How To Create Your Own Muscle-Building Specialization Program

Handsome fit caucasian muscular man flexing his muscles in gym on diet. Brutal bodybuilder powerful training and execute exercise

iStockphoto / antondotsenko

For many bros, packing on slabs of lean muscle is the holy grail of fitness goals. Go to any gym and you’ll see guys doing set after set of curls or bench press in chase of those sweet, sweet gains.

The truth is however, putting on muscle requires a lot of work. Besides making sure your nutrition is in order, you need to make sure you’re following a plan that’s going to work for you.

And, to complicate things even further, the more trained you are, the harder muscle gains are to come by.

When it comes to muscle-building programs, total body workouts are great for beginners. But once your past the n00b stage, you need something a little more specialized to keep seeing gains.

That’s why today, I’m going to show you how to create your own muscle-building specialization program…

Program Volume

 The biggest factor in muscle growth is workout volume, or the number of sets and reps you perform. The optimal range for this seems to be 40-50 sets per week for your selected muscle group.

When it comes to rep ranges, you’re going to want a mix of low (below 6), moderate (8-12), high (12-15), and very high (20+) reps to achieve maximum growth. In my specialization programs, I break it down to 15 sets of low, moderate, and high reps each, and 5 sets of very high reps.

The last factor in volume is load, or the weight you use. Selecting the right weight is important because without it, your plan won’t have a high enough intensity to stimulate growth.

To start, select a weight that is approximately 90% of your max for a given rep range. So if you can squat 200 pounds for 10 reps, you’ll want to start with 90% of that, or 180 pounds, and progress from there.

Exercise Selection

 After volume, exercise selection is the next critical component of a specialization program.

A majority of your program is going to be made up of compound, multi-joint exercises; about 70%. This is because compound exercises allow you to hit more muscle groups at once, and use more weight. They also help you work smaller stabilization muscles that isolation exercises don’t hit.

Examples include squats, deadlifts, presses, rows, chins-ups, dips, and lunges.

The rest of your program will be filled in with isolation exercises. While you can’t use as much weight with these, isolation exercises allow you to better target single muscle groups, especially those that don’t get a lot of direct work. This also helps you bring up any lagging body parts.

Examples include bicep curls, lateral raises, flyes, leg extensions and curls, and tricep pressdowns.

The Rest of Your Muscles

 With specialization programs, the muscle you’re focusing on is your focus…period.

If you want it to grow, you need to give it the attention it deserves. That means that the rest of your muscle groups need to be put on maintenance. You can’t be doing a 4-week arm specialization plan, and expect your chest to get bigger and stronger too.

In my specialization plans, I recommend a total body strength circuit once per week.

Sample Specialization Plan

 You didn’t think I’d leave you hanging without a sample training plan did you?

Here’s a 4-week lower body specialization plan with 4 workouts per week:

Exercise                      Sets x Reps

Day 1

A1) Front Squat        5×5

B1) Romanian DL      4×6

C1) Hack Squat         3×6

D1) Glute Bridge       3×6


Day 2

A1) Goblet Squat       4×15

A2) DB RDL                4×15

B1) Leg Press            3×15

B2) Good Morning    3×15

C1) DB Lunge                        3×12

C2) Single Leg RDL   3×12

D1) Seated Calf Raise 3×15

D2) Deficit Calf Raise 3×12


Day 3

A1) Push Press          4×6

A2) Barbell Row        4×6

A3) DB Bench Press  4×6

A4) Turkish Get Up   4×6

B1) Leg Extension     3×25

B2) Leg Curl              3×25


Day 4

A1) Box Squat           4×8

A2) DB Front Squat  4×12

B1) Pull Thru            3×12

B2) Reverse Lunge   3×12

C1) Hip Thrust          3×10

C2) Step-Ups             3×10

D1) KB Swings          4×12

D2) Pistol Squats      4×8


Creating your own plan is fun and all, but if you’re anything like me, you don’t have much time in the day to think about that stuff.

Not only that, but there’s always that little thought in the back of your mind, wondering if you’re doing things correctly.

That’s why I created a muscle-building specialization program for just such an instance.

It’s called Mass Made Easy.

Mass Made Easy is a 12-week specialization plan, that lets YOU choose which body part you want to specialization in. Whether it’s arms, chest, legs, or any other, there is a program for it. In fact, Mass Made Easy contains six whole months worth of workouts.

If you not only want to take your gains to the next level, but be sure you’re following a program that’s going to work for you, check out Mass Made Easy.