8-12 reps per set, 1+ gram of protein per pound of body weight, targeting each muscle group twice a week, sleeping 7-9 hours a night.
All of these strategies are scientifically proven to trigger greater muscle growth to some extent.
But they mean next to nothing if you’re what they call a “hard gainer.”
You just can’t seem to bulk up or put on weight, no matter how extreme the changes you make in the gym or the kitchen are.
Don’t give up just yet!
The Athlean-X Max Size Muscle Building Workout may be what you need to shock your muscles into serious growth, even if you usually struggle to add mass.
Let’s review whether this program truly lives up to expectations.
Table of Contents
- About the Creator – Athlean-X & Jeff Cavaliere
- What is the Athlean-X Max Size Muscle Building Workout?
- Workout Details & Features
- 4 Terrific Benefits of the Athlean-X Max Size Muscle Building Workout
- 3 Negatives of the Athlean-X Max Size Muscle Building Workout
- Wrapping Up This Review of Athlean-X Max Size
About the Creator – Athlean-X & Jeff Cavaliere
Athlean X is a phenomenon in nearly every corner of the fitness community, whether you’re looking to get jacked, shredded, fit, or some combination of the three.
Here’s what you need to know about Athlean-X and its founder, Jeff Cavaliere.
Jeff Cavaliere is a true force in the modern fitness industry. As a YouTube sensation, he posts good health and exercise videos to guide those looking to get fit and healthy.
But it’s the knowledge he relies on that makes him stand out.
Cavaliere has spent significant time as both a physical therapist and a strength coach (NSCA), working one-on-one with professional athletes looking to reach the top of their game.
That includes the 06’-08’ Mets and stars like David Wright and Jose Reyes.
Cavaliere now uses his in-depth scientific base to craft comprehensive fitness programs and supplements through his fitness company, Athlean-X.
He’s personally built over a dozen programs to benefit the regular person—not just the professional athletes—looking to turn their “dream” physique into their new reality.
All with the concepts of biomechanics and injury prevention in mind.
What is the Athlean-X Max Size Muscle Building Workout?
The Athlean-X Max Size Muscle Building Workout is a mass-building workout routine specifically built for hard gainers and those struggling to see noticeable gains.
However, the program can also help turn your muscular physique into a “jacked” one.
Over 12 weeks days, you’ll power through five workouts a week, each one lasting between 10 and 60 minutes—typically a combination of a four (or five) day split and a conditioning workout.
Each four-week phase also concludes with a “challenge” to test your new limits.
This program is both high volume and high intensity, both tried-and-true ways to build muscle and strength.
Combining this challenging workout program with the included comprehensive meal plan, you should end this program weighing more, having more muscle mass, and keeping body fat low.
Workout Details & Features
By now, you’ve already given every “secret” mass building program the ol college try and ended up disappointed with the results.
You’re starting to think maybe you weren’t meant to be jacked.
Well, let’s review the basics to see if it’s a game-changer for hard gainers like yourself.
Phase 1 – Ignition Phase
Phase one of this program introduces you to the hellish mass building routine that is Athlean-X’s Inferno Max Size.
Your four-day resistance training split will include:
Fortunately, most exercises in phase one are the basic exercises you likely already do. We’re talking about simple barbell rows, incline bench presses, squats, and deadlifts.
Intensity-wise, however, you’ve probably never imagined workouts quite this tough.
Each workout will start with a major lift using 10 sets of 10 reps at 60% of your 1RM, followed by 5 sets of 10 reps of the other muscle focus for the day.
Note: You’ll alternate the muscle you hit first every other week, so no group is left behind.
All strength workouts in this phase end with pro-pain finishers.
Pro-pain finishers require you to complete an exercise (like ham curls to failure) and then follow up with 4 ½ minutes to crank out double that rep count on the same or a similar exercise.
Your fifth and final workout of the week—something Athlean-X calls a “10-Minute Torcher”—is a conditioning style workout that emphasizes high reps, circuits, and short rest periods.
Phase 2 – Growth Phase
Phase two is when you enter the “growth” phase of this Max Size program. You’re keeping the four-day split, but switching up the muscle pairings to make a bit more sense to most:
- Shoulders/Upper Back
Beware: This phase is far more extreme than phase one.
You’re going to be cranking through supersets for the major muscle group first (such as straight arm pushdowns and lat pulldowns on back/biceps day) followed by standard sets.
You’ll finish off the workout with a “finisher,” where you’ll hop from one exercise to the next after training with no rest in between (for example, dumbbell flies to floor presses to chest pullovers).
It’s a guarantee that you’ll have no fuel or reps left in the tank by the end of each workout.
Close out the first three weeks with “Metabolic Arson” workouts.
These conditioning workouts include burpees, jog/sprint intervals, and bodyweight circuits to improve your conditioning in 30 minutes or less each workout.
Phase 3 – Max Development
The third and final phase of this Max Size program is about bringing your muscle to their true potential to target all muscle fibers with insane volume.
The strength training days now adopt a new focus: Eccentric/concentric and push/pull.
Here’s what you need to know about this phase:
- Eccentric training sessions are about focusing on the “negative” of exercises, so emphasizing squeezing your traps as you slowly lower a shoulder shrug.
- Concentric training sessions prioritize slow reps and quick returns—such as spending 5 seconds on the beginning movement of dumbbell curls—followed by a bicep stretch.
For most exercises, you’ll do a total of 50 reps.
The final step of these workouts is closing out with an “athletic pillar finisher,” which is usually a form of agility work, cardio, or balance activities.
You’ll cycle through these four training days with a day of rest before beginning the next cycle.
Like the majority of Athlean-X programs, this Max Size variation also has a challenge at the end of each phase, so you’ll have three with this program.
Challenges usually require you to time how long it takes you to complete a predetermined number of reps or circuit rounds in a certain amount of time.
You’ll then add your score to your module and see how your scores compare to other users.
Beware: These challenges are absolutely tiring.
The Meal Plan
It wouldn’t be an Athlean-X workout program without a meal plan that comes with it.
Every single meal for the next 12 weeks is planned out for you, down to the ingredients that make them useful to you.
The meal plan also distinguishes why you’re adding certain ingredients, whether for fats, carbs, or protein, while also giving you “size swaps” to adjust meals for optimal muscle growth.
Thankfully, this meal plan means you don’t have to count macros or calories.
4 Terrific Benefits of the Athlean-X Max Size Muscle Building Workout
Uses Every Mass Building Strategy Out There
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill mass routine. You’ll experiment with different reps (to failure, 10×10), portions of exercises (eccentric & concentric), and frequency (once to twice per week).
This combination practically ensures growth at some point in the routine.
If one training style doesn’t trigger growth for you, one or more of the others will.
Infuses Conditioning Training Too
Mass building is essential, but you wouldn’t be an athlete without a little weekly conditioning.
The fact that you’re doing 10-30 minutes of cardio in the form of circuits, jogging, intervals, and bodyweight exercises enable you to boost your overall health and even trigger some fat loss.
Will 30 minutes a week get you shredded?
No, but it’s a start.
Eases You Into Training
We know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to mass building.
But if you’re coming hot off the heels of a program that proved to be a dud or absolutely no training, hitting each muscle group twice a week at an insane volume will only overwhelm you.
That’s precisely why this program gradually increases in terms of volume and intensity.
A Meal Plan to Maximize Growth
You’ll never see your true potential until you combine a workout program like this one with a nutritious and high-protein diet.
The included diet plan is precisely what you need to ensure gains.
Not only is every meal planned out for you (down to the ingredient), but you can also opt for “size swaps” if you’re a true hard-gainer and want to fuel those gains best.
3 Negatives of the Athlean-X Max Size Muscle Building Workout
No Refund Policy
No Athlean-X program comes with a refund, mostly because all downloads are digital.
So, unfortunately, you won’t get a refund if you happen to try this program, only to discover that it’s not of interest to you.
We think it’s worth it, but be sure it’s worth the investment.
Takes Until Day 57 to Get to Twice Weekly Training
The concept of easing into a workout routine makes a ton of sense, particularly if you’re detrained and looking to get back into the gym.
But the idea that you won’t directly target each muscle group twice a week until day 57 of the program is a bit insane.
You may very well feel you’re not training enough to see results (even if you are).
Phase Three May Be Too Brutal
You’re here for intensity and serious gains, but phase three of this program is crazy.
The glaring issue is that you’ll be exercising each muscle group on two consecutive days without even 24 hours of rest between workouts.
Though Cavaliere insists the concentric/eccentric focus of these workouts prevents overtraining, you still may not feel 100% by the next day to give it all in the gym.
Your gains may suffer.
Wrapping Up This Review of Athlean-X Max Size
The Athlean-X Max Size Muscle Building Workout is intense and, truthfully, includes every training style in the books to guarantee you see at least some growth after 90 days.
The program also comes with weekly conditioning workouts (or finishes workouts with athletic pillars), starts slow as to not overwhelm you, and has a well-thought-out mass diet plan.
However, don’t assume this program doesn’t have its faults.
The downsides include a lack of refund policy, one day a week frequency until phase three, and an overly-intense phase three that is not for the faint of heart.
Overall, this program is the real deal.
It’s a reliable alternative if the everyday mass building routine isn’t working for you. Just prepare to push yourself to your limits and leave each workout absolutely drained.