Welcome to week seven of the RealJock.com Muscle-Building 12-Week Workout program from strength-specialist Mike Clausen. The Muscle-Building 12-Week workout program is a companion to RealJock.com's
workout program from super-trainer Billy Polson. In week seven you'll continue to use many of the same exercises from weeks five and six. Continue to focus on intensity while always making sure you maintain proper form.
|EXERCISE DESCRIPTIONS IN BRIEF
|Medicine Ball Chop Squats
||Stand upright with a medium-sized medicine ball held in both hands in front of you in both hands and your feet about hip-distance apart with knees slightly bent. Next, bring the medicine ball down in front of you in a wood-chopping motion—directly down in front of you, either to between your knees or, for a greater challenge, until you tap the floor. From the bottom of the motion, reverse direction and bring the ball back up, all the way to overhead. Try to maintain an even pace throughout the motion. Keep your chest and head high on both the lift and the descent, and allow your feet and legs to bend and pivot as demanded by the motion of your upper body.
||Stand with your arms up at the sides of your head with elbows bent, your hands gently cupping the sides of your head, and your feet shoulder-width apart. Position your feet so that your toes are pointed straight ahead. Slowly lower down to a fully squatted position, pulling your weight down through your leg muscles as you descend. Keep your weight back on your heels as you go down. Push your chest out very slightly in front of you to counterbalance the heavy load on your heels.
From the seated position, reverse motion and drive up through your heels to return to the starting position. Keep a quick tempo; do not pause for rest.
||Set both arms on a dual cable machine at the lowest height setting with a single handle attached to each cable. (If you do not have access to a dual cable machine, use a single-cable machine and use a double-handled rope attachment.) Stand about two feet away from the machine facing the machine. Hold one handle in each hand and your hands held up near your face, with your arms bent all the way in toward you as if you were at the top of a bicep curl. Your palms should be facing in toward your body. Next, bend your knees and perform a squat, keeping your weight a little more back on your heels than on your toes. Go down to the point where your quads are parallel to the floor without compromising your form. The tension of the cable in your hands should provide some counterbalance, allowing you to squat down further. Do not allow your knees to go in front of the line of your toes. When you have squatted down fully, reverse direction, activate your core, and push back up to starting position, keeping your knees slightly bent at the top of the squat.
|Multidirectional Speed Lunges with Shoe Tap
||Stand upright with feet about hip-width apart and arms at your sides. First, step one foot forward into a lunge. Drop down through the back thigh and knee as you bend the front leg. Do not push forward through your front knee; it should not go ahead of your front toe. At the bottom of your lunge, touch your hands gently to the floor on either side of your front foot. From the bottom of the lunge, reverse the motion, bring your hands off the floor, come up through your legs, and bring your feet back together. After you have done two of the forward lunges (one on each side), and have returned to the starting position, do two lunges at a 45-degree angle. From the starting position, step out and turn your body so that you lunge at a 45-degree angle to your starting position. Repeat the lunge forward, touch the floor, and return to standing, being sure to pivot back so that you end standing at the starting position. Then do the same lunge on the other leg. Once you have completed the 45-degree lunges, you will do two side lunges. Again from the starting position, step one leg straight out to the side and bend that knee, such that you lunge down over your bent leg while the other leg will stretch straight to the side. Again touch the floor at the bottom of your lunge, and press back up bringing your legs together, such that you end at the starting position. Repeat on the other leg. Finally, do two rear diagonal lunges. From the starting position, step one leg out, pivot and turn, and drop into a rear diagonal lunge, 135 degrees from the starting position. Touch the floor on either side of your front foot, and press up through the back leg to return to standing. Repeat on the other side. You have now completed one circuit of lunges.
||Place a neck pad or neck cradle at the center point of a barbell positioned at shoulder height on a rack. Stand upright in front of the barbell so that it is resting across your shoulders and behind your neck. Your feet should be hip-width apart and your toes pointed forward. Hold the barbell on either side of your neck about one foot more than shoulder-width apart, with your palms facing forward. Lift the barbell off the rack and step back to give you room to squat. You may want to practice with a dowel or weightless bar if you haven't done this exercise before. Next, slowly lower down toward a fully squatted position, pulling your weight down through your leg muscles as you descend. Keep your weight balanced between the balls of your feet and your heels as you go down. If you feel any knee pressure, shift your weight back more to your heels and let your hips ride back more to take some of the weight off of your toes. Push your chest out very slightly in front of you to counterbalance the heavy load on your heels. Your back should maintain a natural arch; do not over-arch. When your thighs are parallel to the floor, you will have reached the depth of the squat. Reverse motion and drive up through your feet to return to the starting position.
||Stand on the floor with your arms up at the sides of your head with elbows bent, your hands gently cupping the sides of your head, and your feet hip-width apart. Next, step your right foot forward and drop your left knee down into a lunge. Lower the left knee down until the right quadriceps (thigh) is parallel to the floor. Do not allow the right knee to come out in front of your toes, or you'll risk knee and other injury. From the lunge, stand up and take a short step forward with your left foot. Then step the right foot forward again and drop your left knee down again into another lunge. Repeat for a full set of lunges with the right leg leading, then switch legs and perform another set with the left leg leading. As you do these lunges, keep your steps short enough to maintain control and balance.
|Barbell Russian Deadlifts
||Stand upright in front of a weighted barbell with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and take up a modified squat position, with your knees slightly bent, hips pressed slightly back, and back flat. Your chest should be high, head forward, and neck in line with your spine. From the modified squat, grip the barbell with both hands about shoulder-width apart and palms facing you. The barbell should be at the level of the middle of your shins, either resting on the floor (if the plates are large) or held off the floor in your hands. Keep the majority of your weight back on your heels, while still applying pressure through the balls of your feet. Next, keeping your chest forward, use your legs to lift the barbell and stand up straight to a fully upright position. Focus on using your legs to lift and your core engaged throughout to protect your back. When you are standing upright, hold for a moment, and then press your hips behind you and bend your knees as you sit back down into a squat. Keep your back flat as you squat down. Lower the barbell to the floor or down to your shin level starting position, and then immediately move into the next repetition.
||Stand upright on the balls of your feet on the edge of a step or box placed against a wall or support. Your feet should be flat and your heels should be well past the end of the box. Hold on to the wall or other support for balance. Next, flex your calves, point your toes and push up with your calves to raise your body. From the top of the calf raise, reverse direction and lower your body back down to starting position. Immediately move into your next calf raise. Do a total of 12 calf raises. Stop at the bottom of your 12th calf raise and hold with your feet parallel to the floor for a count of eight seconds. Next, repeat another 12 calf raises, and then again hold your feet flat for another eight seconds. Next, complete a final set of calf raises, using a quick, controlled movement. You will have done a total of 36 calf raises to complete one set.
||Stand upright with your back and shoulders straight and your feet almost shoulder-width apart. Clasp your hands behind your head with your elbows in line with your shoulders. Next, step your right foot approximately two feet in front of you. Don't overdo the length of your step; keep your steps short enough to maintain control and balance. When your right foot is place, lunge forward with your right leg until you have a 90-degree bend in your right knee, staying light on your back foot. Your upper body and right knee should not move forward as you lower and raise your body. Make sure your right knee does not go beyond a 90-degree angle. Reverse direction and return to the starting position. To fully isolate your hamstring, glutes, and quad muscles, avoid putting any weight on your left leg as you come up from the lunge position.Perform a full set repeating with your right leg forward, and then turn switch legs and do a second set with your left leg forward.
||Stand upright facing a 24-inch box or the long side of a flat bench with a barbell resting across your shoulders and behind your neck. Your feet should be hip-width apart and your toes pointed forward. Hold the barbell on either side of your neck about one foot more than shoulder-width apart, with your palms facing forward. Step your right foot up onto the box or bench. Next, use the muscle of the right leg to bring the left foot powerfully up onto the box or flat bench. Do not allow left foot to rest on bench; instead, at the top of the lift, hold for one second to train balance. After holding for one second, reverse motion and bring the left foot back down to the floor. Leave the right foot up on the flat bench and perform an entire set with the right leg in the top position. When you have finished a set with the right leg in the top position, reverse feet and repeat with the left leg in top position.
|Plyometric Jump Squats
||Stand on the floor with your arms up at the sides of your head with elbows bent, your hands gently cupping the sides of your head, and your feet shoulder-width apart. Position your feet so that your toes are pointed straight ahead. Next, slowly lower down to a fully squatted position, pulling your weight down through your leg muscles as you descend. Keep your weight back on your heels as you go down. Push your chest out very slightly in front of you to counterbalance the heavy load on your heels. When you have reached the depth of the squat, reverse motion and jump up into the air as high as you possibly can. When you land from your jump, go immediately into your next squat.|
||Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent so that your feet are resting lightly on the floor and your knees are folded toward the ceiling. Keep your pelvis in a neutral position. Bend your elbows straight out to the side as you place your fingertips just behind your ears; this will help you balance and will stabilize your head. Do not put your hands behind your head and pull, as this may cause neck injury.
Engage your abdominal muscles, squeezing downward just below your belly button. As you squeeze downward, be careful not to tilt your pelvis upward or dig your feet into the floor. This abdominal squeeze should bring your shoulders just slightly off the floor and generate a slight curve through your center. Keeping your feet light on the floor, use that abdominal contraction to bring your upper body up toward your knees in a rolling motion, until your shoulders come fully off the floor. Keep your neck neutral, so that your chin stays off your chest—you should have room to fit your balled fist between your chin and your chest. Hold for a moment at the top of your lift, and then lower back to the starting position. Throughout this entire motion, the pressure of your feet on the floor and the position of your pelvis should be absolutely constant.
|Medicine Ball V-Hold Crossovers
||Sit near the edge of a flat bench or box platform. Lean back with your hips piked at a 45-degree angle with your legs extended out and knees slightly bent. Hold an 8- to 10-pound medicine ball out directly in front of you with your hands holding the sides of the ball and your elbows slightly bent. Keep your arms held out in the same position as you engage your core and twist your upper torso in a smooth motion, first to the left side. As your upper torso twists, your arms and the medicine ball should follow it. Twist as far as you can while maintaining the v-hold position, and then reverse direction and return toward the starting position. Without pausing at the center, twist your upper torso to your right side, and then back toward the starting position. You have completed one rep when you have twisted to both sides.