11 Principles of Bodybuilding Training

  1. 11 Principles of Bodybuilding Training

    I just read a great article on T-Nation that I'd like to share with the rest of the ladies and gents here. I found that it raised several topics that I can 100% relate to. I hope you find it as beneficial as I have.

    11 Principles of Bodybuilding Training

    Part 1

    by Clay Hyght, DC - 10/03/2012

    11 Principles of Effective Bodybuilding Training Programs (Part 1)

    "Obey the principles without being bound by them."

    - Bruce Lee

    The goal of the following principles isn't to give you a set of training rules that you must follow, but to provide you with guidelines that I've found to produce consistent and predictable results.

    It's important that these principles be used as one cohesive unit, so don't implement some while ignoring others - they go together.

    However, you may decide that you need to adjust some (or all) of them to suit you, your situation, and your preferred training style. And that's okay - they're all malleable, and all can be tweaked somewhat.

    Speaking of training style, note that these are my principles for bodybuilding training - not athletic training, not fitness training, not functional training - bodybuilding training.

    So those who could expect to benefit most are those looking to compete in a physique competition (bodybuilding, figure, etc.), as well as those who want to look like they could compete.

    However, any trainee can benefit from understanding the logic behind these principles. So even if you're not a physique competitor, I encourage you to read on and then adjust accordingly.

    Without further ado, here are the first 5 Bodybuilding Training Principles that I've found to be of tremendous benefit to me, and I hope they are to you as well. (The next 6 principles will follow in part 2.)

    1. Train Each Body Part Once per Week
    11 Principles of Effective Bodybuilding Training Programs (Part 1)

    Depending upon which circles you run in, this principle may sound obvious, or it may sound silly, even lazy.

    In competitive bodybuilding circles, training each body part once per week is far more common than not. Even those who don't train each body part once every seven days tend to train each about every five days.

    If you're like me, you're willing to train as often as needed to get the best results. When you combine that willing to do work attitude with the human tendency to think more is better, it's easy to see how we could easily evolve into training each body part twice, or even three times per week, or more.

    The problem with an increased training frequency is that it may very well lead to inadequate recovery. Let's not forget that the entire point to training is to reap the benefits that come from recovering from it. Training is essentially the process of stimulate-recover-stimulate-recover, ad infinitum.

    But when you're hungry for progress, it's tempting to eat from the stimulate table too often.

    A commonly asked question regarding training is, "When should you train a body part again?" The vague, yet honest answer is when you've recovered from your last training session.

    So how long does it take to recover from a training session?

    Recuperation time depends upon a number of variables including, but not limited to, the volume and intensity of the workout as a whole.

    Here's how I look at it - the more damage you do to a muscle in a given workout, the longer it'll need to recover.

    It's much like tanning in the sun - if you get quite pink after lying out, then you'll need to stay out of the sun for a while to allow your skin to rebuild and repair.

    On the other hand, if you only laid out for a few minutes in the afternoon and didn't get pink, then you could very well lie out again the following day, with no fear of over-stressing your skin or your body's recuperative abilities.

    Trial and Error
    11 Principles of Effective Bodybuilding Training Programs (Part 1)

    For the better part of two decades I've kept detailed training logs. I began doing so simply to figure out definitively, what worked for me and what didn't.

    One of the variables I've tinkered with often is training frequency. I wanted to find the balance between training frequency and recuperation that allowed for maximum adaptation, a.k.a. results.

    To best summarize what I found, I can train each body part as often as once every five days and make progress, but that progress seems to stop after a couple months or so. But by training each body part once every seven days, I can make progress almost indefinitely.

    One thing we tend to forget is that although recovery takes just a few days, it takes a significant amount of time to see a de-training effect. So at roughly day 5 a muscle has adapted and super-compensated from its last training session, but that doesn't mean that it starts atrophying the next day. It takes a while for this to occur, certainly longer than I initially thought.

    And that's precisely what makes seven days the sweet spot - it's just about always enough time for recovery, yet not long enough to allow for atrophy.

    11 Principles of Effective Bodybuilding Training Programs (Part 1)

    Although I regularly and often revisit the idea of training each body part about every fifth day, it inevitably seems to backfire, resulting in inadequate recovery. On the other hand, weekly body part training seems to be practically foolproof.

    After seeing this pan out time and time again, I've finally accepted that I should simply build my programs based off a weekly body part training frequency, and it works like a charm!

    Note: The fact that once/weekly body part training is optimal is based upon implementing the remainder of these training principles. You may train quite differently than this and that's fine. If that's the case, these principles will still apply; you'll simply finely tune them to suit your situation.

    Just keep in mind, it's better to undertrain a bit than to overtrain at all!

    11 Principles of Effective Bodybuilding Training Programs (Part 1)

    Possible exceptions to this rule include calves, abs, and back.

    For whatever reason, calves and abs recuperate quicker than other body parts. Given that's the case, it's safe to say that you can - and ideally should - train both calves and abs about twice per week.

    The neat thing is, however, if you want to keep things simple and still hit them once per week, you should still see progress - just not quite as quickly as with the twice-weekly approach.

    As for back being an exception, I doubt this is because the back recuperates quicker, but because the back can tolerate a higher overall volume of work.

    My explanation for this is because "back" is really a collection of muscle groups, across which the training stimulus is spread. As I've said before, saying we're training "back" is as silly as saying we're training "front."

    To that end, given how most traditionally approach back training, it could be considered standard to train back twice per week - divide back into upper (i.e., traps, rhomboids) and lower (i.e., lats, erectors) sections to minimize stimulus overlap.

    The other possible exception is bringing up lagging body parts. Training a body part multiple times per week can be a good strategy for bringing up a lagging area. Use caution, however, as this can backfire rather quickly.

    When in doubt, keep it simple and don't over-think things. Hit each body part once a week and you'll make good, steady progress. It's practically a no-brainer.

    2. Do 3-4 Exercises per Body Part
    As discussed, it's critical to find a balance between training volume, training intensity, and training frequency. This principle, along with the next, helps to control the volume component of the recuperation equation.

    While there are certainly valid times to only do one or two exercises per body part - and there are occasionally times to do five or more - you can't go wrong applying the KISS principle (as in Keep It Super Simple) to the number of exercises per body part by simply doing 3-4 of them.

    Doing 3-4 exercises allows enough variety each workout to ensure that the given muscle is stimulated in a variety of different ways, both with different exercises and with different rep schemes and rest intervals.

    I'd definitely recommend leaning toward 3 exercises each for biceps and triceps, yet err toward 4 exercises for back, especially if you're training it in one training session.

    It's worth noting that "legs" is not a muscle group, it's a group of muscles. The quads are a muscle group, as are hams and calves. So don't cheat yourself by doing just 3-4 exercises for your entire lower body or you'll end up looking like a big, muscular dude riding an ostrich.

    To look like a competitive bodybuilder, you'll generally need to do 3-4 exercises for quads, and about 3 each for hams and calves. It may seem like a lot, especially about the halfway mark of a great "leg day" training session, but that's the kind of work you should expect to do on a regular basis to climb up the competitive bodybuilding ranks.

    3. Do 3 Work Sets per Exercise
    11 Principles of Effective Bodybuilding Training Programs (Part 1)

    Many people quantify the volume of their training session by the total number of sets. This doesn't make much sense to me, and here's why.

    Let's revisit our sun tanning analogy. Say we aim to quantify the "volume" of a tanning session. An obvious way to do this, and arguably the simplest, is to go by the total number of minutes spent outside.

    The problem with this quantification is that time spent in the shade really shouldn't count - the imposed stress to the skin when in the shade is minimal. And so is time spent in the sun early in the morning and late in the afternoon when the intensity of the UV rays is much lower than the more intense mid-day rays.

    Follow me? If so, then we'd probably agree that it'd be best to quantify the volume of sun exposure by only noting the number of minutes spent in the direct sun between 9 AM and 3 PM, assuming the sun is brightest and most intense around noon.

    Sure, we could dial this in even more, but this is a good balance between simple and accurate; far more accurate than just going by total minutes spent outside.

    The same goes for tracking training volume. Let's not count warm-up sets as part of our training volume, as they don't significantly tax our recuperative abilities. Instead, let's only count "work sets."

    For the record, I define a work set as a set taken very close to the point where you can't do another rep on your own with good form. Essentially, this means taking the set to concentric failure, or within 1-2 reps of concentric failure.

    Any set less intense than that is a preparatory set, one preparing you for upcoming work sets.

    4. Do a Power and/or Strength Move for Each Body Part
    Since we're talking bodybuilding training, I'm going to refer to training "body parts" as opposed to training "movement patterns." But know that the terms are typically interchangeable.

    The goal of a bodybuilding training program is to enhance your physique, not necessarily to be stronger or more powerful. However, training for power and strength should be a cornerstone of your bodybuilding training.

    When you train for power, which is essentially being able to do more work in less time, your muscles develop an improved ability to recruit or activate more muscle fibers at one time (a.k.a. neuromuscular efficiency).

    Of course this makes you more powerful, but it also does something unique that's of greater interest to us bodybuilders.

    The improved neuromuscular efficiency makes it such that when you do a given exercise, you'll recruit more muscle fibers. This equates to more hypertrophy, because only muscle fibers that are stimulated and taxed are going to adapt (by growing larger).

    It's feasible to increase the percentage of muscle fibers recruited by 10% over a reasonable period of time, and you can imagine the huge benefit that would be!

    Therefore, implementing 3 sets of 5 reps (3 x 5) on barbell push-press into your routine, for example, will make the 3 x 8-12 reps of dumbbell shoulder presses more effective.

    Note: Sets done with the intent to increase power are an exception to the previous rule regarding work sets. Power training sets are not taken to failure. To be considered a work set when power training, the set should be taken to the point where maximum repetition speed is significantly reduced.

    As opposed to power, which is about moving quickly, strength is about moving as much weight as possible, regardless of speed. Strength training has benefits similar to power training, which include the recruitment of more muscle fibers. The effects are also similar, thus making other exercises more effective.

    But let's not forget that strength training itself promotes hypertrophy, in particular, the enlargement of muscle fibers via building new actin and myosin filaments.

    Although the overall hypertrophy effect with heavy, low-rep (~1-5 reps) sets may not be as great as that achieved by sets with a longer Time Under Tension (TUT), the hypertrophy achieved from strength-training results in a visually dense-looking muscle.

    Even if you couldn't care less about athletic performance, doing one strength or power movement per body part will do wonders for the appearance of your physique.

    5. Do a Strength/Hypertrophy Exercise for Each Body Part
    11 Principles of Effective Bodybuilding Training Programs (Part 1)

    When I say strength/hypertrophy exercise, I'm talking about an exercise and set/rep scheme that has a hybrid goal in mind - an increase in strength as well as hypertrophy.

    As discussed, doing low-rep sets (~ 1-5 reps) is great to increase strength, and if done with less resistance and a faster speed, low-rep sets are great for increasing power.

    The problem is, low-rep sets don't maximally stimulate hypertrophy. That's best achieved with a prolonged Time Under Tension (TUT) to induce a bit more metabolic stress to the muscle.

    Thus, when the goal of a set is to stimulate some improvement in both strength and hypertrophy, it's best to use sets of about 8-10 reps. This allows you to still use a relatively heavy weight to address the strength half of the hybrid goal, yet light enough so that you can bang out enough reps to increase the TUT.

    For the record, sets as low as 6 and up to 12 reps arguably fit the bill too, but keep in mind that if you end up doing most sets down around 6 reps you'll likely compromise hypertrophy. On the other hand, too much time up around the 12-rep range will compromise the strength component.

    No doubt about it, you'll benefit tremendously from spending ample time training in this 8-10 repetition range! I'd venture to say that it's the most crucial in terms of gaining a combination of size, strength, and even endurance.

    Fact is, I've seen many pro body builders train almost exclusively in this rep range! Although we should certainly not blindly copy what pros do (as many of them have great physiques not because of how they train, but in spite of how they train), it illustrates how elegantly simple effective training can be. It need not be complicated.

    Variety in training is critical, but if you ever had to choose one best repetition range in which to train, opt for the 8-10 range.

    11 Principles of Bodybuilding Training
    Part 2

    by Clay Hyght, DC - 10/10/2012

    11 Principles of Effective Bodybuilding Training Programs

    "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool."

    - Richard Feynman, theoretical physicist

    Welcome to part two of my 11 Principles of Effective Bodybuilding Training Programs. If you haven't read Part 1, make sure to check it out.

    Before we get into principles 6 through 11, let me explain how and why I came up with them.

    I derived these principles, over time, so that I don't fool myself into straying off the proven path to training success by chasing the next shiny object that catches my eye in hopes that it may hold the key to quick and easy progress.

    I've found there simply is no route to quick and easy progress in bodybuilding, but there is a route to steady, predictable progress, and it's outlined by these 11 principles.

    Adopt them as your own, or use them as a guide by which to create your own. Either way...use them! Otherwise you're likely to fool yourself into trying every training tactic under the sun, only to find out you haven't gone anywhere. But if you're guided by principles, your efforts won't be in vain.

    6. Do an Endurance/Volumization Exercise for Each Body Part
    While those who like to feel the burn and maximize the pump tend to neglect heavy, low-rep sets, those who like to lift heavy tend to neglect the higher rep-range.

    Doing sets of more than 10 or 12 reps is great for increasing endurance, but you probably don't care. But you do care about the visual effects that occur as a result of doing higher rep sets.

    Training in this higher rep range obviously prolongs the Time Under Tension (TUT), and it's this longer TUT that stimulates hypertrophy very well.

    Since this hypertrophy resulting from high-rep sets isn't primarily coming from an increase in the size of the contractile component of the muscle (i.e., actin & myosin filaments), it's often called non-functional hypertrophy...a term I don't care for as it's very misleading.

    When we're talking specifically about enlargement of a muscle by means other than muscle fibers, I prefer to use the term volumization. Whether you prefer the term non-functional hypertrophy or volumization, we're talking about an increase in the cross-sectional area of a muscle via an increase in size and/or number of mitochondria, capillaries, enlargement of the sarcoplasmic reticulum, etc.

    Generally speaking, doing sets of about 12-20 reps is perfect for stimulating muscle volumization. The cosmetic result tends to be rounder, fuller-looking muscles.

    So keep in mind, when your goal is larger muscles, you want to enlarge ALL components of the muscle. Failing to do so is like leaving money on the table.

    7. Implement Compound and Isolation Exercises
    11 Principles of Effective Bodybuilding Training Programs

    When I was an undergrad student in exercise science, I made a point to track down the professor most known for his knowledge of resistance training. Once in his office, I proceeded to ask him my single most burning question regarding resistance training for hypertrophy: "Which is better for size, compound exercises or isolation exercises? For example, are squats or leg extensions better for quad growth?"

    His answer surprised me. "Neither one is necessarily better," he said. "Each has pros and cons. It's best to stimulate the muscle in a variety of ways. You'll likely get more overall hypertrophy doing some of each rather than either compound or isolation exercises exclusively."

    At first I was quite disappointed, to say the least, but the lesson soon sank in... true answers are not as black and white as we'd like for them to be.

    When it comes to bodybuilding training, it's imperative that we not use compound exercises only. Sure, compound multi-joint exercises offer the most bang-for-the-buck in terms of gaining functional, usable strength, but that's not our goal. It's a neat side effect of pursuing our goal.

    Isolation exercises might not be as 'functional' in terms of real world applicability, but they put a laser-like focus on the target muscle, ensuring that it's the recipient of the training stress.

    For example, barbell squats are great, but your lower back might give out before your quads. And that's going to compromise the training stimulus your quads receive.

    That's where leg extensions come in. When you take a set of leg extensions to failure, you KNOW that the quads did all the work!

    Instead of thinking with an "either/or" mentality, embrace the fact that neither compound nor isolation exercises are inherently superior...they're just different.

  2. 8. Choose Exercises that Address Your Weakness
    11 Principles of Effective Bodybuilding Training Programs

    When training to improve the appearance of your physique, it's extremely important to keep symmetry and aesthetics in mind.

    Too often we bodybuilders get caught up in progressing via 'working harder,' as in lifting more weight or the same weight for more reps. Sometimes we even try to do both at once (a recipe for stagnation, by the way). Let's keep in mind that 'improvement' in terms of bodybuilding doesn't just come from increases in performance, but also - and primarily for competitive bodybuilders - via an improvement in appearance.

    And I'm here to tell ya', improving a lagging body part is one of the most surefire ways to quickly and dramatically improve the appearance of your physique.

    Consider thinking of yourself as an artist and that you're creating something artistically beautiful with your physique. I've found that mindset to work well in this regard.

    Admittedly, however, this comes natural to me when coaching others, but not so much when training myself. I suppose that supports Alwyn Cosgrove's observation that, "He who coaches himself has an idiot for a client."

    Your best bet is to have someone with an eye for physiques assess your strengths and weaknesses. If you can't do that, take pics of yourself and critique them as if you were critiquing someone else's physique. Cover your head on the photo if you need to, but be as objective as possible.

    Then put each body part in one of three categories: dominant, balanced, or underdeveloped. Then - and this is critical - use that information when designing your training program, making sure to choose exercises that specifically address your weaknesses.

    If a body part is lagging in size, choose a precise exercise that will target that area, forcing it to do the brunt of the work and become taxed to exhaustion by the end of the set. Note that this will often NOT be a compound exercise, as they tend to distribute the training stress and subsequent adaption to multiple body parts.

    For example, if your weakness is back width, you need to focus on exercises that specifically target the inferolateral aspect of the lats. Dumbbell pullovers and straight-arm cable pulldowns are examples of exercises that would fit the bill.

    Also, note that a cosmetic weakness can also be an overpowering body part, and it's just as crucial that it's addressed by choosing appropriate exercises...ones that will not cause hypertrophy in that area. (Of course your set/rep scheme comes into play here, too.)

    So if you have tree-trunk-sized quads, I wouldn't do hack squats or leg extensions. And if you do barbell squats, consider doing them with a wider stance, thus shifting some of the stress away onto the glutes, hams, and adductors, thus away from the quads.

    Just make sure to be methodical about your exercise selection. It'll go a long way in creating a visually appealing physique.

    9. Do the Most Important Exercise First
    This principle piggybacks the previous one. After all, if you choose the right exercise but do it at the wrong time, the effect may essentially be nullified.

    Let's say you've chosen unilateral dumbbell rows to address lat thickness and width. If you do them near the end of your back workout, you're not going to be able to use as much weight and/or do as many reps as you would if you placed them first in your workout, due to both neurological and muscular fatigue.

    By the way, implementing both creatine and beta-alanine is a sound approach to minimizing fatigue from anaerobic training (i.e., weight training), with the former being especially effective with heavy, low-rep sets and the latter for moderate weight, higher-rep stuff.

    Performing an exercise first enables maximal motor unit recruitment, or the number of muscle fibers that get stimulated. And remember, only the fibers that get stimulated can grow.

    So don't waste your most important exercise by doing it when you're fatigued. Do it first so you can reap maximum benefits...milking that bad boy for all it's worth!

    10. Reps and Rest are Inversely Proportional
    11 Principles of Effective Bodybuilding Training Programs

    Many training principles are somewhat intuitive, almost common sense. But the fact that reps and rest are inversely proportional isn't one of them. In fact, it's often counterintuitive.

    Let's say you've done an all-out set of 3 reps on the barbell bench press.

    As you begin to rest, letting your heart rate and breathing return to normal, you'll find that it doesn't take very long for those two components to return to normal. After all, you didn't even really feel a burn in your chest or triceps with such a brief TUT. In about 60 seconds you feel ready to knock out another set.

    On the other hand, let's say you've just put the bar down on a tough set of 15 reps on barbell squats. It'll likely take at least 2 full minutes, if not more, before you feel like you're ready to go at it again with equal intensity.

    The strange fact is, our perception of recovery isn't quite accurate. Although both BPM's (beats per minute and breaths per minute) are somewhat important, there's something cellular going on that we can't feel, per se.

    When you reach fatigue - as in momentary concentric failure - on a heavy, low-rep set, it's due primarily to depletion of the ATP-CP fuel system as well as nervous system fatigue. And it takes 2-3 minutes to allow those two components to replenish to the point where you can perform another set with equal intensity.

    When doing high-tension, low-rep sets to stimulate protein synthesis, it's very important that the performance on each set it maximized by getting as many reps as possible with a given weight.

    You want to avoid having to reduce the weight to duplicate the performance of your previous set because it's tension in the muscle that serves as the primary stimulus toward strength gains, and ultimately more actin and myosin filaments (a.k.a. larger muscles).

    Yet, if you based your rest periods on how you felt, you'd likely go again in about one minute, because three reps on the bench press just doesn't feel all that taxing.

    Performance, per-se, on higher-rep sets with longer TUT isn't so critical. That's because it's not tension that serves as the primary stressor during these sets, it's metabolic fatigue.

    This type of training stimulus is different than tension as a stimulus. Metabolic fatigue doesn't so much lead to new actin & myosin filaments. Instead, it leads to hypertrophy of other structures (i.e. sarcoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, capillaries, etc.).

    Quite contrary to low-rep sets, higher-rep sets shouldn't necessarily be fully recovered from. In fact, starting the next set before you're quite 'ready' is a great way to enhance the metabolic stimulus received from the set.

    So on heavy, low-rep sets, rest long enough to be able to lift maximum weight again on the next set, as it's the weight and the tension that it causes within the muscle that is the nectar for new muscle growth.

    On higher-rep sets, don't rest very long so that you intentionally compromise your performance, thus forcing the metabolic stress that will lead to hypertrophy of the cellular components of the muscle cell.

    11. Keep in Mind Intensity and Volume Are Inversely Proportional
    I've intentionally saved this principle for last, as I feel it's the most critical. The fact is, if you don't adhere to this principle, it doesn't matter what else you do...you will not make progress. I know all too well as it's this principle I've struggled with most.

    Let's first get on the same page regarding intensity and volume.

    Intensity as applies here is essentially how close to all-out you take a given set. If you do a given weight for as many reps as you possibly can - even if your life depended on it - then you've reached 100% intensity.

    By volume we're talking about the number of exercises, sets, and reps performed in a given workout. FYI, I don't subscribe to the notion that 5 sets of 5 reps is the same stress on the body as one set of 25. In my experience, it's how many taxing or challenging sets that we do that largely determines the stress.

    So when I say volume, I'm primarily referring to the number of work sets done in a given workout. In other words, the number of sets done to the point of fatigue.

    To what extent you reach fatigue on a set is how the intensity of that set is determined.

    Let's say you can curl 100 pounds, 10 times...and that's your true 10RM (repetition maximum). Doing an all-out set of 10, in this case, is extremely taxing to the body. Sure, it's taxing to the muscles, but it's taxing in a sneaky way to the nervous system.

    So the more all-out work sets you perform within a workout, the less overall sets you should do. Otherwise you simply won't be able to recover in a reasonable time frame.

    However, if you did a set of 100 pounds x 9 reps, this isn't nearly as taxing to the nervous system, and not quite as taxing to the muscles themselves. Therefore, you could do 3 sets of 9 with reasonable assurance you're not overdoing it.

    But if you were to do 3 sets of 10 with your 10RM (100 pounds), you're talking about a seriously taxing stimulus to both the muscles and the nervous system...even though it seems like 'just one more rep.'

    You can train hard, or you can train long, but you can't train long and hard.

    To illustrate, let's contrast the training styles of former Mr. Olympia, Dorian Yates, with another former Mr. Olympia, Jay Cutler.

    Dorian was known for doing very few sets, in fact, just one work set per exercise. His training was high-intensity in nature, but low in volume.

    11 Principles of Effective Bodybuilding Training Programs
    Jay Cutler was on the other extreme. He's known for doing lots of exercises per body part, lots of sets per exercise, and for training each body part about every 5 days as opposed to every 7 days like Dorian.

    If you watch Jay train, you'd surely say it's intense. But when you take a closer look, you'll notice that he doesn't take any sets to failure. He often comes quite close, yet he's still got one, maybe two reps left in him if he really pushed it.

    11 Principles of Effective Bodybuilding Training Programs
    Here's where we (surely it's not just me in this boat) often go wrong...we try to train with balls-to-the-wall intensity like Dorian, yet we try to implement high volume training like Jay...all at the same time! And THAT, my friend, will not work.

    Please trust me on this one, as I've learned and relearned this lesson many, many times.

    Or you can be stubborn like I've been and say, "Screw that, I can do more...I'll do one more rep on the next set...and then I'll do one more set, too! That way I'll give the muscle no choice but to grow!"

    Lest we forget, the muscle does have another option other than growing...and it's called not growing.

    The mentally challenging part of this principle is that you actually can do a lot of sets and take 'em ALL to failure...and you'll leave the gym drained, but feeling like you had an incredible workout.

    The problem is, even when your muscles recover and aren't sore any more, your nervous system is still in ICU from the high-intensity/high-volume beating you gave it a few days ago. So even though it's time for your next workout, and you feel like you're ready, you may not be.

    If you're like most T-Men, it can be tough to make yourself terminate a set knowing you've still got more in you, and it's hard to not do another set when you know you can. But sometimes you just have to leave well enough alone.

    This, my friend, takes us full circle, back to point number 1 - train each body part once per week. Doing so gives you at least some room-for-error in terms of ensuring adequate recuperation.

    Yet it's still critically important you keep volume and intensity inversely proportional.

    The best rule-of-thumb I've found is this: take only the last set of each exercise to failure.

    Doing that, along with limiting the sets and exercises as we've discussed, is a good balance between intensity and volume.

    But, if you're ever feeling crazy and wanna know what overtraining really feels like, go ahead and train all-out on each set and do a Cutler-like high volume program. You'll know within a few weeks exactly what it feels like to be overtrained.

    On the other hand, if you're more interested in making steady, ongoing progress, then keep in mind that...it's better to train smart than to train hard.

    In Closing
    Remember to use these 11 principles like a good recipe. You can follow it as-is to cook up something great, or you can add a dash of this or takeaway a pinch of that to make it your own. Either way, at least you're not starting from scratch.

    If these principles end up helping you half as much as they have me, then we'll both be happy! Take care.

    All credit goes to Clay Hyght and T-Nation.




  3. I just read a great article on T-Nation that I'd like to share with the rest of the ladies and gents here. I found that it raised several topics that I can 100% relate to. I hope you find it as beneficial as I have.
    Did you want discussion perhaps?

    Which ones did you find most important or which ones do you find your bullet points?

  4. Good stuff! Bruce lee was ahead of his time

  5. Great post. I joined up to start learning and this was an excellent starter! Thanks for posting it!

  6. Quote Originally Posted by PaulBlack View Post
    Did you want discussion perhaps?

    Which ones did you find most important or which ones do you find your bullet points?
    I had this same question.

  7. Good Back To Basics read.

    Building muscle can be very confusing sometimes.


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