Five Weeks, Five Days, Five Reps and Five Sets to Beefcake

By Basil Kronfli on at

I hate being a man sometimes. Eat lean and often to keep trim. Gorge on your body weight in chicken to muscle up. Cardio to strip down. No cardio -- you'll cannibalise your muscle. And don't get me started on carbs.


Why the drama?

Being a lean beefcake, or at the very least, a beefy man, appears to be the fashion. Too many men want raging guns, angry pecs and Ben Cohen's bum, with a side helping of < 15 per cent body fat.

As a result, the condition of many body-obsessed men is rife with dietary confusion and gym-based contradiction. While I'm steering clear of actual diet tips in this piece, I can shed some light on how you can be a beefcake, even if you're not a genetic bastard of a muscle god.


Why five weeks?

Every weights-based workout needs to be shaken up every five weeks or your body will adapt and you'll totally plateau. This workout is good for the first five weeks, then you can reintroduce it again after a couple of other cycles.


Why five days?

Do weights five days a week to beef-up -- this will allow for the right amount of split across body parts:

Monday: Back
Tuesday: Legs
Wednesday: Chest
Friday: Shoulders
Saturday: Arms


Why five sets?

If you want to bulk up, you do fewer repetitions. Tried, tested -- it works. You will also want to make sure that with each exercise, you hit the muscle throughout the full range of motion. Three sets at max weight probably won't let you do this, so, do five sets as follows:

Set 1: Medium weight -- at the fifth rep, feel like you can do another one or two; the focus is to complete a steady, controlled set throughout the full motion.
Set 2: Heavy weight -- at the fifth rep, take stock to see if you can do one more.
Set 3-5: Struggle on the fifth rep -- if you can't even crank it out by the fifth set, you're winning.


Why five reps?

As mentioned, keeping reps down and weights up is the key to the beefcake side of the menu. You're probably used to reps of 10 as outlined in traditional workouts -- don't be fazed; do this for five weeks and you'll be a champion.

Now onto the workout:


Why five reps?

Every day: Warmup -- 5 minute run / row / elliptical (cross-trainer)

Monday: Back
Straight back deadlifts
Pull ups / Lat pulldown
Single arm rows
Overhand pull ups / overhand pulldown
Seated row

Wednesday: Legs
Calf raise (machine)
Leg extension
Leg curl
Leg press

Thursday: Chest
Barbell chest press
Dumbell chest press
Incline chest press
Dumbell flye
Cable cross

Friday: Shoulders
Barbell shoulder press
Dumbell front raise
Lateral raise
Barbell shoulder press
Reverse flyes

Saturday: Arms
Barbell bicep curl
Dumbell bicep curl
Preacher curls
Tricep dips
Tricep pulldowns

Everyday: Stretch off, have a protein shake, and if you have time, do twenty / thirty minutes of light cardio to strip down just that little bit more.

You're looking beefier already.

Image Credit: Bench press from Shutterstock

This week, we're expanding minds and dispensing some of Gizmodo UK's favourite tips, with a "how to" theme week, in association with O2 Guru TV. Bookmark this page for all related features.