IRON MANS' "Bulking Routine" and "Powerlifting Routine"
First let me start out by saying to everyone "this is not just another routine." It's been time tested, backed up by scientific evidence, and works for everyone!!! Go find the "SPLIT" that "FITS"!!!
It's imperative that you always choose from such "basic exercises" listed below when trying to gain (maximum muscle mass and strength).To lay the foundation of your program you should always pick only (one basic exercise) for each of the major bodyparts that works best for your frame. Below is a list of the very best exercises to pick from. It's up to you as an individual to find which one of these exercises works the very best for each of the major muscle group on your body.
(Chest) declines, inclines, leaning forward dips with wide grip and Hybrid dumbell presses which are a cross between a dumbell press and a dumbell flye.
(legs) squats, hack squats, leg presses.
(hams) various forms of leg curls.
(upper back) various rows movements of any kind
(lats) various pullups and pulldowns to front of the head.
(delts) any type of over head pressing
(biceps) any basic curling movement such as seated incline dumbell curls, standing ez-barbell curls, preacher curls, or spider curls.
(triceps) close grip bench presses, skull crushers/tricep extensions, close grip dips, seated behind the head extensions.
(traps) any form of shrugs
(calves) donkey calf raises, standing calf raises, toe presses.
(abs) cable crunches, high pulley cable reverse crunches.
(lower back) weighted back extensions/hyper extensions/rackpulls
NOTE: The IRON MAN "HIT" program is an 18 week training phase consisting of a 6 week loading phase and a 7-10 day unloading phase in which a complete lay off from the gym will need to be taken during this time. (NO CRUISING ALLOWED) during the MWF split. During the last 3 weeks of the 6 week cycle you load even further by adding in a rest pause set on the last set of each exercise.
You must realize that within 3 weeks the body is able to adapt at anything we throw at it. If no change is made the continous over load along with the high intensity training will bring forth injury, strength/growth plateaus, and possibly even lean tissue loss. This is why the IRON MAN "HIT" goes into a different split/intensity level for the last 3 weeks of the 6 week cycle. My experience has shown that a training cycle providing everything was followed properly will fail to provide results at about week 6. This is because catabolism begins to catch up with anabolism.
Heres what you need to do with the exercises on the list above. Find your favorite basic exercises for each body part. For e.g.; let's say that lying tricep extensions are your favorite exercise for the triceps.You would perform two light warm ups sets with that exercise. The first warm up set should be around 15 reps and the second one about 8 reps. Then you would do 3 sets of lying tricep extensions in 3 different rep ranges. (With the first set you want to reach momentary muscular failure in the 6-10 rep range). (The second set should hit 1 rep shy of complete muscle failure at 3-5 reps). (The final and 3rd set of lying tricep extensions should be taken to failure in the 11-15 rep range).
Note: Each exercise per muscle group will be worked twice in an 8 day period on a MWF program with weekends off. Going to absolute muscular failure is not recommended when working the c-fibers-"3-5" rep range, especially for those with smaller/weaker joints.
You will need to use the following split for the first ("3 weeks" of the 6 week cycle):.
Monday: Chest, shoulders, triceps, traps, (rotators and abs if needed).
Wednesday: Lat width, lat thickness, biceps, calves, quads,hams.
Friday: Same as monday and so on.
For the next 3 weeks of the 6 week cycle- (weeks 4, 5, and 6), you will up the intensity even more by adding in a rest pause set on the last set (the 3rd and final set) for each exercise/body part. For e.g.; go to failure on the 3rd and final set in the 11-15 rep range, take about 5 deep breaths or so, pick up the weight and hit failure once again by doing 1-3 more repetitions.
During the last 3 weeks when rest pause is used the split will change to the following:
Monday: Biceps, triceps, (rotators is needed) calves, quads, hams.
Wednesday: Chest, lat width, lat thickness, shoulders, traps, and (abs if needed).
Friday: Same as monday.
Starting week 7 you will rest 7-10 day by taking a complete lay off before starting this whole 6 week cycle all over once again.
NOTE: (15 to 30 minutes) of "CARDIO" can be performed 3 times per week on training or non-training days if need be. A 15 minute maximum is a good plan for those with normal metabolism-"Mesomorphs" but those with a very slow metabolism-Endomorphs can do up to 30 minute per sessions if desired. Ectomorphs should abstain from aerobics during a bulk up period. Aerobic work is not a necessity but it does provide many health benefits and helps keep body fat levels in check.
Now let me explain that our muscles contain two types of tissues, (type 1) and (type 2) fibers. Type-2 fibers contain the most growth potential so those are the ones you will want to concentrate on if your a "BODYBUILDER". Theres 3 sub-categories of type-2 fibers. "A-fibers", "B-fibers" and "C-fibers." When all "three" of these type-2 fibers are worked it will make the difference between a guy who looks big and a guy who looks BIG!!!
Given the proper form is used with each repetition- (1.5 seconds for the positive/expolsive stroke) and (2 seconds for the controlled negative), then the Type 2-"A" fibers will be stimulated by hitting failure with a weight that allows for the performance of 11-15 reps. Type 2-"B" fibers will be targeted by hitting muscular failure in the 6-10 rep range. Type 2-"C" fibers get nailed hard when stoppng 1 rep shy of failure between 3-5 repetitions. Simply said, the ("A" fibers) work their hardest under a time load of ( 40-60 seconds). (B fibers) responds best to a time under load of (20-39 seconds). (C fibers) get nailed when it takes (1-19 seconds) to complete a set).
It's a good plan to wait a full (3 minutes) between sets to allow ATP/CP levels to replenish so the most weight can be used during each set of the (basic movements). Think over-load not pump!! This will aid in bringing forth maximum size and strength. ATP: is the only fuel supply the muscles can use.CP: Stands for creatine phosphate.
Excessive lactic acid build will greatly limits ATP/CP regeneration. After each work set is stopped and the blood returns to the muscle, ATP and CP must be replaced. For each 30 seconds of rest, around 40% of the remaining ATP and CP are replenished. After a 90 second wait, about 80% of the ATP/CP is replaced and for every 2 minutes of rest betweeen sets about 90% is replaced. By allowing 3 minutes of rest between sets we allow almost 100% of our ATP/CP stores to be restored before going on to the next set, thus allowing us to push heavier work loads and break down more muscle tissue.
NOTE: Not allowing ATP and CP levels to return to almost full capacity will throw a monkey wrench into your mass building program when heavy compound movements such as squats are being used. This is why supplemental creatine and and/or anabolic steroids provide such good results in strength when on a mass gaining diet. They aid in restoring ATP/CP levels after an intense work set. Lactic acid builds up when one moves too rapid to the next set on the very demanding "Basic Exercises". Lactic acid will destroy the bodies ability to regenerate ATP/CP. When levels of ATP are made low they trap (ANDROGEN RECEPTOR SITES) and block the signal for the body to grow. Diet and proper rest between sets has a positive affect on ATP/CP as well.
Now as most of you have already figured out, it's the Big Basic Exercises not the "puny isolations" exercises that will put the most mass and strength on your body in the shortest amount of time. Show me a man who can use 300 lbs on the over head shoulder press and I'll show you a man with a set of big capped shoulders. Isolation exercises will not build deltoids to such monsterous proportions but isolations movements do have their place.
When performing a heavy set of 3-5 reps to stimulate the C fibers, it will help build up your strength such as that of powerlifting program. This kind of strength cannot be achieved on a typical bodybuilding rep scheme of 8-15 reps. Added strength allows one to break down more muscle tissue over a period of time forcing the muscles to expand in size. Just look at the muscle size on some powerlifters! Let me explain further by saying you will not obtain significant muscular growth as the weight load goes from 250, to 260, with the same form and total work sets but you will grow like a weed once your weight load reaches the 270 or 280 lb mark. It can be quite embarrasing when someone half your size is lifting just as much or more weight with the same form as you are. This is why low reps are mandatory in reaching one's full bodybuilding potential.
NOTE: Low reps can tear down joint cartliage tissue over a period of time, but the high reps I have included in my program will help compensate by re-building those joints back up. Other than added muscle size/strength, this is another reason you should be training in a holostic manner.
I ask? "why would anyone want to use a (chop stick) to eat with when they could be using a (shovel)"? Chop sticks are comparable to isolation exercises such as "leg extensions" for the quads, and the shovel would be equivalent to "squats" for that same muscle group.
NOTE: If you want to improve on the exercises that contribute the most to making progress in the size/strength category you must "BUILD" your workout around those exercises.
I do believe it's beneficial to use isolation exercises during pre-competition when more time under tension will be needed through the use of (double power drop sets) to burn calories and work the muscles more intensely. I also believe a lagging body part should be worked with isolation exercises during the OFFSEASON if it's not responding to basic exercises. Lifting "heavy" on a long term basis with heavy isolation movements in the off season has damaged many a joints because they are not considered a natural movement for our bodies! However, if you have a lagging body part that doesn't seem to be responding well to using only basic movements, it will be okay to add one isolation exercise for "high reps" so that "4" sets and two exercises- (a basic and an isolation), will be performed each workout per body part instead of just "3" set with one basic movement. ( Many "Recreational Lifters" are able to get by with doing only 1 set for abs and hams each designated training session).
NOTE: If you decide to add an isolation exercise for a lagging body, you would do a medium and heavy set for the basic exercise and 2 high rep sets for the isolation or second exercise you choose. For e.g.; Decline bench for 2 sets-medium/low rep sets with 3 minutes rest and incline flyes for 2 sets of 11-15 with only 90 seconds rest. (During the week 4-6 do the the rest-pause with the second "low rep set" before going to an isolation movement). If pushed for time wait "2 minutes between basics" and "1 minute between isolation exercises" before doing another set. It does not take as much time between sets for ATP/CP stores to regenerate when using less fatiguing-isolation movements and moving quickly means lighter weight and less chances for injury on these un-natural movements. Everthing else laid out in the program stays the same. Give the basics only training a minimum of "4-6" months before possibly adding in any isolation exercise to see if it will help a lagging body part because much of the time bodybuilders will not give the IRON MAN "HIT" enough time to see if it will produce for a given body part. It's quite common for trainers to feel that an (isolation movement such as lateral raises) are really "lighting" up their delts when the same "pump" could have been produced from using high reps on (compound movements/ over head pressing) with less rest used between sets. Remember "over-load" not a "pump" is the key to furthering mass/strength.
If your joints becomes irritated with a particular basic exercise simply change to another basic exercise if needed. For instance, if inclines begin bothering your rotator cuff switch to declines. But its imperative to use the exercise that makes your particular body grow best, not what is working best for your training partner. We all differ a bit in how our bodies respond to certain exercises. I prefer a 12-15 degree declines for overall chest development where as a 30 degree decline works my arms and shoulders too much. Others likes 15 degree inclines best. A few even thrive on the flat bench press. If changing exercises doesn't help with joint irritation that might appear, simply rest the injury so it can heal.Then get back after it!!!
It's been proven that the shape of our muscles cannot be changed. In other words you will in no way turn a stocky person into a small waisted symmetrical one by using certain exercises such as those of the isolation version, or by not using certain exercises like heavy compound movements.
NOTE: Some trainers use mostly "decline presses" for their chest but their upper chest may still grows more so because it's the way their chest genetics are laid out. Simply stated, there is no such things as an upper chest and a lower chest.You cannot target certain areas of the chest, or the abs, or any other muscle for that matter but you can get into better mechanical positions for your particular body structure that helps work the muscle group as whole more efficiently without hurting your joints but that's a far cry from being able to isolating certain areas of a muscle. "A muscle contracts as a whole"!!!!
Think about it, "what musculoskeletal muscles would be out of balance if "ONLY" (1) basic exercise (the most productive exercise) you could find for each body was performed"? In addition, have you ever realized that Ronnie Coleman is really only doing about "3" sets to failure per body part twice a week if you where to exclude all his time consuming warm up sets. ( I think most everyone in the bodybuilding building community agrees to the fact that after doing 3 sets for an exercise to absolute failure the intensity level you are able to generate declines in short order). 5 sets per exercise is the limit when not training to failure. Simply said, stick a fork in me I am done!!!!
"4 reasons that working a muscle group "TWICE" each week for the majority of the time is better than only "ONCE." (#1) If you can break a muscle down more frequently and then let it re-build you will get more growth cycles. (#2) You are able to use the most weight for any rep range on the first 3 sets for any particular muscle group, therefore you'll break down more muscle tissue with 3 intensified sets done twice weekly as opposed to 6 sets done only once a week.(#3) Each body part has it's own individual (protein turn over rate) and I think every body part needs to be treated as a lagging body part by performing more frequent workouts per muscle group. Training any body part with more frequency produces more "circulatory androgens" similar to that of a site-injection protocol.That's why you will frequently hear of trainers hitting a "weak" muscle group (twice per week) as opposed to (once). (#4) Another very important advantage to be gained by working every muscle group "TWICE" each week as opposed to only "ONCE" is being able to rotate different exercises for a particular muscle group once the body reaches a plateau with that 1 exercise you have decided works best for each body part. After a period of time the body develop what is know as (fiber recruitment pattern burnout) from doing the same exercises over and over. "BUT" changing to another exercise altogether while leaving the "MAIN MASS BUILDER" up on the shelf for a period of time (for example 6-8 weeks) is a BIG MISTAKE!!! What happens is the bodies neural pathways goes into whats referred to as "DE-TRAINING" where the bodies neural pathways have to "re-learn" the (MAIN MASS BUILDING) exercise all over again. It's very similar to someone having to learn how to walk again after being involved in a bad accident. Keep in mind that my program is designed so that you find that "ONE" main mass building exercises for a muscle group that works best for your particular body, then you milk that exercises for all it's worth until it quits producing results. Once you discontinue to show improvements with that exercise alternate your MAIN MASS BUILDING EXERCISES (for e.g.; declines) with the ALTERNATE EXERCISE (for e.g.; inclines) every other workout until you start seeing strength gains once again. It's best to discontinue using the "ALTERNATE" exercise altogether and do only the "MAIN" exercise once the plateau has been broken by 10 lbs on upper body exercises and 20 lbs on lower body exercises. However, if you begin to experience joint problems by using only exercises twice each week then it can be of great benefit to alternate between 2 exercises each time you train so you can avoid overusing that joint.
NOTE: Keep in mind you get the most for your efforts with the first 3 sets. After 3 sets you get less results for your efforts. So spend your energy on the exercises (that count the most) with the first 3 sets (that count the most) by attacking the A-B-C type- 2 fibers, that (count the most) and by using that one and only exercise that (counts the most). Leave the rest of your success to genetics, nutrition, drugs, and rest.
Heres where some tend to get a bit confused and quickly overtrain their CNS. Several bodybuilders have been brainwashed through MUSCLE MAGS making them think it requires more sets to stimulate a "larger" muscle groups like quads, as opposed to the "smaller" muscle groups like the biceps. The answer would be "NO IT DOES NOT"!! Why? Because the smaller muscle groups in exception to forearms and the lower back recover at a faster rate than the larger muscle groups. The biceps recover quicker than any other bodypart even though they are considered a small muscle group. For larger muscle groups such as the legs, it take longer for the cells and muscle fibers to elevate protein synthesis along with the extra time needed for the CNS to regain its composure. Regardless of what some may have been led to believe, the chest is actually a "SMALL" muscle group like the arms.Traps are actually a "LARGE" muscle group not a small one, because they cover nearly 1/3 of the total back mass. The calves are a small muscle group but recover very fast. Deltoids are considered a large muscle group like that of the legs and lats, yet they get pounded so hard with chest/back work they are easy to overtrain. I think you can see what I'm saying here as it only makes "common sense".
Why a total of 6 sets for overall back work as opposed to 3 sets? This is decieving because in reality your only doing 3 sets for your lats "chinups" (not rows). The reason is because pulldowns/pull ups hit the lats where as various rowing movements hit the muscle of the mid-upper back. These are two different muscle groups just as the quads are the antagonist for the hamstrings. By not doing 3 sets sets of rows along with 3 sets of chins ups it would be like doing 3 sets of bicep work and leaving out the triceps. That could cause a severe muscle imbalance. So your only doing 3 sets for lats (pulldowns). The other 3 sets (rows) are for the upper/inner back thickness muscles..
Why do a push pull routine for the first 3 weeks of the 6 week cycle? Because of PTOR (protein turn over rate). If for example, you trained lats heavy on Monday and then trained your biceps the following day, it would most certainly disrupt the anabolic phase of the biceps growth and recovery process due to secondary involvement during the "compound" lat movement you performed on the prior day. This could make for poor bicep growth.
Some may ask? "but wont it limit my ability to use as much weight as possible on arm exercises after pounding the torso during the first 3 weeks where the push-pull method is used? As with any training protocol the body quickly adapts. Anyone who has ever incorporated a pre-exhaustion program for a particular muscle group knows that at first the weights used will be less until the muscles adapt to the change. Waiting 5 minutes between exercises is optimal but up to 10 minutes can be taken if desired.
NOTE: During the first 3 weeks of the 6 week phase you should not be able to use as much weight when performing your arm exercises because you will be training them directly after the torso.Your only eanting to finish the arms off per se!! But during weeks 4-6 of the 6 week cycle you will train arms first on a different split while they are completely fresh. You'll be "AMAZED" at your newly found arm strength. During weeks 1-3 your (torso strength will sky rocket) as arm strength struggles but during the last 3 weeks of the 6 week cycle your torso strength will slow down as your (arm strength sky rockets). After a 7-10 day layoff you will return to the original weeks 1, 2, and 3 split and your torso strength will have sky rocketed once again because of the added arm strength gain during weeks 4-6 and the benefits of the rest pause added during that last 3 week phase of the whole 6 week cycle. I call this the (SLINGSHOT METHOD)!!!
The IRON MAN "HIT" program consist of doing two warm up sets per body part. The first warm up set should be very light and about 15 reps. The second warm up set will consist of a moderate weight for 6-8 reps. (In no way should these sets be fatiguing). One warm up set will be sufficient for some muscle groups. For e.g.: biceps after training the back and shoulders after chest work. Next 3 total work sets per body part are to be performed. Work the type 2- B-fibers (6-10) first.Then perform a 2nd set hitting the low repped A-fibers(3-5). Finish off by blasting the C-fibers (11-15). When working the legs and/or traps use a high-mediun-low rep set/scheme. Use a medium-low-high rep/set scheme when doing the rest of your upper body.
Each set is to be taken to complete failure or one rep shy depending on rep-ranges, recovery abilities, and any prior inuries you may possess. Training an exercise to complete failure can aggravate a pre-existing chronic joint conditions and should be avoided. (For e.g.; you would not want to hit complete muscular failure with any rep-range, especially on the heavy low rep sets on any over head press movement if you have shoulder problems. You should do just fine hitting failure on the medium and higher rep sets. You can still get stronger and grow larger muscles by using the 3-5 rep range in a non-failure approach but you will get bigger by taking every set to failure if you can manage to do so. Train for your individual needs. Stimulate the muscle and move on. No need in doing multiple sets as you'll only be hurting your joints and zapping the CNS by doing so. Why waste uneccesary time in the gym through countless sets when end road can be met with less?????? Hit one sub-category of type-2 fibers with one intense set and move on to the other 2 fiber type!!!!
NOTE: I've found that attacking the C fibers (heavy weight/low reps) first will greatly increase ones chance for an injury.
The IRON MAN "HIT" routine consist of a 6 week loading phase and a 7-10 day unloading phase because the body adapts within 3 weeks to any mass building routine, thus, dictating a need for change. On weeks 1-3 you will load with straight sets with the push-pull system. During weeks 4-6 you will load even further by adding a modified rest pause at the end of each last set for each muscle group. During weeks 4-6 the 3 day per week split will change because the body begins to adapt significantly to most attempts at altering homeostasis after a 3 week period. To be successful in producing maximum muscle growth it is necessary to create maximum growth thresholds and then change or stop before the body is able to induce it's own counter measures. Remember to create growth one must work with the body's own counter measures so that one side of the anabolic/catabolic ratio is altered in favor of anabolism and not catabolism or homeostasis.
Editors Note:Training on a more frequent basis than 3 days a week during weeks 1-12 will prescribe the necessity to "CRUISE." Training on a 4 day a week or EOD split using the same layout as the MWF "Bulking Routine" will also provide excellent results. On a "MT-TF" protocol you will train to (the point of difficulty/non-failure on Mon-Tues) and push to (absolute momentary muscular failure on Thurs-Fri.) When employing the EOD schedule train to failure for 2 days then non-failure the following 2 workouts.
NOTE: One should not be able to reach the upper rep range on their last set during weeks 4,5, and 6. (DELAYEY FORCED REPS ) needs to be employed on the last set of every exercises but not on the heavy 1-5 rep unless it's done last. Never do your DELAYED FORCED REPS before the last set of each exercises as it will cause too much fatigue and would severely decrease ones ability in being able to lift a maximal amount of weight.
(Now heres how to do a delayed forced rep):
Lets say you are able to get 11 reps on the last set of incline presses with a goal of 11-15 in mind. You should rack the weight after hiting failure on your last set for that exercise, rest only long enough (generally 5-15 seconds) so that you can pick up the weight and crank out another 1-3 reps to make the upper limits of 11-15 range. No one should help you do this (delayed forced reps) and they are not the same as (regular forced reps) where someone is giving you assistance. Some may find that doing more than 2 reps is too exhausting on the CNS. The delayed forced reps do not have to be pushed to absolute failure but should be very difficult and taking them to failure will result in maximum growth if your body can recovery from it. If you make 15 reps on the high rep set or the 5 reps mark when doing the heavy set last, go ahead and do the delayed forced rep anyways. But do not push the heavy set to failure until you do the rest-pause!!! Normally the ideal situation would be to shoot for around 3 reps on the heavy set before doing the delayey forced reps and/or shooting for 11-12 reps before performing the delayes forced reps on the higher rep range. This will keep you at the higher end on the heavy sets and at the lower end on the high rep sets. One should only use the modified rest-pause technique on weeks 4,5, and 6 of the 6 week cycle. Do not use rest-pause during the first 3 weeks as it will cause burn out of the CNS.
NOTE: Once again lets go over the importance of changing the routine split on weeks 4-6. Failure to do the split as I have it set up will result in less than optimal results. Training arms while fresh (not after upper torso movements) during weeks 4,5, and 6 always brings forth new growth to the bi's and tri's by using a SLING SHOT approach. Newly found strength will be brought to the arms, an obvious weak link when trying to get stronger on compound movements in the upper torso such as presses and rows. (Expect to come back much stronger on the compound movements when you return to start the 6 week cycle all over again due to the strength you have gained in the arms by training them in a different manner all together in conjuction with delayes forced reps). Expect to stuggle a bit more during weeks 4, 5, and 6 when trying to increase weight in the compound movements because the arms will only be given 1 full day of rest instead of three as with the push-pull split and expect to stuggle more with trying to get the arm strength up during the push-pull phase when the arms are being pre-fatigued with compound exercises. However this SLINGSHOT approach is necessary to break plateaus in both "upper torso" and "arm" strength. During this time frame (weeks 4,5, and 6 your push pull split will change to the following because the push-pull split is too demanding on the system as a whole when rest-pause is incorporated and the change is needed to provide the SLINGSHOT approach we just discussed. :
Monday: Chest, lat width, Lat thickness, delts, traps, "abs-1-3 sets".
With the IRON MAN 3 day per week High Intensity Training, 3 sets are performed twice in an 8 day period. Its imperative you never work out two days in a row so the CNS can be ready for the next workout. The CNS's ability to recovery "does not" increases as we progress in our training. The stronger we get the more intensity that can be generated through lifting heavier weights, therefore making the recovery process take even longer. Steroids only compound the problem by making one stronger. MWF is optimal for off-season trainers of all stages. Leave the 5 days per week training for pre-competition or conditioning.
NOTE: A lay off is indicated every 6 weeks on the IRON MAN "HIT" for a period of 7 TO 10 days. Since training would normally be terminated on a Friday and would not be resumed until Monday of the (second-following week) when taking off the full 10. You will come back stronger and break personal records on every exercise. (FAILURE to take this lay off will bring forth burn out and chronic injuries, thus, holding you back in SIZE and STRENGTH)!!!
NOTE: An alternative unloading/lay-off approach is to load for 3 weeks then unload for 5 days by taking a full five days off starting at your last workout for those 3 weeks then re-load with rest pause for 3 more weeks then take off 5 more days once again before starting the whole process all over again.
NOTE: I left out deadlifts as an overall builder because Iv'e witnessed several BODYBUILDERS blow out spinal disk while training to "FAILURE". It destroyed their bodybuilding activities along with their life. I only recommend this exercise to POWERLIFTERS who rarely train to failure because most bodybuilders can't help themselves with it come to hitting faliure. But I have no problems with the deadlift if done properly. Be careful if you choose to do them and train to failure only during powerlifting competition! I highly suggest bodybuilders use exercises like weighted back extensions that can be taken to failure with safety and that isolate the back muscles more effeciently. This workout program will need to be adjusted if you incorporate deadlifts. Partial deadlifts-RDL/Rack Pulls make a better choice than the deadlift because the chances of rounding the lower back at the bottom of the movement are less. If you feel the need to do deadlifts perform only (1) set after "QUADS" and do only (1) set of rack pulls after "TRAPS." NEVER TRAIN TO FAILURE with either exercise. Always do deadlifts and rack pulls last!!!
Preventing "boredom" will always be an important factor in everyones success. While rotating to a different exercise each session is not recommended on my program being able to do so with the (basic mass builders) in case of prior injuries or boredom of using the same exercise will be fine. A good illustration would be doing squats one workout and substituting squats for the leg press machine the following workout and then back to squats the next time around and then back once again to the leg press and so on. As stated before it's the best way for those experiencing joint problems to train. Alternate between only 2 exercises inorder to keep the nueral pathways strong.
NOTE:: You must avoid training to failure with such movements as heavy shoulders laterals, pullovers, flyes, leg extension, concentrated curls, good mornings, wrist curls, etc when trying to further your progress as these will not aid in adding the size-strength you seek but will most certainly set you back with nagging or possibly chronic "injuries". They can be done for brief period of time such as in the conditioning phase but most won't be able to stick to doing them heavy on a long term basis without doing some type of damage. If you feel the need to add them in for a lagging body part during this offseason mass building phase, use short rest periods-(90 seconds) and high reps-(11-15) only!!! If you were to wait a full 3 minute between sets when doing isolation movements such as flyes, "as I had suggested for chest presses," it would greatly increase your chance for becoming injured because it would allow you to use more weight, and as I have already stated, "isolation exercises are not considered a natural movements to our bodies."
Bodybuilders wanting to make the most muscular weight gains possible will make their best overall gains by subdividing their training year into about (66.6% lower volume-training to failure/33.3% high volume-training only to the point of difficulty). You need to try and gain as much strength-muscle mass as possible and ACCEPT some fat gain during bulking periods. This phase should consist of (12 weeks of low volume), "two 6 week cycles". Then you will want to do ( 6 weeks of high volume )
To recap: The five day per week "Bulking Routine" will be used for 6 weeks after using the 3 day per week split for 12 weeks. The final 6 week period is designed to stimulate muscle growth using a totally different approach. The secret to furthering gains after 12 weeks of training to failure is to up the volume and avoid training to failure. This will complete the entire 18 week IRON MAN training cycle and you'll be ready to start all over once again with more muscle and strength than you had prior to using the (IRON MAN PHASES). The 5 day per week split will consist of doing 3 weeks of (Single Drop Sets) and then finishing off with 3 weeks of (Double Power Drop Sets).
The 5 day a week "Bulking Phase" consist of doing "SINGLE POWER DROP SETS" and "DOUBLE POWER DROP SETS" (both are low rep drop sets). I have found this to be the very best "HIT" method for getting past sticking points. It allows for the use of heavy weights inorder to gain muscle size/strength, shorter rest periods to provide a nice pump to the muscles, and just the right amount of volume to provide a shock to the bodies musculature as a whole. I have learned that volume training with heavy weight and low reps (4-8 reps) while utilizing (DROP SETS) is the "very best" way to reach that next level of development before reverting back to the main stay-"low volume". The 4-8 rep range allows you to use heavier weights, which helps to maintain your strength levels and harden up those muscles by stimulating (ALL FIBER TYPES) without producing "too much" of a pumping effect.
Editors Note: Heres what consist of doing A (SINGLE POWER DROP SET). Begin the selected exercise with a 4-8 rep max 1-2 reps shy of muscular failure then drop the weight by 10-15% or so with each drop. A 1 minute rest period should be taken between each set within the drop set series. Repeat with the lighter weight for the first drop for 4-8 reps to non-failure and wait 3 minutes before doing your next SINGLE DROP SET. A total of 8-16 reps should be performed within each series-(1 set of single power drop sets). 2 exercises per body part utilizing "6" single power drop sets are to be used (ONLY ONCE A WEEK) for each body part, but as few as "4" single drop sets per body part can be used with great success. 3 sets per each exercise is optimal.
Editors Note: Heres what consist of doing a (DOUBLE POWER DROP SET) . Begin the selected exercises with a 4-6 rep max and stop about 2 reps shy of failure, then drop the weight by about 10 to 20 percent or so with each drop. A 30 seconds rest period should be taken between each set within the drop set series. Repeat with the lighter weight for the first drop set for 4-6 more reps to the point of difficulty but not failure, and wait 3 minute before finishing off with a second drop set (last set of that series) for 4 to 6 more reps to non-failure. Wait a total of 3 minutes before repeating another series of (DOUBLE POWER DROP SETS). A total of 12-18 reps should be performed within each series-(1 set) of double power drop sets. After working an individual muscle group you'll definitely understand how this works and you'll love how hard and pumped up your muscles feel after doing several sets. If your body-fat is low enough, your veins should look like they're going to explode. Two basic exercises per body part can be used in the 5 day a week "Bulking Routine," as opposed to one basic and one isolation per body part, but some heavier work with isolation exercises can also be used during this era because you will not be training to failure!!! Do not train to complete failure during the last 6 weeks of the 18 week Mesocycle!!! Train only to the point of difficulty inorder to prevent over-training with the added volume.
Heres a sample routine of how the 5 day a week IRON MAN HIT "Bulking Routine". Remember to put in the exercises that work best for your particular body. Do 2 power drop sets for a basic movement and 2 power drop sets with an isolation exercise.
NOTE: The definition of a set=one double power drop set. The defintion of a straight set= just 1 normal set.
Chest: Low incline press 2-sets, Low decline press 2-sets.
Abs: machine crunches-2 sets, reverse cable crunches-2 sets ( 6-8 reps to be used with each drop sets instead of 4-6 when training abs)
Lats: Wide grip pulldowns-2 sets, Close grip pulldowns- 2 sets.
Upper back: Rows to the lower belly area 2-sets, rows to the upper belly/lower chest area 2-sets.
Lower back: Hyperextensions 3 straight sets (12-15) reps to be used with straight sets only. If deadlits are to be used for the lower back instead, keep the reps at (4-8) for 3 straight sets.
Shoulders: Over head shoulder press-2 sets, one arm at a time cable side laterals-2 sets..
Rotators: 3 straight sets of one arm at a time bent lateral raises to be performed with a cable with 10-15 reps or 1 drop sets with 4-6 reps.
Traps: Front of the body barbell shrugs 2-sets, dumbell shrugs-2 sets.
Biceps: Incline dumbell curls 2-sets, one arm at a time spider dumbell curls 2-sets.
Triceps: Lying tricep extension 2-sets, tricep pushdowns 2 sets.
Quads: Squats-2 sets, leg press 2 sets.
Hams: Lying leg curl-2 sets, standing one leg at a time hamstring curls-2 sets.
Calves: Calf raises 2-sets, donkey calf raises 2-sets
(Day 6) OFF
(Day 7) OFF
"Permanent Increases in Lean Muscle Mass" will occur without injury by utilizing HEAVY isolation exercises for only 6 weeks out of 18 week training cycle. The newly found muscle mass will be kept by using only those exercises that are basic in nature when returning back to the 3 day a week spilt. The risk of injury begins to out weigh the benefits involved with using heavy isolation movements after about 6 weeks and further gains come to a grinding halt. These very traumatic sets- Power Drop Sets take about 7 days for full recovery to take place. Phase cycling the exercises and growth/rebuilding periods between once a week and twice a week helps keep the body off balance.
Alternate 3 day a week split for the final 6 weeks.
The alternate "3 day a week split" is designed for those who do not have enough time to train 5 days per week during the (last 6 weeks of the 18 week Mass Gaining Cycle) but want to use more volume.
(Weeks 13-15) your split will consist of doing 2 sets of Single power drop sets per body part. (Do only 1 straight set for abs, hams, and lower back so more energy can be spent on bigger muscle groups).
(Weeks 16-18) You'll finish off the 18 week phase using 1 set of (Triple power Drop Sets) per body part with the "same split you used during the single drop set phase". One exercise per body part can used or two exercises as long as you do not exceed 30 seconds between drops. A "Triple Power Drop Set" goes like this; Do a set for 4-6 reps, wait 30 sec and do another set of 4-6 reps, wait 30 sec and do another set of 4-6 reps, wait another second and do a final set of 4-6 reps. (Use only 1 straight set for hams if fatiqued, and always do only 1 straight set for abs-lower back). Do not train to complete failure during this time. Once again train only to the point of difficulty during the last 6 weeks of the 18 week cycle. Stopping 2 reps shy is idea.
Training split fo the entire last 6 weeks with the 3 day approach:
Monday: Chest, lat width, lat thickness, shoulders,traps
Wednesday: Biceps, triceps, calves, quads, hams
Friday: Same as Mondays workout.
This 2nd alternate "3 day a week split" is designed for those who can't do drop sets due to burning pain in the joints/tendonitus or for those with asthma/breathing difficulties. Use during the (last 6 weeks of the 18 week Mass Gaining Cycle) if you cannot do the drop sets!
Monday: Chest, shoulders, tri's, traps.(3-5 reps)
Wednesday: Back width, back thickness, biceps, calves, quads, hams. (3-5 reps)
Fri: Repeat Monday but this time advance to (6-10 reps).
Note: All sets for each body part will start with 3-5 reps. When the bodypart is trained again the rep scheme will be in the 6-10 range. When it's to be trained for the third time all reps will be in the 11-15 range. Then repeat, starting back at the 3-5 rep range. (Use 5 sets per body part) Do only 1 straight set for hams, lower back, and abs. "Stop 2 reps shy of complete failure".
For e.g.; in two weeks time you will have worked chest three times with all different rep ranges. This will give the body a needed change.
2 day a week "Bulking Routine"
I designed the IRON MAN 2 day per week "Bulking Routine" for those with hectic work schedules, chronic arthritis, old age, and hard labor jobs. Don't let the term "Only 2 day per week" fool you into dis-missing the effectiveness of this program. It's simply the most convienent and effective "Bulking Routine" available for several recreational bodybuilders in today's fast paced society. Everything that is put to use in the IRON MAN 3 day per week Bulking Routine applies to the 2 day per week program.
(6 Week Cycle)
(Weeks 1-3)-3 sets per exercise (medium-low-high).
Monday: Chest, Shoulders, Lat Width, Lat Thickness, Biceps, Triceps, Quads.
Thursday: Same as Monday.
(Weeks 4-6)-5 sets per exercise are to be used during this phase instead of 3 because your working each muscle group only once per week with rest-pause on the last set. The 5 different rep ranges for all body parts will be (medium-low-medium-medium-high).
Monday: Chest, Lat Width, Lat Thickness, Shoulders.
Thursday: Biceps, Triceps, Quads.
Note: Another very effective plan of attack is to alternate your favorite version of the 2 day a week split with your preferred sample of the 3 day a week split every 3 weeks. I suggest using the PUSH-PULL during the 3 day split and the (arms/leg)-(upper torso) split with the 2 day a week phase. Start out the 6 week cycle using the 2 day a week upper torso- arms/legs split and progress into a 3 day a week push-pull-uusing "rest-pause"!
I will guarantee you there is not a better off season muscle mass-strength gaining combo routine out there whether you be a natural trainer or a user of anabolic steroids.
If your going into a "competition" and have other outside commitments, you can get by with working out only three times per week. You will still do 12 straight weeks without a lay off using the 3 days per week IRON MAN "HIT" Bulking Routine to get cut!!! 30 minutes of cardio should be performed 3 days per week on non-training days if you have the time. (Do not train "back" and "legs" together as this will bring about too much fatigue when low on calories). Use "only" the week 4-6 split-( arms/legs one day and chest,shoulders,lats, and traps the next). Recreational lifter should alternate between "Standard" and "HIT" aerobics every 3 weeks to prevent adaptation and burn out. Rest-pause will be done weeks 4-6 as with the bulking routine. The only difference is the split!!!
Bodybuilders who are not show bound and who are just wanting to get cut should take a 5 day lay off after every 3 weeks of training or a 7-10 day lay off after every 6 weeks. Competitors must do 12 straight weeks without any lay-offs. Recreational trainer will get fantastic results alternating between the 3 day a week and the 5 day a week routine every 3 weeks. HIT interval aerobics should be used for 3 weeks during the 5 day split. Standard aerobics are to be used for 3 weeks during the 3 day split phase.The "SLINGSHOT METHOD" does not apply, because your not going after mass/strength. To reiterate, back and legs are never to be trained together when dieting down because it's too fatiguing on an empty tank.
Note: When applying "ONLY" the 3 day per week routine you will want to utilize the same (ARMS-LEGS)/(UPPER TORSO) split through out the entire 12 week cutting cycles. Below is the 12 week cuttin phase you will use;
Note: If you plan on using "ONLY" the 5 day per week split you'll want to alternate back and forth between (single drop sets) and (double drop sets) every 3 weeks.
Note: When alternating the 5 day split with the 3 day split, rotate (straight sets) with (single drop sets) during your first 3 week rotation and (rest-pause) with (double drop sets) for the second rotation and so forth.
NOTE:The 3 day split is as follows: Arms, abs, and legs on Monday. Chest, shoulders, back and traps on Wednesday. Friday-same as Monday and so on.
BODYBUILDERS can achieve Razor Sharp Cuts using "ONLY" Basic Exercises!!! Isolation exercises can be added to the following body parts: chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, quads, and calves. For e.g.; Triceps = Lying tricep extensions 2 sets (medium-heavy)-3 minutes rest between sets. Pushdowns 2 sets (light)-90 seconds rest between sets.
Heres a 9 week sample of a 3 day per week cutting routine. I added Isolation movements in this example (weeks 1-3):
(Weeks 4-6) your split will remain the same and should consist of 2 sets of Single power drop sets per body part. (Do only 1 straight set for abs, hams, and lower back so more energy can be spent on bigger muscle groups).
(Weeks 7-9) You'll finish off the 9 week phase using 1 set of (Triple power Drop Sets) per body part with the "same split you used during the single drop set phase". One exercise per body part can used or two exercises as long as you do not exceed 30 seconds between drops. A "Triple Power Drop Set" goes like this; Do a set for 4-6 reps, wait 30 sec and do another set of 4-6 reps, wait 30 sec and do another set of 4-6 reps, wait another second and do a final set of 4-6 reps. (Use only 1 straight set for hams if fatiqued, and always do only 1 straight set for abs-lower back). You do not train to complete failure during this time. You can train only to the point of difficulty stopping 1 rep shy if need be.
Note: Take 5 days off every 3 weeks of training.
Editors Note: After using standard aerobics for 3 weeks your body will be ready to burn nearly 100% more fat by utilizing "INTERVAL AEROBIC/ANAEROBIC TRAINING". Anaerobic training is twice as effective at burning body-fat in comparison to standard aerobics. Find your maximum heart rate ( 220 minus your age). For e.g.; 220-30 years of age = 190 heart rate. Do (2 minutes) of "HIGH" anaerobic training alternated with "LOW" intensity aerobic training-(50% of maximum heart rate) until you recuperate enough to go almost all out once again for another 2 minutes
The IRONMAN POWERLIFTING program is a peaking cycle routine which is a progressive over load. It is going to consist of an EOD workout, 2 heavy days, 2 light days.
First you are going to need to get your 1 rep Max for the Bench Press, Squat and Deadlift. You are going to do 2-3 warm up sets then 2 work sets.. No matter how tempting it is, "you only do 2 sets on heavy days," you will be doing more volume on light days but spending less time working out.
Note: A cycle is 2 light days, then 2 heavy days, performed every other day. 2 cycles will take 15 days to complete.
"This is for your Competitive Lifts"
Once you have your numbers the first week of lifting will be:
33.2% of your 1 rep max so 300 lb would equal 200.4 just round it off to the nearest number
So it looks like 33.2% x 10 reps x 2 sets
Cycle 1 33.2x 10x 2 set 200 lb
Cycle 2 33.2x 10x 2 set 200 lb
Cycle 3 add 5.6 % x 8x 2 sets
Cycle 4 add 5.3% x 8 x 2 sets
Cycle 5 add 5.3% x 5 x 2 set
Cycle 6 add 5.3% x 5 x 2 sets
Cycle 7 add 5.3% x 5 x 2 sets
Cycle 8 add 5.3% x 5 x 2 sets
Cycle 9 add 4.5% x 3x2 sets
Cycle 10 add 4.5% x 3x2 sets
Cycle 11 add 4.5% x 3x2 sets
Cycle 12 add 4.4% x 2x2 sets
Cycle 13 add 4.4% x 2x2 sets
Cycle 14 add 4.4% x 2x2 sets
Cycle 15 add 3.6% x 1x2 sets
Cycle 16 add 3.6% x 1x2 sets
Accessory work on heavy days will be:
7 reps cycle 1 - 4
5 reps cycle 5 - 9
3 reps cycle 10-16
The workouts beak down like this:
(First heavy day)
Bench press (First rep of every set is to be done with a pause)
Board press for triceps
(Second heavy day)
Squat (make sure first rep is perfect and below parallel)
Deadlift (you should only need 1 warm up set of about 3 moderately easy reps)
7 reps 1 min rest 5 set 1 exercise 1 exercise every 4 light cycle.
5 rep 5 sets 1 min rest 1 exercise change up the 1 exercise every 4 light cycle.
Lifting on light days should be explosive and fast with a slow controlled negative. ( Use a 4 or 5 count ) Up as fast as you can move the weight down slow.
The break down should be:
(1st light day)
Chest: dumbbell inclines or declines
Shoulders: upright rows or reveres fly?s
Triceps: pushdowns, or dips
Note: If you find an exercise aggravates an injury swap it for something else
(2nd light day)
Wide leg press, narrow stance leg press or hack squat
Pull ups or pull-downs with any attachment you so desire.
Note: The IRON MAN "Powerlifting Program" uses a simplistic approach to making you Super Strong. Powerlifting Records are still being set with the IRON MAN program.
Now go get strong
____________________________ Why settle for being a man when you can be an "IRONMAN".