Build Muscle

The old-school muscle-building plan for mammoth gains

Forget pre-exhaustion. This plan orders compound moves before isolation exercises for maximum muscle.

by
The old-school muscle-building plan for mammoth gains
Duration 45
Exercises 5-9
Equipment Yes

In the past, you may have tried what many lifters call "pre-exhaustion" training, a philosophy based on isolation exercises, followed immediately by a compound move—a chest fly preceding a bench press, for instance. But we're here to tell you that you'll get much better results (and much bigger gains) by doing just the opposite.

How it works

The idea behind pre-exhaustion training is fairly simple. The isolation lifts tire out the main muscles you want to work (like the pecs during a fly). The compound lifts that you follow them up with require those same muscles—but since you also get to use surrounding muscles, you're basically able to pump out a few more reps. The problem is that by working your target muscles to isolation first, you fatigue them too much to lift heavy loads when you get to the compound lift. Since compound movements are the best for muscle growth, we put them first in this workout, and then let you do the isolation move to "finish off" the target muscles. It's a big switch that leads to even bigger gains.

Directions

Frequency

Perform the workouts (Days I, II, and III) once per week, resting at least a day between each session.

How to do it

Perform the exercises marked "a," "b," and sometimes "c" in succession. So you'll complete one set for each, resting as prescribed, and repeat until you've completed all the given sets in the group. Then go on to the next group. Exercises that don't have a letter are done as straight sets—complete all the sets for that move before going on to the next one.

Day 1 Workout 1

Exercise 1a.

Neutral-Grip Chinup You'll need: V-Handle Attachment How to
Neutral-Grip Chinup thumbnail
2 sets
5-7 reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 1b.

Dumbbell Overhead Press You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Overhead Press  thumbnail
2 sets
5-7 reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 2a.

Neutral-Grip Chinup You'll need: V-Handle Attachment How to
Neutral-Grip Chinup thumbnail
1 sets
8-10 reps
0 sec. rest

Exercise 2b.

Straight-Arm Pulldown You'll need: Lat Pulldown Bar How to
Straight-Arm Pulldown thumbnail
1 sets
9-12 reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 3a.

Dumbbell Overhead Press You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Overhead Press  thumbnail
1 sets
8-10 reps
0 sec. rest

Exercise 3b

Cross-Body Cable Raise You'll need: Cable Machine How to
Cross-Body Cable Raise thumbnail
1 sets
9-12 reps
90 sec rest

Exercise 4a.

Incline Hammer Curl You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Incline Hammer Curl thumbnail
3 sets
6-8, 9-11, 12-14 reps
-- rest

Exercise 4b.

Dip You'll need: Dip Station How to
Dips thumbnail
2 sets
6-10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 4c

Overhead cable triceps extension You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine How to
Overhead cable triceps extension thumbnail
2 sets
10-12 reps
60 sec. rest

Day 2 Workout 2

Exercise 1.

Squat You'll need: Squat Rack How to
Squat thumbnail
2 sets
5-8 reps
180 sec. rest

Exercise 2a.

Standing Calf Raise You'll need: Box How to
Standing Calf Raise thumbnail
4 sets
8-10 reps
0 sec. rest

Exercise 2b.

Seated Calf Raise You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Seated Calf Raise thumbnail
4 sets
12-15 reps
90 sec rest

Exercise 3a.

Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift thumbnail
3 sets
6-8 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3b.

Single-leg hip thrust You'll need: Bench How to
Single-leg hip thrust thumbnail
3 sets
10-15 reps
60 sec. rest

Day 3 Workout 3

Exercise 1a.

Incline Dumbbell Press You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Incline Dumbbell Press thumbnail
2 sets
5-7 reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 1b.

Incline Dumbbell Row You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Incline Dumbbell Row thumbnail
1 sets
5-7 reps
90 sec rest

Exercise 2a.

Incline Dumbbell Press You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Incline Dumbbell Press thumbnail
1 sets
8-10 reps
0 sec. rest

Exercise 2b.

Incline cable flye You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine How to
Incline cable flye thumbnail
1 sets
9-12 reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 3a.

Incline Dumbbell Row You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Incline Dumbbell Row thumbnail
1 sets
8-10 reps
0 sec. rest

Exercise 3b.

Bentover cable lateral raise You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine How to
Bentover cable lateral raise thumbnail
1 sets
9-12 reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 4a.

Triceps Pushdown You'll need: Elastic Band How to
Triceps Pushdown thumbnail
3 sets
13-15, 10-12, 7-9 reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 4b.

EZ-Bar Curl You'll need: EZ-Bar How to
EZ-Bar Curl thumbnail
2 sets
6-8 reps
0 sec. rest

Exercise 4c.

Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl thumbnail
2 sets
9-12 reps
60 sec. rest
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