Workout Routines

The 'End Heavy' workout plan for greater gains and fewer injuries

Moving your main lifts to later in your workouts can help you build muscle, lift safely, and even save time.

by
Man Deadlifting Weighted Barbell
Shutterstock
Shutterstock
Duration 45
Exercises 5-7
Equipment Yes

We know you're anxious to get in the gym and move those big weights. That’s why you skimp on mobility work and stretching (or skip it entirely): so you can get to the fun part of your workout. After all, the “rule” in training programs is to put the most explosive and heaviest lifts at the front of the session because they require the most energy, right?

But what happens then? You pull a muscle, strain a joint, or miss a rep as a result.

Instead, by moving the hardest, riskiest lifts to the last part of your workout, after you’ve prepared your body with easier exercises, you can build muscle and strength more safely.

Try this six-week program and we guarantee you’ll never bench press first again. Trust us: Your joints will thank you for it.

How it works

After years of putting together training routines—and using ourselves as guinea pigs—we eventually came to a surprising realization: Squats felt better if they were done after a hamstring exercise.

Even better, we learned that we could cut back on warmup time if we moved them back even further, so instead of spending 10 minutes stretching our hip flexors just to be able to squat deeply with good form, we could simply do an exercise like split squats beforehand and simultaneously stretch the hips while training the quads. Now, that’s what we call a win-win.

The same principle applies to heavy barbell pressing. If you start your routine with dumbbell presses and medicine ball throws instead of all that big weight, your shoulders and elbows will be better prepared to bench a heavier load. You may be wondering if you’ll still have the energy to do barbell lifts if they come last in the workout—and, to be honest, you may have to use 10–20% less weight, maybe less. But you’ll still get stronger over time. And getting strong while staying safe is the only way to make long-term progress. 

Directions

Perform each workout (Day I, II, III, and IV) once per week, resting a day between each session. Exercises marked “A” and “B” are alternated, so you’ll do one set of A, rest, then B, rest again, and repeat until all sets are complete for the pair.

End Heavy workout plan: Day I Back, biceps, and core

Exercise 1.

Inverted Row You'll need: Power Rack How to
Inverted row thumbnail
3 sets
9 reps
1 min. rest

Exercise 2.

Ball Slam You'll need: Medicine Ball How to
Ball Slam thumbnail
3 sets
6 reps
1 min. rest

Exercise 3.

One-Arm Dumbbell Row You'll need: Dumbbells How to
One-Arm Dumbbell Row thumbnail
3 sets
5-6, 5-6, 7-9 reps
45 sec. rest

Exercise 4A.

Neutral-Grip Chinup You'll need: V-Handle Attachment How to
Neutral-Grip Chinup thumbnail
3 sets
6, 8, 10 reps
1 min. rest

Exercise 4B.

Modified Front Lever You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
How To Do A Modified Front Lever Exercise thumbnail
4 sets
10 sec. reps
1 min. rest

Exercise 5.

Deadlift You'll need: Barbell How to
Deadlift  thumbnail
2 sets
5-7 reps
2 min. rest

Exercise 6.

Dumbbell Clean and Press You'll need: Dumbbells How to
CrossFit-Inspired Challenges: The dumbbell complex to torch every muscle thumbnail
3 sets
12, 10, 8 reps
90 sec. rest

End Heavy workout plan: Day II Chest and triceps

Exercise 1.

Incline Dumbbell Press You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Incline Dumbbell Press thumbnail
3 sets
8 reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 2.

Plyo Pushup You'll need: No Equipment How to
Plyo Pushup thumbnail
3 sets
6 reps
1 min. rest

Exercise 3A.

Incline Bench Press You'll need: Barbell How to
Incline Bench Press thumbnail
2 sets
5-6, 7-9 reps
1 min. rest

Exercise 3B.

Handstand Hold You'll need: Wall How to
Handstand Hold thumbnail
4 sets
10 sec. reps
1 min. rest

Exercise 4.

Incline cable flye You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine How to
Incline cable flye thumbnail
1 sets
12-15 reps
1 min. rest

Exercise 5.

Incline Reverse Flye You'll need: Bench How to
How To Do An Incline Reverse Flye thumbnail
4 sets
12-15 reps
45 sec. rest

End Heavy workout plan: Day III Legs and grip strength

Exercise 1.

Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift thumbnail
3 sets
5 (each leg) reps
45 sec. (each leg) rest

Exercise 2.

High Box Jump You'll need: Box How to
High Box Jump thumbnail
3 sets
3 reps
45 sec. rest

Exercise 3.

Leg Curl You'll need: Swiss Ball How to
Leg Curl  thumbnail
3 sets
8-10 reps
1 min. rest

Exercise 4.

Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squat You'll need: Bench How to
How To Do A Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squat thumbnail
3 sets
8 reps
45 sec. rest

Exercise 5.

Squat You'll need: Squat Rack How to
Squat thumbnail
3 sets
5-6, 5-6, 8-10 reps
3 min. rest
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