Think about the biggest person you know. They’re likely also quite strong, and the strongest person you know is probably also quite big. Workouts are often focused on one or the other, but Mike Hildebrandt has developed a workout routine that incorporates both?!
Is that even possible?? Here’s a look at his Swole and Strong plan.
Table of Contents
About the Creator – Mike Hildebrandt
Mike is one of those fitness coaches that doesn’t fit the norm. He didn’t study the physiology of a squat, and he didn’t look for the most bioavailable protein. He’s just a guy who found solitude in lifting.
Mike battled with anxiety, OCD, and feelings of not being good enough. This traumatized him throughout his life, and when he graduated high school, it was only worsened by the fact that he was over 6 feet tall but only weighed around 170ish pounds.
This was not a good moment for Mike. But luckily, in college, he happened to watch a bodybuilding show that spiked his interest. This developed into a full-on training program with him actually competing in bodybuilding.
Fitness has helped Mike overcome most of his anxiety and OCD. He’s now a content creator for Bodybuilding.com, one of the creators behind programs like Dymatize Transformed, and is committed to healthier living.
Swole and Strong Overview
Most people who know a thing or two about growing muscle tissue will know that the stronger you get (combined with food, sleep, etc.), the bigger you’ll get as well.
This is the whole philosophy of the Swole and Strong program.
- Fitness level: Intermediate
- Duration: 6 weeks
- Workouts per week: 6 workouts per week
- Average workout duration: 46 – 60 minutes
- Equipment needed: Full gym
- Goal: Build muscle
The training will focus on hitting each muscle twice per week, which could break the monotony of bro split training and help you break through plateaus to get swole.
Swole and Strong Details
A large portion of the complete training will be focused on heavy compound lifts to help you develop the strength needed to endure heavier isolation exercises. This could potentially be the perfect combination for gaining quality lean muscle mass.
Push Pull Legs
Push pull legs – or PPL – is a very common training style, especially amongst younger and more inexperienced lifters. Usually, these are split into 3 days on and 1 day off. However, in this plan, you’ll be training 6 days on and 1 day off.
Of course, this does mean you’ll be doing quite a lot of volume per week. That said, one of the sessions for each part will be a lighter-focused session. Great, right? Not so fast.
Most of these sets are actually RPE 10 sets, meaning that you’ll have to do an exercise to complete failure… This is beginning to shape up to be a program that just wrecks recovery.
The amount of volume per session is not too bad, however. There’s a decent amount of load and volume play for you to enjoy the workouts but still grow.
You and many others may be wondering what to do on rest days while following Swole and Strong and – more importantly – if cardio will play any role. You might be under the impression that doing a lean bulk is the ultimate way to get big but still remain lean.
Cardio isn’t really a factor in this plan. See, Mike is adamant that you should be aiming to get stronger, which itself requires a ton of calories. This is why the calories begin at maintenance and only increase from there.
The idea is that by eating healthy foods, you’ll be able to gain weight efficiently, and you’ll only increase calories when needed. There are also loads of other nutrition and supplement guidance for you to make the most out of the plan.
While I might not agree with the idea of “growing at maintenance,” it certainly is possible for beginners to do so.
2 Swole and Strong Pros
- It’s just an honest plan: The plan might be hard to follow due to its being quite a high volume, but it certainly isn’t impossible. You simply need to prioritize your sleep, and you’ll have great success with this plan.
- Excellent nutrition guidance: It has to be said that the nutrition guide is very sustainable. Bulking can be hard, and the plan Mike has created is so sustainable that most people will be able to follow it to the T. Certain ideas like “you can grow at maintenance” don’t make much sense, in my opinion. But, again, to each their own.
The Biggest Con of the Swole and Strong Program
It’s quite intense – sometimes.
This isn’t really that big of a con, but the high intensity can be a bit much for some people – especially stronger individuals. Doing multiple RPE 10 sets (for someone stronger) is going to take a big toll on your body.
Swole & Strong – Final Thoughts
For a Bodybuilding.com workout plan (by a coach that isn’t as decorated as others), Mike Hildebrandt’s Swole and Strong is remarkably good! It’s refreshing to find a plan that’s focused on one goal but targets it in all the ways necessary.
The plan can be improved, of course. The volume is quite high, and the cumulative volume over a week will certainly catch up to you. So, a little section about rest days or managing your volume would be welcomed.
That said, almost everything else is spot on. There’s a combination of rep ranges that most people will find engaging and interesting. This will also allow for strength progression on your bulk – which is always nice.
Good plan. Nothing life-changing here, but it’s one for the books.
Rating: 4.0 out of 5