If you're looking for a time efficient quick workout that is scientifically and anecdotally proven to build size and strength and help with conditioning, then I have the perfect solution!
It's a 20minute full body (extremely intense) workout that you only need to do once a week. I know it sounds too good to be true, but there is a catch - it requires a lot of will power and mental toughness.
If you have that, then you're going to love this highly effective super short workout.
If you have been following my work for some time you would have read my blogs on High Intensity Training or HIT (note, this is different to High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT).
You may have read Super Slow High Intensity Training: Is 15 minutes of Strength Training A Week Enough?
and - Body By Science High Intensity Training Review: My 9 Month Experiment
Or maybe you're familiar with the work of Doug McGuff and the book Body By Science?
These articles and experiments were a result of me taking a deep deep dive into the world of HIT training - training popularised by Arthur Jones back in the 1970's.
I was a doubter at first, but after my 9 month experiment that saw me take out the Realfit PaeloFx competition I knew there was something to this kind of training.
Note: For those who aren't familiar with HIT or Body By Science style of training, I highly recommend you read the articles above. But for a quick overview read this definition:
The training focuses on performing quality weight training repetitions to the point of momentary muscular failure. The training takes into account the number of repetitions, the amount of weight, and the amount of time the muscle is exposed to tension in order to maximize the amount of muscle fiber recruitment.
You do this using controlled movements with even force loading on the muscle and you ensure you keep constant tension on the muscle at all times.
There was one problem with the Body By Science approach. Variety. After 18 months training this way I got bored.
Worse, I missed barbells.
I missed explosive training.
Around the time I started getting bored three things happened.
First I decided to defend my title at the 2017 RealFit competition.
Second, I no longer had access to gym machines, only a barbell and some dumbbells.
Thirdly, I was introduced to the book titled Neuromass by Jon Bruney. You can read a great excerpt from the book HERE I highly recommend reading this excerpt.
I picked up a copy of this book and quickly understood the theory.
You stress the muscle through 3 phases:
I liked this protocol as I could use a barbell and body weights, and it still utilised some of the 'time under tension' concepts I had great success with.
So I decided to use this protocol in the lead up to my 2017 competition.
If you want, I documented all my training and experiences in a log that can be read HERE.
But to cut a long story short - this Neuro-Mass protocol was too much for me. The volume was too high, the workouts too long (I missed the short workouts), and it was too hard to get 2-3 quality sets in without form breaking down.
So I made some adjustments.
And after a good year of tweaking, I've found the perfect protocol. It's so simple you're going to have your doubts.
But it's working for me and my clients, and I know it will work for you.
Ok enough of the back story, time for the protocol!
And thats it. Thats the workout.
You can see me doing the workout in full here:
Remember, this is simply based Jon Bruneys Neuro-Mass protocol. I just modified it to make it simpler, quicker, and more in line with the HIT / Body By Science protocol that I had such great results with.
If you're still confused after my video and description above, here are a few examples of a set:
The Grind: Bench Press (barbells or a machine), non-lockout, 5 second tempo, full range of motion with a weight that you can only move for 90-120seconds.
The Explosion: Immediately drop to the floor and do 6 explosive pushups (clap pushups if you can do them, otherwise explosive pushups trying to get up as fast as possible is ok).
The Hold: Grab the back of a sturdy chair, or each side of a 20kg plate and try and crush it using your chest. Hold this for 60seconds.
Remember, you are only doing 1 set of this, so make sure you take each exercise to 100% failure!
You can see me doing a version of this below (note, it's sped up!)
Back training after a week off 💪🏽 Doing my NeuroMass neurosets today. 20min workout. 4 muscle groups. Each set to failure. ➖time under tension, non lockout, grind set- taking it to failure #ItBurns ➖3-7 explosive sets- aiming for max power 🚀 ➖isometric finisher - squeezing has hard as possible #LooksWeird Today I did chest (this vid) followed by a round of back, then legs (push) and legs (pull). All done in 20mins and cooked afterwards 😳 Followed by freshly pressed pesticide free apple juice, a 15min cold river swim and a big meal 🥘 Oh and this is in double speed :P
The Grind: Back squat, non-lock out, full range of motion but stopping short of knee lock out. Controlled movement, 5second down, 5 second up. Aim for 90-12seconds (9-12 reps if using a 5second tempo)
The Explosion: Immediately rack the bar and do 6 vertical jumps. Aiming to get as high as possible with each jump.
The Hold: Do a wall sit for 60seconds plus. If this is easy, next time hold some kettlebells for each weight.
You can see me doing this below (note, the video is sped up)
Training Day 💪🏽 Doing a lower body Neuroset. It's a 3 part continuous set: ➖Time under tension grinds (here in doing 150kg controlled tempo non lockout back squats. Yes they burn. And yes the video is double speed. Real speed was slower than this. ) ➖explosive reps (here I do squat jumps aiming for max height. Legs are piss weak at this stage) ➖isometric / static hold as a finish (here I do weighted wall sits. Legs are screaming now). And that's it. I do one set to failure. 1 neuroset for each body part (chest, back, quads and hammies). 1 session a week. Job done. #AuthenticAlex
I have put together a document with a list of possible excercises, I've included examples that you can do without any gym equipment, and that need gym equipment.
CLICK HERE to download that.
As you can see from my clips above, you can easily do this using only a kettlebell, or even body weight only.
Going deep into the pain cave 🤢 Finishing up a neuromass set - time under tension back squats, straight into explosive squat jumps followed by a extremely painful wall sit ☠️🤕 Did this workout as I was short on time... but I didn't factor in the 30mins of recovery time I needed before I could get up and shower etc 🤢🤢 I documented the session and will cover it in next weeks #AuthenticAlex vlog - so stay tuned
Please leave any questions you may have below, I will answer them and add them to this list:
The body by science workout only uses the first 'part' - the constant tension/burn part.
Less volume, one set only (and one set to failure), full body workout (versus split routines), one session a week (versus multiple sets per week), the recommend times/reps in my version are different to the Jons version.
I haven't tested it, but my guess would be that the original would produce better results from a size and maybe a strength point of view - simply because of the extra volume.
But I'm looking for the minimal effective dose, I want the benefits of training without the high training load. And I still defended my RealFit title (putting out some great numbers along the way) using my modified protocol.
Sure, I just found my performance suffered and I needed a good week between workouts.
Sure. I did this the first few weeks, but I found the second set was always rubbish compared to the first. So I cut it out.
Multiple sets may be useful if size is your goal however.
Sure, download this table HERE.
I use this style of training with clients in my Hormone Reset program. Otherwise, check out my Size & Strength program for a more conventional way of training.
This blog post was written by Alex Fergus. Alex is a ISSN Sports Nutrition Specialist, Fitness Professional and certified Superhuman Coach who continues to expand his knowledge base and help people across the world with their health and wellness. Alex is recognized as the National Record Holder in Powerlifting and Indoor Rowing and has earned the title of the Australian National Natural Bodybuilding Champion. Having worked as a health coach and personal trainer for over a decade, Alex now researches all things health and wellness and shares his findings on this blog. Learn more about Alex's Credentials HERE.
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