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MED Training

My latest, greatest training program for muscle mass!

MED Training

MED Training Stands for Micro-Loading/Extended-Set/Drop-Set Training.

Yeah, it's a mouthful of words and a muscle-full of techniques that I forged together into one brutal, exhausting, and unapologetic method for building lean muscle mass. But, if you dig deep and stay strong through all six weeks of the MED Training program your reward will be a lot of new muscle. And if you've tried any of my programs, you know I do not make empty promises. I also don't make easy programs! But then easy does not deliver the results that you have come to expect from my programs.

Let me break down the three different techniques I have combined into MED Training.

Each offers a specific benefit. And no, I did not choose them just to be sadistic. Although you will think that when you do the MED workouts and when you are recovering from them. Get ready for a whole new experience with the #StoppaniShuffle as it has become known on Twitter. Not only will you have severe DOMS in your legs, but every muscle group, including abs, traps and even forearms, will be suffering from DOMS during these six weeks.

Technique #1: Micro-Loading

If you've followed any of my programs you know that I typically incorporate some form of periodization.

Micro-loading is the technique of increasing the weight of your working sets each week by the smallest increments possible. In some cases, when 1/2 pound and 1/4 pound weights (usually magnetic ones) are available, you can increase the weight by as small as 1/2 a pound (about 0.25 kg). But most gyms have 1 1/4 pound plates as the smallest. Some gyms only go so low as 2.5 pounds. So use what you have to work with depending on your gym. For example, if the smallest weight plates your gym has are 2.5 pounders, then you will micro-load each week using 5 pound on barbell exercises such as the bench press and rows, as well as Smith machine exercises. Most gyms have dumbbells that increase by 5-pound increments. That means that you will micro-load all dumbbell exercises, such as dumbbell lateral raises and dumbbell presses by 5-pounds per arm for a total of 10 pounds.

In all intent and purposes, Micro-loading is a version of periodization with microcycles since you change the weight you are using each week. With micro-loading you change the weight by the smallest amount possible with no concern for the precise rep range that you end up in. In fact, many of you will be able to maintain the same rep range that you did the previous week with the heavier weight. The weight increase is so small that the body is somewhat "tricked" into adapting to the heavier weight and being able to complete the same number of reps with this heavier weight. This is due to the fact that the body doesn't really sense the weight as being heavier because it is such a minute increase each week. So your goal is to actually shoot for the same 8-10 rep range that you have been doing during the first week of MED Training. Of course, don't be disappointed if you don't hit it. You will still be significantly stronger by the end of the program. Not to mention much bigger.

Technique #2: Extended Sets

Extended set training is a technique that allows you to, well, extend the set. So do drop sets, and forced reps, and rest-pause sets, technically. But more specifically, extended sets involve doing an exercise until you hit muscle failure and then immediately moving to a different version of that same exercise that puts you at a biomechanical advantage, making the exercise easier, which allows you to continue the set.

For example, you are stronger on reverse-grip pulldowns than you are on regular pullldowns using an overhand grip. This is because the reverse grip allows your lats to get more assistance from the biceps and even the pecs than when you use an overhand grip. So using these two exercises as an example, you do pulldowns with an overhand grip till muscle failure. Then you immediately switch to an underhand grip to continue doing reps until you reach muscle failure again.

But the set does not end there! After you hit muscle failure following the extended set you will then do a drop set and start back over with the first exercise (in this case the overhand pulldown) and then do an extended set (in this case moving to the reverse-grip pulldown).

Technique #3: Drop Sets

Most of you are very familiar with drop sets since I use them a lot in my training programs. That's because it's an easy way to increase the intensity of your training by taking sets past muscle failure. To do a drop set, you take a set to muscle failure and then you immediately reduce the weight by about 20-30% and continue doing reps until hitting muscle failure again.

Research shows that taking sets to muscle failure may be the most critical aspect of training to adequately boost muscle protein synthesis and therefore, muscle growth. In fact, studies comparing very light weight (about 20-30 rep sets) to moderate weight (about 8-12 rep sets) and very heavy weight (about 4-5 rep sets), show that all can boost muscle protein synthesis similarly as long as all sets are taken to muscle failure.

Drop sets are one technique that not only allows you to take each set to muscle failure, but allows you to take the set past muscle failure. So does extended set training. And combining them can really push muscle growth forward.

MED Training In Detail

Now that you are familiar with the three major techniques that I incorporated into MED Training, let me break it all down for you. You will start in week 1 with a weight that you can do for about 8-10 reps on the first exercise of each extended set. In week 2 you will increase that weight by the smallest increment possible. In week 3, you will increase that weight again by the smallest increment possible. Then in week 4, you actually drop the weight back down to the same weight that you used in week 2. However, you should be able to complete more reps in week 4 with that weight than you were able to complete in week 2. Then in week 5 you increase the weight again so that you are using the same weight that used in week 3. And finally in week 6, you increase the weight again by the smallest increment possible.

You will do one "set" per "exercise" with MED Training. But no, this is NOT High Intensity Training (HIT, not to be confused with HIIT) that was popularized by Mike Mentzer and Dorian Yates. The one MED set is far from the typical set. Using the pulldowns discussed above as an example, a typical MED set in week 1 will look like this. Start with the pulldown using an overhand grip. Perform 8-10 reps to muscle failure or just shy of muscle failure. Immediately do an extended set by switching to reverse-grip pulldowns using the same weight that you used on overhand pulldowns. Do as many reps as you can of reverse-grip pulldowns until you hit muscle failure. Now immediately reduce the weight by 20-30% (although you will need to play with the percent you drop by, as some will do better with 10-15% drop in weight) and start back with pulldowns using an overhand grip. Do as many reps as you can until you hit muscle failure. Then jump right into an extended set by switching to reverse-grip pulldowns with the same weight and do those until you hit muscle failure. Next you will reduce the weight again by about 20-30% and then go right back into pulldowns with and overhand grip until you reach muscle failure. From there you go right into an extended set by moving to reverse-grip pulldowns with that same weight until you hit muscle failure. Now you will reduce the weight by 20-30% a third and final time. Immediately move back to pulldowns with an overhand grip until you hit muscle failure. Then immediately do an extended set by switching to reverse-grip pulldowns until you hit muscle failure. Now the MED set is finally complete. So, this one MED set is technically 8 sets in one. But since you don't really get a traditional rest period, it is considered one brutal MED set.

Extended set/drop sets, however, do not work for every exercise in the MED Training program. For example, Smith machine hip thrusts do not have a version that makes them easier than the original. So for certain exercises where extended sets are not feasible, you will instead use my popular Rest-Pause/Drop Set technique. I say simply, because you should be well accustomed to it: not simply because it's simple to do or easy at all. But then, if you've used it before in some of my programs, then you know "simple" is the last word used to describe this torturous technique.

To do rest-pause drop sets for the MED Training, using Smith machine hip thrusts as an example, you will do a set of Smith hip thrusts to failure. Then rest about 15 seconds. Then continue doing reps until hitting failure again. Then you will immediately drop the weight by about 20-30% and continue in this fashion for three more cycles. This is similar to the extended set/drop sets covered about with pulldowns, but using rest-pause sets in place of extended sets.

MED Training Split

The MED training split is a 4-day training split. That means that you train each muscle group once per week. While many of my programs involve training each muscle group twice per week (i.e. 1, 2, 3 Lean a.k.a. Shortcut To Shred and Super Shredded 8), many also involve training each muscle group just once per week (i.e. Micro Muscle a.k.a. Shortcut To Shred and Strong In 8). Some even involve training muscle groups three times per week, such as weeks 3-5 of my Six Weeks To Sick Arms program. Like anything, training frequency must be changed frequently, and must be chosen wisely for each particular program. I chose once per week for MED because the muscle damage is so intense with the MED techniques that you will need the full week to recover and grow.

The exception to the once per week rule is abs and calves, which I find respond better to more frequent training. So these two muscle groups will get hammered twice per week. But only once using the MED technique. The second workout they endure will be Tabata Training, which is no less exhaustive or brutal than MED. For more on Tabatas, see the section on cardio below.

My Micro Muscle a.k.a. Shortcut To Size program also uses a 4-day training split. However, the 4-day split used for MED is a bit different. Micro Muscle paired like muscle groups together. For example, workout 1 trained chest with triceps while workout 2 trained back with biceps. With MED I swapped it so that in workout 1 you train chest with biceps, while in workout 3 you train back with triceps. This is due to the fact that the MED technique is so exhausting and requires so much out of your muscles that training and assistance muscle group with tough to follow with. For example, triceps assist the chest on pressing exercises. And biceps assist the back with pulling exercises. So if you trained chest using MED, the chest would be so exhausted that it likely had to rely a lot on the triceps to help put more than a typical chest workout. So the triceps would already be fairly taxed and you would not be able to give them 100% when you trained them with MED following chest. So the triceps get a couple extra days of rest after assisting the chest before they are trained.

I typically recommend a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday training scheme for 4-day splits as that gives you one rest day in the middle and two rest days at the end, which is also the weekend. However, training on any four days of the week that fits your schedule best will work and won't make much difference.

When I say rest days, I am referring to active rest days. That means that you should do some form of exercise/activity. This could be as mild as mowing your lawn (not with a riding mower!) or as intense as a CrossFit workout. The rest days make great days to get in some extra cardio. And when I mean cardio I usually am referring to HIIT cardio. However, if steady state is something you want to get in on these days, such as a bike ride or a hike, or simply walking your dog, then that works too.

Cardio With MED Training

Since your sets on MED workouts are non-stop, you cannot use cardioacceleration. But since you are moving non-stop with MED Training, the sets themselves will boost your metabolic rate during and after the workouts to really push fat burning. For those who want to really burn more body fat off while following MED Training, I suggest you throw in two Tabatas in between each muscle group, similar to my Super Shredded 8 (SS8) program.

On your active rest days, you can also include Tabata workouts or some other form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), including my Power HIIT

Diet and Supplement Plan on MED

How you eat while following the MED Training program all depends on your overall goal. If your goal is pure mass, then I suggest that you first read my Muscle-Building Nutrition Rules. Then follow a plan similar to the my 5, 3, 2 Strength Program's diet plan.

If maximizing fat loss while you still build muscle,is your main goal, then look no further than my Dieting 101 featured meal plan.

MED Training Workouts

Workout 1: Chest, Biceps, Forearms, Abs

Exercise Sets*/Reps^
Reverse-Grip Bench Press 4/8-10
extended set with  
Bench Press 4/to failure
Incline Dumbbell Press 4/8-10
extended set with  
Dumbbell Bench Press 4/to failure
Incline Cable Fly 4/8-10
extended set with  
Cable Fly 4/to failure
Barbell Curl (narrow grip) 4/8-10
extended set with  
Barbell Curl (wide grip) 4/to failure
Incline Dumbbell Curl 4/8-10
extended set with  
Alternating Dumbbell Curl (standing) 4/to failure
Behind-The-Back Wrist Curl 2/8-10
extended set with  
Barbell Wrist Curl 2/to failure
Barbell Reverse Wrist Curl# 2/8-10
Smith Machine Hip Thrust# 4/8-10
Cable Crunch# 4/8-10

Workout 2: Shoulder, Traps, Calves

Exercise Sets/Reps
Smith Machine Behind-Neck Press 4/8-10
extended set with  
Smith Machine Shoulder Press 4/to failure
Dumbbell Lateral Raise (DBs at sides) 4/8-10
extended set with  
Dumbbell Lateral Raise (DBs in front) 4/to failure
High Cable Rear Delt Fly 4/8-10
extended set with  
Lying Cable Rear Delt Fly 4/to failure
Smith Machine Behind-Back Shrug 4/8-10
extended set with  
Smith Machine Shrug 4/to failure
Standing Calf Raise (toes in) 4/8-10
extended set with  
Standing Calf Raise (toes straight) 4/to failure
Seated Calf Raise# 4/8-10

Workout 3: Back, Triceps, Abs

Exercise Sets*/Reps^
Barbell Row 4/8-10
extended set with  
Reverse-Grip Barbell Row 4/to failure
Straight-Arm Pulldown (rope) 4/8-10
extended set with  
Straight-Arm Pulldown (bar) 4/to failure
Wide-Grip Pulldown (overhand) 4/8-10
extended set with  
Reverse-Grip Pulldown 4/to failure
Lying Triceps Extension 4/8-10
extended set with  
Close-Grip Bench Press 4/to failure
Triceps Pressdown (rope) 4/8-10
extended set with  
Triceps Pressdown (straight bar) 4/to failure
Reverse Crunch@ 8/20 sec.
Crunch@ 8/20 sec.
Standing Cable Oblique Push Down$ 8/20 sec.

Workout 4: Legs, Calves

Exercise Sets*/Reps^
Sumo Deadlift 4/8-10
extended set with  
Deadlift 4/to failure
Front Squat 4/8-10
extended set with  
Squat 4/to failure
Leg Press (narrow stance) 4/8-10
extended set with  
Leg Press (wide stance) 4/to failure
Leg Extension (toes turned in or out) 4/8-10
extended set with  
Leg Extension (toes pointed up) 4/to failure
Leg Curl (ankles extended) 4/8-10
extended set with  
Leg Curl (ankles flexed) 4/to failure
Seated Calf Raise@ 8/20 sec.
Leg Press Calf Raise@ 8/20 sec.
Standing Calf Raise@
8/20 sec.

For further explanation of how my MED Training works, watch this video


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