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The Definitive Strength Training Routine For Minimalists

As a hardgainer I’ve tested almost every kind of bullshit strength training routine available starting with my first routine straight out of Flex Magazine that had me in the gym 10 hours a week. Almost every routine I tried led to nagging injuries and stiff joints.

As a natural trainee and hardgainer my biggest problem was overtraining. Despite all the broscience on the internet, gaining muscle is simple, all you need is progressive resistance, a caloric surplus, adequate protein and adequate recovery.

It wasn’t until I adopted the routine below that I started to see progress and stopped getting injured. The method I’ve outlined will have you in the gym for no more than 20 minutes a week giving you plenty of time for the important things in life, like meeting girls who want to take your shirt off and admire your progress.

What You Should Expect From This Routine:

  • Gain Muscle
  • Prevent Injuries
  • Minimize time in gym
  • Minimize muscle and joint stiffness throughout the week
  • Consistently break personal lifting records

What You Need To Know About The Workout

  • Workouts are twice a week with each workout lasting about 10 minutes including setup time and stretching
  • You’ll need a journal to measure your results each week
  • Despite all the bullshit broscience out there, the only way to get bigger is muscular hypertrophy through progressive resistance, in layman’s terms: getting stronger
  • This is why you need to push every set to muscular fatigue
  • If you’re not getting stronger you’re not gaining muscle (in almost all cases)
  • Each workout will have one compound upper body and one compound lower body exercise for one set of 8 pushed to failure
  • Your goal in each workout is to complete 1 more rep than you did the week before
  • You’ll need to measure your results in a logbook so you can keep track of your progress or use an online notebook like Google Keep
  • Make sure to do upper body exercises first because after the lower body exercises you will be too tired to break records on your upper body
  • Two exercises might seem too easy for some of you guys but if you try this and feel that way, that means you are not truly pushing to fatigue
  • 1 good set of squats or deadlifts to fatigue requires 100% concentration and every ounce of effort in your body
  • The workout utilizes compound movements targeting all muscle groups
  • These lifts are the most efficient movements available
  • Specialization exercises aren’t necessary unless until you start hitting advanced levels on your lifts

Plateaus

  • Novice trainees should be breaking plateaus every week
  • Intermediate trainees should be breaking plateaus every 2-3 weeks
  • Experienced trainees should be breaking plateaus once a month
  • If you’re not breaking plateaus accordingly you need to either push yourself harder, eat more food, or rest more often

Rep Range

  • When it comes to rep range, 80-85% max load is the ideal combination of recruitment and metabolic fatigue, this will put you in the 5-8 rep range

New Trainees

  • If you’re new to training I would suggest not pushing yourself to fatigue right away, but practice correct form and slowly raising your weight limit for two months until you’ve mastered the technique
  • This is doubly important on squats and deadlifts because bad form on these lifts can seriously damage your spine
  • You’ll need a consistent spotter for the bench press and maybe the squat
  • I’ve listed some substitutions you can use below if a personal trainer is out of your budget, you have injuries, or you won’t have a consistent spotter for your workouts.

The Workout

Day 1

  • Barbell Bench Press – 1 set x 8 reps
  • Barbell Squat – 1 set x 8 reps

Day 2

  • Weighted Chin Ups – 1 set x 8 reps
  • Barbell Deadlift – 1 set x 8 reps

Substitutions

  • Barbell Bench Press – substitute with bench press machine if you don’t have a consistent spotter (I prefer the  seated incline press because its easier on the shoulders)
  • Barbell Squat – substitute with Hammer Strength V Squat Machine if you have problems with your upper cervical spine
  • Weighted Chin Up – Substitute With standard grip pulldowns
  • Barbell Deadlift – substitute with Trap Bar Deadlifts if you have lower back problems

 Cool Down

  • After your workout you should do about 5 minutes of stretching to prevent stiffness
  • Hit the sauna for about 15 minutes and a hot shower for another 15 minutes, intense heat immediately after a workout will do the most for loosening muscles and preventing stiffness the next day
Goals
  • Every year you should set goals for the 4 key lifts and write them down in the back of your log book or online notebook
  • Your entire time in the gym should be devoted to achieving those goals

How You Rank

  •  You can find how you rank compared to other natural lifters here

Your Genetic Potential

  • You can find your drug-free genetic potential here