Getting big can be very clever. By fusing old-school hypertrophy with modern movements, our four- week plan will deliver functional muscle and size that will last you for life.
There’s been a rising tide in fitness, arguing that any “authentic” training regimen should focus entirely on measurable, athletic improvements, and that pursuing any kind of aesthetic goal is somehow less noble, or even narcissistic. Some have even felt shamed into avoiding training routines that they would otherwise enjoy, fearful of being labelled an egomaniac for doing a biceps curl or dabbling with the pec deck.
At MH, we’re very much proponents of well-informed strength and conditioning. We appreciate what the rise of functional fitness has done for the community. But for a while there, it seemed the pendulum had swung too far. As our UK editor in chief recently put it, “Since when were we supposed to feel shame for enjoying the aesthetic by-products of our training?” There’s often little difference between chasing after performance goals and pursuing changes in the mirror. So long as you are happy, is a deadlift PB more meaningful than an extra 2cm on your arms?
Fortunately, like all tides, this one has ebbed. On the shoreline are men eager to get their pump on again. Better still, we’re learning that being as jacked as Arnie and moving like Usain Bolt aren’t mutually exclusive ideals. With smart programming, you
can get swole and hit your other goals.
So, rip off your sleeves and don your shortest shorts. The following workouts combine traditional hypertrophy with modern thinking, for a pump that truly pumps up your mobility, strength and physical preparedness. We are in the age of functional bodybuilding – and, boy, is it a good time to be alive!
DO YOU EVEN LIFT?
For reasons unknown, the bench press has cemented its place as the ultimate dude lift. With nothing more than a few resistance bands, add these three moves to your arsenal to assist in the bro-ly grail of a bigger bench
1/ Band-resisted push-up
5 sets of 15 reps, 90sec rest
Stretch a resistance band across your upper back and assume a push-up position. Lower your chest to the ground under control, before explosively pressing back up against the band’s force. Repeat.
2/ Straight-armed band pull-down
4 sets of 10 reps, 90sec rest
Loop a band around a pull-up bar and kneel, arm-distance away.
Grip the band with both hands and pull it down to full stretch, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Return
to the top, repeat.
3/ Triceps pull-down
4 sets of 25 reps, 90sec rest
Loop a band around a pull-up bar and stand, holding it with your palms facing each other and your upper arms tight to your body. Explosively pull the band down and apart, until your arms are straight, return under control and repeat. Feel the burn in your tris? Enjoy it.