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Year Long Workout: Phase X Intro

The final installment in our series pushes you to the muscle-building limit

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We hope you had a great year. If you were loyal to the Yearlong workouts, you're no doubt bigger, stronger, leaner, and more athletic than ever. The final phase in the program aims to help you vanquish all your personal records for size and strength before setting new goals for the new year.

The workouts are divided into two parts, each lasting four weeks. The workouts for Part 1 (A, B, and C) are brutally hard. You'll start the first two days with heavy lifts using your relative rep max-the most weight you can handle for each successive set. That means that if you use 200 pounds for eight reps on the first set, and you don't think you can get eight reps on the second set using that same load, reduce the weight by enough so that you can get eight reps again. This strategy helps you avoid overtraining and stimulates every possible muscle fiber.

In Part 2 (Workouts D, E, and F), you'll back off the heavy weights a bit and employ combos and complexes. A combo is two or more exercises done in succession for one rep each with little rest in between, such as one squat followed by a burpee, a pushup, and then a press. A complex works almost the same way, only you'll perform several reps for one exercise before moving on. This is one way to perform a lot of work in little time with minimal equipment, and it really jacks up muscle growth. Congrats on completing the program, and Happy New Year.

Directions

Frequency: Phase X is broken into two parts. Part I consists of Workout A, B, and C, and shoud be followed for four weeks. Part II consists of Workouts D, E, and F, which you'll also follow for four weeks. Complete all of the workouts in Part I before moving on to Part II. 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 E, 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 without resting in between. So you'll do all your reps for 3a, then all your reps for 3b, and then 3c before resting.

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: For the exercises that list "relative rep max" next to the reps, use the heaviest weight that allows you to perform all the given reps on the first set, and then adjust it on the sets that follow. This means that you can go for broke on the first set, using a weight you know you won't be able to use again for the specified number of reps on the sets that follow. You'll then use lesser weights (though equally challenging) on the remaining sets.

Unless otherwise noted, use the heaviest weight that allows you to complete all the prescribed repetitions for each set.

Phase X Workouts:

~ PART 1: Workouts A, B, C
~ PART 2: Workouts D, E, F
Workout A
1A Snatch-Grip Deadlift
2A Chinup
2B Stepup
3A Pushup
3B Swiss-Ball Jackknife
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Workout B
1 Box Squat
2A Split-Stance Overhead Press
2B Alternating Lunge
3A Cable Face Pull
3B Superman
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Workout C
1A Dumbbell Chest Press w/Rotation
1B Three-Point Dumbbell Row
2A Single-Leg Swiss-Ball Leg Curl
2B Plank
3 Abductor Squat
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Workout D
1 Hang Clean/Front Squat/Push Press Complex
2A One-Point Dumbbell Row
2B Glute-Ham Raise
3A Plyo Pushup
3B Dumbbell Split Squat
4 Body-Weight Squat
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Workout E
1 Romanian Deadlift/Bentover Row/Jump Shrug Complex
2A Neutral-Grip Dumbbell Press
2B Overhead Lunge
3A Mixed-Grip Pullup
3B Single-Leg Bridge
4A Swiss-Ball Crunch
4B Swiss-Ball Side Crunch
4C Reverse Crunch
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Workout F
1 Squat/Burpee/Pushup and Press Combo
2A Incline Dumbbell Press
2B Deadlift
3A Underhand-Grip Seated Row
3B Dumbbell Curl to Press
4 Dumbbell Swing

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