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Year Long Workout: Phase VIII Intro

The eighth installment in our yearlong series builds power and strength for sports

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After months of training, these next four weeks are going to be the best yet-assuming you like to lift heavy weights and want to be as fast and coordinated as a pro athlete. If so, you're going to enjoy the results you get from these workouts more than you've enjoyed any that preceded them. Phase VIII has you continuing with the sport-specific training you began last month, but now with more emphasis on building blink-and-they'll-miss-you speed and don't-mess-with-me muscle mass.

The two best ways to build muscle are by lifting heavy and lifting with explosive speed (and, coincidentally, they're probably the most fun). These workouts take full advantage of both methods. Workouts A and B start with Olympic lifts, in which you'll tear the bar off the floor and heave it up to shoulder level or overhead with violent speed. In addition to building running, jumping, pushing, and pulling power, these exercises will activate your biggest, strongest muscle fibers, preparing them to lift even heavier weights than normal on the exercises that follow.

At the same time, there's enough core and stability work in here to prevent you from getting injured (always a risk in the weight room or on the playing field), and to give you the kind of abs your personal cheerleader will appreciate during the postgame celebration.

Have fun.

Directions

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

How To Do It: Perform the exercise pairs (marked A and B) as alternating sets, resting 60 seconds between each set. So you'll do one set of 1A, rest, then one set of 1B, rest again, and so on for all the prescribed sets. Perform exercises that are not marked with a letter as straight sets, resting 60 seconds between each set.

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.

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

Phase VIII Workouts:

Workout A
1 Barbell Clean
2A Front Squat
2B Dumbbell T Pushup
3A Mixed-Grip Pullup
3B Single-Leg Bridge
4 Single-Arm, Single-Leg Plank
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Workout B
1 Power Snatch
2A Deadlift
2B Alternating Dumbbell Row
3A Partial Co-Contraction Lunge
3B Split-Stance Overhead Press
4 Alternating Cable Woodchop
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Workout C
1 Barbell Clean
2A Front Squat
2B Dumbbell T Pushup
3A Mixed-Grip Pullup
3B Single-Leg Bridge
4 Single-Arm, Single-Leg Plank
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