What An Opportunity

Shortcut to Size workout program review

In Life on July 20, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Shortcut to Size — day one (left) and final day (right)

It’s tradition for me now — take summer as a time to go crazy getting in shape.

My schedule is insane during the school year, and I have a whole lot more time during the summer. That means I have the opportunity to really focus on fitness. I’ve used Beachbody programs the previous three summers, sweating in the heat with P90X (2010, 2012) and Insanity (2011). But this year I wanted to hone in on getting stronger. For as much as I had worked hard using weight-lifting programs like P90X, it felt like my bench press hadn’t gone up in three years. I wanted more strength. In addition to that, I really like my gym, Fitness 19, and wanted to use a program that involved frequenting it.

So I decided to give Jim Stoppani’s 12-week Shortcut to Size program a shot. The dude has a Ph.D. in muscle science (yeah, that is a thing) and the basic overview of the program got my blood pumping.

Here I am, 12 weeks later, and I’m happy with the results. I went from 179 pounds to 200. The physical difference might not be too extreme (see photo above), but it’s noticeable and the biggest changes have come in strength, which is what I wanted.

It’s important if you do this program to keep track of every rep of every workout. Otherwise, you’ll never know how you can improve and when you do improve — and when you lose sight of improvements, you don’t want to keep working out; it feels pointless. But when you keep track and see where you’re improving, you want to keep going; it feels liberating.

Here are some of my improvements (all max weight, five reps):

Body weight: +21 pounds

Bench press: +20 pounds

Triceps pushdown: +15 pounds

Dumbbell shoulder press: +10 pounds

Dumbbell lateral raise: +15 pounds

Front barbell squat: +70 pounds

Leg extension: +35 pounds

Romanian deadlift: +45 pounds

Dumbbell bent-over rows: +35 pounds

Wide-grip pulldown: +30 pounds

Barbell curl: +20 pounds

Dumbbell incline curl: +20 pounds

Seated calf raise: +90 pounds

I recommend the workout to anyone trying to bulk up and get stronger. If you’re just looking to tone up, try out Stoppani’s six-week Shortcut to Shred. He also recommends doing HIIT cardio between your workout days. There are four scheduled lifting days per week. I personally prefer lifting more frequently, and I know my body well enough to know I recover quickly enough to do that without risking injury or overtraining. So for this program, I played basketball one day a week and lifted five days with one rest day per week. You can adjust the program to work for your body and fitness level.

This program also doesn’t require an extensive weight-lifting background. You only need to know basic moves, and there are videos for each move on the individual workout pages. Want to get stronger? You should give it a shot. I’m about to go start round two.

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