Upper Body Specialization
by Anthony Ditillo
If you have been reading my articles for any time whatsoever and if you have been following my advice as best you can, then I am almost POSITIVE that by this time you will want to specialize on your upper body for one of two reasons. One reason is that from all the power training and bulk-building articles you have been following you have reached a point where additional bulk is not desirable, and would mar your chances of a well-shaped physique. What you need is an upper body specialization routine which will revamp your muscular shape and delineation and will, on the whole, make your entire upper body appear more massive and yet more defined. Another reason for your needing the advice I am giving could also be a situation of ‘back-fired inspiration.’ What I mean is that from following all the heavy leg and back exercise movements which I have been stressing, you have developed a pair of bulky legs and hips and these bodyparts may take away from the appearance of your upper body, which for some reason has not developed in such a fast and impressive fashion. What you will need is a training routine which will add MUSCULAR BULK to your upper body and at the same time will maintain the lower body size and power so that afterwards there remains a man who is huge and massive and powerful ALL OVER!
First and foremost, we shall endeavor to deal with the problems of the overbulked bodybuilder who has done too much of a good thing and now has to overhaul his entire upper body in order to show any true impressive shape. What this man needs is a combination of things. He needs to follow the right type of diet, and he must follow this diet most faithfully or he will only half-succeed. Such a diet must be high in its protein content and quite low in the amounts of carbohydrates and fats that it contains. However, we cannot cut these foodstuffs out altogether even if we wanted to, for they are necessary for the proper utilization of protein, and without an adequate supply of these energy foods the protein you are eating for muscular development would be used for training energy.
I would think that a ratio of about 70% protein and 30% fats and carbohydrates should be just about the right amount, but you will have to experiment to find the right way to YOU. The KINDS of proteins and carbohydrates etc., which are used in the diet are important also. Just as the best sources of protein are meats, eggs, fish and milk, so too, the best sources of natural carbohydrates are fruits and vegetables, and the best sources of fats are corn and safflower oil. So don’t think that by stuffing your mouth full of cakes and pies in place of fruits and vegetables you are getting away with anything, because you are not. Just as the best sources of protein produce the best results in muscular development, so do the best sources of energy foods produce the most availability of energy with the least accumulation of body fat.
Upper body specialization for reshaping the physique while maintaining all the possible upper body bulk that you can is no easy matter. You must work wisely and you must work hard. Instead of performing many, many singles with 90% of your one repetition limit, as I have lately been advising you to do for continued bulk and power gains, you must cease this heavy single work and go in for more repetitions and instead of working muscle groups you must begin be selecting separate movements for separate parts of these muscles. Such as the upper and the lower portion of the chest or the deltoid taken into consideration as a three-headed muscle instead of one large muscular bulk of coordinated lumps of tissue.
The following routine is an upper body routine which will literally transform the appearance of your entire physique:
Monday & Thursday – Chest and Back
(a) Incline Dumbell Press – 5 sets of from 6 to 8 reps using all weight possible for each set.
(b) Flat Bench Flyes – 5 sets of from 8 to 10 reps using all weight possible for each set.
(c) Parallel Bar Dips – 5 sets of all possible reps per set.
(d) Lat Machine Pulls – 5 sets of from 5 to 7 reps using all the weight you can take.
(e) Shoulder Shrugs – 5 sets of 8 to 10 reps using all weight possible.
(f) Stiff Leg Deadlifts – 5 sets of 8 to 10 reps using all weight possible.
You have thoroughly exercised all the muscles of the chest and back and you should finish up this routine with one set of situps and one set of leg raises using as many reps as you possibly can for each set.
Tuesday & Friday – Arms and Shoulders
(a) Press Behind Neck – 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps using all weight possible for each set.
(b) Scott Bench Curl – 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps using all weight possible.
(c) Lying Triceps Extension – 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps using all weight possible.
(d) Scott Bench Reverse Curl – 5 sets of 8 to 10 reps using all weight possible.
(e) Upright Rowing – 5 sets of 8 to 10 reps using all weight possible.
(f) Tiger Bend Pushups – 5 sets of as many reps as you can possibly perform.
This above routine has attacked the biceps, triceps, forearms and all three heads of the deltoids. The reps are high enough to burn off some fat with the help of a proper diet and the sets are not TOO hard not TOO soft, so that you must work and work hard. You should follow up this routine with 2 sets of situps and leg raises performing as many reps as you possible can for each set.
The following third part of this routine consists of abdominal movements and leg movements of a light nature to stimulate fat oxidation and help, along with the proper diet, to burn fat while maintaining and maybe even building additional muscle tissue.
Wednesday & Saturday
(a) Breathing Squats – 1 set of 20 to 25 reps using half of your usual squatting poundage and taking 4 deep breaths between each and every repetition.
(b) Leg Presses – 3 sets of 20 to 25 reps using as heavy a weight as you possibly can. Lots of deep breathing on this one.
(c) Bent Leg Deadlifts – Take half of your usual training poundage and strap your hands to the bar and get set for the workout of your life! Perform as many reps as you possibly can for 1 set.
(d) Abdominal Work – Do whatever you want. Just work hard for about one half an hour. Be sure to perform as many reps as possible in each set.
If any fellow has an overweight problem or a problem of an overbulked upper body after following this routine for at least two to three months, the either I am an imbecile or he is a liar and not a hard worker, or we are both crazy!
We now come to the fellow with the overbulked lower body and the underdeveloped upper body. For him the road is somewhat easier. However, he too must follow the rules of good nutrition or he also will fail in his quest. First, he should set up his nutritional program for about 60% protein, 40% fats and carbohydrates and make sure that all his foods come from the best sources. Next, he must simply adjust his training so that most of the work will be for the upper body and he should try just to maintain his lower body size and strength. I feel the following routine will be of immense benefit if it is followed conscientiously:
Monday & Thursday – Upper Body
(a) Medium Grip Bench Pressing – 5 sets of from 4 to 6 reps using all the weight possible while maintaining good form.
(b) Flat Bench Flyes – 3 sets of 3 to 5 reps using all weight possible, maintaining good form in all exercises.
(c) Press Behind Neck – 5 sets of from 4 to 6 reps using all weight possible.
(d) Dumbell Press – 3 sets of 3 to 5 reps using all weight possible.
(e) Bentover Rowing – 5 sets of 4 to 6 reps using all weight possible.
(f) Shoulder Shrug – 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps using all weight possible.
(g) Cheating Barbell Curl – 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps using all weight possible.
(h) Lying Triceps Extension – 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps using all weight possible.
(i) Standing Reverse Curl – 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps using all weight possible.
As can plainly be seen, the upper body part of this routine is quite heavy and complete though not TOO taxing, for in this case we are trying to BUILD not REDUCE.
Tuesday & Friday – Lower Body
(a) Full Squat – 3 sets of from 8 to 10 reps using all weight possible while maintaining good style.
(b) Half Squat in Rack – 5 single lifts using 90% of one-rep limit.
(c) Regular Deadlift – 3 sets of from 4 to 6 reps using all weight possible while maintaining good form.
This routine should maintain whatever leg size and power he has previously developed without too much difficulty.
EVERY DAY at home, the bulk-seeking lifter should perform abdominal movements whenever he has a few moments to spare. This way he will never wind up in the predicament of trainee number one (the fellow who overbulked his body too fast and too much for good symmetry). However, should such a situation come into prominence, then all that he has to do is to refer to routine number one for a few months and his overbulking problems will come to a sudden end.
And finally, fellows, before closing this article I would like to strike home a few points which I feel need to be cleared up at this time, like no other time before. There are many who feel there are secrets which separate them from the champions. This is not true. It’s simply a difference in innate potentialities in all of us and the ones with the greatest capabilities, if they harness these capabilities with HARD, HARD WORK, well, naturally they are going to make some pretty fantastic gains. But it’s not the exercise movements or exercise sequences that matter that much, it’s the amount of work they put into their training, the mental attitude they maintain and proper nutrition and their own innate capabilities which ultimately decide who forges ahead and who remains behind. And a lot of you guys go around with your heads in the clouds when the truth is right in front of you. You say that we BULK AND POWER writers keep repeating ourselves, that we don’t come out with anything really NEW. Well, this is because the whole situation is simple. You get out of exercise what you put into it. The harder you work (within reason, of course) the faster you gain. And the reason why I and other writers like myself have to keep repeating ourselves is because you men just don’t seem to realize that it’s you and you alone who determine if you will gain or if you will fail.
And when you stop and thing about it, isn’t this the way it SHOULD be?
Would you really want it any OTHER way?