Well, here we are fresh in the middle of holiday season. Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas and New Years are just around the corner. We are busy shopping, spending time with family and friends, and devising our own personal Christmas lists. If you are like me (and I think you are), #1 on the Christmas list is a more muscular, perfectly symmetrical body.
I have received over one hundred e-mails from readers of this section here at Bodybuilding.com, and thus far the response is "Awesome"! I assume there are hundreds of others out there using the program that I have not heard from. Those who have had faith in the program and approached it with diligence and consistency are all seeing superb results. I hope you are all seeing the results that this program has advertised. Please continue to let me know how things are going.
Now, back to our #1 request on our wish list. To recap, we've progressed from a one day split to a two day split. We then moved to a three day split, and last month we ventured into supersets. How do we keep progressing from here? The answer lies in this months workout.
As I stated, last month was superset month. You should have a fair amount of muscular endurance and strength at this point, and your body should be prepared for what is to come. Last month we dropped the "Big 3" exercises, in order to rest your body for the months to come. Well, this month they are all back. Squats, deadlifts, and bench presses are now the order of the day. I have pulled out my tried and true mass gaining program that I personally follow at least 2 times per year. This is honestly the best program I have ever discovered for gaining strength and mass at the same time. It is ideal for this time of year, as for most of us, it is off-season, and we have a limited amount of time to workout. You will no longer be required to workout 4 times per week. Below is the breakdown of your next 8 weeks.
1. This is a back to the basics type of program designed to be performed only 3 times per week. You should work on a 1 on/1 off/1 on/1 off/1 on/2 off schedule. Basically it is a Monday, Wednesday, Friday workout schedule.
2. The program is centered around the "BIG 3": squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. These exercises should be performed with maximum intensity. If after you finish your 5 sets of these exercises, you are totally taxed, call it a day and go home and grow. Put everything you have into these exercises. They are all multi-joint exercises that tax the majority of your musculature and really put a strain on your central nervous system. Perform them well, and you will get big.
3. The program works on a descending repetition and ascending rest interval type of structure. Each week you will decrease your reps by 1 (on most exercises) and you will increase your rest every other week. This will allow for several things. The first is that the higher reps in the beginning will help you focus on form and take advantage of the muscular endurance you built up last month. Form is essential on all exercises. Do not even contemplate poor form with this program or you will get injured. This is not the time to be a show off. Perfect your form in the first couple of weeks and keep that form as your weights go up. As you work through the weeks, your rest increases, but your reps go down, which in turn should allow you to lift heavier.
4. Set weekly goals to increase your weights by 2.5 - 5% on most of your lifts (use 2.5% for the smaller muscle groups and 5% for the larger muscle groups. For example, on deadlifts you might perform 5 X 12 @ 200 in week 1. Week 2 you do 5 X 11 @ (200 x 1.05) 210, week 3 you do 5 X 10 @ (210 x 1.05) 220, week 4 you do 5 X 9 @ (220 x 1.05) 230, week 5 you do 5 X 8 @ (230 x 1.05) 240, week 6 you do 5 X 7 @ (240 x 1.05) 250, week 7 you do 5 X 6 @ (250 x 1.05) 260, and week 8 you do 5 X 6 @ (260 x 1.05) 270. OK, so the math isn't perfect, but you get the idea. In 8 weeks you've gone from deadlifting 200 for 5 sets of 12, to 270 for 5 sets of 6. If you follow a similar example for all of your lifts, you will get stronger and bigger everywhere.
5. It is difficult to get all 5 sets of the same exercise with the same reps and weight for each set, but the idea is to strive for this. Have a competent spotter on hand so you can really push yourself. Don't despair if you don't get all 5 sets at the specified reps. Stick with the weight you did for your first set for all 5 sets. Push hard, especially on the "Big 3".
6. You have already learned all of the exercises in this program. Don't try to add additional lifts to the program, as this will lead to overtraining. There will be time for more specialization work later, but for now stick with the program. You should be able to get bigger everywhere with this program.
7. Cardio should be perfromed only on off days and should be limited to no more than 3 times per week at 20-30 minutes per session at a moderate intensity (60-70% of estimated max. heart rate). Any more than that and you will overtrain very quickly. This does not mean you should skip out on cardio altogether, just don't go overboard.
8. During the holidays, you will have a tendency to overeat. We all do. The excess calories can be a blessing during this program, as it will help with recovery and allow us to pack on more muscle. Just remember, we are what we eat. If we load up on the holiday cookies and candy, we will look the part. Load up on turkey and sweet potatoes and...you get the picture. Don't use this as an excuse to become a fat @#!. Eat smart, train hard, and grow.
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This should keep you going until the beginning of February, when I'll be back with the next installment. Please contact me if you have any questions at OPT4FIT@OPT4FIT.com.