Winter Workout 2018

Barbell on floor

TLDR

Try this 8 week hypertrophy (muscle-building) workout. Download the Excel spreadsheet here: Winter 2018 Hypertrophy Workout

Hypertrophy Basics

I alternate between different types of workouts during the year. Some of the year is about building strength (how much I can lift). Some of the year is dedicated to power (how much I can lift as quickly as possible). This winter I’ve chosen to concentrate on hypertrophy (muscle size).

 

There are at least 3 components to building muscle in the gym:

  • Volume. Specifically, the number of sets per muscle group per week creates a more dramatic result. However, there seems to be a relationship to more sets/reps throughout the week, rather than blowing your wad all in one day. Repeatedly hitting a muscle group through the week, without exceeding the minimum effective dose, seems to be better.
  • Muscle fiber recruitment. The more muscle fibers you recruit, the better. This is especially true for building muscle (rather than strength training). Done right, increased volume and training to failure or near failure recruits more muscle fibers. Rest and good form are the keys to muscle fiber recruitment.
  • Rest. This is hugely important. Often you’ll see guys rep to failure to get that “pump” in the gym, then quickly turn around and do it again. You’ll also see their volume decreases as each set is attempted (remember: increased volume recruits more muscle fibers). What they fail to realize is that the “pump” is actually their body’s response to the trash that’s built up in their muscles during a set. The body floods the area with blood to flush the lactic acid build up. If you don’t give your body enough time to flush the waste products from the muscle, it can’t perform to its maximal potential. To get the biggest bang for your buck, take as much rest time as you need so that you can perform each set to the full rep target. For me, it’s almost always 3 minutes.

The Workout

My workout achieves four goals for me:

  1. It’s fairly balanced across muscle groups.
  2. It places a high value on leg work. Hip and leg strength are important for me; you may want to place emphasis on a different priority.
  3. It includes aerobic as well as high intensity work.
  4. Even though it’s a five day workout, it’s structured so that recovery is built-in.

Personally, I’m loving this. Since I started in November 2018 (It’s January 2019 as I write this) I’ve added 7 pounds of non-Christmas weight to my frame. I’m not experiencing burn out. And although I’m pretty sore after most workout days, the recovery period allows me to hit it hard each time I enter the gym. I’m a fan of this one!

You can download the workout here: Winter 2018 Hypertrophy Workout. If you have any suggestions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments, below.