The Transition Workouts

 

You were shedding weight all summer long. You wanted to be lean. Now, the clothes are going back on so it’s time to bulk up. But you want to put on the right kind of weight: Muscle. 

“The key to building muscle is the cumulative metabolic stress and muscle damage best accomplished by completing multiple sets of 8-12 reps with relatively short rest periods (45-90 seconds),” says NSCA trainer Nick Clayton, C.S.C.S. who created this plan for beginners—and more difficult versions for intermediate and advanced lifters. 

“The beginner workout is total body, starting with compound (multi-joint) lifts followed by isolation exercises with lower overall volume (sets/reps) as compared to intermediate and advanced workout,” says Clayton.

That same method is applied to the intermediate and advanced plans: the exercises start with the most difficult (highest degree of technique required and most amount of muscle mass used, like squats and bent-over rows) and progress to easier ones (isolation moves that require a lower degree of technique like calf raises and triceps rope pulls). 

Complete these workouts each week on non-consecutive days. Continue to eat right and you’ll see muscle definition in no time. Just watch your form: “If you don’t know how/can’t perform a back squat correctly, for example, either a) work on technique with a lighter load or b) select a less-technical variation of the back squat, such as the goblet squat,” says Clayton.  

Day 1 – Beginner

I. Perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps of each of the following exercises with 60-90 seconds rest between each:
A. Squat
B. Bent-Over Row
C. Hip Thruster
D. Bench Press

II. Perform 1-3 sets of 12-15 reps of the following moves as a SUPERSET:
A. Leg Curl
B. Leg Extension

III. Perform 2-13 sets of 8-12 reps:
A. Upright Row

IV. Perform 5 sets of 5-10 reps:
A. Pushups

V. Perform 1-3 sets of 12-15 reps of the following moves as a SUPERSET:
A. Plank Variation
B. Low Back Extension
 

Day 2 – Beginner

I. Perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps of each of the following exercises with 60-90 seconds rest between each:
A. Deadlift
B. Incline Bench Press
C. Walking Lunges
D. Chin-ups or Lat Pulldown

II. Perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps with 60-90 seconds in between each:
A. Machine Shoulder Press

III. Perform 1-3 sets of 12-15 reps of each of the following exercises with 45-60 seconds rest between each:
A. Leg Press
B. Skullcrushers
C. Cable Twist

IV. Perform 1-3 sets of 30-60 seconds of work with 30-45 seconds rest:
A. Side Plank Variation
 

 

Day 3 – Beginner

I. Perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps of each of the following exercises with 60-90 seconds rest between each:
A. Romanian Deadlift
B. Military Press
C. Step Up

II. Perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps of each of the following exercises with 0-30 seconds rest between each:
A. Cable Fly
B. Seated Row

III. Perform 1-3 sets of 12-15 reps of each of the following exercises with 0-30 seconds rest between each:
A. Biceps Curl
B. Triceps Rope

IV. Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps of each of the following exercises with 0-30 seconds rest between each:
A. Bicycle Crunches
B. Roman Chair Hip Extension