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My own contest had come and gone, and reaching the best shape of my life had only been good enough for third place in the Heavyweights. Of course, at 203 pounds I would have been more competitive in a weight class called 'Not-quite Heavyweight," but at this writing the NPC has no such division.
The men who beat me were so much larger as to finally make me come to terms with the fact that perhaps God put me on this earth to be a writer and a coach, rather than a big jacked-up freak. In fact, I am still bruised form being jostled by several sets of 21-inch arms during prejudging.
After allowing myself a couple days to wallow in self-pity and endless bowls of Frankenberry cereal (my kids had already finished the Count Chocula and BooBerry in the big three-pack box of monster cereals), it was time to redirect my focus toward Randy.
Genetically, this kid had the tools to be a real champion and rack up some nice titles, and I knew I could guide him to it. The first step was going to be improving his overall shape and symmetry by bringing up a couple muscle groups of his that could stand to be thicker and fuller.
"Let me explain the Harris Priority Principle," I began, addressing my young charge Randy.
"Um, don't you mean the Weider Priority Principle?" he corrected me.
"Weider?" I scratched my head. "Hmm, the name does sound vaguely familiar. But who cares about him, I have been the trainer of champions since, well, about twelve years now." Randy was silent, allowing this display of pomposity to continue.
"I train all of those really hard now, though," he responded, the usual defensiveness creeping into his voice.
"I never said you didn't, Junior," I assured him. "But training hard isn't always enough, especially when it comes to a stubborn bodypart. You also need to train smart, and in this case it means giving your weaker muscle groups a fighting chance."
"Okay," he shrugged, "so how do I do that?"
"I'm glad you asked," I smiled, and opened up my training journal. I tore out a page from the back where I had outlined a new training split for Randy. I handed it over, and here's what was on it:
- Monday: Arms and calves
- Tuesday: Legs
- Thursday: Chest and shoulders
- Friday: Back
- Saturday: Arms and calves (blood-volume training)
Randy appeared puzzled, as he often did when trying to make sense out of my suggestions, so I explained the method to my madness.
"Arms and calves are going to be trained heavy on Mondays after a full day of rest. The reps will be 6-10 for arms, 8-12 for calves, and you will be paying special attention to the Harris Peak Contraction Principle by flexing the target muscle at the end of every rep."
"Don't you mean the Weider..."
"Silence!" I barked. "On Saturday you will train arms and calves again, but this time the reps will be 12-20 for arms, and 20-50 for calves. The reps will be a constant, piston-like motion with no pause at the beginning or end. Some people these days refer to this as 'blood-volume' training, but it's really nothing more than what we used to call the Harris Flushing Principle back in the old days of Larry Scott and Arnold."
Randy looked at me sideways. "You weren't even born when Larry Scott was Mr. Olympia, come on now."
"I will not tolerate this infernal insolence!" He was just lucky I wasn't like the cruel Kung Fu master Pai Mei (below) from Kill Bill, Volume 2. You talked back to that bearded little Chinese dude and he would pluck your eyeball right out the socket. I don't even know how to pluck eyebrows, which is why my wife has that done at a salon now after I botched the job that one time. It's not my fault I never finished Beauty School.'
"Hitting your arms and calves twice a week with two different styles of training is going to get them growing faster than they have for a very long time, bucko," I promised him. "Now for your upper chest..."
"We already do inclines," he reminded me.
"Right, but for the next twelve weeks, all you will be doing for your chest is incline movements. Incline barbell presses, incline flyes and cable crossovers, and incline dumbbell presses," I informed him.
"What about my middle and lower chest?" he whined.
"What about them? Listen, in over twenty years of astutely studying physiques, I have yet to see anyone with a great upper chest and a weak middle and lower chest. 999 times out of a thousand it's just the opposite. The rest of your chest isn't going to wither away, fear not. But you can't really improve your upper chest unless you devote all of your energy to it for a period of time." Randy nodded in acquiescence.
"We also need to make sure you are fueling this muscle growth," I continued. "During this specialization period I want you taking in at least two grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, and three to four grams of carbohydrates. Get the extra protein and carbs from Parrillo Hi-Protein and Optimized Whey powders, liver aminos, and the nutrition bars.
I also want you taking six capsules of the Muscle Aminos, the branched-chain ones, three times a day on an empty stomach. One of those times will be during your workout. I want to see you gain ten pounds in that time, and I want almost all of that to be pure muscle. You're young and your genetics are good, I know you can do it."
"You really think I can bring my arms, calves, and upper chest up enough to notice in just three months?"
"The whole point of specializing is accomplishing something in a short time that would normally take much longer. I estimate that we can get more growth out of those areas in three months than you would have seen in at least a year doing what you have been doing."
Randy was grinning, obviously excited about the coming months.
"I feel like it's just so crazy that it might work. Thanks, Ron."
"What can I say?" I laughed. "I am a man of Principles!"
P.S. No disrespect here was meant to Joe Weider, the Master Blaster and Trainer of Champions since 1939 - a full six decades before Ron Harris popped out of his mama's womb and started flexing!
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