Driven Part 2 Maximum Progress as an Intermediate Bodybuilder

“Cycle Training? What's That?”, asks three-time Mr. Olympia Frank Zane. “A way to ride bicycles more effectively? Well, not quite. It's just a new method to achieve your bodybuilding goals.”1

Zane was obviously decades ahead of other bodybuilders, discussing periodization when only Fred “Dr. Squat” Hatfield and Soviet/Eastern Bloc strength coaches were even familiar with the concept. It is the advancement of training and nutrition science, combined with hard work and commitment, that has taken local and state level bodybuilders to a level similar to the champions of these earlier decades.

 

If you followed the beginner program covered in Driven (Part 1), that was the introduction to a periodization program with two phases to help you make it to intermediate. Hopefully you feel driven to bump it up to the next level.

According to bodybuilding legend Bill Pearl,2 “An intermediate is a trainee who has been training with a beginner's routine for six months to one year and whose gains have slowed on these routines.” If you followed part one of this series, this Intermediate Program should save you before your gains stall out.
 

SO WHAT CHANGES SHOULD YOU EXPECT WITH THE INTERMEDIATE PROGRAM?

1. Increased training volume
2. A three-way bodypart split
3. Stick to an exercise (but not forever)
4. Training that focuses on both strength and muscle growth
5. A more serious diet

The Beginner Program gave specific exercises, sets and reps. This Intermediate Program provides the basics to diet and training but guides you in learning how to wisely personalize it to your needs.



INCREASED TRAINING VOLUME

 

 

“I have always believed that to develop each bodypart thoroughly the section must receive a complete workout,” says early Mr. America winner Jack Delinger,3 who was ahead of his time. “Obviously, a single exercise cannot accomplish this.”

Bumping your training from the beginner level involves heavier weights and an increase in the number of exercises, sets and reps. I have no doubt your strength has made some impressive gains since you started. I recommend that you keep track of your training in a notebook. Being able to look back at previous months (and eventually years) not only shows which areas have not progressed as much as others, but if you ever question your progress, comparing this week to 3, 6, 12, or 24 months ago will fill you with much deserved pride.

With each advancement with the Driven Program, we will have gradual increases in volume and frequency. By gradual, this means when glancing at the program it may be barely noticeable. The number of sets does not bounce from 19-20 per workout to 45-48. The frequency does not change from three sessions a week to “six days on/ Sundays off.” It includes small, gradual increases

You will notice some variance in the number of sets listed (2-3 sets; 3-4 sets). Since this is included on many of the sets, it provides a significant adjustment range of the number of sets per workout (25-33, 28-34, 23-29).

How should you determine what works best for you? You need to see how your body responds. During the first two times through the three sessions, train with the low range of sets and check out how sore and rundown you feel. I say two times because this program is a major advancement, so it should pound your body pretty good. If you find yourself too tired, sore and unenthusiastic during your third run through the three sessions, then stay at the lowest number in the set range. After six to eight times through, attempt another increase in sets, as you should be ready to advance in volume at this point. If you are not ready, then perhaps your nutrition and rest is not being optimized enough for you to properly recuperate from gym battles.

How should you make a volume increase? Add a set in the first exercise per bodypart. For example, in the lower body session, simply increase the first exercise (leg curl), the third movement (a compound leg exercise), and the seventh (calf exercise). In the upper body — push workout, you would go up one set in the second (chest) exercise, the fourth (delt press) and the seventh (triceps) exercise. For the upper body — pull workout increase a single set for the second (back), fourth (rear delt), fifth (trapezius) and sixth (biceps) exercises.

After going through the sessions three or four more times, consider adding a set to each of the remaining exercises. Go by feel on this. You should have had the basic adaptation to the program at this point and your enthusiasm for progress should be the primary gauge for volume increase.



TRAINING FREQUENCY

 

In the Beginners Program, we had three training sessions a week, followed by four sessions a week.

The four-days-a-week program in the second phase split the body into two groups, with them each being trained twice weekly. This is a quality program but the volume of training is limited when you are training half of your body in the session. This is why we will be splitting the body into three sections for the intermediate program. We will be utilizing the “lower body/push/pull” split in phase 1.

LOWER BODY / PUSH / PULL

1. Lower Body
2. Upper Body — Push (Chest, Front and Side Deltoid, Triceps)
3. Upper Body — Pull (Back, Rear Delt, Biceps)

Your body has been split into three training segments, and you will be training on a two days on/ one-day off routine. This works out like this on a calendar:

Training Segments 
Monday Lower Body
Tuesday Upper Body — Push
Wednesday Off
Thursday Upper Body — Pull
Friday Lower Body
Saturday Off
Sunday Upper Body — Push
Monday Upper Body — Pull
Tuesday Off
Repeat

So you won't be training chest and arms every Monday like all those guys in tank tops fighting over the bench or who gets to do some sloppy form barbell curls in the power rack. With this new schedule, each bodypart is trained seven times in a 31-day period.

You probably notice that with this new bodypart split, we are training each bodypart every 4-5 days. This differs dramatically from some of the pro bodybuilders that divide the body into 5-6 sections and train each segment once a week (chest on Monday, quads on Tuesday, etc...).

A study by respected researcher Brad Schoenfeld compared once to two times a week training frequencies of muscle groups.4 “Frequencies of training twice a week promote superior hypertrophic outcomes to once a week,” says Schoenfeld's study. “It can therefore be inferred that the major muscle groups should be trained at least twice a week to maximize muscle growth.” Also, it is mentioned, “whether training a muscle group three times per week is superior to a twice-per-week protocol remains to be determined.”

Even if we separate body parts distinctly into separate training sessions, they get brought into play as synergistic or support muscles to assist when training other body parts (especially in compound exercises). The biceps tend to assist when doing rows, chins or other back exercises. The triceps help in shoulder and chest pressing movements.


PHASE ONE

 

You'll find that we often do not list specific exercises in the program to follow. This allows you to personalize your program based on what equipment you have available and which movements you prefer. Do not change your choices regularly. Use the same exercise for at least five training sessions before changing it. You need to improve the reps and poundages capable and that will not happen if you continually change exercises. Focus on improvement, not “muscle confusion.”

As you can see with these workouts, we have a basic low-rep strength exercise towards the beginning of the session (some 1-6 rep power sets for legs, chest and back, with 6-10 reps on most other exercises). Increasing your strength in this exercise should be your primary goal for each workout. This is followed by a basic 8-12 rep range driving hypertrophy through either compound or isolation exercises. We also include some fairly high-reps (10-15 or more) for our finishing pump-based movements. Stay with this Phase 1 program for eighteen weeks (about four-and-a-half months).

 

THREE HARDCORE INTENSIFICATION TECHNIQUES

“It takes variation to force your body to keep responding to workouts,” says female bodybuilding legend Bev Francis 5, “and even more importantly, it keeps you fresh and stimulated mentally.” Our variation in the Intermediate Driven Program includes some hardcore training techniques that will be mixed into the program. To kick this off, we will include cheat reps, forced reps, and drop sets.

These are hardcore training programs for an intermediate lifter, even without adding intensification techniques. Only include these in sessions where you feel good, energetic and driven to bump it up a notch. Add these intensification techniques to NO MORE THAN ONE set per workout. We do not add these to our low-rep compound movements. The heavy squats, chest presses and back rows do not require added intensity. Those strength-building movements are incorporating heavy weight and pushed hard in strict form, and that is plenty to drive growth. These will be added more to the final higher-rep (8-12 or 10-15) exercises.

Cheat Reps. Cheat reps are the most overused movement in the gym. Those that do not value strict form cheat up their weights on most reps and reduce their progress just because they think they might impress other people. The truth is, experienced lifters are not impressed by how much weight you sloppily lift, they are impressed by how much effort you put into strict form to get every fiber in the targeted muscle group to exert a strong contraction.

For cheat reps, there are just a couple of exercises that we will work them in...bicep curls and lateral raises (with dumbbell or cables) are the two that come to mind. This involves a slight
movement in the shoulder during a curl (a 5-10% arch in the spine and lifting of the elbows) to help you finish that rep that was stalling on the way up, but then lower very strictly and slowly, emphasize the negative portion of the curl. Finish the rep that was only making it a third of the way up and then perform a second cheat rep. The trick is cheating as little as possible to finish and feel the lowering.

In the side laterals, there may be a slight squeeze by the trapezius or assist by the front delts. While those are two things you want to eliminate for 98% of your lateral raise reps, when using them to finish the upward rotation, follow with a PERFECT slow lowering of the resistance.

Forced Reps. Forced reps are a superior option to cheat reps, but require a training partner or spotter. A forced rep refers to being able to complete a rep in strict form when your muscles were unable to do so on their own, thanks to a very minor assistance from someone. On an incline barbell press, you may have stalled on the eleventh repetition, but your spotter (who just had a couple of fingers from each hand resting underneath the bar) lifted just 10-15 pounds, reducing the poundage near your weak point (which might be a couple inches when you are just over halfway to lockout). Once again, this is just for the last two reps. We are not going to include these on our heavy low-rep sets, but just our higher rep movements.

Drop Sets. The third intensification technique is drop sets. Imagine you are doing an incline press on a machine for 14 reps with 100 pounds. It is your final set of a high-rep exercise for
pectorals. On this particular machine, you would not currently be able to complete a fifteenth rep with that weight. But what if you started out with 120 pounds on there, and only got ten
reps until failure, immediately dropped the pin in the weight stack to 100 pounds, and got three more reps (with no rest), dropped the pin down to 80 pounds, and got three more...was that a superior manner to hit some added muscle fibers? Hell yes, it is!

Drop sets are a great intensification strategy, but must be used minimally. Doing this on a heavy compound leg exercise (like squats, leg presses, belt squats) is intense, and you may need to take a nap after you get home from the gym because it can take a lot out of you.

Drop sets are very useful (and less crushing of your recuperative system) for dumbbell side laterals. Mr. Olympia Larry Scott would go “down the rack.” For instance, let's say that you find 20-pound dumbbells are your 8-12 rep poundage. We start out with 25-pound dumbbells and do as many perfectly strict reps as possible (maybe just 6-7). Then you immediately switch to the 20-pound weights and get as many reps as possible. Then you step down to the 15-pound dumbbells, and get as many reps as possible. You should have gotten a great pump from this exercise and Larry Scott built amazing cannonball delts on his once narrow shoulder structure. You can also try this drop set technique on dumbbell shrugs, upright rows, calf presses, leg extensions, leg curls, overhead presses, and many other exercises. Keep in mind, just use one of these intensification techniques per workout.

PHASE 1 - SESSION 1

 

LOWER BODY (QUADS, HAMSTRINGS, POSTERIOR CHAIN, CALVES)

1. Isolation Hamstring Exercise 3-4x6-10
2. Compound Leg Exercise 6x6/5/4/6/5/4 (later 5/4/3/5/4/3, 4/3/2/4/3/2, and then 3/2/1/3/2/1)
3. Compound Leg Exercise 3-4x8-12
4. Finishing Leg Exercise 3-4x10-15

5. Posterior Chain Compound Exercise 3-4x8-12
6. Calf Exercise 3-4x8-12
7. Calf Exercise 3-4x10-15

1. After doing your warm up, go into some type of leg curl. You will find a hamstring pump almost gives you a little bounce that adds to your leg strength.

2. The first Compound Leg Exercise is designed to be completely strength-based. This would be some version of the squat (wide power squat, medium-stance power squat, safety bar squat, front squat, box squat). If necessary, you can use the power squat machine, or belt squats, or (only if you have no other choice) the leg press.

PHASE 1 - SESSION 1  
For the first lower body session:6/5/4/6/5/4230x6 / 245x5 / 265x4 / 230x6 / 245x5 / 265x4
Second training session:5/4/3/5/4/3245x5 / 265x4 / 285x3 / 245x5 / 270x4 / 295x3
Third training session:4/3/2/4/3/2275x4 / 295x3 / 315x2 / 275x4 / 295x3 / 315x2
Fourth training session:3/2/1/3/2/1305x3 / 325x2 / 355x1 / 315x3 / 335x2 / 370x1
Fifth training session:6/5/4/6/5/4 (stronger)250x6 / 270x5 / 295x4 / 260x6 / 275x5 / 305x4
continue...

This rep scheme is considered multi-level double wave loading.

3. Following your leg strength exercise, we want to do a second exercise for moderate reps. Good choices are leg presses, belt squats, and machine squats (such as Tru-Squats, or hack squats.) This would be where we might include some forced reps on the final set of the exercises. This would involve having a training partner or spotter help just enough by pushing against the carriage or lifting the plate-loading bar for a Tru-Squat or hack squat machine to keep the weight moving when you take it to failure. They can help you get one or two added reps in that final set. On the leg press, you can press gently against your knees to help yourself do it.

4. Your finishing leg exercise is a higher rep pumping movement, such as leg extensions, or a single leg movement (such as lunges, single-legged leg press, or step-ups).

5. To hit your posterior chain (lower back, glutes, hamstrings) use Romanian deadlift, glute-ham raise, reverse hyperextension, stiff-legged deadlift, or good morning. Focus on a strong contraction.

6. Going heavy and for a full range-of-motion, choose 45° Calf Press, Standing Calf, Donkey Calf Raise or any calf machines available. Get a slight pause at both stretch and contraction on all of your sets of both exercises.

7. Seated Calf Raises should be your choice (about half of the time) for the second calf exercise. You can also do any of the available calf exercises for a slightly higher rep range and shorter rest periods. Once again, go for the stretch pause at the bottom and the contraction pause at the top.


According to Australian strength trainer/writer Ian King,6 “Multiple wave sets are intended for the exposure of the first wave to enhance the second wave, and if there's a third wave, the second wave to enhance the third wave.” I find a mental benefit to this second rep-wave and I look forward to each progressive week in the program. Keep in mind that even though you are trying to build strength, not every set is 100% personal record breaking. That fourth session, with single-rep sets should be the most difficult, but possible...otherwise you chose unrealistic poundages. Go through the series (four leg training sessions building to lower reps waves) two or three times before changing exercises. Build serious strength over time. This exercise should be the most serious goal each lower body session.


PHASE 1 - SESSION 2

 

UPPER BODY — PUSH (CHEST, SHOULDERS, TRICEPS)

1. Compound Chest 4x10/8/6/3-4
2. Isolation Chest 3-4x8-12
3. Compound Chest 2-3x10-1

4. Overhead Press 3-4x6-10
5. Lateral Raise 3-4x8-12
6. Finishing Delt Exercise 2-3x10-15

7. Triceps Exercise 3x6-10
8. Triceps Exercise 3x8-12
9. Triceps Exercise 2x10-15

1. After general warm-up and a few warm-up sets, we are choosing a compound pressing movement (incline or flat dumbbell presses, flat or incline bench press or barbell or dumbbell floor press) and gradually increase poundages for the final low-rep set.

2. Since we are going for an isolation movement, dumbbell flyes, pec deck, or cable crossovers are excellent examples to give your triceps a break while working your pecs. Incline, flat or decline flye presses are also great options.

3. Pec Dips (elbows wide, deep stretch at bottom, stopping short of locked elbows at top) are an excellent finishing movement. Various machine presses (Hammer Strength and Nautilus have great options) or push-ups with added weight (chains in an X crossing your shoulders/traps) also are a great choice. Flat, incline or decline dumbbell or barbell presses for higher reps also works well.

For variety, every four to six workouts, do 8x8 for chest, using one simple compound movement, such as flat, incline or decline dumbbell presses, incline barbell presses, Smith machine or Hammer Strength presses. This involves moderately heavy weights, fairly short (90-second) rest periods and maximum chest pumps. This is in place of exercises 1-3.

4. Since the shoulder is a delicate ball-and-socket joint, make sure you are thoroughly warmed up. We are trying to train both the front and side deltoid head in this workout. An overhead press, using either dumbbells, a Smith or other machine is a great exercise. Perfect form is more important than heavy reps. The Arnold (or Scott) Press brings in both side and front deltoids quite a bit.

5. For cannonball delts, we need maximum wide lateral delt growth. Go for perfect form (no trapezius assist), with the arm rotated so that the pinky side of your hand is higher than the thumb. Use dumbbells, cables or machine laterals. If standing, leaning slightly forward at the waist will keep the lateral head working (and not letting the front delt take over).

6. For a finishing deltoid movement, consider upright rows (dumbbells, bar, cables), any kind of overhead press, front raise (single-dumbbell, dumbbells, cable, plate, bar or other machine) movement. Make sure you choose an exercise that give you a good pump with the higher reps.

7. Your triceps should be warmed up fairly well. For a basic heavy exercise, consider close-grip benches, lying triceps extensions, dumbbell rolling extensions or any heavy extensions or tricep dips.

8. For the moderate-rep exercise, there are a variety of possible triceps exercises: pushdowns, machine extensions, dumbbell extensions (seated, decline bench, incline),
close-grip presses, dumbbell French press, kickbacks...

9. For a finisher, any of the listed triceps exercises also works well at higher reps. I also recommend fairly close-grip push-ups with hands on a bar (placed at lowest Smith
machine or power rack setting). If you get really high reps, you can add weight with chains or elevate your feet on a bench.


REFERENCES

1. Zane, Frank. “Maximum Gains from Cycle Training,” Muscle Training Illustrated, November/December 1969
2. Pearl, Bill. “Pearls” column, Ironman, November 1988
3. Delinger, Jack. “A Mr. America Thigh Program,” Muscle Builder/Power, January 1954
4. Schoenfeld, Brad. “Effects of Resistance Training Frequency on Measures of Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-016-0543-8
5. Francis, Bev. “Total Lower Body Blowout,” Flex, January 1989
6. King, Ian. “The Wave Loading Manifesto,” https://www.t-nation.com/training/wave-loading-manifesto March 7, 2005
7. Bass, Clarence. “My Training Philosophy,” Ironman, November 1981

PHASE 1 - SESSION 3

 

UPPER BODY — PULL (BACK, REAR DELTS, BICEPS)

1. Compound Back Exercise 4x10/8/6/3-4
2. Isolation or Compound Back Exercise 3-4x8-12
3. Compound Back Exercise 2-3x10-15

4. Rear Deltoid Exercise 3-4x8-12
5. Trapezius Exercise 3-4x6-10
6. Biceps Exercise 3x6-10

7. Biceps Exercise 3x8-12
8. Biceps Exercise 2x10-15

1. After a thorough warm-up, you need to choose a basic compound back movement. This could be chin-ups, lat pulldowns, bent-over barbell rows, Hammer Strength rows, or other machine pulldowns or rows. Now the back is a complex muscle group, with chins and pulldowns focusing on lat width while rowing movements focus on mid back and thickness. Every 4-6 weeks switch from width to thickness focus, unless one particular area is a weakness for your body. Even though we are going heavy, keep to strict form and hold each contraction in order to really work the muscles.

2. You may notice that I list “isolation or compound.” If you find that you tend to get a bicep pump and not so much of a feel in your back, go to an isolation movement to give your biceps a break. Good choices include machine pullovers or bent-arm barbell pullovers, straight-arm cable pulldowns, or various machine exercises. Otherwise, choose a different compound movement for a medium rep range (still pausing at the contracted point). Most lifters should do a width lat movement here if they did a rowing exercise for the first movement and vice versa.

3. Finish up with a good compound exercise...seated cable rows, lat pulldowns, chins, one-arm dumbbell rows, chest-supported rows, or any other machine movement you like. Again, hold the contraction for a second and get a hard squeeze.

For variety, every four to six workouts, substitute all three of the above exercises for 8 sets of 8 reps for back, using one simple compound movement, such as bent-over barbell rows, lat pulldowns, seated cable rows, or chest-suspended rows. Just like in the chest version, go for moderately heavy weights and a fairly short (90-seconds) rest period. Squeeze at contraction so that you get a shirt-stretching pump.

4. Why do we train this area when deltoid work is part of another day? Rear delts get more contraction assisting with back training. Keep very good form (and a pause in contraction). Good exercises include bent-over dumbbell (or cable) rows, reverse pec deck or face pulls.

5. To build the trapezius, we can do dumbbell/barbell shrugs, barbell/dumbbell/cable upright rows, or machine shrugs (or done on a standing calf raise, using the shoulder
pads).

6. The back training helped warm up your biceps. You may need a warm-up set though since this is a heavy bicep exercise. This involves a very basic curl (barbell curls, dumbbell curls, incline dumbbell curls) done in strict form for bicep strength.

7. Scott (preacher) curls are a great mass building movement, but do better as a second movement to ensure you are thoroughly warmed up. Other great options are machine curls, cable curls, under-grip chin-ups or barbell drag curls.

8. Any of the exercises listed above are good options, at this slightly higher repetition range. I also recommend that you try to work in Zottman curls, dumbbell hammer or reverse curls fairly often to build your brachialis. On your last set, have your training partner help you complete one or two last reps if you stall on the curl or do a slight hip/lower back drive to cheat up those added two reps (going as minimally out of strict form as necessary).

9. (Optional) If you feel that you need some forearm growth, I recommend that you include 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps of wrist curls.


INTERMEDIATE PHASE 1 PROGRAM WRAP-UP

Once you have completed 18 weeks of the Intermediate Phase 1 program it’s time to switch to Phase 2. In Phase 2 we’ll be using a different workout split consisting of legs/chest and back/shoulders and arms. We will discuss that in the next article. You should take pride in the accomplishment and look through your training records (you better have written them all down!) to see exactly how much strength progress you have accomplished.

The key to success is to never compare yourself to champion lifters nor care how other people assess your build. Appreciate not only the goals that you accomplish, but the journey you are traveling. Retired champion and author Clarence Bass says,7 “If I continue to compete against myself, every workout and every year, I'll succeed in my goal. I will be the best bodybuilder I can be.” Focus on your improvement, enjoy the progress, but do not judge yourself against others. If you enjoy the Intermediate stage in this article, then the upcoming Advanced plan of action may also be part of your successful future.

Driven Part 1 Become a Successful Beginning Bodybuilder!

What drives you? What makes you walk into a gym? Even more importantly, what makes you want to get so serious about exercise and nutrition that you transform your body?

With most of us, we have seen someone in amazing shape, either heroes in action movies, models for clothing, or athletes on the playing field. We not only are impressed by their appearance, conditioning and strength, but we want to transform ourselves into something similar.

For some of us, we may have noticed some bad flaws or changes in our physique...skinny arms, a thicker waistline, chubby cheeks, scrawny legs, or a fat rear end...and just decided that WE ARE NOT GOING TO LET THAT BE OUR STANDARD! Making the serious choice to enter the bodybuilding lifestyle, whether it involves competing on stage or just taking control over how your body looks, shows our commitment.

 

While the decision to go for a fitness lifestyle is important, maintaining your commitment for the rest of your life is crucial. It can't just be a phase you are in. In order to seriously upgrade your life, it needs to become a central part of your character and existence. The fact that you chose to read this publication, shows that you plan to make this part of your life!
 

BENEFITS 

So what benefits can be expected with this now a part of your life? Obviously, your are going to improve your body composition. This means you will increase muscle size and shape. This is a gradual increase with some men adding just a few pounds of muscle each year (and usually less for women), but if you visualize a few pounds of meat from the butcher shop, and some of that added to your shoulders, a few ounces on each calf, a bit on each arm, etc... that really makes an impressive change to the sculpting of your body. I mentioned shape earlier. Adding muscle and burning fat is what creates a shapely body. Body fat sags due to gravity but muscle defies gravity. While proper training and nutrition is based on research science, the benefits will look like steadily evolving works of art.

As you challenge your body by doing more reps with gradually increasing poundages, you build strength, increase muscle size, decrease body fat, and speed up your metabolism. These changes will improve your general health and possibly even increase your lifespan.

Your work in the gym and the changes brought on obviously improve your appearance. You may not realize this yourself since the changes are so gradual that you may not even notice them. Sometimes lifters go through periods in which they question if their work in the gym is paying off. If you can look back over months (and eventually years) of recordkeeping, that should keep you motivated.

Three-time Olympia winner Frank Zane suggests that we all keep a training journal. “Make use of every possible indicator of progress because this is one of the best ways to keep interested in training.” 1

That is why keeping track of your weight, training poundages, measurements, and (if possible) body composition is important. I recommend that you take your weight once a week (first
thing in the morning each Monday), and (if possible) have your body composition taken once every 2-4 weeks.

While you may not notice your level of physical progress, family and friends that you do not see every week might bring a smile to your face by comments: “Wow! How much muscle have you put on?” or “Your waist looks so much smaller. Did you have to switch to a different pants size?”

So we mention the athletic improvements, the health benefits, and how it boosts your appearance. All of those are great, but perhaps the greatest benefit to your lifestyle is how your mental state has improved. You may find that you possess greater self-confidence, feel capable of handling any challenges, and (most importantly) happier! The bodybuilding lifestyle
could very well be the best decision you have ever made in your personal growth!


THE TRAINING PROGRAM

 

 

Champion bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “I personally like the pain from training because it indicates I've worked hard enough for things to grow.” 2 As a beginner, muscle soreness will definitely hit you, but you will adapt. In fact, the progress that beginning lifters experience is the highest, and this soreness may just be an indication of the impressive
amount of muscle growth.

This beginner training program has two phases! Phase One lasts for eight weeks (but only if you have completed all of the two dozen sessions). This program is three days a week and each workout should last 40-60 minutes. For example only, we list Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as your three training days each week. If Tuesday, Thursday and one of the weekend days fits your schedule better, then make use of that. What is most important is that you train three times a week with a rest and recuperation day between each of the strength training sessions.

Once you have completed Phase One (24 workouts in an eight week period), we advance to the next phase. Phase Two lasts for four months (but only if you have trained consistently). If an emergency comes up and you miss a day, jump right back into things, even if a day behind schedule. Just get right back on track. In the workout we list each exercise, followed by a numerical listing of the “set and rep” scheme. Here is an example: Squat 3 x 8-12

This means that after warming up, you choose a weight in which you can do eight to twelve repetitions of the squat. That group of repetitions (reps) are considered a “set.” Once you are able to do a dozen strict reps in all three sets, increase the weight in your next workout. Here is an example:

Squat
Monday, March 13: 115x12, 115x11, 115x9
Monday, March 20: 115x12, 115x11, 115x10
Monday, March 27: 115x12, 115x12, 115x11
Monday, April 3: 115x12, 115x12, 115x12
Monday, April 10: 125x11, 125x9, 125x8

As you can see, the lifter in this example increased the number of reps (even if just by a single rep) each workout. This is key to your progress (and why you should record your training efforts). Once the lifter achieved a dozen reps in all three sets (the top number in the 8-12 rep range), they increase the training poundage for their next workout.

When you are not having a good day (even if not feeling your best), you will be amazed that you might have the best workout ever. I have had days in which I was mildly sick or barely slept because of work deadlines, and went into the gym and shocked myself by unleashing unexpected strength and performance that made me walk out of the gym smiling like an idiot!

One of the earlier mass monsters of bodybuilding, Tim Belknap said, “In the simplest terms, to build big muscles, you have to train with very heavy weights in strict form on basic exercises.” 3 These are great guidelines for your program.

PHASE ONE
3 DAYS A WEEK

MondayAmount
Squat 3x8-12
Leg Curl 3x8-12
Seated Cable Row 3x8-12
Dumbbell Bench Press 3x8-12
Side Lateral Raise 2x8-12
Close-grip Barbell Curl 2x8-12
Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension2x8-12
45° Calf Press 2x10-15
WednesdayAmount
Romanian (or Straight-Leg) Deadlift 3x8-12
45° Leg Press3x8-12
Bench Press 3x8-12
Lat Pulldown 3x8-12
Seated Dumbbell Press 2x8-12
Dumbbell Curl 2x8-12
Seated Dumbbell French Press 3x8-12
Seated Calf Raise 2x10-15
Ab Crunch 2x10-15
FridayAmount
Hex-Bar (or Machine) Squat 3x6-10
Bent over Barbell Row 3x8-12
Low-Incline Dumbbell Press 3x8-12
Front and Side Dumbbell Lateral Raise 2x8-12
Incline Dumbbell Curl 2x8-12
Close-grip Bench Press 2x8-12
Hyperextensions (Back Raise) 2x8-12
One-Leg Dumbbell Calf Raise 2x10-15
Twisting Cable Crunch 2x8-12 (each side)

NOTES:

• If you are not familiar with the exercises, you can find out about them online or through a qualified strength training coach.
• The three days (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) are just examples. Any three will work as long as you have one day off after each training session.
• Train hard. Focus on controlling the exercise more than how much weight you lift. Focus on the muscle fibers contracting. And enjoy yourself!

PHASE TWO
4 DAYS A WEEK

Congratulations on making it through the first phase of the beginner training program. That intro program involved you training your entire body three days a week (with a day off for recuperation between each session). Looking back, this is the ideal phase since every bodypart being hit three times weekly provides lots of forward progress.

What changes is that there are two forms of recuperation: the recuperation of each bodypart and the ability for your central nervous system to recover. Your body has improved to the point that we need to increase the volume directed on each bodypart but, since the length of the workout is limited, we split the session into two parts (lower body and waistline in the first session and upper body in the second one).

“Success depends on your recuperating powers, and as a beginner, rest is even more important,” says Mr. Universe winner and bodybuilding legend Chuck Sipes. 4 “As you progress and your body becomes adapted to hard training, you will be able to add additional sets and greater poundages.”

So what is your schedule like? We list the training as Monday and Tuesday training sessions, Wednesday off, Thursday and Friday training, with the weekend off. Again, This is just for example, and you can arrange the calendar as needed, as long as you get two training days in a row, with the following day off for recovery. The second phase of your Beginner Training Program lasts for four months.

Workout 1: (Monday)Amount
Squat 4x6-10
Dumbbell Lunge 3x8-12 (ea. leg)
Leg Curl 3x8-12
Hyperextension (Back Raise) 3x8-12
45° Calf Press 3x10-15
Ab Crunch 2x15-20
Workout 2: (Tuesday)Amount
Incline Bench 4x6-10
Flat Dumbbell Press 3x8-12
Parallel-grip Lat Pulldown 3x6-10
Under-grip Bodyweight Row 1xAMRAP
Dumbbell Overhead Press 3x8-12
Alternate Dumbbell Curl 3x8-12
Triceps Pushdown 3x8-12
Workout 3: (Thursday)Amount
Romanian Deadlift 4x6-10
Leg Press 3x8-12
Leg Extension 3x8-12
Leg Curl 3x8-12
Standing Calf Raise 3x10-15
Leg Raise 3x10
Workout 4: (Friday)Amount
Front Chin-up 4xAMRAP
Seated Cable Row 3x8-12
Low-Incline Dumbbell Press 3x6-10
RackBar Push-up 1xAMRAP
Dumbbell Side Laterals 3x8-12
EZ-bar Curl (medium-width grip) 3x8-12
Close-grip Bench 3x8-12

With each of these training sessions, think of the first exercise as your top goal. You want to get at least one additional rep for each exercise, but that first exercise...that first one...is the exercise you work the hardest. Warm up, then hit it hard!

As you can see, three of the exercises have “AMRAP” as their rep range. This stands for “as many reps as possible.” The first one is the “Under-grip Bodyweight Row.” The exercise involves you using a bar (either the one in the Smith machine or one placed in a power rack). Have it set at waist height. Lay under the bar, face up, gripping the bar with a hands-up (thumbs pointing out), shoulder-width grip. Keep your arms and legs locked in a straight line throughout the set. Pull yourself up so that the bar touches near your sternum and hold the squeeze for three seconds. When you can get more than fifteen reps, raise your feet up on a bench to make your body about parallel to the ground at the top.

On the Friday workout, you have “Front Chin-ups” and “RackBar Push-up” as your as many reps as possible (AMRAP) options. Front Chin-ups simply involve you using a shoulder-width grip and pulling up until your collarbone is about 4-6 inches from the bar. If you can't get four reps on your own, get the assist from a resistance training band attached to one of your feet until you get a dozen reps, then either go with a thinner band, or go without one.

The RackBar Push-up uses either the bar in the Smith machine (at lowest setting) or a bar in the power rack (8-10 inches from the ground). Go with a shoulder-width grip (thumbs both pointing inward), lightly touch the sternum to the bar and press up 80% of the way (no locking out your arms at the top). When you can do more than fifteen reps in a set, start going to failure, then lift the bar up 4-6 inches higher, and go to failure a second time each set. These are three great upper body building exercises.

WHAT ABOUT CARDIO EXERCISE?

You may be wondering if cardio work fits into your program. That depends on three different factors:

1. What is your body type?
2. What are your goals?
3. What are your thoughts on cardio work?

Are you overweight, with a high level of body fat? Do you have the goals to be leaner or have better cardiovascular endurance? Do you enjoy getting on the treadmill, bike, elliptical, stepper or do you hate all four of those darn machines?

If you need to burn some body fat or feel that you need to increase your aerobic conditioning, then I recommend you do some cardio work three to four times a week for 10-15 minutes in the first phase, and a maximum of 20 minutes during the second phase. If possible, do it on your nonstrength training days. I recommend that (if you have the options) you rotate through different modalities (treadmill, elliptical, stepper, bike, or outdoor jogging). For one reason, repeated stress might beat up your soft tissues (such as bad ankles, aching knee, hips pain, shin splints...) but varied choices make that less likely. For a second reason, you may find the variety more mentally interesting.

Another use of the cardio equipment is a warm-up prior to your strength training. This should take just 5-8 minutes (at a very fast walk if it is a treadmill) and the goal is to increase your internal core temperature (starting to break a sweat), followed by some light sets of the core exercises to loosen you up further. For instance, your can do 15-20 bodyweight squats and then a light set of squats before beginning your work sets of squats. As you get more advanced, the warm-ups become more extensive since your weights will have increased.


NUTRITION ADJUSTMENTS FOR BEGINNERS

 

You may think, “Let's do a subtle change to convert my body so that I look less like that guy who starred in the Soprano's and more like that guy who starred as Thor in the Avenger's movies.” Unfortunately, subtle changes to your lifestyle will not convert your body. If you are in really bad shape, this may have been from months or years of being lazy, enjoying the comforts of a relaxed sedentary life, and treating yourself to some serious junk food.

Dr. Fred Hatfield says, “Periods of high-stress training require supernormal intake of many nutrients without a commensurate increase in caloric needs.” 5 This means that you need to improve the quality of your nutrition, so every food choice and the inclusion of targeted supplements become more important as you advance.

The things you do, and foods you eat, need to change. As a beginner, the diet will not be incredibly strict, but we will be bumping it up as you advance. We want to bring about “homeostatic disruption,” making the body change in order to handle the new life you are living. Forcing your body to lifting gradually heavier weights will kick this off. To get the most from the training, we need to provide proper nutrition to help you recuperate and build stronger (and larger) muscles and to burn off unneeded and unattractive body fat.

Improving your body requires two different adjustments: 1) provide different stress to your muscles and metabolism, causing your body to adapt, and 2) provide different food and nutrient intake to assist with muscle growth and promote fat loss. We covered the first aspect with your strength training workouts. Now it is time to strategize a proper nutrition plan.

EIGHT NUTRITION BASICS

1. Eat at least five meals a day

2. Eat protein at each meal

3. Limit your starchy carb intake

4. Try to nearly eliminate simple carbs

5. Choose the correct fats

6. Increase veggies

7. Drink plenty of water

8. Enjoy it. Eat healthy, but enjoy treating yourself to delicious healthy foods

PROTEIN

Weight training causes hypertrophy, an adaptation in which your muscle fibers rebuild... stronger, larger, possibly in larger quantity, and ready to better handle what you do in the gym.
Famous Soviet strength coach Vladimir Zatsiorsky said,“Activate the breakdown of protein in the chosen muscle groups during training workouts and protein super-compensation during rest periods.” 6 This reminds us that the most important requirement for that improved muscular structure is protein, providing the necessary amino acids to rebuild bigger, better muscle. A good general rule for protein would be to consume 1.5-2.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight in order to promote muscle growth.

Good popular sources for protein include eggs, beef, lamb, bison/buffalo, chicken, turkey, fish, and quality protein powders. While you may have favorites, quality and variety are important. We want to provide the body with vital amino acids so each meal should be at least one-third protein. A Beverly International protein shake provides two basic benefits: 1) they contain high-quality, easily-absorbed proteins, 2) they are quick, easy, delicious...and fit well into a hectic schedule with multiple protein-based meals. Adding a couple of protein shakes in addition to your whole food meals makes it much easier to create a quality daily intake.
 

CARBOHYDRATES

Your carbohydrates (carbs) provide energy (replenishing your glucose and glycogen stores) as well as a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. While carbs are not crucial to survival, they are necessary for recovery from hardcore training. For your diet, we will think of carbs in three categories:

1. Starchy carbs — Such as sweet potatoes/yams, rice, potatoes, oats, quinoa, grains, pasta and breads (limited).
2. Fibrous veggies — Broccoli,  cauliflower, lettuce, onions, green beans, carrots, peppers, asparagus, squash, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, spinach, etc.
3. Fruit — Berries, apples, oranges, grapefruit, cranberries.

The amount and how often you add carbs to your meals depends on your bodycomp/goals (how badly do you need to burn fat) and how well your body handles carbs. Many people find they do well by limiting their carb intake. The average person does well with starchy carbs making up a decent percentage in just three of their daily meals. If you are trying to burn fat, reduce the amounts and cut starchy carbs down to just two of those meals.

The fibrous (also called cruciferous) veggies provide a lot of important nutrients, are low in calories, and very filling. You should have at least two to three servings every day.

Fruit also gives you some great vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy cofactors. Look at their carb levels and eliminate those that have too much fructose (natural fruit sugar). Limit fruit juices, since many of these tend to be very high calorie (with added sweeteners often snuck in). Apples and oranges make simple snacks for work or on-the-road. Berries are delicious, low-calorie, and great flavor additions to shakes, oatmeal, and Greek yogurt.

We also want to use starchy carbs to replenish our energy near the end of the training session, so it makes sense to place those meals near your training session and having noncarb meals (protein and healthy fats) placed in other times. So, if you train in the morning, your last meals of the day can be carb-free. If you train in the evenings, the first half of your day can be low in carbs.

While we mentioned that there are three categories we placed the carbs into (starchy carbs, fibrous veggies, and fruit) there is a fourth category, which we want to limit. This is simple carbs (such as sugars, syrup, honey, high fructose corn syrup). These should not be a part of your daily intake and, when consumed, do so in small amounts.

 
FATS

One of the biggest mistakes uneducated eaters make is the belief that eating fat is what makes you fat. What makes people fat is too high of a calorie intake and not enough exercise or activity. Choosing the right fats and keeping their intake fairly balanced, improves your health. Low fat intake also is known to cause a dramatic drop in your natural testosterone production.

Healthy fats include fish oils, nuts and seeds, grass-fed butters, and avocados. Some of your daily fat intake will be a part of the healthy proteins, such as the fat included in your eggs and your meat and dairy sources. When preparing food, there are great benefits to using the healthier sources, such as macadamia nut oil, coconut oil, olive oil or red palm oil. Also, to balance your fat intake, one or two daily servings of EFA Gold will provide you with essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6), which most diets are badly deficient.

The truly bad fats are margarine, canola oil, saturated fat (in excessive amounts), and trans fats. Trans fats are lipids that have been chemically changed to enhance the shelf-life longevity of those crackers, doughnuts and cookies, which is great for the manufacturer (but terrible for your health and longevity). These are found in many processed foods. Cautiously look for them on product labels. This is another example for the excessive processing of foods being bad for our health.

“I prefer to eat frequent small meals even when dieting,” says retired champion bodybuilder Tom Touchstone, “...because this keeps my blood sugar and blood protein levels fairly constant.” 7 Here is an example of a diet of that nature, to help you create one that fits your needs and schedule:

 

SAMPLE DIET
 

Meal 1: Egg omelet (mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, shredded cheese); whole-grain toast (add peanut butter if you need to gain weight)


Snack: Cottage cheese with pineapple or berries


Meal 2: Chicken breast; rice; steamed vegetables


Training
Post Workout Shake: Muscle Provider or Ultimate Muscle Protein shake


Meal 3: Steak; sweet potato; broccoli


Before Bed Snack: Ultimate Muscle Protein pudding (put 2 scoops of your favorite UMP flavor in a bowl, then slowly add water while stirring until it reaches a pudding consistency – for weight gain, add peanut butter or heavy cream to the mix)



NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS

 

 

Quality food choices are the base of an effective bodybuilding diet. Nutrition supplements can only work when added to quality food intake. Supplements will bolster this by adding compounds not found in large quantities in typical foods and making it quick and easy to add protein (at a very high-quality level) to your diet.

As we mentioned earlier in the article, increasing the amount and quality of your protein is the major diet change necessary to enter a bodybuilding lifestyle. Your best choice is Beverly
International's Ultimate Muscle Protein as the first supplement. It is derived from slow-release micellar casein (80%) and (20%) whey protein. This provides a sustained-release supply of amino acids to encourage muscle growth.

For those with an exceptionally-high metabolism (skinny guys that cannot pack on muscle), you will need Mass Maker Ultra. This is a higher-calorie protein and carbohydrate powder that will help you see some bigger numbers on the scale. This group (called ectomorphs) will often experience impressive muscle gains once they add a higher daily total of nutrient-rich calories.

After choosing which protein fi ts, the second supplement I would recommend to a beginner would be FitTabs. This is a high-quality daily serving of micronutrients, including vitamins,
minerals, bio-flavanoids, antioxidants, lipotropics and digestive enzymes. Since you are placing more physical stress on your body, a pair of FitTabs with breakfast and dinner will help
with your recovery while protecting you from nutritional deficiencies.

The third product I would recommend (even to someone that does not work out) is EFA Gold. This is a source of essential fatty acids from flaxseed oil, borage seed oil, fish oil and vitamin E.

Properly balancing your fat intake is difficult with just proper food choices. Taking three EFA Gold softgels once or twice daily will have a positive influence on your health and conditioning.

Now for the super-driven athletes, the optional products I recommend to take it to a higher-level would be doses of Ultra 40 and Mass Amino Acids taken throughout the day. Ultra 40 is a desiccated liver product (500 large tablets per bottle) in which the heme iron basis works as a blood builder, rich in protein, B vitamins, vitamins A, C and D and a variety of minerals. Mass Amino Acids also comes in a big 500-count bottle of tablets. These are easily absorbed peptide-bond aminos that support hypertrophy. This two product stack involves three to five of each of these tablets, four to six times a day. As you can imagine, this ensures that you have a constant flow of muscle-building nutrients in your bloodstream at all times.

 
THE NEXT PHASE

In the next issue, look for “Driven — Part 2: Maximum Progress as an Intermediate Bodybuilder!” The progress you achieve if you strictly follow this program will provide you with a direct and efficient way to reach your goals. Some of the changes added in Part 2 includes: more frequent training, an increase in training volume, some higher level training techniques, exercises you probably have never done, a variety of rep ranges, and a stricter nutrition program (based on body types). This program is a challenge, but you will love it!

You need to devote yourself to getting through the Beginner Program in order to succeed and move closer to your goals. Stick to the program. Keep track of your results...and every training session will be like a step forward towards achieving everything in which your body is capable.


REFERENCES

  1. Zane, Frank. “Equation for Victory,” Muscle & Fitness, July 1983
  2. Schwarzenegger, Arnold. “Arnold on the Squat,” Muscle Builder/Power, July 1976
  3. Belknap, Tim. “Gain Ultimate Mass & Power” from Muscle & Fitness, December, 1983
  4. Sipes, Chuck. “How to Plan Your Bodybuilding Training” (training course) no date listed
  5. Hatfi eld, Dr. Fred. “Hardcore Bodybuilding: A Scientific Approach,” Contemporary Books, 1991
  6. Zatsiorsky, Vladimir. “Science and Practice of Strength Training,” Human Kinetics, 1995
  7. Reynolds, Bill. “Tom Touchstone: Mr. California” from Muscle & Fitness, November 1985

Choosing the Right Program

With Many Young Lifters Confused at all the Training and Nutrition Online, Here is How to Fit in Some Different Strategies!

 

As serious “physical culturists,” we learned a great deal from the muscle mags, courses and books during the classic era of the sixties, the seventies, and even the eighties. We had to patiently study to earn keys to our inner universe, the proper methods of pumping iron...all for the ability to possibly earn a Mr. America or Mr. Local City title back before a pro card really meant anything. We learned how legends like Robbie Robinson, Dave Draper, Rachel McLish, Frank Zane, Bill Pearl, Cory Everson, Mike Mentzer and Arnold put things together.

It is just not the same these days. Lifters get online and watch a half-dozen 280-pound pro bodybuilders mention their training, nutrition and supplement techniques and... when some champions place well in the various classes of the next month's pro show, everyone watches them brag about their techniques. It is quick and fast, but most young lifters tend to try tons of different things and still feel confused. Jeff, one of my intermediate Rusty Gym members, is a great example.

Jeff has been a member of Rusty Gym for two and-a-half years. He joined the gym on the week he graduated from high school. He wanted to head to college looking like some of the musclehead guys he had see online. When I saw that he had brought a few twenties with him, I signed him up for a membership and encouraged him to go after it in an aggressive manner!

The first thing I had to teach him (which 80% of the beginners can't handle) is that it doesn't happen fast. When I was a kid, I hoped to be on the cover of Ironman and Muscle Builder magazines a few months after I started lifting. I still haven't made their covers (which might be why both of those mags were sold) but like a serious lifter, Jeff had stuck with the program... although I could tell recently that he wasn't sure where he is headed.

Jeff has now gained quite a bit of muscle. His frame has filled out nicely, but he feels like he needs more. People now ask him if he is an athlete or competes, so that is a step in the right direction. He doesn't miss a session of his training program and follows the nutrition and Beverly supplement programs I have given him since he started. He is doing well... but I can tell he is undergoing a phase in which he is confused. “So what is bothering you, J-Dawg?”

“How much volume? How many sessions? Which intensification techniques? The right method seems to change every day. I really don't get it!” says Jeff desperately.

I almost begin to talk but the confused lifter continues...

“The guy that just won the California Pro Cup trained an average of thirty sets per body part, and I love the fullness and balance of his physique... but the guy that won his physique class in the Junior Nationals does less than half as many sets, and I think his V-taper and conditioning is impressive. One of them trains four times one week, five times the next week. The other one trains nine times a week with most of those being two-a-days. Also, one of our top Arnold Classic competitors trains two-days-on/ one-day-off during their off-season but with lots of intensification techniques added to each set...”

“Enough info. I get it,” I add. “We saw these differences years ago. Mike Mentzer and Arnold Schwarzenegger were dramatically opposed on their training concepts. Both built amazing physiques, so which one was right? Fortunately, I have figured that out!”

I turn to my left and yell over to one of the few lifters we have that finds the plug and uses the one treadmill we have. “Hey Mark, how much longer do you have on there? I'm going to have you help us with something...”

Now Mark has a strong East Coast accent and a beard so he sounds and looks like he may have been on the Sopranos, but he’s had some schoolin'. He never talks about it, so Mark probably doesn't realize that I even know he has his doctorate in exercise physiology, masters of nutrition science and dietetics, and runs the department at nearby Central University. Mark spots people when asked, but keeps to himself. I like him. Fortunately, he is wrapping up his cardio. Mark wipes his sweaty forehead and politely sits near us. “How can I help?” he asks.

“We are having a discussion about fundamental aspects of training,” I include. “Jeff is confused by all the concepts he sees online through InstaSpace, FaceTube, YouBook and those other social media sites. I figured you and I can help him understand the truth based on both science and experience!” Just to impress them with my modernization, I hold up my two communication devices. “We all need to advance. While I still have a pager to get messages, I now also have a flip cellular phone. Now I never take either of these out on the gym floor, but I want you to see I understand your tech-driven concerns!”

“Is it safe to say that serious lifters are far ahead of the scientists, but our research is limited by the fact that it is just on one subject... ourselves?” I say.

“Definitely, Rusty! To be honest, I look at the concepts that serious bodybuilders, powerlifters and gym meatheads follow and the ones that intrigue me the most are the areas I recommend for studies. Serious lifters are ahead of scientists but we solidify the training ideas for diverse lifters at various experience levels, ages and different goals.”

 

Volume and Frequency

 

“You mentioned being confused about the training programs that different champs use,” I say to kick things off. “That famous example I mentioned previously would be Mike Mentzer's low-volume, four-times-a- week program with heavy weights, forced reps and negatives versus Schwarzenegger's twice-a-day, twenty sets per bodypart training style. You know my program isn't like either of these. What does research say about volume and frequency, Mark?”

“Your program hits it, to be honest,” Mark wisely replies.

“Now in your case, my case, and most of the serious lifters,” I say, “our volume per body parts varies over the year. Chest, for instance... you may just hit your pecs with six to eight sets a week part of the year and it builds up to 13-15 sets. We have done this through each of the last couple years. You probably do not realize it, but I look over your program regularly. Even though I have you increase the number of sets over the year, then take a week off, and return back to a low-volume, three-sessions-a-week version, your poundages on all of the big, compound movements have gone up from what you did a year previous. This keeps you mentally driven and your progress moving forward. We also increase the max volume just a little bit each year.”

“Keep in mind that sometimes high-intensity, low-volume, 30-minute workouts may also be recommended by personal trainers that can earn more income by training twice as many customers each hour,” says Mark. A large grin appears on my face as I consider the concept at Rusty Gym, but I stop myself since true hardcore training and integrity remain my policy.

“I have had a very unique theory about these volume differences,” I say. “There are a few champions...Dorian Yates being the most common example...that have done well with low-volume. He had the biggest, grainy physique we had ever seen up to that point. He also lifted big weights. Someone that is struggling to get 8-12 reps with one third the poundage Dorian used regularly is JUST NOT going to cause significant hypertrophy compared to his hardcore heavy contractions. Do you agree, Mark?”

“That definitely makes sense and I think I just got an idea for a future study I would love to launch!” says Mark.

I add, “Pro and national champion bodybuilders are very rare genetic freaks, maybe just 1-3% of the best muscle-building hypertrophic beasts. It doesn't mean you can't build an amazing physique... you've made a great deal of improvement... but none of the members of this gym is likely to ever look as good as myself or a pro! That is why much of the video knowledge you see online is just not made for the average lifter. These top pro freaks not only have freakishly high genetic levels, but also use growth hormones and anabolics at scary levels. As lifters who choose to be drug-free and have much lower, normal genetics, our nutrition and recovery needs must be right on track!”

“Well, can you just give me an example of what the average, motivated weight trainer should do for maximum results over, say, a 6-9 month period?” asks Jeff.

Periodization

“Periodization simply means planning your training over time,” says Mark. “NFL, NBA, and Olympic-level coaches do that...and so does Rusty with his clients.”

“Look at how you have trained on my program,” I say. “We already mentioned how your volume changes over the year. Your year would technically be called a mesocycle which begins at the beginning of September. We start our new mesocycle training three times a week, almost all of the sets being with heavy compound exercises, for just a max of an hour in the gym. After the holidays, the workout increases to an extra session each week, hitting each body part twice a week with each workout lasting a little more than an hour. Then we go to our 2-on, 1-off Back to Basics Training with more sets per body parts and bring in one of my inventions, “feeder” workouts to bring up a lagging body part. Even with warm-up times, we still keep things under 75-minutes.”

“In summer, we head towards the top of your volume, with a 3-on, 1-off training schedule. Each workout takes about the same length of time, but more sets are done with shorter rest periods and some supersets, with the last couple of sets to failure. Frank Zane did a cycle like this, peaking for the Olympia in the fall, and continues even after retirement. I have often assumed he copied that idea since he heard it is what I do. It is also something every serious Rusty Gym member does.”

Nutrition Confusion

 

“You said earlier how important it is for my nutrition to be on track… especially because I’ve chosen to be drug free. Sure, I’ve made great progress on the nutrition program you have given me, but I'm confused by how diverse the YouTube diets I have seen seem to be,” says Jeff. “How can they be so different? Should I stay lean or bulk up? Ketogenic diet? Paleo? IIFYM?”

“Before we had much solid muscle-building nutrition research, we had physical culture gurus like Vince Gironda, Rheo H. Blair, and Jim Heflin who were decades ahead of their time,” I say. “Jim Heflin, the founder of Beverly International, put together diet programs for thousands of bodybuilders, including many of the top champs of the 70s and 80s. He was all about just helping people... not marketing himself. Sandy and Roger Riedinger, who have been running Beverly for two decades, continue this in their magazine, No Nonsense, to help competitive bodybuilders or people with fitness goals. I still agree with each of these experts, so obviously they are all very smart!”

“Does research coordinate the supplement info we see online?” Jeff asks.

“Not everything...” Mark admits. “Most supplement companies make big claims. Some may have one research study that makes their new product look great... until you read the study and see how it was not correctly quoted. Beverly sticks to the basics, selling proteins, aminos and other products that have had numerous studies with solid research over time showing their effectiveness.”

“And they are the only company I trust to have the actual ingredients on the labels...” I add. “Dr. Mark, go over the ones we may need at higher quantity as serious lifters. I'd do it, but I need to hit the bathroom.”

 

As I return, I see that Mark has discussed the Super Pak (multivitamin/mineral) and EFA Gold (healthy fatty acids). Mark has a Muscle Provider on one knee and an UMP on the other, resting his forearms as his hands continue to move. “Eggs, beef, chicken, fish, turkey and other whole foods should provide much of your protein needs, but adding a couple of these quick, easy and delicious shakes each day will definitely maximize your natural growth potential. UMP has an 80:20 ratio of casein to whey, so it is mostly sustained-released casein, with some fast-acting whey...perfect throughout the day and before bed.”

“Research and delicious flavoring are much better than the options out there when I was your age,” I add. “As we all do, I have him use Muscle Provider for a post-contest shake for recovery.”

“Great strategy!” agrees Mark.

“I also recommended Quadracarn in his intake,” I say (as Jeff nods in agreement). “And he has had great results from it.”

“Even more research-shown benefits to older men,” says Mark, “...but studies have shown benefits of the four different forms of carnitine to improve fat loss, recovery, stamina, cognitive abilities, positive mood, testosterone, vascularity and more. That is why this product has been popular for women and men, young, old and middle- aged. As you know I also buy it frequently.”

“He also has me use Glutamine Select,” says Jeff. “Does the research support that?”

Mark doesn't need to look at the bottle to see what goes in Glutamine Select since he always has a water bottle with the purplish- white powder that he shakes up each workout. “Heavy training has been shown to deplete our glutamine levels. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue, so it’s NOT something you want to diminish. Hardcore training has been shown to decrease your level of glutamine, so I would never miss this, particularly for a large body part, heavy session. GS also has branched-chain aminos and a mild black cherry flavor (or the new wild berry version)... perfect as your during-workout beverage.”

“I noticed that my muscle soreness seemed higher when I ran out of drinking this, so I never miss it now.” says Jeff. “Rusty also has me take Density or Muscularity at various times, what does the science world show us on these?”

I juggle two bottles of aminos in the background as Dr. Mark sings their praise... “Density has essential amino acids, which help drive anabolic efficiency. I like three doses of five tablets a day between meals to maximize hypertrophy. The anabolic response to training involves the amino acid l-leucine, which acts as a trigger for activating the mTOR pathway vital for muscle growth and recovery. This is why Rusty advocates taking the BCAA-rich Muscularity aminos before and after training, along with your Muscle Synergy which contains HMB, an active metabolite of leucine that reduces muscle protein breakdown.”

“Serious intake of whole foods, protein shakes and amino acids help you look bigger and better!” I say, while impressing both of them with a Sergio Oliva-like victory pose.

“Now what about goals?” Jeff asks, “It seems like champs rave about their hardcore lifestyles and how they lift and eat perfectly so that they never have to deal with a second-place shamefulness...” (my pose obviously drove him to think of the posing dias and demi-godishness).

The Real Decision

A smile crosses my face when I think of my introduction. “I got into training to win the heart of Barbara, a beautiful homecoming queen I went to school with as a teen. You may not believe it now, but I was fairly scrawny as a sixteen-year-old. No, I didn’t win her heart …but afterwards I realized that I loved training, just for training.”

“I've gotten up on stage a handful of times,” I continue. “Perhaps my physique was ahead of its time or those judges needed glasses, but I didn't win every contest. But, now that I am helping others, I see that how you place doesn't really matter. If you improved, you have won. Not many think this way and maybe I'm just realizing it now.”

Mark nods and leaves this one for my experience. “The lifters you see online may declare that everything they capture on contest day is important, but it is not! That should only be a part of their life. Look at Mark. He trains, but he put education and now research before it. I run the gym and help others also get in shape. Life, happiness and spiritual growth are most important. Getting in shape for a contest can help drive people to make great progress. Just make it a part of things, not everything!”

“Whenever you feel doubt...,” says Mark. “... look at the last two years of training, the strength increases, lean weight gained... impressive progress is there.”

For a second, I consider hitting another pose to inspire this young man, but realize my physique only matters to me. Helping other people reach their goals (the purpose of this magazine) means far more to me, as it should for any trainer. And teaching this information to Jeff made me realize what really matters in my goals!

Three Day Split – 1st 3 Months

 

Monday: Legs, Chest, AbsSetsReps
Squat warm up, then work up to...)35
Squat110
Leg Curl210
Bench Press55
Calf Raise312
Abs (your choice)320-30
Wednesday: Back, Shoulders, Arms, CalvesSetsReps
Deadlift warm up, then work up to 225
Chin Ups3max
Bent Row36-8
Shoulder Press36-8
DB Pullover212
DB Curl36-8
Triceps Pushdown38-12
Seated Calf Raise310-12
Abs310-12
Friday: Whole BodySetsReps
Bench Press33
Bench Press115
Chin Ups3max
DB Press36-8
DB Pullover312
Barbell Curl36-8
Triceps Extension38-12
Squat215
Leg Curl215
Calf Raise312-15
Abs320-30

 

 
On the major exercises (Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift), warm up with a light weight and add weight each set until you reach your working weight. Add weight whenever you successfully get all listed sets for the indicated rep range. On the major exercises start your off season cycle with a weight which is about 85% of your repetition max for each exercise. That way you can add weight each week throughout the cycle. On the other exercises go to failure on the last two sets (except abs). If you get one more rep than the listed rep range on the last set of an exercise, add weight your next workout.

Four Day Split – Months 4-6

 

Monday: Chest, Back, Shoulders, AbsSetsReps
Bench Press33
Bench Press110
DB Flye28-12
Chin Ups3max
Bent Rows310-12
Shoulder Press36-8
Bent Laterals215
Abs3-425-30
Tuesday: Legs, Arms SetsReps
Squats33
Hack Squat26-8
Leg Curl210-15
DB Curl3-56-8
Triceps Pushdown3-510-12
Calf Raise3-66-20
Thursday: Back, Chest, Shoulders, AbsSetsReps
Deadlift13
Lat Pulldown310-12
Bent Row36-8
Bench Press35
Incline Flye210-15
DB Press310-12
Bent Lateral215
Abs3-525-30
Friday: Arms, LegsSetsReps
Seated DB Curl56-8
Triceps Pushdown510-12
Squat215
Hack Squat36-8
Leg Curl215
Seated Calf Raise3-66-20

Two On / One Off Back to Basics Training - Months 7-9

After completing the Intermediate Three Day Split and Four Day Split programs we go to a 2 on – 1 off program where you workout two days in a row and then take a day off. We still concentrate on the major exercises and include the advanced concept of “Feeder Workouts” to bring up any weak areas.

A “feeder workout” is performed to bring up a lagging body part or promote growth. As an example, we add a feeder workout for legs on Day #4 consisting of 2 supersets of 10-15 reps on Leg Extension and Leg Curl with a usable weight. Then 3 sets of 10 Squat or Leg Press with about 85% of your 10RM. This will get blood flowing to the area, facilitating recovery and growth.

 

Day #3: Off, Day #6: Off (then start over at Day #1)

Day #1: Legs, CalvesSetsReps
Squat (pyramid)512-4
Leg Press410-16
Leg Extension312-15
Leg Curls310-12
Straight Dead Lift310-12
Seated Calf Raise510-12
Calf Raise (bodyweight)525-50
Day #2: Chest, Triceps, CalvesSetsReps
Bench Press512-4
Incline DB Press36-8
DB Flyes38-12
DB Pullovers38-12
Close Bench Press412-6
Triceps Pushdown36-12
Dips36-12
Heavy Calf Raises48-12
Donkey Calf Raise415-20
Day #4: Shoulders / Biceps (Legs – Feeder Workout)SetsReps
Military Press (pyramid)412-6
DB or Machine Laterals38-12
DB or Cable Bent Laterals38-12
Barbell Curl (pyramid)412-6
Incline DB Curl38-10
Machine or Preacher Curl28-12
(Feeder Workout)215
Leg Extension (superset)210-15
Leg Curl210-15
Squat or Leg Press310
Day #5: BackSetsReps
Chin Ups or Pullups46-12
Deadlift & Shrug310
Bent Row or T-Bar Row412-6
Reverse Grip Pulldown38-12
Straight Arm Pullover310-12

Over 50 Training – Another Perspective

 

In this article I would like to share some personal thoughts on the best system of training for the mature bodybuilder. By bodybuilder, I mean anyone who is trying to develop muscle and strength, not just those training to enter a contest. This article is targeted at the over 50 male who has had some previous experience with weight training, but he may have experienced a long lay-off or he just wants to try something different from what he’s been doing for years.

To start, let’s agree that the over 50 bodybuilder’s basic concerns are very much the same as bodybuilders of any age – to develop an above average degree of fitness, muscle, and strength. For the over 50, let’s add – to look and act younger than his age.

Here is an outline of notes I’ve taken regarding myself specifically, and the aging bodybuilder in general. I started training pretty regularly in 1963, so these comments are based on more than 50 years of training experience.

 

Challenges for the over 50 bodybuilder

Negative factors of aging

  • Males typically lose 1/2 pound of muscle per year once they hit their late 30’s or early 40’s.
  • Fast-twitch muscles decline and testosterone production is reduced as the years go by.
  • An extended “lay-off” or “years-off”, results in excess fat. In addition our metabolisms slow down as we age.
  • Training time is often limited because of work and family obligations. However, this may be a good thing. You are less likely to over train by training too often or with too many sets and reps.
  • Injuries – anyone who has been training for most of their life has accumulated various injuries that interfere with their workout. My personal list includes lower back and elbow injuries for years, which are now pretty much ok. Current issues include arthritic knees, shoulders (including a complete shoulder replacement of my left shoulder) and wrist (which currently is my most limiting), along with varying degrees of tendinitis. But injuries, like limited time to train, can actually be a blessing. You may have to cut way back on the poundages that you use in certain exercises. The reason this is good is that you can really concentrate on developing perfect form and slowly progress for a very long period of time before you hit a plateau.

Positives for the over 50 bodybuilder

  • Self-Discipline - often improves with age. We’ve had to use it throughout our lives – not only in our workouts, but, perhaps in college, the military, building our own business – in fact; any goal we’ve achieved has had self-discipline as a vital component.
  • Patience – the older bodybuilder is no longer looking for a quick fix. He knows that anything worth achieving takes time and effort.
  • Knowledge of how his body works and feels – which exercises he can do and which he must make adjustments to, or avoid.
  • Realistic expectations – he realizes his strengths, but also his limitations. Goals are essential for the over 50 bodybuilder, but unlike many younger bodybuilders he knows that he is not going to be the next Arnold.
Note:We can counter the negative effects with targeted supplementation. Muscle Synergy, Quadracarn, and 7-Keto MuscLean will help you overcome these factors of aging. For more information, see Supplements at the end of this article.

Q & A

1. Should I train like I used to, or be content with a milder version?

Be cautious, but don’t let caution keep you from progressing – for any strength or muscle building routine to be effective it must include some overloading in the form of progression.

2. Can I still do certain exercises?

It is more important than ever to focus on the best exercises. These are core exercises for the shoulder girdle, back, and legs. Try the harder exercises: squats, dead lifts, and military presses. Even if you quit doing them years ago, give them another chance. Often, you just need to reduce the weight on the bar and improve your flexibility to start doing these exercises safely and productively. If an exercise is beneficial to a younger athlete, it can be useful to an older one. Don’t build limitation into your routine simply because of your age.

3. Can I really expect any gains at my age?

Absolutely, the older body responds to strength training exactly as a younger one, but at a slower pace (this could be good for it helps you avoid injury and overwork). – You must adhere to principles of strength development.

Realistic Goals

Forget the old Don’t become fixated on how strong you used to be. You’ll lose focus on what you are currently trying to accomplish, and become discouraged. One of the keys to the routines that follow is small, steady strength increases over the long haul. It is important that you set realistic goals based on your current condition. What you used to do is ancient history. It’s how you look and feel today that really matters. Don’t set goals based on your previous best lifts (for some of you that would take you back to your 20’s and 30’s), but do set goals for your current age. For example, at age 55, perform 6 perfect reps in the bench press with 185 lbs. Set new personal records, but base them on where you are now in life.

You can set personal age related records every There is a formula used in weightlifting called the Malone-Meltzer age coefficient which adjusts for age. At age 55 your coefficient is 1.35. That means that if your goals were 300 (bench press) – 400 (squat) – 500 (deadlift), you would basically be achieving these goals with lifts of 225, 300, and 370. This puts everything into perspective with definitive goals within your reach. (You can Google Malone-Meltzer to find what the coefficient is for your age.)

 

Sample Schedules

Here are a couple of sample workout schedules. Program #1 is for the over 50 male who is just starting training or starting back training after a prolonged lay off. Program #2 is for anyone who is looking for an alternative workout that will save time yet build strength and muscle.

 

Program #1

Objectives

  • Acquaint or reacquaint yourself to the basics – perfect your form on the best exercises.
  • Slowly build or rebuild your strength on the basic exercises.
  • Halt and reverse age related muscle loss.
  • Improve body composition – more muscle, less fat.

Scheduling

  • 2 or 3 weight training sessions per week.
  • Alternate workouts A and B with at least one day and preferably two days between each workout – do not overtrain.

Warming up and stretching

  • Five to ten minutes of a general body warm-up is very important. You can use an air-dyne or elliptical exerciser to warm-up everything at once. Or just go through the various movements you’ll be using in your workout with little or no weight.
  • Next, stretch between sets and exercises. Flexibility is an A number 1 priority for the older bodybuilder. Your workout should be: Lift, stretch, lift, stretch then leave.

Progression

You will want to lift as much as you can right away. Everyone does. But, you have to look at the long term. Start with a weight 70% or less than what you are currently capable of using. Concentrate on training consistency and proper form. We want to progress very slowly over a prolonged period of time. If you add 5 lbs to an exercise every other week for 3 months, you’ll have added more than 30 pounds to each exercise.
  • On the exercises which have a 10-12 rep range, add weight the following workout for exercises where you got 12 good reps on at least two of the sets.
  • For those with a 6-8 rep goal, add weight when you can perform 8 reps in perfect form on one or more of the sets.

Keys

  • Consistency, correct technique and slow, sustained poundage progression. Your weight increases should be as small as possible.
  • If you have micro plates (1.25 lbs or less, by all means use them).
Workout A
Exercise

Amount
Squat 3x10-12
Bench Press 3x6-8
Barbell Row 3x6-8
DB Shoulder Press 3x10-12
DB Curl 3x10-12
Abs / Calves
One exercise for each 3x15 or 2x20 per exercise
Workout B
Exercise

Amount
Deadlift 3x6-8
Incline DB Press 3x10-12
Pulldown
(using chin grip with palms facing you)

3x10-12
Barbell Press 3x6-8
Barbell Curl 3x6-8
Abs / Calves
One exercise for each 3x15 or 2x20 per exercise

Program #2

Objectives

This workout is for anyone who needs a change from his current program. It is terrific for the 50+ male who has been training regularly, but is at a standstill as far as strength.

Objections

  • Many of you will think this program is not enough, but that may be just the reason your progress has stalled – you’ve been doing too much.
  • Most assume higher reps are best for the 50 and older bodybuilder, but this is not necessarily the case. Your goal is to regain or continue to gain as much strength as you can. This means 4-6 sets of 4-6 reps on core exercises.

Advantages

You’ll start building (or at the least, regaining) strength and since the workouts are shorter, you’ll have more time for recuperation (and a real life).

Time Tested

This routine is based on time tested strength building basics. Give it at least a good three months. Personally, I’ve been using variations of this program for more than five years and am still making gains (at 71 years of age.)
  • Progression: Program #2 embraces a variation on the 5 sets of 5 reps theme similar to what I’ve been following for the past 15 months. Reg Park, one of the strongest and best developed bodybuilders of the pre-steroid era often trained with this method. He recommended that your first set (after a thorough warm-up) be with 60% of your 5-rep max, set #2 with 80% of your 5-rep max, and set 3, 4, and 5 with your 5-rep max. For illustrative purposes let’s say that at age 55 you are capable of 5 reps with 200lbs. Your first set (after warm-ups) would be with 120, set #2 with 160, and sets 3, 4, and 5 with 200. When you can reach 5 reps on each of these final 3 sets you would increase the load by 5lbs on all sets. (Note: you never want to increase the poundage on an exercise by more than 2-3%.)

Warming up and stretching

Should be the same as Program #1.
Workout A
Exercise
Amount
Squat5x5
General warm-up, then as many warm-up sets of 5, 3, or 1 as necessary to get to
your first set, then 5x5
Curl5x5
Close Grip Bench Press (hands just a little closer than shoulder width apart) 5x5
Weighted sit-up or crunch 2x8-12
Auxiliary work for forearms, neck, calves:
I personally include neck work (as I am trying to avoid “old man’s neck”) and
forearm gripping exercises.
After at least 1 day’s rest, go to workout B
Workout B
Exercise

Amount
Bench Press 5x5
Bent row 5x5
Plank 2x30-60 seconds
(Optional) Alternate chins (palms facing you) and Dips
(or push-ups) 2-3 sets of max reps
Now, take 2 days off and go to Workout C
Workout C
Exercise

Amount
Deadlift 5x5
Shoulder Press 5x5
Front Pulldown 5x5
Hanging Leg Raise or any ab exercise you like 2x8-15
Auxiliary work for forearms, neck, calves

Adjustments I’ve made to continue making progress

Regardless of how slowly you progress, eventually you’ll get find it nearly impossible to continuing getting 5 sets of 5 on each exercise as described above. Here are some modifications I have made that have kept me progressing.
  •  I’ve used a 5-4-3-2-1 rep scheme adding 10lbs per set from my 5-rep max.
  •  I’ve alternated weeks of 5 sets of 2 with about 10% above my 5-rep max. Example: If I was capable of 200x5 for 3 sets, instead of going to 205 the next week, I’d do 5 sets of 2 with 220, and then go to 205 the following week.
  • I’ve also had to modify exercises (due to that darned wrist). I use heavy 1-arm DB incline presses for the bench press, thumbs up curl (with a log bar or dumbells), 1-arm db press for shoulder press (which I love), and for the close grip bench, I’ve been using a set of cable strands for tricep pressouts.

 

Nutrition

I recommend higher protein and moderate to low carbs for the over 50 bodybuilder who is trying to build muscle and strength while losing some fat. Always include at least 1 UMP protein shake. I mix 1 scoop of UMP vanilla with 1 scoop of Provosyn and drink it at least once per day and often twice.

30 grams of protein per meal is the minimum you should shoot for and 4-6 meals per day. Some current research shows that the older bodybuilder may need more protein than the younger one, so don’t be afraid to go up to 50 grams of protein in a meal.

Unfortunately, as we grow older our metabolism does slow down a little. Therefore we have to watch our caloric intake. I’d estimate 12-13 calories per pound of bodyweight is about right if your goal is to add muscle and strength while tightening up. Keep carbs under 150 grams per day on most days.

Supplements

Many of BI’s best clients are in the 40-50-and 60 age brackets. I think one of the reasons for this is these guys have been around, tried it all, and settled on what works.

Here is my A list of supplements for the over 50: UMP, Quadracarn, Muscle Synergy or Creatine Select.

Next in importance would be Density or Mass Aminos, Lean Out, and 7-Keto MuscLean to keep your metabolism cooking.

Final Thoughts

I hope that this article has given you some new thoughts regarding strength training and muscle building for the over 50 bodybuilder. Please let me know if you have any questions related to the article. I wouldn’t mind including a “mature muscle” question and answer column in each issue if enough of you older readers are interested. Further topics we might pursue are intensity cycling, athletic type movements, bodypart specialization, exercise modification, and more in depth supplement stacks for specific goals. Please send your comments and questions to rogerr@BeverlyInternational.net.

Old School Muscle Building Program for Your Legs, Arms, and Upper Body

Is This Program For You?
1. Experience level at least one year of consistent training; will work best for experienced bodybuilder that needs a change of pace.
2. Goal – gain muscular size and strength
3. Frequency – train on three alternate days a week for 75-90 minutes.
4. Length of program – six weeks
5. Recommended supplements – Ultimate Muscle Protein or Mass Maker and Up-Lift

I wrote about an old school advanced arm building program in the last No Nonsense Magazine (vol 13, #4).

In this issue I’m going to continue with the same theme. This routine is not for the beginner. It’s designed for those who are well established and experienced in bodybuilding, have still not gained the muscular size they desire, and are ready to try something new (well, actually something old). If your progress has been slow lately, I’m certain this routine will help you. I’ll bet it’s different than anything you’ve seen or ever thought about. That’s doesn’t matter if you start growing, does it?

Back in the day, it was always recommended that you take a complete week off from lifting before embarking on a new routine. That’s still a good idea so let’s take a week off and then start fresh next Monday.

Workout Part 1 Legs Arms

You’ll keep your repetitions low, but go for heavy weight.. This squat program goes back to the early 50’s where it was used by the champion lifters to build strength and size. After a thorough warm-up you’re going to do a total of 9 sets of squats each training day! Start with a heavy set of 5 reps. Rest as long as you need, then add 10 lbs and do 4 reps. Keep adding 10 lbs per set as you do a set of 3, then 2, and then 1 rep. Now, reverse the process. Take 10 lbs off and do 2 reps. Keep reducing the weight by 10 lbs and adding one rep per set as you do 3, then 4, and finally 5 repetitions.If you can squat 300 lbs for one rep, here’s what your sets should look like for the first week: warmup, then 240x5, 250x4, 260x3, 270x2, 280x1, 270x2, 260x3, 250x4, 240x5. Then each Monday start your first set of 5 reps with 5 or 10 lbs more than you used the previous week. You won’t believe how much size and strength you’ll add in six weeks.

Squats will be your only leg exercise for the next six weeks. Old school or new school squats are the premier exercise for acquiring growth and power. But you must train them hard and religiously.

Arms

After your squats are completed take a 5-10 minute break, then hit arms. Old school arm training means heavy weight, lots of sets, and lower reps than you might be used to. Select three bicep exercises and three tricep exercises. For example: EZ Bar Curl, Incline DB Curl, and Concentration Curl, Pullover and Press, seated EZ Curl Bar Extensions, and Tricep Pushdowns. You don’t have to pick these exact exercises, choose your own, but once you pick your exercises stay with the same ones for the entire six weeks.

Now, you are going to warm-up a little, then pile on the weight and do five repetitions of the first tricep exercise, let’s say the Pullover and Press; when you complete your set walk slowly over to the EZ Curl bar and complete a set of curls for five reps. Then rest for just about one minute. Repeat this until you complete 4 or 5 sets for each exercise. Your reps are low, so the weight must be heavy and you’ll have to do multiple sets to really stimulate growth.

Set up the weights for your next tricep exercise and bicep exercise and follow through in the same manner as before until you complete another 4 or 5 sets each. Then complete the remaining two exercises in the same way.

This is a type of training that you are probably unfamiliar with because it has gone out of vogue, not because it was ineffective, but it was hard work and only a limited number of trainees can stick with it for the entire six weeks. Muscle magazines became very popular just about the time these workouts were producing great results. But the magazines couldn’t promote this type of training, they had to find something more glamorous to promote, even if it was less effective. Thus, one of the most effective training systems in the history of weightlifting became extinct. Well, that’s not going to keep us from getting the gains in size and strength we’re after, is it? Let’s move on to part 2.

Workout Part 2

Some bodybuilders of the past did both parts of the workout on one day. They trained two or three days per week and did the entire workout Parts 1 and 2 on each of those days.

EZ-Bar preacher curl bench with moderate grip. Accentuating negative (slow down movement) will focus more on the biceps with a relaxed grip. To focus on forearms (Brachioradialis) tightening and reverse the grip elbows firm against the preacher bench. While attempting to complete each rep, you feel the need to rise out of the seated position reduce the weight. Continue the strict prayer seated position.

Legs and Upper body

A more suitable alternative, while staying within the old school system of three workouts per week (usually on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings), is to alternate the two parts. One week Monday and Friday will be squats and arms, Wednesday will be squats and upper body. The next week Monday and Friday will be squats and upper body with Wednesday squats and arms. And yes, you’ll do squats on every workout day.

Start with the same squat workout that you did in the previous workout. The reason we start with squats is simply because by the time you have completed your upper body work you will be too tired to do justice to such an essential exercise as the squat. Use the same weights for your squats each workout for a week, then add 10 lbs to the bar the next week for each set.

You can choose your own exercises for upper body, but as a suggestion only, alternate Bench Press and Chins or Pulldowns for your first series. Perform them just like you did the arm exercises, 5 reps on the bench press, walk slowly to the lat machine and perform 5 heavy reps, then rest for about one minute and repeat until 5 sets of each have been performed. Your next two exercises might be High Incline Presses to hit both upper chest and shoulders and Bentover Rows.

Nutrition

This workout program is hard and heavy. It will produce great results but you must work it from three standpoints † exercise, nutrition, and rest. We’ve covered the exercise portion † now for the diet. To gain size and strength you are going to have to eat a lot of nutrient rich food. If you are already are eating a lot, you’ll have to eat more. That’s how you gain.Be sure to include plenty of protein, vegetables or salads, and complex carbohydrates with every meal. A protein supplement is invaluable. Ultimate Muscle Protein, Muscle Provider, or Mass Maker will provide the highest form of protein available. If you like milk, mix your protein shakes with milk instead of water during this bulking phase. Add peanut butter or nut butter to your shake and eat nuts throughout the day. Nuts contain extra protein and healthy fats. The extra calories combined with these heavy workouts will result in superior muscle gains.

Rest as much as possible. Make an all-out effort to sleep at least 8 hours per night. More is better. If you can, relax a little more during the day. (I know, easier said than done, but at least make the effort.)

This is a rigorous workout and it is common to run short of energy. Up-Lift will work wonders for you. Take 2 scoops in cold water about 10 minutes before you start training, then another scoop or even 2 scoops when you complete the squat section. It is really important that you squat each workout day, and the addition of Up-Lift will allow you to continue to train hard and heavy sets on every one of the remaining exercises. Train at night? Don’t worry Up-Lift won’t keep you up. You’ll only be training 3 days a week, so two containers of Up-Lift should take you through the entire six week program.

As I mentioned at the start, this is not a course for beginners to follow; only the bodybuilder with some experience should attempt this schedule. However, if you qualify, train hard and religiously, fuel your body with plenty of food and Beverly protein supplements, rest as much as possible, and give this routine a dedicated six weeks, it is a sure fire muscle building plan to improve your size and strength.

SURE FIRE SIZE AND STRENGTH TRAINING PROGRAM

Training Days: M-W-F
Monday: Part 1
1. Squats: 9 x 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 reps
2. Triceps Pullover and Press 4-5x5
3. EZ Bar Curl 4-5x5
4. Seated EZ Curl Triceps Extension 4-5x5
5. Incline DB Curl 4-5x5
6. Tricep Pushdowns 4-5x5
7. Concentration Curl 4-5x5
Wednesday: Part 2
1. Squats: 9 x 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 reps
2. Bench Press: 5x5
3. Lat Pulldown: 5x5
4. High Incline Press: 5x5
5. Bentover Row: 5x5
- repeat Part 1
Then start the following Monday with Part 2.

Movement of the dumbbell is in sync with your breath, as the dumbbell is raised in-hale to maintain a slight arch while looking forward Alternate as above for 5 sets of 5 reps each. You really do not need to add a third combination. Don’t add any more exercises; you’ll only slow down your progress. Work each set as heavy as you can and that’s all you’ll have to do for your part 2 workout.

My 1985 Bodybuilding Training Routine

It was the spring of 1985. I was 37 years old and pretty much thought I’d met my potential in bodybuilding. I’d been working out pretty regularly since I was 14 and in that time I’d read everything there was to read about weight training and bodybuilding.

And I tried about every conceivable program

Here’s a list of some of them:

  1. 120-rep squat workout.
  2.  Five sets of five reps.
  3. Ten sets of ten reps on Bench Press, Squat, Bentover Row and Deadlift.
  4. John MacCallum’s Keys to Progress series (which was a synthesis of the 20-rep squat workout with the five sets of five program).
  5. Arthur Jones’ full body — one set to failure for each bodypart.
  6. Weider’s saturation Bomb and Blitz 70’s training (like Arnold and Zane trained).
  7. Mentzer’s Heavy Duty with rest pause and negatives (an off-shoot of Arthur Jones).
  8. Periodized powerlifting programs based on percentage increases each week.
  9. Workouts from Muscle Builder and Mr. America using all the Weider principles.
  10. All the workouts that had been published in the old Iron Man magazines to date. And even the Bulgarian 2-3 times-a-day training.
I thought I’d tried everything. It was always hard for me to put on muscle. So, most of my off-season training programs were built around the conventional wisdom.

Heavy weights, low to moderate reps, three to five sets. Now thats not to say its the only way I trained. Its just what I found had given me the best results. But now the results were diminishing. I thought it was just my age. But then, I hit upon something I hadnt tried. What if instead of working up in weight, Id use a decent weight and see if I could work up into some rep ranges that I had not even considered in the past?

Heres how I did it

I took a weight that I could get for about 20 reps (for example 205 lbs in the bench press). But then, I’d work up to 25-30 reps with that weight, then once I reached the upper range Id add about 10% and try to work up to 25-30 reps again. Same for the squat. Instead of ten reps with 315, Id try for 30 reps with 225 and follow that with set of 20-25 with 255. (See workout sidebar for more details).

The training strategy is based around a 3 on / 1 off system. The first three days are heavy days (but still keep the reps very high on some exercises), and the next three are lighter workouts with less rest between sets. Some of the rep ranges may look like typographical errors, but they are not. You can start at the lower end of the recommended rep ranges but work up to the upper end before you increase the poundage. Use a weight that is challenging for 10-15 reps and then just keep adding a rep or two per workout.

When I started this workout I thought that 255 for max reps on the squat was going to be ridiculously light, however, following my first set of 225 for 23 reps, I got 255 for 16 and built it from there workout by workout. When I reached 30 reps with 225 and then followed it with 25 reps at 255 I raised the work sets to 250 and 275, and so on.

This workout combined high volume (higher than I was used to) with decent poundages. You are going to need to rest about five minutes after each work set of squats and benches so this workout is not one you can do in 45 minutes. And, by the end of the workout youll have to go pretty light to finish all your prescribed sets. Whenever you can reach the high rep number in the range add about 10% more weight for that set the next time you do that particular workout.

There are a couple of other tricks throughout the workout that really made it effective. In addition to the high rep bench sets, I remember the initial 20-rep sets on presses, laterals, lat pulldowns, and curls provided a terrific stimulus. In the past if I did a 20/16/12/8 rep scheme the first set was pretty light. But now, I treated the 20-rep set like a heavy work set and used as much weight as I could to get 17-20 reps (and if I got 20, I added weight the following workout). But, man, did it take a lot out of me for the remaining sets. Often I couldnt add weight on the following sets even though the reps went down.

Another cool twist was day seven, when I did biceps before lats. I’d always believed in working the larger muscle group first, and that doing biceps first would cause my lats to suffer. What a surprise when the very next day my lats were sorer than they had been in years! Those straight arm pullovers on day seven (lying length-wise on, not across, the bench) were something I hadnt done in twenty years. I always thought they were a rib cage expansion exercise, but found they were an excellent lat developer — even when I used just a 5′25-pound bar for resistance.

I used this workout for the next 12 weeks and grew bigger and more muscular than I had ever been. That summer I won the Neptune Classic in Virginia Beach and followed with my biggest title, the 1985 overall AAU Masters USA (it was 35 and over back then).

I think this workout will work best for you if you’ve hit a sticking point in your training, you’re highly motivated, and you have some extra time to devote to your workouts. I’d really recommend that you use Creatine Select and Glutamine Select to get the greatest possible benefit from this workout. If you’ve used creatine and think that it doesn’t work for you, I beg you to try Beverly’s Creatine Select plus Phosphates. Do a little experiment. Try one cycle of the workout below without it and track your lifts. Then try another cycle of workouts using Creatine Select. I bet you’ll be shocked at your progress.

5 days to get your 3 workouts

1985 Training Essential Points

  • 3 on / 1 off — but if it takes five days to get your three workouts in, that’s fine. Just follow the sequence of workouts and don’t worry too much about the days.
  • Focus on progression from one workout to the next. Keep a training journal. If you get 205 for 17 reps on the bench press your first time through, try to get 18 or more the next time.
  • Remember, that high reps with fairly heavy weights are going to make your next set much tougher, so rest as needed between sets.
  • Recovery is going to be essential so get plenty of good nutrition and supplement with Creatine Select plus Phosphates, Glutamine Select plus BCAAs, and Mass Maker.
  • Complete all sets listed for each day’s workout, even if you have to use ridiculously light weights to complete the sets. I remember using 40 pounds resistance on our Polaris Leg Extension at the end of day one to get 3 x 15 after all of those squats and hacks.

Read the directions for the workout once again to make sure you are clear as to how to perform each set. Then go for it. Follow this program for the next 8 weeks and I guarantee you will be a better bodybuilder than when you started it.

It took me to a whole different level at age 37, think what it can do for you.

DAY ONE: CHEST/SHOULDERS/ABS

CHEST:
Bench Press:

  1. 135 x 15
  2. 155 x 10
  3. 205 x max reps (18 — 30 reps)
  4. 275 x max reps (10 — 15 reps)
  5. 295 x max reps (3 — 5 reps)
  6. 225 x max reps (15 — 25 reps)
  7. 185 x max reps (whatever you have left)

*Try to increase by a rep or two each time you go through the cycle. When you reach the top rep number increase by 10% the next time through. Adjust your starting weights so your reps fall in the above ranges. My bench max was about 365 at the time I started this program.

Incline Barbell Press:

  1. 135 x 10
  2. 185 x 6
  3. 205 x 3 sets x max reps
  4. 205 x 3 sets x max reps
  5. 205 x 3 sets x max reps

Incline Flyes: 3 sets x 15 — 18 reps

SHOULDERS:
Seated Front Press: 4 sets x 8 — 12 reps
Behind Neck Press: 4 x 20 / 16 / 12 / 8 all as heavy as you can go
Standing Laterals: 4 x 20 / 15 / 12 / 12<

ABS: 200 reps total

DAY 2: LEGS:

Squats:

  1. 135 x 20
  2. 185 x 15
  3. 225 x max reps (15 — 30)
  4. 255 x max reps (10 — 25)
  5. 225 x max reps (15 — 25)

Hack Squat: 3 x 12

Leg Curl: 5 x 12 — 15

Leg Extension: 3 x 15

Hyperextension: 3 x 20 Bodyweight only

Calves: Donkeys Supersetted with Standing Raises: 5 x 20 each

DAY 3: BACK / ARMS

BACK

Heavy Row: Warm-Up, then 5 x 6Front Pulldown: 5 x 25 / 20 / 15 / 10 / 10 (all heavy as you can)Cable Row: 3 x 12

ARMS:

Dips: 4 x max reps — no weightTriceps Pushdowns: 4 x 12 — 15Curls: 6 x 20 / 16 / 12 / 8 / 8 / 15 max weightsAlternate DB Curl: 4 x 12 — 15

ABS: 200 reps totalDAY 4: OFF*The next three workouts should be performed at a quicker pace than the first three.

DAY 5: CHEST / SHOULDERS / ABS

CHEST

Incline DB Press: 4 x 12 — 15 (same weight each set, 90 seconds rest between sets)

Bench Press: 4 x 20 / 16 / 12 / 8

Flat Flyes: 4 x 8

SHOULDERS

Laterals 6 x 12 Superset with Bent Laterals 6 x 12 (60 seconds rest between supersets)

Upright Row: 3 x 20 / 15 / 10

ABS: 200 reps total

DAY 6: LEGS

Squats — Raise Heels — Bar High Up or Front Squats: 5 x 12 (same weight each set, 90 seconds rest between sets — I used 185 lbs for my first workout)

Leg Extensions — Slow Strict: 4 x 15

Leg Curls: 4 x 15Medium Weight Deadlifts — Semi Straight Legs: 3 x 20 / 15 / 10

Standing Calf Raise: 4 x 12 Superset with Seated Calf: 4 x 12

DAY 7: ARMS / BACK / ABS

ARMS (first)

EZ Bar Curls: 5 x 12 — 15

1985 Mr. USA – AAU, Overall Winner

Want Bigger Muscles Faster? Science says Cycle your Training!

Before the Lifecycle improved coronary flow and made a lot of people a lot of money, and before steroid and GH cycling gave the word cycle a bad name, blighting bodybuilding, Eastern European and Soviet Coaches and physiologists had quite a different view of the word cycle. It had nothing to do with sitting on a bike.

As far back as the mid-sixties, many athletes were improving their skills and physical attributes involved in their sports (such as speed, power, acceleration) by following something formerly called periodization. Today, virtually every world-class Olympic athlete follows a variation of a periodization training system. Indeed, it would be safe to say that every world record in weight lifting, track and field and swimming are a result of periodization.

Well listen, believe it or not, bodybuilders can use pretty much the same training system to make consistent "drug free" gains in both size and strength year round!

Four Specific Cycles or Phases

  1. Hypertrophy – muscle size increase – heavy weights, but for moderate/high reps.
  2. Strength / power – medium reps, very heavy weights.
  3. Power – low reps, very heavy weights.
  4. Rejuvenation – active rest

Hypertrophy-Phase 1

If you divide your yearly training into phases or cycles, you’ll maintain a better mental outlook, more motivation and your body will also respond better physiologically.

The first phase of training I suggest, is the one that builds muscle size and pre–orients your muscles to be geared up (condition–wise) to go for strength and power which will theoretically allow you to even add more muscle size. Plus, you will condition your tendons and joints to handle the stresses of heavier weights to come.

 

Deon Lozon steadfastly improves using cyclic training plans

I recommend (as do most responsible trainers that you do 6–15 reps per set for size with the great majority of reps falling somewhere from 8–12 reps. I also like 3–4 heavier "work" sets after a systemic warm–up plus 2–3 warm–up weight sets per exercise. As you might note, so far this sounds pretty much like a standard common sense bodybuilding workout.

  • "With a cycle training approach your training weights should come near, but never exceed, your limit. That means you do not train to failure. Some say that doing anything to FAILURE produces an ultimate negative mindset, but more importantly, training to positive and negative failure can cause a form of cortisol adrenal over–production, as the stress is just too high. (To his wise defense, Mike Mentzer, was a proponent of this type of training, and realized this and advised one that you could NOT train with ultimate intensity often, so you had to reduce volume).
  • "Nonetheless, the premise of periodization avoids too much constant adrenal stress and recognizes both the mental and physiological needs to cycle the varying proponents of training. One simply can not come into each session and always work harder. While this may sound good in theory it never works in practice–never. So, instead, in this phase, the goal is to make small steady increases in your workload parameters, on a weekly basis. Success breeds success. Failure breeds failure.
A Recommended 8–day Size Training Cycle or ‘Training Week’:
Day One: Chest (Heavy), Back (Light), Shoulders (Heavy)
Day Two: Rest
Day Three: Legs (Heavy), Arms (Light)
Day 4 Rest
Day 5: Chest (Light), Back (Heavy), Shoulders (Light)
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: Arms (Heavy) Legs (Light)
Day 8: Rest
Repeat Cycle

Continual progression is a big key and much harder for NON–DRUG USERS!

So, start the first week of each phase at 90% of your best. Yes, 90%. Leave a bit in reserve. By this I mean if you can do 225–lbs for 10 reps in the bench press, then start week one with 200 for your 3 work sets.

Yohnnie Shambourger is a well-known bodybuilder who cycles his training pre–season for hypertrophy, off–season for strength/power and pre–contest to peak for competition. He has produced a very motivational instructional video, Unleash the Winner in You!

Each full 8–day cycle increase your training weights by just 5–lbs.
Week 1, 200 –lbs, 3 x 10 Week 2, 205 –lbs. 3 x 10
Week 3, 210 –lbs. 3 x 10
Week 4, 215 –lbs. 3 x 10
Week 5, 220 –lbs. 3 x 10
Week 6, 225 –lbs. 3 x 10
Week 7, 230 –lbs. 3 x 10
Week 8, 235 –lbs. 3 x 10.

After eight weeks, you have gone from a best of one set of 10 with 225-lbs to 3 sets of 10 with 235-lbs. Guess what? This probably means that on a well-rested day, you would now be able to get 240-245 pounds for one set of 10! A big improvement! You will have gained strength along with great size improvement.

These were heavy day discussions. On your light days use just 80-85% of your planned heavy day poundage. This is crucial. The greatest strength increases occur when a particular muscle group is trained heavy once every 7-10 days and stimulated but not maximally trained 3 – 5 days later. So, instead of 3 sets of 10 with 220-lbs in week 5, you would use 175-185-lbs instead!

Exercises / Days

What about the exercises?

For muscle size and increased strength we at BodyMuscle suggest:

  • Days 1 and 5
    Chest: bench presses and incline presses (either with the bar or dumbbells)
  • Back: bent–over rows and pulldowns or chins
  • Shoulders: a shoulder press exercise such as behind–the–neck presses or dumbbell presses.
  • Days 3 and 7
  • Legs: High bar squats to below parallel, leg presses and deadlifts, on your heavy leg day. On your light day do not do any deadlifts.
  • Biceps: biceps curls (either with the bar or dumbbells)
  • Triceps: one triceps press such as close–grip bench presses, dips, pullover & press or triceps pushdowns

The Hypertrophy phase will enable you to add muscle and lose fat! At BodyMuscle, we advise a diet of 50% protein, 20% carbs and 30% fat during this phase. (Our supplement suggestions for each phase are listed in a convenient table at articles end).

Strength and Power Phase 2

This will be another 8–week cycle. To develop strength and power, the greatest athletes in the world generally work with 2–6 reps. Since we are geared to bodybuilders we adjust this slightly and in this phase, we advocate 4 5 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

Here is how this cycle works. Well use our previous example for the Bench Press where you ended Phase 1 at 235 for 10 reps. Do an active system warm–up, then with weights 95 x 10 and 155 for 10. On your final warm up set do 205 for 6.

Then go to your target weight which is actually only 10–lbs. above the weight you ended up at sets of 10 in your first phase. So, start at 245–lbs. x 3 sets of 5–6 reps. You are leaving yourself some extra so you continue to gain positively all the way through the cycle.

Okay, now you will once again, increase your target weight each week. Try 5–lbs increase per week like this:
Week 1, 245 lbs. 3 x 5–6.
Week 2, 250 lbs. 3 x 5–6
Week 3, 255 lbs. 3 x 5–6
Week 4, 260 lbs. 3 x 5–6
Week 5, 265 lbs. 3 x 5–6
Week 6, 270 lbs. 3 x 5–6
Week 7, 275 lbs. 3 x 5–6
Week 8, 280 lbs. 3 x 5–6

Use the same exercises for Phase 2 as you did in Phase 1. Use 5-6 reps as your goal for Bench Press, Bent Row, Squat and Deadlifts and 6-7 reps for your arm and shoulder exercises (as well as the secondary exercises Inclines, Pulldowns and Leg Press). Dont forget that every other bodypart workout is a light day at 80 85% of your target weights for the week

As an option that many bodybuilders love to do is the down-set After your primary strength and power work, try doing one down set of 10 reps to maintain your increased muscle size from the hypertrophy phase. This is a down set not a burn out set. Dont go to failure here. Instead use about 70% of the weight you used on your work sets and stop when you reach 10 reps. As eight times Mr. Olympia Lee Haney (1984-1991), said, Stimulate dont annihilate.

During this strength/power phase we feel an enhanced good complex carb source is advisable.

Power Phase 3

In physics, work is a measure of force and distance. (w = f x d). Power means doing a specified amount of work per unit time. If you can move mass M over distance D in 10 seconds and then (after training) move the same mass M the same distance D, but do it in 5 seconds, you are twice as powerful!

Our experience has been to spend a maximum of four weeks in the power phase and to use 2-3 reps in benches and deadlifts, 3 4 reps in the squats and bent-over rows, and 5 – 6 reps for all other exercises. Again, follow your 2-3 warm-ups, and 3 power work sets and then do a down set of 10 reps with about 70% of your target weight, just as you did in the strength phase.

You ended your strength cycle at 280-lbs. for 5-6 reps.

So start at 285-lbs for your target weight, 3 reps each, for week 1.

Then add 5-lbs per week over the 4-week cycle progressively, just as before:
Week 1, 285-lbs. 3 x 3 reps
Week 2, 290-lbs. 3 x 3 reps. Week 3, 295-lbs. 3 x 3 reps
Week 4, 300-lbs. 3 x 3 reps

During this 20-week periodization cycle, you should go from a 10-rep maximum of 225-lbs. and that probably equates to a 300-lbs. for a one rep maximum for most people, to doing a couple of sets of 3 reps with your maximum one rep before! That is a huge increase for a natural athlete!

One thing – if you are planning to enter a bodybuilding competition you should follow the power phase with a pre-contest training phase similar to the hypertrophy phase and perhaps just slightly longer.

You would want to train in a slightly higher volume - semi intense manner using as much weight as possible for 8 to 12 reps. This type of training stimulates all muscle fibers and all the elements of the muscle cell.

If you are not competing following phase 1, 2 and 3, then go into a rejuvenation phase.

Rejuvenation/Active Rest Phase 4

Now heres a chance to stay out of the gym completely, focus maybe more on sports and/or cardio, of if you must go to the gym try some new equipment with no structured routine.

But active rest should only last 2-3 weeks and then its time to start another cycle start phase 1 at a slightly higher level than your last time through.

TRAINING REVIEW

  • Start each phase with a target weight that is less than your maximum!
  • Make sure to keep light days light about 80-85% of your target weights on the heavy days.
  • Stick to your planned program even if your target weights on a particular day feel light. Resist the temptation to add more weight or do extra reps! You are in this for the long haul!
  • Rest long enough between sets so you can be successful on the next set.
  • If you are unable to get all your sets with a planned target weight, use that same weight when your next heavy day comes around.
  • Start your second complete cycle at a slightly higher level than you did the previous cycle.
  • You should do a general systemic warm-up plus 2-3 warm up sets, and then, 3-4 work sets per exercise during each phase. Your first one or two warm-ups should be around 10 reps. The reps on your final warm up should be the same number of reps as your target sets during a particular phase.
  • Don’t forget your down set of 10 reps with 70% target weight during the strength and power phases.

Brent Jones uses cycle training and credits Beverly heavily for upping his mass over the last 2 years. He is preparing for the 2001 North American Championships

A 12-Week Training Cycle for Muscle Size and Strength – Periodization 4 specific phases

Hypertrophy Strength Power Rejuvenation

In my last article I detailed the 1985 training routine I used to achieve my best ever condition. In that article I told you how I took a weight that I could get for about 20 reps (for example 205 lbs in the bench press). But then, I’d work up to 25-30 reps with that weight, then once I reached the upper range I’d add about 10% and try to work up to 25-30 reps again. Same for the squat. Instead of ten reps with 315, I’d try for 30 reps with 225 and follow that with set of 20-25 with 255.

The problem with a program like that is it only works for a specified period of time. I found that after eight weeks the gains slowed down. Mentally, and probably physically too, I was getting burned out trying to set a new max rep record every workout. The workout I’m going to give you in this article is one that you can do indefinitely and continue to make gains. In fact, every world-class Olympic athlete follows one variation or another of this training system. Virtually every world record in weight lifting, track and field and even swimming is a result of this training system. If you follow this workout you will be able to make continuous "drug free" gains in both size and strength year round..

Personally, I have used this "Periodized" training system for at least two 12-week cycles each year for the past ten years.
Simply put, the "classic" periodization breaks up training into four specific phases:
1. Hypertrophy – muscle size increase – moderate to high reps
2. Strength / power – medium reps, heavier weights
3.  Power – low reps, heavy weights
4.  Rejuvenation – active rest

Phase 1 – Hypertrophy

The first phase of training is the one that builds muscle size and sets your muscles up for strength increases to follow. You’ll do 8 – 12 reps per set. Three work sets plus two warm-up sets per exercise. Sounds pretty much like a standard bodybuilding workout so far, doesn’t it?

Here’s the essential difference between a Periodized program and your typical bodybuilding workout. It’s also the difference between consistent drug free gains and zero progress week after week.

   With a cycle training approach your training weights should come near, but never exceed, your limit. That means you do not train to failure. Training yourself to fail can mentally shake your confidence. But more importantly, training to failure can disrupt your neural patterns and do more harm than good.
  Instead make small steady increases on a weekly basis. Remember success breeds success. On the designated (Heavy) days above start the first week with 90% of your 10RM (limit weight you can do for 10 reps.) If your max Bench Press is 225 for 10 reps in good form without a spotter, start Week One with 205 for your three work sets. Increase your training weights each week by 4%. Week two is 210, week 3 – 220lb, and week 4 – is 102% of your starting 10RM or 230lb for 3 sets of 10. If 230 goes easy, add another 2% and stay with the hypertrophy phase for a fifth "training week." If 230 feels like your limit go into the next phase. (Note that even though you only trained near failure for one workout out of the eight workouts during this phase you’ve added at least five pounds to your 10-rep max. Remember a five-pound increase each month for a year results in a 60lb annual increase.)

You will be training each bodypart eight times during the first phase, but four of those days will be "Light". On "Light" days use just 85% of your planned heavy day poundage. This is crucial. The greatest strength increases occur when a particular muscle group is trained heavy once every 7 – 10 days and stimulated but not maximally trained 3 – 5 days later. If 205lb was your first week target weight, your (Light) day poundage would be 85% of 205lb or about 175lb. That’s what you should use.

Remember, it’s supposed to be light
Week Heavy Day   Light Day (85% of Heavy Day)
1 205 175
2 210 180
3 220 190
4 230 (new 10 rep max)195
Here’s a recommended workout to add muscle size and increase strength using Cycle Training follows:
Days 1 and 4
Chest: Bench Press and Incline Press (Barbell, DB’s, Hammer Incline or other Incline Pressing movement)
Back: Bent Row and Pulldowns or Chins
Shoulders: Choose one Shoulder Press movement (Smith, Military, Behind Neck, DB’s, Hammer)
Days 2 and 5
Legs: Olympic Squat (Bar High – below parallel), Leg Press, and Dead Lift on heavy leg day only (traditional style – bent legs / flat back) omit the Dead Lift on light days
Biceps: One Biceps Curling Movement (Barbell or Dumbbell)
Triceps: One Triceps Pressing Movement (Close Grip Bench, Dips or Dip Machine, or Pullover & Press)

Research shows that the Hypertrophy training phase will cause you to add muscle and lose fat. For best results follow Beverly’s Gain Muscle – Lose Fat Diet Plan of 50% Protein, 20% Carbs, 30% Fat during this phase.

Supplement with Beverly’s Ultimate Muscle Protein / heavy cream combination. Take Mass Aminos with meals for greater protein utilization and Muscle Mass BCAAs during training for an added build muscle – lose fat effect. You will definitely be adding muscle during this phase but if you find that your bodyweight is decreasing add Mass Maker as a post recovery drink to build more muscle and pack on the weight.

Phase 2 – Basic Strength

Do 4–5 sets of 5–7 reps in the Basic Strength phase. You want to start this phase with a weight that is just slightly higher than the weights you ended with during Phase 1. Even though you’ll be doing as few as 5 reps, don’t increase the weight too much. Start every phase with weights that are easy to get the recommended number of reps. Then work up to a new goal at the end of a four or five week cycle.

We’ll use our previous example for the Bench Press where you ended Phase 1 at 230 for 10 reps. In phase 2, warm-up with 135 for 10, 205 for 5, then your “target weight” for week one – 240lb for 3 sets of 5 reps. Once again increase your “target weight” each week. Ten pound increases per week see you end week 4 at 270. Not bad – by the end of phase 2 you’ll have already added ten pounds to your best set of 5.

It’s best to use the same exercises for Phase 2 as for Phase 1. Use 5 reps as your goal for Bench Press, Bent Row, Squat and Deadlifts. Use six or seven reps as your goal for arm and shoulder exercises as well as the secondary exercises like Inclines, Pulldowns and Leg Press.

If your primary focus is bodybuilding include one "down set" of 10 reps to maintain your increased muscle size from the "hypertrophy" phase. This is a "down set" not a burn out set. Don’t go to failure here. Instead use about 70% of the weight you used on your "work" sets and stop when you reach 10 reps.

As Lee Haney said, "Stimulate – don’t annihilate."
Week Heavy Day 10-Rep (Down Set) Light Day (85%)
1 240 (3x5) 170 205
2 250 (3x5) 175 215
3 260 (3x5) 180 230
4 270 (new 5 rep max) 190 230

If you’re on the bulky side still add the clean complex carbs but cut down on the beef and whole eggs to lower your fat intake. Switch your protein drinks from Ultra Size and heavy cream to Ultimate Muscle Protein mixed in water. Drink a serving of Muscle Provider pre and post workout. Be sure to add Ultra 40 Liver tabs if you’re not already taking them during phase 2. They’ll give you strength benefits found in no other food.

Regardless of whether you are a little too bulky or too thin, be sure to go on Creatine Select at the beginning of this phase. Always take 1 or 2 scoops before training. Take any additional servings to get your quota with meals. For example, on week 4 it’s 1 scoop with each meal and 2 scoops before training to get your 8 servings.

Here is the dosing schedule that I recommend you try:

Always take 1 or 2 scoops before training. Take any additional servings to get your quota with meals. On week 4 it’s 1 scoop with each meal and 2 scoops before training to get your 6-8 servings in.
Creatine Select Dosing Schedule for Maximum Results
Week 1: 2 scoops per day (10g total)
Week 2: 4 scoops per day
Week 3: 4-5 scoops per day
Weeks 4 & 5: 6-8 scoops per day (30g-40g total)
Week 6: 6 scoops per day
Week 7: 4 scoops per day
Week 8: 2 scoops per day

Phase 3 – Power

Use 3 reps as your goal for Bench Press and Deadlifts, 3–4 reps for Squats and Bent Rows, and 5-6 reps for the others. Follow your two warm-ups, and three "work sets" with a “down set of 10 reps with 70% of your target weight, just as you did in the Strength Phase.

You ended your Strength Cycle at 270 for 5 reps. Now go to 280 for 3 as your target weight for Week 1, then 290 for 3 the second week. If the 290 goes fairly easy add a 3rd week at 295. Spend just three weeks in the Power Phase.

During the eleven-week cycle you went from a 300lb max bench (10-RM of 225 equates to about a 300 1-RM). Now you should be able to do a single with 315lb. Yes, three plates in just eleven weeks.

The Rejuvenation Phase follows the power phase. Here’s a chance to stay out of the gym completely, focus on a little cardio, or if you must go to the gym try some new equipment with no structured routine. After a week or two of active rest it’s time to start Phase One cycle again at a slightly higher level than your first time through.

Review

  • Start each phase with a relatively light target weight.
  • Make sure to keep light days light – about 85% of your target weights for the heavy days.
  • Stick to your planned program even if your target weights on a particular day feel light. Resist the temptation to add more weight.
  • Rest long enough between sets so you can be successful on the next set.
  • If you are unable to get all your sets with a planned "target" weight, use that same weight when your next heavy day comes around.
    • Start your second complete cycle at a slightly higher level than you did the previous cycle.
    • You should do two warm up sets and three work sets per exercise during each phase.
    • Your first warm-up is always 10 reps.
    • The reps on your second warm – up should be the same number of reps as your target sets during a particular phase.
    • Don’t forget your "down" set of 10 reps with 70% target weight during Strength and Power phases.

 

Determining your 1-rep Max
Here’s another way to determine your ‘target’ training poundages: If you know your One Rep Max (1RM) for a specific exercise multiply by the %RM to arrive at your target weight for that week. In this example the Target Weight is based on a one rep max of 300lbs.
One Rep Max (1RM) Target Weight
Week % 1RM Reps Target Weigh
1 68% 10 205
2 71% 10 215
3 74% 10 220
4 77% 10 230
5 80% 5–7 240
6 84% 5–7 250
7 87% 5–7 260
8 90% 5–7 270
9 93% 3-5 280
10 95% 3-5 290

Naturals Can Build Big Muscles – 3 Days on 1 Day Off Workout

Stick to the basics and train Intelligently

Correct training means many different things to many different people, from the late Mike Mentzer’s Heavy-Duty “high intensity” (HIT) programs to Serge Nubret’s 20 sets of 20 reps of bench presses (high volume chest training). But you know there is a BIG difference for those training on steroids and those not using them and far too many writers, coaches and trainers have completely overlooked this obvious fact.

Natural Training The Basics

Your training program should be progressive in one or more of the following areas, but your rate of progress inevitably slows over time, so you must make accommodations for this.

Progression is measured by:

  • Resistance used for your set or sets
  • Number of reps performed with any particular weight
  • The amount of time in which a series of sets are performed

You should try to improve in one of the above areas to stimulate the potential for growth, but even with the proper stimulus, growth will only occur with proper rest and recuperation. Steroids generally make one recover much faster allowing the steroid user to train more frequently.

Dedicated hard correct training with optimum nutrition and supplementation (with an assist from mom’s genetics) determines your rate and how much muscle growth you can achieve. But, there are some indispensable rules.

Use a workout journal to track your progress. Every time you use a heavier weight than before on a set, get more reps with a particular weight, or complete a series of sets in less time, note this in your journal.

Prince Fontenot proves natural guys can build large muscle mass (Non steroid users need to be much more scientific and dogmatic than do steroid users about training, recovery, nutrition, and supplementation especially if you are a Prince). Disciplined hard correct training, optimum nutrition, genetics AND supplementation determines how much muscle growth you realize.

Resistance Reps Time

Use proper form.

Make sure each exercise is working the correct area. If you’re working biceps and your lower back is stiff the next day that’s a sure sign you’re cheating way too much on your curls. Generally, use a full range of motion on every exercise to develop big, full round muscle bellies. So... squat to parallel or below. Don’t round over like you are doing good mornings. Do full-range leg presses, not two-inch lockouts where your knees barely bend. Bent-over rows should be performed with legs bent slightly, your back flat and close to parallel to the floor.

The Routine:
Day 1: Chest / Shoulders and Triceps
Day 2: Legs / Calves and Abdominals
Day 3: Back / Biceps
Day 4: Off

The particular days you train are not important, just make sure you get at least 3 days in throughout the week with a day off and use proper rotation. That means upper body work one day, lower body the next, then upper body and rest! Without steroids, this is the only way you can recover using a three-on-and-one day off format.

In this program we’ll use two of the oldest and most basic progression schemes:

Your Basic Program:

1.  PYRAMID TRAINING: Add weight and lower the reps each set.
Set 1: 12 reps with a very easy warm-up weight.
Set 2: 8-10 reps still pretty easy

Work Sets:

  • Set 3: 8 – 9 reps
  • Set 4: 5 – 6 reps
  • Set 5: 5 – 6 reps
  • Exercises using this Pyramid system are marked by an*

2.  DOUBLE PROGRESSION SYSTEM: Use the same weight for all sets.
Try to gradually increase your repetitions on your 3 work sets. When you get 8 (or the top recommended number) consistently on all work sets, add weight and start over at 6 (or the lower rep range.)
Exercises below, where you should use the Double Progressive System are marked by **

FLEX magazine features IFBB pro bodybuilders. The IFBB does not conduct steroid tests. BodyMuscle proves that natural athletes like Jeff Pruett (who has been tested) can get huge without steroids.

YOUR BASIC PROGRAM:

Day #1 (chest, shoulders, triceps)

  1. Bench Presses (pyramid)* 2 warm-up sets and then one set of 8-9 reps, and two sets of 5-6 reps
  2. Incline Dumbbell Presses (double progression)** 3 sets x 6 – 8 reps constant weight. When you get 3 sets of 8 reps, add weight and start back at 6 reps
  3. Seated Dumbbell Presses (double progressive)** 3 sets x 6-8 reps with constant weight
  4. Tricep Pushdowns ** 3 sets x 8-12 reps with constant weight
  5. Dips** Do 2 or 3 sets x maximum reps you can with your bodyweight only. Try to add a rep each workout to one of your sets or get the same total number reps in less time

That ends Day #1. Don’t be in a big rush to use as much weight as possible in each exercise. Try to leave each workout knowing you can improve in at least one exercise the next.

Day #2 – (legs / calves, abdominals)

  1. Squats* – Pyramid 5 sets x 15 / 12 / 8 / 8 / 8 reps
  2. Leg Presses** 3 x 10 – 15 reps (you may want to increase 2 reps per workout here)
  3. Leg Extensions** 3 x 12 – 15 reps
  4. Leg Curls** 3 sets x 10 – 12 reps
  5. Standing Calf Raises** 3 sets x 12 – 16 reps
  6. Strict Crunches**3 x 25 – 50 reps

Day #3 – (back, biceps)

  1. Bent-Over Rows* – Pyramid 5 sets x 15 / 12 / 8 / 8 / 8 reps
  2. Deadlifts – 3 sets 8-10 reps (add weight each set but stay at 8-10 reps per set)
  3. Concentrate on perfect, form and add weight very gradually in 5-lb. increments each week
  4. You also can do a compound deadlift and shrug movement to stress your traps even more
  5. Pulldowns** 3 x 8 – 12 reps.
  6. Barbell Curls**3 x 8-12 reps
  7. Preacher Curls** 2 x 10-12 reps

Basic Muscle Nutrition

Jeff Williamson achieved professional status training at home.

Optimum muscle growth requires proper training and proper nutrition. A basic nutrition program includes three good bodybuilding meals and three super-powerful protein drinks, a high potency vitamin/mineral pack and (as an interesting option, liver tablets).

  1. Breakfast: 3 – 4 eggs (4 whites, one yolk), half cup cottage cheese, a 4-oz beef patty, 1 piece rye toast with peanut butter or occasionally, hot cereal with a banana or other fruit and a Beverly Super-Pak
  2. Lunch: Roast beef (about half pound) and Swiss Cheese sandwich on Rye Bread, two pieces fruit, glass of low fat milk
  3. Dinner: Large meat serving – steak, chicken, etc., baked potato or other starch, green vegetable, salad

BOTTOM LINE:

You don’t need steroids and drugs to gain muscle! Using this exact routine we guarantee you’ll get great muscle gains!

Jeff Williamson achieved professional status training at home. This guy practically lives and breathes on Ultra 40 liver tablets

Over 50 Training – Another Perspective

In this article I would like to share some personal thoughts on the best system of training for the mature bodybuilder. By bodybuilder, I mean anyone who is trying to develop muscle and strength, not just those training to enter a contest. This article is targeted at the over 50 male who has had some previous experience with weight training, but he may have experienced a long lay–off or he just wants to try something different from what he’s been doing for years.

To start, let’s agree that the over 50 bodybuilder’s basic concerns are very much the same as bodybuilders of any age – to develop an above average degree of fitness, muscle, and strength. For the over 50, let’s add – to look and act younger than his age.

Here is an outline of notes I’ve taken regarding myself specifically, and the aging bodybuilder in general. I started training pretty regularly in 1963, so these comments are based on 50 years of training experience.

Males typically lose ½ pound of muscle per year once they hit their late 30’s or early 40’s.
Fast-twitch muscles decline and testosterone production is reduced as the years go by.
An extended "lay–off" or "years–off", results in excess fat. In addition our metabolisms slow down as we age.

Note: We can counter the above negative effects with targeted supplementation. Muscle Synergy (i), Quadracarn (ii), and 7–Keto Musclean (iii) will help you overcome these factors of aging. For more information, see Supplements at the end of this article.

Training time is often limited because of work and family obligations. However, this may be a good thing. You are less likely to over train by training too often or with too many sets and reps.
Injuries – anyone who has been training for most of their life has accumulated various injuries that interfere with their workout. My personal list includes lower back and elbow injuries for years, which are now pretty much ok. Current issues include arthritic knees, shoulders (including a complete shoulder replacement of my left shoulder) and wrist (which currently is my most limiting), along with varying degrees of tendinitis. But, injuries, like limited time to train can actually be a blessing. You may have to cut way back on the poundages that you use in certain exercises. The reason this is good is that you can really concentrate on developing perfect form and slowly progress for a very long period of time before you hit a plateau.

Self-Discipline – often improves with age. We’ve had to use it throughout our lives – not only in our workouts, but, perhaps in college, the military, building our own business – in fact; any goal we’ve achieved has had self–discipline as a vital component.

Patience – the older bodybuilder is no longer looking for a quick fix. He knows that anything worth achieving takes time and effort.

Knowledge of how his body works and feels – which exercises he can do and which he must make adjustments to, or avoid.

Realistic expectations – he realizes his strengths, but also his limitations. Goals are essential for the over 50 bodybuilder, but unlike many younger bodybuilders he knows that he is not going to be the next Arnold.

1. Should I train like I used to, or be content with a milder version? Be cautious, but don’t let caution keep you from progressing – for any strength or muscle building routine to be effective it must include some overloading in the form of progression.

2. Can I still do certain exercises? It is more important than ever to focus on the best exercises. These are core exercises for the shoulder girdle, back, and legs. Try the harder exercises: squats, dead lifts, and military presses. Even if you quit doing them years ago, give them another chance. Often, you just need to reduce the weight on the bar and improve your flexibility to start doing these exercises safely and productively. If an exercise is beneficial to a younger athlete, it can be useful to an older one. Don’t build limitation into your routine simply because of your age.

3. Can I really expect any gains at my age? Absolutely, the older body responds to strength training exactly as a younger one, but at a slower pace (this could be good for it helps you avoid injury and overwork). – You must adhere to principles of strength development.

1. Forget the old numbers. Don’t become fixated on how strong you used to be. You’ll lose focus on what you are currently trying to accomplish, and become discouraged. One of the keys to the routines that follow is small, steady strength increases over the long haul. It is important that you set realistic goals based on your current condition. What you used to do is ancient history. It’s how you look and feel today that really matters. Don’t set goals based on your previous best lifts (for some of you that would take you back to your 20’s and 30’s), but do set goals for your current age. For example, at age 55, perform 6 perfect reps in the bench press with 185 lbs. Set new personal records, but base them on where you are now in life.

2. You can set personal age related records every year. There is a formula used in weightlifting called the Malone–Meltzer age coefficients which adjusts for age. At age 55 your coefficient is 1.35. That means that if your goals were 300 (bench press) – 400 (squat) – 500 (deadlift), you would basically be achieving these goals with lifts of 225, 300, and 370. This puts everything into perspective with definitive goals within your reach. (You can Google Malone– Meltzer to find what the coefficient is for your age.)


Here are a couple of sample workout schedules. Program #1 is for the over 50 male who is just starting training or starting back training after a prolonged lay off. Program 2 is for anyone who is looking for an alternative workout that will save time yet build strength and muscle.

Program #1
1. Objectives
a. Acquaint or reacquaint yourself to the basics – perfect your form on the best exercises.
b. Slowly build or rebuild your strength on the basic exercises.
c. Halt and reverse age related muscle loss.
d. Improve body composition – more muscle, less fat.

2. Scheduling. 2 or 3 weight training sessions per week. Alternate workouts A and B with at least one day and preferably two days between each workout – do not overtrain.

3. Warming up and stretching
a. Five to ten minutes of a general body warm–up is very important. You can use an air–dyne or elliptical exerciser to warm–up everything at once. Or just go through the various movements you’ll be using in your workout with little or no weight.
b. Next, stretch between sets and exercises. Flexibility is an A number 1 priority for the older bodybuilder. Your workout should be: Lift, stretch, lift, stretch then leave.

4. Progression. You will want to lift as much as you can right away. Everyone does. But, you have to look at the long term. Start with a weight 70% or less than what you are currently capable of using. Concentrate on training consistency and proper form. We want to progress very slowly over a prolonged period of time. If you add 5 lbs to an exercise every other week for 3 months, you’ll have added more than 30 pounds to each exercise.
a. On the exercises which have a 10–12 rep range, add weight the following workout for exercises where you got 12 good reps on at least two of the sets.
b. For those with a 6–8 rep goal, add weight when you can perform 8 reps in perfect form on one or more of the sets.

5. Keys. Consistency, correct technique and slow, sustained poundage progression. Your weight increases should be as small as possible. If you have micro plates (1.25 lbs or less, by all means use them).


WORKOUT A
Squat: 3 sets x 10–12 reps
Bench Press: 3x6–8
Barbell Row: 3 x 6–8
DB Shoulder Press: 3 x 10–12
DB Curl: 3 x 10–12
Abs / Calves: One exercise for each, 3 x 15 or 2 x 20 per exercise

WORKOUT B
Deadlift: 3 x 6–8
Incline DB Press: 3 x 10–12
Pulldown (using chin grip with palms facing you):
3 x 10–12
Barbell Press: 3 x 6–8
Barbell Curl: 3 x 6–8
Abs / Calves: One exercise for each, 3 x 15 or 2 x 20 per exercise

Program #2
1. Objectives. This workout is for anyone who needs a change from his current program. It is terrific for the 50+ male who has been training regularly, but is at a standstill as far as strength.

2. Objections
a. Many of you will think this program is not enough, but that may be just the reason your progress has stalled – you’ve been doing too much.
b. Most assume higher reps are best for the 50 and older bodybuilding, but this is not necessarily the case. Your goal is to regain or continue to gain as much strength as you can. This means 4–6 sets of 4–6 reps on core exercises.

3. Advantages. You’ll start building (or at the least, regaining) strength and since the workouts are shorter, you’ll have more time for recuperation (and a real life).

4. Time Tested. This routine is based on time tested strength building basics. Give it at least a good three months. Personally, I’ve been using variations of this program for two years and am still making gains (at 65 years of age).
a. Progression: Program #2 embraces a variation on the 5 sets of 5 reps theme similar to what I’ve been following for the past 15 months. Reg Park, one of the strongest and best developed bodybuilders of the pre–steroid era often trained with this method. He recommended that your first set (after a thorough warm–up) be with 60% of your 5–rep max, set #2 with 80% of your 5–rep max, and set 3, 4, and 5 with your 5–rep max. For illustrative purposes let’s say that at age 55 you are capable of 5 reps with 200lbs. Your first set (after warm–ups) would be with 120, set #2 with 160, and sets 3, 4, and 5 with 200. When you can reach 5 reps on each of these final 3 sets you would increase the load by 5lbs on all sets. (Note: you never want to increase the poundage on an exercise by more than 2–3%.)

5. Warming up... and stretching should be the same as Program #1.

WORKOUT A
Squat: General warm–up, then as many warm–up sets of 5, 3, or
1 as necessary to get to your first set, then 5 x 5
Curl: 5 sets x 5 reps
Close Grip Bench Press (hands just a little closer than shoulder
width apart): 5 x 5
Weighted sit–up or crunch: 2 x 8–12
Auxiliary work for forearms, neck, calves: I personally include
neck work (as I am trying to avoid "old man’s neck") and forearm
gripping exercises.

WORKOUT B
After at least 1 day’s rest, go to workout B.
Bench Press: 5 sets x 5 reps
Bent row: 5 x 5
Plank: 2 x 30–60 seconds
(Optional) Alternate chins (palms facing you) and Dips (or pushups):
2–3 sets of max reps
Now, take 2 days off and go to Workout C.
Workout C
Deadlift: 5 x 5
Shoulder Press: 5 x 5
Front Pulldown: 5 x 5
Hanging Leg Raise or any ab exercise you like: 2 x 8–15
Auxiliary work for forearms, neck, calves

Adjustments I’ve made to continue making progress.
Regardless of how slowly you progress, eventually you’ll find it nearly impossible to continuing getting 5 sets of 5 on each exercise as described above. Here are some modifications I have made that have kept me progressing.
a. I’ve used a 5–4–3–2–1 rep scheme adding 10lbs per set from my 5–rep max.
b. I’ve alternated weeks of 5 sets of 2 with about 10% above my 5–rep max. Example: If I was capable of 200 x 5 for 3 sets, instead of going to 205 the next week, I’d do 5 sets of 2 with 220, and then go to 205 the following week.
c. I’ve also had to modify exercises (due to that darned wrist). I use heavy 1–arm DB incline presses for the bench press, thumbs up curl (with a log bar or dumbells), 1–arm db press for shoulder press (which I love), and for the close grip bench, I’ve been using a set of cable strands for tricep press-outs.


I recommend higher protein and moderate to low carbs for the over 50 bodybuilder who is trying to build muscle and strength while losing some fat. Always include at least 1 UMP protein shake. I mix 1 scoop of UMP vanilla with 1 scoop of Provosyn and drink it at least once per day and often twice.

30 grams of protein per meal is the minimum you should shoot for and 4–6 meals per day. Some current research shows that the older bodybuilder may need more protein than the younger one, so don’t be afraid to go up to 50 grams of protein in a meal.

Unfortunately, as we grow older our metabolism does slow down a little. Therefore we have to watch our caloric intake. I’d estimate 12–13 calories per pound of bodyweight is about right if your goal is to add muscle and strength while tightening up. Keep carbs under 150 grams per day on most days.


Many of BI’s best clients are in the 40–50–and 60 age brackets. I think one of the reasons for this is these guys have been around, tried it all, and settled on what works.

Here is my A list of supplements for the over 50: UMP, Quadracarn, Muscle Synergy or Creatine Select.

Next in importance would be Density or Mass Aminos, Lean Out, and 7–Keto to keep your metabolism cooking.


I hope that this article has given you some new thoughts regarding strength training and muscle building for the over 50 bodybuilder. Please let me know if you have any questions related to the article. I wouldn’t mind including a "mature muscle" question and answer column in each issue if enough of you older readers are interested. Further topics we might pursue are intensity cycling, athletic type movements, bodypart specialization, exercise modification, and more in depth supplement stacks for specific goals.