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The Hanson Manual

by David Israeli

If you are reading this, that means that you are about to undertake one of the most
physically taxing, not to mention rewarding, progressive-resistance regimens out there.
Designed by Keith Hanson, this 3-5 month regimen will prove to be your greatest friend,
and whats more, its recyclable! The program is so conceived that you are MEANT to
repeat it upon finishing it. While this might sound boring and tedious, the nature of the
regimen itself emphasizes change. It changes by the week and demands of you,
equipped with your invaluable spreadsheet, to change right with it, demolishing all
plateaus, or, possible avenues of boredom. So without any further ado, herein follows
the outline of the best workout regimen youll ever find!

Week 1-2: Giant Sets


These 1st two weeks consist of light weight and high reps in order to strengthen your
tendons and improve your muscular endurance in preparation for the weeks to come.
Beginners will start with one body part a day. (Those more advanced can tackle two a
day if they are up to it). You will perform ONE set of 20 reps PER exercise (called a
giant set). Choose a weight that will challenge you; dont select one with which you can
do 20 and then some. You should be able to perform JUST about 20 (anything in the
15-20 range is also acceptable). Giant set days are meant to be quick but dont let that
discourage you. They give you a great opportunity to isolate the muscle youre working
and give it a great pump!

*Add. For Full Body Exercises, perform no more than 6 reps.

How to Record:

Exercise BB Bench Press

Date 3/21/13

Weight 135

Reps 20

Set GS

Week 3-4: Super Sets


This is when things begin to pick up. You will now be working TWO body parts a day,
resulting in a 4 day split which you will be adhering to for the remainder of the program.
(Ex. Chest & Biceps, Full Body, Back & Triceps, and Legs & Shoulders). In order to
perform a super set, you will select one exercise from each of the body parts youre
working; well use Barbell Bench Press and Barbell Curls for this example. You will use
a weight with which you can perform 8-12 reps with on one exercise and, upon finishing,
will immediately move to the 2nd exercise. For your 2nd set, aim for anywhere between
6-10 reps. After performing 8-12 reps on the 2nd exercise you will return to your 1st.
RULE OF THUMB: If you were able to complete 12 reps, increase your weight. If you
werent able to complete 8 reps, decrease your weight. If you fell somewhere in
between, although its up to you to gauge your performance, the safest bet is to remain
where you are. Then, adjust your weight accordingly for both exercises and proceed
through both again, with minimal rest in between. Congratulations, you have just
completed a super set! Super sets are naturally very taxing and it is up to you to choose
how many you want to complete in a workout; a healthy recommendation is 4 super
sets per workout resulting in 16 sets overall. For clarification Ill provide a virtual super
set: I perform 12 reps with 90lbs on BB Curls; I move on to BB Bench Press and
perform 12 with 185lbs; I return to BB Curls and perform 6 reps with 100lbs; I go back to
BB Bench press and perform 7 reps with 205lbs.

*Add. The rep range for Full Body exercises remains at 4-6.

How to Record:

Barbell Curls

3/21/13

90 100

12 6

SS

Barbell Bench Press

3/21/13

185 205

12 7

SS

Week 5: Super Sets (Force Reps)


For this week, youll continue to perform supersets as per usual with one small
adjustment: you will be incorporating force reps in a select few of your sets. Force reps
are reps performed with the assistance of a partner, or spotter, after you have reached
failure on a particular exercise. You will only do force reps on the 2nd and last set of
your exercise once you have reached failure. Controlling the weight, a spotter will give
slight (but not overly compensatory) assistance as you squeeze out anywhere from 1-3
force reps. However, you cannot perform force reps for all exercises: anything in which
the lifter is bent over is off limits. Force reps provide the extra shock needed to keep
your muscles from adapting totally to your workouts.
How to Record:

Barbell Bench Press

3/21/13

185 205

12 6+3

SS FR

Week 6: Super Sets (Negatives)


With another week comes another tweak: on top of force reps, you will now be adding
negatives to your workout. Just as with force reps, you will only perform negatives at the
end of the 2nd set of the given exercise. Negatives, otherwise known as eccentric
contractions, are steady and controlled reps in the direction opposing contraction: on a
Barbell Bench Press, a negative would entail slowly lowering the bar from an arms-
extended position back to the initial starting position. Eccentric contractions can handle
heavier loads than concentric ones and thus, coupled together, can result in great
strength and muscle gains. To perform a negative, after reaching failure, a spotter will
force rep your weight up to a contracted position and, while carefully spotting the
weight, allow you to slowly lower the weight down to a starting position with a count of 7
seconds. At this point, you will most likely be too fatigued to even lift the weight with
partial assistance, so your spotter will provide gratuitous help in order for you to bring
the weight back to the contracted position again and perform another negative. Aim for
1-2 negatives.

How to Record:

Barbell Bench Press

3/21/13

185 205

12 6+2+1

SS FR N

Week 7: Pyramid Sets


Things will now begin to get interesting (although hopefully they already were). Pyramid
sets are, essentially, glorified super sets in that instead of performing two sets per
exercise you perform THREE. The pattern follows the same model of super sets; you
move from on exercise to another, adjusting the weight as you see fit, with as little rest
as possible. Pyramid sets will allow you to lift heavier weight, although at lower reps,
providing you with the benefits of maximal strength training. For your 1st set your rep
range will fall within 8-12, for the 2nd aim for 5-8, and for the 3rd youll be shooting for
3-5. Ideally (although again it is up to you) I would recommend you perform 3 pyramid
sets a workout, totaling at 18 sets.

How to Record:

Barbell Bench Press

3/21/13

185 205 225

12 7 5

PYR

Week 8: Drop-Pyramid Sets


Drop-pyramid sets will incorporate an unprecedented level of difficulty into your
workouts if you do them right. A drop-pyramid set will begin as any other pyramid set,
until you reach your 3rd set. Once you reach your 3rd set for an exercise (your 3-5 rep
range) prepare to drop. You will perform your 3rd set and then IMMEDIATELY upon
finishing, typically with the help of a partner, decrease the weight and do a 4th set after
which you will IMMEDIATELY decrease the weight again and finish with a 5th set. If all
goes accordingly, the number of reps you perform for your 4th and 5th sets should be
lower than the number of reps you perform for the preceding set, respectively. After
completing this drop-pyramid set, you will return to your corresponding exercise you
were super setting with and do just the same. As drop-pyramid sets are nothing short of
grueling, I would recommend doing two per workout coming to a total of 20 sets.

How to Record:

Barbell Bench Press

3/21/13

225 185 155

5 3 2

D-PYR

Week 9: Rest-Pause-Pause Sets


Now comes the final week and with that rest-pause-pause sets. These sets are like a
final shock to your muscles that are sure to result in hypertrophy. One rest-pause-pause
set consists of three sets per exercise. To begin, you pick a weight for the given
exercise with which you can do 10-12 reps. After performing your first set you will count
to 10 and then perform another set, doing as many reps as you can, the same goes for
the 3rd set. Simple, quick, and intense.

How to Record:

Barbell Bench Press

3/21/13

185

12 6 2

RPP

And there you have it! While the breakdown only highlights 9 weeks total you have to
account for all other contingencies; rest days, cardio days (which are IMPERATIVE),
and simply those days when you are not able to reach the gym. Coupled with a sound
diet and consistent cardio, this program will yield all the benefits one could hope for.
After completing your last day of rest-pause-pause, its time to print out a new
spreadsheet, take a breath, and start all over again. The logic behind this is that an
unchecked and prolonged period of heavy lifting will inevitably result in injury. Aside
from that, enjoy your workouts! Remember that this is not a hobby, but a lifestyle. Now
go forth and lift!

-David Israeli