The Anabolic Diet and Workout

A scientific approach to building muscle naturally!

The Anabolic Workout

The Anabolic Diet and Workout- A scientific approach to building muscle naturally!The Anabolic Workout is designed to complement the Anabolic Diet in maximizing anabolism. The program is a four-day upper/lower split routine (2 on/1 off, 2 on/2 off) structured to optimize both mechanical tension and metabolic stress— two factors considered essential for maximum muscle development.29 This involves training in a variety of repetition ranges to ensure stimulation of the full spectrum of muscle fibers. To accomplish this task, a periodized approach is taken where the loads lifted are progressively increased over the course of the training cycle. Here’s how things play out. During week one, the Monday/Tuesday workouts will target 14-15 reps while the Thursday/Friday workouts target 9-10 reps; in week two, the Monday/Tuesday workouts will target 12-13 reps while the Thursday/Friday workouts target 7-8 reps; and in week three, target the rep range will be 10-11 on Monday/Tuesday and 5-6 on Thursday/Friday. Week four will be an “unloading” cycle designed to enhance recovery. The target rep range in this cycle is 15-20 reps.

During weeks one to three, the last set of each exercise should be taken to momentary muscular failure— the point where you cannot complete performance of another rep. Training to failure is theorized to stimulate increases in muscle hypertrophy by heightening metabolic stress.36 In addition, drop sets should be employed on the last set of each exercise. This entails reducing the load by 20 to 25 percent immediately after the completion of the set and performing as many additional repetitions as you can manage. Drop sets help to magnify metabolite buildup, resulting in a post-workout surge in growth factors and other anabolic processes.28 In week four, sets should be stopped short of muscular failure and no drop sets will be performed as the intent of this cycle is to allow the necessary recuperative processes to take place.

The volume of the routine will be on the high side. Studies show a clear dose-dependent association between resistance training and hypertrophy, with greater training volumes leading to greater increases in mass.16 Take-home message: the old one-set-to-failure routines simply don’t cut it if your goal is maximum muscle mass. But while a relatively high volume is essential to anabolism, too many sets leads to overtraining and thus ultimately impairs results. Volume is therefore periodized in the Anabolic Workout so that regular periods of lower volume exercise are interspersed throughout the training cycle. The reduction in volume is accomplished through a reduced training frequency in week four, where you train only two days per week.

Rest intervals will be moderately short, with no more than one to two minutes rest taken between sets. Maintaining rest periods in this range has been found to significantly increase acute testosterone levels, thus enhancing the anabolic environment.34 There is evidence that active recovery during the interset rest period can further augment mechanical, hormonal, metabolic and neural outputs, potentially facilitating greater hypertrophic adaptations.22 You should therefore avoid just lounging around between sets. Rather, engage in light aerobic activity (i.e., walking) so that blood flow and neural drive are sustained.

The accompanying tables illustrate a one-month periodized cycle for the Anabolic Workout. After finishing the cycle, you should repeat the routine while striving to progressively increase the amount of load lifted for each exercise; in this way, you force your body to continually adapt over time by growing bigger and stronger. You also should endeavor to switch around the exercises; variety is important to ensure stimulation of all available fibers in a given muscle, thereby promoting optimal shape and symmetry.29 Follow the program as outlined and you’re sure to achieve maximal gains in lean muscle in a minimal amount of time.

WEEK 1

Day Exercise Reps Sets Rest Interval
Monday Incline barbell press
Flat dumbbell fly
Lat pulldown
One-arm dumbbell row
Military press
Cable lateral raise
Skull-crusher
Incline dumbbell curl
14-15 3-4 1-2 minutes
Tuesday Barbell front squat
Bulgarian squat
Side lunge
Leg extension
Stiff-leg deadlift
Lying leg curl
Rope crunch
Hanging knee raise
14-15 3-4 1-2 minutes
Thursday Incline barbell press
Flat dumbbell fly
Lat pulldown
One-arm dumbbell row
Military press
Cable lateral raise
Skull-crusher
Incline dumbbell curl
9-10 3-4 1-2 minutes
Friday Barbell front squat
Bulgarian squat
Side lunge
Leg extension
Stiff-leg deadlift
Lying leg curl
Rope crunch
Hanging knee raise
9-10 3-4 1-2 minutes

WEEK 2

Day Exercise Reps Sets Rest Interval
Monday Incline barbell press
Flat dumbbell fly
Lat pulldown
One-arm dumbbell row
Military press
Cable lateral raise
Skull-crusher
Incline dumbbell curl
12-13 3-4 1-2 minutes
Tuesday Barbell front squat
Bulgarian squat
Side lunge
Leg extension
Stiff-leg deadlift
Lying leg curl
Rope crunch
Hanging knee raise
12-13 3-4 1-2 minutes
Thursday Incline barbell press
Flat dumbbell fly
Lat pulldown
One-arm dumbbell row
Military press
Cable lateral raise
Skull-crusher
Incline dumbbell curl
7-8 3-4 1-2 minutes
Friday Barbell front squat
Bulgarian squat
Side lunge
Leg extension
Stiff-leg deadlift
Lying leg curl
Rope crunch
Hanging knee raise
7-8 3-4 1-2 minutes

Brad Schoenfeld, MSc, CSCS, CSPS, is an internationally renowned author, educator and trainer. He is the author of the new book, The MAX Muscle Plan, and has worked with numerous elite athletes to optimize their body composition and performance. He is president of Global Fitness Services, a fitness consulting firm in Scarsdale, NY, as well as a lecturer in the exercise science department at Lehman College in Bronx, NY. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at Rocky Mountain University, where his research focuses on the mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. Check out his blog at: www.Workout911.com.

Photos by: Per Bernal

Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D., CSCS, FNSCA is widely regarded as one of the leading authorities on training for muscle development and fat loss. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed studies on various exercise- and nutrition-related topics. He is also the author of the best-selling book, The M.A.X. Muscle Plan and the seminal textbook, Science and Development of Muscle Hypertrophy. Check out is website and blog at LookGreatNaked.com.

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