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HIML-4 Maximum Muscle Building Workout System

HIML-4 Maximum Muscle Building Workout System

Average: 4.3 (870 votes)
4.3 5 870
HIML-4 is a highly effective four week muscle building workout system that cycles between heavy days, intense workouts, and moderate to light weight training days.

Workout Summary

Main Goal:
Build Muscle
Workout Type:
Split
Training Level:
Intermediate
Days Per Week:
4
Equipment Required:
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Target Gender:
Male & Female
Author:

Workout Description

This system can be used with virtually any split, but I believe a 4 day split should be used for maximal results. You can also use a 3 day split variation, which will not be detailed in this workout article. I will present a 3 day version of HIML-4 at a later date.

The 4 Day HIML-4 Workout Split

You can perform this one of two ways: as structured, or using a 2 day on, a day off format.

  • Day 1 - Chest, Biceps and Abs
  • Day 2 - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves
  • Day 3 - OFF
  • Day 4 - Shoulders, Triceps and Abs
  • Day 5 - Back, Traps and Forearms
  • Day 6 - OFF
  • Day 7 - OFF, or restart using Day 1's workout.

The 4 HIML-4 Workouts

The HIML-4 muscle building system utilizes 4 different styles of training, rotated over a 4 week (or 6 day cycle) period.

  • Week 1 - Heavy week, focusing on 5-7 rep sets and the use of compound exercises.
  • Week 2 - Intensity week, focusing on the use of slow negatives, training to failure, pre-exhaust and drop sets.
  • Week 3 - Medium week, focusing on the 10 to 12 rep range with a mix of compound exercises and machines.
  • Week 4 - Light week, focusing on 15 to 20 rep sets and the use of isolation exercises.

As you can see, weeks 2 and 4 are lighter training days. They provide your body with a working break and active recovery from the stresses of heavy training, while allowing you to challenge the body and build muscle.

Week 1 - Heavy Training

Do not add exercises to any of these training days. The point is to lift heavy on basic exercises. Use the same weight for each set of an exercise. Push yourself for as many reps as possible on each set without training to failure. NEVER perform more than 7 reps per set. When you can perform 7 reps for ALL 4 sets, add weight the next time you perform this workout and exercise.

Rest about 2 to 5 minutes between sets. Wait until you feel "physically ready" before starting another set. The point of this week is to move heavy weight, so proper rest between sets is crucial! Don't rush.

Week 1 - Chest, Biceps and Abs Workout
Chest
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Bench Press 4 5-7
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 5-7
Hammer Strength Bench Press 4 5-7
Biceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Standing Barbell Curl 4 5-7
Seated Dumbbell Curl 4 5-7
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Cable Crunch 4 20
Weighted Sit Up 4 20
Week 1 - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves Workout
Quads
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Squat 4 5-7
Front Squat 4 5-7
Leg Press 4 5-7
Hamstrings
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 5-7
Wide Stride Bulgarian Split Squat 4 5-7
Calves
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Standing Calf Raise 4 20
Seated Calf Raise 4 20
Week 1 - Shoulders, Triceps and Abs Workout
Shoulders
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Seated Barbell Press 4 5-7
Arnold Press 4 5-7
Cable Face Pulls 4 5-7
Triceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Close Grip Bench Press 4 5-7
Weighted Dips 4 5-7
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Plank 4 60 Seconds
Weighted Crunch 4 20
Week 1 - Back, Traps and Forearms Workout
Back
Exercise Sets

Rep Goal

eadlift 4 5-7
Weighted Pull Up 4 5-7
Barbell Row 4 5-7
Trapss
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Barbell Shrug 4 5-7
Dumbbell Shrug 4 5-7
Forearms
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Pinwheel Curl 4 5-7
Reverse Grip Barbell Curl 4 5-7

Week 2 - Intense Training

During week 2 you will be performing a limited number of sets, but each set will be very intense. As with week 1, rest as long as possible before attempting subsequent sets. All sets are trained to failure, and beyond.

After the pre-exhaust sets, each exercise is performed using 4 second negatives. Perform all non pre-exhaust sets to failure. Once you reach failure, rest for 15 seconds, and then perform 3 drop sets at, or near failure, with no rest in between sets.

When you can perform 10 reps for any given non pre-exhaust set, add weight the next time you perform this workout and exercise.

Rest until you feel "physically ready" before starting another set. As with week one, do not add in sets. The point of week 2 is take to rest from volume and heavy weight, and to stimulate muscle growth using high intensity techniques.

Note: Do NOT train abs until failure.

Week 2 - Chest, Biceps and Abs Workout
Chest
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Dumbbell Flye (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Dumbbell Bench Press 2 6-10
Pec Dec 2 6-10
Dumbbell Incline or Decline Bench Press 2 6-10
Biceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Concentration Curl (Pre-exhaust) 3 15 (Each arm)
Cable Curl 2 6-10
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Side Plank 3 60 seconds
Hanging Leg Raise (Use straps if needed) 3 15-30
Week 2 - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves Workout
Quads
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Leg Extension (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Leg Press 2 6-10
Hack Squat 2 6-10
Hamstringss
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Leg Curl (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Wide Stance Leg Press 2 6-10
Reverse Hack Squat 2 6-10
Calves
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Seated Calf Raise (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Standing Calf Raise 2 6-10
Week 2 - Shoulders, Triceps and Abs Workout
Shoulders
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Side Lateral (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Smith Machine Military Press 2 6-10
Front Plate Raise 2 6-10
Reverse Pec Dec 2 6-10
Triceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Cable Tricep Extension (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Close Grip Bench Press 2 6-10
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Decline Sit Up 3 20-30
Lying Bench Leg Raise 3 20-30
Week 2 - Back, Traps and Forearms Workout
Back
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Seated Cable Row (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Lat Pull Down 2 6-10
Hammer Strength Row 2 6-10
Seated Cable Row 2 6-10
Traps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Smith Machine Shrug (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Dumbbell Shrug (With straps) 2 6-10
Forearms
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Wrist Curls Over Bench (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Hammer Curl 2 6-10

Week 3 - Medium Training

During week 3 you will be working with a slightly higher rep range and moderately heavy weight. Rest about 2-3 minutes between most sets. Do not train to failure. Stop each set when you feel like you may fail on the next rep. When you can perform 12 reps on a given set, add weight the next time you perform that exercise.

Week 3 - Chest, Biceps and Abs Workout
Chest
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Hammer Strength Bench Press 3 10-12
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 10-12
Dumbbell Flyes or Pec Dec 3 10-12
Bench Press 3 10-12
Biceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
EZ Bar Curl 3 10-12
Standing Dumbbell Curl 3 10-12
Drag Curl 3 10-12
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Cable Crunch 3 30
Weighted Sit Up 3 30
Week 3 - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves Workout
Quads
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Squat 3 10-12
Leg Press 3 10-12
Leg Extension 3 10-12
Walking Lunge 3 10-12
Hamstrings
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 10-12
Leg Curl 3 10-12
One Leg Dumbbell Squat 3 10-12
Calves
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Leg Press Calf Raise 3 10-12
Hack Squat Calf Raise 3 10-12
Week 3 - Shoulders, Triceps and Abs Workout
Shoulders
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Seated Dumbbell Press 3 10-12
Upright Row 3 10-12
Cable Side Lateral 3 10-12
Bent Over Reverse Flye 3 10-12
Triceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Skullcrushers 3 10-12
Two Arm Seated Dumbbell Extension 3 10-12
French Press 3 10-12
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Plank 3 60
Weighted Crunch 3 30
Week 3 - Back, Traps and Forearms Workout
Back
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Barbell Row 3 10-12
Wide Grip Pull Up 3 10-12
Dumbbell Row 3 10-12
Lat Pull Down 3 10-12
Traps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Power Barbell Shrug 3 10-12
Behind The Back Barbell Shrug 3 10-12
Forearms
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Reverse Grip Preacher Curl 3 10-12
Static Barbell Hold 3 60 seconds

Week 4 - Light Training

Week 4 is a lighter training week. Consider it an "active de-load". You will still train hard, but the rep ranges are very high and the weight fairly light. This week will allow your joints and connective tissue a chance to recover from the wear and tear that took place over the previous 3 weeks. Once again, do NOT train to failure. Stop each set when you feel like you may fail on the next rep.

You still want to push yourself during week 4. When you can perform 20 reps for a given set, add weight the next time you perform that exercise.

Week 4 - Chest, Biceps and Abs Workout
Chest
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Cable Crossovers 4 15-20
Pec Dec 4 15-20
Hammer Strength Bench Press 4 15-20
Biceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Spider Curl 4 15-20
Cable Preacher Curl 4 15-20
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Side Plank 3 60 seconds
Hanging Leg Raise (Use straps if needed) 3 15-20
Week 4 - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves Workout
Quads
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Leg Extension 4 15-20
Dumbbell Lunge 4 15-20
Hack Squat 4 15-20
Hamstrings
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Single Leg Curl 4 15-20
Standing Leg Curl 4 15-20
Calves
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
One Leg Seated Calf Raise 6 15-20
Week 4 - Shoulders, Triceps and Abs Workout
Shoulders
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Standing Front Lateral 4 15-20
Seated Side Lateral 4 15-20
Hammer Strength Shoulder Press 4 15-20
Triceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
High Pulley Overhead Tricep Extension 4 15-20
Bench Dips 4 15-20
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Decline Sit Up 3 30
Lying Bench Leg Raise 3 30
Week 4 - Back, Traps and Forearms Workout
Back
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Reverse Grip Lat Pull Down 4 15-20
Incline Bench Cable Row 4 15-20
T-Bar Row 4 15-20
Traps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Cable Shrug 4 15-20
Seated Dumbbell Shrug 4 15-20
Forearms
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Zottman Curl 3 15-20
Reverse Grip Dumbbell Curl Over Bench 3 15-20

 

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    Ian Coleman has written over 150 articles on muscle building and fat loss, and is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable muscle building trainers on the planet.
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Comments (1,184)

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Aston
Posted Tue, 05/31/2011 - 17:09

After week 4 do I just start over?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Tue, 05/31/2011 - 17:57

Yes.

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Louis James
Posted Mon, 06/06/2011 - 14:17

just a quick question would it not be better to to train for say a month each stage? im presuming week 1 is strength wk2 is mass etc, to benefit fully from the different regimes?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Mon, 06/06/2011 - 16:50

Hi Louis,

No. This workout has 2 heavier weeks, and 2 relatively lighter weeks. It's best to cycle between them instead of pushing heavy weight for 4 straight weeks.

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Louis James
Posted Tue, 06/07/2011 - 13:25

thanks mate i left another message.

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nathan
Posted Wed, 07/20/2011 - 17:42

alrite mate just a quick question. is week 2 heavy or light??

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Darryl
Posted Sun, 12/11/2011 - 14:54

Hello Steve,
I am a type-2 diabetic and I am looking for the best weight gain workout plan. I also have nerve damage in my shoulder but I have learned that I need to strenghten the support muscles. Is there a plan for diabetics that you would recommend?

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dylan
Posted Sun, 06/12/2011 - 22:00

would it b ok working out every day

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daniel
Posted Fri, 07/08/2011 - 18:35

It is not a good strategy since your body need the off-time to recover the muscles. I know some professional athletes workout everyday, but all they do is working out and RESTing

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Kan
Posted Sun, 07/24/2011 - 14:45

What does 'use the same weight for each set' means?
Does dat mean all the 4 sets with same weight week 1?
Plz reply sir,am planin 2 strt ma wrkout frm 2mrw

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brett
Posted Mon, 08/15/2011 - 17:24

learn to speak. then ask again for your reply.

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Bob
Posted Tue, 01/10/2012 - 21:31

Gold

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Novak
Posted Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:36

you are plain rude brett... there was no need for that!!!

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jsh
Posted Fri, 02/17/2012 - 19:47

means if you start the set with 100lbs you use 100lbs through all of the sets. So don't start with 150lbs and then on the 3rd set drop it to 100 or vice versa. If you are not sure what weight to use this can be a little tricky, but do your best to guesstimate. hi 5 4 anglesh.

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Logan
Posted Fri, 12/07/2012 - 16:37

can you increase weight from set to set?

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mnsjason
Posted Fri, 12/07/2012 - 17:05

Hey Logan!

I'd recommend that you pick a weight that works for the desired rep range, being that you'll change up from week to week in terms of rep range and training to failure, etc. Increase the weight when you are able to perform the upper limit in the specified rep range with proper form. I'd also recommend that you look over the notes in this article, as there is a lot of information that will help you determine the weight you should be using for any given week/training style.

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saleh
Posted Wed, 10/02/2013 - 16:58

Hello...
I would appreciate helping me to set an exercises program spreadsheet that could lasts for three (3) months, Since that I'm preparing myself to use Testosterone. Also, I'm seeking your advice regarding bodybuilding exercises.

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Elias
Posted Fri, 12/06/2013 - 16:43

Is it recommended to restart the four week cycle ? I just want to do it just for 4 weeks and begin a whole new program .... Can i ?

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frankie
Posted Tue, 10/04/2011 - 14:10

hi ,
i want to build muscle i have an average build and use a high protein supplement how many sets and reps do you recommend?

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Joshc
Posted Thu, 11/24/2011 - 16:03

Same amount of sets and reps, protein has nothing to do with it as it should be a staple in your diet if you want to build muscle

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Brandon
Posted Mon, 05/14/2012 - 12:30

3-4 sets and 8-12 reps

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Francisco
Posted Thu, 02/23/2012 - 01:00

I had a question about the time in the gym
Each workout seems like it could only take about an hour so do we add cadence or more exercises to workout for a longer period of time?

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Brian
Posted Mon, 02/27/2012 - 08:55

Ive been doing this workout for 3 months now should I change or just keep starting over?

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kieran
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 08:35

How much cardio would you recommend?

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Steve
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 08:35

Hi Kieran,

You can perform cardio 2-3 times per week for general health.

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Scotty
Posted Tue, 11/01/2011 - 16:52

If you are a smaller framed person or have a faster metabolism to keep size i would only run once a week or stick to two ten-twenty minute fast paced walks on an incline

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Kyle
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 10:07

Right now my goal is to build muscle and bulk up. What kind of supplements did you or should someone use when they are doing this workout. Right now I take Creatine Monohydrate before the work out, should I take that after words as well. I also take Whey protein after the work out, and once again later on in the day. And then at night I take casein.

Kyle

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Steve
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 10:25
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Kyle
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 10:58

Alright thanks a ton

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kieran
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 10:08

How much cardio would you recommend?

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Steve
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 10:27

Hi Kieran,

You can perform cardio 2-3 times per week for general health.

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Antwone Brown
Posted Thu, 04/05/2012 - 22:59

i can do that too but with 3-6 times a week.

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Christopher J
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 11:51

I am trying to loss body fat and gain upperbody muscle strenth at the same time. My BMI is 29%. Is this a good work out for me or should I focus more on cardio. Also do I need any supplements along with this?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 13:28

Hi Christopher,

You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eating to maximize muscle retention while cutting fat. Here are two articles that can help:

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-for-cutting-f...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

Regarding supplements, I put together a supplement plan in this article:

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/power-muscle-burn-bulking-diet...

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Nathan
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 13:42

Hey,
This workout looks great, but I am limited on the machines that are available in the gym that I use. Are there alternatives that you can use in place of the cable, pec dec, and Hammer Strength bench.
Thanks

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Steve
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 13:46

Hi Nathan,

For pec dec I would use a variation of flyes or reverse flyes. For cables, I would find similar/equivalent exercises listed in our database.

Do you have access to a Smith machine?

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Nathan
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 14:00

We don't have a smith machine specifically.

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Nathan
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 14:05

That was one I forgot to put on there that I also don't have access to right now.

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Steve
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 14:12

For Hammer or Smith exercises, I would simply swap in a dumbbell or barbell variation of the same lift.

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Nathan
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 15:27

That works. Thanks.

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hardgainer
Posted Tue, 01/24/2012 - 17:21

if we do have access to a smith machine but not hammer, would you recommend using the smith to replace this part of the workout?

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Jordan
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 19:08

Hi Steve.I weigh 157 and play hs football. How much should I look to gain in one month??

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Steve
Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 19:22

If you eat right and train properly you could gain about 15 pounds of muscle in your first hard year of training.

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nicolas contavelis
Posted Thu, 06/02/2011 - 05:14

Ian thanks for your patience and your time.
Please would appreciate if you could let me know how to:
a)divide the workout based on a 3 day/ week and not 4

b)In your workout do you do straight sets or can we alternate excercises ( back and forth) to gain time?

c) Also was wondering if in your workout we can start the 1st set with heavier weights than drop. So Pyramid exercises.
Thanks a lot

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Steve
Posted Thu, 06/02/2011 - 10:02

Hi Nicolas,

Ian Coleman has submitted a 3 day variation of this workout. Look for it very soon.

To answer your other questions...

B) All sets are straight sets.
C) No. The training weeks are set up with specific goals. I wouldn't recommend making any adjustments to the program.

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nicolas contavelis
Posted Thu, 06/02/2011 - 17:35

Thanks for your prompt reply> Please after a question raised about the 2nd week workout, i would like to make sure that the following is correct:

"Dumbbell Flye (Pre-exhaust)3 15 "
first we have to do a heavy weight set of Dumbbell Flye (Pre-exhaust) how many reps? then after a 15 second rest, to do drop off 3 sets withought any rest between them of 15 reps each set?

Also regarding "Dumbbell Bench Press 2 6-10" : so 1 pre- exhaust set then after a 15 second rest, to do 2 non rest reps of 6 to 10 reps?

same for all the rest excercises for week 2?
Pec Dec 2 6-10
Dumbbell Incline or Decline Bench Press 2 6-10

4 second negative? what does it mean?
Thanks in advance

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Steve
Posted Fri, 06/03/2011 - 10:41

Hi Nicolas,

The dumbbell flyes, or pre-exhaust lifts, are not drop sets. You use a weight you can perform 15 reps with, then rest 90 to 120 seconds and perform the second set, etc.

After you finish the 3 sets of flyes, you rest 90 to 120 seconds and start your first set of dumbbell bench press.

A set that utilizes slow negatives will have you performing a rep at normal speed, and then a slow negative eccentric motion in between each rep.

* Bench Press with Slow Negatives - Perform a rep (pushing the bar from your chest), and slowly lower the bar back to your chest over a 4 second period.

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Brian
Posted Wed, 11/23/2011 - 23:09

This work out looks great but I'm confused about the drop sets during week 2. For the sets listed each pre exhaust exercise is 3 sets and each to failure exercise is listed as 2 sets. Do we do 2 sets of the to failure exercises and then 3 drop sets of the same exercises? Or is it 1 set to failure followed by 3 drop sets? Thanks!

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Jean
Posted Sun, 02/23/2014 - 17:52

For the non-PE should i add weight when i do 15 reps for the thirds set ?(same weight for all sets )

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Tony
Posted Thu, 06/02/2011 - 12:22

Hi,

I do not really understand week 2 - Intense training. Could you please explain more details? For example, for chest work out, after the first Dumbbell Flye set (train to failure), what should I do next? How about Dumbbell Bench Press, Pec Dec and Dumbbell Incline? Thanks.

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