Olympic Hypertrophy Training
Power or muscle? Functionality or muscle? Speed or muscle? Strength or muscle?
Do I really have to choose?
It seems like all trainers seem to separate these goals. Many bodybuilders have shared the ageless thought that you can be big or functional, but not both. Through experimentation and some research, I have developed a system that utilizes full body training and Olympic movements all in one tough, quick, and effective workout!
Olympic Hypertrophy Training™ has enabled me to gain much more lean mass than I ever have in the past. As stated before in my Clean Cardio article, full body training can lead to increased insulin sensitivity, increased fat-burning post-exercise, and can help you train any given muscle more frequently. Add in the benefits of Olympic lifting (functionality, GH release, increase in VO2 max for heart and lung health), and you’ve got yourself a winner!
This training is essentially a full body workout like HST and Gironda’s old stuff, with power movements inserted after the final set of a given exercise. The good thing is, weights don’t matter in this workout, just go by feel.
Let’s get into the exercise selection. I never do the same exercise two workouts straight, preferring to “mix it up”. Is this to confuse the muscle?” The answer: I don’t know. It does, however, make life more interesting and keeps me going back for more punishment!
Here are some options for each bodypart:
- Legs/Quads: Squats, Front Squats, Lunges, Deadlifts
- Hams: Stiff Leg Deadlifts, Good Mornings, 1 legged Hyperextension, Weighted Hyperextension
- Chest: Flat Dumbbell Bench, Incline Dumbbell Bench, Flat Barbell Bench, Incline Barbell Bench, Flat Flys, incline Flys
- Back: Reverse Grip Rows, Rows, Dumbbell Rows, 1 Arm Rows
- Biceps: Any form of curl
- Triceps: SkullCrushers, Kickbacks
- Calves: Seated, Standing, or Donkey
- Abs: Any ab movement
- Olympic Lift: Cleans, 1 arm dumbbell snatches
I usually opt to pyramid. For example, 1 set of 15, 1 set of 10-12, and 1 set of 6-8. If you are trying to increase strength, opt for a consistent rep range and increase weight as necessary. If interested solely in the cosmetic factor, just pick a weight and go based on feel, stopping just shy of failure. I did this with 5 reps before and my strength increased on every lift. Over time, this led to some joint pain. For this reason, I don’t even care about how much weight I use and the results are still awesome!
Putting it all Together
Interchange the first four exercises (for example: do chest, back, quads, then hams one workout and quads, hams, back, then chest the next). This helps keep it interesting. Feel free to do biceps before triceps one workout then switch it up the next. ALWAYS do your Olympic movement after the last set of each exercise. You may do these however you like. Sometimes you can keep the reps consistent and decrease weight while other times you can start heavy with low reps and as the workout progresses, decrease the weight while increasing reps. Just be sure to do them! Here’s a sample workout using the Descending Reps scheme (see Clean Cardio):
Warmup: 4 sets Cleans (Bar x 20 reps, pyramid up in weight to 15 reps, 10 reps, 5 reps)
Squats: 3 sets (15 reps, 10 reps, 6 reps)
–1 arm dumbbell snatch x 15
Incline Dumbell Bench: 3 sets (15 reps, 10 reps, 6 reps)
–1 arm dumbbell snatch x12
Reverse Grip Rows: 3 sets (15 reps, 10 reps, 6 reps)
–1 arm dumbbell snatch x10
Stiff Leg Deadlift: 3 sets (15 reps, 10 reps, 6 reps)
–1 arm dumbbell snatch x8
Dips: 2 sets (bodyweight until failure)
–1 arm dumbbell snatch x6
Pull Ups: 2 sets (bodyweight until failure)
–1 arm dumbbell snatch x5
Skullcrushers: 2 sets (15 reps, 10 reps)
Straight Bar Curls: 2 sets (15 reps, 10 reps)
Standing Barbell Calf Raises: 2 sets (15 reps, 10 reps)
Weighted Ab Crunch: 2 sets (12 reps, 8 reps)
*Rest as little as possible between sets. I usually rest just long enough for my wife to complete her set and to load/unload weight
Take at least a day off between sessions. A standard 3 day per week split works fine. You can also incorporate Iron Cardio or Clean Cardio with this. My split looks a little like this:
Day 1: Olympic Hypertrophy Training™
Day 2: Iron Cardio (Cleans or 1 arm snatches)
Day 3: OFF
Day 4: Olympic Hypertrophy Training™
Day 5: OFF
Day 6: Olympic Hypertrophy Training™
Day 7: Iron Cardio
Day 8: OFF
You can follow this program for 4-6 weeks.