Imagine—you’re a broke kid living in a small town in the middle of nowhere. The closest fitness center is miles away and you don’t have a car to get there anyway. None of your friends know what a weight is. You’ve asked them to give it a try, but they just gave you the middle finger as they sped off to the mall or plopped down in front of the television to play video games. You really want to pack on some muscle so you can maybe try out for the football team at school. The only thing you have as far as training equipment is a bar, a squat rack, and a pile of about 600 lbs of weights. What’s a guy to do? How can you pack on the necessary strength to put some people on the ground during football season?

Well, with only a barbell and a squat rack, you’re in the perfect situation. Now, I can’t critique you on technique and tell you if you are ready for these exercises yet. And I don’t know your physical age or your training age. But, let’s just say that you can get a ton of strength and muscle added to your frame before next season using the basics and a lot of calisthenics. The basics have always worked and will always work, and the smartest people know to never ditch them.

I suggest performing three, full body workouts each week. Perform them on non-consecutive days. Train very basic and aim to be stronger as often as possible. Add one rep here and there and five pounds here and there. The progressive overload system is what you want to use (this was invented by Jim Wendler aka Jim Weider). Your workout should also be modeled after Joe DeFranco’s “Westside for Skinny Bastards,” except use full body workouts, not upper-lower least not yet.

Here’s a sample week:

Warm up with calisthenics before training
Day 1
1) Back squat, 5 X 5
2) Military press, 5 X 5
3) Bent-over rows, 3 X 10
4A) Push-ups, 2 X max reps
4B) Walking lunges, 2 X 15 each leg
4C) Weighted sit-ups, 2 X 25

Day 2
1) Zercher squat, 5 X 5
2) Feet elevated push-up OR handstand push-ups (if you can hit handstand push-ups, perform them instead), 4 X max reps
3) Pull-ups, 4 X max reps (if you don’t have a pull-up bar, go to a playground and use the monkey bars)
4) Barbell cheat curls, 3 X 5 reps
5) Barbell wrist curls, 3 X 15–20 reps

Day 3
1) Deadlift, 5 X 3 reps
2) Hang clean and press, 3 X 5 reps
3) Bent-over row, 3 X 8–12 reps
4A) Body weight squats, 2 X 20
4B) Pull-ups, 2  X max reps
4C) Walking lunges, 2 X 10 each
4D) Push-ups, 2 X max reps

On the other days, go to the park and find a stone. Carry it around, deadlift it, or press it overhead. Sprint through the park, jump over logs and in between trees, or jump on and off park benches. Do tons of pull-ups and push-ups and work your abdominals hard. Also, eat a ton of quality food. You’ll be on your way in no time!

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