Werewolf Training 2: A Weightlifting Routine to Gain Strength

Werewolf Training
Werewolf Training

Gain Strength

Originally posted: 12/31/09
Updated: 1/20/10 (update rest time on HIRT circuits, added Excel spreadsheet workout logs)

This training routine is designed for you to gain strength. That’s it.

So you have already been through two or three Werewolf Training for Muscle Gain cycles. You gained 5-10 pounds of muscle in that time and you got a little stronger. You are psyched about your progress but you’re a little bored with the program.

It is time to change up your training a little bit, but you know you can’t jump right into a strict fat loss phase, or you risk losing most of your new muscle. What to do? What to do?

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Keeping All Your Muscle Gains

The key to keeping all of your new muscle mass, is to make those muscle fibers as dense as possible with heavier strength training. You want to maximize the strength in your new muscle, while limiting fat gain because you weren’t overly strict with your diet in the first Werewolf Training for Muscle Gains phase, since your mail goal was to gain muscle not to lose fat.

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Werewolf Training Principles for Strength Gains

If you want to know the principles of Werewolf Training, go read about it at the Werewolf Training for Muscle Gains page. Now we are going to change those principles a little bit to help you get as strong as possible with your new muscle mass.

Progress Factor #1 – Training

The training portion of Werewolf Training for Strength Gains is very similar to Werewolf Training for Muscle Gains, except that we will be focusing more on heavier sets and varying weights a bit less. As the goal is primarily strength gains, we will not be focusing on stimulating hypertrophy.

Weight selection:

This time around we won’t be using the same weight for every set. With Werewolf Training for Strength Gains, we will be looking to increase the weight whenever possible. That means whenever you can complete the desired number of reps, you should always increase the weight for your next set. The weight increases should be small, but it is the linear progress we are after.

Example: If 3 sets of 5 reps are prescribed and you complete your first set of 5 with 200 lbs, you should increase to 205 or 210 for your next set. If you can complete that, increase by 5-10 lbs for the last set. If you can complete that, then you know which weight to use for the first set the next time you attempt that exercise.

Exercise selection:

There will be far less variety in exercise selection compared to Werewolf Training for Muscle Gains, because we want to maximize the frequency of each specific movement in order to facilitate maximum neurological adaptation. In other words, we want to perform each exercise as heavy as possible, as often as possible without overtraining, in order to teach our muscles to get really, really strong at those specific exercises.

Varying weights and reps:

We will still be varying weights and reps, but the rep ranges will be altered to focus more on strength gains. Instead of varying the reps from 5 to 20, we will be varying the reps from 1 to 7.

Other strength training principles:

Negative rep overloading will still be used. I highly recommend you attempt some tension training with resistance bands, as this will REALLY help your strength gains. The number of sets will be higher, the number of reps will be lower, and I still advocate minimizing cardio except for the HIRT routines that are integrated into your strength training.

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Progress Factor #2 – Recovery

You still need to maximize recovery to make good progress. Don’t forget to stretch!

Follow the recovery principles outlined in Werewolf Training for Muscle Gains – Recovery.

Progress Factor #3 – Nutrition

You still need to follow a solid diet to make progress.

Follow the nutrition principles outlined in Werewolf Training for Muscle Gains – Nutrition.

Progress Factor #4 – Supplements

As usual, you don’t need supplements, but they sure do help. For this strength training phase I recommend the Xtreme NO (a Nitric Oxide supplement), Muscle Advance Low-Carb Protein Powder, Muscle Advance Weight Gainer, XTend (an amino acid supplements), Kre-Alkalyn (creatine), and Biotest Surge. This group of supplements will help you the most when you are trying to maximize strength gains.

For more information about those supplements, view the detailed descriptions back in the Werewolf Training for Muscle Gains – Supplements post.

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The Werewolf Training Workout Routine for Strength Gains

Werewolf Training
Werewolf Training

Here is a 28 day, 4 week Werewolf Training routine designed to build strength, that you can repeat as many times as you want. There is no variance with rest days as there is with Werewolf Training for Muscle Gains. You train 5 days and take 2 off. End of story.

Overtraining – If the frequency is too much for you, you can swap the day 6 off day with the day 4 workout day. In that case, instead of weights, HIRT, weights, HIRT, weights, off, off, repeat, you would be doing weights, HIRT, weights, off, HIRT, weights, off, repeat. Same number of days, just an off day injected into the middle of the week and you’ll end up training one day on the weekend.

Where I have indicated “with bands”, please incorporate resistance bands to increase strength gains. If you don’t have bands, don’t want to get them, or don’t want to learn how to use them, it’s your loss.

  1. Barbell back squats – 3 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps
    Dumbbell bench press – 2 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps
    Barbell bent over rows – 3 sets x 5 reps
    a) Standing military press with bands – 3 sets x 5 reps
    b) Seated calf raise – 3 sets x 5 reps
    a) Hammer curls – 3 sets x 7 reps
    b) Skull crushers – 3 sets x 7 reps

  2. A 20 minute HIRT routine.

    Start by warming up with 5 minutes of non-stop kickboxing combinations, rest for 2 minutes and move on to the circuits.

    Do as many reps as possible for each exercise before moving on to the next exercise. Each super-set should be performed once for 5 minutes. Take a 2 minute rest between each super-set.

    1a) Reverse crunch with bands – 20 reps
    1b) Skipping lunges – 40 skips
    1c) Push ups – 20 reps

    2a) Fold ups with medicine ball – 10 reps
    2b) Jump squats – 20 jumps
    2c) Inverted rows – 20 reps

    3a) Russian twist with medicine ball or plate – 20 reps
    3b) Step ups with medicine ball – 20 reps
    3c) Jump rope – 200 jumps

    Cool down and stretch.

  3. Barbell bench press with bands – 3 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps
    Stiff leg deadlifts – 2 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps
    Pull ups, weighted if possible – 3 sets x 5 reps
    a) Push press – 3 sets x 5 reps
    b) Standing calf raise – 3 sets x 5 reps
    a) Dips – 3 sets x 5 reps
    b) Standing alternating dumbbell curl – 3 sets x 5 reps

  4. A 20 minute abdominal HIRT routine.

    Start by warming up with 5 minutes of non-stop kickboxing combinations. End the workout with 3 minutes of moderate kickboxing.

    Perform the abdominal circuit twice for 5 minutes without rest. Attempt to complete the required reps for each set before moving onto the next exercise. When you finish the last exercise, start at the top again until your time is up.

    Take a 2 minute rest between the kickboxing warm-up, ab circuit 1, ab circuit 2, and the kickboxing cool-down.

    a) Windshield wipers (or Russian twist holding a medicine ball if you can’t handle it) – 10 wipes or twists
    b) Situps with medicine ball on chest – 20 sit ups
    c) Ab wheel roll outs to the left, straight, right, repeat – 15 roll outs (5 at each angle)
    d) Jumping squat thrusts – 10 thrusts

    Cool down and stretch.

  5. Barbell rack pulls from 3 inches off the floor with bands – 3 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps
    Incline barbell bench press – 3 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps
    a) One arm dumbbell row (or one arm neutral grip cable row if your gym doesn’t have heavy enough dumbbells) – 3 sets x 5 reps
    b) Seated calf raise – 3 sets x 7 reps
    Seated dumbbell shoulder press – 3 sets x 5 reps
    Chin ups, weighted if possible – 3 sets x 5 reps

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  8. Barbell back squats – 1 set x 5 reps, 1 set x 1 rep, 1 set x 5 reps, 1 set x 1 rep, 1 set x 3 reps
    Dumbbell bench press – 1 set x 5 reps, 2 sets x 3 reps
    Barbell bent over rows – 2 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps
    a) Standing military press with bands – 2 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps
    b) Standing calf raise – 3 sets x 7 reps
    a) Hammer curls – 3 sets x 5 reps
    b) Skull crushers – 3 sets x 5 reps

  9. A 20 minute HIRT routine.

    Start by warming up with 5 minutes of non-stop kickboxing combinations, rest for 90 seconds and move on to the circuits.

    Do as many reps as possible for each exercise before moving on to the next exercise. Attempt to complete the required reps for each set before moving onto the next exercise. When you finish the last exercise, start at the top again until your time is up.

    Each super-set should be performed once for 6 minutes. Take a 90 second rest between each super-set.

    1a) Reverse crunch with bands – 25 reps
    1b) Skipping lunges – 50 skips
    1c) Push ups – 20 reps

    2a) Fold ups with medicine ball – 15 reps
    2b) Jump squats – 25 jumps
    2c) Inverted rows – 20 reps

    3a) Russian twist with medicine ball or plate – 25 reps
    3b) Step ups with medicine ball – 25 reps
    3c) Jump rope – 200 jumps

    Cool down and stretch.

  10. Barbell bench press with bands – 1 set x 5 reps, 1 set x 1 rep, 1 set x 5 reps, 1 set x 1 rep, 1 set x 3 reps
    Stiff leg deadlifts – 1 set x 5 reps, 2 sets x 3 reps
    Pull ups, weighted if possible – 2 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps
    a) Push press – 2 sets x 5 reps – 1 set x 3 reps
    b) Seated calf raise – 3 sets x 10 reps
    a) Dips – negative rep overload – 3 sets x 5 reps with 20% more than your 5 rep max or 40% more than your 10 rep max
    * negative rep overloading on dips will require a spotter, or you will have to climb back up to the top of the dip station in order to descend for your next rep
    b) Standing alternating dumbbell curl – 3 sets x 5 reps

  11. A 20 minute abdominal HIRT routine.

    Start by warming up with 5 minutes of non-stop kickboxing combinations. End the workout with 3 minutes of moderate kickboxing.

    Perform the abdominal circuit twice for 6 minutes without rest. Take a 90 second rest between the kickboxing warm-up, ab circuit 1, ab circuit 2, and the kickboxing cool-down.

    a) Windshield wipers (or Russian twist holding a medicine ball if you can’t handle it) – 15 wipes or twists
    b) Situps with medicine ball on chest – 25 sit ups
    c) Ab wheel roll outs to the left, straight, right, repeat – 21 roll outs (7 at each angle)
    d) Jumping squat thrusts – 12 thrusts

    Cool down and stretch.

  12. Barbell rack pulls from 6 inches off the floor with bands – 3 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps
    Incline barbell bench press – 2 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps
    a) One arm dumbbell row (or one arm neutral grip cable row if your gym doesn’t have heavy enough dumbbells) – 2 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps
    b) Standing calf raise – 3 sets x 10 reps
    Seated dumbbell shoulder press – 2 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps
    Chin ups, weighted if possible – 2 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps

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  15. Barbell back squats – test your max – reps: 5, 3, 2, 1, 1, 1
    Dumbbell bench press – 1 set x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps, 1 set x 1 rep
    Barbell bent over rows – 3 sets x 3 reps
    a) Standing military press – 1 set x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps, 1 set x 1 rep
    b) Seated calf raise – 3 sets x 12 reps
    a) Hammer curls – 2 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps
    b) Skull crushers – 2 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps

  16. A 20 minute HIRT routine.

    Start by warming up with 5 minutes of non-stop kickboxing combinations, rest for 90 seconds and move on to the circuits.

    Do as many reps as possible for each exercise before moving on to the next exercise. Attempt to complete the required reps for each set before moving onto the next exercise. When you finish the last exercise, start at the top again until your time is up.

    Each super-set should be performed once for 7 minutes. Take a 90 second rest between each super-set.

    1a) Reverse crunch with bands – 30 reps
    1b) Skipping lunges – 50 skips
    1c) Push ups – 25 reps

    2a) Fold ups with medicine ball – 20 reps
    2b) Jump squats – 25 jumps
    2c) Inverted rows – 25 reps

    3a) Russian twist with medicine ball or plate – 30 reps
    3b) Step ups with medicine ball – 25 reps
    3c) Jump rope – 200 jumps

    Cool down and stretch.

  17. Barbell bench press – negative rep overload – 3 sets x 5 reps with 20% more than your 5 rep max or 40% more than your 10 rep max (test your bench press max next week)
    * negative rep overloading on the bench press will require a spotter
    Stiff leg deadlifts – 1 set x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps, 1 set x 1 rep
    Pull ups, weighted if possible – 1 set x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps, 1 set x 1 rep
    a) Push press – 1 set x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps, 1 set x 1 rep
    b) Standing calf raise – 3 sets x 12 reps
    a) Dips – 1 sets x 5 reps, 2 sets x 3 reps
    b) Standing alternating dumbbell curl – 2 sets x 5 reps

  18. A 20 minute abdominal HIRT routine.

    Start by warming up with 5 minutes of non-stop kickboxing combinations. End the workout with 3 minutes of moderate kickboxing.

    Perform the abdominal circuit twice for 6 minutes without rest. Take a 90 second rest between the kickboxing warm-up, ab circuit 1, ab circuit 2, and the kickboxing cool-down.

    a) Windshield wipers (or Russian twist holding a medicine ball if you can’t handle it) – 15 wipes or twists
    b) Situps with medicine ball on chest – 25 sit ups
    c) Ab wheel roll outs to the left, straight, right, repeat – 21 roll outs (7 at each angle)
    d) Jumping squat thrusts – 12 thrusts

    Cool down and stretch.

  19. Barbell rack pulls from 9 inches off the floor with bands – 3 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps (test your deadlift max next week)
    a) Incline barbell bench press – 1 set x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps, 1 set x 1 rep
    b) Seated calf raise – 3 sets x 15 reps
    One arm dumbbell row (or one arm neutral grip cable row if your gym doesn’t have heavy enough dumbbells) – 1 set x 5 reps, 2 sets x 3 reps
    a) Chin ups, weighted if possible – negative rep overload – 3 sets x 5 reps with 20% more than your 5 rep max or 40% more than your 10 rep max
    * negative rep overloading on pull ups might not necessarily require a spotter, but it might be necessary to jump up to the top position then lower yourself under control
    b) Standing calf raise – 3 sets x 15 reps

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  22. Recovery Week: Avoid training to failure or past failure this week, except for deadlifts and bench press.
    Barbell back squats – 3 sets x 5 reps
    Dumbbell bench press – 2 sets x 7 reps
    Barbell bent over rows – 2 sets x 7 reps
    a) Standing military press – 2 sets x 7 reps
    b) Hammer curls – 2 sets x 7 reps

  23. A 20 minute HIRT routine.

    Start by warming up with 5 minutes of non-stop kickboxing combinations, rest for 2 minutes and move on to the circuits.

    Do as many reps as possible for each exercise before moving on to the next exercise. Attempt to complete the required reps for each set before moving onto the next exercise. When you finish the last exercise, start at the top again until your time is up.

    Each super-set should be performed once for 4 minutes. Take a 2 minute rest between each super-set.

    1a) Reverse crunch with bands – 20 reps
    1b) Skipping lunges – 30 skips
    1c) Push ups – 15 reps

    2a) Fold ups with medicine ball – 10 reps
    2b) Jump squats – 15 jumps
    2c) Inverted rows – 15 reps

    3a) Russian twist with medicine ball or plate – 20 reps
    3b) Step ups with medicine ball – 15 reps
    3c) Jump rope – 150 jumps

    Cool down and stretch.

  24. Barbell bench press – test your max – reps: 5, 3, 2, 1, 1, 1
    Stiff leg deadlifts – 2 sets x 7 reps
    Pull ups, bodyweight – 3 sets x amap
    Push press – 3 sets x 7 reps
    a) Dips – 2 sets x 7 reps
    b) Standing calf raise – 2 sets x 5 reps

  25. A 20 minute abdominal HIRT routine.

    Start by warming up with 5 minutes of non-stop kickboxing combinations. End the workout with 3 minutes of moderate kickboxing.

    Perform the abdominal circuit twice for 6 minutes without rest. Take a 90 second rest between the kickboxing warm-up, ab circuit 1, ab circuit 2, and the kickboxing cool-down.

    a) Windshield wipers (or Russian twist holding a medicine ball if you can’t handle it) – 15 wipes or twists
    b) Situps with medicine ball on chest – 25 sit ups
    c) Ab wheel roll outs to the left, straight, right, repeat – 21 roll outs (7 at each angle)
    d) Mountain climbers – 10 steps per leg

    Cool down and stretch.

  26. Deadlifts – test your max – reps: 5, 3, 2, 1, 1, 1
    One arm dumbbell row (or one arm neutral grip cable row if your gym doesn’t have heavy enough dumbbells) – 3 sets x 7 reps
    Incline barbell bench press – 3 sets x 7 reps
    Chin ups, bodyweight – 3 sets x amap

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Werewolf Training Workout Routine in an Excel Spreadsheet

You can use these spreadsheets to track your progress. Either keep track of your numbers on the computer, or print out the spreadsheets to take to the gym with you, or both! A clipboard works great to hold your workout logs if you decide to print them out. I recommend using pen to record your numbers, as pencil fades over time.

Click here to download: Werewolf Strength Training Workout log with weekend rest protocol (28 day routine)

Click here to download: Werewolf Strength Training Workout log with 4th day rest protocol (28 day routine)

You Can Make it Happen!

Again, only dedication and rest can make this program work. You have to follow through with the whole 4 week program. Push each set to the limit and remember that any time you “can’t” complete a set or rep, it is because failure is in your head. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome with strength training, is the mental aspect.

If you think you CAN do it, or you think you CAN’T do it, you are right.

Expected Results

I haven’t tested this program out over a long period of time, so I’m going to need a couple people to try it for at least 2 cycles. Two cycles of Werewolf Training for Strength Gains will take about 54 days.

This program is best used following Werewolf Training for Muscle Gains, but can still be effective by itself. Because we only test our 1 rep max once in 4 weeks, you are best off using Werewolf Training for Strength Gains for at least 2 cycles or 54 days.

You can expect to add 10% or more to all of your lifts after 2 cycles of Werewolf Training for Strength Gains. You will probably gain some muscle too, as long as you follow the program, eat right, and practice proper recovery. Supplements will help too.

Despite the recovery week for week 4, you should still take one full active recovery (little to no lifting) week after following this program for 2 cycles or 54 days.

Additional Strength Gain Techniques

This program does not make much use of dynamic effort training, box squats, paused reps, concentric-only training, sled dragging, or many other advanced strength training techniques. In time I might write an Advanced Werewolf Training for Strength Gain workout, but for now if you want to use these methods you will have to investigate them yourself and work them into the above program accordingly.

Happy gaining!

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Werewolf Training
Werewolf Training – 3D werewolf graphic by Rowsby

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130 Responses to “Werewolf Training 2: A Weightlifting Routine to Gain Strength”

  1. hello

    I was thinking of starting this program but:

    what does the a and b stand for and what does the 1a, 2b etc stand for again. how ‘m I suppose to do those sets? whiteout rest, super sets ? please explain

    • In this workout, the a,b,c,etc… are also supersets. I need to rewrite my routines and get my nomenclature right. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

  2. I love the werewolf muscle building workout's top/bottom split. Any way you could rearrange this type of workout for the same number of days that the muscle werewolf workout goes? It works into my schedule much better. I'm sure I could come up with something, but I'm very interested in how you would do it!

  3. Steve,
    Just wanted to say I love the website. I’m a 37 year old guy who hasn’t lifted anything heavier than my ass from the couch since my mid twenties. The info I’ve gotten here as far as routines and nutrition have motivated me and changed my life.
    I am doing the Werewolf muscle gain routine now. Been through it twice. I have 2 weeks to go on the third time through. I’m doing the strength gain routine next, but I have a couple of questions.
    I get the linear progression idea, but let’s say I put up a set at 200×5, the next set I try 205 and only hit 3 or 4. Do I stick with 205 for the remaining sets? Try 210 and get fewer reps?
    Second, my gym doesn’t have real heavy dumbells. 70lbs max. This will make DB bench presses ineffective. Is there another excercise you would recommend as a sub. Some type of standing cable press or something? I don’t have bands. I’m not sure the wife will loan me my balls long enough to go buy some either.
    Keep up the great work…Thanks

    • Stick to the 205 and try to get that same 4 reps on each subsequent set. If reps drops below 3 on any of those 205 sets, then you should move on to the next exercise. Next week, try to get 5 reps on 2-3 sets of 205. My gym only had dumbbells up to 80 lbs because I was a stupid ass and signed up to Planet Fitness with a buddy of mine (he already had a membership there). So I just ignore the low rep requirements and when it’s time to use dumbbells I just suck it up and do as many reps as I possibly can with the 80s. Every week I try to do at least 1 more rep with the 80s. At some point I’m going to need to figure something out – bring in magnetic 5 or 10 pound plates to stick on the ends maybe – but for now I just work with what I have, and you should too. Or get a membership to a new gym, which is clearly what I should do.

  4. Steve – On day 19 you have 2 calf exercises, 1 seated and 1 standing at 3×15 each, and no shoulder presses. Just want to make sure that this accurate… Thanks!

    • That is accurate, but I can totally support tossing in seating dumbbell shoulder press for 3×5 at the end of the workout. That routine has undergone far less experimentation and edits than the gain muscle routine. Hope you understand.

  5. Steve, I’m in week 2 of the second 28 day cycle for the strength training gain. I’m just beginning to see results and I think it’s because being a new routine I failed to follow directions thoroughly. This cycle I’ve started to challenge myself more. My question is whether I should attempt a 3rd cycle or do you think my body will not respond and should move on to another routine? I was considering to so Swole 3×5 routine next.

  6. Me and about 4 mates did the Mass gain and then strength gain, and then a few of us have gone back to mass gain. It worked well for all, visible results.The strength gain was benifical, however, Ive now reached the point of about 12% bodyfat, I want to cut this to under 10% but increase my weigth by 10 pounds or so (up to 100kg/220pounds)whilst increasing strength for sporting reasons. Which workout would you suggest?
    Side note: is a great workout and the 4 of us who completed the full workout are very pleased with the results.

    Ali

  7. Steve,
    For clarification, when you say incorporate bands into the exercise ( lets say bench press ) do you mean put your normal weight on the bar, connect bands to the ends of the bar and do your sets or do you mean do a bench press with only a band in your band connected to the bench? Thanks.

    • You will still use weight on the bar, but you will have to use less than you normally would for a given rep range. For example if your 5 rep max is usually 225 and the band adds 50 pounds of tension at the top, then you’ll have to use less than 225, probably closer to 195, if you still want to hit your 5 rep range. When using dynamic effort bench pressing, then you’ll only be doing 3 rep sets with 50% of your 1 rep max plus the bands. If you get real Jump Stretch bands, they will always loop under the bench and around the bar. If you’re using some other kind of bands, then you might have to improvise.

  8. I noticed in response to another poster, you said that the Werewolf Strength program really wasnt following the same Werewolf priciples. What would you change about this routine? Im in the second week of the routine, so its not too late for me to incorporate some changes…thanks!

    • The Werewolf Strength routine is a full body workout. The whole idea behind Werewolf Training is to use an upper / lower body split, to create a 4-day routine. Plus in the newest Werewolf Muscle routine I also incorporated NAT. I want to rewrite the Werewolf Strength routine as an upper/lower split, and repost the current routine as a full body strength training routine. You can just use it as-is.

  9. I noticed in an earlier comment that you are planning on putting up a section of “before and after” pictures. I would love that! I have done your Werewolf for Muscle Gains a few cycles now and I have put some serious size and muscle on. A few of my friends were so impressed that they even started working out with your routine and love it.

    My questions is in regards to the Werewolf for Strength Gains workout. I workout at 5:30 a.m., and the gym I go to doesn’t put out their barbells until 7 a.m. so I am stuck using dumbells and preacher curl bars. I noticed in this workout that you call for resistance bands, which I love the idea of. My question is can I use resistance bands with dumbells or are they only possible with barbells?

    Thanks for everything, your site is amazing!

  10. steve,

    im 17 and trying to cut down my body fat while gaining my muscle back(havent been able to workout for a few months.) i’m at about 9 or 10% now. any tips? and also do you think this workout would help me the most right now or is there another workout that you would recommend?

    thank you

    • I think you should focus on adding some strength and size with one of the Werewolf routines. Once you’ve got your strength and size back, then focus on fat loss for a couple months.

  11. I just finished my first cycle 2 weeks ago, took a week off and now im doing another cycle of strength. After first cycle my bench press went up 20 lbs and my deadlift went up 30 lbs although my squat only went up 10 lbs.

  12. steve,
    i have completed 2 cycles of werewolf training for muscle, rested a week, did 6 weeks on a 6 day high volume split chest, back, shoulders, legs, arms, abs, rest in that order, rested a week and am now 2 weeks into werewolf training for strength. i plan to complete 2 cycles of werewolf for strength rest a week then do 8 weeks on your fat loss routine. the problem i have is that my coworkers signed me up to represent our business (a hot spring spa and fitness center) in a bicycle race on march 3, its a short race actually part of a pentathalon we are doing as a relay team but i have not been on a bike since september and feel i need to recondition myself. the gym at my work offers free spin classes to employees, will it be detrimental to my strength training to start taking these classes and which days should i take them?

    • Prioritize your bicycle training from now until March 3rd. There’s plenty of time for muscle and strength gains after March 3rd. Consider cutting your strength training back to three workouts a week and do your spin classes whenever they are offered at work.

  13. steve
    i have completed 2 cycles of werewolf training for muscle gains and followed that with 2 months on a 6 day split chest back shoulders legs arms abs off in that order took a week off and am now 2 weeks into werewolf for strength which i plan to do for 2 cycles then switch to cutting. i work as a lifeguard at a hotspring pool/ fitness center in the colorado mountains so i lifeguard in snow pants and a down jacket until may so my goal is to be ripped by mid may 6 weeks into my cutting cycle. the problem i have is my coworkers want me to compete in a bike race march 3 as part of a team pentathalon. i have not been on a bike since september and need to recondition before the race. the gym at my work does offer free spin classes. the classes are an hour long and fairly intense the race is only seven miles but will take place on icy snow packed trails and roads so will probably take an hour. will i hurt my strength gains if i start training on the bike and which days should i train on the bike. also a second question my bench press is very weak i do about 185 for 3 reps with the bar but can do 100 lb dumbells for 3 reps i think its psychological i am afraid of the bar and press more with dumbells. the problem is my gym doesnt have 105 dumbells only 110 which i can’t even get up what should i do.
    thanks
    eddie

    • You need to figure out where you get stuck on the bench press and address your weakness. If you get stuck at the bottom, you need to work on your starting strength. Using a dynamic bench press protocol should help with this: 8 sets with 50% 1 rm, move the bar and reverse the eccentric motion as fast as possible, once a week 2-3 days before your regular chest workout. You could also practice bench pressing in a power rack with the weight starting down at chest level and you explosively drive the bar off the pins on each rep. If your weakness is in locking out the bar, then you may need to hit your triceps hard for a couple months with close grip bench, board press, pin press, rack lockouts, dips, and skllcrushers. If your weakness is your form, remember to give yourself a more stable base by using your lats to help you on both the eccentric and concentric portions of the rep, make sure your elbows aren’t flared out at 90 degrees from your body, actually they should only be about 45-50 degrees at most. Keep your feet planted on the floor throughout each rep and drive through your heels when pressing.

  14. Steve I have been doing the muscle building 1.0, and then switched over to the 2.0 when you released it, since Apr 2010. I have gained about 10lbs of muscle, my body fat is still 7% so I know it is just good plain muscle gain. I’ve been doing the strength training now because I really like the ful body aspect of it. Do you plan on making a strength 2.0 anytime soon? I would like to see more shoulder/trap excercises in the program is why I was asking. Also sometimes I feel that I can do more sets of the weights i’m using on some of the exercises but if I add ore weight I can’t seem to finish the reps. Should I just add a few sets untill I can go up weight in order to continually progress? You should set up a before/after photo section on here. I’ll be like jared is for subway except beastly

    • I haven’t received that much feedback for the strength routine, nor have I used it much myself. I’ll look into upgrading it to 2.0 though. For now you can add some barbell shrugs to the routine, on leg or back day. Don’t add sets. Add weight. Even if you have to add 2.5 lbs to each side, add weight, not sets.

      For 4 months I’ve wanted to start a forum that folks can use for before and after pictures. The software is there, but I just haven’t really started or promoted the forum yet. That is one of my goals for the first quarter of this year.

      • sweet, sounds good to me. I’m training for USAF special forces, SERE; and they have to run/ruck a lot so I am trying to do more endurance training. I don’t want to lose my muscle though so the fullbody routine here is great. I can lift mon, wed, friday and run/ruck tues, thurs, saturday without spending to much time at the gym and away from the family. Hardest part of this program is eating so much calories so I don’t shrivel up lol.

  15. I have a question when calculating the calories. In werewolf training for muscle gains we were trying to put on weight so our goal weight was a bit high. With this program what should my goal weight be, maintain what I have now? minimal 5lb gain? or what? Thanks for all the hard work you do making it easier for us out here!

  16. Firstly thanks for the programs. My training partner and I have been doing the muscle building program for about 4 months and are stoked with or improvments. We are about to commence the strength program. We have been using your programs as a weights program for Rugby training, and I was wondering if you have though or already have developed a power section incorporating olympic lifts?

    Thanks

  17. I have a few questions about the nutrition. Werewolf for muscle gain had us calculate calories based on our goal weight. Would the goal weight for this be our current weight, or slightly above or what? Secondly, since the nutrition is the same as werewolf for muscle gains, are we at risk for some fat gain, or will the few HIIT/HIRT routines keep it off? On that note, would it be okay to replace one of the Abdominal HIITs with a light cardio?

  18. Hey Steve,

    Firstly thanks for all the effort you put into the site.

    I have been using the gym for about 6 years, although I have only really been doing it properly for about 2.

    I have been spending the last year building a solid base and making sure my form is good; as a result I have developed my muscles well. I am only now starting proper strength training. However, I used to smoke and my fitness is still pretty terrible. When I am doing the Day 2 and 4 HIRT training I get tired long before my muscles feel worked; i.e. I can only do about 2 of each superset before I am a wheezing wreck. Should I just keep at it or is there something you can recommend?

    Cheers

  19. Hey steve. Just have a question for you. For the rack pulls from 3 inches off the floor i am a little confused. When I just do regular deadlift with, the bar is already above 3 inches off the ground because of the 45 lb plates. So should I just raise the bar so it’s 3 more inches higher from there? I’m a beginner to lifting so I am just lost

  20. Hey Steve,
    First of all, thank you for all the hard work you put into this site. The information is great and it’s easy to see you put a lot of time and energy into maintaining it.
    I just completed three cycles of the muscle gains routine and am moving onto the strenth gains routine like you have suggested. I was hoping to get some advice from you on a problem I see myself running into. The routine calls for sets of 5 and 3 reps for dumbbell bench press but the gym I go to doesn’t have heavy enough dumbbells for the 3 rep sets. I’ve seen guys stack dumbells but I’m not too sure how comfortable I feel about that. What would suggest I do? Would it be as effective to substitute barbell bench?
    Thanks for your time and I’m looking forward to continuing my learning and training with your help.

  21. What should I do if for dumbell benching, my gym only goes to 100 and I can rep that out 8 times, when your asking us to do sets of 5 and 3 reps?

  22. steve thank you for the work outs they are a great change of pace and i gained 12 pounds on the mass cycle i started strength im on the 8th day could you explain how the 5,1,5,1,3 sets work i undrstand i need to increase the weight on the 1 rep sets but do i decrease weight going back up to 5 and 3? i figure you mean a one rep max but i want to make sure

  23. Hi, Steve.
    Thanks so much for laying this all out so concisely for everyone’s benefit.
    I’ve just completed 3 cycles of werewolf training for muscle gains. Interestingly, my results were that I’ve shredded up more that ever before. I’m also quite a bit stronger, and I get compliments in the gym (and at home) fairly often now. In short, it worked.
    So now I’m starting up your werewolf for strength gain program, for variety’s sake and based upon your recommendation to cycle through the different routines to maximize results.
    Here are 4 quick questions regarding the strength routine:

    1.Should I use any weight on the HIRT routine jump squats? An Olympic bar perhaps?

    2.If I need help hoisting (only to get the weights up for the first rep each set) DBs for DB bench, does that mean I’m lifting too heavy? After the initial spot, I get the reps out on my own.

    3.May I punch a heavy bag in lieu of kickboxing drills, or is that too muscularly-exerting?

    4.I will, though it sounds crazy to hear myself say it, miss the Tabata stuff. I was actually doing a full 8 set Tabata squat routine by the end of my muscle gains journey. Is there any room for that here, or should I just wait ’til I return to the muscle gains program?

    Phew! That’s a whole lot of message. If you have time to respond, please feel free to give me one-word answers. I don’t want to ask any more of you than you’ve already given so freely.

    Again, thanks very much! You’ve single-handedly transformed my workouts and given me some much-needed, fun, and challenging structure.

    • 1) I tend to use 95-135 lbs when jump squatting for HIIT or HIRT.
      2) Unless you have a permanent spotter, I tend to count the first rep for getting the weight up, as the first rep of the set. Of course I use a full range of motion, so the first rep for me literally is the first rep of the set. Personally, even if I had a spotter I wouldn’t count the set if I couldn’t get the first rep up on my own.
      3) Yes, although you should practice throwing kicks at the heavy bag too.
      4) You can use Tabata squats at the end of any session where you train either squats or deads, but NOT on the HIRT workout days. The light leg training on HIRT day is only to stimulate blood flow to the legs, not to rip up the fibers even more, for which Tabata is great.

  24. Just started this routine and have a couple questions:
    1. You specified that if you can complete the number of reps in any set, go up in weight for the follow up set. However, what do you do if you can not complete the number of reps in a set, do we decrease the weight on the following set?
    2. Regarding training frequency; is a 2-day on, 1-day off approach just as effective?
    PS – Grateful for your interesting website content.

  25. hey great workout. If i have a couple rough nights and get say 5-6 hours sleep instead of 7-8, should i take more time off to compensate (an extra day or so). How much does missing the mark on sleep effect the routine? Thanks for the help

    • Don’t sweat the sleep. If you get 0-2 hours then maybe consider taking a day off unless you know you can get your ass into the gym with maximum intensity. I have to be honest with you though, Hell Week in week 4 of Navy Seal training involves something like 5 days with minimal sleep, putting the body through nearly 24×7 of physical labor, exercise, and strategic physical tasks, and on the 5th day they still have to swim like 5 miles in the ocean. So can you lift weights without sleep? Yes. Will you get good results from it? No. Will you get sick and overtrained if you do it all the time? Yes.

  26. Hey Steve,

    I’ve been reading your site for quite awhile now, and I just wanted to express some interest in Werewolf Training for Power. I don’t have particularly high BF%, so after building muscle, then building strength, I believe training for some power seems perfect!

    Thank you for all your hard work and dedication!

  27. Starting this cool looking routine and have a couple questions:
    1. Is a 2-day on, 1-day off approach to this just as effective?
    2. You specify that if you can complete the # of reps in any set, increase the weight for the next. However, what if you can not complete the # of reps on a particular set? Do we drop the weight?

    • It depends on the rep goal really. Generally, the rule works like this: don’t drop the weight unless you can’t get within 2 reps of the recommended rep range. Keep trying for 3 weeks. If, after 3 weeks you can’t hit the reps, then you’ll need to deload. Deload: drop 25% of the weight and slowly build back up to the weight you can’t get. Most likely you will hit your reps after the deload and will continue to make progress.

  28. Absolutely loving the workout steve. I’ve seen the best results i’ve ever had out of this workout. Works wonders and everything you’ve said is 100% accurate. Just had to throw out the shoutout and thanks. I’ve been and will continue to spread good word about Project Swole and your entire site. Thanks again!

  29. Hi Steve, just a quick question. Is it beneficial to throw in some Olympic lifts, or would you suggest ditching them altogether? Are snatches and clean/jerks useful for muscle gains, or are they purely for strength? Powerlifters and O-lifters tend to criticize Bodybuilding as purely aesthetic.

    • Olympic lifts are best for power and speed. Force development. However, they can be used very nicely in HIRT and HIIT sessions. They can be slightly useful for muscle gains, but not as much as standard weightlifting.

  30. Hi Steve You Think You Could Make A Weights Training Regime That Has Mass Gains In Strength & Can Allow Me To Have A Cover Model Body? Sumthing Like A Full Body Workout 3 Days A Week (Monday,Wednesday,Friday) So I Could Incorporate It With My MMA & My ABS Routine? It Would Be Really Helpfull, Thank You

  31. Is this the best program for me if im trying to build muscle and loose fat at the same time as fast as possible? I have some muscle and more fat, but i dont want to put building muscles on hold to loose weight. I’ve done 2 cycles of the werewolf for muscle building nad ive put on some muscle i really dont want to loose.
    thanks for the help and any advice
    jack

    • This is not a muscle building routine, but you will get stronger on it and will probably build some muscle to boot. Neither Werewolf routine is designed for fat loss, but with the HIRT sessions I’ve included with this program, you have a better chance of gaining muscle and losing fat simultaneously than if you used the muscle gain routine.

  32. Hey Steve, i’m going to start your strength gaining routine however i have a question: Next to the exercise you have written down 3 sets x 5 reps, 1 set x 3 reps….does that mean i should increase the weight of my set when doing 1×3?

  33. What’s up Steve, I’ve been following the Werewolf training for muscle gains,(so far it’s been great)which prompted me to consider doing one cycle of muscle then doing the next cycle of strength, so on and so forth. Would you recommend I do this and what type of results do you think I would see?

  34. hello steve i have question about the werewolf training for gaining muscle and this as well… is it ok to do both of these exercises at the sametime? like do both day 1 of gain muscle and strenth on the sameday and then for the 2nd and 3rd etc. thank you for your time.

  35. When you say 20 reps for Russian Twist, one rep is twisting to the left and right, correct? Not counting twisting to the right as one and to the left as 2?

  36. Hey steve, im Aakash 18 years old male and i weigh about 84 kilos. I would like to have a ripped body and gain some body mass. My body right now is in not a good shape, i got a fat belly (36″) i would like to reduce the waitline and i need to have mass in my biceps. triceps, chest,legs. I would like to know if this workout is good for me cause i dont want to get alot of mass i just want to be ripped, get a lil bit of mass, and get strength. I play rugby and i would like to get more strength in my legs.
    Another question is that is it ok for me drinking protiens shakes at this age?? Theres not side effect from protiens right?? How many times am i supposed to drink it?
    Thanks in advance. hope to get your reply soon.

    • Protein shakes are fine for you. Maybe 1 a day, 2 at the most. You might be better off using full body fat loss for men instead of Werewolf Training if you want to lose fat. Werewolf Training for Strength Gains will help you with rugby, but first you should do a fat loss program for a couple months.

  37. hi, i really want to squeez some power cleans in to workout!! but should i??if yea.. what do i replace it for?? or where should i add??

  38. Steve, im a competitive swimmer. its the off season and i just finished two cycles of muscle gains. can i susbstitute HIRT workouts for like 60 minutes of swimming to stay in swimming shape and still maintain most of the muscle i gained? Thanks

  39. For the kickboxing warm-up’s are you supposed to use a punching bag? If so, what if my gym doesn’t have one?

  40. Steve, I just completed two cycles of the werewolf for weight gains and I couldn’t be happier. I just finished day 1 of the strength gains one and I had some questions. First, I feel like the lifting days seem more upper body oriented. Then again I could just not be putting in enough intensity in to leg workouts. Second, I thought you weren’t supposed to work muscle groups on back to back days. I noticed in the HIRT routines, there is an exercise in each superset that works either upper/lower body or back. Is this O.K. even though they were worked the day before?

    • Use more intensity with your leg training and you will notice that upper body and lower body are pretty balanced. HIRT training is not designed to tear up muscle fibers like strength and hypertrophy training are. Therefore, when you use a HIRT routine involving a muscle group that you worked the day prior, you are actually helping it to recover quicker by stimulating blood flow and nutrient uptake into that muscle. This is why HIRT training uses bodyweight or light weight rather than maxing out. Furthermore, the case isn’t quite the same with HIIT. I would not want someone to do a squat workout then run HIIT sprints the next day. That would be detrimental to recovery.

  41. Hey Steve. I read your article on body types and I see you recommend high reps for an endomorphic body type. I think I’m definitely an endomorph since I had issues with weight all my life. I am trying to gain a lot of strength and lose a little weight at the same time. Would you recommend this workout or a workout with higher reps for someone like me?

    • If your main goal is to get stronger, use this routine. If your main goal is to lose fat, try the full body fat loss for men routine, then when you are comfortable with your body composition you can switch to this workout to focus more on strength again.

  42. Steve, since I play basketball on tuesdays, I use the routine above but have modified it like this:

    M – weight routine starting with rack pulls
    T – basketball
    W – weight routine starting with bench
    Th – HIRT routine 1 (circuit)
    F – weight routine starting with squats
    S – HIRT routine 2 (abs)
    Su – rest

    is one day of rest enough? also, since the first HIRT routine has some pretty killer leg stuff, if I do those the day before squatting, will I weaken my squat too much?

    • One day of rest might be enough, although I would prefer to see two… at least every couple weeks or so. You should not kill your legs the day before squat day, or yes it will affect performance.

  43. Hey Steve, so I’ve already gone through maybe a little more than one cycle of the muscle growth routine you have and with that and the recent addition of creatine into my workout I’ve progressed a whole lot I’d say. Im going to stay on the muscle growth routine for probably another 2 cycles and then i want to move onto a new routine to maxamize all the new muscle. Would you suggest I do the strength routine first and then do a cutting routine once you’ve wrote that one up? Overall I basically want to take all my new muscle and shape it to have a sort of body like the guy you based these workouts on.. Thank you for any advice you can give me it’s much appreciated

    • If I were you, I would do the strength routine first for about 2 months, then switch to cutting. You don’t want to cut away all your new muscle gains without first giving that muscle tissue a reason to stay put: namely, make your new muscle as strong as possible.

    • Go ahead and add barbell shrugs once a week and dumbbell shrugs once a week. You can do it at the end of the workout or place of some calf training.

  44. i’ve been having some back discomfort lately and my school still doesnt have a squat rack, would it be ok to substitute back squts with front squats?

  45. Steve,
    I’ve been looking over your site for a couple months now, and I’m very impressed. I’ve had good results in strength training over the past 16 – 18 months or so, but I feel it’s time to shift to power now to take advantage of the new muscle. What percentages should I lower my weights by? I know the focus will shift from simply getting the rep done, to getting the rep done as fast as possible. Just don’t know what weight to start with and what set/rep range I should be looking at. Thanks!

    • You can start to build speed by using dynamic effort sets, moving the weight as fast as possible for 3-5 rep sets with 50-60% of your 1 rep max. More than 60% will affect your acceleration and start speed, which will ultimately impair your speed development. Consider using plyometric exercises like jumps and explosive pushing to build power. Consider training with bands to work on your acceleration. Finally, consider training with explosive reversals to build power and starting strength – let the weight free fall for the last 2 inches of your eccentric rep, explosively reverse the movement and accelerate through the concentric to lockout.

  46. oh and regarding on resistance band, how many of them should i buy? how many sets of different resistance and what is your recommended starting resistance?

    thanks steve

  47. what i mean is after the overload day, should i still be using the same overload weight on the following days for bench pressing?

    • No, you should go back down to your regular working weight. Eventually I’m sure your working weight will be the same as what you used for the overload day, but it might take a month or so.

  48. steve on doing negative rep overloading in bench, should i use the same weight i lift on the next bench i’ll be doing the following day?

  49. thanks steve, one more thing though, im back at school now and the free weight room the school provides for students that arent on the sports teams is absolute crap.. they dont have a squat rack in there so ive been doing smith machine back squats and using the incline bench for front squats. it feels awkward when im going down with the smith machine, is there an alternate position i should use to prevent any injuries or should i have spotters help me get the bar off the incline bench with my back towards it?

    Thanks again, im currently on my 3rd cycle of the muscle gain routine and excited for strength training

    • JTan: Squat in a smith machine at your own risk. Smith squats are awkward, painful, can cause injury, and do cause much discomfort. If there is any way you can squat outside of the smith machine, I highly recommend it. I recently got a new gym membership because my old fitness center didn’t have a squat rack (or dumbbells over 115 lbs).

      • I had someone show me a great way to do BB back squats on a smith. Its really amazing but takes a few to get used to. Get on the inside of the bar and push your shoulder blade/rotater cuff area against the bar. Place your feet in front of you, shoulder length apart (picture yourself looking like you’re sitting in a small chair when in a full squat position). Lift the bar off the rack putting some pressure on the bar for stability. Now do a regular squat, bending your legs down to a 90+ degree angle and push back up with your legs. This will really isolate your legs and abdominal area while causing no pain or awkwardness while on the smith.

  50. How strong of a resistance band would you recommend, elite fitness has bands starting at 30lbs at the top i think. Also, if i use 30lb resistance bands should i take 30lbs off the bar from what i usually lift?

    • JTan and others: You should definitely start with a lighter resistance band when learning how to use them. You should count the added resistance of the band when figuring out how much weight to add to the bar or when selecting dumbbells. For example say you are doing 5 x 5 with 230 lbs using a 30 lb resistance band. You would start with 200 lbs of weights plus the 30 lb resistance band. That will probably allow you to do more than 5 reps, so simply add a little weight until the bar + the band allows you to meet the requirements for your sets, whether 5 x 5, 3 x 5, 3 x 10, or whatever you are attempting.

  51. I want to buy and learn how to use the resistance bands, Do you know a place to buy them and a good place to learn how to use them properly? Thanks!

  52. Hey Steve, what do you recommend for me so I can get cut? I hit the gym Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Start with cardio and then full body workout. I wanna just get cut not gain mass. What should I do? Would doing light weight with a lot of reps do it or what?

    • Aaron: For now, since I haven’t written Werewolf Training for Fat Loss yet, use this Werewolf Training 2 workout, but use sets of 5-7 rather than sets of 1 or 3 reps. Replace 5 reps with 7 reps, replace 3 reps and 1 rep with 5 reps. You could also use the HIRT routine, with Monday and Friday full body training, and a 45 minute HIRT session on Wednesday. I would like to get into this, but I just found out Project Swole has malware installed on it, so I’ve gotta go clean up my site again.

  53. Thanks. and i just finished the first week of strength gains its pretty good. what would the Werewolf Training for Power build? it sounds like it is just another version of strengh gains

    • Training for power and speed is different from training for strength, but not by much. My focus on training for speed and power is to lift lighter loads with extreme reversal and acceleration. If I get a chance to write it, I believe you will be quite interested.

  54. would you do strengh gains and than cutting? i am not looking to gain anymore mass just look good with cut dense muscle. when will you have the cutting one up?

    • john: I guess I’ll try to whip up the cutting routine ASAP. If I were you I would focus on strength for a month or two, then cut for a couple months.

  55. nice thread again steve! i hope you will make a thread for cutting too. me and my friend are using your programm, keep those program coming! thanks again…

    • Charlotte: All of the Werewolf Training programs can be done by males and females, although some females may prefer not to go as heavy when training for strength gains… but they should.

  56. I like it. Been doing the same routine for about 2 months now, so I might just try this out. If I do, I’ll keep ya updated. And maybe when I complete two cycles, there just might be a cutting phase outlined and waiting for me (hint, hint) hah

  57. Steve, I think I speak for the rest of your readers when I say we are really impressed with the time you put into this website and keeping it running. Thank you.
    I think I will try this routine later on in spring to shed fat for summer and build lots of strength hopefully.

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