Saturday, March 13, 2010

Training Down - Larry Scott

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Training Down
by Larry Scott

Larry Scott audio interview:

Interview with Steve Cotter:

"It was a long time ago. I was always smaller than average and I just wanted to be loved, appreciated and those kinds of things. I saw this magazine at the dump that was a muscle magazine . . ."

YouTube photo tribute:


Definition or Separation?

To the bodybuilder, the term “definition,” or “cuts,” refers to a condition of delineation of the muscles of the body, to the degree that muscular detail is highly visible. The greater and more apparent this muscular detail is, the more defined that muscle (or muscle group) is said to be. Good definition is seen when the surface fibers of a muscle or muscle group stand out in bold relief. When each muscle group in the body is highly apparent and all of the surface fibers are clearly revealed, that is championship definition.

Occasionally you will hear the term “separation” used interchangeably with definition (or delineation). Although this is a common practice among bodybuilders, these terms have different meanings. Separation is the amount of delineation BETWEEN the various muscle groups. Good separation would mean there is a very clear and obvious division between individual muscles or muscle groups. Another way of describing separation is that it is the deep cuts that separate one muscle from another. On a well-developed man with good separation all three heads of the deltoid muscle (anterior, lateral, posterior) are clearly visible. Clancy Ross had such great separation that his bicep looked as though it could be plucked away from his tricep, like a baseball!

A good short description of the difference between definition and separation would be:

DEFINITION is the visible detail of the surface fibers of the muscles of the body.
SEPARATION is the detail that clearly reveals a division between the various individual muscles, or muscle groups, of the body.

Definition and separation are much more visible and highly accentuated when muscle contraction and tension of the muscle takes place. When good definition and separation are found with large muscular size, this condition is referred to as MUSCULARITY. The “Most Muscular Man” subdivision at a physique contest is awarded to the individual with the best combination of definition, separation and muscle size. One man can have more muscularity than another but still lack the overall shape and proportions to win the actual physique title. That is why the most muscular category was added to bodybuilding contests. Occasionally a problem arises when a well defined bodybuilder of rather slim overall proportions is awarded the most muscular award over a bigger, less defined man. It is up to the judges to determine just who is the more muscular individual. It is not always easy to decide but I tend to give the nod to the man with the most muscle size and definition, rather than to the individual with the most definition regardless of size.

Exploding a Myth

Whenever I hear someone state that he is unable to get good definition because he has “thick skin,” I am both amused and sympathetic. The amusement stems from the fact that this condition of so-called thick skin simply does not exist. Because this individual is obviously misinformed, and has failed to get the definition he desires, my sympathy for him prompts me to clear up this mistaken concept.

The skin, as you well know, serves as a protective sheath that covers the entire body to prevent the invasion of foreign elements (such as bacteria, etc.). It also serves as a container for the moist tissues of the body. Our bodies are comprised primarily of liquids (less the bone structure and muscle tissues) which must be retained and protected from the outside atmosphere by its covering, the skin. When the body has been severely burned, oozing of the vital fluids is one of the most serious effects of the injury.

Human skin is composed of two layers: the epidermis (outer layer) and the dermis (inner layer). The epidermis has no blood vessels or nerves. The outermost layers of the skin are actually dead cells which are pushed outward toward the surface after they are formed at the base of the epidermis. These dead cells are constantly being rubbed off as we go about our daily living so that we are constantly shedding our skin while it is being continuously replaced from the cells below. The dermis, or inner layer of skin, is a fibrous layer of tissue that contains: blood vessels, nerves, lymphatics, oil glands, sweat glands and hair follicles.

The above detail description of the skin was presented to point out that there is almost no measurable difference in the skin thickness from one individual to another; about 1/100 of an inch. You can now see that the thickness of your skin has no bearing at all on the amount of definition you can have.

The amount of subcutaneous tissue (a layer of fat which lies just below the skin), along with the amount of fatty tissue stored between the various muscle groups of the body, is what actually determines how visible your muscles are. The larger the amount of body fat, the less definition you’ll see; the lesser the amount of body fat, the greater the definition. In order to obtain outstanding definition, then, you must reduce the overall body fat so that the muscles are as close to the skin as possible and the surface fibers are clearly visible.

Reducing vs. Training Down

Ridding the body of excess fat (which hides the definition of the muscles) can be accomplished in three ways: (1) dietary control, (2) increasing bodily activity, (3) a combination of diet and exercise. The basic principle is the same in all cases. The body must burn up more fuel than it takes in. Let us explore each of these three methods in more detail.

The dietary control method can be successfully used to eliminate excess fat merely by restricting the amounts of calories to a point well below your energy requirements. This method is the most popular way of losing weight and the one most commonly used by the average person. People who want to lose weight without exercise prefer this procedure.

The increased activity method consists of raising the amount of bodily activity well above the caloric intake. In other words, exercising to burn up more calories that are taken in through the diet. This technique is preferred by those who wish to lose fat but don’t want to change their diet.

The third procedure, which is a combination of proper diet and exercise, is the most rapid way to reduce body fat. If you tried to lose the fat by diet alone, your muscles would shrink along with the fat. Obviously this method is unsuitable for the bodybuilder. Increasing the amount of body activity through exercise works just fine for the average person, but is unadvisable for the bodybuilder. In most cases, the bodybuilder is already working hard enough and any increase in activity might result in extreme muscular fatigue and severe eventual overtraining. This approach is doomed to fail because you will burn out, become physically exhausted and lose the desire to train long before satisfactory results are obtained.

For the average person the most sensible and result producing method of losing excess fat is as follows: restrict the dietary intake of fat producing foods and increase the bodily activity by planned exercise. The bodybuilder, however, has a far more complex situation to deal with: that of losing fat without losing muscle size.

Because the above-mentioned methods of eliminating fat from the body are more suitable for the average person (rather than the bodybuilder), this group of techniques shall be grouped under the general heading of “Reducing Procedures.” To accommodate the highly specialized requirements of the bodybuilder we shall add a fourth method of eliminating excess fat: TRAINING DOWN. There is a vast difference between “reducing” and “training down” as far as the bodybuilder is concerned.

It is possible for a bodybuilder to REDUCE the majority of excess fat from the body and still not be cut up. I have seen a number of men lose weight and get their waist and hips extremely small without any apparent fat – yet they fail to get good definition. This is because they were reducing instead of training down.

Let me explain. The majority of fat storage in the body takes place in the area of the hips and waist, with lesser amounts stored in the subcutaneous tissues and other areas. When the average bodybuilder tries to get cut up, if he trains correctly and eats properly the excess fat stored on the hips and waist is quickly lost. This is all well and good. The first stage of training down where the apparent body fat is lost is reduced is referred to as the reducing stage. Most enthusiastic trainers think they have lost enough fat and, not wishing to sacrifice further bodyweight, stop here. Unfortunately, in most cases, the deep lying body fat stored in the subcutaneous tissues and around the muscles takes a lot longer to be eliminated. Until this deep lying fat is disposed of, definition of the muscles will be absent.

The amount of time it will take to eliminate this final layer of stored fat and obtain a good degree of definition will vary according to the individual. To be a little more specific, from six weeks to six months. It may sound like a long time to you, but nothing in life really worthwhile comes overnight.

Principles of Training Down

There are four main points to training down:
(1) bodyweight reduction of 10 to 20 pounds.
(2) intensive training program.
(3) carefully planned diet.
(4) patience and perseverance.

So that you fully understand the importance of these principles of training down, I’ll briefly explain the rationale of each.

In order to achieve spectacular results you must be willing to lose all excess body fat. I know that many individuals will be unhappy with this idea, especially since it took a lot of hard training to reach their present bodyweight. Training down is only for advanced lifters who have bulked up past the point of good definition, or men who wish to get in contest-like shape. In either case, it is necessary to experiment with your bodyweight to determine where you look best. Regardless of how much weight you have to lose to get cuts, you’ll only be losing fat.

An intensive training program is needed to burn up the excess stored fat and bring out maximum definition. You must work out fast, with not too much rest between sets. Generally speaking, you will be performing between 50 and 60 sets each workout period. You will have to train six days a week for best results, about two hours each workout session. The entire body must be worked strongly. Some midsection work must be done daily. You must get plenty of sleep in order to recuperate from the strenuous workouts and rigid dietary procedures needed to reach your goals.

A carefully planned diet is of utmost importance . . . there is no way in the world that you can succeed without it. If your training down program follows a bulk schedule in which you have been eating large amounts of food, you will probably think you are starving for the first week or so on a rigid definition diet. This feeling will soon vanish once your stomach has shrunk and becomes used to smaller amounts of food. You will be eating only about one-third to one-half as much food as before. Your diet will consist mainly of first-class proteins: eggs, meat, milk, cheese and a good protein supplement. Carbohydrates will be restricted to an absolute minimum.

Patience and perseverance need little explanation. You must stay with this program faithfully if you wish to get good results. You will find the first two weeks the hardest because of being unaccustomed to such hard and fast training on a limited amount of food. Don’t get scared if your bodyweight drops quickly. This will be mostly water and excess fat. Stay with this program for eight full weeks and you will be rewarded.

Definition Training

There have been many different approaches to training down for definition. Some men prefer very high repetitions, others use low reps and increased sets. One thing that everyone agrees on – you need plenty of hard work on an exercise program that works the whole body. An extra amount of midsection work is also needed and should be done every day.

Whether training for bulk or definition, my goal is always to get the greatest amount of pump in each muscle group in the shortest possible time. In order to do this, I seldom rest more than thirty seconds between sets. Most bodybuilders I have seen work out too slowly. They take too much rest between sets allowing the blood to leave the muscles being worked. It takes a lot longer to get a pump in this way and requires a much longer workout to do the same number of sets that I do.

In order to burn up the stored fat in the body, you must limit the amount of fat-producing foods in the diet so that you have a negative calorie balance. In other words, not enough energy is being supplied by the diet, so the body must use up its stored energy . . . fat. An intensive exercise program will go a long way in burning up stored fat, providing you don’t keep eating fat-producing foods. This will mean that you will be working out harder with less rest between sets, and eating less food at the same time. At first, you may feel weakened while training this hard on a limited intake, but your body will soon adapt to it.

Your training program should be divided up into a six-day-per-week schedule. Here is a good definition training schedule that is designed to help you burn any excess fat and retain as much muscle size as possible.


Bench Press – 4 sets of 10 reps
Incline Laterals – 4x10
Dips – 4x10-15
Bentover Rowing – 5x10
Lat Machine Pulldowns – 5x10
Barbell Curl – 5x10
Incline Dumbell Curls – 5x10
Lying Triceps Curls – 5x10
Triceps Pushdowns – 5x10
Bent-Knee Situps – 4x25-50
Bent-Knee Leg Raises – 3x25-50
Sitting Leg-Ups – 3x50-100


Press Behind Neck – 4x10
Dumbell Press – 3x10
Bentover Lateral Raise – 5x10
Chins – 4x10
Incline Dumbell Press – 4x10
Stiff-Arm Pullovers – 4x15
Concentration Curls – 4x12
One Arm Dumbell Kickbacks – 4x12
Hack Squats – 4x15
Leg Extensions – 4x15
Leg Curls – 4x15
Calf Raises – 8x20
Bent-Knee Situps – 4x25-50
Bent-Knee Leg Raises – 3x25-50
Sitting Leg-Ups – 3x50-100

As you can see, this is a very severe program designed for the advanced trainer. It is a good program that will get you into shape fast. You will notice that a little arm, chest and lat work is done each training day. This will bring out the ultimate degree of muscularity in these areas. This type of program should be followed for about six to eight weeks. You should definitely feel “overtrained.” You will be sore after workouts and might notice a tiredness and irritability. Take nutritional oils and get nine hours sleep each night.

Another effective method I have found is to select one exercise for each muscle group of the body and do 10 sets of 10 repetitions with as little rest as possible. Here is a sample routine.


Incline Press – 10x10
Lat Machine Pulldowns – 10x10
Lying Barbell Triceps Press – 10x10
Incline Dumbell Curls – 10x10
Bent-Knee Situps – 10x25-50


Dumbell Press – 10x10
Stiff-Arm Pullovers – 10x10
Hack Squats – 10x10
Calf Raises – 10x20
Sitting Leg-Ups – 10x5—100

When employing this type of schedule stay with one group of exercises for 30 days, then switch to different movements for each muscle group. Once again, let me mention that you cannot rest too long between sets or the program is of little value.

You may wish to devise an exercise program of your own. An advanced bodybuilder should have no difficulty doing this as long as he keeps the following points in mind:

(1) Work the entire body thoroughly. Train six days a week.
(2) Get a good pump in each muscle group.
(3) Rest very little between sets.
(4) Concentrate on each exercise and get a full contraction of the muscle on each repetition.
(5) Keep warm while working out and try to sweat.
(6) Stay away from energy-draining, strength-type exercises such as heavy squats or deadlifts.
(7) Take nutritional oils.
(8) Get eight to nine hours sleep each night.
(9) Never miss a workout unless you are ill.
(10) Follow a rigid diet carefully.

Definition training is tough. It isn’t easy and it isn’t always fun. It is, however, the only way you will remold your body and achieve the goal.

Eating Correctly

A rigid high-protein diet is absolutely essential if you wish to get good definition. A maximum amount of protein in the diet will help you burn the fat and keep as much muscle as possible. Inevitably, a certain amount of size will be lost, but this should not worry you as it is only fat. The impressive definition you will obtain will more than make up for any loss of size. In fact, muscles often appear larger when well defined, even though they measure less.

Proteins are the fundamental structural components of all living cells. They are also irreplaceable components of various enzymes, hormones and other body secretions. Protein is the most essential element in the diet. It builds new tissue as well as replacing and repairing worn-out cells. When protein foods are taken into the body they are broken down into amino acids. There are 22 amino acids that are recognized as being important to humans. Nine of these amino acids are considered as being absolutely essential for growth and maintenance of the body: they are referred to as “essential” or “indispensable.” Foods which contain all of the nine essential amino acids are called complete protein foods (also referred to as first class proteins). The various amino acids combine with each other to from new tissue and are appropriately known as the building blocks of the body. If the nine essential amino acids are supplied by the diet, then the body can form the other 13 building blocks. However, if just one of the essential nine is missing, growth cannot take place. Foods which lack one or more of the essential amino acids (even though they may be otherwise high in protein) such as gelatin, are considered “incomplete proteins.” The bodybuilder’s diet should always be rich in complete protein foods.

In your definition diet, protein plays a double role of importance. A high protein diet will assure you sufficient amino acids to replace worn-out cells and maintain as much muscle as possible. Protein will also help burn up excess stored energy (fat) by a process known as its specific dynamic action. Let me clarify this for you. When food is eaten, the body’s heat output increases above the normal level. Carbohydrates and fats increase the body’s resting energy output only slightly, about 5%. After the ingestion and breakdown of proteins (accompanied by fats or carbohydrates) the energy output is increased from 20 to 30% above the intake. This increase in energy output derived from food is referred to as specific dynamic action.

You can readily see that if the majority of your diet is protein, more energy will be burned up than you take in. This is just what is needed to burn the stored fat on the body. When not enough energy is provided in the diet to meet the body’s requirements, then energy is drawn from the stored fat within the body. This is the secret of getting cut up.

Fats and Carbohydrates

In addition to supplying the raw materials for growth and repair (proteins), food must provide the energy for mechanical work and for the functional activities of the various organs and tissues, and heat for maintenance of body temperature. Carbohydrates (starches) and fats are the food elements which chiefly supply the body with energy for the above-mentioned functions. Just as a furnace must be fed fuel, such as oil or coal, in order to expend energy and produce heat, so must our bodies be furnished with food (calories) to meet the expenditure of energy and release heat to regulate body temperature. The energy requirement of the body is therefore expressed as a “caloric” requirement.

The energy used by the human bod is measured in units of heat produced. Each unit of heat is called a kilogram calorie or calorie. Because heat is the result of energy expenditure in the body, the calorie can serve as an accurate measure of energy used by the body. Biochemists have measured the amount of stored fuel in food (how many units of heat it will produce in the body when burned) in terms of how many calories it contains. The total amount of energy required by the body for all its various functions is designated in terms of calories needed. Since the number of calories in all foods has been measured, we can easily determine how much of certain foods are needed to supply the energy requirements of our bodies.

The best source of fuel for energy comes from fats and carbohydrates. Although protein can be converted into glucose and burned for energy, it is better and more efficient to utilize fats and carbohydrates. Each gram of fat will yield nine calories whereas carbohydrates produce only four calories for each gram. From the bodybuilder’s point of view it would seem that fat is a better source of energy than carbohydrates because you only need half as much fat to produce the same amount of energy that carbohydrates do. Let us examine these substances and see if this is so.

Fats serve as concentrated sources of heat and energy for the body and are important for normal tissue function. Food fat serves to help absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Three fatty acids (referred to as the phospholids), lecithin, cephalin and sphingomyelin are essential to growth and maintenance of body functions.

Carbohydrates are primarily used in the body as fuel to furnish heat and energy. In addition, they also have a “sparing” action on protein. If there are insufficient materials for energy in the body, protein will be converted into glucose (blood sugar) to supply the deficiency. It seems that a certain amount of carbohydrate helps the body utilize protein more effectively.

You can see that both fats and carbohydrates are needed by the body. However, it is the AMOUNT that is important. When training down the best source of fuel in the diet is fat. Only a minimal amount of carbohydrates should be consumed. There are two important reasons why fats rate the edge over carbohydrates as energy producers. First, as previously mentioned, fats provide twice as much energy as carbohydrates do in equal amounts, therefore less amount of food need be consumed and the stomach is stretched less. Secondly, fats slow the emptying time of the stomach and give a feeling of satiety which delays the rapid development of hunger, as would occur after carbohydrates are eaten.

Definition Diet

I have found that the most effective definition diet is a high protein and fat diet, almost completely void of carbohydrates. The protein retains the muscle size while the fats provide a limited source of energy (the rest being obtained from stored fat). Some low-carbohydrate vegetables should be eaten to maintain bowel regularity and to perform a sparing action on the protein. NOTHING made of sugar or flour should be eaten – candy, cakes, pies, bread, rolls, pancakes, etc. Fruits and fruit juices are very high in carbohydrates and should be avoided when seeking definition. Milk should be limited to at most one quart or less per day.

Carbohydrate intake should be limited to less than 50 grams per day. Check the carbohydrate content of your foods closely before organizing a definition diet. To give you some basic idea of the type of foods you should consume, the following foods have less than one gram of carbohydrate per serving. Use as many as you can in your daily menus.

Beef of all kinds. No carbohydrates.
Bacon. (serving = 2 slices)
Cheese. All except cottage.
Chicken eggs.
Fish. (serving = 3 oz.)
Oil. Salad or cooking.
Sardines, shrimp, tuna.

Foods which are moderate in carbohydrates (containing less than 10 grams per serving) should be used but be careful not to exceed a total of 50 grams daily in your diet.

Almonds, in shell (1 cup)
Broccoli, fresh, cooked (1 cup)
Beans, snap green, cooked.
Cottage cheese (1 cup)
Beef liver.

Note: almost all vegetables should be of the fresh variety. A good salad can safely be eaten without adding much to your total carbohydrate intake.

Foods which are very high in carbohydrates should be avoided at all times. Substitute similar low-carbohydrate foods for these.

Beans, most types.
Beer and ale.
Fruits packed in syrup.
Grape juice.
Spaghetti and macaroni.
All sugar products.

Faster results are obtained by keeping the carbohydrate level below 30 grams per day. Another good method is to have up to 50 grams of carbohydrates one day, and no more than 10-20 grams the next day. In any case, careful examination of what and how much you are eating is the only way you’ll succeed.

Generally speaking, you can eat as much of the high protein, low carbohydrate foods as you wish – providing you don’t exceed 2500 total calories per day. You must have a negative calorie balance in addition to a low carbohydrate intake to get the real fat-burning, definition-producing effect.

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