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lylemcd 12-02-2008 09:57 AM

The generic bulking routine
Since it gets asked about fairly often, here is the routine. Some notes follow

Mon: Lower
Squat: 3-4X6-8/3' (3-4 sets of 6-8 with a 3' rest)
SLDL or leg curl: 3-4X6-8/3'
Leg press: 2-3X10-12/2'
Another leg curl: 2-3X10-12/2'
Calf raise: 3-4X6-8/3'
Seated calf: 2-3X10-12/2'
Abs/low back: a couple of heavy sets apiece

Tue: Upper
Flat bench: 3-4X6-8/3'
Row: 3-4X6-8/3'
Incline bench or shoulder press: 2-3X10-12/2'
Pulldown/chin: 2-3X10-12/2'
Triceps: 1-2X12-15/1.5'
Biceps: 1-2X12-15/1.5'

For the Thu/Fri workouts either Repeat the first two or make some slight exercise substitutions. Can do deadlift/leg press combo on Thu, switch incline/pulldown to first exercises on upper body day. A lot depends on volume tolerance, if the above is too much, go to 2-3X6-8 and 1-2X10-12

Sets are work sets only, warm up appropriately.
A few notes:
1. This is an intermediate program. It is not appropriate for rank beginners (less than 6 months of consistent proper training) and tends not to be ideal for the very advanced (more than 3 years of proper training, near their genetic limits).

2. Folks who can't handle 4 days per week can use this on an alternating three day per week ABABA type of program so that everything gets hit every 5th day.
Monday: Upper body
Wednesday: Lower body
Friday: Upper body
Monday: Lower body
Wednesday: Upper body
Friday: Lower body

this can also be useful for older trainees since recovery is usually down a bit.

2a. For folks who don't do well training 2 days in a row (heavy leg days can be fatiguing for the upper day) and who can train on weekends, a schedule of
Mon: lower
Wed: upper
Fri: lower
Sat: upper

may be superior you get a day off after at least two of the workouts.

3. The program should be done across 6-8 week blocks of training. The first 2 weeks are submaximal run-ups where you are working below your best weight for the rep range. You might go something like 80-85% of best (e.g. if 100X8 is your best, go 80-85 lbsX8) in week 1 and then 90-95% of best in week 2. that means that sets will NOT be to failure and the workouts should be pretty comfortable.

For the next 4-6 weeks, the goal should be to make improvements as much as possible. When you get to the top end of the rep range on the first set with at least a rep or two to spare set add weight. Some may find it better getting all sets at the same weight before going up at the next workout.

3. People vary massively in how well they can handle weights across multiple sets. If you can do it, get all of the work sets at the same weight. If you can't, you are better off warming up to your heaviest weight on the first set and then pyramiding DOWN (e.g. lower weight on subsequent sets). Ascending pyramids suck.

4. After the 6-8 weeks is up, you MUST backcycle. If you want to change exericses, do it during the two week submaximal runup. Even if you want to keep the same exercises, you MUST backcycle to 80-85% of your previous best and runup at to numbers again. You MUST listen to me about this, if you try to keep hammering past that point, you will burn out and start backsliding.

JHFerry 12-02-2008 11:15 AM

Thanks for the sticky on this, what can be substituted for Leg Presses? I have a squat rack at home and a full lat pulldown machine but I can't do Leg Presses. Would front squats do it?

lylemcd 12-02-2008 11:20 AM

front squats can work or can be problematic depending on upper back strength/endurance. they often don't go well for multiple sets of high reps. it might actually be better to use fronts as the primary exercise (sets of 5) and then back squats for the higher reps because of this

alternately, split squat might be a better choice since it doesn't require quite the upper back stabilization and can be done for higher reps more easily

T.G. 12-02-2008 12:12 PM


I am curious?

You say this is not ideal for an advance lifter (more than 3 years of proper lifting).

So how do you change this routine to fit the advance lifter.

I am going to follow your advice on an upper / lower / upper 3 day split.

But I have been lifting for over a decade now and have added 30 pounds of lean I may not be near my genetic limit but I am pretty close.

What needs to be changed for a guy like me?


lylemcd 12-02-2008 02:42 PM

For an advanced lifter, this is simply too much work, the weights are too heavy and it will overwork him if he tries to push up everything at once.

At that level, my general tendency would be to move to specialization routines. Pick two bodyparts and focus on them while maintaining everything else. Rotate.

I'll have to move the specialization routine info over from the other forum as well.

JHFerry 12-03-2008 06:46 AM


On off days is any sort of cardio ok? What would be the max you would recommend?

lylemcd 12-03-2008 10:40 AM

Unless you're a massive 'hardgainer', keeping a bit in on off days can do good things.

20-30' 3X/week is plenty. It can improve rcovery, keep hunger up (good for bulking) and keep fat burning pathways firing. More than that will tend to hurt recovery. And keep the intensity down. Brisk walking is fine.

THE KLASH 12-05-2008 03:08 AM

I was thinking of doing this bulking routine but I have a question.

I wanted to do the deadlift/leg press combo for the second leg workout, but becasuse I have a short torso, long legs and arms, when I deadlift I use a lot of back. After heavy deadlifting I will not be able to put in a good back workout the next day or the day after.
Any suggestions appreciated.

THE KLASH 12-05-2008 03:54 AM

Another few questions.

I play cricket 3 times a week, on non-consecutive days, at a reasonably high level. it involves running into bowl about 50 or 60 times a session at close to a full sprint, with about a minute in between each ball.

I was wondering whether it would be better to schedule workouts in the morning before training in the afternoon, specifically lower body workouts, or whether it would be better to train on my off days.

I also wanted to know whether this will hamper my progress and to what extent, assuming sufficient calories and protein.
Also of interest is that I really don't care about my thigh size (but i care about my calves) and whether I should adjust anything accordingly.

Thanks in advance.

lylemcd 12-05-2008 09:33 AM

This is a routine for bodybuilders, individuals who have to train for/around a sport should not use it. How much muscle size do you need for cricket, I suspect not much. This would be a poor program choice but I don't know enoubh about cricket and it's demands to give you much more information.

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