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52-Week Strength & Conditioning Series - Phase 2: Hypertrophy 1

In this series, we've created a 52-week strength and conditioning program to help you look and feel good, plus maintain your active lifestyle. Each month we'll present a new phase of training to help you maximize your time spent in the gym.

Most people who perform regular workouts assume they are doing their best to build muscle in the gym, yet they have no scientific plan of attack. Training without the right knowledge and direction is like building a house without an engineer's blueprint. Results will be mediocre at best.

Even worse, an overwhelming majority of gym-goers never formally record their progress. And if you don't know where you've been, you'll never know where you're going. Read on to learn how you can make the most of your time spent in the gym with a little guidance and a planned approach.

Strategic Success

To help you achieve your brawny goals, we've put together an annual strength and conditioning plan. The program is designed to be completed in a progressive fashion (that is, each phase of activity builds on the previous phase) so proceed slowly if you missed any of the past workouts.

This is the second phase of our yearlong series; it's designed to help you add a few inches (a.k.a. hypertrophy) to your chest, back, legs, calves, and arms while forging your washboard abdomen. Remember to combine these workouts with good food, adequate sleep and an anti-stress mindset.

Planned Results

Mike Clark, M.S., C.S.C.S., a physical therapist and president of the National Academy of Sports Medicine, stresses the importance of changing exercise program variables to achieve lean muscle tissue. "A sound periodized training plan systematically cycles different phases of training to ensure the body has adequate rest and proper levels of stabilization and flexibility." In other words, organize your exercise program to withstand the stress of high volume training. Your reward: bigger, stronger muscles.

Training Guidelines

Frequency Of Training ///

Beginner: If you're new to the iron game (less than 12 months of consistent strength and conditioning experience) consider yourself a beginner. In addition, it's a good idea to follow the beginner plan if you've been away from the gym for two or more months. Contrary to popular belief, for the beginner, less is more.

You will make steady progress with just two sessions each week. Be sure to rest 48 to 72 hours between training days. Monday/Thursday, Tuesday/Friday or Wednesday/Saturday training splits work best. For example, perform Schedule A on Monday and Schedule B on Thursday.

Intermediate/Advanced: If you have been involved in organized strength training and conditioning exercise for the previous year or more, you're in the Intermediate/Advanced category. Perform three workouts per week, alternating between Schedule A and Schedule B.

Recording Your Workouts

Keep track of the forces used, as well as the number of repetitions completed for each set.

We've provided a training log for the Intermediate/Advanced athlete; however, beginners can use the same template by eliminating the third workout in each week.

(Excel) Phase 2 Schedules

Dynamic warm-up

Before you get started with each training session, warm up on the stationary cycle or treadmill for five minutes. This will help you increase your core body temperature and decrease injury.

Cardiovascular exercise

Perform 20 minutes of interval training at the end of each session. Cardiovascular intensity is calculated by a percentage of your age-predicted maximal heart rate (HRmax). Use these formulas to determine your interval training intensities, or use the online calculator, below:

Low Intensity: 220-age x .6 = ______ beats per minute (60 percent of your age-predicted HRmax)

Medium Intensity: 220-age x .7 = ______ beats per minute (70 percent of your age-predicted HRmax)

High Intensity: 220-age x .8 = ______ beats per minute (80 percent of your age-predicted HRmax)


Which Target Heart Rate (Intensity) Should I Use?

There are three primary THR (intensity) ranges you can use, depending on your fitness goals (see explanations below):

  • Low Intensity [60%-70% of Max Heart Rate (HR Max)].
  • Medium Intensity (70%-80% of HR Max).
  • High Intensity (80% of HR Max and Above).
  • Lower intensity exercise can be performed for a longer period of time, whereas higher intensity exercise duration is much shorter.

Low Intensity, Long Duration (LILD): This method of aerobic exercise involves maintaining a lower heart rate for a longer period of time. LILD exercise may result in less muscle breakdown, which may be beneficial if several intense workouts are performed each week.

High Intensity, Short Duration (HISD): This method of aerobic exercise involves maintaining a higher heart rate for a shorter period of time, such as HIIT training or Guerilla training. HISD exercise provides greater cardiovascular benefit and increases anaerobic work capacity which may be especially useful for athletes who engage in explosive sports. HISD exercise may also yield a greater amount of calories if post exercise caloric consumption is included.

How Do I Measure Heart Rate?: Some cardio equipment may contain some type of heart rate monitor. However, if it does not, or you are not using a machine, you may monitor your heart rate by checking your own pulse. While you could count pulse for a full minute, it may be easier to check the pulse for 10 second intervals periodically throughout the exercise session to monitor heart rate. When the number of beats per 10 seconds is determined, one can multiply by 6 to get an estimated number of beats per minute. For example, 25 beats per 10 seconds x 6 = 150 BPM.

Stationary cycle: After a 5-minute warm-up, increase pedaling speed (RPM) to 90-to-100 and resistance to 80 percent of your age-predicted HRmax. Do this for 60 seconds. Immediately reduce RPM to 70 to 80 and resistance by half for 60 seconds. Repeat.

Treadmill: After a 5-minute warm-up, increase incline and/or speed (these combined variables are called intensity) to 80 percent of age-predicted HRmax for 60 seconds. Immediately reduce intensity by half for 60 seconds. Repeat.

Flexibility exercise

Hold each stretch for 30 seconds.

Active rest

At the end of this phase, take a break from the gym. In other words, do not perform any formal resistance training for seven days. Recreational activities, like walking or swimming, are fine. "Effective training requires regular, planned recovery phases," says Tudor Bompa, Ph.D., author of Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training.


Resistance Training Exercises

Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raises
Phase 2: Hypertrophy 1A

(Excel) Printable Log Of PHASE 2

Core Exercises

Phase 2: Hypertrophy 1A

(Excel) Printable Log Of PHASE 2

Resistance Training Exercises

Smith Machine Lunges
Phase 2: Hypertrophy 1B

(Excel) Printable Log Of PHASE 2

Corse Exercises

Phase 2: Hypertrophy 1B

(Excel) Printable Log Of PHASE 2

Cardiovascular Exercises

Phase 2: Hypertrophy 1A/B

(Excel) Printable Log Of PHASE 2

Flexibility Exercises

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