The Freshman Shape-Up Workout Plan
Feb 15, 2019
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So you’ve graduated from high school, and now you’ve found yourself plunged into the world of college.
Freshman year is an exciting time; you have more freedom, you are becoming the person you are destined to be, you make new friends, and opportunities open up for you.
But maybe you spent the summer slobbing around, celebrating your big, new step?
Maybe you arrived on campus and found all the other guys vying for places on the team are much bigger and stronger than you?
Maybe you want to get bigger and leaner to get more attention from the female of the species?
Maybe you just need to shape up? And you want to do it fast!
Well, you’re in the perfect position to do just that. At your age, your anabolic hormones are running rampant. Testosterone is coursing through your veins, growth hormone is in abundance; your body WANTS to grow big and strong. So, why not oblige it?
If you train and eat smart, you can pack on some serious muscle, and strip off those excess pounds. All you need is a little knowledge and a whole lot of dedication!
Dedication really is the key here. The temptation to party will be strong, but you need to find the right balance. Restrict drinking to the weekends, and keep things sensible. Alcohol depletes the body of vitamins, dangerously dehydrates you, massively lowers testosterone production, and virtually shuts down protein synthesis. So, while you want to have some fun and meet new people, keep your goals in mind at all times. Save that drinking money and spend it on quality food and supplements to gain strength and size.There is absolutely no reason you can’t start next semester with a drastically altered physique!
The two key factors to your training must be simplicity and good form. There’s no point in doing a bunch of fancy exercises that look good but won’t add mass to your frame. Stick with the basics, just the big lifts stimulating every muscle in your body. But there’s no point in just loading up the bar and lugging weight around, ineffectively. Check your ego at the door and lift with perfect form. Use a weight you can manage, and concentrate the effort in the target muscles, make every rep count.
Lift powerfully, but in a controlled manner, hold at peak contraction to feel the muscle squeeze, then lower the weight slowly, feeling the muscle fibers work and strain. The aim is to cause maximum stimulation as quickly as possible. This means cutting down on rest time between sets. No sitting around chatting or playing with your cell phone; keep the pressure on the muscles. Intensity is key!
Train your entire body on each workout day, begin with twice per week, before increasing to three whole body workouts per week. Your body is a recovery machine right now, it can take it, as long as you get plenty of rest. Aim for at least eight hours per night, with an additional 30-60-minute nap in the afternoons if possible. Dedicate yourself to your goals and you see rapid results so you can feel proud.
Testosterone is the body’s number one anabolic agent. While your natural testosterone levels are flying high, why not boost them even more? Sheer Strength Labs Sheer Alpha Testosterone Booster is packed with all natural ingredients stimulating your body to increase production. Testosterone causes increased muscle synthesis while promoting fat loss. Both your goals assisted with one supplement!
Now for the exercises.
The squat is the toughest exercise in the gym, so it gets thrown in first. Squatting boosts testosterone and growth hormone levels due to its massive intensity. But it must be performed correctly for maximum stimulation.
Warm up well. Preferably take a brisk walk or slow jog to the gym to get the blood pumping and the legs ready for action. Now stretch the legs and lower back lightly, from all angles.
Here’s how to squat properly:
Stance is really down to preference, but most people find spacing the feet slightly wider than shoulder width works well for them. Angle the feet outwards a little.
- Grip the bar at about double shoulder width.
- Dive underneath and sit the bar snuggly across your traps, keeping your shoulders and head well back.
- Push your chest out and up, and put a slight arch in your lower back. Set your torso in a strong position.
- As you squat, concentrate on your hips dropping backwards, not your knees moving forwards.
- Keep your head up, chest puffed, and lower back rigid. Lower slowly, do not simply drop.
- Your knees should remain in line with your toes. Do not let them bow inwards.
- Don’t let your upper body bend too far forwards from the waist.
- When you reach a point where your thighs are parallel with the ground, push powerfully through your heels back to the upright position.
The deadlift is another huge lift stimulating growth and working many muscles, from the calves, to the traps.
Here’s how to do it:
- Step up to the bar, taking a stance slightly wider than shoulder width.
- Grip the bar just wider than your legs, either with a double overhand grip, or an alternate one (pictured).
- Drop your hips backwards and set your shoulders, head, and lower back into a position similar to that used for squatting.
- Taking a deep breath, roll the bar towards your shins, and drive upward through your heels to a standing position.
- Keep your back flat and your shoulders back throughout the lift, and thrust your hips forwards at the top of the movement.
The bench press completes the trio of powerlifting exercises starting your sessions. But stay away from the barbells for now. Use dumbbells instead for maximum stimulation of the entire chest area. Use a weight you can lift effectively, with a full range of motion. Make sure the dumbbells drop to chest level at the bottom of the lift and meet at the top for a good inner pec squeeze.
One Arm Rows
Your lower back has already taken a bashing by this point so be thankful for the stability of the one arm row. Place one knee and hand on a bench and set your back nice and flat. Take a dumbbell in the opposite hand and let it hang, stretching your upper back. Now row powerfully up towards your stomach. Hold at the top for a squeeze and lower slowly.
Like the bench press, the shoulder press is most effective with dumbbells. Perform them seated for maximum benefit. Begin with the dumbbells at ear level, puff your chest out and keep your elbows and head back. Press upwards in a natural arc, meeting at the top. Feel the shoulders squeeze before slowly lowering. Keep everything tight and your elbows back, while you feel the target muscles strain.
It’s time to hit the guns!
There’s no better way to target the biceps than with curls.
Using an EZ curl bar also hits the hidden brachialis muscle sitting between the biceps and triceps, helping to thicken the arms and create an impressive peak. Keep your shoulders down and back, and eliminate any momentum. Pull the elbows back at the top of the lift to keep the pressure on the biceps. Lower slowly.
Dips are an excellent exercise for building huge triceps. Keep the body upright and don’t lean forwards, as this shifts much of the tension to the chest. Push up powerfully and lower slowly, feeling the triceps burn.
Swiss ball rolls
Finish by blasting the entire core area with Swiss ball rolls. Begin in the position shown in the picture, then slowly roll out, keeping your torso rigid and strong. When you are at full stretch, return to the start position by contracting the abdominal area. This exercise creates an impressive six pack, as well as working the obliques (sides) and deep core muscles.
These eight exercises combine into a whole body workout. Let’s put that all together….
- Squats – 1 warm-up (wu) of 40 reps, then 3 sets of 8-10, the last 2 sets to failure
- Deadlifts – 1 x 40 (wu), 3 x 8-10, last 2 sets to failure
- Dumbbell Bench Press – 1 x 40 (wu), then 3 working sets of 8-10 (failure)
- One Arm Rows – 1 x 40 per side (wu) and 3 x 8-10 per side (failure)
- Shoulder Press – 1 x 40 (wu) and 3 x 8-10 (failure)
- EZ Bar Curls – 1 x 40 (wu) and 3 x 8-10 (failure)
- Dips – Warm-up using tricep pressdown, then 3 sets to failure, using a weighted belt if needed
- Swiss Ball Rolls – 3-4 sets to failure
That’s 36 sets in total. Allowing 1 minute per set and 1-minute rests maximum, that should take no more than 75 minutes. Intensity is the key! Get in the gym, do the job, and get out!
Do this workout twice per week for the first month, moving up to three times per week when recovery feels adequate. Taking Sheer Strength Recovery fuels your body with all the goodies it needs to boost protein synthesis, preparing you for your next session.
Jonathan Warren is a national level physique competitor and personal trainer with multiple certifications including NASM, NCCPT, and IKFF. His specializations include mobility training and corrective exercise as well as contest preparation.
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