A Bulking Schedule
by Bradley J. Steiner (1971)
It seems that two problems, or questions, are uppermost in the minds of many young trainees. The first is, “How can I gain weight?” The second question, the ever-present “big arms question,” is by far the most common, and when you come right down to it, both questions are directly connected to each other. You can’t follow a well-planned bulking schedule without adding to your arm size. You might think that all a gaining program will do is fatten you up, but I’ll tell you quite honestly that the average lifter will make umpteen times the gains – ON HIS ARMS – from following a good all-round gaining routine than he will from following all of the super-blitzing arm specialization schedules yet devised. The reason is simple.
The arms do not possess very heavy or powerful muscle groups. They tend (especially with harder gainers and most small framed individuals) to break down more than they build up if the trainee tries to blitz and blast his limbs into super-rapid gains. On the other hand, when a gaining routine (emphasized leg and back work) is employed, then the indirect action that the arms receive from the extremely heavy holding, lifting, pulling, pressing, etc., serve to coax them into making the best gains possible along with the added muscular bodyweight. Only very slight localized (isolation) exercise is then needed for the arms – when a good bulking program is followed. In fact, very moderate amounts of arm work, when included in a properly designed bulk-up routine, should be more than enough to bring about excellent gains. So, if you’ve been hammering your head against your flat bench because your arms won’t budge no matter how hard you train them, or if you’re among the majority or lifters who desire a pleasingly well-developed, bulkier physique instead of your present sparrow dimensions, I think that it will pay you well to devote very careful attention to the following training routine, and the advice contained in this article. There’s a very, very good chance it’s the solution to your problem and an answer to those two questions above.
The key exercise in the bulking routine that we shall outline here is, of course, the squat. But you’re going to be using it in a variety of ways for the duration of a four-month training period. the aim of this routine will be to build lots of good, solid bodyweight – and to do it fast. Follow the course exactly as you find it enumerated here, and you’ll be a different person four months from now. You’ll be heavier, stronger, and very well prepared to go on and build closer to your limits in development. But before you plunge into your training, let me suggest the following:
First, take a nice, clear week off from any training you may have been doing. I assure you that if you start this program (which is quite severe) when you’re rested and fresh, you’ll make infinitely greater progress in the long run.
Second, cut out ALL other physically demanding sports and pastimes for the four months. You will only slow your progress by detracting from the energy that might be better spent on your workouts.
Third, drink two quarts of whole milk every single day while you’re on this gaining routine. This, in itself, will do more to insure adequate protein intake than all of the supplements you could use, and cost a lot less, too!
Fourth, sleep eight hours or more each and every night.
Fifth, eat lots (and I mean lots) of meats, eggs, fish, poultry, peanut butter, whole wheat spaghetti, and fruits and vegetables.
Remember these points, because to the extent that you adhere to them, they will add materially to the progress that you make in your training.
Remember this also: You must constantly strive to lift the MAXIMUM POUNDAGE you are capable of, without cheating. I get lots of mail from guys who say that they just can’t use the limit poundages that I advocate. Apparently these gentlemen misunderstand what I’m talking about when I speak of “limit poundages.” I mean the maximum weight for you as an individual, in accordance with your PRESENT level of development – weights that you can use in correct lifting style, for the required number of reps and sets. I am not speaking of arbitrarily drawn up poundage schedules that I am insisting you force your body to adjust to. This is absurd. I try to be reasonable, and I don’t suggest that you must exercise with poundages approaching
Without some scheme trying to work with heavier and heavier weights you’ll only reach a standstill in the progress you make. And now for your four-month program.
I want you to keep a record of the work you do during this schedule. Record your routines, exercises, sets, reps, poundages, etc. in a notebook and also keep a small notation of how you feel at the completion of each workout. If you find that, for example, you train for three consecutive sessions and are constantly lethargic, then you’ll have provided yourself with a reminder to really wake up and work starting with your next workout. Should you see, on the other hand, that you’re quite satisfied with your progress – GREAT! Seeing just those very words right there in front of you on the paper will serve to inspire you to even greater efforts (and hence better gains) in future training sessions.
You might think that small items, such as this type of record keeping, are nothing more than trifles, but keep this very important point in mind – nothing that may help you to achieve any of your goals can be considered “unnecessary.” I’ve always found that keeping a training record helps immeasurably, and I’ve spoken to several other men in the weight game who agree 100 percent.
Hoping that you’ve assimilated the advice I’ve given here – and hoping that you will always keep it in mind as you train – here is your first month’s schedule:
1.) Warm up with Prone Hyperextensions – 2 sets of 15-20 reps.
2.) Breathing Squat – 1 set of 20.
3.) Light Dumbell Breathing Pullovers – 1 x 15.
4.) Stiff Legged Deadlift – 2 x 15.
5.) Bentover Barbell Row – 4 x 10.
6.) Straddle Lift – 2 x 10.
7.) Standing Barbell Press – 2 x 8-10.
Follow this schedule on three non-consecutive days each week for one month. That’s a total of only 12 workouts – yet, if you work hard enough, eat well and get enough rest – then it will be just enough to start triggering gains all over your body, and coaxing your metabolism into adding some bulk to your frame. And it will prepare you for your second month’s routine:
1.) Warm up with rapid flip snatches – 2 sets of 6 reps.
2.) Alternate Dumbell Press – 2 x 10.
3.) Close Grip Barbell Curl – 1 x 10-12.
4.) Breathing Squat – 2 x 15.
5.) Light Pullovers after each squat set – 2 x 15-20.
6.) Bench Press – 2 x 10.
7.) Stiff-legged Deadlift – 2 x 15.
8.) Bentover Barbell Row – 3 x 12-15.
Follow this schedule for another month. Three days a week on alternate days. After two months you ought to be in really high gear, so here’s a routine that you should use for your third month of training, that will jolt your growing muscles into a slightly new groove and keep it growing.
1.) Warm up with Leg Raises – 1 x 15-25.
2.) Standing Press Behind Neck – 4 x 8.
3.) Squat (in breathing style – 3 deep breaths between each rep with absolute limit poundages) – 5 x 8-10.
4.) Flat Flyes between sets of squats – 5 x 10.
5.) Bench Press – 4 x 6.
6.) Power Cleans – 5 x 5.
7.) Good Mornings – 4 x 8-10.
After this third month you should be noticing a change in your body, if indeed you haven’t sooner. For the fourth month (three alternate days a week) let’s wind this gaining cycle up with another variation:
1.) Warm up with rapid Flip Snatches – 2 x 6.
2.) Seated Press Behind Neck – 4 x 5-8.
3.) Squat (breathing style, three breaths between each rep) – 1 x 20, this time with every ounce of weight you can handle for the one set.
4.) Pullovers after squats – 1 x 25.
5.) Stiff-legged Deadlift – 3 x 15.
6.) Bentover Barbell Row – 5 x 10-12.
7.) Barbell Curls – 2 x 8-10.
There’s four months of workouts to help you push forward to bigger gains in strength and development. You could make a big change in yourself if you start this program and stick with the hard work through it all. That’s what you want, isn’t it?