#IronLife - 4 Month Barbell & Dumbbell Challenge
#IronLife - 4 Month Barbell & Dumbbell Challenge
Note: I decided to call this the Iron Life Challenge. If you run this challenge, please include the hashtag #ironlife when you can on social media. Also, invite others to join in and pass along this link.

Let's face it...the average gym member shuns most barbell and dumbbell exercises. Outside of dumbbell curls and barbell bench press variations, these primary muscle building tools are avoided like the plague.

We also know the average gym member also isn't seeing much in the way of results. If this sounds like you; if you've spent years in the gym and simply can't pack on the muscle mass you're after, it's time you take the 4 Month Iron Life Challenge.

Here are the 5 things you must do during the challenge series:

#1 - Use the 70% Rule

70% of your sets must be performed using a barbell or dumbbell exercise. No exceptions. It doesn't matter how you slice it and dice it, just pick some barbell and dumbbell exercises and make it rain gains.

Barbell Deadlifts
Your mission is progressive overload. During this challenge you MUST push every set for as many reps as possible. No exceptions, and NO exceptions.

#2 - Train Frequently, No Body Part Splits

No body part splits allowed during this challenge. You must use at least an upper/lower split, or a full body workout if you prefer.

Hate training with anything other than body part splits? Too bad. Your results suck. Try something new.

Training must include 3-4 workouts per week and no more. If you run the sample upper/lower program included with this challenge and want to train only 3 days per week, it can be performed as follows:

Week 1:
  • Monday - Lower Body A
  • Wednesday - Upper Body A
  • Friday - Lower Body B
Week 2:
  • Monday - Upper Body B
  • Wednesday - Lower Body A
  • Friday - Upper Body A
...and so on.

Dumbbell Rows
No body part splits allowed during this challenge. You must use at least an upper/lower split, or a full body workout if you prefer.

#3 - You Must Progress

Your mission is progressive overload. During this challenge you MUST push every set for as many reps as possible. No exceptions, and NO exceptions.

This doesn't mean you should train to failure or push for more reps when your form breaks down. Stop a set either when you feel like you might fail on the next rep, or when your form starts to deteriorate.

Live to fight another day and listen to your body. Push for progression but never at the expense of sloppy form.

Remember, progression isn't just adding reps. You must also add weight to the bar when it makes sense. If a set calls for 6-10 reps, when you hit 10 reps it's time to add weight.

Beef - Protein#4 - 150 Grams of Protein, Minimum

Eat however the heck you want, BUT...you must consume at least 150 grams of protein per day if you are a male. I recommend more if you can, but no less than 150 grams. Females should aim for 80-100 grams.

As far as the rest of your diet, eat when you're hungry. Simple. This isn't a cutting diet challenge, so please, no "can I do this while cutting" nonsense.

#5 - 4 Months Minimum

Run this challenge at least 4 months. Anything less and you lose your gym membership and must go train at Planet Fitness for the rest of your life.

There are no excuses allowed. Gird up your testicles (or vag) and smash some iron.

Sample #IronLife Chellenge Workout

This is merely a sample 4 day per week program. If you don't like the exercise selection, chose other barbell and dumbbell variations that fit your needs. It doesn't really matter which variations you use as long as you aren't focusing on machines, cables and other random nonsense.

This 4 day workout can be performed as follows:
  • Monday - Lower Body A
  • Tuesday - Upper Body A
  • Thursday - Lower Body B
  • Friday - Upper Body B
This workout features the Rep Goal System. You need not use this, but you must push your sets for as many reps as you can.

Barbell Calf Raise - These are performed holding a barbell in front of you, and NOT with a barbell on your back. Please use straps. This is not a grip training exercise.
Monday
Lower Body A
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Squats  4  30
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts  3  30
 Goblet Squats (Dumbbell)  3  35
 One Leg Calf Raises Holding Dumbbell  3  40
Ab Wheel Roll Outs  3  AMAP
Tuesday
Upper Body A
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Bench Press  4  30
 One Arm Dumbbell Rows  3  40
 Seated Arnold Press  3  30
 Lying Triceps Extensions  3  30
 Barbell or EZ Bar Curls  3  30
Thursday
Lower Body B
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Deadlifts  3  20
 Front Squats  4  30
 Lunges  3  35
 Barbell Calf Raises  3  40
 Planks  3  60-120 sec
Friday
Upper Body B
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press  3  30
 Barbell Rows  4  35
 Military Press  3  30
 Two Arm Seated Dumbbell Extension  3  30
 Dumbbell Curls  3  30