Add Strength And Size With This Full-Body Workout Plan From Shaun Stafford

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The promise of this workout plan from trainer and fitness model Shaun Stafford is a simple one: commit to four workouts a week for six to eight weeks and you’ll reap the rewards in the shape of increased strength and size around your whole body.

Following it might be less simple, however, because it’s a tough plan best suited to experienced gym-goers who are looking for a new routine. If that’s you, check out the advice from Stafford below and then dive in to the training plan.

Who is this programme for and how much weight should you use?

“This programme will be effective for anyone who’s looking to increase size and strength,” says Stafford.

“In terms of weight selection, it’s trial and error at first. Always go lighter than you think you need to and build up over the first week. If you can complete the sets and reps with near perfect form, don’t be afraid to crank it up.”

How long should you follow the programme for?

“This programme should be performed for six to eight weeks for optimal results,” says Stafford. “You can add in some active recovery work to keep your cardiovascular fitness and flexibility. Lower-intensity cardio and yoga are great additional sessions if you feel up to it.”

Each workout has a “bonus” set. Are these optional or key to the session?

“The bonus sets are crucial to the workout – they often contain moves that target the little muscles that support and maintain joint health and function,” says Stafford. “Just because they are at the end does not mean you can skip them if you are tired! Finish the workout for optimal results.”

How to do this workout

Tackle each of these four workouts every week for six to eight weeks. Each workout is broken down into three sections: two compound moves, followed by a tri-set and finally a bonus set. When it comes to the tri-set in each workout, only rest after completing a set of every exercise in the tri-set.

Workout One: Chest And Shoulders

1 Bench press

Sets 7 Reps 6 Rest 90sec

Lie on a flat bench, holding a barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart using an overhand grip. Brace your core and press your feet into the ground, then lower the bar towards your chest. Press it back up to the start.

2 Dumbbell overhead press

Stand tall holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height. Keeping your chest up, press the weights directly overhead until your arms are straight, then lower them back to the start.

Sets 3 Reps 8 Rest 90sec

3A Lateral raise

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 0sec

Stand with dumbbells by your sides and palms facing each other. Lean forward slightly, then raise the weights to the sides, leading with your elbows. Slowly lower them back to the start under control.

3B Front raise

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 0sec

Stand tall holding a pair of dumbbells in front of your body with straight arms. Keeping your chest up and arms straight, raise the weights in front of you to shoulder hit. Lower back to the start.

3C Reverse flye

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 90sec

Bend forwards from the hips with a light dumbbell in each hand, palms facing. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, raise the weights out to shoulder height, then lower them back to the start.

4 External cable rotation

Sets 3 Reps 15 Rest 60sec

Set the cable at a low height and, using a split stance, retract your shoulder blades. Hold your arm so that your elbow is level with your shoulder and your forearm is parallel to the ground. Pull the cable so that your elbow stays still but your forearm ends in a vertical position.

Workout Two: Legs

1 Front squat

Sets 7 Reps 6 Rest 90sec

Stand tall holding a bar across the front of your shoulders with elbows up. Keeping your core braced, squat as low as you can. Drive back up through your heels to return to the start.

2 Glute-hamstring raise

Sets 3 Reps 8 Rest 90sec

Adjust the glute-ham developer (GHD) so when your feet are secured, your quads are resting on the middle of the GHD and you can lower your torso over the end. Position your body above your knees at right angles to your lower legs, with your arms folded across your chest. Brace your core and slowly lower your torso over the edge of the GHD, until your body forms a right angle at your hips. Return to the start position explosively by contracting your hamstrings.

3A Prone hamstring curl

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 0sec

Lie face down on the machine, following its instructions to position yourself correctly and safely. With the pad against the back of your lower calves, raise it by contracting your hamstrings. Return slowly to the start.

3B Hack squat

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 0sec

Lie on the machine, following its instructions to position yourself correctly and safely. Lower until your thighs are at right angles to your calves, then press back up.

3C Dumbbell stiff-leg deadlift

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 90sec

Standing straight, hold dumbbells just in front of your thighs. Brace your core and slightly bend your knees to activate your glutes. Hinge from your hips without rounding your back until you reach the limit of the range of your hamstrings. Hold briefly, then return to the start position.

4 Seated leg extension

Sets 3 Reps 15 Rest 60sec

Sit in the leg extension machine, following its instructions to position yourself correctly and safely. With the pad on your shins, use your quads to lift the weight. Return slowly to the start.

Workout Three: Back And Biceps

1 Bent-over row

Sets 7 Reps 6 Rest 90sec

Hold a barbell using a shoulder-width overhand grip, hands just outside your legs. Bend your knees slightly, then bend forwards, hingeing from the hips and keeping your shoulder blades back. Pull the bar up towards your sternum, leading with your elbows, then lower it back to the start.

2 Neutral-grip pull-up

Sets 3 Reps 8 Rest 90sec

Hang from a pull-up bar or handles with palms facing each other. Brace your core, then pull yourself up until your lower chest touches the bar. Lower until your arms are straight again.

3A Preacher curl

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 0sec

Sit at a preacher bench holding an EZ-bar with an underhand grip. Curl the bar up to the top, pause and squeeze, then lower the bar slowly until your arms are fully straight.

3B Dumbbell spider curl

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 0sec

Bend down and rest your elbows on your thighs, holding a dumbbell in each hand with arms straight. Curl the weights up, squeeze your biceps at the top, then lower back to the start under control.

3C Narrow-grip EZ-bar curl

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 90sec

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold an EZ-bar using a narrow, underhand grip with your arms extended. Curl the bar up towards your chest, keeping your elbows in to your sides.

4 Cable face pull

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 60sec

Stand tall holding a double-rope attachment on the high pulley with straight arms. Pull the handles to either side of your head, then return to the start under control.

Workout Four: Triceps And Abs

1 Triceps dip

Sets 7 Reps 6 Rest 90sec

Grip rings or parallel bars with your arms straight. Keeping your chest up, bend your elbows to lower your body as far as your shoulders allow. Press back up powerfully to return to the start.

2 Hanging leg raise

Sets 3 Reps 8 Rest 90sec

Start in a dead hang, holding a pull-up bar with your legs straight and your knees and ankles touching. Keep them together as your use your lower abs to raise them, then lower back to the start under control.

3A V-sit

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 0sec

Lie on your back with your shoulders and legs raised off the floor. Keeping your arms straight, raise your torso so that your chest meets your knees at the top of the move. Lower under control.

3B Reverse crunch

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 0sec

Lie with your head and shoulders flat on a mat, your thighs vertical, knees bent at 90° and arms by your sides for support. Curl your knees towards your chest and hold. Contract your abs to lift your hips off the mat. Lower slowly to the start.

3C Russian twist

Sets 3 Reps 12-15 Rest 90sec

Start at the top of the crunch movement but with your feet off the ground. Keeping your abs braced, rotateto one side then the other to complete one rep.

4 Diamond press-up

Sets 2 Reps To failure Rest 60sec

Start in a press-up position but with your thumbs and index fingers touching to form a diamond. Keeping your hips up and core braced, bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the floor. Push down through your hands to return to the start.

Shaun Stafford is a fitness ambassador for Optimum Nutrition. For more information about their whey protein, visit onacademy.co.uk

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