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Hypertrophy Booster Shots

Hypertrophie Booster Shots

Your program + 2 boosters = new muscle mass!

This article will not overwhelm you with neuroscience or confusing technical terms. No, it will be very simple and easy to understand. As I've learned over the years, elementary advice is usually what helps people the most and tends to work the best.

With that knowledge in mind, I've put together a muscle growth accelerating plan for you that will do just that - greatly accelerate muscle growth. And you know what? This plan is so simple that you'd have to be quite a fool not to agree with it. There will be no esoteric exercises, no mention of a tempo and definitely no unnecessary bullshit. This training session doesn't need any of that.

I'm going to outline a training session that you should do along with your current program. In other words, you won't need to do anything more than add these two workouts to your weekly training plan - no other adjustments are necessary. Think of these workouts as a couple of "booster shots" injected into your current training program.

One of the coolest benefits of these muscle-building workouts is that they aren't dependent on the program you're currently following. Whether you're using a full body workout program, a goddamn muscle group split or some other hybrid plan - it doesn't matter.

In fact, these workouts are like a busty blonde showing up to your blind date with loose morals - you're sure to welcome this encore.

Step 1: Identify your weak points

The first thing you need to do is identify your weakest (or furthest behind in their development) muscle groups. Which muscle group needs the most work from a hypertrophy perspective? Here is a list to choose from:

  • Calves
  • hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Gluteus/lower back
  • Abdominals
  • Chest muscles
  • Upper back/latissimus
  • Shoulder muscles
  • Triceps
  • biceps
  • Forearms

Once you have determined your weak points, make a list. Let's say this list includes your quadriceps, your pecs, your shoulder muscles and your biceps. Your two booster workouts will target these muscle groups.

Step 2: Choose your weapons (exercises)

Once you've made your list of lagging muscle groups, I want you to choose two different exercises for each of these muscle groups. The only criteria you need to follow is this: You must choose two different exercises for each muscle group that you have not performed during the last two months.

And just because you've been doing bench presses on the reverse incline bench for your chest doesn't mean you can't use this exercise - you just need to modify the exercise slightly. So if you're a fan of bench presses on the reverse incline bench and you've been doing a variation with a 20 degree incline of the bench and a barbell, all you need to do is use two dumbbells instead of the barbell. It would be even better if you also changed the incline of the bench to, say, 30 degrees, although it is absolutely not necessary to change the angle of the bench as well.

For lower body exercises, the answer could be as simple as using a narrower or wider foot spacing. For example, if you've been doing classic squats with a shoulder-width stance, you can switch to a narrow stance with raised heels. Or use barbell Hackenschmidt squats. Basically, you can use any variation that targets the quadriceps if you are trying to progress the development of your quadriceps.

Make a list of your weakest muscle groups (e.g. quadriceps, chest, shoulders and biceps) in conjunction with two different exercises that target these muscle groups. Here is a sample list that illustrates the first two steps. (Please keep in mind that this is just an example. Use the muscle groups and exercises that best suit your situation).

Hypertrophy Booster

Muscle groups

Exercises

Quadriceps

  • Barbell Hackenschmidt squats
  • Classic squats with close stance

Chest

  • Dumbbell bench press on the reverse incline bench
  • Barbell incline bench press

Shoulders

  • Dumbbell side raises
  • Barbell shoulder press standing

Biceps

  • Hammer curls on the incline bench
  • Scott curls

Step 3: Weight

At this point you have made a list of your weakest muscle groups and chosen two different exercises for each of these muscle groups. Now I want you to choose a weight for each of these exercises that represents the maximum weight for 40 to 50 repetitions (a weight that you can perform 40 to 50 repetitions with before you reach the point of muscle failure).

For those who prefer percentages of their maximum weight for one repetition (1RM), this would correspond to around 30 to 35% of your 1RM weight. However, this percentage can vary greatly from person to person, so don't get too hung up on these numbers. Just take a few minutes to play around with the weight for each exercise and figure out what weight puts you in the 40 to 50 reps range.

It may take a training session to determine the correct weight, but that's perfectly fine. If you choose a weight that allows you to do 35 or 60 reps or another number of reps that doesn't fall into the 40-50 reps to muscle failure range, don't worry - the session will still deliver a useful hypertrophy effect. Simply make the necessary adjustments to the weight during the next training session.

Step 4: The 100 mark

The goal for each training session is to perform 100 repetitions of each exercise. Obviously, a weight that is your 40-50RM weight is not going to allow you to do 100 reps - and that's the point. I want you to perform the first 40 to 50 reps and stop one repetition before reaching muscle failure. Then pause for 10 seconds and do as many more reps as you can. Pause again for 10 seconds, followed by as many repetitions as you can, and so on. Follow this pattern until you reach 100 repetitions. That's it. Rest for 3 minutes and then move on to the next exercise.

Should you reach the point of muscle failure at the end of the set? Yes and no. If it's an isolation exercise like curls, side raises and the like, then you can reach the point of muscle failure. However, if it's a multi-joint exercise like squats, overhead presses, etc., then you should always keep one repetition in reserve to avoid excessive fatigue, which can be problematic with multi-joint exercises.

In other words, if you were to perform 100 repetitions of close stance squats to the point of muscle failure, this would cause excessive fatigue that would affect your recovery over the course of the week. However, even if you're wetting your pants from exertion during bicep curls, this won't take a huge toll on your weekly recovery.

Step 5: Progression

As a progression, I want you to squeeze out a few extra reps during the first set of each subsequent training session. I'll use dumbbell bench presses on the reverse incline bench as an example. Let's say your first booster shot for your pecs looked like this:

Workout 1

Exercise: Dumbbell bench press on the reverse incline bench

Weight: 40-50RM

  • 42 repetitions
  • Pause for 10 seconds
  • 12 repetitions
  • Pause for 10 seconds
  • 10 repetitions
  • Pause for 10 seconds
  • 10 repetitions
  • Pause for 10 seconds
  • 9 repetitions
  • Pause for 10 seconds
  • 7 repetitions
  • Pause for 10 seconds
  • 5 repetitions
  • Pause for 10 seconds
  • 5 repetitions

For the next booster shot chest training session you will need to use a different exercise (e.g. barbell incline bench press). After this, you will repeat the above chest training session as you alternate between two different chest exercises during your microcycle (weekly plan).

After you return to dumbbell bench presses on the reverse incline bench the following week, you should perform a few more reps on the first set. Even if all other variables remain relatively consistent, you'll be in good shape. Your next chest training session for dumbbell bench presses on the reverse incline bench could look like this

Workout 2 (for the same exercise)

  • 44 repetitions
  • Pause for 10 seconds
  • 12 repetitions
  • Pause for 10 seconds
  • 10 repetitions
  • Pause for 10 seconds
  • 10 repetitions
  • Pause for 10 seconds
  • 9 repetitions
  • Pause for 10 seconds
  • 7 repetitions
  • Pause for 10 seconds
  • 5 repetitions
  • Pause for 10 seconds
  • 3 repetitions

On average, most exercisers will increase performance on the first set by 2 to 5 reps on each subsequent training session for the same exercise. Your increase could be higher or lower, but as long as you can increase the number of reps on your first set by at least one repetition, you are making progress.

Once you've reached the 50 reps mark, it's time to increase the weight. Ideally, you would increase the weight by 2 to 3%, but I know that such increases are not possible in most cases. For example, if you are using lat pulldowns for these workouts, then you may be forced to increase the weight from say 25 kilos to 30 kilos (which is a 20% increase). This is something you have to live with.

In such a situation, the weight jump may force you to perform less than 40 reps on the first set of your next training session. This is fine. Just follow the repetition progression until you reach 50 reps on the first set again. At this point, it's time to increase the weight again.

Step 6: Weekly plan (microcycle)

Most of you will follow a microcycle based on a 7 day plan. In this case, the booster workouts should be spaced 3 to 4 days apart. For example, if you do three full body workouts per week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, your plan could look like this:

Monday:

  • Full-body training session

Tuesday:

  • Booster Shot 1

Wednesday:

  • Full body training session

Thursday:

  • No training

Friday:

  • Full body training session

Saturday:

  • Booster Shot 2

Sunday:

  • No workout

Note: I mark the Booster Shot workouts with the numbers 1 and 2 because each of these workouts uses different exercises for the same muscle group.

The same type of weekly schedule can also be used with a muscle group split. Here is an example:

Monday:

  • Chest, Back

Tuesday:

  • Booster Shot 1

Wednesday:

  • Legs, abs, calves

Thursday:

  • No training

Friday:

  • Arms, shoulders

Saturday:

  • Booster Shot 2

Sunday:

  • No training

Or maybe you follow an upper body/lower body split. Here is another example:

Monday:

  • Lower body

Tuesday:

  • Booster Shot 1

Wednesday:

  • Upper body

Thursday:

  • No training

Friday:

  • Lower body

Saturday:

  • Booster Shot 2

Sunday:

  • No training

Note: The following week's schedule would be arranged so that the upper body workout is done on Monday and Friday and the lower body workout is done on Wednesday.

Work capacity

The Booster Shot program will not only build additional muscle mass in your lagging muscle groups, but it will also dramatically increase your work capacity. Work capacity is exactly what it sounds like: your capacity to do work. This is a direct measure of your overall fitness level. If you're someone who often can't do more after just 20 minutes of exercise, then you can be damn sure that your work capacity is similar to that of an obese pensioner.

I can't repeat often enough how important it is to build up your work capacity. The more often you train, the higher your work capacity will be. And the higher your work capacity, the more muscle you will be able to build, as your ability to recover will also improve dramatically (you will be able to train more often). Even if you don't have the luxury of going to the gym more often, a higher work capacity will allow you to do significantly more work (more sets, more reps, more weight, etc.) during your training sessions.

Those of you who want to build muscle and increase your work capacity should schedule your Booster Shot workouts in the evening hours after your morning training session. Here's an example:

Monday:

  • Morning: total body workout, upper body/lower body split, muscle group split, etc.
  • Evening: Booster Shot 1

Tuesday:

  • No training

Wednesday:

  • No training

Thursday:

  • Morning: total body workout, upper body/lower body split, muscle group split, etc.
  • Evening: Booster Shot 2

Friday:

  • No training

Saturday:

  • Morning: total body workout, upper body/lower body split, muscle group split, etc.

Sunday:

  • Workout-free

Many people prefer this option as it allows the most workout-free days per week. I also like this option as it forces people to find time for two daily workouts. Once they get used to this split, I slowly slip in an extra workout or two on their "off" days.

But regardless of whether you do your Booster Shot workouts on your former off days or in the evening, they will increase your work capacity. So don't think that the only way to increase your work capacity is to train twice a day (although this is my preferred option).

And this, my friend, is the transition into the realm of high frequency training (HFT).

Summary

Yes, this whole article is nothing more than a sting operation aimed at convincing you to exercise more often. No matter how hard I try to explain my HFT concepts, many people still get lost in the details. That's why I've designed the simplest workout you can incorporate into your current training program twice a week.

Here is a summary of the booster shots:

  1. Pick the muscle groups you want to improve the most.
  2. Choose two different exercises for each muscle group.
  3. Perform one set of 100 repetitions with a 40 - 50 RM weight.
  4. Use one exercise per muscle group and use different exercises for the two weekly training sessions.

A few more points

Use Booster Shots for as long as you feel they fit in with your training. After a month, however, you should choose two new exercises for each muscle group (even if you stick to your original list of muscle groups). Then start the next cycle.

I hope I've found a simplified way to make HFT a viable option in your muscle building plan.

by Chad Waterbury | 05/15/06

Source: https://www.t-nation.com/training/hypertrophy-booster-shots

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