eggs

Meal 2:

  • 2 slices of whole-wheat grain bread
  • 100 g of low-fat cottage cheese

Meal 3: Pre-workout

Meal 4: Post-workout:

  • 2 scoops whey protein
  • 1 cup skim milk

Meal 5:

  • Whole-meal bread roll
  • 95 g of tuna
  • Salad
  • Mandarin

Meal 6:

  • 100 g fat-free yogurt
  • 1 Apple

Meal 7:

  • 6 oz chicken breast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1 cup mixed steamed vegetables

Meal 8:

  • 1/2 scoop of whey protein
  • 1 cup of milk

This diet plan should provide plenty of calories, fats, carbs and protein to gain some serious weight. Sticking to a good diet is the key to success in our sport. With a diet like this your weight and gains should skyrocket.

Supplements: What Supplementation Plan Would You Follow?

Supplementation is an important part of bodybuilding. There are some essential supplements, some supplements that speed up the recovery process, and some supplements that can provide that extra boost every bodybuilder needs at one time or another.

Essential Supplements:


Every bodybuilder needs a good multivitamin. My current multivitamin requires me to take 2 dosages (one in the morning and one before bed). I can honestly say that I notice a different in my daily function when I forget to take my morning multivitamin.

View Top Selling Multivitamins Here.


Essential fatty acids are a key part of bodybuilding. Good sources of these are fish oil and flax oil. Both of these are affordable and any bodybuilder can benefit from these. If one chooses to use fish oil as a form of EFA's, I'd recommend getting those with an orange or lemon flavoring.

Some peoples' stomachs don't react well with fish oil and nobody wants to have a fish taste in their mouth all day. With the orange/lemon flavor, when one burps, he/she won't be tasting fish, but rather a pleasant orange/lemon delight.

View Top Selling EFA Products Here.

Whey Protein:

Whey protein can help speed up the recovery process. I take whey protein in the morning, after my workout and before bed. With whey protein, no bodybuilder should ever have trouble getting enough protein in their diet.

View Top Selling Whey Protein Products Here.


Dextrose is a great source of carbs. I put dextrose in my post workout shake. It helps replenish your body with much needed carbohydrates.

Other Worthwhile Supplements


Great muscle build and speeds up recovery.

View Top Selling Creatine Products Here.

NO Products:

Helps recovery by allowing more blood to flow to the muscles. People also love the pumps they get while on NO.

View Top Selling NO Products Here.


Natural test booster/promotes sleep. I get really deep sleeps if I take ZMA before bed.

View Top Selling ZMA Products Here.

Energy Supplement:

These are really great on those days you just don't feel like working out. Anyone who works out in the morning can really benefit from these. Great energy supplements I've tried:

Serious Muscle Builder:

There are a few supplements that promise great gains in only a few months. One proven one is X-factor. People have been experiencing great gains in weight and strength while using X-factor.

Side affects of X-factor include acne, headaches, and dry/cracked skin. E-bol and Halodrol-liquigels are products that just came out on the market but promise great gains.

Bonus Question: Have You Ever Followed A Plan That Was Exclusively Tailored To Bulking?

Yes, while bulking I followed a 5x5 routine with no real diet or supplementation plan. The gains were great. I followed this plan for 15 weeks and I made enormous gains in strength and weight. At week 6 in my routine I already added 15 pounds to my bench and 20 pounds to my squats, deadlifts, and rows.

In total I added 30 pounds to my 5 rep max bench, 40 pounds to my squat and rows, and 35 pounds to my deadlifts. I also increased 15 pounds in bodyweight. I noticed a difference in sports performance also. I went from being the fast little guy on my hockey team, to the fast little guy who no one could knock off the puck.

I couldn't find any negative aspects of this program. It really pushes you to the limit and it is not for wimps. On this program, only the strong survive.


Anyone can benefit from this bulking plan! If you follow the routine, the diet and you supplement properly, you can expect to see huge gains in size, strength, and weight. Athletes involved in football, hockey, lacrosse, or any other contact sport can definitely benefit from this program. I made huge gains off this program and I'm sure that you can too.

Happy lifting and best regards,

2nd Place: best regards

What would be the best way to put on a maximum amount of muscle?

Well, it would obviously vary from person to person as everyone is at a different stage. A beginner may benefit more from a program like Starting Strength, which focuses entirely on taking absolutely 100% of the "newb gains" you will experience. But here, I'm going to assume you've already done that. You're an intermediate. This means you have fairly good lifts (squat, deadlift, bench, row, etc.) already. And you already have a solid foundation of strength.

This is important. Why? Because you body does not grow from the muscles getting "pumped" then breaking down and building back up. Well actually that's partially accurate. But the reason your body wants to gain muscle in the first place is a result of the CNS, or central nervous system, getting stronger, and being able to move more weight. That forces the body to add muscle, assuming you eat enough to support that.

The Central Nervous System

The human central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. These lie in the midline of the body and are protected by the skull and vertebrae respectively.

This collection of billions of neurons is arguably the most complex object known.

The central nervous system along with the peripheral nervous system comprise a primary division of controls that command all physical activities of a human.

Neurons of the central nervous system affect consciousness and mental activity while spinal extensions of central nervous system neuron pathways affect skeletal muscles and organs in the body.

OK, now that we have established where you are, I'd like to restate it one more time because I feel it's that important. If you are a beginner, and do not have decent lifts, do not follow an intermediate program. It will not hurt anything, but you would experience much faster gains following a program that allows you to increase more frequently. The program I am going to show you is the basic intermediate 5x5 program.

Now, when I say 5x5, I don't mean 5 full sets of 5. I am referring to 4 sets working up to one max set of 5. It would look something like this:

  • Set 1: 35% of target 5RM
  • Set 2: 70%
  • Set 3: 80%
  • Set 4: 90%
  • Set 5: 5RM

In the original 5x5 program written by Bill Starr, he would have his clients focus on the squat, bench press, and power clean only. He would set it up and have a heavy, light and medium day each week. Unfortunately a program like that is very bland and although would work, I know for a fact 99% of you reading wouldn't do I due to it's tastelessness.

However, a user named "madcow2" (big thanks to him by the way for all he contributes) has a modified version of this program. And although it's still doing to be very basic compared to the routines you're probably used to that the muscle magazines publish where you're doing 100 exercises per body part, it is still much more effective.

It's all about progression. Isolation exercises are there only to assist you in increasing on the big lifts. They do not induce a great deal of overall hypertrophy (muscle growth).

Well here is the program. Remember what I said about ramping the weights up earlier. You might need to reread that chart.


  • Squat: 5x5 (ramping up to a max set of five)
  • Bench Press: 5x5 (ramping up to a max set of five)
  • Rows: 5x5 (ramping up to a max set of five)

The max sets on this day should be 5 pounds greater than the max sets on Monday. Unless you failed at last Monday's attempt.

print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Monday.


  • Squat: 4x5 (the first 3 sets are the same as Monday's first 3 sets; and the 4th set is repeating the 3rd set)
  • Overhead Press: 5x5 (ramping up to a max set of five)
  • Deadlift: 5x5 (ramping up to a max set of five)

print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Wednesday.


Ok Friday is where it gets tricky. Just read what I'm saying carefully.

  • Squat: 4x5, 1x3, 1x8 (the first 4 set are the same as Monday's first 4 sets; the triple is 5 pounds higher than Monday's max set of 5; the set of 8 is 5 pounds less than Monday's max set of 5)
  • Bench Press: 4x5, 1x3, 1x8 (same description as that given for squat)
  • Rows: 4x5, 1x3, 1x8 (same)

print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Friday.

Ok, not too hard now is it? Shouldn't be. Just reread it if you don't understand. It's actually simple. You're going to be increasing every week on these lifts if you eat enough. Which leads me to the next part.


Again, like I said in my last article, diet is pretty self-explanatory. You have to have a caloric excess to gain weight. Whether that weight will be muscle or fat depends on what you eat. For the record, Mark Rippetoe has his high school clients drink a gallon of whole milk a day on top of their normal meals.


Don't over think this either. With all the ads published in all the muscle mags, you may feel like you need the latest greatest supplement to grow. You don't. Take some cheapo whey post workout. Whey is whey. There's no "more digestible" types.

Creatine is also acceptable post workout. Multivitamins are said to be beneficial. And EFA's won't hurt anything either. If you are constantly on the go and sometimes miss a meal, weight gainer shakes are fine.

Bonus Question: Have You Ever Followed A Plan That Was Exclusively Tailored To Bulking? What Are The Positives To This Type Of Training? What Are The Negatives To This Type Of Training?

This question does not make sense. You either follow a program to gain muscle, or you don't. There's nothing in-between. You don't follow a program tailored 85% to bulking and 15% to cutting. So "this" type of training is how you would train if you want to gain muscle.

Don't get me wrong. The intermediate 5x5 isn't the only way to gain a lot of muscle. It just gets ridiculous when people start splitting up their body into body parts and doing certain parts on certain days. You see it in the muscle magazines because the pros encourage this type of training.

Regrettably pros take a ton of steroids and have a sh!t load of mass on them to start with. Therefore a program that they follow is the last thing you want to follow. Remember, as long as you are progressing consistently, there are no "negatives" to this type of training. Other than perhaps lifting this heavy constantly may increase the risk of you using bad form and injuring yourself. Be very careful. And use flawless form on every rep.

Don't be overwhelmed by the pro routines because of the big guy standing next to it flexing his biceps in the magazine you're reading. Compounds are the way to go in terms of mass. They may not be the funnest thing in the world and may not give you that pump everyone loves. But they will make you grow. As Dave Tate says,

"Compare a set of calf raises to a set of bent-over rows. Which one is the p*ssy going to choose?"

Well I hope you've learned at least something from this article.

Best regards!!

3rd Place: latrell

Workout: What Is The Best Workout During A Bulking Phase Of Training?

Day 1:

  • Squats: 5x5 ramped to top set
  • Incline Dumbbell bench press: 3x8
  • Pullups: 3x8 (weighted)
  • Dips or close-grip bench: few sets
  • Core work

print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Day 1.

Day 3:

  • Deadlift: 5x5 ramped to top set
  • Military Press: 3x8
  • Barbell Rows: 3x5 ramped to top set
  • Core work

print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Day 3.

Day 5:

  • Squats: 5x5 (sets across with weight of 3rd set on day 1)
  • Flat barbell bench press: 1x5 90% of 5rm, 1x3 90% of 1rm, 1x1 95-100% of 1rm
  • Yates Rows: 4x10 (sets across, 80% of 10rm)
  • Few sets of dips
  • Core work

print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Day 5.

Core work: Exercises present to help strengthen the core to prevent injuries and help through lifts. Include, ab work (crunches, etc.), and lower back work (hypers, supermans etc.) Because you are doing the core work 3x a week there shouldn't be more than 6 sets.

Diet: What Type Of Diet Would You Follow During This Type Of Training?

80% of your bulking goals comes from your diet, and only 20% comes from the training. Your diet should consist of 4000 calories or more depending on your weight, so in essence, 20 calories per pound of bodyweight. The ratio of calories in all your meals should be 30 % Protein, 40-50% Carbohydrates (depending on your current BF %) and 20-30% Fats.

For optimal results, your diet has to be broken down into 6-7 meals a day, with your absolute largest meal being your fist meal.

Supplements: What Supplementation Plan Would You Follow?

For bulking the most basic and essential supplements you need are:

  1. Basic Multi-Vitamin
  2. EFA's
  3. Whey Protein
  4. Pure Creatine Monohydrate (no real need for loading just take 5g in your Post Workout Shake.)

Those four are a definite must in a bulking plan, you really do not need to get real fancy with the supplements you are taking. Keep in mind they are supplements, and they mean just that, something to help supplement your training and nutrition. Therefore if your diet and training is dead on, you don't really need to get into all the fancy supps.

Some other supplements I would get into if you are really keen and interested in supplements (and also have the money) are:

  1. Weight Gainer (for the hard gainers)
  2. L-Glutamine
  3. ZMA (nighttime supplement taken about an hour before bedtime, which can increase your testosterone levels, hence greater muscle growth)

Bonus Question: Have You Ever Followed A Plan That Was Exclusively Tailored To Bulking? What Are The Positives To This Type Of Training? What Are The Negatives To This Type Of Training?

Yes, back in the day I always went through a stage of bulking, and later a stage of cutting.


The positives of actually going through a pure bulking stage are great. First, you can eat a lot of food, which may not sound like a super positive, but once you get late into cutting you'll know what I mean. Secondly, when you are pure bulking, you experience a much greater amount of muscle-mass gain versus going on a clean bulk.


Although the positives do outweigh the negatives, there is a big negative in going through a pure bulk. The major negative of pure bulking is the stage of 'fatness' you will experience. Yes, if you are bulking correctly, you will become quite beefy, and because you will be carrying muscle mass under this beef, the non-bodybuilders will most likely consider you "fat".

This experience might me emotionally and psychologically damaging and/or awkward, especially with the feeling you get carrying that extra bit of fat. But remember this: Once you are done with your bulk, and through your cut, and you look like a Greek sculpture, no fool will be poking jokes at you, but rather looking up to you and worshipping your physique!