Thursday, July 16, 2015

The 3 - 7 - 12 Layout - Paul Niemi (1979)





Many beginners who read the physical culture magazines are continually changing their routines almost weekly as they discover the various schedules the physique stars follow. Gains slow down and even stop with this constant shifting. And if you don't follow a particular routine with a positive mental attitude, progress can also cease. I know this is true because I've personally made better progress in three months of hard work on a basic routine than I did in a year of half-hearted routine changing.

A beginner (or any lifter at the appropriate time) should pick a basic all-around routine, stick to it for at least two months, and train hard. Don't spend your time searching for the "perfect" schedule.

Times will come, however, especially if you train alone, when you'll feel like skipping a workout, or after getting halfway through you'll feel as if you just don't want to change the weights again to do the next exercise. On other days you'll be full of energy and feel like working through a double routne.

One good solution is to use the 3-7-12 system, which will help you vary your training from workout to workout depending on how you feel on that particular day. Plan on training three days a week, and don't miss a workout. Use 7 exercises at most sessions. Pick one exercise from each numbered item in the following list:

Situp or Leg Raises (warmup) - 1 x 25-50.
1) Squats: front, back, or hack.
2) Heel Raises: donkey, seated, or standing.
3) Chest Work: barbell or dumbbell bench presses.
4) Back Work: chins, rows, or deadlifts.
5) Shoulder Work: regular or behind the neck presses, or lateral raises.
6) Arm Work: barbell or dumbbell curls.
7) Waist Work: crunches or leg raises.

Start with 2 to 3 sets of 5-10 reps for each exercise except waist work (25-50), and calf work (15-25).

On those days when you don't feel much like training, use just three exercises. Pick one exercise from each group of the following and do 5-7 sets of 3-5 reps each:

1) Legs: front, back, or hack squats.
2) Chest: bench presses, or dips.
3) Back: rows, chins, deadlifts, or power cleans.

If you have very little interest on a particular day, you can even use the same weight in all three exercises. For example, take 150 lbs and do front or hack squats, stiff-legged or regular deadlifts, and bench presses.

If you feel really ambitious on a particular day, use 12 exercises:

1) Situps: 1 x 50
2) Squats: 3 x 8-10, alternated with
3) Stiff-arm Pullovers: 3 x 10-15
4) Calf Raises: 3 x 15-25
5) Good Mornings, or Stiff Legged Deadlifts: 3 x 8-10
6) Presses, or Behind the Neck Presses: 3 x 8-10
7) Lateral Raises: 3 x 8-10
8) Bench Presses: 3 x 8-10
9) Rows, or Chins: 3 x 8-10
10) Curls: 3 x 8-10
11) Lying Triceps Extensions: 3 x 8-10
12) Leg Raises: 3 x 25-50

I'm not going to tell you that you should be squatting with 500 lbs or overhead pressing 300. This will only discourage you. Even many of the top men don't use the goal weights recommended by some authors. It's not so important what you are using now even if it's only 75 lbs. What is important is how you're progressing.You must try to increase your weights regularly even if you only add 2.5 lbs to the bar at a time.

It would be foolish for you as a beginner to set a 500- or even a 400-lb squat as a goal. What you should do is set a goal of adding 2.5 to 5 lbs to your squat every workout, or every week, but make haste sensibly, slowly, and steadily.

A good rule to follow in doing your exercises is to raise the bar rapidly (dynamically) and lower it slowly (with concentration). 

Try this routine and give it at least a two or three month trial.
I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results, and it will allow you to better learn how to deal with stronger and weaker days in your training.









  

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