Sunday, November 4, 2018

Integrative Training - Richard A. Winett

The back issues of Master Trainer are available here: 
I ordered them a few years ago. They are very good.
Where did I put those files?

Integrated Training: The Search for the Perfect Routine
by Richard A. Winett

Originally Published in This Issue (November 1987) 

Every bodybuilder fantasizes about developing the perfect routine and making astonishing gains. However, most bodybuilders realize there is no one perfect routine. Rather, we must keep trying to approximate perfection.

One way to achieve that elusive goal is to separately list all the essential principles of training, and then put them together, or integrate them. Integrate means "to become united so as to form a complete of perfect whole." In this article all the essential principles are listed and then put together to form the integrative routine.

Stress and Recovery Cycles

The most basic principle revolves around stress and recovery cycles. You must thoroughly work body parts and allow sufficient recovery time prior to the next hard workout. Incomplete recovery followed by another hard workout leads to stagnation and worse, regression and injury. Der, ooops. Almost everything else in training gets back to balancing stress and recovery over short- and long-term periods.

The three key training variables on intensity, frequency, and duration are interrelated and directly influence the stress-recovery cycle. For example, too frequent and prolonged training sessions undermine the ability to work out at a high level of intensity by making excessive inroads into recovery ability.

For the last 15 years ('72 to '87), bodybuilders have been very tuned in to intensity. More recently, four day and five day training cycles have been introduced to balance the effect of high intensity. Most bodybuilders have long abandoned working body parts three times per week. Instead, it is common for bodybuilders to work body parts twice during a seven to 10 day cycle: once very hard (100%) and then a workout of medium (85%) intensity. These new schedules represent ways to optimize the stress and recovery cycle by allowing for more recovery time.

Another longer term method of optimizing the stress and recovery cycle is by using the periodization approach to bodybuilding. Periodization attempt to balance stress and recovery over the long haul by slowly building peaks through systematic adjustments of the volume and intensity of training. It's consistent with Clarence Bass' notion of gradually coaxing long term gains as discussed in Ripped-2 and The Lean Advantage

Note: Here is an example of a five-step bodybuilding periodization layout, one of many approaches:

Phase One: Growth Activation.
This phase readjusts and reactivates all the body systems after the last phase of the previous year’s training cycle. The athlete training in this phase starts out without any feeling of discomfort. Activation means progression, so the training load is of medium intensity and doesn’t stress the athlete physiologically or psychologically. During this training phase the athlete prepares his or her body for the more intense phases to come.

Phase Two: Size and Strength.
This phase provides new increases in the athlete’s muscle mass by employing a step-type mode of training – a weekly regimen based on overload.

Phase Three: Maximum Mass.
This phase allows the athlete to build on Phase Two, making possible even more muscle mass and tone without the onset of stagnation.

Phase Four: Mass Refinement.
In this phase the athlete is introduced to endurance-oriented training, which enables him to perform many repetitions over a given period of time. The intent of this type of training is to progressively adjust the athlete’s neuromuscular system so that the body develops more energy to perform a given training task. The athlete also uses more fat s fuel during this phase, which means that the fat below the skin disappears. The result is more muscular definition.

Phase Five: Maintenance/Recovery/ Transition.
This last phase incorporates necessary rest and relaxation with a maintenance training regimen. Here the athlete removes fatigue from his or her body and relaxes and replenishes energy for the upcoming new yearly plan. In a sense the athlete is charging the battery for a new bodybuilding season.

 With periodization, during a high volume phase, sets and reps may be high; while during a high intensity phase, sets and reps are lower. Periodization was first successfully used in weightlifting and powerlifting. The set and repetition schemes of the first periodization programs were most suitable to those sports. Clarence Bass made a major advance by adapting the periodization approach to bodybuilding.

Bass's's's's's's's's system, described in detail in Ripped-3, has three main phases: 


He recommends a descending set system for each phase. Following warmup sets, the 1st set of an exercise in the endurance phase is done for 15 reps and the 2nd set for 20. The rep scheme in the strength-and-endurance phase is 10 and 12-15. For the strength phase, the reps 6 and 8-10. Thus, the number of sets is constant between phases, and volume and intensity are more defined by the repetition scheme.

Unlike the long phases of some approaches, Bass recommends that each phase last about a month. In this way, your body frequently receives different stimuli. In addition, at the end of a three month period, there is a one to two week active rest phase (very light training). 

Each phase also has a different rep performance. Following Hatfield and others, Bass recommends slow, continuous (high) reps during the endurance phase to stress the mitochondrial components of the muscle. In the strength-and-endurance phase, moderate speed (medium) reps with brief pauses between reps affect both the mitochondrial and myofibril components of the muscle. In the strength phase, fast but controlled (lower) reps with pauses affect the myofibrils.  

By varying repetition scheme and rep performance, muscles receive a wide variety of stimulation during a complete cycle. Thus, Bass' periodization optimizes the holistic approach to bodybuilding. 

Periodization is a success, not a failure approach. At the start of each phase, weights are used that are well within the bodybuilder's ability. The idea is to always succeed with workout goal weights. That is, you make every rep, slowly increasing weights across the phase, and meeting or exceeding prior best efforts for specific reps at the end of a phase. For those bodybuilders who have burned out on constantly training to failure, the periodization success system will lead to renewed training enthusiasm. 

As a psychologist who has done numerous research projects on the effects of feedback and reinforcement systems on human performance, I can tell you that the periodization approach fits the bill for optimizing long-term motivation. You set hard, but reachable goals for each phase. For each hard training session, you have goals for each exercise that approximate your final phase goal. Your training diary almost always shows very positive training sessions and, of course, your performance in the gym reflects your improvement.

In summary, bodybuilders have two major methods to optimize the stress and recovery cycle, the most important consideration in bodybuilding. The first method involves setting up a schedule that allows complete recovery of body parts between workouts. This will often mean working body parts once hard and once lighter during 7-10 day periods. The second approach, which fits together with the first, is to use periodization. As developed for bodybuilders by Clarence Bass, this system allows for alternating phases of volume and intensity and rep performance, resulting in more continual progress than conventional systems. It's also a system that optimizes training motivation through constant positive feedback and successful performance.

Enhancement Principles

There are several other principles that bodybuilders can use to further enhance their training. The first principle (man, they do love to toss that word around) pertains to the importance of VARIETY. No matter how good an exercise feels or how good the initial results, it is inevitable that adaptation sets in. The body is a superb mechanism for quickly adapting to a specific exercise done in a specific way. The result is no progress.

The periodization approach provides variety or muscle confusion to spur gains. Another way is to vary the basic exercises that you do, for example, by varying your squat position. Still another way to increase variety is to follow an eclectic system, that is, perform a compound exercise for a body part in the set system described in the periodization section of this article. Next, pick several more exercises per body part performed for one set each, or occasionally two, following the phase's basic rep scheme. for example, during the endurance phase, a single set exercise may be done for 20 reps; during the strength phase, a single set exercise can be done for 8 reps. These exercises may be kept for a periodization phase, or even rotated and changed during hard and medium workouts in a phase. The result is constantly changing stimuli, increased training enthusiasm and increased gain.

Another key enhancement principle is the muscle priority system. Basically, this means putting greater emphasis in your workouts on weak points. This includes working that body part first or early in your routine, using a few more exercises for that body part, or just being sure to put more intensity into that part of your workout. Hopefully, as progress is made the focus of priority training will change. For example, after three to six months of prioritizing delts, that body part may be sufficiently improved to then prioritize biceps.

Variety, an eclectic system, and priority training are enhancement principles. They further gains after a bodybuilder has optimized the stress and recovery cycle.

Aerobic Fitness

McScientists are slowly recognizing the psychological and health benefits of weight training that bodybuilders have been touting for decades. Apparently most transit cops have not. However, most bodybuilders recognize there is a need for cardiovascular training to complement their advanced muscular/skeletal training system. Such training maintains and enhances fitness and helps control body fat.

Various methods have been used over the years to balance cardiovascular training and muscle training. Some bodybuilders did little or no cardiovascular training. Others did some jogging or other minimal fitness training. And there was a time when many bodybuilders, including myself, got carried away by the running and athletic endurance boom. Too much of the wrong kind of aerobic training undermines muscular and strength gains.

Again, Clarence helped provide the lead for finding the best types and methods of aerobic training to complement bodybuilding. This can be considered the fourth phase and is described in Ripped-3.

The basic fitness/cardiovascular requirement is only three to four 30-40 minute sessions per week at 70-80% of your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age). Many bodybuilders will find, however, that because of their density and power, they are better suited for certain kinds of aerobic exercises than others. For example, regular or indoor cycling and power walking may be more beneficial than running. Likewise, bodybuilders will often find that their capacity in whole body aerobic exercises such as on the Schwinn Airdyne, ski machines, or advanced power walking using weights is excellent. It is also advisable to alternate different aerobic exercises to provide variety and to distribute stress throughout your body.

Bodybuilders who are adept at developing training schedules and using periodization principles should not be satisfied with haphazard, disorganized and boring aerobics. Bass has recommended interval training. It is a way to add variety to training and to maximize fitness in a short amount of time. In addition, short and infrequent interval training sessions by emphasizing fast-twitch fibers are less likely to undermine muscle mass gains than long, frequent sessions.

In interval training, the time between workloads is the interval. The working time is the repetition. It is obviously possible to plan repetition, intervals, and the workload itself, that is, speed and intensity, in the same way as bodybuilding sessions are planned in a periodization approach. For example, during an endurance phase, a number of "moderate" repetitions can be performed for a longer duration with a short interval between repetitions. In a strength phase, fewer "short" repetitions would be performed with long intervals. Best results for fitness and calorie burning are achieved when the exercise is continued at an easy to moderate pace during the interval.

The same success training principle is used here. Each phase starts out easily, each workout is achieved, with the end of a phase culminating in a near peak or peak performance. However, bodybuilders are advised not to overdo aerobic training. Put it in its place and be sure it remains enjoyable.

The best approach to systematic aerobic exercise is to do it on the same day as weight training days. Alternating weight and aerobic days quickly leads to overtraining since there are too few rest days and too many hard training days.

Another consideration, recommended by Bass, is to match the type of aerobic exercise with body parts worked on a given day. For example, on a leg and lower back day, cycling or running may be used. On an upper body day, rowing would be appropriate. However, as noted, bodybuilders will find that almost without exception over time they can become excellent on whole body aerobic exercise (e.g., the Schwinn Airdyne, ski machines, power walking). Further, with whole body aerobics, a high heart rate is achieved with less perceived effort; and because stress is spread throughout the body, short and long term recovery is very good. One compromise is to do whole body aerobic exercises, but emphasize the body parts worked that day. Exactly how you do your aerobic training depends on your bodybuilding routine, to be discussed shortly.

The priority principle holds here also. As a bodybuilder, you want to emphasize bodybuilding. Aerobic training should be brief and focused - just enough to obtain a good level of fitness. Therefore, keep sessions to 30-40 minutes including a brief warmup and cool down for three to four times per week. You can also make one session hard (85-90% heart rate on intervals), one or two medium (80-85%) and any other sessions easy (70-80%). The hard, medium, and easy intensity sessions could be alternated through each week using different aerobic activities.

It is also advisable to include some easy activity on off days. The activity should aid, not hinder recovery and be simple and relaxing. Walking for 30-60 minutes is an example of such an activity. Variation of distance, pace, and terrain results in additional stimulation and relaxation.

Ideally, aerobic and weight training sessions should be separated by 6-8 hours, although it is possible to do an aerobic session directly after weight training. When there is the possibility of a separation of sessions by hours, the question is, which one to do first? Most often the balance of a person's daily activities will determine the order. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to each order. Doing aerobics in the morning helps warm you up for bodybuilding later in the day if the aerobics are not overdone. If the aerobic exercise is too strenuous earlier in the day, it will undermine the bodybuilding. Doing bodybuilding first fits the priority principle. However, early morning bodybuilding may not physically suit some individuals and may be precluded by job schedules.

In summary, develop a brief, focused aerobic program to complement your bodybuilding, but keep your priorities in order by developing a schedule to maximize bodybuilding gains while maintaining your other daily activities.

Click to ENLARGE

The schedule shown in Table 1 is one example of an integrated program that puts together all the principles described in this article. It is a variation of the every-other-day split routine and has been used successfully by myself and other bodybuilders. The most basic principle behind this schedule is to maximize intensity and recovery. This is why an upper and lower body split is used (it is also possible to set up the same system using a push-pull split) followed at the end of the week by a medium intensity whole body workout.

Other variations of this schedule include maintaining the every-other-day split but with the last day of the week reserved for a medium intensity workout for lower or upper body. Lower and upper body routines are simply altered across a two-week period as shown in Table 2.   

This split routine discourages overtraining and is specifically recommended for bodybuilders with many other interests. It can be used during particularly stressful periods.

Yet another variation, shown in Table 3, involves further splitting the high intensity training into three weekly sessions followed by a medium intensity whole body workout later in the week. Each workout in the three-way split covers only a few body parts, is very focused, only takes about an hour to complete, and therefore makes day-to-day recovery easier to achieve. This schedule is Bass' favorite and is detailed in Ripped-3

In the variation of the every-other-day split routines shown in Tables 1 and 2, there is always at least one day of rest between training sessions. Therefore, it is possible to always do whole body aerobics. However, I recommend emphasizing the body parts worked that day in the whole body aerobics. For example, if I'm using the Airdyne on a day that I worked my upper body hard, I can apply more force to the arm motion, or do intervals with arms only in between moderate arm and leg work. Similar possibilities are available on the ski machine or when power walking.

With Bass' triple-split routine, it becomes even more necessary to match aerobics to body parts worked. For example, a leg/lower-back day fits with cycling or power walking and chest/back day better fits with an arm emphasis on the Airdyne.

Table 4 summarizes the periodization approach for bodybuilding and aerobics. Obviously, other set, rep and interval systems can be experimented with if they effectively vary volume and intensity and effectively train different muscle components. 

Table 5 provides examples of exercises, sets, and reps for two body parts during a strength-and-endurance phase. Many bodybuilders may consider this system a low set or "abbreviated" program. However, note to the right of the Table that when warmup sets are included in this system, then sets are actually moderate to high. Sets can be deceiving, and it is important to think of only real "working" sets in your routine. If you will have doubts about the effectiveness of this range of sets per body part, just remember what this type of approach did for people like Clarence Bass and Lee Labrada. Note also that warm up sets use lower reps so as to keep your focus on the main sets. Finally, Table 5 shows the variety of exercises used for a body part.

If and end-of-week medium intensity whole body routine is used, then as a guide do only one set of each exercise from the week's previous workouts. It is not meant to be a marathon session! Minimum warmups are needed and bodybuilders should move from exercise to exercise with short rest periods (30-60 seconds). The rep scheme follows that used in the particular phase. This session can be thought of as a "muscle conditioning" workout.


Every bodybuilder searches for that one perfect routine. The search involves understanding and using key principles and using key principles of stress and recovery, periodization, enhancement, complementary and aerobic training. When these principles are integrated into one routine, we can approach perfection.      

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