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Forget about abs and calves. Use these cold months to add maximum size and strength with the most effective exercises known to man.

Start this program

Relax. Abs season is over. December through March is the perfect time to shift your training to a powerbuilding split focused on putting up big numbers and adding prime beef to your frame so that when spring comes back, you’ll need only a few weeks of dieting to shed your “winter coat” and reveal the dense muscle beneath it.

This program mixes together the best muscle- and strength-building exercises so you can set new PRs—safely—and pump up your muscles so they show behind even the bulkiest winter clothes.

Featured Athlete: Ryan Hughes, IFBB Pro & BSN Athlete

The Directions

Perform each workout (Days I, II, III, and IV) once per week. Exercises marked with an asterisk (*) indicate that they should be rotated with similar movements each week—see Variations video. For example, on the first leg day, you can do the classic back squat one week, then a box squat the next, and a pause squat in Week 3. (If you have access to special bars, like a safety squat bar, you can use these as well for more variety.) On upper-body days, you can rotate among the bench press, incline bench press, and floor press, just for example. On the second leg day, you can opt for any variety of deadlift you like (such as a trap bar, sumo, or conventional); you can also change the height of the bar, choosing to do deficit deadlifts (where you stand on a platform to increase the range of motion) or rack pulls you rest the bar on a rack or blocks just below knee level to shorten the range of motion). Cycle the lifts as you like or need to, depending on recovery and how your lower back and shoulders feel.

On all of the main lifts (squat, bench press, and deadlift) and their variants that you cycle, you’ll work up to a one- to 10-rep max. Begin with an empty bar and gradually add weight until you reach a load that cuts you off at a certain number of reps within that range. You can shoot for a 10-rep max one week on one lift and then an eight-rep max on another lift the next week. You can work down to a one-rep max over time or play it safe and stay within five to eight reps; it’s up to you and how far you want to push your strength gains. Just be aware that repeatedly training very heavy (five-rep maxes or heavier) will be stressful and will require occasional deloads. Once you reach the load that allows you the number of reps you’re shooting for but no more, you’re done with that lift for the day.

Note that some exercises are alternated. This means you’ll do one set of the first lift, rest, then one set of the second lift, rest again, and repeat until sets are complete.

 

Earn Cold Hard Mass

Weekly Routine

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