Few Words About Safety

I don't believe in using belts, wraps, straps, or gloves, even for the heaviest deadlifts. Instead, I encourage you to do these lifts "raw," using your bare hands (covered with chalk, to dry up perspiration and help with your grip) and your own midsection muscles (to create a natural protective belt).

But I do encourage spotters on the bench presses, and perhaps on the squats. Many gyms have squat racks with side rails that give you a place to drop the bar if you get stuck in the bottom position. That makes a spotter unnecessary.

On bench presses, the spotter should help you lift the weight off the racks so you can take it at arm's length. That accomplishes two things: First, you don't waste any energy. Second, you don't start the lift with the feeling that the weight is too heavy, which can happen if you pull it from the racks yourself. Your shoulders are in a bio-mechanically weak position on the pull, so when you pull from a weak position to a strong one, your body remembers how heavy that weight felt in the weak position.

Ideally, the spotter should be right behind your head. He should let go when you have a firm grip at arm's length, and not touch it again until you've lowered it and pressed it back to arm's length—unless you fail on the lift, in which case he should grab it upon your signal, or before it slowly sinks back onto your rib cage.

If you don't know the spotter, make sure he understands he's not to touch the bar until you give him some sort of signal. No matter what, you've "failed" on the lift if he touches it, so this point needs to be clear before the lift begins.

If you use a spotter for squats, he has to stand right behind you and shadow your actions, all the way into the descent and then all the way back up. Yes, it looks as weird as it sounds. Two spotters, one on each end of the bar, provide a much less awkward configuration.

No matter how many spotters you use, and where they stand, make sure they're strong enough to lift the bar if you get stuck. A safe bet is a trainer wandering around on your gym floor. Unless he's training a client, it's his job to help lifters like you. Another good bet is to ask the biggest, most experienced lifter for a spot. Most of us are too intimidated to approach a big guy, but big guys, in my experience, actually like helping other guys succeed at lifting. There's a slim chance the guy will be a jerk and refuse, but you should be able to tell by his body language if he's approachable or not. Just be polite, and make sure you ask during what appears to be a natural break in his routine—right after he's finished a set, for example, if it's clear he's resting a minute or two before the next one.

One more kind of obvious point: Don't approach a stranger for a spot when you know damned well you can't lift the weight and he'll have to pull it off your chest. That's like asking someone to do your work for you. At no point in Alwyn's New Rules workouts should you attempt a lift without confidence that you can complete it.

Strength I

Alwyn created four workouts, each of which you'll do four times. You can do two, three, or four workouts a week, and finish in eight, six, or four weeks. The most important rule: Do all of them consecutively, in the order shown here.

You'll note much longer rest periods between sets, up to three minutes. Some guys can recover in two minutes; others will jump to the next set just because it's so boring to sit around for three minutes. (Not to mention dangerous, if others are waiting to use the equipment.) The key is "full recovery." You have to give your muscles the best chance to lift the heaviest weights on each set of the key exercises. If the wait seems interminable, just remind yourself that it's only sixteen workouts.

Workout A

Exercise

Sets

(seconds)

Squat (p. 96)

6

6

301

180

1

6

1

10-12

15-20

Superset with no rest between exercises

Bulgarian split squat (p. 125)

3

15**

311

0

Step-up (p. 126)

3

15**

311

90

Back extension (p. 117)

2

10

222

90

Swiss-ball crunch (p. 169)

2

10

222

90

*See Hypertrophy II on page 227 for an explanation. **each leg

Workout B

Exercise

Sets

(seconds)

Superset with full rest

Barbell bench press (p. 136)

5

6

311

180

1

6

1

10-12

Barbell bent-over row (p. 159)

5

6

311

180

1

6

1

10-12

Superset with full rest

Close-grip lat pulldown (p. 152)

2

6-8

311

120

Dumbbell shoulder press (p. 142)

2

6-8

311

120

Lower-body Russian twist (p. 175)

2

10*

101

90

*each side

Workout C

Exercise

Sets

(seconds)

Deadlift (p. 106)

6

6

301

180

1

6

1

10-12

15-20

Superset with no rest between exercises

Romanian deadlift (p. 111)

3

8-10

311

0

Static lunge (p. 123)

3

8-10*

311

90

Good morning (p. 112)

2

10

222

90

Incline reverse crunch (p. 172)

2

10

222

90

*each leg

Workout D

Exercise

Sets

(seconds)

Superset with full rest

Chin-up (p. 154)

5

6

311

180

1

6

1

10-12

Barbell shoulder press (p. 139)

5

6

311

180

1

6

1

10-12

Superset with full rest

Dumbbell bench press (p. 138)

2

6-8

311

120

Wide-grip cable seated row (p. 156)

2

6-8

311

120

Lower-body Russian twist (p. 175)

2

10*

101

90

Again, Alwyn designed four workouts, each of which you'll do four times. You can do two, three, or four workouts a week, and finish in eight, six, or four weeks.

The change-up here from Strength I is that, instead of doing waves, you'll be doing sets of four reps on the key exercises, and you'll do them at a slightly faster tempo (two-second descent, no pause, one-second lift). You'll also follow two of your key lifts—squats and deadlifts—with shorter-range-of-motion versions of those exercises. You'll use heavier weights and do fewer reps. Your goal is to be able to do those heavier weights at full range by the time you get to Strength III.

Workout A

Exercise

Sets

(seconds)

Squat (p. 96)

4

4

201

180

4

4

12

Quarter squat (p. 100)

3

3

201

180

Superset with full rest

Good morning (p. 112)

2

8-10

201

90

Dynamic lunge (p. 124)

2

8-10*

201

90

Swiss-ball crunch (p. 169)

2

6

222

90

*each leg

Workout B

Exercise

Sets

(seconds)

Superset with full rest

Barbell bent-over row (p. 159)

4

4

201

180

4

8

12

Barbell bench press (p. 136)

4

4

201

180

4

8

12

Superset with full rest

Chin-up (p. 154) or Underhand-grip

3

4

211

90

lat pulldown** (p. 152)

4

12

Dumbbell shoulder press (p. 142)

3

4

211

90

4

12

Dumbbell upper-body Russian twist (p. 174)

2

6*

202

90

*each side

**If you can't do twelve chin-ups in that final set (and almost nobody would be able to), do lat pulldowns instead.

Workout C

Exercise

Sets

(seconds)

Deadlift (p. 106)

4

4

201

180

4

4

12

Rack deadlift (p. 110)

3

3

201

180

Superset with full rest

Bulgarian split squat (p. 125)

2

8-10*

201

90

Back extension (p. 117)

2

8-10

20X

90

Hanging leg raise (p. 176)

2

6

222

90

*each leg

Workout D

Exercise

Sets

(seconds)

Superset with full rest

Barbell push press (p. 141)

4

4

201

180

4

8

12

Wide-grip pull-up (p. 154) or Wide-grip lat pulldown (p. 152)**

4

4

201

180

4

8

12

Superset with full rest

Dumbbell incline bench press (p. 139)

3

4

211

90

4

12

Cable seated row (p. 155)

3

4

211

90

4

12

Dumbbell upper-body Russian twist (p. 174)

2

6*

202

90

*each side

**If you can't do wide-grip pull-ups for the designated repetitions, do lat pulldowns with a wide grip instead.

Strength III

Alwyn again designed four workouts; you'll do two, three, or four of them a week for eight, six, or four weeks—sixteen total workouts, all done in the order shown here.

You'll go back to wave loading, with the goal of lifting the heaviest possible weights in the final round of workouts. Unlike Strength I and Strength II, you'll do few sets with more than eight repetitions, making this the lowest-volume, highest-intensity program in the entire book. You'll see longer rest periods—up to four minutes—on the key exercises, and almost every weight you lift will be heavy.

Everyone doing this program should take at least a week off afterward, with two weeks off optimal for many of you. If you do continue training with just a single week off, go to higher-repetition workouts, like the Fat-Loss programs.

Workout A

Exercise

Sets

(seconds)

Squat (p. 96)

6

3

201

240

2

1

3

2

1

Quarter squat (p. 100)

3

2

201

180

Squat (p. 96)

2

6

201

90

12

Seated good morning (p. 114)

2

6-8

211

90

Swiss-ball crunch with medicine-ball throw (p. 171)

4

4

10X

90

Workout B

Exercise

Sets

(seconds)

Barbell bench press (p. 136)

6

3

201

240

2

1

3

2

1

Superset with full rest

Barbell bent-over row (p. 159)

3

4

201

60

4

8

Barbell push press (p. 141)

3

4

201

60

4

8

Woodchop (p. 177)

3

8*

10x

90

*each side

Workout C

Exercise

Sets

(seconds)

Deadlift (p. 106)

6

3

201

240

2

1

3

2

1

Rack deadlift (p. 110)

3

2

201

180

Snatch-grip deadlift off box (p. 109)

2

6

201

90

12

Zercher good morning (p. 113)

2

4-6

211

90

Hanging leg raise (p. 176)

4

4

111

90

Workout D

Exercise

Sets

(seconds)

Close-grip ull-up (p. 154)

6

3

201

240

2

1

3

2

1

Superset with full rest

Barbell shoulder press (p. 139)

3

4

201

60

4

8

Cable seated row (p. 155)

3

4

201

60

4

8

Reverse woodchop (p. 178)

3

8*

10x

90

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