From this Issue - April 1968
How Many Sets, How Many Reps?
The main problem most bodybuilders want to overcome is a perceived slowness in bulking up. They want to know how to put on more muscle quick!
Basically this problem can be solved by exercises that are employed on a high set / low rep schedule. The number of sets can vary from 4 to 10 an the reps from 5 to 7, or a few more if you're 'forcing' the reps at the end. It's the additional one or two reps you force out at the end of each set that makes the bulking program work so much better. However, because the far heavier weight you will use in each exercise, especially when you force out extra reps, makes terrific demands on your body, you will have to rest thoroughly between sets. Try to keep the rest periods below three minutes, though.
I believe it is best to work only the larger muscle groups (chest, shoulders, thighs, arms, upper back) in bulking up. In this overall mass / size program the minor muscle groups (calves, forearms, neck, traps, leg biceps etc.) will also gain some size as the entire body becomes bigger from the bulk program. [as a wise man once said, "Traps happen."]
I'll outline two bulk programs here. The second should be used by more advanced lifters, however, when the first program begins to stall, going on to the second will keep the gains coming in most cases. So, the first program. There aren't many exercises in this one, so keep on pushing the weights up more and more in all the exercises whenever you can.
Program One: The 6 x 6 x 6
Choose one exercise per major muscle group and do 6 to 10 sets of 6 reps of each exercise. You'll have to first determine which parts of your body need more work, and then allot more sets to those areas. Keep the number of sets to no less than 6, and on days when you're feeling extra energy and inspiration, go for the whole 10 x 6 reps on all 6 exercises. Here's an example:
1) Bench Press
4) Incline Dumbbell Curl
5) Lying Triceps Extension
6) Press Behind Neck
Now, if your thighs are mild and your chest is wild, you should be doing 10 sets of 6 on the squats and only 6 x 6 on the bench press. Or, if your arms aren't up to snuff, then do 10 sets of 6 on the Curl and the Extensions. Remember, however, to keep conscious of the truth of what your physique looks like, lest you wind up looking like a big armed light bulb walking around on toothpick legs.
Program Two: The 6 x 6 / 6 x 8
In this layout you'll be choosing two exercises for each major muscle group (chest, shoulders, thighs, arms, upper back). One of the exercises for each muscle group should be a heavy exercise, a big movement that allows you to use big weights. The other should be more of a shaping exercise, something of an isolation movement. For example, for the shoulders I would pick the Press Behind Neck for a heavy movement and Incline Side Lateral Raises for a shaping movement. There's a lot of exercises to pick from, so you shouldn't have any trouble keeping your training fresh over time.
So, choose 2 exercises each for all six of the major muscle groups. Do 6 x 6 reps on the heavy exercises and 4 x 8 on the shaping movements. Here's an example, one of many variations available:
Bench Press, 6 x 6
Incline Flye, 4 x 8
Pulldown, 6 x 6
One Arm DB Row, 4 x 8
Press Behind Neck, 6 x 6
Seated Side Laterals, 4 x 8
Front Squat, 6 x 6
Hack Squat, 4 x 8
Incline DB Curl, 6 x6
One Arm Concentration Curl, 4 x 8
Lying Extension, 6 x 6
Pressdown, 4 x 8
Make sure to keep adding weight on the heavy exercises and taking good sized rests between the sets. On the shaping movements, try to get a better contraction and extension on every rep, adding weight when possible but not at the expense of strong feel.