If you’re reading this, you probably know that there are workouts to increase your strength, and that there’s other workouts to increase the size of your muscles (aka hypertrophy).
That’s all well and good, but what’s the point in looking muscular if you’re not strong, right?
What we need to know is, is it physically possible to boost your strength and increase the size of your muscles at the same time?
Let’s quickly delve into the fundamentals of strength & hypertrophy to find out…
If you want to increase your maximum strength, you need to work out using low rep ranges (3-5 reps) and take long rest periods between sets (3-5 minutes). However, if you want to maximise muscle growth or hypertrophy, this is triggered by performing exercises in the higher rep range (10-15 reps) with short rest periods between sets (30-60 seconds).
Training for strength only will leave you very strong but you won’t see the maximum increase in the size of your muscles. Similarly, training purely for hypertrophy will lead to an increase in muscle size but can also lead to a plateau in your strength gains. This program aims to combine strength and hypertrophy to ensure you are gaining the most muscle that you can without hitting a plateau with your strength.
Each workout will start with 5 sets of 5 reps using heavy weight to focus on building strength. Take plenty of rest between sets to ensure you don’t have to drop the weight or number of reps for the full 5 sets. Make sure to warm up on a lighter weight and perform light stretches before going heavy, there’s no point in setting a PR if you put yourself out of action with an injury!
After completing the strength portion of the workout, the focus is purely hypertrophy, this means high reps, short rest periods, supersets and dropsets. The focus should be on performing the movements slowly with good form and fully contracting at the top of each movement. The weight is not so important as we have already focused on building strength with the 5 x 5.
Abs and Calves
Abs and calves are alternated each day and there are 3 ab exercises and 3 calf exercises to choose from. Mix these up to ensure you are working the muscles differently each session – for example: Calves A, Abs A, Calves B, Abs B, Calves C, Abs C and repeat!
- Calves A – Leg Press Calf Raise – 5 x 10-15 (Hold reps when contracted)
- Calves B – Standing Calf Raise with Barbell 5 x 10-15
- Calves C – Smith Machine Calf Raise 5 x 10-15 (Drop set on last set)
- Abs A – Cable Crunch 5 x 10-12 (triple drop set on last set)
- Abs B – Decline Leg Raise – 5 x Failure
- Abs C – Hanging Leg Raise – 5 x Failure
Monday – Legs:
- 1 – Back Squat – 5 x 5 (3-5 min rest)
- 2 – Back Squat Pyramid – 3 level e.g. 60kg x 20, 80kg x 10, 100kg x 6, 80kg x 10, 60kg x 10
- 3 – Seated Hamstring Curl – 3 x 8-10 (Hold reps when contracted 45-60 second rest )
- 4 – Calves A
Tuesday – Chest:
- 1 – Bench Press 5 x 5 (3-5 min rest)
- 2 – Bench Press 100 Reps on 60% of 5 rep max (45-60 second rest)
- 3 – Abs A
Wednesday – Arms:
- 1A – Weighted Triceps Dip 5 x 5 (3-5 min rest)
- 1B – EZ Bar Curl 5 x 5 (3-5 min rest)
- 2A – EZ Bar Skull Crusher 4 x 10-12 (45-60 second rest)
- 2B – Dumbbell Hammer Curl 4 x 10-12 (45-60 second rest)
- 3A – Cable Rope Pulldown 3 x 21’s (7 bottom, 7 top, 7 middle 45-60 second rest)
- 3B – Wide Grip Barbell Curl 3 x 21’s (7 bottom, 7 top, 7 middle 45-60 second rest)
- 4 – Calves B
Thursday – Back:
- 1 – Deadlift – 5 x 5 (3-5 min rest)
- 2 – T-Bar Row – 50 Reps on 12 rep max (45-60 second rest)
- 3 – Wide Grip Pull-up – 30 Reps (45-60 second rest)
- 4 – Abs B
Friday – Shoulders:
- 1 – Standing Overhead Press 5 x 5 (3-5 min rest)
- 2 – Standing Overhead Press 50 Reps on 70% of 5 rep max (45-60 second rest)
- 3 – Arnold Press 3 x 8-10 (45-60 second rest)
- 4A – Cable Rear Delt Fly 3 x 10-12 (Bottom of motion only, 45-60 second rest)
- 4B – Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly 3 x 10-12 (Top of motion only, 45-60 second rest)
- 5 – Calves C