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Year Long Workout: Phase IX Intro

The ninth installment in our yearlong series corrects muscle imbalances and prevents injury

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For the next four weeks, we don't want you to bust your ass in the gym. After you've pushed very hard for several months, Phase IX has you backing off on the heavy weights and focusing on correcting muscular imbalances that may have formed over the course of the year. Even though we pride ourselves on giving you the most complete and best-designed workouts possible, no body is perfect, and some muscles are bound to have responded to the training better than others. Before you embark on the final eight weeks of the program and put the finishing touches on a stellar physique, we need to address these issues to prevent injuries and ensure optimal growth.

The workouts you're about to do use exercises that specialize in getting muscles to "wake up." Often over the course of a training program, the central nervous system will become somewhat less efficient at recruiting all the muscle fibers needed for a certain lift. The glutes are particularly susceptible (especially since many of us spend most of the day sitting down at a desk, weakening the glutes further), and because they're key to lifting monstrous weights, they have to be reactivated. By zeroing in on these areas with moves like the reverse lunge and touch and the overhead squat, you'll force them to fire up, improving your exercise form and the amount of weight you can lift in the process. Once harmony is restored, you'll be ready to rampage through the weight room again.

Directions

Frequency: Alternate between Workouts A and B for a total of three workouts per week, resting at least a day between each session. So you'll perform Workout A twice the first week and Workout B once. In Week 2, you'll do Workout B twice and Workout A once, and so on.

How To Do It: Perform each exercise group (marked lowercase a, b, and c) as a tri-set. This means you'll complete one set for each of the three exercises and then repeat. So you'll do all your reps for 3a through 3c (resting in between), and then repeat the procedure for the prescribed number of sets before moving on to the remaining exercise groups.

Tempo: The first digit is how many seconds you should take to lower the weight. The second digit is how long you should pause at the bottom (when your muscles are under the most tension). The third digit is how long you should take to lift the weight. A "0" means to move right to the next digit, and an "X" in place of digits means to perform each rep with explosive speed.

Weight: Use the heaviest weight that allows you to complete all the prescribed repetitions for each set.

Phase IX Workouts:

Workout A
1A Reverse Lunge from Step
1B Wide-Grip Seated Row
1C Hitchhiker
2A Multi-Plane Lunge
2B Close-Grip Pulldown
2C Swiss-Ball Knee Drive
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Workout B
1A Single-Arm Overhead Squat
1B Alternating Dumbbell Overhead Press
1C Split-Stance Neider Press
2A Romanian Deadlift
2B T-Pushup
2C Plank
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