In the fitness community, we know what goes into building muscle:
The rep schemes, the intensity levels, the protein in the diet, the right supplements, and even the ideal amount of sleep each night.
But following these guidelines is much easier said than done.
We always assume that spending more time in the gym and trying “ground-breaking” training styles will guarantee bigger and faster gains.
In other words: We try to cheat the system.
But sometimes, sticking to the basic training principles is best for building muscle.
That’s where the Rise and Grind 6-Week Muscle-Building Plan comes into the picture.
Let’s find out if this program is as legit as it sounds.
Table of Contents
- About the Creators – Marc Megna and Vernon Davis
- What is the Rise and Grind 6-Week Muscle-Building Plan?
- Rise and Grind Program Details
- 3 Things Rise and Grind Does Well
- 2 Negatives of This Program
- Wrapping Up This Review of Rise and Grind
About the Creators – Marc Megna and Vernon Davis
The masterminds of the Rise and Grind 6-Week Muscle-Building Plan are names you may already be familiar with:
They’re Vernon Davis and Marc Megna.
Vernon Davis has been a skilled athlete since even before his high school days. His athletic and fitness accolades include:
- Varsity letters in football, basketball, & track and field
- A 100-meter dash of 10.7 seconds
- A high jump record of 6’6″
- 13 years playing in the NFL (2006-2019)
- Two-time Pro Bowl player & Super Bowl Champion (Super Bowl 50)
- Playing time on the 49ers, Broncos, and Redskins
Davis is also no stranger to the gym, as you may expect from a former NFL player of his caliber. He also has in-depth experience in resistance training (benching over 435 pounds), endurance work, and explosive exercises.
Marc Megna is a former linebacker with the Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, the New York Jets, and several teams across NFL Europe.
Before he hung up his spikes for the last time, Megna was already dabbling in the fitness industry. He was training his fellow teammates in strength and conditioning, which inspired him to pursue a career in training after his football days were over.
Since retiring from professional football, Megna has:
- Been a fitness model
- Served as a strength & conditioning coach to over 500 happy clients
- Developed several popular workout routines on Bodybuilding.com (AMP & Duel)
To sum it all up: Megna and Davis are to be trusted.
What is the Rise and Grind 6-Week Muscle-Building Plan?
The Rise and Grind 6-Week Muscle-Building Plan is all about picking up healthy habits (in the gym and kitchen), committing to five 60+ minute workouts a week, gaining 0.5-1.5 pounds per week, and sticking to an easy hypertrophy routine that works.
Here’s the promo video for this program that was released in 2016:
In this routine, you’ll:
- Add sets, switch rep schemes, and swap in new exercises every few weeks
- Focus on the “big lifts” like the bench press, deadlift, and squat
- Use basic equipment (dumbbells, a barbell, a pull-up bar, and a cable stack)
- Excel, regardless of your fitness level and experience in the gym
- Gain muscle mass and develop your form over six weeks
Well, these benefits are assuming this routine lives up to the resumes of Davis and Megna.
Now, it’s time to delve into this program’s fine details—on both the nutrition and training ends—to discover if it’s the real deal and worth trying.
Rise and Grind Program Details
The Rise and Grind 6-Week Muscle Building Plan is the entire package. By that, we mean that it includes both a nutritional plan (though not too comprehensive) and a daily training schedule.
Let’s get into the details.
The Schedule & Theme
Rise and Grind will get you working those multi-joint compound exercises first—think bench press or row variations—followed by accessory exercises—like dumbbell flyes or pulldowns.
You’ll be in the gym five straight days, hitting each muscle group once during the week, and finish out the week on two much-needed rest days.
Here’s what your schedule will look like:
Each workout will last between 60 and 90 minutes, hitting five exercises for 4-5 sets each (depending on which week you’re on).
Since you’ll be shooting for 6-10 reps per set, you’ll be aiming for 70-85% of your 1RM. The intensity is entirely dependent on your strength, making this a great routine for all skill levels.
What Workouts Look Like
The workout plan itself is fantastic if you’re known to get bored doing the same split, week in and week out. Every few weeks, you’ll change reps, sets, or exercises to keep things interesting and your body guessing.
Weeks one and two are about building solid form.
So for week one, you’ll stick to four sets of each exercise for 10, 10, 10, and 8 reps each, adding extra weight during your last set. By week two, this will transition to 10, 10, 8, and 8 reps per set, and you’ll increase weight over the last two sets.
You can probably guess where this is going.
Weeks three and four will crank things up a notch and send you for a loop.
On top of swapping in all-new exercises for week three, you’ll adopt a brand new 10, 8, 6, and 6 rep scheme. You’ll add weight with every single set and likely leave each workout with shaky muscles and severe fatigue.
Weeks five and six will, again, shuffle what you’ve been up to thus far.
Now working consistently at 85% of your 1RM in week four, you’ll either be doing four or five sets per exercise, doing different exercises from before, and focus on that lower 6-8 rep range.
The purpose of the last two weeks is to finish strong and maximize gains.
The Types of Exercises
One of the best parts of this routine is that you don’t need any fancy gym equipment, nor do you need to quickly swap between kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells, and back again.
It would help if you had the basics:
- A cable stack (or cable machine)
- A barbell and plates
- A pull-up bar
In short: The exercises in this routine are relatively standard and likely some you have done before.
You’ll face exercises like cable crossovers, barbell deadlifts, EZ-bar skull crushers, and military presses. Some variations may be new to you—like half-kneeling shoulder presses—but these are generally run-of-the-mill gym exercises.
Now, let’s say you find yourself in a scenario where you either don’t have the equipment to do an exercise on the list or you don’t like an exercise in your workout.
The luxury of using BodyFit is that it comes with over 1,000 alternative exercises. So if you don’t have a barbell and have a military press on your schedule, you can do the dumbbell shoulder press instead.
You never have to skip an exercise entirely due to a lack of gear.
Nutritional & Dietary Recommendations
You can be using the best fitness routine on the planet. But it won’t matter if it doesn’t come with a nutritional plan that’ll keep your gains on track over the next six weeks.
There’s no point in going to the gym if you’re fueling your body with garbage.
Fortunately, Rise and Grind comes with a nutritional plan (of sorts), though it’s a little vague, and there are no specifics—it’s best if you have some experience in the kitchen.
You’ll learn about the foods Megna and Davis recommend, like:
- Low fat, lean protein: Seafood, tofu, protein powder
- Healthy carbs: Quinoa, corn, whole grains
- Fruits & vegetables: Canned, frozen, fresh (canned can be high in salt or sugar)
- Healthy fats: Walnuts, olives, seed butters
What’s also pretty neat is that you’ll learn how to prepare your meals regarding serving sizes. For example, the guideline that an open palm is about one portion of lean protein.
With such a reference, you can keep your portions under control for maximal gains.
While the creators of this routine don’t get into the nitty-gritty details about a specific meal plan (though they do provide six sample meals), they do have some nutritional recommendations.
Eating every 3-4 hours to keep your hunger under control.
Stocking up on 20+ grams of protein within a half-hour of finishing a workout.
Keeping track of your weight to ensure 0.5-1.5 pounds gained each week.
3 Things Rise and Grind Does Well
Nothing Is Set In Stone
Perhaps the greatest part of this Rise and Grind program is that, while you have a training schedule for each day, you have a little freedom to swap in new exercises.
Don’t have dumbbells? Switch out the dumbbell fly for a cable crossover.
Dislike lateral raises? Do four sets of dumbbell raises instead.
This type of variation and thousands of exercises to choose from (in total) makes this routine accessible to anyone.
Whether you’re working out from home or when the gym is packed.
Intensity Increases Are Gradual
Just like completely overhauling your diet overnight is a surefire way to quit on your diet in a few days, jumping too quickly into an intense workout routine will doom you for failure.
Rise and Grind is about gently easing into the regimen.
Weeks one and two focus on form, evident in the fact you’ll be focusing on 8-10 reps. This gives your body a couple of weeks to get used to the new routine before you crank it up a notch.
By the time you’re at week three, you’re subtly dropping the number of reps you’re doing per set and adding an extra plate with each set.
You’ll also drop rest periods as you move through the program.
Unless you’re not allowing your body to recover between workouts, you’ll likely see serious gains, at least in your PRs, from week to week.
Decent Insight Into Supplements
Though Megna and Davis aren’t 100% clear on the dietary front, there’s an entire section (a lengthy one, at that) focusing purely on supplements.
Do you need to use each to advance your gains? No.
But they can help.
For example, they recommend up to 50g of protein in the form of shakes a day, multivitamins to keep your body’s functioning up to par, and 5g of daily creatine to trigger optimal growth.
This section of the module is awesome if you struggle with a weak diet, you’re somewhat of a hard-gainer, or you just want to fuel your body and mind right.
2 Negatives of This Program
The Nutritional Plan Isn’t 100% Reliable
The glaring issue with the Rise and Grind’s diet regimen is that there’s very little useful detail for anyone without significant experience fueling their body for gains.
You’ll base all of your meals around “fistfuls” or “handfuls” of carbs, protein, and fats.
While this is a way to measure macro intake, it assumes a handful of turkey and a handful of tuna provide the same benefits. In that example, the difference is 8g of protein and 1.5g of fat.
It’s hard to accurately gauge how you’re fueling your body without guidelines of macro intake in grams, which allows you to use a food label to choose appropriate serving sizes.
It’s Boring On Paper
Look, even Megna and Davis themselves admit that this muscle-building routine isn’t about the fancy bells and whistles that some workouts boast.
There’s no doubt that you’re switching exercises, reps, sets, and even rest periods from week to week—that can be enough to keep you hooked if even slight changes interest you.
Yet, every workout follows the same format:
Run-of-the-mill exercises (no power, agility, or cardio).
Relatively consistent sets and reps (10, 8, 8, 6, repeat).
Steady 60-90 second rest periods.
The workouts do switch up a little by weeks five and six, but not enough to keep things “enthralling” as you crush through each workout. Boredom is a real possibility.
Wrapping Up This Review of Rise and Grind
The Rise and Grind 6-Week Muscle-Building Plan is absolutely the real deal and is a simple plan to trigger serious muscle growth.
On top of being created by two former NFL players with extensive gym experience, the routine gives you the freedom to swap in your favorite exercises, gradually increase the intensity from week to week, and help you select supplements to optimize growth.
But we can’t say this routine is the end-all-be-all.
After all, the Rise and Grind program’s dietary plan is a little weak, and nothing about this routine is “exciting” if you’re tired of normal exercises and rep ranges.
Overall, this is a fantastic routine if you have your eyes set on gains and want a routine backed by principles proven by science.