Workout Routines

The 30-day pre-cut strength workout plan

Ratchet up your pulling and pushing power with these five muscle-building workouts. They'll also prepare you for a spring-to-summer shred.

The 30-day pre-cut strength workout plan
Duration 60
Exercises 7-9
Equipment Yes

Everyone's training shifts in the warmer months towards a cut—regardless if it's a conscious decision, or a subconscious one. Admit it: We all want to look our best in the summer.

But one of the biggest mistakes guys often make is to immediately jump into rapid-fire, hardcore, non-stop, punishing workouts to drop as much extra weight as possible, as quickly as possible. This can instantly lead to burnout, fatigue, and even injury. Want to know what the smart dudes do? They focus on getting super-strong in advance of the cut—not huge, but strong.

The program was designed and demonstrated by trainer and dietician Tim McComsey of trymfit.com. Tim is an expert contributor for Men's Fitness and is a part of the HUMANFITPROJECT network.

How it works

Cluster sets are a way of breaking down strenuous, strength-spiking lifts into shorter, more manageable bouts of exercise. For example: Instead of performing five sets of five reps at your five-repetition max, those sets are broken into four “clusters” of two reps, with brief periods of rest in between. Ultimately, you’re performing more work, but you're allowing your body to briefly recover. This type of strength training is a smart choice for anyone looking to take on a fat-loss program in the subsequent months. The strength gains made will be better prepare the body to withstand that shift to that more aggressive, high-intensity, non-stop style of programming.

Directions

Perform the following workouts with one day of rest between. When selecting weights, for cluster sets, use your five-repetition maximum. For other exercises, select resistance where you “fail” one-two repetitions shy of the prescribed amount. 

How to diet during this workout plan

As far as eating, you'll need to follow more a "bulking"-style diet to remain in a calorie surplus to hold your weight. We suggest starting with the nine diet rules of strong muscles.

Pre-cut plan: Day 1 The strength-building back workout

Exercise 1A.

TRX W Pull You'll need: TRX How to
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 1B.

TRX Row Pull You'll need: TRX How to
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
10 reps
30-sec rest

Exercise 2.

Weighted Pullup You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
Weighted Pullup thumbnail
4 sets
4 clusters of 2 reps reps
2-min between sets; 10-sec between clusters rest

Exercise 3.

Bentover Row You'll need: Barbell How to
Bent Over Row  thumbnail
5 sets
6 clusters of 2 reps reps
2-min between sets; 15-sec between clusters rest

Exercise 4.

Underhand-Grip Pulldown You'll need: Lat Pulldown Bar How to
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
8-10 reps
45-sec rest

Exercise 5.

Incline Dumbbell Row You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Incline Dumbbell Row thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
45-sec rest

Exercise 6.

Seated Cable Row You'll need: Lat Pulldown Bar How to
Seated Cable Row thumbnail
3 sets
12 reps
30-sec rest

Exercise 7.

TRX Pike You'll need: TRX
TRX Pike thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
45-sec rest

Pre-cut plan: Day 2 The powerhouse chest workout

Exercise 1A.

TRX Pushup You'll need: TRX How to
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 1B.

TRX Flye You'll need: TRX How to
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
10 reps
30 sec rest

Exercise 2.

Bench Press You'll need: Barbell How to
Bench Press thumbnail
5 sets
4 clusters of 2 reps reps
2 min between sets; 10 sec between clusters rest

Exercise 3.

Incline Barbell Bench Press You'll need: Barbell How to
exercise image placeholder
5 sets
6 clusters of 2 reps reps
2 min between sets; 15 sec between clusters rest

Exercise 4.

Pushup How to
Pushup  thumbnail
3 sets
8-10 reps
45 sec rest

Exercise 5.

Kettlebell Flye You'll need: Kettlebells How to
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
10 reps
45 sec rest

Exercise 6.

Chest Cable Flye You'll need: Cable Machine How to
Chest Cable Flye thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
45 sec rest

Exercise 7A.

TRX Oblique Swings You'll need: TRX
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 7B.

Bicycle Crunch You'll need: No Equipment How to
Bicycle Crunch thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
45 sec rest

Pre-cut plan: Day 3 The mighty leg workout

Exercise 1A.

TRX Squat You'll need: TRX How to
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 1B.

TRX Hamstring Curl You'll need: TRX How to
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
10 reps
30 sec rest

Exercise 2.

Front Squat You'll need: Barbell How to
Front Squat thumbnail
5 sets
4 clusters of 2 reps reps
2 min between sets; 10 sec between clusters rest

Exercise 3.

Romanian Deadlift You'll need: Barbell How to
Romanian Deadlift thumbnail
5 sets
6 clusters of 2 reps reps
2 min between sets; 15 sec between clusters rest

Exercise 4.

Sumo Squat You'll need: No Equipment How to
Sumo Squat thumbnail
4 sets
5-8 reps
60 sec rest

Exercise 5.

Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift thumbnail
3 sets
8-10 reps
45 sec rest

Exercise 6.

Barbell Glute Bridge You'll need: Barbell How to
Barbell Glute Bridge  thumbnail
3 sets
8-10 reps
45 sec rest

Exercise 7.

Superman You'll need: No Equipment How to
Superman thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
30 sec rest

Pre-cut plan: Day 4 The stalwart shoulder workout

Exercise 1.

TRX High Pull You'll need: TRX
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
10 reps
30 sec rest

Exercise 2.

Barbell Overhead Press You'll need: Barbell How to
Barbell Overhead Press thumbnail
5 sets
4 clusters of 2 reps reps
2 min between sets; 10 sec between clusters rest

Exercise 3.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Lateral Raise  thumbnail
5 sets
6 clusters of 2 reps reps
2 min rest between sets; 15 sec between clusters rest

Exercise 4.

Incline Leaning Front Raise You'll need: Dumbbells
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
8 reps
45 sec rest

Exercise 5.

Seated dumbbell overhead press You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Seated dumbbell overhead press thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
45 sec rest

Exercise 6.

Weighted Situp You'll need: Weight Plates How to
Weighted Situp  thumbnail
3 sets
12 reps
30 sec rest

Exercise 7.

Ab-Wheel Rollout You'll need: Ab Wheel How to
Ab-Wheel Rollout  thumbnail
3 sets
12 reps
30 sec rest

Pre-cut plan: Day 5 The tough-as-nails arms workout

Exercise 1A.

TRX Biceps Curl You'll need: TRX How to
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 1B.

TRX Skullcrusher How to
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
10 reps
30 sec rest

Exercise 2.

Close-Grip Bench Press You'll need: Bench How to
Close-grip Bench Press thumbnail
5 sets
4 clusters of 2 reps reps
2 min between sets; 10 sec between clusters rest

Exercise 3.

EZ-Bar Curl You'll need: EZ-Bar How to
EZ-Bar Curl thumbnail
5 sets
6 clusters of 2 reps reps
2 min between sets; 15 sec between clusters rest

Exercise 4.

Dip You'll need: Dip Station How to
Dips thumbnail
3 sets
8 reps
45 sec rest

Exercise 5.

Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
45 sec rest

Exercise 6.

Close-Grip Pushup You'll need: Medicine Ball How to
Close-Grip Pushup  thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
45 sec rest

Exercise 7.

Hammer Curl You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Hammer Curl thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
45 sec rest
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