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Down and Up Mass

Get ready to grow bigger and stronger in the next 10 weeks as your muscles ride a rollercoaster of rep ranges.

Down and Up Mass

When muscles get into a comfort zone, they usually stop growing. You know what I'm talking about: the same weights, the same rep ranges, the same exercises in the same order, month after month, year after year. It's totally predictable and it's a recipe for plateaus in size and strength.

Well, I'm not a comfort zone type of guy, and my Down and Up Mass program is proof of that. It hits your muscles with heavy weights, light weights, low reps, high reps, straight sets, pre-exhaust and many things in between. Confused? Don't be. Leave that to your muscles. Down and Up Mass is the perfect program for maximizing lean muscle and strength gains – or even dropping body fat while you add muscle and strength. What it's not perfect for is keeping you in a comfort zone: and that's just the way I like it.

Split The Difference

The Down and Up Mass program can be done by training four days a week for a total of 10 weeks or by training six days a week for seven weeks. The program is a four-day split, which means it takes four separate workouts to train all the major muscle groups in the body.

Workout 1 trains chest, triceps and abs; Workout 2 hits back, biceps, forearms and calves, as well as deadlifts (technically a leg exercise, but the back is worked to a large extent, too); Workout 3 trains shoulders, traps and abs; Workout 4 hits legs and calves.

If you train four days a week, each muscle group will be worked once every seven days. If you can squeeze two more workouts in each week, you'll train each muscle group every four or five days, depending on when you take your rest day.

If training four days a week, ideally your split would look like this:

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The above split is ideal because it provides your body a rest from resistance training after every two workouts, which helps to maximize recovery. However, it's not 100% essential that you train on these exact days each week. Any four days of the week will do. If you need to train Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and take Friday, Saturday and Sunday off as your active rest days, that's fine. Whatever works for your schedule. And it doesn't have to be the same four days every week.

Let's say you're following the four-day split I outlined above, but on Thursday, a college buddy is in town. Instead of training after work, you were thinking of meeting up with him to have dinner and hang out all night. No biggie. Enjoy your life. All you need to do is bump Workout 3 to Friday and Workout 4 to Saturday or even Sunday.

To train six days a week, the ideal split would like this and vary each week:

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*The program is complete after this workout.

How do you decide which split to follow? The major deciding factor should be your schedule. If you can't realistically commit to six days per week, stick with the four-day split. Both programs will provide similar results.

In addition to your schedule, your training experience should also influence the split you choose. If you have less than six months of consistent weight training under your belt, I suggest you go with the four-day split.

If you're new to weight training, stop reading this right now and go start either my Beginner to Advanced Program or my Beginner Cardioacceleration Program. Once you've completed at least one of these programs, come back and consider Down and Up.

For those who have just completed my Micro Muscle program, I highly encourage you to do Down and Up six days a week. Just like with rep ranges and exercises used, you also need to change up your training frequency. Since Shortcut To Size trains each muscle group every seven days, it would be a good idea to increase frequency, provided your schedule allows it.

If you've just completed my Super-Man program, Super-Man 2, 1-2-3 Lean, 1-2-3 Lean, Super Shredded 8 or HIIT 100s, either training frequency (four or six days a week) will give your body a change. The choice is yours.

If maximizing fat loss while also building muscle and strength is your goal, I would highly suggest you train six days a week. However, if you prefer hitting the weights only four days a week, I recommend doing some serious HIIT training on at least two of the three active rest days.

Of course, you could also do the Down and Up workouts five days per week, or even seven, if you're the kind of person who hates rest days. It's really up to you and your schedule.

Exercise Order

As I already mentioned, the Down and Up program is a four-day split. And while the four workouts you do will train the same muscle groups in the same order throughout the program, exercise selection and order and rep ranges will alternate every other week.

I'll refer to the four workouts done in Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 as the "heavy workouts" because the rep ranges vary from 3-5 reps per set to 9-11 reps. I'll refer to the four workouts in Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 as the "light workouts" because the rep ranges vary from 12-15 reps per set all the way up to 21-30 reps.

For heavy workouts, the exercises for each major muscle group progress in a normal fashion of multi-joint exercises followed by single-joint moves. For example, during chest workouts, you'll do bench press followed by reverse-grip bench press and incline dumbbell press. These first three exercises are all multi-joint, which allow you to maximize the amount of weight used while you're fresh and strong. You'll follow those moves with dumbbell flyes and cable crossovers, two single-joint exercises that better isolate the pecs.

For light workouts, the order reverses to incorporate a technique called pre-exhaustion. You'll start with single-joint exercises and finish with big compound moves. Sticking with chest as an example, you'll start the workout with cable crossovers followed by low-pulley crossovers and incline dumbbell flyes – three single-joint exercises that focus directly on the pecs. You'll finish chest off with dumbbell and barbell bench press.

By exhausting the pecs before you do the bench presses, you can be assured that when you reach muscle failure on bench, it's because you fully fatigued the pecs, not because the triceps or shoulders were torched. On a lot of multi-joint exercises like bench press, people hit muscle failure when the smaller, weaker triceps or deltoids have reached fatigue and the pecs are left wanting more. This is bad news for building a bigger chest, as the muscles weren't fully stimulated on the bench press.

I employ pre-exhaust every other week in the Down and Up program so that you get the best of both worlds. On heavy days, you work on increasing your bench press strength, while on light days you focus on building the pecs. These systems work very nicely together.

Periodization Aplenty

When you look at this program from one week to the next, you'll see that the pattern is all over the place. Each week, the weight and reps change drastically from the week before, but not in a linear pattern. The pattern appears to be more random. In exercise science circles, this is known as undulating periodization.

The Down and Up program actually involves four types of periodization schemes: linear, reverse linear, undulating and pendulum. Linear periodization is a plan that increases the weight in each stage while rep counts drop. A good example of this is my Shortcut to Size program.

Reverse linear is simply the reverse of linear periodization: In each stage, the weight gets lighter and the number of reps per set increases. Undulating means there's no pattern; the weight and reps fluctuate up and down throughout the program.

Pendulum means that in one part of the program, weights and reps change in a linear fashion in one direction, and then in the second part of the program, weight and reps change in the opposite but linear fashion.

Upon first look at this program, you'll notice that it's an undulating plan with a rollercoaster of weights and reps going up and down. But if you dissect it a bit more, you'll discover that it actually blends both linear and reverse linear

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