The Best Workout Routines

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The Best Workout Routines

Table of contents :
Table Of Contents
► Introduction
► The Beginner Weight Training Workout Routine
The Guidelines Of A Beginner Workout Routine
The General Goals Of A Beginner Workout Routine
The Beginner Weight Training Workout Routine: The Split
The Beginner Weight Training Workout Routine: The Workouts
The Beginner Weight Training Workout Routine: Version 1
Details And Clarifications: Workout A
Details And Clarifications: Workout B
Focus On Proper Form First
Sets, Reps, Weight and Progression
Don’t Screw With It!
The Beginner Weight Training Workout Routine: Version 2
The Beginner Weight Training Workout Routine: Version 3
The Best Possible Solution
My General Suggestions
The Rest Is Up To You
► The Muscle Building Workout Routine
The Muscle Building Workout Routine: The Split
Which Version Of The Upper/Lower Split Should You Use?
Option #1: Classic 4-Day Upper/Lower Split
Option #2: Classic 3-Day Upper/Lower Split
Option #3: Modified 4-Day Upper/Lower Split
Option #4: Every-Other-Day Upper/Lower Split
Selecting Your Split Option
The Muscle Building Workout Routine: The Workouts
The Muscle Building Workout Routine: Version 1
Details And Clarifications: Upper Body A
Details And Clarifications: Lower Body A
Details And Clarifications: Upper Body B
Details And Clarifications: Lower Body B
The Muscle Building Workout Routine: Version 1A
The Muscle Building Workout Routine: Version 2
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
The Muscle Building Workout Routine: Version 3
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
The Muscle Building Workout Routine: Version 4
Why Alternating Sets Instead Of Supersets?
Details And Clarifications
The Muscle Building Workout Routine: Version 5
Details And Clarifications
Upper Body A:
Upper Body B:
► Bodybuilding 2.0
Here’s Why Typical Bodybuilding Workouts Suck
High Volume Problems
Low Frequency Problems
Silly Splits
Silly Nonsense
The Point
Death To Bodybuilding 1.0… Welcome To Bodybuilding 2.0!
Bodybuilding 2.0: The Split
Selecting Your Split Option
Which Split Should You Choose?
Bodybuilding 2.0: The Workouts
Bodybuilding 2.0: Version 1
Details And Clarifications: Push
Details And Clarifications: Legs
Details And Clarifications: Pull
Bodybuilding 2.0: Version 2
Details And Clarifications
Push
The Adjustments
“Legs” Differences
“Push” Differences
“Pull” Differences
Version 1 vs Version 2
Bodybuilding 2.0: Version 2A
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
Bodybuilding 2.0: Version 3
Details And Clarifications
Push
Pull
The Adjustments
Bodybuilding 2.0: Version 4
► Upper Body Focused Training
Six Reasons People Care More About Upper Body Training
Is Your Upper Body Focused Goal… Wrong?
Training Your Legs Improves Your Upper Body! Really?
Welcome To Upper Body Focused Training!
Upper Body Focused Training: The Split
Upper Body Focused Training: The Workouts
Upper Body Focused Training: Version 1
Details And Clarifications: Upper Body A
Details And Clarifications: Lower Body
Details And Clarifications: Upper Body B
The Lower Body Maintenance Requirement
Upper Body Focused Training: Version 2
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
Upper Body Focused Training: Version 3
Details And Clarifications
► Lower Body Focused Training
Welcome To Lower Body Focused Training!
Lower Body Focused Training: The Split
Lower Body Focused Training: The Workouts
Lower Body Focused Training: Version 1
Details And Clarifications: Lower Body A
Details And Clarifications: Upper Body
Details And Clarifications: Lower Body B
The Upper Body Maintenance Requirement
Lower Body Focused Training: Version 2
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
► OUtstanding Arms
Option #1: Traditional Arm Improvement
Option #2: Specialized Arm Improvement
Option #3: Arm Specialization… With A Twist
Welcome To Outstanding Arms!
Outstanding Arms: The Split
Outstanding Arms: The Workouts
Outstanding Arms: Version 1
Details And Clarifications: Upper Body A
Details And Clarifications: Lower Body A
Details And Clarifications: Upper Body B
Details And Clarifications: Lower Body B
A Note About Biceps/Triceps Warm Up Sets
Outstanding Arms: Version 2
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
Outstanding Arms: Version 3
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
Outstanding Arms: Version 4
Why Alternating Sets Instead Of Supersets?
Details And Clarifications
Outstanding Arms: Version 5
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
► Targeted Lean Muscle
But… What About The Opposite?
Welcome To Targeted Lean Muscle!
Targeted Lean Muscle: The Split
Targeted Lean Muscle: The Workouts
Targeted Lean Muscle: Version 1
Details And Clarifications: Push
Details And Clarifications: Pull
Targeted Lean Muscle: Version 2
Details And Clarifications
Push
Pull
The Adjustments
Targeted Lean Muscle: Version 2A
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
Targeted Lean Muscle: Version 3
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
Targeted Lean Muscle: Version 3A
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
Targeted Lean Muscle: Version 4
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
Targeted Lean Muscle: Version 4A
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
Targeted Lean Muscle: Version 5
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
Targeted Lean Muscle: Version 6
► 3DM: The 3-day mass gaining Routine
Welcome To 3DM: The 3-Day Mass Gaining Routine
3DM: The Split
Why Two Workouts Instead Of Four?
3DM: The Workouts
3DM: Version 1
Details And Clarifications: Upper Body
Details And Clarifications: Lower Body
3DM: Version 1A
3DM: Version 2
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
3DM: Version 3
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
3DM: Version 4
Why Alternating Sets Instead Of Supersets?
Details And Clarifications
► Maximum Muscle Hypertrophy
Welcome To Maximum Muscle Hypertrophy!
Maximum Muscle Hypertrophy: The Split
Maximum Muscle Hypertrophy: The Workouts
Maximum Muscle Hypertrophy: Version 1
Details And Clarifications: Push
Details And Clarifications: Pull+Legs
Maximum Muscle Hypertrophy: Version 1A
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
Maximum Muscle Hypertrophy: Version 2
Details And Clarifications
Push
The Adjustments
Maximum Muscle Hypertrophy: Version 2A
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
► The 2-Day Workout Routine
But… What If You Can’t?
Should You Adjust Your Life To Fit Your Workouts?
However…
Adjust Your Workouts To Fit Your Life
Welcome To The 2-Day Workout Routine!
The 2-Day Workout Routine: The Split
The 2-Day Workout Routine: The Workouts
The 2-Day Workout Routine: Version 1
Details And Clarifications: Workout A
Details And Clarifications: Workout B
The 2-Day Workout Routine: Version 1A
Details And Clarifications
Workout A:
Workout B:
The 2-Day Workout Routine: Version 1B
Why Alternating Sets Instead Of Supersets?
Details And Clarifications
► The Fat Loss + Muscle Maintenance Solution
Why Aren’t We Trying To Build Muscle Instead Of Just Maintaining It?
So Then, How Do You Maintain Muscle While Losing Fat?
Here’s Why Everyone Else Screws It Up, And Why We Won’t
Welcome To The Fat Loss + Muscle Maintenance Solution
The Fat Loss + Muscle Maintenance Solution: The Split
The Fat Loss + Muscle Maintenance Solution: The Workouts
The Fat Loss + Muscle Maintenance Solution: Version 1
Details And Clarifications
The Adjustments
The Goal
► The Method Of Progression
The Most Important Workout Component Of All
The Progression Protocol
Method #1: Modified Straight Sets
Example Of How To Progress With Modified Straight Sets
Method #2: Reverse Pyramid Training
Example Of How To Progress With Reverse Pyramid Training
Method #3: Descending Ramp Training
Example Of How To Progress With Descending Ramp Training
“But Wait… What About The Rep Ranges?!?”
Which One Is Best? Method 1 vs Method 2 vs Method 3
► The Deload Protocol
The Protocol
Should Everyone Do This?
Diet
Additional Details
► Changing Your workout: Why, When and How To Do It
Beginner Recommendations
Intermediate and Advanced Recommendations
► the warm up set protocol
The Goals Of Warm Up Sets
The Proper Warm Up Sequence
Why Is This Warm Up Sequence So Ideal?
Is This The EXACT Way EVERYONE Should ALWAYS Warm Up?
Should I Warm Up Like This For EVERY Exercise?
An Example Of Which Weight Training Exercises To Warm Up For
► The FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
I work out at home and don’t have access to anything but free weights. What should I do when one of the workouts calls for a machine-based exercise?
Why do you use the Romanian deadlift more often than the conventional deadlift?
Is it okay for me to use straps?
How much weight should I be lifting for each exercise?
What should I do if I reach a workout plateau, my strength gains stall and I am unable to progress?
Which of these workouts are for men and which are for women?
No, seriously. I’m a woman and there’s no way I can possibly use a workout routine that’s also made for a man. That’s just crazy talk!
I want to get toned. Why aren’t there any workouts for toning? Or sculpting? Or shaping?
I feel like I need to add more. I don’t feel like it’s enough. I feel like I should be doing more sets or exercises or advanced methods during these workouts. Should I?
► The End
Questions or Feedback?
I Want To Hear About Your Results!
The End

Citation preview

Purchased by Jake Kolisnyk, [email protected], #6151731

The Best Workout Routines An AWorkoutRoutine.com Creation

A Component of Superior Muscle Growth

Copyright © 2014 All Rights Reserved.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction .................................................................................................................... 5

THE WORKOUTS The Beginner Weight Training Workout Routine .................................................................. 8 The Muscle Building Workout Routine ............................................................................. 24 Bodybuilding 2.0 .......................................................................................................... 55 Upper Body Focused Training ......................................................................................... 81 Lower Body Focused Training ....................................................................................... 100 Outstanding Arms ....................................................................................................... 114 Targeted Lean Muscle ................................................................................................. 142 3DM ......................................................................................................................... 167 Maximum Muscle Hypertrophy ..................................................................................... 187 The 2-Day Workout Routine ......................................................................................... 202 The Fat Loss + Muscle Maintenance Solution ................................................................ 219

THE COMPONENTS The Method Of Progression .......................................................................................... 231 The Deload Protocol .................................................................................................... 250 Changing Your Workout: Why, When and How To Do It .................................................. 253 The Warm Up Set Protocol .......................................................................................... 260 The FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions ........................................................................... 267 The End ..................................................................................................................... 272

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DISCLAIMER

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COPYRIGHT

DISCLAIMER All content contained herein is for informational use only and is designed solely for healthy adults. It is not medical or professional advice, it is not meant to be seen as medical or professional advice, and it should not be used to take the place of medical or professional advice. You should always consult your doctor before beginning any diet or workout program or making any changes to your current diet or workout program. This document and the content it contains is offered without warranties or guarantees of any kind. The author and publisher shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any of the information contained in this document. The user (you) assumes all risk for any injury, loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by using any information described herein. COPYRIGHT This document and the content it contains is fully protected under copyright and intellectual property law. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, resold, reprinted or distributed in any form or by any means without the express written permission of the author. Copyright infringement, trademark infringement and theft of intellectual property are serious crimes. Copyright infringement is a felony and civil fines for the conviction of such infringement now begin at $150,000 per infringement and may also result in up to five years in prison. FAKE COPYRIGHT I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for supplements, I can tell you I don't have any. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you do not illegally distribute this book, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you do, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you. Or at least, Liam Neeson will.

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► INTRODUCTION

H

ey, what’s up?

At this point you should have already read Superior Muscle Growth (which of course is that other file you downloaded along with this one). If you haven’t, I’d highly recommend doing that before going any further. Yes, I know… everyone loves to just skip straight to the workouts. We’ve all been guilty of it at some point. But in this case it would honestly be the wrong move to make. This is simply because Superior Muscle Growth IS the program. That’s where the majority of the information and guidelines are located. The workouts contained in this book are just one important component out of the MANY important components of that overall program. Now assuming you’ve already read Superior Muscle Growth, then please allow me to welcome you to The Best Workout Routines! What follows from this point on are the most effective and proven workout programs I’ve ever used myself or designed for others for the purpose of building muscle. When used in accordance with the guidelines of Superior Muscle Growth, these are the workouts that will produce the best results possible. In addition to the workouts themselves, this book is also loaded with all of the details, specifics and answers you’ll need to properly put these workouts into action and get the most out of them.

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This includes progression methods, deload protocols, warm up set protocols, exercise substitutions, how often changes should be made, when and how to make those changes, and so much more. It’s going to be quite good. So… let’s get started.

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THE BEGINNER WEIGHT TRAINING WORKOUT ROUTINE

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► THE BEGINNER WEIGHT TRAINING WORKOUT ROUTINE

T

here’s a workout routine that I’ve been recommending to beginners for years, and I’ve seen it work amazingly well time and time again. I simply call it The Beginner Weight Training Workout Routine. Why such a definitive name? Because it’s almost always the first program that I recommend to beginners with ANY goal, and it’s been so successful that I’ve just never found a reason to replace it or come up with any additional routines. So, while there are quite a few different programs that I’d recommend to intermediate or advanced trainees, there’s really only one that I recommend to beginners. This is that program. Now, before we get to the details and specifics, I want to make sure that this routine gets used by the people who will benefit from it the most. What I mean is, my definition of “beginner” might be a little different than yours. To ensure we’re on the same page, here’s what I consider a beginner to be… 

Anyone who is about to start a weight training routine for the first time.



Anyone who has been weight training for LESS than 6 months consistently and intelligently. Read that again. I’m talking at least 6 full months of consistent and intelligent training. I don’t care if you’ve been training inconsistently for the last decade (or just in an incorrect way where your results were nonexistent). If you haven’t been following some sort of intelligently designed weight training routine for at least the last 6 months that produced some meaningful degree of results, then you are most likely a beginner, at least for a short amount of time.



Anyone who DID train consistently/intelligently at some point in their life, but stopped for a significant period of time. In most cases, you are now considered a beginner all over again.

Do any of these describe you? If so, this is the routine for you. Don’t seek out anything more advanced. Don’t use the other routines in this book (yet). Don’t wonder if you need something that is better suited for someone more experienced than you. You don’t. Right now, if you want to get the best results as fast as possible, this is the routine that will work best for you. Here why…

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THE GUIDELINES OF A BEGINNER WORKOUT ROUTINE One thing you’ll notice about most properly designed beginner routines is that they will almost always have a lot in common. Why? Because there is a very specific list of weight training guidelines that have been proven to work best for beginners. And, any intelligent beginner program aims to meet as many of them as possible. This routine meets them all. These guidelines are: 

Higher frequency (usually 3 times per week).



Full body split.



Low volume.



Primarily comprised of basic compound exercises and very little (or nothing) else.



Very little exercise variety.



No advanced methods or techniques.



A huge focus on consistent progression.

And the reason for these very specific guidelines is because all beginner workouts are typically aimed at reaching the same equally specific goals. Here’s what I mean…

THE GENERAL GOALS OF A BEGINNER WORKOUT ROUTINE Whether you realize it or not, all beginners essentially have the exact same goals. Sure, someone might be more interested in losing a significant amount of fat, and someone else might be more interested in gaining a significant amount of muscle. Someone else might just want to get stronger, and someone else might just want to be more fit and healthy overall. These goals are all fine and good, and a properly designed beginner program WILL be able to make each of them happen (especially this one). However, they are NOT the true goals of a beginner.

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See, the true goals of a beginner generally involve becoming better at weight training so you can then become better at reaching your other weight training related goals (more muscle, more “tone,” more strength, less fat, etc.). What I mean is, the perfect beginner workout routine is created with these specific goals in mind: 

Fastest improvement of motor learning, coordination and proper form.



Fastest improvement of work capacity, volume tolerance and recovery.



Fastest improvement in building up a base level of strength, muscle and endurance.

At the beginner stage, these are the goals that are truly important. In fact, it’s reaching these goals as a beginner that makes those other goals (increased muscle, strength, tone, fat loss, improved health/fitness level) begin to happen rapidly pretty much as a side effect. Remember that list of guidelines I mentioned before? Well, they are guidelines because they allow these goals to be reached at their fastest and most consistent rate. And that means, as long as you’re using a routine that puts it all together perfectly, you’ll be guaranteed to get the best results possible. Of course, that’s EXACTLY what The Beginner Weight Training Workout Routine does, which is why it’s the routine I most often recommend to beginners. So, let’s get down to the details…

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THE BEGINNER WEIGHT TRAINING WORKOUT ROUTINE: THE SPLIT The first thing you need to know about this program is what weight training split and weekly schedule it will use. If you’ve ever read any article I’ve ever written about weight training frequency, splits/schedules or just beginners in general, then you definitely know what split we’re going to be using. I’m of course talking about the 3-day full body split, which is by far the most highly proven and often recommended workout schedule for beginners with any goal. The specific type of full body split that this workout routine uses is commonly referred to as an alternating “ABA BAB” format. You probably have no idea what that means, but you will when you see it written out…

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Days

Week #1

Monday

Workout A

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Workout B

Thursday

off

Friday

Workout A

Saturday

off

Sunday

Off

Days

Week #2

Monday

Workout B

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Workout A

Thursday

off

Friday

Workout B

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

See, even though there are 3 workout days per week, there are just 2 actual workouts. The first is the “A” workout and the second is the “B” workout. Then you just alternate between them each workout. Meaning, you end up doing ABA one week, and then BAB the next, and so on. Makes sense now, right? Good. I will also mention that the exact days of the week you choose really doesn’t matter at all as long as the same every-other-day format is kept intact with 2 consecutive days off at the end. So, that’s the split. Now let’s find out what those A and B workouts actually are…

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THE BEGINNER WEIGHT TRAINING WORKOUT ROUTINE: THE WORKOUTS Before you see the workouts, let me prepare you in advance by saying that they are probably going to seem a little strange looking to many people. You’ll probably think it’s WAY too little, or WAY too simple and basic. Well, if you think any of those things, then it’s pretty obvious that any beginner workouts you’ve seen before this were likely pretty damn horrible. How do I know? Because some variation of the workouts you are about to see are what’s proven to be most ideal (and most often recommended) for beginners with virtually any goal. Even if you might not think it is, and even if what you’ve seen before is very different. Trust me. This is what works best for beginners. Damn near all real world experience and expert recommendations support some form of what you’re about to see. Having said that, here are the workouts…

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THE BEGINNER WEIGHT TRAINING WORKOUT ROUTINE: VERSION 1 Workout A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

8-10

2 minutes

2

Bench Press

3

8-10

2 minutes

3

Rows

3

8-10

2 minutes

Workout B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Deadlifts

3

6-8

2 minutes

2

Pull-ups (or lat pull-downs)

3

8-10

2 minutes

3

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

2 minutes

As you can see, these are the most basic and important compound exercises put together in a way that ensures perfect balance, sufficient frequency and recovery, and low volume. This is all PERFECTLY ideal for beginners, and this is what will allow for the fastest progression and the best overall results. Now to answer any questions you may have about this workout routine…

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: WORKOUT A 

The “A” workout is made up of a quad dominant leg exercise (squats), a horizontal push (bench press), and a horizontal pull (rows).



Squats are definitely recommended (barbell back squats, that is), but leg presses could be used in their place if necessary.



For the bench press, a flat barbell bench press is recommended, but a flat dumbbell bench press can work too. Use a spotter whenever possible/necessary.



For the row, pick any horizontal back rowing exercise you want. Bent over barbell or dumbbell rows, seated cable rows, chest supported machine rows. They’re all fine. Pick your favorite.

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: WORKOUT B 

The “B” workout contains a hip/ham dominant leg exercise (deadlifts), a vertical pull (pullups/pull-downs), and a vertical push (shoulder press).



For the deadlift, a conventional deadlift would probably be recommended for beginners most often, but a Romanian deadlift (or stiff-legged deadlift) could be used instead if necessary or preferred.



Pull-ups are recommended for the vertical pull, but if you can’t do them yet, lat pull-downs or some form of assisted pull-up would be a suitable replacement.



For the shoulder press, any type of seated overhead shoulder press is fine (seated barbell press, seated dumbbell press, whatever).

FOCUS ON PROPER FORM FIRST It is typically recommended that all beginners spend their first few weeks on a weight training routine focusing primarily on learning proper form. I recommend you do the same with this program. Don’t worry about anything else during those first couple of weeks. Just pick a weight for each exercise that is definitely a little too light and easy for you, and focus on learning and using perfect form with it. Getting exercise technique right at this beginner stage is extremely important, so make sure you do. Once those few weeks are up and you feel like your form is what it needs to be on every exercise, then it’s time to focus on consistent progression while keeping that perfect form intact. Let me explain…

SETS, REPS, WEIGHT AND PROGRESSION For each individual exercise, you should use the same weight during each set. So, for example, let’s say you’ve been learning proper form on the bench press these last few weeks and found 50 lbs to be pretty close to the right weight for you at this point (that’s just a completely made up example amount, by the way). You should use that same 50 lbs during all 3 sets of bench presses.

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Then, when you are capable of doing those 3 sets with 50 lbs (again, just an example) for the prescribed 8-10 reps each set with perfect form, you’d increase the weight by the smallest possible increment (usually 5 lbs) the next time you bench press. You’d then aim to do 3 sets of 8-10 reps again with this new slightly heavier weight (55 lbs in this example). And when you are capable of doing that, you’d increase the weight again by about 5 lbs (60 lbs in this example) the next time you bench press and then keep repeating this process over and over. Progression for the other exercises would go the same way. You would use whatever weight is appropriate for you on that specific exercise during all 3 sets, meet the prescribed set/rep goal with perfect form, and then increase the weight by the smallest possible increment the next time you do that exercise. As a beginner, you should be able to progress like this consistently for quite a while, partly because you are starting a little lighter to master proper form, and partly because beginners are just more capable of progressing at a more consistent rate than anyone else. So, make sure you do. The more advanced you get, the slower the progression will be. Take advantage of it while you can. Once again I’d like to remind you to make sure the weight you start off using leans a lot more toward being a little too light/easy for you rather than a little too heavy/hard. To ensure the fastest and most consistent rate of progression, the weight you start off using for each exercise needs to be a bit lighter than you are truly capable of lifting.

DON’T SCREW WITH IT! And finally, when looking at this beginner program, the thing you need to remember is that the goal of a beginner is NOT to try to blast every muscle with all kinds of exercises and do various advanced things with a bunch of isolation movements and a high amount of volume and other things a beginner has no business doing (hell, that sort of nonsense doesn’t even work well for advanced people). Like I was saying before, the primary goal of a beginner (besides learning perfect form on all of their exercises) is to take advantage of a borderline super power that all beginners possess for a short period of time that allows them to progress and improve FASTER at all things weight training related than any intermediate or advanced trainee ever could.

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That’s right beginners, you can get stronger and build muscle faster than everyone else. However, the key to using this beginner “super power” of yours is using a workout routine that follows the guidelines that best allow it to be taken advantage of. That typically means higher frequency, lower volume, small and basic exercise selection, nothing fancy. Hey, what a coincidence… The Beginner Weight Training Workout Routine fits that description perfectly. So please, beginners, I beg of you. Don’t try to do something more advanced, and don’t try to add additional advanced stuff to the program laid out above. If you want the best results possible, do it exactly as is and focus on perfect form and consistent progression.

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THE BEGINNER WEIGHT TRAINING WORKOUT ROUTINE: VERSION 2 The weight training program laid out above is a pretty damn perfect beginner workout routine. But, you see, I know that no matter how many times I explain that this routine is totally ideal for beginners as is, many people are just going to ignore me and add more to it as they please. You were already thinking about doing it, weren’t you? Don’t lie. Admit it. Well, if you are one of those people (shame on you, silly beginner!), this second version of the program is my attempt at helping you not listen to me in a way that doesn’t completely screw things up. So, using the same 3-day full body split from before (in the same “ABA BAB” format), here is another extremely similar version of the original workouts with a few very small additions made to them…

Workout A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

8-10

2 minutes

2

Bench Press

3

8-10

2 minutes

3

Rows

3

8-10

2 minutes

4

Triceps Pushdowns

1

10-15

-

5

Calf Raises

2

8-12

1 minute

Workout B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Deadlifts

3

6-8

2 minutes

2

Pull-ups (or lat pull-downs)

3

8-10

2 minutes

3

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

2 minutes

4

Dumbbell Curls

1

10-15

-

5

Abs

2

8-15

1 minute

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Everything else remains just like before (see the notes from earlier if you need additional details/clarifications), except now we’ve added some direct biceps and triceps work along with a little bit of calves and abs as well. (For abs, do 2 sets of whatever ab exercise you want.) So, the program is still ideal for beginners, AND you got some extra stuff added to it. Are you happy now? I hope so, because the more you try to add on top of Version 1, the more it starts to become an intermediate program. And the more that happens, the less and less effective it’s going to be for a beginner like you.

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THE BEGINNER WEIGHT TRAINING WORKOUT ROUTINE: VERSION 3 Even though Version 1 (or 2) of the workouts I just described is what I would recommend most often to most beginners, that doesn’t mean it’s absolutely perfect for everyone. See, I don’t know who is reading this book. I don’t know your background or your current condition. I don’t know your age or weight. I don’t know your specific goals and situation. What I’m getting at here is that the problem with designing workout routines for “all beginners” is that some older men and women, some very overweight men and women, and/or some very out of shape men and women sometimes have significantly different training needs than other people. This is especially true in the case of beginners. With intermediate or advanced trainees, everyone is typically within some sane range and level of fitness and will be capable of doing similar workouts. But with beginners, you get ALL kinds of people in ALL kinds of different situations and conditions who are NOT all capable of the same things. For example, should an overweight 50-year-old woman who sometimes has trouble getting up a flight of stairs do the exact same beginner workout as a fit and athletic 20-year-old guy or girl? Even if their goals are exactly the same (which, as I mentioned before, is essentially true with beginners), and even if they could both benefit most from the exact same workout, they probably aren’t anywhere near capable of the same things at this beginning point. And this, of course, is the problem with creating programs for beginners. The guidelines and principles and fundamentals of the program will always be perfect, but sometimes it’s the minor details (which usually don’t matter) that end up causing problems based on the specific person using the program. This, of course, is something I have no control over. So, here’s what I’m going to do.

THE BEST POSSIBLE SOLUTION I’m going to lay out the textbook definition of a generic “full body workout” template. It will contain one exercise for each major movement pattern and/or muscle group. For each exercise, I will list a suitable (usually machine based) exercise that can be done in its place below it.

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I will then give you a range of sets and reps that can be done depending on how much volume you can handle, and a suggested rest interval will be listed as well. And then from there… it’s up to you to use everything you know about yourself and YOUR situation and YOUR needs to try to design a beginner program that’s tailored to YOU. Here is the basic template of a generic full body workout…

The Generic Full Body Workout Template Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats (or leg press)

1-3

8-10

1-2 minutes

2

Romanian Deadlifts (or leg curls)

1-3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Bench Press (or chest press machine)

1-3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Row (or row machine)

1-3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Overhead Press (or shoulder press machine)

1-3

8-10

1-2 minutes

6

Pull-ups (or lat pull-down machine)

1-3

8-10

1-2 minutes

7

Biceps Curl (bar, dumbbell or machine)

0-1

10-15

-

8

Triceps Extension (or triceps pushdowns)

0-1

10-15

-

9

Calf Raises (seated or standing)

0-2

8-12

1-2 minutes

10

Abs (any ab exercise you want)

0-2

8-15

1-2 minutes

MY GENERAL SUGGESTIONS 

I’d recommend using either the lower range of sets, OR the higher range of sets but not doing all of the exercises listed in each workout.

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If you want to do the same full body workout each time, that’s fine. If not, splitting the exercises up into an A and B workout and then doing them in the ABA BAB format is fine too.



You should aim to do most of the first 6 exercises 2 or 3 times per week. The others can be done 0-3 times per week.

THE REST IS UP TO YOU Some people would say that putting program design in the hands of a beginner is usually a very bad idea. I agree with this. But, at the same time, I think it’s an even worse idea to put a beginner program out there and say it’s perfect for ALL beginners to use. So, I’ve included this generic beginner template version because I just didn’t feel comfortable putting this book out there for anyone and everyone to use without giving you some kind of option to personalize it to your needs and preferences. Yes, for most of the people reading this, I definitely recommend Version 1 (or Version 2) of The Beginner Weight Training Workout Routine I laid out earlier. But, for that smaller group of people who need a program that is more geared toward their specific needs at this beginning stage, do your best to use the template and suggestions I just provided to put something together that is right for you.

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THE MUSCLE BUILDING WORKOUT ROUTINE

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► THE MUSCLE BUILDING WORKOUT ROUTINE

W

elcome to the program that I simply call The Muscle Building Workout Routine. Why such a definitive name? Two reasons:

1. It’s almost always the default workout routine that I recommend to intermediate and advanced trainees who want to build any amount of muscle as fast as possible, as well as anyone who just wants to improve the way their body looks in any capacity. It’s infinitely adjustable, perfectly balanced and highly effective. It’s really the ultimate combination of everything that has been proven to work best. 2. It was the first truly intelligent workout routine that I personally used to break out of my rut of consistently getting below-average results. This program was my “game-changer.” It was completely different from everything I was doing or hearing about at the time, and it instantly improved my progress and results in a very significant way. In the years since I originally used it, I’ve adjusted, modified and tweaked certain aspects of it to make it even MORE effective for you than it was for me initially. The successfulness of these improvements has been fully backed up by my own results and firsthand experience in using it as well as the amazing results of the thousands of people who have used this program over the last few years. This newly expanded edition of the routine now also includes additional split and scheduling options to suit every possible need or preference (one of which is my personal favorite of them all), as well as new slightly modified versions of the workouts that may appeal to people with slightly different goals and/or those who are just ready to change things up a little. So, with all of that out of the way, let’s get down to the full details of The Muscle Building Workout Routine…

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THE MUSCLE BUILDING WORKOUT ROUTINE: THE SPLIT The Muscle Building Workout Routine uses one of the most popular, proven and easily programmable weight training splits of all time: the upper/lower split. This split divides the body up into two very obvious categories: 1. Upper Body: chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps 2. Lower Body: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, abs While most people only know of one or two versions of this split, there are actually many different variations to choose from, and some can definitely be more ideal than others. Here are the four versions that I feel will work best for most people… Week #1

Option #1 Classic 4-Day

Option #2 Classic 3-Day

Option #3 Modified 4-Day

Option #4 Every-Other-Day

Monday

Upper Body A

Upper Body A

Upper Body A

Upper Body A

Tuesday

Lower Body A

off

Lower Body A

off

Wednesday

off

Lower Body A

off

Lower Body A

Thursday

Upper Body B

off

Upper Body B

off

Friday

Lower Body B

Upper Body B

off

Upper Body B

Saturday

off

off

Lower Body B

off

Sunday

off

off

off

Lower Body B

Monday

Upper Body A

Lower Body B

Upper Body A

off

Tuesday

Lower Body A

off

Lower Body A

Upper Body A

Wednesday

off

Upper Body A

off

off

Thursday

Upper Body B

off

Upper Body B

Lower Body A

Friday

Lower Body B

Lower Body A

off

off

Saturday

off

off

Lower Body B

Upper Body B

Sunday

off

off

off

off

Week #2

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No matter which version of this split you choose (and I’ll explain the pros and cons of each in a minute), each muscle group ends up getting trained about twice per week. That means each muscle group is trained somewhere between once every 3 rd day and once every 5th day, which is right within the ideal frequency range that has been proven through research and real world experience to work best for building muscle for practically everyone who is past the beginner’s stage. As it turns out, the upper/lower split is often THE split that best allows the majority of the population to meet this optimal frequency. The only question is…

WHICH VERSION OF THE UPPER/LOWER SPLIT SHOULD YOU USE? Well, let’s take a look at each and find out which is most ideal for you…

OPTION #1: CLASSIC 4-DAY UPPER/LOWER SPLIT Days

Workouts

Monday

Upper Body A

Tuesday

Lower Body A

Wednesday

off

Thursday

Upper Body B

Friday

Lower Body B

This is the classic 4-day upper/lower split, and it is definitely the most basic and common way you see it used. As you can see, each muscle group ends up getting trained once every 3rd or 4th day using a 2-on/1off/2-on/2-off format.

This is the most frequent of all the upper/lower Saturday off variations shown, as each muscle group gets trained exactly twice per week. For most people, this Sunday off should be just fine. For people with a below-average capacity to recover, a slightly less frequent version of this split may be a better choice. This option is also ideal for people who prefer training 4 days per week, and people who would prefer to have the exact same “on” and “off” days each week. Plus, the 2 consecutive days off at the end also makes it perfect for people who would prefer to have the weekends off. This is all part of what makes this version of the upper/lower split the most popular, as it tends to be the easiest for most people to fit into their schedules and lives.

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So, if these benefits appeal to you, then this option is absolutely perfect. (Note: The specific template shown in the example above is probably the most common way for people to schedule this version of the split over the course of the week (since it gives you the weekends off). However, the exact days you choose really doesn’t matter at all as long as the same 2-on/1-off/2-on/2-off format is kept intact.)

OPTION #2: CLASSIC 3-DAY UPPER/LOWER SPLIT Days

Week #1

Monday

Upper Body A

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Lower Body A

Thursday

off

Friday

Upper Body B

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

Days

Week #2

Monday

Lower Body B

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Upper Body A

Thursday

off

Friday

Lower Body A

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

This is the classic 3-day upper/lower split, and it is probably the second most common way you see it used. It allows for each muscle group to get trained once every 4th or 5th day using a 1-on/1-off/1-on/1-off/1on/2-off format. This slightly reduced frequency makes this version the least frequent of all the upper/lower variations shown, as each muscle group gets trained about twice per week. Or, more specifically, 3 times every 2 weeks. However, while this is slightly less frequent than Option #1 (where each muscle got trained once every 3rd or 4th day), it still remains perfectly within the optimal weight training frequency range for building muscle. This variation also has some potential benefits that Option #1 doesn’t have. Most notable is the fact that it only requires you to train 3 days per week

instead of 4. This makes this option perfect for people who would prefer to work out only 3 days per week or are just only able to fit in 3 workouts per week. Just like the first option, this version also allows you to keep the exact same “on” and “off” days each week (although upper body and lower body days rotate from week to week, but that’s not a

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problem at all). And, it also has 2 consecutive days off at the end, which again makes it ideal for people who would prefer to have the weekends off. Lastly, due to its slightly lower (but still perfectly optimal) frequency, this upper/lower split variation is also ideal for people who feel training each muscle group exactly twice per week may be a bit too much frequency for their body to recover from properly. This could be due to age (recovery gets worse as we get older), having a highly stressful life (stress worsens recovery), having a very physical job or life in general (a lot of additional outside activity can hinder recovery), or just having crappy genetics. Hell, you may just be someone who feels better/stronger/fresher when you train slightly less often, in which case the extra day you have off in this 3-day version will make a world of difference for you. This is all part of what makes this version of the upper/lower split probably the second most common. It’s perfect for a variety of people and a variety of situations and scheduling conflicts. So, if any of the above sounds like it applies to you, this option is absolutely perfect. (Note: The specific template shown in the example above is probably the most common way for people to schedule this version of the split over the course of the week (since it gives you the weekends off). However, the exact days you choose really doesn’t matter at all as long as the same 1-on/1-off/1-on/1-off/1-on/2-off format is kept intact.)

OPTION #3: MODIFIED 4-DAY UPPER/LOWER SPLIT Days

Week #1

Monday

Upper Body A

Tuesday

Lower Body A

Wednesday

off

Thursday

Upper Body B

Friday

off

Saturday

Lower Body B

Sunday

off

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This is the modified 4-day upper/lower split, and it is nearly identical to the classic 4-day version shown in Option #1. Each muscle group still ends up getting trained once every 3rd or 4th day, however, it reaches this frequency using a 2-on/1-off/1-on/1-off/1-on/1-off format instead. The obvious “con” you might notice right away is that this version is the first to NOT have 2 consecutive days off at the end, which means you

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don’t get the weekends off. For some people, this might be a problem. For others… it might be a solution. You see, while this split variation still has the same frequency, the same 4 total workouts per week, and the same 3 total rest days per week as Option #1 does, the difference is that here one of those rest days is placed in between two of those workouts. What’s the point, you ask? Simple. To improve recovery. Training on back-to-back days is a bit more taxing on the body than training on non-consecutive days. This split takes that into account by breaking up the final two workouts, thus potentially improving your ability to recover. So instead of having two consecutive sets of workouts each week, you just have one. While this difference isn’t quite as significant as Option #2 (the classic 3-day version), this is sort of a middle ground split between Options #1 and #2 that gives you a slight recovery enhancement while still keeping four total workouts per week. If these benefits appeal to you, and you don’t mind not having Saturdays off (or Sundays, if you’d prefer it that way), then this split would be perfect. (Note: If you’d rather break up the first two workouts and keep the second two on back-to-back days instead, that’s perfectly fine.)

OPTION #4: EVERY-OTHER-DAY UPPER/LOWER SPLIT Days

Week #1

Monday

Upper Body A

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Lower Body A

Thursday

off

Friday

Upper Body B

Saturday

off

Sunday

Lower Body B

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This is the every-other-day upper/lower split, and it may be my personal favorite version of them all. As you can see, each muscle group ends up getting trained once every 4th day exactly, using a 1-on/1off/1-on/1-off repeating format with no consecutive days on or off at any point. While Option #1 (classic 4-day) and Option #3 (modified 4-day) are the most frequent versions of the split (every 3rd or 4th day), and Option #2

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Days

Week #2

Monday

off

Tuesday

Upper Body A

Wednesday

off

Thursday

Lower Body A

Friday

off

Saturday

Upper Body B

Sunday

off

ROUTINES

(classic 3-day) is the least frequent version (every 4th or 5th day), this variation is right in the middle of them all (every 4th day exactly). So, even though they are ALL within the ideal frequency range, this one is kind of in that “best-ofboth-worlds” position, directly in the middle. Meaning, you get a little more frequency than the 3day version, and a little more rest and recovery than the 4-day versions.

In addition, remember how the modified 4-day version broke up the second set of workouts by putting one of the rest days between them to enhance recovery? Well, this version takes that to the next level by breaking up BOTH sets of workouts so that you never train on consecutive days ever. But wait, there’s more! Each week ends up rotating between four total workouts per week and three total workouts per week. This is great for people who like the idea of working out more often AND working out less often to improve recovery. Again, it’s the best of both worlds. So, as you can see here, this version of the upper/lower split basically takes all of the best qualities of the three other options and combines them together perfectly. Well, almost perfectly. You see, despite this big list of positives, there are a couple of potential negatives. First, you don’t get the full weekend off. If you’re someone who wants (or just needs) the weekends off, then this split would be a problem. The other potential problem is also scheduling related. In all of the other versions, the days you train and the days you don’t remain the same each week. In this version, workout days/rest days rotate from one week to the next. For some people, this could also be hard to manage and fit into their weekly schedule. So, while this is the split with the most benefits, it’s also usually the hardest to make work in the real world. But if you can… then this split is absolutely perfect for you.

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SELECTING YOUR SPLIT OPTION Now that you know the differences between the four upper/lower split options, it’s time for you to pick the one that suits you best. Again, ALL of these options are already highly proven and guaranteed to work extremely well. You really can’t go wrong with any of them. It’s just a matter of choosing the one that’s most ideal for you. In case you’re having trouble making up your mind, here are my recommendations… 

If you want to use a 4-day split that allows for having the same workout/rest days each week AND you don’t have a problem training on Saturdays, Option #3 (modified 4-day) is definitely my recommendation. But if you need the weekends free, go with Option #1 (classic 4-day).



If you can only manage to train 3 days per week or would just rather have 3 workouts per week instead of 4, then Option #2 (classic 3-day) is definitely the option for you. That seems obvious, but I’ve seen people who, for some reason, think four workouts per week is “better” for them even though it would be MUCH more convenient for their schedule to only have three. So what happens? They try (and fail) to make a 4-day split work. They miss workouts. They’re inconsistent. They end up quitting altogether. And all because they were too stubborn to do what was truly ideal for them and best suited for their schedule. So, if 3 days is best for you, please avoid being a dumbass and just use the 3-day version.



If you feel you have a below-average capacity to recover, have below-average genetics, are older, live a highly stressful life, are involved in an excess of outside physical activity (for example, you have a job that requires lifting stuff all day, you’re doing other forms of training, etc.), or just feel you would benefit from having a slightly reduced frequency and therefore a slightly increased amount of rest and recovery between workouts, then Option #2 (classic 3day) is definitely the option I’d recommend for you.



Option #4 (every-other-day) is easily my favorite split of them all. In an ideal world, it’s the upper/lower split variation I’d have everyone using. I highly recommend it if you have a schedule flexible enough to make it work. But if you don’t, it’s not worth adjusting your life and inconveniencing yourself to try. In this case, go with one of the other three options instead.

Now that the split is all figured out, it’s time to get to the actual workouts…

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THE MUSCLE BUILDING WORKOUT ROUTINE: THE WORKOUTS As I explained earlier, an upper/lower split divides everything up into two types of workouts. One will train your entire upper body to some degree (chest, back, shoulders, biceps, and triceps), and one will train your entire lower body to some degree (quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and abs as well). You will then end up doing two (or about two) of each workout per week depending on exactly which variation of the split you decide to use. And, like I said, no matter which upper/lower split option you end up using, the workouts will all still get done within the optimal frequency range and everything will still work perfectly fine. As for the workouts themselves, there are actually a few different versions of The Muscle Building Workout Routine that I’ve used (and seen used) with great success. I definitely have my favorite (which is really just based on my own personal preferences), but since each version brings a little something different to the table, you’ll now have access to every single version there is. So, without further ado, here are the five versions of the workouts that I’ve found work best for building muscle…

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THE MUSCLE BUILDING WORKOUT ROUTINE: VERSION 1 Here is the most well-known version of this program, and the one that I tend to recommend most often by default. That doesn’t necessarily make it the clear “BEST” version of them all. More so just my personal favorite version, because it’s the perfect blend of what I liked best about all of the other versions I experimented with when I put it all together. So, here’s how Version 1 of these workouts will go…

Upper Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Lat Pull-Downs

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Triceps Pushdowns

3

10-12

1 minute

7

Dumbbell Curls

2

12-15

1 minute

Lower Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Leg Press

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

3

Seated Leg Curls

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Standing Calf Raises

4

6-8

1-2 minutes

5

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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Upper Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Barbell Shoulder Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Seated Cable Row

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Dumbbell Bench Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Dumbbell Flyes

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Barbell Curls

3

10-12

1 minute

7

Skull Crushers

2

12-15

1 minute

Lower Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Split Squats

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Lying Leg Curls

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Seated Calf Raises

4

10-15

1-2 minutes

5

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: UPPER BODY A 

The Upper Body A workout starts with the bench press. This is meant to be a flat barbell bench press. I recommend having a spotter if possible. Besides being important for obvious safety reasons, not having one may make you afraid of trying for an additional rep, and this could hinder your progress.



Up next is a row, which basically means some type of horizontal pull (meaning back row exercise). Pretty much any type of row would be fine here, so pick your favorite (bent over barbell or dumbbell rows, t-bar rows, chest supported rows, various Hammer Strength machine rows, whatever).

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For incline pressing, I recommend incline dumbbell presses. Technically, any type of incline press would be just as good here. Barbell, dumbbell, machine (Hammer Strength makes an incline chest press that I love). But, my first choice recommendation would definitely be the incline dumbbell press. If you happen to have any preexisting shoulder problems that make incline pressing uncomfortable, try using a neutral grip (where your palms face each other).



For lat pull-downs, I recommend using an underhand grip (meaning your palms will face you) or a neutral grip (palms face each other… this grip is much less stressful on your elbows/wrists). This is because I’m going to recommend an overhand grip (palms face away from you) during the Upper Body B workout. You’ll see. These are to be done in front of your head… never behind the neck.



For lateral raises, you can really do whatever lateral raise you want. With dumbbells (seated or standing, one arm at a time or both together), with cables, with a lateral raise machine if your gym has a decent one. Just pick your favorite.



For the triceps exercise, I recommend some form of cable pushdowns, ideally using an overhand grip on some kind of bar attachment or neutral grip using a rope attachment.



For the biceps exercise on this day, I recommend any type of dumbbell curl (standing, seated, on a preacher bench, whatever). Pick your favorite.

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: LOWER BODY A 

The Lower Body A workout begins with the Romanian deadlift (RDL). I recommend using a double overhand grip for these as opposed to a mixed grip (which would be one hand over, one hand under). If you ever reach a point where the weight you’re deadlifting becomes too heavy to hold and your grip becomes an issue, feel free to use straps. Also, if you don’t like RDLs, stiff-legged deadlifts (SLDL) could be done instead.



For the leg presses, you can do these the traditional way (both legs at the same time) or single leg if possible. Also, this is meant to be done in a 45 degree leg press. If your gym doesn’t have one, then use whatever leg press they do have.



For the leg curls, some gyms have a few different types of leg curl machines… seated, standing, and lying down. You can really pick any one you want.

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Next up is standing calf raises. If your gym doesn’t have a standing calf raise machine, feel free to do calf presses in the 45 degree leg press.



For abs, do a few sets of whatever you want. Just don’t go too crazy… no more than 10 minutes or so. I like various forms of weighted crunches, hanging leg/hip raises, planks, etc. Pick your favorites and keep it simple. Additional details here.

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: UPPER BODY B 

The Upper Body B workout starts with pull-ups. These are meant to be done using an overhand grip (and always do them in front of your head… never behind your neck). If you are unable to do pull-ups, you can do lat pull-downs or some form of assisted pull-up instead (still using an overhand grip). It’s perfectly fine. However, if you’re doing an assisted pull-up, your eventual goal should be to use less and less assistance until you’re using none at all. And if you’re someone who can already do the prescribed amount of sets and reps with your own body weight, you need to get yourself a “pull-up belt” (also called a “dip belt”) and start adding some additional weight.



For the shoulder press, I’d usually recommend doing seated barbell presses (in front of you, not behind the neck). Of course, you could just as easily do seated dumbbell presses instead if you’d really prefer to. It’s fine.



Up next are seated cable rows, which would ideally be done with a parallel/neutral grip (palms facing each other). If your gym doesn’t have a handle like that, any other grip is fine. If your gym doesn’t have a seated cable row for some reason, feel free to do any other similar horizontal back row in its place. Seated cable rows are definitely my first choice though.



Up next is the flat dumbbell bench press. Nothing more to add here really.



After that we have dumbbell flyes. These can be done on a flat bench or a low incline if you prefer. Technically, any sort of chest isolation exercise would be equally effective here, so if you happen to prefer some kind of cable or machine fly instead, you can feel free to do that.



For the biceps exercise, I recommend standing barbell curls with an EZ curl bar (it’s much less stressful on your wrists/elbows than a straight bar). You could technically do any other type of curl instead if you wanted to, though.

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For the triceps exercise, I recommend skull crushers. I’d suggest doing these with an EZ curl bar (it’s much more comfortable on the wrists/elbows than a straight bar) or with dumbbells (palms facing each other). These can be done on a flat or decline bench. Also, if preferred, some kind of overhead triceps extension exercise would be perfectly suitable in its place.

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: LOWER BODY B 

The Lower Body B workout starts with squats. That’s meant to be barbell back squats, by the way. However, if you happen to be someone who isn’t built for squats or you just have a problem doing them for whatever reason, you can replace them with leg presses (ideally using a 45 degree leg press machine).



For the split squats, feel free to use a barbell or dumbbells. If you’ve never done any kind of split squat or lunge variation before, I’d recommend starting with dumbbells instead of a barbell. It will be easier (and safer) to learn how to balance yourself properly.



For the leg curls, I’d recommend using a different type of leg curl machine than you used in the Lower Body A workout, assuming your gym actually has more than one type of leg curl machine. If your gym only has one kind, do it one leg at a time in the A workout, and both legs together in this workout.



Up next are seated calf raises. Not much more to add here.



For abs, do a few sets of whatever you want. Just don’t go too crazy… no more than 10 minutes or so. I like various forms of weighted crunches, hanging leg/hip raises, planks, etc. Pick your favorites and keep it simple. Additional details here.

And that’s Version 1 of The Muscle Building Workout Routine, which is most often my personal favorite and the default version I recommend to most people in general. However, other equally effective versions of this program also exist. Some may be more or less ideal for certain goals, situations and training preferences, and some might just be perfect second and third options to use when you feel like it’s time to make a change from this first version. So, here now are those other versions…

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THE MUSCLE BUILDING WORKOUT ROUTINE: VERSION 1A This isn’t so much a second version of this program as it is just a slightly lower volume version of the first. You see, I’ve found that Version 1 of these workouts works perfectly for most of the people, most of the time. However, there MAY be some people who feel like it’s just a little too much for them due to a variety of reasons (age, a highly stressful life, an excess of outside physical activity, etc.). These people might be in the minority, but they definitely do exist. In that case, if you feel like you need to do a little less in order to recover and progress properly, here are my quick and easy suggestions for creating a lower volume version… 1. You can reduce frequency. This would definitely be my first choice. If you’re using any of the 4-day upper/lower split options, just switch to the 3-day version. The slightly lowered frequency/extra day of rest between each workout should GREATLY improve any recovery related issues you may have. If you’re already using the 3-day version and it still seems like it’s too much for you, see below. 2. You can reduce volume. Change all of the exercises that call for 3 sets of 8-10 to 2 sets of 810 instead. If it STILL feels like it’s too much for you, see below. 3. You can remove accessory isolation exercises. For example, remove lateral raises and dumbbell flyes from the upper body workouts. 4. You can do a combination of the three choices above.

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THE MUSCLE BUILDING WORKOUT ROUTINE: VERSION 2 Here now is the second version of this program, which is another version I’ve personally used with great success. Let’s take a look at the workouts, go through all of the adjustments that have been made (and why they were made), and see if this version is more or less ideal for you…

Upper Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

3

Incline Dumbbell Press

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Lat Pull-Downs

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Triceps Pushdowns

3

10-12

1 minute

7

Dumbbell Curls

2

12-15

1 minute

Lower Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Leg Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Seated Leg Curls

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Standing Calf Raises

4

6-8

1-2 minutes

5

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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Upper Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Pull-Ups

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Barbell Shoulder Press

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

3

Seated Cable Row

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Dumbbell Bench Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Dumbbell Flyes

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Barbell Curls

3

10-12

1 minute

7

Skull Crushers

2

12-15

1 minute

Lower Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Split Squats

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

3

Lying Leg Curls

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Seated Calf Raises

4

10-15

1-2 minutes

5

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions.

THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the first.

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The primary exercises for each muscle group in each workout have been changed from 3x6-8 to 4x5-8.



The secondary exercises for each muscle group in each workout have been changed from 3x810 to 2x10-12.

In the end, total volume per muscle group, total volume per workout, and total volume per week end up damn near exactly the same as Version 1. The only difference is that the set and rep ranges used to meet that optimal volume have been modified. This allows different exercises to be trained in a way that creates a new and different type of training stimulus that is also beneficial for building muscle. It also just might suit your personal training preferences better. Some people love training in that 10-12 rep range (and are genetically better at it than others), and this version allows that higher rep range to be used on more than just the isolation exercises at the end. Similarly, the first exercise for each major muscle group gets an extra set and a slightly lower rep range to go along with it. Some people just prefer 4 sets over 3 for those big “money” exercises, and also prefer to go a little lower in reps (down to 5) on them. And once again, some people are just better built (both physically and mentally) for these adjustments. So, if these changes appeal to you, for whatever reason, or just make this program better suited to your personal training preferences, then this is definitely an ideal version for you to use.

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THE MUSCLE BUILDING WORKOUT ROUTINE: VERSION 3 There’s a whole lot that goes into the muscle building process, but in terms of the training stimulus alone, we can pin it down to a combination of tension and fatigue (and damage as well, but tension and fatigue are the main components). The “tension” portion of that equation is provided by lifting heavy weight that is truly challenging for you, and then ensuring that this weight becomes progressively heavier over time (aka progressive overload). “Fatigue” is provided by the way we go about supplying that aforementioned tension. We don’t just do one rep of one set of one exercise and go home. Instead, we aim to reach a certain optimal amount of volume per muscle group in a given workout. We stay within a certain optimal rep range during each set. We rest for a certain optimal amount of time between those sets. This is all part of providing the fatigue element that is beneficial for building muscle. Now, as The Muscle Building Workout Routine is currently designed, it aims to provide the perfect combination of tension and fatigue. However, there is a very simple adjustment that can be made to the structure of this program that will enhance the fatigue element to some extent. Here now is a version of the routine that makes this adjustment…

Upper Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

4

Lat Pull-Downs

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Triceps Pushdowns

3

10-12

1 minute

7

Dumbbell Curls

2

12-15

1 minute

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Lower Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Seated Leg Curls

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Leg Press

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Standing Calf Raises

4

6-8

1-2 minutes

5

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

Upper Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Seated Cable Row

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Barbell Shoulder Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

4

Dumbbell Bench Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Dumbbell Flyes

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Barbell Curls

3

10-12

1 minute

7

Skull Crushers

2

12-15

1 minute

Lower Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Split Squats

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Lying Leg Curls

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Seated Calf Raises

4

10-15

1-2 minutes

5

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions.

THE ADJUSTMENTS This version of the routine makes only one very simple (and very subtle) adjustment, and it’s all about exercise order. Specifically, exercises for the same (or related) muscle groups are now arranged so that they’re back-to-back. In the previous versions of this routine, it was the opposite. For example, in Upper Body A, the other versions put the exercises in this order: 1. Push exercise (chest). 2. Pull exercise (back). 3. Push exercise (chest). 4. Pull exercise (back). This version changes that to now become: 1. Push exercise (chest). 2. Push exercise (chest). 3. Pull exercise (back). 4. Pull exercise (back). In doing this, the same muscle groups now get trained during consecutive exercises, which therefore increases the amount of metabolic fatigue being generated. Sounds pretty good, right? In terms of upping the fatigue element of muscle growth, it is. However, there is a downside to making this adjustment. As more fatigue is accumulated in the muscles being trained, that same fatigue is likely to at least somewhat hinder your strength and performance on that second exercise. How much so will vary

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based on the person and the exercise, but it’s safe to say it will be to a higher degree than if you had an exercise for a different muscle group in between them (like the other versions do). So, while this version increases the fatigue element, it reduces the tension element. Which means, it’s a trade-off. One of the factors that must be present for optimal muscle growth is improved while the other is lessened. Decisions, decisions… right? That’s pretty much what it comes down to. There are a lot of ways of doing things successfully, and my goal is to provide you with all of them. So if you’re someone who likes that extra feeling of fatigue and “pump” that this version of the workouts is likely to cause, or someone who just prefers doing all of the exercises for each muscle group consecutively rather than going from one muscle group to the other, or someone who wants to place a little more emphasis on fatigue than tension… this version will probably be ideal for you. It also might just be worth trying when you feel ready to change things up a little.

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THE MUSCLE BUILDING WORKOUT ROUTINE: VERSION 4 Over the years, one of the many questions I’ve been asked about this routine is how to incorporate supersets or alternating sets into it. Another question I’ve been asked is if there is any way to lessen the amount of time each workout takes so you can get out of the gym a little bit faster. Well, guess what? Here’s a version of The Muscle Building Workout Routine that answers BOTH of those questions. We will be using alternating sets, and in doing so we’ll be shaving some time off of each workout in the process. But first…

WHY ALTERNATING SETS INSTEAD OF SUPERSETS? You may be wondering why this version is going to use alternating sets instead of supersets. This is because, for reasons I fully explain in my Supersets vs Alternating Sets comparison, I think supersets are mostly dumb and counterproductive. The main reason is that supersets are done with NO rest in between each set. So you’d do a set of Exercise A immediately followed by a set of Exercise B. The result? Your performance on Exercise B goes to crap because of the accumulated fatigue. This is fine if you’re only in the gym to get your heart pumping, burn some extra calories, sweat more and just “feel” like you’re doing something special and advanced. But if you’re actually there to… you know… make the type of progress required to build muscle optimally, then supersets suck. Alternating sets, on the other hand, pair up Exercise A and B just the same, only with some beneficial amount of rest in between each set of each exercise. So, you still get the perks of having exercises paired up in alternating fashion, only without the performance drop off you’d be guaranteed to experience on whatever exercise is being done second in a superset. To show you how it’s all done, I’m going to use Version 1 of The Muscle Building Workout Routine to apply the pairings and adjust the rest times to create the alternating sets. However, you could just as easily apply these same adjustments to Version 2 of the workouts if you’d prefer to use that version. With all of that out of the way, let’s get to the details…

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Upper Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1a

Bench Press

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

1b

Rows

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

2a

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1 minute

2b

Lat Pull-Downs

3

8-10

1 minute

3

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

4a

Triceps Pushdowns

3

10-12

30-60 seconds

4b

Dumbbell Curls

2

12-15

30-60 seconds

Lower Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2a

Leg Press

3

10-12

1 minute

2b

Seated Leg Curls

3

8-10

1 minute

3a

Standing Calf Raises

4

6-8

30-60 seconds

3b

Abs

-

8-15

30-60 seconds

Upper Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1a

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

1b

Barbell Shoulder Press

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

2a

Seated Cable Row

3

8-10

1 minute

2b

Dumbbell Bench Press

3

8-10

1 minute

3

Dumbbell Flyes

2

10-15

1 minute

4a

Barbell Curls

3

10-12

30-60 seconds

4b

Skull Crushers

2

12-15

30-60 seconds

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Lower Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Split Squats

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Lying Leg Curls

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

4a

Seated Calf Raises

4

10-15

30-60 seconds

4b

Abs

-

8-15

30-60 seconds

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions. The only new note worth mentioning here is that exercises listed as “1a” and “1b” or “2a” and “2b” etc. are meant to be paired up as alternating sets. In these instances, the rest times listed are the amount of time to rest in between each set of each exercise in the pairing. Here’s an example. In Upper Body A, you would pair up bench presses and rows like this… 

Set #1 of Bench Press



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #1 of Rows



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #2 of Bench Press



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #2 of Rows



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #3 of Bench Press



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #3 of Rows

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You’d then rest for a few minutes and move on to the next exercise (which, in this example, would be the incline dumbbell press/lat pull-down alternating pairing). If you’re confused or have any other questions about how alternating sets are meant to be done, this article will clear it up: http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/supersets-vs-alternating-sets/ You’ve also probably noticed that some exercises are not paired up. This is because certain exercises just aren’t meant to be a part of an alternating set pairing (like deadlifts or split squats for example… they are just too demanding as it is). Others might be fine, however, but they just don’t really pair up well with other exercises in this specific routine (like flyes and lateral raises, for example). In all of these cases, exercises that are not paired up with other exercises are meant to be done alone like you normally would if alternating sets weren’t being used.

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THE MUSCLE BUILDING WORKOUT ROUTINE: VERSION 5 A topic I unfortunately have some firsthand experience with is shoulder injuries. Due to unknowingly training like a dumbass early on, my shoulders eventually ended up giving me some problems at different points over the last 14 years. My article about the 8 Ways To Avoid Common Shoulder Injuries Caused By Weight Lifting will definitely help you avoid making the same stupid mistakes I and countless others already have. Why am I telling you this, you ask? Because at some point a few years ago, I was experiencing some pain in my left shoulder. The thing is, it ONLY bothered me during shoulder presses. It didn’t matter if it was a barbell, dumbbell or machine press. Anything that involved lifting a weight over my head hurt… a lot. What was strange for me this time, however, was that damn near every other exercise felt perfectly fine. That included other shoulder exercises like lateral raises as well as other pressing exercises that also significantly train the shoulders like the bench press and incline press. They all felt good and normal. So, based on my needs at the time, I adjusted The Muscle Building Workout Routine to create a version that didn’t include ANY form of shoulder pressing. If set up properly, my goal was to be able to let my shoulder get back to 100% while NOT sacrificing my muscle building results in the process. That seemed like it would be a bit too much to ask, but surprisingly it worked exactly how I wanted it to. In fact, it worked even better than that. My whole body improved significantly… especially my shoulders. How could that be possible if I wasn’t doing any form of shoulder pressing at the time? Well, it turns out that properly programming flat and incline pressing with lateral raises can make overhead pressing borderline unnecessary for shoulder growth. Hell, some people may even find that training this way actually works even better. So what that means is, this version of the workouts isn’t just ideal for people who need to avoid overhead pressing. It may also be ideal for people who just want to make some fantastic overall progress training in a way that they probably would never think to unless an injury forced them to. Having said all of that, here now is the no-shoulder-press version of these workouts…

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Upper Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Lat Pull-Downs

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Cable Lateral Raises

3

10-15

1 minute

6

Triceps Pushdowns

3

10-12

1 minute

7

Dumbbell Curls

2

12-15

1 minute

Lower Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Leg Press

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

3

Seated Leg Curls

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Standing Calf Raises

4

6-8

1-2 minutes

5

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

Upper Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Incline Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Seated Cable Row

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Dumbbell Bench Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Dumbbell Lateral Raises

3

10-15

1 minute

6

Barbell Curls

3

10-12

1 minute

7

Skull Crushers

2

12-15

1 minute

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Lower Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Split Squats

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Lying Leg Curls

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Seated Calf Raises

4

10-15

1-2 minutes

5

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions. The only new notes worth mentioning are:

UPPER BODY A: 

For the cable lateral raises, you could technically do any type of lateral raise you want. I preferred to do them with cables in this workout.

UPPER BODY B: 

For the incline press, this could really be any type of incline press you want. However, since you already did incline dumbbell presses in Upper Body A, I’d recommend either doing incline barbell presses or an incline press machine (specifically, the Hammer Strength Incline Press). At the time (and still to this day), incline barbell pressing feels a little not-so-great on my shoulders, so I personally used (and still prefer to use) the Hammer Strength Incline Press machine. I love it. If you need to though, incline dumbbell presses could be done again if there is no other option available (possibly with a neutral grip this time).



Just like it is in all of the other versions, the dumbbell bench press is pretty self-explanatory. However, there is an extra option here that can now be used in this specific version of the workouts. If you’d rather do some form of flat dumbbell, cable or machine fly instead of flat dumbbell presses, that’s perfectly fine. If you do, I’d now recommend doing 2x10-15 (instead of the 3x8-10 shown).

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The dumbbell lateral raises can really be any type of lateral raise you want. I liked doing them differently than I did in the Upper Body A workout (where I used cables), so I did them with dumbbells in this workout. Sometimes standing, sometimes seated, sometimes one arm at a time. Pick your favorite.

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BODYBUILDING 2.0

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► BODYBUILDING 2.0

B

odybuilding workouts are supposed to be ideal for building muscle and really making any sort of improvement aimed at creating an awesome looking body.

The ironic thing is, the typical bodybuilding routines you see online and in magazines are often some of the dumbest and least effective forms of weight training on the planet. This isn’t just my opinion, by the way. It’s an opinion that is shared by pretty much everyone with an average (or higher) amount of knowledge and experience in this field. Not to mention, I’m sure that the thousands and thousands of people who have used these routines to get absolutely nowhere would agree as well. Why? Because typical bodybuilding workouts just SUCK at building muscle! Well, unless, of course, you happen to have amazing genetics or steroids/every other drug known to man. Or both. Because in that case, typical bodybuilding workouts are fantastic for you. But for everyone else though… they are as bad as it gets. Let me explain.

HERE’S WHY TYPICAL BODYBUILDING WORKOUTS SUCK For natural, genetically average men and women like you and me, there are a TON of things that are very wrong with these types of routines. At the very top of that list, however, is often… 

Extremely high volume.



Extremely low frequency.



Extremely silly training splits.



Extremely large focus on nonsense.

HIGH VOLUME PROBLEMS As I’ve explained before, a certain ideal amount of volume (meaning sets, reps and exercises) is crucial for building muscle, or really just getting any sort of positive results from your workouts. The problem is that if you go above that amount of beneficial volume, it starts to become detrimental to your ability to recover. And when that happens, your results will suffer.

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Actually, when that happens, your results will likely be nonexistent altogether. What that means is, in order to ensure that we don’t exceed our capacity to recover, we need to put a sane limit on the amount of sets/reps/exercises we do. Our goal here is to do just enough to create the optimal training stimulus, but not so much that it cuts into recovery. However, typical bodybuilding workouts are well known for doing the exact opposite of that, and often use more volume per workout than most people could need, benefit or recover from per week. Amazing genetics and tons of steroids/drugs fix that, though.

LOW FREQUENCY PROBLEMS As I’ve also explained before, a certain training frequency per muscle group has been found to be more or less ideal for certain people. For beginners, 3 times per week is what usually works best. For everyone else, about twice per week is what usually works best. On the other hand, research clearly shows that the least effective frequency of them all is once per week, and that’s exactly what 99% of all typical bodybuilding routines use. Why do they use it, then? Because when you’re destroying every muscle group with a million exercises and a million sets and reps for each, you’ll require at least a week before your body will be ready for you to destroy it all over again. There are two big problems with this, though. First, you end up having to sit around waiting 7 full days before training each muscle group again, and it’s hard not to view that as anything but a huge waste of time. You could have been back training that muscle group again 3-5 days later instead, thus increasing the potential number of progress-stimulating-workouts in a given time frame. And the other big problem is that by the time that full week comes around again, most people will actually “detrain” and lose whatever adaptations were made during that previous workout. Of course, amazing genetics and drugs can help prevent this.

SILLY SPLITS Now, to make this typical low frequency work best (and allow for the type of insane volume I mentioned before), you often see some of the most hilariously stupid training splits of all time.

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I’m talking about splits involving a “chest-only day” and “arm-only day” and an entire workout day dedicated to just abs, calves and forearms. As someone who used to have a “shoulder day,” I know exactly how silly and completely unnecessary this is for most people. Again, it might be suitable (though still probably not ideal) if you have amazing genetics, tons of steroids, and/or are pretty much already at your body’s maximum genetic potential. But for people like you and me? It’s just pure counterproductive crap.

SILLY NONSENSE And then, of course, there is the focus on what I can best summarize by just using the word “nonsense.” And trust me, there is an infinite amount of bodybuilding related nonsense to make fun of here. For example, the idea that the supposed key to building an awesome chest is “blasting it from every angle” with flat presses, incline presses, decline presses, dumbbell presses, close grip presses, dumbbell flyes, cable flyes, and on and on and on. I see countless dumbasses do this in my gym on a regular basis, and they’re all built like crap. Well, except for the “assisted” dumbasses. They look great. (Behold the magic of steroids!) Or how the sole key to a successful workout is getting the most intense and awesome pump you possibly can. “FeeL ThE BuRN BRo!” That’s all that matters, right? “Let’s do 12 more dropsets and get more pump and feel more burn!” Um, no. Or how you must only do 10 reps per set of every single exercise. Maybe sometimes as low as 8, but less than 8 reps? NEVER! Less than 8 is “low reps” and lower reps don’t build muscle, right? How cute. Or how you need to constantly “change things up to shock your body” and “confuse your muscles.” Excuse me for a second… hahahahaha. Okay, I’m back. As you can see, the nonsense is virtually endless in most typical bodybuilding routines. They are based upon and built around doing things that either don’t work optimally or just don’t work at all for the majority of the population. Again, steroid use/amazing genetics can change that. This is all stuff that I cover in crazy detail right here: Bodybuilding Workouts Suck

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THE POINT So, the point I’m getting at here is that while bodybuilding workouts are supposed to be ideal, and they are what most of us turn to when our goal is building muscle and improving the way our bodies look, they are almost always the WORST POSSIBLE WAY of training for that goal. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s about time we change that once and for all.

DEATH TO BODYBUILDING 1.0… WELCOME TO BODYBUILDING 2.0! Bodybuilding 2.0 is an enhanced muscle growth program that completely eliminates everything that’s wrong with typical bodybuilding routines and redesigns it all to work perfectly for us natural, genetically average people. It aims to sort of keep the few aspects of “typical bodybuilding” that appeal to people in the first place, but modifies them to become better suited for the majority of the population. And as you’re about to see, that’s exactly what it does. So, without further ado, let’s get down to the details…

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BODYBUILDING 2.0: THE SPLIT There are actually three different split options for this Bodybuilding 2.0 program. They are all based around using one of the most popular and intelligent methods of dividing the body up into workouts throughout the week. It’s called the Push, Legs, Pull split. Here’s how it works… 

The “Push” workout involves training all of the muscle groups that are involved in upper body pushing exercises like presses. That primarily means chest, shoulders and triceps.



The “Legs” workout involves training all of the major muscle groups of the lower body. That primarily means quads, hamstrings and calves (and glutes, too).



The “Pull” workout involves training all of the muscle groups that are involved in upper body pulling exercises, like rows and pull-ups. That means back and biceps (and rear delts, traps too).

(Abs, by the way, are often put on Leg day, but it would be just as fine to put them on the Push or Pull day instead.) Now, what’s ironic about the push/legs/pull split is that it’s one of the many common splits used in the typical bodybuilding workouts I just spent the last few pages making fun of. In those cases, it’s often done with Push on Monday, Legs on Wednesday, and Pull on Friday. You know… the typical once-per-week low frequency way that I do NOT recommend. Let’s forget about that specific version of this split, because that’s the silly old “Bodybuilding 1.0” way of doing it. This is Bodybuilding 2.0, so we’re going to make some improvements. Here now are the three split options I recommend for this routine…

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Week #1

Option A (Rotating 5th Day)

Option B (Static 4th-6th Day)

Option C (Static 5th-6th Day)

Monday

Push

Push

Push

Tuesday

Legs

Legs

Legs

Wednesday

off

off

off

Thursday

Pull

Pull

Pull

Friday

off

Push

off

Saturday

Push

off

Push

Sunday

Legs

off

off

Monday

off

Legs

Legs

Tuesday

Pull

Pull

Pull

Wednesday

off

off

off

Thursday

Push

Push

Push

Friday

Legs

Legs

off

Saturday

off

off

Legs

Sunday

Pull

off

off

Monday

off

Pull

Pull

Tuesday

Push

Push

Push

Wednesday

Legs

off

off

Thursday

off

Legs

Legs

Friday

Pull

Pull

off

Saturday

off

off

Pull

Sunday

Push

off

off

Week #2

Week #3

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Week #4 Monday

Legs

Push

Push

Tuesday

off

Legs

Legs

Wednesday

Pull

off

off

Thursday

off

Pull

Pull

Friday

Push

Push

off

Saturday

Legs

off

Push

Sunday

off

off

off

SELECTING YOUR SPLIT OPTION As you can see, Options A, B and C and are all quite similar. However, they have some small differences that you need to be aware of when choosing your option. Specifically… Option A is definitely my favorite of all the options shown, and it would definitely be my #1 choice. It allows for an exact frequency where each muscle group is trained once every 5th day, which is perfectly within the ideal frequency range for building muscle. However, it does have one potential downside. The workout days rotate from week to week, which means you end up training on a different set of days from one week to the next. This could be inconvenient for some people, as it requires a fairly flexible schedule to make work. Option B, on the other hand, is much easier for many people to fit into their schedule than Option A, because the workout days are static (meaning they remain the same each week). So, the workouts are always going to be on those same four days. However, it also has a small potential issue. The workout days might remain static, but the training frequency per muscle group actually changes from week to week. Take a look at it for yourself and watch what happens during those later weeks. The frequency basically rotates for each muscle group. One week everything is trained every 4th day, the next week it’s every 5th day, and the following week it’s every 6th day, and then it resets back to every 4th day after that.

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While it’s still mostly in the ideal frequency range, that constant changing of frequency from week to week might feel a little strange for some people. This is actually the only option of the group that I’ve never personally used myself, so I honestly can’t speak from experience. Don’t get me wrong here, it would still work just fine. There’s NO question or doubt about that at all. It’s just a matter of personal preference and whether or not you’d mind that rotating frequency. Option C is basically a cross between A and B, as it kind of takes the best qualities of each and puts them together. Like Option B, the workout days remain static from week to week, which makes it easier for some people to fit into their schedules. And like Option A, every muscle group is trained once every 5th day, which is also perfect. Well… kinda. You see, in this version of the split each muscle group ends up having one extra day of rest every 4th week. That means each muscle group gets trained every 5th day for three straight weeks, but then gets trained on the 6th day of the following week. It then goes back to the usual 5th day frequency for the three weeks after that before having that one 6th day frequency again on that next week. Like Option B, it’s still mostly in the ideal frequency range, which is fine. But the frequency is a little more consistent in this version of the split as opposed to Option B, where it changes every week.

WHICH SPLIT SHOULD YOU CHOOSE? Well, first and foremost, ALL of these options can work. Let’s get that point out of the way. If any of these options were ineffective, I wouldn’t have made them options in the first place. Now, having said that, Option A remains my top choice. It’s my personal favorite of the group. If you have a schedule that can make it work, use it. It’s the best option of them all. But if your schedule can’t allow for it, then either Option B or C would be fine. At this point, it’s mostly a matter of which one suits your personal preferences and schedule best. Pick your favorite. Now that the split is all figured out, it’s time to get to the workouts themselves.

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BODYBUILDING 2.0: THE WORKOUTS There are a few different versions of the Bodybuilding 2.0 workouts that I’ve personally used and/or recommended with great success. I’m now going to show you each of them, explain their differences, and help you figure out which version to use. Let’s start with Version 1…

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BODYBUILDING 2.0: VERSION 1 Push: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Lateral Raises

4

10-15

1 minute

4

Triceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

Legs: Quads, Hams, Calves Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Romanian Deadlifts

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

3

Leg Press

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Leg Curls

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Standing Calves

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

6

Seated Calves

2

10-15

1 minute

Pull: Back, Biceps, Abs Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Pull-Ups

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Rear Delt Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

4

Biceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

5

Shrugs

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

6

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: PUSH 

The “Push” workout starts with the bench press. This is meant to be a flat barbell bench press. I recommend having a spotter if possible. Besides being important for obvious safety reasons, not having one may make you afraid of trying for an additional rep, and this could hinder your progress. If you don’t like the flat barbell bench press for whatever reason, the flat dumbbell bench press would be a suitable replacement. And if you have a problem with all flat pressing altogether, the next best replacement would be the decline bench press.



Up next is the incline dumbbell press. Technically, any type of incline press would be just as good here. Barbell, dumbbell, machine (Hammer Strength makes an incline chest press that I love). But, my first choice recommendation would definitely be the incline dumbbell press. If you happen to have any preexisting shoulder problems that make incline pressing uncomfortable, try using a neutral grip (where your palms face each other).



For lateral raises, you can really do whatever lateral raise you want. With dumbbells (seated or standing, one arm at a time or both together), with cables, with a lateral raise machine if your gym has a decent one. Just pick your favorite.



Then we have what I’ve listed as simply “triceps isolation.” This just means to pick any triceps isolation exercise you want and do it here. So that might be cable pushdowns, or overhead dumbbell extensions, or skull crushers, or anything similar. As long as it’s an isolation exercise and not a compound exercise (meaning no dips and no close grip bench press), it will be perfectly fine. Just pick your favorite.

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: LEGS 

The “Legs” workout begins with squats. Those are meant to be barbell back squats, by the way. However, if you happen to be someone who isn’t built for squats or you just have a problem doing them for whatever reason, you can replace them with leg presses (ideally using a 45 degree leg press machine).



Up next is the Romanian deadlift. I recommend using a double overhand grip for these as opposed to a mixed grip (which would be one hand over, one hand under). If you ever reach a point where the weight you’re deadlifting becomes too heavy to hold and your grip becomes an issue, feel free to use straps. Also, if you don’t like RDLs, stiff-legged deadlifts (SLDL) could be done instead.

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From there it’s on to leg presses. They are meant to be done in a 45 degree leg press, but if your gym doesn’t have one, then use whatever leg press they do have. You can do these the traditional way (both legs at the same time) or single leg, if possible. I personally like single leg, but either way is fine. Also, if you already did leg presses earlier in the workout in place of squats, then you should do split squats here instead of leg pressing a second time.



For the leg curls, some gyms have a few different types of leg curl machines… seated, standing, and laying. You can really just pick any one you want.



Next up is standing calf raises. If your gym doesn’t have a standing calf raise machine, feel free to do calf presses in the 45 degree leg press.



Then it’s on to seated calf raises. Not much more to add here.

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: PULL 

The “Pull” workout starts with pull-ups. Feel free to use an overhand, underhand or neutral grip. They are all equally effective, so just pick your favorite (and always do them in front of your head… never behind your neck). If you are unable to do pull-ups, you can do lat pulldowns or some form of assisted pull-up instead. It’s perfectly fine. However, if you’re doing an assisted pull-up, your eventual goal should be to use less and less assistance until you’re using none at all. And if you’re someone who can already do the prescribed amount of sets and reps with your own body weight, you need to get yourself a “pull-up belt” (also called a “dip belt”) and start adding some additional weight.



Up next is a row, which basically means some type of horizontal pull (meaning back row exercise). Pretty much any type of back row would be fine here, so pick your favorite. This could mean seated cable rows, chest supported rows, any Hammer Strength machine row if your gym has them, a bent over barbell or dumbbell row, t-bar rows, whatever. As long as it’s a back row of some sort, it’s fine.



From there it’s on to what I’ve listed as “rear delt isolation,” which just means some form of rear delt isolation exercise. This could be rear delt raises/flyes with dumbbells or cables, bent over with no support, with your head supported on a bench, with full chest support on a bench, or even bent over while seated on a bench. This could also be face-pulls, or band pullaparts, or even a reverse pec deck. It’s all perfectly fine. And if you’re wondering why a rear delt exercise is being done on “pull” day with back as opposed to “push” day with shoulders,

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it’s because the rear delts are hit more with pulling exercises like rows than they are with pushing exercises. For this reason, they belong here. 

Then we have what I’ve listed as simply “biceps isolation.” This just means to pick any biceps isolation exercise you want and do it here. So that might be barbell curls, or dumbbell curls, preacher curls, cable curls, or anything similar. As long as it’s an isolation exercise for your biceps, it will be perfectly fine. Just pick your favorite.



For shrugs, you can do them with a barbell or dumbbells… pick your favorite. I also want to make a quick note about exercise order. You may have noticed that shrugs come after biceps. This is more of a personal preference, as I’ve always found that heavy shrugs absolutely destroy my grip/forearms (even when using straps, which I recommend when it gets heavy enough). And let me tell ya, trying to do curls right after that with little (or no) grip/forearm strength left is torture. So, I prefer to do curls first and then shrugs after. If you prefer it the other way around, feel free to switch the order.



For abs, do a few sets of whatever you want. Just don’t go too crazy… no more than 10 minutes or so. I like various forms of weighted crunches, hanging leg/hip raises, planks, etc. Pick your favorites and keep it simple. Additional details here.

So, that’s Version 1 of these workouts. Now let’s take a look at Version 2…

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BODYBUILDING 2.0: VERSION 2 Push: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Incline Dumbbell Flyes

3

10-15

1 minute

4

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

5

Triceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

Legs: Quads, Hams, Calves Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Romanian Deadlifts

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

3

Leg Press

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Leg Curls

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Standing Calves

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

6

Seated Calves

2

10-15

1 minute

Pull: Back, Biceps, Abs Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Rows

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Pull-Ups

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Rear Delt Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

4

Biceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

5

Shrugs

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

6

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions. There are, however, a few new notes worth mentioning…

PUSH 

For the shoulder press, you can do any form of overhead pressing exercise you want. Seated barbell press (in front of you, not behind your neck), seated dumbbell press, standing overhead press, whatever. Pick your favorite.



The incline dumbbell flyes would ideally be done on a bench set to a low incline, but they could be done on a flat bench if you’d prefer it that way. Technically, any sort of chest isolation exercise would be just as good here, so if you happen to prefer some kind of cable or machine fly instead, you could use that. Again, a slight incline is preferred, but flat could be used as well.

THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the first.

“LEGS” DIFFERENCES No, it’s not your imagination. The “legs” workout is exactly the same in both versions, so it’s only the “push” and “pull” workouts that are a little different.

“PUSH” DIFFERENCES In the “Push” workout in Version 1, we have bench press, incline press, lateral raises and something for triceps. In Version 2, there is bench press, shoulder press, dumbbell flyes, lateral raises and something for triceps. The goal of this design is to avoid having three pressing exercises in one workout. That’s why neither option includes the bench press, incline press AND shoulder press. Isolation exercises are always strategically used instead to prevent that while still providing the necessary volume. Why? There are two reasons…

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1. After doing two pressing exercises, most people’s triceps would be significantly fatigued. For most people, that means your performance will always suffer on whatever pressing exercise you do 3rd in that workout. So, I avoid having a 3rd pressing exercise in both versions. 2. For most people, it’s just overkill for your shoulders to overhead press after bench pressing AND incline pressing. Both of those exercises (especially inclines) already significantly hit your anterior deltoids. At that point, all that’s truly needed is just some volume for your “side delts,” which is why 4 sets of lateral raises are prescribed in place of any overhead pressing in Version 1. However, since some people just enjoy shoulder pressing and would rather not leave it out completely, Version 2 replaces the incline press with an isolation exercise like flyes, which then allows shoulder pressing to be added into that workout. Why? There are two reasons… 1. Since there’s no incline press anymore, it’s no longer overkill to include a shoulder press in that workout. 2. Since it’s now only the 2nd pressing exercise (and not the 3rd), triceps fatigue won’t be anywhere near as big of an issue. And of course, volume for lateral raises is then cut in half in Version 2 (compared to Version 1) to compensate for the addition of another direct shoulder exercise while still allowing for some direct volume for the lateral head.

“PULL” DIFFERENCES The difference between the two “pull” workouts is much more obvious and needs way less explaining. Version 1 puts the vertical pull exercise (pull-ups) before the horizontal pull exercise (rows). Version 2 flips that around and puts rows before pull-ups. The reason? It’s just another way of doing it. Some people might prefer it one way over the other. Some people might want to be fresher/stronger for one exercise than the other. Some people may prefer making the lower rep exercise (5-8) pull-ups, some may prefer rows. Some may prefer having the higher rep exercise (8-10) be pull-ups, and some may prefer rows. These are basically just two slightly different yet equally effective ways of doing it. Just pick your favorite.

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VERSION 1 VS VERSION 2 So now I’ve explained the differences between these first two versions. It’s really just a matter of you choosing the version that most appeals to you for whatever reason. I like both versions equally, so you can’t go wrong with either. Now, if you’re like me and you also like both versions, you don’t necessarily have to choose between them. You can simply start with one version and then rotate between them every training cycle. So, for example, you might use Version 1 for maybe 6-12 weeks, then switch to Version 2 for the next 6-12 weeks after that. You could than switch back to Version 1 again after that, and so on. This is a great way of incorporating both versions, if you’d like to use both at some point. Also, keep in mind that if you prefer the Push workout from one version and the Pull workout from the other, you’re welcome to switch it around. Now, let’s make some very minor changes to Version 2 of these workouts…

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BODYBUILDING 2.0: VERSION 2A Push: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Incline Dumbbell Flyes

3

10-15

1 minute

3

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

5

Triceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

Legs: Quads, Hams, Calves Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Leg Press

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

3

Romanian Deadlifts

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

4

Leg Curls

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Standing Calves

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

6

Seated Calves

2

10-15

1 minute

Pull: Back, Biceps, Abs Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Rows

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Pull-Ups

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Rear Delt Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

4

Biceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

5

Shrugs

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

6

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The “details and clarifications” from previous versions (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions.

THE ADJUSTMENTS This version of the routine makes only one very simple (and very subtle) adjustment compared to Version 2, and it’s all about exercise order. Specifically, exercises for the same (or related) muscle groups are now arranged so that they’re back-to-back. In the previous version of this routine, it was the opposite (this only applies to the Push and Legs workouts… Pull remains unchanged). For example, in Push, the previous version put the exercises in this order: 1. Chest 2. Shoulders 3. Chest 4. Shoulders This version changes that to now become: 1. Chest 2. Chest 3. Shoulders 4. Shoulders You’ll notice the same thing has occurred in the Leg workout as well (quads, quads, hamstrings, hamstrings, calves, calves). In doing so, the same muscle groups now get trained during consecutive exercises, which therefore increases the amount of metabolic fatigue being generated. Sounds pretty good, right? In terms of upping the fatigue element of muscle growth, it is. However, there is a downside to making this adjustment.

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As more fatigue is accumulated in the muscles being trained, that same fatigue is likely to at least somewhat hinder your strength and performance on that second exercise. How much so will vary based on the person and the exercise, but it’s safe to say it will be to a higher degree than if you had an exercise for a different muscle group in between them (like the other versions do). So, while this version increases the fatigue element, it reduces the tension element. Which means, it’s a trade-off. One of the factors that must be present for superior muscle growth is improved while the other is lessened. Decisions, decisions… right? That’s pretty much what it comes down to. There are a lot of ways of doing things successfully, and my goal is to provide you with all of them. So if you’re someone who likes that extra feeling of fatigue and “pump” that this version of the workouts is likely to cause, or someone who just prefers doing all of the exercises for each muscle group consecutively rather than going from one muscle group to the other, or someone who wants to place a little more emphasis on fatigue than tension… this version will probably be ideal for you. It also might just be worth trying when you feel ready to change things up a little.

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BODYBUILDING 2.0: VERSION 3 For most people, one of the previous versions will be ideal. Some people, however, may be able to use (and potentially benefit from using) a slightly larger amount of volume. For this reason, I’ve designed a 3rd version of this routine that we can consider the slightly higher volume version…

Push: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

5-7

2-3 minutes

2

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Dumbbell Flyes

2

10-15

1 minute

4

Lateral Raises

4

10-15

1 minute

5

Triceps Isolation A

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

6

Triceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

Legs: Quads, Hams, Calves Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Romanian Deadlifts

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

3

Leg Press

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Leg Curls

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Standing Calves

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

6

Seated Calves

3

10-15

1 minute

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Pull: Back, Biceps, Abs Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Row A

3

5-7

2-3 minutes

2

Pull-Ups

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Row B

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Rear Delt Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

5

Biceps Isolation A

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

6

Biceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

7

Shrugs

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

8

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The “details and clarifications” from previous versions (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions. There are, however, a few new notes worth mentioning…

PUSH 

The dumbbell flyes in this version are meant to be done on a flat bench, though again, any sort of chest isolation exercise would be just as good here. So if you happen to prefer some kind of cable or machine fly instead, you could use that.



For Triceps Isolation A, I recommend either some form of skull crusher (ideally with an EZ curl bar or neutral grip using dumbbells) or some kind of overhead triceps extension (with a dumbbell, a rope attachment, etc.). Although, if needed, pretty much any triceps isolation exercise would be okay here.



For Triceps Isolation B, I recommend some form of cable pushdowns (ideally using an overhand grip on some kind of bar attachment or neutral grip using a rope attachment). Again, if needed, pretty much any triceps isolation exercise would be okay here.

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PULL 

For Row A and Row B, you can use pretty much whatever back rowing exercises you want (bent over barbell or dumbbell row, seated cable row, t-bar row, chest supported row, Hammer Strength machine row, etc.). My only recommendations would be to use a different type of row for each, ideally also using a different type of grip (so maybe overhand grip for one, neutral grip for the other).



For Biceps Isolation A, I recommend some form of standing barbell curl (ideally with an EZ curl bar, because it’s much less stressful on your wrists/elbows). Although, if needed, pretty much any biceps isolation exercise would be okay here.



For Biceps Isolation B, I recommend some form of dumbbell curl (seated, standing, preacher curls, etc.) or possibly some kind of single arm cable curl. Again, if needed, pretty much any biceps isolation exercise would be okay here.

THE ADJUSTMENTS This is very similar to the previous versions, with the primary adjustment being that this version has more volume than all of the others. Maybe an additional set, maybe an additional exercise, maybe both. But, it’s still NOWHERE NEAR what most of us would consider stereotypical “high volume” in the context of a bodybuilding-style routine. This isn’t even remotely close to that kind of “Bodybuilding 1.0” nonsense. Not even a little. This is more just a version that pushes things to the upper limit of intelligent amounts of volume. Basically, the top of the ideal range we want to be in. What does this mean, exactly? It means it may be a bit too much for some people, but perfectly fine for others. This is precisely why I prefer to stay in the middle of that ideal range most of the time when designing workouts, as that tends to be ideal for virtually everyone. So why include this slightly higher volume version? Because I’ve already seen it work quite well. See, since I originally released Bodybuilding 2.0 back in 2011 (which was before this version existed), I’ve seen tons of people do extremely well using one of the previous “moderate volume” versions.

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However, at some point I had a handful of people contact me about adding in some additional volume. This is the bodybuilding-style routine after all, so I guess I wasn’t all that surprised that a small percentage of people wanted to start adding more volume to it. But considering that this was already something I had spent some time testing myself in the past, I figured it would be worth experimenting with now since I had some willing test subjects to experiment with (yes, “test subjects” sounds kinda creepy… but I think it’s better than “guinea pigs”). So, I made some tweaks and gave some recommendations and had my test subjects (I feel like it’s getting creepier the more I say it… I’ll stop now) report back regularly to let me know how things were going. After making a few additional tweaks and adjustments along the way… this 3rd version is the one that emerged as the clear winner and the one that they did best with. However, it’s important to understand that this was only the best version for the people who were capable of using a higher volume version. What I mean is… 

If you’re not someone who does well with anything more than “moderate” amounts of volume, you should definitely NOT use this version. And yes, plenty of people will fit into this category. In this case, stick with one of the previous versions, all of which use a more moderate and universally ideal amount of volume.



But if you’re someone who DOES do well with slightly more volume (and you prefer it), then by all means feel free to use this version. Chances are it will be the most effective version for you.



If you’re not quite sure where you stand, the only way to find out is with some trial and error. For example, spend a full training cycle (e.g., 6-12 weeks) using one of the other versions. Then deload and spend another training cycle using this version. Closely monitor your results and just see how everything goes/feels overall, and then compare to determine which is best for you.

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BODYBUILDING 2.0: VERSION 4 From the higher volume version, let’s move on to the lower volume version. You see, many people will do best with Version 1, 2 or 2A. Some will do best with Version 3. In my experience, that’s all the majority of the population ever needs to see. Most will never need anything “less” than what we’ve already covered. However, there MAY be a very small percentage of people who feel as though it’s all a bit too much for them for whatever reason (maybe they’re older, have a lot more stress in their life, well below-average capacity to recover, just prefer a lower volume approach… whatever). So, in this rarer but still possible case, I’ve created one final version that is essentially just some minor modifications to make to Version 1, 2 or 2A that will suit someone like this better. If you’re one of these people, here are the simple adjustments you can make to compensate… In Version 1 or Version 2 (or 2A) of this routine… 

Change 4x5-8 exercises to 3x6-8 instead.



Change 3x8-10 exercises to 2x8-10 instead.



Change bicep and tricep exercises from 3x10-15 to 2x10-15.



Implement any combination of these adjustments.

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UPPER BODY FOCUSED TRAINING

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► UPPER BODY FOCUSED TRAINING

I

f you spend enough time watching people discuss a certain topic, you begin to notice certain trends.

In this case, I’ve spent about 14 years watching people discuss diet and fitness. From losing fat to building muscle to everything even remotely related to reaching those types of goals… I really feel like I’ve seen it all at this point. During this time, one of the MANY trends I’ve noticed is that people (most often guys, occasionally girls) are much more interested in improving their upper body than they are with improving their lower body. Why? Well, here’s what I’ve found to be the most common reasons…

SIX REASONS PEOPLE CARE MORE ABOUT UPPER BODY TRAINING 1. They are already satisfied with their current level of leg strength and muscle, and just no longer wish to improve that area of their body any further. Instead, they’d much rather put EXTRA emphasis into training and improving their upper body. 2. Their lower body is already superior to their upper body, and they basically want their upper body to catch up in terms of development (more muscle, strength, etc.). 3. They are taking part in some form of additional training or activity besides weight training that happens to be highly demanding on their legs. So, to compensate and allow for sufficient recovery, less leg work needs to be done. This means, by default, their upper body gets the majority of their training focus. 4. They just hate training their legs. Exercises like squats, deadlifts, split squats, lunges and so on are some of the hardest and most physically and mentally demanding exercises there are. And, let’s be honest, most people don’t like doing things that are hard. 5. They just don’t care much about having awesome looking legs. However, they care A WHOLE LOT about having an awesome looking chest, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps. 6. Having an amazing looking upper body is their #1 goal, and they are willing to temporarily let their legs take a back seat to allow their upper body to get enhanced results via specialized training.

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Now, I’ve seen many people mention this type of “upper-body-focused” goal over the years on various diet and training related forums, and the responses they get are always the same and tend to fall into one of two groups. First, there are the people who want to tell you that this type of goal is just flat out wrong. And second, there are the people who want to tell you that this type of goal is actually counterproductive to what you’re trying to do in the first place. Confused? Let me explain…

IS YOUR UPPER BODY FOCUSED GOAL… WRONG? The first kind of response a person will get on a typical fitness forum after mentioning that they are more interested in their upper body than their lower body is something along the lines of this… 

“Stop being a baby and train your legs!”



“Lower body training is more important than upper body training!”



“You should care just as much about building awesome legs as you do about building an awesome upper body. In fact, you should care even MORE about your legs!”



“You MUST always put just as much effort into lower body training!”



“Leg workouts are much more beneficial than upper body workouts!”



“Great quads and hamstrings are much better than great biceps and triceps!”



“Training your legs is always the most important thing in the world and anyone who disagrees is an idiot!”

Now, I’ll admit, back in the day this was part of the silly “hardcore” training mindset I might have agreed with. I was dumb enough at the time to have maybe even been one of the people responding this way if someone dared to mention that they cared more about improving their chest or arms than they did about improving their hamstrings or quads. But then, years later, I realized something. It’s all bullshit. I mean, who am I to tell you what your goals should be? Who is ANYONE to tell you what your goals should be? Seriously. If all you really care about is just looking good (rather than training for

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some type of sport or activity) and you want to put more emphasis on improving your upper body than improving your lower body… then that’s exactly what you should do. Is it something I’d personally agree with or recommend? Well, if you had a stupid reason… like how you’re really just being a big baby about training your legs, then no, I probably wouldn’t. I’d probably tell you to suck it up, stop being a wimp, and get into the gym ASAP to squat/deadlift something heavy. That’s why every typical workout routine I design or recommend to someone looking to improve their body in any way will always focus equally on upper and lower body training by default and include both of those types of exercises. HOWEVER, if you have a good reason… like how you’re already happy with the amount of leg muscle and strength you currently have and don’t really want to improve any further, or feel your upper body needs to catch up to your lower body, or you want to temporarily shift more of your focus toward enhancing your upper body results for some period of time, or you literally need to reduce the focus on leg training to compensate for some additional outside activity you might be doing… then HELL YES! I’d agree completely. That’s a goal that makes perfect sense whether some idiot on some workout forum agrees with it or not. Let them set their own goals… not yours. Of course, there’s also that second type of response you’ll usually get…

TRAINING YOUR LEGS IMPROVES YOUR UPPER BODY! REALLY? If you’re actually able to convince those crazy “leg training is the most important thing in the world!!!” people that you have a good reason for caring more about upper body training, their next go-to response will almost always be something like this… 

“You must do squats! They will build your entire body, not just your legs!”



“Training your legs will make your upper body bigger!”



“You’ll get bigger arms from squatting than you ever will from doing curls!”



“You need to build big strong legs in order to have a big strong upper body!”

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“Ever see someone with impressive legs who didn’t also have an impressive upper body? Build your legs and the upper body results will always come!”

Now these responses are interesting. I mean, if your goal is to improve your upper body, and lower body training will supposedly help make that happen (and may even be REQUIRED for it to happen), then this is something worth listening to. There’s just one small problem… it’s all bullshit. See, the theory goes like this. Performing big heavy compound leg exercises such as squats leads to a much larger release of serum growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and testosterone in your body… all of which play a huge role in the overall muscle building process. These boosts in these hormones will therefore lead to enhanced muscle growth across your ENTIRE body as a whole. So not just the leg muscles trained during an exercise like squats, but rather your entire upper body as well. And that’s where this idea comes from and why people say things like “Want big arms? Do squats!” The thinking is that the greater amount of growth hormones released during a heavy leg workout will allow you to get far superior upper body results than if you weren’t training your legs as hard (or at all). So, the theory makes it seem as though the best way to get the best upper body results is by putting just as much effort (if not more so) into lower body training. But like I said before, the problem with this theory is that it’s mostly bullshit. Yes, studies do show that there is a significantly greater release of these hormones during leg training. But, what these same studies also show is that these training-induced hormone spikes have NO positive effect at all on overall muscle gains. Therefore, lower body training has NO direct effect whatsoever on your upper body results. It’s just one of many fitness myths. Which means that if you want to build an awesome upper body, only upper body training will play a role in making it happen. Now, I’m definitely NOT recommending that you stop squatting or ignore your legs at all. If you want to build strong, muscular and/or athletic legs, or just build a complete overall awesome body in general, then leg training is obviously a requirement and exercises like squats can be a huge part of getting those results.

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And even if you’re someone who has one of those “good” reasons for wanting to put more of your focus on upper body training than lower body training, I’m still NOT going to recommend that you ignore your legs. After all, this isn’t Upper Body Only Training… this is Upper Body Focused Training. If we’re going to focus more on our upper body than our lower body, we’re going to do it right.

WELCOME TO UPPER BODY FOCUSED TRAINING! Upper Body Focused Training is an entire workout routine designed around what your goals actually are: getting enhanced upper body results. Whether you’re already satisfied with your legs and don’t wish to improve them any further, would like your upper body to catch up to the development of your lower body, require less focus on your legs to compensate for the other leg-intensive training you’re doing, or you just want to spend some time shifting more of your training focus specifically toward getting BETTER upper body results… this is the routine for you. This program is specially made to allow you to maintain your current levels of leg muscle and strength while EXTRA emphasis is placed on improving your upper body. That means your legs will be perfectly maintained while your chest, arms, shoulders and back make superior progress. Does that sound like your goal? Does that describe exactly what you’d like to do? Are those the results you want to get? Cool. Welcome to the first program custom-made just for you. Let’s get to the details…

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UPPER BODY FOCUSED TRAINING: THE SPLIT There are actually a few splits that I’ve used/recommended as part of Upper Body Focused Training, and there are a couple that I like. However, there is one that I always come back to time and time again because it just seems to work and fit better than everything else when the goal is to focus more on the upper body and less on the lower body. Here now is that split…

Week #1

3-Day Upper/Lower (Modified Static Version)

Monday

Upper Body A

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Lower Body

Thursday

off

Friday

Upper Body B

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

Week #2 Monday

Upper Body A

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Lower Body

Thursday

off

Friday

Upper Body B

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

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If you’ve previously seen or used the classic 3-day upper/lower split, then the split shown above is going to look extremely familiar. It’s basically the same split, except one MAJOR adjustment has been made. In the classic 3-day upper/lower split, the workouts rotate from Upper/Lower/Upper one week to Lower/Upper/Lower the next. The reason for this constant weekly rotation is to allow for an optimal training frequency to be reached for every muscle group (which in this case would be every 4th or 5th day). However, this is Upper Body Focused Training. Our specific goal here is to enhance our upper body results. To do this, we’re going to set the entire lower body at “maintenance frequency” (just once per week/every 7th day), while at the same time increasing upper body training frequency to an even twice per week (every 3rd or 4th day). So, it ends up being Upper/Lower/Upper every single week. The combination of these adjustments instantly improves the way our upper body will respond to the training stimulus being provided. More of our energy will now be spent training our chest, back, shoulders and arms, and more of the calories and nutrients required for muscle growth and recovery will now go toward improving those muscle groups. The fact that the lower body is still being trained with a sufficient maintenance frequency (as well as volume and intensity) means all of our leg muscle and strength will be preserved perfectly while our upper body is getting enhanced results. That right there is EXACTLY what this program is all about. Now, with the split all set, it’s time to get to the workouts…

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UPPER BODY FOCUSED TRAINING: THE WORKOUTS There are three slightly modified versions of the Upper Body Focused Training workouts, and I’m going to show you all of them right now and explain their differences. If you’re familiar with The Muscle Building Workout Routine or Bodybuilding 2.0 (both of which are included in this book), then you’re definitely going to see some similarities within these workouts. Why? Because they both work amazingly well, so we’re definitely going to incorporate the components that make them so effective. The big difference here is that where those routines were aimed at producing fantastic results across your entire body, this is all set up now to produce enhanced results in the areas you specifically want to improve the most (your entire upper body) while sufficiently maintaining everything else (your entire lower body). So, let’s get down to the details. Here is Version 1 of Upper Body Focused Training…

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UPPER BODY FOCUSED TRAINING: VERSION 1

Upper Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Lat Pull-Downs

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Triceps Pushdowns

3

10-12

1 minute

7

Dumbbell Curls

2

12-15

1 minute

Lower Body Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Leg Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Leg Curls

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Calves

4

6-12

1-2 minutes

6

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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Upper Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Barbell Shoulder Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Seated Cable Row

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Dumbbell Bench Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Dumbbell Flyes

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Barbell Curls

3

10-12

1 minute

7

Skull Crushers

2

12-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: UPPER BODY A 

The Upper Body A workout starts with the bench press. This is meant to be a flat barbell bench press. I recommend having a spotter if possible. Besides being important for obvious safety reasons, not having one may make you afraid of trying for an additional rep, and this could hinder your progress.



Up next is a row, which basically means some type of horizontal pull (meaning back row exercise). Pretty much any type of row would be fine here, so pick your favorite (bent over barbell or dumbbell rows, t-bar rows, chest supported rows, various Hammer Strength machine rows, whatever).



For incline pressing, I recommend incline dumbbell presses. Technically, any type of incline press would be just as good here. Barbell, dumbbell, machine (Hammer Strength makes an incline chest press that I love). But, my first choice recommendation would definitely be the incline dumbbell press. If you happen to have any preexisting shoulder problems that make incline pressing uncomfortable, try using a neutral grip (where your palms face each other).



For lat pull-downs, I recommend using an underhand grip (meaning your palms will face you) or a neutral grip (palms face each other… this grip is much less stressful on your elbows/wrists). This is because I’m going to recommend an overhand grip (palms face away from you) during the Upper Body B workout. You’ll see. These are to be done in front of your head… never behind the neck.

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For lateral raises, you can really do whatever lateral raise you want. With dumbbells (seated or standing, one arm at a time or both together), with cables, with a lateral raise machine if your gym has a decent one. Just pick your favorite.



For the triceps exercise, I recommend some form of cable pushdowns, ideally using an overhand grip on some kind of bar attachment or neutral grip using a rope attachment.



For the biceps exercise on this day, I recommend any type of dumbbell curl (standing, seated, on a preacher bench, whatever). Pick your favorite.

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: LOWER BODY 

The Lower Body workout begins with squats. That’s meant to be barbell back squats, by the way. However, if you happen to be someone who isn’t built for squats or you just have a problem doing them for whatever reason, you can replace them with leg presses (ideally using a 45 degree leg press machine).



Up next is the Romanian deadlift. I recommend using a double overhand grip for these as opposed to a mixed grip (which would be one hand over, one hand under). If you ever reach a point where the weight you’re deadlifting becomes too heavy to hold and your grip becomes an issue, feel free to use straps. Also, if you don’t like RDLs, stiff-legged deadlifts (SLDL) could be done instead.



From there it’s on to leg presses. They are meant to be done in a 45 degree leg press, but if your gym doesn’t have one, then use whatever leg press they do have. You can do these the traditional way (both legs at the same time) or single leg if possible. I personally like single leg, but either way is fine. Also, if you already did leg presses earlier in the workout in place of squats, then you should do split squats here instead of leg pressing a second time.



For the leg curls, some gyms have a few different types of leg curl machines… seated, standing, and laying. You can really just pick any one you want.



Next up is calves, which can really be any calf exercise you want. I prefer some sort of straight legged exercise, such as standing calf raises or calf presses in the 45 degree leg press. If you’d rather do some kind of bent-knee exercise instead (like seated calf raises), that’s fine too. In that case, do 2 sets standing (in the 6-8 rep range) and 2 sets seated (in the 12-15 rep range).



For abs, do a few sets of whatever you want. Just don’t go too crazy… no more than 10 minutes or so. I like various forms of weighted crunches, hanging leg/hip raises, planks, etc. Pick your favorites and keep it simple. Additional details here.

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: UPPER BODY B 

The Upper Body B workout starts with pull-ups. These are meant to be done using an overhand grip (and always do them in front of your head… never behind your neck). If you are unable to do pull-ups, you can do lat pull-downs or some form of assisted pull-up instead (still using an overhand grip). It’s perfectly fine. However, if you’re doing an assisted pull-up, your eventual goal should be to use less and less assistance until you’re using none at all. And if you’re someone who can already do the prescribed amount of sets and reps with your own body weight, you need to get yourself a “pull-up belt” (also called a “dip belt”) and start adding some additional weight.



For the shoulder press, you could do a seated or standing barbell press (in front of you, not behind the neck) or dumbbell press if you prefer it. They’re all equally fine.



Up next are seated cable rows, which would ideally be done with a parallel/neutral grip (palms facing each other). If your gym doesn’t have a handle like that, any other grip is fine. If your gym doesn’t have a seated cable row for some reason, feel free to do any other similar horizontal back row in its place. Seated cable rows are definitely my first choice though.



Up next is the flat dumbbell bench press. Nothing more to add here really.



After that we have dumbbell flyes. These can be done on a flat bench or a low incline if you prefer. Technically any sort of chest isolation exercise would be equally effective here, so if you happen to prefer some kind of cable or machine fly instead, you can feel free to do that.



For the biceps exercise, I recommend standing barbell curls with an EZ curl bar (it’s much less stressful on your wrists/elbows than a straight bar). You could technically do any other type of curl instead if you wanted to, though.



For the triceps exercise, I recommend skull crushers. I’d suggest doing these with an EZ curl bar (it’s much more comfortable on the wrists/elbows than a straight bar) or with dumbbells (palms facing each other). These can be done on a flat or decline bench. Also, if preferred, some kind of overhead triceps extension exercise would be perfectly suitable in its place.

THE LOWER BODY MAINTENANCE REQUIREMENT Before we move on to the second version of these workouts, I need to remind you that in order for your lower body muscle/strength to be maintained while your upper body results are enhanced, there is one important requirement… You MUST maintain your current levels of strength on all leg exercises.

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What I mean is, if you start Upper Body Focused Training while squatting 200 lbs for 3x6-8, your goal is to continue squatting that same 200 lbs for those same 3 sets of 6-8 reps. No less (as that would only cause muscle loss), and no more (as that would only interfere with the #1 purpose of this program). The same goes for all lower body exercises. You see, the primary difference between training your legs for maintenance vs training your legs for progression is that you’re no longer trying to improve. You don’t need to try to do an extra rep or lift 5 additional pounds like you definitely should be doing for all upper body exercises. Progressive overload is no longer your goal on leg exercises when using this program. Instead, your goal here is just maintenance, and to reach that goal, all you need to do is maintain your lifts as they are, not increase them (and certainly not decrease them, either). This “maintenance effort” is another big part of what allows your upper body progress to be enhanced. The fact that less energy is being expended during that lower body workout and less effort is being put into leg training in general only increases the likelihood that all of the physical (and mental) resources available will go toward getting MORE out of your upper body workouts. Got all that? Good. Now let’s take a look at a second version of these workouts…

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UPPER BODY FOCUSED TRAINING: VERSION 2 Here now is a second slightly modified version of the workouts. Let’s take a look at them and then go over what adjustments have been made (and why they were made)…

Upper Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

3

Incline Dumbbell Press

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Lat Pull-Downs

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Triceps Pushdowns

3

10-12

1 minute

7

Dumbbell Curls

2

12-15

1 minute

Lower Body Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Romanian Deadlifts

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

3

Leg Press

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Leg Curls

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Calves

4

6-12

1-2 minutes

6

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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Upper Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Pull-Ups

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Barbell Shoulder Press

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

3

Seated Cable Row

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Dumbbell Bench Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Dumbbell Flyes

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Barbell Curls

3

10-12

1 minute

7

Skull Crushers

2

12-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions. And once again, the same Lower Body Maintenance Requirement mentioned in Version 1 still applies here just the same.

THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the first. 

The primary exercises for each muscle group in each workout have been changed from 3x6-8 to 4x5-8.



The secondary exercises for each muscle group in each workout have been changed from 3x810 to 2x10-12.

In the end, total volume per muscle group, total volume per workout, and total volume per week end up damn near exactly the same as Version 1. The only difference is that the set and rep ranges used to meet that optimal volume have been modified.

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This allows different exercises to be trained in a way that creates a new and different type of training stimulus that is also beneficial for building muscle. It also just might suit your personal training preferences better. Some people love training in that 10-12 rep range (and are genetically better at it than others), and this version allows that higher rep range to be used on more than just the isolation exercises at the end. Similarly, the first exercise for each major muscle group gets an extra set and a slightly lower rep range to go along with it. Some people just prefer 4 sets over 3 for those big “money” exercises, and also prefer to go a little lower in reps (down to 5) on them. And once again, some people are just better built (both physically and mentally) for these adjustments. So, if these changes appeal to you, for whatever reason, or just make this program better suited to your personal training preferences, then this is definitely an ideal version for you to use.

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UPPER BODY FOCUSED TRAINING: VERSION 3 I also want to point out that there is a 3rd version of the Upper Body Focused Training workouts that can be created by combining certain aspects of the previous two versions. Specifically, a version I personally like the most is to use the upper body workouts from Version 1 with the lower body workout from Version 2. Why? No special reason really, other than that I just happen to like it better that way. It’s just a personal preference of mine. It’s not any better or worse than the other versions (honestly, they are all equally effective), it’s just another way of putting this routine together successfully, and my goal here is to make sure you’re aware of every possible option that works. So, here is how this third version would look…

Upper Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Lat Pull-Downs

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Triceps Pushdowns

3

10-12

1 minute

7

Dumbbell Curls

2

12-15

1 minute

Lower Body Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3-4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Romanian Deadlifts

3-4

5-8

2-3 minutes

3

Leg Press

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Leg Curls

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Calves

4

6-12

1-2 minutes

6

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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Upper Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Barbell Shoulder Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Seated Cable Row

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Dumbbell Bench Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Dumbbell Flyes

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Barbell Curls

3

10-12

1 minute

7

Skull Crushers

2

12-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions. And once again, the same Lower Body Maintenance Requirement mentioned in Version 1 still applies here just the same. The only new note worth mentioning now is that the Lower Body Workout in this version has an option to do either 3 or 4 sets for the primary exercises. The reason being that less volume is needed for maintaining than for progressing/making improvements, and since we’re only training legs for maintenance in this program, doing 3 sets on those first exercises instead of 4 will still get the job done just fine. If you’d still prefer to do 4 in this setup, feel free. However, if you’d rather drop the volume down to 3 sets in this version, that’s perfectly fine as well and might even be more ideal for some people.

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LOWER BODY FOCUSED TRAINING

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► LOWER BODY FOCUSED TRAINING

I

f you’ve already read my intro for Upper Body Focused Training earlier in this book, then the purpose of this Lower Body Focused Training program is going to make a ton of sense. If you haven’t, you should definitely read it. Most of it applies here as well. You see, some people are already happy with certain parts of their body, and they no longer wish to improve them any further. Others actually feel certain muscle groups/body parts are lagging behind other better developed ones, and they would like to get them to “catch up” in terms of development (more muscle and strength). And others might still want to improve their entire body as whole, but are (at least temporarily) just more interested in doing some specialized training for a specific area at the present time. Now, in my experience, you usually see people who care a lot more about improving their upper body than their lower body for these very reasons. This, of course, is why Upper Body Focused Training came about. If that’s your goal, check it out. However, if you’re reading this, then that’s most likely NOT your goal. Instead, your goal is just the opposite. You care more about improving your legs than you do about improving your upper body. Well, in that case…

WELCOME TO LOWER BODY FOCUSED TRAINING! Lower Body Focused Training is an entire workout routine designed around what your goals actually are: getting enhanced lower body results. Whether you’re already satisfied with your upper body and don’t wish to improve it any further, would like your lower body to catch up to the development of your upper body, or you just want to spend some time shifting more of your training focus specifically toward getting BETTER lower body results… this is the routine for you. This program is specially made to allow you to maintain your current levels of upper body muscle and strength while EXTRA emphasis and focus is placed on improving your legs.

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That means your upper body will be perfectly maintained while your quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes make superior progress. Does that sound like your goal? Does that describe exactly what you’d like to do? Are those the results you want to get? I thought so. Welcome to the first program custom-made just for you. Let’s get to the details…

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LOWER BODY FOCUSED TRAINING: THE SPLIT There are actually a few splits that I’ve used/recommended as part of Lower Body Focused Training, and there are a couple that I like. However, there is one that I always come back to time and time again because it just seems to work and fit better than everything else when the goal is to focus more on the legs and less on the upper body. Here now is that split… Week #1

3-Day Upper/Lower (Modified Static Version)

Monday

Lower Body A

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Upper Body

Thursday

off

Friday

Lower Body B

Saturday

off

Sunday

Off

Week #2 Monday

Lower Body A

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Upper Body

Thursday

off

Friday

Lower Body B

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

If you’ve previously seen or used the classic 3-day upper/lower split, then the split shown above is going to look extremely familiar. It’s basically the same split, except one MAJOR adjustment has been made. In the classic 3-day upper/lower split, the workouts rotate from Upper/Lower/Upper one week to Lower/Upper/Lower the next. The reason for this constant weekly rotation is to allow for an optimal training frequency to be reached for every muscle group (which, in this case, would be every 4th or 5th day). However, this is Lower Body Focused Training. Our specific goal here is to enhance our lower body results.

To do this, we’re going to set the entire upper body at “maintenance frequency” (just once per week/every 7th day), while at the same time increasing lower body training frequency to an even twice per week (every 3 rd or 4th day). So, it ends up being Lower/Upper/Lower every single week.

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The combination of these adjustments instantly improves the way our lower body will respond to the training stimulus being provided. More of our energy will now be spent training our quads, hamstrings, calves, etc. and more of the calories and nutrients required for muscle growth and recovery will now go toward improving those muscle groups. The fact that the upper body is still being trained with a sufficient maintenance frequency (as well as volume and intensity) means all of our chest, back, shoulder and arm muscles and strength will be preserved perfectly while our legs are getting enhanced results. That right there is EXACTLY what this program is all about. Now, with the split all set, it’s time to get to the workouts…

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LOWER BODY FOCUSED TRAINING: THE WORKOUTS There are two slightly modified versions of the Lower Body Focused Training workouts, and I’m going to show them to you right now and explain their differences. If you’re familiar with The Muscle Building Workout Routine or Bodybuilding 2.0 (both of which are included in this book), then you’re definitely going to see some similarities within these workouts. Why? Because they both work amazingly well, so we’re definitely going to incorporate the components that make them so effective. The big difference here is that where those routines were aimed at producing fantastic results across your entire body, these are all set up now to produce enhanced results in the areas you specifically want to improve the most (your entire lower body) while sufficiently maintaining everything else (your entire upper body). So, let’s get down to the details. Here is Version 1 of Lower Body Focused Training…

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LOWER BODY FOCUSED TRAINING: VERSION 1

Lower Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Seated Leg Curls

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Leg Press

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Standing Calf Raises

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

5

Seated Calf Raises

2

10-15

1-2 minutes

6

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

Upper Body Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Pull-Ups

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Lateral Raises

3

10-15

1 minute

6

Triceps Isolation

2

10-15

1 minute

7

Biceps Isolation

2

10-15

1 minute

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Lower Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Split Squats

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Lying Leg Curls

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Seated Calf Raises

3

10-15

1-2 minutes

5

Standing Calf Raises

2

8-10

1-2 minutes

6

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: LOWER BODY A 

The Lower Body A workout begins with the Romanian deadlift. I recommend using a double overhand grip for these as opposed to a mixed grip (which would be one hand over, one hand under). If you ever reach a point where the weight you’re deadlifting becomes too heavy to hold and your grip becomes an issue, feel free to use straps. Also, if you don’t like RDLs, stiff-legged deadlifts (SLDL) could be done instead.



For the leg curls, some gyms have a few different types of leg curl machines… seated, standing, and laying. You can really pick any one you want.



For the leg presses, you can do these the traditional way (both legs at the same time) or single leg if possible. Also, this is meant to be done in a 45 degree leg press. If your gym doesn’t have one, then use whatever leg press they do have.



Next up is standing calf raises. If your gym doesn’t have a standing calf raise machine, feel free to do calf presses in the 45 degree leg press.



And then it’s on to seated calf raises. Not much more to add here.



For abs, do a few sets of whatever you want. Just don’t go too crazy… no more than 10 minutes or so. I like various forms of weighted crunches, hanging leg/hip raises, planks, etc. Pick your favorites and keep it simple. Additional details here.

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: UPPER BODY 

The Upper Body workout starts with the bench press. This is meant to be a flat barbell bench press. I recommend having a spotter if possible. Besides being important for obvious safety reasons, not having one may make you afraid of trying for an additional rep, and this could hinder your progress.



Up next is a row, which basically means some type of horizontal pull (meaning back row exercise). Pretty much any type of back row would be fine here, so pick your favorite (seated cable row, chest supported row, any Hammer Strength machine row if your gym has them, a bent over barbell or dumbbell row, t-bar rows, whatever).



For incline pressing, I recommend incline dumbbell presses. Technically, any type of incline press would be just as good here. Barbell, dumbbell, machine (Hammer Strength makes an incline chest press that I love). But, my first choice recommendation would definitely be the incline dumbbell press. If you happen to have any preexisting shoulder problems that make incline pressing uncomfortable, try using a neutral grip (where your palms face each other).



From there it’s on to pull-ups. You can use an overhand, underhand or neutral grip… just pick your favorite (and always do them in front of your head… never behind your neck). If you are unable to do pull-ups, you can do lat pull-downs or some form of assisted pull-up instead. It’s perfectly fine. However, if you’re doing an assisted pull-up, your eventual goal should be to use less and less assistance until you’re using none at all. And if you’re someone who can already do the prescribed amount of sets and reps with your own body weight, you need to get yourself a “pull-up belt” (also called a “dip belt”) and start adding some additional weight.



For lateral raises, you can really do whatever lateral raise you want. With dumbbells (seated or standing, one arm at a time or both together), with cables, with a lateral raise machine if your gym has a decent one. Just pick your favorite.



And then we have what I’ve listed as simply “triceps isolation.” This just means to pick any triceps isolation exercise you want and do it here. So that might be cable pushdowns, or overhead dumbbell extensions, or skull crushers, or anything similar. As long as it’s an isolation exercise and not a compound exercise (meaning no dips and no close grip bench press), it will be perfectly fine. Just pick your favorite.



For the biceps isolation exercise, just pick any type of biceps curl and do it here. So that might be barbell curls, or dumbbell curls, preacher curls, cable curls, or anything similar. As long as it’s an isolation exercise for your biceps, it will be perfectly fine. Just pick your favorite.

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: LOWER BODY B 

The Lower Body B workout starts with squats. These are meant to be barbell back squats, by the way. However, if you happen to be someone who isn’t built for squats or you just have a problem doing them for whatever reason, you can replace them with leg presses (ideally using a 45 degree leg press machine).



For the split squats, feel free to use a barbell or dumbbells. If you’ve never done any kind of split squat or lunge variation before, I’d recommend starting with dumbbells instead of a barbell. It will be easier (and safer) to learn how to balance yourself properly.



For the leg curls, I’d recommend using a different type of leg curl machine than you used in the Lower Body A workout, assuming your gym actually has more than one type of leg curl machine. If your gym only has one kind, do it one leg at a time in the A workout, and both legs together in this workout.



Up next are seated calf raises. Not much more to add here.



Then it’s on to standing calf raises. If your gym doesn’t have a standing calf raise machine, feel free to do calf presses in the 45 degree leg press.



For abs, do a few sets of whatever you want. Just don’t go too crazy… no more than 10 minutes or so. I like various forms of weighted crunches, hanging leg/hip raises, planks, etc. Pick your favorites and keep it simple. Additional details here.

THE UPPER BODY MAINTENANCE REQUIREMENT Before we move on to the second version of these workouts, I need to remind you that in order for your upper body muscle/strength to be maintained while your lower body results are enhanced, there is one important requirement… You MUST maintain your current levels of strength on all upper body exercises. What I mean is, if you start Lower Body Focused Training while bench pressing 200 lbs for 3x6-8, your goal is to continue bench pressing that same 200 lbs for those same 3 sets of 6-8 reps. No less (as that would only cause muscle loss), and no more (as that would only interfere with the #1 purpose of this program). The same goes for all upper body exercises.

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You see, the primary difference between training your upper body for maintenance vs training it for progression is that you’re no longer trying to improve. You don’t need to try to do an extra rep or lift 5 additional pounds like you definitely should be doing for all lower body exercises. Progressive overload is no longer your goal on upper body exercises when using this program. Instead, your goal here is just maintenance, and to reach that goal, all you need to do is maintain your lifts as they are, not increase them (and certainly not decrease them, either). This “maintenance effort” is another big part of what allows our lower body progress to be enhanced. The fact that less energy is being expended during that upper body workout and less effort is being put into upper body training in general only increases the likelihood that all of the physical (and mental) resources available will go toward getting MORE out of our leg workouts. Got all that? Good. Now let’s take a look at a second version of these workouts…

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LOWER BODY FOCUSED TRAINING: VERSION 2 Here now is a second slightly modified version of the workouts. Let’s take a look at them now and then go over what adjustments have been made (and why they were made)…

Lower Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Seated Leg Curls

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

3

Leg Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Standing Calf Raises

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

5

Seated Calf Raises

2

10-15

1-2 minutes

6

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

Upper Body Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Pull-Ups

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Incline Dumbbell Flyes

3

10-15

1-2 minutes

6

Biceps Isolation

2

10-15

1 minute

7

Triceps Isolation

2

10-15

1 minute

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Lower Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Split Squats

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

3

Lying Leg Curls

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Seated Calf Raises

3

10-15

1-2 minutes

5

Standing Calf Raises

2

8-10

1-2 minutes

6

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions. And once again, the same Upper Body Maintenance Requirement mentioned in Version 1 still applies here just the same.

THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the first. 

The first exercise for the primary muscle group in both lower body workouts has been changed from 3x6-8 to 4x5-8.



The second exercise for the primary muscle group in both lower body workouts has been changed from 3x8-10 to 2x10-12.



The exercise selection in the upper body workout has been modified.

Regarding those first two adjustments, total volume per muscle group, total volume per workout, and total volume per week still end up damn near exactly the same as Version 1. The only difference is that the set and rep ranges used to meet that optimal volume have been modified.

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This allows different exercises to be trained in a way that creates a new and different type of training stimulus that is also beneficial for building muscle. It also just might better suit your personal training preferences. Some people love training in that 10-12 rep range (and are genetically better at it than others), and this version allows that higher rep range to be used on more than just the isolation exercises at the end. Similarly, the first exercise for each major muscle group gets an extra set and a slightly lower rep range to go along with it. Some people just prefer 4 sets over 3 for those big “money” exercises, and also prefer to go a little lower in reps (down to 5) on them. And once again, some people are just better built (both physically and mentally) for these adjustments. Regarding the 3rd adjustment (made in the upper body workout only), a few exercises have been changed in a way that offers a second option for meeting the same level of effectiveness. Specifically, incline presses and lateral raises have been replaced by shoulder presses and dumbbell flyes, and the bicep and tricep exercises have switched in order. In the end, everything is still virtually the same in the areas that matter… this is just a second way of making it happen. If any of these adjustments appeal to you, for whatever reason, or just make this program suited to your personal preferences better, then this is an ideal version for you to use.

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OUTSTANDING ARMS: THE BICEPS AND TRICEPS SPECIALIZATION ROUTINE

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► OUTSTANDING ARMS

R

egardless of your overall fitness goal, your gender, your age, or your training experience level, one thing I’ve noticed is that virtually everyone wants to have awesome looking arms.

I don’t think I’ve ever met a guy who didn’t want their biceps and triceps to be bigger, better and more impressive looking. This, of course, is the reason why every men’s fitness/bodybuilding magazine or website is loaded with headlines like “How To Get Massive Sleeve-Stretching Guns In Just 3 Weeks!” That “3 Weeks” part is total bullshit, of course (as is the often laughable routine that goes with it), but it doesn’t change the fact that awesome looking arms are almost always at the top of every guy’s weight training wish list. And girls… you probably don’t want “massive guns” like guys do (and due to those female genetics of yours, you don’t have to worry about accidently getting them), but what you probably do want are sexy “toned” arms to show off when you go sleeveless. Sound about right, ladies? It just proves my point: regardless of who you are, building awesome biceps and triceps is just one of those universal weight training goals we all seem to have. Everyone wants outstanding looking arms. The question is, what’s the best way to get them? Well, the way I see it, there are really just three effective options…

OPTION #1: TRADITIONAL ARM IMPROVEMENT For the average man or woman who wants to greatly improve their entire body (including their arms), my recommendation is very simple. Use a highly proven and intelligently designed workout routine aimed at improving your body as a whole. The book you’re reading right now is full of them. Just pick your favorite. In a case like this, no special arm focus is necessary, as it would likely only interfere with your goal of improving the rest of your body. Instead, just focus equally on your entire body (especially

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the bigger compound exercises for the bigger muscle groups), and your biceps and triceps will greatly improve as a result right along with everything else. Again, many of the other routines included in this book will allow you to make that happen as effectively as possible.

OPTION #2: SPECIALIZED ARM IMPROVEMENT But what if that first scenario really doesn’t apply to you? What if you’re someone who has a really good reason for caring WAY more about improving your arms than you do about improving the rest of your body? Maybe you’re already satisfied with everything else and feel that only your biceps and triceps still need work. Maybe you feel that your arms are lagging behind in development compared to other muscle groups. Maybe you just want to spend some time temporarily shifting more focus toward your arms. In cases like these, some type of arm specialization routine might be the solution. The way a smart specialization program typically works is by placing more training emphasis on the body part(s) being specialized (in this case, biceps and triceps) while simultaneously placing less training emphasis on the rest of the body to compensate. These types of routines work quite well when set up properly, and my Upper Body Focused Training program and Lower Body Focused Training program (both of which are included in this book) are basic examples (albeit much broader, less aggressive ones) of how that sort of setup can be done.

OPTION #3: ARM SPECIALIZATION… WITH A TWIST As I mentioned earlier, having awesome looking arms is one of the most popular weight training goals there is. I’ve heard from tons of men and women who have made that goal known to me, and… hello… I’m a guy just like any other guy and I’ve wanted my arms to look awesome from day 1 too. For all of these reasons, I came up with my own basic arm specialization program a few years ago. And honestly, I thought (and still do think) it’s quite good. There was, however, one little flaw that always bothered me about it, though.

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You see, there are very few people out there who ONLY want to improve their arms. There are few people who are so completely happy with the rest of their body that all they want to improve at this point is JUST their biceps and triceps. The thing is, that’s what most specialization programs are designed to do (including mine). Keep everything else pretty much the same, and put all of the focus into just building better arms. Obviously, a simple solution here is to just stick with that program for a short-term amount of time (which is how specialization programs should be done anyway) and then get right back to improving the entire body as a whole or possibly just the next area you want to specialize. But even still, the idea of basically putting everything else “on hold” for the purpose of just focusing on arms was something that I didn’t like. So, rather than accept it, I came up with a different kind of specialization program.

WELCOME TO OUTSTANDING ARMS! Outstanding Arms is the new version of my original arm specialization program that is now redesigned to work amazingly well for the ENTIRE body while working extra well for the muscle groups we’re trying to improve the most… the biceps and triceps. This isn’t just arm specialization. This is arm specialization with a twist. We’re still definitely going to prioritize biceps and triceps by increasing volume, frequency and exercise variety for those muscles, but we’re going to do it in a way that does NOT require placing less emphasis on other body parts and will therefore NOT interfere with their progress. Which means that positive results will still be produced for the entire body as a whole while bicep and tricep results are enhanced. Sound good? Cool. Let’s get down to the details…

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OUTSTANDING ARMS: THE SPLIT Outstanding Arms uses a strategically adjusted version of one of the most popular, proven and easily programmable weight training splits of all time: the 3-day upper/lower split. This split typically divides the body up into two very obvious categories: 1. Upper Body: chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps 2. Lower Body: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, abs But in this case, we’re going to make a major modification that increases biceps and triceps training frequency in a way that does NOT force us to sacrifice anywhere else. To do this, we’re going to instead divide the body up into the following categories: 1. Upper Body + Calves/Abs: chest, back, shoulders, calves, abs 2. Lower Body + Biceps/Triceps: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, biceps, triceps Here is how this modified version of the 3-day upper/lower split will work…

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Week #1

Modified 3-Day Upper/Lower

Monday

Upper Body A (+ Calves/Abs)

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Lower Body A (+ Biceps/Triceps)

Thursday

off

Friday

Upper Body B (+ Calves/Abs)

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

Week #2 Monday

Lower Body B (+ Biceps/Triceps)

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Upper Body A (+ Calves/Abs)

Thursday

off

Friday

Lower Body A (+ Biceps/Triceps)

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

As you can see, there are four different workouts: 1. Upper A (+ Calves/Abs) 2. Lower A (+ Biceps/Triceps) 3. Upper B (+ Calves/Abs) 4. Lower B (+ Biceps/Triceps) These four workouts are then rotated over 3 total training days each week in that same order. So one week it’s Upper/Lower/Upper, and then the next week it’s Lower/Upper/Lower. It then continues rotating like this every week. Now, in the typical classic version of the 3-day upper/lower split, each muscle group gets trained once every 4th or 5th day (or 3 times every 2 weeks) using a 1-on/1-off/1-on/1-off/1-on/2-off format.

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In this modified version, we keep that same format intact, which allows MOST muscle groups to still stay at that same optimal training frequency. The big exception, however, is biceps and triceps. The modification increases arm frequency to 3 times per week (once every 2nd or 3rd day), and that change is a big part of what turns this into an arm specialization routine (and, of course, a big part of what enhances the biceps/triceps training stimulus). Now, at this point, I can imagine that some people are wondering if I’ve lost my mind. I mean, it seems like we’re only training biceps and triceps on the lower body days, and we’re not doing three lower body workouts per week. So then… how the hell are arms being trained at that increased three-times-per-week frequency I just mentioned? Simple. While direct biceps and triceps work is only being done on the lower body days, plenty of indirect biceps and triceps work is being done on the upper body days. You see, all chest and shoulder “pushing” exercises, like the bench press and overhead press, significantly train the triceps. All back “pulling” exercises, like rows and pull-ups, significantly train the biceps. So, while it might appear as though arm frequency hasn’t been increased… it most definitely has! Specifically, the biceps and triceps end up getting trained to some degree in EVERY single workout, which means the biceps and triceps are trained 3 times per week. The other big change being made here when compared to other upper/lower programs is that arms are now being trained with legs rather than with the rest of the upper body. This means that direct biceps and triceps work is done when those muscle groups are in their freshest and strongest state, rather than in the already fatigued state they are always guaranteed to be in when trained after various upper body pushing/pulling exercises. This is just another part of what allows this routine to provide an enhanced training stimulus to our arms. Now let’s take a look at the workouts that are going to make it all come together…

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OUTSTANDING ARMS: THE WORKOUTS There are a few different versions of the Outstanding Arms workouts that have been used with great success, and I’m going to walk you through the full details of each of them right now. First up, here’s Version 1…

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OUTSTANDING ARMS: VERSION 1 This first version of the workouts uses The Muscle Building Workout Routine (included earlier in this guide) as the foundation of the program. However, it’s now been adjusted to A) perfectly fit this specially modified 3-day version of the upper/lower split, B) provide the optimal training stimulus needed for enhanced biceps/triceps results, and C) still allow the rest of the body to improve quite well. Here is how the workouts will go…

Upper Body A (+ Calves/Abs) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Lat Pull-Downs

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Standing Calf Raises

4

6-8

1-2 minutes

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

Lower Body A (+ Biceps/Triceps) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Leg Press

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

3

Seated Leg Curls

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Triceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Biceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

6

Triceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

7

Biceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

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Upper Body B (+ Calves/Abs) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Barbell Shoulder Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Seated Cable Row

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Dumbbell Bench Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Dumbbell Flyes

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Seated Calf Raises

4

10-15

1-2 minutes

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

Lower Body B (+ Biceps/Triceps) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Split Squats

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Lying Leg Curls

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Biceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Triceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

6

Biceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

7

Triceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: UPPER BODY A 

The Upper Body A (+ Calves/Abs) workout starts with the bench press. This is meant to be a flat barbell bench press. I recommend having a spotter if possible. Besides being important for obvious safety reasons, not having one may make you afraid of trying for an additional rep, and this could hinder your progress.



Up next is a row, which basically means some type of horizontal pull (meaning back row exercise). Pretty much any type of row would be fine here, so pick your favorite (bent over

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barbell or dumbbell rows, t-bar rows, chest supported rows, various Hammer Strength machine rows, whatever). 

For incline pressing, I recommend incline dumbbell presses. Technically, any type of incline press would be just as good here. Barbell, dumbbell, machine (Hammer Strength makes an incline chest press that I love). But, my first choice recommendation would definitely be the incline dumbbell press. If you happen to have any preexisting shoulder problems that make incline pressing uncomfortable, try using a neutral grip (where your palms face each other).



For lat pull-downs, I recommend using an underhand grip (meaning your palms will face you) or a neutral grip (palms face each other… this grip is much less stressful on your elbows/wrists). This is because I’m going to recommend an overhand grip (palms face away from you) during the Upper Body B workout. You’ll see. These are to be done in front of your head… never behind the neck.



For lateral raises, you can really do whatever lateral raise you want. With dumbbells (seated or standing, one arm at a time or both together), with cables, with a lateral raise machine if your gym has a decent one. Just pick your favorite.



Next up is standing calf raises. If your gym doesn’t have a standing calf raise machine, feel free to do calf presses in the 45 degree leg press.



For abs, do a few sets of whatever you want. Just don’t go too crazy… no more than 10 minutes or so. I like various forms of weighted crunches, hanging leg/hip raises, planks, etc. Pick your favorites and keep it simple. Additional details here.

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: LOWER BODY A 

The Lower Body A (+ Biceps/Triceps) workout begins with the Romanian deadlift. I recommend using a double overhand grip for these as opposed to a mixed grip (which would be one hand over, one hand under). If you ever reach a point where the weight you’re deadlifting becomes too heavy to hold and your grip becomes an issue, feel free to use straps. Also, if you don’t like RDLs, stiff-legged deadlifts (SLDL) could be done instead.



For the leg presses, you can do these the traditional way (both legs at the same time) or single leg if possible. Also, this is meant to be done in a 45 degree leg press. If your gym doesn’t have one, then use whatever leg press they do have.



For the leg curls, some gyms have a few different types of leg curl machines… seated, standing, and laying. You can really pick any one you want.

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For Triceps Isolation A, I recommend either some form of skull crusher (ideally with an EZ curl bar or neutral grip using dumbbells) or some kind of overhead triceps extension (with a dumbbell, a rope attachment, etc.). Although, if needed, pretty much any triceps isolation exercise (no dips, no close grip bench press) would be okay here.



For Biceps Isolation A, I recommend some form of standing barbell curl (ideally with an EZ curl bar, because it’s much less stressful on your wrists/elbows). Although, if needed, pretty much any biceps isolation exercise would be okay here.



For Triceps Isolation B, I recommend some form of cable pushdowns (ideally using an overhand grip on some kind of bar attachment or neutral grip using a rope attachment). Again, if needed, pretty much any triceps isolation exercise (so again… no dips or close grip bench press) would be okay here.



For Biceps Isolation B, I recommend some form of dumbbell curl (seated, standing, preacher curls, hammer curls, etc.) or possibly some kind of single arm cable curl. Again, if needed, pretty much any biceps isolation exercise would be okay here.

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: UPPER BODY B 

The Upper Body B (+ Calves/Abs) workout starts with pull-ups. These are meant to be done using an overhand grip (and always do them in front of your head… never behind your neck). If you are unable to do pull-ups, you can do lat pull-downs or some form of assisted pull-up instead (still using an overhand grip). It’s perfectly fine. However, if you’re doing an assisted pull-up, your eventual goal should be to use less and less assistance until you’re using none at all. And if you’re someone who can already do the prescribed amount of sets and reps with your own body weight, you need to get yourself a “pull-up belt” (also called a “dip belt”) and start adding some additional weight.



For the shoulder press, I’d usually recommend doing seated barbell presses (in front of you, not behind the neck). Of course, you could just as easily do seated dumbbell presses instead if you’d really prefer to. It’s fine.



Up next are seated cable rows, which would ideally be done with a parallel/neutral grip (palms facing each other). If your gym doesn’t have a handle like that, any other grip is fine. If your gym doesn’t have a seated cable row for some reason, feel free to do any other similar horizontal back row in its place. Seated cable rows are definitely my first choice though.



Up next is the flat dumbbell bench press. Nothing more to add here really.

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After that we have dumbbell flyes. These can be done on a flat bench or a low incline if you prefer. Technically, any sort of chest isolation exercise would be equally effective here, so if you happen to prefer some kind of cable or machine fly instead, you can feel free to do that.



Up next are seated calf raises. Not much more to add here.



For abs, do a few sets of whatever you want. Just don’t go too crazy… no more than 10 minutes or so. I like various forms of weighted crunches, hanging leg/hip raises, planks, etc. Pick your favorites and keep it simple. Additional details here.

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: LOWER BODY B 

The Lower Body B (+ Biceps/Triceps) workout starts with squats. That’s meant to be barbell back squats, by the way. However, if you happen to be someone who isn’t built for squats or you just have a problem doing them for whatever reason, you can replace them with leg presses (ideally using a 45 degree leg press machine).



For the split squats, feel free to use a barbell or dumbbells. If you’ve never done any kind of split squat or lunge variation before, I’d recommend starting with dumbbells instead of a barbell. It will be easier (and safer) to learn how to balance yourself properly.



For the leg curls, I’d recommend using a different type of leg curl machine than you used in the Lower Body A workout, assuming your gym actually has more than one type of leg curl machine. If your gym only has one kind, do it one leg at a time in the A workout, and both legs together in this workout.



For Biceps Isolation A, I recommend some form of dumbbell curl (seated, standing, preacher curls, hammer curls, etc.) or possibly some kind of single arm cable curl. Again, if needed, pretty much any biceps isolation exercise would be okay here.



For Triceps Isolation A, I recommend some form of cable pushdowns (ideally using an overhand grip on some kind of bar attachment or neutral grip using a rope attachment). Again, if needed, pretty much any triceps isolation exercise (again… no dips, no close grip bench press) would be okay here.



For Biceps Isolation B, I recommend some form of standing barbell curl (ideally with an EZ curl bar, because it’s much less stressful on your wrists/elbows). Although, if needed, pretty much any biceps isolation exercise would be okay here.



For Triceps Isolation B, I recommend either some form of skull crusher (ideally with an EZ curl bar or neutral grip using dumbbells) or some kind of overhead triceps extension (with a

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dumbbell, a rope attachment, etc.). Although, if needed, pretty much any triceps isolation exercise (no dips, no close grip bench press) would be okay here.

A NOTE ABOUT BICEPS/TRICEPS WARM UP SETS I cover the topic of warm up sets later on in this book, but this specific routine is designed in a way that requires one additional note about warming up. You see, 99% of the time, no warm up sets would be needed for biceps or triceps. This is because they are typically trained in the same workout as other upper body muscle groups, which means they were already warmed up quite well during various compound chest, back and/or shoulder exercises. However, since this specialization program trains arms with the lower body rather than the upper body, this doesn’t happen. That makes this one of the few exceptions where some form of biceps/triceps warm up might be beneficial. So, what should you do? Honestly, just one fairly light and easy set of 8-10 reps for the first biceps exercise and the first triceps exercise in each workout should be all that’s really needed. Use about 50% of the weight you’ll be using for your first work set. Most people will not need anything more than that. In the rare case that you feel like you do, an optional second warm up set of just 3-5 reps using 70%-75% of the weight you’ll be using for your first work set can be used (again, on just the first biceps/triceps exercises only). Now let’s look at a second version of these workouts…

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OUTSTANDING ARMS: VERSION 2 Here now is a second highly effective version of this arm specialization routine. Let’s take a look at the workouts, go through all of the adjustments that have been made (and why they were made), and see if this version is more or less ideal for you…

Upper Body A (+ Calves/Abs) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

3

Incline Dumbbell Press

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Lat Pull-Downs

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Standing Calf Raises

4

6-8

1-2 minutes

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

Lower Body A (+ Biceps/Triceps) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Leg Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Seated Leg Curls

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Triceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Biceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

6

Triceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

7

Biceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

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Upper Body B (+ Calves/Abs) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Pull-Ups

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Barbell Shoulder Press

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

3

Seated Cable Row

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Dumbbell Bench Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Dumbbell Flyes

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Seated Calf Raises

4

10-15

1-2 minutes

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

Lower Body B (+ Biceps/Triceps) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Split Squats

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

3

Lying Leg Curls

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Biceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Triceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

6

Biceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

7

Triceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions. The same goes for the note about biceps/triceps warm up sets.

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THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the first. 

The primary exercises for each muscle group in each workout have been changed from 3x6-8 to 4x5-8.



The secondary exercises for each muscle group in each workout have been changed from 3x810 to 2x10-12.

In the end, total volume per muscle group, total volume per workout, and total volume per week end up damn near exactly the same as Version 1. The only difference is that the set and rep ranges used to meet that optimal volume have been modified. This allows different exercises to be trained in a way that creates a new and different type of training stimulus that is also beneficial for building muscle. And even though these adjustments don’t affect the direct arm exercises themselves, they affect all of the compound pushing/pulling exercises in this program, and that makes it relevant in terms of the indirect training stimulus being provided for our biceps and triceps. It also just might suit your personal training preferences better. Some people love training in that 10-12 rep range (and are genetically better at it than others), and this version allows that higher rep range to be used on more than just the isolation exercises at the end. Similarly, the first exercise for each major muscle group gets an extra set and a slightly lower rep range to go along with it. Some people just prefer 4 sets over 3 for those big “money” exercises, and also prefer to go a little lower in reps (down to 5) on them. And once again, some people are just better built (both physically and mentally) for these adjustments. So, if these changes appeal to you, for whatever reason, or just make this program better suited to your personal training preferences, then this is definitely an ideal version for you to use.

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OUTSTANDING ARMS: VERSION 3 There’s a whole lot that goes into the muscle building process, but in terms of the training stimulus alone, we can pin it down to a combination of tension and fatigue (and damage as well, but tension and fatigue are the main components). The “tension” portion of that equation is provided by lifting heavy weight that is truly challenging for you, and then ensuring that this weight becomes progressively heavier over time (aka progressive overload). “Fatigue” is provided by the way we go about supplying that aforementioned tension. We don’t just do one rep of one set of one exercise and go home. We instead aim to reach a certain optimal amount of volume per muscle group in a given workout. We stay within a certain optimal rep range during each set. We rest for a certain optimal amount of time between those sets. This is all part of providing the fatigue element that is beneficial for building muscle. Now, as this routine is currently designed, it aims to provide the perfect combination of tension and fatigue so you can get the best results as fast as possible. However, there is a very simple adjustment that can be made to the structure of this program that will enhance the fatigue element to some extent. Here now is a version of the routine that makes this adjustment…

Upper Body A (+ Calves/Abs) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

4

Lat Pull-Downs

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Standing Calf Raises

4

6-8

1-2 minutes

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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Lower Body A (+ Biceps/Triceps) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Seated Leg Curls

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Leg Press

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Triceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Triceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

6

Biceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

7

Biceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

Upper Body B (+ Calves/Abs) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Seated Cable Row

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Barbell Shoulder Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

4

Dumbbell Bench Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Dumbbell Flyes

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Seated Calf Raises

4

10-15

1-2 minutes

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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Lower Body B (+ Biceps/Triceps) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Split Squats

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Lying Leg Curls

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Biceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Biceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

6

Triceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

7

Triceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 of this routine (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions. The same goes for the note about biceps/triceps warm up sets.

THE ADJUSTMENTS This version of the routine makes only one very simple (and very subtle) adjustment, and it’s all about exercise order. Specifically, exercises for the same (or related) muscle groups are now arranged so that they’re back-to-back. In the previous versions of this routine, it was the opposite. For example, in Upper Body A, the other versions put the exercises in this order: 1. Push exercise (chest). 2. Pull exercise (back). 3. Push exercise (chest). 4. Pull exercise (back).

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This version changes that to now become: 1. Push exercise (chest). 2. Push exercise (chest). 3. Pull exercise (back). 4. Pull exercise (back). The Lower Body/Arm workouts make that same adjustment (biceps, biceps, triceps, triceps). In doing so, the same muscle groups now get trained during consecutive exercises, which therefore increases the amount of metabolic fatigue being generated. Sounds pretty good, right? In terms of upping the fatigue element of muscle growth, it is. However, there is a downside to making this adjustment. As more fatigue is accumulated in the muscles being trained, that same fatigue is likely to at least somewhat hinder your strength and performance on that second exercise. How much so will vary based on the person and the exercise, but it’s safe to say it will be to a higher degree than if you had an exercise for a different muscle group in between them (like the other versions do). So, while this version increases the fatigue element, it reduces the tension element. Which means, it’s a trade-off. One of the factors that must be present for optimal muscle growth is improved while the other is lessened. Decisions, decisions… right? That’s pretty much what it comes down to. There are a lot of ways of doing things successfully, and my goal is to provide you with all of them. So, if you’re someone who likes that extra feeling of fatigue and “pump” that this version of the workouts is likely to cause (and who doesn’t love biceps/triceps pump?), or someone who just prefers doing all of the exercises for each muscle group consecutively rather than going from one muscle group to the other, or someone who wants to place a little more emphasis on fatigue than tension… this version will probably be ideal for you. Also, if you like the idea of making this adjustment ONLY for biceps and triceps while keeping all the other exercises in the same order they were originally in for Version 1, that’s perfectly fine too.

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OUTSTANDING ARMS: VERSION 4 Over the years, one of the many questions I’ve been asked is how to incorporate supersets or alternating sets into the routines I’ve designed, including this one. Another question I’ve been asked is if there is any way to lessen the amount of time each workout takes so you can get out of the gym a little bit faster. Well, guess what? Here’s a version of Outstanding Arms that answers BOTH of those questions. We will be using alternating sets, and in doing so we’ll be shaving some time off of each workout in the process. But before we do, there’s a question you probably want an answer to…

WHY ALTERNATING SETS INSTEAD OF SUPERSETS? You may be wondering why this version is going to use alternating sets instead of supersets. This is because, for reasons I fully explain in my Supersets vs Alternating Sets comparison, I think supersets are mostly dumb and counterproductive. The main reason is that supersets are done with NO rest in between each set. So you’d do a set of Exercise A immediately followed by a set of Exercise B. The result? Your performance on Exercise B goes to crap because of the accumulated fatigue. This is fine if you’re only in the gym to get your heart pumping, burn some extra calories, sweat more and just “feel” like you’re doing something special and advanced. But if you’re actually there to… you know… make the type of progress required to build muscle optimally, then supersets suck. Alternating sets, on the other hand, pair up Exercise A and B just the same, only with some beneficial amount of rest in between each set of each exercise. So, you still get the perks of having exercises paired up in alternating fashion, only without the performance drop off you’d be guaranteed to experience on whatever exercise is being done second in a superset. To show you how it’s all done, I’m going to use Version 1 of Outstanding Arms to apply the pairings and adjust the rest times to create the alternating sets. However, you could just as easily apply these same adjustments to Version 2 of these workouts if you’d prefer using that version. Now let’s get to the details…

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Upper Body A (+ Calves/Abs) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1a

Bench Press

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

1b

Rows

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

2a

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1 minute

2b

Lat Pull-Downs

3

8-10

1 minute

3

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

4a

Standing Calf Raises

4

6-8

1 minute

4b

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

Lower Body A (+ Biceps/Triceps) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2a

Leg Press

3

10-12

1 minute

2b

Seated Leg Curls

3

8-10

1 minute

3a

Triceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1 minute

3b

Biceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1 minute

4a

Triceps Isolation B

2

12-15

30-60 seconds

4b

Biceps Isolation B

2

12-15

30-60 seconds

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Upper Body B (+ Calves/Abs) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1a

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

1b

Barbell Shoulder Press

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

2a

Seated Cable Row

3

8-10

1 minute

2b

Dumbbell Bench Press

3

8-10

1 minute

3

Dumbbell Flyes

2

10-15

1 minute

4a

Seated Calf Raises

4

10-15

1 minute

4b

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

Lower Body B (+ Biceps/Triceps) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Split Squats

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Lying Leg Curls

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

4a

Biceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1 minute

4b

Triceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1 minute

5a

Biceps Isolation B

2

12-15

30-60 seconds

5b

Triceps Isolation B

2

12-15

30-60 seconds

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions. The same goes for the note about biceps/triceps warm up sets.

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The only new note worth mentioning here is that exercises listed as “1a” and “1b” or “2a” and “2b” etc. are meant to be paired up as alternating sets. In these instances, the rest times listed are the amount of time to rest in between each set of each exercise in the pairing. Here’s an example. In Upper Body A, you would pair up bench presses and rows like this… 

Set #1 of Bench Press



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #1 of Rows



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #2 of Bench Press



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #2 of Rows



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #3 of Bench Press



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #3 of Rows

You’d then rest for a few minutes and move on to the next exercise (which, in this example, would be the incline dumbbell press/lat pull-down alternated pairing). If you’re confused or have any other questions about how alternating sets are meant to be done, this article will clear it up: http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/supersets-vs-alternating-sets/ You’ve also probably noticed that some exercises are not paired up. This is because certain exercises just aren’t meant to be part of an alternating set pairing (like deadlifts or split squats, for example, they are just too demanding as it is). Others might be fine, however, but they just don’t really pair up well with other exercises in this specific routine (like flyes and lateral raises, for example). In all of these cases, exercises that are not paired up with other exercises are meant to be done alone like you normally would if alternating sets weren’t being used.

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Also, if you like the idea of pairing up the bicep/tricep exercises as alternating sets but would rather keep everything else the way it originally was in Version 1, that’s fine too. And now for the final version of this program…

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OUTSTANDING ARMS: VERSION 5 This final version of Outstanding Arms isn’t so much a completely different version as it is just one more way of setting up the Lower Body + Biceps/Triceps workouts. It involves making just one major adjustment, and it’s an adjustment that can be made to any of the previous versions of this program and used in accordance with any of the previously made adjustments. To show you how it will work, I’m going to use the original Lower Body + Biceps/Triceps workouts from Version 1 of this program…

Lower Body A (+ Biceps/Triceps) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Triceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

2

Biceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

3

Triceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

4

Biceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

5

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

6

Leg Press

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

7

Seated Leg Curls

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

Lower Body B (+ Biceps/Triceps) Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Biceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

2

Triceps Isolation A

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

3

Biceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

4

Triceps Isolation B

2

12-15

1 minute

5

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

6

Split Squats

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

7

Lying Leg Curls

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions. The same goes for the note about biceps/triceps warm up sets.

THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the others. 

Exercise order has changed. Arms (both bicep and tricep exercises) are now trained BEFORE legs.

It’s a very simple adjustment, and one that might not typically make sense in terms of “general” weight training guidelines. But in the case of a routine that is specifically designed to place more emphasis on arms and produce enhanced biceps and triceps results, it actually makes some sense. You see, leg training is highly taxing on the body, and that means by the time you get done with exercises like squats, deadlifts or split squats, you’re going to be pretty fatigued. Will that accumulated fatigue impact the arm training you’re going to do right after? To some extent, probably. How much so is impossible to say for sure, but it’s pretty safe to assume that you won’t have as much left in the tank for biceps/triceps work when doing it AFTER legs as you would if you did it BEFORE legs. And that makes the solution pretty obvious: train arms first when you’re at your freshest and strongest. With this being a modified arm specialization routine, we’re allowed to break the typical rules of exercise order to suit our specific goal better. Not to mention the fact that arm training is really not that taxing on the body at all, which means that training biceps and triceps first will have little impact on leg training afterwards. So, arms get the main focus of the workouts, and leg training doesn’t suffer as a result. It’s winwin. If this adjustment appeals to you, feel free to apply it.

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TARGETED LEAN MUSCLE

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► TARGETED LEAN MUSCLE

R

egardless of what the current visual state of your body is, there’s primarily only two guaranteed ways of improving the way it looks via diet and training:

1. Losing some fat from the right body parts. 2. Adding some quality lean muscle to the right body parts. As any regular reader of mine probably already knows, the human body is NOT capable of losing fat from the specific area of your choosing. This is a concept known as “spot reduction,” and it’s just a silly myth that mostly serves to help sell useless garbage to people who don’t know any better. But again, if you’re reading this, then you probably DO know better. The truth is, you can’t target areas of fat. Instead, fat can only be lost from the entire body as a whole in a pattern that is predetermined by your genetics and cannot be altered.

BUT… WHAT ABOUT THE OPPOSITE? If spot reduction isn’t possible… what about “spot addition”? Specifically, the spot addition of muscle? Can you pick and choose where muscle does and does not get built? The answer here is YES. Weight training targets muscles, not fat, which means certain aspects of your workout can be adjusted to emphasize certain body parts more so than others. Not to mention, in the case of intelligently designed specialization routines, your workouts can be adjusted to improve only one or two specific areas of the body while just maintaining (meaning, not improving) everywhere else. While I have designed a handful of highly effective specialization routines that fit this description (some of which are included in this book), this program actually fits that first description better. Here’s what I mean…

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WELCOME TO TARGETED LEAN MUSCLE! Targeted Lean Muscle is definitely not a full-on body part specialization routine. What it is, however, is a program designed for adding quality lean muscle to your entire body in a way that provides you with different set ups that will allow you to target different areas of your body a little more so than others. So, if you want to build any amount of muscle across your whole body while placing slightly more targeted emphasis on your chest, or back, or shoulders, or quads, or hamstrings, then Targeted Lean Muscle is definitely the program for you. Let’s get down to the details…

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TARGETED LEAN MUSCLE: THE SPLIT If the upper/lower split is the most popular method of dividing the body in half over the course of two different workouts, then Targeted Lean Muscle will use what is likely to be the second most popular method of reaching that same end result. I’m talking about an equally straightforward split known simply as the 3-Day Push/Pull split. Here’s how it works. There will be two separate workouts (Push and Pull) that will be rotated over the course of 3 training days each week so that each workout gets done 3 times every 2 weeks. The two workouts will go as follows: 1. The “Push” workout involves training all of the upper body AND lower body muscle groups that are involved in “pushing” exercises. For the upper body, this primarily refers to chest, shoulders and triceps. For the lower body, this primarily refers to quads and calves. 2. The “Pull” workout involves training all of the upper body AND lower body muscle groups that are involved in “pulling” exercises. For the upper body, this primarily refers to back and biceps. For the lower body, this primarily refers to hamstrings and abs (which isn’t exactly a “push” or “pull” body part, but just fits better in this workout). Here’s how the split breaks down over the course of the week…

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Week #1

3-Day Push/Pull (4 - 5th Day Frequency)

Monday

Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Quads/Calves

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Pull: Back/Biceps + Hamstrings/Abs

Thursday

off

Friday

Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Quads/Calves

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

th

Week #1 Monday

Pull: Back/Biceps + Hamstrings/Abs

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Quads/Calves

Thursday

off

Friday

Pull: Back/Biceps + Hamstrings/Abs

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

As you can see, the two workouts are rotated over 3 total training days each week. One week it’s Push/Pull/Push, and then the next week it’s Pull/Push/Pull. It then continues to rotate like that every week. This allows each muscle group to be trained once every 4th or 5th day, and that puts us perfectly within the proven frequency range for building muscle as effectively as possible. Now let’s take a look at the workouts…

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TARGETED LEAN MUSCLE: THE WORKOUTS As I mentioned before, there are quite a few different (and effective) setups for the Targeted Lean Muscle workouts. While every single one of them will work extremely well for building muscle across your entire body as a whole, certain versions will allow you to emphasize certain body parts more so than others. So, let’s now go through the full details of each version of the workouts and see exactly what their differences are and what benefits they provide. Here’s Version 1…

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TARGETED LEAN MUSCLE: VERSION 1 This first version of these workouts is definitely the most basic of them all and is really the starting point for the structure of this program. It can best be described as being a slightly lower volume, minimalistic, no-frills version targeting the entire body with an equal training emphasis coming via the use of big multi-joint compound exercises. (Try saying that five times fast.) Here’s how the workouts go…

Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Quads/Calves Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Bench Press

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

3

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Triceps Isolation

2

10-15

1 minute

5

Calves

4

6-12

1-2 minutes

Pull: Back/Biceps + Hamstrings/Abs Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

3

Pull-Ups

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Biceps Isolation

2

10-15

1 minute

5

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: PUSH 

The “Push” workout starts with squats. That’s meant to be barbell back squats, by the way. However, if you happen to be someone who isn’t built for squats or you just have a problem

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doing them for whatever reason, you can replace them with leg presses (ideally using a 45 degree leg press machine). 

From there it’s on to the bench press. This is meant to be a flat barbell bench press. I recommend having a spotter if possible. Besides being important for obvious safety reasons, not having one may make you afraid of trying for an additional rep, and this could hinder your progress. If you don’t like the flat barbell bench press, for whatever reason, the flat dumbbell bench press would be a suitable replacement. And if you have a problem with all flat pressing altogether, the next best replacement would be the decline bench press.



For the shoulder press, you can do any form of overhead pressing exercise you want. Seated barbell press (in front of you, not behind your neck), seated dumbbell press, whatever. Pick your favorite.



Then we have what I’ve listed as simply “triceps isolation.” This just means to pick any triceps isolation exercise you want and do it here. So that might be cable pushdowns, or overhead dumbbell extensions, or skull crushers, or anything similar. As long as it’s an isolation exercise and not a compound exercise (meaning no dips and no close grip bench press), it will be perfectly fine. Just pick your favorite.



Next up is calves, which can really be any calf exercise you want. I prefer some sort of straight legged exercise, such as standing calf raises or calf presses in the 45 degree leg press. If you’d rather do some kind of bent-knee exercise instead (like seated calf raises), that’s fine too. In that case, do 2 sets standing (in the 6-8 rep range) and 2 sets seated (in the 12-15 rep range).

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: PULL 

The “Pull” workout starts with the Romanian deadlift. I recommend using a double overhand grip for these as opposed to a mixed grip (which would be one hand over, one hand under). If you ever reach a point where the weight you’re deadlifting becomes too heavy to hold and your grip becomes an issue, feel free to use straps. Also, if you don’t like RDLs, stiff-legged deadlifts (SLDL) could be done instead.



Up next is a row, which basically means some type of horizontal pull (meaning back row exercise). Pretty much any type of row would be fine here, so pick your favorite (bent over barbell or dumbbell rows, t-bar rows, chest supported rows, various Hammer Strength machine rows, whatever). Something to keep in mind, however, is that since these are being done after deadlifts, your lower back will be a bit fatigued at this point. This means that an exercise like

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bent over barbell rows (which requires a lot of lower back stabilization) might not be the best choice in this case. It can certainly still work just fine, but some people may do better choosing something less lower back intensive. 

From there we go to pull-ups. I prefer an overhand grip (always in front of your head, never behind your neck), but underhand or neutral grip would be fine as well. If you are unable to do pull-ups, you can do lat pull-downs or some form of assisted pull-up instead. It’s perfectly fine. However, if you’re doing an assisted pull-up, your eventual goal should be to use less and less assistance until you’re using none at all. And if you’re someone who can already do the prescribed amount of sets and reps with your own body weight, you need to get yourself a “pull-up belt” (also called a “dip belt”) and start adding some additional weight.



Then we have what I’ve listed as simply “biceps isolation.” This just means to pick any biceps isolation exercise you want and do it here. So that might be barbell curls, or dumbbell curls, preacher curls, cable curls, or anything similar. As long as it’s an isolation exercise for your biceps, it will be perfectly fine. Just pick your favorite.



For abs, do a few sets of whatever you want. Just don’t go too crazy… no more than 10 minutes or so. I like various forms of weighted crunches, hanging leg/hip raises, planks, etc. Pick your favorites and keep it simple. Additional details here.

And that’s Version 1 of Targeted Lean Muscle. Now let’s make some adjustments…

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TARGETED LEAN MUSCLE: VERSION 2 The second version of Targeted Lean Muscle keeps a similar equal training emphasis on the entire body (just like Version 1 did), only now we’re going to build upon that in a way that adds a bit more volume and exercise variety via the secondary use of isolation movements. Here’s how the workouts go…

Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Quads/Calves Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Incline Dumbbell Flyes

3

10-15

1 minute

5

Leg Extensions

2

10-15

1 minute

6

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

7

Triceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

8

Calves

4

6-12

1-2 minutes

Pull: Back/Biceps + Hamstrings/Abs Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Pull-Ups

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Leg Curls

2

10-15

1 minute

5

Rear Delt Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

6

Biceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions. There are, however, a few new notes worth mentioning…

PUSH 

The dumbbell flyes would ideally be done on a bench set to a low incline, but they could be done on a flat bench if you’d prefer it that way. Technically, any sort of chest isolation exercise would be just as good here, so if you happen to prefer some kind of cable or machine fly instead, you could use that. Again, a slight incline is preferred, but flat could be used as well.



For lateral raises, you can really do whatever lateral raise you want. With dumbbells (seated or standing, one arm at a time or both together), with cables, with a lateral raise machine if your gym has a decent one. Just pick your favorite.



The leg extensions are pretty self-explanatory, although you may want an explanation for why they are being used in the first place. You see, leg extensions are often viewed by “certain people” as a useless quad exercise. Now sure, compared to an exercise like squats, I’d consider leg extensions to be the inferior exercise in almost every case. But useless? Not at all. In fact, when used in conjunction WITH squats as a way of adding some extra higher rep quad volume (aka the “fatigue” stimulus) in a way that doesn’t add additional unwanted volume to the hamstrings/glutes (like the leg press, split squats and lunges all would), they can be quite useful. And that’s why they are being used here. Additional details: Are Leg Extensions Bad?

PULL 

For the leg curls, some gyms have a few different types of leg curl machines… seated, standing, and laying. You can really just pick any one you want.



From there we go to “rear delt isolation,” which just means some form of rear delt isolation exercise. That could be rear delt raises/flyes with dumbbells or cables, bent over with no support, with your head supported on a bench, with full chest support on a bench, or even bent over while seated on a bench. This could also be face-pulls, or band pull-aparts, or even a reverse pec deck. It’s all perfectly fine. And if you’re wondering why a rear delt exercise is being done on “pull” day with back as opposed to “push” day with shoulders, it’s because the rear delts are hit more with pulling exercises like rows than they are with pushing exercises. For this reason, they belong here.

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THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the first. 

The primary compound exercises were switched from 4x5-8 to 3x6-8 to better allow for a second exercise to be included for each major muscle group. Speaking of which…



Isolation exercises like dumbbell flyes for the chest, lateral raises for the shoulders, leg extensions for the quads, leg curls for the hamstrings and a rear delt isolation exercise for the rear delts have been added to provide a bit more volume and a higher rep training stimulus for those muscle groups. Both research and experience shows that these adjustments can be beneficial from the standpoint of building muscle.



The triceps and biceps isolation exercises have gone from 2x10-15 to 3x10-15 as a result of there now being one less set each of pulling and pushing, which means the arms can benefit from an additional direct set.

So that’s Version 2 of the Targeted Lean Muscle routine. Now here’s a version of these same workouts that has been adjusted a bit differently.

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TARGETED LEAN MUSCLE: VERSION 2A This isn’t so much a full new version of this program as it is just a slightly modified version of the workouts you just saw (Version 2). Let’s take a look at the workouts and then go through all of the adjustments that have been made (and why they were made)…

Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Quads/Calves Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Leg Extensions

2

10-15

1 minute

5

Lateral Raises

4

10-15

1 minute

6

Triceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

7

Calves

4

6-12

1-2 minutes

Pull: Back/Biceps + Hamstrings/Abs Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Rows

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Leg Curls

2

10-15

1 minute

5

Rear Delt Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

6

Biceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from the previous versions (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions.

THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the first: 

The “Push” workout has replaced shoulder presses and incline dumbbell flyes with incline dumbbell presses, while at the same time doubling the volume of lateral raises. These two adjustments are definitely related. The goal here is to keep the number of upper body compound pressing exercises at two (either bench press and shoulder press, or bench press and incline press). The reason being that triceps get hit quite hard during these exercises, and in my experience a 3rd pressing exercise would always suffer too much as a result of significant triceps fatigue. To avoid this, pressing exercises are limited to two and isolation exercises (like flyes and lateral raises) are strategically used instead as accessory exercises to ensure that optimal volume is still met for each muscle group. (See the Bodybuilding 2.0 program included earlier in this guide for more details about this adjustment.) In this case, the chest gets an optimal amount of volume via the use of two compound chest presses while the shoulders remain in their optimal volume range as a result of significant indirect usage in both of those chest pressing exercises (especially the incline press, which arguably hits the anterior deltoid just as well as an overhead press). In addition, two more sets of lateral raises were added to ensure that the “side delts” receive all of the beneficial volume they need.



The “Pull” workout makes just one smaller and more obvious adjustment. The exercise order has changed from Rows/Pull-Ups to Pull-Ups/Rows. Why? It’s just another way of doing it. Some people might prefer it one way over the other. Some people might want to be fresher/stronger for one exercise than the other. Some people may prefer making the lower rep exercise (6-8) pull-ups, some may prefer rows. Some may prefer having the higher rep exercise (8-10) be pull-ups, and some may prefer rows. It’s just basically another slightly different yet equally effective way of doing it, and my goal is to provide you with ALL workable options.

Now for Version 3…

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TARGETED LEAN MUSCLE: VERSION 3 Version 3 of Targeted Lean Muscle can best be described as having a slightly larger lower body emphasis when compared to the other versions, as both the quads and hamstrings are targeted first in each workout. With this being the time when you are at your freshest, strongest and most physically and mentally prepared to make progressive overload take place, legs become the main focus of each workout. Here’s how this version breaks down…

Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Quads/Calves Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Leg Extensions

2

10-15

1 minute

3

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

4

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Lateral Raises

4

10-15

1 minute

6

Triceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

7

Calves

4

6-12

1-2 minutes

Pull: Back/Biceps + Hamstrings/Abs Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Leg Curls

2

10-15

1 minute

3

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

4

Rows

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Rear Delt Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

6

Biceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from the previous versions (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions.

THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the others. 

Both quad exercises and both hamstring exercises have been moved to the beginning of their respective workouts before everything else, therefore giving those exercises and those muscle groups slightly more training priority over everything else (and doing so in a way that will still allow the rest of your body to improve extremely well).

Now let’s make some small adjustments to this version…

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TARGETED LEAN MUSCLE: VERSION 3A This isn’t so much a full new version of this program as it is just a slightly modified version of the workouts you just saw (Version 3). Let’s take a look at the workouts and then go through all of the adjustments that have been made (and why they were made)…

Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Quads/Calves Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Leg Extensions

2

10-15

1 minute

3

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

4

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Incline Dumbbell Flyes

3

10-15

1 minute

6

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

7

Triceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

8

Calves

4

6-12

1-2 minutes

Pull: Back/Biceps + Hamstrings/Abs Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Leg Curls

2

10-15

1 minute

3

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

4

Pull-Ups

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Rear Delt Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

6

Biceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from the previous versions (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions.

THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the others. 

The “Push” workout has replaced incline presses with incline flyes, and added in shoulder presses as well. Just like in Version 2A, these two adjustments are definitely related. The goal here is to keep the number of compound pressing exercises at two (either bench press and incline press, or bench press and shoulder press). The reason being that triceps get hit quite hard during these exercises, and in my experience a 3rd pressing exercise would always suffer too much as a result of significant triceps fatigue. To avoid this, pressing exercises are limited to two and isolation exercises (like flyes and lateral raises) are strategically used instead as accessory exercises to ensure that optimal volume is still met for each muscle group. (See the Bodybuilding 2.0 program included earlier in this guide for more details about this adjustment.) In addition, the amount of volume for lateral raises has been cut in half to compensate for the addition of another direct shoulder exercise.



The “Pull” workout makes just one smaller and more obvious adjustment. The exercise order has changed from Pull-Ups/Rows to Rows/Pull-Ups. Why? It’s just another way of doing it. Some people might prefer it one way over the other. Some people might want to be fresher/stronger for one exercise than the other. Some people may prefer making the lower rep exercise (6-8) pull-ups, some may prefer rows. Some may prefer having the higher rep exercise (8-10) be pull-ups, and some may prefer rows. It’s just basically another slightly different yet equally effective way of doing it, and my goal is to provide you with ALL workable options.

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TARGETED LEAN MUSCLE: VERSION 4 Version 4 of Targeted Lean Muscle can best be described as having a slightly larger upper body emphasis when compared to the other versions, as both the chest and back (and to a lesser extent, shoulders and arms) are targeted first in each workout. With this being the time when you are at your freshest, strongest and most physically and mentally prepared to make progressive overload take place, these muscle groups become the main focus of each workout. Here’s how this version breaks down…

Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Quads/Calves Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Lateral Raises

4

10-15

1 minute

4

Triceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

5

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

6

Leg Extensions

2

10-15

1 minute

7

Calves

4

6-12

1-2 minutes

Pull: Back/Biceps + Hamstrings/Abs Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Rear Delt Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

4

Biceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

5

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

6

Leg Curls

2

10-15

1 minute

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from the previous versions (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions.

THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the others. 

Both chest exercises and both back exercises have been moved to the beginning of their respective workouts ahead of everything else, therefore giving those exercises and those muscle groups slightly more training priority over everything else (and doing so in a way that will still allow the rest of your body to improve extremely well).

Now let’s make some small adjustments to this version…

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TARGETED LEAN MUSCLE: VERSION 4A This isn’t so much a full new version of this program as it is just a slightly modified version of the workouts you just saw (Version 4). Let’s take a look at the workouts and then go through all of the adjustments that have been made (and why they were made)…

Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Quads/Calves Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Incline Dumbbell Flyes

3

10-15

1 minute

3

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

5

Triceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

6

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

7

Leg Extensions

2

10-15

1 minute

8

Calves

4

6-12

1-2 minutes

Pull: Back/Biceps + Hamstrings/Abs Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Pull-Ups

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Rear Delt Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

4

Biceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

5

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

6

Leg Curls

2

10-15

1 minute

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from the previous versions (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions.

THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the others. 

The “Push” workout has replaced incline presses with incline flyes, and added in shoulder presses as well. Just like in Versions 2A and 3A, these two adjustments are definitely related. The goal here is to keep the number of compound pressing exercises at two (either bench press and incline press, or bench press and shoulder press). The reason being that the triceps get hit quite hard during these exercises, and in my experience a 3rd pressing exercise would always suffer too much as a result of significant triceps fatigue. To avoid this, pressing exercises are limited to two and isolation exercises (like flyes and lateral raises) are strategically used instead as accessory exercises to ensure that optimal volume is still met for each muscle group. (See the Bodybuilding 2.0 program included earlier in this guide for more details about this adjustment.) In addition, the amount of volume for lateral raises has been cut in half to compensate for the addition of another direct shoulder exercise.



The “Pull” workout makes just one smaller and more obvious adjustment. The exercise order has changed from Pull-Ups/Rows to Rows/Pull-Ups. Why? It’s just another way of doing it. Some people might prefer it one way over the other. Some people might want to be fresher/stronger for one exercise than the other. Some people may prefer making the lower rep exercise (6-8) pull-ups, some may prefer rows. Some may prefer having the higher rep exercise (8-10) be pull-ups, and some may prefer rows. It’s just basically another slightly different yet equally effective way of doing it, and my goal is to provide you with ALL workable options.

Now for the next version of these workouts…

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TARGETED LEAN MUSCLE: VERSION 5 Like Version 4, Version 5 of Targeted Lean Muscle can also be described best as having a slightly larger upper body emphasis when compared to the other versions. However, whereas the previous version targeted the chest and back first in each workout, this version will target the shoulders and back (and to a lesser extent, chest and arms) first in each workout. With this being the time when you are at your freshest, strongest and most physically and mentally prepared to make progressive overload take place, these muscle groups become the main focus of each workout. Here’s how this version breaks down…

Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Quads/Calves Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Shoulder Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Lateral Raises

3

10-15

1 minute

3

Bench Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Incline Dumbbell Flyes

2

10-15

1 minute

5

Triceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

6

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

7

Leg Extensions

2

10-15

1 minute

8

Calves

4

6-12

1-2 minutes

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Pull: Back/Biceps + Hamstrings/Abs Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Rear Delt Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

4

Biceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

5

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

6

Leg Curls

2

10-15

1 minute

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from the previous versions (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions.

THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the others. 

Both shoulder exercises and both back exercises have been moved to the beginning of their respective workouts ahead of everything else, therefore giving those exercises and those muscle groups slightly more training priority over everything else (and doing so in a way that will still allow the rest of your body to improve extremely well).

And now for the final version of these workouts…

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TARGETED LEAN MUSCLE: VERSION 6 This 6th version of Targeted Lean Muscle isn’t really a full new version of these workouts. Rather, it’s just one final option for making another modification. And that modification is… combining two versions of the workouts. What I mean is, maybe you want this program to be quad and back targeted. Or maybe you want this program to be chest and hamstring targeted. Or maybe you’d rather it be shoulder and hamstring targeted. In cases like these, all you’d need to do is take the appropriate “Push” workout from one version and put it with the appropriate “Pull” workout from another. And just like that, Targeted Lean Muscle can now suit even more training goals and preferences.

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3DM: THE 3-DAY MASS GAINING ROUTINE

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► 3DM: THE 3-DAY MASS GAINING ROUTINE

T

here are plenty of different training splits that can work great for various goals, but one of my favorites of them all is the upper/lower split.

It’s just so easy to program, customize and schedule, and it has proven to work amazingly well for practically every goal you can imagine… especially building muscle. That’s all part of why many of the routines I design (like The Muscle Building Workout Routine included earlier in this book) are built around this split. In fact, because we all have different schedules and training needs/preferences, that specific routine is actually designed to work with four different versions of the upper/lower split… one of which is a 3-day version. Now, while I’ve personally used that 3-day version of The Muscle Building Workout Routine myself with great success and have seen countless others use it with equally high levels of success, the truth is that it was initially designed to be done using a 4-day version of the upper/lower split. It just so happens that it works fantastically with the 3-day upper/lower split as well. The thing is, because it was originally designed to be done over 4 days per week, there are a few adjustments I would make to it if I was designing it specifically to be done over 3 days instead. However, the problem with making these adjustments is that they don’t suit the 4-day version. They are all strictly for if the routine is being done using the 3-day version. Which means that it would really need to become its own separate program entirely. And now… it has.

WELCOME TO 3DM: THE 3-DAY MASS GAINING ROUTINE 3DM (aka “3-Day Mass”) is my official 3-day upper/lower muscle building program that is designed specifically (and ONLY) for being done using the 3-day upper/lower split. So if that suits your training needs, goals and preferences, then it’s time to get down to the details…

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3DM: THE SPLIT As I just mentioned, 3DM will be using the 3-day upper/lower split. This split divides the body up into two very obvious categories: 1. Upper Body: chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps 2. Lower Body: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, abs Here’s how it breaks down over the course of the week… Week #1

3-Day Upper/Lower (4th - 5th Day Frequency)

Monday

Upper Body

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Lower Body

Thursday

off

Friday

Upper Body

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

Week #2 Monday

Lower Body

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Upper Body

Thursday

off

Friday

Lower Body

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

As you can see, unlike most upper/lower based programs where there are typically four different workouts (usually Upper A, Lower A, Upper B, Lower B), 3DM has just two different workouts: a single Upper Body workout, and a single Lower Body workout.

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These two workouts are then rotated over 3 total training days each week using a 1-on/1-off/1on/1-off/1-on/2-off format. So one week it’s Upper/Lower/Upper, and then the next week it’s Lower/Upper/Lower. It then continues rotating like this every single week. That means each muscle group gets trained once every 4th or 5th day (or 3 times every 2 weeks), which is perfectly in line with the optimal training frequency for building muscle mass as effectively as possible.

WHY TWO WORKOUTS INSTEAD OF FOUR? Now you may be wondering why this program has two workouts instead of four like other upper/lower programs often do (including The Muscle Building Workout Routine). This is actually one of the major adjustments being made for the specific purpose of using the 3day upper/lower split. Why? Because it ensures that frequency per exercise remains in a more ideal range. Confused? Let me explain… You see, in a typical 4-day upper/lower program, you might only do squats in just your “Lower Body A” workout. That means you’d end up doing squats exactly once per week (every 7th day) if you used the 4-day upper/lower split. But if you used the 3-day upper/lower split with that same 4-workout program, you’d end up doing that “Lower Body A” workout every 9th or 10th day instead. In this example, that means you’d end up squatting a bit less frequently than if you were using the 4-day upper/lower split. That’s why having 4 workouts is a bit more ideal for when you’re training 4 days per week. When you try to make it work using the 3-day split instead, this little drop in frequency per individual workout occurs, and that could mean a slightly lowered frequency per exercise like there was in this example with squats. Now, don’t misunderstand me here. Frequency per muscle group would still remain perfectly ideal no matter what. That’s not an issue at all, which is why everything still works just fine. In this example, quads would still get trained in the “Lower Body B” workout every 4th or 5th day (the ideal frequency), only some other quad exercise (besides squats) would be used. What I’m talking about here is just frequency per exercise. While this is much more important for strength based goals rather than muscle building goals, we’d still like to train each exercise within a beneficial frequency range that best allows for the type of strength progression required for superior muscle growth to take place.

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In order to prevent that frequency from going as low as once every 10th day (which wouldn’t really be “bad” per se… we could just do better), the solution is to simply have two different workouts rather than four. Now every exercise will get trained every 4th or 5th day (which is the same frequency per muscle group). So, with the ideal split all set up, it’s time to get to the workouts…

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3DM: THE WORKOUTS There are actually a few different versions of the 3DM workouts that I’ve personally used (or seen others use) with great success. I definitely have my favorite (which is really just based on my own personal preferences), but since each version brings a little something different to the table, you’ll now have access to every single version there is. So, without further ado, here are the four versions of the workouts that I’ve found to work best for building muscle…

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3DM: VERSION 1 Upper Body Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Pull-Ups

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Incline Dumbbell Flyes

3

10-15

1 minute

6

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

7

Biceps Isolation

2

12-15

1 minute

8

Triceps Isolation

2

12-15

1 minute

Lower Body Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Leg Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Leg Curls

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Standing Calves

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

6

Seated Calves

2

10-15

1 minute

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: UPPER BODY 

The “Upper Body” workout starts with the bench press. This is meant to be a flat barbell bench press. I recommend having a spotter if possible. Besides being important for obvious safety reasons, not having one may make you afraid of trying for an additional rep, and this

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could hinder your progress. If you don’t like the flat barbell bench press for whatever reason, the flat dumbbell bench press would be a suitable replacement. And if you have a problem with all flat pressing altogether, the next best replacement would be the decline bench press. 

Up next is a row, which basically means some type of horizontal pull (meaning back row exercise). Pretty much any type of row would be fine here, so pick your favorite (bent over barbell or dumbbell rows, t-bar rows, chest supported rows, seated cable rows, various Hammer Strength machine rows, whatever).



For the shoulder press, you can do any form of overhead pressing exercise you want. Seated barbell press (in front of you, not behind your neck), seated dumbbell press, standing overhead press, whatever. Pick your favorite.



For the pull-ups, feel free to use an overhand, underhand or neutral grip. They are all equally effective, so just pick your favorite (and always do them in front of your head… never behind your neck). If you are unable to do pull-ups, you can do lat pull-downs or some form of assisted pull-up instead. It’s perfectly fine. However, if you’re doing an assisted pull-up, your eventual goal should be to use less and less assistance until you’re using none at all. And if you’re someone who can already do the prescribed amount of sets and reps with your own body weight, you need to get yourself a “pull-up belt” (also called a “dip belt”) and start adding some additional weight.



After that it’s on to dumbbell flyes. These would ideally be done on a bench set to a low incline, but they could be done on a flat bench if you’d prefer it that way. Technically, any sort of chest isolation exercise would be just as good here, so if you happen to prefer some kind of cable or machine fly instead, you could use that. Again, a slight incline is preferred, but flat could be used as well.



For lateral raises, you can really do whatever lateral raise you want. With dumbbells (seated or standing, one arm at a time or both together), with cables, with a lateral raise machine if your gym has a decent one. Just pick your favorite.



After that we have what I’ve listed as simply “biceps isolation.” This just means to pick any biceps isolation exercise you want and do it here. So that might be barbell curls, or dumbbell curls, preacher curls, cable curls, or anything similar. As long as it’s an isolation exercise for your biceps, it will be perfectly fine. Just pick your favorite.



And finally we have what I’ve listed as simply “triceps isolation.” This just means to pick any triceps isolation exercise you want and do it here. So that might be cable pushdowns, or overhead dumbbell extensions, or skull crushers, or anything similar. As long as it’s an isolation

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exercise and not a compound exercise (meaning no dips and no close grip bench press), it will be perfectly fine. Just pick your favorite.

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: LOWER BODY 

The “Lower Body” workout begins with squats. That’s meant to be barbell back squats, by the way. However, if you happen to be someone who isn’t built for squats or you just have a problem doing them for whatever reason, you can replace them with leg presses (ideally using a 45 degree leg press machine).



Up next is the Romanian deadlift. I recommend using a double overhand grip for these as opposed to a mixed grip (which would be one hand over, one hand under). If you ever reach a point where the weight you’re deadlifting becomes too heavy to hold and your grip becomes an issue, feel free to use straps. Also, if you don’t like RDLs, stiff-legged deadlifts (SLDL) could be done instead.



From there it’s on to leg presses. They are meant to be done in a 45 degree leg press, but if your gym doesn’t have one, then use whatever leg press they do have. You can do these the traditional way (both legs at the same time) or single leg if possible. I personally like single leg, but either way is fine. Also, if you already did leg presses earlier in the workout in place of squats, then you should do split squats here instead of leg pressing a second time.



For the leg curls, some gyms have a few different types of leg curl machines… seated, standing, and laying. You can really just pick any one you want.



Next up is standing calf raises. If your gym doesn’t have a standing calf raise machine, feel free to do calf presses in the 45 degree leg press.



Then it’s on to seated calf raises. Not much more to add here.



For abs, do a few sets of whatever you want. Just don’t go too crazy… no more than 10 minutes or so. I like various forms of weighted crunches, hanging leg/hip raises, planks, etc. Pick your favorites and keep it simple. Additional details here.

And that’s Version 1 of the 3DM workouts. There are, however, a few other equally effective versions of this program. Some may be more or less ideal for certain goals, situations and training preferences, and some might just be perfect second or third options to use when you feel like it’s time to make a change from this first version. So, here now are those other versions…

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3DM: VERSION 1A This isn’t so much a full second version of this program as it is just a slightly lower volume version of the first. You see, I’ve found that Version 1 of these workouts works perfectly for most of the people, most of the time. However, there MAY be some people who feel like it’s just a little too much for them due to a variety of reasons (age, a highly stressful life, an excess of outside physical activity, terrible genetics, etc.). These people might be in the minority, but they definitely do exist. In that case, if you feel like you need to do a little less in order to recover and progress optimally, here’s how to create a slightly lower volume version… 1. My first recommendation would be to change all of the exercises that call for 3 sets of 8-10 to 2 sets of 8-10 instead. If it STILL feels like it’s too much for you, see below. 2. You can remove accessory isolation exercises. For example, remove lateral raises from the Upper Body workout and/or seated calf raises from the Lower Body workout. 3. You can break the Lower Body workout up into a separate A and B version and then alternate between them like you would when doing the 3-day version of The Muscle Building Workout Routine (included earlier in this book, check it out for details on what I'm describing here). 4. You can do a combination of the three options above.

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3DM: VERSION 2 Here now is the second version of this program, which is another version that I’ve personally used (and seen used by others) with great success. Let’s take a look at the workouts and then go through all of the adjustments that have been made (and why they were made)…

Upper Body Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Rows

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Lateral Raises

4

10-15

1-2 minutes

6

Biceps Isolation

2

12-15

1 minute

7

Triceps Isolation

2

12-15

1 minute

Lower Body Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Leg Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Leg Curls

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Standing Calves

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

6

Seated Calves

2

10-15

1 minute

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions. There is, however, one new note worth mentioning… Upper Body: 

For the incline dumbbell press, technically any type of incline press would be just as good here. Barbell, dumbbell, machine (Hammer Strength makes an incline chest press that I love). But, my first choice recommendation would definitely be the incline dumbbell press. If you happen to have any preexisting shoulder problems that make incline pressing uncomfortable, try using a neutral grip (where your palms face each other).

THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the first. 

The Upper Body workout has replaced incline flyes with incline presses, and then removed shoulder presses completely while doubling the volume of lateral raises. All of these adjustments are definitely related. See, the goal here is to keep the number of compound pressing exercises at two (either bench press and incline press, or bench press and shoulder press). The reason being that the triceps get hit quite hard during these exercises, and in my experience a 3rd pressing exercise would always suffer too much as a result of significant triceps fatigue. To avoid this, pressing exercises are limited to two and isolation exercises (like flyes and lateral raises) are strategically used instead as accessory exercises to ensure that optimal volume is still met for each muscle group. (See the Bodybuilding 2.0 program included earlier in this guide for more details about this adjustment.)



The Upper Body workout also makes another smaller adjustment. The exercise order has changed from Rows/Pull-Ups to Pull-Ups/Rows. Why? It’s just another way of doing it. Some people might prefer it one way over the other. Some people might want to be fresher/stronger for one exercise than the other. Some people may prefer making the lower rep exercise (6-8) pull-ups, some may prefer rows. Some may prefer having the higher rep exercise (8-10) be pull-ups, and some may prefer rows. It’s just basically another slightly different yet equally effective way of doing it, and my goal is to provide you with ALL workable options. (Also note

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that this same adjustment can just as easily be made in Version 1 of these workouts if you’d prefer. And, you’re also welcome to NOT make this adjustment in this version if you’d rather it remain Rows/Pull-Ups.) And that’s Version 2 of 3DM. Once again, while this should be absolutely perfect for most people, it’s possible that some people may feel like it’s too much for them for the same reasons I mentioned before. In that case, the same recommendations I made for creating a slightly lower volume version of these workouts (Version 1A) can be applied here just the same. Now let’s take a look at the next version of the 3DM workouts…

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3DM: VERSION 3 There’s a whole lot that goes into the muscle building process, but in terms of the training stimulus alone, we can pin it down to a combination of tension and fatigue (and damage as well, but tension and fatigue are the main components). The “tension” portion of that equation is provided by lifting heavy weight that is truly challenging for you, and then ensuring that this weight becomes progressively heavier over time (aka progressive overload). “Fatigue” is provided by the way we go about supplying that aforementioned tension. We don’t just do one rep of one set of one exercise and go home. We instead aim to reach a certain optimal amount of volume per muscle group in a given workout. We stay within a certain optimal rep range during each set. We rest for a certain optimal amount of time between those sets. This is all part of providing the fatigue element that is beneficial for building muscle. Now, as the 3DM routine is currently designed, it aims to provide the perfect combination of tension and fatigue so you can get the best results as fast as possible. However, there is a very simple adjustment that can be made to the structure of this program that will enhance the fatigue element to some extent. Here now is a version of the routine that makes this adjustment using the workouts from Version 1. Keep in mind that the very same adjustments can also be made to the workouts from Version 2 as well…

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Upper Body Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Incline Dumbbell Flyes

3

10-15

1 minute

3

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

4

Pull-Ups

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

6

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

7

Biceps Isolation

2

12-15

1 minute

8

Triceps Isolation

2

12-15

1 minute

Lower Body Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Leg Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

4

Leg Curls

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Standing Calves

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

6

Seated Calves

2

10-15

1 minute

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions.

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THE ADJUSTMENTS This version of the routine makes only one very simple (and very subtle) adjustment, and it’s all about exercise order. Specifically, exercises for the same (or related) muscle groups are now arranged so that they’re back-to-back. In the previous versions of this routine, it was the opposite. For example, in the Upper Body workout, the other versions put the exercises in this order: 1. Push exercise (chest). 2. Pull exercise (back). 3. Push exercise (chest or shoulders). 4. Pull exercise (back). This version changes that to now become: 1. Push exercise (chest). 2. Push exercise (chest). 3. Pull exercise (back). 4. Pull exercise (back). The Lower Body workout makes that same adjustment (quads, quads, hamstrings, hamstrings). In doing this, the same muscle groups now get trained during consecutive exercises, which therefore increases the amount of metabolic fatigue being generated. Sounds pretty good, right? In terms of upping the fatigue element of muscle growth, it is. However, there is a downside to making this adjustment. As more fatigue is accumulated in the muscles being trained, that same fatigue is likely to at least somewhat hinder your strength and performance on that second exercise. How much so will vary based on the person and the exercise, but it’s safe to say it will be to a higher degree than if you had an exercise for a different muscle group in between them (like the other versions do). So, while this version increases the fatigue element, it reduces the tension element.

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Which means, it’s a trade-off. One of the factors that must be present for optimal muscle growth is improved while the other is lessened. Decisions, decisions… right? That’s pretty much what it comes down to. There are a lot of ways of doing things successfully, and my goal is to provide you with all of them. So if you’re someone who likes that extra feeling of fatigue and “pump” that this version of the workouts is likely to cause, or someone who just prefers doing all of the exercises for each muscle group consecutively rather than going from one muscle group to the other, or someone who wants to place a little more emphasis on fatigue than tension… this version will probably be ideal for you. It also might just be worth trying when you feel ready to change things up a little.

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3DM: VERSION 4 Over the years, one of the many questions I’ve been asked is how to incorporate supersets or alternating sets into the routines I’ve designed, including this one. Another question I’ve been asked is if there is any way to lessen the amount of time each workout takes so you can get out of the gym a little bit faster. Well, guess what? Here’s a version of the 3DM workouts that answers BOTH of those questions. We will be using alternating sets, and in doing so we’ll be shaving some time off of each workout in the process. But before we do, there’s a question you probably want an answer to…

WHY ALTERNATING SETS INSTEAD OF SUPERSETS? You may be wondering why this version is going to use alternating sets instead of supersets. This is because, for reasons I fully explain in my Supersets vs Alternating Sets comparison, I think supersets are mostly dumb and counterproductive. The main reason is that supersets are done with NO rest in between each set. So you’d do a set of Exercise A immediately followed by a set of Exercise B. The result? Your performance on Exercise B goes to crap because of the accumulated fatigue. This is fine if you’re only in the gym to get your heart pumping, burn some extra calories, sweat more and just “feel” like you’re doing something special and advanced. But if you’re actually there to… you know… make the type of progress required to build muscle optimally, then supersets suck. Alternating sets, on the other hand, pair up Exercise A and B just the same, only with some beneficial amount of rest in between each set of each exercise. So, you still get the perks of having exercises paired up in alternating fashion, only without the performance drop off you’d be guaranteed to experience on whatever exercise is being done second in a superset. To show you how it’s all done, I’m going to use Version 1 of the 3DM workouts to apply the pairings and adjust the rest times to create the alternating sets. However, you could just as easily apply these same adjustments to Version 2 of the workouts if you’d prefer to use that version. With all of that out of the way, let’s get to the details…

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Upper Body Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1a

Bench Press

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

1b

Rows

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

2a

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

1 minute

2b

Pull-Ups

3

8-10

1 minute

3

Incline Dumbbell Flyes

3

10-15

1 minute

4

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

5a

Biceps Isolation

2

12-15

30-60 seconds

5b

Triceps Isolation

2

12-15

30-60 seconds

Lower Body Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3a

Leg Press

3

8-10

1 minute

3b

Leg Curls

3

8-10

1 minute

4

Standing Calves

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

5a

Seated Calves

2

10-15

1 minute

5b

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions.

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The only new note worth mentioning here is that exercises listed as “1a” and “1b” or “2a” and “2b” etc. are meant to be paired up as alternating sets. In these instances, the rest times listed are the amount of time to rest in between each set of each exercise in the pairing. Here’s an example. In the Upper Body workout, you would pair up bench presses and rows like this… 

Set #1 of Bench Press



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #1 of Rows



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #2 of Bench Press



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #2 of Rows



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #3 of Bench Press



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #3 of Rows

You’d then rest for a few minutes and move on to the next exercise (which, in this example, would be the shoulder press/pull-up alternated pairing). If you’re confused or have any other questions about how alternating sets are meant to be done, this article will clear it up: http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/supersets-vs-alternating-sets/ You’ve also probably noticed that some exercises are not paired up. This is because certain exercises just aren’t really meant to be a part of an alternating set pairing in my opinion (like squats and deadlifts, for example; they are just too demanding as it is and there’s too much overlap in which muscle groups are being trained). Others might be fine however, but they just don’t really pair up well with other exercises in this specific routine (like lateral raises, for example). In all of these cases, exercises that are not paired up with other exercises are meant to be done alone like you normally would if alternating sets weren’t being used.

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MAXIMUM MUSCLE HYPERTROPHY

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► MAXIMUM MUSCLE HYPERTROPHY

W

hen I originally created the Bodybuilding 2.0 program included earlier in this book, there was only one workable split option to use with it, and it just so happened to be the least convenient one of them all (Option A, if you remember it from before). Since designing that routine initially, I’ve had a lot of people request that I somehow come up with other equally effective options that were more convenient and schedule-friendly. So, I did just that, and came up with the B and C options you see today as part of that program. The thing is, despite now having three effective split options to choose from, people still had a request. They wanted a 3-day version of Bodybuilding 2.0. As I’ve explained to everyone who has made that request, it’s just not possible. There is no good way to make that exact program work over 3 days without sacrificing somewhere (mostly in terms of training frequency), and that would greatly reduce its effectiveness. That was the bad news. The good news, however, was that the thought of it gave me a new idea for something much better. I broke up the overall Bodybuilding 2.0 structure, kept the major aspects of the workouts the same but adjusted their format, modified a fairly popular split I always liked a little in a way that made me like it a lot, and made it all work over three workouts per week. Sounds pretty interesting, huh? Well, it is.

WELCOME TO MAXIMUM MUSCLE HYPERTROPHY! Maximum Muscle Hypertrophy is basically the closest, most perfect thing there is to a legit 3-day version of Bodybuilding 2.0, and it has proven to work amazingly well for the tons of people who have used it over these last few years. So, without further ado, let’s get down to the details…

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MAXIMUM MUSCLE HYPERTROPHY: THE SPLIT Maximum Muscle Hypertrophy uses my own modified version of a weight training split known as the Push/Pull+Legs split. It’s somewhat similar to the even more popular Push/Pull/Legs split that is used in my Bodybuilding 2.0 program. However, in order to make that split work with an optimal training frequency, there ended up having to be four (or sometimes five) total workouts per week. This split, on the other hand, makes it all work with only three workouts per week. Besides just being perfect for ANYONE who wants to build muscle, it’s also an ideal solution for you if you loved Bodybuilding 2.0 but can only manage to train 3 times per week (or would just prefer to). Here’s how it works. There will be two separate workouts: 1. The “Push” workout involves training all of the muscle groups that are involved in upper body pushing exercises, like presses. That means chest, shoulders and triceps. In addition, calves and abs are trained in this workout as well. 2. The “Pull+Legs” workout involves training all of the muscle groups that are involved in upper body pulling exercises, like rows and pull-ups. That means back and biceps. In addition, the largest muscle groups of the lower body are trained in this workout as well. That means quads, hamstrings and glutes. If you’re familiar with the classic version of this split, you can already see what modification has been made. Typically, calves and abs are trained during that second workout as part of “legs.” In my experience, this makes that second workout too long (and unnecessarily so), especially when you take into account that the workouts in this split are already a little lopsided to begin with. Throwing calves/abs in on top of that serves no beneficial purpose whatsoever, and just ends up being kinda dumb and pointless in my opinion. That’s why my version of this split moves calves and abs to the “push” workout instead (which was already the shorter workout of the two), and that serves to keep the workouts even (and ideal) in length in a way that doesn’t screw up anything else in the process. Win-win! Here is how this split breaks down…

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Week #1

3-Day Modified Push/Pull+Legs (4th - 5th Day Frequency)

Monday

Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Calves/Abs

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Pull+Legs: Back/Biceps + Quads/Hamstrings

Thursday

off

Friday

Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Calves/Abs

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

Week #2 Monday

Pull+Legs: Back/Biceps + Quads/Hamstrings

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Calves/Abs

Thursday

off

Friday

Pull+Legs: Back/Biceps + Quads/Hamstrings

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

As you can see, the two workouts are rotated over three total training days per week. One week it’s Push/Pull+Legs/Push, and then the next week it’s Pull+Legs/Push/Pull+Legs. It then continues to rotate like that each week. This allows each muscle group to be trained once every 4th or 5th day, and that puts us perfectly within the proven frequency range for building muscle as effectively as possible. Now let’s take a look at the workouts…

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MAXIMUM MUSCLE HYPERTROPHY: THE WORKOUTS There are four different versions of the Maximum Muscle Hypertrophy workouts that I’ve used with great success, although I tend to think of them as 1 and 1A, and 2 and 2A, since certain versions are just slightly different from the other. So, let’s go through the full details of each version of the workouts and see exactly what their differences are and what benefits they provide. Here’s Version 1…

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MAXIMUM MUSCLE HYPERTROPHY: VERSION 1 Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Calves/Abs Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Lateral Raises

4

10-15

1 minute

4

Triceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

5

Standing Calves

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

6

Seated Calves

2

10-15

1 minute

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

Pull+Legs: Back/Biceps + Quads/Hamstrings Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Rows

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Biceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

4

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

5

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

6

Leg Press

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

7

Leg Curls

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: PUSH 

The “Push” workout starts with the bench press. This is meant to be a flat barbell bench press. I recommend having a spotter if possible. Besides being important for obvious safety reasons, not having one may make you afraid of trying for an additional rep, and this could hinder your progress. If you don’t like the flat barbell bench press for whatever reason, the flat dumbbell

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bench press would be a suitable replacement. And if you have a problem with all flat pressing altogether, the next best replacement would be the decline bench press. 

Up next is the incline dumbbell press. Technically, any type of incline press would be just as good here. Barbell, dumbbell, machine (Hammer Strength makes an incline chest press that I love). But, my first choice recommendation would definitely be the incline dumbbell press. If you happen to have any preexisting shoulder problems that make incline pressing uncomfortable, try using a neutral grip (where your palms face each other).



For lateral raises, you can really do whatever lateral raise you want. With dumbbells (seated or standing, one arm at a time or both together), with cables, with a lateral raise machine if your gym has a decent one. Just pick your favorite.



And then we have what I’ve listed as simply “triceps isolation.” This just means to pick any triceps isolation exercise you want and do it here. So that might be cable pushdowns, or overhead dumbbell extensions, or skull crushers, or anything similar. As long as it’s an isolation exercise and not a compound exercise (meaning no dips and no close grip bench press), it will be perfectly fine. Just pick your favorite.



Next up is standing calf raises. If your gym doesn’t have a standing calf raise machine, feel free to do calf presses in the 45 degree leg press.



Then it’s on to seated calf raises. Not much more to add here.



For abs, do a few sets of whatever you want. Just don’t go too crazy… no more than 10 minutes or so. I like various forms of weighted crunches, hanging leg/hip raises, planks, etc. Pick your favorites and keep it simple. Additional details here.

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: PULL+LEGS 

The “Pull+Legs” workout starts with pull-ups. Feel free to use an overhand, underhand or neutral grip. They are all equally effective, so just pick your favorite (and always do them in front of your head… never behind your neck). If you are unable to do pull-ups, you can do lat pull-downs or some form of assisted pull-up instead. It’s perfectly fine. However, if you’re doing an assisted pull-up, your eventual goal should be to use less and less assistance until you’re using none at all. And if you’re someone who can already do the prescribed amount of sets and reps with your own body weight, you need to get yourself a “pull-up belt” (also called a “dip belt”) and start adding some additional weight.



Up next is a row, which basically means some type of horizontal pull (meaning back row exercise). Pretty much any type of row would be fine here, so pick your favorite (bent over

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barbell or dumbbell rows, t-bar rows, seated cable rows, chest supported rows, various Hammer Strength machine rows, whatever). Something to keep in mind, however, is that since this is being done in the same workout as squats and deadlifts, lower back fatigue can potentially become an issue. This means that an exercise like bent over barbell rows (which requires a lot of lower back stabilization) might not be the best choice. It can certainly still work just fine, but some people may do better choosing something less lower back intensive. 

And then we have what I’ve listed as simply “biceps isolation.” This just means to pick any biceps isolation exercise you want and do it here. So that might be barbell curls, or dumbbell curls, preacher curls, cable curls, or anything similar. As long as it’s an isolation exercise for your biceps, it will be perfectly fine. Just pick your favorite.



After then it’s on to squats. That’s meant to be barbell back squats, by the way. However, if you happen to be someone who isn’t built for squats or you just have a problem doing them for whatever reason, you can replace them with leg presses (ideally using a 45 degree leg press machine).



Up next is the Romanian deadlift. I recommend using a double overhand grip for these as opposed to a mixed grip (which would be one hand over, one hand under). If you ever reach a point where the weight you’re deadlifting becomes too heavy to hold and your grip becomes an issue, feel free to use straps. Also, if you don’t like RDLs, stiff-legged deadlifts (SLDL) could be done instead.



From there it’s on to leg presses. They are meant to be done in a 45 degree leg press, but if your gym doesn’t have one, then use whatever leg press they do have. You can do these the traditional way (both legs at the same time) or single leg if possible. I personally like single leg, but either way is fine. Also, if you already did leg presses earlier in the workout in place of squats, then you should do split squats here instead of leg pressing a second time.



For the leg curls, some gyms have a few different types of leg curl machines… seated, standing, and laying. You can really just pick any one you want.

So, that’s Version 1 of Maximum Muscle Hypertrophy. Now let’s take a look at a second, slightly modified version of the workouts you just saw. I call it Version 1A…

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MAXIMUM MUSCLE HYPERTROPHY: VERSION 1A Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Calves/Abs Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Incline Dumbbell Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Lateral Raises

4

10-15

1 minute

4

Triceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

5

Standing Calves

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

6

Seated Calves

2

10-15

1 minute

7

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

Legs+Pull: Back/Biceps + Quads/Hamstrings Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Leg Press

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Leg Curls

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

6

Rows

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

7

Biceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions.

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THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the first. There’s actually just one adjustment that has been made here, but it’s an important one. 

The Push workout remains unchanged, but the Pull+Legs workout has now become Legs+Pull instead. What that means is that the exercise order has been switched and legs are now trained before back/biceps, instead of the other way around like it was in Version 1.

What’s the point of this adjustment, you ask? Simple. In terms of general training guidelines, it usually makes more sense to start with the harder, more physically demanding exercises. In this case, leg exercises like squats and Romanian deadlifts would usually go before most back/bicep exercises. This version (1A) makes that type of adjustment. Now, that brings up a second question. Why didn’t Version 1 already have that adjustment? The answer here is also simple. What I just described is a “GENERAL” training guideline, not an “ALWAYS-MUST-BE-DONE” training guideline. Meaning, if you’re a little more interested in improving your back/biceps than improving your legs, it makes a little more sense to train those body parts earlier in the workout when you are fresher and stronger. The previous version (1) does that. And in the opposite case, if you are someone who is a little more interested in improving your legs than your back/biceps, it would make more sense to train your legs earlier in the workout. This version (1A) makes that adjustment. Don’t misunderstand me here. Both versions of this routine will still improve everything extremely well. There’s no doubt about that at all. This is definitely a muscle building program for your entire body. It just so happens that there are different versions that make different adjustments that may suit your own individual training preferences, needs and specific goals better. I’ve made sure to include all of these adjusted (and proven) versions to provide you with all of the options you’ll need to always do what’s best for you. Cool? Cool. Now let’s take a look at the next version of the Maximum Muscle Hypertrophy workouts…

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MAXIMUM MUSCLE HYPERTROPHY: VERSION 2 Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Calves/Abs Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Incline Dumbbell Flyes

3

10-15

1 minute

3

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

5

Triceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

6

Standing Calves

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

7

Seated Calves

2

10-12

1 minute

8

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

Pull+Legs: Back/Biceps + Quads/Hamstrings Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Pull-Ups

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3

Biceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

4

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

5

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

6

Leg Press

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

7

Leg Curls

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions.

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There are, however, two new notes worth mentioning…

PUSH 

The dumbbell flyes would ideally be done on a bench set to a low incline, but they could be done on a flat bench if you’d prefer it that way. Technically, any sort of chest isolation exercise would be just as good here, so if you happen to prefer some kind of cable or machine fly instead, you could use that. Again, a slight incline is preferred, but flat could be used as well.



For the shoulder press, you can do any form of overhead pressing exercise you want. Seated barbell press (in front of you, not behind your neck), seated dumbbell press, standing overhead press, whatever. Pick your favorite.



The order of the shoulder press and dumbbell flyes is reversible. So if you’d rather do bench press, shoulder press, flyes, lateral raises… that’s perfectly fine.

THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the first. 

The “Push” workout has replaced incline presses with incline flyes, and added in shoulder presses as well. These two adjustments are definitely related. The goal here is to keep the number of compound pressing exercises at two (either bench press and incline press, or bench press and shoulder press). The reason being that the triceps get hit quite hard during these exercises, and in my experience a 3rd pressing exercise would always suffer too much as a result of significant triceps fatigue. To avoid this, pressing exercises are limited to two and isolation exercises (like flyes and lateral raises) are strategically used instead as accessory exercises to ensure that optimal volume is still met for each muscle group. (See the Bodybuilding 2.0 program included earlier in this guide for more details about this adjustment.) In addition, the amount of volume for lateral raises has been cut in half to compensate for the addition of another direct shoulder exercise.



The “Pull+Legs” workout makes just one smaller and more obvious adjustment. The exercise order has changed from Pull-Ups/Rows to Rows/Pull-Ups. Why? It’s just another way of doing it. Some people might prefer it one way over the other. Some people might want to be fresher/stronger for one exercise than the other. Some people may prefer making the lower rep exercise (6-8) pull-ups, some may prefer rows. Some may prefer having the higher rep exercise

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(8-10) be pull-ups, and some may prefer rows. It’s just basically another slightly different yet equally effective way of doing it, and my goal is to provide you with ALL workable options. Now let’s take a look at the final version of the Maximum Muscle Hypertrophy workouts…

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MAXIMUM MUSCLE HYPERTROPHY: VERSION 2A Push: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps + Calves/Abs Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Incline Dumbbell Flyes

3

10-15

1 minute

3

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Lateral Raises

2

10-15

1 minute

5

Triceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

6

Standing Calves

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

7

Seated Calves

2

10-12

1 minute

8

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

Legs+Pull: Back/Biceps + Quads/Hamstrings Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

2

Romanian Deadlifts

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Leg Press

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

4

Leg Curls

2

10-12

1-2 minutes

5

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

6

Pull-Ups

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

7

Biceps Isolation

3

10-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from the previous versions (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions.

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THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made in this version of the workouts as compared to the others. There’s actually just one adjustment that has been made here that makes it different than Version 2, but it’s an important one. 

The Push workout remains unchanged, but the Pull+Legs workout has now become Legs+Pull instead. What that means is that the exercise order has been switched and legs are now trained before back/biceps, instead of the other way around like it was in Version 2.

What’s the point of this adjustment, you ask? Simple. In terms of general training guidelines, it usually makes more sense to start with the harder, more physically demanding exercises. In this case, leg exercises like squats and Romanian deadlifts would usually go before most back/biceps exercises. This version (2A) makes that type of adjustment. Now, that brings up a second question. Why didn’t Version 2 already have that adjustment? The answer here is also simple. What I just described is a “GENERAL” training guideline, not an “ALWAYS-MUST-BE-DONE” training guideline. Meaning, if you’re a little more interested in improving your back/biceps than improving your legs, it makes a little more sense to train those body parts earlier in the workout when you are fresher and stronger. The previous version (2) does that. And in the opposite case, if you are someone who is a little more interested in improving your legs than your back/biceps, it would make more sense to train your legs earlier in the workout. This version (2A) makes that adjustment. Don’t misunderstand me here. Both versions of this routine will still improve everything extremely well. There’s no doubt about that at all. This is definitely a muscle building program for your entire body. It just so happens that there are different versions that make different adjustments that may suit your own individual training preferences, needs and specific goals better. I’ve made sure to include all of these adjusted (and proven) versions to provide you with all of the options you’ll need to always do what’s best for you. Cool? Cool.

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THE 2-DAY WORKOUT ROUTINE: MINIMAL TIME/MAXIMUM RESULTS

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► THE 2-DAY WORKOUT ROUTINE

I

f some random person asked me how often they should weight train, my answer 99% of the time would be 3 or 4 times per week.

Why? Because regardless of your specific goal or training experience level, the majority of the population will usually get their best results by using a workout routine that is structured around doing 3 or 4 weight training workouts per week. No more, no less. Based on what has been proven to work best in terms of training frequency, volume, intensity, recovery and so on, it all just tends to come together in the most effective way when it’s done over the course of 3 or 4 workouts per week. So, if you want the best results possible, that’s how many times I’d recommend weight training each week.

BUT… WHAT IF YOU CAN’T? This all sounds nice and everything, but what if you don’t have the time to train 3 or 4 times per week? What if this supposed ideal scenario just isn’t so ideal for your specific schedule? What if you’re just too busy with your job, or school, or wife, or husband, or girlfriend, or boyfriend, or kids, or just have a life that makes it damn near impossible to weight train 3 or 4 times per week? If your time is limited for whatever reason and consistently training 3 or 4 days per week (every single week) is out of the question… just what the hell are you supposed to do? The way I see it, there are really just three possible answers here: 1. Adjust your life and schedule to fit your workouts. 2. Adjust your workouts to fit your life and schedule. 3. Just say “screw it” and not work out at all. Let’s throw out option #3 for obvious reasons and look at the other two possibilities…

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SHOULD YOU ADJUST YOUR LIFE TO FIT YOUR WORKOUTS? The first (and often only) thought most people in this situation have is that they need to try to find a way to get those 3 or 4 workouts done. How? By making some minor adjustments to their life and schedule to fit those workouts in. In all honesty, this would typically be my first suggestion. In my experience, most of the people who “think” they don’t have time to work out are just being lazy and annoying. Sorry if that sounds mean, but it’s true. If most people just went to bed a little earlier, they’d be able to wake up a little earlier and still end up getting the same amount of sleep. The difference is, they’d now have some extra time in the mornings to work out. See, simple. And this adjustment would only need to be made as little as 3 times per week. This is just one example of the MANY fairly minor changes some people could easily make in their daily lives to find a little more time to train.

HOWEVER… In cases like I just described, where some small and easy adjustment could instantly provide a person with the time they need to get in 3 or 4 weight training workouts per week, that’s exactly what I’d recommend doing. The problem is, not everyone fits this description. Some people aren’t able to make a minor adjustment in their lives that instantly gives them the time they need to train. Instead, these people often need to make some type of major adjustment. Sometimes more than one. In fact, some people are so legitimately busy and strapped for time that there truly isn’t any reasonable adjustment (big or small) that they can make that would help. In cases like this, what typically happens is that these people will still attempt to fit in 3 or 4 workouts no matter how hard and inconvenient it is for them. While I admire that initial “I will do this no matter what!!!” attitude, what often ends up happening is that it just doesn’t work. At some point, the workouts start getting cut short. At some point, an occasional workout is missed completely. At some point, an entire week of workouts is missed completely. And at some point after that, they’re done trying.

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For people like this, trying to adjust your life to fit your workouts almost always backfires. And that brings us to the final option…

ADJUST YOUR WORKOUTS TO FIT YOUR LIFE If consistently weight training 3 or 4 times per week is out of the question, and adjusting your life to somehow squeeze these workouts in is either just not possible or too damn hard and inconvenient for you… then there’s only one remaining solution: adjust your workout routine to fit your life. But the question is, how? If 3 or 4 workouts are too much, what the hell are you supposed to do? I mean, you can’t really expect to do only 2 workouts per week and still reach your goals. Right? Actually… that’s exactly what you’re going to do.

WELCOME TO THE 2-DAY WORKOUT ROUTINE! The 2-Day Workout Routine is a program I put together for people who want to get maximum results out of what I consider to be the absolute minimum amount of training time required for a workout routine to be effective. As it turns out… that’s just 2 days per week. Not 5, not 4, not even 3. Most people wouldn’t even consider this an option, because it just doesn’t sound possible to get positive results training just twice per week. Well, as you’re about to find out, it most definitely IS possible. The 2-Day Workout Routine takes everything that makes a 3-4 day routine so effective and transforms it into the most convenient and highly successful 2-day workout routine you will ever see. So, if you legitimately don’t have time for the typical weight training programs that require 3-4 workouts per week (like every other program in this book), welcome to your ultimate solution. Let’s get down to the details…

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THE 2-DAY WORKOUT ROUTINE: THE SPLIT One of the many important aspects of a successful workout routine is training frequency per muscle group. Meaning, how often will you train each muscle group per week? As I’ve discussed in detail before, the ideal workout frequency for beginners is to train each muscle group about 3 times per week (although 2 times can work well too), and for intermediate and advanced trainees, training each muscle group about twice per week is what has proven to work best. Once per week, on the other hand, is often the LEAST effective frequency of all. Unless, of course, your goal is to just “maintain” rather than improve. In that case, a once-per-week frequency is sufficient. But if you’re reading this, then I’m guessing you don’t just want to “maintain.” Nah… you want to improve as quickly and effectively as possible. Sound about right? Well, with that in mind, there’s really only one weight training split capable of allowing us to reach an optimal training frequency when there’s only two workouts being done per week. This of course is the 2-day full body split. It breaks down like this…

Days

Workouts

Monday

Full Body Workout A

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

off

Thursday

Full Body Workout B

Friday

off

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

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As you can see, there are two different full body workouts (A and B), and each will train the entire body to some degree. The exact days of the week you choose to do the workouts on really doesn’t matter at all as long as you have 2-4 days between them. So that could be Monday and Thursday, like the example above shows, or Monday and Friday, or Tuesday and Saturday, or Sunday and Wednesday… or anything similar. As long as there are no fewer than 2 days between each workout and no more than 4 days, it’s perfectly fine. This is another part of what makes this program so convenient. You get to pick the 2 days that are best for you. So, with the split all figured out, it’s time to get to the workouts themselves…

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THE 2-DAY WORKOUT ROUTINE: THE WORKOUTS As I just explained, The 2-Day Workout Routine will use the 2-day full body split. That means we’ll be training the entire body to some degree in both workouts. Now, the goal with these workouts is to design everything as intelligently as possible in terms of effectiveness, while also ensuring that we don’t end up with stupidly long 3+ hour sessions. To do this, there are quite a few different programming methods and design options that can be used. Some may be a little more ideal for certain people than others based on your exact goals, needs and training preferences. And, since each version of The 2-Day Workout Routine brings something different and beneficial to the table, I’m going to show you all of them. Let’s start with Version 1…

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THE 2-DAY WORKOUT ROUTINE: VERSION 1 The first version of this program is easily the simplest and most basic of them all and is built around the most fundamental concept of what a full body workout can be. And that is: one exercise (most often compound, though not always) for each major movement pattern. Meaning that there will be one of each of the following types of exercises: 1. Quad dominant. (Like squats, leg press, etc.) 2. Hamstring dominant. (Like deadlifts, leg curls, etc.) 3. Horizontal push. (Like bench press, incline press, etc.) 4. Horizontal pull. (Like bent over rows, seated cable rows, etc.) 5. Vertical push. (Like shoulder presses, lateral raises, etc.) 6. Vertical pull. (Like pull-ups, lat pull-downs, etc.) All of the lesser important stuff is left out in favor of just doing what matters most 99% of the time and will, in the end, be responsible for the majority of the results you get anyway. With a routine like this where there will only be two workouts per week, this type of programming is one of the easiest ways of making it work while keeping the workouts at a realistically manageable length. So, here’s how this first version of the workouts will go…

Workout A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

4

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Lat Pull-Downs

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

6

Leg Curls

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

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Workout B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Incline Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Rows

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Leg Press

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

6

Lateral Raises

3

10-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: WORKOUT A 

Workout A starts with squats. That’s meant to be barbell back squats, by the way. However, if you happen to be someone who isn’t built for squats or you just have a problem doing them for whatever reason, you can replace them with leg presses (ideally using a 45 degree leg press machine).



Next up is the bench press. This is meant to be a flat barbell bench press. I recommend having a spotter if possible. Besides being important for obvious safety reasons, not having one may make you afraid of trying for an additional rep, and this could hinder your progress. If you don’t like the flat barbell bench press for whatever reason, the flat dumbbell bench press would be a suitable replacement. And if you have a problem with all flat pressing altogether, the next best replacement would be the decline bench press.



Up next is a row, which basically means some type of horizontal pull (meaning back row exercise). Pretty much any type of row would be fine here, so pick your favorite (bent over barbell or dumbbell rows, t-bar rows, chest supported rows, seated cable rows, various Hammer Strength machine rows, whatever).



For the shoulder press, this could be a seated barbell press (in front of you, not behind the neck), a seated dumbbell press, a standing overhead press, whatever. Pick your favorite.



For lat pull-downs, I recommend using an underhand grip (meaning your palms will face you) or a neutral grip (palms face each other… this grip is much less stressful on your elbows/wrists). This is because I’m going to recommend an overhand grip (palms face away

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from you) during Workout B. You’ll see. These are to be done in front of your head… never behind the neck. 

For the leg curls, some gyms have a few different types of leg curl machines… seated, standing, and laying. You can really just pick any one you want.

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS: WORKOUT B 

Workout B starts with the Romanian deadlift. I recommend using a double overhand grip for these as opposed to a mixed grip (which would be one hand over, one hand under). If you ever reach a point where the weight you’re deadlifting becomes too heavy to hold and your grip becomes an issue, feel free to use straps. Also, if you don’t like RDLs, stiff-legged deadlifts (SLDL) could be done instead.



From there it’s on to pull-ups. These are meant to be done using an overhand grip (and always do them in front of your head… never behind your neck). If you are unable to do pull-ups, you can do lat pull-downs or some form of assisted pull-up instead (still using an overhand grip). It’s perfectly fine. However, if you’re doing an assisted pull-up, your eventual goal should be to use less and less assistance until you’re using none at all. And if you’re someone who can already do the prescribed amount of sets and reps with your own body weight, you need to get yourself a “pull-up belt” (also called a “dip belt”) and start adding some additional weight.



For incline pressing, I’d probably recommend incline dumbbell presses. Although, any type of incline press would be just as good here. Barbell, dumbbell, machine (Hammer Strength makes an incline chest press that I love). But, my first choice recommendation would be the incline dumbbell press. If you happen to have any preexisting shoulder problems that make incline pressing uncomfortable, try using a neutral grip (where your palms face each other).



Then we have rows, which just like before means some type of horizontal pull (meaning back row exercise). Again, pretty much any type of row would be fine here, so pick your favorite (bent over barbell or dumbbell rows, t-bar rows, chest supported rows, seated cable rows, various Hammer Strength machine rows, whatever). My only suggestion would be to make it a different rowing exercise than you did in the A workout.



After that it’s on to leg presses. They are meant to be done in a 45 degree leg press, but if your gym doesn’t have one, you can use whatever leg press they do have. You can do these the traditional way (both legs at the same time) or single leg if possible. I personally like single leg, but either way is fine.

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For lateral raises, you can really do whatever lateral raise you want. With dumbbells (seated or standing, one arm at a time or both together), with cables, with a lateral raise machine if your gym has a decent one. Just pick your favorite.

And that’s Version 1 of The 2-Day Workout Routine. Now, let’s take a look at a second version of these workouts…

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THE 2-DAY WORKOUT ROUTINE: VERSION 1A This isn’t so much a full second version of this program as it is just a slightly modified version that adds some of that lesser important accessory work I mentioned earlier and purposely left out in Version 1. Specifically, this means some direct biceps and triceps work, some calves and some abs. So, here is how we’re going to make those additions…

Workout A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Bench Press

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Rows

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

4

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Lat Pull-Downs

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

6

Leg Curls

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

7

Triceps Isolation

2

12-15

1 minute

8

Biceps Isolation

2

12-15

1 minute

Workout B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

2-3 minutes

3

Incline Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

4

Rows

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

5

Leg Press

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

6

Lateral Raises

3

10-15

1 minute

7

Calves

4

6-12

1-2 minutes

8

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from Version 1 (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions. There are, however, some new notes worth mentioning…

WORKOUT A: 

When I say “triceps isolation,” this just means to pick any triceps isolation exercise you want and do it here. So that might be cable pushdowns, or overhead dumbbell extensions, or skull crushers, or anything similar. As long as it’s an isolation exercise and not a compound exercise (meaning no dips and no close grip bench press), it will be perfectly fine. Just pick your favorite.



When I say “biceps isolation,” this just means to pick any biceps isolation exercise you want and do it here. So that might be barbell curls, or dumbbell curls, preacher curls, cable curls, or anything similar. As long as it’s an isolation exercise for your biceps, it will be perfectly fine. Just pick your favorite.

WORKOUT B: 

When I say “calves,” you can pick any calf exercise you want. I prefer some sort of straight legged exercise, such as standing calf raises or calf presses in the 45 degree leg press. If you’d rather do some kind of bent-knee exercise instead (like seated calf raises), that’s fine too. In that case, do 2 sets standing (in the 6-8 rep range) and 2 sets seated (in the 12-15 rep range).



For abs, do a few sets of whatever you want. Just don’t go too crazy… no more than 10 minutes or so. I like various forms of weighted crunches, hanging leg/hip raises, planks, etc. Pick your favorites and keep it simple. Additional details here.

Now for another version of these workouts that builds even further upon these adjustments.

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THE 2-DAY WORKOUT ROUTINE: VERSION 1B Once again, this isn’t so much a full second version of this program as it is just a slightly modified version that adds a new component to the Version 1A workouts we just went through. What component, you ask? Alternating sets. Like I mentioned before, one of the potential problems with a 2-day full body workout routine is that the workouts can become a bit long in length if they aren’t designed properly. In fact, they can become insanely long to the point where the workouts are just some combination of hilarious, terrible and pointless. Trust me, I’ve seen it. And that’s one thing we’re trying to avoid here. We’re trying to get things just right. Having said that, a full body workout that gets everything “just right” can still end up being a little longer than some people have time for or would just prefer their workouts to last. In cases like this, alternating sets are the perfect solution and the next logical step to take. However, before I show you how they will be used, I want to show you why they will be used…

WHY ALTERNATING SETS INSTEAD OF SUPERSETS? You may be wondering why this version is going to use alternating sets instead of supersets. This is because, for reasons I fully explain in my Supersets vs Alternating Sets comparison, I think supersets are mostly dumb and counterproductive. The main reason is that supersets are done with NO rest in between each set. So you’d do a set of Exercise A immediately followed by a set of Exercise B. The result? Your performance on Exercise B goes to crap because of the accumulated fatigue. This is fine if you’re only in the gym to get your heart pumping, burn some extra calories, sweat more and just “feel” like you’re doing something special and advanced. But if you’re actually there to… you know… make the type of progress required to build any amount of lean muscle, get stronger, and really just make significant improvements to your body in general, then supersets kinda suck. Alternating sets, on the other hand, pair up Exercise A and B just the same, only with some beneficial amount of rest in between each set of each exercise. So, you still get the perks of having exercises paired up in alternating fashion, only without the performance drop off you’d be guaranteed to experience on whatever exercise is being done second in a superset.

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To show you how it’s all done, I’m going to use Version 1A of The 2-Day Workout Routine to apply the pairings and adjust the rest times to create the alternating sets. However, you could just as easily apply these same adjustments to Version 1 of the workouts if you’d prefer to use that version. With all of that out of the way, let’s get to the details…

Workout “A” Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2a

Bench Press

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

2b

Rows

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

3a

Shoulder Press

3

8-10

1 minute

3b

Lat Pull-Downs

3

8-10

1 minute

4

Leg Curls

3

10-12

1-2 minutes

5a

Triceps Isolation

2

12-15

30-60 seconds

5b

Biceps Isolation

2

12-15

30-60 seconds

Workout “B” Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

4

5-8

2-3 minutes

2a

Pull-Ups

3

6-8

1-2 minutes

2b

Incline Press

3

8-10

1-2 minutes

3a

Rows

3

8-10

1 minute

3b

Leg Press

3

10-12

1 minute

4

Lateral Raises

3

10-15

1 minute

5a

Calves

4

6-12

30-60 seconds

5b

Abs

-

8-15

30-60 seconds

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DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” from the previous versions (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any questions. The only new note worth mentioning here is that exercises listed as “1a” and “1b” or “2a” and “2b” etc. are meant to be paired up as alternating sets. In these instances, the rest times listed are the amount of time to rest in between each set of each exercise in the pairing. Here’s an example. In Workout A, you would pair up bench presses and rows like this… 

Set #1 of Bench Press



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #1 of Rows



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #2 of Bench Press



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #2 of Rows



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #3 of Bench Press



Rest 1-2 minutes



Set #3 of Rows

You’d then rest for a few minutes and move on to the next exercise (which, in this example, would be the shoulder press/lat pull-down alternated pairing). If you’re confused or have any other questions about how alternating sets are meant to be done, this article will clear it up: http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/supersets-vs-alternating-sets/ You’ve also probably noticed that some exercises are not paired up. This is because certain exercises just aren’t really meant to be part of an alternating set pairing in my opinion (like squats and deadlifts, for example; they are just too demanding as it is and there’s too much overlap in which muscle groups are being trained).

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Others might be fine, however, but they just don’t really pair up well with other exercises in this specific routine (like leg curls in Workout A and lateral raises in Workout B, for example). In all of these cases, exercises that are not paired up with other exercises are meant to be done alone like you normally would if alternating sets weren’t being used. And one final option worth mentioning is that, if you don’t want to do ALL of the alternating set pairings shown in each workout, you don’t have to. For example, in Workout A, if you’d rather do bench press and rows separately using a normal straight set structure but then still do the rest of the alternating exercises like it’s written, that’s perfectly fine. And yes, the same alternating set pairings could be used with Version 1 of these workouts.

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THE FAT LOSS + MUSCLE MAINTENANCE SOLUTION

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► THE FAT LOSS + MUSCLE MAINTENANCE SOLUTION

A

nd now for something very different. Something that isn’t aimed so much at building muscle (like every other program in this book is), but rather at maintaining muscle.

Let me explain. Is your goal to lose fat? Good, because a lot of people often say their goal is to lose “weight.” I always find that to be a little broad, as “weight” can be a few different things. For example: glycogen, water, poop, muscle or fat. Of course, most people’s true goal is to lose fat, which means we’re really seeking fat loss, not weight loss. The reason I’m bringing this up isn’t because I’m just one of those annoying grammarpolice kind of people who want to nit-pick semantics (though I do enjoy that as well). Instead, I bring this up because it raises a VERY important point. And that is: You could potentially lose muscle while you’re losing fat. I’m not trying to scare you; I’m just trying to let you know that this is a real problem that really does happen quite often. The people who realize it constantly obsess over how to prevent it, and the people who don’t just end up complaining about it when it happens. In fact, I’ve experienced it myself firsthand. I know what it’s like to work your ass off building muscle only to lose some (or most) of it soon after while trying to “cut” or “diet down” and get rid of that little bit of unwanted fat you’re carrying at the time. It sucks, and it’s an extremely common problem that affects men and women with a variety of fat loss goals in mind. And that brings me to my big point… Since most of us ONLY want to lose our ugly body fat rather than our pretty, hard-earned lean muscle, that means there’s a second goal that should always come along with the goal of losing fat… MAINTAINING MUSCLE! And that’s exactly what this workout routine is specifically designed for: allowing you to preserve all of your lean muscle mass while body fat is lost without any problems at all. With me so far? Good. Now let’s answer the question that probably just popped into your head…

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WHY AREN’T WE TRYING TO BUILD MUSCLE INSTEAD OF JUST MAINTAINING IT? Good question, and it’s actually something we already covered in Superior Muscle Growth. In case you forgot, it basically comes down to this: fat loss requires a caloric deficit, and muscle growth requires a caloric surplus. Which means that with a few exceptions (namely steroid users, fat beginners, genetic freaks and people regaining lost muscle), the majority of the population will NOT be able to build muscle while in a caloric deficit. Additional details here: Can You Build Muscle and Lose Fat At The Same Time? So why shouldn’t we try to build muscle while losing fat? Because we most likely won’t be able to (certainly not to anything close to a meaningful degree), and trying to anyway in spite of what I just explained is actually one of the main reasons why people either end up failing to lose fat in the first place, or even worse… end up losing muscle while losing fat. That’s why goal #2 (or really goal #1A) for anyone trying to lose any amount of fat is to work equally hard to put an equal amount of focus on maintaining their lean muscle at the same time.

SO THEN, HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN MUSCLE WHILE LOSING FAT? Well, in terms of your diet, the most important factors are: 

Eating a sufficient amount of protein every day (this one is absolutely crucial).



Not creating too large of a caloric deficit.



Not going stupidly low in carbs.

And in terms of weight training, your ability to send your body a sufficient “muscle maintenance” signal is going to play the largest role of all in whether your body decides to burn body fat or muscle tissue for fuel while in a deficit. So how do you send this maintenance signal, you ask? Simply put… The primary training stimulus required for maintaining muscle is maintaining your current levels of strength.

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You know how gradually getting stronger (aka progressive overload) is what signals your body to begin the muscle building process? Well, on a fat loss diet, just maintaining your current levels of strength is what now signals your body to maintain muscle. So, for example, if you currently bench press 200 lbs, your goal throughout the duration of your fat loss phase is to end up bench pressing that same 200 lbs (or more, if possible) when you’re done and all of the fat has been lost. The same goes for every other exercise in your program. Sure, you can continue trying to get stronger and continue trying to make progressive overload happen while losing fat. But, don’t be surprised if it’s MUCH harder to do (if not borderline impossible, in some cases) and the best you can manage is just maintaining strength rather than increasing it. This is fine, of course, as just maintaining the amount of weight you currently lift on every exercise is the #1 goal and requirement of any successful weight training program geared toward maintaining muscle while losing fat. And you can bet your ass that this entire workout routine is built completely around making that happen. Additional details here: How To Lose Fat Without Losing Muscle

HERE’S WHY EVERYONE ELSE SCREWS IT UP, AND WHY WE WON’T Now that you know what needs to be done, I want to show you what people often do instead that screws things up big time. For starters, there’s that silly myth that “less weight” and “more reps” is for “toning.” And the equally silly first cousin of that myth, which is that you lift heavy weight to build muscle, and then you lift light weight to lose fat. HA! In reality, you lift heavy weight to build muscle, and then lift that same heavy weight if you want to actually maintain that muscle. In fact, purposely lifting lighter weight is the WORST possible thing you could do. Why? Because a decrease in the amount of weight you lift represents an equal decrease in the signal that tells your body to preserve your lean muscle.

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Guess what happens then? Your body basically thinks: “Hey, I guess we no longer have a reason to keep this muscle around, so let’s start getting rid of it.” Not good. Another terrible semi-related idea is to do MORE than you’re already doing. You know… “It’s time to lose fat, I better add in more workouts, more exercises, more sets and reps.” The problem is, you’re in a caloric deficit. And a caloric deficit is literally an energy deficit. And when you’re in this energy deficient state, your body becomes worse at all things training related. Specifically, performance suffers, work capacity is reduced, and recovery goes to crap. As you can imagine, these are all things that will quickly lead to a loss of strength. And as you just learned, a loss of strength quickly leads to a loss of muscle. So, what do we need to do instead? LESS, not more. I’m not sure where I first heard it (I’d guess Lyle McDonald), but I’ve heard some very smart people state that you can maintain muscle doing as little as one third of what it took to build it. My own firsthand experience supports this. That means rather than adding, we’re going to subtract. Less volume, less frequency, fewer total workouts. These are the adjustments that need to be made to compensate for the reduced recovery that comes with being in a caloric deficit. Failing to make these adjustments (or being dumb enough to go in the opposite direction) will usually catch up with you in a way that eventually causes muscle loss. Luckily for us though, we’re going to prevent that from ever happening.

WELCOME TO THE FAT LOSS + MUSCLE MAINTENANCE SOLUTION Technically speaking, The Fat Loss + Muscle Maintenance Solution isn’t so much an actual routine itself as it is a system of adjustments that can and almost always should be made to the program you were previously using to build muscle in the first place. Meaning, it can work with virtually any intelligent muscle building program there is. However, in order to bring this system to life and show you its practical applications, I’m going to provide you with the full details of the specific workout routine that I most often use, recommend, and feel works BEST for this very purpose. So, let’s get down to business…

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THE FAT LOSS + MUSCLE MAINTENANCE SOLUTION: THE SPLIT When the goal is to lose fat while maintaining muscle, I most often use and recommend three total weight training workouts per week. Can four workouts work? Yup, for some people. But in my experience, three tends to be superior. That 4th workout is just too much of a potential recovery-killer for most people to take a chance on (and it doesn’t provide any additional benefits in the first place). Can two workouts work? Surprisingly yes, and The 2-Day Workout Routine included earlier in this book would be a damn fine place to start. But again, three total weight training workouts per week just seems to be the sweet spot for reaching the ideal fat loss + muscle maintenance combo. Which is why that’s exactly what we’re going to use. Here’s the split…

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Week #1

3-Day Upper/Lower (4 - 5th Day Frequency)

Monday

Upper Body A

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Lower Body A

Thursday

off

Friday

Upper Body B

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

th

Week #2 Monday

Lower Body B

Tuesday

off

Wednesday

Upper Body A

Thursday

off

Friday

Lower Body A

Saturday

off

Sunday

off

As you can see, it’s the classic 3-day version of the upper/lower split. It rotates from upper/lower/upper one week, to lower/upper/lower the next. This allows for a frequency where each muscle group gets trained once every 4th-5th day. As you may remember, that’s right within the ideal frequency range for building muscle, and it’s still perfect for maintaining muscle as well. What makes it even more ideal in this specific case is that the frequency is slightly reduced when compared to the classic 4-day version of the upper/lower split (and there’s one less workout per week in general). This is the exact “do slightly less, not more” type of adjustment we want to make. Now let’s take a look at the workouts…

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THE FAT LOSS + MUSCLE MAINTENANCE SOLUTION: THE WORKOUTS If you’ve ever seen, used or were already using The Muscle Building Workout Routine (included earlier in this book), then these workouts are going to look mighty familiar. Like I said before, the routine you were using (or would be using) to build muscle is often an ideal routine for you to use to maintain that muscle, just with some specific adjustments made to it. This routine is a perfect example of that, as it is essentially that exact routine adjusted in a way that is better suited for muscle maintenance rather than muscle growth. So, in addition to the small frequency reduction we’ve already made (assuming you’re coming from using a 4-day split prior to this), here now are the other adjustments that have been made to those workouts…

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THE FAT LOSS + MUSCLE MAINTENANCE SOLUTION: VERSION 1

Upper Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Bench Press

3

4-8

2-3* minutes

2

Rows

3

4-8

2-3* minutes

3

Incline Dumbbell Press

2

6-10

1-2* minutes

4

Lat Pull-Downs

2

6-10

1-2* minutes

5

Lateral Raises

2

8-15

1-2* minutes

6

Triceps Press-Downs

2

8-15

1-2* minutes

7

Dumbbell Curls

2

8-15

1-2* minutes

Lower Body A Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Romanian Deadlifts

3

4-8

2-3* minutes

2

Leg Press

3

8-12

1-2* minutes

3

Seated Leg Curls

2

6-10

1-2* minutes

4

Standing Calf Raises

4

5-8

1-2* minutes

5

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

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Upper Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Pull-Ups

3

4-8

2-3* minutes

2

Barbell Shoulder Press

3

4-8

2-3* minutes

3

Seated Cable Row

2

6-10

1-2* minutes

4

Dumbbell Bench Press

2

6-10

1-2* minutes

5

Dumbbell Flyes

2

8-15

1-2* minutes

6

Barbell Curls

2

8-15

1-2* minutes

7

Skull Crushers

2

8-15

1-2* minutes

Lower Body B Order

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest

1

Squats

3

4-8

2-3* minutes

2

Split Squats

2

6-10

1-2* minutes

3

Lying Leg Curls

3

8-12

1-2* minutes

4

Seated Calf Raises

4

8-15

1-2* minutes

5

Abs

-

8-15

1 minute

DETAILS AND CLARIFICATIONS The original “details and clarifications” for The Muscle Building Workout Routine (regarding exercise choices and so on) still remain relevant here. So, rather than redundantly repeat it all over again, you can just reference what I mentioned earlier if you have any related questions.

THE ADJUSTMENTS Now let’s take a look at what adjustments have been made to those original workouts.

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Volume is slightly reduced. Specifically, one set has been removed from each major muscle group’s secondary exercise. The one exception is chest in Upper Body B, where one set was removed from the primary exercise instead.



The lower end of the rep ranges has been extended. Here’s why and what it means. First, your #1 goal with every single exercise is to (at least) maintain your strength EXACTLY like it was at the time you began your fat loss phase. That means not only lifting the same amount of weight, but lifting it for the same amount of reps. Above all else, this is what you’re training for. Now here’s the thing. Due to the reduced work capacity that comes with being in an extended caloric deficit, the first place you might notice performance starting to suffer is when trying to maintain reps on some of your sets. So, if this ever happens and you do in fact reach a point where you lose a rep or two… then so be it. You’ll still be in an acceptable rep range for maintaining muscle, and the weight being lifted will still remain the same (which is most important of all). Your goal is to obviously work your ass off to maintain reps as they are, but just in case you happen to lose one here or there, the rep range has been extended to accommodate it. Here’s an example. Let’s say you were bench pressing 200 lbs for 3x6-8 and were doing reps of 8, 7, 6 when you started losing fat. If at some point in the middle/end of your fat loss phase you end up bench pressing 200 lbs for something like 6, 5, 4… that’s acceptable. Just try to maintain that 200 lbs at all costs.



The rest time asterisk. You may have noticed the little * next to the rest times. It’s to note that if you were previously using the lower-middle end of the prescribed rest time range, it may now be a perfect time to switch over to the highest end. Why? Because your goal is to maintain strength and performance, and a deficit isn’t exactly conducive to making that happen. To compensate, rest times should be increased to their maximum to help prevent any potential drop off in strength. In fact, if you want to add an additional 30 seconds onto the maximum prescribed rest times for certain exercises, then by all means go for it.

THE GOAL These workout adjustments are all geared toward one thing and one thing only… allowing you to maintain strength on every single exercise.

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Again, that’s your goal here. I really can’t repeat that enough. Striving to progress is still great and you may even find that you’re able to do so on some exercises from time to time (that’s just what happens when your fat loss diet and workout program are set up properly and you’re busting your ass in the gym). But if you find that progression isn’t really happening, and the best you can do is just maintain everything… then consider it a success just the same. The workout adjustments we just covered plus the reduced frequency (both in terms of total workouts per week AND frequency per muscle group) that comes with using the 3-day upper/lower split is what I’ve found works best for reaching this goal. So, get in the gym… lift heavy enough to show your body that there’s still a reason for it to maintain all of your muscle… and then get the hell out. Nothing more, nothing less. That’s The Fat Loss + Muscle Maintenance Solution.

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THE METHOD OF PROGRESSION

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► THE METHOD OF PROGRESSION

A

t this point you’ve seen the most effective and proven workout routines for various schedules, training preferences, experience levels and situations, all of which have been carefully designed to produce the best results possible. Which means all you need to do now is pick one and put it into action properly while providing the required time, effort and consistency needed for it to work. As long as you do… it will. Maybe.

THE MOST IMPORTANT WORKOUT COMPONENT OF ALL As I went into great detail to explain in Superior Muscle Growth, the key component of the “growth signal” is progression tension overload. Fatigue and damage are beneficial contributors as well, and the workouts contained in this book are all designed with this in mind. However, above all else, progressive overload is the key. In case you forgot, this is essentially just a fancy term for getting stronger. Basically, if you want muscle growth to occur to any degree (be it 5 lbs of new muscle or 25 lbs of new muscle), you must force your muscles to adapt to a tension that is above and beyond what they have previously experienced. So if you go on lifting the same amount of weight for the same number of reps for the rest of your life, you will never build any muscle. You will only maintain the muscle you currently have. Why? Because your body has already adapted to that tension and therefore has no reason to build any new muscle. And if the demands that need to be met can be met with whatever amount of muscle and strength your body already has, then your body will simply think “okay then, I guess no additional muscle is needed here.”

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But, if you increase the demands you are placing on your body by increasing the amount of weight being lifted and/or lifting the same weight for more reps (or something similar), then guess what your body thinks now? “Uh oh, looks like we’re going to need to build some new muscle to remain capable of meeting these new demands.” Which is why the #1 goal of every single workout routine in this book is to make progressive overload happen as often as possible by consistently striving to get stronger on every exercise over time. So if you can do 6 reps, you now want 7 reps. If you can lift 100 lbs, you now want 105 lbs. Whether you get just one more rep on just one set of just one exercise, or add 5 lbs to all of your sets… it doesn’t matter. When you step into the gym, your goal is to try to beat what you did the previous time by some small amount as often as you can (within the realm of safety and proper form, of course). All clear? Good. Now it’s time for me to show you the best way to make it happen.

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THE PROGRESSION PROTOCOL As I fully explained in Superior Muscle Growth, the overall progression protocol that I want you to follow will work like this… In every workout routine in this book, you have specific exercises that you are supposed to perform during each workout. For each exercise, you have a certain number of sets that you are supposed to do. For each set, you have a certain number of reps that you are supposed to do. And obviously, you also have a certain amount of weight that you will be lifting during each exercise. With this in mind, here’s the basic outline of how the progression will go: 1. Meet the prescribed set and rep goal for the exercise. 2. Increase the weight being lifted for that exercise by the smallest increment possible the next time you perform this exercise. 3. Meet the set/rep goal again with this new, slightly heavier weight. 4. Increase the weight being lifted again by the smallest increment possible. 5. Repeat this process over and over again as often as you are capable of making it happen. Now while there are many different methods to use to apply this progression protocol, there are three specific options that I’ve found to work best. They are: 1. Modified Straight Sets 2. Reverse Pyramid Training 3. Descending Ramp Training Yes, each can work extremely well. However, some people sometimes prefer (or sometimes do slightly better with) one method over another. For this reason, I’m going to walk you through each, fully explain how to implement them and allow you to choose the option that suits you best. Let’s start with Modified Straight Sets…

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METHOD #1: MODIFIED STRAIGHT SETS Of the progression methods I recommend most often, modified straight sets is typically my default recommendation because it’s a bit more straightforward and slightly less complex (although none of the methods are truly complex in the first place). Here’s how it works… For each exercise in each workout routine, I have prescribed a number of sets to do (most often 2 sets, 3 sets or 4 sets). You may have also noticed that I prescribed a range of reps for most exercises (5-7, 5-8, 6-8, 810, 10-12, 10-15 or 12-15) rather than one exact number. What this means is, when you are capable of doing all of your prescribed sets somewhere within that prescribed rep range with the same weight each set, that’s when you increase the weight by the smallest possible increment the next time you do that exercise. If you are unable to reach the set and rep range with a given weight, then your goal is to simply add additional reps to each of your sets until you reach that prescribed set and rep goal. Confused? It’s cool. Here’s a full example of exactly what I mean…

EXAMPLE OF HOW TO PROGRESS WITH MODIFIED STRAIGHT SETS Let’s say one of your workouts contains the bench press as one of the exercises. Now let’s also say that I prescribed 3 sets of 6-8 reps. And finally, let’s also pretend you currently bench press 100 lbs. Your workout may look like this: 

Set #1: 100 lbs – 8 reps



Set #2: 100 lbs – 7 reps



Set #3: 100 lbs – 6 reps

In this example, you have successfully reached the prescribed 3 sets of 6-8 reps with whatever weight you were using (100 lbs in this example). Congrats. You were able to do between 6 and 8 reps in all of the 3 sets.

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This means that the next time you do this workout, you should increase the weight you lift on the bench press by the smallest increment possible (usually 5 lbs). This means next time your workout may look like this: 

Set #1: 105 lbs – 7 reps



Set #2: 105 lbs – 6 reps



Set #3: 105 lbs – 5 reps

In this example, you increased your bench press by 5 lbs. This is good and means progressive overload has occurred. However, in this example you failed to get all 3 sets in the 6-8 rep range. Don’t feel bad, it’s perfectly normal and expected to happen. It just means that the next time this workout comes around, your goal is to increase in reps instead of weight. So, the next time you bench press it may go like this: 

Set #1: 105 lbs – 8 reps



Set #2: 105 lbs – 7 reps



Set #3: 105 lbs – 6 reps

In this example, you were able to successfully add an additional rep to all of your sets. Congrats, progressive overload has occurred once again. This also means that all of your sets are now in the prescribed 6-8 rep range, and this means you can go up to 110 lbs on the bench press the next time you do this workout. It may go something like this: 

Set #1: 110 lbs – 7 reps



Set #2: 110 lbs – 5 reps



Set #3: 110 lbs – 4 reps

In this example, more progressive overload has occurred because you have gone up 5 lbs on the bench press. However, you’ll notice that the second and third sets are below your prescribed 6-8 rep range goal. As you just learned, this is perfectly normal. It just means your goal next time is to try to get additional reps.

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So, let’s say next time comes around and you get reps of 7, 6, 5. Good job, more progressive overload has occurred. Then the next workout comes along and you get 8, 6, 5. Congrats again. And then the next workout comes along and you get 8, 7, 6; or 8, 7, 7; or 8, 6, 6; or 8, 8, 7; or 8, 8, 8 or anything similar. Perfect… all 3 sets are now within the prescribed 6-8 rep range. You’d then go up to 115 lbs the next time and repeat this whole process all over again. Basically, as long as your first set reaches the top end of the prescribed rep range (8 in this example) and the other sets are anywhere within the range, you should increase the weight being lifted by the smallest possible increment the next time you do that exercise. Pretty simple, right? If you’re wondering why I prefer using a rep range (like 3x6-8) for this rather than an exact rep goal (like 3x8 or 3x6), or really why I recommend modified straight sets over traditional straight sets, this article will explain it. And just in case it needs to be said, this is EXACTLY how you should progress with every exercise and every prescribed set and rep goal. Whether it’s 3 sets of 6-8, 3 sets of 8-10, 2 sets of 10-12, 4 sets of 5-8, 2 sets of 12-15 or whatever else. The process of progression should happen just like the above example, with the only difference being that you’d be going for a different set and rep range goal for different exercises. I will also mention again that you will have workouts where you are unable to progress on certain exercises, but are able to progress on others. You’ll also have workouts where you may not be able to progress on anything in any way. In some cases this may go on for a while with certain exercises (especially isolation movements). Don’t worry about it. Don’t get pissed off. Don’t feel bad. Don’t think you had a useless workout. Don’t think you need to change anything. You don’t. This is normal. While every workout routine in this book is designed to work as fast as possible, it’s still going to be a slow, gradual process. If we could all add 10 lbs to every exercise every workout, we’d all be lifting thousands of pounds by now. It just doesn’t work like that.

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All you need to do is make it your goal to make some form of progression take place on every exercise as often as you can (while still using perfect form, of course). Whether it’s as little as 1 extra rep in 1 set or as much as 5 more pounds on every set, it’s all progression just the same. As long as you are doing this and are gradually progressing in some way over time, the required progressive tension stimulus will be present and muscle growth will soon follow. This is how to make it all happen using modified straight sets. Now let’s take a look at reverse pyramid training…

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METHOD #2: REVERSE PYRAMID TRAINING Progressing with reverse pyramid training is very similar to progressing with modified straight sets. There’s still the same prescribed number of sets to do (often 2 sets, 3 sets or 4 sets) for each exercise in each workout. And there’s still the same prescribed range of reps to do for each exercise (e.g., 5-8, 6-8, 8-10, 10-12, 12-15, etc.) rather than one exact number. And when you are capable of doing all of your prescribed sets somewhere within that prescribed rep range, that’s still when you increase the weight by the smallest possible increment the next time you do that exercise. And just like before… if you are unable to reach the set and rep goal with a given weight, then your goal is still to simply get additional reps in each of your sets until you reach that prescribed set and rep goal. Sounds exactly like modified straight sets so far, right? Well, here’s the one BIG difference. With modified straight sets, the same weight was lifted during each set of an exercise, and our goal was to get the top of the prescribed rep range in the first set and then have the following sets of that exercise end up anywhere within that range. So for example, if we were to lift 100 lbs for 3x6-8, we might get 100 lbs for 8, 100 lbs for 7, and 100 lbs for 6 in those 3 sets. That would be an example of a successful session, and we’d be able to increase the weight for that exercise to 105 lbs the next time we do it. With reverse pyramid training, however, we’re going to start with our heaviest weight and then decrease the weight from one set to the next by 5-10%. And rather than starting out with the top of the rep range and having it possibly go down from set to set (like 8, 7, 6 in the previous example), the goal here will be to get the low end of the rep range in the first set and then increase the reps in the following sets (like 6, 7, 8) as the weight is reduced. Confused? It’s cool. Here’s a full example of exactly what I mean…

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EXAMPLE OF HOW TO PROGRESS WITH REVERSE PYRAMID TRAINING Let’s say one of your workouts contains the bench press as one of the exercises. Now let’s also say that I prescribed 3 sets of 6-8 reps. Now let’s pretend you can currently bench press 110 lbs for 6 reps. Your workout may look like this: 

Set #1: 110 lbs – 6 reps



Set #2: 100 lbs – 7 reps



Set #3: 90 lbs – 8 reps

In this example, you have successfully reached the prescribed 3 sets of 6-8 reps with the weights you were using (110 lbs, 100 lbs, 90 lbs in this example). Congrats. You were able to do between 6 and 8 reps in all 3 of the sets. This means that the next time you do this workout, you should increase the weight you lift on the bench press by the smallest increment possible (usually 5 lbs). This means that next time your workout may look like this: 

Set #1: 115 lbs – 5 reps



Set #2: 105 lbs – 6 reps



Set #3: 95 lbs – 7 reps

In this example, you increased your bench press by 5 lbs. This is good and means progressive overload has occurred. However, in this example you failed to get all 3 sets in the 6-8 rep range. Don’t feel bad, it’s perfectly normal and expected to happen. It just means that the next time this workout comes around, your goal is to increase in reps instead of weight. So, the next time you bench press it may go like this: 

Set #1: 115 lbs – 6 reps



Set #2: 105 lbs – 7 reps



Set #3: 95 lbs – 8 reps

In this example, you were able to successfully add an additional rep to all of your sets. Congrats, progressive overload has occurred once again.

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This also means that all of your sets are now in the 6-8 rep range, and this means you can go up 5 lbs on the bench press the next time you do this workout. It may go something like this: 

Set #1: 120 lbs – 4 reps



Set #2: 110 lbs – 5 reps



Set #3: 100 lbs – 7 reps

In this example, more progressive overload has occurred because you have gone up 5 lbs on the bench press. However, you’ll notice that the first and second sets are below your prescribed 6-8 rep range. As you just learned, this is perfectly normal. It just means your goal next time is to try to get additional reps. So, let’s say the next time comes around and you get reps of 5, 6, 7. Good job, more progressive overload has occurred. Then, the next workout comes along and you get 5, 6, 8. Congrats again. And then the next workout comes along and you get 6, 7, 8. Perfect… all 3 sets are now within the prescribed 6-8 rep range. You’d then go up another 5 lbs the next time and repeat this whole process all over again. Basically, as long as your first set reaches the low end of the prescribed rep range (6 in this example) and the other sets end up being at least 1 rep higher each set (7, 8 in this example), you should increase the weight being lifted in each set by the smallest possible increment the next time you do that exercise. So, you start out with your heaviest weight and aim for the low end of your prescribed rep range, and then decrease the weight in each of the following sets by about 5-10% so that you can get 1 more rep than you did in the set before it. And also note that we’re talking about reducing the weight each set by 5-10 percent here, not 510 pounds. The exact amount you’ll need to reduce the weight from set to set to get an extra rep may vary depending on the specific exercise, the placement of that exercise within your workout (and exactly what was done before it), the amount of rest between sets and your own genetics and individual training performance.

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But in most cases, a weight reduction of 5-10% (most often closer to 10%) usually allows you to get 1 rep more than you did in the set before it. So if you find that reducing the weight by 5% only allows you to match the same number of reps you did in the previous set, it’s a damn good sign that you should be reducing the weight by closer to 10% instead (or maybe something in between… like 7.5%). And if you find that reducing the weight by 10% allows you to get significantly more reps than you did in the previous set, it’s a good sign that you may have only needed to reduce the weight in that instance by something nearer to 5%. In fact, you may find that after set #1 (your heaviest set), you might need to reduce the weight by 10% in order to get 1 rep more than you just did, but then only need to reduce the weight by nearer to 5% in the following set to get 1 rep more than that. It may take some experimenting to find what suits you best, but in most cases a weight reduction of somewhere between 5-10% from set to set (again, often closer to 10%) is what will work just fine for most people. By the way, if you’re wondering why I recommend using a reverse pyramid rather than a traditional pyramid (spoiler alert: traditional pyramids suck for most people), this article will explain it. And just in case it needs to be said, this is EXACTLY how you should progress with every exercise and every prescribed set and rep goal. Whether it’s 3 sets of 6-8, 3 sets of 8-10, 2 sets of 10-12, 4 sets of 5-8, 2 sets of 12-15 or whatever else. The process of progression should happen just like the above example, with the only difference being that you’d be going for a different set and rep range goal for different exercises. I will also mention again that you will have workouts where you are unable to progress on certain exercises, but are able to progress on others. You’ll also have workouts where you may not be able to progress on anything in any way. In some cases this may go on for a while with certain exercises (especially isolation movements). Don’t worry about it. Don’t get pissed off. Don’t feel bad. Don’t think you had a useless workout. Don’t think you need to change anything. You don’t. This is normal.

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While every workout routine in this guide is designed to work as fast as possible, it’s still going to be a slow, gradual process. If we could all add 10 lbs to every exercise every workout, we’d all be lifting thousands of pounds by now. It just doesn’t work like that. All you need to do is make it your goal to make some form of progression take place on every exercise as often as you can (while still using perfect form, of course). Whether it’s as little as 1 extra rep in 1 set or as much as 5 more pounds on every set, it’s all progression just the same. As long as you are doing this and are gradually progressing in some way over time, the required progressive tension stimulus will be present and muscle growth will soon follow. This is how to make it all happen using reverse pyramid training. Now for the third method…

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METHOD #3: DESCENDING RAMP TRAINING The final method is something that I most often refer to as descending ramp training, though I also sometimes call it modified reverse pyramid because it’s essentially a modified version of the reverse pyramid training method I just covered. Let me show you what that means. Just like with reverse pyramid training, you start with the heaviest weight in your first set and then reduce the weight in each of the following sets by some small increment. The difference, however, is that you will now be doing the same number of reps in each set. With reverse pyramid, the reps go up each set as the weight goes down. With a descending ramp, the weight still goes down but the reps remain exactly the same. So whereas with reverse pyramid you reduced the weight by 5-10% to ensure that you could get an additional rep in each subsequent set, now you want to reduce the weight by a slightly smaller amount (typically closer to 5%) to keep the reps the same and/or ensure that you don’t lose any reps from the previous set (as opposed to modified straight sets, which is specifically designed to allow you to lose 1 rep each set). And then when you are capable of doing all of your prescribed sets for that same goal number of reps, that’s when you increase the weight by the smallest possible increment the next time you do that exercise. And just like with both of the other progression methods, if you are unable to reach the set and rep goal with a given weight, your goal is to simply get additional reps in each of your sets until you reach it. Confused? It’s cool. Here’s a full example of exactly what I mean…

EXAMPLE OF HOW TO PROGRESS WITH DESCENDING RAMP TRAINING Let’s say one of your workouts contains the bench press as one of the exercises. Now let’s also say that you’ll be doing 3 sets of 8 reps. Now let’s pretend you can currently bench press 105 lbs for 1 set of 8 reps (and if you stayed with 105 lbs in the other 2 sets, you’d naturally get 7 reps and 6 reps).

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In this case, your workout may look like this: 

Set #1: 105 lbs – 8 reps



Set #2: 100 lbs – 8 reps



Set #3: 95 lbs – 8 reps

In this example, you have successfully reached the prescribed 3 sets of 8 reps with the weights you were using (105 lbs, 100 lbs, 95 lbs in this example). Congrats. You were able to do 8 reps in all 3 of the sets. This means that the next time you do this workout, you should increase the weight you lift on the bench press by the smallest increment possible (usually 5 lbs). This means that the next time your workout may look like this: 

Set #1: 110 lbs – 7 reps



Set #2: 105 lbs – 7 reps



Set #3: 100 lbs – 7 reps

In this example, you increased your bench press by 5 lbs. This is good and means progressive overload has occurred. However, in this example you failed to get 8 reps in all 3 sets. Don’t feel bad, it’s perfectly normal and expected to happen. It just means that the next time this workout comes around, your goal is to increase in reps instead of weight. So, the next time you bench press it may go like this: 

Set #1: 110 lbs – 8 reps



Set #2: 105 lbs – 8 reps



Set #3: 100 lbs – 8 reps

In this example, you were able to successfully add an additional rep to all of your sets. Congrats, progressive overload has occurred once again. This also means that all of your sets are now at 8 reps, and that means you can go up 5 lbs on the bench press the next time you do this workout. It may go something like this:

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Set #1: 115 lbs – 6 reps



Set #2: 110 lbs – 6 reps



Set #3: 105 lbs – 7 reps

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In this example, more progressive overload has occurred because you have gone up 5 lbs on the bench press. However, you’ll notice that all of the sets are below your 8 rep goal. As you just learned, this is perfectly normal. It just means your goal next time is to try to get additional reps. So, let’s say next time comes around and you get 6, 7, 7. Good job, more progressive overload has occurred. Then, the next workout comes along and you get 7, 7, 8. Congrats again. And then the next workout comes along and you get 8, 8, 8. Perfect… all 3 sets are now at 8 reps. You’d then go up another 5 lbs the next time and repeat this whole process all over again. Basically, when all of your prescribed sets hit the single rep goal you’re aiming for (8 in this example), you should increase the weight being lifted in each set by the smallest possible increment the next time you do that exercise. So, you start out with your heaviest weight and then decrease it in each of the following sets by around 5% with the purpose being to try to reach the same single rep goal in all of them. And also note again that we’re talking about reducing the weight each set by about 5 percent here, not 5 pounds. The exact amount you’ll need to reduce the weight from set to set may vary depending on the specific exercise, the placement of that exercise within your workout (and exactly what was done before it), the amount of rest between sets and your own genetics and individual training performance. But in most cases, a weight reduction of 5% (occasionally slightly more or slightly less… you’ll need to experiment a bit) will allow most people to maintain reps from one set to the next (rather than lose 1 or more reps like many people do when keeping the weight the same). And just like with reverse pyramid, you may sometimes find that you need to reduce the weight by slightly different amounts in subsequent sets to make this happen.

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Also, keep in mind that this really doesn’t have to be THAT exact. For example, let’s say you’re doing 2 sets of 15 reps for dumbbell curls. Let’s say you use 35 lb dumbbells in the first set and get all 15 reps, but can already tell that your next set will require a small reduction in weight in order for you to get 15 reps again. A 5% reduction in this case wouldn’t work because most gyms will not have dumbbells that can support that increment. So in a scenario like this, you’d just reduce the weight by whatever the smallest increment actually is (which, in this example, would usually mean going down to 30 lb dumbbells on your next set). This is perfectly fine.

“BUT WAIT… WHAT ABOUT THE REP RANGES?!?” You may have noticed that this is the only progression method of the three that does not use a rep range. Rather, it uses just a single number of reps in all of the prescribed sets. The thing is, all of the workouts in this book prescribe a rep range rather than a single number of reps. So… what the hell are you supposed to do? It’s easy. You just pick one number within that prescribed range. For example, if an exercise called for 3 sets of 6-8 reps, you can choose to make your set/rep goal 3 sets of 6 reps, 3 sets of 7 reps or 3 sets of 8 reps. Just pick one and make that your consistent goal for this exercise. If it’s an exercise that called for 3 sets of 8-10, you can choose to make it 3 sets of 8, 3 sets of 9 or 3 sets of 10. If it called for 2x12-15, you could make the goal 2x12, 2x13, 2x14 or 2x15. The same thing applies to every other rep range. Now you might be wondering exactly what number within the prescribed ranges you should choose. Honestly? Whichever one you want. It will all work just fine. However, I do have one preference for how I like to see people do it and how I most often do it myself in one particular scenario.

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Here’s an example. Let’s say one workout includes two exercises for chest, or back, or quads, or hamstrings or whatever else. We’ll use chest for this example and say the exercises are bench press for 3x6-8 and incline dumbbell press for 3x8-10. In this case I like to go with the lowest end of the prescribed rep range for the primary lift, and the highest end of the prescribed rep range for the secondary lift. So in this example, I’d usually do 3x6 for the bench press and 3x10 for the incline dumbbell press. It doesn’t have to be done like this of course… it’s just how I usually prefer to do it when using this descending ramp method. Now to answer the final question you probably have about these progression methods…

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WHICH ONE IS BEST? METHOD 1 VS METHOD 2 VS METHOD 3 So now you’ve seen how modified straight sets, reverse pyramid training and descending ramp training work. All you need to do now is pick the method that seems most ideal for you and implement it into your workouts to make progressive overload take place. If you’re not sure which to choose, my suggestion would be to spend a full training cycle (e.g., 612 weeks) giving each method a try. Pay attention to how things go, monitor your progress closely, and compare the results afterwards to find out which worked best for you or just felt more “right” for you and the way your body naturally performs. Like I said before, all of these methods work extremely well and are what I personally use and recommend most because of how effective they are. It’s really just a matter of picking the one that seems most ideal for you or testing them yourself to determine which actually is most ideal for you. For some people, that will be modified straight sets. For others, it will be reverse pyramid training. For others, descending ramp training. In fact, many people may find that they like and/or perform well with more than one method. Or maybe that one method suits you better on certain exercises, while another method suits you better on other exercises. In cases like this, you can definitely feel free to incorporate as many of these progression methods into your training as you see fit. That’s perfectly fine. But in the end, regardless of which method(s) you end up using, all that truly matters is that you actually use it and work your ass off to make progressive overload happen. Above all else, that’s going to be the true key to your training. These are just my preferred methods for making it happen.

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THE DELOAD PROTOCOL

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► THE DELOAD PROTOCOL

I

already went into great detail about the purpose and importance of deloading in Superior Muscle Growth, so I’m not going to repeat it all again here.

I will, however, sum it up like this… Your body isn’t capable of going at 100%, 100% of the time. Your training absolutely must be cycled in some form to allow for continued progression, optimal recovery, supercompensation (which is when improvements occur) and injury prevention. Or to put that another way, deloading is a requirement of Superior Muscle Growth. Here now is a quick recap of the specific deload protocol I recommend…

THE PROTOCOL Approximately once every 6-12 weeks (so about 4-8 times per year), you’re going to insert a 1 week period where you reduce the intensity (aka the weight being lifted) of every exercise, and then spend the next 2 weeks gradually bringing that intensity back up to what it originally was. Let me break that down for you: 1. Week 1: Reduce the amount of weight you lift on every exercise to about 80% of what it usually is for the entire week. Keep every other aspect of your workouts the same. (Example: If you normally lift 200 lbs on some exercise for 3 sets of 6-8 reps, you’d now lift 160 lbs for the same 3 sets of 6-8 reps.) 2. Week 2: Now you start gradually bringing the intensity back up. So this week you increase the amount of weight you lift on every exercise back to about 90% of what it initially was. (Example: If you normally lift 200 lbs on some exercise for 3 sets of 6-8 reps, you’d now lift 180 lbs for the same 3 sets of 6-8 reps.) 3. Week 3: Now you finish the deload by bringing the intensity back up and increasing the amount of weight you lift on every exercise to 100% of what it was before you began this deload. (Example: If you normally lift 200 lbs on some exercise for 3 sets of 6-8 reps, you’d now go back to lifting that full 200 lbs for the same 3 sets of 6-8 reps.)

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And at that point, the deload is over. A fresh new training cycle is ready to begin and you’re back to working your ass off to make consistent progression occur.

SHOULD EVERYONE DO THIS? As I explained in Superior Muscle Growth, this deload protocol – specifically the “every 6-12 weeks” frequency of it – applies primarily to intermediate and advanced trainees. Beginners, on the other hand, are much less likely to truly need it (or benefit from it) at all during their first 3-6 months of training, sometimes even longer. However, once things continue to get heavier as more and more progress is made, it becomes a bit more common for stuff to eventually begin to stall a bit and/or for mental and physical fatigue to start reaching meaningful levels. This would be the point for a beginner to deload. Once the person is past the beginner stage and therefore at the intermediate level using an intermediate routine, that’s when deloading should occur somewhere between every 6-12 weeks or so.

DIET During the deloading period, your diet will remain virtually unchanged. You want your caloric surplus to remain intact, your macronutrient intake to remain intact and your calorie cycling approach to remain intact. The reason being that this is a time when supercompensation is going to occur. Which means your body will basically be rebuilding and recovering more so than ever before, so it’s not uncommon to experience some actual muscle growth WHILE you deload. Making sure the calories and nutrients needed for it to happen are still being supplied is obviously a pretty good idea.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS Once again, this is essentially just a quick recap of the deloading chapter from Superior Muscle Growth. So if you have any other questions or are looking for additional details, that would be the chapter to read.

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CHANGING YOUR WORKOUT: WHY, WHEN AND HOW TO DO IT

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► CHANGING YOUR WORKOUT: WHY, WHEN AND HOW TO DO IT

A

s you are hopefully already aware, you absolutely must use a workout program for a significant period of time in order for it to actually be capable of working.

At the same time, however, it’s unrealistic to think that you’re going to do the same workout the same way forever. You’re not. At some point, changes should be made to your training for a variety of reasons. These reasons include: 

Continued progression.



Training body parts in other beneficial ways.



Getting the benefits of other exercises and variations.



Getting the benefits of other types of equipment.



Preventing overuse injuries.



Mental freshness, preventing boredom and keeping things fun.

However, before I get into my recommendations for when to make these changes and what kind of changes to make, there’s one very important point I need to make first. And that is, the idea that you need to constantly change your workouts to “shock your muscles” is complete bullshit. And the idea that frequent changes need to be made all the time to “keep your body guessing” and “make sure your muscles never adapt to what you’re doing” is also complete bullshit. And you know the entire concept of “muscle confusion”? Yeah, it’s really the biggest bullshit of all.

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Rather than try to quickly explain this here, it would be much better to send you to a few articles I’ve already written that cover this topic in great detail. Check them out:



Changing Your Workout Routine Too Often



The Myth Of Muscle Confusion



When, Why, How And How Often Should You Change Your Routine

They’ll cover this nonsense quite well. Now let’s get into the recommendations…

BEGINNER RECOMMENDATIONS Because of the untrained (or detrained) state beginners start out in, they are primed for long-term consistent progression. But one thing they must have in order to make it happen is consistency. They need to spend a significant amount of time doing the same small handful of primary exercises in the same way with a focus on consistent progression (and perfecting their form) so the magic of “beginner gains” can do its thing. For this reason, beginners will not need to make (or benefit from making) any kinds of changes to their workout program. With the possible exception of an eventual deload somewhere down the line when things finally start to stall (as mentioned in the previous chapter), and the option of eventually bringing the rep range down to 6-8 (instead of 8-10), beginners will do best sticking with the beginner routine exactly as it is for the full amount of time they spend as a beginner. Which means that your first truly significant change should be your eventual switch from the beginner routine to some form of intermediate routine. And so the new question becomes, when should a beginner switch to an intermediate routine? This is a topic I’ve already covered in detail right here: When Should A Beginner Move To An Intermediate Routine?

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INTERMEDIATE AND ADVANCED RECOMMENDATIONS Alright, the first rule of making changes to your workout is to not do it TOO often. The second rule of making changes to your workout is to not do it TOO often. The third rule? See rules #1 and #2. Have I made this point clear enough? Good. Because in order for progress to be made, you have to keep things the same for a period of time long enough for that progress to actually be made. Having said that, let’s start with the most major change of all: a complete change of the overall workout program itself. As in, how often should you switch from one routine to a different routine? There honestly is no official set-in-stone answer to this question. However, my recommendation is to stay with the same overall workout program for an absolute minimum of 12 weeks. What’s the maximum amount of time you should spend using the same workout program? There really isn’t a maximum. You could stay with the same overall workout program and training template for years while just making various smaller changes within it. As for these smaller changes, how often should they be made? And what kind of changes should you make? Well, there’s lots of stuff you can optionally change within a given workout program. This includes exercises, exercise order, rep ranges, progression methods, rest periods and more. As long as they’re done intelligently, changes like this can be fine (though again, they should not happen TOO often). However, out of everything I just listed, exercises are by far the easiest, most common and leastlikely-to-screw-up changes you can make. And it’s really as simple as just switching any exercise to another similar type of exercise. For example, the dumbbell version of an exercise to the barbell version of that same exercise, or a dumbbell fly to a cable fly, or a seated exercise to the standing version of that same exercise, or a row to another row, or an incline press to any other incline press, or an overhand grip to an

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underhand or neutral grip version of that same exercise, or a machine version to a free weight version of the same exercise, or one deadlift variation to another similar deadlift variation, or a pull-up to a chin-up or lat pull-down, or a split squat to a lunge, or a biceps curl to any other biceps curl, and on and on and on. Basically, as I explained in Superior Muscle Growth, similar versions of the same type of exercise are virtually all interchangeable with each other when your goal is building muscle. So let’s pretend the workout you’re using called for some kind of row for your back (aka a horizontal pulling exercise). You might initially do bent over barbell rows in that spot. Then you might eventually switch it to bent over dumbbell rows, then eventually seated cable rows, then eventually t-bar rows, then eventually a Hammer Strength machine row, and then maybe switch back to bent over barbell rows again. And many of the exercises I just mentioned can be done with a variety of different grips (overhand, underhand, neutral, wide, narrow, etc.), thus giving you dozens of other options. Guess what else? Every exercise in every workout in this book can eventually be replaced with another exercise from its own similarly huge list of potential options. My suggestion would be to make yourself a list of a few of your favorite exercises for each muscle group, and then just gradually rotate through them over time by inserting a new one into the appropriate spot in your workout (in place of the current exercise… NOT in addition to it) while keeping everything else (split, set and rep ranges, rest periods, exercise order, etc.) exactly the same. Like I said a minute ago, you could keep the overall template of the workout program the same for quite a while and just occasionally change the exercises within it. You could then go an indefinite amount of time without needing to change anything else. As long as progress is still going well and you’re happy with what you’re doing… that’s really all that matters. And so the question then becomes… how often can the exercises be changed? Once again, there really is no set-in-stone answer. Progress (have things stalled, even after deloading?) and personal preferences (some people prefer more or less variety than others) would be the main factors to consider.

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Generally speaking though, your primary exercises should be changed the least often and your isolation exercises can be changed the most often. Your secondary exercises are somewhere in the middle. More specifically, I’d recommend keeping the primary compound exercises the same for a minimum of 12 weeks, the secondary compound exercises for a minimum of 6 weeks, and the isolation exercises for a minimum of 3 weeks. Please note the emphasis on the word “minimum.” The exercises absolutely DO NOT have to be changed this often. You can go much longer than this before changing them. This is just my recommendation for how long – at the very least – you should stay with the same exercises before considering making changes. So, for example, if you get to the 12th week and you’re still progressing well on some primary exercise (and still enjoy doing it), then definitely stick with it for as much longer as you want. If, however, progress is stalling (and deloading didn’t help) and/or you’re just sick of the exercise, that’s a good time to make a change when that 12th week comes along. But if that doesn’t happen until the 14th week, or the 15th week, or the 16th week or longer… then there is no need to change a thing. The same goes for the secondary exercises and isolation exercises at the 6 and 3 week marks, respectively. If everything is going well, the exercise is still doing what it’s there to do (provide progressive tension and/or fatigue and/or damage) and you are still enjoying the exercise, definitely feel free to keep on using it well past that point. If not, or you’re just getting bored with that exercise, then feel free to change it. Basically… if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That really sums up most of what you need to know about making changes to your workout routine. For me personally, I don’t change my primary exercises often at all. That’s just my preference. I’m more likely to keep those exercises the same for much longer than the 12 week minimum and then just regularly deload when needed and occasionally change other aspects of how they’re being done (e.g., different set/rep ranges, different progression methods, etc.). As for secondary and isolation exercises, I change those with a bit more regularity (though still certainly not TOO often, and typically longer than the 6 and 3 week marks).

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Also keep in mind that when you are changing exercises, you don’t have to change all of them at once. Meaning, if you only have a reason to change one primary exercise at some point, then you should only change that one exercise… not every primary exercise. Or if you wanted to replace three secondary exercises at some point but wanted to keep two other secondary exercises… then only change those three. Again… if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And finally, one last note about making major (overall routine) or minor (exercises within the same routine) changes is the timing of when they’re done. The ideal time to make some of these changes is at the end of a training cycle during the deload period. This is especially true for when you’re changing the overall program itself or just many primary and secondary exercises (isolation exercises, on the other hand, can be changed mid-cycle without any problem at all). This isn’t a requirement, but it makes plenty of sense from the standpoint of allowing you to spend those lighter deload weeks adjusting to the changes you made, breaking into a new program, learning/relearning new exercises, figuring out how much weight you should be lifting for those new exercises, etc. Plus, it also means you’ll be totally fresh and ready to begin a new training cycle that incorporates the new change(s) you’ve made.

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THE WARM UP SET PROTOCOL

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► THE WARM UP SET PROTOCOL

R

emember the progression methods I recommended earlier?

One thing they all have in common is that you’re always starting out with your heaviest weight on your very first set. Meaning that you don’t start with some lighter weight first and then gradually increase it in subsequent sets (like a traditional pyramid, which I hate). Instead, you begin with your heaviest working set and then either keep the weight the same in subsequent sets (like with modified straight sets) or reduce it by some small amount (like with reverse pyramid and descending ramp). Which means that in all of these scenarios, your first set of every exercise will always involve using the heaviest weight you’re going to be using for that specific exercise in that specific training session. For this reason, a proper warm up set sequence is absolutely crucial.

THE GOALS OF WARM UP SETS Many people understand the reason for warming up, but most fail to understand the goals of doing it… and that leads to all sorts of dumb stuff being done. Specifically, the goals of warm up sets are as follows: 

To allow us to prepare the target muscle(s).



To allow us to prepare the joints/tendons/etc. being used.



To allow us to prepare our central nervous system.



To allow us to prepare mentally.



To accomplish all of the above without creating unnecessary fatigue.

Here now is the ideal way of accomplishing everything on this list… Perform a series of progressively heavier sets that get pretty close to your actual working weight, while using fewer and fewer reps to avoid fatiguing yourself before you even begin.

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Most people grasp the “progressively heavier sets” part of that, but they miss the second part about avoiding fatigue. That’s why one of the most commonly stupid ways people tend to go about warming up is by performing a ton of sets of anywhere from 10-20 reps per set. What they are really doing here is just tiring themselves out with warm up sets and creating a ton of unnecessary fatigue while at the same time doing little to actually accomplish what we are hoping to accomplish by warming up. I’ve personally been there and done that myself back in the day, when I basically turned my warm up sequence into a full-on workout by doing several sets of 10-12. By the time I got to my first actual work set, I was (unknowingly) significantly fatigued and my performance (unknowingly) suffered for it. Other people, however, understand the part about avoiding fatigue but miss the “progressively heavier” part. Which, of course, is why you’ll commonly see someone who will be bench pressing 225 lbs do one set with just the bar, one set with 135 lbs, and then jump straight into their first working set of 225 lbs. As someone who has also stupidly warmed up like this in the past, I can tell you that the first working set feels awkward and surprisingly heavy due to the simple fact that my body (and mind) wasn’t quite ready for it yet.

THE PROPER WARM UP SEQUENCE What eventually happened in my case is that I instinctively started experimenting with my warm up sets to try to find something better, and I ended up coming up with a sequence that I later realized was pretty close to what other (smarter) people were already doing. It goes something like this: 1. Start off with 1 VERY light set of 10-15 reps. For this set you’d usually use just the bar (with no weight on it) or some VERY light dumbbells (if it is a dumbbell exercise). If it’s a machine exercise, you’d put on some equally light and easy/insignificant amount of weight. 2. The next set, do 8 reps using 55-60% of the actual weight you will be using during your actual work sets for this exercise. So, if your first work set is going to be 200 lbs, you’d use 110-120 lbs for this set.

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3. The next set, do 5 reps using 70-75% of the actual weight you will be using during your actual work sets for this exercise. So again, if your first work set is going to be 200 lbs, you’d use 140-150 lbs for this set. 4. The set after that, do 3 reps using 80-85% of the actual weight you will be using during your actual work sets for this exercise. So once again, if your first work set is going to be 200 lbs, you’d use 160-170 lbs for this set. 5. And for your final warm up set, do just 1 rep using 90-95% of the actual weight you will be using during your actual work sets for this exercise. So, using the same example, if your first work set is going to be 200 lbs, you’d use 180-190 lbs for this set. 6. You’d then rest for whatever the prescribed amount of rest time is for that exercise, and then begin your first work set. Let me make that even clearer…

The Warm Up Sequence Set

Weight

Reps

Rest

1

Just the bar/very light dumbbells.

10-15

1 minute

2

55-60% of first work set.

8

1 minute

3

70-75% of first work set.

5

1 minute

4

80-85% of first work set.

3

1 minute

5

90-95% of first work set.

1

Full amount

As you can see, you’d typically take about 1 minute or so between each warm up set. There’s really no special set amount of time, but usually the time it takes to casually change the weight, catch your breath (if it needs to be caught) and get into position will last a minute anyway, so something similar to that would be perfectly sufficient. Really, as long as you’re not rushing (which would cause unnecessary fatigue) or taking forever (which would just waste time) you’ll be fine. And then, after your final warm up set, you should rest for whatever that exercise’s regularly prescribed rest time is, and then begin your first work set.

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WHY IS THIS WARM UP SEQUENCE SO IDEAL? Because it allows us to accomplish everything that needs to be accomplished. We get to warm up the muscles and joints/tendons being used, and we get to prepare the nervous system for the stress it’s about to be under (which is the key to preventing the first work set from feeling surprisingly heavy and/or shaky). We also do enough to get a really good feel and groove (both physically and mentally) for the exercise we are about to perform and build up some confidence for the weight we’re going to be lifting. And we do it all with progressively lower reps so we never come close to causing unnecessary fatigue in the process. Sounds pretty ideal to me.

IS THIS THE EXACT WAY EVERYONE SHOULD ALWAYS WARM UP? While the overall structure of this warm up sequence is pretty close to ideal in most cases, there are some notes and exceptions. Here are the main ones that come to mind: 

Strength Levels. The stronger you are and the heavier you’ll be lifting, the more warm up sets you’ll typically need. The opposite is true as well (the lighter the weight, the less warming up you’ll need). For example, someone squatting 405 lbs would need more warm up sets than someone squatting 135 lbs. So you can consider this warm up set sequence to be a good starting point for most people. If you are lifting above-average amounts of weight, you may need additional sets (usually of 1-3 reps). If you are lifting below-average amounts of weight, you can optionally remove set #4 and/or #5 from this sequence (though nothing bad would happen if you kept it like it is).



Experience Levels. This goes along with the previous point, but it’s worth giving a separate mention. Beginners are typically much weaker than intermediate and advanced trainees. Therefore, beginners may sometimes need fewer warm up sets, and someone more advanced may sometimes need more.



Rep Range and Training Intensity. Warm up sets may also need to be adjusted based on the rep range and level of intensity being used. Meaning, if you’re bench pressing for 5-8 reps, you’ll be using a heavier weight than you would if you were bench pressing for 10-15 reps, and more or less warming up may be needed or preferred in comparison.

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Specific Exercises. For example, a harder, more demanding and/or more technical exercise usually warrants a more thorough warm up sequence than something less hard/demanding/technical.

Really, warm up sets are not an exact science where one method is universally perfect for everyone on every exercise and at every level of strength and experience. Some people benefit from more sets, some from less. Some from heavier weight, some from lighter. Feel free to experiment a bit to find exactly what suits you best. For most people however, something similar to what I provided is what’s typically most ideal. So if anything, start with that and adjust as needed.

SHOULD I WARM UP LIKE THIS FOR EVERY EXERCISE? Nope, you should NOT warm up like this for every single exercise. It wouldn’t be bad… it would just be overkill. A full warm up sequence like this is only needed when doing the first direct or indirect exercise for a given muscle group or movement pattern during that workout. After that, you are already warmed up for various other exercises that target the same muscle(s) and movement patterns. So, for example, if you are doing more than one chest exercise in a workout, you’d only need to warm up like this for the first chest exercise being done that day. Any chest exercises done after that would require little to no warm up of any kind. The same thing applies to the other bigger muscle groups as well (back, quads, hamstrings, etc.). One exception here is biceps and triceps, which almost never need any sort of warm up since they will almost always be trained after stuff like chest, back and/or shoulders. And since chest and shoulder compound exercises train the triceps secondarily and back compound exercises train the biceps secondarily, your biceps and triceps will already be warmed up sufficiently by the time you’re ready to train them directly. (The main exception here would be if arms were trained separately from the rest of the upper body.) If you’re still a little confused about which exercises need warm up sets and which don’t, here’s a complete real world example…

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AN EXAMPLE OF WHICH WEIGHT TRAINING EXERCISES TO WARM UP FOR Have you seen The Muscle Building Workout Routine (Version 1) that’s included in this book? Cool. Here’s a full break down of exactly which exercises in this program do and do not need a full warm up sequence: 

In the Upper Body A workout, you’d only need to warm up like this for bench press and rows. Incline dumbbell presses (warmed up from benching), lat pull-downs (warmed up from rowing), lateral raises (shoulder joint is warmed up from a combination of everything), and the biceps and triceps stuff (warmed up from all of the chest and back work thus far) would not require a warm up sequence anywhere near as thorough as this or more likely… none at all.



In the Lower Body A workout, you’d do some form of warm up sequence for Romanian deadlifts and leg presses, and maybe calves too (though probably a slightly more condensed version).



In the Upper Body B workout, you’d only use this warm up sequence for pull-ups and shoulder presses, and maybe dumbbell presses as well (or again, a slightly more condensed version). Nothing else really needs it.



In the Lower Body B workout, you’d really only need to do this warm up sequence with squats, and optionally a more condensed version for leg curls and calves.



Also note that for all of the exercises that DON’T need a full warm up sequence, you can still throw in 1 VERY light and easy set of 5-8 reps just to prepare yourself for the actual movement itself and get into a good groove. I personally like doing this for certain exercises (usually only compound exercises), but don’t need it at all for others (such as most isolation exercises). That’s just a personal preference, though.

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THE FAQ: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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► THE FAQ: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

B

efore ending The Best Workout Routines, I want to answer a few final questions that seem to come up over and over again about the workouts in this book.

So, here we go…

I WORK OUT AT HOME AND DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO ANYTHING BUT FREE WEIGHTS. WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN ONE OF THE WORKOUTS CALLS FOR A MACHINE-BASED EXERCISE? That’s easy. Just replace the exercise you can’t do with the most similar exercise you can do. To help you do this, here’s a list of the most common exercises that people who train at home will need replacements for along with my suggestions for what those replacements should be. 

Lat Pull-Down This would ideally be replaced with some form of pull-up or chin-up. However, that assumes you actually have a bar to do them from. If you do, that’s the best option. If you don’t, some type of band pull-down (like this, albeit a little slower) is one possible option to consider. Otherwise, you can just do another rowing movement (e.g., bent over dumbbell rows). However, to place more emphasis on your lats (like lat pull-downs would), keep your elbows tucked in close to your sides and pull the weight more toward your hips/lower stomach rather than your upper stomach/chest.



Seated Cable Row This can be replaced with any similar rowing exercise for the back (bent over barbell rows, bent over dumbbell rows, t-bar rows, inverted rows, band rows, etc.).



Triceps Pushdown This can be replaced with any other triceps isolation exercise (some kind of band pushdown, an overhead dumbbell extension, etc.).



Leg Press This would ideally be replaced with front squats. If preferred, some type of lunge variation or step-up would also be fine (even something like goblet squats could work).

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Leg Curl Now this one will be a little trickier to replace, but there are a couple of “home-friendly” options. For example: this, this and this.

WHY DO YOU USE THE ROMANIAN DEADLIFT MORE OFTEN THAN THE CONVENTIONAL DEADLIFT? Whenever someone asks me why conventional deadlifts aren’t in a certain routine, this is usually the answer I give them… The conventional deadlift is by far the hardest exercise to program because A) it trains so much of the body (legs, back, etc.) and there’s a ton of overlap to consider and adjust for, and B) it’s more taxing on the body as a whole than any other exercise. The RDL, on the other hand, is really just a posterior chain exercise (hamstrings, glutes, and some lower back), so it’s much less likely to interfere anywhere else as long as it’s properly programmed. The conventional deadlift is sort of the opposite of this, which is why I tend to go with RDLs by default in most of the muscle building programs I design. I’m certainly not against using the conventional deadlift in hypertrophy oriented routines, though. It’s just that the RDL often fits better and still provides the needed training stimulus.

IS IT OKAY FOR ME TO USE STRAPS? Yes it is. This article explains why: When And How To Use Weight Lifting Straps

HOW MUCH WEIGHT SHOULD I BE LIFTING FOR EACH EXERCISE? This article answers this question: How Much Weight Should I Lift?

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I REACH A WORKOUT PLATEAU, MY STRENGTH GAINS STALL AND I AM UNABLE TO PROGRESS? This article answers this question in detail: How To Break Through A Workout Plateau

WHICH OF THESE WORKOUTS ARE FOR MEN AND WHICH ARE FOR WOMEN? Ha, that’s cute. See… there is no such thing as a workout routine that’s for a man or a workout routine that’s for a woman. There are just workouts that work and workouts that don’t work (or in this case, workouts that work best).

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Anything else you’ve ever heard, read or seen before or will ever hear, read or see in the future that makes it seem otherwise is complete and utter bullshit 100% of the time. And yes, I know… there is PLENTY of bullshit out there that makes it seem otherwise. But again, it’s all bullshit just the same. Don’t let it fool you. The workouts in this book are strictly for people who want to get the best results possible. So as long as you’re human, every single routine in this book is for you.

NO, SERIOUSLY. I’M A WOMAN AND THERE’S NO WAY I CAN POSSIBLY USE A WORKOUT ROUTINE THAT’S ALSO MADE FOR A MAN. THAT’S JUST CRAZY TALK! I see that this point isn’t quite getting through yet. But it’s cool, I totally understand. Like many of the women I’ve come across in the last 14 years, you’ve probably been brainwashed into believing all kinds of crazy nonsense and stupid myths about weight training… all of which will only prevent you from training correctly and getting the body you truly want. To fix it, we’ll just need to do some reverse brainwashing. As it turns out, I’ve already written an article that will hopefully do just that. Check it out here: Workout Routines For Women

I WANT TO GET TONED. WHY AREN’T THERE ANY WORKOUTS FOR TONING? OR SCULPTING? OR SHAPING? Um, because every one of those words is associated with nothing but myths and nonsense. When it comes to weight training for the purpose of improving the way your body looks, there’s literally only one thing you can do… build muscle. Weight training doesn’t shape muscles or sculpt muscles or tone muscles or lengthen muscles. Nor does it burn the fat that is covering the muscle being trained. All weight training does in terms of “looks” related improvements is build muscle. That’s it. There is literally nothing else you can be doing. So if you’re not training to build (or maintain) muscle, you’re not really training to do anything other than burn some calories. So why are these workouts geared toward building muscle and not the other stuff I mentioned (toning, defining, shaping, sculpting, etc.)? Because these workouts actually work, and workouts geared toward this other nonsense never do.

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This article covers this silly topic in detail: The Truth About Getting Toned

I FEEL LIKE I NEED TO ADD MORE. I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT’S ENOUGH. I FEEL LIKE I SHOULD BE DOING MORE SETS OR EXERCISES OR ADVANCED METHODS DURING THESE WORKOUTS. SHOULD I? NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! For the love of all humanity… NO! Instead, read this one: Am I Doing Enough?

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THE END

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► THE END

W

elcome to the end of The Best Workout Routines.

QUESTIONS OR FEEDBACK? Do you have any questions about any of the workouts or guidelines laid out in this book? Wanna just tell me what you thought of it? You can email me here: [email protected]

I WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR RESULTS! Just like I mentioned in Superior Muscle Growth, I’d love to hear how well everything is working for you. So please definitely keep me updated on how things are going. Send me progress updates, testimonials, before and after pictures, during pictures, etc. Really, whatever progress you’ve made or are currently in the middle of making, I want you to tell me about it. You can send it all right here: [email protected]

THE END And with that, we’ve reached the end of The Best Workout Routines. Enjoy your results.

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THE

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ROUTINES

AN AWorkoutRoutine.com CREATION

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An AWorkoutRoutine.com Creation

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