One muscle-building strategy is called time-under-tension, the gist being that you can force your muscles to grow by exhausting them (for a longer period of time) during a set. You can do this in two ways: more reps (of course), and pausing a movement of an exercise. With countdown sets, you accomplish both at the same time. Head over here for the complete workout. Then watch the video to see our training director Sean Hyson demonstrate proper form of the moves.

Day 1 of the Countdown Sets Workout:

Perform each workout (Days I, II, and III) once per week, resting a day between each session. Perform exercises marked with a letter (“A,” “B,” and sometimes “C,” or even “D”) in sequence, rest- ing as needed in between. So you’ll do a set of A, rest, then B, rest again, and re- peat until all the prescribed sets are done. Perform the remaining exercises as straight sets.

1A. Deadlift
Sets: 4   Reps: 5

1B. Pushup
Sets: 3  Reps: Count down from 6

2A. Lat Pulldown
Sets: 3  Reps: Count down from 5

2B. Triceps Pushdown
Sets: 3  Reps: 15

2C. Barbell Rollout
Sets: 3  Reps: 12

3. Goblet Squat
Sets: 1  Reps: Count down from 6