Lots Of Programs

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  1. Lots Of Programs

    Hopefully something like this isnt already posted up here at AM, i did a very lazy quick search, But every second person these days seems to be looking and asking for training programs to put muscle on, need some advice ect, and a lot of the answers are majority the time the same. So i thought we could start a thread with a list of programs newbies and advanced trainers alike come to to look at different programs....

    Now some of these posts maybe the very basic layout of the program so please do your own homework also.

    Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength Routine:

    *note the dip/chin isnt in the original program

    Here is a routine from Mark Rippetoe’s book called “Starting Strength”. You can buy the book at startingstrength.com, or amazon.com. It includes endless useful info that all beginners should learn.

    The program is as follows:

    You alternate Workout A and Workout B every other day, 3 times a week. So you could either do Mon, Wed, Fri or Tues, Thurs. and Sat. Depending on what works best for you.


    Week 1:

    Monday - Workout A
    Wednesday -Workout B
    Friday - Workout A

    Week 2:

    Monday - Workout B
    Wednesday - Workout A
    Friday - Workout B


    For the actual workouts read below:

    Note: This doesn’t include warm-up sets

    **Means this is OPTIONAL**

    Workout A
    3x5 Squat
    3x5 Bench Press
    1x5 Deadlift

    **2x8 Dips (if you cant do these or no assist machine then do Decline Dumbbell Bench Press with your hands Facing each other)

    Workout B
    3x5 Squat
    3x5 Standing military press
    3x5 Pendlay or Bent Rows (or power cleans)

    **2x8 Chin-ups (recommended mainly if doing the cleans)

    Assistance work:

    Most people cant get it through there head that compound lifts also work your arms Plenty and always Insist on direct arm work. Every bodybuilder seems to have Attention Deficit Disorder and an overwhelming desire to customize everything. If you are one of these people note that you have the option of doing the dips and chins which give PLENTY of arm work. Abdominal work is fine to do also if needed.


    As for the weight, make sure that you use the SAME weight throughout the sets. For example if I do the first set if Squats with 200lbs then I do the other 2 sets of squats with 200lbs.

    Every week make it a goal to increase each of your lifts by 2.5%. Meaning if I lifted 100lbs for my Bench Week 1 then Week 2 I would try for 102.5lbs. If I did 200lb Squats Week 1 I would try for 205lbs in Week 2. Sometimes you will be able to do more but don’t mess with your form just to lift more.

    Warm-up Sets:

    Before all your working sets it is best to do a few warm-up sets. Specifically for your first lift. You don’t have to do the whole thing for the other lifts but definitely the first.

    What you do is you ramp your weight up to your working sets.

    For example:

    2x5xbar (sets x reps x weight)

    And the working set weight would be 175.

    If you are lifting your working sets under 150 I would cut out the 3rd warmup set of 1x5 because it wont be needed.

    The Lifts:

    Barbell Squat: These should be full range Olympic style squats. Use the full range of your body - that means as low as you can go which for almost everyone is past parallel. If the top of your thighs aren't at least parallel it's for sh!t. If you think this is bad for your knees going low, you and whoever told you that are relying on an old wives tale. Anyone who knows the human body will tell you that below parallel is MUCH safer on the knees whereas parallel and above put all the sheer right on them and doesn’t allow proper transfer of the load to the rest of your body (this is how your body was designed).

    Rest a barbell on the upper portion of your back, not your neck. Firmly grip the bar with your hands almost twice your shoulder width apart. Position your feet about shoulder width apart and your toes should be pointing just a little outward with your knees in the same direction. Keep your back arched, start the movement by pushing your butt backwards, bend your knees and slowly lower your hips straight down until your THIGHS ARE AT LEAST PARALLEL TO THE FLOOR. Once you reach the bottom position, press the weight up back to the starting position.

    To be honest ATG (Ass to the Grass) squats work the best IMO. What you do is you go ALL the way down until your hamstrings touch your calves and keep the same Olympic squat form.

    Barbell Deadlift: Each rep is deweighted fully on the floor. No touch and go. This is called the 'dead'lift because the weight is 'dead' on the ground. You can touch and go warm ups but that's it.

    Flat Barbell Bench Press: Lie on a flat bench and firmly position your feet flat on the floor a little more than shoulder width apart. Using a grip broader than shoulder width, hold the barbell above your body, then lower slowly to the middle of your chest. Without bouncing the weight off your chest, drive the barbell up over the middle of your chest until your arms are straight and your elbows are locked. Lower the bar down slowly.

    Standing Barbell Military Press: Standing overhead presses. Supporting weight overhead is a fundamental exercise and stimulates the whole body.
    Raise barbell to your chest with your hands shoulder width apart. Lock your legs and hips. Keep your elbows in, slightly under your bar. Press bar to arm's length overhead. Lower to your upper chest or chin (depending on what is comfortable).

    Bent Barbell Row: Raise barbell to your chest with your hands shoulder width apart. Lock your legs and hips. Keep your elbows in, slightly under your bar. Press bar to arm's length overhead. Lower to your upper chest or chin (depending on what is comfortable).

    You could also do Pendlay Rows which IMO are also better.

    Chin-Up: Hold the chin-up bar with a supinated grip (palms facing you) with your hands about 6 to 8 inches apart. Pull yourself up and try to touch either your chin or upper chest to the bar. Return slowly to the starting position. Do NOT swing back and forth! Using this grip works more of your biceps than your back or lats.

    Dip: Using the parallel bars, grip the handles and push yourself up to your starting position. With elbows close to body and hips straight, lower body until shoulders are slightly stretched. Push body up in same posture and repeat. You can bend and cross your legs or keep them straight.

  2. WENDLERS 5/3/1:

    Jim Wendler's 5/3/1

    This program is based around making strength progress in 4 lifts -
    1/ Squat
    2/ Bench
    3/ Deadlift
    4/ Press

    To begin, establish your 1 rep max in each of these lifts - your actual 1 rep max is preferable to your estimated. Once you have done this, your base figure for each lift will be 90% of your 1 rep max. Therefore if your 1 rep max is 100kg, your base figure will be 90kg.

    It is divided into mesocycles, each lasts 16 workouts, or a little over 5 weeks.

    Each mesocycle has 4 microcycles or "waves".

    Wave 1. Warmup, 75%x5, 80%x5, 85%x5
    Wave 2 Warmup, 80%x3, 85%x3, 90%x3
    Wave 3. Warmup, 75%x5, 85%x3, 95%x1
    Wave 4. (deload) - 60%x5, 65%x5, 70%x5

    These percentages are worked out from your base figure. The last set you can do an "all out rep max" lifting that weight as many times as possible. The goal is to get at least the specified number of reps with that weight and anything beyond that can be considered the dividends that your efforts have payed
    out. Only attempt extra reps on the final heavy set.

    Each wave has 4 workouts:
    A Squat + assistance
    B. Bench press + assistance
    C. Deadlift + assistance
    D. Military press + assistance

    Wendler recommends 3 workouts per week.
    Week 1:
    **, B1, C1
    Week 2:
    D1, A2, B2
    Week 3:
    C2, D2, A3
    Week 4:
    B3, C3, D3
    Week 5:
    A4, B4, C4
    Week 6:
    D4, etc.

    Alternately 4 workouts per week can be done depending on individual recovery.

    Optionally there is a second, less intensive, loading parameter:
    Wave 1. Warmup, 65%x5, 75%x5, 85%x5
    Wave 2. Warmup, 70%x3, 80%x3, 90%x3
    Wave 3. Warmup, 75%x5, 85%x3, 95%x1
    Wave 4 (Deload) - 60%x5, 65%x5, 70%x5

    The main lifts can be substituted with variations (typically in subsequent mesocycles):
    Squat - box squat, squat with bands, front squat, etc.
    Bench press - board press, floor press, incline, etc.
    Deadlift - rack pulls, deficit DL, etc.
    Military press - push press, incline press, etc.

    Assistance Work depends on your goals:
    Base - just do the main lifts
    Strength - just do 1-2 supplementary lifts, typically 3-5 sets x 6-20 reps
    Bodybuilder - 3-4 supplementary lifts, including some isolation work, done for higher volume, typically 3-4 sets x 10-20 reps

    Here is the "Strength" template assistance work from the book:

    Squat Day
    Squat: 5x10x50%
    Leg Curls: 5x10

    Bench Press Day
    Bench Press: 5x10x50%
    DB Rows: 5x10

    Deadlift Day
    Deadlift: 5x8x50%
    Hanging Leg Raises: 5x12

    Mil. Press Day
    Mil.Press: 5x10x50%
    Chins: 5 sets to failure.

    Here is the bodybuilder template assistance work from the book:

    Squat Day

    Hack Squat: 4 sets of 10-20
    Leg Extensions: 4 sets of 10-30 reps
    Leg Curls: 4 sets of 10-15
    Weighted Sit-ups: 4 sets of 10 reps
    Leg Press 4 sets of 10-20
    Leg Extensions 4 sets of 10-30 reps
    Leg Curls 4 sets of 10-15
    Weighted Sit-ups 4 sets of 10 reps

    Bench Press Day

    DB Bench Press: 4 sets of 10-20 reps
    Dips (weighted): 4 sets of 8-15 reps
    Fly's: 4 sets of 12 reps
    Triceps Pushdowns: 4 sets of 10-20 reps
    DB Incline Press 4 sets of 10-20 reps
    Dips (weighted) 4 sets of 8-15 reps
    Fly's 4 sets of 12 reps
    Triceps Extensions 4 sets of 10-20

    Deadlift Day

    Chins: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
    DB Rows: 4 sets of 15
    Back Raises: 4 sets of 10 reps (with bar behind neck)
    Hanging Leg Raises: 4 sets of 15 reps
    Lat Pulls4 sets of 10-12 reps
    Bent Over Rows 4 sets of 15 reps/arm
    Reverse Hyperextensions 4 sets of 12
    Hanging Leg Raises 4 sets of 15 reps

    Military Press Day

    DB Military Press: 4 sets of 10 reps
    Upright Rows: 4 sets of 10 reps
    Side Laterals: 4 sets of 10-15 reps
    Barbell Curls: 4 sets of 10
    Hammer Machine Military 4 sets of 10 reps
    Rope Upright Rows 4 sets of 10 reps
    Rear Laterals 4 sets of 10-15 reps
    DB Curls 4 sets of 10 reps



    Basic Upper / Lower split with 2 x per week frequency of each muscle group. See below:

    Mon: Lower
    Squat: 3-4 x 6-8 / 3' (3-4 sets of 6-8 with a 3' rest)
    SLDL or leg curl: 3-4 x 6-8 / 3'
    Leg press: 2-3 x 10-12 / 2'
    Another leg curl: 2-3 x 10-12 / 2'
    Calf raise: 3-4 x 6-8 / 3'
    Seated calf: 2-3 x 10-12 / 2'

    Tue: Upper
    Flat bench: 3-4 x 6-8 / 3'
    Row: 3-4 x 6-8 / 3'
    Incline bench or shoulder press: 2-3 x 10-12 / 2'
    Pulldown/chin: 2-3 x 10-12 / 2'
    Triceps: 1-2 x 12-15 / 1.5'
    Biceps: 1-2 x 12-15 /1.5'

    For the Thu/Fri workouts either repeat the first two or make some slight exercise substitutions. Can do deadlift/leg press combo on Thu, switch incline/pulldown to first exercises on upper body day. A lot depends on volume tolerance, if the above is too much, go to
    2-3 x 6-8 and 1-2 x 10-12

    Nomenclature explanation:
    3-4 x 6-8 / 3' means 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps with 3 minute rest between sets.

    And a quick Q&A from Lyle:


    I was wondering about the 2nd leg day. Do I have it right that if you wanted to do low rep DL's you are saying just replace the 1st two exercises of day 1 w/ deads and leg presses? Would you then do a squat movement where leg presses were?

    Lyle's Answer:


    DL: 3-4 x 6-8 (or do sets of 5)
    Leg press: 3-4 x 6-8

    Then probably do leg curls if you need another leg movement after that. And an isolation leg exercise or split squats if you need another quad exercise.

    The problem with squatting after DL is that low back fatigue will really limit squats. Frankly, DL + leg press + leg curl (maybe) is more than enough of a kick-ass leg workout.


    If you've read Lyle before, you know he doesn't spoon-feed. So the above is a basic "construct" that can serve as the foundation for setting up your basic upper/lower split for mass gains. Feel free to tweak it slightly for your needs

    Introduction to Philosophy:

    My whole goal is to continually get stronger on key exercises=getting continually bigger. I will state this, the method I am about to describe is what I have found that makes people grow at the absolutely fastest rate possible and why I am being inundated down in this area to train people. Itís going to go against the grain but I'm making people grow about 2 and a half times as fast the normal rate so bare with me.

    A typical workout for the masses is doing a body part once every 7 days and sometimes even once every 9 days or more. This concept came to the front due to recovery reasoning and I agree with most typical workouts your going to need a great deal of recovery. Hereís the problem---lets say you train chest once a week for a year and you hypothetically gain 1/64 of an inch in pectoral thickness from each workout. At the end of the year you should be at 52/64 (or 13/16). Almost an inch of thickness (pretty good). To build muscle we are trying to lift at a high enough intensity and load to grow muscle but with enough recovery so the muscle remodels and grows. The problem is everyone is loading up on the volume end of training and its taking away from the recovery part of it.

    You can train in a way so you can train chest 3 times every nine days and you will recover and grow faster than ever. If you train chest 3 times in 9 days you are now doing chest roughly 136 times a year! So instead of 52 growth phases you are now getting 136 growth phases a year. I personally would rather grow 136 times a year than 52. At a hypothetical 1/64th of an inch per workout you are now at 136/64 (or roughly 2.1 inches of thickness). So now your growing at roughly 2 and a half times as fast as normal people who are doing modern day workouts are.

    Most people train chest with 3 to 4 exercises and wait the 7-9 days to recover and that is one growth phase. I use the same 3 to 4 exercises but do chest 3 times during those 9 days and get 3 growth phases. Everyone knows a muscle either contracts or doesnít--you cannot isolate a certain part of it (you can get into positions that present better mechanical advantages though that put a focus on certain deep muscle fibers)--for example incline presses vs. flat presses. One huge mistake beginning bodybuilders make is they have a "must" principle instilled in them. They feel they "must" do this exercise and that exercise and this many sets or they wonít grow.

    Base Program:
    How I set bodybuilders workouts up is I have them pick either their 3 favorite exercises for each body part or better yet the exercises they feel will bring up their weaknesses the most. For me my chest exercises are high incline smythe machine press, hammer seated flat press and slight incline smythe press with hands very very wide----this is because I look at my physique and I feel my problem area is upper and outer pecs---that is my focus. Whenever I train someone new I have them do the following --4 times training in 8 days---with straight sets. Sometimes with rest pause sets but we have to gauge the recovery ability first.

    Day one would be Monday and would be:
    Back width
    Back thickness

    Day two would be Wednesday and would be:

    Day three would be Friday and would be:
    Back width
    Back thickness
    (Sat+sun off)

    Day four would be the following Monday and would be

    And so on Wednesday Friday Monday Wednesday etc.
    Stay with me here--Youíre only doing one exercise per muscle group per day. Your doing your first favorite exercise for chest on day one--your doing your second favorite exercise for chest on the next chest workout and your third exercise for chest on the next. Youíre hitting every body part twice in 8 days.

    The volume on everything is simply as many warm-up sets as you need to do- to be ready for your ONE work set. That can be two warm-up sets for a small muscle group or five warm-up sets for a large muscle group on heavy exercise like rack deadlifts. The ONE work set is either a straight set or a rest pause set (depending on your recovery abilities again).

    For people on the lowest scale of recovery its just that one straight set---next up is a straight set with statics for people with slightly better than that recovery----next up is rest pausing (on many of the of movements) with statics for people with middle of the road recovery on up.

    Three key exercises are picked for each body part (hypothetically we will use flat dumbell bench press, incline smythe bench press, and hammer press) ---USING ONLY ONE OF THOSE EXERCISES PER WORKOUT you rotate these in order and take that exercise to it's ultimate strength limit (where at that point you change the exercise and get brutally strong on that new movement too). That can happen in 4 weeks or that can happen 2 years later but it will happen some time (You cannot continually gain strength to where you eventually bench pressing 905 for reps obviously)---

    Sometime later when you come back to that original exercise you will start slightly lower than your previous high and then soar past it without fail--- As you progress as a bodybuilder you need to take even more rest time and recovery time. READ THAT AGAIN PLEASE: AS YOU PROGRESS AS A BODYBUILDER IN SIZE AND STRENGTH YOU NEED TO TAKE EVEN MORE REST AND RECOVERY TIME.

    Example: My recovery ability is probably slightly better now than when I started lifting 13-14 years ago but only slightly...but back then I was benching 135lbs and squatting 155lbs in my first months of lifting. Now I am far and away the strongest person in my gym using poundages three to six times greater than when I first started lifting. With my recovery ability being what it is both then and now do you think I need more time to recover from a 155lb squat for 8reps or a 500lb squat for 8reps? Obviously the answer is NOW!

    This past year I have been really pounding the slag iron as heavy and hard as I can in preparation of trying to get onstage at about 252lbs early next year. That means a hard 300lbs to me off-season and Iím pretty damn close to that right now. The gains I have made in strength this past year even at my lifting level are nothing short of phenomenal (in my mind). With those strength gains comes the ratio of recovery factor. Whereas a year ago I was training 2 on one off 2 on one off and getting away with it with extreme stretching etc....about 2 months ago I took an extra day off on the weekend because of work obligations and I just started to feel somewhat tired because of how heavy my weights were.

    If my strength keeps progressing at this level I am eventually going to have to train Monday Wednesday Friday Monday Wednesday Friday like outlined above simply because I am reaching poundages that are so far and away above my beginning weights-I have to take the necessary recovery precautions. I am still training as often as I possibly can per body part--thatís key to me. The more times I can train a body part in a yearís time and recover will mean the fastest growth possible!

    Iíve done the training a body part every 10 days system in the past and while recovering from that--the gains were so slow over time I got frustrated and realized the frequency of growth phases(for me)was to low. I want to gain 104 times a year instead of 52--the fastest rate that I can accumulate muscle (YET AGAIN WITHIN ONES RECOVERY ABILITY-I CANT SAY THAT ENOUGH)

    In the past 4-5 years that I have been slowly changing my philosophies of training Iíve been gaining so fast the last couple of years itís been pretty amazing. Iíve got my training down to extremely low volume (a rest pause set or ONE straight set) with extreme stretching, and with recovery issues always in the back of my mind.

    I realize the number one problem in this sport that will make or break a bodybuilder is overtraining. Simply as this--you over train youíre done as a bodybuilder gains wise. Kaput. Zip. A waste of valuable time. But I also think there is a problem with under frequency (only if you can train hardcore enough with extremely low volume to recover)--

    As stated in an earlier post I skirt right along the line of overtraining--I am right there...Iíve done everything in my power (Stretching, glutamine, "super supplements", sleep)to keep me on this side of the line and its worked for me. I believe everyone has different recovery abilities--the job of a bodybuilder is to find out what their individual recovery ability is and do the least amount of hardcore training to grow so they can train that body part as frequently as possible. For anyone who wants to follow my lead that would mean starting out with straight sets training 4 times in 8 days and strictly gauging yourself recovery wise with every step up you take (statics, rest pauses)

    Alternate Programs:
    MON TUES THURS FRI- For people who have (above normal) recovery ability (hitting body parts twice in that time-or twice in 7 days)

    MON WEN FRI MON- For pretty much the norm of society with average recovery ability--hitting body parts twice every 8 days

    MON TUES THUR FRI- With body split into three parts-for people with hectic schedules these are extremely short workouts yet stay roughly in the same scheme as the above.
    On this schedule someone would group body parts like the following:

    DAY ONE:

    DAY TWO:
    Back width
    Back thickness


    In the first week of doing this, day one would be hit on Friday again and then the Monday of the following week would be Day 2 again, Tuesday would be Day 3, Wednesday off, Thursday-day one again etc. You would still be hitting body parts twice every 9 days and these workouts would be about 35 minutes tops.

    Set & Exercise Examples:

    Example Day One:
    First exercise smythe incline presses (ill use the weights I use for example) 135 for warm-up for 12--185 for 8 warm-up--225 for 6-8 warm-up-----then 375 for 8 reps to total absolute failure (then 12-15 deep breaths) 375 for 2-4 reps to total absolute failure (then 12-15 deep breaths) 375 for 1-3 reps to absolute total failure (then a 20-30 second static hold) DONE!--thatís it 375lbs for 8+4+3= 375 for 15 reps rest paused..... next week I go for 385 (again rest paused)-----directly after that rest pause set I go to extreme stretching flyes and thatís it for chest and on to shoulders, triceps and back.

    The next day I come in to do chest would be day 4 and I would do hammer flat presses in the same rest paused manner (and then extreme stretching again)---the next day I come in to do chest is day seven and I would do my third favorite exercise rest paused and then the cycle repeats.

    Three chest workouts in nine days with low enough volume to recover in between workouts and high enough intensity and load to grow rapidly--my workouts last an houróIím doing one exercise for one all out balls to the wall rest pause set (I donít count warm-ups only the working set) ---so in simple terms I am using techniques with extreme high intensity(rest pause) which I feel make a persons strength go up as quickly as possible + low volume so I can (recover) as quickly as possible with as many growth phases(damage/remodel/recover) I can do in a years time.

    Just in case any of you were confused every body part is hit 3 times in 9 days and advanced techniques such as rest pause is used (if it can be used)....Some exercises like hack squats and some back rowing exercises donít allow themselves to rest pausing too well. A sample couple of days for me would be the following (Iím not including warm-up sets--just working sets):

    Day One:
    Chest- Smythe incline 375 x 15 reps rest pause (RP) and 20 second static rep at end
    Shoulders- Front smythe press-330 x 13RP
    Triceps- Reverse grip bench 315 for 15-20 reps rest paused
    Back width- Rear pull downs to back of head 300 x 18RP (20 second static at end)
    Back thickness- Dead lifts straight set of 12-20 reps

    Day Two:
    Biceps- Dumbbell curls rest paused for 20 reps
    Forearms- Hammer curls rest paused for 15
    Calves- On hack squat straight set for 12 reps but with a 20 second negative phase
    Hamstrings- Lying leg curl rest paused for 15-20 reps and then 20 second static at end
    Quads- Hack squat straight set of 6 plates each side for 20 reps (of course after warming up)

    DAY Three: Off

    Day Four & Five: Same as day one with same concepts but different exercises (and again the same with days seven and eight)

    Every exercise is done with a controlled but explosive positive and a true 6-10 second negative phase. And the absolutely most important thing of any of this is I write down all weights and reps done from the working set on a notepad (and every time I go into the gym I have to continually look back and beat the previous times reps/weight or both)---

    If I cant or I donít beat it, no matter if I love doing the exercise or not, I have to change to a new exercise. Believe me this adds a grave seriousness, a clutch performance or imperativeness to a workout. I have exercises I love to do and knowing I will lose them if I donít beat the previous stats sucks! But there is a method to this madness because when you get to that wall of sticking point of strength (AND YOU WILL, THERE IS NO WAY YOU CAN HACK SQUAT UP TO 50 PLATES A SIDE) that is when your muscle=strength gains will stop.....and you must turn to a different exercise and get strong on that one. And then someday you will peak out on that one too.

    You can always come back to that loved exercise in the future and youíll start somewhat low and build up to a peak again- and trust me that peak will be far more than the previous one. Some exercises youíll stay with and gain strength at for almost up to a year and some exercises youíll be at the limit in 4 weeks and lose them but its all in the plan.

    I love reverse grip bench presses--knowing that I have to beat 315 for 17 reps rest paused or else I have to change to maybe dips next time puts a serious sense of urgency into workouts. I either have to beat it by doing something to the effect of 320 for 15 rest paused or if I stick with 315, I have to get at least 19 reps rest paused or so.

    If Iím feeling crappy or having an off day I might give myself a little leeway and allow myself another go at it next time around but thatís it. The notepad is your intensity level, how badly you want to keep doing an exercise will be how hard you push to beat the previous. Looking at that piece of paper knowing what you have to do to beat it will bring out the best in you. Again itís all in the plan to make you the strongest bodybuilder possible which will equal out into the biggest bodybuilder possible.

    Heavy is relative--it doesnít mean 3 reps --- it means as heavy as you can go on that exercise no matter if it is 5 reps or 50 reps. I personally like to do hack squats for 20 reps but I use about 6 plates on each side rock bottom--thatís as heavy as I can go on that exercise for 20 reps. I could do sets of 6 and probably use maybe 8 or 9 plates a side but my legs (and most people I train) grow best from heavy and 15-50 reps.

    Question: How much of an increase should we look to add a week in terms of weights? When we pause, do you mean rack the weight after the initial 8 reps, take 15 deep breaths, then fire out 5-6 more then rack and take deep breaths again, then finish? I believe I understand the principal to an extent, but I want to be

    Doggcrapp; Again the bigger the strength increase will be, the bigger the eventual size increase will be. Personally I have to beat my previous by either 2 reps or I have to add weight and at the very least get the minimum number of reps I allow myself rest paused on that exercise (or like previously stated I lose that exercise). If you find yourself blasting for weeks on end gaining just a rep here and a pound there, I think that is a waste of time--the gains will be coming too slow. Somewhat rapid increases are what we are striving for. If you really put your mind to it you can make rapid strength increases on any exercise and you can make those 2 rep or 5lb (at least) jumps for a lengthy amount of time.

    Here I'll give you an abbreviated version of what I am looking for:

    Day 1- Paramount shoulder press (warm-ups), and then 185X14RP (which was a 8+4+2 or something to
    that effect) twelve is the lowest I will allow myself on this movement, twenty is the highest)---the next
    time you would do paramount shoulder press again would be:
    Day 10--paramount shoulder press (warm-ups)
    Day 20--paramount shoulder press (warm-ups)
    Day 30--paramount shoulder press (warm-ups)
    Day 40--paramount shoulder press (warm-ups)
    Day 50--paramount shoulder press (warm-ups)
    Day 60--paramount shoulder press (warm-ups)
    Day 70--paramount shoulder press (warm-ups)

    In the real world I doubt you would of bombed out there, I bet you would of made it up somewhere around 240 to 260 before bombing out You do 185lbs to total failure (which we will hypothetically say is 8 reps ok) FINISH ON THE NEGATIVE-rack the weight and start breathing as deeply as you can to get as much oxygen in for 12 to 15 deep breaths (during this time you might or your training partner might be getting whatever exercise your doing ready for you again--like both of you bringing the bar back to the top again etc)

    I say 15 deep breaths but I want that whole time period to last maybe 20 seconds tops so depending on your breathing 12 to 15 deep breaths. You went to failure with 185, you racked on the negative, took 15 deep breaths, and now you take the 185 again and go to complete failure again (lets say hypothetically failure was 4 reps) DO THE NEGATIVE PORTION 8 SECONDS DOWN AND RACK IT--15 more deep breaths, then 185 again to total failure FINISH ON THE NEGATIVE AND RACK IT.

    Depending on your recovery ability, the exercise and if your an advanced trainer or not instead of racking it at the very end you can "try" (and I say try) to hold the weight in a static hold for 20 seconds just before racking it(good luck you'll be shaking like a leaf at that point--I've had some words come out of my mouth trying to hold my static that could hit a triple word score on scrabble)

    Reason for not doing traps: I let deadlifts and heavy rack deadlifts take care of traps. My reasoning: I canít see where a 250lb shrug is going to beat 600lb+ rack deadlifts that I try to pull up and back at the top anyway.

    Back Width: With all width movements rest paused I like front pull downs to the chin, rear pull downs to the mid-ear level (no lower), gravitron chins (the air compressor one with the platform), hammer under grip pull downs, and rack chins.

    Rack chins: Find the widest smythe machine you can (or barbell in a squat rack) and put a bench in front of it- put the bar about shoulder height- use wrist straps and put your grip as wide as comfortably possible-put your heels up on the bench but cross your legs to take them out of the movement- your legs should almost be straight but not quite- now do chins explosively up and 8 seconds down until the full stretch- any rep that your chin doesnít either go over the bar or hit the bar doesnít count!

    Do one warm-up set and then have someone put a fixed plate barbell (like used for barbell curls) in your lap. On every rest pause the spotter grabs the barbell off the chinners lap and the chinner stands up and counts his 15 deep breaths (and he stays strapped up to the bar). Then the chinner gets back into position after 15 deep breaths and the spotter puts the barbell back on the chinners lap.

    I want one warm-up straight set with no added weight done for 10-12 reps and then one all out rest pause set for 15 to 20 reps with added weight (use a 30lb barbell this first time out), then 10-30 short range static reps at the end. These are going to be excruciating and tomorrow your lats are going to be killing you.This exercise is my lat width pronto exercise.

    You can rig this up where you donít need a spotter. Iíve done this before by putting my weight belt really loose around me and putting a 35lb plate down the back of it with a short chain, or you can rig up some benches where you can get that barbell off your lap but itís much easier if you can get someone to help you for the one working rest pause set. You need to really push the stretch down the bottom and then try to explode up to the bar on every rep

    Back Thickness: I like over grip bent over rows, rack deadlifts, floor deadlifts, and T bar rows using a barbell in a corner and using the pulley handle from a seated row around it (and using multiple 25's or 35's instead of 45's to increase the range of motion)óIím not a fan of t-bar rows with the pad on the chest apparatus--with heavy weights your lungs go out before your back does.

    Hamstring exercises: leg curls rest paused, stiff legged deadlifts, and I do the following movement on a leg press religiously: legs wide, feet are at the very top pushing only with your heels, toes are off the plate. Rest paused for 20 reps. Your pretty much doing a leg press with only your heels and your toes off the top of the plate--it blasts hamstrings and you will feel it as soon as you get up the next morning. You need the right leg press to do this though-some plates are angled weird. I go as deep as I safely can on these--donít let your ass round up-you can do this by taking in a lot of air, keeping your chest high (and your head stays on the back rest) when your lowering it and your ass will stay down.

    Quads: a typical quad workout for me is super heavy weights on either a squat, a leg press or a hack squat for 15 to 30 reps (the last 7 reps for me is truly succeed or death). Someone who has a sweep from hell and his wheels are his best body part I usually have him doing a heavy 4-8 rep set on certain exercises (squat)and then maybe a hardcore 20 repper on other exercises. But most guys who could use more leg size I have them do one set in the 4-8 range to failure and another follow-up set with as much weight as they can use in the 15-20 range to failure on legexercises. It just depends on what I see by their pictures. That is about the only time you will ever see me have a person do 2 sets of the same exercise. With bodybuilders with troublesome legs itís usually those 20 rep sets that make their legs grow and I just have them do that hard and heavy 4-8 rep set to keep the strength gains moving up the ladder.

    The bottom line is whether its riding a bike for 15 minutes and doing one warm-up set or doing 10 warmup sets, warm-up sets are just warm-up sets--they mean nothing to me in a growth concept. I feel you should warm-up as much as you deem possible that makes you ready to go all out. This is the mistake I think people make when they say they get injured from low volume training. They think "one set" and go in and try to squat 405lbs without 3 warm-up sets with 135, 225, and 315. A sample hack squat warm-up Iíll do (just so you can see Iím not growing or taxing myself in the least from warm-up sets) is 90lbs on each side for 10, 160 each side for 6, 225 each side for 4, and then 315 on each side Ill go for 12-20 reps

    Letís say leg day one is: Leg press, day two: Hack, day three: Squat. You donít have to do 50 rep leg presses every time they come around. You could pile more and more weight on every week and let your reps drop slowly till youíre moving some serious poundage at 10-12 reps. Trust me, I bet any money this will be far and away higher weight than youíve ever been on the leg press. Or you could alternate--50 rep
    leg presses and then the next time 12 rep heavy....just throwing some options at you in case you thought you HAD to do 50 rep leg presses. By the way I donít rest pause them--I just sit there with the knees very slightly bent and breathe 5 deep breathes and go, breathe 5 more and go etc...at 40 reps the last 10 Iím doing 3 (breathe) 3 more (breathe) 2 more (breathe) 2 more. (and I refuse to put my hands on my knees at all times).....

    Rest Pausing: After some time at rest pausing I noticed I started counting 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 at roughly the same pace during every eccentric phase of exercises I did. I went home and did it at a stop watch and kept the same counting cadence and it always comes out somewhere about 8 seconds (every time). So something like a bent over row or rack deadlift Ill count to 8 (5 seconds)and if itís a bench or bicep curl etc, etc Ill count to 10. With me, counting to 8 always comes out to 5 seconds or so and counting to 10 comes out to 7.8 (lets just say eight) seconds or so. So 99% of my exercises Iím doing a 8 second negative phase on. As far as rest between the rest pauses I find breathing in and out deeply 12 times comes out to about 23 seconds for me every time so I just stick to that. I used to count "one one thousand, two thousand etc etc" but Iíve been rest pausing for a long time now and its all second nature to me.


    CHEST: Flat bench 90lb dumbbells chest high--lungs full of air-- I drop down into the deepest flye I can for the first 10 seconds or so with my lungs full of air and chest out---then staying there I arch my back slightly and try to press my sternum upward --this is absolutely excruciating--the rest of the 60 seconds I try to concentrate on dropping my elbows even farther down (I try to but I donít think they are going any lower--LOL)---the last 15 seconds Iím pretty much shaking like a leaf, I have tears in my eyes and I think about dropping bodybuilding and becoming a tap dancer on Broadway (ok that parts not true)--My opinion is people should use dumbbells that are a little over half of what your heaviest set of 6-8 reps would be. I cant state this enough--extreme stretching royally sucks!!! Its painful. But I have seen amazing things with people -especially in the quads.

    TRICEPS: Seated on a flat bench-my back up against the barbell---75lb dumbell in my hand behind my head(like in an overhead dumbell extension)--sink dumbell down into position for the first 10 seconds and then an agonizing 50 seconds slightly leaning back and pushing the dumbell down with the back of my head I like one arm at a time in the bottom position of a dumbell triceps extension----going to the extreme stretch and then slightly pushing on the dumbell with the back of my head.

    SHOULDERS: This one is tough to describe--put a barbell in the squat rack shoulder height--face away from it and reach back and grab it palms up (hands on bottom of bar)---walk yourself outward until you are on your heels and the stretch gets painful--then roll your shoulders downward and hold for 60 seconds.

    BICEPS: Olympic bar in a power rack or squat rack about neck high---face away from it and reach back and put both hands over the bar gripping it----now either sink down with one leg forward/one leg back or better yet squat down and try (I say try because its absolutely excruciating) to kneel. Go down to the stretch that is almost unbearable and then hold that for 45 to 60 seconds. Your own bodyweight is the load. What I do is put the bar at a place on the squat rack in which I can kneel at a severe stretch and then try to sink my ass down to touch my feet. If its too easy I put the bar up to the next rung.

    BACK: Honestly for about 3 years my training partner and I would hang a 100lb dumbell from our waist and hung on the widest chin-up bar (with wrist straps) to see who could get closest to 3 minutes--I never made it--I think 2 minutes 27 seconds was my record--but my back width is by far my best body part--I pull on a doorknob or stationary equipment with a rounded back now and its way too hard too explain here--just try it and get your feel for it.

    HAMSTRINGS: Either leg up on a high barbell holding my toe and trying to force my leg straight with my free hand for an excruciating painful 60 seconds or another exercise I could only show people and not type here.

    QUADS: Facing a barbell in a power rack about hip high --grip it and simultaneously sink down and throw your knees under the barbell and do a sissy squat underneath it while going up on your toes. then straighten your arms and lean as far back as you can---60 seconds and if this one doesn't make you hate my guts and bring tears to your eyes nothing will---do this one faithfully and tell me in 4 weeks if your quads donít look a lot different than they used to.

    CALVES: my weak body part that I couldnít get up too par until 2 years ago when I finally thought it out and figured out how to make them grow (with only one set twice a week too) I donít need to stretch calves after because when I do calves I explode on the positive and take 5 seconds to get back to full stretch and then 15 seconds at the very bottom "one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand etc" --15 seconds stretching at the bottom thinking and trying to flex my toes toward my shin--it is absolutely unbearable and you will most likely be shaking and want to give up at about 7 reps (I always go for 12reps with maximum weights)--do this on a hack squat or a leg press--my calves have finally taken off due to this.

    Static Holds:

    Different than extreme stretching. I do extreme stretching for each body part after its finished (holding into a weighted stretched position for 60 seconds)--- Statics are what I do immediately after a working set to try to create even more of an overload ---example: lat pulldowns-300x 14 reps rest paused to failure and then immediately I do a static hold which is pull the bar down 4 inches and lean back slightly. I fight like hell to hold it for 20 seconds counting (one one thousand, two one thousand, three...) but I usually end up shaking like a leaf on some movements (incline presses etc)--trying to hold a three hundred plus pound incline press in a 20 sec.

    Another example: Incline bench press, John Doe has just completed a rest pause set with 275lbs. He takes the bar off the rack and brings it about 4 inches down (as this is usually where peoples strength range is) and tries to hold it there for a true 20 second count. To be totally honest with you its nothing more than a personal favorite of mine to reach an overload threshold--- someone else might want to do burns down near the bottom for 6-15 short reps, someone else might want to do a 20% more weight negative.


    Individualistic choice but I like treadmill or a walk around the neighborhood. Days per week - offseason- 0 to 2 times a week, pre-contest--every day except leg days, minutes per sessions - always 45 minutes (60 minutes if someone got to a serious sticking point)




    A sample day for me is (with protein grams after each item) – Bulk Diet:

    Breakfast: oatmeal(5) with soy grits and ground flaxseeds on top (23) a little bit of milk(2) in the oatmeal and a protein drink (55)=85grams

    After-workout snack: two potatoes(7) and a double serving protein drink in cranberry grape juice (110) =117grams

    Lunch: (quick one because of my work)-can of ravioli (11) and protein drink(65) (cup of water cup of milk in there) =76grams

    Snack: two 99cent big Macs(54) and 2 cups of milk (20)=74 grams

    Dinner: 1lb of hamburger (100) cooked drained and then washed off with water thoroughly (to remove as much fat as possible)with condiments and noodles (4) =104grams

    I keep reasonably lean by taking in zero to trace amounts of carbs (found in vegetables) after 6-7pm

    Night-time meal: six egg white omelet with peppers or peas(20) or roast beef cold cuts with half waterhalf milk protein drink (65) =85 grams

    That’s 541 protein grams on average and with me usually eating larger portions than measured I probably venture toward 600 grams a lot. If you look at the food I eat its pretty cheap,specially the way I buy it in bulk.

    Sample Day – Bulk Diet - Total Calories:

    1) protein drink(olive oil 600/milk 210/water 0/powder 260/flaxseed 50+ oatmeal 200+ banana 102=1420cals

    2) post workout drink=3 cups cranberry juice 390, four scoops protein powder 520, 2 baked potatoes 284=1194cals

    3) chicken rice casserole-cup of rice 190 chicken 581, sauce 150 , two cups milk 280=1201 cals

    4) T bone steak 1419, water with lemon (trace), mashed potatoes (400)=1819cals

    5) protein drink with olive oil 600/powder 260/milk 210/ water 0 and protein bar 290 = 1360

    6) two cups 2% milk 280 and 2 cups cottage cheese 440=720

    Total calories: 7714

    Diet Philosophy: For fat sources, I like omega-3's (flaxseeds) and extra virgin olive oils (mono unsaturated fat)--118 calories per tablespoon. I throw 2-3 tablespoons in my morning and afternoon shakes but not in the post workout or bedtime ones (self explanatory). Go slow with olive oil or you will be seat belting yourself to the toilet the first couple days. As far as diet I am like Palumbo in that aspect...I like high protein, moderate (good) fats and low to moderate carbs..I eat the amount of protein grams I want to ingest first and if its before 6-7pm I satisfy the rest of my hunger with carbs. If I go to McDonalds I'll blast as many hamburgers as I can and skip the fries(laughing) but true. After 6-7pm I will go high protein and trace to low carbs (example huge steak and a lot of a vegetable but no rice, pasta or bread).

    This is the way I have found thru trial and error that I can keep myself and people I train fairly lean but still have them gaining at the highest rate. I’m not a calorie counter at all. I’m a protein gram counter. I weigh myself and others once a month on the same scale and if they are not gaining I already know they are on high protein so I fix the problem with added mono unsat's (olive oil), flaxseeds and some extra carbs here or there. A simple way to keep the scale going up: I run into the same problem from time to time and I know I cannot eat any more than I do.....the savior for me is extra virgin olive oil--I work my way up to 3-4 tablespoons per protein drink...118 calories per tablespoon of a mostly monounsaturated fat (besides its other health benefits.

    I like people to do this at their meals:
    1) pound down the protein amount they must get in first for that meal

    2) add flax or olive oil to that meal if it allows i.e. protein drinks etc (and its before 6pm)

    3) finally eat carbohydrates to satisfy any other hunger pangs at that meal and don’t worry about grams! If you cut your carbs off at 6pm the night before you can pound raisin bran at breakfast and pasta at lunch etc etc your not going to have to worry about it (your going low carb after 6pm again tonight) Off-season you shouldn’t feel like your abstaining or dieting--hell if you want 25 chocolate chip cookies--pound them down at 2pm (after you downed your protein drink first) After 6pm worry about carb grams--keep them low to trace--just delete potatoes, pasta, bread, cereals after 6pm and boatload all the corn, peas, or vegetables you want with your (after 6pm) protein sources.

    Way to cut cost of eating: I buy in bulk period. I buy eggs (5 dozen), ground beef(10lb chubs), rice etc in bulk and save a grip of money. I also always buy according to unit price which seems simple but most people overlook it. I scour flyers for steak deals and go to the supermarket that is selling London Broils for 1.87 a LB and snatch up a slew of them. I am a stingy frugal shopper--my biggest expense is protein powder (I use the 4.4 Pro complex). At lunchtime at work every day I go out to eat (otherwise I go nuts eating homemade food all the time). I am "COUPON BOY"---I get tons of restaurant coupons in the mail
    and use them religiously.

    Cutting Diet: Lets say "John Smith" is a 275lb bodybuilder holding 16% body fat in the off-season. He is smooth but his heavy training and high protein eating have made it possible for his body to hold 275lbs with probably an ideal contest weight of 226-234lbs or so. Since his present diet is allowing him to hold a "hypothetical" 230lbs of lean mass, what do you think is going to happen on a "cutting diet"....oh he will get ripped but probably at a 60-40 or 70-30 body fat to muscle mass ratio loss. My opinion is to leave the training heavy and leave the diet 90% what it is. The only changes I would make are to be religiously strict with low/trace carbs after 6pm and drop dairy 6 weeks out. Let the cardio take off your body fat!

    Forty five minutes at a slightly brisk walk on a treadmill first thing in the morning on an empty stomach-- on every day except leg days will do it. Add in maybe usnic acid and a thermogenic and your going to end up inside out shredded. That’s from a bodybuilding standpoint as I hate seeing someone gain 15lbs of muscle from training so hard in the off-season just to panic diet it all off trying to get ripped. In a general everyday sense for people who don’t care about losing 8-20lbs of muscle mass on their way down to leanness,--cardio and a cutting diet will work faster for them. Again, the diet I prefer is high protein, moderate carbs, and moderate good fats (olive oils, flax oils, EFA's)--your stomach is always going to be full on this diet and I want it to be. A main staple of my way of doing things is cutting carbs at night.

    The only carbs coming in after 5, 6, or 7pm (depending on your schedule and your meal timing) are trace carbs found in vegetables and such.

  7. BILL STARS 5X5:



    One of the many flavors of Bill Starr's 5x5 workouts. This particular one is designed with the intermediate lifter in mind. Someone who has experience with the lifts and some decent training history should do quite well. It's important to keep in mind that this program is a snapshot, training changes with time, you don't do it forever, to get a better idea on how training changes over time I'd encourage people to read this interview from Glenn Pendlay and Mark Rippetoe on programming.


    This program is based on weekly linear progress. You take your current 5 rep maxes (5RM) and work up to them systematically by increasing weights in steady increments over 3-4 weeks. You then hit your current 5RM on lifts and continue these incremental increases week to week which pushes you further and further out making new personal records (PRs) every week until you stall on the majority of your lifts. If you miss reps, keep the weight constant the next week and don't move it up until you get all 5x5. When you eventually stall on the majority of lifts, and you will, meaning something like several weeks of no progress in that you can't add reps or weight, you'll have to reset lower back several weeks and begin again. If it's just one lift that has you stuck, reset on that and work up again but don't restart the whole program. When restarting the whole program, a lot of times changing variables is also helpful here. I'm not going to cover that.

    Training is a blend of art and science, and knowing what parameters to change for a given lifter is more art. This is a cookie-cutter, it's meant to get you big and strong, and more importantly training correctly. The best programs are always tailored to a given trainee so being your own coach, you have to learn and seek out knowledge (generally not in bodybuilding sources as a rule and this will seldom do you wrong).

    Rep speed is natural, time between sets is what you need. Don't rapid fire compound lifts but don't be lazy. 2-5 minutes is probably right with 5 minutes being needed after a very taxing effort.


    CAUTION - READ THIS: if you are going to devote hours and hours over weeks and weeks to a program, please take 10-15 minutes to actually read this page and understand it.

    Before beginning it is useful to know your 1 rep maxes or more ideally your real 5 rep max in each lift. If you don't know this - it might be useful to test your lifts first or start light and allow for some flexibility in the weekly planning. The whole key is the weekly progression and keeping workload low enough to not overwhelm someone with fatigue and enable them to get out in front and set records for as many weeks as possible. Said a different way, the stimulus is not getting under the bar once with heavy weight but getting under it frequently and systematically increasing week to week starting within your limits and slowly expanding.

    Exercise Sets x Reps Details


    Squat 5x5
    Ramping weight to top set of 5 (which should equal the previous Friday's heavy triple)

    Bench 5x5
    Ramping weight to top set of 5 (which should equal the previous Friday's heavy triple)

    Barbell Row 5x5
    Ramping weight to top set of 5 (which should equal the previous Friday's heavy triple)

    Assistance: 2 sets of weighted hypers and 4 sets of weighted sit-ups


    Squat 4x5
    First 3 sets are the same as Monday, the 4th set is repeating the 3rd set again

    Incline or Military 4x5
    Ramping weight to top set of 5

    Deadlift 4x5
    Ramping weight to top set of 5

    Assistance: 3 sets of sit-ups


    Squat 4x5, 1x3, 1x8
    First 4 sets are the same as Monday's, the triple is 2.5% above your Monday top set of 5, use the weight from the 3rd set for a final set of 8

    Bench 4x5, 1x3, 1x8
    First 4 sets are the same as Monday's, the triple is 2.5% above your Monday top set of 5, use the weight from the 3rd set for a final set of 8

    Barbell Row 4x5, 1x3, 1x8
    First 4 sets are the same as Monday's, the triple is 2.5% above your Monday top set of 5, use the weight from the 3rd set for a final set of 8

    Assistance: 3 sets of weighted dips (5-8 reps), 3 sets of barbell curls and 3 sets of triceps extensions (8 reps)

    The Progression:

    So it's pretty obvious what's going on in this example is weekly increases of 2.5% of your top set of 5 on Monday. So you do 100lbs for 5 on your top set on Monday. Then on Friday you do a triple with 2.5% more, or 102.5. The next Monday you come back and do 102.5 for your heavy set of 5, that Friday the triple is 105 and so on. For the non-squat Wednesday lifts you just increase by the percentage week to week.

    Of course you start with a good margin to give yourself a run so you have to back into the initial weeks' weights. That means using some math. Put your current 5 rep maxes at week 4, figure out what 2.5% of the number is and go back and put that for week 3, do that back until you get to week 1. The Friday triple is always the next week's Monday set of 5. Pretty easy.*

    Some people seem to think this is very slow progress (and maybe it is for a true beginner) but for most lifters this 2.5% weekly is fairly aggressive scaling. Think about building up for 4 weeks and then 2.5% compounded weekly on your personal records after that. If you can even get 4 weeks of PRs, that's over 10% on your lifts in just 8 weeks (there are people who would kill for this and many are lucky to manage 1-2% over that same time frame). People who can keep it up for anywhere near 12 weeks (8 weeks of PRs) are looking at 20%+ on their lifts. Even if one can't get long progression, this is still a good way to go for even a few increments as long as a lifter can make progress like this (and eventually they won't be able to and will have to do something a bit different that looks more like the Advanced version.

    Program Week Lift for 5 Reps Percentage Increase Over Current Personal Record

    4 200 0.00%
    5 205 2.50%
    6 210 5.06%
    7 215 7.69%
    8 221 10.38%
    9 226 13.14%
    10 232 15.97%
    11 238 18.87%
    12 244 21.84%
    13 250 24.89%
    14 256 28.01%
    15 262 31.21%

    Although given the chart and what I've said elsewhere on this page it should be obvious, I will clarify the point that this is not a 9 week program. You continue until it stops working. If you are adding 2.5% a week to your big lifts and eating enough to move the scale consistently, there is nothing else you can do from a program perspective to encourage muscular weight gain. Ride the horse and if lifts gives you trouble, either cut some warm up volume or reset it back a few weeks. When the majority of the lifts are stalling, reset the whole program and build back up to PRs over 4 weeks. Maybe change some variables (i.e. use 3x10) and/or some assistance lifts (front squat on Wed, lockouts instead of overhead).

    Impact of Weight Gain/Loss and Experience Level:

    I will also note that weight gain can be considered a tail wind to the progression. Meaning, you will have an easier time getting stronger and making a longer progression if you are eating enough to drive bodyweight upward during the program (i.e. also known as bulking or trying to add muscle, see caloric excess). This does not however mean that you should start heavier simply because you are planning to gain weight. The effect is typically not that strong and this is the best way to blow this program up - always better to take more time than less. Another tailwind would be experience level, someone much closer to their ultimate potential is going to run out of steam and have to settle for shorter progressions than someone with 6 months of training under their belt.

    A headwind would be dieting or cutting. If you are really making an effort to lose weight and using this program you might want to start significantly lighter or make smaller jumps week to week (i.e. take 6 weeks to reach your current 5RM rather than 4 weeks). Basically the same 200lbs 5 rep max squat at a bodyweight of 200 is a stronger lift at a lighter bodyweight. So if you are dropping bodyweight, you probably want think about starting lower because your 5RM estimates won't be accurate as your bodyweight changes and to get a reasonable shot at progression you don't want to be starting too high (that said, the less experienced the lifter they might have enough tailwind from their junior amount of experience to override a fair degree of headwind from bodyweight dropping).

    Ramping Weights:

    This is basically increasing your weight set to set like warming up. If your top set of 5 is 315, you might go 135, 185, 225, 275, and then 315 all for 5 reps. There are several reasons for this, you are warming up, getting a lot of practice and really groove the coordination of the lifts, and contributing to workload without raising it so high that fatigue overcomes you and you overtrain. If you do 315 for all 5 sets, workload is a lot higher and doing that a couple of times a week ensures that you won't last long on this program.

    Typically jumps can be somewhere between 10-15% per set based on your top set (or 12.5% and round up or down). An easy way to figure this is to find out what 10% and 15% are for your top set and then track backwards into the other sets using the variance to round or help it make sense.


    Your top set is 100lbs

    10% is 10lbs and 15% is 15lbs

    Your 5th set is 100x5, 4th is 90x5, 3rd is 80x5, 2nd is 70x5, and 1st is 60x5

    These are the minimum jumps of 10%, the math doesn't always look this neat but using 12.5% isn't as intuitively easy to see for explaining this.

    Make sure this makes sense and you aren't so strong as to make the jumps ridiculous at 10-15%. But keep in mind, going 200, 205, 210, 215, and 220 is a lot closer to 220 for 5x5 and that's too much on this kind of frequency, it will fatigue you a lot faster (i.e. prevent you from progressing) and hurt your ability to get as much as possible with your top set.

    *Note: for the math inclined you probably realized that when moving up in weight you are taking 2.5% of the current weight but when I have you set up the initial weeks moving backward you are taking 2.5% off the forward week which is a slightly larger number than moving in the other direction. So if you want to really be exact, you can work it out the other way but the math is harder.


    Possible Issues:

    If people get stuck early it's because they start too high. There is no negative to starting a bit more conservatively (just potential time spent acclimating at worst). On the other side, starting too aggressively can kill the whole program. You decide on whether you want to potentially risk a tad of time in the worst case scenario or waste all your time and blow it up getting zero results.

    Particularly if people have issues with a lift the bench is where people get caught. A lot of guys have been training the bench hard forever. Probably high frequency and generally maxing it or using lower reps than their other lifts. Well, you want to push one lift hard and not bother much with others - you wind up with an asymmetry in your ability to adapt. You have to pay the price for not pushing as hard on your squat, deads, rows, and overhead regardless of the program and that's just how it is. This is compounded by not having plates lighter than 2.5lbs (so 5lbs jumps), which is often too much for people with the rounding and lifts that just aren't all that strong.

    Also people put their true, best case 5RM with limited warm-up out at week 4. Most people won't have a problem but really, at week 4 you are expected to do the 5RM and do about 20 reps at varying weights beforehand. This makes week 4 a personal record in reality. Essentially, being more conservative with the bench is better especially if you are one of those die hard benchpress worshippers.

    In regards to the squatting or frequency, if you haven't squatted at all, or don't squat full range or haven't done much before it can be an issue particularly if you have enough training to move some weight. Most people haven't had a problem but particular to the squats a few people have wound up with overuse issues. It's not that people can't squat 3x per week - anyone can. It's a matter of conditioning someone to be able to do it at the volume and intensities that this program calls for and acclimating to it immediately. Just like walking 2 miles a day, anyone can do it but if you sit on the couch and your movement is limited to 100 yards per day to get the mail and feed yourself - well it might take some time to build up. Most importantly, if you start to get these issues (and not muscle soreness) but a chronic aching and soreness in the joints/tendons/muscles etc...you need to back off and not keep pushing.

    That doesn't mean you get a little sore in week 1 and quit, this will take a few weeks but once this type of thing shows up don't just keep pushing. A coach would have you back off or likely not start you here, you don't have a coach so you have to use your brain. It just might take 4-5 weeks to build up and get things in shape to be able to begin this program. That's okay but if you keep pushing and wind up with serious tendonitis it can take a while to resolve itself. Not worth it. Like I said before, in general it isn't an issue but a program is just a 'point in time' example, some people might be ready for that point, some won't. I tried to set this up where it should be okay for just about everyone, that doesn't mean than a few people may not have an issue with the parameters.


    The Lifts:

    Squats -
    These should be full range Olympic style squats. Use the full range of your body - that means as low as you can go which for almost everyone is past parallel. If the top of your thighs aren't at least parallel it's for ****. If you think this is bad for your knees going low, you and whoever told you that are relying on an old wives tale. Anyone who knows the human body will tell you that below parallel is MUCH safer on the knees whereas parallel and above put all the sheer right on them and doesn’t allow proper transfer of the load to the rest of your body (this is how your body was designed).

    Deads -
    each rep is deweighted fully on the floor. No touch and go. This is called the 'dead'lift because the weight is 'dead' on the ground. You can touch and go warm ups but that's it.

    Military -
    standing overhead presses. Supporting weight overhead is a fundamental exercise and stimulates the whole body. Push presses are a fine substitute.

    Rows -
    90 degrees and done dynamically (Accelerate the weight into your body - do not jerk it but constantly increase the pace like an oar through water).

    Common Sense - you should know how to do the lifts before starting a program like this. Start light and learn. Don't include brand new compound lifts that have you training near your limit without some time in. This is how you get hurt. Compound lifts load the entire body and are very effective. If you have a weak link, they will bring it up - of course if you haven't trained the lift long enough for this to happen your weak link may get you hurt. Use your brain.
    The rest is self explanatory.

    Time Between Sets:

    Don't over think this. Use a natural rep speed, take what you need between sets. Don't be lazy but don't rush. You can't be doing rapid fire sets of big compound lifts. Maybe on the lightest warm-ups you take a minute but most sets will be 2-5 minute range with 2 being between fairly easy sets and 5 being after a heavy set in preparation for another very serious major effort that drains you. I can see exceeding the 5 minute limit by a tad when really pushing near failure in the PR weeks when you are uncertain of getting your reps on your last set. Just use your brain and don't micromanage.


    Depends on whether you are trying to gain muscle or what. I will say that for gaining muscle, caloric excess must be present. Read the caloric excess topic in the table of contents. More people, particularly bodybuilders, go wrong here. If caloric excess is present and training stinks, you will get fatter. The few guys who have come back with no weight gain got very strong and gained no net weight - guess what - they were already fairly lean (i.e. no excess in their diet otherwise they'd have been fatter) and they didn't gain fat or muscle (no caloric excess during training). There's nothing any program can do if you won't eat.

    For the purposes of gaining muscle or getting big and strong it's better to eat McDonalds and KFC all day long than not eat enough Zen clean ultra pure food which might be healthier but if not enough there's simply nothing to use to grow. So caloric excess is a requirement, you don't need to eat like a slob but it will work infinitely better than not eating enough healthy food for this purpose. Lots of people have gotten big and strong on diets that were bad, if you choose to eat squeaky clean, kudos to you but it is not critical to putting on muscle (it might be critical to a long high quality life though). If you need a more in depth explanation, look here.

    Incorporating the Olympic Lifts:
    The above is basically setup for someone who doesn't know the OLs. Starr's original workout included Power Cleans and High Pulls. Instead of Bent Rows substitute Power Cleans. Rather than Deads substitute High Pulls. That’s a quick and dirty way of handling this without much disruption.

    Substituting Exercises:
    Don't **** with this. Every bodybuilder seems to have Attention Deficit Disorder and an overwhelming desire to customize everything. The bottom line is that these are all the most effective exercises and just about anything one does will result in less gains. As a rule those people who want to change it don't know enough to make proper alterations - those who do know enough, don't have much to change. The guy who is responsible for this program is of the best on the planet at bulking lifters and making people stronger. It's kind of like Sesame Street's Elmo offering neurosurgery advice at NYU.

    Anyway, it's absolutely essential not to screw with the squats, they are the foundation of this program. If you want to sub inclines or push presses for military that's okay. Do not sub machines - don't even think about it, hit yourself with a plate if you must. For arms choose a single biceps and triceps exercise and perform them at the end once per week for 3 sets of whatever - your arms will take a beating from all the pulling and pressing anyway. If you want to chin on Wednesday or do a few sets of pulldowns/ups that's fine (avoid the machines if you can use bodyweight).

    Core work is always fine. Cardio is fine - interval training is the best for this I'll just throw out. If this is just too much mental strain, take solace in the fact that it's just a few weeks, you'll gain a ton of muscle and strength and then you can spend the next 4 weeks adding the minute detail to refine the gained mass (like most care anyway - I have yet to meet a guy on this board who will trade 20lbs of muscle for a bit of added detail somewhere). In a nutshell, put your trust in some of the better coaches on the planet and enjoy the results.

    New or Beginner Lifters:
    This is not a beginner program. You will make faster progress with less workload on a true beginner program. I really recommend Rippetoe's Starting Strength for beginners or novices. It's so critical to learn the lifts correctly and get started on a good program (i.e. not what one typically finds on bodybuilding sites). Rippetoe is the man at coaching beginners and putting muscle on them with 30-40lbs in 4-6 months being quite normal. The book will handle teaching you all the lifts. It's written for coaches and no, given what I see in commercial gyms, the internet and Joe Schmoe at your local gym are not capable of instructing you properly - they will screw you up and make you look like a moron or possibly get you hurt. On top of that the book covers everything to get you set up on a program that is time proven as one of if not the best beginner programs available.

    Advanced Lifters:
    After a while, linear progress doesn't work so well. You want to do this for as long as you can. And I mean, resetting and running at your records, changing some exercises, rep ranges, whatever, just keep trying to get some linear progress as you want to milk this kind of progression for all it's worth. After a while it will become pretty obvious this doesn't work for you any more. Welcome to periodization

  9. MAX OT:

    The Nuts and Bolts:

    1. Each workout should last approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
    2. Train only 1 or 2 muscle groups per workout/day.
    3. Do 6 to 9 total heavy sets per muscle group.
    4. Do 4 to 6 reps per set to failure.
    5. Rest 2 to 3 minutes between sets.
    6. Train each muscle group once every 5 to 7 days.
    7. Take a 1 week break from training every 8 to 10 weeks.


    - Workouts are quick to avoid elevating cortisol.
    - Easier progressively loading 4-6 reps than 10-15.
    - Increased neural efficiency (great strength gains).
    - Increased muscle gain right out the chute.
    - Increased familiarity with compound exercises.


    - Plateaus might come fast if too aggressive with your weight selection.
    - Perpetually staying in the 4-6 rep range could result in diminished returns over a long period of time.
    - Strength and muscle gains are almost never linear to each other.
    - High potential for muscle tears or injuries.
    - Not recommended for beginners who have not developed proper techniques with compound exercises.
    - Not recommended for most isolation exercises.


    Traditionally, Max-OT is promoted as a five day split. They also have a few examples of three day splits for trainees who simply cannot make it more than three days to the gym. What the website does not do is account for overlapping, which could, in essence, allow for a higher frequency than once every six to seven days. An example of overlapping could include doing weighted dips and close grip bench on “arms day” for triceps that also heavily stimulates the pecs. Another example would be doing some underhanded chins and pulldowns for “back day” which also works the biceps. Both of these examples would work provided the trainee sets aside a single day to work his arms.

    Sample 5 Day Schedule:

    Monday – Legs
    Tuesday – Chest
    Wednesday – Back
    Thursday – Shoulders
    Friday – Arms

    Sample Workout:

    Flat Bench: 3 x 4-6
    Incline DB Press: 3 x 4-6
    Weighted Dips: 2 x 4-6

    Max-OT is a good program that should suit anyone’s needs for the short term. Increases in size and strength are best during the initial three to four weeks. Long term usage could really take its toll on the joints. One of the most prevalent injuries many trainees complain about is a pain that runs along the bone in the forearms. This is no doubt partially due to using a lot of straight bar curling with a weight heavy enough to only get 4-6 reps in with. According to a sports medicine physician, it's called ulnar stress syndrome and it's due to extreme supination of the forearms and undue stress placed on the ulna secondary to weak forearm musculature. On their website, they approve using “a little English” on lifts such as barbell curling. “English” to them means throwing your back into the lift in order to use maximum poundages. Again, I wouldn’t recommend adopting that technique too much. Especially when in the latter weeks of the program.

    The key to making this program work is to adopt all recommendations. A lot of trainees used to a lot of volume might find themselves adding in more exercises or sets than is needed. An example of this would be doing 3 x 4-6 flat bench instead of 2 x 4-6. If the lifter is really pushing his or herself, then two sets to positive failure is enough, especially if that third set only gets 2-3 reps without a spot. Another key is tempo. It’s important to maintain a good tempo without trying to “rapid fire” a set just to get the required reps in. So if a lifter starts off the program with 4 seconds of TUT (3-0-1), and after a few weeks starts doing 2 or 3 seconds bouncing the weight all over the place, you will effectively remove the stimulus off of the targeted muscles in favor of beating the log book.

    Try it out for a month before moving on. With enough overlapping and rest, this program will provide a nice stimulus for growth and especially strength. Max-OT may not be a “cornerstone” for year around training, but it does hold its merit for a few months spread out over the course of a year.

    Sample Max-OT routine,

    Weeks 1-4

    Mondays - Legs:

    Squats 3 x 4-6
    Leg Press 2 x 4-6
    Stiff Leg Deadlift 2 x 6

    Standing Calf Raise 3 x 6-8
    Seated Calf Raise 2 x 6-8

    Tuesdays - Chest & Forearms:

    Incline Bench 3 x 4-6 (20-25 degree angle)
    Flat Bench 3 x 4-6
    Decline Bench 1 x 4-6

    BB Wrist Curls 2 x 8-10
    DB Wrist Curls 2 x 6-8

    Wednesdays - Back & Traps:

    BB Bent Over Row 2 x 4-6
    CG Pull Downs 2 x 4-6
    Pull Ups 2 x 4-6
    Cable Rows 1 x 4-6
    Deadlifts 2 x 4-6
    BB Shrugs 1 x 4-6

    Thursdays - Shoulders & Triceps:

    DB Arnold Press 3 x 4-6
    Military Press 2 x 4-6
    DB Side Laterals 2 x 4-6

    Lying Triceps Press 2 x 4-6
    Cable Push Downs 2 x 4-6
    Seated Overhead Triceps Press 1 x 4-6

    Fridays - Biceps & Abs:

    BB Curls 2 x 4-6
    DB Curls 2 x 4-6
    EZ Bar Curls 1 x 4-6

    Leg Lifts 2 x 12-15
    Cable Crunches 2 x 8-10

    Weeks 5-8

    Mondays - Back & Forearms:

    Pull Ups ? sets to 50 reps
    CG Cable Pulldowns 2 x 4-6
    BB Bent Rows 2 x 4-6
    Weighted Hyper Extensions 2 x 4-6

    BB Wrist Curls 2 x 6-8
    DB Wrist Curls 2 x 6-8

    Tuesdays - Shoulders & Traps

    Military Press 3 x 4-6
    Seated DB Press 1 x 4-6
    DB Side Laterals 2 x 4-6

    BB Shrugs 3 x 4-6

    Wednesday - Legs & Calves:

    Squats 4 x 4-6
    Lunges 2 x 4-6
    Stiff Leg Deadlifts 2 x 4-6

    Seated Calf Raises 2 x 4-6
    45 Calf Raises 1 x 4-6

    Thursdays - Chest

    BB Bench 3 x 4-6
    BB Incline Bench 2 x 4-6
    Weighted Dips 2 x 4-6

    Fridays - Biceps & Triceps:

    BB Curls 3 x 4-6
    Alternate DB Curls 2 x 4-6

    Lying Triceps Curls 2 x 4-6
    DB Seated O'Head Press 2 x 4-6
    Tricep Cable Pushdowns 1 x 4-6

    Week 9 - Rest.

  10. HST:

    Ok, so a lot of people are talking and asking questions about HST (Hypertrophy Specific Training), so I'm going to try to wrap it up as short and as quick as possible, so everyone can get going with their routines. We'll do this in steps.

    First off, HST is not just for size, but it's not a strength program from a muscle mag that will add 50lbs to your bench in 8 weeks (did add 10lbs to mine in 4 weeks though). You will gain both size and strength, but with the principles of the program, the size will outweigh the strength. A lot of this also depends on you, and how you respond.

    Second off, you need to have a good diet, HST won't add inches to you if you follow a crappy diet, everyone knows this. You would obviously add more size if you were bulking, but some people want to take the fat off, and HST is great for cutting also.

    Now, for the do-it-yourself routine creating. Follow these steps:

    1) Choose what rep range you want to do. For your first HST cycle I would suggest just the standard 15, 10, and 5 (you'll know what I'm talking about later).

    2) Choose 8-12 exercises for your full body that you would like to perform. I myself use only 8, which makes for a nice compact routine. Here is an example of my exercises:

    Bench Press
    Stiff Legged Deadlift
    Bent Over BB Rows
    Seated Shoulder Press
    EZ Bar Curls
    Lying Tricep Extensions
    Standing Calf Raise

    3) We'll just assume that you are using 15, 10, and 5 rep weight "blocks". You would take a week to find each of your maxes for every exercise and every rep range. For example, on Monday you would find your 15 rep max for every exercise, Wednesday you would do the 10s, and Friday the 5s.
    4) After you figure out your maxes, take 9-14 days off from any training. This is called Strategic Deconditioning (SD). This is taken from the HST website:

    "At this point, it is necessary to either increase the load (Progressive load), or decrease the degree of conditioning to the load (Strategic Deconditioning). The muscle is sensitive not only to the absolute load, but also to the change in load (up or down). Therefore, you can get a hypertrophic effect from increasing the load from a previous load, even if the absolute load is not maximum, assuming conditioning (resistance to exercise induced micro-damage) is not to extensive. There is a limit to the number of increments you can add to increase the load. You simply reach your maximum voluntary strength eventually. This is why Strategic Deconditioning is required for continued growth once growth has stopped (all things remaining equal). "
    Okay, so you've figured out all of your maxes and are ready to start working out this Monday. Now here's a sum-up of how the routine will go. Each rep range (block) (15, 10, and 5) will each be given 2 weeks of training. It doesn't have to be 2 weeks, but we'll assume this is your first HST "experience" and you are just going to do the standard. Training will be 3 times a week, once a day (we'll use M/W/F for this cycle). Again, some people train 6 days a week or some people do an AM and PM split. Each rep range will get 6 workouts over 2 weeks. Now here's where the weird part comes in (well, against what you probably normally do), you will only train to failure once every 2 weeks (until weeks 7+8, which I'll get to later). Workout #6 will be your routine with all of your maxes.

    So what do you do with workouts 1-5? You take your max, and gradually decrease it over the 6 workouts. The amount you increase each workout could be varied, generally 5-20lbs, with bigger bodyparts and compound movements having the bigger increment. I'm not a real strong guy, so for the Squat, Bench Press, and SLDL I increase the weight 10lbs, and for everything else I increase it by 5lbs. This can also be done percent wise (5-10% increments) So, for example, we'll say your 15 rep max for bench press is 100lbs, and you are using increments of 10lbs. This would be what your weights would look like for bench press:

    Workout 1 (Week 1, Monday)-50lbs
    Workout 2 (Week 1, Wednesday)-60lbs
    Workout 3 (Week 1, Friday)-70lbs
    Workout 4 (Week 2, Monday)-80lbs
    Workout 5 (Week 2, Wednesday)-90lbs
    Workout 6 (Week 2, Friday)- 100lbs

    Ok, so now (hopefully) you know what to do for 6 weeks. Now your at your last workout of the 5s (your maxes for everything). Now it's time for weeks 7 + 8. There are a few ways you can do these weeks. One way is to do negatives with your 2RM for 2 weeks (need a training partner). Another way is to use drop sets. And another way (the way I am using, and probably the simplest), is to repeat workout #6 of the 5s for 2 weeks (M/W/F). Now your cycle will have looked like this

    Weeks 1-2: 15s
    Weeks 3-4: 10s
    Weeks 5-6: 5s
    Weeks 7-8: continuation of 5RM

    Sets: The amount of sets you use for each workout, like everything else, can be vaired. You can fix you sets, so say you do 2 sets of squats and 1 set of curls, you would do that many sets the whole routine. Another way to do this is to progress the sets. The going trend to do this is 1x15, 2x10, and 3x5. So for the 15s, every exercise would be done with one set, for the 10s everything would be done for 2 sets, and so on. This does NOT include warming up, which should also be a BIG part of your workouts.

    Now you have completed your HST cycle right? Wrong. Time for some more SD for 9-14 days. After that you can either:

    1) Do whatever kind of training you want or

    2) Start another HST cycle because it has worked so well for you. You would generally increase all of your weights 5-10%, depending on the excercise, or you can just re-test your maxes.

    You can change the rep ranges, exercises, workouts, and scheduling however you want. Use your first cycle to figure out what you can do better for the next cycle.

    *Another note: Some people think that they must do all they can to prevent zig-zagging (repeating the same weights in different rep ranges). I zig-zagged plenty in my first cycle and had great results, so you don't have to worry about it*

    Well thats HST, as short as I can sum it up. I hope this helps a lot of people, and convinces them to start the best training method I have ever used. Feel free to add things or change things, or ask questions.


    When I introduced German Volume Training in the now defunct Muscle Media 2000, it was the most popular article they had ever published. Since then, it has been reprinted, translated, copied, attacked, "modified" or "improved," pirated, you name it.

    Why? Because it works; because it works very well.

    I get feedback about it to this day, even though it was written over ten years ago. I still get asked at least three questions a week about it on my own website. Last year, I was visiting Boston and decided to grab a workout at the Needham's Gold Gym. As I showed the attendant my Gold's gym card, he said, "Oh, the German Volume article author! I'm pleased to meet you. That's the only program that put 15 lbs of muscle on me in one month."

    I have heard this type of report countless times.

    However, the most common question I hear concerns how it might be adapted for an advanced trainee–someone with a good 5-years training experience.

    Before I get into that, let us recap the most important points regarding German Volume training:

    1. You do ten sets of a single "most bang for your buck" exercise.

    2. You strive to do a pre-determined number of reps on each set, i.e. ten sets of ten reps.

    3. You preferably alternate with the antagonist "most bang for your buck" exercise.

    4. You only increase the weight once all ten sets are completed with the pre-determined starting weight. The load used is submaximal, you do not try to reach failure on all sets, but only the last three should be hard. Basically you get the training effect from the law of repeated efforts.

    A typical workout might look like this:

    A. Bench press (the goal is to do 10 sets of 10 with 200 pounds):

    Set 1: 10 reps
    Set 2: 10 reps
    Set 3: 10 reps
    Set 4: 10 reps
    Set 5: 9 reps
    Set 6: 7 reps
    Set 7: 7 reps
    Set 8: 8 reps
    Set 9: 7 reps
    Set 10: 6 reps

    B. Barbell Row (the goal is to do 10 sets of 10 with 200 pounds):

    Set 1: 10 reps
    Set 2: 10 reps
    Set 3: 10 reps
    Set 4: 9 reps
    Set 5: 8 reps
    Set 6: 7 reps
    Set 7: 7 reps
    Set 8: 7 reps
    Set 9: 6 reps
    Set 10: 6 reps

    Once you were able to do complete 10 sets of 10 reps, you would increase the weight by 2 1/2 to 5%.

    Pseudo-improvements for GVT

    A lot of people claim to have improved the German Volume Training, but failed miserably because they did not understand the physiology behind it.

    I do not care to bore you with details, but let's say that German Volume Training is the best apple pie recipe. One author might say you should use bananas instead of apples for an apple pie. And he would argue that the crust ruins it, and that it should instead be made into a loaf, or a mousse, or whatever.

    Unfortunately, it is not apple pie anymore.

    For example, performing 5 sets of 2 exercises done to failure does not equal the training effect of 10 sets of a single exercise using a load that causes fatigue on the later sets. The volume-intensity equations are completely different for the two different training systems.

    Goals and Guidelines for the Advanced Trainee

    Training Frequency: Because this is such a demanding program, it will take you longer to recover. I recommend working each body part every 5 days, BUT ONLY DOING THE SAME EXERCISE EVERY 10 DAYS. The routine outlined in the end will make things clearer. The exercises done in the two different workouts for the same body part should be similar, yet different enough to tap into a different motor unit pool.

    Reps: For the advanced trainee, doing more than 5 reps is a waste of time, as the average intensity will be too low. The reps should vary for each one of the six workouts (German Volume Training, like any other training, is only effective for so long). Reps are the loading parameter to which one adapts the quickest.

    Therefore, for an advanced trainee, one should apply a 6-9% increase in load with each successive rep reduction as outlined in the example below. In other words, each week, you'll do fewer reps per set, but increase the weight.

    Workout 1

    The goal of the Advanced German Volume Training method is to complete 10 sets of 5 reps with the same weight for each exercise. You want to begin with a weight you could lift for 10 reps to failure (10RM), if you had to push it. For most people, on most exercises, that would represent 75% of their 1 R.M. load. Therefore, if you can bench press 300 pounds for one rep, you would use 225 pounds for this exercise.

    So your workout may look like this:

    Set 1: 225 x 5
    Set 2: 225 x 5
    Set 3: 225 x 5
    Set 4: 225 x 5
    Set 5: 225 x 5
    Set 6: 225 x 5
    Set 7: 225 x 4
    Set 8: 225 x 4
    Set 9: 225 x 3
    Set 10: 225 x 3

    When using this—or for that matter, any program—you should keep a detailed journal of the exact sets/reps, load, and rest intervals performed, and only count the repetitions completed in strict form.

    Additional tips will follow after the description of the remaining workouts.

    Workout 2

    Increase the weight by 6-7% and strive to do 10 sets of 4 reps with that weight. So workout 2 would look like this:

    Set 1: 235 x 4
    Set 2: 235 x 4
    Set 3: 235 x 4
    Set 4: 235 x 4
    Set 5: 235 x 4
    Set 6: 235 x 4
    Set 7: 235 x 4
    Set 8: 235 x 4
    Set 9: 235 x 4
    Set 10: 235 x 4

    NOTE: It is not uncommon on the second workout to be able to complete all sets of 4, as your work capacity will have improved from the first GVT workout.

    Workout 3

    Increase weight of Workout 1 by 8-9% and strive to do 10 sets of 3 reps with that weight. Yes, you are reading it correctly—8-9%, not 6-7%.

    So Workout 3 might look like this:

    Set 1 255 x 3
    Set 2 255 x 3
    Set 3 255 x 3
    Set 4 255 x 3
    Set 5 255 x 3
    Set 6 255 x 3
    Set 7 255 x 3
    Set 8 255 x 3
    Set 9 255 x 3
    Set 10 255 x 3

    NOTE: During sets 6-7-8, you will think your spleen wants to come out of your right eye, but stick with it as sets 9 and 10 will be the easiest.

    Workout 4

    Use the weights you used in Workout 2 and go for 10 sets of 5, which you should do easily. If not, you have the Testosterone count of a castrated field mouse who consumes xeno-estrogens by the barrel.

    Workout 5

    Use the weights in workout 3 and go for 10 sets of 4, which again you should do easily. Otherwise, you are one of those Americans who eats an average of 60 dozen donuts a year (no kidding, that is what the average American eats, and if you take out the average tofu-eating Oregonian, the average Ohio resident probably eats 79 dozen).

    Workout 6

    By now you should be able to do 10 sets of 3 at 275 pounds with no problem. If not, your training background is probably slow tempo Kettlebell power snatches performed on the Bosu Ball.

    Rest Intervals: When trainees start with this method, they often question its value during the first several sets simply because the weight will not feel heavy. However, there is minimal rest between sets (about 90 seconds when performed in sequence and 90-120 seconds when performed as a superset), which gives you a process of accumulative fatigue. Because of the importance of the rest intervals, you should use a stopwatch or a watch equipped with one to keep the rest intervals constant. This is very important, as it becomes tempting to lengthen the rest time as you fatigue.

    Tempo: For long range movements such as squats, dips, and chins, use a 40X0 tempo; this means you would lower the weight in four seconds and immediately change direction and lift explosively for the concentric portion. For movements such as curls and triceps extensions, use a 30X0 tempo.

    Advanced trainees, because of their enhanced neurological efficiency, should only use explosive concentric tempos.

    Number of Exercises: One, and only one, exercise per body part should be performed. Therefore, select exercises that recruit a lot of muscle mass. Triceps kickbacks and leg extensions are definitely out—squats and bench presses are definitely in. For supplementary work for individual body parts (like triceps and biceps), you can do 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

    Overload Mechanism: Once you are able to do 10 sets of x reps with constant rest intervals, increase the weight on the bar by the percentage outlined in the article and repeat the process. Refrain from using forced reps, negatives, or burns, as the volume of the work will take care of the hypertrophy. Expect to have some deep muscle soreness without having to resort to set prolongation techniques. In fact, after doing a quad and hams session with this method, it takes the average bodybuilder about five days to stop limping.

    Following are some sample routines:

    Day 1: Chest and Back

    A-1: Incline Barbell Presses
    10 sets of 5 on a 40X0 tempo, rest 100 seconds

    A-2: Lean-away Chin-ups
    10 sets of 5 on a 40X0 tempo, rest 100 seconds

    B-1: Parallel Bar Dips
    3 sets of 6-8 on a 40X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

    B-2: One-Arm Arc Dumbbell Rows
    3 sets of 6-8 on a 40X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

    Day 2: Legs

    A-1: Back Squats
    10 sets of 5 on a 40X0 tempo, rest 100 seconds

    A-2: Lying Leg Curls, feet pointing away from the body
    10 sets of 5 on a 40X0 tempo, rest 100 seconds

    B-1: Dumbbell Lunges
    3 sets of 6-8 on a 30X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

    B-2: Romanian Deadlifts
    3 sets of 6-8 on a 40X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

    Day 3: Off

    Day 4: Arms

    A-1: Incline Off-Set Dumbbell Curls
    10 sets of 5 on a 30X0 tempo, rest 100 seconds

    A-2: Close Grip Bench Press
    10 sets of 5 on a 30X0 tempo, rest 100 seconds

    B-1: Thick Bar Reverse Curls
    3 sets of 6-8 on a 30X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

    B-2: Seated EZ Bar French presses
    3 sets of 6-8 on a 30X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

    Day 5: Off

    Day 6: Chest and Back

    A-1: 30-degree Incline Barbell Presses
    10 sets of 5 on a 40X0 tempo, rest 100 seconds

    A-2: Close Parallel Grip chin-ups
    10 sets of 5 on a 40X0 tempo, rest 100 seconds

    B-1: Flat Dumbbell Presses
    3 sets of 6-8 on a 40X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

    B-2: One-Arm Elbowing Rows (the elbow comes out to the side, as if you were elbowing someone in the chops)
    3 sets of 6-8 on a 30X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

    Day 7: Legs

    A-1: Heels Elevated Front Squats
    10 sets of 5 on a 40X0 tempo, rest 100 seconds

    A-2: Lying Leg curls feet inward
    10 sets of 5 on a 30X0 tempo, rest 100 seconds

    B-1: Farmer's Walks
    3 times 50 yards, rest 90 seconds

    B-2: Glute-ham Raises
    3 sets of 6-8 on a 40X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

    Day 8: Off

    Day 9: Arms

    A-1: Seated Zottmann Curls
    10 sets of 5 on a 30X0 tempo, rest 100 seconds

    A-2: Low decline close grip bench presses
    10 sets of 5 on a 30X0 tempo, rest 100 seconds

    B-1: Scott Bench Close-Grip Reverse Curls
    3 sets of 6-8 on a 30X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

    B-2: Low Pulley French presses
    3 sets of 6-8 on a 30X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

    Day 10: Off

    Day 11: Do the Day 1 routine using Workout 2 pattern

    Continue for 55 days, making the rep adjustments as outlined.

    As you can see, there is no direct work for the popliteus or tibialis anterior, nor is there use of a Swiss Ball, Bosu Ball, or Bodyblade—just straight, hard, rewarding work.

    For those of you, who have access to bands or bungie cords, please feel free to add them to the squatting and pressing exercises for increased overload. They are not a must, so don't think you are missing out if do not have access to them. The program will still have impressive anabolic properties without them.

    It will take you 60 days to go through the cycle, but you should gain 8-10 lbs. of lean tissue by the end of those two months. It is not a program for the faint of heart, but it is a very rewarding program (in size and strength) if one has the guts to complete it.

    The Final Chapter

    When I wrote the original “Skinny Bastards” article, I had a feeling it would generate a great deal of discussion. To be honest, though, I had no idea it would become as popular as it has. At least 75% of the hundreds of emails I receive on a weekly basis refer in some way to the WS4SB program. First, a bit of history…

    After a year of answering questions about my original article and making modifications to it in the gym with my athletes, I decided to write Part 2. In that second installment, I discussed how to incorporate running workouts into the original training template. Another two years have passed now, and the avalanche of questions involving WS4SB continues to kill my inbox! This is what prompted me to sit down and provide more answers to the most common questions people have been asking. In this, my third and final chapter, I will clarify the following:

    * A new 4-day-a-week strength training template for the off-season
    * Explanation of warm-up sets
    * New ways to incorporate speed training and conditioning into the program
    * Sample in-season training templates
    * Bonus “Washed-up Meathead” template
    * The importance of including “indicator” exercises in your program

    Hopefully, after you’re done reading this article, most of your questions regarding the WS4SB saga will be answered. Unlike Sylvester Stallone, I will not drag this out into a 6-part series. I know when to call it quits! I’m confident that what you’re about to read will end the Westside for Skinny Bastards trilogy on top! I want you to find your answers here, once and for all, so you can spend more time in the gym training and less time on the computer asking questions!

    Not a good way to end a series…

    So, without further ado, I present to you, “Westside for Skinny Bastards III – The Final Chapter”…

    My original Skinny Bastard template consisted of three strength training days with an optional fourth day. Although a 3-day template is sufficient for building size and strength, I quickly realized that most people want to train more. WS4SB3 will now provide you with a 4-day strength training template. It’s been over three years since I wrote the original article, so it’s about time you skinny bastards graduated to a 4-day split that more closely resembles a “traditional” Westside split! First, I’ll reveal the new and improved template. After that, I’ll go over the specific details you’ll need to know.

    MONDAY – Max-Effort Upper Body
    TUESDAY – Dynamic-Effort Lower Body
    THURSDAY – Repetition Upper Body
    FRIDAY – Max-Effort Lower Body
    SATURDAY – Off
    SUNDAY – Off

    You can also split up the training like this…

    MONDAY – Max-Effort Lower Body
    TUESDAY – Off
    WEDNESDAY – Max-Effort Upper Body
    THURSDAY – Off
    FRIDAY – Dynamic-Effort Lower Body
    SATURDAY – Off
    SUNDAY – Repetition Upper Body

    Now that the new template is in place, I’ll reveal the changes I’ve made since my original article…

    Max-Effort Upper Body notes:

    Not much about the max-effort movement has changed since my original article was published. I still prefer a 3-5 rep max (RM) - as opposed to a 1RM - for my skinny bastards. The one thing that has changed – you’ll notice this later on in this article - is the second movement on max-effort upper body day. We recently started having our athletes perform two high-rep sets of an exercise immediately following the max-effort movement.

    This high-rep movement is usually an exercise that’s closely related to the max-effort movement. For example, if our athletes performed a 3RM in the bench press, their second exercise may be two sets of dumbbell benches. We don’t do this all the time, but it’s a new “twist” in our templates that wasn’t covered in previous articles.

    Dynamic-Effort Lower Body notes:

    This is obviously the biggest change from my original skinny bastard program. In my original program there were absolutely no dynamic days. I didn’t use them because I believed my skinny bastards needed to devote all their time to building muscle and developing strength. After all, you can’t flex bone! Although the main focus of my modified Westside program is still to build muscle and strength, I’ve had tremendous success during the past year by incorporating a dynamic-effort lower body day into the program.

    My dynamic-effort lower body day, however, is not what you think. With apologies to all the skinny bastards that were about to lace up their Chuck Taylors, throw on their favorite Westside t-shirt, strap some bands and chains onto the barbell and start squatting explosively -- you’re not ready for that yet! Experience has shown me that skinny bastards do NOT respond well to having a barbell on their back two times per week. It’s simply too taxing on their bodies and they can’t recover. Also, most skinny bastards have a hard enough time box squatting with a controlled tempo, so why on earth would I try to have them perform the lift quickly?

    That said, how do I get my skinny bastards to start training their newfound muscle to contract explosively, yet in a safe and effective manner? The answer is simple: basic jump training!

    Incorporating box jumps, vertical jumps, broad jumps and hurdle jumps has had a profound effect on our athletes’ explosiveness and performance. I also like the fact that jumping helps improve athleticism. The box jump is a perfect example of what I’m talking about here. In order to perform a box jump onto a high box, you must develop superior flexibility and mobility, as well as the incredible balance required to stick the landing. I’m a fan of any exercise that helps develop explosive power, mobility and balance simultaneously!

    Another positive aspect of jumping is that it doesn’t make you as sore as squatting. This is important because we don’t want our dynamic-effort lower body day to take away from our max-effort lower body day. You’ll also notice in the sample workouts below that I keep the volume very low on the assistance exercises during dynamic-effort lower body day. Once again, this is because we don’t want to be sore for the max-effort workout. This low volume “jumping” workout has complimented our athletes’ heavy lower body days extremely well!

    The Repetition Upper Body Day remains a staple of the Skinny Bastard program. We still perform our main exercise in the same fashion outlined in my original article, choosing an exercise and performing 3 sets of max reps with minimal rest. Although I use the term “max reps,” I advise that you don’t go to failure on the first two sets. Instead, I recommend leaving 1 or 2 reps “in the tank” during the first two sets and then going all out for the third (final) set. Also, in my original article I recommended a one minute rest period between sets. Experience has shown that one minute of rest is insufficient for most athletes. I now recommend 90 seconds rest between repetition sets for most females and beginners, and three minutes rest for stronger athletes. (Three minutes is the max rest period I suggest for the main lift on Rep Upper Body Day.)
    Another change we’ve made is that we don’t always perform 3 sets of max reps on our main lift during Rep Upper Body Day. Sometimes, we just use a basic “bodybuilding” set/rep scheme. For example, instead of performing 3 sets of max reps in the incline dumbbell bench press, we may simply perform 4 sets of 12 reps with 2-3 minutes rest between sets. We’ve found that performing high reps to (almost) failure week after week has a tendency to burn athletes out. This holds true even for beginners.

    Lately, I’ve been throwing in a 2 or 3 week cycle of a “bodybuilding” set/rep scheme on Rep Day every 4-6 weeks. For example, I may have an athlete perform barbell push-ups for 3 sets of max reps for 2 weeks. After that, I may prescribe a 2-week cycle of flat dumbbell bench presses for 3 sets of max reps. After 4 weeks of going to “failure” in this manner, I may then prescribe a 2-week cycle in which the athlete performs incline dumbbell bench presses with a moderate weight for 4 sets of 12. Rotating back and forth between these two “rep methods” is a great way to both build muscle and prevent the athlete from burning out.

    Max-Effort Lower Body notes:

    We have not made any major modifications to our Max-Effort Lower Body Day. Our athletes have developed incredible lower body strength and power on this program. I’m a big believer in this axiom: “If it aint broke, don’t fix it!” That said, we ain’t fixin’ a thing on max-effort lower body day!

    Let’s move on…
    New & Improved Skinny Bastard Template

    Now that you’ve learned some of the theory behind my new training template, it’s time to see it in its entirety. This first schedule is my basic template. It will work for most athletes during their off-season when strength training takes precedence over other forms of conditioning and technical training. You’ll notice, after reading this template, that I’ve provided you with a variety of other templates that can be utilized during different times of the year.

  13. Great thread!
    RecoverBro ELITE


    MONDAY – Max-Effort Upper Body

    1. Max-Effort Exercise – work up to a max set of 3-5 reps in one of the following exercises:

    Thick bar or regular barbell bench press
    Barbell floor press
    Rack lockouts / Suspended chain lockouts
    Incline barbell bench press (regular grip or close grip)
    Close-grip bench press (index finger on smooth part of bar)
    Weighted chin-ups
    Board presses or foam presses
    Chain bench press (*recommended for not-so-skinny bastards)
    Band bench press (*recommended for not-so-skinny bastards)
    Reverse band bench press (*recommended for not-so-skinny bastards)

    2. Supplemental Exercise – perform 2 sets of max reps in one of the following exercises. (Choose a weight you can perform for 15-20 reps on the 1st set. Use the same weight for both sets and rest 3-4 minutes between sets).

    Flat DB bench press (palms in or out)
    Incline DB bench press (palms in or out)
    DB floor press (palms in)
    Barbell push-ups (wearing weighted vest)
    Blast strap push-ups (wearing weighted vest)
    “Criss-cross” chain push-ups
    “Triceps death”
    Chin-ups (don’t perform these if you chose to do weighted chin-ups for your first exercise)

    3. Horizontal pulling / Rear delt superset - Superset one exercise from “Group 1” with one exercise from “Group 2.” Perform 3-4 supersets of 8-12 reps of each exercise.

    Group 1

    DB rows
    Barbell rows
    Seated cable rows (various bars)
    T-bar rows
    Chest supported rows

    Group 2

    Rear delt flyes
    Face pulls
    Seated DB “power cleans”
    Band pull-aparts

    4. Traps – Perform 3 – 4 sets of 8-15 reps of one of the following exercises:

    DB shrugs
    Barbell shrugs
    Safety squat bar shrugs
    Behind the back barbell shrugs

    5. Elbow flexor exercise - Perform 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps of one of the following exercises:

    Barbell curls (regular or thick bar)
    DB curls (standing)
    Seated Incline DB curls
    Hammer curls
    Zottmann curls
    Iso-hold DB curls

    TUESDAY – Dynamic-Effort Lower Body

    1. Jump training – choose one of the following exercises and perform 5-8 sets of 1-3 jumps:

    Box jumps
    Vertical jumps
    Broad jumps
    Hurdle hops (jump over hurdle and land on ground)
    Box squat into box jump
    Depth jumps (onto box)
    Weighted Reactive box jumps

    2. Unilateral exercise (w/ added ROM) – choose one of the following exercises and perform 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps:

    Bulgarian split squats, front leg elevated (holding DB’s or with a barbell)
    Barbell reverse lunge, front foot elevated
    Barbell reverse lunge w/ knee lift (front foot elevated)
    Step-ups (box height slightly above knee)

    3. Hip extension exercise – choose one of the following exercises and perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps:

    45-degree hyperextensions
    Reverse hyperextensions
    Swiss ball back bridge + leg curl
    Glute-ham raises
    Romanian deadlift
    Forward sled dragging, upright posture (3 sets of 30 yards)

    4. Weighted Abdominals – choose one of the following exercises and perform 4 sets of 10-15 reps:

    DB side bends
    Offset barbell side bends
    Barbell Russian twists
    Low cable or band pull-ins
    Hanging leg raises
    Weighted Swiss ball crunches
    Spread-eagle sit-ups (holding DB over chest)
    Standing sit-ups (using a band or a high pulley)

    THURSDAY – Repetition Upper Body

    1. Repetition Exercise – choose one of the following exercises and perform 3 sets of max reps OR 4 sets of 12-15 reps:

    Flat DB bench press (palms in or out)
    Incline DB bench press (palms in or out)
    DB bench press on Swiss ball (palms in or out)
    DB floor press (palms in)
    Push-up variations
    Chin-up variations
    Barbell bench press (55-60% of 1RM)

    2. Vertical pulling / Rear delt superset - Superset one exercise from “Group 1” with one exercise from “Group 2.” Perform 3-4 supersets of 8-12 reps of each exercise.

    Group 1

    Lat pulldowns (various bars)
    Chin-ups (don’t perform these if you chose to do chin-ups for your first exercise)
    Straight arm pulldowns

    Group 2

    Rear delt flyes
    Face pulls
    Seated DB “power cleans”
    Band pull-aparts

    3. Medial delts – choose one of the following exercises and perform 4 sets of 8-12 reps:

    DB lateral raises
    L-lateral raises
    Cable lateral raises
    DB military press
    DB side press

    4.Traps / Arms superset - Superset one exercise from “Group 1” with one exercise from “Group 2.” Perform 3 supersets.

    Group 1 (Perform 8-10 reps)

    DB shrugs
    Barbell shrugs
    Safety squat bar shrugs
    Behind the back barbell shrugs

    Group 2

    Barbell curls (8-10 reps each set)
    DB curls (8-10 reps each set)
    Seated Incline DB curls (8-10 reps each set)
    Hammer curls (8-10 reps each set)
    Zottmann curls (8-10 reps each set)
    Iso-hold DB curls (8-10 reps each set)
    DB triceps extensions (10-15 reps each set)
    Triceps pushdowns (15-25 reps each set)

    5. Grip / Forearms – choose one of the following exercises:

    Wrist roller (2-3 sets of 2-3 reps)
    Thick bar or heavy DB holds (2-3 sets of max time)
    Plate pinch gripping (2-3 sets of 2-3 reps)
    Captains of Crush gripper (3 sets of max reps each hand)
    Rice digs (3 timed sets)

    *DON’T train your grip/forearms if you’re planning on deadlifting the next day.

    FRIDAY – Max-Effort Lower Body

    1.MAX-EFFORT LIFT – work up to a max set of 3-5 reps in one of the following exercises:

    Box squats (regular bar, safety squat bar, cambered bar, buffalo bar)
    Free squats (regular bar, safety squat bar, cambered bar, buffalo bar)
    Straight bar deadlifts (traditional style, sumo style)
    Trap Bar deadlifts
    Rack pulls (partial deadlifts)
    Tire flip – (remember, your max-effort lifts don’t necessarily have to be limited to just barbell exercises!)

    *Bands and/or chains can be incorporated into all of the above exercises for the not-so-skinny bastards reading this article.

    2.UNILATERAL MOVEMENT – choose one of the following exercises and perform 3 sets of 6-12 reps:

    Bulgarian split squat variation (holding DB’s or with a barbell)
    Reverse lunge variation
    Step-up variation
    Walking lunges
    Backward sled drags (3 sets of 30 yards)
    Forward sled drags, 45-degree angle (3 sets of 30 yards)

    3.HAMSTRING / POSTERIOR CHAIN MOVEMENT – choose one of the following exercises and perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps:

    45-degree hyperextensions
    Reverse hyperextensions
    Swiss ball back bridge + leg curl
    Glute-ham raises
    Romanian deadlifts
    Forward sled dragging (upright posture)

    4. Ground-based, high-rep abdominal circuit – Example: sprinter sit-ups, V-ups, toe touches, hip thrusts. Perform 10-20 reps of each exercise and go through the circuit 2-3 times. Rest 1-2 minutes between circuits.

  15. HIT:

    Hermann Goerner deadlifted 734 Ĺ lbs with one hand on October 8th 1920, at a bodyweight of no more than 290lbs (he also had a 1 rep max two handed deadlift of 830lbs, less than 100lbs off the current world record and his was accomplished without support gear or drug use).

    John Davis, two-time Olympic champion competing between 1937 and 1956, capable of squatting 500lbs fully for 10 reps, deadlifting 705lbs, strict curling 215lbs, and overhead pressing 375lbs. All without support gear or drugs.

    Paul Anderson, possibly the strongest man who ever lived, squatted 1206lbs, push pressed 600lbs, and still holds the all time record for heaviest weight lifted by a human, of 6270lbs in the backlift (check in the Guinness Book of records if you don't believe me).

    Reg Park, won the NABBA Mr. Universe title three times in 1951, 1958 and 1965 as well as many other bodybuilding awards from the 1940's to 1960's. The second person ever to bench press 500lbs, regularly squatted and deadlifted with 600lbs, and behind the neck pressed a 1 rep max of 300lbs. He was Arnold Schwarzenegger's hero, and was also British! How long did he train for? About 3 times a week, for about an hour.

    There are many more examples if you're willing to look into the iron game's illustrious past.

    During the mid 1960s and 1970s the influence of anabolic steroids became more prevalent in bodybuilding - they had been present before from about the 1950s, but took some time to take off as even into the late '60's, many lifters had great worries about the potential for ill health as a result of taking them.

    It is, if we look back, about this time that routines began to change and evolve into what we see today where a typical workout may consist of 25 sets, attempting to work each muscle independently and without thought to the body's own biochemical reactions. In my mind not only is this type of training counterproductive for the great majority of trainees, but also makes it impossible to put forth the level of hard work that is essential for muscular growth and physical advancement.

    Let us look at it this way, we have two people, one of whom trains 20 sets in a chest and triceps workout, he spends about an hour and a half in the gym, in which time doing 4 sets of flat bench, 4 sets of incline, 4 sets of cable cross-overs, 4 sets of skull-crushers on the ez-bar, and 4 sets of cable push downs. He feels his workout has been productive, takes a shower, and goes on his way.

    On the other hand we have a guy who trains twice a week for less than an hour each time. He does cardio twice a week also and is in good shape, but lifts only on Monday and Thursday. His Monday workout consists of squats, to at least parallel, bench presses on a flat bench, bent over rows, barbell curls and sit-ups.

    Starting with squats he warms up then proceeds to a working weight of 300lbs for 20 reps, he always goes to the point where he has to drop the weight on the support bars of the squat rack, which means some weeks he gets 18 reps, some 24. If he gets 19 or better he moves the weight up 5lbs next week. Going to failure on hard squatting has the addition effect of occasionally meaning he has to sit down for 10 minutes afterward, or run to the toilet and puke - both sure signs of hard work, the type of hard work that is a prerequisite to solid muscle building.

    After the squats he moves on to bench presses. He sees no need to do incline, decline, flyes, cross-overs and endless other accessory movements for he already benches 250lbs for 8 full and smooth reps, and has a chest measurement of 45 inches with little body fat (not amazing, but easily a 300lb single and better than most of the people reading this I'd wager, and also better that the vast majority of people you've seen training in your gym!).

    Each set here is taken to muscular failure, where the spotter must take the weight from him on the last rep. Our lifter does not do forced reps, he doesn't see that need to pretend he lifts more than he does, and knows it can lead to over-training. The spotter only interferes with the set if the lifter asks and can't do anymore.

    Bent over rows come next, 2 hard sets with 240lbs (far too many people have benching strength massively in excess of their pulling strength, and it is this kind of stupidity in training that helps lead to the multitude of shoulder injuries that are seen today). After this again, 2 sets of curls hard and to failure, and then 1 set of sit-ups for 50 reps. Sometimes he does these holding a disc on his stomach and going to failure, but today felt like simply repping it out.

    The lifter above did just 8 sets, who has worked harder? Let me give you a test, if you don't believe that 2 short workouts each week can work, go to the gym and do this:

    1) Take your ten rep squatting poundage and squat it for 30. If you fail and have to drop it on the squat rack pins, unload it then put it back up, load it again and keep going until you reach 30 repetitions!
    2) Move on to deadlifts, take your 10-rep poundage and do the same, keeping your back flat and your form good.
    3) Do one set of overhead presses to failure.

    Do this and then come back and say you had an easy workout.

    The basis of High Intensity Training

    Arthur Jones created HIT back in the 1970's as an alternative to the high volume routines that often gave its gym followers little results. He scientifically tested his methods in order to convince others in the training industry, and also to help sell his machines. They became popular and Nautilus centres sprung up all over the United States. Mike Mentzer and others that he trained took what they learnt from Jones and created their own twists to the system, which at the time was heavily based on pre-exhaust techniques and sometimes negatives.

    In some cases they improved it, sometimes they didn't. The most influential spokespersons for modern day HIT training would likely be people like Dr Ken Liestner, the sadly departed Mike Mentzer, Stuart McRobert, and others who you'll no-doubt find if you do a simple internet search (or alternatively go to www.cyberpump.com, commonly referred to as the HIT mother ship).

    A basic HIT workout in its modern guise would look something like this,

    Day 1
    Bench press or weighted dips 2x8
    Squats 1x20
    Bent over rows 2x8

    Day 2
    Overhead press 2x8
    Deadlifts or straight leg deadlifts 1x15
    Chins 2x8

    Abs done on both days for 1 or 2 sets, and all sets taken to failure.

    This workout runs on the same principles that Bob Whelan (trainer, powerlifter, and respected iron writer) espouses in his programs (seewww.naturalstrength.com) - you're doing squats, some form of deadlift, a vertical pull/push, and a horizontal pull/push, in so doing, working all the available musculature of the body.

    Here's a split of how it works:

    Legs and lower back (the most important muscle groups for any accomplished bodybuilder or weightlifter) - deadlifts, squats
    Back and biceps - rows, chins
    Chest, shoulders and triceps - Bench press or dips, overhead press
    Abs - sit-ups or crunches done on both sessions.
    Forearms - deadlifts, rows, chins

    With these exercises you keep in mind poundage targets that are hard but achievable, and when you accomplish them, raise the stakes and set new ones. "Ah", you say, "but I'm a bodybuilder! Unconcerned with strength, I merely want big arms and bulging pecs, big enough to make the girls drool over my Adonis like body!"

    Nope. The reason why poundage targets are used is that for the beginner at least, and in most cases for everyone that isn't a top-flight professional bodybuilder, is that poundage targets are not only the simplest indicators of progress, but also the best. There may not be a linear relationship between size and strength, but one does exist and if today you can curl 80lbs for 4 repetitions, yet in 6 months you manage 140lbs in the same fashion, your arms will undoubtedly be bigger. Focus on getting stronger in the "big basics" and your body will develop much better than it would by measuring yourself each week, using trial and error to work out "what sort of pump benefits me?" Plus, in my own meagre opinion, poundage targets are manlier!

    Here are some good targets to work to over the medium to long term, once you reach these you will have surpassed 99% of all weight trainers all over the world, and will likely be one of the stronger guys in your gym,

    Squats to at least parallel: 300lbs or 1.5xbodyweightx20, 400lbsx1
    Deadlifts: 350lbsx20, 500lbsx1
    Bench press: 240lbsx8, 300lbsx1
    Standing shoulder press: 180lbsx6
    Bent over rows: 220lbsx8

    Lifting these poundage's at 200lbs bodyweight (14lbs in a stone), would roughly equate to an arm of over 16 inches, and a chest of over 45 inches. Do these sound small? Arnold Schwarzenegger's arms were 19 inches, he may have claimed otherwise but at his peak they were measured by Arthur Jones in what most believe to have been fair and controlled conditions. Nowadays bodybuilders still claim measurements that are far in excess of what they truly are, and if I were you I would take those (and their poundage claims) with a pinch of salt. Part of their business is the business of disinformation in order to sell supplements, so bare that in mind the next time you read of a 675lbs incline press.

    The other HIT conditions for growth

    In brief,

    1) Hard work. Not long work, but hard work. You must work harder than you have ever done at any point in your life. If you do not put every ounce of effort you possibly can into each and every set, then you will not get the results that you could. This is especially true of squats and deadlifts, as the very big moves have a much greater carry-over effect to total body development than any other.

    2) Good nutrition. Eat well. You must have an adequate intake of all the essential vitamins and minerals your body requires each day, as well as fats, the essential fatty acids. You must also take in adequate calories each day, if you're eating 2000 calories a day as a fully grown adult male, the chances are you are eating far too little to grow your body or to maximise the benefits that weight training can bring. Adjust your calories by eating more if you want to grow, and less if you want to cut body fat, and make sure to take in adequate protein, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruit. There's much more on bodybuilding/weight training nutrition elsewhere onwww.MuscleTalk.co.uk, so go there and learn, as it's not my personal area of expertise. For further information on supplements visit suppshop.co.uk.

    3) Include cardio-vascular work. This is not just for health - though that is it's most important benefit - but also to allow you to grow better in the long run. A healthy body is an adaptable body, and ultimately, by doing just something along the lines of 2 cardio sessions a week for 30 minutes or so will help keep fat off and aid recovery times between weights workouts.

    4) Rest. If you aren't getting at least 7-8 hours sleep each night your body will find it much more difficult to repair and progress. There's no way I can believe someone without the benefit of drugs or incredible genetics would reach notable levels of muscularity and fitness without adequate sleep and recuperation. You grow when you sleep, end of message.

    If at the end of this article you take nothing more away from it than the message of consistent progressive training, then the article will have been a success. There's no use in using the greatest routine ever devised, if you only workout one week in three, or working harder than anyone else in the gym, if you never increase your poundage's. Work on getting to good numbers in the big lifts, in good form with a good range of motion, setting both long and short term goals, and keep at it. To sum up, squat hard, deadlift hard, eat, rest and grow - the secret's out, good luck!

  16. FST-7:

    It stands for Fascial Stretch Training and the seven refers to 7 sets performed usually as the final exercise of a target bodypart. Basically you train that bodypart on any given day heavy as you normally would keeping the rep range between 8-12, but the last exercise you perform the seven sets to finish off that particular muscle, with minimal rest in between to get the best pump possible. The example in the Pro Creator article in April 2008 issue is a workout for the biceps.

    Alternate DB curls-3-4 Sets x 8-12 Reps
    Machine preacher curls-3 Sets x 8-12 Reps
    E-Z Bar curls-7 Sets x 8-12(30-45 seconds between sets while sipping water-more on this next month)*

    Smaller muscles like Biceps, Triceps and Calves can and should be trained twice a week,while bigger muscles should be trained only once a week.Here is an example of a split:

    1-Bi's,Tri's,and Calves
    4-Chest and Tri's
    5-Back and Calves
    6-Shoulders and Bi's


    * This is the FST-7 exercise. Keeping rest intervals between 30-45 seconds and making sure to stay hydrated to push that fluid into the muscle and stretch the fascia even further.

    You should refrain from using compound lifts as your "seven set," because they require balance and the use of ancillary muscles which takes focus off the target muscle. Machines and cables are a good idea and free wights like barbell curls and skull crushers also work well for this "seven set". Perform your "seven set" at the end of the workout for that muscle group.**

    The goal is to bring as much vitamins, minerals, amino acids, oxygen etc. into the muscle, and also stretch the fascia surrounding it to help encourage maximal muscle growth. The fascia is the limiting factor in acheiving muscle growth because the mucsle will grow only as much as there is room for it to do so. This training system is targeted to stretch the fascia and allow more room, instead of limiting muscle growth.

    ** Restricting the "seven sets" as your last exercise is recommended for new users of this training principle. This will allow you to lift heavy for first few exercises before taking the muscle to failure. There are many other variations for advanced users, including "front-loading the seven sets", that will be discussed in the forums and blogs to allow creativity in workouts and to shock and further stretch the fascia and enhance muscle growth.

    What is FST-7?

    FST-7 is a training system I devised after years of research and a great deal of trial and error with many clients. FST stands for Fascia Stretch Training, and the seven refers to the seven sets performed for the final exercise of a target bodypart. I have had many clients use this system for overall growth and especially to improve stubborn bodyparts that were seemingly resistant to just about anything else the person had tried. FST-7 encompasses several factors both inside and outside the gym. This month we will focus on the training aspects.

    Is fascia limiting your muscle growth?

    There are three types of fascia in the human body, but the type bodybuilders should be concerned about is deep fascia. This is dense fibrous connective tissue that interpenetrates and surrounds the muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels of the body. The high density of collagen fibers is what gives the deep fascia its strength and integrity. The amount of elastin fibers determines how much extensibility and resiliency it will have. In other words, some of us have fascia that is thicker and tougher than others. The most genetically blessed bodybuilders have thinner fascia, which is why their muscle bellies appear to be larger and fuller, with that round ‘bubbly' look that all bodybuilders covet. Ronnie Coleman and Phil Heath would be two prime examples of individuals blessed with thin fascia. Their muscles expand easier. Think of it in terms of it being easier to blow up a balloon as opposed to one of those water bottles that strongmen like Franco Columbu used to. Jay Cutler and Nasser El-Sonbatty are two men that clearly have thicker fascia. This didn't prevent them from building substantial muscle mass, obviously, but neither man ever had that round ‘Marvel Comics' appearance to their muscles. Yet the average bodybuilder has thicker fascia than either of those two champions. In an effort to expand their fascia and allow growth to occur, some have turned to Synthol and other items that are injected deep into the muscle belly. There have even been some advisors, mainly online, that make it seem as if this is the only solution and must be done. They will also try and insist that all the pro's use Synthol and site inject, which I can assure you is not true. Synthol and related products are foreign substances, and you can never be certain how they will metabolize in the body. We are starting to see various health issues with bodybuilders that are more than likely related to site injecting. Yes, you do need to stretch the muscle fascia to experience optimal growth, but that is not the way to do it.

    All stretching is not the same

    I am not the first person to recognize the importance of stretching the muscle fascia. First John Parrillo, then more recently Dante Trudel of DC Training fame, incorporate aggressive stretching during workouts as part of their training programs. They had the right idea, but stretching the fascia by elongating the muscle is not the best method. FST-7 is based on stretching the muscle from the inside out by volumizing it. This is accomplished by getting the greatest pump possible while training.

    Do I still train heavy, or can I just pump up with light weights?

    One thing I don't want anyone misconstruing is that FST-7 is all about pumping. That's just one component. I also believe that a bigger muscle is a stronger muscle, and you absolutely must train with heavier weights in the 8-12 rep range. I have tried many variations of heavier and lighter training with clients over the years, and discovered that both types are needed. Heavy weights will build thickness and density, but they will not give you that round, full look. Similarly, getting incredible pumps all the time can impart some of that roundness, but you won't ever get extreme muscle size without training with heavy straight sets. So you need to focus equally on maximizing both your strength and your pump in the same workouts to see optimal results. Here's an example of a biceps workout, FST-7 style, that shows you how to incorporate both:

    Alternate dumbbell curls 3-4 x 8-12

    Machine preacher curl 3 x 8-12

    EZ-bar curl 7 x 8-12 (rest 30-45 seconds between sets while sipping water - more on this next month)

    I don't typically like to use very high reps, because too often you will experience general fatigue and get short of breath before you have built the maximum pump in the muscle. I also don't like the weight to be too heavy and limit the reps any lower than eight, because this is when you see form breaking down and ancillary muscles kicking in and robbing the target muscle of the proper stimulation. You can think of the ‘7' set as blowing up a balloon. We keep the rest periods fairly short, because as you pump up the muscle, a little blood escapes in that time. You can think of it as blowing up a balloon with a slight leak in it - even though the balloon is being inflated, some air is escaping. The key is to build on the pump sets by set, exponentially, so that it reaches its maximum state by the final set. If the rest periods were too short, you wouldn't have enough energy to do justice to the seven sets. Another question I often get is, should the weight be constant as the seven sets go on? It can be, but it's perfectly fine to reduce the weight one or two times as needed to stay in the proper rep range. There may also be times when you need to increase the weight, but this happens less often.

    How often can I train bodyparts this way?

    Generally speaking, this type of training is too traumatic on the larger muscle groups to use more than once a week. Due to the sheer volume of muscle cells, soreness tends to linger too long to allow for more frequent workouts. For instance, Phil Heath recently completed a back workout and was sore for four days. Since he is supposed to be training back and chest twice a week in preparation for the Arnold Classic, this threw him off his schedule somewhat. The higher than normal amount of microscopic tears in the muscle caused by FST-7 training necessitates a bit more recovery time than standard training protocols. However, smaller bodyparts like arms and calves certainly can and should be trained twice a week. This gives you twice as many opportunities to stretch the fascia in what are often exceedingly stubborn bodyparts. Here's a sample split that displays how you could arrange this:

    Day one: Biceps and triceps, calves

    Day two: Legs

    Day three: OFF

    Day four: Chest and triceps

    Day five: Back and calves

    Day six: Shoulders and biceps

    Day seven: OFF

    This is a split geared toward someone with the goal of improving stubborn arms. There are many other variations depending on what the individual's goals might be.

  17. FST-7 CONTD:

    Which exercises are best suited to the ‘7' sets?

    Certain exercises are more appropriate than others for the ‘7' sets. The big compound free weight movements like squats and deadlifts usually are poor choices, for two reasons. For one thing, they involve several other muscle groups and don't do a good job of isolating a target muscle. Also, they require technique and balancing, which tends to break down if one attempts to perform multiple sets in such a short time span. Machines are a good choice in many instances because they keep you in a fixed plane of movement and thus make it easier to isolate a given muscle. Those with selectorized stacks also make it very fast and convenient to increase or decrease the resistance as needed. Here are some suggested movements that I have found work very well:

    Back width: Machine pullovers (Hammer Strength, Nautilus) or cable pullovers

    Back thickness: Seated row machines with chest support

    Chest: Pec deck or peck flye machine*, cable crossovers

    *I find that the pec decks with the pads for the elbows usually work very well for shorter trainers, while the pec flye machines with handles seem to be better for tall guys. Try both - you will know by the pump and range of motion you achieve which one is a better choice for you.

    Shoulders: Machine lateral raises with pads - my favorite is made by Bodymasters. Hammer Strength, LifeFitness, and Cybex also produce similar models.

    Quads: Leg extensions, leg presses

    Hamstrings: Seated or lying leg curls

    Biceps: EZ-bar curls, machine curls, cable ‘front double biceps curls'

    Triceps: Cable pushdowns using rope attachment

    Overhead cable extensions

    Skull crushers (for advanced trainers)

    Calves: Standing and seated raises, calf raises using leg press

    (alternate between these three)

    When should I do my ‘7'?

    The best time to do your ‘7' is as the final exercise for a muscle group. You don't want to do it first, as this would take away from your performance on the heavy straight sets that are also a critical factor in building muscle mass. Finishing off a bodypart with a great pump is something many top bodybuilders have been doing instinctively for years, not knowing that they were expanding their fascia and maximizing growth. It may be tempting to do your pumping sets earlier on if you can't seem to get any kind of pump going, but I would urge you instead to do something like a set or two of 21's to get the blood flowing and then proceed with your heavy sets before capping it all off with your ‘7' set for that bodypart. Remember, ‘7's' are done at the conclusion of each bodypart, so if you are working multiple bodyparts in a given workout, you will be doing two or more of these extended pumping sets.

    Next month
    Now you know what you need to do in the gym, but there is more to FST-7. Next month we will look at how your nutrition should be set up to optimize your workouts and recovery as well as facilitate a better pump. I will also give you some real-life examples of clients that have used these methods to improve bodyparts that had been otherwise unresponsive for some time.

    Got a question for Hany you would like to see answered here? E-mail him at [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Due to the high volume of e-mail he receives and limited editorial space, only selected questions will be answered and used.

    Sample FST-7 bodypart routines*

    Close-grip bench press 3-4 x 8-12

    Weighted or machine dip 3 x 8-12

    Overhead cable extension 7 x 8-12

    (beginner and intermediate)

    Skull crushers 7 x 8-12

    Incline dumbbell press 3-4 x 8-12

    Incline dumbbell flye 3 x 8-12

    Flat Hammer or dumbbell press 3 x 8-12

    Pec deck or cable crossover 7 x 8-12

    Leg extensions 3-4 x 8-15

    Squats 4 x 8-12

    Hack squat or leg press 3 x 8-15

    Leg extension or leg press 7 x 8-15
    Seated dumbbell press 4 x 8-12

    Barbell or dumbbell front raise 3 x 8-12

    Dumbbell lateral raise 3 x 8-12

    Lateral raise machine 7 x 8-12

    Last month we outlined the training aspects of my FST-7 (Fascia Stretch Training 7) system. The discussion included the need for both strength gains and a fascia-stretching maximum pump to induce optimal gains, and how to incorporate the ‘seven' sets into your workouts for best results. Ideal exercises for ‘sevens' were listed for each bodypart, and instructions were given as to how to perform the series of pumping sets properly. Finally, several suggested bodypart routines incorporating both standard sets and sevens were given. This month, we wrap up the two-part series by explaining how to structure your nutritional intake around your workouts to ensure that your muscles will have all the necessary nutrients to fuel a superior pump, thus stretching out your fascia tissue and permitting growth to occur. Bodypart routines for the rest of your muscle groups will also be provided so that you can get started immediately on your own FST-7 growth experience.

    Pre-workout nutrition: Priming the pump

    Hopefully most of you grasp the importance of solid pre-workout nutrition. This provides the body with all the raw materials it will need to fuel an intense and productive weight training session. I like to see my clients get in a minimum of two solid-food meals containing both lean proteins and complex carbohydrates prior to training. The protein source can be chicken or turkey breast, white fish, or even leaner cuts of red meat such as filet or top sirloin if one is training later in the day. Good carbohydrate sources would be oatmeal, sweet potatoes, or brown rice. These are all slow-burning carbs that will deliver time-released energy, as opposed to fruits and other simple sugars that digest too quickly and can leave you with an insulin crash while training. Equally important to the food intake is adequate hydration. This is particularly applicable to anyone using thermogenic products. Most of these have a diuretic effect, which means you need to take care to drink a bit more water to compensate for the fluid loss. Notice that I said water and not diet soda. Carbonated drinks tend to be too filling and hence you don't drink enough. A common question I get is, how soon before the workout should my last meal be? Generally speaking, you want your last meal to end about one hour before your workout begins. The exception would be legs. Since heavy leg training is so metabolically demanding, the last meal should be a bit earlier - say ninety minutes. These are just guidelines. If you are the type of person that is starving an hour and a half after a clean meal, you probably don't ever want to let more than an hour go by from the end of the pre-workout meal to the workout. If you seem to digest your food more slowly and get nauseous when you eat too close to the workout, adjust your meal timing accordingly. Staying away from high-fat foods or sugary items should help stave off feelings of nausea while training.

    During the workout

    While training, most people will only need plenty of water - roughly a liter. This also depends on your size, how much you tend to sweat while training, and the season. Obviously you need more water in the summer, particularly if you train at a place like MetroFlex Gym that doesn't believe in air conditioning, or if you work outdoors. You can sip a carb drink or a thermogenic drink if you tend to ‘run out of gas' while training, but neither takes the place of water. If you choose to have one of these beverages during your workout, you should also have a water bottle and alternate between the two to ensure proper hydration. I can't emphasize this strongly enough - there is simply no way you can achieve a great pump if you aren't drinking enough water before and during the workout. As you know, the human body and especially our blood supply is comprised of over seventy percent water, so you need to have a steady supply to stay hydrated.

    Post-workout nutrition

    Within 15-20 minutes of the end of your workout if not immediately, it's important to drink a shake to start the re-compensation and recovery process that ultimately leads to muscle growth. There are several different recovery powders I am currently testing with my clients, and I will have the results soon. But in the meantime, you can't go wrong with a highly bio-available protein source such as whey protein isolate along with a rapidly-assimilated carbohydrate source like dextrose, waxy maize, or maltodextrin. If you are a hardgainer ectomorph type, don't be afraid to mix two or more carb sources together. You can even add in something like fruit juice for flavor and additional simple carbs. If you are trying to lean out or you are simply a person that gains fat very easily, you will want to take it easy on the amount of carbs in this shake. You still want to always include at least some carbs in this shake, except in the case of the final stages of a pre-contest diet for those that are striving to lose the last vestiges of bodyfat.

    Roughly an hour or two later, you want to have another solid-food meal that should be similar in composition to the pre-workout meal. For the purpose of better absorption, you want to keep the fat content low, particularly saturated fats. The timing of this meal will depend on the size of your shake as well as your appetite. Obviously you can't eat until you are hungry again. If you are drinking a large shake that is very filling for you, it might take two hours for your appetite to return substantially enough to allow you to eat a solid meal. Conversely, a lighter shake should digest faster and you should theoretically be ready to eat just an hour later. Also note that there tends to be more bloating and gas associated with lower-quality grades of protein powder. They tend to taste good, but contain large amounts of lactose. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and spring for the good stuff.

    A note on sodium

    Many bodybuilders have it in their heads that sodium is bad for them and should be avoided. They intentionally remain on very low-sodium diets year-round when the fact of the matter is, you only need to be concerned about sodium intake in the final few days before a contest when you are attempting to shed subcutaneous water. Without proper amounts of dietary sodium, you simply won't be able to get a pump. Some of you may have experienced this when competing. If you are trying to pump up and haven't had more than trace amounts of sodium for a couple days, your muscles will be totally flat and unresponsive, even if you are eating carbs and drinking some water. Then, if you go out and have a burger and fries after the judging, your muscles seem to magically inflate, and you are able to generate an excellent pump for the night show! Sodium helps transport carbs into the muscles, so by all means don't be afraid to put a bit of salt on your food. I actually encourage my clients to get their sodium from condiments like ketchup, mustard, and barbecue sauce in the off-season. It should be noted that for any of you with medical conditions such as hypertension or diabetes that require you to adhere to strict low-sodium diets, always observe the guidelines set forth by your physician or your dietician.

    Additional research

    If it seems odd that this discussion of nutrition as it applies to the FST-7 training system isn't discussing supplements, that's because I am currently in the process of experimenting with various types of products to see which ones enhance the pump, reduce soreness, speed up recovery, and other effects that would be beneficial. One of the major side effects of this type of training is extreme muscle soreness, so this in particular needs to be addressed. All I can say at this point is that even though all the results aren't in and there is still more research to be done; we have already witnessed some intriguing and exciting effects. Stay tuned here in the coming months for my findings in this area.

  18. 20 REP SQUAT:

    One of the fastest ways to gain size and strength in the entire body is by following the squats and milk program. This is an old time routine that has been around for over 50 years, but it works awesome for fast gains. Even if you are a hard gainer.

    The way it works is you train 3 days per week (i.e. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday).

    Each workout you will start with full squats. Do 2-3 easy warm up sets to get the blood flowing and to warm up your joints. Then take a moderate weight and do 1 set of 20 reps. For each rep take a couple big mouthfuls of air, hold your breath, squat down and up, and repeat. As you progress through the reps you will need to take more breaths in between reps. During reps 15-20 you may need to take 5 or more big mouthfuls of air in between reps. It takes me 3 minutes to complete 1 set all out set of 20 rep squats.

    Right after the squats while you are still out of breath, grab a light barbell (i.e. 25 lbs.) and do pull overs while lying on a flat bench. Take a deep breath in between each rep and really feel the stretch in the rib cage as you do the exercise. Do 1 set of 20 rep pull overs with 25 lbs. Keep using 25 lbs. for the pull overs as this exercise is just for stretching the rib cage.

    Each workout add 5 lbs. to the squats and get all 20 reps. This is the key to making serious gains with the program. You have to make 5 lb. jumps in weight each workout. I just finished a squat routine like this and within 2 months I worked up from doing 20 rep squats with 225 lbs. to 20 reps with 315 lbs.

    When doing this program you should do full squats. I personally squat down until the back of my legs touch my calfs. This will make the squats far more effective for muscle growth.

    Another thing, do NOT wear a weight lifting belt while doing the 20 rep squats. By squatting with out a belt you will strengthen your lower back and it will be easier to take deep breaths while doing high rep squats.

    Make no mistake about it this routine is brutally tough, those 20 rep squats will take every bit of energy that you have, but the gains are awesome. This routine will stimulate your entire body to grow from the stress of the squats. And the pull overs will help to stretch your rib cage and make your chest bigger.

    After you finish the squats and pull overs do a circuit of:

    Do a set of chin ups for as many reps as you can
    Rest a minute
    Do a set of dips for as many reps as you can
    Rest a minute
    Do a set of decline bench sit ups for as many reps as you can

    Do this circuit 3 times and your workout is done.

    Do this exact routine 3 days per week. Each time make sure to add 5 lbs. to the squats and try to pump out more reps with the chins, dips, and sit ups. This will work every major muscle group in your body and force you to grow like nothing else.

    Tom Platz did high rep squatting as a regular part of his workout routine.
    Not only did he have huge legs, but he was huge and thick all over.


    As for your diet you need to eat as much food as you can and as often as you can. The program is called "squats and milk" because the old timers used to drink at least 1 gallon of milk every single day to help them gain weight with the program. Milk is high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and calories.

    A typical days eating for this program would look like this:

    4 eggs
    2 slices of toast
    1 glass of milk

    Bran Muffin
    1 glass of milk

    Sandwich (i.e. meat, cheese, tuna fish, etc.)
    piece of fruit
    1 glass of milk

    Granola bar
    Slice of cheese
    1 glass of milk

    Meat (i.e. chicken, beef, pork, etc.)
    Pasta, Rice, or Potatoes
    Cup of veggies
    1 glass of milk

    2 slices of toast
    1 glass of milk

    *drink plenty of water throughout the day

    If you like you can mix a scoop of protein powder in your milk for even more protein and calories.

    This is just a sample eating plan, you can change it around to suit your own taste. But you get the idea of how much you should eat and how often in order to gain size and strength.

    If you strictly follow the squats and milk program you will gain approx. 20 lbs. of bodyweight in just 2 months.

  19. NEEDSIZE'S 5X5:The premise of the routine is progressive overload, meaning that every week you are putting increasing amounts of stress on the muscles, generally through small increases in the amount of weight used. The progressive overload forces the body to grow to adapt to the increasing amounts of stress, even though the body really isnt training to failure.

    The routine consists of choosing a heavy compound exercise to use for each bodypart, these can include, squat, deadlifts, bench press, close grip bench, standing barbell curls, military press, etc. On top of the initial 5x5, you also choose 2 other exercises, and aim to do 2 sets on each, of 8-10 reps per set.

    Here's a sample routine


    Flat bench 5x5
    incline dumbell press 2x8-10
    incline flyes 2x8-10

    The key for me when using this routine is to start light, at weights that you can easily nail your reps and concentrate on form. For example, say you can bench 225lbs for 8 reps, start with 195lbs on the bar. This should be easy, but if you keep your reps slow and in control, you will still get a good pump and have a good workout. Next week, bump up the weight by a SMALL increment, remember the key is to be able to keep adding weight, it's not a race to get to the massive poundages. If you add too quickly you will plateau in a hurry and the routine wont do jack for you. So you hit 5x5 on 195, next week its 200, the week after 205, etc. When you get to a point where you're starting to have trouble hitting your reps, add something extra to help, if you're natural, thats when I would throw in creatine and whatever else as this will help you keep adding weight. If you dont get all 5x5, then do not add more weight next week, stick with the same and the odds are you'll hit it next time you try.

    This routine is very effective as it targets fast twitch muscle fibres(5x5) as well as slower twitch(8-10reps) all in the same workout. Generally when done correctly you can gain lots of size as well as some pretty incredible strength all at the same time. I'm only a bodybuilder and dont give a rat's ass about strength, but have hit lifts (ie, deadlift 550lbs for 5 reps) that would allow me to compete as a powerlifter.

    Eventually no matter what you are doing or what you are on, the strength gains will come to an end. What I have found worked well for me was when I couldnt add more weight to the 5x5, I switched over to 5x3 instead, and was able to keep adding weight. The beauty there is that as you keep adding weight past where you were stuck on the 5x5, that weight you were stuck on will feel like a joke when you go back to it as you were just lifting more, albiet for less reps.

    Here's an example I used when my squats went stale. I had been stuck on 405lbs for a while, but just couldnt get all my sets so that I could add more weight, so heres what I did.

    week 1 410lbs 5x3reps

    week 2 415lbs 5x3reps

    week 3 420lbs 5x3 reps

    week 4 425lbs 5x3 reps

    week 5 430lbs 5x3reps

    week 6 435lbs 5x3 reps

    then back to 5x5

    week 7 405lbs 5x5(now this felt really light after 435lbs)

    week 8 410lbs 5x5

    But this time when I finally plateaued again, I was squatting 445lbs for 5's. Notice the weight increases were very small, percentage wise it was almost nothing, but see how it added up. When I first started the 5x5 routine back in the day, I was squatting 225lbs for 5x5, and since then the program has allowed me to put over 200lbs on my squat, and about 4" on my quads

    I forgot to mention, I dont think this approach will work for calves as you need a higher rep range

    No, not all 5x5 are to failure, the first couple you should have to work for and get a good pump from, but they wont be to complete failure or you wont have a chance of getting all your sets. What tends to happen with me is a set feels pretty close to failure, but after a rest of 3-4 minutes, I can hit the next set easily enough. I do take to 8-10 reps to failure though

    when supersetting I wait that minute or so between every set, so a set for bis, wait 1-1 1/2 minutes, do a set for tris, and so on. On the 5x5 I rest 3-4 minutes for say squats, but on most others, including deads I superset with another exercise same as with arms. For the 8-10 ones, usually around 2 minutes, but I cut that lower and lower as I progress through the workout

    I wear a watch so I keep the breaks consistent, this way I know that if I go up in weight or anything then it wasnt because I rested longer. Its during the 8-10 sets that I start cutting the rest times down

    I've got my body split into 4 days, which leaves me with 3 rest days per week

    Day 1 chest/calves
    Chest- see earlier post
    standing calve raises 5x15

    Day 2 back/shoulders
    military press 5x5
    side laterals 3-5x8-10
    deads 5x5
    chins 2x8-10
    shrugs 2x8-10
    rows 2x8-10
    bent over laterals 2x8-10

    Day 3&4 rest

    Day 5 bis/tris
    close grip bench 5x5
    standing barbell curls 5x5
    weighted dips 2x8-10
    incline dumbell curls 2x8-10
    skull crushers 2x8-10
    preacher curls 2x8-10

    Day 6 legs
    squats 5x5
    leg press or hacks 2x8-10( I dont do any more exercises for quads as I dont need to)
    stiff legged deads 2x8-10
    leg curls 2x8-10
    seated calve raises 5x15
    abs - weighted static holds

    Day 7 rest

    It's pretty rare that I change the 5x5 exercises as there really arent that many good mass building exercises. For tri I sometimes switch close grip with weighted dips(but frankly I dont want to add any more weight to my dips), maybe switch military press with dumbells, etc... But there is no substitute for deads and squats, and using a bar instead of dumbells on stuff like bench or curls give me more freedom to add whatever amount of weight that I want, instead of having to go up 5lb per side every time

    Another Sample routine

    Day 1 chest/calves
    Flat bench 5x5
    incline dumbell press 2x8-10
    incline flyes 2x8-10
    standing calve raises 5x15

    Day 2 Back/Shoulders
    military press 5x5
    side laterals 3-5x8-10
    deads 5x5
    chins 2x8-10
    shrugs 2x8-10
    rows 2x8-10
    bent over laterals 2x8-10

    Day 3&4 rest

    Day 5 Bis/Tris
    close grip bench 5x5
    standing barbell curls 5x5
    weighted dips 2x8-10
    incline dumbell curls 2x8-10
    skull crushers 2x8-10
    preacher curls 2x8-10

    Day 6 Legs
    squats 5x5
    leg press or hacks 2x8-10( I dont do any more exercises for quads as I dont need to)
    stiff legged deads 2x8-10
    leg curls 2x8-10
    seated calve raises 5x15
    abs - weighted static holds

    Day 7 rest


    Day 1 - Chest/Back
    -Low-Incline Bench 5/3/1
    -Flat DB presses or HS machine presses ramped up over 3 sets or so. 6-12 on top-set, or 8-15, whatever you want (7-9?).
    -Bent-Over Rows 5/3/1 (could do rack pulls or deadlifts here, but you'll then pretty much be limited to machine work on leg day if you don't want too much low-back overlap) If you do rows here, you pretty much don't really row with your biceps or anything. You sort of shrug the shoulders backwards and retract your scapulae, as if you wanted to get into PL bench position. That should bring the bar pretty much against your abs already, unless you have very long arms. It's important not to turn this into just a bicep+lat exercise, but actually hit your backthickness musculature.
    -Rack Chins/Pulldowns/Pullups/HS lat work.... 3-4 sets, ramped, 8-15 reps on top set

    Day 2 - off

    Day 3 - Legs
    -Back Squats 5/3/1 (or front-squats or whatever)
    (could do a leg-press widowmaker here, no warm-ups necessary, normally)
    -Parillo Stiff-legged Deadlifts or reverse hypers or glute-ham-raises or lying leg curls... 3-4 sets, might want to go a little higher in the reps, 8-15 where you can... Obviously difficult with glute-hams.
    -Calf work 3-4 sets, ramped... Either DC calf-protocol or a regular set.

    Day 4 - Delts(+Traps if needed)
    -Overhead Press variant (Smith High Incline Shoulder Presses or HS or whatever) 5/3/1
    -Lateral Raise Machine 3-4 sets, ramped, 8-15
    -Reverse Pec Deck 3-4 sets ramped, 8-15
    -Shrug Variant (if you want), 3-4 sets ramped, 8-15.

    Day 5 - Arms
    -Tricep Press variant (In-Human Smith, Wide-RGB Smith with DC grip, Elbows tucked CGP PL setup, HS Dip Machine, Close-grip Board Presses elbows tucked...) 4 sets ramped, 6-12 or 8-15, your call. Alternatively you could even use 5/3/1 here, too.
    -Extension and/or pullover variant (PJR pullover/extensions, Lying EZ extensions from a dead stop behind the head... Lie either on the floor and don't use bigger plates than the 22.5's or whatever you guys have, or lie on a bench and let the bar rest on the bench behind your head. Keep upper arms at an incline..., Rolling DB Extensions, Face-Away/Scott Extensions) 3-4 sets ramped, 8-15
    -Alt. DB Curls, EZ Curls, whatever. 3-4 sets ramped, 6-12 (or 5/3/1 if it's a bar-curl and you want to try that out
    -Pinwheel Curls or Alt. Hammers or whatever, 3-4 sets ramped, 8-15

    (you can do some machine curls + pushdowns here if you want)




    Each of us human beings are exactly the same in genetic makeup. We all have the exact same muscle groups designed to do the exact same job whether you believe in GOD or aliens or evolution, the human body is an incredible machine and has been designed to aid us in our everyday responsibilities.
    Lets look at each muscle and what they do for us. Lets say somebody threw something at your face, your response would be to throw your hands up VERY quickly in an explosive movement to protect yourself. Very similar to what a fighter does to throw a punch. The chest shoulders and triceps work in a similar manor as they are made up of fibers that have an amazing ability to explode very quickly with great force. However these muscles can only produce that force for a very short time. For those old enough to remember, Muhamad Ali used a method he called the rope a dope. He didnt know the science of the fast twitch fibers that exist within the chest shoulders or triceps. What he did know is that these muscles could NOT fire at peak for very long periods so he would cover up and let his opponent unload on him until he quickly tired out then he dominated because of the lost power his opponent endured. That being understood the chest shoulders and triceps are made up MAINLY of fibers that are designated to have great explosive strength for limited amounts of time.

    Lets take a look at a muscle that is the complete OPPOSITE. The bicep. Think about carrying a bag home from the store. You can go for miles and your arms will hold the bag in an L shape position without ANY contractile movement of the bicep. The bicep has fibers that are designated to be able to stay contracted and resist weight with NO movement for very long periods of time. It has no true explosive positive power since there is no need for a human to have that ability in that muscle. It is MAINLY a slow twitch fibered muscle.

    Lets take a look at the Legs as well as the back. These fibers are similar to the chest shoulders and triceps but differ as they have an ability to perform for a much longer period. Take a look at olympic rowers. They row explosively all while keeping a consistant level of explosive energy. They will row for 3 plus minutes and lose VERY little power. Think about a football player who catches the ball in the endzone. He will explode with great force and run the entire field with explosive contractions from his quads and will be able to go for distance. Legs are most obvious designed for LONG term use as we cant run or walk a marathon on our hands.

    Now lets look at the calves. They have a fiber that is designed like no other. When we need to reach for something very high we explode on our toes and reach for the item all while increasing the PEAK CONTRACTION to reach even higher. The calves are made up of fibers that contract extremely fast to a peak contracted state and can hold that INTENSE contraction for a long period of time.

    In order to ACTIVATE the majority of fibers that exist within a muscle we must be able to duplicate its action. This is the most important thing, yet it has never been addressed properly.

    I suggest rep ranges of 12 to 15 depending on the bodypart but I also suggest TRULY failing 3 or so prior then rest pausing to the final number.

    Speeds? Every rep should be done with the most positive speed possible. the faster you try to move the weight the more intense the fast twitch fiber fires initially. Thats most important with the fast twitch fiber. However some will go longer in duration than others as in biceps but each rep I pull up is balls to the walls explosive.

    Exactly. Chest shoulders tris will fail at 8 to 10 with explosive, short, 1/2 rep from chest maybe lasting 10 seconds then go on with my rest pauses as explained which will take me into about 40 seconds. (INTESITY OF INITIAL CONTRACTION). Biceps will fail at 10 or 12 with FULL range of motion from complete extention to bar to neck. Because of this form it will take about 30 to 40 seconds then go on with my rest pauses as directed which will take me into about 75 seconds (DURATION OF STRESS)

    Also you would superset and do negatives for biceps but very rarely chest obviously.

    Legs and Back are very similar to your chest shouilders and tris except they can explode for a longer period of time so the rep range is increased to fail at 12 instead of failing at 8. Rest pause obviously to 15 to 17

    If you ever watched Ronnies videos you will see exactly how to squat or bench.

    Now you say you use 400 plus pounds but how many reps. Not just reps but continuous reps. Like a piston that never stops. Legs are a muscle that needs to rep continuously to 12 and fail then rest pause to 15 at a MINIMUM.....

    Legs are made up of a fast twitch fiber that has a greater ability for endurance which means in order to activat the majority of fibers you must duplicate its actions.

    Legs and back are mainly Fast Twitch Type IIa. Chest shoulders and tris are mainly Type IIb

    Fast Twitch (Type II)
    Because fast twitch fibers use anaerobic metabolism to create fuel, they are much better at generating short bursts of strength or speed than slow muscles. However, they fatigue more quickly. Fast twitch fibers generally produce the same amount of force per contraction as slow muscles, but they get their name because they are able to fire more rapidly. Having more fast twitch fibers can be an asset to a sprinter since she needs to quickly generate a lot of force.

    Type IIa Fibers
    These fast twitch muscle fibers are also known as intermediate fast-twitch fibers. They can use both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism almost equally to create energy. In this way, they are a combination of Type I and Type II muscle fibers.

    Type IIb Fibers
    These fast twitch fibers use anaerobic metabolism to create energy and are the "classic" fast twitch muscle fibers that excel at producing quick, powerful bursts of speed. This muscle fiber has the highest rate of contraction (rapid firing) of all the muscle fiber types, but it also has a much faster rate of fatigue and can't last as long before it needs rest.

    For those old enough to remember Alis Rope a dope where he stood in the corner and covered up while his competitor unloaded on him only to hack quite quickly where he would then dominate by taking advantage of failing "FAST TWTCH TYPE IIb" muscle fibers. He had no idea of the science but found out through experimentation that these guys cant go very long........

    I like behind the back wrist curls starting with the bar reasting on my glute ham tie in and I do them very explosively trying to lay the bar on top of my glutes. The bar actually spins in my hands from the explosive curl. Fail at 12 rest pause to 15. Then I do 15 with no weight with the same form. Then I do 15 COMPLETE circular turns to the right and 15 to the left with hands pointing to the ground.

    I then do reps of peak contractive work and follow up with putting both hands together and pointing my elbows to the right and left while the heels of my hand are always touching to do my elongation sets.

    I do Back, Bi, Forearm and in this order so at this point they are 90% trained already and 3 of these sets is all thats needed.

    You got it! However every set of every muscle must be like a piston that NEVER stops its motion. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing I could ever teach. With slow twitch fibers, whats most important is how long the muscle is being put through contractions. DURATION OF STRESS. 5 reps take 10 seconds where 15 supersetted with 15 will put over a minute and close to two minutes of constant stress on the muscle. With fast twitch fibers its the DURATION OF EXPLOSIVE CONTRACTIONS from the very bottom up. 1/4 to 1/2 rep is all the weight will travel under an explosive burst. After that you are just pushing with the remaining slow twitch fibers. Those fibers get trained AFTER your set with isometric contractions for a minute or so followed by elongating the musce back to its normal state because keep in mind each contraction is a SHORTENING of the muscle. This is why negatives are so good for slow twitch fibers but ALMOST useless for the fast twitch fibers. Make sense?

    1. I only used Ronnie coleman as an example on just the explosive short motion chest work and have no idea how accurate any other body parts of his are trained

    2 God gave us a certain type of muscle fiber makeup to do certain tasks and in order to activate the fibers within each muscle you need to duplicate its action. The less duplication of its action means the less fibers being activated. It sounds like you want to alter the genetic fiber makeup and thats impossible.

    3. Phil heath is a result of DRUGS not training...I only refer to pure drug free muscle when I speak.

    4. Kevin levrone??? We all saw how he went to 155 pounds after coming off the drugs...BAD example...Once again, all drugs....

    Abs are high rep heavy weight with sets failing at 20 continuous reps then rest pause to 30...3 sets 3 exercises 30 reps each...Each set is followed up by intense elongation of the mid section by using the proper stretching techniques.

    Forearms respond best with explosive reps with a full range sending the stress load to the peak of the forearm which is near the elbow for 12 reps to failure,rest pause to 15 or so followed by 15 circular rotations of the hand to the right as well as 15 to the left then followed up by peak contraction sets.. Finally finish off by placing your palms together in front of your chest and pointing your elbows to the right and left for elongation work

    Any doubt on calves just ask any competitor how sore their calves are the Sunday or Monday after a show.....

    Mon = Shoulders/Calves

    Behind neck Barbell
    Front neck Barbell
    Side dumbell laterals
    Front dumbell laterals
    Rear dumbell laterals

    Dumbell shrugs
    Upright rows

    Seated calves
    Standing calves

    Tuesday = Hams/Quads

    Lying leg curls
    Leg extentions
    Leg press/Squats
    Hack Squats

    Wed = Off

    Thursday = Chest/Tris

    Incline barbell press
    Decline barbell press
    Flat barbell press
    Incline flyes/incline cables
    Cable crossovers

    Friday = Back/Bis

    Wide grip pulldowns
    Seated rows
    Close grip pulldowns
    Bent over rows
    One arm rows
    Assisted wide grip pullups

    Standing curls
    Seated curls

    Behind the back forearm curls

  22. HSS-100:

    When you observe the strength training community, you quickly notice how each coach has his own "pet program." For example, Coach Staley has EDT, Coach Poliquin has GVT and GBC, Chad Waterbury has several different programs, Westside guys have, well, Westside training, and the list goes on and on.

    My problem is that I love the iron game so much that I'm never able to design what I'd call my "ultimate program." Sure, when I first talked about Optimized Volume Training it made a lot of noise, and many people fell in love with the program and the results it brought on. But I have a deep-rooted, visceral need to experiment and find new ways to spark muscle growth. As such, I always hated to limit myself to the confines of one single training methodology.

    I personally need to be allowed some freedom when designing or using a program, and I'm sure that a lot of you are the same way. That having been said, it's also important to have a certain framework to work from. So I recently designed a training system specifically for bodybuilding purposes; one that has proven to be super effective for all those who've used it, and which still allows for a lot of variation.

    This system is called HSS-100. Quite frankly, I never used anything as powerful when it comes to building muscle mass.

    HSS-100: What Does That Mean?

    While it's a cool name for a program, it must mean something, right? It sure does:

    H = Heavy lift

    S = Superset (or triple set)

    S = Special technique or special exercise

    100 = 100 rep set

    Let's break it down!

    Exercise 1: Heavy lift performed as a stand-alone

    Heavy lifting can stimulate muscle growth even though you're "technically" outside of the proper hypertrophy zones. It does so via three mechanisms:

    1) Direct Action: Heavy lifting places an important growth stimulus on the fast twitch fibers. While the total volume might not be high enough to stimulate maximum muscle growth, it can certainly increase FT fiber size.

    2) Indirect Action: Gaining strength will allow you to use more weight during a subsequent accumulation phase and this will translate into much improved gains.

    3) Potentiating Action: Heavy lifting improves the CNS's capacity to recruit the high threshold fast twitch muscles fibers. These have the highest growth potential but are very difficult to stimulate. Increasing neural efficiency is a very effective way to develop the capacity to stimulate them and thus drastically enhance growth potential.

    Plus, heavy lifting increases myogenic tone (tonus) which makes your muscles appear and feel "harder."

    For this first exercise in your workout, you should pick a compound movement, preferably with free weights. For example:

    Quads: Front or back squat

    Hamstrings: Romanian deadlift or good morning

    Back: Bentover barbell rowing or chest-supported dumbbell rowing

    Pectorals: Incline, flat, or decline press (barbell or dumbbells)

    Deltoids: Push press, military press, dumbbell shoulder press

    Biceps: Standing barbell curl (barbell or EZ-bar)

    Triceps: Close-grip press (incline, flat or decline) or JM press

    Traps: Power shrugs (barbell or dumbbells)

    You should train this first exercise mostly in the 4-6, 6-8, and 8-10 rep ranges, although it's possible to go down to 2-4 reps from time to time.

    Between 3 to 5 sets should be performed (3 sets if working in the 8-10 range; 4 sets if working in the 6-8 range; and 5 sets if working in the 4-6 range).

    Exercise 2: Superset (or triple set)

    A superset (basically alternating between two different exercises) can stimulate hypertrophy via several pathways. First of all, it drastically increases training density, which has been shown to favor the onset of an anabolic hormonal milieu mostly via an increase in growth hormone release. While I'll be the first to admit that transient hormonal changes won't turn you into the incredible hulk, when you want to attain that perfect physique every little bit helps.

    A superset can also allow you to thoroughly stimulate a certain muscle group. This is accomplished by coupling a compound exercise with an isolation exercise. While it's no secret that big multi-joint, complex exercises are the best growth stimulator, they do have their shortcomings, the most important being that your body will always strive to complete the exercise with the less energy expenditure/effort as possible. This means that it won't necessarily put the most training stress on the desired muscle group, but rather on the one best suited to do the job.

    For example, you might perform the bench press to build up your pecs, but if your front delts and/or triceps are overpowering, chances are that your chest will be left sub-optimally stimulated from your bench pressing work. By adding an isolation exercise for the pectorals either after (post-fatigue), before (pre-fatigue), or before and after (pre and post-fatigue) you'll be able to fully fatigue the chest.

    As we just saw, there are three main types of supersets:

    1. Pre-fatigue (isolation first, compound second): Advantageous if you have problems recruiting a muscle group during a compound movement. Pre-fatiguing the muscle group will make it fail first during the compound lift.

    Pre-fatiguing the muscle will also increase the mind-muscle connection as you'll "feel it" more because of the pre-existing fatigue/burn. So if you have problems "feeling" or recruiting a certain muscle group, pre-fatigue might be the solution. The downside is that you'll have to use less weight for the compound movement because of the pre-fatigued state of the muscle.

    2. Post-fatigue (compound first, isolation second): The main advantage of this method is that it allows you to keep on using big weights in the compound lifts because you're finishing the muscle with the isolation exercise instead of fatiguing it first. In most cases, this will lead to better growth stimulation.

    However, if you have problems recruiting or feeling a certain muscle group during the compound lift, the post-fatigue method might not be as effective as the pre-fatigue method.

    3. Pre and post-fatigue (isolation, compound, isolation): This method combines the preceding two methods into one giant set of three exercises. It's very effective as it'll ensure that you fully annihilate the targeted muscle group, plus it'll improve the mind-muscle connection by pre-fatiguing it.

    The downside is that this method is tremendously stressful on the body and nervous system. More than one such set is probably overkill for most natural trainees. However, if you decide to use this method and perform only one such giant set, it can prove to be quite effective.

    Exercise 3: Special exercise or technique

    The third exercise is used to really isolate the desired muscle group or portion of a muscle group. This is accomplished either by selecting a special exercise or a training technique favoring the development of the muscle group (e.g. iso-dynamic contractions are great to build the back, biceps, and hamstrings).

    Here are some exercise suggestions:


    Combo Press

    Combo Low Incline Press

    Multi-Angle Dumbbell Press

    Start at a high incline, perform reps to failure, drop down to a low incline, perform reps to failure, drop down to a flat press, and once again rep out to failure. Keep the same weight for all angles and don't rest between positions.

    Close-to-Wide Dumbbell Press

    Press-to-Flies Dumbbells

    Simply execute the concentric (lifting) portion of the movement as a dumbbell press then the eccentric (lowering) portion as a dumbbell flye.


    Rope Lat Pulldown

    Eagle Pulldown

    Seated Rope Rowing (trunk bent forward)

    Spider Rowing

    Rack Pull

    Chest Supported Incline Shrug

    One-Arm Barbell Rowing

    Scapular Retraction


    Sissy Hack Squat

    Pulley Hip-Belt Squat

    Isometric Bulgarian Squat (30-60 seconds per leg)

    Sissy Squat

    One-Leg Squat



    Loaded Back Extension

    One-Leg Back Extension


    Wide Grip/Elbows-In Preacher Curl

    Close Grip/Elbows-Out Barbell Concentration Curl

    Jettison Technique Barbell Curl

    The Jettison curl is a form of drop set. You begin with a dual source of resistance: a barbell plus a resistance band. You perform reps to failure with both implements. As you reach failure, you drop the resistance band and continue to rep out with only the bar. When you once again reach failure, you drop the bar, grab the band, and finish off with more reps to failure.

    Drag Curl

    2/1 Curl

    As you can see by the pics, you lift the weight with two arms and lower it using only one.


    Decline Dumbbell Triceps Extension

    Rotating Triceps Extension

    Bodyweight Triceps Extension


    Lean Away One-Arm Shrugs

    Calf Machine Shrugs

    Haney Shrugs

    Supinated Cable Shrugs


    Ahrens Press

    Exercise 4: 100-Rep Set

    The final exercise of the workout is a "flushing" set of 100 repetitions. Ideally you'd complete the 100 reps without any rest, but at first, while you build up your work capacity, it's okay to take a few 3-5 second pauses during the set.

    The purpose of this set isn't to stimulate hypertrophy directly, but rather to enhance recovery from the previous workload. The very high rep/low intensity set will increase muscle flushing which will help bring blood and nutrients to the muscle group as well as the tendons.

    It'll also help get rid of the metabolic wastes accumulated during the workout. Plus, systematic use of very high rep sets can increase muscle capillary density (more blood vessels going to the muscles) which will further enhance recovery capacity as well as work capacity.

    There will still be a minimal hypertrophy effect from such sets, mostly in the slow-twitch muscle fibers. While athletes don't want that, bodybuilders who are only interested in size will accept any added hypertrophy they can get!

    Workout Breakdown

    How do you put all this together? I'll show you! A workout will look like this:

    Accumulation Phase (4 weeks)

    Heavy: 4-5 sets in the 6-8 rep range (with occasional foray into the 4-6 range)

    Superset (pre-fatigue) isolation movement: 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps

    Superset (pre-fatigue) compound movement: 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

    Special exercise: 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps

    100-reps exercise: 1 set of 100 reps

    Intensification Phase (4 weeks)

    Heavy: 4-5 sets in the 4-6 rep range (with occasional foray into the 1-3 range)

    Superset (post-fatigue) compound movement: 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps

    Superset (post-fatigue) isolation movement: 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

    Special exercise: 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps

    100-reps exercise: 1 set of 100 reps

    High Volume Phase (4 weeks)

    Heavy: 4-5 sets in the 8-10 rep range (with occasional foray into the 6-8 range)

    Superset (pre and post-fatigue) isolation movement: 1-2 sets of 10 to 12 reps

    Superset (pre and post fatigue) compound movement: 1-2 sets of 8 to 10 reps

    Superset (pre and post-fatigue) second isolation movement: 1-2 sets of 12 to 15 reps

    Special exercise: 3 sets of 12-15 reps

    100-reps exercise: 1 set of 100 reps

    Max Strength Phase (4 weeks)

    Heavy: 5-6 sets in the 1-3 rep range

    Superset (post-fatigue) compound movement: 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

    Superset (post-fatigue) isolation movement: 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps

    Special exercise: 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps

    100-reps exercise: 1 set of 100 reps

    Training Split

    With HSS-100, I suggest training each muscle group once every 5-7 days to allow for maximum recovery. The following split is adequate:

    Monday: Quads

    Tuesday: Back/Traps

    Wednesday: OFF

    Thursday: Hamstrings

    Friday: Chest/Shoulders

    Saturday: OFF

    Sunday: Biceps/Triceps


    The HSS-100 system is probably the most powerful muscle-building program I've ever designed or tried. Understand that this program is designed to put a lot of beef on your frame and necessitates a large caloric intake with at least 1.25 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.

    Proper post-workout nutrition is a must and so is during-workout nutrition. The latter will allow you to reap the most benefits of the 100-rep set: you'll have more nutrients floating in your bloodstream to carry in your muscles during the 100-rep set.

    The beauty of this program is that it can be adapted to your liking and needs. It allows for some variety while keeping its powerful effect. Most of all, it makes training fun again!

  23. Quote Originally Posted by mattrag View Post
    Great thread!
    Cheers Mattrag, im trying not to get lost and hopefully im not missing out on vital points, coz alot i copy/pasted from my personal notes or things i have kept over time that i found interesting.. Merry christmas

  24. MATT OGUS 5/3/1 BB SPLIT:

    Monday: Deadlift/Lower Body

    • Deadlift 5/3/1 style
    • Compound Leg Exercise (Front squats, hack squats, lunges, variations of deadlift, etc) 5 sets of 5-10
    • Calves (Standing calf raises, donkey raises, leg press machine calf raises) 5 sets of 8-10 superset w/
    • Abs (Hanging leg raises, dragon flags, windshield wipers, cable crunches) 5 sets of 10
    Tuesday: Rest

    • Recovery day
    Wednesday: Benchpress/Upper Body

    • Benchpress 5/3/1 style
    • A Pull (T-bar row, barbell row, dumbbell row, chinup, or pullup) 5 sets of 5-10
    • A Push (Incline/flat benchpress or dumbbell press, seated or standing military dumbbell press, dips, etc) 5 sets of 5-10
    • (Optional) Another push or pull 5 sets of 5-10
    • A Bicep exercise (week 1: barbell curls, week 2: dumbbell curls, week 3: preacher curls, week 4: any) 5 sets of 8-10
    Thursday: Rest

    • Recovery day
    Friday: Squat/Lower Body

    • Squat 5/3/1 style
    • Compound Leg Exercise (Front squats, hack squats, lunges, variations of deadlift, etc) 5 sets of 5-10
    • Calves (Standing calf raises, donkey raises, leg press machine calf raises) 5 sets of 8-10 superset w/
    • Abs (Hanging leg raises, dragon flags, windshield wipers, cable crunches) 5 sets of 10
    Saturday: Military Press/Upper Body

    • Military Press 5/3/1 style (depends what week it is)
    • A Pull (T-bar row, barbell row, dumbbell row, chinup, or pullup) 5 sets of 5-10
    • A Push (Incline/flat benchpress or dumbbell press, seated or standing military dumbbell press, dips, etc) 5 sets of 5-10
    • (Optional) Another push or pull 5 sets of 5-10
    • A tricep exercise (lateral head focus on week 2 and 4 – rope tricep extensions, long head focus on week 1 and 3 – standing french press) 5 sets of 8-10
    Sunday: Rest

    • Recovery day
    I vary my rep ranges greatly because it depends on the lift, whether it’s a push or pull, and sometimes I like to lift super heavy at low reps, and other times heavy at medium or high reps. Sometimes I like working up to a 1-3 rep front squat for example, after my 5/3/1 squat or deadlift, or perhaps a 1 rep max pullup or chinup on an upper body day. Whatever it is I choose to do after my main lifts, I make sure to not complicate it, and especially not to overdo it. The progression of my main lifts is my main priority, the volume and progression of my accessory lifts are secondary.
    With this program, I successfully combine progressive overload through the main lifts, and more progressive overload as well as progressive tension overload via the accessory lifts.

    Performed 3 times a week using a stairmaster machine, burning 400 calories per session. Day/time doesn’t matter. I prefer it post-workout, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
    Arms are worked once in a while, but not prioritized. If you’re unaware, you really ought to look up the Jim Wendler 5/3/1 program. You may really enjoy it!


    Week 1: POWER
    The goal during POWER week is to make a direct attack on the Type II A and II B muscle fibers, with an emphasis on the II Bís. These are the higher threshold fibers and the way we get at them is with heavy weights. The goal for this week is to utilize weights that allow for 4-6 reps to failure. The way in which you perform your reps is of great importance during POWER week. I have found that an eccentric (negative) contraction of about 4 seconds followed immediately by an explosive concentric (positive) contraction works best at nailing those fast-twitch fibers. Remember...even though you will be attempting to explode with the weight during the positive portion of the rep, it will not move very quickly at all due to the heavy load you are lifting. Rest between sets is also very important. Since you want to be able to lift as heavy as possible during POWER week, you will be resting about 4-5 minutes between sets in order to fully regenerate ATP and creatine phosphate stores in the muscle cells. As far as the exercises go, choose those that are basic or compound in nature. These include movements like bench presses, squats, deadlifts, military presses and bent rows. POWER week workouts will not impart a tremendous pump, but rather will make your muscles feel as if theyíve been smashed with a wrecking ball.

    Rep Goal: 4-6
    Rest Between Sets: 4-5 minutes
    Lifting Tempo: 4/0/X
    Exercises: Mostly compound

    Here is an example of a typical POWER workout for chest:
    1-Bench Press: 4 x 4-6
    2-Incline Dumbell Press: 3 x 4-6
    3-Weighted Dips: 2-3 x 4-6

    Week 2: REP RANGE
    As I mentioned earlier there are several fiber types that lie along the continuum between Type I and Type II muscle fibers. The goal of REP RANGE week is to show these ďintermediaryĒ fibers no mercy! We will accomplish this by using three distinct rep ranges (hence the name of this week) for three separate exercises for each body part. The first exercise will be to failure in the 7-9 rep range. The second will be to failure in the 10-12 rep range. The final exercise will be to failure in the 13-15 rep range.

    In order to make the stimulus this week even more unique from the POWER week, you will also change your rep tempo. Both the eccentric and concentric portion of each rep should take 2 seconds to complete, while the mid-point of the movement (isometric contraction) should be held for one full second. Additionally, if you happen to be using a movement that contains a strong ďpeak contraction effect,Ē such as leg extensions, you are also encouraged to hold this portion of the rep for one full second before you begin the eccentric portion of the rep. The exercises used this week should be both compound and isolation in nature, with free weights, machines and cables all being fair game. One particularly effective approach is to choose a free weight compound movement for the 7-9 rep range; a free weight isolation movement for the 10-12 rep range; and a machine or cable movement for the 13-15 rep range. Of course, you are encouraged to experiment a bit to get an idea of what feels most effective to you. Rest between sets during REP RANGE week will be 2-3 minutes. You can expect a tremendous pump from REP RANGE week workouts, and some deep muscle soreness in the days that follow...but we love that kind of pain, donít we!

    Rep Goal: 7-9, 10-12, 13-15
    Rest Between Sets: 2-3 minutes
    Lifting Tempo: 2/1/2/1***
    Exercises: Compound, Isolation, Machine or Cable
    ***1 second hold at peak for certain exercises

    Here is an example for a typical REP RANGE workout for shoulders:
    1-Military Press: 4 x 7-9
    2-Seated Side Lateral: 3 x 10-12
    3-Reverse Pec Deck Flye: 2 x 13-15

    Week 3: SHOCK
    In my opinion, SHOCK week is the most intense and excruciating portion of this routine. It will without a doubt test your ability to withstand pain, fend off nausea, and fight back the tears! SHOCK week separates the men from the boys, the freaks from the fakes! The goal during this week is complete and utter annihilation of every fiber, from slow-twitch, right on down to the fast-twitch Type II Aís; to force your body to release natural GH like water from a collapsed damn; and to literally ďforceĒ your muscles to grow in a ďdo or dieĒ like fashion! Each grueling session during shock week contains 2 different types of supersets and a punishing dropset for each major bodypart. The first superset will be performed in what is known as ďpre-exhaustĒ fashion. This means that an isolation movement will be performed first, with a compound movement immediately after. The second superset will be what as known as ďpost activation,Ē made famous by Ironman contributing author Michael Gundill. In post activation supersets, it is the compound movement that proceeds the isolation movement. Each of these supersets provides a unique stimulus for both your muscles and nervous system. Once you have completed your supersets it is time for a dropset, which will complete the torture that you will impart on your muscles during SHOCK week. Reps for each exercise will be in the range of 8-10, and the tempo will become more rhythmic in nature. An eccentric contraction of just one second will be followed immediately by a concentric contraction of the same speed. There will be no resting (as long as you can handle it) at the top or bottom, as each rep should be performed in a ďpiston-likeĒ fashion. Rest between sets should be long enough to allow you to catch your breath fully, as well as to prepare your mind for the next onslaught. Your individual level of cardiovascular conditioning, as well as your constitution, will determine the length of your rest. Free weights, cables, and machines are all utilized during SHOCK week. My warning to you is that you better be prepared when you enter the gym on SHOCK week, because every workout will leave you breathing with the intensity of a steam engine and a burn that will reach your very core! Fun!

    Rep Goal: 8-10 (dropset is 8-10, drop, 6-8)
    Rest Between Sets: cardiovascular and mental recovery
    Lifting Tempo: 1/0/1
    Exercises: Compound, Isolation, Machine or Cable

    Here is a typical SHOCK workout for triceps:
    1-Superset: Rope Pressdown/Lying Extension: 2 x 8-10 each
    2-Superset: CG Bench Press/Underhand Grip Pressdown: 2 x 8-10 each
    3-Dropset: Single Arm Overhead Dumbell Extension: 1 x 8-10, drop, 6-8

    After you have completed the 3 week POWER, REP RANGE, SHOCK cycle, return to the beginning and repeat. With each cycle do your best to increase the weights you lift and/or the reps you achieve. After three full cycles I recommend that you take off one full week from the gym before returning to the program. After your break, you might want to switch up some or all of the exercises that you used in the cycle proceeding.

    I would like to mention that the P/RR/S program that I presented in this article is not meant for beginners (although in a future article I will explain how those with less experience can begin to employ my system, as well as how more advanced lifters can work with an even more intense version). You can begin to use the program as presented here, after about two solid years in the gym.

    So, if you have been training for some time, are stuck in a rut, or are looking to take your physique to the next level, POWER, REP RANGE, SHOCK training may just be your first class ticket to ďFREAKVILLE!Ē Enjoy the ride my friends.


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