You must, must, must push for more reps on every set. You must live and breathe extra reps. The desire for extra reps should consume your life. You should become a single-minded, extra-rep zombie. You must always train for more, more, more reps!
So you’re a hardgainer, huh? Time to talk about food then. Bud, if you’re not making gains, you need to eat more. If you’ve been shoveling 4,000 calories per day into your gullet, and you not gaining weight – eat 4,500 calories each day. And, if that doesn’t work, try 5,000 per day. Do you get the picture?
This is no time for excuses.
If you have a hard time eating that many calories, buy a weight gaining supplement, and go gonzo in the supermarket. Purchase healthy, high calorie foods like whole milk, and nuts and seeds. And start shoveling that fork. Scoop, insert, repeat!
The Savage 4×4 is much more then a workout. It’s a take no prisoners lifestyle. You need to get savage; you need to feel completely drunk on the desire to get strong and big. You need to alert your girlfriend, employer and mother. Put them on notice that things are going to change. It’s time to become a beast; a creature that lives for food and training. Get Savage!
Motivated yet? I thought so! Let’s get moving.
Savage Nuts and Bolts
Here’s how it works…the Savage 4×4 is made up of 4 workouts per week: Back, Chest, Legs and Shoulders. On each of these days, you will alternate between 2 workouts: the Savage 4×4 strength workout, and the hypertrophy workout. Here is how each workout breaks down:
Savage 4×4 Strength Workout.
On this day, you will be performing 4 sets of each major exercise. The goal is to perform MORE then 3 reps on ALL sets. When you can do that, (hitting 4 or more reps on all 4 sets) you will add 5 pounds to the bar the next time you work the same exercises in the Savage 4×4 style.
So, let’s say two weeks ago, your Savage 4×4 bench press looked like:
Bench Press, 210 x 5, 210 x 4, 210 x 3, 210 x 3
And today, you hammered out the following:
Bench Press, 210 x 6, 210 x 5, 210 x 4, 210 x 4
Because you hit a minimum of 4 reps on every Savage set, you will use 215 pounds on the bench press the next time you hit the gym and get savage.
You will also be performing rep work on Savage 4×4 days. Rep work consists of 3 sets by 6 reps for non-major exercises. When you can perform a minimum of 6 reps for these exercises, go up in weight on your next rep work workout day.
Savage 4×4 Workout is Intense
Though you will be pushing for more weight on hypertrophy days, the approach is much different. A hypertrophy day set will have you performing 4 sets of each exercise, but with slow, 4 second negatives, and only 30 seconds of rest between sets.
Sets will be mentally tough, intense, and gut-busting. You may just cry out for your momma to help you. The intensity of hypertrophy days will create strength endurance, forcing muscles to strain for a longer time under tension (TUT).
On hypertrophy days, you goal is to hit a minimum of 6 reps for all 4 sets. This will be insanely tough, and picking the right starting weight is paramount. You will not be able to use heavy weights on these days. I recommend starting with 60% of your one rep max. You may have to tweak this weight, depending on how well your body “enjoys” hypertrophy day.
So, to recap, on hypertrophy days you will:
Perform 4 sets of each exercise
Every rep will be performed with a slow, 4 second controlled negative
Rest 30 seconds between each set of the same exercise (rest-pause)
Rest 3-5 minutes between different exercises
When you can perform a minimum of 6 reps for all four sets, increase the weight for that exercise by 5 pounds
You will be working out 4 days a week, alternative each workout between the Savage 4×4, and the hypertrophy workout. It will take 2 weeks to complete a full savage cycle of 4×4 strength and hypertrophy. Here is the split:
Day 1: Back – Savage 4×4
Good Mornings 4×4
Yates or BB Rows 3×6 (rep work)
Low Pulley or T-bar Rows 3×6 (rep work)
Day 2: OFF
Day 3: Chest – Hypertrophy
Bench Press 4 x 6
Dips, or DB or BB Incline Press 4 x 6
Closegrip Bench Press or BB Skullcrushers 4 x 6
Day 4: OFF
Day 5: Legs – Savage 4×4
Squats 4 x 4
Romanian Deadlifts 4 x 4
Leg Press or Front Squats 3 x 6 (rep work)
Seated or Standing Calf Raises 3 x 15 (rep work)
Day 6: Shoulders – Hypertrophy
Seated Overhead BB or DB Press 4 x 6
Upright Rows or Arnold Press 4 x 6
BB or DB Curls 4 x 6
Day 7: OFF
Day 8: Back – Hypertrophy
Yates or BB Rows 4 x 6
Low Pulley or T-Bar Rows 4 x 6
Pullups or Lat Pulldowns 4 x 6
Day 9: OFF
Day 10: Chest – Savage 4×4
Bench Press 4 x 4
Pin Press or Board Press 4 x 4 (work sticking points)
DB Incline or Flat Bench Press 3 x 6 (rep work)
Closegrip Bench Press or BB Skullcrushers 3 x 6 (rep work)
Day 11: OFF
Day 12: Legs – Hypertrophy
Squats 4 x 6
Leg Extensions 4 x 6
Hamstring Curls 4 x 6
Day 13: Shoulders – Savage 4×4
Overhead BB Press 4 x 4
Power Shrugs 4 x 4
Upright Rows or Arnold Press 4 x 6 (rep work)
BB or DB Curls 4 x 6 (rep work)
Day 14: Off
Notes on the Savage 4×4
When possible, don’t train to positive failure. If failure occasionally occurs, don’t sweat it. You can continue this cycle as long as you’d like. It’s best to keep pushing forward as long as something is working. So if the Savage 4×4 if working for you, keep plugging forward.
There are no miracle routines. With that said, the Savage 4×4 is one heck of a ball-busting, mass-inducing workout. If you work it, it will work for you. And don’t forget to eat!
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