Monday, December 5, 2016

Winter Strength/Size Hybrid Workout - Lee Boyce (2016)

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Winter Strength & Size Hybrid Workout
by Lee Boyce (2016) 

Winter is here and chances are you're putting back a few more calories than usual -- eggnog, cheesecake, mashed potatoes -- and maintaining size without packing on globs of body fat is tricky this time of year. Add to that a woolly cocoon of physique-masking clothing and, if you're not prudent, a bloated, jiggly butterfly will emerge come April.

But truth be told, winter is the perfect time to get bigger and stronger. You're not cutting up so you can afford to lift heavier and bulk up a little, and all those extra calories? The perfect fodder for the business of becoming big. 

Enter this hybridized plan that attacks strength and size in a complementary way, with the overall focus on getting huge. True, there aren't many programs around that blend these two camps -- yeah, bodybuilders and powerlifters rarely share training notes -- but creating a two-for-one plan can mean big gains in an otherwise flatlined offseason.   

The Bulk Season Workout

This workout blends size and strength in perfect, symbiotic fashion: 

Week One focuses on strength, and you'll spend the bulk of your workout training close to your one-rep max on your targeted lifts. 

Week Two focuses on size, manipulating your rest intervals, tempo, sets and even rep ranges to shock your system and make your muscles grow.

You'll alternate continuously between size an strength from week to week, a flip-flop that allows your central nervous system to recover from the strength thrashing it receives in Week 1 while affording you the opportunity to add some bulk by fully fatiguing the muscular system in Week 2. Beauty, right?

This kind of cycling also improves performance, boosts muscular development and increases brute strength, and because you're continually changing your focus, you'll prevent injury and overtraining and keep body fat at bay by pushing your limits with a structured offseason.

Train for two to three days in a row before taking a day off, then pick up where you left off the following day. Repeat that sequence for 8 to 10 weeks, and by the time February rolls around, you'll have dodged the cliché holiday bloat and will instead puff up in strength and size. Prepare to get jacked!

Week 1: Strength

In order to get stronger, you've got to lift heavy. Seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of guys spend too much time dancing around their 1-RM, working set after set (after set) in their lower-intensity range. To make actual gains, you should ideally truncate that process by starting with the empty bar and ramping up your weight in 15% increments until you reach your max weight. Obviously, more advanced lifters will take longer to reach their max weight, so stick to no more than 3 reps apiece for the reamping sets. Once you reach your max, stay there as do 3 sets of 3 reps to build strength. 

This week, rest as long as needed between all sets to fully recover. Depending on your load, this can be anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes, even a little more if you're killin' it that day. 

Back Day:

Deadlift, work up to 3 x 3. Perform ramping sets of 3 reps, which increase in small increments until you reach the first heavy work set, then perform 3 x 3 at that working weight. 

Pullup, 6 x 8 at tempo. Pause at the top of each repetition and use a slow negative. 

One-Arm Dumbbell Row, 4 x 12 each arm. Pull the weight upward in a slight arcing motion to hit the lat more effectively. 

Weighted Hyperextension, 5 x 10. Hold the plate at your chest and do each rep slowly to increase intensity and protect your lower back.

Chest Day: 

Bench Press, work up to 3 x 3. Same as on the deadlift.

High Incline DB Flye, 5 x 10. Use an incline a notch above 45 degrees. 

Decline DB Press, 5 x 10. Twist your wrists to face inward for a more favorable dumbbell position at the bottom of each rep. 

Pushup, 3 x failure. Shoot for technical failure rather than muscular failure -- i.e., when you can't perform another rep with good form anymore, end the set. 

Leg Day: 

Squat, work up to 3 x 3. Same as on the deadlift. Use a tempo that emphasizes the negative somewhat, and aim for a depth below parallel.

Romanian Deadlift, 6 x 8. Perform these with the greatest range of motion you safely can.

Rear Leg Elevated DB Split Squat, 4 x 10 each leg. Set a target for the rear knee to touch that is a couple of inches above the ground.

Glute Ham Raise, 5 x 6. 

Shoulder Day: 

Overhead Press, work up to 3 x 3. Same as on the deadlift. Avoid arching your back. It may limit the weight you can press, but it will make you stronger in the long run.

Seated DB Press, 5 x 10. Try using a neutral grip on the bells to put the rotator cuff in a more favorable load-bearing position. 

High Pull, 5 x 10. Use you legs to create upward momentum and assist in lifting the barbell. 
Here's a cool article by Hepburn/Smith on High Pull Ups. It features some interesting 'hopper' techniques to try, as well as a 'stiff legged' version. Or not. But maybe. Maybe later. 

Snatch-Grip Push Press, 6 x 3 reps. Be explosive and drop down under the bar with each rep. Reset your feet before repeating. Use your legs to get the bar moving, then press it out past the sticking point. Note the wide hand spacing here. 

Give It A Name Day: 

Weighted Chinup, 6 x3 reps. arch your back slightly to engage the lats more fully.

Ab Wheel Rollout, 5 x 10. Tuck your hips and squeeze your glutes to create a posterior pelvic tilt to keep your abs engaged and your back safe. No wheel? Do hand walkouts instead. 

EZ-Bar Biceps Curl, Make light weight feel heavy by using tempo: perform a 3-second negative, and pause (contract) at the top and bottom (stretch) of each rep.  

Hanging Leg Raise, 4 x 10. Think about rounding your back rather than arching it. 

EZ-Bar French Press, If you lack shoulder mobility, slide forward in your seat a bit. This puts the weight in the right place overhead, with your elbows pointing to the roof. 

Week 2: Size

 The Jail Method

 The approach this week for adding size is similar in structure to the strength week, but there's much more V-O-L-U-M-E. Here you'll be implementing something called the Jail Method. The inspiration for the protocol was the tireless reps that inmates do in the jail yard movies, and for you, it means adding volume to your ramping sets.  

Take a lifter who is focused on squatting 300 for 5 sets of 8. His sets may look like this: 

95 x 5 reps
135 x 3 reps
185 x 2
205 x 2
225 x 2
250 x 2
275 x 2
300 x 8 x 5 sets.

The cumulative weight lifted comes out to 15,160 lbs. That's a lot of tonnage. Plus, the chance of running out of steam or hitting the endurance wall is pretty high.

Applying the Jail Method, you'll add volume to all ramping sets but only perform one or two max sets, total. By adding more reps to the ramping phase, you reduce the amount of heavy work sets you need to complete; since you're going for size, the load lifted is less important than generally fatiguing the muscles.

So, using the Jail Method, the new schematic would look like this: 

95 x 8
135 x 8
185 x 8
205 x 8
225 x 8
250 x 8
275 x 8
300 x 8 x 2 sets.

Here, the total is 15,760 lbs. You'll be more exhausted because you just did eight reps for every ramping set, but you'll also be more technically sound because the ramping sets aren't pushing the threshold of your 8-rep max. And you only do two of those mass sets as compared to five, which are rote in most standard bulk programs. [I remember a simple way to increase volume on those days when you feel like you never have to stop. It was from an issue of Flex, and Vince Taylor was the name placed on the writer's article. Just double up on the sets going up. So, then, instead, on that special kind of day when you're looking to increase volume after starting your workout because it all feels so right for a while: 

95 x 8,8.
135 x 8,8.
etc., to 
300 x 8 x 2 sets. 
I found it worked real well with a 12,10,8,6 pyramid when appropriate: 
95 x 12, 12
135 x 10, 10
185 x 8,8.
225 x 6.6.

This method, the original Jail Method, is safer and more challenging, and when combined with some assistance work, it's a sure thing for gains. Plus, you'll have the pump of your life because of the total number of reps you grind out. 

Back Day: 

Deadlift, Jail Method. Rest 90 to 120 seconds between sets.

Reverse Grip Pulldown, 6 x 10. 90 seconds rest.

Bentover Row superset with DB Pullover, 5 x 10's. 90 seconds rest between supersets. 

Chest Day:

Bench Press, Jail Method.

High Incline DB Bench Press, 5 x 10 reps.

Suspended Pushup superset with Pec Deck Flye, 4 x 10's.

Cable Rip, 4 10. A cable rip is a low-to-high cable flye; pulleys are set at foot level, and handles are lifted to shoulder level. 

Leg Day: 

Squat, Jail Method.

DB Walking Lunge, 5 x 10 each leg.

Leg Ext. drop set (5 x 5,7,9)  superset with Lying Leg Curl, 5 x 15.

Smith Machine Romanian Deadlift, 3 x 10.

Shoulder Day: 

Overhead Press, Jail Method.

Band Resisted Upright Row, 5 x 15.

Wide Grip Seated/Supported Row superset with Neutral Grip Overhead DB Press, 5 x 15/10.

One Arm Cable Lateral Raise, 4 x 12 each arm.

Give It A Name Day: 

Pullup, 8 x 8. Pause at the top and use a slow negative.

Bodyweight Dip, 6 x failure. Keep your abs engaged to encourage neutral spine. 

Hanging Leg Raise, 5 x 10. Do with knees bent or straight legs.

Dumbbell Hammer Curl, 5 x 10 each arm. Use a 3-second negative tempo.

Inverted Row, 4 x failure. Retract your shoulder blades before each rep to ensure your back muscles do the majority of the pulling, not the biceps.

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