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Get back to basics and beef up this off-season

By Ron Harris

Unlike Game of Thrones, where it took 6 full seasons for winter to come, that frigid time is well upon most of you reading this. As bodybuilders, this is typically our off-season, the phase when we generally eat more and allow ourselves to gain a bit more bodyfat, all in the pursuit of fresh new muscle mass. How is that going for most of you? If you can’t honestly say you’re making progress in the right direction, listen up. Whatever you’re doing clearly isn’t working very well. Why not try something different instead? Rather than your standard routine of working a bodypart or two, how about hitting full-body workouts that consist purely of a handful of the absolute most effective compound movements? These will deliver the most bang for the buck, and your body will have no choice but to adapt and grow on this program of raw basics. 

How to perform these workouts

The best way to follow this program is to train every other day, alternating between workouts 1 and 2. I would not advise following these workouts on consecutive days, as there would be substantial overlap between muscle groups. I would advise doing cardio, preferably fasted, on the days in between. Warm-ups are not listed, so for each exercise, be sure to do at least 3 progressively heavier sets of 20, 15, and 12 reps before commencing the listed work sets. As for those work sets, these should be pyramided up in weight as each set goes by, with only the final work set being taken to total momentary muscular failure. 

Weekly progression

The goal with this workout routine should be weekly progression on all lifts. To make this more achievable and realistic, only increase the weight on the work sets by 5 pounds at each workout, using those little 2.5-pound plates every gym has. You should be able to remain in the listed rep ranges for each exercise with this technique of gradually increasing the resistance. The other option would be to stay with the same weight until you are getting more reps than the prescribed range, at which point you would add weight in small increments. I would advise following this routine for a limited time period of 8-10 weeks, at which time you can return to your usual workout program. Without further ado, here is the program:



Flat barbell bench press 4 x 8-10

Barbell row 4 x 8-10

Military press 4 x 8-10

Barbell curl 3 x 8-10

Squat 5 x 10-12


Incline barbell bench press 4 x 8-10

Chin-up 4 x failure (add weight if needed)

Dip 4 x failure (add weight if needed)

Skull crusher 3 x 8-10

Deadlift 5 x 8-10

Final note: Eat to grow!

It should go without saying, but your body will require substantial nutritional support to fuel these workouts and then repair and rebuilt the damaged muscle tissue. Aim for 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight daily from eggs, turkey, lean red meat, fish, and the various Parrillo protein powders and bars. Shoot for 2 grams per pound of bodyweight of starchy carbohydrates per day from rice, oats, potatoes, and Parrillo Hi-Carb powder and Energy Bars. Also be sure to eat fresh vegetables for the fiber content, minerals, and antioxidants. Oh yeah, get plenty of solid rest too. That’s all, now go back to basics for a spell and get after some new gains!

2020-01-25T22:48:58-05:00 January 25th, 2020|Ron Harris, The Press|

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