Workout Routines

The Iron Way Workout to Double Your Size and Strength

The Iron Way blends powerlifting and bodybuilding to enhance both your strength and size.

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The Iron Way blends powerlifting and bodybuilding to enhance both your strength and size.
Per Bernal
Per Bernal
Duration 2 Days
Exercises 10
Equipment Yes

Chances are, you’ve heard of the way of the fist, the way of the gun, and maybe even Fastball’s 1998 alt-rock hit, “The Way.” But are you familiar with the Iron Way? It’s a strength-style program created by LaRoy Warner, owner of Iron Camp gym in Greenwich, CT, and it could be the key to your next strength and mass gains. After all, it has already benefited folks in the NYC metroplex and beyond.

What It Is

The Iron Way focuses on compound exercises like the squat, bench press, and deadlift. Instead of concentrating on specific sets and reps, the focus here is on auto regulation—meaning, lifters can choose whether to lift heavy or light depending on how they’re feeling that day. The split is also accessible. You’ll lift only two days per week, eliminating any excuse not to follow it. Finally, the circuit-style accessory work consists of pulling and pushing compound exercises to aid your main lifts while helping you build muscle mass.

How It Works

“The emphasis of this program is on quality movement first,” Warner says. “Once we have that, we look at the speed of the movement.” In other words, if your back squat reps look slow, don’t add weight to the bar. Conversely, if the weight is moving quickly, then you can push it harder. “This way, we aren’t married to percentages and reps and can adjust based on how you feel that day,” Warner says.

Why It Works

The Iron Way takes the strength-enhancing properties of powerlifting and stirs in the size benefits of bodybuilding. The end result is a cocktail that seamlessly blends the best of both worlds: the hypertrophy for the “show” and the strength for the “go.”

How to Do It

The sets and reps for the two-day split depend on how you feel and how your reps look, but generally one day is heavy, the next day is light. (See Warner’s recommended progression below.)

WEEKLY PROGRESSION

DAY 1

  • Week 1: 5 sets of 5
  • Week 2: 6 sets of 3
  • Week 3: 4 sets of 3
  • Week 4: *

DAY 2

  • Week 1: 4 sets of 10
  • Week 2: 4 sets of 8
  • Week 3: 5 sets of 5
  • Week 4: *

*Depending on your movement efficiency, test your main lifts—the bench press, deadlift, and squat—by working up to a max single or double. Then repeat with some progression (5 to 10 pounds) if applicable.

Day 1 For the main lift, choose a deadlift variation (barbell deadlift, hex-bar deadlift, or kettlebell deadlift). Perform accessory work as a circuit on both days.

Exercise 1

Barbell Deadlift You'll need: Barbell How to
Barbell Deadlift thumbnail
5 sets
5 reps
-- rest
*or hex-bar deadlift, or kettlebell deadlift

Exercise 2A

One-Arm Dumbbell Row You'll need: Dumbbells How to
One-Arm Dumbbell Row thumbnail
2 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 2B

Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
The 6-Minute Lower-Body Assault Workout thumbnail
2 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 2C

Dumbbell Pullover You'll need: Bench, Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Pullover thumbnail
2 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Exercise 2D

Glute Bridge How to
Glute bridge thumbnail
2 sets
10 reps
-- rest

Day 2 For the main lifts, choose a pressing variation (overhead press or bench press) and a squat variation (barbell squat, belt squat, or goblet squat).

Exercise 1

Barbell Bench Press You'll need: Barbell, Bench How to
Barbell Bench Press thumbnail
4 sets
10 reps
-- rest
*or overhead press

Exercise 2

Barbell Squat You'll need: Barbell How to
Man Barbell Squat thumbnail
4 sets
10 reps
-- rest
*barbell front or back squat, belt squat, or goblet squat

Exercise 3A

Dumbbell Bench Press You'll need: Bench, Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Bench Press thumbnail
2 sets
15 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3B

Goblet Squat You'll need: Dumbbells, Kettlebells How to
Goblet Squat thumbnail
2 sets
15 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3C

Band Pull-Apart
Band Pull-Apart thumbnail
2 sets
AMRAP* reps
-- rest
* As many reps as possible
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