Bulk Up and Get Strong During the Off-Season

Try this tough off-season workout from STACK Expert Drew Henley.

Bulk Up

The off-season is the best time to attack your training and make strength, size and power gains. Since you aren't practicing and playing games, you have more time to focus on training and don't have to worry about fatigue affecting your on-field performance.

Below is a full-week workout that you can perform to make big gains during your off-season.

Day 1 - Heavy Lower Body

Hang Cleans - 2x5, 3x3
First two sets are for rhythm and mobility. Get deep in your catch and make sure your form is perfect. Last three sets are working sets with heavy resistance.

Squat - 5x5
Increase weight each set and stretch your hip flexors between sets.

Deadlift - 5x5
Use the same sequence as the Squat (with a different set/rep pattern), making sure to increase resistance each set. Don't allow your back to round. Perfect form is more important than how much weight is on the bar. Perform Planks for one minute between the first three sets.

Side Lunges - 3x8 each leg
For this exercise, hold the dumbbell in the goblet position against your chest. Take no rest between legs or sets and perform all three rounds quickly.

Single Leg RDL - 3x8 each leg
Keep a slight bend in your knee and don't allow your hips to rotate. Drive out of the low position by squeezing your glutes and trying to slide your foot back to engage the proper muscles and prevent the lower back from rounding.

Day 2 - Heavy Upper Body

Push Press - 2x5, 3x3
If you don't know how to do this exercise safely, replace it with Clap Push-Ups. Same as Day 1, the first two sets are to prepare for the heavier weights of the three working sets.

Chin-Ups - 5x5
Add resistance to each set if you can. If you don't have a dip belt at your gym, hold a dumbbell between your feet (this also has a great effect on the core). For advanced lifters, pull until your sternum touches the bar. Your upper body will curve slightly, which is okay in this instance. Stretch your chest between sets for 15 to 30 seconds each side.

Dumbbell Bench - 5x5
Add weight each set and make sure to go through a full range of motion. Remember, form is more important than weight. Between sets, grab a med ball and do five Overhead Med Ball Slams.

TRX/Inverted Row - 3x8
To make this exercise more difficult, continue moving your feet forward until the TRX is hanging straight down. If that is still too easy, elevate your feet on a box or bench. Be sure to start the movement with your shoulder blades by squeezing them together.

Single-Arm Dumbbell Military Press - 3x8 each hand
Take no rest between sets. Complete all three rounds as quickly as possible.

Day 3 - Rest

Day 4 - Light Lower Body

This is a fast workout with very short rest periods to stimulate growth hormone production. The weights will be lighter, but the fatigue will be just as intense.

Close-Grip Snatch - 5x3
Use a shoulder-width grip and perform each rep as quickly as possible. Complete three perfect reps as fast as you can, resetting between each rep.

Overhead Squat - 4x8
Start with a PVC pipe or broomstick. Eventually add weight by just using a barbell and then adding weight. Take 45 seconds rest between sets.

Sumo Deadlift - 4x8
Pick a good weight to last for all four sets. Rest for less than one minute between sets.

Rear-Foot-Elevated Split-Squat - 3x10 each leg
Hold one dumbbell on the same side as the elevated foot to add a core and hip challenge. Don't take any rest between sets, and complete all three rounds quickly.

Physioball Leg Curl - 3x10
Keep the hips elevated through the entire movement, continuously engaging the glutes and hamstrings. Complete 15 Physioball Jackknifes between sets. Take no rest during the superset.

Day 5 - Light Upper Body

Med Ball Shot Put - 4x5 each side
Each rep should be explosive, and do not let med ball bounce on ground. Perform 10 Leg Raises between sets.

Chin-Ups - 50
Take as many sets as you need to get to 50 total reps. Every time you let go of the bar, perform a Plank for 30 seconds. There is no rest—either perform a Chin-Up or Plank.

Push-Ups - 100
Same concept as above, but perform 8 Dumbbell Curls between sets.

Dumbbell Row - 3x10 each arm
Squeeze your shoulder blades for a two-count at the top of each rep. Take no rest between sets and complete all three rounds quickly.

Dumbbell Rear, Lateral and Front Raises - 3x10 each variation
Use only five- or 10-pound dumbbells. Perform three sets of this circuit with your choice of ab exercise between sets.

Day 6 & 7 - Rest

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