THE BEST EXERCISES
To obtain maximum results from a training session there are some basic concepts which must be followed. I have already discussed some of these with you -- important factors like the proper mental attitude, concentration, training effort, sleep, nutrition, etc.
One very important concept I would like to speak to you about -- THE BEST FUNDAMENTAL EXERCISES for the individual body parts.
The exercises that I'm going to list first for each bodypart may seem simple and not exciting on paper, but these are the exercises which have built the novice right up to the champion bodybuilder, and given them their basic FOUNDATION for power and physical strength.
The second group of exercises are additional choices that the INTERMEDIATE (a bodybuilder who has been training consistently for more than one year and is still learning), or ADVANCED (one who has many years of training behind him and knows what is working for him) bodybuilder may want to use from time to time in his program for the benefit of wider variety.
The third group of exercises will build tremendous TENDON AND LIGAMENT strength in the main support areas of the body.
REMEMBER THAT GROUPS 2 AND 3 ARE TO BE USED ONLY BY INTERMEDIATE AND ADVANCED BODYBUILDERS WHO HAVE REACHED A DESIRED DEVELOPMENT AND POWER. Those of you who are early into a weight training life will obtain "best" results by following the recommendations in group one when trying to make the initial gains in bodyweight and basic power.
EXPANDER TRAINING is another very good form of exercise for strengthening the ligaments and tendons. As you pull the expanders throughout the full range of movement more and more tension is put on the tendons and ligaments of the upper torso. It is through this type of training that these areas are strengthened in a very different way from weight training.
Physical energy expenditure is not a constant factor. We all experience high and low energy cycles. You must learn to recognize your personal energy levels and adjust them to your daily workouts. On the days you are high in energy, strive for more reps and heavier poundages. On the low energy days, train moderately, but don't miss the workout!
As I mentioned (Ref: Workout Frequency) earlier, "You can't do justice to a workout that incorporates all the bodyparts in one workout. This practice invariably causes a standstill in progress due to the enormous drain on the body's resources -- even if your diet and rest are adequate. So never use more than 8 to 12 exercises in a workout if you desire to make the most progress.
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Before I outline some result producing training programs, I will mention that even the most result producing schedule will only remain totally effective for about two months. You should then very your training about every two months, changing SOMETHING -- exercises, sets, or reps or a stricter style -- any change will help. Approaching your training in this manner you will find that you are shocking your muscles and they will be forced to respond and grow.
A good point to remember when training is that each of us has a certain bodypart which grows faster than the others, or we have a certain area that is stronger than the others. Therefore we should work this area less than the others. Use these superior bodypart and strength areas as your guide to bring all the other areas to their high level of development.
Let's look at some workout programs . . .
Here's a SIMPLE, but result producing routine of 'basic exercises' that a beginner to bodybuilding might want to use:
Monday/Wednesday/Friday -- Chest/Lats/Calves/Forearms
One Leg Calf Raise
Barbell Wrist Curl, palms up.
Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday -- Thighs/Delts/Biceps/Triceps
Parallel Squat superset Light Pullovers
Press Behind Neck
I will leave the choice of sets and reps up to you. Follow the guidelines under Choosing Sets and Reps in Part Four.
For those of you following this program and desiring to develop a larger chest circumference, I offer you this suggestion. The ONLY answer for a flat chest is breathing squats (at least 20 reps a set) with plenty of huffing and puffing between reps, holding the chest full of air while you go down, exhaling on the way up, making yourself completely breathless when you do them. Immediately after your set of squats, while still puffing, do LIGHT straight arm pullovers (no more than a 20-lb. bar or dumbbell, because anything heavier will restrict ribcage expansion). Do these about 20 reps also, stretching the ribcage all you can. You will feel an ache in the sternum if you do these two exercises properly, because the chest box and cartilage are stretching.
Here's a good routine for endurance and fitness that can be followed in less than one half-hour per day:
Heavy Breathing Squat: 2 x 20 reps
Breathing Straight Arm Pullovers: 2 x 20
Wide Grip Pullups: 2 x 8
Dips: 2 x 10
Jog One Mile
High Incline Situps: 1 x 50
Lying Leg Raise: 1 x 50.
All the top bodybuilders realize the importance of systematic exercise even if time only permits a few minutes each day. When your time is restricted here is a program you might like to follow:
Knees Bent Situps: 1 x 50
Straight Arm Pullover: 1 x 25
Barbell Curl: 1 x 10
Parallel Squat or Front Squat: 1 x 15.
The sequence or order of performance of these movements is such that the poundages increase with progressiveness so as to eliminate a loss of time adding or removing the plates in a more haphazard manner. This program can be completed in less than 15 minutes. Follow three times per week on nonconsecutive days.
Note: The concept of adding weight to the bar right from the beginning of a workout clear through to the end, always moving to the heavier exercises so there's no time spent removing plates is worth a good long look. You can create some very interesting routines within this format.
Travel frequently? Planning a vacation? Here's a routine that only requires the use of expanders and a set of hand grippers:
Three days per week on nonconsecutive days do the following:
Cable Training - one arm curls; chest pulls in front of body, chest pull from behind the back, two hand upright rowing.
Perform 2 sets of 10 to 12 reps on each movement This is all that is necessary to promote additional size and strength factors, as long as MAXIMUM EFFORT IS APPLIED. Always concentrated on pulling, curling, etc., the cables through the full range of the movement. This will help to stimulate muscle growth because of the increased tension on the ligaments, tendons and muscles. For added muscularity hold the maximum stretched position for a slight second before beginning the next repetition.
You can apply this cable training wherever you are, and the cables fit easily into your luggage.
Now, after you have finished your cable training, begin squeezing the hand grippers in the normal manner, but hold in the fully tensed position for one second for each rep. Do only one set of these, but to to FAILURE. Now finish off your program with some very strict pushups. Go to failure on these also. Aim for 50 to 75 reps.
Every Day -- finish off your program with as many lying leg raises as you can do. Keep continuous tension on the abs. You'll find with this program that you will experience energy that you haven't felt when training with barbells. This is because with barbells your body uses a lot of unnecessary energy just supporting you and the barbell. This just doesn't happen using the lightweight cables and the bodyweight exercise movements.
For those of you who desire to become involved in competitive bodybuilding, here's a good schedule for you to get started on. Alternate Schedule No. 1 and Schedule No. 2 doing each one twice a week.
BODYBUILDING SCHEDULE NO.1 (Monday/Thursday)
1) Chins Behind Neck: 4 x 8
2) Press Behind Neck: 3 x 8
3) Front Bar Lateral Raises: 2 x 10
4) Bench Press: 4 x12
5) Flat Flyes: 3 x 8
6) Straight Arm Pullovers: 3 x 20
7) Pulldowns: 3 x 12
8) Preacher Curls: 3 x 12
9)Cheat Curls: 3 x 4
BODYBUILDING SCHEDULE NO. 2 (Tuesday/Friday)
1) One Leg Calf Raise (30 full reps, 30 partial burns): 2 x 60
2) Full Squat: 4 x 12
3) Lying French Press: 4 x 8
4) Triceps Pressdown: 4 x 20
5) Wrist Curls, palms up: 3 x 20
6) Incline Situps: 3 x 50
7) Front Bends: 2 x 50
8) Side Bends: 2 x 50
9) Dips: 4 x10
These programs are just a few of the many approaches to acquisition of this thing we call size and strength.
Only with INTELLIGENCE and a WILL TO LEARN about your particular system can maximum growth, strength and health be realized. So it is with this thought that I am going to list 10 FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES that will help you along in your training endeavors for years to come.
1) Strive to obtain a symmetrical physique.
2) Squats are the most important single exercise for a beginner or an advanced bodybuilder.
3) Learn all you possibly can from the physical culture magazines, and text books and courses on the subject of bodybuilding and strength.
4) Study about the effects of proper nutrition.
5) Talk to people who have contributed to and are deeply involved in bodybuilding.
6) Always keep alert to new ideas and developments in the bodybuilding field.
7) Believe in yourself.
8) Never rate yourself in comparison to others.
9) Strive to better past performances and goals.
10) Don't make excuses to miss workouts.
Enjoy Your Lifting!