Guest Post by Greg O’Gallagher – Author and creator of the Kinobody Warrior Shedding Program.
My Current Workout
Listen carefully, before scrolling down to the actual workout, it is essential that you read this section. Most people have no idea what constitutes an effective workout. You probably think a good workout is one that looks good on paper, works you crazy hard and makes you super sore.
In fact, this is the mentality that most people have when it comes to building muscle. We think that the more we put into our training, the more we'll get out of it. Blasting the weights 6 days per week, eating every three hours and taking a laundry list of supplements is the norm in most fitness circles.
Well what if there was a different way? What if you could get superior results training less than half the time, spending less money on supplements and saving tons of time not having to prepare meals every few hours? Well the truth is you can and in this article I'm going to focus exclusively on the training aspect so let's get into it.
What it takes to Build Muscle
Here's the deal, as a natural lifter about 75-80% of your muscle gains are going to come directly from getting stronger on basic core movements. You could be lifting two hours per day and be eating 4000 calories but if you're lifting warm up weights you'll never build much muscle. The undeniable fact of the matter is that if you want to build an impressive physique you must be prepared to get very, very strong.
This is exactly what my training routine is geared around, getting super strong on the exercises that best enhance my physique development. This objective has lead me down a path of minimalistic training that has produced far better muscle gains than anything else. Including starting strength, bill star, GVT, Max OT, Power Bodybuilding, Power Hypertrophy and yes, better than cross fit.
Keys to Building Strength
Three strength sessions per week works the best! This is because it allows for full muscular and neural recovery each time you hit the gym. If you're training 5+ days per week, you comprise strength potential greatly. I also only perform 4-5 exercises each session because after 5 exercises fatigue sets in. I approach most of my exercises with a reverse pyramid protocol. I'll do my heaviest set first with maximum effort then I'll reduce the load by 10% for my second set. This technique allows me to lift with maximum performance and intensiveness without burning myself out. The stronger you are the more careful you have to be with overburdening your nervous system.
I could have you lift only three days per week and have you perform a maximum of 12 work sets per workout and it might be hard to grasp that a routine like this would build much muscle. But if I increase your incline bench press and weighted chin ups by 40 lbs in three months there will be a substantial difference in your physique development.
In fact I've never heard someone complain about lacking chest size that was repping 225 lbs on the incline bench. Hell, build up to 100+ lbs weighted chin-ups for reps and you'll probably complain that your back is too wide. I say this because this is definitely the case for me.
Bigger isn’t better
At 5'10 I have hit my maximum muscular potential. What's funny is that I've been holding off on adding more size to my legs and back. That might come as a shock to you that someone would actively try to avoid adding more muscle but it's important that you never lose sight of your true goals. Adding endless muscle size is surely not the goal, at-least not for me!
I want the physique of a greek god and proportion and definition is just as important as muscle size. If you're 5'10 then you're going to look silly at 200+ lbs! A lean and defined 180-185 lbs will look absolutely phenomenal. Adding more size will start to detract from your look, at-least to the eyes of normal people who don't spend their life on bodybuilding forums and gyms. After all, do you want to capture the attention of beautiful women or from the guys in your gym? Hopefully this question is a nobrainer!
Without further ado, let's get into my workout program! I'll worn you, it will look extremely simple on paper and it probably won't get you crazy sore! But the fact of the matter is that this routine will produce more strength gains in a matter of weeks than anything else you could ever do.
The volume is on the lower end but as long as you're getting stronger you'll be building muscle. I'm currently doing mostly two sets per exercise but that's because I'm cutting. If you're eating at maintenance or lean bulking then feel free to bump it up to three sets. You'll also notice that I'm keeping volume very low
Monday - Back and Shoulders
1. Weighted Chin ups: 2 sets of 6-8 reps (Reverse Pyramid)
2. Standing Barbell Press: 2 sets of 6-8 reps (Reverse Pyramid)
3. Wide Grip Cable Rows: 2 set of 10-12 reps (Reverse Pyramid)
4. Dumbbell Lateral Raises: 12-15 reps + 4 sets of 4-5 reps (rest pause)
Wednesday - Legs and Biceps
1. Weighted Box Jumps: 2 sets of 4 reps
2. One Legged Squats (Pistols): 2 set of 6 reps per leg
3. Standing Barbell Curls: 2 sets of 6-8 reps (Reverse Pyramid)
4. Standing Hammer Curls: 2 sets of 6-8 reps (Reverse Pyramid)
5. Standing One Leg Calf Raises: 2 sets x 10-15 reps (Reverse Pyramid)
Friday - Chest & Triceps
1. Incline Barbell Bench Press: 2 sets of 6-10 reps (RPT)
2. Flat Barbell Bench Press: 2 sets of 6-10 reps (RPT)
3. Rope Extensions: 3 sets of 8-12 reps (RPT)
4. Rear Delt Flye: 12-15 reps + 4 sets of 4-5 (rest pause)
For reverse pyramid I am performing my heaviest set first, while I am fresh! This is the set that is going to trigger the most muscle growth. I then rest 3 minutes and reduce the weight by 10% and strive for 1-2 more reps than my heavy set. I recommend performing two to three gradually heavier warm up sets for 3-5 reps before going into your first work set.
They key to reverse pyramid training is that it allows you to lift at your strength potential because you’re performing your heaviest set when you’re fresh. This ‘top set’ fires up your nervous system and triggers enhanced muscle fiber recruitment on your subsequent, lighter set(s). In fact, two sets of reverse pyramid training will produce more gains than 4-6 regular sets.
Another useful technique in my arsenal is rest pause training. Rest pause training tends to work best on the lateral and posterior heads of the shoulders. You’ll perform a max effort set for 12-15 reps followed by 4 mini sets of 4-5 reps with 15 seconds rest. This training technique works well because it forces you to use maximum muscle fiber recruitment on all repetitions performed following the first ‘activation’ set.
Normally you don’t get optimal muscle fiber recruitment until the last few really tough reps. By only resting 15 seconds between sets you maintain that heightened state of enhanced muscle fiber recruitment. 4 mini sets of rest pause training is far more productive than 4 regular sets. Unfortunately, rest pause training doesn’t build much strength so it helps contribute the last 20-25% of muscle growth from fatigue/pump work. I opt to use this type of training strictly on my shoulders but you can use it on any lagging muscle group.
On rest days I'll do some light exercise, usually 30-40 minutes of brisk walking. I'll also hit a few sets of hanging leg raises, back bridges and L-sits. These are amazing core movements that also build functional flexibility and improved joint health.
Greg O’Gallagher (see pic above) is a young fitness fanatic who not only transformed his own body, but has helped countless people transform themselves with his popular Kinobody Warrior Shredding Program.