Hopefully, after the first four weeks of this off-season program, your joints are feeling better and you have packed on some quality muscle. In case you haven’t yet, you can begin with part one here. The next four weeks will be more challenging, but you should be more accustomed to the higher reps. You should also make sure you keep the rest periods to a minimum of three minutes for some of the compound movements, and a minute or two at most for the single-joint movements like arms, hamstrings, quads, etc.

Weeks 5-8

Day 1: Shoulders and Abs

  • Machine Lateral Raise or Cable Lateral Raise — 3 x 20; On the third set you are going to do 10 more partial reps after the 20 reps. These should burn!
  • Standing Military Press — We’re going to do these rest-pause style. Warm up to 75% of your 1RM and do a max rep set but don’t fail. Rest only 20 seconds and do another max rep set without missing a rep. Take one more 20-second rest period and do a final max rep set, all out! Make small jumps here each week of only five to 10 pounds.
  • Arnold Press — Work up doing sets of 10 here. If you have Fatbells, use them. You are going to be smoked from the military presses so keep the weight lighter and controlled through all sets.
  • Reverse Pec Dec Fly or TRX T-Raise —3 x 20; Hold the top of each rep for two seconds.
  • Bench Leg Raises — 3 x Max Reps; Keep your body as straight as possible. The advanced version is the dragon flag. Superset with Weighted Plank.
  • Weighted Plank — 3 x 30 Seconds; Have your partner place a plate on your lower back.

shoulders matt mills week 5

Day 2: Legs

  • GHR — 3 x 15, 12, 9, 6; Go heavier each set holding a plate or use a band. If you don’t have access to a GHR, hamstring curls are good here too. Superset with Leg Press.
  • Leg Press — The first two weeks you will work up to a heavy set of 10, drop some weight, do another 10 reps with no rest, drop some more weight, and do another 10 reps with no rest. The fourth and fifth weeks will be the real test. Women can use 25-pound plates or 35-pound plates, and men should use 45-pound plates. Start with one plate and do 10 reps, two plates for another 10 reps, three plates for another 10 reps, etc. Keep going until you can barely get 10. Then the real fun starts: go all the way back down doing 10 reps for each plate until you are back to one plate.
  • Back Squats — 3 x 8; Squats are going to be simple here, as your legs will be shot after the leg press. Just work up each set but have all three sets at the same weight. If you have access to chains use them here. Women should use 40 to 60 pounds and men 60 to 100 pounds in chains.
  • SS Yoke Bar Split Squats — 3 x 10; I like these with the SS Yoke Bar because I can keep my hand on a rack for balance if needed. You can also do these in a Smith machine.
  • Leg Extensions — 3 x 12; Hold the top for two seconds each rep. If you want to experience some real pain and blow the quads up, do some occlusion training. Take some compression floss and wrap up around the upper thigh. It should be tight but you shouldn’t lose feeling!

Day 3: Chest

  • Banded Machine Press — 3 x 12; Add a mini band to each side. If you don’t have access to a machine press then stick with flat dumbbell presses and use a band.
  • Rackable Cambered Bar Bench Press — Work up doing sets of 10 to a challenging set. Add five to 10 pounds each week. This bar is very humbling if you have never benched with it before. A regular bar is fine if you don’t have a cambered bar.
  • Incline Cable Flyes — 3 x 15. Superset with Band Pull-Aparts.
  • Band Pull-Aparts — 3 x Max Reps; Get somewhere around 20 to 30 reps
  • Hex Dumbbell Press — 3 x 10; Squeeze two hex dumbbells together, press them slow and controlled, and squeeze your pecs hard throughout the movement.

matt mills back row

Day 4: Deadlift/Back

  • Deadlift — Juarez Valley 8 Protocol; I picked this technique up from Josh Bryant. You can check out the full explanation here. It’s very important for the Juarez Valley 8 deadlifts that you start out light. I recommend 70% of your 1RM. Make sure you only make small jumps every week. You should not be getting stapled by the weight! Work up to 70% and do eight reps, rest two minutes, do one rep, rest two minutes, do seven reps, rest two minutes, do two reps, and so on.
  • Meadows Rows — 4 x 12; Make sure you get a good stretch at the bottom here. I like to not use straps for as long as I can to get in some grip work while warming up.
  • Supinated Pulldowns — 4 x 12; Again, get a good stretch at the top and squeeze at the bottom. Don’t use your whole body here. Keep these strict. Also if you have the Mag Close Grip Supinate attachment, use it here.
  • Dumbbell Pullover or Pullover Machine — 3 x 15; If you do dumbbell pullovers then lay perpendicular across the bench and get a good stretch at the bottom through your lats.
  • Prone Row Shrugs — 3 x 15; Hold the top for two seconds. Lay with your chest down on a flat bench with a bar underneath you. Instead of doing a row, shrug up hard and pull your scapula down and back like you would when setting up for the bench press.

Day 5: Arms

  • Barbell Curls — 3 x 8; Do a five-second eccentric here. Also, use an EZ curl bar if a straight bar bothers your wrists. Superset with Dual Rope Pressdowns.
  • Dual Rope Pressdowns — 4 x 20; Take two ropes here and spread them apart hard at the bottom, pushing your palms to the floor. On the last set hold it halfway down for 20 seconds.
  • One-Arm Cable Curls — 3 x 12; Turn your pinky up hard at the top. Superset with Overhead Seated Dumbbell Extensions.
  • Overhead Seated Dumbbell Extension — 3 x 12; Perform these seated with back support and two hands on one dumbbell.
  • Kettlebell Cross-Body Curls — 3 x 12; Squeeze the handle tight to keep the bell out. Superset with Bodyweight Triceps Extensions.
  • Bodyweight Triceps Extensions — 3 x 20; You can do these on a bar or with Blast Straps. Make sure you get a good stretch at the bottom and bring your hands a little behind your head. The nice thing is that you can adjust the height of the bar or move forward or back with the blast straps to adjust difficulty. 20 reps here should burn!

I hope you will enjoy this program and give your body a much-needed break from the heavy training. If you are feeling a little beat up after this I would recommend a deload week before jumping back into a new training cycle. Please leave comments below with any questions or comments!

Off-Season Bodybuilding Program for Powerlifters and Strongman Competitors, Weeks 1-4