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Are Arnold's Training Ideas Correct?
I just read some of your stuff at Bodybuilding.com and it instantly aroused many questions.
I am 18, 6 foot 1, 185 lbs, and I have very low bodyfat. I have not been able to get an exact measurement, but I am so cut that my friends call me "freaky". I think that this is due to high metabolism, because I eat constantly and have never been fat. As a Freshman in high school I got into bodybuilding and have worked at it nonstop for almost 4 years now. After all this time my arms are a well defined 16 inches when pumped and flexed but I feel they should be more.
I used to train very lightly but constantly, until my late sophomore year and I began to read Arnold Schwarzenegger. He convinced me that I needed to train much more intensely. I had previously been training my upper body every day and off on the weekends. Arnold got me down to training each bodypart every other day with higher intensity.
Just this last summer I was following Arnold's regimine with 12 to 16 sets per body part, and training to complete failure. Needless to say I was bothered with joint injuries, but my attitude and health were otherwise great... or at least felt great.
It wasn't until this school year that I began to have doubts about Arnold's philosophies on intense training. I have no lack of energy when it comes to working out. I love every second of it and try to drive myself to delerium, but maybe this is not efficient.
I am no great fan of science, but I want to be the biggest man in the world someday and as of late, I have been having fear that all of my love of physical exertion and loyalty to Arnold's methods could be damaging.
I believe that each man is unique in his physical needs and limits, and there is no "perfect workout" but I really want your thoughts on the matter. When I say that I want to be big I am not kidding.
P.S. I try to make most of my training heavy in weight for mass gains.
Whenever one looks at the effectiveness of a program you have to answer one simple question. Are you making the progress you desire and coming closer to your short-term goals? It doesn't matter how unique, or trendy a program appears if it is not working then you need to make a change. I am not going to criticize too heavily Arnold's ideas (as I have already done that in previous Q and A posts below). From a practical stand point it is valuable to contemplate some of the following points:
1. Training to failure requires more time to recover. Not just for the metabolic system, but the nervous system as well. Even though the metabolic system can recover rather quickly, the nervous system takes significantly longer. If you consistently train when the body is fatigued then you are never going to be able to take advantage of supercompensation which is the main form of positive adaptation.
2. Training every body part every other day is very risky. Since most compound movements utilize many several muscle groups you are bound to overtrain some of the smaller muscle groups such as the biceps, triceps, and shoulders. These muscle play a large role in the performing the bigger upper body lifts that result in growth.
3. Let us be honest for a moment. Arnold has accomplished a lot, but he was not drug free and nor has he pretended that he ever competed as such. The only way to consistently train at this level would to be on ergogenic aids. I don't agree with the use of drugs for performance enhancement, especially when using a smarter way of training is much more useful. I highly recommend Keats Snideman's Periodization article. He outlines how to use various methods of training to obtain superior results while minimizing the risk of overtraining and injuries.
Pretty soon we will have a system where you can purchase full routines from our experts. It is rare to obtain such great information for the prices that will be charged. You will have the ability to measure success, learn how to utilize various feedback systems, and learn new exercises and training variables you have not seen before. Keep your eyes open as this will be available very soon. In the end, if we go back to are you attaining your goals? If the answer is no then changes definately need to be made.