Phase 1 – Hypertrophy | 12 week challenge

Getting into the best shape of my life at 40 years of age is not just about working hard, it is mainly about working smart. You may be thinking about starting a similar challenge yourselves so I am going to be sharing my training strategy with you over the next 12 weeks and any other considerations that you may want to think about before you begin.

Phase 1 – Hypertrophy

What with 12 weeks to go until I am 40 years old I knew that in order for me to stand a chance at being in the best shape of my life I had do something different to what I usually do. This something needed to be a progression from what my body was already accustomed to. Basically I had to give my body a bloody good reason to change. I could have chosen to push myself harder than I have ever pushed myself before, however, I work pretty hard already. In the past I have pushed myself to the point of losing consciousness, did I get better gains? No, not really, it just led to burn out. Those types of training sessions have their place, especially when it comes to building character. Great for training soldiers but not for building athletes and certainly not for helping a 40 year old get into the best shape of his life. I had to ask myself the question what I had I not done before? What has my body not been exposed to before? The answer was staring me in the face and didn’t like it! lift six times a week 😭

Volume training

Now don’t get me wrong I have exercised 6-7 days a week for years but I have not lifted weights that many times a week. I think I may have done a 5 day split years ago but most of my years of lifting experience has consisted of a weekly frequency of 3-4 days a week. Albert Einstein has been quoted as saying “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” So if I want different results then 3-4 days a week of lifting is no longer going to cut it. I couldn’t just lift heavier if I wanted different results but I could lift more often. By training six days a week I could subject my muscles to a greater volume (reps x sets x load) of training than they had ever previously experienced.

Why do a six day split?

I also decided to break up my muscle groups into a six day split, with each workout focused on a different muscle. As this was a new training frequency for my muscles to adapt to I wanted to ensure that they had enough time to recover from each training session. I could hit each muscle with a huge amount of volume then give it seven days to recover. Now bear in mind this is not complete recovery as some muscles with be utilised again other days i.e quads will also be trained again on glute day, biceps on back day and triceps on chest shoulders and arm day.

  • Monday – Quads
  • Tuesday – Chest
  • Wednesday  – Back
  • Thursday – Shoulders
  • Friday – Glutes/hamstrings
  • Saturday – Arms

I also threw in one core exercise on the end of five of the training days too to make sure my core was ready for the heavy lifting that would come later.

Linear periodisation

I have also opted for linear periodisation. This is where the load increases each week and the reps decrease. This is to allow my muscles to get use to heavier loads in preparation for the next phase which will be focussed on building strength and shifting some heavier loads. It also continues to subject the body to a stress it is not accustomed to, utilising the law of progressive overload. Apologies for all the sport science geekiness I will chuck in some bro science too just to keep everyone happy 😉. 


Finally, just incase the plan was not subjecting my muscles to enough stimulus to be able to jump on the gains train(there it is 🤟) I decided to follow a strict lifting tempo too. This was to prolong the time under tension (TUT) of the muscles being worked.

The six day split

Ok so without further ado here is my training programme for Phase I – hypertrophy.

Phase I - Quads day

Phase 1 - chest day

Phase 1 - Back day

Phase 1 - shoulders day

Phase I - Glutes/hamstrings day

Phase I - arms day

It’s going to be tough Im sure but I do love a challenge 💪.


Of course you are very welcome to follow this programme yourself but don’t forget this programme has been written for yours truly and has taken into consideration my training experience, my time availability, preferences and my sick enjoyment of discomfort 🤪.


Check out Phase 2 HERE

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