Whether you’re stuck in a rut, plateau, or just bored with your current workout routine, and looking to pack on enough muscle to make your tattoo artist charge double, consider these 3 workout routines to help you accomplish your well-thought-out, written goals. (You do have written goals, right?) I’m not going to get into much detail on specific exercises, but consider this a CliffsNotes version so that you can dig deeper to find a plan that works for you.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout: I don’t know this to be the actual routine used by Schwarzenegger, but the split is a classic. It burns so many calories just from workout frequency that you’ll also likely see fat loss results, if all you’re currently doing is lifting without much cardio.
Day 1: Shoulders/Arms
Day 2: Chest/Back
Day 3: Legs
Repeat this split twice per week and take a day off. Go as heavy as you can for 3 sets of 10 per lift, and do 2-3 lifts per body part. Example for shoulders and arms would be: Arnold Press, (for those with healthy shoulders) for 3×10. Lateral Raise for 3×10. Standing Barbell Bicep Curl for 3×10-12, (slow negatives with the last two to three reps as cheat curls). Incline Dumbbell Curls for 3×10 clean reps with slow negatives. Skull Crushers with EZ Curl Bar for 3×10. Single Arm Tricep Extension 3×10.
Cluster Sets: This is considered to be more of a modification of what you should already be doing, and not so much a stand-alone plan. If you’ve reached a size or strength plateau, this could be just what you need to kick yourself into a new level. The key is to use this on the big, basic lifts: Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press, and Pull-Ups. It does work on accessory movements for building stubborn body parts, too, but consider starting with just compound movements. For building size, my chest, (and probably yours, too) responds much better to dips than it does to bench press, so I use weighted dips for my chest cluster sets.
The idea with cluster sets is to use rest periods within the set. So, if you’re going for 4 sets of 5, you would do something like 4 sets of 2+2+1 with 10-20 seconds of rest between sets. There are different rest intervals prescribed, but the 10-15 seconds seems to work best for me because I feel like I can stay focused between reps, and my ADD doesn’t take me on a ride of wondering why we don’t eat owls, or how long it would take to drive from Florida to Cambodia if the entire Earth was paved, (about 160 hours).
The benefit to cluster sets is that you’re able to lift more weight per set. Going for size? Try 4 sets of 2+2+1 to start and work up to 4 sets of 3+3+3 over a month, or so. Going for strength? Start with 1 set of 2+2+1 and modify the sets, up to 3 or 4 over a month. Stick to 2-3 minutes between sets.
The DC Workout, (DoggCrapp Training): Don’t worry about the name, this is a killer program. The idea behind this incredible routine is to hit the accessory lifts first, and save the big lifts for the end of your workout. By doing this, you’re not pacing yourself and trying to save energy for accessory lifts. This allows you to do, what are called, widow-maker sets, where you’re torturing yourself on big, compound movements. The workouts are short, but brutal. You’ll feel like you’ve been hit by several trucks at the end of the workout, and if you commit to this program, you should see great results. The only downside to this program is that you may feel like a bag de la douche for walking into the gym and starting off with bicep curls. For added douchery, use the squat rack. Google it. Do it. Prof it.