Everyone's training shifts in the warmer months towards a cut—regardless if it's a conscious decision, or a subconscious one. Admit it: We all want to look our best in the summer.

But one of the biggest mistakes guys often make is to immediately jump into rapid-fire, hardcore, non-stop, punishing workouts to drop as much extra weight as possible, as quickly as possible. This can instantly lead to burnout, fatigue, and even injury. Want to know what the smart dudes do? They focus on getting super-strong in advance of the cut—not huge, but strong.

The program was designed and demonstrated by trainer and dietician Tim McComsey of trymfit.com. Tim is an expert contributor for Men's Fitness and is a part of the HUMANFITPROJECT network.

How it works

Cluster sets are a way of breaking down strenuous, strength-spiking lifts into shorter, more manageable bouts of exercise. For example: Instead of performing five sets of five reps at your five-repetition max, those sets are broken into four “clusters” of two reps, with brief periods of rest in between. Ultimately, you’re performing more work, but you're allowing your body to briefly recover. This type of strength training is a smart choice for anyone looking to take on a fat-loss program in the subsequent months. The strength gains made will be better prepare the body to withstand that shift to that more aggressive, high-intensity, non-stop style of programming.

Directions

Perform the following workouts with one day of rest between. When selecting weights, for cluster sets, use your five-repetition maximum. For other exercises, select resistance where you “fail” one-two repetitions shy of the prescribed amount. 

How to diet during this workout plan

As far as eating, you'll need to follow more a "bulking"-style diet to remain in a calorie surplus to hold your weight. We suggest starting with the nine diet rules of strong muscles.