In week two, every workout I do with Dave Fletcher seems tougher than the last, which is a good sign. It means my body keeps having to work hard to get through each session and that equates to lots of lovely muscle growth.
So far I've found day 4's workout the hardest, the one with the deadlift and lunge chop superset in it (see the above video). I'm only deadlifting 85kg six times before moving on to 12 lunge chops with a 10kg weight plate, but the three-second lowering phase of the deadlifts totally fries my central nervous system.
The toughness of this legs-heavy compound move set also has something to do with how little I've trained my legs in the past. Previously I've spent far too long training my chest and arms and I've ended up with scrawny pins and a hunched gorilla physique – it looks as if my pecs are trying to hoick my lats over my shoulders.
In more recent, wiser years, I've become a convert to legs sessions for several reasons:
- Your biggest groups of muscles are in your legs so by working them with big compound lifts, such as deadlifts and squats, you're releasing more growth hormone into your system than you would by training smaller groups such as your arms. That means bigger, stronger muscles across your whole body.
- To keep you stable during each rep, these moves recruit lots of other muscle groups so you get a total-body workout while you're doing them, which again leads to more muscle growth across your frame.
- These kind of leg supersets require you to activate both your slow and fast twitch muscle fibres. This will help you run at speed for greater distances, push or pull for longer, punch harder and faster and jump higher. In other words, it'll make you a more complete athlete.
- You tend to go fairly heavy on the weights when you're training your legs and pumping big weights makes you feel strong, powerful and confident.
Worth a dime
On the eating front, week two has been good but expensive. When eating like this, you realise many few establishments that are ostensibly healthy don't cater to a protein-dense/carb-light diet. Pod, a chain with restaurants across London, has been a bit of a saving grace - I particularly like the Pod salmon, chicken and egg protein box. Problem is, Pod isn't cheap and I've had a couple of calls from my bank about unusual lunchtime spending habits. I'm trying to get into cooking more of my meals at home after work but I quite often don't get back until nine or ten and the only thing I'm interested in then is Game Of Thrones and sleep. Maybe I'll try cooking a load of stuff on the weekend and see how that works for next week.
I've never taken sports supplements so religiously as I am now and the biggest thing I've noticed is how much energy I get from the Maxipower I'm drinking before my workouts. During this week's chest and back workout I felt so hard you could have picked me up and used me as a battering ram.
If you're following the plan I hope it's going well and you enjoy the above video guide to the legs and abs workout in the volume stage of this programme.
I almost forgot - results! My weight is down to 85kg from 88kg and my body fat is 10.5%, so things are all going in the right direction. I just need to be strong enough not to succumb to that delicious-looking Dime cheesecake I see every night in the window of my local cake shop on the way home from the gym. I found myself stopping to talk to it last night. Not good.
Here are phase 1's workouts again in case you need them:
Weeks 1-4 workouts
In each superset, do six reps of the first move, then 12 of the next. Repeat this three times with no rest, then rest for two minutes before repeating.
Move on to the next superset until you've got through the workout. If the move requires you to work each side independently, do half the reps on one side and half on the other.
Tempo - 3010 (the eccentric contractions should take three seconds so they recruit more fast twitch muscle fibres)
Day 1 - Chest and back
Barbell bench press, gym ball press-up push
Jumping chin-up knee raise, dumbbell lateral shoulder raise
Power press-up, dumbbell explosive turn and press
Dumbbell press-up row, inverted row
Day 2 - Interval training
10x10sec hill sprints (10sec rest between sets)
5x30sec runs (60sec rest between sets)
3x60sec runs (90sec rest between sets)
Day 3 - Rest day
Day 4 - legs and abs
Barbell deadlift, explosive lunge chop
Bodyweight roll-out, explosive oblique twist (band)
One-leg assisted squat jump, dumbbell lunge jump
Hanging straight leg raise, gym ball forearm roll-out
Day 5 - kickboxing*
2x3min rounds (90sec rest between sets)
3x2 minute rounds (60sec rest between sets)
4x1 minute rounds (30sec rest between sets)
5x30sec rounds (15sec rest between sets)
6x15sec rounds (10sec rest between sets)
*If you can't do this for whatever reason do treadmill or rowing intervals
Treadmill - adjust the incline to 5˚
3min run, 1min walk
2min run, 1min walk
1min run, 1min walk
Rest for 3 minutes and then repeat
10x50m sprint, aiming to complete each in under 10sec, with a 20sec rest between sprints.
Day 6 - Rest day
Day 7 - Legs and arms
Barbell stiff-leg deadlift, gym ball hamstring curl
Explosive dip, dumbbell biceps curl
Dumbbell lateral lunge jump, box jump
Dumbbell shoulder turn and press, dyna-band biceps curl
See how Nick got on in week three here.
For more from Nick Hutchings, fan him on facebook
For more on Sharmain Davis, go to maxitone.com/asktheexperts
For more on Dave Fletcher, go to theodysseyway.co.uk
For more training and nutrition plans, subscribe to Men's Fitness. We'll give you five issues for £5.
Get the Coach Newsletter
Sign up for workout ideas, training advice, reviews of the latest gear and more.
Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.