Time to shake things up in the gym — 3 sets of 10 are out for awhile. If more muscle mass and better endurance of strength sound good to you, you’re in the right place. The new workout plan we’re releasing this week is German Volume Training, Beast Mode Edition — huge time under tension, pushing your limits like never before. If you’re weak-willed, this plan is NOT for you!
The basic principles behind this plan are to 1) use huge amounts of repetition volume with lighter weights, 2) burn fat by decreasing rest periods and 3) increase time-under-tension (TUT) to promote the most muscle growth possible. The rules throughout every workout will be the same: You’ll do 10 sets of 10 clean reps, with just 10 rest seconds in between sets — this is NOT negotiable! Bring a stopwatch if you have to. It is imperative you do not rest more than 10 seconds.
You will be working with only 40 to 50 percent of your 10-rep workout weight; say you can bench 180 for 10 reps — you would be working with just 90 pounds, at most, for your 10 sets. The first few sets might not feel like quite enough weight, but once you get into the mid-range of your sets, you’ll feel it. By the time you’re done, you’ll know it was the right weight.
Just to be as clear as possible, this BEAST MODE plan involves massive TUT, so recovery is a huge key to seeing results. You’ll benefit greatly from taking BCAAs before and a protein/glutamine shake after your workout.
Each workout will consist of four exercises per body part, with one major compound movement starting off the workout. As an example, on legs day, you’d start with squats before moving on to other exercises; chest day, you’d hit flat bench first, and so on.
Read the descriptions of the workout below for explanations of the exercises, if you are unfamiliar with them. Then, you can print out this easy one-page PDF to take with you!
The plan for the week looks like this:
Saturday/Sunday: Full rest days
To get you started today, here’s Day 1: Enjoy!
Flat bench: Be sure to keep your elbows tucked tight to your torso, not allowing them to flare (this is especially important given the high rep count). Lower the bar in a controlled manner to touch your chest, and “flex” the weight up as much as you can, focusing on using the pecs to do it and not your arms. Do NOT lock out the elbows at the top of the lift.
Hammer Strength decline bench: You’ll find you can take either a narrow or wider grip on the handles, depending on what feels more comfortable, but again, you do not want your elbows flared out — this puts undue stress on the shoulder joints.
Cable flies: Starting with two handles at arms’ length on either side, keep your arms just slightly bent — imagine you’re hugging a giant tree — and contract your chest to pull the handles forward and across each other in front of you. Alternate which hand is top and bottom with each rep.
Incline dumbbell flies: Lie on an incline bench with light dumbbells, and concentrate on using your pectorals to perform the movement across a higher plane on your chest than you would with a normal flat bench.
Seated Cable Rows: Keep your arms straight as long as possible, bending at the elbows only to get the handle to your abdomen. Focus on using the muscles in your back to contract the weight backward, and maintain an upright upper body throughout the movement — no leaning forward or backward.
Pulldowns: Using the wide-grip bar on the lat pull machine, concentrate on using the lats and contracting the shoulder blades before pulling the handle down.
Single-Arm Dumbbell Row: Again, try to keep your back as neutral as possible — no banana-arch in the back. Maintain a neutral head position throughout.
Straight-Arm Pulldowns: Attach a wide-grip bar on a high pulley (the lat pulldown machine is suitable) and stand facing it. With your arms straight out in front of you and using a palms-down grip on the bar, pull it down and slowly raise it. Make your back do all the work — don’t let your shoulders take over.
Leg Press: If you like, you can start with light barbell squats, but do no more than the first five sets before jumping to the sled. Remember that you’re going for reps at a weight you will be challenged with; anything under a heavy bar could leave you with less-than-perfect form, and that’s not what you’re looking for.
Leg Curls (Standing or Seated): Control the weight throughout the movement, focusing on flexing the hamstring the whole way through.
Leg Extensions: Don’t kick the weight up; instead, use a smooth, fluid motion and control the weight the whole way. Try not to lock out at the knee, but rather stop just before. This will save your joints a lot of undue stress.
Calf Raises: Seated or standing — just be sure the weight is challenging enough. Remember, your calves account for thousands of reps at your own body weight every day. Give them a struggle.
Standing Barbell Military Press: Remember, it’s not about the weight, it’s form and reps. If it’s too heavy for 10 clean, drop the weight (or use a slight rest/pause technique).
Side Lateral Flys: Use light dumbbells and be sure to keep your arms as straight as possible. To stretch the fascia and promote the most growth, get the dumbbells at least as high as ear-height.
Reverse Flys: Lie face-down on an incline bench to achieve the correct angle, or sit facing the bench of a pec deck and reverse the handles (if your gym has a machine that does this). Focus on the rear deltoid; you’ll feel it in your back some but try to keep the weight high enough to take your lats out of the equation.
Rope Facepulls: Attach a rope handle to an eye-level pulley and grab both ends of the handle. With your elbows up (think top of the movement for an upright row), pull the handles toward your ears and hold it near your face for a second before slowly returning to the pulley, maintaining an eye-level plane the entire time.
Preacher Curls: All the way down, without hunching drastically over the bar.
Incline Dumbbell Curls: Start at the bottom holding the weights as if you were pouring out a ladle, then, as you raise them, rotate your hand position outward so that the pinkie side of the weight is at the front delt at the top of the motion. This targets bicep peak and hits both bicep muscles.
Hammer Curls: Hold two dumbbells with a neutral grip.
Dips: If you are too fatigued, you can substitute weighted bench dips.