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Default Stripped Down Hypertrophy - Joel Marion
by TobesLCFC 09-10-2013, 04:31 PM

Stripped Down Hypertrophy
The Ultimate Program for Putting on Size
by Joel Marion, CISSN, NSCA-CPT


"Get ready to experience the best hypertrophy gains of your life!"

Whenever I read an article that begins with a statement like that, I usually laugh out loud. So I'll give you a minute to gather yourself before I share something very interesting with you.

All better now? Here it is... I'm being serious.

I'm not big on hype. You get enough of that from conventional supplement company ads and bodybuilding mags, but I'm telling you straight up this program produces incredible results. I've used it myself. I've passed it on to others in the field. They've used it with their clients and I've used it with mine.

When it comes to putting on mass, this plan delivers, and I've honestly lost count of how many times the report came back, "Best gains from any program I've ever used." Now, I'm not professing to be some sort of bodybuilding savior, and I'm not even claiming to present anything revolutionary in this article. Really, the program is far too simple for that... and it's meant to be.

There won't be any talk of advanced training techniques, no tedious discussion of muscle physiology, and no programming that involves elaborate periodization schemes. Sometimes we all myself included make things more complicated than they need to be.

Realizing this, I took a few steps back and attempted to strip hypertrophy down to its core. The ideas that remained are what I consider to be the three most fundamental principles of hypertrophy I've learned over the years.

1) Central nervous system (CNS) burnout must be avoided at all costs for the work to be effective.

2) Optimal hypertrophy occurs when muscle tissue is stimulated as frequently as possible, while still adhering to the first principle.

3) Volume rules.

But doesn't high volume and frequency lead to overtraining? Listen, if the guy who worries about keeping each workout under 15 total sets and giving each muscle group a week to recover didn't weigh 150 pounds, I might actually give the idea some merit.

Overtraining has to be the most misunderstood term in bodybuilding. Simply put, just adhere to the first principle and stop overthinking. My goal was just to design a workout that meets these three major objectives. In order to do this, the workout had to be:

1) Relatively short in duration, to ensure that the CNS remains fresh.

2) Performed at a high weekly frequency.

3) Fairly high in volume.

The end result is a 40-minute full-body workout to be done five times each week. That's it. No high-tech programming, no million-dollar strategy, no majoring in what's ultimately very minor. The goal is maximal stimulation without the burnout, and that's exactly what this setup achieves.


The Stripped-Down Workout

For each workout, you'll be choosing one exercise from each of the following lists. Whatever exercises you choose, you'll continue to use those same exercises for three weeks.

Upper body horizontal push Flat, incline, or decline barbell or dumbbell bench press, close-grip bench press, iso-ballistic push-up

Upper body horizontal pull Bent-over row (supinated or pronated grip), one-arm dumbbell row, seated row (triangle handle, straight bar, double-D bar handle)
Upper body vertical push Standing military press, push press, push jerk, dip, wide-grip dip, close-grip triceps push press

Upper body vertical pull Pull-up (pronated, supinated, or semi-supinated grip), pulldown (pronated, supinated, semi-supinated grip, wide pronated grip, double-D bar handle)
Quad-dominant lower body Back squat, front squat, hack squat, lunge, leg press, duck deadlift
Hip-dominant lower body Deadlift (sumo or conventional), Romanian deadlift, sumo squat, good morning, one-leg back extension, glute-ham raise, dumbbell swing, one-arm dumbbell snatch

Note: If you choose a squat for the quad-dominant exercise, choose something other than the deadlift as the hip-dominant exercise (like dumbbell swings). Likewise, if choosing the deadlift as the hip-dominant exercise, choose something other than a squat for the quad-dominant lift (like lunges).


Each workout consists of two groups of movements. Alternate between the A movements of Group 1, then perform the B movement via straight sets. Repeat for Group 2.

Group 1

A1) Upper body horizontal push
A2) Upper body horizontal pull
B) Quad-dominant lower body

Group 2

A1) Upper body vertical push
A2) Upper body vertical pull
B) Hip-dominant lower body


Sample Workout

Group 1

A1) Dumbbell bench press
A2) Seated row
B) Back squat

Group 2

A1) Dip
A2) Pull-up
B) One-arm dumbbell snatch


Sets and Reps

For each workout, you'll train one group with a 4x10 set/rep scheme and the other with a 5x5 set/rep scheme, switching the two schemes each workout. So if you train Group 1 with 4x10 and Group 2 using 5x5 one day, the next time you hit the gym you will train each group with the opposite pattern.

Here's a more visual example:

Monday

Group 1 5x5
Group 2 4x10

Tuesday

Group 1 4x10
Group 2 5x5

Thursday

Group 1 5x5
Group 2 4x10

Friday

Group 1 4x10
Group 2 5x5

And so on...


Frequency and Variations

Perform five workouts per week. I don't care how you set that up, although something like Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday is better than working out five days in a row. Also, the setup doesn't need to stay the same from week to week; just be sure to get in five sessions.

Although I'm not big on variation, it's somewhat necessary when performing workouts this frequently and it also helps to keep things interesting. That said, I'd recommend selecting a new group of exercises from the above lists every three weeks. If you choose to continue with the program beyond six weeks, switch the set and rep schemes to 6x3 and 5x8.

Remember, You won't achieve anywhere close to the gains that are possible with this program without adequate nutrition for growth and recovery. Plenty of food is a must. Surge before (or during) and after every workout is a must.
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Old 09-10-2013, 04:32 PM   #2
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A Stripped Down Summary

One daily workout, five days a week.

Maximal stimulation, maximal results.

Extremely simple, extremely effective.

How's that for stripped down?


About the Author

Joel Marion, CISSN, NSCA-CPT, and 2001 Body-for-Life Grand Champion is the author of over one-hundred fitness and nutrition articles for popular health and fitness magazines, both in print and on the Web. He has appeared on CBS, NBC, Sirius Satellite Radio, and numerous other media outlets across the country to talk about his breakthrough weight-loss book, The Cheat to Lose Diet, published by Random House.

In addition to his writing, Joel is a highly sought after lecturer and a consultant to a wide variety of clients including doctors, lawyers, business men and women, athletes, and models as well as the average Joe and Jane looking to improve his or her appearance. To learn more about Joel or The Cheat to Lose Diet visit JoelMarion.net and CheatToLoseDiet.com.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:13 PM   #3
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If you choose to continue with the program beyond six weeks, switch the set and rep schemes to 6x3 and 5x8.
It is obvious that a routine like this will eventually lead to burn-out and can't be used for long periods of time. Six weeks? How much can you really be expected to gain in six weeks? I guess as a short term weight-gain routine it might be effective, but finding a good basic routine and sticking with it for a YEAR or more is probably the better route to long term success.

Last edited by Off Road; 09-10-2013 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:25 PM   #4
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I do like the set-up for the different movements though. It's very Christy-esque.
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:51 AM   #5
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I do like the set-up for the different movements though. It's very Christy-esque.

Many people have had results with this program on bodybuilding.com. it is a specialization program.
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