Muscle Building Optimization
By Erik Johnsen
This is a dynamic document that is subject to change without notice.
This document primarily utilizes two books: Bodybuilding: The Weider Approach by Joe Weider and The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding by Arnold Schwarzenegger. To a lesser extent this document also utilizes some videos of Ronnie Coleman. Please see References for book info and profiles.

Introduction and Table of Contents

There are many factors that influence the rate at which muscle is gained. Every factor can be optimized in order to result in the most effective and efficient rate of muscle gain. By optimizing each factor, the rate of muscle gain can be maximized. This document extracts information from two of the greatest books on bodybuilding, as mentioned above and in the References, in order to identify the factors and to define the optimization for each one.

You can build muscle slowly, you can build muscle quickly, or you can build it at a rate somewhere in between. Obviously, there are limits as to how fast muscle can be gained but, there are many factors which contribute to the rate at which you build muscle. Furthermore, there must be certain optimum (or ideal) conditions associated with each factor which will help to maximize the rate at which you build muscle. Some of the various factors which contribute to the rate at which muscle is gained and are discussed in this document are:

Training Methods
The Shocking Principle
Negative emphasis
Negative Repetitions
Forced Negatives
Split Routines
Tri-sets and giant sets
PHA training (circuit training), blood circulation
Forced reps
Rest-pause trianing
Peak contraction and continuous tension
Partial Reps
Isolation Training
Staggered Sets
The Stripping Method
The Flushing Method
Multi-Exercise Sets
The "One-and-a-Half" Method
The Platoon System (21s)
Progressive Workload
Ballistic Training
I Go / You Go

Time-Dependent Factors
What time of day to train
How long to train in each workout session
Time between sets
When to change workout routines
Recovery Time
Quantity-Related Factors
Number of reps
Number of sets
Frequency of workouts throughout the week

Diet- and Nutrition-Related Factors
The Basic Nutrients
Diet and nutrition
Vitamins, minerals, and trace elements

Other Factors
Rest and sleep
Speed at which exercise movements are conducted
Basic versus isolation movements
Heavy versus light training
Lagging areas, spurring growth
Breaking Through Plateaus and Muscle Confusion
Benefit of aerobic exercise
How Hard To Train
How To Correctly Perform Movements
Significance of Power Training
How To Breathe During a Movement

It is assumed that these factors represent the majority of the total number of factors that contribute towards muscle gain. There are optimum conditions for each of these variables, that when followed will contribute towards maximizing muscle gain.

Joe Weider's book states the following about time factors:
[There are five temporal factors that should be considred in bodybuilding - frequency of workouts, when to train, how long to train each session, training tempo, and when to change exercise schedules.] 1

Part of the problem of addressing optimization is that each body is unique, and to define precise values for all individuals would not work. Joe Weider discusses this in his book:

[At last we arrive at the biggest secret of bodybuilding, the essence of the entire sport. The essence of serious bodybuilding is the EXPERIMENT.] 1

[To succeed in bodybuilding or in any other sport, you need to learn to think. You have to understand what you're doing. You have to master training techniques. You have to go beyond the basic principles of bodybuilding and find out what really works for you. You must develop your own instincts just as you develop your muscles and learn to listen to them. Sure, you have to train hard, but it won't do that much good unless you also train smart.] 2

[Bodybuilding is a continually ongoing group of experiments, in which you try technique after technique in your body-lab, to determine what will work best to build muscle on your own unique body. Since everyone is different, you will soon discover that what works for Chris Dickerson will not necessarily work for you or that it will not work at all on your body. Still, one of Dennis Tinerino's or Frank Zane's routines might work as well for you as it does for these champions. you will never know for sure, however, until you try out a routine or training technique for four to six weeks.] 1

[Once you have discarded all the unproductive routines and training techniques, and have discovered the gems of training knowledge that provide you best gains, you will be close to formulating an ideal training philosophy for your unuique body. But even then, your experiments will probably never end.] 1

Part of the proof we are all different is where Arnold discusses the three different general body types:
•  [The ectomorph: characterized by a short upper body, long arms and legs, long and narrow feet and hands, and very little fat storage; narrowness in the chest and shoulders, with generally long, thin muscles.
•  The mesomorph: large chest, long torso, solid muscle structure, and great strength.
•  The endomorph: soft musculature, round face, short neck, wide hips, and heavy fat storage.] 2

[Of course, no one is entirely one type but rather a combination of all three types. This system of classification recognizes a total of eighty-eight subcategories, which are arrived at by examining the level of dominance of each basic category on a scale of 1 to 7. For example, someone whose body characteristics were scored as ectomorphic (2), mesomorphic (6), and endomorphic (5) would be an endo-mesomorph, basically a well-muscled jock type but inclined to carry a lot of fat.] 2

Nonetheless, almost all people can develop great physiques by applying proper optimization methods.

[I have developed a technique for evaluating bodybuilding progress called the Weider Instinctive Training Principle. Essentially, this principle involves gradually learning how to interpret your body's bio-feedback signals until you develop an intuitive sense - an instinct - of what is or isn't producing good results in your body. It takes a year or more to become adept at instinctive training, but once mastered, this technique will dramatically accelerate your progress rate.] 1

[In the beginning, every bodybuilder should stick pretty much to the basics. When you are starting, you can't train according to "how you feel" because you have no idea what correct training feels like. That takes experience. The trick is to master the correct training techniques, get used to how working out this way feels, and then you can begin to rely on "feel" or "instinct" to guide you. What will make the difference in your bodybuilding success is the degree to which you have been able to utilize your own instincts and feelings.] 2

Arnold Schwarzenegger states in his book: [The fact is, most people don't have the genetics, the time, or the energy to create really massive, bodybuilding-type physiques. So if you are bringing less to the table, isn't it important to use the most efficient and effective means of developing your body possible? After all, who wants to waste time and effort exercising without results?] 2

Joe Weider develops his own "Principles" with their own specific names, designed for optimizing the performance with respect to these factors listed above.

By taking into consideration and applying the ideas associated with the following factors, you will be able to optimize your muscle growth.

[The harder you work, the more results you will see, assuming that your training methods are as effective as possible.] 2

Training Methods

These are different methods you can incorporate into your workout routines in order to further stimulate your muscles into growing. Some of these training methods are listed in Arnold's book as Intensity Techniques. [These involve methods of putting extra, unusual, or unexpected stress on the muscles, thereby forcing them to adapt to the increased demand.] 2

The Shocking Principle

The shocking principle says basically to use the techniques listed in this section in order to spur muscle growth.

[The Shocking Principle involves literally shocking the body, catching it by surprise by changing various aspects of your workout. The body is amazingly adaptable and can accustom itself to workloads that would fell a horse. However, if you always put the same kind of stress on the body, in the same way, it gets used to this, and even very intense training will yield less response than you expected. You can shock it by training with more weight than usual; doing more reps and/or sets; speeding up your training; cutting down your rest time between sets; doing unfamiliar exercises; doing your exercises in an unfamiliar order; or using any or all of the intensity techniques listed here.] 2

[Change by itself tends to shock the body, even if the unfamiliar workout is no more demanding than the one you are used to. But you'll get to a point where you'll find it difficult to make additional progress without shocking your muscles into getting bigger and stronger, fuller, harder, and more defined. One way I introduced radical change into my workout was by training superheavy one day each week, typically on Friday. We'd overload the weights on a couple of sets of each exercise to really train for power, then take Saturday off to recover from the soreness.] 2

Negative Emphasis

Negative emphasis says to make the negative movement twice as slow as the positive movement, or, to lower the weight slowly.

[Soreness seems to result more from "negative" repititions - that is, when you are lowering the weight - than from positive repititions, lifting the weight. The reason for this is that eccentric contraction of muscle - lowering a weight - puts a disproportionate amount of stress on the supporting tendons and ligaments, and this is what seems to cause the damage.] 2

[Physiologists have scientifically determied that the negative (lowering) phase of a movement actually has more potential for muscle growth and strength increase when it is trained hard than does the positive (lifting) phase. This is why I developed the Weider Retro-Gravity Principle, which stresses the use of negative reps in a workout.] 1

[A convenient method of utilizing negative reps in a workout was evolved by the great bodybuilder/intellectual, Mike Mentzer. He calls this training method negative emphasis. In its most basic form it consists of raising the weight normally and then lowering it half as fast as you raised it, thus emphasizing the negative portion of the movement. This, of course, puts greater-than-normal resistance on the negative half of an exercise, which makes your muscles grow a little faster.] 1

[An incidental advantage of using negative emphasis is that it obviates any chance of letting the momentum of the barbell help you complete the movement. Ordinarily, as you move a weight from the starting point to the finish of its range of motion, a significant degree of momentum is developed, effectively making the barbell significantly lighter than it really is at the end of the movement. You have no doubt experienced this phenomenon with Military Presses and other movements.] 1

[By lowering the weight slowly from the finish position back to the starting point of the movement you are using, you eliminate the chance of momentum helping you lift the weight. And because there is a full quota of heavy resistance along the entire range of motion of the exercise, your muscles are stressed more and consequently are forced to grow larger and stronger at a faster rate than they would hypertrophy if momentum aided them in lifting the barbell.] 1

[Herculean Mike Mentzer has taken his concept of negative emphasis much further than merely slowing the movement of his exercise apparatus during the negative phase of an exercise. On some movements, such as leg extensions, he will do the positive half of the exercise using both legs to get the weight to the finish position. Then he removes one leg from contact with the machine, which forces the other leg to bear twice as much resistance for its negative phase than it had to lift in the positive phase of the movement. Mike alternates the leg that bears the resistance in the negative part of the exercise with each repitition. And he has obviously built incredible muscle mass and density using this technique.] 1

You can also use a training partner to help you do pure negative reps.


This is similar to Forced Reps, except that instead of recruiting a partner to help you out, you are recruiting other muscles in your body.

[Cheating is a very stressful training method but still a much more mild way to work out than is rest-pause training.] 1

[It its original form, the Weider Cheating Principle consisted of kicking or swinging a weight up to the finish position of a movement by using the legs or some other part of the body in conjunction with the muscles that would ordinarily supply impetus to the movement. The amount of cheat used to get the weight to the finish position of an exercise varied from a little bit to a lot, depending on how fatigued the muscles being worked had become.] 1

[After the barbell had been cheated up, it was lowered back to the starting point with the bodybuilder mightily resisting its downward momentum, the same way you do it when you are performing a negative rep. This last part of the cheating movement is almost pure negative work, so cheating worked quite well in building bigger muscles, even though I didn't understand negative-rep training at the time.] 1

[Obviously it is best to use the Cheating Principle only on the lighter type of movements, e.g., barbell curls, dumbbell side laterals, and dumbell bent rowing. Some exercises it would be kind of hard to cheat on, like squats, and if doing so you would be risking serious injury.] 1

[In a bodybuilding workout, the Weider Cheating Principle is best used at the end of a set of strict reps, so you can push past the point of normal muscle failure and receive greater muscle-building stimulation from a set. Using barbell curls as an example of how to cheat correctly, you might have done six strict reps before failing to complete the seventh repetition. But instead of terminating your set - as many bodybuilders would - you should cheat just enough to get the weight up for that seventh rep and then lower the barbell in a negative movement. Do this for two or three extra result-producing reps at the end of any heavy set of the exercises you are doing in your workout routine.] 1

[The Cheating Method is an exception to the general rule that strict technique is necessary in bodybuilding. This kind of cheating doesn't involve using sloppy training technique. It is a method in which you deliberately use other muscles or muscle groups to work in cooperation with the target muscles. This is not something you should do all the time, but it is very useful for achieving certain specific goals.] 2

[Say you are doing a heavy Barbell Curl. You curl the weight up five or six times, and then find you are too tired to continue to do strict reps. At this point you begin to use your shoulders and back to help in the lift slightly so that you can do another 4 or 5 reps. But you cheat just enough so that you can continue the set, and your biceps continue to work as hard as they can. By cheating, you have forced the biceps to do more reps than they could have done without the help from the other muscles, so you have put more stress on them, not less.] 2

[Cheating is used to make the exercise harder, not easier. It is also a way of doing forced reps without the help of a training partner. But to make cheat reps work, you have to concentrate on making sure that the extra effort being applied by the other muscles is just enough and not too much, so that the target muscles are still being forced to contract to the max.] 2

Negative Repetitions

This concept involves a combination of Negative Emphasis and Cheating.

[Whenever you lift a weight using the contractile force of your muscles you perform what is defined as a positive movement; when you lower the weight, extending the working muscle, you perform negative movement. Negative repetitions actually put more stress on the tendons and supportive structures than on the muscles themselves. This is beneficial because you want tendon strength to increase along with muscular strength. To get the full benefit of negatives in your normal workouts, always lower the weights slowly and under control, rather than letting them drop. To work harder at negatives, first try cheating a weight up that would otherwise be too heavy to lift strictly and then lower it slowly and deliberately (see Cheating). Your muscles can lower a weight under control that they could not actually lift in the first place. At the end of a set, when your muscles are very tired, you can have your workout partner give you a little assistance in lifting the weight, and then do strict negatives on your own.] 2

Forced Negatives

Similar to Negative Repetitions above. Partner required.

[To develop even more intensity in negative repetitions, have your workout partner press down on the weight as you lower it, forcing you to cope with greater resistance. This should always be done carefully and smoothly so that the muscles and tendons are not subjected to any sudden jerks. Forced negatives are more easily done with machines or cables than with free weights.] 2

Split Routines

[Split routines are a way to cut down on the length of your daily training routines. And when you make your workouts shorter, you can increase the intensity of each workout (make them more difficult). In bodybuilding, especially at the competitive level, this is a supreme advantage. This is called the Weider Split-System Training Principle.] 1

[At this point I think you could benefit quite a bit from a split routine done four days per week; that is, do half the body on Mondays and Thursdays and the other half on Tuesdays and Fridays. Later, as you get deeper into your training, you can blend into a five-day and then a six-day split routine.] 1

[The traditional split routine consists of working on the upper body one day and the lower body the next. This ends up giving you a lot to do on the upper body day and quite a bit less for your legs, so bodybuilders have devised some more equitable splits.] 1

[Some bodybuilders have further intensified their routines by splitting their bodies into these segments and training each twice per week for a total of six weekly workouts.] 1 For example, do one routine Monday-Thursday, another Tuesday-Friday, and finally another Wednesday-Saturday.

[The final type of split routine you can try is the Weider Double-Split System. It is an extremely advanced training principle that even some of the Olympians would find too taxing.] 1 This routine involves one routine in the morning, a different routine later in the day, a different routine the next day (only one routine that day), and repeat 3 times for the week.

[The simplest type of Split System Training is just to divide the body into two parts: upper-body muscles and lower-body muscles. To hit each of the muscles even harder, you can further divide the muscles so that you take three training sessions to work the entire body - an example of this being training all the "pushing" muscles in one session (chest, shoulders, triceps), the "pulling" muscles the next (back, biceps), and the legs in the third.] 2

[Advanced Training can often involve 75 total sets - 15 to 20 sets for each of four body parts, or three body parts plus calves and abdominal training. Trying to do all of this work in one workout would be a killer, especially since some of the same muscles are involved in training different body parts, and if these muscles get too tired and don't have a chance to recuperate, your training can be severely hindered.] 2

[A 75-set session takes something like 3 hours to accomplish, and nobody can train straight through for this long without running out of energy. Many bodybuilders try to cope with this workload by pacing themselves, not raining as hard as possible the first and second hours, knowing that they could never make it if they did. But this lack of intensity means the body will not be forced to respond and grow. You have to go all out if you want maximum results.] 2


[Supersets consist of two exercises for opposing muscle groups, done one after the other with no rest in between. For some examples, curls for the biceps immediately followed by lying barbell triceps extensions, leg extensions supersetted with leg curls for thighs, or bench presses followed by lat pulldowns for the chest and back.] 1

[Done in the above manner, supersets still have considerable merit, but bodybuilders in the past few years have been intensifying their training even further by supersetting an exercise for one muscle group with another for the same muscle. As an example, they might superset flyes with bench presses or side laterals with presses behind the neck. This results in brutal training intensity, and sometimes it takes brutal intensity to get results, especially on the lagging body parts] 1 (see the section Lagging Areas, Spurring Growth).

[Supersets are two exercises performed in a row without stopping. For extra intensity, you can even do three sets in a row without stopping (Trisets). It takes a while to build up the endurance necessary to do a lot of supersets, but this kind of conditioning develops in time if you keep working on it.] 2

[Actually, there are two ways you can use supersets: (1) You can do two exercises in a row for the same body part (such as Cable Rowing and Cable Pulldowns); or (2) you can train two different body parts (Bench Presses followed by Chins, for example). Supersetting within the same muscle group allows you to hammer away at that area and give it an ultimate pounding. You will be surprised how a muscle that seems to be totally fatigued will still have a lot of strength remaining if you demand that it perform a slightly different movement. To do this, however, you need to start with the most difficult movement and then go to one that is less demanding - Bent-Over Rows followed by Seated Cable rows, for example.] 2

[Supersetting two different body parts, such as chest and back (one of my favorites) or biceps and triceps, allows one muscle group to rest while you are working the other, allowing you to exercise on a continuous basis, which is great for cardiovascular conditioning. personally, I have always liked to use supersets to train opposting muscle groups because of the tremendous pump you get, which can make you feel you have the body of King Kong.] 2

Tri-Sets and Giant Sets

[The Weider Tri-Set and Giant Set training principles are an intensity progression from my Supersets Principle. Tri-Sets are groupings of three exercises - usually for a single body part but occasionally for two or three muscle groups - done consecutively and with no rest between exercises. Tri-Sets are ideal for muscle groups with three distinct sections, such as the deltoid with its three heads. Here is an example of a deltoid Tri-Set: side laterals (medial deltoid head), press behind neck (anterior deltoid head), and bent laterals (posterior deltoid head).] 1

[When you are training a muscle group that has more than three aspects, you can use a Giant Set consisting of four to six exercises. And you will find such a super-intense Giant Set to be very effective. As an example, here is a Giant Set you can do for your chest: incline dumbbell press (upper pectoral), pullover (rib cage), flyes (outer pectoral), parallel bar dips (lower pectoral), and cable crossovers (inner pectoral).] 1

[Tri-Sets and Giant Sets are very fatiguing, but they drastically increase training intensity, which in turn accelerates muscle growth. Most bodybuilders use Tri-Sets and Giant Sets just prior to a contest or in the off season only on a lagging muscle group.] 1

[Giant Sets can also be done for two or three body parts. To conclude this discussion of Giant Sets, here is one that you can try for you chest and back: bench press, chins, incline dumbbell press, seated pulley rowing, decline flyes, and bent-arm pullovers.] 1

[As a word of caution, even some of the Olympian-level champions have found Tri-Sets and Giant Sets too intense to be used for more than two or three weeks prior to competition. Approach using them yourself with caution.] 1

In a video (Ref 3), Ronnie Coleman talks about how he likes to do giant sets.


Builds off of the Supersets concept. [Using the Weider Pre-Exhaustion Training Principle is the best way to overcome the problem of your arms being weak links when doing torso exercises, as well as that of your back being a weak link when doing squats for your thighs. By eliminating these weak links through pre-exhaustion you will be able to bomb your chest, back, deltoids, and thighs much harder than ever before.] 1

[The weakness of your arms or lower back becomes a problem only when doing basic exercises for the torso muscles or squats for your thighs, because your arms or loewr back tire and force you to terminate a set before your pectorals, deltoids, latissimus dorsi, or thighs have been maximally stimulated. But what if there was a training method by which you could temporarily make your arms or lower back stronger than your torso or thigh muscles? Then you could use basic exercises to bomb your torso and thighs to the limit.] 1

[This method does exist and is the Weider Pre-Exhaustion Principle. Using this technique, you first do an isolation movement for a torso muscle group or the thighs. This prefatigues that muscle group, making it weaker than your arms or lower back for five to ten seconds. So, if you immediately superset this isolation movement with a basic exercise for the same muscle group, you can do that exercise until your torso muscles or thighs fail to complete a rep. And you won't need to worry about your arms or lower back failing during the basic exercises, because they have been made much stronger in relation to your torso muscles or thighs through pre-exhaustion.] 1

[Here are some time-tested pre-exhaustion supersets that you can use in your own bodybuilding workouts:
•  Chest: flyes, bench presses
•  Deltoids: side laterals, presses behind neck
•  Lats: bent-arm pullovers, lat pulldowns
•  Thighs: leg extensions, squats] 1

[The total bodybuilding effect comes about when you fully stimulate and innervate as many fibers in the muscle as possible. but some muscles are bigger than others and, when used in combination with smaller ones, will still have unused fiber available when the smaller muscles are totally exhausted. But you can plan your training so that you isolate and fatigue the big muscle first, before you train it in combination with smaller ones. When you do a Bench Press, for example, you are using your pectorals, front delts, and triceps in combination. The pectorals are by far the strongest of these muscles, and normally, when you press the weight up, the smaller delts and triceps fail long before the pectorals. To compensate for this, you can do Dumbbell Flys first, which isolate and pre-exhaust the pectorals. Then if you go on to do Bench Presses, the pectorals, which are already tired, will go to total fatigue at about the same time as the other muscles. Other pre-fatigue routines could involve doing Leg Extensions before Squats (pre-fatiguing the quadriceps), Dumbbell Laterals before Shoulder Presses (pre-fatiguing the deltoids), or fatiguing the lats in isolation on a Nautilus Pullback machine before doing Seated Rows, T-Bar Rows, or another rowing exercise involving the biceps.] 2

PHA Training (Circuit Training), Blood Circulation

[The Peripheral Heart Action (PHA) System was developed by Bob Gajda, who won the 1966 Mr.. America and 1967 Mr.. World titles using the system. This is a method by which blood circulates through the arms and legs via muscle contractions, pushing it past one-way valves in the arterial system.] 1

[Gajda theorized that numerous muscle contractions all over the body would stimulate blood circulation even further, which in turn would induce muscle growth with less-than-normal overall body fatigue. Since Bob felt that the muscle contractions should take place everywhere, he began to train with series of four to six exercises, each for a different body part. And he did these series with minimal rest between sets.] 1

[This system was essentially a variation of Circuit Training, a form of weight training that used a series of 10-20 exercises to build endurance. Circuit Training had been in existence for nearly 30 years before Gajda evolved PHA Training. The short-series programs worked quite well, because they developed both quality muscle tissue and terrific cardiorespiratory fitness.] 1

PHA training basically is doing different exercises for different body parts, using low weight and high reps, and using little rest time between sets and exercises. For example, he lists a routine in the book for 30 different exercises most around 10 to 15 reps each. Mix it up for yourself.

Forced Reps

Training partner required. [Let's say you are doing a set of bench presses with forced reps at the end of the set. At the end of eight full-range reps, you fail on the ninth repitition three-fourths of the way up in the movement. Now the forced reps start. Your partner pulls up on the bar enough to get you to the end of the rep, but instead of putting the bar back on the rack, you do one, two, or maybe even three more reps with your partner helping you more and more on each repitition. This is forced reps in action.] 1

[The real trick to doing forced reps is finding a partner who can judge how much to help you on each exercise. He has to take off just enough of the resistance for you to make it to the end of a rep, but not so much that the rep has no oomph to it. But when a partner has this technique down, you're gonna burn, brother, and you're gonna grow.] 1

[One method of forcing out extra reps is to have your workout partner supply a little extra lift to help you keep going. However, I have never liked this method because your partner has no real way of knowing how much lift to supply, what you are really capable of doing on your own, and how much help you actually need. I prefer a kind of forced reps which is sometimes called Rest/Pause Training.

Also see the section Cheating.

Rest-Pause Training

Arnold and Joe describe this differently. Joe says rest-pause training is basically taking only 10 to 15 seconds between sets. Arnold says rest-pause training is going to failure in a set. Then you stop, let the weight hang for just a few seconds, and then force out an extra rep, as described in the last paragraph of this topic.

[Rest-Pause Training is one of the most intense forms of bodybuilding. The heavier the weights you use in an exercise, the larger the muscles stressed by that movement will become. Unfortunately, fatigue products accumulate so quickly in the muscles when you are using very heavy weights that you often can do only one or two reps per set. And you really need about six to eight repititions in a set to promote maximum muscle growth.] 1

[I wondered how it would be possible to force the fatigue toxins from a muscle while it is working, so a bodybuilder could do far more repititions with a heavy weight. Unfortunately, while the muscle is being trained these toxins stay in the muscle. Then I read in a physiology book that 50 percent of the fatigue toxins have been flushed from the muscle after only 10 seconds of rest, and 75 percent have been eliminated after 15 seconds.] 1

[I immediately concluded that a bodybuilder could do many reps with a heavy weight if he took a 10- to 15-second rest-pause between each rep or two. Since this would flush out most of the toxins, a set could be continued for up to eight to ten total reps. And in actual practice this technique works exceedingly well!] 1

[Mike Mentzer told me that he gets his best muscle growth rate from Rest-Pause Training. Using machine incline presses as an example of how he utilizes this training technique, Mike will pick a weight with which he can do only one or two repititions and then he will force them out, rest 10-15 seconds, and immediately do one or two more. After another 10-15 seconds rest he will do one or two more reps, but usually with a weight that is 10-20 percent lighter. Finally, he will rest 10-15 more seconds and do a last one or two reps of machine incline presses. The whole "set" blows up his pecs and frontal delts to an almost unbelievable degree.] 1

[Rest-pause training is so severe that you will probably be able to use it only once per week for each muscle group. And you should use rest-pause training on only one exercise per body part. But when you do use it in your workouts you will experience super results from the Weider Rest-Pause Training Principle!] 1

Arnold describes how to conduct the training: [You use a fairly heavy weight and go to failure in the set. Then you stop, let the weight hang for just a few seconds, and then force out an extra rep. Again, rest only a few seconds before forcing out another. This method depends on the fast initial recovery that muscles make from exercise, and you can use this recovery to force out several extra reps. If you rest too long, however, too many of the tired fibers recover and you end up using them again instead of stimulating new fiber. For ultimate rest/pause forced reps, you can put the weight down for a moment, pick it up again, and force out additional reps. For exercises like chin-ups, you can do you reps, let go of the bar, rest momentarily, and then attempt to force out some more.] 2

Peak Contraction and Continuous Tension

As described in the last paragraph, this method involves moving a weight in any exercise slowly and over the target muscle's full range of motion with maximum tension built into the muscle being worked.

[The Weider Peak Contraction Principle and Weider Slow Continuous Tension Principle are used widely by champion bodybuilders to bring out the utmost in contest muscularity and muscle density. You should give each principle a try in your training and determine how well the work for you.] 1

[The Weider Peak Contraction Principle relies on the fact that a muscle has the maximum number of fibers contracted only when it is fully flexed. You can easily prove this to yourself merely by flexing you arm and seeing how much more the biceps bunch up in height when your arm is flexed than when it is straight.] 1

[Peak Contraction involves having maximum resistance on each muscle group when it is fully contracted. The machine curls are an example of this training principle in action. Numerous other movements allow you to take advantage of the Peak Contraction Principle, because they exercise each muscle group with maximum intensity and efficiency.] 1

[The Weider Slow Continuous Tension Principle advocates moving a weight in any exercise slowly and over that muscle's full range of motion with maximum tension built into the muscle it works. This technique builds tremendous intensity into an exercise, because when a movement is done with quick cadence, momentum usually does a lot of the work a muscle should be doing over part of its range of motion. And building maximum tension into a working muscle is one of the best ways to bring out the greatest possible number of muscle striations.] 1

Partial Reps

[Continuing to do partial reps when you are too tired to complete full-range-of-motion repetitions is a shock method I have always used for almost any muscle in the body, and it is a particular favorite of Dorian Yates. Dorian has done a lot of training where he forced his muscles past the poit of momentary failure to almost total exhaustion, using techniques like forced reps and partial reps. Partial reps are most effective at the end of a set, when you are almost exhausted. For example, if you were doing Preacher Curls, you would have your workout partner help you lift the weight and then you would lower it a few degrees and then lift it as much as possible, even if only a few inches; then lower it some more and do some partial reps from that position, repeating this on the way down until your muscles are burning and exhausted.] 2

Isolation Training

[Isolation training involves focusing your efforts on a specific muscle or muscle group or even part of a muscle in isolation from othe muscles. Here is an example of how specific isolation training can get: When you do compound exercises like a Bench Press, the muscles involved are the pectorals, the triceps, and the front delts. An exercise like Dumbbell Flys, on the other hand, works the pecs in isolation and lets you hit them with maximum intensity. As a further step, you can do Incline Dumbbell Flys as a way of isolating just the upper pecs. Carrying this to an even further extreme, you can perform Incline Cable Crossovers, making a special effort to cross your hands and get the maximum Peak Contraction of the test. This would isolate and develop the inner area of the upper pecs.] 2

[Isolation training can allow you to develop every part of your physique completely, bringing up any weak areas and helping to achieve the degree of muscle separation and definition necessary for that sculpted, champion look.] 2

Staggered Sets

[Staggered sets involve doing a number of sets of a body part you want to train with increased intensity in between other exercises throughout your workout. For example, when I decided I need extra effort on my calf training, I would come into the gym, do a few sets of calves, then go do Bench Presses, then a few more sets of calves, then Incline Dumbbell Presses, back to calves for a few sets, and by the end of the workout I had done 25 sets or more for calves - really giving them a workout. The next few days I would do my normal calf workout and then train with Staggered Sets again to really bomb and blast them.] 2

The Stripping Method

[The Stripping Method means you reduce the weight you are using as you begin to fail at the end of a set so that you can continue on and do more repetitions. When I was first learning about bodybuilding training it was obvious to me that when you come to the end of a set and seemingly cannot do another repetition, that doesn't mean all the muscles are totally fatigued. It only means that they are too tired to lift that amount of weight. If a plate or two is removed, you can do more repetitions. Take another plate off, and you can keep going even longer. Each time you do this, you are forcing the muscles to recruit more muscle fiber. You should only use the stripping method for the last set of an exercise.] 2

[The changes in weight should be made quickly so that the muscle don't have time to recuperate.] 2

[A variation of this method is called Running the Rack, in which you do your set with one weight, go to failure, put the weight down and go to the next lightest in line, go to failure, and continue this process to exhaustion.] 2

The Flushing Method

[The Flushing Method involves holding a (relatively light) weight steady at various poits along the path of the exercise, forcing the muscle to maintain a constant contraction for extended periods. For example, after I have done as many Dumbbell Laterals as possible I hold my arms locked out by my sides and then lift them about 5 inches away from my thighs, feeling the deltoids tense and flex. I hold this position for about 10 seconds as the burn accompanying the buildup of lactic acid gets stronger and stronger. This tension applied at the end of an exercise causes an enormous increase in muscle separation, and can be done for many muscles in the body: for lats, hanging from the chinning bar and lifting the body only a few inches; doing Cable Crossovers, holding your hands crossed with chest fully contracted, flushing blood into the pectorals; holding a Curl steady, at various angles of the total arc; or locking your legs out in a Leg Extension and holding as long as you can.] 2

Multi-exercise Sets

[To shock the body, instead of doing 5 or 6 sets of a specific exercise for a body part, you do your sets using a different exercise for that body part each time. Multi-exercise sets are not done as supersets; you do them one at a time and rest in between, but you do only one set of each exercise and then go on to another. For example, you might do one set of Barbell Burls, rest for a minute, then do a set of Dumbbell Curls, Cable Curls, Incline Curls, and so on down the line until you have fully exhausted the biceps. The idea here is to make the stress of each set slightly different, attacking the body part from every possible angle to ensure that the entire muscle is trained and providing a shock that will force the maximum amount of response from the body.] 2

The "One-and-a-Half" Method

[Another way to vary the stress you put on your muscles in any set is to do a complete rep of a movement, followed by a half rep and then alternating full and half reps until the set is finished. When you do this, make sure that the half rep is very slow and very strict. Hold the weight momentarily at the extreme point of the movement, then lower it slowly, totally under control.] 2

The Platoon System (21s)

[This system is more elaborate than one-and-a-halves because you do a series of half reps in the lower range of motion, a series of half reps in the upper range of motion, and then a series of full reps. You can use any number of reps - I always did 10-10-10 - as long as you do the same number for each of your half reps and full reps. Traditionally, many bodybuilders have used 7 reps - hence the name 21s: 3 x 7. the extra stress generated by this kind of training comes about because you have to stop the movement right in the middle, and this forces the muscles to exert themselves in ways they are not used to.] 2

Progressive Workload

[Nobody can go all out every workout. Using this training system, you plan your three-times-a-week body part sessions so that the first is intense, with relatively high reps and sets, but you don't use the heaviest weights possible. you increase the weight for the second session, but still stay short of going all out. For your third workout, however, you go very heavy, keeping your reps down to 4 to 6 maximum per set. By gradually building up each workout during the week, you prepare your body to handle the shock of very heavy weight.] 2

Ballistic Training

[Ballistic Training refers to a technique in which you drive a weight up, or explode it (but in a smooth and controlled manner), rather than lifting it at a constant speed. This is done with relatively heavy poundages, so the weight doesn't really move all that fast. But the attempt to force the weight to go faster accomplishes a number of things:] 2

[1. It creates variable resistance. Why? Because you are stronger in one part of a lift than in another, due to the difference in mechanical leverage advantage. When you are stronger, the weight accelerates a little more. And an accelerated weight is heavier than one that is not accelerated or not accelerated as much. Therefore, the weight is heavier when you are stronger and not as heavy when you are weaker - which is variable resistance.] 2

[2. It recruits a maximum amount of white, fast-twitch power fibers, which are bigger (by about 22 percent) and stronger than red, slow-twitch endurance fibers.] 2

[3. It creates constant failure. The muscles grow when they are given a task that is just beyond their capabilities. When you are trying to accelerate a weight, there is always a limit to the amount of acceleration you can achieve. Your muscles are failing to move it any faster. Therefore, rather than failing only at the end of your set, you are actually experiencing a degree of failure during each rep of the set.] 2

[Ballistic Training should be done primarily with exercises that use a lot of big muscles - for example, Bench Presses, Shoulder Presses, and Squats. You should use a weight you can normally do about 10 reps with. Since an accelerated weight is heavier, you'll find you can do only about 7 reps with the same weight when using the ballistic method. Also, ballistic reps require a slightly different type of technique than do normal, constant-speed repetitions:] 2

[1. Lower the weight normally, using constant speed. Pause at the bottom, then drive the weight up, accelerating it smoothly throughout the range of motion.] 2
[2. Continue the set not to the point of absolute failure, but to failure of power. That is, when you can't accelerate the weight anymore, and can only lift it slowly, you have finished the set. When doing ballistic reps, there is no point in going past this point.] 2
[3. Get plenty of rest between sets, from one to 2 minutes. White, fast-twitch fiber takes longer to recuperate than does red fiber and this is the type of muscle you are focusing on with ballistic sets.] 2

I Go / You Go

Training partner required.

[In this method for increasing your training intensity and shocking your muscles, you and your training partner finish a set and immediately hand over the weight to the other, never putting the weight down, each one going in turn. I can remember doing Barbell Curls, handing the bar off to Franco and going back and forth, not really counting reps, just going to failure. After a while I was screaming and hoping Franco would take his time because my biceps were burning so bad. You stay in pain, your partner hands you back the weight again, and the number of reps you can do gets shorter and shorter. But the point of this technique is that you go when it's your turn, ready or not, no matter how tired you are getting. The degree of intensiy you can develop using this method is fantastic. Talk about shocking the body! The only problem is the soreness you feel the next day.] 2

[The I Go / You Go Method is more useful for training smaller muscles like the biceps or calves than it is for the big thigh and back muscles. Exercises like Squats and Bent-Over Rows demand so much energy that you run out of steam in a hurry even without this intensive kind of training.] 2

Time-Dependent Factors

What Time of Day to Train

[After dinner is the only time I consistenly have available to do my workouts. Many champion bodybuilders with whom I have worked out prefer getting up early and training before work, however. Bill Pearl - one of the greatest champions our sport has ever produced - has trained at 5:00 or 5:30 A.M. for nearly 30 years, and he has obviously thrived on it. So, if you are a morning person, try training before you go to school or work.] 1

[Champion bodybuilders train at all times of the day, so it makes little difference when you actually do your workouts. The crucial factor is merely choosing a time of the day when you can find one to two hours totally free from distractions.] 1

[The champions used to subscribe to the theory that working out at the same time each day was a way to make your body peak its energies for that regular hour or two. But, in actuality, muscles will often grow faster if trained with different workouts on each training day, and even when trained at different times every day. This involves the Weider Muscle Confusion Principle, which advocates doing radically different types of training each day to keep the muscles from adapting to a particular stress and halting their growth.] 1

[When I was competing and wanted to train with even more intensity I always liked to schedule my heaviest training in the morning, when I felt strongest, rather than trying to handle huge poundages later on in the day.] 2

[My best workouts were always in the morning, when I was rested and fresh. Some bodybuilders prefer to train later in the day, but the majority of competitors I've been around also liked to train first thing in the day. Bill Pearl gets his workout in at 5 A.M. and then has the rest of the day to pursue his other interests. If you work regular hours at a job, this means getting up very early to get your training in.] 2

[If you absolutely have to train in the evening, or if that's your personal preference, of course you can get results with that schedule as well. Just ask yourself whether you think you are achieving the maximum possible from your workouts this way and whether you are training late because it's best for you or because you don't have the motivation to get up as early as necessary for regular morning workouts.] 2

How Long to Train in Each Workout Session

[None of the programs in this chapter should take you more than 30-45 minutes to complete, unless you are doing more talking in the gym than training. And unless it is just before a competition when you will be training two to three hours per day, you will probably never need to spend more than 1.5 hours in the gym.] 1

Time Between Sets

[Resistance can be increased in three ways. The least important of these for beginning bodybuilders - yet one of the most important for advanced men - is to reduce the rest periods between sets while maintaining the same sets, reps, and training poundages from workout to workout. For our purposes, however, the rest intervals between sets will consistently remain at about 60 seconds. Some contest bodybuilders will rest as little as 10-15 seconds between sets when peaking for a competition.] 1

[Be careful not to rest to much longer than a minute between sets, because training too slowly will cause the body to cool off, which is courting injury.] 1

[The Weider Quality Training Principle is universally used by champion bodybuilders to develop maximum muscle density for competitions. It consists of progressively reducing the rest intervals between sets - to as little as 10-15 seconds - during a peaking phase.] 1

[The use of this principle will result in a drastic reduction of your training poundages, but in combination with a definition diet it definitely produces maximum muscularity.] 1

[If you take 5 minutes between each set, your heart rate slows down, you lose your pump, the muscles get cold, and your level of intensity drops down to nothing.] 2

[Try to keep your rest periods between sets down to a minute or less. In the first minute after a weight-training exercise you recover 72 percent of your strength, and by 3 minutes you have recovered all you are going to recover without extended rest. But remember that the point of this training is to stimulate and fatigue the maximum amount of muscle fiber possible, and this happens only when the body is forced to recruit additional muscle fiber to replace what is already fatigued. So you don't want to allow your muscles to recover too much between sets - just enough to be able to continue your workout and to keep forcing the body to recruit more and more muscle tissue.] 2

[There is one other factor to consider: Physiologists have long noted the link between maximal muscle strength and muscular endurance. The stronger you are, the more times you can lift a submaximal amount of weight. This means that the more you push yourself to develop muscular (as opposed to cardiovascular) endurance, the stronger you become. So maintaining a regular pace in your training actually leads to an increase in overall strength.] 2

When to Change Workout Routines

[Some bodybuilders - such as Lou Ferrigno - use a "nonroutine routine" in which they utilize muscle confusion by never doing the same workout twice. Arnold Schwarzenegger, on the other hand, uses the same workouts for some body parts for years, believing that once he has found a supereffective program he would be foolish to change it. Either of these techniques may one day be found to work best for you, but for now train on a program for only four to six weeks before changing to another one.] 1

[No two movements stress a muscle in the same manner or from the same angle.] 1

[The human body is a very adaptable organism, but it constantly seeks the comfort of being in a state of equilibrium wherein it doesn't have to adapt to new stresses. In bodybuilding the human body reaches this equilibrium, and the muscles cease to grow, when the same exercises and routines are used for long periods of time. And this happens even though you may be progressively increasing training intensity in each exercise.] 1

[If you change your routines for each workout - perhaps never again using the same program for a body part - your muscles are confused by the changes, can't adapt to them by reaching equilibrium, and are forced to grow much faster. This concept is the Weider Muscle Confusion Principle, which also applies to what you eat, how much you sleep, and what time of the day you do your bodybuilding workouts.] 1

[Lou Ferrigno is one of the greatest proponents of the Weider Muscle Confusion Principle. He constantly changes the exercises he does for each body part, the angles at which he does his exercises, the total number of sets per muscle group, the reps he does for each set, and even the amounts of weight he uses for each exercise.] 1

["I need this type of variety," Lou told me, "because it keeps my muscles off balance and they are forced to continue growing at a fast rate. Variety like this also keeps my interest level quite high for my training."] 1

Recovery Time

[Different muscles recover from exercise at different rates. The biceps recover the fastest. The lower back muscles recover the slowest, taking about one hundred hours to completely recuperate from a heavy workout. However, in most cases, giving a body part 48 hours' rest is sufficient, which means skipping a day after training a muscle before training it again.] 2

[Basic training involves only medium levels of intensity, so the time necessary for recuperation is shorter. Once you move on to more advanced training, higher levels of intensity will be needed in order to overcome the greater resistance of the body to change and growth. There is one other important factor, however: Trained muscles recover from fatigue faster than untrained muscles. So the better you get at bodybuilding, the faster your recovery rate will be and the more intense your training program can become.] 2

Arnold recommends working the abdominals every workout session, even if you use a double-split routine.

Quantity-Related Factors

Number of Reps

[For most individuals the correct rep range for muscle building is from about six reps to twelve or fifteen. With fewer than six reps you will build more power than muscle mass; with more than fifteen reps the emphasis shifts to enhancing endurance. Although, there are exceptions to most rules. Reg Park, Mr.. Universe, used sets of single reps for his pectorals at one time and achieved great results. Casey Viator won the Mr.. America title at the age of 19 while doing predominantly 20-rep sets.] 1

[Cardiovascular endurance is one limiting factor in increasing intensity. If you outrun your ability to supply oxygen to the muscles, they will fail prematurely and you will not fully stimulate them. However, if you cut down on rest periods and speed up your training on a gradual basis, you will give your body time to adapt and your ability to train both hard and for longer periods will increase.] 2

[How many reps you include in a set depends a great deal on what kind of set you are doing. For example, both research and experience have shown that bodybuilders get the most results using a weight in each exercise that represents about 70 to 75 percent of their one-rep maximum - that is, the amount of weight they could use doing one full-out repetition of that particular exercise. If you use this amount of weight you will generally find you can do sets of: 8 to 12 repetitions for upper-body muscles and 12 to 16 repititions for the major leg muscles. These figures are just approximations, but they work well as general guidelines.] 2

Arnold gives an example of a particular set to do for an experienced bodybuilder:
•  [First set: a warm-up set with a lighter weight for 15 repetitions or slightly more
•  Second set: add weight so that the muscles fail at about 10 to 12 repetitions
•  Third set: add more weight to bring the failure point down to 8 to 10 repetitions
•  Fourth set: for maximum strength, add enough weight so your muscles fail after only 6 repetitions (power set).
•  Optional fifth set: use the same weight, try to get another 6 reps; get some help from a training partner if necessary to complete the set (forced reps).] 2

Number of Sets

[Typically, beginning bodybuilders do one to three sets of eight to twelve repititions for each exercise (although more reps - up to 20 - will be done for the calves, and even more for the abdominals). For some who are lacking in endurance, the three sets will not be 12-12-12 reps, but probably 12-10-8. If this is all you can do, great! Don't worry about it. Also, you can increase resistance when you have reached a level of 12-11-10 reps rather than 12-12-12.] 1

[Another type of repitition scheme you may want to try eventually is one of descending weights on each set with the same repititions for every set. Instead of doing three sets of curls at 70x12x12x12, you might want to do 75x10, 70x10, and 65x10. This scheme is every bit as effective as using the same poundage for every set.] 1

[A final repitition scheme can be used when trying to build power. It is one of ascending poundages and descending reps on succeeding sets, which is called pyramiding. Using the curl example from the preceeding paragraph, this could consist of something like 60x12, 70x9, and 80x6. In this case, the first set is a warmup, the second is a muscle-builder, and the third one a power-builder.] 1

Arnold recommends four sets as standard in his book. [The experience of five decades of bodybuilders has proved that the maximum amount of weight you can handle that allows you to just make it through 4 sets of an exercise will stimulate the muscles and make them grow.] 2

Arnold writes the following with respect to total numbers of sets for different muscle groups: [In training smaller muscles like the biceps and triceps, on the other hand, fewer total sets are needed because those muscles are just not that complex. You can get a complete biceps workout doing a total of about 9 to 12 sets, for example, whereas most bodybuilders would do 16 to 20 total sets to work the thighs. The rear deltoid is an even smaller muscle, and generally 4 to 5 sets for the posterior deltoid head is enough. However, muscle physiology also comes into play. The biceps are the fastest recuperating muscles, so if you feel like training them using higher sets (as I always did) they are still able to recover. And the calf muscles, which are relatively small, are designed to do virtually endless repetitions when you walk or run, so you can get great results training them with a relatively high number of sets.] 2

Frequency of Workouts Throughout the Week

[At a beginner training level training can be held three nonconsecutive days each week, e.g., Monday-Wednesday-Friday, Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday, etc. This allows the body to rest and recuperate fully between training sessions. At level three, or perhaps at the end of level two, you will be able to do what is called a split routine, which involves training half you body one day and the other half the next day. This allows you to train four or more days per week and also shortens the length of each daily workout.] 1

Diet- and Nutrition-Related Factors

This category covers diet and nutrition as well as vitamins, minerals, and trace elements.

The Basic Nutrients

[There are three basic nutrients known as macronutrients:
•  Protein, composed of various amino acids, provides the building blocks for muscle tissue. It is also a component of all organs, and is involved in the structure of skin, bones, and tendons as well as being involved in many bodily functions (all enzymes are proteins).
•  Carbohydrates, fuel for energy, is composed of a variety of less complex or more complex sugar and starch molecules.
•  Fats (or oils), the nutrient that contains the most densely packed energy stores.] 2

[Water is also an essential nutrient. It constitutes 72 percent of muscles and most bodybuilders drink liters of it a day. In addition, nutritional supplementation can include a number of other substances such as herbs and hormones. Other nutrients, called micronutrients, include:
•  Vitamins, essential chemicals that facilitate various biochemical reactions.
•  Minerals, essential for a number of vital body functions, including muscular contraction.
•  Essential amino acids, parts of proteins that we obtain in foods.
•  Essential fatty acids, obtained from plants or fish oils.] 2


[Protein is used by the body to build, repair, and maintain muscle tissue. The body cannot use the protein you ingest for muscle-building unless all of the necessary amino acids are present. However, the body itself can produce only some of these amino acids. The others, called the essential amino acids, have to be obtained from the foods you eat.] 2

On the subject of protein, Arnold recommends eating the whole egg, as opposed to just the egg white: [It is fashionable to eat only egg whites nowadays because the yolk contains some fat and the egg white does not. However, I never do this. The yolk actually contains as much protein as the egg white, as well as the majority of the vitamins and minerals. If you feel the need to limit the fat in your diet, I recommend you do so by eliminating other foods, not by throwing away what is in many ways the best part of the egg. (The egg yolk does contain cholesterol, so if you have problems with cholesterol you should check with your doctor regarding your diet.)] 2

According to Arnold's book, eggs have the highest protein rating. He also rates foods according to our ability to synthesize the protein from them, and eggs have the highest rating for that as well. Other items on the protein list, in order of most protein to least, are: fish, lean beef, cow's milk, brown rice, white rice, soybeans, whole-grain wheat, peanuts, dry beans, and white potato. Also mentioned is that whey, a milk derivative, which is a refined product, has even more net protein than eggs.

In Arnold's book it is recommended to eat grains with either seeds, milk products, or legumes, in order to get the proper amino acids along with the protein for proper synthesis.


[Carboydrates are essential for the serious bodybuilder for a number of reasons:
•  Carbohydrates are a primary form of energy. The carbohydrates stored in the muscles as glycogen are what allow you to do heavy and intense weight training.
•  Muscle size is increased when the body stores glycogen and water in the individual muscle cells.
•  Carbohydrates in the body have a "protein-sparing" effect, keeping the body from burning up excessive protein for energy.
•  The carbohydrate glucose is the main source of energy that fuels the functioning of the brain, and deprivation can have sever effects on mood, personality, and mental ability.] 2

[The reason that carbohydrates are so important as fuel for intense training is that most exercise like this is anaerobic - that is, it takes place in short, intense bursts and outruns the ability of the body to supply enough oxygen to sustain the effort. But the structure of carbohydrates is such that they can continue to fuel exercise for short periods in the absence of oxygen. So when you do a hard set of weight training or run a 100-meter sprint, the source of your energy for those efforts is primarily carbohydrates.] 2

Arnold lists the following carbohydrate sources: vegetables, beans, salads, fruits, whole wheat or rye bread, baked potatoes, and rice.


[For anyone involved in intense exercise, the need for water is at least eight 12-ounce glasses per day. Some bodybuilders drink even more than this. And water in solution doesn't count. You need pure water, not juice, soft drinks, coffee, tea, or some other substitute.] 2

In a video (see Ref 3), Ronnie Coleman is seen at the gym drinking from a one gallon plastic milk jug full of water.

Diet and Nutrition

Discussion of this factor includes: when to eat, what to eat, number of meals per day, and number of calories per meal.

[Diet and nutrition are as important to controlling your body composition as is weight training. You have to eat right to gain, eat right to lose, and eat right to get strong.] 2

[Bodybuilders always seem to want to know exactly what quantities of foods they should be eating. The body individuality factor makes it impossible to answer this question in a way that will specifically help everyone who has asked it. People vary so much in their biochemical makeup that it would be impossible to provide more than the following three general rules to govern your eating habits:] 1

[1. Your body will naturally determine how much you should be eating, as long as you don't eat so quickly that you can't even taste your food. A primary cause of overeating is eating too fast, because your body isn't able to keep up with your eating pace and is delayed by several minutes in signaling that you have eaten enough. During that four or five minutes you could have consumed at least 750 calories more than what your body actually needed. Listen to what your body tells you and then follow its instructions in planning and following your nutrition schedule each day.] 1

[2. Eat until you are comfortably full, but don't stuff yourself. It's a waste of money to eat excessive amounts of food at one meal, because your body can only efficiently process and use moderate amounts of each food (i.e., about 30-35 grams of protein at each feeding).] 1

[3. Eat at regular times during the day, but eat frequently (four to six smaller meals per day) instead of consuming the traditional three large meals each day. Eating smaller quantities of food more frequently during the day will ensure maximum utilization of the nutrients you take into your body.] 1

[Your body handles a lot of small meals better than a few big ones. Three meals a day is good, 4 meals a day is better. bodybuilders frequently eat every 2 to 3 hours, which means at least 5 meals a day (a little bit extreme for most people). Eating fairly often is a good strategy when it comes to weight control, assuming your total calories for the day remain under control, since you rarely get extremely hungry eating this way and the body has little reason to store a lot of your food intake as body fat.] 2

[No matter how hard you train, your progress can grind to a shuddering halt if you don't eat right. Indeed, most top body builders credit good diet for 50 percent or more of their success. Here is a list of basic "do" and "don't" maxims that will improve your diet and result in faster muscle gains.] 1


[Eat a little protein at each meal. Eat beef, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk products. Your body can digest and assimilate only 30 grams of protein per feeding, so you needn't eat huge protein meals.] 1

[•  Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, all as close to being raw as possible.
•  Eat at least a couple pieces of fruit for training energy.
•  Eat a little vegetable fat in the form of seeds and nuts for skin and nerve health.
•  Eat a chelated multiple-mineral and multiple-vitamin supplement with each meal.
•  Eat with as much variety as possible.
•  Eat at least three meals per day. Small meals are digested and utilized more efficiently by the body.
•  Drink plenty of pure water.
•  Begin to consume your flesh products more from white meats like fish and poultry and less from red meats like beef and pork.] 1


[•  Eat junk foods, which are highly processed, fried, or full of sugar and white flour.
•  Eat excessive animal fats. (Trim fat from all of your meat.)
•  Drink soft drinks or alcoholic beverages.
•  Use too much salt or other seasonings.] 1

[This is an excellent overall dietary philosophy for the beginning bodybuilder, but we will have to go into some refinements for specific bodybuilding purposes later, in the intermediate and advanced sections. In the meantime, don't be surprised if your appetite increases once you are training hard, because you will be burning up plenty of extra calories in your workouts.] 1

[Should you be a vegetarian, you can still make good muscle gains. Two former Mr.. Americas - Bill Pearl and Roy Hilligen - and Mr.. International, Andreas Cahling, are lacto-ovo-vegetarians and have retained superb condition. Just concentrate more on protein foods like milk products, nuts, and seeds.] 1

Here is a specific example that the Joe Weider book recommends:

[Breakfast -
•  Three to five eggs with cheddar cheese in an omelette.
•  A hamburger patty (stay away from bacon and sausage, because they are both almost pure fat, which is more than twice as high in calories as protein and carboydrates); as an alternative to the hamburger patty, you can occasionally eat a broiled or baked fish fillet.
•  One piece of fruit (e.g. a grapefruit, a basket of strawberries, a cantaloupe, a honeydew melon, an orange, etc); cantaloupe and strawberries are lower in calories than any other fruits.
•  One glass of nonfat milk (use raw milk if it is available); the milk is much better for you if it has had its fat content removed than if it is still a full-fat milk, and your body can digest and assimilate the protein and other nutrients in raw milk much more efficiently than it can use pasteurized milk.] 1

[Mid-morning snack-
•  Nuts or seeds (sunflower, etc. - all nuts and seeds should be eaten raw, not roasted and salted); or cold cuts or meat; or a cup or two of naturally flavored low-fat yogurt.] 1

•  Broiled fish; or tuna salad; or broiled meat, poultry, or lamb (avoid pork, because it is high in fat and hence overloaded with calories).
•  One vegetable dish (green beans and spinach are much lower in caloric content than oil-bearing vegetables like corn and soybeans; never eat avocados, which contain huge amounts of fat).
•  A green salad (unless you opted for the tuna salad as your main course).
•  An apple or one piece of some other kind of fruit.
•  Another glass of nonfat raw milk.] 1

[Preworkout snack-
•  Two or three pieces of fruit, preferably with each one different from the others (this is a good method for building up a greater reserve of energy for your workout).] 1

•  Broiled meat, fish, or poultry.
•  One or two vegetable dishes, including one high-starch food like potatoes, rice, or yams.
•  A large green salad (use only oil and vinegar dressing and a little black pepper on your salads; most commercial salad dressings are loaded with unnecessary fats and are therefore excessively high in caloric content).
•  Another glass of nonfat raw milk.] 1

[Evening snack-
•  Two or three ounces of your favorite type of hard cheese or small serving of cottage cheese.
•  Alternatively, you can eat a few ounces of cold cuts and a piece of fruit (preferably a low-calorie fruit like strawberries).
•  A final glass of nonfat raw milk.] 1

So, as you can see, a lot of meat, fruits, vegetables, and milk. [This diet is very heavy in milk products because milk and its by-products promote muscle growth quite readily.] 1

The Joe Weider book says buy books on nutrition, and become a nutrition expert. He recommends buying the [Nutrition Almanac, a fantastically detailed and complete book on the subject.] 1 Also, he says to [begin to form an accurate knowledge of the food values contained in everything you eat.] 1

When Joe Weider was writing the book he did a poll of [approximately 50 of the greatest bodybuilders of America and around the world about their diets. This survey produced a consensus of the amounts of major food elements they believe a growing young bodybuilder should include in his daily diet (assuming he weighs 180 pounds). Here are the daily figures for major nutrients that have been recommended by 50 of the world's greatest bodybuilding champions:] 1

[•  Protein - 200-250 grams
•  Fat - 100-250 grams (primarily from vegetable sources)
•  Carbohydrate - 200-250 grams
•  Total calories - 3,500-4,000
•  Water and other fluids - 2-3 quarts] 1

[Note: Several bodybuilders said they regularly drink two or more gallons of water and other fluids per day.] 1

From Reference 3, the video shows the different meals Ronnie Coleman eats throughout the day. His first meal of the day he calls his "jump start meal" at 7:00am is a little container of "Quaker Smooth & Creamy Quick Grits". He follows that up with an "Extreme Whey Chocolate Flavor" protein shake, 1 regular-sized glass. For his 3rd meal, he has unbreaded chicken strips and a baked potato for meal number 3. He has another plate of unbreaded chicken strips and a cup of kool-aid for meal number four. For another meal, the video shows him having another plate of unbreaded chicken strips and a plate of french fries. Another day, he had a plate of unbreaded chicken strips and a plate of french fries for breakfast. From another video (see Ref 4), Ronnie describes the six meals he has: 1st meal - grits, 2nd meal - chicken, 3rd meal - chicken, 4th meal - steak, 5th meal - turkey, 6th meal - protein shake. He said that he doesn't eat a whole lot of food at one sitting. In another video (Ref 5), he is seen eating 2 cups of egg whites and a packet of grits for breakfast.

Vitamins, Minerals, and Trace Elements

Also discussed in this factor is how much of each vitamin and mineral.

[Vitamins are organic substances that the body needs in minute amounts and that we ingest with our foods. Vitamins do not supply energy, nor do they contribute substantially to the mass of the body; rather, they act as catalysts, substances that help to trigger other reactions in the body.] 2

[Minerals are inorganic substances that contain elements the body needs in relatively small amounts. There are twenty-two metallic elements in the body, which make up about 4 percent of total body weight.] 2

[The minor food elements - the vitamins and minerals as well as the trace elements - should also be included in your nutritional program each day.] 1

[As you become more technically and intellectually sophisticated as a bodybuilder, you will slowly develop a personalized vitamin and mineral supplementation program. For now, however, you should take only a couple of these food supplements.] 1

[Go to a health food store and ask for a high quality multiple-vitamin capsule and a good chelated multiple-mineral supplement that also includes the trace elements that your body needs in infinitesimal quantitites to remain optimally healthy.] 1

[Chelated refers to a chemical process that bonds an amino acid molecule to each molecule of the mineral, so your body won't be able to use nonchelated minerals as efficiently as their chelated brothers.] 1

[As far as the "right" dosages of each multiple-vitamin and multiple-mineral supplement are concerned, take twice what the bottle labels recommend. An increased dosage can be justified, because these recommended dosages are intended for sedentary individuals. When you train very hard in your workouts, however, you will build up a need for greater amounts of all food elements, especially for the various minerals - potassium, calcium, and magnesium in particular.] 1

[Bodybuilders commonly rely too heavily on food supplements, using them as a substitute for - rather than as a supplement to - a healthy and well-balanced diet of fresh foods.] 1

Here are some things Joe Weider recommends:
[•  Supplement your diet with 800-1200 IU of vitamin E and two or three chelated iron tablets each day. Each of these food supplements will help provide additional training energy, but they should never be taken at the same time. Taken together, vitamin E and iron tend to cancel each other's effects.
•  If you can afford them, start taking both vitamin B-12 and vitamin B-15 tablets. Both are good for increasing training energy.
•  Begin to (or continue to) experiment with individual vitamins and minerals - but continue to take multiple vitamins and minerals - to see which ones work best for you.
•  Be sure to take your supplements with your meals, because they tend to work better in your body when taken with other foods.] 1

Arnold writes that [In my own career, I came to rely on supplements more and more as I became more experienced at bodybuilding.] 2, referring to vitamin and mineral supplements.

Other Factors

Rest and Sleep

[Innumerable bodybuilders have used their bodies as laboratories over the years, and all of them have concluded that maximum growth occurs only with adequate sleep and rest. What is "adequate", however, is difficult to predict for each individual. Eight hours of sleep has become a fairly widely accepted average, and during that eight hours your muscles will recuperate from a hard workout and expand in size.] 1

[In addition to getting eight or nine hours of sleep, it is an excellent practice to take a short nap in the late afternoon. This added half hour or so of sleep will refresh you considerably and make you training day even more productive.] 1

[If you cannot sleep a full eight hours or if you need more than that amount of sleep, it should be clear to you that you have discovered something else about your working body. Also, keep in mind that there are natural fluctuations from day to day in the amount of sleep you require. Seven hours may be enough one day, nine the next, and eight the third. It all balances out over the long run, so don't worry about such fluctuations.] 1

[The harder you work your body, the more time it takes to recover and recuperate from that training. Rest and recuperation are very important because, although you stimulate growth by training, it is during the subsequent period of recuperation that actual growth and adaptation take place. That's why bodybuilders frequently overcome sticking points by resting more rather than training harder or more often.] 2

Arnold says to get plenty of sleep, and that 8 hours is best.

[You also need to rest on your off days. This doesn't mean you can't engage in physical activities on that day - you don't have to stay in bed or anything - but if you are running marathons or involved in Hawaiian canoe racing on Sunday you are probably not going to have much energy when you go back to the gym and work out on Monday.] 2


According to the Joe Weider book, warming up allows you to use heavier weights (of course, because of the reduction of injury potential to muscles, tendons, and joints.)

[Oxidation in the muscle is actually a form of burning. Because of this, when you use a muscle, the temperature in the area rises and the ability of the muscle to contract forcefully becomes greater.] 2

[Warming up also pumps fresh, oxygenated blood to the area, raises the blood pressure, and increases the heart rate. This provides a maximum oxygen supply to the body and helps to eliminate the waste products of exercise from the working muscles.] 2

[Finally, warming up properly helps to protect the body from becoming overstressed, prepares it for the demands of heavy training, and reduces the chance of injury, such as a sprain or strain.] 2

Arnold writes that the idea of warming up is to get the heart going but not to deplete the body of energy. [The most popular method of warming up is with the weights themselves. First, spend some time stretching and then do some moderately light movements with a barbell or dumbbells, hitting each body part in turn until the body is ready for something more strenuous.] 2

[Then, for each different exercise during your workout you begin with one light warm-up set in order to get those specific muscles ready to do that specific movement. When you do a set or two with higher reps and less than maximum weight, your muscles are then prepared to deal with the greater intensity generated by heavier weights and 6-rep sets.] 2 (see here)

[The time of day is also a factor in determining how much warming up you ned. If you are training at eight o'clock in the morning you are likely to be tighter and more in need of stretching and warming up than at eight at night, so adjust your preliminaries accordingly.] 2

[Muscle, tendon, ligament, and joint structures are flexible. They can stiffen, limiting your range of motion, or they can stretch, giving you a longer range of motion and the ability to contract additional muscle fiber. That's why stretching before you train allows you to train harder.] 2


According to the Joe Weider book 1, it is good to take one- to two-week layoffs from training, if it training has been continuously ongoing for a long period of time. During your layoff, still keep active with cardio, but stay away from the gym. Also, stay away from the junk food. The Joe Weider book says that little injuries may begin to creep up if training is continuous for such a length of time, like a year, and by taking a layoff your body will have the chance to recuperate and heal. Furthermore, the book states the following:

[Once you are back in the gym working out, you will notice that your training energy is twice what it was before you took your layoff, and your workouts will have the momentum and power of a runaway locomotive screaming down a 10-percent grade.] 1

[It is inevitable to lose a little muscle mass and quality during your short layoff, but don't worry about that, because only two or three workouts after getting back into training, you will actually be looking better than you did just prior to laying off!] 1

[As you get further into serious bodybuilding training, it won't hurt to take a full month off every year. Dr. Franco Columbu, Mr.. Olympia of 1976, regularly takes a month completely off training following his major competition each year. And Frank Zane, a three-time Mr.. Olympia, trains only recreationally for three or four months after a competition and sometimes takes six to eight weeks totally off weight workouts to practive archery and other recreational activities. Then, in January, when he buckles down to train seriously for the Mr.. Olympia competition in the fall, he's all business and makes great year-to-year gains, largely because he does rest his body for so long each year.] 1

Speed at Which Exercise Movements are Conducted

[The speed of actually moving the bar during an exercise should be moderately slow, especially on the first two or three reps, after which the speed can be accelerated.] 1


[Concentration is the ability to focus all of your mental energy on one point, the muscle being worked, during each repitition in a training session. If you can eventually succeed at this, your workouts will be many times more productive than if you do your sets and reps with no mental involvment whatsoever.] 1

[It's tough to describe how to describe how to concentrate perfectly, but here is a little scenario that might help you understand how it's done. You are in the middle of a set of concentration curls. You can't feel the weight in your hand, but you can concentrate on the biceps contracting and extending under its resistance. You can feel a growth burn coming on; you can see it with your mind's eye swelling the biceps tissues, visualizing fresh blood surging in with new supplies of growth materials. This is what I mean by concentration.] 1 So he means that visualization is part of concentration.

[Since you need to concentrate, practice it constantly, not only in your workouts but throughout the day. Spend a few minutes a day concentrating on any one object or concept. Think about it totally and keep your mind on it as long as possible before other thoughts intrude. Then keep forcing you concentration back on target for at least 10-15 minutes. Soon you will develop a tremendous ability to concentrate.] 1 He then goes on to mention the significance of meditation.

On a related note, Arnold Schwarzenegger writes about Franco Columbu, [I remember watching Franco Columbu train for two years with only moderate gains. Then he saw me win the NABBA Mr. Universe and he suddenly decided that he too wanted to win that title. After that, he trained really hard for two or three hours a day and began to make unbelievable gains in a very short time. His mind believed he could develop a fantastic physique, create gigantic muscles, and be up onstage holding the championship trophy in his hands, so his body responded.] 2

Arnold devotes a whole chapter in his book to mind over matter, in fact it is titled, "Mind over Matter: Mind, the Most Powerful Tool". He stresses the importance of vision and visualization with respect to working out and developing your physique. Your mind plays a big part in whether or not you make yourself pump out those last two reps or not.

Basic Versus Isolation Movements

Basic movement works several muscles at once, such as bench press. Isolation movements put most of the focus on a single muscle more or less in isolation from the rest of the body, such as incline flyes and bent laterals.

[There is a specific way to combine these two types of movements for optimum results.] 1

[If you really want the full effect of a basic exercise, always do the isolation movements first in your routine. Unfortunately, many people will tell you to do just the opposite - finish up with isolation exercises after doing the basic movements. This is totally invalid, however, because any perceiving and experimenting bodybuilder can give the isolation-basic movement order a try and tell the difference quite easily.] 1

[This order of exercises is called the Weider Pre-Exhaustion Principle. Here are a few suggestion:] 1

•  Thighs - (1) leg extensions, (2) sissy squats, (3) squats
•  Chest - (1) flyes, (2)pulley crossovers, (3) bench presses
•  Deltoids - (1) side laterals, (2) press behind neck

[Give any one of these combinations a little trial and you will feel the difference in your workouts very quickly.] 1

Heavy Versus Light Training

[There are basically two schools of thought on how heavily to train. One advocates working out as heavily as possible, while the other recommends training with moderate poundages. The heavy group claims that a massive and dense-looking physique can be built only by using maximum resistance. Such a physique can be built that way, but unless you're as tough as a turtle, training consistently with heavy weights will probably lead to joint problems. Regardless, I do urge you to experiment with this technique. After one joint injury, however, you would be a fool to continue using it.] 1

[The moderate-poundage advocates have demonstrated that superb physiques can be built by using moderate, or even relatively light, poundages. And since far less stress is placed on the joints when using lighter weights, this appears to be the most sensible of the two ways to train.] 1

Lagging Areas, Spurring Growth

Arnold refers to this topic as "The Priority Principle". It basically involves giving lagging areas priority and predominant focus over all the others.

Joe Weider writes the following with respect to getting lagging areas of the body to catch up with the rest of the body: [The way to start a body part moving back into line is to concentrate on it. Treat the sub-par muscle groups differently. What you need to do is show no mercy to the pitiful wretches.] 1

[Bomb them harder. Blitz them more often. Bury them under tons of weights. Hit them with less rest between sets. Put more mental effort into it. In short, hound the lagging areas as hard as you can until they give up and grow.] 1

He introduces the Weider Muscle Priority Training Principle, which seems similar in nature to the Weider Pre-Exhaustion Principle discussed in the topic Basic Versus Isolation Movements. [With this training method, you should do a lagging muscle group first in your routine, when both your mental and physical energies are at peak levels. This will allow you to bomb a muscle group to the limit, using every intensity-training technique in your bodybuilding arsenal.] 1

[An extension of Muscle Priority Training involves devoting an entire training day to the lagging muscle group. This method works particularly well when your legs are lagging behind the rest of your body. Lou Ferrigno brought up his lagging thighs in this manner during his late teens by Squatting and doing other heavy thigh training on a single day each week and then training the rest of his body the next day. It worked well for him, so this extension of Muscle Priority Training should work just as well for you.] 1 Although, this is counter to what Joe Weider says in the introduction above, that different things work for different people.

Breaking Through Plateaus and Muscle Confusion

[At a certain point it becomes very difficult to get more out of your workouts. You're working as heavy as you can, so you can't add more weight. You're already doing as many sets as possible and training as often as you can without overtraining. So what do you do now?] 2

[Your muscles will grow only when they are subjected to an overload. They will not respond to anything less. Muscles will not grow bigger or stronger unless you force them to. Making your muscles contract against a level of resistance they are not used to will eventually cause them to adapt and grow stronger. But once they have adopted sufficiently, this progress will stop. When this happens, the only way to make your muscles continue to grow is by further increasing the amount of overload to which you subject them. And the primary way of doing this is to add weight to your exercises.] 2

[Of course, this increase in resistance has to be done gradually. Using too much weight too soon usually makes it impossible for you to perform your sets using the proper technique, and can often increase your risk of injury as well.] 2

[Getting better results at this point is a matter of increasing your training intensity. What do I mean by that? Simple. Intensity is a measure of what you get out of your training, not what you put into it. What kinds of techniques can you use to increase intensity? For example, you can:
•  add weight to your exercises;
•  increase the number of reps in your sets;
•  cut down on your rest period between sets;
•  do two or more in a row of an exercise without resting (supersets).] 2

[There are also a number of special-intensity training techniques, many depending on the participation of your workout partner. They include forced reps, burns, forced negatives, supersets, giant sets, partial reps, and rest/pause.] 2

Benefit of Aerobic Exercise

Discussed in this factor is: what types of cardio to do, how often, how many days per week, and how much time per day.

[I have always believed that cardiovascular endurance is almost as important to a bodybuilder as muscle endurance. Hard training results in a buildup of lactic acid in the muscles being used - a waste product of the process that produces the energy for muscular contraction. If the heart, lungs, and circulatory system have been able to provide enough oxygen to the area, the lactic acid will be reprocessed by the body into a new source of energy; if not, the buildup will eventually prevent further contraction, leading to total muscular failure.] 2

[I have always liked to run several miles a day to develop my aerobic capacity. Some bodybuilders, however, find that running does not suit them or causes them to have problems with their legs and ankles, so they seek other ways of developing cardiovascular conditioning - using bicycles, treadmills, steppers, and other types of aerobic equipment. The fact is, the better conditioned your heart, lungs, and circulatory system, the more intense training you will be able to do in the gym and the more progress you will make as a bodybuilder.] 2

Arnold's bodybuilding book states some benefits of aerobic exercise with respect to bodybuilding:
[•  It helps you to increase the ability of your lungs to take oxygen from the air and transfer it to the bloodstream.
•  It increases the capacity of your heart to pump large volumes of blood through the circulatory system and to the muscles.
•  It increases the number and size of the capillaries that bring blood to specific muscles.
•  It increases the capacity of the cardiovascular system to flush lactic acid (which causes the feeling of burning in the muscles during intense exercise) out of the muscles.] 2

How Hard To Train

[There is a big difference in the level of intensity that beginning, intermediate, or competition bodybuilders need - or, in fact, can achieve. When you are starting out, just getting through your workouts can be such a shock to the body that additional intensity is not required. Intermediate bodybuilders, however, may find that they have to give some thought about how to shock the body into further growth. And competition bodybuilders, who are striving for the ultimate in physical development, must generate an unbelievable amount of intensity.] 2

[The more advanced you become, the harder it is to continue developing and the harder you have to train. This is known as the law of diminishing returns. In 1971, when I was doing thirty sets for shoulders and wanted to shock them into even more development, my training partner, a professional wrestler, told me I didn't have to add more reps, but just to follow him. We started with 100-pound dumbbell presses, then went on down to 90-pound, 80-pound, and 40-pound weights - and then without resting we started doing lateral raises. After a one-minute rest we went back and did the whole thing over again. In one hour I did so many more repititions and sets than normal that my shoulders felt as if they had been tortured! But the bottom line was that it worked.] 2

[Being a little bit sore does indicate you've had a good, hard workout; being very, very sore simply means you've abused your body and should take things a little easier.] 2

[Of course, I haven't always followed my own advice. When I was sixteen years old I was such a fanatic about training that no amount of soreness could possibly have deterred me. In fact, after my very first workout in a gym, after blasting my body as hard as I was able, I actually fell off my bicycle riding home because I was so numb with fatigue. The next day I was so sore I could hardly lift a coffee cup or comb my hair. But I took pleasure in this feeling because it meant I had gotten something out of my training. Many times since I have deliberately bombed a certain body part - done chin-ups all day or countless sets of squats - and ended up sore for a week! I never minded the inconvenience if it meant I had shocked my muscles into growth.] 2

[Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is a first-class bodybuilding physique. Creating a highly developed muscular body means starting out using the basics, learning the necessary skills, developing strength and conditioning over time, and then gradually raising the level of training intensity.] 2

For advanced training, Arnold recommends still doing 4 sets per exercise, but doing high numbers of sets for different areas. This means doing a number of different exercises for the same muscle. He writes [It wasn't until I learned to do fifteen or twenty sets per body part that I felt I was getting enough shape and definition in my physique.] 2 He goes on by writing [It takes a minimum of 4 or 5 exercises to train each major body part, at least 3 for the smaller ones, and this can add up to a total of 20 sets.] 2

Arnold writes the purposes for so many sets [This is not arbitrary or just a matter of personal preference, it is designed with specific physiological purposes in mind: (1) to recruit and innervate all the fiber available to each muscle, then work the muscle to exhaustion in any particular exercise; and (2) to do enough different exercises for every singly body part so that each individual muscle is worked from every andle to creat the fullest possible shape and development - and to be sure that no major muscle of the body escapes this complete stimulation. With the right combination of exercises, you not only develop each individual muscle fully, but also build definition, striations, and a full separation between one muscle group and another.] 2

How To Correctly Perform Movements

[For most purposes, bodybuilding exercises should take any muscle through its longest possible range of motion although, there are some specific exceptions. You should take care to stretch out to full extension, and then come all the way back to a position of complete contraction. This is the only way to stimulate the entire muscle and every possible muscle fiber. So when I'm suggesting you do 8 reps, or 10 reps or more, in each case I am assuming you are going to be doing full-range-of-motion repetitions.] 2

For example this means when doing Barbell Curls, to let your arms go all the way down so that your arms are fully elongated.

Significance of Power Training

[Unless you include low-rep strength training, you will never achieve the hardness and density to create a truly first-class physique.] 2

["If you don't do heavy lifts," my friend Dr. Franco Columbu explains, "it shows immediately onstage. There is a soft look that shows itself clearly." There is abundant scientific and physiological evidence for why this is so. Power training puts tremendous strain on relatively few fibers at a time, causing them to become bigger and thicker (hypertrophy), and they also become packed much tighter together. This contributes enormously to that hard, dense look of the early champions.] 2

[Including some power sets in your program also helps to make you stronger for the rest of your training. You will move up to using heavier weights more quickly, so your muscles will grow that much faster. It also toughens and strengthens your tendons as well as your muscles, so you will be much less likely to strain them while doing higher-repitition training with less weight, even if you should lose concentration at some point and handle the weights with less than perfect technique.] 2

[Heavy training strengthens the attachment of the tendon to bone. Seperating the tendon from the bone is called an avulsion fracture, and the right kind of power training minimizes the possibility of this occuring.] 2

[Muscle size and density created by a program that includes heavy training are easier to maintain for long periods of time, even with a minimum of maintenance training. With high-rep training only, much of the growth is the result of transient factors such as fluid retention and glycogen storage, but muscle made as hard as a granite wall through power training comes as a result of an actual increase in muscle fiber size. Also, as Franco tells me, the muscle cell walls themselves grow thicker and tougher, so they tend to resist shrinking.] 2

[I never wanted to lose the basic thickness, density, and hardness that my early powerlifting training had created. That is why I always scheduled "heavy days" in my training routine. Once a week or so I would pick one body part and go to the maximum with strength moves that worked that area. When training legs, for instance, I would try for a maximum squat; for chest, a maximum strength bench press; and so on. By training this way I would not tax my body to such an extent that it could not recuperate before my next workout. But by going to the maximum on a regular basis, I gained a very accurate perception of just how much progress I was making in developing my strength, and by forcing myself to go to the limit every so often, I counterbalanced the lighter-weight, higher-rep training that made up the majority of my workouts.] 2

[Power sets are the kind a competitive weightlifter would do, training for maximum strength and power. You do a couple of warm-up sets and then choose a heavy weight that lets you do only about 8 reps. Keep adding weight so that your sets become 6, 4, and 3 reps, and do a couple of sets of only one rep. This kind of training teaches your muscles to deal with maximum poundages, in comparison to lighter weights for more reps. power Training works best for exercises that use a lot of muscles at the same time, such as Bench Presses, Squats, and Deadlifts.

How To Breathe During a Movement

["Just relax and let it happen. Don't think about it." But I know that for some people this doesn't work very well, and for them I have a simple rule: Breathe out with effort. For example, if you are doing a squat, take in a breath as you stand with the weight on your shoulders and squat down, and expel your breath as you push yourself back up. As you breathe out, don't hold your breath.] 2

[There is a good reason for this. Very hard contractions of the muscles involve a contraction of the diaphragm as well, especially when you are doing any kind of leg press or squat movement. This increases the pressure in your thoracic cavity (the space in which the lungs fit). If you try to hold your breathe, you could injure yourself. For example, you could hurt your epiglottis, blocking the passage of air through your throat. Breathing out as you perform a maximal effort protects you from this and, some people think, it actually makes you a little stronger.] 2


1. Weider, Joe. Bodybuilding: The Weider Approach. Chicago: Contemporary Books, Inc., 1981.
2. Schwarzenegger, Arnold. The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1985, 1998.
3. Video, "Ronnie Coleman: The Unbelievable!"
4. Video, YouTube, "Ronnie Coleman Interview on Diet from GMV Bodybuilding",
5. Video, YouTube, "Ronnie Coleman cooking & eating breakfast P1"

Joe Weider is a co-founder of the International Federation of Bodybuilders and creator of the Mr. Olympia and Ms. Olympia. He is the publisher of several bodybuilding and fitness-related magazines, such as: Muscle & Fitness, Flex, Men's Fitness, and Shape. He also manufacturs a line of fitness equipment and fitness supplements. In his book he is credited by Andreas Cahling, IFBB Mr. International and IFBB World's Most Musculur Man as the greatest trainer bodybuilding has ever seen, one of its most outstanding promoters, and a friend and confidant of virtually all the top bodybuilders. Joe Weider has trained great bodybuilding champions such as Steve Reeves, Reg Park, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Frank Zane, Sergio Oliva, Franco Columbu, Mike Mentzer, and thousands more. Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks highly of him in his book.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was awarded the title of Mr. Universe at age 22 and went on to win the Mr. Olympia contest a total of seven times. He has remained a prominent face in the sport of bodybuilding long after his retirement, and has written several books and numberous articles on the sport. It is said in his book that he has won more bodybuilding titles than anyone else in the world, including seven Mr. Olympia titles and three Mr. Universe titles.

Both men have conducted extensive research in preparation for writing their books. In this document, it can be seen how the writings of these two great men compliment each other, thus reinforcing the validity of the optimization methods presented herein.

There is much more great knowledge within both books that isn't even listed in this document. Joe Weider's book also covers things like: details about different gym equipment, how to correctly conduct different workouts, along with pictures to aid in explanations, and essential information for the competitive bodybuilder. His book is 216 pages long. Arnold Schwarzenegger's book, which is considerably larger, 800 pages, covers the same things in a similar manner as Joe's book but in more detail and in addition to: the history of bodybuilding, bodybuilding hall of fame, more and bigger pictures, different training programs for different level bodybuilders, 312 pages alone of different exercises, how important the mind is over the body, and extensive information on diet and nutrition such as specific information on each vitamin, and specific meals to eat. Both books are great sources of information on bodybuilding.

Ronnie Coleman is an eight-time Mr. Olympia winner, the highest number of Mr. Olympia wins shared with Lee Haney. He also holds the record for most wins as an IFBB professional with 26.

About me:
I am a mechanical engineer, and as such, I view things as systems and processes. For any system, there are inputs and outputs. Usually, the inputs represent work, energy, or material that is required of the system in order to produce outputs and outputs are what is desired of the system. Viewing the body as the system, and rate of muscle gain as the output, this document represents the set of instructions for managing the system and its inputs to result in the desired output.