Maximize your strength training routine by cutting out these time wasters.Read article
We’ve all known people who make things more complicated than they need to be. At work, there’s the boss who requires meeting after mind-numbing meeting and procedures that rival a NASA rocket-launch sequence. (Come on, how many steps does it really take to order new staplers?) For you, Office Space seemed more like a documentary than a comedy. At home, deciding what’s for dinner can become a guessing game if your significant other is either too picky or not picky enough. But the gym is supposed to be a safe haven from the lunacy of your daily life. There’s no good reason to make it harder than necessary with a difficult-to-follow, overwrought training program when a straightforward approach will get you exactly where you want to go—and faster.
This six-week plan cuts through all the noise. At its heart, it’s plain yet powerful. Splitting the body over four training days, you’ll use a selection of unpretentious and effective exercises, sans complex techniques and tricks. Lift a heavy weight for the prescribed reps, rest two minutes and do it again. See? Simple.
The program breaks down your training as follows:
The 6/25 rep scheme in the odd-numbered weeks is an excellent hybrid designed for strength and mass development, encouraging muscle breakdown, rebuilding and growth. The low-rep, high-intensity sets are followed by sets of 25 reps that flush the target muscle with blood, giving you a serious pump. And that pump isn’t just for show, friends. Working out produces waste products in the muscle cells—the result of burning glucose and fat to fuel muscular contractions. That waste buildup draws water inside muscle cells, and as with a balloon, the more water that the muscle cell can hold, the bigger the pump you’ll experience. The pump essentially stretches the muscle cell, making the muscle itself momentarily bigger and initiating biochemical pathways that prompt permanent growth.
The strategy in the even-numbered weeks is to hit the muscle-hypertrophy sweet spot: 12-rep sets, each to failure. You want to pick a weight with which you can get 12 reps – no more – so err on the heavy side. Say you get eight reps with a weight and fail – that’s no problem, just immediately reduce the weight by 20%-30% and finish out your last four reps. Or an attentive spotter can help you through some forced reps to reach the target.
Although this program is devoid of fancy tricks, that doesn’t mean it’s not potent. You can build size and strength, and best of all, make the gym your “quiet place” from all the complications of work, home and family. If you were a contestant on a certain previously mentioned game show, you might even say, “What is ‘the perfect solution?’”
In this program, you’ll perform each workout once per week and take three days off each week (for example, lift on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday). Use this six-week training plan once, or repeat it—it’s built for results both in the short term and over the long haul.
Day 1: Chest + triceps
Day 2: Legs
Day 3: Shoulders + traps + abs
Day 4: Back + biceps
Weeks 1, 3, 5: 3 sets of 6 reps plus a pump set of 25 reps
Weeks 2, 4, 6: 12 reps to failure on all sets (with the exception of calves and abs)d