12-Week Workout Routine Inspired by Frank Zane (with PDF)

Frank Zane Workout Routine

If you’re a fan of Frank Zane and want to emulate his workout routine, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I’ve shared the 12-week muscle growth workout program inspired by Frank Zane’s training split.

Three times Mr. Olympia (1977-1979), Frank Zane is one of the most revered bodybuilders of all time. He is known for his exceptional aesthetics and symmetry. He emphasized proportion and definition over sheer size. His training philosophy focused on mind-muscle connection and meticulous dieting.

Frank Zane shared his bodybuilding workout split on his official website, frankzane.com. I’ve used some parts from his article, arranged it, included exercises, and designed a program.

This plan is not the exact replica of his Frank Zane workout routine; I’ve made some changes that I think are suitable.

Anyone who wants to build a muscular and aesthetic physique can follow this routine.

12-Week Frank Zane Workout Split

Frank Zane follows a three-week cycle workout that involves 12 training and nine rest days.

He used to follow pull-legs-pull split (PLP) – pull workouts on day one, leg workouts on day two, and push workouts on day three.

Pull day includes back, biceps, and forearm exercises; leg day comprises thigh, calves, and glute exercises; and push day involves chest, shoulder, and triceps exercises.

Frank Zane’s 21-Day Workout Schedule

  • Day 1 – Pull Workout
  • Day 2 – OFF
  • Day 3 – Leg Workout
  • Day 4 – Push Workout
  • Day 5 – OFF
  • Day 6 – Pull Workout
  • Day 7 – OFF
  • Day 8 – Leg Workout
  • Day 9 – Push Workout
  • Day 10 – OFF
  • Day 11 – Pull Workout
  • Day 12 – OFF
  • Day 13 – Leg Workout
  • Day 14 – Push Workout
  • Day 15 – OFF
  • Day 16 – Pull Workout
  • Day 17 – OFF
  • Day 18 – Leg Workout
  • Day 19 – OFF
  • Day 20 – Push Workout
  • Day 21 – OFF
  • Repeat four times to complete the 12-week program.

Workout Instructions

  • Variety of Exercises: Combine compound and isolation exercises to build strength, size, and definition.
  • High Volume Workout: The Frank Zane workout plan involves performing plenty of exercises, reps, and sets. It requires decent nutrition and adequate recovery time.
  • Combination of Different Loads: You can make as many changes to this program as you like, but make sure you include heavyweight sets to work on your strength and light to moderate weight sets to promote hypertrophy and muscle definition.
  • Cardio: You can perform aerobic workouts on rest days to improve cardiovascular fitness.
  • Core Workout: This program involves performing ab exercises on each training day, but it is optional. Train only if you want to buttress your abdominal muscles.
  • Warm-up: Always start your workout with a warm-up set to increase blood flow and prepare your muscles for the main workout.
  • Rest Between Sets: Take 3 minutes rest during compound heavy sets and 30-90 seconds between isolation exercises.

Day 1 – Pull Workout

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
Snatch Grip DeadliftBack315, 12, 10
Rack Pull/Off BlocksBack410, 8, 7, 6
T-Bar RowsBack312, 10, 8
Front Lat PulldownBack312, 10, 8
Dumbbell RowBack38-10
Concentration CurlsBiceps38-10
Alternating DB CurlBiceps38-10
Incline Dumbbell CurlBiceps38-10
Barbell Reverse Curls + Wrist CurlForearms212 + 20
Body Curl + Hanging Leg RaisesCore250
Hanging Knee-ups + Russian TwistCore250

Instructions:

  • Frank Zane performed one-arm and dual-arm lat stretches between sets to stimulate muscle growth.
  • Feel the contraction in your biceps before uncurling your arm.

Day 2 – OFF

Rest completely so your muscles can recover and prepare for the next session.

Day 3 – Leg Workout

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
Unilateral Leg ExtensionsQuads215/leg
Barbell Back SquatQuads615, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8
Machine Leg PressQuads315, 10, 8
Lying Leg CurlsHamstrings312, 11, 10
Leg ExtensionsQuads312, 10, 8
Standing Calf RaiseCalves315-20
Donkey Calf RaiseCalves420-25
Seated Toe RaisesCalves120
Sit-upsUpper Ab2Failure
Lying Leg RaisesLower Ab2Failure

Instructions:

  • The first two sets of unilateral leg extensions will be performed with light weight to prepare your legs for intense leg exercises.
  • Seated toe raises will be the drop set, which involves performing 20 reps in four subsets, dropping weight in each subset.

Day 4 – Push Workout

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
Barbell Bench PressChest612, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2
Incline DB Bench PressChest130
Decline Dumbbell FlyesChest312, 10, 8
Cross Bench DB PulloverChest38-10
Close Grip Bench PressTriceps312, 10, 8
1-arm Overhead ExtensionsTriceps312, 10, 8
Rope/Bar PushdownTriceps312, 10, 8
Bent-over Lateral RaiseRear Delt315, 12, 10
Cable Lateral RaiseSide Delt312, 10, 8
Hanging Leg Raises + Body CurlAbs220-25
Hanging Knee-ups + Russian TwistAbs220-25

Exercise Instructions:

  • Incline DB Bench Press: Set the bench at a 70-degree incline position and perform ten reps; drop the angle to 60-degree perform eight reps; again, lower the bench at a 45-degree angle and complete six reps, and finally perform 4-6 reps at a 30-degree incline position.
  • Decline Dumbbell Flyes: Adjust the bench at a 10-degree decline angle and perform the above-outlined reps.
  • Stretches: Perform doorway stretches between sets.

Day 5 – OFF

Day 6 – Pull Workout

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
Barbell RowBack312, 10, 8
Front Lat PulldownBack312, 10, 8
Leverage RowBack38-10
Straight-arm PulldownBack312-15
Alternating DB CurlBiceps38-10
Incline Dumbbell CurlBiceps38-10
Preacher/Cable CurlBiceps38-10
Wrist Extension + Wrist CurlForearms212 + 20
Hanging Knee RaisesCore320
High-to-Low Cable ChopCore320/side
PlankCore31-min

Day 7 – OFF

Day 8 – Leg Workout

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
Leg ExtensionQuad316, 14, 12
Back SquatQuad315
Hack SquatQuad310
Leg CurlHamstring318, 14, 12
Leg-Press Calf RaiseCalves415
Seated Calf RaiseCalves315
Roman Chair Sit-upAbs1100
Decline Reverse CrunchesAbs340, 30, 30
HyperextensionLower Back2Failure

Source: Frank Zane Book: Body, Mind, Spirit.

Day 9 – Push Workout

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
Incline DB Bench PressChest412, 10, 8, 6
Flat Dumbbell FlyesChest312, 10, 8
Dumbbell PulloverChest310
Close-Grip Bench PressTriceps312, 10, 8
Rope/Bar PushdownTriceps312, 10, 8
KickbackTriceps312, 10, 8
Behind-the-Neck Smith Machine PressShoulder315, 12, 10
Rear Lateral RaiseRear Delt312, 10, 8
Side Lateral RaiseLateral Delt28-10
One-Arm Side Cable Lateral RaiseSide Delt28-10
Roman-Chair Situp + Lying Leg RaiseAbs530

Day 10 – OFF

Day 11 – Pull Workout

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
Wide Grip Pull-upBack312, 10, 8
T-Bar RowBack312, 10, 8
Single-arm Cable RowBack38-10
Machine Lat PulloverBack310-12
Barbell Biceps CurlBiceps38-10
Preacher CurlBiceps38-10
Incline Dumbbell CurlBiceps38-10
Wrist Extension + Wrist CurlForearms212 + 20
Body Curl + Hanging Leg RaisesCore250
Hanging Knee-ups + Russian TwistCore250

Day 12 – OFF

Day 13 – Leg Workout

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
Leg ExtensionQuad316, 14, 12
Leg PressQuad415, 12, 10, 8
LungesQuad310/leg
Leg CurlHamstring320, 15, 12
Donkey Calf RaisesCalves315
Romanian DeadliftCalves315
Roman Chair Sit-upAbs2100
Decline Reverse CrunchesAbs340, 30, 30

Day 14 – Push Workout

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
Incline Hammer Chest PressChest412, 10, 8, 6
Flat Dumbbell Bench PressChest312, 10, 8
Seated Pec Deck FlyChest310
Seated Overhead PressShoulder312, 10, 8
Lateral Delt RaisesShoulder312, 10, 8
Front RaisesShoulder312, 10, 8
French PressTriceps315, 12, 10
Rope Press DownTriceps312, 10, 8
One-arm Triceps ExtensionTriceps28-10
Body Curl + Hanging Leg RaisesAbs220
Wood Chop + Reverse CrunchesAbs220

Day 15 – OFF

Day 16 – Pull Workout (Superset)

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
Front Lat Pulldown + Cable Crossover Behind The NeckBack312, 10, 8
Seated Cable Row + One-arm DB RowBack312, 10, 8
Barbell Curl + Hammer CurlBiceps38-10
Preacher Curl + Incline Dumbbell CurlBiceps38-10
Wrist Extension + Wrist CurlForearms212 + 20
Body Curl + Hanging Leg RaisesCore250
Hanging Knee-ups + Russian TwistCore250

Day 17 – OFF

Day 18 – Leg Workout (Superset)

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
Dumbbell RDL + Leg ExtensionLeg316, 14, 12
Leg Press + Leg CurlLeg315, 12, 10, 8
Lunges + Donkey Calf RaisesLeg310/leg
Low Back Extension + Step-upLeg320, 15, 12
Roman Chair Sit-up + Decline Reverse CrunchesAbs350

Day 19 – OFF

Day 20 – Push Workout (Superset)

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
DB Bench Press + Lateral RaiseChest + Shoulder310-12
Dumbbell Flyes + Rear Delt RaiseChest + Shoulder310-12
Pullover + CrossoverChest310-12
Close-Grip Bench Press + PushdownTriceps310-12
Bar Dips + KickbackChest + Triceps210-12
Upright Row + Reverse FlyTrap and Shoulder210-12
Roman-Chair Situp + Lying Leg RaiseAbs330

Day 21 – OFF

Perform low-impact cardio training for 20-30 minutes.

Download The Frank Zane Workout Routine PDF


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Murshid Akram

I’m a personal trainer, fitness blogger, and founder of thefitnessphantom.com. For the last six years, I’ve been working and training with people who use all sorts of equipment and follow multiple types of workouts, from calisthenics to powerlifting. I primarily design workout plans and share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you become stronger, flexible, and healthier.

About Me

I’m a personal trainer, fitness blogger, and founder of thefitnessphantom.com. For the last six years, I’ve been working and training with people who use all sorts of equipment and follow multiple types of workouts, from calisthenics to powerlifting. I primarily design workout plans and share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you become stronger, flexible, and healthier.

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