Workout Routines

Build Brute Strength Workout

Your body is your greatest project. We've got the blueprint to get you bigger and stronger than ever before.

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Build Brute Strength Workout
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Look around. There are countless articles in magazines and online about gaining size and strength. Everyone wants to get strong, and everyone wants to add muscle, but most don’t achieve the goal. Why? A number of reasons, including ridiculous exercise selection, poor programming, and—from what I’ve seen as a coach for almost 25 years—bad form.

If you’re willing to do the hard work and make the commitment to using perfect form, I’ve got the ultimate plan for you: an eight-week guide to getting stronger than you ever thought you could.

It’s a simple plan based on compound movements, high-repetition heavy lifting, and maximum-effort training. Throw in the right assistance work and you’ve got a plan for success.

Our goals for the next eight weeks are massive increases in strength throughout the whole body, and enhanced muscle size. Don’t worry if you don’t get super jacked right away. You’ll add some muscle now, but the real size will come later on, as you begin to use the newfound strength developed with this program.

Strength is the basis for everything we do in the gym and in life. If you want to get huge, you’ve got to get strong. Raising your limit strength (the amount you can lift once) allows you to handle a heavier submaximal weight for more reps. Let me illustrate: Generally, low reps build strength and high reps build size, right? Sort of. Well, in this program, you’ll be doing a blend of both, but you’ll also be doing heavy weights for higher reps.

Using heavy weights for high reps on basic exercises causes a large release of growth hormone in your body and also increases testosterone levels. It’s the cheapest growth hormone and testosterone-boosting supplement available.

What to Expect

Let’s talk about the program. You’ll be working brutally hard in three-week blocks, then de-loading on the fourth week a period of lighter training with less volume. It all begins again in Week 5 with a new plan of attack for three weeks before dropping back for another de-loading phase.

Don’t underestimate the importance of de-loading—if you follow the program with the correct intensity, you’ll need it. You won’t get weak though; you’ll actually get stronger because of it. Your body has dif erent types of muscle fi bers, with subdivisions of those different types. The very explosive ones fatigue quickly and take a long time to recover. By de-loading on your fourth week, you give your central nervous system (CNS) and the explosive fi bers a chance to rest and regenerate.

In the same spirit, this program calls for only three days of training per week. You’ll be doing a lot of volume and tonnage in your workouts, so you need to allow for that when programming, and make sure you get adequate rest to prevent overtraining. Don’t add days—add intensity to each session.

I’ve given you a lower-body strength day (Day 1), an upper-body strength day with a few assistance exercises (Day 2), and a full-body assistance day at the end of the week (Day 3). This allows you to train hard, recover, then do it again, creating strength gains but also making sure you have enough energy to bring up weak points on assistance day.

You’ll also be doing supersets, because I believe in training economy and density. Density means cramming as much work into a given time period as possible. The idea is to get into the gym, get your results, and get out.

In the plan as a whole, you’ll notice that as the weeks go on, both total work (volume) and amount of weight lifted decrease. For instance, in Week 1 on squats, if you use 225 pounds for all sets, it works out to 13,500 total pounds lifted; in Week 3, if you use 275 pounds for all sets, you’ll have lifted 6,875 pounds. This might seem backward to you, but as the weight increases, the load on your CNS increases as well. You can’t expect progress if you’re burning out your CNS. Dropping the volume as nervous system demand increases allows you to fi re more motor units to move more weight.

As you progress from week to week, some weeks you’ll see an increase in assistance work as total volume goes down on main lifts. This goes back once again to nervous system demands. Your assistance work doesn’t require nearly as much neurological activity, and therefore is less demanding of your body’s recovery systems. You can handle more assistance work, and you’ll benefi t greatly from it. Again, don’t add in more exercises or sets. Just stick to the plan.

  1. Precede all workouts with a 5- to 10-minute warmup of your choice. A dynamic warmup and soft tissue work (like foam rolling) is preferred.
  2. When only a number is given for reps (i.e., 50 reps or 100 reps), do as many sets as it takes to achieve the rep count, resting as little as possible. Do a set to near (not complete) failure, rest, and keep going.
  3. On warmups for main lifts (squats, deadlifts, presses), stick with 1–3 reps. For example, if your first work set in the squat uses 315 pounds, warmups will look like this: Bar x 5, 95 x 3, 135 x 3, 185 x 3, 225 x 2, 275 x 1.

Weeks 1-3

Day 1

Exercise Week 1 Sets/Reps Week 2 Sets/Reps

Week 3 Sets/Reps

Squat 5/12 5/8 5/5
Deadlift 5/5 5/3 3/3
Back Extension 50 reps 75 reps 100 reps
Ab Wheel 50 reps 75 reps 100 reps

Day 2

Exercise Week 1 Sets/Reps Week 2 Sets/Reps

Week 3 Sets/Reps

Incline Bench Press 5/12 5/8 5/5
Overhead Press 5/5 5/8* 4/6*
45-Degree Barbell Row 4/10-12** 3/8-10*** 4/6-8***
Dumbbell Side Bend 5/5 4/6 5/3

*Do 5 pullups between each set. If you can’t do a pullup, use an elastic band for assistance.

**Do 6–8 towel pullups between each set in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively, looping a towel over the pullup bar and holding onto it instead of the bar. If you can’t do a towel pullup, use an elastic band for assistance.

***In between sets do 8–10 reps of barbell shrugs (no wrist straps) in Week 2. Do 6–8 reps in Week 3.

Day 3

Exercise Week 1 Sets/Reps Week 2 Sets/Reps

Week 3 Sets/Reps

Walking Lunge 5/12* per leg 5/10 per leg 4/8* per leg
Dip 50 reps** 75 Reps** 100 Reps**
Keystone Deadlift 4/10-12** 3/8-10*** 2/8-10***
One-Arm Dumbbell Row 4/10-12 3/8-10 2/12-15
Tate Press 3/10-12*** 3/8-10*** 2/12-15***
Turkish Getup 3/3 per side 3/5 per side 5/3 per side

*Do 5, 6, or 8 pullups between each set in Weeks 1, 2, and 3, respectively.

**Do 5, 6, or 8 weighted situps between each set in Weeks 1, 2, and 3, respectively.

***Do 5, 6, or 10 inverted rows between each set in Weeks 1, 2, and 3, respectively.

****Do 10–12, 8–10, or 12–15 hammer curls between each set in Weeks 1, 2 and 3, respectively.

Week 4

Day 1

Exercise Sets/Reps
One-Leg Romanian Deadlift 3/6 per leg
One-Leg Back Extension 2/10-12 per leg
Hanging Leg Raise 3/AMAP**

*Use 55% of your heaviest weight from Week 3.
**Do 5 pullups between each set with a one-second hold at the top and middle of each rep.

Day 2

Exercise Sets/Reps
Incline Bench Press 5/5
Dumbbell Overhead Press 3-10/12**
T-Bar Row 3/10-12
One-Arm Deadlift 3/5 per arm

*Use 55% of your heaviest weight from Week 3.
**Do 5 pullups between each set with a one-second hold at the top and middle of each rep.

Day 3

 

Exercise Sets/Reps
Overhead Squat 3/6*
Dip 50 reps **
Turkish Getup 5/5

*Do 5 pullups between each set of overhead squats.
**Do 8 situps between each set of dips.

Weeks 5-7

Day 1

Exercise Week 5 Sets/Reps Week 6 Sets/Reps Week 7 Sets/Reps
Squat 5/5* 5/3 Max single***
Deadlift 5/5** 5/3 2-rep max***
Weighted Back Extension 50 reps 60 reps 50 reps
Ab Wheel*** 75 reps 100 reps 85 reps

*Go 5–10% heavier than in Week 3.
**Go 5% heavier than in Week 3.
***Work up gradually to your max weight on the squat and deadlift, respectively, using the warmup progression described above. When you get to your max weight, do 1 final set of 1 rep for squats and 1 final set of 2 reps for deadlifts.
****Pause for one second at the fully extended position on all reps.

Day 2

 

Exercise Week 5 Sets/Reps Week 6 Sets/Reps Week 7 Sets/Reps
Overhead Press 5/5* 5/3 Max
Close-Grip Incline Press 4/12** 4/8-10** 4/6-8**
45-Degree Barbell Row 3/12-15*** 4/10-12*** 3/6-8***
Farmer's Walk**** 6/100 feet 6/100 feet 4/100 feet

*Go 5–10% heavier than in Week 3.
**Do 10 towel pullups between each set in Week 5 and 12 in Weeks 6–7.
***Do 12–15, 10–12, or 6–8 reps of barbell shrugs (no wrist straps) between each set in weeks 5, 6, and 7, respectively.
****Increase weight for Week 6; in Week 7, stick with the same weight or go lighter

Day 3

Exercise Week 5 Sets/Reps Week 6 Sets/Reps Week 7 Sets/Reps
Good Morning 5/12-15* 4/8-10* 3/8-10*
Weighted Dip 50** reps 60** reps 70** reps
Stepup 4/8-12*** 3/12-15*** 3/8-10***
One-Arm Dumbbell Row 4/12-15 4/8-12 4/6-8
Tate Press*** 4/12-15 4/8-12 3/6-8
Turkish Getup 5/5 per side 5/3 per side 3/3 per side

*Do 10 or 12 pullups between each set in Weeks 5 and 6, respectively, and as many pullups as possible between each set in Week 7.
**Do 10 or 12 weighted situps between each set in Weeks 5 and 6, respectively; in Week 7, use a heavy weight and do 6 reps between each set.
***Do 10 or 12 inverted rows between each set in Weeks 5 and 6, respectively, and as many as possible between each set in Week 7; do the prescribed number of stepups per leg.
****Do 12–15, 8–12, or 6–8 hammer curls between each set in Weeks 5, 6, and 7, respectively.

Week 8

Day 1

 

Exercise Sets/Reps
Squat 5/5*
Deadlift 5/5*
One-Leg Back Extension 3/12 per leg
Lying Leg Raise 50 reps

*Use 55% of your 1-rep max.
**Use 45% of your 2-rep max.

Day 2

Exercise Sets/Reps
Overhead Press 5/5*
Incline Dumbbell Press 3/12
Pullup 3/AMAP**
Farmer's Walk 4/100 Feet

*Use 55% of your 1-rep max on the overhead press.
**AMAP: As many [reps] as possible.

Day 3

Exercise Sets/Reps
Overhead Squat 3/6-8
Dip 50 reps
Stepup 3/8-10 per leg
One-Arm Dumbbell Row 3/12-15
Turkish Getup 3/5 per side
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