Vic Richards, Dorian Yates
In the last few months I have presented some research type articles suggesting new ideas about muscles. Basically, I took the muscles apart, and found out how they ACTUALLY worked, as opposed to how most people THOUGHT they worked. Then I tried to put the facts together into a logical set of conclusions concerning exercise. In this article we will consider the practical applications; the nuts and bolts of training, rather than more research material.
This article will make suggestions very different from many articles you have read, although it may look strangely familiar in spots, because for some time a few of the top men in bodybuilding have used some of the ideas presented here, and with great effect, although probably none of them have used all of the ideas at once.
As the reader doubtless knows, there are many routines which have a greater or lesser potential for building muscle, even though many of them seem contradictory to each other. Very good results have been achieved with a simple program of eight or 10 exercises done for two or three sets, going rather rapidly through the sequence two or three times per week. However, even considering individual differences, in this article we are going to talk about the fastest and most effective method for building muscle size.
Arthur Jones has said in print many times that the body should be worked as a unit, working one body part and going quickly to the next body part, etc., until the entire body is worked in a very short time. Although this is a fine way to build conditioning, many of my friends have found that this did little to build muscle size. In other words, it is a much better conditioning program than a muscle size building program. In such high speed routines, usually it is the whole system that fails, rather than the muscle, after the first couple of sets. So the endurance grows because it was worked to failure, but the muscles do not respond as well in most people.
To build maximum muscle size, in many ways, we want to do just the opposite! So the first principle is:
1) WORK A SMALL AREA OF THE BODY AND THEN LET THE ENTIRE BODY REST FOR AT LEAST 20 MINUTES. Ideally you should work one body part and then let the entire body rest, although good results are had with merely working a small part of the body at one time and then letting the entire body rest in the same way; for example, the chest and shoulders. Obviously this means that you will not work all your body parts in one day. You would split them up over two or three days, even working twice a day or more. Each session will be fairly short, but should be brutally hard.
Not only will you have more energy to complete your workout if you are only working one body part at a time, but the fatigue products produced by the contracting muscles will stimulate growth if they are allowed to remain in the muscle for at least 20 minutes. After that, their chemical messages have been sent and received, and little will be lost if they are removed.
Although I developed this concept of the fatigue theory on a theoretical basis, working from existing data, I found that some people had happened onto the idea experimentally, and used it simply because they found that it worked.
For example, Vince Gironda uses this idea when he has someone who needs results in a very short time, and is willing to work hard. Another example is my friend Ron Thompson, who was five time best legs winner in major contests. Part of the reason is that Ron works his legs at a separate time from anything else. This gives him plenty of time and energy to work them, and allows him to take advantage of the fatigue product theory. That is, after the fatigue products have been created, why remove them before they have time to do their job by going to the next body part?
One of the great success stories of modern bodybuilding is Vic Downs. He did not touch a weight before he was 33, but before he was 40 he was a threat to the best in bodybuilding, having won most muscular of Canada, and making himself felt at the Mr. Universe. In order to accomplish this, even with a good potential, he had to be doing something right. As a matter of fact, he worked only one body part a day, but in his case the results were fantastic.
We could go on, but the point has been made. Of course most of us will not be able to split up our routines to this extent, because of time considerations, psychological reasons, or the inability to use a gym several times a day. But we are considering here a theoretically perfect routine, so that we may make whatever compromises we must in order to come as close to it as our own circumstances permit.
We also assume you already have a certain amount of conditioning before your tackle any advanced routine.
But these things considered, everyone who has made use of the idea so far has made progress.
Since you are trying to avoid increasing the circulation enough to "wash out" the fatigue products before they have time to do their job, DO NOT: "warm down" by doing lighter exercise, do not run right after lifting (wait at least 20 minutes), do not race right into the next body part, and do not allow yourself to get very cold. The cold constricts the blood vessels and squeezes out the fatigue products. All of these things will leave you feeling good, because the fatigue products are no longer irritating the nerve endings, but all of the above will hinder your gains.
Like most chemical reactions, those involving the fatigue products do not proceed evenly, with half the reaction the first 10 minutes and half the next. The reaction starts off fast and then tapers off, perhaps taking a great deal longer than the 20 minutes before it is 100% finished. But a great deal of the reaction is finished after only five or 10 minutes. So for those of us who cannot wait for long periods between body parts, even 5 or 10 minutes will make a difference.
For the second principle, we might consider the fact that Arthur Jones, Vince Gironda, and myself are all agreed on two points, along with many other authorities.
First . . .
that very few bodybuilders work as hard as they should for maximum gains.
It take brutally hard workouts to produce the fast superior gains we are going to talk about.
Second . . .
that most bodybuilders have NO IDEA what really hard work is.
So the second principle is:
2) WORK AS HARD AS POSSIBLE EVERY REP YOU DO! Only by maximum effort every rep is the ultimate muscle stimulation achieved. As I tell people who look at the Ultra Machines I invented, if header work produces better gains, why not go first class and work as hard as possible!
And make no mistake, this is the main reason the Ultra Machines were developed. Not because they are full range, not because they have variable resistance, but because they allow me to work as hard as possible every rep I do by allowing me to assist myself after the first rep with a leg press attachment, making each rep as tough as possible. The attributes above are important, but nothing makes as much difference as working as hard as possible with the tools at your disposal.
Let me clarify that statement by saying that we are talking about doing a repetition that is all you can do in good form. We are not talking about a lift that makes you wobble around for 15 or 20 seconds to finish. After all, if you almost pass out from the first lift, you won't be able to make much effort with the next four or five reps.
Since I covered this type of training in the Sept. '76 IronMan we will only mention it briefly here. But I would like to say it has probably made as much difference to my training as anything.
Note: September, 1976. Great Chet Yorton cover. Page 16. "Ultra High Intensity Workouts for Bulk and Power."
3) USE PLENTY OF ISOLATION WORK IN YOUR ROUTINE. After you have conditioned your muscles with muscle-group (compound) exercises like the bench press and the squat, most of us find that we reach a point where we no longer gain, or at best make progress very slowly.
Because a muscle can work harder during a contraction if it works alone than it can if it is a member of a team, isolation exercises, like triceps extensions and curls will work the muscle harder, and stimulate further growth.
We have found that best progress is made when we start with a compound exercise for each body part, and then do whatever isolation exercises we plan. Thus for the shoulders we do a press behind neck first, and then do lateral raises. If the laterals were done first, you are unable to put much effort into the presses.
Believe me, if you are at a plateau, hard work on isolation exercises will make you grow!
4) USE A VARIETY OF EXERCISES FOR EACH BODY PART. Most exercises only line up a segment of the muscle fibers in each muscle, so working from several angles will more fully develop the muscle. This is true even if you are using some kind of full range resistance machine. For example, pullovers will make the lats thicker, but a reverse lateral motion will make them wider.
This may seem too obvious to put on paper, but a number of people have said in print that they felt you could completely develop a muscle group with one exercise if you do enough total reps. Obviously, they were mistaken.
Don't neglect to do a number of isolation exercises that work the muscle from enough angles so that most of the mass is worked. Ultra machines enable you to do full range exercise with a method of assisting yourself. If you use Nautilus machines, you will have to have a partner assist you after the first rep if you use this kind of training. It is harder to do the maximum-every-rep type training with a dumbbell, but not impossible with a little thought.
No one exercise will develop a muscle as completely as a variety. John Grimek believed in doing one set of 10 exercises rather than 10 sets of one exercise, and he had a symmetry and proportional look that is hard to match.
Even if size was the only consideration. obviously all the fibers in a muscle were worked, you would have a better chance of building great size than if only a few of them are worked.
How many exercises do you use for each body part? The correct answer is as many as it takes to work the muscle properly. Your back muscles will require more exercises to properly work than your triceps, for example. But whatever it takes, that is what you should use.
5) WORK FAIRLY QUICKLY. This may sound like a contradiction to the first principle (work a small area of the body and then let the entire body rest for at least 20 minutes), but it is not. While you want to have a time interval between body parts, you will want to work rather quickly during each body part itself. This is because you are trying to build up a high level of fatigue products in the muscle group, and it is very difficult to do so with long rest pauses, as the bloodstream has plenty of time to remove them between sets, if you rest for five minutes between sets. I realize that large muscles have been built by heavy weights and long rests between sets, but we are speaking here of building the most muscle possible, as fast as we are theoretically able.
6) LIGHT FLUSHING MOVEMENTS DONE AT A SEPARATE TIME FROM YOUR WORKOUT WILL REMOVE THE FATIGUE PRODUCTS AND AUGMENT YOUR RECOVERY ABILITY, AS WELL AS REDUCING SORENESS, he screamed. I used to frequently feel that if I was attacked in an alley, I would probably be too sore to defend myself. I always worked very hard during my training.
But once I discovered that light reps, done after the main workout would greatly reduce soreness I have used the idea ever since. As an added effect, it will increase your recovery ability, and you will respond faster to training.
I do some very light movements late in the day, using 20 pound dumbbells in a dumbbell press, etc. No attempt should be made to tax the muscle, as this should have been done during the workout. You should attempt to increase the blood flow with as little stress to the muscle as possible. If this is done at least 20 minutes after the training is done, the fatigue products have done their work and can be safely removed.
Running and light manual labor have a similar effect. Thus you may have better progress when doing some kind of light work, than when not working at all. This brings us to the last principle, which is:
7) MAINTAIN AT LEAST A MINIMUM AMOUNT OF CARDIOVASCULAR CONDITIONING. A little jogging at a separate time from your training will actually increase your training results, rather than hindering them. Because the blood supply must remove the waste products and deliver the nutrients to rebuild the muscle, the more efficient the cardiovascular system is up to a point, the faster you will recover from your workouts, and the better you will progress.
However, too much running or any other conditioning will slow down or stop your gains. Russian research indicates that at this time at least, it is not possible to build great endurance at the same time as great strength. Long distance runners do not make great bodybuilding champions. Whatever you may have been told, routines that build maximum endurance DO NOT build maximum muscle size.
The amount of conditioning your need seems to vary enormously. You will want to experiment with different amounts. Some people claim they get all the conditioning they need from the workouts with the weights, but most of us need to do some conditioning work at a different time. Specific endurance for a particular muscle is different from the conditioning of the entire system.
Now that we have covered the basic principles of building muscle as fast and as much as possible, we are ready to look at some sample routines. Once again I must mention that we are talking about a theoretically perfect routine, and then we can make whatever compromises we must. Most of us simple do not have the time available to follow the above ideas exactly as they are written but they give us something to work toward. And who knows what will happen to those who are able to follow the ideas exactly? For the time being, take my word that NO ONE HAS EVER REACHEDE HIS POTENTIAL either in strength or size.
We are going to use Ultra Machine movements in this sample routine because, once again, we are talking about best results, from a routine as perfect as we can make it. Most people will have to substitute regular barbell and dumbbell movements, or Nautilus movements with partners to assist. Some of the important movements do not exist on Nautilus machines, and must be improvised.
The sample routine looks like this, with one set of each exercise done for round 10 reps in an assisted set.
Press Behind Neck
Thumbs Up Lateral Raise
Bench or Incline Press
Forward Rotation (a kind of full range front raise)
45 degree flyes or torso machine chest movement
Supinations on Special Pulley
Regular curl, stretch position
(arms in back of body like incline curl)
Contracted or curl-behind-neck position
Stretched position, overhead triceps extension
Mid-range, lying extension
Contracted position, kickbacks
Reverse Wrist Curl
Super Grip Machine
All of the above except the grip machine and the supinations are done on the Super Arm Machine.
Squat or Full Range Leg Press
Full Range Leg Extension
Full Range Leg Curl
Pulldown or Chin
Lateral Machine for Lats
Back Machine for Erectors
Those interested in lifting strength should add some pulling or deadlifting at the beginning of this day.
This will give you about 35 sets spread over three days. This may not sound like much, but it will be plenty, if each repetition is all you can do.
As mentioned, we have included things you probably do not have available, because we are talking about an ideal routine. Most people will do best using only one set of each exercise. Some may want to do two or three sets of each, but this may NOT be more effective.
The number of reps will vary with the individual and with different muscle groups. I will explain further in the book we have mentioned before, The Ultimate Bulk and Power Routine. For now, you will want to experiment with different numbers of repetitions for various movements.
You can either repeat the sequence after one day of rest, or you can go through the sequence twice a week and then rest one day.
As mentioned also, most of us do not have the time to spend on a routine such as this, and perhaps the emotional energy necessary as well. Other factors also may prevent us from doing so.
Many people decide that they do not want to devote themselves to their training to this extent, but would like a routine that would give good results with somewhat less time in the gym.
One of my friends uses a routine that takes four evenings a week, but retains many of the best points of the above routine. He gains at a fast rate, while working a responsible job, and living a social life. His name is Dave Allen and you will probably hear more about him.
His abbreviated version of the routine looks like this:
45 degree Incline Flyes
Chest Movement on Ultra Machine
Regular Grip Laterals
Thumbs Up Laterals
Rest 10-15 minutes
Lateral Movement for Lats
Incline DB Curl
Contracted, or Curl Behind Neck
Rest 10-15 minutes
Overhead Triceps Extension, stretched position
Lying Extension, middle position
Kickback, fully contracted position
Rest 10-15 minutes
Rest 10-15 minutes
And there you have it. A compromise that still includes most of the good points of the longer routine, but to a lesser degree. Progress is still very good on this kind of routine. Of course Dave owns five of the Ultra machines and so has them handy.
We will make more discoveries about nutrition, and we are working on ways to augment the recovery ability, increase nutrient absorption, etc. But as far as exercise to stimulate the muscle goes, the principles listed above are close to ideal.
A few more points should be mentioned:
We usually do a few abdominal exercises with our conditioning work, whatever we may choose for cardiovascular work. We use one position on the Super Back and Leg machine for ab work that is very concentrated, and does not require a lot of reps and sets.
It goes without saying that diet, rest and mental attitude cannot be overestimated in importance. But these are complex subjects to other articles, even though they are as important as the routine.
Although the routines listed will give great increases in size and strength, there are always compromises in the best routines.
There is no routine that is best at everything. We have already mentioned the fact that some other training is used to create cardiovascular ability, and that the routine is time consuming, even though each segment of the workout is rather short.
One thing the routine is NOT intended for is to build great strength in a particular lift. True, the routine will build both muscle size and strength, but to have outstanding strength for your size in a particular "groove" requires changes in the nervous system and in the muscle. The principles involved are rather more complex than those involved in building size, even if the routines are not. But this too is a subject for another article. Great weights have been lifted in various lifts, but even better results will be received from the Ultimate Strength Routine. I hope to finish this article soon.
Enjoy Your Lifting!