Last month, you launched 2012 with “New Year: New Mass” Part 1, the first half of a 12-week program for packing on insane amounts of muscle. And in Part 2, leading industry trainer and nutritionist Neil Hill returns for the final six weeks of blistering workouts and bonus tips to keep you growing. So without further ado, here it is, straight from Hill himself so you can carry out your plans for building mountains of muscle in the new year.
Y3T (Yoda Three Training) is based on a three-week cycle during which weights get progressively lighter as reps get progressively higher. You will do two three-week cycles, which, when combined with Part 1, will give you a total of 12 weeks. That’s a lot of intense training; so when you’re finished, take a week off from the gym before starting the program again. Here’s a review of the training protocols:
-For all working sets, choose a weight that is heavy enough so that you fail two to four reps before the prescribed rep range.
-Use rest-pause reps on every working set. When you reach the point where you can do only one more rep, rest for two to four seconds with the weights in the locked-out position and then do more reps. Continue in this fashion until you hit the desired target number.
-Do dropsets where noted. After reaching failure, reduce the weight by 20–30% and continue training until failure. Repeat for the number of dropsets as directed in the workout charts.
Keys to Getting Huge
To keep improving, examine everything you do toward that goal—both inside and outside the gym.
Although I love compound movements, some isolation exercises are also great for adding size. Take lateral raises, for example. There is no other movement that will add muscle to your side deltoids for that capped look. The same goes for machines; I use both free weights and machines to hit the muscles from multiple angles.
With the blood volumization of Y3T, especially in Weeks 2 and 3, you’ll experience skin-splitting pumps. Driving blood into your muscles provides much-needed nutrients and oxygen for optimal growth. At the same time, it also clears waste products and free radicals, which can hinder gains.
Putting too much pressure on yourself to make gains can lead to stress, which raises cortisol levels. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that has the opposite effect of testosterone. Gains will diminish and you may actually increase body fat. If you stay disciplined with your training and nutrition and get plenty of rest, you will grow.
It’s all right to have a cheat meal once or twice a week, even when you’re contest dieting, as the extra nutrients and calories can help you stay full and keep your metabolism working efficiently. However, taking in an excessive amount of bad calories is a surefire way to add sloppy weight. Stuffing yourself with high-fat foods will actually limit the amount of good macronutrients your body can absorb, as you will find it impossible to eat your next scheduled meal.
Have a Team:
Bodybuilding is an individual sport, but the more help you can get from people that honestly care about your success, the better off you will be. Plus, it makes the experience that much more meaningful when you can share it with the people that are important to you.
Nothing is more frustrating than missing gym time due to injuries. Here are three keys to staying healthy so you can keep growing:
Focus on contracting and squeezing the muscles. You have to feel them working through the full range of motion, and if you can’t, you’re training too heavy and the weight is controlling you when it should be the other way around.
No Ego Lifting:
Rivalry between training partners can be a good motivational tool, but used incorrectly, it can cause more harm than good. Very often, form is sacrificed to use more weight or get more reps. Never forget that you’re in the gym to induce growth and improve, not beat your training partner by using sloppy form.
Take the time to get the muscles and joints prepared for heavy weights. Concentrate on getting in the right groove and pushing blood into the target muscles so that you’re ready to go full-blast when you get to your first working set. A bad set is a missed opportunity for growth, so prime your mind and body to make every single rep count.
Bonus Tip 1-
Train for yourself. Training to please others, or just doing what everyone else is doing, is not a good formula for success—and that goes for anything in life. Do it for self-improvement or simply because you love training.
I pre-exhaust the front and side deltoids with front raises and laterals before moving to presses. You won’t be able to use as much weight, but the tradeoff in preceding a compound movement with isolation exercises is that the muscles will be worked that much harder, even if you are using a lighter weight.
Bonus Tip 2-
Set short-term goals. decide on weekly and monthly goals that you know you can achieve (but make sure it’s hard enough that you have to really work for it). for example, one to two pounds of lean mass per week for about a four-pound gain in a month is doable.
Preacher curls will not “lengthen” your biceps. That is physically impossible, as our muscle attachments are predetermined at birth. However, it will add thickness to the lower biceps. At the top, the tendency is to let the biceps rest because there is no resistance in this position. Avoid this by contracting hard.
Calf training is excruciatingly painful, so lots of guys will rush through their reps. But this won’t build good calves. Perform your calf raises slowly. Exaggerate the bottom position to get a deep stretch and then rise up and hold it to squeeze your calves.
Bonus Tip 3-
Do high reps for legs. Your legs are the largest and most powerful muscles in your body and can handle a great deal of stress for prolonged periods of time. that’s why effective leg training must involve both heavy weight and high reps.
The wide-stance squats focus most of the stress on the inner quads. The narrow stance places more emphasis on the outer quads. To make it even more extreme, I’ve made them front squats, which takes the majority of the load off the glutes and hamstrings to make this more of a quad-centric exercise.
For hamstrings, notice that you start with a basic compound movement and then move on to two isolation exercises. Variety in your workouts will prevent your muscles from getting used to the same stimuli, and that’s how you keep them growing.
The standard version is more of a quad-dominant movement, but by placing your feet high on the platform, your hamstrings are put in a position to get a deeper stretch on the bottom. This means most of the stress will be transferred from the quads to the hams.
In Part 1, I had you doing partial deadlifts, but here, we’re going old school and pulling them off the floor. You don’t get more basic than that, and this movement will pack mass onto your entire back as well as the hamstrings and glutes. Maintain a flat back and keep the bar close to your body throughout the lift. Contract your back at the top. Do not drop the weights at the bottom.
With the exception of the lat pulldowns, this workout consists of rowing exercises for thickness, which I’ve noticed are common necessity for novice bodybuilders. Rows are hard exercises to perform, so the tendency is not to put as much into them. The key is to maintain an arched back and pull with your elbows. Squeeze your back and lower the weights slowly for a good stretch.
Bonus Tip 4-
Prove the doubters wrong. Throughout your life, you will probably encounter people that want to see you fail. It’s unfortunate that some people thrive on bringing others down (just look at the internet message boards on several bodybuilding websites). Instead of letting them succeed with their negativity, use it as motivation to make them eat their words.
Pairing these two exercises will totally exhaust your lats. The wide grip will hit the upper lats and mid-back for width, while the close grip stresses the lower lats for that full, hanging-to-the-floor look you need, especially in twisting back shots.
Heavy weights are not the goal. What makes this move effective is the stretch at the bottom, and you won’t be able to do that with a weight that’s too heavy (not without the risk of injury, anyway). Maintain a slight bend in your elbows. The movement should simulate a hug.
I’ve paired compound pressing with isolation flye exercises to work the pecs through both ranges of motion and help build thickness as well as width. In addition, unlike presses, the cross-overs and flyes don’t involve the triceps. This will force your pecs to carry the full workload and completely exhaust them.
Bonus Tip 5-
Use visual cues for inspiration. I used to cut out pictures of athletes that I wanted to look like and put them in a scrapbook or on the wall for motivation. Between sets of squats, I’d look at pictures of Tom Platz squatting, and that made me push even harder.