Ahead of summer, we shred — molting our heavy winter coats by way of advanced training techniques and stepped-up cardio sessions. But in the winter — when the beaches are empty and the long-sleeved shirts are taken out of hibernation — it’s time to pack on some size. The winter months are particularly conducive to adding mass because of all the additional calories you are likely consuming. (Thanks a lot, holiday social circuit!) Why not pair all that extra fuel with a renewed dedication to basic, effective strength training?
This workout isn’t intended to usurp your existing workout — it’s merely designed to augment your usual array of bodypart-specific workouts. The routine, which is broken into two days, is bare-bones but effective.
On Day 1, you’ll start off with the most basic and proven mass builder in existence: the deadlift. A true test of pure strength, the deadlift calls for you to lift a loaded barbell from the floor without the benefit of momentum. Each rep is a singular event that taxes nearly every major muscle group — primarily those of your posterior chain — triggering a tidal wave of muscle-building hormones and kicking protein synthesis into overdrive. Five working sets helps get you out of the “three sets of x” mentality and allows you to break down — then build up — more total muscle fibers along the way. Adding pounds to the bar every set has been shown to cause greater increases in strength than starting with your heaviest weight and backing off on each subsequent set.
Your date with the deadlift is followed by an upper-body-focused superset of two of the most challenging bodyweight moves around: pull-ups and dips. Simply alternate between the two exercises — striving to achieve the same amount of sets on each move — until you reach 50 total reps.
The Day 2 workout will follow a similar protocol, only you’ll start with the front squat. With your glutes, hamstrings and lower back likely reeling from the previous workout, you’ll shift the focus to your quads. Because your body is in a more upright position with the front squat, there is less flexion in your hips, making your quadriceps the primary movers. The deep muscles of your core are also engaged to a high degree in order to maintain your posture throughout the set.
You’ll conclude this routine with another superset, this time alternating between overhead presses for your shoulders and rows for your back.
12, 10, 10, 8, 6
12, 10, 10, 8, 6
Standing Shoulder Press
BUILDING BLOCK: Perform these workouts three to four days apart — Monday and Thursday, for example — to ensure maximum recovery (read: size and strength increases) between sessions.