In this last installment of this series, I want to give you a quick three-week physical peaking routine designed to help you gain some more muscle while increasing muscle density. You should also be able to lose more fat in this stage.

I'll also provide you with a short three-week course emphasizing the nervous system (which has been neglected by the preceding "bodybuilding" phases of the mutation series). This training phase should allow you to quickly regain any strength you might have lost during your transformation, and then some!

Chances are that during your transformation you did gain a few pounds of muscle, however, due to the high demands and the nature of the program these gains might not have translated into actual functional strength gains. The neural reconstruction phase will take care of that while allowing your muscles to get a breather.

Don't be surprised if you end up gaining three to five pounds of lean mass during this phase from what's called delayed supercompensation.

Let's get to it!

Part 1: Hypertrophy/Myogenic Tone Phase

Training Program

During this three-week training phase you'll train with weights four times per week according to the following schedule:

Monday: Quad dominant/high volume; hip dominant/low volume

Tuesday: Upper body push/high volume; upper body pull/low volume

Wednesday: Energy system work and abs

Thursday: Hip dominant/high volume; quad dominant/low volume

Friday: OFF

Saturday: Upper body pull/high volume; upper body push/low volume

Sunday: OFF

As you can see, each muscle structure is being trained twice per week once using a higher volume of work, lower weights and high-stress technique, and a second time using a low volume/relatively high load approach.

With the first type of workout we aim at increasing total hypertrophy with an emphasis on sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. With the second type of workout we target muscle hardness/density (also called myogenic tone).

We'll only include one ESW (energy system work) session during this phase. Most of the fat loss we'll achieve will be the result of the diet, not ESW. The activity of choice on that day should be walking with a loaded sled or as close to that as you can get if you don't have a pulling sled. As a Canadian youth, I'd drag around a sleeping moose, but anything will work.

The specific workouts are as follows:

Monday

A. Back squat

Sets: 3

Reps: 15

Execution: 4 seconds down, 2 seconds up

Rest: 90 seconds

B1. Front squat

Sets: 3

Reps: 8

Execution: Tempo contrast (reps 1-2 & 5-6 = 6 down; 4 up; reps 3-4 & 7-8 = explosive)

Rest: none

B2. Vertical jump series

Sets: 3

Reps: 10

Execution: Jump as high as you can, no rest between jumps.

Rest: none

B3. Ski Squat (knees bent 90 degrees)

Sets: 3

Time: max time

Execution: Hold the position for as long as you can. Aim for 30-40 seconds. If you

can do more than that, hold a plate in your hands.

Rest: 3 minutes

C. Romanian deadlift

Sets: 5

Reps: 5

Execution: 3 seconds down, 1 second up

Rest: 120 seconds

Tuesday

A. Low incline dumbbell bench press

Sets: 3

Reps: 15

Execution: 4 seconds down, 2 seconds up

Rest: 90 seconds

B1. Decline bench press

Sets: 3

Reps: 8

Execution: Tempo contrast (reps 1-2 & 5-6 = 6 down, 4 up; reps 3-4 & 7-8 = explosive)

Rest: none

B2. Cable crossover

Sets: 3

Reps: 8

Execution: Iso-dynamic contrast: hold for a 3 second peak contraction on each rep

Rest: 90 seconds

C1. Seated dumbbell press

Sets: 3

Reps: 8

Execution: Tempo contrast (reps 1-2 & 5-6 = 6 down, 4 up; reps 3-4 & 7-8 = explosive)

Rest: none

C2. Dumbbell lateral raises

Sets: 3

Reps: 8

Execution: Iso-dynamic contrast: hold for a 3 second peak contraction on each rep

Rest: 90 seconds

D. Barbell rowing

Sets: 3

Reps: 5

Execution: 3 seconds down, 1 second up

Rest: 120 seconds

E. Lat pulldown/weighted chins

Sets: 3

Reps: 5

Execution: 3 seconds down, 1 second up

Rest: 120 seconds

Thursday

A. Good morning

Sets: 3

Reps: 15

Execution: 4 seconds down, 2 seconds up

Rest: 90 seconds

B1. Romanian deadlift

Sets: 3

Reps: 8

Execution: Tempo contrast (reps 1-2 & 5-6 = 6 down, 4 up; reps 3-4 & 7-8 = explosive)

Rest: none

B2. Leg curl 2/1

Sets: 3

Reps: 5 per leg

Execution: lift explosively with two legs, lower in 5 seconds with one leg

Rest: 90 seconds

C. Back squat

Sets: 5

Reps: 5

Execution: 3 seconds down, 1 second up

Rest: 120 seconds

Saturday

A. Chest supported dumbbell rowing (lying face-down on an incline bench)

Sets: 3

Reps: 15

Execution: 4 seconds down, 2 seconds up

Rest: 90 seconds

B1. Lat pulldown

Sets: 3

Reps: 8

Execution: Iso-dynamic contrast: hold for a 3 second peak contraction on each rep

Rest: none

B2. Straight-arm cable pressdown

Sets: 3

Reps: 8

Execution: Iso-dynamic contrast: hold for a 3 second peak contraction on each rep

Rest: 90 seconds

C1. Barbell power shrug (cheated barbell shrug)

Sets: 3

Reps: 8

Execution: Iso-dynamic contrast: hold for a 3 second peak contraction on each rep

Rest: none

C2. Calf machine Hise shrug

Sets: 3

Reps: 8

Execution: Iso-dynamic contrast: hold for a 3 second peak contraction on each rep

Rest: 90 seconds

D. Bench press

Sets: 3

Reps: 5

Execution: 3 seconds down, 1 second up

Rest: 120 seconds

E. Military press

Sets: 3

Reps: 5

Execution: 3 seconds down, 1 second up

Rest: 120 seconds

You'll notice there's no direct biceps or triceps work in this program. Feel free to add some upper arm work if you desire, but keep it at six sets or less for each muscle per week. With all the hard work you'll be doing on compound movements, there's no need for more than that!

Nutrition Program

During this phase we'll also use a carb cycling strategy with a protein cycling twist. We'll be using a moderate protein/high carb approach on Friday and Sunday (off days). This will up regulate the body's capacity to store ingested protein in the form of muscle mass during the subsequent higher protein days. The increased carb intake during off days will also allow you to increase glycogen stores which will enable you to stimulate muscle growth (via cell volumization) and will give you energy for the week's strength training workouts.

The nutritional template would look something like this:

Monday: High protein (50%), Low carb (25%), Moderate fat (25%)

Tuesday: High protein (50%), Low carb (25%), Moderate fat (25%)

Wednesday: Moderate-high protein (30%), Moderate carb (40%), Moderate fat (30%)

Thursday: High protein (50%), Low carb (25%), Moderate fat (25%)

Friday: Moderate protein (20%), High carb (70%), Low fat (10%)

Saturday: High protein (50%), Low carb (25%), Moderate fat (25%)

Sunday: Moderate protein (20%), High carb (70%), Low fat (10%)

For this phase we'll set caloric intake at around 12-14kcals per pound of bodyweight. So a 200 pound bodybuilder would consume approximately 2750kcals. According to the percentage breakdown, we're talking something like:

Monday:

Protein: 345g (1375kcals)

Carb: 172g (688kcals)

Fat: 76g (688kcals)

Tuesday:

Protein: 345g (1375kcals)

Carb: 172g (688kcals)

Fat: 76g (688kcals)

Wednesday:

Protein: 206g (824kcals)

Carb: 275g (1100kcals)

Fat: 92g (824kcals)

Thursday:

Protein: 345g (1375kcals)

Carb: 172g (688kcals)

Fat: 76g (688kcals)

Friday:

Protein: 138g (550kcals)

Carb: 481g (1925kcals)

Fat: 30g (270kcals)

Saturday:

Protein: 345g (1375kcals)

Carb: 172g (688kcals)

Fat: 76g (688kcals)

Sunday:

Protein: 138g (550kcals)

Carb: 481g (1925kcals)

Fat: 30g (270kcals)

You'll notice that the carb intake is higher than during the other phases. This will allow you to gain some muscle while continuing to lose some fat. Be sure that your carbs come from good sources. (See any of T-Nation's nutrition articles for more info.) Basically, shoot for low glycemic carb choices along with an occasional piece of fruit. Also, try to consume the bulk of your carbs in the two to three meals following a workout.

Supplements

During this phase a good supplement program can really make a big difference. I loved HOT-ROX right off the bat, but get this: the Red Bands product made specifically for citizens of T-Nation is even more effective! I have no problems recommending this product to all who desire to lose body fat rapidly.

I used 4 capsules twice per day (upon waking up – which is around 6:30AM for me – and at 1:00PM). On some occasions where the evils of ice cream got the best of me, I used a third serving and that really helped with damage control.

I also used Alpha Male at 3 capsules twice per day (same schedule as Red Bands); Low Carb Grow! (of course); and 200mg of caffeine plus a double serving of Power Drive 30 minutes before each workout.

Since I increased carb intake I made sure to use 300-500mg of alpha-lipoic acid 30 minutes prior to each meal comprising carbs. Finally, I used half a serving of Low Carb Grow! plus 20g of BCAA during each workout.