Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Instinctive Training - Larry Scott

Larry Scott


One of the most important and least understood training principles in bodybuilding is instinctive training. In the early stages of bodybuilding, basic exercise routines produce the best results for the average bodybuilder. As the individual progresses into the more advanced stages of physical development, the training procedures necessarily become more complex and individualized.

Regardless of how much good instruction and sound advice the bodybuilder receives, there comes a time when he must learn to think for himself. He must instinctively realize that certain training procedures and exercises work better than others for him. He must stick with these result producing procedures and avoid the unproductive ones, if he is ever to reach his greatest goals.

It is the purpose of this booklet to help you acquire the ability to train by instinct, just as every great bodybuilder past and present has learned to do.

Best of luck,
Larry Scott.

Some Comments

As beginners, specific rules guide us through our early training. Basic routines with specific sets and repetitions are successfully utilized until we begin to reach the more advanced stages of training. It is at this point that we begin to realize that not everyone can use the same training procedures and eat the same kind of foods and make good gains. We soon begin to develop a 'feeling' for what is 'right' for our own individual problems. When we begin to apply this principle of doing those things we 'feel' are right for us, that is when we begin to tap the tremendous bodybuilding principle of instinctive training.

The term instinctive training, or training by feeling, is the ability to sense what will work best for you. Each of us is unique in that we react differently to certain exercises and foods, due to our own individual metabolic, structural, and emotional capacities. Just as fingerprints are never the same, each of us is different in the way that our bodies respond to any given stimulus. Only experience gained through considerable training will enable us to instinctively tell when we are using the right training methods, the ones we respond to most effectively.

Man has been on this earth for several hundred thousand years. The evolutionary progress that has taken place during this period of time has given him certain emotional reactions to specific situations such as stress, danger, love, etc. In earlier times, man's ability to react quickly to danger was very pronounced. This ability to act quickly, in most cases without having time to think about it, could be described as an instinctive response. Everyone has this ability to a greater or lesser degree. It is an inborn trait in all humans gained through experience of our ancestors since the earliest days of life on earth.

The truth of the matter is that man no longer has to depend on instinct as much as he once did. In fact, educational training has heightened man's intellect enormously and has taught him to depend less and less on instinct. The point is this - why trust only your educational intellect which has been developed over 20 to 30 years and neglect your instincts which have been a part of mankind for hundreds of thousands of years? To become an outstanding bodybuilder you'll have to learn to use both your intellect and instinct to the best of your ability. An individual's personal development determines his innate ability to make decisions and solve problems. Don't be afraid to trust your intuition. Learn to cultivate it by trying out things that you feel might be beneficial. Once you have developed this ability to sense the right methods, you'll cut down the time it will take you to succeed at achieving your bodybuilding goals.

All Champions Train Instinctively

Every great bodybuilding champion is an 'instinctive trainer'. Through trial and error each top physique has discovered the method by which his body responds best to training. Every champion has his own favorite training routine comprised of 'pet' exercises that produce the fastest gains.

Some of these champions do things in training that might seem ridiculous to the bodybuilder who goes strictly 'by the book'. Yet, despite these idiosyncrasies, these men make great gains. Let us examine some training peculiarities of a few of the greats to see what can be learned from each.

Reg Park

He believes in extremely heavy training, and prefers low repetitions with maximum poundages. His chest responds quite rapidly to any form of exercise so he seldom works it. He is a great believer in heavy leg work and performs an extensive amount of this in his training. His diet is primarily a high protein one, but he eats a lot of carbohydrates. He eats only the yolks of eggs and never the whites.

Freddy Ortiz

Trains five days a week and rests over the weekends. Because his arms respond quickly, he works arms only twice each week. He almost never counts sets or repetitions but continues until he feels the muscle is thoroughly worked and he has reached a maximum pump. He uses moderate weights and works fast, resting little between sets. He is not a fanatic on diet and is a moderate eater. He eats lots of carbohydrates but little fat along with plenty of protein. He is a great believer in orange juice.

Hugo Labra

He trains every day, seven days a week. His favorite warmup procedure is to do 10 sets of any good lat exercise. He eats very little and drinks very little milk. His training poundages vary but he prefers high reps on some movements and low reps on others. He sometimes does 25 reps for thighs and pecs, other times he'll do 8 to 10 reps. He does no special training for a contest because his everyday workouts keep him in the peak of condition at all times.

Dave Draper

He prefers to train in the morning with earplugs so that he can concentrate to the maximum. Although he is quite strong, he does not use extremely heavy training poundages. He avoids milk protein products and sticks strictly to meat products. He is an extensive user of food supplements and consumes large amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Chet Yorton

Chet trains very heavy, using maximum poundages and takes plenty of rest between sets and exercises. He is a great believer in fluctuating his bodyweight anywhere from 210 to 240 lbs. He takes frequent layoffs when he feels it's necessary, sometimes as long as two months. His body responds so quickly that he can reach peak condition in a few weeks after a layoff. He eats a high meat diet. He consumes liberal quantities of beer with no ill effects.

Vince Gironda

Believes in rapid training with almost no rest between sets. Trains five days a week, working the upper body three days and the legs two days. Vince changes his exercises frequently. He prefers one good exercise for each muscle and does 8 sets of 8 reps in as short a time as possible. He eats no carbohydrates, consuming only high quality protein fat. He is an extensive user of supplements. He usually eats only twice a day.

Don Howorth

He trains very hard with moderately heavy weights, performing about three to four exercises for each muscle. He sometimes trains twice a day before a contest. He trains immediately after eating. His diet is void of all carbohydrates. He uses lots of liver tablets and other supplements. He eats mostly meat and eggs and drinks only two glasses of milk a day. He consumes lots of raw egg yolks.

Bill McArdle

He divides his training up into six days a week by doing all of the pulling exercises (lat and bicep work) one day, and all the pushing movements (pressing for chest and deltoids) the next day. He works every muscle group in the body thoroughly and doesn't specialize. He uses a great amount of concentration and works out at a deliberate pace. He is an extensive user of protein supplements. He eats six meals a day.

Clancy Ross

Prefers to train three times a week. Does not use high sets or reps, generally performing 3 or 4 sets of 10 reps in most movements. He uses about 12 exercises in his normal training program and works out fast. He never trains longer than 1.5 to 2 hours. He eats mostly a high protein and carbohydrate diet with little fat intake.


I like high sets (about 8 to 10) with 8 to 10 reps in most movements, resting very little between sets. I sip water frequently during my workout. I prefer moderate but not extremely heavy poundages but always work to a maximum by adding five or six 'burns' at the end of each set. Six workouts a week are best for me. Some muscles (delts and arms) I work three times a week, and others only twice a week. I drink quantities of milk and milk product protein, eat some fat but little carbohydrate and absolutely no fruit or fruit juices. I never eat raw eggs, only cooked.

Each of the bodybuilders mentioned has his own unique method of muscle building. There is not only a vast difference in their individual training procedures, but their dietary procedures also vary from one to another a great deal. Each of these men has experimented to determine which procedures are best suited for his individual need. Each has his own 'feeling' of what is right for him.

Even though training procedures and dietary methods differ radically among the above-mentioned physique stars, they are all champions. They are champions because they have learned the specific exercises, sets, reps, etc., combined with the dietary measures that produce the most effective results in their own specific cases.

There are many different paths to success. Each of us must find our own path, the one that brings us to our goal the quickest way.

Physique Show Conversations

Whenever there is a big physique contest in the Los Angeles area, just about every top bodybuilder on the West Coast shows up to watch it. There are always three or four big shows in the L.A. area each year. At just about every one of these shows you will see Bill Pearl, Dave Draper, Chet Yorton, Don Howorth, Reg Lewis, Hugo Labra, Millard Williamson, John Tristam, Vern Weaver, Gable Boudreaux, Zabo Koszewski, Joe Nista (who are all top contest winners), as well as other physique competitors past and present. I greatly enjoy attending all the shows and never miss one.

All of the top bodybuilders mentioned above are not only interested in watching the competition, but also enjoy helping support and promote bodybuilding as well. Also, the top physique men enjoy getting together ad discussing various topics of interest. Naturally the first thing discussed is the quality of the competitors in the show. The conversation soon begins to shift to what type of training program each one is doing and his own particular training philosophy. These discussions relating to different training concepts are always marked by an extremely tolerant air. While each man has his approach to training (in many instances, radically different from my own), he is quick to realize that there are as many different methods as there are champions. Ho one is adamant or insistent that his particular method of training is best. Each of these top physique stars is aware of the difference in their instinctive capabilities as well as their physical-structural make-up. A trainer's true lack of knowledge can generally be ascertained by how insistent he is that he has the only answer. 

Believe me, no one has all the answers. I am continually learning new things about training and diet. All of the top physique men have an open mind that allows them to evaluate new and different training methods. A good example is Bill Pearl. Bill has owned his own gymnasium for more than 10 years [no date was given on this booklet - this might provide a rough idea of the time it was written]. He has won every major physique title in the world and probably knows as much about bodybuilding as any man living.

Whenever Bill discusses bodybuilding with me, it is almost impossible to get a definite answer from him on any specific topic. He is intelligent enough to realize that there are no hard and fast rules that apply to everyone. He cannot (nor can anyone else) tell you exactly what is best for you - only you can discover that. Bill is also aware of the hundreds of men who have reached the top, each in their own physique's way.

Does this mean that you should listen to no one?

It means you should listen to EVERYONE. 

Always be ready to listen to anything that has proven beneficial to someone else. The more you are exposed to different training methods and nutritional concepts, the more knowledgeable you will be in determining what suits you best.

Experimental Bodybuilding

You must be wiling to tr everything in order to find out what works best for your own particular physique, when it will work best, and when it will not. Each of us has different obstacles to overcome. Some body areas gain faster than others. Some muscles seem to respond to nothing you try. You must become a 'super sleuth'. Watch everything and everybody. I have sometimes picked up good ideas from people who weren't necessarily champions; in fact they were very far from it. Good ideas can come from anybody, so keep your mind, as well as your eyes and ears open.
Once you have discovered the exercises and training procedures that bring the best response, stick to them, forever if need be. It is better to stick to the exercises that bring you the best results than to waste your time on a thousand so-called 'secret' exercises others have made fantastic gains with, but you can't even get a pump with. Experiment with all new and potentially beneficial movements, but don't disregard the exercises that consistently produce results. I have used some exercises for six years without changing them. Others I have tried for a week and discarded as useless for my temperament and physiological makeup.

I used to have a 'bonus day' which I would devote strictly to trying out interesting things I had seen other bodybuilders do. If I got a good pump and seemed to like the action of one of these experimental exercises, I would add it to my routine and give it a fair trial. Some proved to be great, while others fell short of expectations. If you see something interesting, try it. You should confine your experimental approach to the areas that don't seem to be responding as they should, rather than the easy gaining ones. For example, sometimes you may see a good exercise for the arms but you have been making tremendous gains with your present routine. Rather than drop the beneficial routine you are now using, give it a try, but continue your present result-producing routine until the gains stop. If the experimental exercise proved to be a good one, you will of course make a mental note of it. When you hit that period of staleness that causes gains to cease, it is now time to incorporate the new exercise or exercises into your routine.

Let us say, for example, that you have been using Mr. Galaxy's favorite 'super secret lat routine' but you aren't responding to it very well. This is the area you should be experimenting with to determine just what exercises will work. If, after a fair trial, a particular exercise or exercise routine is ineffectual, try something else. You will eventually find the exercises that produce the most beneficial returns for your efforts.

The champion bodybuilder is a master at intuitively evaluating various exercises and training concepts and can determine how good it will work for him almost immediately. You too can develop this instinctive ability, but only by constantly experimenting and evaluating the results. After a while it becomes second nature to you. You will just seem to 'know' what is best and what isn't.

Exercise Evaluation

It isn't too difficult for an advanced man to evaluate the merits of a new and different exercise. The bodybuilder with less experience, however, may waste valuable training time by failing to be able to determine when a new exercise is a good one. My particular method of ascertaining the worth of an exercise is as follows -- 

The best exercise for a muscle or muscle group is the one that allows you to get the greatest pump with the least amount of sets and reps.

If I decide to use four exercises for a muscle group, then I pick the four best movements that give me the fastest pump with the least amount of sets and reps.

Anyone can grab a 50-pound barbell and do a hundred curls and get a huge pump. But this method is unsuitable for anyone trying to build muscle tissue. Obviously, the amount of reps is far too high. This induces a 'false pump' in which the gains are extremely short-lived. Lower reps (6 to 10) produce more lasting gains and are better for building size. Less recuperation time is needed for lower reps, which means less rest between sets (than higher reps). Consequently, the pump is greater and of more value for building tissue mass.

You must find the exercises that give you that ultimate pump and burn while still keeping your reps to a minimum. Once you discover the 'key' exercises for each muscle group that give you the greatest pump in the least amount of sets and reps, your physique goals will be reached sooner.

Quality Training

In my own observation, the average bodybuilder fails to respond as quickly as he might because his workouts are missing two important elements - 

Concentration and Efficiency.

A bodybuilder might be doing the right exercises and eating correctly but still not make good gains because he fails to understand the principle of quality training. 

Just what is quality training? It is the ability to put forth maximum concentration in each and every exercise in an efficient manner so that the muscles being exercised receive the greatest beneficial stimulation possible in the least amount of time. 

No matter how hard you may be training, or how long, or the amount of sets and reps, or how heavy the weights used in your workouts - you will fail to get the most out of your training if you fail to concentrate on each exercise or if you rest too long between sets. You'll never get the best possible pump if you overlook these two valuable training procedures.

Whenever you do an exercise for the biceps, think intently about how the muscle is working, and try to give it a full contraction on each rep. Think about nothing else but the biceps, focusing all your attention on getting a maximum pump. Do not ever talk while doing an exercise, as this destroys concentration and robs you of its valuable benefit. Some people can concentrate better when they can actually see their muscles working, so they prefer to train in trunks. Others seem to be able to concentrate better when they are fully clothed in sweat gear, because they feel no one is watching them, or they just prefer to keep warm. The important thing is to let your nervous system work hand in hand with the muscular system by giving your complete mental and physical attention to each exercise in your program. Concentrate on every repetition of every set. It can make a big difference in how well you pump that particular muscle or muscle group.

I have seen fellows who train very haphazardly without much thought as to how long they rest between sets. They seem to be under the impression that the gym is some kind of debating forum and spend too much time talking. This over-talkative type bodybuilder usually takes three to four hours to do a workout that could be done in two hours. You must always try to accomplish the greatest amount of work in the least amount of time. It is only in this way that you will experience that ultimate pump which is necessary for fastest muscle growth.

The only type of training that should be performed with maximum rest between sets is power training. This book is designed for the serious bodybuilder who wants maximum development, so I am directing my suggestions appropriately.

Almost everyone rests too long between sets. 

I learned this principle of brief pauses between sets years ago, and I think it is one of the most important training concepts there is. Why don't you try working out faster by resting as little as possible between sets? You will immediately notice a better pump and your improvement will consequently be much greater.


it is not so much the quantity of the exercise that is important,
it is the quality that counts.

Focus all your attention on your training while in the gym. Save speeches, lectures, debates and social conversations until after the workout is completed and you have taken your shower.

Roadblocks to Progress

If you are not making the progress and muscular growth you desire, or you are responding so slowly that you are becoming completely discouraged, it is time to examine your whole approach to bodybuilding. Check the following most frequent causes of failure and eliminate any that you may find in your own workout. 

1) Do you train regularly, never missing a workout?

No one can succeed with hit-or-miss workouts. Muscles must be stimulated at frequent, steady intervals for maximum progress. You must train with an iron-willed determination, sacrificing petty considerations that interfere with your workouts.

2) Are you eating correctly for the type of training you are doing?

It's a cinch that you'll never bulk up on a birdseed diet that doesn't provide enough protein and energy producing foods. On the other hand, eating heavily of bulk foods won't help you get cuts. Make sure your diet is the best possible one you can afford and that it is designed to do exactly what it is you are training to achieve. You need at least 150 grams of protein a day (average bodybuilder) from first class protein such as eggs, meat, milk and cheese. Don't neglect your diet. Proper nutrition is vital.

3) Are you getting enough rest and sleep?

Bodybuilders need more sleep than the average person to recuperate from their training and other daily exertions so the body can do its job of building muscle. Most tissue repair and muscle growth takes place when the body is at rest. A minimum of eight hours sleep is required for this in most cases. I prefer nine hours of sound restful sleep and feel that this amount is best for maximum gains in muscle growth. Turn off the TV a little earlier and get you full share of sleep each night. You will not only have more energy for your workouts, but progress will come faster.

4) Do you dissipate your energy with bad habits?

Perhaps you smoke, drink too much, or keep extremely late hours. These factors can completely undermine your health and rob your body of the ability to respond properly to training. Remember the old adage about moderation being the best policy. It is difficult to build the body up if you keep tearing it down through dissipation.

5) Do you have a negative mental outlook?

If you are tense, nervous or worried, certain chemical secretions in the body make it impossible for you to perform at optimum levels. Feelings of anger, fear and hatred are also negative emotions that produce undesirable mental tensions which are harmful. These undesirable stresses and strains will undermine your strength and retard your bodybuilding progress. Try to keep calm and relaxed . . . don't fuss and fret. Learn to face things directly and solve your problems as they come.

6) Are you suffering from any ailment or illness that might be retarding your bodybuilding efforts? 

Even a small thing like an infected tooth or a boil can cause poisons to be spread in your body which can cause unpleasant effects and hold back bodybuilding progress. Take immediate steps to eliminate any negative factors or health defects and then do everything possible to prevent future disorders of any kind. Prevention is the best cure and there is no better way of doing this than following good health habits day in and day out. Simple things such as bathing, shaving, brushing your teeth, having periodic dental and medical checkups, getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine, proper nutrition and sufficient sleep and rest are vitally important.

7) Are you training properly?

Muscular growth can only occur when proper stimulation takes place. Too much exercise is even more harmful than too little. Learn to select the most effective exercises and exercise routines by trial and error, until you have learned how to train instinctively. Remember, just as important as selecting the right exercises is doing them with the correct amount of concentration and rest between sets. Re-read the sections in this booklet that deal with Exercise Evaluation and Quality Training until you fully understand these principles and can apply them to your own training. 

8) Do you keep an open mind and constantly look for new and improved methods of physical improvement?

Every bodybuilder runs into sticking points. You must be able to overcome these periods of no progress quickly. That can only be done by exploring all of the various methods of training such as super-sets, split training, peak contractions, burns, tri-sets, compound exercises, and the dozens of other muscle building principles that exist. Once you have determined the value of all these various principles, you will be able to train more purposefully and your periods of muscular progress will be continued with little or no interruption from sticking points.

This open-minded searching attitude should also include your diet. There are many valuable food supplements which speed progress enormously. I make my best gains on large quantities of milk protein. Almost without exception, every one of the champions uses a great deal of supplements along with their high protein diets. Each has tried all of the various products available and determined which suits him best. If this method of trying out different approaches to nutrition and exercise has worked successfully for the world's best developed men, it should certainly work for you. The only way you'll ever learn if it works or doesn't work is try it for yourself.

My Training Methods

Since you have decided to purchase this book, I feel that you are obviously curious as to what training methods suit me best. It has taken me many years to determine the particular training procedures that I respond best to. Remember that they are specifically suited to my own physiological and psychological capacities. 

I use a modified version of the split-training system that effectively works my body to the best degree. I generally work two or three muscle groups each workout day. I train six days a week, about two hours each workout. For each muscle, or muscle group, I do 3 or 4 exercises. I perform anywhere from 6 to 10 sets of each exercise, depending on the value I place on it, using 8 to 10 repetitions. I do higher reps for calves and forearms (up to 20 reps) because of the dense nature of their muscle fibers. I finish many of my sets with short rapid pumping movements (burns) which give an intense aching and burning feeling to the muscles. 

I work some muscle areas three times a week, others only twice a week. Sometimes I will hit an area like the lats full blast two workouts a week, then one additional workout with about half as many sets. I call this 2.5 times a week for that particular muscle. Deltoids and arms are always worked three times a week.

I usually do a total of about 20 to 30 sets for each muscle group. For example, if I were working biceps, I would use about four different exercises, 6 sets of 8-10 reps for each exercise. This would be a  total of 24 sets. If I am working biceps, triceps and deltoids all in the same workout, I do four exercises for each area, using five sets for each exercise. This is a total of 60 sets and it takes me just about two hours for this type of workout.

I frequently use my own variation of super-sets in which I alternate two exercises for the same muscle without resting. For example, I'll do a set of 8 reps in the Preacher Bench Curls with a 150 pound barbell then I'll immediately grab two 70 pound dumbbells and perform another 8 reps of the same movement without resting. Then I'll rest 30 to 45 seconds and repeat the procedure until I have completed 6 to 8 sets in the same superset style. I usually do 5 or six 'burns' at the end of each exercise. I have found this method of super-setting to work exceptionally well for me, and use it for practically every muscle area.

The training poundages that I handle are not what you would call exceptionally heavy, but they are as heavy as my training intensity and workout system permit. I handle as much weight as I can handle using correct exercise form, concentration, and minimum rest between sets. I always strive for a maximum pump for each muscle or muscle group that I am working. Unless the muscles I am working feel completely gorged with blood and have that intense burn indicative of a maximum pump, I feel that the workout has been wasted. 

I might add that I change workout routines whenever I feel that it is necessary to stimulate progress. Normally, a routine is effective for me for about two months or so. Although I will vary some of the exercises around, I always keep the most result-producing movements in the new routine when I change programs.

I consider proper nutrition to be anywhere from 50% to 80% of successful bodybuilding. My diet is extremely high in protein, about 250 to 300 grams of protein daily. Meat, eggs, cheese, and milk comprise the majority of foods in my diet. I eat very few vegetables (mostly fresh salads) and no processed carbohydrates or flour products of any type. I refrain from all pastries and sweets, but once in a great while treat myself to a small bowl of ice cream. I have never smoked and do not drink alcoholic beverages.

I have found a particular type of milk product protein which works best for me (Blair's Protein) and take one to two cups a day when training for size. My diet is always supplemented with plenty of B-complex, vitamin C and vitamin E. I also use wheat germ oil for extra stamina and energy.

Think for Yourself

The sole purpose of this booklet has been to stimulate thought and make you understand that you must use your own mental capacities (both your intellect and instinct) to the best of your ability in order to reach the top in the bodybuilding game.

There are no hard and fast rules of training or diet that apply to everyone. My routines may not necessarily work as effectively for you as your own. Only be experimenting and trying will you be able to determine what is right for you.

The important thing is to take full advantage of your own individual bodybuilding potential by gaining the instinctive knowledge of what is right for YOU - what produces the best results for YOU - what NOT to do - how HARD to train - HOW MUCH rest between sets - WHICH exercises - HOW MANY sets and reps - WHEN your muscles have received PROPER STIMULATION for maximum results - WHAT FOODS to eat - WHICH supplements are most effective - the right AMOUNT of sleep - and most important - THE FIRM BELIEF THAT YOU WILL SUCCEED and achieve your most cherished bodybuilding goals. That is how you can use instinctive training to develop a championship physique that measures up to your own unique individual bodybuilding potential.

In Closing

The old adage, "Man, know thyself," is an appropriate one for the aspiring physique champion. You must learn to observe, experiment, evaluate, and then apply the specific exercises and training procedures that produce the fastest results and greatest gains for you. 

Champions are largely self made. In the beginning, others may lay the foundation of success with sound training advice, but eventually you must discover your own formula for higher level development.

 - Best wishes,
Larry Scott.      





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