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The no-plateau workout plan

Use the 'one-half plus one' method to get stronger every week.
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The no-plateau workout plan
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The trick to building muscle over the long haul—for years, not just weeks or months—is checking your ego.

Make gradual but steady increases, working with weights that are challenging but not so heavy that they make your eyes bug out. That’s what this workout is all about.

How it works

We call it the “one-half plus one” method. It’s a practical, systematic approach that will yield big strength gains on the four best muscle-building exercises—the bench press, deadlift, shoulder press, and squat. Write your max lifts down today, and be prepared for jaw-dropping results within two months (and every month, year, and even decade thereafter).

Directions

Perform the paired exercises (marked A and B) in sequence. So you’ll do one set of the first exercise, rest, and then one set of the next exercise, and rest again before repeating. Continue for all the prescribed sets. Perform the last exercise of each workout as straight sets.

Frequency: Do Workouts 1, 2, and 3 in the same week, resting at least a day between sessions. The next week, begin with Workout 4, and repeat the cycle.

Follow this plan for the first lift of each workout:

Week 1: Find your 12-rep max (the most weight you can lift 12 times). Perform 4 sets of 7 reps.

Week 2: Add 6% to the load you used in Week 1 (this is your 10-rep max, roughly). Do 4 sets of 6 reps.

Week 3: Add 6% to the load you used in Week 2 (8-rep max). Do 4 sets of 5.

Week 4: Add 6% to the load you used in Week 3 (6-rep max). Do 4 sets of 4.

Week 5: Repeat, beginning at Week 1, but add weight to your 12-rep max (5lbs for the bench and shoulder press, and 10 for the deadlift and squat).

Rest about 2 minutes between sets. On the fourth set, attempt to do more reps than the prescribed number, but don’t go to failure.

Routine

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Workout 1

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 6

Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
4-7 (depending on the week)
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 2 of 6

Inverted Row

Equipment
Power Rack
Sets
2
Reps
8-12
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 3 of 6

Isometric-explosive pushup

Equipment
Sets
2
Reps
15-45 sec. (per position)
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 4 of 6

Face Pull

Equipment
Cable Machine
Sets
2
Reps
8-12
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 5 of 6

Dumbbell Side-to-Side Rotation

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
8-12 (each side)
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 6 of 6

Dumbbell Curl

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
8
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 7 of 6

Triceps Pushdown

Equipment
Elastic Band
Sets
2
Reps
8-12
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 8 of 6

Pallof Press

Equipment
Elastic Band
Sets
3
Reps
5 (each side)
Rest
120 sec.
How to

Workout 2

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 9 of 6

Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
4-7 (depending on the week)
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 10 of 6

Swiss Ball Leg Curl

Equipment
Swiss Ball
Sets
2
Reps
8-12 (each leg)
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Perform this exercise one leg at a time.
Exercise 11 of 6

Bulgarian Split Squat

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
8-12 (each leg)
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 12 of 6

Isometric lunge with band front raise

Equipment
Elastic Band
Sets
2
Reps
10 (each side)
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 13 of 6

Single-Leg Calf Raise

Equipment
Sets
2
Reps
12-20 (each leg)
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 14 of 6

Ab-Wheel Rollout

Equipment
Ab Wheel
Sets
3
Reps
8-12
Rest
120 sec.
How to

Workout 3

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 15 of 6

Shoulder Press

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
4
Reps
4-7 (depending on the week)
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 16 of 6

Chinup

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
2
Reps
8-12
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 17 of 6

Medicine Ball Pushup

Equipment
Medicine Ball
Sets
2
Reps
8-12 (each side)
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 18 of 6

One-arm reverse-grip cable row

Equipment
Cable Machine
Sets
2
Reps
8-12 (each side)
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 19 of 6

Shrug

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
8-12
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 20 of 6

Barbell Curl

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
2
Reps
8-12
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 21 of 6

Incline Dumbbell Press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
8
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 22 of 6

Elbows-to-Hands Plank

Equipment
Sets
2
Reps
5-8
Rest
120 sec.
How to

Workout 4

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 23 of 6

Squat

Equipment
Squat Rack
Sets
4
Reps
4-7 (depending on the week)
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 24 of 6

Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
8-12 (each leg)
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Use a pair of dumbbells.
Exercise 25 of 6

Dumbbell Step-Up

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
8-12 (each leg)
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 26 of 6

Cable pullover

Equipment
Cable Machine
Sets
2
Reps
8-12
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Exercise 27 of 6

Side Lunge

Equipment
Sets
2
Reps
8-12 (each leg)
Rest
120 sec.
How to
Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
Exercise 28 of 6

Side Plank

Equipment
Medicine Ball
Sets
2
Reps
30-45 sec. (each side)
Rest
120 sec.
How to
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