Buys guys are in a quandary.
They want to build muscle, and they want a routine that allows them to get stronger.
But all the workouts out there designed to do this just take up a crapload of time.
Pick up Flex magazine, and your eyes are assaulted by the sheer number of exercises that Guys like Branch Warren, Phil Heath and Jay Cutler perform each workout. That’s just too damn much when you’ve got a job, family, commitments, and let’s face it – you want a social life too.
Then at the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got the purely strength-based routines – Madcow, Stronglifts, Starting Strength, and so on.
These routines are awesome, no doubt about it, they’re the best ways for any beginner to get strong, fast. But the trouble is, they’re not as bodybuilding-focused as most guys want. There’s no room for direct arm work, not much for chest and shoulders bar bench pressing and military pressing, and calves? Forget about it.
As great as squats and deadlifts are (as a competitive powerlifter, you’ll never hear me say otherwise) you want decent guns too, right? It’d be nice to have at least semi-respectable calves that don’t look like bits of string coming out of your shorts.
That’s why I put together my ultimate strength/hypertrophy hybrid workout.
Not only will you get stronger (a la Stronglifts, Sheiko, Korte, or any other powerlifting program out there,) you’ll also get bigger and build lean mass, plus you only need to commit to four 45-minute sessions in the gym each week.
Barbell Back Squat – 3 sets of 4-6 reps
Stiff-Legged Deadlift – 3 sets of 6-8 reps
Leg Curls – 2 sets of 8-10 reps
Leg Press- 2 sets of 8-10 reps
Standing Calf Raises – 2 sets of 8-10 reps
Barbell Bench Press – 3 sets of 4-6 reps
Chin-Ups – 3 sets of 5-8 reps
Seated DB Press – 2 sets of 5-8 reps
Barbell Row – 2 sets of 5-8 reps
EZ Bar Curls – 2 sets of 8-10 reps
DB Triceps Extensions – 2 sets of 8-10 reps
Barbell Deadlift – 3 sets of 4-6 reps
Hack Squats or Front Squats – 2 sets of 8-10
Leg Extensions – 3 sets of 15-20
Pullthroughs or Leg Curls – 3 sets of 15-20
Seated Calf Raises – 2 sets to failure (around 15-20 reps)
Incline DB Press – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Pulldowns – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
DB Laterals – 2 sets of 12-15 reps
DB Rows/ Chest Supported Rows – 3 sets of 12-15 reps
DB Curls 2 sets of 12-15 reps
Cable Pushdowns – 2 sets of 12-15 reps
– In week one, hit the lower number of reps for every exercise. So if it’s listed as 3 sets of 8-10, that’ll be 3 sets of 8.
– In week 2, increase your reps and see if you can hit toward the top end of the rep range.
– Once you’ve completed the top number of reps, increase the weight in your next session, and drop back down to the lower number of reps.
– Use this strategy until you plateau on an exercise.
– If you plateau on an exercise 2 weeks in a row, sub in a variation. So back squats could become safety bar squats, deadlifts go to sumo deadlifts, dumbbell curls to cable curls and so on. While you want a different exercise, they should still be similar (ie. still a machine/ free-weight move, or a compound/ isolation, etc. Subbing in leg curls for deadlifts won’t cut it.)
– Perform this workout in an A/B/C/D fashion. You can train any days you like, but workouts must be completed in this order.
– You can superset the biceps and triceps exercises, the leg curls and leg extensions, put the calf raises between other exercises, or even superset chest and back moves if you’re pushed for time.
If you’ve been training any length of time, you’ll probably look through the workout, and instantly know roughly how much weight you’ll need for each exercise. If not though, my recommendation is to use the RPE scale – rate of perceived exertion. Here’s a quick rundown –
RPE 10 = All out maximum effort – this was a seriously tough rep and you had to grind through it.
RPE 9.5 = Still really tough, but the form was good and smooth.
RPE 9 = You had 1 more rep left in the tank.
RPE 8 = 2 more reps in the tank
RPE 7 = 3 more reps left
You could take this all the way down to an RPE of 1, which would be the equivalent of tying your shoelaces, but for our purposes, this will do.
For all your free-weight compound moves (squats, deadlifts, bench pressing, etc.) start off at around an RPE 8. Your first set or two may be a 7, but the final set should be roughly an 8. By starting sub-maximally, not only will you ensure you use perfect technique, but it’s enough intensity to grow without risking injury.
Remember, no one gets stronger missing lifts, and gaining strength and size is a gradual process, so don’t be all gung-ho and slap your all-time 5 rep max on the bar and hope to squat it for 3 sets of 5 to 8 in your first session.
For isolations and machine exercises, go with an RPE 8-9.
Everything you need is here, my busy bulking friend –
If you’re struggling for food ideas, then you can also check out my “8 Essentials for Bulking on a Budget” –
This is all deliberately simple.
Why? Because simple works.
Sure, you could go with the latest giant-setting, pre-exhausting, plyometric, Russian frequency bulking program ……. if you want to waste your time in the gym.
Personally though, I’d favour getting the same gains in 20% of the time.
Any questions? Drop ’em below, or ping me an email at firstname.lastname@example.orgTags: bulking, bulking diet, lean gaining, muscle gain, strength training, training program
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