A Shift Toward Quicker Results!

As bodybuilders, we are always looking for the quickest, most efficient ways to produce results and reach our goals. Features: The One Set Case, The Bare Minimum, A Full Workout Program For Two and Three Days Per Week.
As bodybuilders, we are always looking for the quickest, most efficient ways to produce results and reach our goals. It's our impatient qualities that keep the supplement market flooded with new products, many of which are nothing more than hype. We constantly look for new ways to produce results faster. Many turn to steroids, because they are not willing to wait for results or experiment to find a way that works for them. However, there are efficient ways to gain size naturally, and if you keep reading, I'll tell you about them.


Lately, there's been a bit of talk on the message boards about overtraining, and if it exists. I can tell you many reasons to support that overtraining is more than just some myth. Overtraining is reality, however, that's not what this article is about. I've overtrained, and in the course of about 2 months I lost 10 pounds of muscle. But we aren't going to be talking about overtraining here, this article is about undertraining, or better yet, what many would call under training and how under training can bring you results faster and more efficiently then you might ever imagine.

First, have you noticed a change in training styles since the 70s? In the 70s it was unheard of to train each muscle less then 3 times per week. The notion then among most trainees was that "more is better." The truth however is far from that. During the 80s Frank Zane, Lee Labrada and Clarence Bass all made changes in their training routines.

All of these bodybuilders switched to training each muscle only once every 5-8 days, and started either training at maximum intensity or not at all. Most thought Dorian Yates was at his prime when he adopted an abbreviated training style, however, none could ignore the impressive gains he made under the supervision of Mike Mentzer in only a year.

The One Set Case

As I was saying before, most bodybuilders look for faster, more efficient ways to build muscle, but most go about it totally wrong. How many hours do you spend in the gym a week? 6-10? What if you could get the same results from spending 1/3 of that time in the gym per week, would you do it?

To increase muscle size and strength, the muscle must be stimulated. We do this by lifting weights; each repetition closer to failure creates more inroads in the muscle (stimulates more muscle fibers). Multiple sets per exercise can be effective, they add up to create the same amount of inroads as one set to failure, but, only when done properly. It is also much easier to over train using multiple sets, since it can lead to a catabolic state quickly in the body. And let's also not forget that too many sets of too many exercises can also lead to tendinitis and increase risk of other injuries due to overuse.

Many people also debate the amount of time that should be spent in the gym. It's been scientifically shown that after training for 45 minutes to an hour the body has used up its entire glycogen store and then turns to the muscles as a source of fuel by releasing cortisol. I suggest limiting your time in the gym to a maximum of 45 minutes from the start of your first failure set to the end of your last one.

I also suggest taking a maximum of only 2-3 minutes between sets depending on the complexity of the exercise. A set of all-out squats to failure will no doubt require more time to recover and catch your breath before the next set then a set of curls to failure.

Think of this analogy: A football team starts out on its own 20-yard line. Team A takes their time moving down the field. They run the ball for 5-or-6 yards then pass the ball for 10, and eventually, after about 14 plays, they reach the end zone. Team B completes a single pass and scores. In the time that Team A took to get down field, many negative things could happen. They could turn the ball over, key players could be injured, and they might not have even made it there after all. Team B though, is a sure shot. The ball is thrown, successfully caught and 6 points go up on the board. Think of Team A as a multiple set routine, and Team B as a single set to failure routine.


Now, let's say you are doing a set of bench presses with 225 pounds. The first rep is easy and your intensity is low, but as you continue in the set, some of your muscle fibers are over loaded and new ones are recruited to meet the demands of the weight. This continues until all your muscle fibers are overloaded and no longer able to raise the weight.

You then lower the weight as slowly as possible until the last remaining muscle fibers are overloaded and they too give out, and then, and only then have you reached momentary muscular failure. That was an intense set. After doing a set like this to failure, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to do another set with the same amount of weight for anywhere near the same amount of reps. Job well done, you can now move on to a new exercise.

The Bare Minimum

Any training program can be effective if it contains the following necessary entities. First, there must be some form of stimulation to the muscle. You must overload the muscle and create inroads. You must give the muscles the time and nutrients they need to recover. Remember, you only grow outside the gym. Last, there must be progressive resistance. If you're not going up in either weight or reps every 1-3 weeks, then there is a problem in your diet or routine or both.

The following are the bare minimum amount of exercises needed for each muscle. Each workout you should use only the least amount of exercises needed to yield a result. Of course you will want to change exercises for their variants every so often to shock your muscles and keep things fresh, but there is no need to overlap exercises.

Chest: Bench press, Dumbbell Flies
Back: Chin-ups, Barbell Rows, Deadlifts
Thighs: Squats, Straight Leg Deadlifts
Shoulders: Military Press, Bent over lateral raise
Biceps: Barbell curls, Dumbbell Hammer curl (you can substitute supinated dumbbell curls in for both)
Triceps: Lying Triceps extension, Triceps Press
Calves: Standing calf raises
Traps: Shrugs

Here is a quick example of one of my favorite routines that I highly recommend to hard gainers:


Bench press: 1 x 6-8
Pull over: 1 x 6-8
Incline DB flies: 1 x 7-9
Preacher curl: 1 x 7-9
Supinated DB curl: 1 x 7-9

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Monday


Squats: 1 x 8-10
SLDL's (Stiff Legged Deadlifts): 1 x 10-12
Calf raises: 1 x 10-12
Military press: 1 x 8-10
Bent-over DB raise: 1 x 8-10
Shrugs: 1 x 10-12

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Chins: 1 x 7-9
T-Bar rows: 1 x 7-9
Deadlifts: 1 x 4-6
Overhead triceps extension: 1 x 6-8
Triceps Press: 1 x 6-8
Crunches: 1 x 18-20

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Friday

I used the one below when I worked construction during one summer, and gained back the 10 pounds I lost using volume training:


Weighted dips: 1 x 6-8
Incline Flies: 1 x 6-8
Chin ups: 1 x 8-10
T-bar rows: 1 x 8-10
Military press: 1 x 6-8
Bent-over lateral raises: 1 x 8-10
Deadlifts: 1 x 4-6

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Monday


Squats: 1 x 8-12
SLDL's: 1 x 10-12
Calf raises: 1 x 10-12
Supinated DB curls: 1 x 8-10
Lying triceps extension: 1 x 6-8
Triceps Press: 1 x 6-8
Crunches: 1 x 18-20

Click Here For A Printable Log Of Thursday

Make sure that you warm up properly before beginning the first exercise. A light 4-5 minute jog followed by a few light sets to warm up the muscles you will be using and stretching is all that is really needed. There's no reason to do countless amounts of warm-up sets in the gym before each exercise.

Lift like a man