Cutting and lifting crazy volume go together like lamb and tuna fish. People that saw Big Daddy will get it, people who didn’t will think I’m retarded. 

Before you start, I’m thinking of getting some sweet-ass Aesthetic Physiques t-shirts made.  If you’re interested in wearing the hottest gear in the gym go here.

Whenever you search the interwebs for workouts to help you slim down, tone up or get jacked AF, they all have two things in common.  Limited rest periods and massive volume.  Couple that with a calorie deficit and you are on a one-way street to be one weak SOB.  Sure you’ll be ripped, but good luck opening that pickle jar. 

So I set out to see if I could tone up and get stronger or at very least keep my strength while being in a calorie deficit. 

Not as easy as it sounds.


Strength is the result of your nervous system activating the muscles to contract.    The speed of the activation and how much of the muscle is activated are the limiting factors of this reaction.  The faster you can send that signal to the muscle to contract the stronger you’ll be.  And obviously, the more muscle you can recruit will give you more strength.

When you lift lighter weights to get a lot of volume in traditional workouts, you aren’t using your nervous system to it’s potential.  So the connections slow down and you’re not using all of the muscle as you would with a heavy lift.  Like the old saying “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”  True for your wiener and true for your strength.  


With this workout you want to make sure you sleep enough and keep on point with your diet.  That’s especially true if you want to see some abs.  Without either of these you might as well quit – you’d just be wasting your time.

This workout is not for the casual gym goer.  This plan takes a certain level of discipline and consistency.  It will be hard.  If you’re looking for a cardio workout or something less aggressive I suggest you sit this one out.  But if you’re looking to widen your horizons of what you’re capable of, give it a whirl. 

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


There is a fine line between going hard and being stupid.  I toe that line often.  This workout toes that line too. 

Instead of doing 5-6 days of all out 4 sets of 10-12 reps for every exercise, I’ve split it into 2 sections.  The strength section which is Monday and Tuesday and the bodybuilding section Thursday-Saturday.  Wednesday and Saturday are off days, you’ll need them.

Monday and Tuesday will follow a 5×5 routine with a little twist.  The breakdown is as follows:

Week 1 5×5

Week 2 5×4

Week 3 5×3

Week 4 5×5

Week 5 5×4

Week 6 5×3

So for the first three weeks the weight goes up by 5-10 lbs.  Starting Week 4 you would use the weight you used in Week 2.  Here’s an example:

Week 1 5×5 100lbs

Week 2 5×4 110lbs

Week 3 5×3 120 lbs

Week 4 5×5 110lbs

Week 5 5×4 120 lbs

Week 6 5×3 130 lbs

That’s for all the exercises on Monday and Tuesday with the exception of planks and deadlifts.  This is how you keep your strength.  This way you can save face by not asking your tiny girlfriend/wife to open a jar for you. 

After a much needed rest day, you’ll start the bodybuilding portion of your week.  This is where it takes a more traditional cutting workout feel.  Supersets and reps in the 6-12 range with the occasional 20 rep pump fest.


If you are going to do this work out to it’s full potential, you need to watch your rest periods. 

Monday- Tuesday – 2-3 minutes between sets

Thursday-Saturday – 30 sec.  Rest after you completed both exercises in the superset.


Day 1

Incline Bench 5×5

Weighted Pullups 5×5

Dumbbell Bench Press 5×5

Dumbbell Row 5×5

Plank 4×45 sec

HIIT 10 mins

Day 2

Sumo Deadlift 10,5,2,1,1,1

Seated Shoulder Press 5×5

Dips 5×5

EZ-Bar Curls 5×5

Walking on a 5% incline for 10 mins

Day 3



Day 4

Lat Pulldown 4×12,10,8,6

Superset with

Dumbbell Incline 4×12,10,8,6

Row Machine 4×12,10,8,6

Chest Press Machine 4×12,10,8,6

Cable fly with pronated grip** 4×20

Superset with

Straight Arm Pulldown 4×15

HIIT 10 mins

Day 5

Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4×12,10,8,6

Arnold Press 4×12,10,8,6

Superset with

Dumbbell Lat Raise 4×12,10,8,6

Rear Delt Triset* 3×36

Straight Bar Pushdown 4×12,10,8,6

Superset with

EZ Bar Preacher Curl 4×12,10,8,6

Skull Crusher 4×12,10,8,6

Superset with

Dumbbell Incline Curl 4×12,10,8,6

HIIT 10 mins

Day 6

Hanging Leg Raises 1×20

Squat 4×12,10,8,8

Leg Extension 4×20

Lying Leg curl 4×20

Toes to the Bar4x10

Seated Calf Raises 4×12,10,10,8

Weighted Crunch 4×20

Walking on a 5% incline for 10 mins

*Keeping elbows straight, lay on an incline bench and do 12 reps so you form an arrow then to 12 reps to the side to form a “T” and then 12 reps overheard.  I used 5lb.  Check your ego, go light.

** 10 with hands meeting mid chest then 10 with hands meeting overhead.  Lean forward on the second portion.

As always, if you want a spreadsheet of this workout to track your weights, here it is: ripped-strength-workout.


If you know someone who could benefit from this article, please share it on Facebook or Twitter.  2 out of 3 people are obese today, let’s start a change.



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