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The Ultimate Hybrid Size Workout

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Reap the rewards of both strength and volume training with this weekly routine that is sure to put your body to the test.

By Jon-Erik Kawamoto and Lee Boyce

Too often, a lifter will have to go through a phase of training as an “investment” for the next phase. Here’s what we mean. If more muscle is the goal, it would help if more weight could be lifted. Naturally, going through a short max strength training phase can set you up to get stronger, to lift more weight, to ultimately build more muscle when it comes time to go back into hypertrophy based training. However, the volume of hypertrophy training and higher rep ranges can act against your max strength output since there’s often an absence of super low-rep training and many large movements. We all know that one is just as important as the other to make a good program, well, good. That’s why Musclemag called on two great minds to come together to create a “hybrid size workout” that combines the best of both worlds.

This program will have you lifting 4 days/week: 2-upper body days and 2-lower body days. You’ll start each workout with a main lift:

Day 1) Barbell Bench Press
Day 2) Barbell Overhead Press
Day 3) Barbell Back Squat
Day 4) Conventional Deadlift

Perform 6-sets of 6-reps for each exercise with 60-seconds rest.

The second circuit in each workout is a giant set. A giant set maximizes the time under tension (TUT) for the targeted muscles. It normally consists of three exercises: compound followed by isolation. In the first upper body workout, the giant set will focus on the chest while in the second, it will focus on the back and biceps. The first lower body workout will focus on the quadriceps while the giant set in the second lower body workout will focus on the hamstrings and calves.

The third potion of each workout will utilize drop sets to focus on the pump. For the drop sets (excluding the hamstring triple threat) find a weight you can do roughly 10-reps with. Perform as many clean reps as you can with that weight. Once your form has to change to perform another rep, lower the weight by 10-lbs. Perform as many reps as possible with this weight. Again, once your form has to change, drop the weight another 10-lbs and perform as many clean reps as possible. The first upper body workout will focus on the biceps while the second upper body workout will focus on the triceps. The first lower body workout will focus on the hamstrings while the second lower body workout focuses on the quadriceps.

Your Tempo Guide

When listed, the tempo of the exercise (speed of execution) will be written with 4-numbers listed as ABCD. A is the time in seconds to perform the eccentric phase of the exercise (down phase in a bench press) and B is the pause after the eccentric phase (bottom of a bench press). C is the time in seconds for the concentric phase (up phase in a bench press) and D is the pause after the concentric phase (top of a bench press). For example, a tempo of 3111 reads: 3-seconds down, 1-second pause, 1-second up, and 1-second pause.

Putting It All Together

Upper Body Workout 1:

A) Barbell Bench Press; 6 x 6; 3111; (60 sec break)
B1) Incline Dumbbell Bench Press; 2 x 8; 3131; (no break)
B2) Pushup; 2 x as many reps as possible; (no break)
B3) High Cable Flys; 2 x 12; 5121; (90 sec break)
C) Incline Dumbbell Zottman Curls; 2 drop sets (composed of 3 mini-sets)
(0 sec between mini-sets; 60 sec set break)

Upper Body Workout 2:

A) Barbell Overhead Press; 6 x 6; 3111; (60 sec break)
B1) Arnold Press; 2 x 8; 3131; (no break)
B2) Face pull; 2 x 12; (no break)
B3) Lateral Dumbbell Raise; 2 x 15; (90 sec break)
C) Triceps Rope Press Down; 2 drop sets (composed of 3 mini-sets)
(0 sec between mini-sets; 60 sec set break)

Lower Body Workout 1:

A) Back Squat; 6 x 6; 3111; (60 sec break)
B1) Leg Press; 2 x 8; 3131; (no break)
B2) Alternating Reverse Lunges; 2 x 12/side; (no break)
B3) Goblet Squat; 2 x 15; (90 sec break)
C) Hamstring Triple Threat (straight leg bridge, hamstring curl on ball, bent knee bridge); 2 x 15 reps/exercise; (60 sec break)

Lower Body Workout 2:

A) Conventional Deadlift; 6 x 6, controlled lifting (no tempo); (60 sec break)
B1) RDL; 2 x 8; 3131; (no break)
B2) Prone Hamstring Curls; 2 x 12; (no break)
B3) Standing Calf Raises; 2 x 15; (90 sec break)
C) Leg Extensions; 2 drop sets (composed of 3 mini-sets); (0 sec between mini-sets; 60 sec set break)

A Sample Week

Sun – Rest
Mon – Upper Body Workout 1
Tues – Lower Body Workout 1
Wed – Rest
Thurs – Upper Body Workout 2
Fri – Rest
Sat – Lower Body Workout 2

Alternate Sample Week

Sun – Rest
Mon – Upper Body Workout 1
Tues – Lower Body Workout 1
Wed – Rest
Thurs – Upper Body Workout 2
Fri – Lower Body Workout 2
Sat – Rest

6 Weeks To Size

And there you have it. Something you’ve never seen before, combining the best of strength training with the best of size training. You have the option of throwing in an interval or cardio day on your scheduled rest day. Who said you have to pick and choose training phases? Incorporating both styles into the same phase will have you killing two birds with one stone, and you’ll soon be walking through the gym with the heroic physique coveted by men (and pursued by women) worldwide!

Lee Boyce is a sought after strength coach based in Toronto, Canada. He’s been featured in publications including Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, MUSCLEMAG, STACK, and TNATION, and in 2011 and 2012, Lee was the fitness expert for national morning show First Look. Lee competed as a varsity level sprinter and long jumper while studying Kinesiology in university. Follow him on twitter @coachleeboyce and visit his website, www.leeboycetraining.com .

Jon-Erik Kawamoto, MSc Kin(c),CSCS, CEP is a Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Fitness Writer out of St. John’s, NL, Canada. While in the middle of his Masters in Human Kinetics, Jon regularly contributes to several major health and fitness magazines and websites. Check out more of his work at www.JKConditioning.com or find him on Twitter @JKConditioning

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  • Balls2thewall

    no back workout??

  • Anon

    What he said.

    Back?

    Pull ups?

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