Q: I’m excited! I was looking for a 3-days-per-week program to use over the winter, and I think I’ve devised a great one. I’ll use the split-positions Phase 1 workout you outline in The Ultimate Super-Size Crash Course [Chapter 6], but I’ll start each workout with either squats or deadlifts. I remember you saying how that can increase overall mass gains. What do you think?
A: That sounds like a great winter size-building program to put to the test. For the uninitiated, the program split is simple:
Monday: Chest, Back, Abs
Friday: Delts, Arms
So you’ll be working each muscle group directly ONCE a week—except legs, which you will now be training three times a week—at the beginning of each workout.
We suggest you start your workouts with deadlifts on Monday’s Workout 1, before chest. Simply keep the leg routine as is on Wednesday…
Then Friday, if you did squats on Wednesday, use front squats before delts. If you used front squats on Wednesday, use back squats here.
In other words, start your workouts with a different lower-body exercise on Friday than you did at Wednesday’s leg workout. You could even use dumbbell squats. That exercise is like a deadlift-squat mix, similar to Trap Bar deadlifts (which you could also work into the rotation).
And because you’re now training lower body three times a week, we suggest you use STANDARD 4X on the leg exercises you do on Monday and Friday. Leave the Downward-Progression 4X and Progressive-Speed 4X for Wednesday’s more extensive leg workout….
For standard 4X, use your 15-rep-max weight, but only do 10. Rest 40 seconds, then do 10 more—and so on for 4 sets. Go all out on your last set; if you get 10 reps, use more weight next time.
That should be an awesome anabolic primer at each workout, improving the results you get from the exercises that follow—like more growth in our arms…
We’ve discussed how if you start your workouts with squats or deadlifts up front it can help boost anabolism for the rest of the workout—and in your body overall. Here is what Ph.D. researchers Gabriel and Jacob Wilson found in an experiment training legs before arms…
Arms trained with legs achieved an increase in the part of the biceps with the largest cross-sectional area—the biceps peak—while no changes occurred in the arms trained alone. The arms trained with legs also had greater relative improvement in biceps curl strength than the arms trained alone as well as other favorable muscle adaptations…. Studies suggest that training large bodyparts before smaller ones increases the smaller bodyparts’ growth.
Let us know how it goes—and how you grow.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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