Alex Crockford's 30-day bulk-up workout plan - build muscle in just one month!

Build muscle at home with Alex Crockford's 30-day bulk-up workout plan - no equipment necessary!

Alex Crockford shares his bulk-up workout plan with Fit&Well
(Image credit: Alex Crockford)

If you’re looking to bulk up, we’ve got just the plan for you. Alex Crockford, personal trainer, fitness model and creator of fitness app Crockfit, has shared a 30 day bulk-up workout plan exclusively with Fit&Well!

Not only will it build bulk as the name suggests, but it's also based on bodyweight strength exercises - so you can leave those adjustable dumbbells and kettlebells in the cupboard.

But what exactly does it mean to 'bulk up'? Essentially, it's all about gaining muscle! A good protein powder can go a long way to helping with your fitness goals. So, save yourself some money on this supplement with our guide to all the Black Friday protein deals. 

‘Many people associate bulking up with gaining lots of weight or fat, but really a successful bulking-up plan will help you build muscle and a stronger shape all over your body.’

According to Alex, the best exercises for bulking up are compound exercises. ‘These are exercises that involve multiple muscle groups and joints such as a squat or a deadlift.

'After compound exercises, isolation exercises play a good part to focus on specific muscle groups for bulking up too.’

One thing you won’t find in a bulk up plan is cardio type moves, such as burpees, jogging or jumping jacks, or any of the best exercises for weight loss.

‘Resistance training involves exercises that put muscular stress on the body and therefore helps you build muscle. So we reserve our energy for these instead of the cardio moves’.

Alex Crockford, creator of Fit&Well's 30-day bulk-up workout plan

(Image credit: Alex Crockford)

The term 'progressive overload' is one to remember when it comes to bulking up, as this is key to building new muscle and making progress. 

‘It means increasing the overall volume of your workouts and is an accumulation of your reps, sets and weight used. In order for us to maintain our strength and muscle mass we must continue the amount of work we put our body through. And if we want to increase our strength and muscle then we must increase our volume. 

'Essentially, we are progressively overloading our muscles so they can adapt and grow,’ says Alex.

Generally speaking, it is easier for men to build muscle and strength because of hormonal advantages; men have higher levels of testosterone, which plays a role in increasing muscle mass. 

Women don’t have the same levels of testosterone as men do, so building muscle just isn’t as simple - as studieshave shown. 

But all is not lost if you're female! ‘Although women may take longer to achieve muscle building results, it is still possible to build strong athletic bodies,’ says Alex.

Ready to work out? Let's do it. This 30-day bulk-up plan is a condensed version of Alex's bodyweight strength plan, coming soon to his CrockFit app.

Bulk-up workout plan day 1: full body

Work for 30 seconds then take a 20 second rest between each move. Do this for 3 rounds.

  • Squats: Stand with your feet hip width apart and sit your hips back and bend your knees. Keep your feet flat on the floor as you sit down and stand back up. See how to do squats for more info on form.
  • Push up: Facing the floor on your hands and toes (or knees), keep a flat position through your body as you lower yourself down towards the floor before pushing yourself back up. See how to do a push-up for more info on form.
  • Prone arm circles: Lay on the floor on your front and hold your arms out straight. Make big circles forwards and backwards with your arms without touching the floor. 
  • Plank: On your elbows/forearms and toes, hold a straight line through your entire body. 
  • Forward lunge alternating: Lunge forwards bending both legs and staying upright in the body. Push the floor away to stand back up and switch legs. 
  • Floor dip: Sit on the floor facing upwards and place your hands on the floor with fingers facing forwards. Lift your body up and down by bending and extending your elbows. 
  • Ab crunch: Lay on your back with knees bent and hand at bead. Lift your shoulders off the floor and control back down. See more on how to do a crunch.
  • Bent over Y lift: Tilt forwards at the hips with a slight bend in the knees and a straight back. From here lift your arms up straight in a Y position and then slowly bring them back, before returning to the Y.

Alex Crockford bent over y lift

(Image credit: Alex Crockford)

Bulk-up workout plan day 2: Upper Body

Circuit 1

Work for 30 seconds then take a 20 second rest between each move. Do this for 3 rounds.

  • Push up side step: In a push-up position, perform a push-up and then step one hand to one side and then step the hand over, and start your next push-up and step back again.  
  • Plank steps: In a plank position place one hand on the floor and lift yourself up to bring the other hand on the floor. Now that you’re in a high plank position then lower down to plank again one hand at a time.  
  • Pike push up: In a push-up position walk your feet in as you lift your hips up high. In this position perform a push-up slowly lowering your head towards the floor between your hands. 
  • Mountain climber: In a push-up up position drive one knee up towards your body and then return and switch legs. 

Circuit 2

Follow the same work/rest ratio (30/20) for the moves below, but do them for four rounds.

  • Bent over row: Tilt forwards at the hip with a slight bend in the knees, keeping a straight back. Pull your arms in with elbows tight to the body and then lower the arms back down to a straight position. 
  • 90 degree external rotation: In a standing position hold your arms up at shoulder height at 90 degrees. Lift your hand up in line with your head whilst keeping your elbows in the same position. 
  • W raise: Laying on your front bring your arms to a W position off the floor and lift your chest of the floor. Lower up and down. 

Alex Crockford W rise

(Image credit: Alex Crockford)

Bulk-up workout plan days 3 and 4

Rest day - whoop! We're only a few days into the bulk-up workout plan, but no doubt you're already feeling it, so take some time to recover. Grab a foam roller and workout any aches and pains in your shoulders, arms, back and legs - we've picked the best foam rollers that will do the trick nicely.

Bulk-up workout plan day 5: full body

Work for 30 seconds then take a 20 second rest between each move, unless otherwise stated. Do each circuit for 3 rounds.

Circuit 1

  • Decline push up: Bring your feet on a platform like a chair and hands on the floor, performing a push-up from here keeping your body inline. 
  • Platform dip: Place your hands on a platform like a chair with fingers off the edge. Lift your body up and down by bending and extending your elbows. Work for 30 seconds then take a 20 second rest between each move. 

Circuit 2

Work for 30 seconds and then take a 5 second rest. Repeat 3 times.

  • Side lunge: From a standing position take a big step to one side and bend the outside leg into a side lunge and push back up to standing. See more on how to do lunges.
  • Side lunge: Other leg.

Circuit 3

  • Y raise: Lay on your front and bring your arms up at a Y position. Lift your arms and chest off the floor up and down in this position. 
  • Good morning: From a standing position soften the knees and tilt toward from the hips. Keep your hands at your head or across your chest and lift up and down. 

Circuit 4

  • Knee raise: Lay on your back and lift your bent legs up above your body with your back flat on the floor, and then lower your feet back to the floor. 
  • Abs twist: In an upright seated position twist your body side to side. 

Bulk-up workout plan day 6: lower body

Work for 30 seconds then take a 20 second rest between each move. Do each circuit for 3 rounds.

Circuit 1

  • Reverse lunge alternating: From a standing position take a step backwards into a lunge bending both legs. Return to standing and switch legs.  
  • Squat pulse: Squat down to half way position and pulse a few inches up and down without standing up straight. 
  • Ice skater: Balance on one leg and jump to one side and land and balance on the other leg before jumping back again. 
  • Kneel to stand: Start on both knees and step on foot up followed by the other leg to a standing position. Then step back down to your knees. 
  • Calf raise: From a standing position push your toes into the floor and lift your heels up and down. 

Circuit 2

  • Glute bridge: Lay on your back with bent legs and lift your hips up and down off the floor. 
  • Step up: Stand up on to a platform like a chair and then stand back down on the floor. 
  • Single leg RDL: Balance on one leg and kick the other leg behind you as you start to reach your arm down to the floor. Keep your standing leg quite straight. 
  • Single leg RDL: Other leg

Bulk-up workout plan day 7

REST DAY

Bulk-up workout plan day 8: upper body

Work for 30 seconds then take a 20 second rest between each move. Do each circuit for 3 rounds.

Circuit 1

  • Push up shoulder tap: As you complete a push-up lift one hand off the floor and tap your other shoulder, then start your next push-up and switch sides. 
  • Wide push up: Set your hands wider than normal in your push-up and go up and down here. 
  • Tricep push up: Start in a plank position with your elbows on the floor and from here push yourself up on to your hands with both hands at the same time. Try to keep your body in a straight line. 
  • Platform dip: As per day 6

Circuit 2

  • Y-W raise: Lay facing the floor with your arms out in a Y position off the floor. Pull your arms in to a W lifting your chest up, and then return your arms to Y. 
  • Plank row: In a plank position lift on hands off the floor and drive the elbow up to the side of your body. Try to keep your hips in a normal position. 
  • Bent over rear fly: Tilt forwards from the hips with a slight bend in the knees and a straight back. Lift your straight arms out to the side and then back down. 
  • Prone arm circles: as per day 1

Circuit 3

  • Sit up: Lay on your back with bent legs and sit your upper body up to you knees and then control your body back down. 
  • Side plank: Face one side on one forearm and feet (or knees) and lift your hips up in line with your body. 
  • Side plank: Other side

Bulk-up workout plan day 9: lower body

Work for 40 seconds then take a 20 second rest between each move. Do this for 3 rounds for circuits 1 and 2, and 2 rounds for circuits 3 and 4.

  • Forward lunge: Lunge forwards bending both legs and staying upright in the body. Push the floor away to stand back up. 
  • Forward lunge: Other side.
  • Frog squat: Stand with your feet a little wider than your normal squat with your toes slightly turned outwards. Squat down low and touch the floor but keep your back straight and chest up. Stand back up using the legs.  
  • Static side lunge: Start with your legs in a wide position. And lunge down to one side bending the outside leg. Push back up to standing and then repeat the lunge. 
  • Static side lunge: Other side.

Circuit 3

  • One leg step-up: Stand in front of a chair or bench with one foot on the platform. Step up and return to start, continuing on the same leg.
  • One leg step-up: Other side.

Circuit 4

  • Single leg glute bridge: Lay on your back legs bent and feet on the floor. Lift one foot off the floor and point upwards. Use the leg on the floor to drive your hips up and down. 
  • Single leg glute bridge: Other side.

Bulk-up workout plan days 10 and 11

REST DAYS

Bulk-up workout plan day 12: upper body

Work for 40 seconds then take a 20 second rest between each move, except where specified. Do each circuit for 3 rounds.

Circuit 1

  • Incline push up: Place your hands on a platform like a chair and perform a push-up keeping a straight line through the body. 
  • Close grip push up: Set your hand width narrower than usual, about shoulder width apart and perform a push-up from here.
  • Pike push up: As per day 2.
  • Platform dip: As per days 6 and 8.

Circuit 2

  • Lower back raise reach down: Lay on the floor facing down and lift your chest off the floor whilst reaching your arms down your back.
  • Bent over Y lift: As per day 1
  • Bent over long arm pull: Tilt forwards from the hips with knees slightly bent and lift your arms up in front of you. From here pull the arms into your side and behind you and then return your arms back.
  • 90 degree external rotation: As per day 2.

Circuit 3

Work for 30 seconds then take a 15 second rest between each move. Do this for 3 rounds.

  • Plank saw: In a plank position step your arms and toes a little further away from each other from here saw your body towards abs backwards whilst keeping a straight line through the body.  
  • Bicycle crunch: Lay on your back and bring your legs off the floor. Cycle your legs whilst you rotate your upper body from side to side. In an opposite movement to your legs so your opposite elbow reached your opposite knee. See more on how to do bicycle crunches.
  • Heel tap: Lay on your back with your legs bent and reach one hand down to touch your heel. Keep your shoulders off the floor and reach the other heel. 

Bulk-up workout plan day 13: lower body

Circuit 1

Work for 40 seconds then take a 20 second rest between each move. Do this for 3 rounds.

  • Reverse lunge: From a standing position take a step backwards into a lunge, bending both legs. Step back up to a standing position and repeat. 
  • Reverse lunge: Other side.
  • Sumo squat: Step your legs to a wide position and slightly out turn your toes. Bend your legs into a squat whilst keep your knees out wide, and then stand back up. Static side lunge 
  • Static side lunge: Other side.

Circuit 2

Work for 40 seconds then take a 5 second rest between each leg. Do this for 3 rounds.

  • Platform split squat: Face away from a platform like a chair and place your back foot on it. Step forwards and use the front leg to squat up and down keeping your front foot flat on the floor. 
  • Platform split squat: Other side.

Circuit 3

Work for 40 seconds then take a 5 second rest between each leg. Do this for 2 rounds.

  • Single leg glute bridge: As per day 9.
  • Single leg glute bridge: Other side.

Bulk-up workout plan day 14

REST DAY

Bulk-up workout plan day 15: legs

Work for 40 seconds then take a 20 second rest between each move. Do this for 3 rounds for both circuits.

Circuit 1

  • Reverse lunge with knee drive: From a standing position take a step backwards into a lunge bending both legs. Step back up and drive that knee up high as you balance and go into your next lunge. 
  • Reverse lunge with knee drive: Other side.
  • Lunge pulse: Set your legs up in a lunge position and drop down half way. Pulse up and down for a few inches but never standing up to the top. 
  • Lunge pulse: Other side.

Circuit 2

  • Kneel to squat: Start in a kneeling position, push up from your right foot and step into a squat. Go back into a kneel and repeat, this time pushing from your left foot.
  • Squat jump: Stand with your feet hip width apart and sit your hips back and bend your knees. Keep your feet flat on the floor as you sit down and stand back up and jump to leave the floor. Land softly and repeat.
  • Lunge jump: In a lunge position jump up and switch the legs around and go into the next lunge before jumping back up. 

Bulk-up workout plan day 16: push

Work for 40 seconds then take a 20 second rest between each move. Do this for 3 rounds for both circuits.

Circuit 1

  • High plank rotation: Start in a plank position on your hands and rotate to face one side and lift your arm up high. Keep your hips in line with your body as you switch sides. 
  • Push up pulse: In a push-up position drop down half way and stay in this position pulsing a few reps up and down. 
  • Incline push up: As per day 12.
  • Diamond push up: In a push-up position place your hands in a diamond shape and perform a push-up from here. 
  • Hindu push up: In a push-up position lift your hips up similar to a downward dog. Drop your head between your hands, and then your hips, and then your legs, and then wave your upper body up pushing until your arms are straight. From here push back to your starting position. 

Circuit 2

  • Pike push up: As per days 2 and 12.
  • Platform dip: As per days 6, 8 and 12.

Bulk-up workout plan day 17

REST DAY

Bulk-up workout plan day 18: Pull

Work for 40 seconds then take a 20 second rest between each move. Do each circuit for 3 rounds.

Circuit 1

  • T raise: Lay facing the floor and lift your arms out to the side lifting up and down off the floor. 
  • Lying Superman: Lay on the floor facing down and lift your arms out straight above your head. Lift your arms up as you lift your legs up at the same time.
  • Lateral raise: In a standing position lift your arms up directly to the side to shoulder height and then drop back down just half way before lifting again. 
  • Back widow: Lay on your back with legs bent and place your elbows out to the side. Drive your elbows into the floor lifting your upper back off the floor and then control back down. 
  • Good morning: As per day 6.

Circuit 2

  • Table/chair pull up: Lie under a chair or table so that you can hold on to the sides. Lift your upper body off the floor bringing the chest towards the chair or table. Return to start and repeat. 

Circuit 3

  • Self bicep squeeze: Place one hand on the other hand around your wrist/forearm in a comfortable position. Bicep curl your arm up whilst your other arm provides as much resistance as you like. Lift slow with pulsing motions up and down. 
  • Self bicep squeeze: Other side.

Self bicep squeeze -Place one hand on the other hand around your wrist / forearm in a comfortable position. Bicep curl your arm up whilst your other arm provides as much resistance as you like. Lift slow with pulsing motions up and down.  Self bicep squeeze (other side)

Alex Crockford self bicep curl

(Image credit: Alex Crockford)

Bulk-up workout plan day 19: full body

Circuit 1

Work for 40 seconds then take a 20 second rest. Do this for 3 rounds.

  • Squats: As per day 1.

Circuit 2

Work for 40 seconds then take a 5 second rest between each leg. Do this for 3 rounds.

  • Single leg squat: In a standing position, balance on one leg. Bend the standing leg to squat down and then stand back up.
  • Single leg squat: Other side.

Circuit 3

Work for 40 seconds then take a 20 second rest between each move. Do this for 3 rounds.

  • Lower back raise reach down: As per day 12.
  • Bent over rear fly: As per day 8.

Circuit 4

Work for 40 seconds then take a 20 second rest between each move. Do this for 3 rounds.

  • Push up side step: As per day 2.
  • Decline push up: As per day 6.

Circuit 5

Work for 40 seconds then take a 20 second rest between each move. Do this for 3 rounds.

  • Kick through: On your hands and toe, open to face one side and kick one leg through. Bring that leg back and face the other side to kick the other leg through, keeping your body close to the floor.
  • Bicycle crunch: As per day 12.

Bulk-up workout plan day 20

REST DAY

Bulk-up workout plan day 21: core

Work for 40 seconds then take a 20 second rest between each move. Do this for 3 rounds.

  • Single leg V-up: Lay on your back with legs and arms straight. Lift one leg up at the same time as lifting your body to meet. Control back down and lift your other leg. 
  • Butterfly sit up: Lay on your back with bent legs but with your knees dropped to the side, and sit your upper body up and then control your body back down. 
  • Upright leg lifts: Sit upright with legs straight. Place your fingers in the floor as your lift your legs up off the floor.
  • Toe tap crunch: Lay on your back with your legs straight up above your body. Crunch up and reach your fingers to touch your toes. 
  • Plank heel lift: In a plank position keep everything in the correct position as you lift one heel off the floor, and then drop down and switch. 
  • Plank hip drop: In a plank position drop your hips down at one side and then lift up and drop to the other side. 
  • Plank walkout: In a plank position on your hands, keep a straight back inline with your body as you step your hands out away from you one step at a time and then walk back. 

Bulk-up workout plan day 22

REST DAY

Bulk-up workout plan day 23: legs

Work for 50 seconds then take a 10 second rest between each move. Do this for 3 rounds for both circuits.

Circuit 1

  • Curtsy lunge: In a standing position take a step back into a lunge but bring the back leg behind the front leg going down into a courtesy position. Keep your front legs facing forwards. 
  • Curtsy lunge: Other side.
  • Squat hold alternate knee drop: Go down into a squat hold and drop one knee to the floor at a time. 
  • Frog squat jump: Stand with your feet a little wider than your normal squat with your toes slightly turned outwards. Squat down low and touch the floor but keep your back straight and chest up. Stand back up and jump to leave the floor. 

Circuit 2

  • Body elevated single leg glute bridge: Place your back on a platform like a chair with legs bent and lift one foot off the floor. Use the leg on the floor to drive your hips up and down.  
  • Body elevated single leg glute bridge: Other side.
  • Static step up: Place on foot on a platform like a chair or bench and keep that foot there. Stand up on the platform and control back down staying on one leg. 
  • Static step up: Other side.

Bulk-up workout plan day 24: Push

Circuit 1

Work for 50 seconds then take a 10 second rest between each move. Do this for 3 rounds.

  • Staggered push up: In a push-up position but with one hand placed randomly to one side down the side of your body. After each push up bring one hand back and switch. 
  • Hand release push up: At the bottom of a push-up lift your hands off the floor and then push-up. 
  • Underhand push up: Turn your hands to face the other way so your fingers are facing you. You may need to place your hands a bit wider and closer to your hips. Perform a push-up from here. 
  • Spiderman push up: In a push-up position, as you go down lift one foot off the floor and drive the knee up to the elbow. As you push-up place the foot back and switch sides. 
  • Kneeling archer push up: In a push-up position take your hands much wider with your hand turned outwards. Drop down to one side whilst the other arm stays straight. Push-up up and switch sides. 

Circuit 2

Work for 40 seconds then take a 20 second rest. Do this for 3 rounds.

  • Platform dip: As per days 6, 8, 12 and 16.

Bulk-up workout plan day 25

REST DAY

Bulk-up workout plan day 26: pull

Work for 50 seconds then take a 10 second rest between each move. Do each circuit for 3 rounds.

Circuit 1

  • Plank row: As per day 8.
  • T raise: As per day 18.
  • Table/chair pull up: As per day 18.
  • Lying Superman: As per day 18.
  • Lateral raise: As per day 18.

Circuit 2

  • Towel prone lat pull: Hold on to a towel and lay down facing the floor. Pull the towel apart right and drive your elbows down your back as you lift your chest up.  
  • Towel bicep curl around legs: Hold on to the towel and place the towel under your legs. Lean back and lift your legs off the floor. Pull the towel to lift your legs towards you and extend back out. 

Alex Crockford Bicep curl around legs

(Image credit: Alex Crockford)

Bulk-up workout plan day 27: Full body

Work for 50 seconds then take a 10 second rest. Do each circuit for 3 rounds.

Circuit 1

  • Lunge jumps: As per day 15.

Circuit 2

  • Single leg RDL: As per day 6.
  • Single leg RDL: Other side.

Circuit 3

  • Clap push up: In a push-up position, as you push away from the floor, jump your hands off and clap your hands together. 
  • Platform dip: As per days 6, 8, 12 and 16.

Circuit 4

  • Back widow: As per day 18.
  • Towel bicep curl around legs: As per day 26.

Circuit 5

  • L-sit to knee crunch: In an upright seated position place your hands on the floor by your sides and lift your hips off the floor. Lift one knee in towards your and then return. 
  • Abs twist: As per day 6.

Bulk-up plan days 28 and 29

REST DAYS

Bulk-up workout plan day 30: core

Work for 50 seconds then take a 10 second rest between each move. Do this for 3 rounds.

  • V up: Lie on your back with your legs and arms straight and lift your legs up and lift your upper body to the middle at the same time.
  • Leg raise: Lir on your back with legs straight and then lift your legs up above your body. 
  • Straight leg sit up: Lie on your back with your legs straight and sit your body up without moving your legs. 
  • Hollow rocks: Lie on your back with your arms straight and legs straight. Lift arms and legs up so just your lower back is on the floor. From here, rock forwards and backwards. 
  • Plank jack: Face the floor in a plank position and whilst keeping a straight position in the body, jump both feet out to the side and then back in. 
  • Floor L-sit: In an upright seated position place your hands on the floor by your sides and lift your hips off the floor with your heels still on the floor.
  • Flutter kicks: Lie on your back with your legs straight. Lift both legs off the floor and lift them both up and down one at a time close to the floor. Keeping your back and shoulders on the floor. 

Bulk-up workout - other things to consider

Exercise isn’t the only factor to consider when trying to bulk up - diet is just as important.

‘First of all, looking at the calorie balance. In order to build new lean muscle mass you need to be consuming enough food to be at calorie maintenance, or ideally calorie surplus.’

A calorie surplus involves taking in more calories than you burn. It’s the opposite of a calorie deficit needed for weight loss, where you consume fewer calories than you burn.

‘A small consistent surplus will be great because you won’t store any fat. But remember building muscle takes time, so be patient! 

The quality and type of food you eat is also important.

'Make sure you’re fuelling the body with the right nutrients, especially protein which is a key nutrient for building muscle,' Alex advises, adding: 'Try to achieve 30-40% of your calories from protein.’

He suggests making protein the main ingredient in your biggest meals of the day, either by doubling the size of the portion of your protein or adding in some protein powder to your smoothies or oats. Many of the options on our list of the best protein powders for women will also work for men, so take a look!

Finally, Alex says it’s important to take your rest and recovery seriously.

‘These bulk-up workouts damage your muscle tissue and it’s the process of recovery that helps them grow back stronger and bigger. So take the necessary rest when the muscles are sore!’

Lucy Gornall
Lucy Gornall

Lucy is Head of Wellness at Pure Sport and was formerly Health and Fitness Editor at various women's magazines, including Woman&Home Feel Good You. She has previously written for titles including Now, Look and Cosmopolitan. She lives and breathes all things fitness; she works out every morning, and mixes it up with runs, weights, boxing and endless box jumps. She is also a Level 3 personal trainer and teaches classes at various London studios, primarily Digme Fitness. Lucy is pre- and post-natal trained and helps new mums get back into fitness after the birth of their baby. Lucy claims that good sleep, plenty of food and a healthy gut (seriously, it's an obsession) are the key to maintaining energy and exercising efficiently. Saying this, she's partial to the odd Negroni on the dance floor with her friends.