The 23 Workout Program: Transform Your Weaknesses into Strengths
In sports there are some numbers that are simply iconic. If you’re a sports fan, you know exactly who or what certain numbers in sports refer too.
In baseball, the number 42 will forever remind us of Jackie Robinson. In football, the number 80 remains iconic with the infamous Jerry Rice. In hockey, the legendary Wayne Gretzky made the number 99 something historical. And, in bodybuilding the number 8 remains as the pinnacle of all bodybuilding records due to the king himself, Ronnie Coleman.
But, one of the most iconic numbers in sports history is the number 23. This number became more than just a number. It became a brand because of one man: Michael Jordan. He transformed a simple two digit number into something that people associated with winning, greatness, hard work, and a championship mindset.
Brently Rousset discusses the topic of ego lifting.
Jordan’s number 23 defined a win and never quit attitude, which is exactly the type of mindset you should have every time you set foot in the gym. Do you want to simply go through the motions? Or do you want to push yourself until you’ve got nothing left to give?
The 23 program was designed with this Jordan mentality in mind. The 23 program combines heavy, strength training sets with high rep, hypertrophy movements in an effort to transform your weaknesses into strengths and turn your strengths into something legendary.
Many programs are designed focusing strictly on increasing strength only or building muscle and definition only. If your main goal is strictly one or the other then this program is most likely not for you. But, if you are looking to slowly increase your strength while shaping and building muscle within your body, then the 23 program is for you.
By combining strength training with hypertrophy training you are combining the best of both worlds when it comes to muscle and strength building. Building muscle comes down to progressive overload and volume. Each day within the 23 program you will start with a strength style rep scheme for 2 exercises and finish with 3 hypertrophy style movements.
The 23 Workout Program
This program can be run as a three day weekly split or as a six day weekly split. If you are performing this program as a three day split you would complete days one, two, and three during the first week and days four, five, and six the following week. If you are performing this program as a six day split you would complete days one, two, and three, take a rest day, then complete days four, five and six.
For the beginner lifter, I’d recommend running this program as a three day split for the first 2-3 weeks. If you feel you can handle this program as a six day split after that time frame, add in the additional three days to your workout week.
Choosing Your Weight
When starting this program you will start with a weight you can perform at the most eight reps with. Within the strength movements you will be performing sets in the 3-5 rep range so you will start with a weight you know you can complete for five reps each set with proper form and increase the weight from there.
Each week you will increase the weight 10 pounds. If you can’t complete the reps laid out in the program with a particular weight then drop the weight. Do not raise the weight 10 pounds until you can complete the designated sets/rep scheme with that particular weight.
With the higher rep, hypertrophy movements you will select a weight you can perform 15 reps with as you will be completing a lot of volume in the 12 rep range within the hypertrophy training part of this program.
With the hypertrophy sets you will follow the same weight addition as described above for the strength training except you will raise the weight only five pounds each week. Again, if you can’t complete the designated sets/reps with a particular weight then drop the weight.
We want to lift smart and not with our ego’s. The strength and weight addition will come in time.
23 Workout Program Rest Times
On your strength movements rest 1½ – 2 minutes in between sets on the five rep sets and 2–2½ minutes on your 3 rep sets.
With the hypertrophy sets you will bring the rest time down to 30-45 seconds in between sets because you want to hit these sets at a high intensity, pushing as much blood to the muscle as possible.
The exercises in this program combine the big three lifts, bench, squat, and deadlift, with hypertrophy movements such as curls, lateral raises, and rope pushdowns in an effort to build a physique that’s both strong and aesthetic. You will follow a modified push/pull/legs routine, with your shoulder movements being done the same day you train legs.
This split style allows you to keep your shoulders rested and fresh for their own day as your shoulders are involved a lot within chest and bicep movements.
The 23 Workout Program
- Day 1 – Strength Chest and Hypertrophy Triceps
- Day 2 – Strength Back and Hypertrophy Bicep
- Day 3 – Strength Legs and Hypertrophy Shoulders
- Day 4 – Heavy Triceps and Hypertrophy Chest
- Day 5 – Heavy Bicep and Hypertrophy Back
- Day 6 – Heavy Shoulders and Hypertrophy Legs
|Strength Chest and Hypertrophy Triceps|
|2 Chest Exercises|
|Flat Bench Barbell Press – Warm Up||2|
|Flat Bench Barbell Press – 3×5 followed by 2×3||3, 2||5, 3|
|Incline Dumbbell Press||5||5|
|3 Triceps Exercises|
|Reverse Grip Straight Bar Pushdown||5||12|
|Strength Back and Hypertrophy Bicep|
|2 Back Exercises|
|Deadlift – Warm Up||2|
|Deadlift – – 3×5 followed by 2×3||3, 2||5, 3|
|Barbell or Dumbbell Rows||5||5|
|3 Bicep Exercises|
|Incline Bench Dumbbell Curls||5||12|
|Rope Hammer Curls||5||12|
|Strength Legs and Hypertrophy Shoulders|
|2 Leg Exercises|
|Back Squats – Warm Us||2|
|Back Squats — 3×5 followed by 2×3||3, 2||5, 3|
|3 Shoulder Exercises|
|Dumbbell Shoulder Press||5||12|
|Dumbbell Lateral Raise||5||12|
|Face Pulls/Reverse Pec Dec (face pulls one week/reverse pec dec the next week)||5||12|
|Heavy Triceps and Hypertrophy Chest|
|2 Triceps Exercises|
|Close Grip Bench – Warm Up||2|
|Close Grip Bench – 3×5 followed by 2×3||3, 2||5, 3|
|Dumbbell French Press||5||5|
|3 Chest Exercises|
|Hammer Strength Chest Press (if Hammer Strength machine not available, use chest press machine)||5||12|
|Heavy Bicep and Hypertrophy Back|
|2 Bicep Exercises|
|Barbell or EZ Bar Curls – Warm Up||2|
|Barbell or EZ Bar Curls – 3×5 followed by 2×3||3, 2||5, 3|
|Dumbbell Hammer Curl||5||5|
|3 Back Exercises|
|Cable Rows with Close or Medium Grip Attachment||5||12|
|Wide Grip/Close Grip Lat Pulldown (wide grip one week/close grip next week)||5||12|
|Cable Lat Pulldowns with Rope Attachment||5||12|
|Heavy Shoulders and Hypertrophy Legs|
|2 Shoulder Exercises|
|Standing Overhead Press – Warm Up||2|
|Standing Overhead Press – 3×5 followed by 2×3||3, 2||5, 3|
|Heavy Dumbbell or Barbell Shrugs||5||5|
|3 Leg Exercises|
|Front Squats/Hack Squats (front squats one week/hack squats the next week)||5||12|
|Standing/Seated calf machine (standing one week/seated the next week)||5||12|
This program keeps every workout new and exciting by not doing the same thing day after day. The 23 program combines heavy weight training with lighter, high intensity training for maximal gains. If you follow the rest times laid out in the plan every workout can be completed in 60 minutes or less.
The 23 program is efficient for saving time in the gym and building muscle. Use the number 23 to become iconic in your own right and build the body you’ve always wanted.
For more fitness and nutrition advice follow the MuscleMinds Youtube channel and myself on Instagram @thebrentness.