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The Perfect Workout

Build muscle, improve mobility, and bulletproof your joints with this routine.
James Michelfelder

Talk to enough big, strong guys with admirable physiques and you’ll notice that one complaint keeps coming up: They’re all hurt. There seems to be an unwritten rule that training to build muscle has to wreak havoc on your joints—but we’re about to break it. In fact, you can have a great-looking body without wrecking it along the way. This plan incorporates careful programming, mobility, and corrective exercise to help you safely build both muscle and strength.

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How It Works:
Lifting weights compresses the joints and can lead to injury. There are two main ways to prevent lifting-related aches and pains: Master perfect technique so your body can bear the stress of heavy weights as safely as possible, and vary the loads you use so you never undergo too much stress for too long.

Our program improves technique by way of mobility, with exercises such as the face-pull that activate and balance out the muscles around the shoulder to allow for safe, efficient lifting. These moves actually help you perform your bench press better, so we tucked them in between your first few sets. We also change the sets and reps on your main lifts weekly to vary the stimulus.

All these safety precautions make you a better lifter, so it’s easier to add muscle.

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Perform each workout (Day I, II, and III) once a week, resting a day between each session.

Video demonstrations:
Day I
Day II

Perform exercises marked with a letter (“A,” “B,” and “C”) in succession. So you’ll do one set of A, then B, and then C before resting (unless otherwise noted). Repeat until all sets are complete for the group.

The sets and reps assigned to the first lift in each workout will change weekly.

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