Yup it's "The new rules of lifting" book.

I'm sure some of you here have seen me suggest this routine when someone asks a question such as "What routine should I do?"

I actually introduced myself to this forum with a thread titled "The new rules of lifting", as I'm sure some of you probably remember.

In all my reading, researching, time, and effort on how to get stronger and bigger, I have never seen a routine (actually it's a series of routines) that is as good as this routine. Note: These are not typical powerlifting style routines such as Westside-Barbell, but they're also not typical "bodybuilding" routines either (you won't find any tricep kickbacks in it, I guarantee you). These routines are purely focused on strength and overall muscle mass building.

It seems that two of the most common routine suggestions are Rippetoe's starting strength routine, and Built's Baby got Back routine. It's a real shame that more people don't know about "the new rules of lifting" routines (aka NROL).

Baby got back is an excellently written routine, and it has many, many similarities to the theories that NROL is based on. Built really does know her stuff.

First, NROL is entirely based on compound lifts. Every single exercise in every routine is based on squats, deadlifts, lunges, push, pull, and twist. There are many variations of these main 6 lifts (for instance good mornings would be considered a variation of a deadlift, or bulgarian split squat would be considered a variation of a lunge).

Second, NROL is split by vertical push/pull, horizantal push/pull, Quad dominant, and Hamstring dominant just like Baby got back. If you're not going to do a full-body routine, this way is the best way to "split" your routine, IMO. It's much more balanced then doing something like push/pull/legs or a 5-day split.

Third, NROL is 10 routines total. The "routine" is actually a series of routines that lasts 1 year. There are 3 "hypertrophy" routines, 3 "strength" routines, and 3 "fat loss" routines. There is also a 2-week long break-in routine that is suggested for everyone to do before starting this program, because this program is extremely challenging.

Now I'm sure we all know that hypertrophy, strength, and fat-loss are all related to each other, so to put a label on something as purely "hypertrophy" or purely "strength" is a bit misleading, but he had to call each routine something. Actually, the "hypertrophy" routines are great strength building routines, but they still do build muscle mass like crazy. The "strength" routines are great muscle building routines, but they also build lots of mass as well. I'll explain about the "fat-loss" routines in a minute.

The beauty behind the "hypertrophy" routines is that the set/rep/rest time ranges change every single workout. For instance "Hypertrophy 1" looks like this:

It's an upper body/lower body split.

upper body
- Incline dumbell bench press superset with barbell rows
- Dumbell shoulder press superset with pull-ups
- Close grip flat barbell press superset with high pulls
- swiss ball crunches

Lower body
- Squat
- Deadlift
- lunges superset with step-up (onto a platform that is about 2 1/2' high, with the same weight as for the lunges)
- reverse crunches

Alternate between upper body and lower body every time you go to the gym, and stick to the Heavy - moderate - light cycle. So it looks like:

Monday: Heavy upper body
sets of 5x5 with 90 seconds of rest between sets

Thrusday: Moderate lower body
sets of 4 x 10 with 60 seconds of rest between sets

Saturday: Light upper body
sets of 3 x 15 with 30 seconds of rest between sets

Monday: Heavy lower body
sets of 5x5 with 90 seconds of rest between sets

Thrusday: Moderate upper body
sets of 4 x 10 with 60 seconds of rest between sets

Saturday: Light lower body
sets of 3 x 15 with 30 seconds of rest between sets

And the cylce repeats itself.

This is just "hypertrophy 1". The higher rep ranges is why it gets labeled as a "hypertrophy" routine. This is really just preparation for "hypertrophy 2", which is a 3-day split that is vertical push/pull, legs, and horizantal push/pull. In "hypertrophy 2" the set/rep/rest times change every workout, but the the rep ranges are lower, and therefore the weight used is much heavier.

The "hypertrophy" routines are preparation for the "strength" routines, which are much more intense, (not like the hypertrophy routines are a walk in the park though) and use very heavy weight and very low reps (just like your typical strength routine).

The whole principle behind the program is to gain strength, and by gaining strength you get bigger, very simple. The good thing about it is that it's a very well thought out, periodized program that changes every few weeks to keep you motivated and interested. Also, due to all the changing of routines, you never really plateau. At least I haven't yet.

The author of the book designed 4 sample programs that is a combination of the hypertrophy, strength, and fat-loss routines. As I said, each program lasts 1 year. The one I'm doing is called "For the guy who considers skinny an insult", and it looks like this:

break-in: 2 weeks
1 week off
Hypertrophy 1: 6 weeks
1 week off
Hypertrophy 2: 8 weeks
2 weeks off
Strength 1: 4 weeks
1 week off
Strength 1: 4 weeks
1 week off
Hypertrophy 3: 8 weeks
1 week off
Strength 3: 6 weeks
1 week off
Fat-loss 2 and 3: 3 weeks
2 weeks off

Lather, rinse, and repeat.

About the fat-loss routines - personally, I don't think I'm gonna mess with those. They are not ideal for building strength and muscle mass, but they are designed to do just what it says it will "burn fat". Those routines would be ideal for a 300 lb. guy with lots of body fat just trying to lose weight and get in better shape. There are sample programs for that type of person too. One is called "serious about lifting, but seriously overweight". That program starts out with "fat-loss" routines, then moves on to "strength", then onto "hypertrophy" I think (I'm not exactly sure what the order is for that program).

Anyway, this program deserves some respect because it is the s***. BGB and Rippetoe's routines look like excellent programs too. I never tried them, but it's just a shame that not many people know about the program I'm doing.

My results in 7 months so far:

May 1st - 160 lbs, about 25% bodyfat
Today - 198 lbs, about 14% bodyfat

You do the math.

No, I'm not a complete newbie. I've been lifting for about 6 years (poorly lifting by doing typical bodybuilding 5-day splits with lots of isolation crap, but still lifting) But yes, I did gain muscle and significantly drop my bodyfat in the past 7 months.

I just thought I'd share with ya'll.

BTW, I have all the routines on excel spreadsheets with an explanation of the sample year-long programs. I'll gladly send them to you if you send me a PM with your email address, but I'd definately spend the $25 and buy the book, it's definately worth it.