By Ron Harris
Some of you may be rolling your eyes at the title of this article, because great physiques aren’t built overnight, or even in the span of six weeks. The human body simply doesn’t work that way.
But hold on a minute!
When maximum effort is applied to any goal along with a carefully planned strategy, results are often shocking. Many of you haven’t seen any improvements in your physique in months, perhaps years. That’s mainly because of the truth behind the adage “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.”
You might think you’re laser-focused and dedicated to your goals of crafting the best physique possible, but there’s always room for improvement. If you adopt a new mindset and routine, your odds of achieving a better outcome increase dramatically.
Before we get into the routine and diet to follow, let’s go over some topics that need to be addressed to ensure your success on this program.
Make eating your job
You think you do a great job with your nutrition now, but do you ever miss meals? If the answer is yes, and I don’t even want to hear the reason or excuse, then you could be doing better.
Making the best gains possible means supporting your body with all the right nutrients it needs in the right quantities and at the same times every day. I often say that eating is the hardest part of bodybuilding because training consistently isn’t a problem for most of us. We all love to train or else we wouldn’t be doing this.
Eating, on the other hand, can be a real chore. Most people enjoy eating what they want when they’re hungry or “in the mood” for it. To gain significant amounts of muscle mass, and especially in a short time frame such as six weeks, eating must be treated like a job.
By that I mean you may not always feel like going to work, but you go because it’s your job. You probably won’t feel like eating until you’re full every two hours from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep, but that’s how extraordinary gains are made.
It’s why most people, even if they train hard consistently for years, never reach their full potential as bodybuilders. They simply don’t make the effort to meal prep to make sure they have all the meals they needed, and they miss many meals as a result. Or they only eat when they feel like it and have a strong appetite.
You won’t always be hungry, and you definitely won’t always want to eat the foods that are best for building lean muscle tissue. But if you’re serious about getting bigger, that’s what needs to be done.
Focus on compound lifts
The basic barbell and dumbbell compound movements are the most effective at stimulating overall mass gains because they deliver the most bang for the buck and allow for the use of the heaviest possible resistance to challenge your muscle groups.
Think about it this way:
What do you suppose will lead to more triceps growth—dumbbell kickbacks with a 20-pound dumbbell, or close-grip bench presses with 315 pounds?
Will your quads get more of a growth hit from 120 pounds on a leg extension stack, or from squats with 405 pounds on your back?
I shake my head at the sheer number of trainees who spend an inordinate amount of their training time and energy on isolation movements to “shape and detail” the muscles when most of them are still in dire need of more mass in general!
Whenever I see a kid repping away on cable crossovers and his pecs are as thin as a sheet of paper, I want to yell at him to do presses and dips until he has enough basic mass to worry about “detailing.”
Millions and millions of men have transformed their physiques and added slabs of rugged muscle mass with bench presses, squats, deadlifts, military presses, barbell rows, dips, and chin-ups. They worked for them, they will work for you, and they will work for lifters 50 years from now too.
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Get stronger—in the right rep ranges
If you use the same weights for the same reps over the course of these six weeks, I regret to inform you that you probably won’t put much new muscle mass on, if any.
You simply must challenge yourself and gradually become stronger. That statement needs to be qualified. The easiest way to get stronger would be to train purely for strength using lower reps. You would certainly get stronger with that strategy, but again, you wouldn’t put much muscle on.
In this case, it would be because you weren’t keeping the muscle under tension long enough to stimulate a growth response. I think we’ve all witnessed guys who were much stronger than they looked, and that’s mainly the reason why.
It’s also why a lot of bodybuilders aren’t as strong as they look. You should get stronger, but in rep ranges that will stimulate muscle growth, such as 8 to 12 for the upper body and 8 to 15 for the lower body.
Another solution to using more weight, albeit a terrible one, would be to use a worse form and a shorter range of motion. Don’t fall into that trap, or you could be the guy swinging up 70-pound dumbbell curls with small biceps, or the guy with chicken legs loading up the leg press with 1,200 pounds and doing quarter reps!
Keep your form tight and use a full range of motion. Strive to add either weight or reps in small increments at each workout. For instance, if the workout says to do 8 to 12 reps on the bench press and today you can do 8 reps with 300 pounds, next time go for 9 reps, then 10. Once you can do 13 reps, it’s time to add a few pounds to the bar which will knock you back down to struggling to get 8 reps again. Make sense? Good!
Sleep like a baby
For the very best results, you should get at least eight hours of uninterrupted quality sleep every night. Our bodies repair tissue damage and synthesize new tissue while we sleep, so don’t ever sacrifice sleep for things such as watching TV, gaming, YouTube, or scrolling through social media.
Don’t even get me started on staying out late drinking and/or doing recreational drugs. Rest and recovery are as critical if not more so than the actual training, just like eating is. It doesn’t matter how hard you train if you don’t give your body both ample raw materials to recover and grow and the full rest it needs.
Do your best to go to sleep at the same time every night. A cool, darkened room is ideal. I’ve always liked a fan for the white noise, but there are also apps and devices specifically designed to give you soothing sounds to help foster quality sleep.
Limit extra activities
Work your ass off in the gym and leave nothing behind, but outside the gym you should be a lazy sod! If you can concentrate all your energy reserves solely on training and nothing else, you will maximize your ability to recover from your intense workouts.
If you have a job that requires physical effort you won’t be able to do this, but that doesn’t apply to nearly as many of us as it used to. The late Peary Rader, who was the original owner of Iron Man magazine starting nearly a century ago, had a saying that was an easy way to remember this directive: “Never run if you can walk. Never walk if you can sit. Never sit when you can lie down.”
You may have to be very selfish for a few weeks if you’re able to. People often ask us, bodybuilders, to help them move heavy furniture or appliances or engage in other strenuous activities around the house or yard because they know we’re stronger than average folks.
I can’t tell you to refuse to help a friend or relative; just know that such help could very well interfere with your gains. In the case of moving very heavy objects, particularly up and down flights of stairs and around tight corners, you’re also putting yourself at risk of injury.
You will be training three days on, one day off. It’s a P/P/L routine, as I’m a huge proponent of this training split, but I have you doing Pull Day first instead of Push Day. This is so that you can incorporate deadlifts on Pull Day without having to do squats the very next day.
There’s a fair amount of overlap in muscle groups with squats and deadlifts, as they both involve the lower back, quads, hams, and glutes. Keeping them 48 hours apart allows for better recuperation from both lifts.
One other note: Warm-ups for the individual lifts aren’t listed. Do at least 3 warm-up sets for each exercise if it’s the first movement you’re doing for that muscle group on that day, then 2 or 3 warm-ups thereafter.
Never hesitate to add an additional warm-up set if you feel you need it, but also never skip warm-ups completely because you’re eager to get into the work sets. Not only do warm-up sets prime your muscles and nervous system to perform at peak capacity, but they also go a long way toward preventing injuries. Remember, you can’t grow if you’re hurt!
Day 1: Pull
10 minutes rower machine
2 wide grip × 8–10, 2 underhand shoulder width × 6–8
5 × 12, 12, 10, 10, 8
4 × 12, 10, 10, 8 each arm
5 × 12, 10, 10, 8, 8
4 × 12, 10, 10, 8
*Add weight if needed to hit rep range totals. If you’re unable to get the listed reps with body weight, use an assisted chin/dip machine. No warm-ups are needed for pull-ups aside from the rower as a general warm-up for all the pulling muscles.
Day 2: Push
Flat barbell bench press
Incline barbell press
5 × 12, 10, 10, 8, 8
4 × 12, 10, 10, 8
5 × 12, 10, 10, 8, 8
4 × 10–12
4 × 10–12
*Add weight if needed to hit rep range totals. If you’re unable to get the listed reps with body weight, use an assisted chin/dip machine
Day 3: Legs
Lying leg curls
Standing calf raises
10 minutes stationary bike
5 × 15, 12, 10, 10, 8
4 × 15, 12, 10, 10
4 × 12, 12, 10, 10
5 × 10–12
4 × 15, 12, 10, 10
The diet plan
Omelet with 3 whole eggs and ½ cup shredded cheese
1 cup rolled oats with 1 cup berries
2 slices wheat or Ezekiel bread toast
2 chicken thighs, large baked potato
1 scoop EuphoriQ or Shatter
1 scoop Amino Build BCAAs, 1 scoop Cell Tech
1–2 scoops NitroTech whey protein, 1–2 scoops Cell Tech
Large chicken breast, 2 cups cooked white rice
10–12 oz. salmon, 2 cups cooked white rice
10–12 oz. steak or lean ground beef, 2 cups wheat pasta
Nighttime Protein shake: 40–50 grams protein from MuscleTech 8-Hour
(Keep this pre-mixed in your refrigerator and drink it when you get up to use the bathroom.)
6 weeks to be super swole!
Are you up for this? Are you ready to get bigger and stronger in the next six weeks and make more gains than you probably have in the last year or two, maybe more? All you need to do is follow the program and put the work in. If you do, you will indeed be a bigger and stronger version of yourself in just a month and a half. Get to it!
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