Monday, January 21, 2019

Formulating Your First Training Program

Originally Published in This Issue (Feb/March 1968)
Article Courtesy of Liam Tweed

Note: Harvey Keith, author of this article, operated a gym with Steve Davis (Valencia Health Club?) and produced a large output of training literature on various topics. Ah, the problems of cooperation in a business venture sometimes, eh. Here's an interesting piece on the hows and whys of beginner training that might be of use to you at some point now or later.

I have often stated that the first two years of training are the most critical. Many trainees have been forced to spend years trying to correct the physique flaws that they mistakenly attained in their early years of bodybuilding. Under-trained calves, thickened obliques, a neglected lower back, or overdeveloped trapezius can take years of selective training to overcome.

To create a truly high quality physique, you must be willing to make a definite and total commitment. I am deluged with a constant stream of letters from novice bodybuilders who are in a quandary as to which path to follow. These young trainees are besieged with a morass of conflicting training philosophies and high pressure sales techniques, offering promises of "miraculous" overnight improvement.

Our "New Breed" training regimen is based on several intrinsic qualities. We have tested these methods on ourselves and our students with remarkable success.

The first factor is intensity. You must keep your training sessions going at a good pace. Rest no more than 15 to 45 seconds between each set. Muscle growth is best stimulated by a given amount of work done in a reasonably short period of time.

The second factor we rely on is quality. Each repetition of a specific movement must be executed as perfectly as possible. There is no place for "cheating" in bodybuilding, but this looser style of training should be intentional. A novice bodybuilder should employ "cheating" methods only after mastering the technique of doing the movement perfectly.

Another training principle we place great stress on is contraction. Each muscle should be tensed consciously at the completion of each repetition. Don't allow the weight to "fall" back into place after a movement. Slowly lower the bar back to the starting position in a controlled manner. Get a good rhythmic set going by choosing your exercise poundages properly. Don't confuse training at a good brisk pace to "flying" through your sets with sloppy motions.

Before designing your first training program, you must determine into which physical category you belong. These are the three basic metabolic types:

Type I - Ectomorph - This first body type is usually tall, always thin and highly nervous. Ectomorphs have a great deal of trouble gaining weight.

Type II - Mesomorph - This is the most common physical type. His metabolism may allow him to gain or lose bodyweight at will, depending on the combination of food and supplements he ingests.

Type III - Endomorph - This last body type is the "stocky" type that gains weight very easily. The endomorph must be especially selective of his choice of exercises and pay strict attention to his dietary program.

Of course, there are a vast spectrum of graduations of each of these metabolic types. Often they border and overlap each other. The total possibilities of the human metabolism are almost infinite. Each of the three basic types has very different nutritional and training requirements. In my experience, the best approach to total body training for the beginner is to train from the bottom (lower body) up. Most rank amateurs disdain leg work in favor of training the showier muscles like the pectorals or biceps. The legs and lower back should always be trained proportionately to attain the look of total symmetry. Begin your training session with abdominal work. This acts as a light warmup and allows the bodybuilder to "get the blood flowing."

Exercises should be divided into three essential groups. The first are called basics or builders. When referring to the basic movements, one usually means one of the following:

Squat, bench press, overhead press, strict curl, rowing, triceps extension, deadlift, calf raise, reverse curl. There are many variations of each of these.

The second group of essential movements are called "shapers." They are designed to add shape to the mass built through the basic builders. Some of these include:

Chins of various types, dips, flyes, lateral raises, dumbbell curls, leg extensions, leg curls, hyperextensions, good mornings, upright rows, lat pulldowns, and various pulley rows. There are many more too numerous to mention in this space.

The third group of exercises are the "polishers." These movements are designed to render finishing touches and defined delineation to the various muscle groups. Some of the more popular of these are:

Concentration curls, pulley crushes, one dumbbell triceps extensions, pulley curls, spider curls, nd reverse wrist curls.

Your first routine should consist mainly of the first group, the basics. Some shapers are sometimes necessary, for the endomorph especially.

The second routine should add a shaping movement for each group.

When formulating your third routine, a polisher may be added.

Each of these routines should last for a six week duration.

Strive to build up weight in each movement, thus increasing your own basic power. Remember, our primary goal is to build shapely, well proportioned, quality muscle. Bear in mind that heredity plays an important part in determining the end result of your bodybuilding efforts. A person has already formed the amount of muscle cells he will have by the age of two. Different people are endowed with vastly different muscular and skeletal structures. Not everyone is equipped at birth to become a top physique champion. Yet, every trainee can improve and reach the peak of his own physical potential.

Here is the basic design of your first six weeks of training. For the first week (a total of three workouts), do only one set per exercise. Concentrate on proper form and rhythm. Learn to focus your complete attention on the muscle group you are currently training. Think of each bodypart as a bicycle tube you are seeking to inflate.

Ectomorphs should use 8 repetitions on all movements except for abs and calves.

Mesomorphs use 10 repetitions.

Endomorphs may use 12-15 reps.

Abs and calves remain the same for all three groups. These areas are denser and more fibrous. For your second week of training do two sets on each movement. Your third week should find you doing three sets of each exercise. Remain at three complete sets for two full weeks. Once having mastered three sets you should strive to add five pounds weekly on each exercise. Another two weeks should consist of four sets and more weight additions. The next eight to ten weeks should add a shaping movement to each body part.

Training Routine I - The Ectomorph

1) Diet - An ectomorph must eat a fairly balanced diet. He should emphasize proteins, but also be sure to assimilate fats (via raw dairy products) and carbohydrates derived from unrefined sugars and natural sources, such as fruits and vegetables. Don't attempt to gain weight through ingestion of junk foods. These refined starches will not add solid muscular weight.

2) Regulate Your Life - Get plenty of sleep. Try to train at the same time each day.

3) Remain Calm - Emotional stress is the ectomorph's greatest enemy. Free your mind from anxieties and emotional upheavals before training. Meditation often helps.

4) Think Positive - Form a good mental picture of your eventual goals. Positive energy yields positive results.


Abdominals -
Partial Roman chair situps.

Calves -
Seated calf raise - rise completely on the toes for complete contraction, then stretch for full extension. If this piece of apparatus is unavailable, do standing raises or donkey calf raises.   

Thighs -
Parallel squats with heels on 2" block. Don't lock the knees at the top of the movement nor descend past parallel.

Lower Back -
Stiff-legged deadlift off bench.      

Chest -
Bench press - keep the bar high on the chest. Don't bounce the weight. Maintain buttocks on bench.

Transition -
One dumbbell pullover across bench - transferring blood from chest to back.

Lats -
Lat machine pulldowns or barbell rowing motion.

Shoulders -
Press behind neck non-lock at top.

Triceps -
Lying EZ Bar triceps extension.

Biceps -
Strict curl, keep the arms parallel to the sides. 

Forearms -
Reverse curl.

Type II - Mesomorph

The mesomorph should limit his carbohydrate intake to 40-60 grams per day until he removes the excess subcutaneous fat from his body. Acquire a carbohydrate counter. Follow the same general training concepts as your ectomorphic counterpart. Strive for proper form and intensity. The mesomorph must reduce his body to a state of "total muscularity" before seeking to gain weight.

Abs -
Hanging knee-up; partial Roman chair situp; incline leg raise; seated twists, 1 set 100 reps.

Calves -
Seated raise, the same rules apply to all three types for calf work.

Thighs -
Front squats or hack squats; leg curls.

Lower Back -
Hyperextension or stiff-legged deadlift.

Chest -
Bench press to neck non-lock.

Transition -
One dumbbell pullover.

Lats -
Lat pulldown or wide grip chin.

Shoulders -
Fore-and-aft presses or lateral raises.

Triceps -
Lying extensions of triceps pull (if this equipment is available).

Biceps -
Incline dumbbell curl on 45-degree angle.

Forearms -
Reverse preacher curl.

Type III - Endomorph

Of all the body types the endomorph has his work truly cut out for him. Yet endomorphs usually exhibit superior calf development. The endomorph must pay special attention to his diet. He must seek to muscularize his entire physique before he reaches the intermediate level of his bodybuilding career. Endomorphs usually have the greatest difficulty in ridding their bodies of the fatty deposits that store in the lower back, lower abs, sides, and pecs. He must approach these areas with specialized zeal and intensity. His routine should be based on the following movements. An endomorph must be very selective in his choice of exercises. The movements that tend to widen the hips or buttocks (such as full squats or heavy leg presses) must be totally avoided. Size will not be his problem. He must aim his training at shape and quality of tissue.

The endomorph must constantly watch his carbohydrate intake. After years of training and dieting he may gain more leeway. Keep the carbohydrates restricted severely. Fats should also be diminished. His dietary emphasis should remain on white meats (chicken, turkey, fish).

Abs -
Hanging knee up; partial Roman chair situp; incline leg raise (avoid side bends); seated twists - 5 minutes straight.

Calves -
Standing raise.

Thighs -
Hack squat - leg extension - leg curl - use specially high reps in these movements, sets of 15-20.

Lower Back -
a) Stiff-legged deadlift or good mornings
b) Hyperextensions, work up to maximum reps.

Chest -
Dumbbell incline (40 degree angle) press, work for maximum safe stretch on each rep
Dumbbell flye, again stretch the pecs. SAFELY.

Avoid pullovers as most endomorphs tend to be barrel chested types.

Back -
Wide grip pulldown, seek to stretch the shoulders through this movement. Concentrate on a full distention of the shoulder blades (scapulae).

Shoulders -
Non-lock dumbbell presses, held at the sides of the shoulders to emphasize the lateral (side) head of the delt.

Triceps -
Lying triceps extensions, do sets of 12.

Biceps -
Incline dumbbell curl, concentrate on contraction.

Forearms -
Reverse curl with EZ Bar.

I have tried to set down some basic precepts that have proven useful in setting up initial training programs for the three body types. The rules are not universal. You must analyze your own body type and particular needs.   


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