WORKOUTS

Muscle-Building 12-Week Workout: Week 8


DAY 1: TWO BODY PARTS PER DAY, INCREASED WEIGHT - PULL EXERCISES FOR BACK AND BICEPS

WARMUP
Superset Exercise Muscles Weight (Goal) Set 1 Reps (Goal) Set 1 Reps (Actual) Set 2 Reps (Goal) Set 2 Reps (Actual) Set 3 Reps (Goal) Set 3 Reps (Actual) Set 4 Reps (Goal) Set 4 Reps (Actual)
Begin Superset
S Tube Rows Back N/A 20 20 20 N/A N/A
S Double Dumbbell Rows Back Light 20 20 20 N/A N/A
WORKOUT
Wide-Grip Pull-ups Back (lats, traps, rhomboids) Rep Max 12 12 10 8
Begin Superset
S Seated Cable Rows Back (lats, rhomboids) Rep Max 15 12 10 N/A N/A
S Standing Dumbbell Rows (Single-Arm) Back (lats, rhomboids) Rep Max 15 12 10 N/A N/A
Begin Superset
S Wide Reverse-Grip Pull-Downs Back (lats) Rep Max 12 12 10 8
S Narrow-Grip Pull-Downs Back (lats, traps, rhomboids) Rep Max 12 12 10 8
Begin Superset
S Preacher Curls Biceps Rep Max 15 12 10 N/A N/A
S Single-Leg Plate Curls Biceps Rep Max 15 15 15 N/A N/A
Standing Barbell Curls Biceps Rep Max 12 12 10 10
Begin Superset
S Single-Leg Cable Curls Biceps, Core Rep Max 15 12 10 N/A N/A
S Rope Hammer Curls Biceps Rep Max 15 12 10 N/A N/A
Begin Superset
S Weighted Stability Ball Crunches Abdominals, Core 10 or 25 lb. plate 20 20 20 N/A N/A
S Stability Ball Elbow Rollouts Abdominals, Core N/A 20 20 20 N/A N/A
S Cable Russian Twists Abdominals, Core N/A 30 30 30 N/A N/A
EXERCISE DESCRIPTIONS IN BRIEF
Exercise Overview
Tube Rows Take one handle of a resistance tube in each hand, with the center point of the tube attached to a fixed point level with your waist. Be careful to attach the tube to something that will not move when you pull on it. Stand facing the point of attachment and extend your arms directly forward, with your palms down. Step back until there is significant tension through the tube. If you do not have access to tubes, use a cable machine instead. Next, begin to bend your elbows and pull them straight back as you simultaneously rotate your palms to face each other and scoop your pinkies back toward your body. Continue to bend your elbows and pull them back until they pass close to your rib cage and fold behind your back; your palms will be close to your chest, with your shoulder blades flexed together. Lower your arms back to the starting position, allowing your elbows to open as they come forward, and rotating your hands back over to be palms down. Move immediately into the next tube row, keeping a steady, fluid, and constant rhythm.
Double Dumbbell Rows Take a dumbbell in each hand and stand upright with your feet roughly hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and bring your shoulders forward until your back is parallel with the floor. To support this position, think of pressing your hips back, so that your weight is over your heels and you are “sitting” slightly to engage your abs. Your arms should now extend straight down toward the floor with palms facing each other. Begin bending your elbows and pulling the dumbbells up and back toward your hips, keeping your elbows close to your body. Keep your shoulder blades squeezed slightly toward each other as you bring the elbows all the way up past your hips, trying to “wrap” your elbows around behind your back. When you have taken your elbows as high as you can, begin lowering the arms back to their extended position, maintaining the resistance in your back muscles, and keeping your abs engaged as your arms lower toward the floor.
Wide-Grip Pull-ups Stand on the platform of a Gravitron machine and hold on to the grips at the top with your hands wide (about six to eight inches more than shoulder-width apart on each side) and your palms facing away from you. Step off of the platform and onto the foot rests, allowing your body weight to bring you down until your arms are fully extended. Next, lift yourself up until your head fully clears the Gravitron's grips and your shoulders are almost touching the grip bars. Keep your posture tall, shoulder blades retracted, and chest up in order to keep the work in your lats throughout. From the top, reverse position and lower yourself back down to starting position.
Seated Cable Rows Sit on the floor or on a flat bench at a cable row station holding a double-handle attachment with your elbows tucked in and your arms extended with palms facing. Your hands should be slightly less than shoulder distance apart. Your back should be flat, your chest out, your abs engaged into your spine, your posture tall, and your legs slightly bent. Pull the handles in toward your stomach, leading with your pinkies and squeezing the shoulder blades together as you pull. Imagine you are trying to wrap your elbows around behind your back. Keep your back flat, your abs engaged strong into your spine, and a tall posture as you pull. When you have pulled the handles all the way in to your abdomen, reverse direction and return to the starting position, resisting the pull of the cable through your lats as you extend your arms. Do not let your elbows come wide as your arms extend.
Standing Dumbbell Rows (Single-Arm) Standing as if in mid-stride, lean forward while holding one dumbbell in the hand opposite your forward leg. Keep the palm facing in toward your body, and do not drop your shoulder. Stabilize yourself by resting your free hand on the forward leg. Next, pull the dumbbell back toward your hip, keeping your elbow close to your body. Bring your elbow as far back as possible, allowing your trunk to twist a little. Squeeze the muscle between your shoulder blade and spine. Return toward the starting position, while keeping your lat muscles contracted and your shoulder stationary. Repeat the motion to exhaustion, then rest one minute. Continue with three more sets.
Wide Reverse-Grip Pull-Downs Seat yourself at a cable station beneath a wide neutral-grip bar suspended from the cable. Reach up and grip the bar with palms facing in towards you, hands a little more than shoulder width apart. Next, pull the bar down in front of you and in toward your chest and rib cage. As you pull, keep your chest lifted and your shoulders back; this may cause a slight arch in your lower back. As you pull the bar down, tuck your elbows down and in toward you. When you have pulled the bar to a full flexion through your lats, hold in the fully flexed position for a full second. As you hold, resist the temptation to press your legs against the leg brace—instead, support yourself through your core and upper back. After a second, slowly release the cable back to the starting position, resisting the tug of the weights as you release.
Narrow-Grip Pull-Downs Seat yourself at a cable station beneath a narrow-grip attachment suspended from the cable. Stabilize yourself using the pads above the knees. Reach up and grip the handles so that the palms are facing each other, with your hands a little less than shoulder-width apart. Pull the handles downward toward the chest, keeping your chin up. As you pull down, keep your shoulders down and broaden your chest. Bring the bar close to your chest, with your elbows at your sides. Pull through the pinky side of your hands to get the bicep muscles involved. Slowly resist the upward motion of the handles, and let your back muscles stretch as you return to the starting position.
Preacher Curls Set a preacher bench facing the pre-stacked or stackable bent bar. Sit at the bench with your armpits dug completely down onto its peak, and your upper arms pressed against its face. Hold the bar with an easy open-hand grip with your palms up and your hands about shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows to bring your forearms to vertical, and to engage the tension on the bar. Next, slowly lower both forearms down toward the bench. As you lower your arms, keep the engagement in the biceps muscles and resist the downward pull of the bar. At the bottom of your motion, your elbow should not be completely straight—keep a very slight bend in the joint to keep the bicep muscle engaged. From the bottom position, slowly curl the bar back up to the starting position, keeping your upper arm against the bench throughout. Be careful not to go too far in either direction—at both the top and bottom of the curl there is the risk of going beyond the range of the biceps. To stay within the range of the muscle, don’t bring your hands so high that they touch your upper arm or shoulder.
Standing Barbell Curls Stand with a barbell held in front of you so that your palms are facing away from your body. Hold your elbows in front of your ribs. Your hands should be positioned on the bar directly in front of your shoulders so that your upper arms are touching your ribs. Curl the bar up toward your chest. Be careful to engage your core so that you do not swing your body. When you have brought the bar up so that you fully flex the bicep (while keeping your wrists straight), reverse the motion and bring the bar slowly back down to the starting position.
Single-Leg Plate Curls Stand upright with feet together and a weight plate held in both hands with arms extending down in front of you. Bend one knee to bring your heel up off the floor toward your buttocks. You are now standing on one foot—engage your hamstring to keep the back leg lifted and your core to maintain this position. Do a hammer curl, bending your elbows to bring the plate up to your chest. Keep your upper arms close to your sides—your elbows should not swing wide. As you lift, you will need to stabilize through your core to keep from tipping. Try not to drop your raised foot to the floor; focusing your eyes on a single spot on the wall in front of you will help enormously. Lift until the top of the plate lightly touches your chest. Slowly lower the plate back to the starting position, again keeping your elbows in as you straighten them, and again stabilizing against the downward motion through your center. Alternate legs on each set.
Incline Dumbbell Curls Lie on your back on an incline bench set at at 45-degree angle. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms upward. Press your shoulder blades into the bench and keep your elbows slightly bent. Next, bend your elbows into a curl. Keep your upper arms at your sides and your wrists flat. Your shoulders should remain steady. From the top of your motion—when your hands are slightly past vertical (making sure your bicep stays flexed) even at top of movement—lower your hands back to the starting position. You should feel a good stretch through your bicep in this extended position.
Single-Leg Cable Curls Stand facing a cable machine and attach a single handle to the cable on the lowest setting. Take the handle in your right hand, with your arm extended downward, your palm facing away from you, your elbow soft (not locked), and your upper arm close to your body. Try to keep your elbow slightly in front of the midline of your hip throughout the exercise. Now bend your left knee to bring your left foot off the floor; use your hamstring to hold that foot up and back). bend your elbow to curl your hand up toward your upper arm. Start the upward motion of the curl with a slight scooping motion to engage the muscle. Keep your elbow down as you do so, and do not let your upper arm swing; it should stay perfectly still throughout the exercise. Curl all the way up to full flexion. Do not pause at the top of your motion. Immediately begin lowering your arm back to the starting position to complete the curl. Do not pause at the bottom of the curl; instead, move immediately into your next rep. Because you do not pause at the top or the bottom of the exercise, you will also force your core to work harder to stabilize you against the motion of your arm. Repeat a full set of curls with your right arm, and then switch the cable to the left hand and switch holding the right foot raised for the second set.
Rope Hammer Curls Stand facing a cable machine and attach a double-ended rope handle to the cable on the low setting. Take one handle in each hand, with your arms extended downward at shoulder-width apart, your palms facing each other and your thumbs up. Take a light grip; your pinkies should rest against the rope ends. Keep your elbow soft (never locked straight) and your upper arm close to your body. Try to keep your elbow slightly in front of the midline of your hip throughout the exercise to keep weight in the bicep muscle. Next, bend your elbow to curl your hand up toward your upper arm. Start the upward motion of the curl with a slight scooping motion through your pinkies to engage the muscle. Keep your elbow down as you do so, and do not let your upper arm swing; it should stay perfectly still throughout the exercise. Curl all the way up to full flexion. At the top of curl, briefly tweak your hands slightly out to the sides to engage the brachialis. Do not pause at the top of your motion; you should not rest at either the top or bottom of the curl. Immediately begin lowering your arm back to the starting position to complete the curl, resisting the weight of the plates all the way down. You can also try this exercise as a single-arm curl using a single-handled rope handle or tied off double-handled rope handle.
Weighted Stability Ball Crunches Sit on a stability ball with your feet on the floor in front of you and approximately hip-width apart. Lie back on the stability ball so that your body is supported between the top of your buttocks and your shoulder blades, your abdominals are centered right at the top of the ball, and your head is hanging off the other side of the ball. Take a weight plate in both hands and place it behind your head with your head resting lightly on the plate and your elbows out to the side. Next, engage your core muscles and roll your upper body up until your shoulder blades are off the stability ball and your upper body just breaks the plane of being flat. Your head should still be resting lightly on the weight plate, but the plate should not be pulling your head up; use your arms to support the plate, but your abs to lift your upper body. Reverse the motion and, with your core engaged, lower yourself back to starting position. Again, the weight plate should stay right behind your head.
Stability Ball Elbow Rollouts Position yourself in a bridge position on a stability ball so that you're supported by the tips of your toes on the floor and your elbows on the stability ball. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your feet, and your upper arms should be almost perpendicular to the floor. Do not let your lower back arch or your stomach sag. Engage your abs and your lower back muscles to hold the position. Next, use your elbows to roll the ball out in front of you. Do this slowly—you only want to go as far as you can control from your center, not so far that you fall. As you roll the ball, keep your feet steady on the floor—you want to control this entire motion through your center, not your legs. Once you begin to feel that you are on the verge of losing control of the ball, use your core strength to reverse direction and bring the ball back to the starting position.
Cable Russian Twists Using a cable machine, attach a doubled-handled rope attachment at the top stationary setting (you can also use tubes connected to a fixed point for this exercise). Take a handle in each hand and stand at right angles to the machine or the fixed point of attachment. Stand with legs shoulder width apart and knees soft. Hold your legs as steady as possible so that the movement comes completely from your abs and lower back. Allow the resistance to pull your arms toward the point of attachment, so that the arm closest to the machine or point of attachment is nearly fully extended to your side. Next, use your core muscles to pull the cable or tube in a single, smooth motion across in front of your body in a diagonal chop. Bend your legs and pivot through your hips until you are facing fully away from the machine, with your arms almost extended. Be sure to use your abdominals and lower back as the driving force of the movement. When your arms are fully extended at the bottom of the diagonal, reverse direction and return to the starting position. Do a complete set of the diagonal chops facing in one direction, and then turn around and repeat another set of the diagonal chops facing the other direction. After you finish your diagonal chops, you are ready to move into horizontal side chops. Re-attach the cable to the machine at a stationary point set at chest height. Take the cable in both hands and stand at right angles to the machine, again with legs shoulder width apart, knees soft, and core engaged. From this position, bring the cable across your body in front of your chest, pivoting through your hips and bent legs until you are facing fully away from the machine with your arms extended. Reverse and return across the same arc to the horizontal side chops starting position. After you have finished a full set of the horizontal cable chops at chest height, face in the opposite direction and do the same set on the other side.

EXERCISE IMAGES