The most effective training programs are usually designed with information from the past, combined with unorthodox thinking into the future. Sure, there have been some relatively effective programs in the past, but results aren't anywhere near where they could be.
There's really no excuse for the lack of outstanding training programs if you consider how many training sessions have been performed over the last fifty years. The real problem lies in a trainer's ability–or inability–to research scientific information, along with a lack of unconventional thinking.
The recent steroid busts of professional athletes are even more disheartening when you consider their resources. These athletes make millions of dollars each year; you'd think they'd hire outstanding trainers and coaches to get them into top shape. Nope! Instead, many pursue the easiest route: injecting illegal performance-enhancing substances, which in turn, often wreaks havoc on their image, health and trustworthiness.
Instead of being part of the problem, I want to be part of the solution by laying out my latest system in hopes of alleviating some of these salacious acts. By using the program outlined below, you'll be able to achieve jaw-dropping results, no syringes required.
Total Body Training
Recently, total-body training programs have become en vogue. This is nothing new. In fact, the second article I wrote for T-Nation, back in 2001, was a total-body training system. But, much like T-Nation, my training principles are continuously evolving. My latest system is based on one method I find most useful for hypertrophy, along with a few other twists and turns to promote a synergistic hypertrophy effect.
Hold on tight, my friends!
Mighty 10 x 3
If I could only use one set/rep parameter for the rest of my training days, I'd choose the 10 x 3 method. I've yet to utilize another set of training parameters that lead to as much hypertrophy. Half of my ABBH program is based on this method and I must say that more than half of the results are from this method alone. The benefits of 10 x 3 include:
- Sufficient Load Selection: The 10 x 3 method allows you to use a larger load than its mirror image, 3 x 10. With 10 x 3, a load equating to approximately 80% of your 1RM (one rep max) leads to greater improvements of intramuscular coordination along with increased recruitment of high-threshold motor units.
- Fast Muscle Actions: Since the sets are extremely short (<6 seconds) and muscular failure isn't achieved, maximum speed can be maintained throughout the sets. This is important because greater speeds of muscle actions lead to greater recruitment of Type IIB and Type IIA muscle fibers that fall within the fast-fatigable motor units and fast fatigue-resistant motor units, respectively.
- Manageable Fatigue: Oftentimes, trainees feel invigorated after finishing all ten sets of three reps with 80% of their 1RM. This is a very important aspect that leads to high levels of motivation. Ten sets of squats to screaming failure sucks motivation levels out of your body quicker than a porn star hopped up on Columbian crops. But 10 x 3 training allows you to leave the gym with minimal fatigue and maximum motivation.
Powerful 4 x 6
For maximum hypertrophy, I prefer a set/rep volume of 24 to 50. With total-body training, I stay on the lower end of that spectrum. While 10 x 3 is magical, I can't speak highly enough of 5 x 5 training with 85% of your 1RM, but the total number of sets in a single session must be minimized to avoid excess fatigue. Therefore, I slightly alter the 5 x 5 set/rep scheme to 4 x 6.
I've found that 4 x 6 training will lead to as much hypertrophy, but with one less set per muscle grouping. The lack of this extra set makes an appreciable difference once total-body programs are undertaken.
The benefits of 4 x 6 training are very similar to 10 x 3, if proper loads are utilized. Once again, I prefer to use 80% of 1RM for best results. This load selection allows for proper motor unit recruitment, fast muscle actions, minimal fatigue and adequate volume.
Putting It All Together
Now we've made it to the Waterbury Method training parameters. You might be thinking, "Since you extol the benefits of 10 x 3 training, why don't you just use those parameters for all exercises?" Simple: ten sets for every muscle group in a single session is too damn much! Such a technique would equate to 180 sets utilizing 80% of 1RM in a single week. Not good, unless you're at the super-elite level. Even then, it's pretty questionable.
Therefore, my newest system consists of 10 x 3 training for a single muscle grouping within each session. The rest of the workout is composed of 4 x 6 training in order to keep the volume levels manageable while still inducing strength and hypertrophy.
The sneaky part of this program is the continuous switching of 10 x 3 training with different body parts. For instance, one workout will utilize a lower-body movement with 10 x 3; another workout consists of upper-body pressing; the last workout consists of upper-body pulling. This breakdown works wonders for offsetting fatigue and nervous system boredom.
The Waterbury Method: Let's Do It!
Week 1 Loading: 80% of 1RM or a load you can lift for 6 perfect reps
Weeks 1-4 Tempo: 10X (one second eccentric or lowering; no pause; concentric or lifting action as fast as possible)
Exercise Sets Reps Rest A Barbell Back Squat 10 3 1 min. B1 Dip 4 6 B2 Bent-Over Barbell or Dumbbell Row 4 6 1 min. C1 Skull Crusher 4 6 C2 Standing Barbell Curl 4 6 1 min. D Hanging Leg Raise 4 6 1 min.
15-20 minutes of medium intensity jogging or GPP work
Exercise Sets Reps Rest A Barbell or Dumbbell Bench Press 10 3 1 min. B1 Partial Dumbbell Deadlift (Romanian Deadlift) 4 6 B2 Standing Barbell Military Press 4 6 1 min. C1 Standing Calf Raise 4 6 C2 Upright Row 4 6 1 min. D Triceps Pressdown (or French Press) 4 6 1 min.
Same as Day 2
Exercise Sets Reps Rest A Chin-Up * 10 3 1 min. B1 Decline Barbell or Dumbbell Bench Press 4 6 B2 Standing Hammer Curl 4 6 1 min. C1 Seated Calf Raise 4 6 C2 Glute/Ham Raise or Leg Curl 4 6 1 min. D Lunge or Step-Up * * 4 6 / leg 1 min.
* Chin-Up – Utilize a supinated (palms up), shoulder-width hand grip
* * Lunge or Step-Up – No rest between legs
Same as Day 2
Once you've finished the first week of the program, the loading on all sets must be increased. Here's how it all breaks down:
Week 2: 82.5% of 1RM for all lifts
Week 3: 85% of 1RM for all lifts
Week 4: 87.5% of 1RM for all lifts
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This is one helluva system for all of you who are looking to switch gears for accelerated strength and hypertrophy. The Waterbury Method is the best of both worlds: strength and hypertrophy. Be sure to lift as fast as possible and keep fatigue under control with the recommended loading and supplementation. If you follow these simple steps, you'll be ecstatic with the results!