Classic Physique – Training

Your training programs should be designed to develop proportion and symmetry, as well as muscularity. You should not be looking to simply add as much size as possible or to overdevelop any particular bodypart. Overall proportion and aesthetic muscularity is the goal. We’ve developed the following training programs with those parameters in mind. They are based on decades of training experience to give you the ultimate solution to a well balanced “Classic Physique”.

There are three parameters of progress that you should be concerned with during both Phase 1 and Phase 2 training:

• Increase reps with same weight

• Increase weight for the same rep range

• Decrease rest intervals between sets – if your strength seems to have plateaued as you get closer to your contest, performing the same number of sets in less time becomes a very valuable form of progress.

It is very important to work each muscle through its fullest range of motion using complete extension and contraction on each exercise.

Use a workout journal to keep your progress on track. It can be a spiral notebook or as fancy as you like. Keep track of every training session. Use the “star method” 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 give yourself a star in your journal. A 10 Star workout means you did an extra rep or used more weight on at least ten sets during your workout. Finish a bodypart in record time and you get another star.

Phase 1 “Classic Physique” Training Program

 

Train 2 days on, 1 day off until 12 weeks out.

Day 1: Legs and Calves - Shoulders

Day 2: Chest / Triceps

Day 3: off

Day 4: Shoulders / Biceps/ Calves (feeder workout)

Day 5: Back

Day 6: off

From 12 weeks out until 8 weeks out, train 4 days consecutively, then take the 5th day off.

You’ll be using two progression schemes and an advanced technique that we call “Feeder Workouts” (see description below.)

1. Pyramid Training:

Add weight lower the reps each set.

Set 1: 12 reps with a very easy warm-up weight – not all you can do for 12 reps

Set 2: 10 reps still pretty easy

Set 3: 8 reps – use a weight you could get for 9 – 12 here but stop at 8

Set 4: 6 reps – use a weight you could get 6 – 8 reps with but stop at 6

Set 5: 4 – 6 reps - a max set. Here’s where you can earn stars in your training journal. Once you reach 6 reps add weight to the final 3 sets (which will earn a star on each of these sets next time) and start back at 4 reps on set #5. Exercises using the Pyramid system are marked with *.

2. Double Progressive System:

Use the same weight for all sets. Start at the low end of the suggested rep range. Gradually increase the repetitions, usually adding one rep each week until you reach the top number of suggested reps for each set of a particular exercise. Then add weight and start over at the lower end of the rep scheme. Exercises where you should use the Double Progressive System are marked **.

3. Feeder Workouts:

A feeder workout is performed two days after your primary workout for a specific bodypart. We have included feeder workouts for the shoulders, lats, and calves – full development of these body parts are essential in developing a classic physique. The feeder workout is a single all out rest-pause set where you complete a set of 6-10 reps taken to failure, followed by a short break (just long enough for you to take three to four slow, deep breaths), and immediately continue on to failure a second time (you should get somewhere between three and six additional reps, depending on the level of muscular endurance and the muscle fiber composition of the particular bodypart). At this point, take another short pause before going for one to four more (as many as you can get) reps. This will not only provide a nutrient-rich flush of fresh blood but will provide maximal muscle cell activation in minimum time.

 

Day 1: Legs and Calves
 

Squat* (pyramid) 5 sets x 12/10/8/6/4-6 reps

Leg Press** or Hack Squat** 4x10–16 reps (the Hack Squat is preferred if you have the equipment available)

Leg Extension** 3x12–15 rep

Superset:
Leg Curls** 3x10–12 reps and Lunge or Straight Leg Dead Lift** 3x10–12

Superset:
Seated Calf Raise** 5x10–12 and Free Standing (no weight) Calf Raises** 5x25–50 (OUCH!)

Note: The original standard for a classic physique was that your calves and arms should measure the same. If any single muscle rates as the least developed of all muscles among bodybuilders – it’s the calf. They are stubborn and difficult to develop and require special attention. So don’t neglect your calf work.

Shoulder Feeder Workout

Machine, Cable, or Dumbbell Side Laterals:
One Extended Work set – 6-10 reps (close to maximum), rest for 3-6 deep breaths then 3-6 more reps, 3-4 more breaths then 3-4 reps to failure.

Shoulder width is key to developing a classic physique, that’s why it is our first “feeder” workout.

That ends Day #1. There are lots of opportunities to earn “stars” in your training journal. 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: Chest, Triceps, Calves
 

DB or BB Bench Press* (pyramid) 5x12/10/8/6/4-6 - Dumbbells are preferred if you can give up the barbell bench press in developing squared off “gladiator pecs” preferred in the classic physique

Incline DB Press (double progressive) ** 3x6–8 reps constant weight. First session do 6 – 6 – 6 and gradually add reps and earn stars until you get to 8 – 8 – 8 then add weight and start back at 6. If you get bored adding reps, reduce rest time between sets to earn additional “stars.”

DB Flyes** 3x8–12

DB Pullovers** 3x8–12 (These work the serratus muscles. “The serratus magnus muscles are the ‘jewel-like’ muscles of your chest … they add width to the chest, shape, muscular definition – as well as classic beauty.” ~ Vince Gironda)

Close Grip Bench Press* (pyramid) 4x12/10/8/5–7

Superset:
Triceps Pushdown** and Dips** 3x6–12 reps each – constant weight no rest between exercises, rest only after both exercises have been performed.

Heavy Calf Raises** 4x8–12

Light Calf Raises** or Donkeys** 4x15–20

Back Feeder Workout

Shoulder-width Parallel-grip Pulldown (for width) or Under-grip Cable Seated Rows (for back density): One Extended Work set – same procedure as above: 6-10 reps (close to maximum), rest for 3-6 deep breaths then 3-6 more reps, 3-4 more breaths then 3-4 reps to failure.

 

Day 4: Shoulders / Biceps
 

DB Press* (pyramid) 4x12/10/8/6–8

DB or Machine Laterals** 3x8–12

DB or Cable Bent Laterals** 3x8–12 reps

Barbell Curl* (pyramid) 4x12/10/8/6–8

Incline DB Curl** 3x8–10

Machine Curl or Preacher Curl** 2x8–12

Calf Feeder Workout

Standing Calf Raise: warm-up x 10-15 reps, 4x25, 1x100 (no weight on the 100-rep set unless you can get the full 100 reps without resting.) Remember what we said earlier about calves. You must bomb them into growth.

 

Day 5: Back
 

Wide-grip Chins** 4 sets of as many reps as possible per set or Wide Pulldowns* 5x12/10/8/6/4-5

Deadlifts - 3 sets 10 reps (add weight each set but stay at ten reps per set) Concentrate on perfect form and add weight very gradually in 5-lb. increments each week.

Bent Rows* or T-Bar Row* – 4 sets (pyramid) 12/10/8/6-8

Reverse Grip Front Pulldowns** or One Arm DB Row** 3x8–12

Straight Arm Pullovers** 3x10–12 (lie on a bench length wise – keep arms straight)

10 minutes of abs

Choose One Feeder Workout, not both:

Same procedure as back and shoulder feeder workouts.

Chest: Incline Flyes

Quads: Smith Machine Squats


Phase 2 “Classic Physique” Training Program

 

Start your Phase 2 training program eight weeks out from your contest. During Phase 2 training you’ll be doing a lot of supersets. Supersets allow you to get more work done in less time. Remember, less rest between sets is one of the parameters of progress. Your Phase 2 training will be more focused on improving your proportions and increasing your chest to waist ratio. Note: Steve Reeves, one of the all-time best examples of the “classic physique”, is reported to have attained a 23” differential between his chest and waist measurement. A good goal for you is 15” or more. If your expanded chest measures 45”, your waist would measure 30” or less. As your diet becomes stricter during phase 2, it will become harder and harder to increase reps or poundage, so reducing the time between sets becomes more and more important. You’ll be supersetting antagonistic muscle groups to improve balance and proportion as well as to add a fat burning aspect to your training.

It’s not necessary to “run” from one exercise to the next when supersetting. After you complete a superset rest 60-90 seconds and then start your next set. Since you will be working each bodypart twice every eight days, we will no longer be performing feeder workouts.

Train three days on – one day off: 

Day 1: Chest and Back

Day 2: Legs

Day 3: Shoulders and Arms

Day 4: Off; Repeat

 

Day 1: Chest, Back, Abs
 

Superset #1:
DB Bench Press 4-5 sets of 7-10 reps

Chin-Ups 4-5 sets max reps per set or Lat Pulldowns 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps

Superset #2:
Incline DB Press 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps

1-Arm DB Rows 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps

Superset #3:
DB Flyes 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps

Cable Rows 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Finishing Exercise:
DB Pullovers 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps

Lower Back:
Hyperextensions 3 sets of 15- 20 reps

Abs:
Three or four exercises, 3-4 sets each for 15-25 reps per exercise.

You should count total reps for abs per workout with a goal of 250-350 reps total.

 

Day 2: Legs, Calves
 

Superset #1:
Leg Extensions 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Smith Machine Squat or Leg Press 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Superset #2:
Hack Squat 4 sets of 6-12 reps

Straight Leg Deadlift 4 sets of 10 reps

Superset #3:
Lunge 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Leg Curl 3 sets of 6-10 reps

Calves:
Standing Calf Raise 4 sets of 15-20 reps

Seated Calf Raise 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Donkey Calf or Calf Press 3 sets of 20-25 reps

 

Day 3: Shoulders, Arms, Abs
 

Straight sets for shoulders:
Shoulder Press (your choice between machine, dumbbell, military) 4 sets of 6-10 reps

Side Lateral Raise 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Rear Laterals (DB, Cable, or Machine) 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Side Cable Raise 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Superset #1:
Concentration Curl 3 sets of 6-10 reps (squeeze)

Triceps Pushdown 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Superset #2:
DB Curl 3 sets of 6-10 reps

Lying Tricep Extension 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Superset #3:
Barbell or Preacher Curl 3 sets of 6-8 reps

Close Grip Bench Press or Dips 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Triset #1:
Reverse Curl 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Wrist Curl 3 sets of 12-20 reps

Overhead Pulley Tricep Extension or Triceps Machine 3 sets of 8-15 reps

Abs:
Same as Day 1 (250-350 total reps)

Posted in 2016 Collection.