Good work! You are now ready to enter the final phase of the Getting Started Series. As you follow through with your last assignment you will implement a new workout schedule, increase your weights, and lower your repetitions. This will be the perfect lead into Max-OT training. We will also discuss how to modify your workouts to meet your own specific physique goals. You will have established a foundation of both physical strength and general knowledge that will enable you to take your workouts in any direction you wish to go.
Now that you have increased your strength and developed a good understanding of the exercises, it is time to take the intensity up a notch. Over the next 3 weeks, you are going to increase the resistance (overload) and lower your reps on each exercise. Muscle is best stimulated by overload, pure and simple. Increasing the overload will lead to greater stimulation of muscular strength and development. This is one of the basic Max-OT principles and what makes Max-OT so effective.
During this phase of your workouts, choose a weight that allows you to complete 6 reps after your initial warm-up sets. If you can complete more than 6 reps, the weight is too light. If you can’t quite get 6 reps, it’s a bit too heavy for now. As you can see, we have progressively increased the weight and lowered the repetitions. As you advance into Max-OT training you will continue to increase your resistance over time to accommodate a 4 – 6 repetition range. It is through this continual progression of overload that you will keep stimulating your muscles to develop. If your goal is not to maximize your development but you would just like to become more fit and toned, you could keep your reps a little higher. You could choose a weight that is making you work in an 8-10 repetition range. You still want to subject your body to a degree of overload because that will help you to achieve the tone you are looking for.
I see no advantage to high rep training. (15+ reps per set) Some people believe that by performing high rep sets they will make that body part more toned. This is not true because you cannot spot reduce an area. You can do all the reps you want and you are not going to rid that area of fat. Tone comes from muscular development combined with lower levels of body fat to make the muscle more visible. Therefore, even if your goal is not to become as big as possible, it is still to your advantage to work on developing muscle. This will be best accomplished by overloading your muscles by progressively lifting heavier weights.
When you are devising your workout schedule you can spread your workouts over 3, 4, or 5 days a week. The thing to keep in mind is you want to train each body part 1 time per week only. Currently, we have been training 3 days a week. For this phase let’s split the workouts up over 5 days. This will serve a couple of purposes. For one, you will be doing fewer body parts per day, which will allow you to increase your focus on those specific areas. The other advantage is your workouts will be shorter in duration. This is desirable because you can maintain a much higher level of intensity over a shorter span of time. You should complete your workouts in a 30 to 40-minute time frame. Don’t make the mistake of equating the duration of your workout with its successfulness. Remember, there is a specific number of exercises and sets we want to complete and that’s it. Your goal should be to go to the gym and stimulate your muscles by overloading them. There is no advantage to doing marathon workouts with multiple numbers of sets. This is actually counter-productive to your goals, as you will be overtraining and impeding your growth.
Before you perform the first exercise for a body part, it is important to warm up. Remember, your warm up sets are an introduction to your muscles for the weight and range of motion they are about to handle. I suggest doing 3 or 4 warm ups where you progressively use a heavier weight but do not approach a point of fatigue in the muscle.
Day 1: Chest & Triceps
Flat Barbell Bench Press: 3 sets – 6 reps
Incline Barbell Bench Press: 2 sets – 6 reps
Dips: 2 sets – 6 reps
Lying Tricep Extensions: 2 sets – 6 reps
Curl Bar Overhead Extensions: 1 set – 6 reps
Cable Push-downs: 1 set – 6 reps
Day 2: Legs
Squats: 2 sets – 6 reps
Leg Press: 2 sets – 6 reps
Barbell Lunges: 1 set – 6 reps
Stiff Leg Deadlifts: 2 sets – 6 reps