12 Week Mass Building Workout to Get Huge 

March 26, 2021

By Troy Adashun

Building muscle is all about consistency. That means finding the right mass building workout and then sticking to it, week in week out. Too many guys flit from one program, training system or nutritional plan to another without giving their body the time to benefit from what they’re doing.

While it’s true that your muscles need variation in their training, you also need to give them continuity. Sticking with a program for 12 weeks will allow you to maximize your strength and muscle building potential.

Chest Exercises

The muscle mass workout routine that is presented in this article will show you exactly how to train to grow muscle fast. If you’re after the fastest, most scientifically proven way to get big, then you need to follow this information to the letter. Then you need to repeat it for the next 11 weeks.

By the end of the first 3 months of this muscle-building routine, you can realistically double your strength and add a half-inch of lean muscle tissue all over your body. All I ask is that you bring dedication, effort and consistency to the table.

Back to the Basics

When it comes to building lean muscle mass, you need to concentrate on performing basic compound exercises. These are the moves that give you the best bang for your buck. Rather than wasting your time with supplementary moves such as barbell curls and leg curls, you need to give your full focus to the big moves that hit multiple muscle groups at the same time and allow you to lift the maximum amount of weight.

Tricep Pressdown

This 12 week mass building routine has been pared back to the 5 key compound moves that will get you big fast. Each exercise will be performed for just 4 sets to provide you with a total of just 20 sets per workout. Yet those 20 sets will involve total intensity and muscle blasting effort.

Your mindset on this workout schedule should be to get in, blast your muscles like hell and then get out. When you walk into the gym, your mission is clear - train the target muscle group to the point where it is totally annihilated, i.e. you have worked it to the point of both positive and negative muscular failure. That is the point that you need to get out of the gym.

A Word on Intensity

Troy muscle gain exercise

This 12 week mass building routine has been pared back to the 5 key compound moves that will get you big fast. Each exercise will be performed for just 4 sets to provide you with a total of just 20 sets per workout. Yet those 20 sets will involve total intensity and muscle blasting effort.

Along with doing too many exercises, most people don’t train hard enough on them. If they did, they wouldn’t be able to do so much. It’s the difference between sprinting and jogging. Not that you want to rush through your exercises, but you want to have the same intensity level as a sprinter.

Attack every exercise as if it were the most important set of your life. Learn to use techniques that will make the exercise more intense such as forced reps, slow negatives and drop sets. Have a goal in your mind as to how many reps you will achieve, making sure that it is more than you managed last time you did the exercise.

Rest Between Sets

Closely associated with intensity during the set is the amount of rest between sets. Remember that your goal is to cause the worked muscle to get to the point of failure. When it does, you will have caused small micro-tears in your muscle fiber. These tears are the key to muscle growth.

Troy Adashun Ripped Body in Gym

If you give yourself too much rest between sets, your intensity threshold will diminish and, rather than a cumulative intensity with each set, you will achieve a static intensity, which never goes beyond what you achieved in the first set. That’s what happens when you rest more than two minutes between sets.

If you’re training for pure mass with basic compound exercises you need to rest for two minutes.

3 Key Training Concepts

Time Under Tension

Troy Overhead Rope Tricep Extension tension

The concept of time under tension relates to how long you keep the target muscle group stressed during your set. The longer you can do this, the more trauma you’ll cause to the muscle cell (that’s a good thing). Most guys don’t do so for nearly long enough. The ideal time under tension for a set has been shown to be between 40 and 75 seconds.

 Yet, the average length of a set is only about half of that time. There are ways to increase your time under tension. The following two training concepts will help you to lengthen out your time under tension.

Eccentric Training

Troy Ez Bar Overhead Triceps eccentric

Eccentric training refers to the lowering or negative part of a repetition. In the case of barbell curls, this is the part when you are lowering the bar. There are a lot of studies that have confirmed that this part of the rep is actually more advantageous to muscle growth that the positive or lifting part.

To take advantage of eccentric training, and to increase your time under tension, simply lower the weight at a slower pace than you lift it. It should take 1-2 seconds to lift the weight. By concentrating on the negative, you can take 4 seconds to lower it. This is exceedingly difficult because you are fighting the force of gravity, but it is also very effective.

Training this way will force you to reduce the weight you're lifting. That doesn’t matter. You already know that it’s not the weight that counts, but how hard the target muscle is being worked, right?

Drop Sets

Troy dropset dumbbells

Drop sets allow you to increase time under tension by extending a set beyond what you can perform with a certain weight. Let’s say that you are doing the standing alternate dumbbell curl. Stand in front of the dumbbell rack, where the weights are lined up in weight order. Grab the heaviest weight that you can do 6 strict reps with. 

Perform your reps then immediately place the weights back on the rack. Now grab the next pair of dumbbells down in weight and do another six strict reps. Continue going down the rack, pumping out six reps each time. Do this until there are no weights left to pick up!

The Mass Building Routine

Your 12 week mass building routine involves the following six exercises:

Troy mass building routine workout
  • Barbell Squat
  • Barbell Deadlift
  • Barbell Incline Bench Press
  • Barbell Overhead Press
  • One Arm Dumbbell Row

You'll be training on a one on / two off sequence. That will provide your body with 48 hours to rest, recover and grow between each training session. So, in Week One, you will train on Monday, Thursday and Sunday. Then, in Week Two, you train on Wednesday and Saturday. Even though this does not give you a set day to train every week, it does provide you with the ideal training frequency.

There's no upper/lower split, isolation exercises or non-pure mass moves like the dumbbell bench press in this workout plan. We're not concerned about fat loss here, either. The sole purpose here is to build muscle - and lots of it!

Ok, let's drill down on the exercises!

Barbell Squat

Troy Barbell squat





Devil Sets




The barbell squat is more than a leg developer. This perennial mass developer is a catalyst for adding muscle mass all over your body. It will stimulate the release of key anabolic hormones like testosterone and human growth hormone in the 24 hours after your workout. This sets up the muscle-building environment that you need to rebuild and repair the muscle fibers that are damaged (in a good way) by your training.

You will be doing just 5 sets of squats. But those five sets are going to be super intense. That's because you'll be making use of a little known technique called Devil Sets. Here's how it works...

On your first three sets, you do 8-10 reps, going as heavy as you can with proper form. However, you will not lockout at the top of each rep. Locking out provides you with a mini pause at the top of each rep. That is not what we want. Our goal is to scorch the quads with maximum intensity. Stopping just short of lockout and going straight into the next rep will keep the pressure on your thighs.

Box Squats

On your last two sets, you drop the weight to 50 percent of what you used for the first 3 sets. But that doesn't mean that things are going to get easy. After all, they're not called Devil sets for nothing! Do six partial reps where you only come up three-quarters of the way and then go back down into the next rep.

After six reps, pause in the bottom squat position for 3 seconds. Now do another 6 partial reps, pause for 3 seconds in the bottom squat and then finish with a final six partial reps.

That 18 rep set will make your quads feel hotter than hell. In fact, your legs will be a quivering mess. But, you've still got one more set to compete - just like the last one. You've got 2 minutes to rest (I suggest lying on the floor!) before you get under the rack again.

Barbell Deadlift

Troy barbell deadlift





Rest Time

60 seconds

The barbell deadlift is another old school mass builder. Every mass monster throughout the history of bodybuilding, from Sergio Oliva to Dorian Yates, has used deadlifts as one of their mainstays to build muscle. This is a true full-body exercise that directly hits your hamstrings, lower back, lats, rhomboids, trapezius, deltoids and biceps. In this workout, you'll be doing a twist on the conventional deadlift rep scheme that will ramp up the intensity over 6 sets of 6 reps.

Choose a weight that you can get 10 quality reps out with. That should be your 10 reps max, so that you cannot do an 11th rep without your form breaking down. That is the weight that you will perform your 6 sets of 6 reps with. Your rest between sets is just 60 seconds.

Barbell row

This intense set and rep scheme allows you to hoist a lot of weight in a short amount of time. If you're using 315 pounds as your deadlift weight, then in just a few minutes you will be pulling a cumulative total of 11,340 pounds off the floor!

Most guys rest 2-3 minutes between deadlifts sets. Keeping your rest time to a minute will ensure that your overall intensity for this exercise ramps up like a staircase effect. 

Even though you do not increase the weight on each set, the cumulative effect of your reps will make each set progressively harder. However, it is vital that you are strict on both your rest time and your exercise form for every single one of those 36 reps.


Incline bench press exercise





Drop Sets


The incline bench press is an awesome upper body mass developer. The emphasis is on the pectorals, the deltoids and the trapezius, making it a great counter to the previous exercise, which targeted the muscles of the backside of the body. You're going to be doing 5 sets on this exercise, and making use of all three of the intensity enhancing techniques we covered earlier:

  • Time Under Tension
  • Eccentric Reps
  • Drop Sets

On your first three sets of the incline bench press, focus on a slow, controlled eccentric rep. Count off in your head 3 seconds to lower the bar, bringing it all the way down to just touch your mid pec and then powering it back up in a slight arc to finish just short of eye level. Do not completely lock out your arms. This will keep the tension on the pecs throughout the entire movement.

Focus on smooth, controlled piston-like reps for all 10 reps, remembering to think 1-2-3 on the way down and 1 on the way up.

For your last two sets of the incline bench press you will be doing drop sets. You will start with the same weight that you used for the previous 3 sets. 

Troy incline bench press

However, you speed up the cadence of your reps slightly. The focus here is no longer on the eccentric, so your cadence will be 1 second down and 1 second up. Your goal is to get 10 reps. When you do, rack the weight and then strip off 50% of the weight (don't forget to replace the collars!).

This is when a training partner really comes in handy. If you do have to do the job yourself, make it quick then get back under the bar. Now pump out another 10 reps. Then perform another 50% weight drop and rep out with a final 10 reps. That means that your final two sets will have you doing 30 reps per set. That will make sure that every single muscle fiber is on fire by the time you walk away from the incline bench.


Troy barbell overhead press





Dumbbell Press

1 set until failure

By the time you move on to your 4th exercise, your deltoids are already going to be firing as a result of deadlifts and bench presses. As well as targeting your front delts, the barbell overhead press will also hit your pecs, traps and mid-back. You'll just be doing three sets of this exercise, with a focus on eccentric reps. But then we throw in a burn out set to totally annihilate the shoulders.

Go hard and heavy on the main 3 sets, leaving nothing in the tank. You will be using the 3 second eccentric, 1 second concentric rep cadence. Avoid locking out at the top of the rep to keep the tension on the front delts the whole time.

Incline Dumbbell Press

As soon as you're done on that last set, rack the bar and pick up a pair of relatively light dumbbells. Now rep out with the standing overhead dumbbell press to failure. That means that you can no longer move the weight - not even an inch!


Troy one arm dumbbell row





Dumbbell Press

60 seconds

Our final exercise in this mega muscle building workout is the one arm dumbbell row. Of all the versions of the row, this one does the most effective job of hitting your latissimus dorsi and your rear delts. To get the best bang for your buck from this exercise, don't pull the dumbbell straight up as if you are starting a lawnmower. Rather, pull it across your body and up while resting your non-working hand on an incline bench in front of you. Don't do the exercise with one knee on a bench as this will limit your ability to get that cross pulling movement that really brings the lats into play.

You must also avoid using momentum to bring the weight up. That applies to all exercises but is a key reason that most people fail to get any benefit from this particular movement.

Use a heavy weight and focus on the eccentric with a 3 second lower of the rep. Focus on fully stretching and elongating the lats during this negative portion of the rep.

Focus on Form (Not Weight!)

You now have a super effective 12 week program to build muscle throughout both the upper body and the lower body. I've included some extremely powerful intensity enhancing techniques that will literally force your muscles to renewed growth. Yet, unless you focus on proper exercise form, you won't get the most out of this or any other workout program.

So many guys are so obsessed with the weight on the bar that they completely sacrifice good form to get the weight from Point A to Point B. They end up completely wasting their time at best, and suffering serious injury at worst.

Troy one arm barbell row

Never forget that your muscle has no idea how much weight is on the bar. All it knows is how hard it is being worked. So if you’re curling 80 pounds, yet you’re using momentum, your thighs and your back to get the weight up, your target muscle isn’t going to be impressed. In fact, it’s not going to respond at all.

By stripping the weight back to 60 pounds, you are able to use strict form, where the only movement is through the elbow joint. Now, you’re able to maximally stimulate the biceps.

It’s interesting to note that during the golden era of bodybuilding in the 70’s and 80’s, when guys like Arnold and Tom Platz were training at Gold’s, Venice Beach, none of them were curling with more than 40 pound dumbbells. Yet they were milking every little bit of intensity that they could from that poundage.

As a result, they built some of the best biceps in history!

The Final Ingredient: Mind Muscle

Guy Lifting Dumbbell in Gym

If you are going to train with the type of intensity that you need to gain muscle consistently, you need to develop mental toughness. That means getting truly dialed in on your workout. Most guys are unable to do this. They spend half their time in the gym staring at their cell phone, joking with their mates or ogling the hotties in the cardio area. Those guys are not going to get the type of results in terms of lean muscle gains that we are after with this workout.

In order to get massive, you need to get focused. That means developing your mind-muscle connection. Here's how...

Let’s say that you’re training at 7 am. The night before, when you’re lying in bed, you should be thinking about the coming morning’s workout. Visualize yourself doing the exercises, lifting the weight that you want to lift and hitting a new max rep count with that weight. Drift off to sleep knowing exactly what you will do in that gym the next day.

Troy Adashun Wearing Alpha Lion Shirt gym

Jump out of bed the next day with excitement, knowing that you are going to smash your workout. As you head out the door, your mental intensity level should be at about 7 out of 10. Driving to the gym, see yourself successfully completing your max lifts again, and dial it up to a 9. Then, as you emerge through the gym doors you should be raring to attack the weights at a 10.

Develop this type of mental focus and every workout will be the best workout of your life.


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