Strength Training and Hypertrophy Workout: How to Get Lean and Strong

Moderate weight deadlifts

Many of us think of getting big, lean and strong when we think of working out. It makes sense, right? Although strength and muscularity are deeply connected, if you want to truly progress it’s often stated that you have to focus on one over the other.

To some extent, that’s true. For example, if you’re goal is power and strength (like, if you’re a powerlifter or strongman athlete) you’re not concerned about aesthetics. Or at least you shouldn’t be. A powerlifting workout and diet is much different than that of a bodybuilder.

I remember watching a strongman competition a while back. There was one guy that looked like a bodybuilder. He was ripped and you could see his striations. He was a big dude but did not place so well among the other guys. Don’t get me wrong, bodybuilder-looking guy was super string, but he was not as strong as the other strongman competitors.

If you’re into bodybuilding, your goal is to sculpt and define your physique. Of course getting bigger (larger muscles) is part of that process. But strength training takes a back seat here. If you were to focus on getting stronger, you may fall behind on building a bodybuilder’s physique. Gaining strength requires a hefty amount of calories so you have to be okay with a little fat gain. That doesn’t work for bodybuilders, especially if you’re training for a bodybuilding competition.


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Getting Lean and Strong

The question comes up ‘Can you do both; can you get lean and strong?‘ The answer is yes for most people. But there’s a caveat. If you’re at an extreme level of competition in powerlifting or bodybuilding, this method probably isn’t best for you (you need to focus solely on one or the other).

Though some of us may compete, most of us aren’t at that top tier level of competing in bodybuilding or powerlifting (or strongman). So how exactly can you get lean and strong? Simple; train for both goals.

Strength and Hypertrophy Workouts

I’m actually going to give you my full current workout routine here. I’ve done mostly bodybuilding-style workouts throughout my life, and have only gone for strength a few times. I’ve never considered myself to be super strong, at least not to powerlifting standards. But lately I’ve had this bug to focus more on strength. Call it my mid-life crisis.

But I don’t want to lose the benefits of muscularity that comes with training for hypertrophy. So I’ve combined the two to get lean and strong (though I’m not exactly lean; I’ve been eating like a horse lately! Had pizza and beer last night. Back off, it was the weekend!!).

Deadlifts

Jason’s Lean and Strong Workout Routine

Here’s my current lean and strong workout routine. This is always subject to change. I’ve been trying a few different routines over the past several weeks and I think I may stick with the below for a while.

Monday – Lean and Strong Workout

  • Strength Workout
    • Squats: 3-5 sets x 3-8 reps
    • Bench Press: 5 sets x 5 reps
    • Barbell Rows: 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Hypertrophy Workout (chest and back)
    • Incline Bench Press: 3 sets x 8 reps
    • Dumbbell Rows: 3 sets x 8 reps
    • Pull-ups: 3 sets x 10 reps

Tuesday – Lean and Strong Workout

  • Hypertrophy Workout (Arms)
    • Skull Crushers: 3 sets x 8-10 reps
    • Barbell Curls: 3 sets x 6-8 reps
    • Pull-ups: 3 sets x 10 reps
    • Dips: 3 sets x 15 reps
    • Seated Calve Raises: 3 sets x 8-10 reps
    • Standing Calve Raises: 3 sets x 12 reps
    • 30 minutes of cardio

Wednesday – Lean and Strong Workout

  • Strength Workout
    • Squats: 3-5 sets x 3-8 reps
    • Deadlifts: 3-5 sets x 1-3 reps
    • Overhead Barbell Press: 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Hypertrophy Workout (legs)
    • Leg Press: 4-5 sets x 10-12 reps
    • Leg Extensions: 3-4 sets x 10-12 reps
    • Leg Curls: 3-4 sets x 10-12 reps

Thursday – Lean and Strong Workout

  • Hypertrophy Workout (bodyweight-only)
    • Pull-ups: 5 sets x 10 reps
    • Dips: 5 sets x 15 reps
    • Cardio: 35 minutes

Friday – Lean and Strong Workout

  • Strength Workout
    • Squats: 3-5 sets x 3-8 reps
    • Bench Press: 5 sets x 5 reps
    • Barbell Rows: 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Hypertrophy Workout (random)
    • a few sets of one exercises for each: chest, back, arms, calves
    • Pull-ups: 3 sets x 10 reps
    • Dips: 3 sets x 15 reps

Lean and Strong Workout Notes:

  1. My strength days are Mon – Wed – Fri. I do a rotation, so for this workout, the Wed workout for strength will be done on Mon and Fri the following week (meaning the Mon and Fri strength workouts above will be done the following Wed).
  2. The hypertrophy workouts will sometimes be low or high volume; it depends on how I feel. If I feel good, I’ll do more. If I’m feeling sore or tired, I’ll cut those short.
  3. The Tues and Thurs cardio sessions are walking on the treadmill.
  4. I also do 30 minutes of stretching and martial arts training each day when I get home from the gym (the martial arts more than counts for cardio).

That’s my current workout routine for getting lean and strong in a nutshell. This may seem high volume, but again, I listen to my body. For example, this morning I only did three sets of squats. And I only did one reps on that third set. But when I got to deadlifts, I felt strong, so I did a little extra. Your body will tell you when to do more and when to hold back, so learn to listen to it.

Train with Passion,

Jason


 

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