With beach season upon us, you may be in a rush to get a six-pack or get your “beach muscles” in peak shape. Well, the bad news is that you should have thought about that back in February or March, but the good news is that you can still get the look you’re after by the time Labor Day rolls around. Will it be easy? Of course not, but will you be happy you did it? Chances are good.
While nutrition is going to be the biggest hurdle and contributor to you seeing a six-pack or muscle definition, it is not what I want to talk about right now. Let’s talk about your training. If you want to get your muscles to pop, you need to get blood pumping to those muscles. This is done with hypertrophy sets. Hypertrophy work is typically done in the 8-12 rep range, and will be most effective if that set takes close to 1 minute to complete said reps. Focused muscle-group attention is the best approach for this type of work.
Let me give you an example using bench press for the movement (targeting the chest, triceps and shoulders). If we want to get a minute of time-under-tension (TUT) using our principle of 8-12 reps, we would use a tempo of 4-0-x-1 (4 sec. to lower, 0 sec @ the bottom, x= explode up = 1 sec, 1 second @ extension). This gives us 6 seconds per rep and performing this for 10 reps would give us 60 seconds of TUT. Even if you chose a weight that was too heavy and only were able to complete 8 reps, you are looking at 48 sec. of TUT, or if you were able to complete all 12 reps that would give us 72 sec. and would still fall into that category of hypertrophy work.
If you are excited to start doing this, refrain from going H.A.M. on the hypertrophy work if you’ve never done this. I’d suggest starting out with 3 sets for a couple of movements that don’t both work the same muscle group. For arms, that could look like 3 sets of dumbbell curls and 3 sets of dips. For brevity, I’d also superset the two movements and take about 1 minute of rest between movements and sets.
If you’re looking at working those abs, stay tuned…