No Bullsh*t: Three-Week Hypertrophy Wave
If you’ve spent any amount of time researching hypertrophy, you have probably come across the three mechanisms by which hypertrophy occurs: mechanical tension, muscular damage, and metabolic stress. This three-week hypertrophy wave is one of my methods of trying to capitalize on these three different mechanisms.
The reason I use a three-week wave of exercises is because of two reasons. First, and most important, if I use the same lifts and same set/rep schemes across the board for more than three weeks in a row, it tends to wear me out. I can continue training at higher efforts for a longer period of time if I regularly make changes to different aspects of the routine. Any less than three weeks and I don’t feel as if I’m maximizing the stimuli and therefore I am limiting my adaptation. Secondly, it keeps training entertaining and after training for 14 years, it’s nice to add some variety into the mix. It gives a chance to hit “new” numbers and push different lifts/variations that you haven’t done in a while or ever.
The general outline of the three-week wave is as follows:
The daily workout breakdown is as follows:
Exercise 1: Explosive exercise, 5-10x5 (examples: drop bench, squat jumps w/barbell)
*This is utilized as an extended warm up. The purpose is to continue nervous system excitement and the recruitment of higher threshold motor units.
Exercise 2: Main compound movement, 3x5 (incline swiss bar bench, safety bar squats)
Exercise 3: Secondary compound movement, 3x15 (DB bench, close stance hack squats)
Exercise 4: First isolation movements, 3x10-12 (grenade ball single arm cable cross body fly, single leg knee extension)
Exercise 5: Secondary isolation movement, as many sets as necessary to hit rep goal, 50-100 or distance goal, (pushups, backwards prowler walk)
*The prescribed sets are working sets and do not include warm ups. For example: DB Bench warm up sets: 50x10, 70x8-10, 90x8-10 Working sets: 110 3x15
This daily template tries to stimulate and maximize all three mechanisms of hypertrophy. How you set up your weekly microcycle is up to you.