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Year Long Workout: Phase VII Intro

The seventh installment in our yearlong series builds peak sports performance

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If you've been a faithful follower of our Yearlong Workout Program, we'll take a wild guess and say you're probably bigger, stronger, leaner, and in better overall shape than you've been in years-or ever. Best of all, you've still got another third of a year to go on our plan. And while there will be plenty more chances to add muscle and reveal abs in the weeks ahead, we thought we'd give you something most ?tness magazines overlook: athletic-performance prep.

Once you've built an infrastructure of muscle and strength in the gym, it's only natural to want to use it in sports. To feed that desire, we've tailored the Phase VII workouts to enhance power, speed, and sport-speci?c strength so you can play fall sports (whether at school or with your buddies) with the kind of ferocity and skill that will make you a winner. You'll improve your reaction time and ability to move athletically with exercises such as hops and bounds, which directly translate into performance on the field, on the court, or in the rink. In four weeks, you'll be fast and powerful in every plane of motion, so you'll be able to react explosively from any position. Of course, we don't want you losing an ounce of muscle mass, so these routines have plenty of the lifts you need to stay pumped.

Another key to successful sports training is frequency. The more you practice a task, the better your skills become. That's why you only have two workouts in this phase, which you'll alternate between for a maximum of four training sessions per week. This ensures that your body will have plenty of exposure to the stimuli we've provided and that the skills you're sharpening will become second nature.

Directions

Frequency:Perform each workout once per week, resting at least a day between each session.

How To Do It: Perform each pair of exercises (marked A and B) as alternating sets, resting the prescribed amount of time after each set. So you'll do one set of A, rest, then one set of B, rest again, and repeat for all the prescribed sets for each exercise. In Workout A, you'll perform a tri-set, marked lowercase a, b, and c. 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 where applicable), and then repeat the procedure twice more before moving on to the remaining exercises.

Perform the remaining exercises as straight sets, completing all the prescribed sets for an exercise before ?moving on.

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 VII Workouts:

Workout A
1 Single-Leg Lateral Hop
2 Get Up and Go from Back
3A Alternating Incline Dumbbell Press
3B Plyo Pushup
3C Three-Point Dumbbell Row
4A Swiss-Ball Dumbbell Pullover
4B Chek Press Kneeling on Bosu Ball
5 Russian Twist
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Workout B
1 Lateral Bound
2 Hurdle Hop and Sprint
3A Wide-Grip Chinup
3B Swiss-Ball Jackknife
4A Front Squat/Push Press
4B Jump Squat
5A Jumping Lunge
5B Swiss-Ball Lateral Roll
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