Firstly, trying to train like Arnold with no luck and secondly, copying routines I'd read in Flex and MuscleMag, although I achieved some gains they were nowhere near what I had hoped for. The reason? Those routines aren't right for beginners, intermediates or even a lot of advanced trainees.
Over the past few years my training has been heavily influenced by Dorian Yates and I had been following a routine similar to his. However, with my goal to compete next year I wanted to pack on more mass and thought that I would need a more "back to basic's" routine in order to build the new muscle I desired. It then occurred to me that although Dorian's routine work well for me and I got some good gains from it, the fact remained that it was based on the routine he used when he was Mr. Olympia rather than the routine he followed initially when his goal was to build more size, and before he was a pro.
With this in mind I decided to look back at how Dorian used to train in his early years. I read through his book 'A Warrior's Story' there he talks in detail of a routine he used in 1986 before he was a pro. He followed a routine of three different training sessions, split over a five day period, this would allow each body part to be trained three times in a two week period.
Now, I know some people might read that split and think that level of frequency is over training, however, each session are based around short sessions with high intensity and low volume, with maximum attention to your nutrition to recover and pack on new size. I thought this new training routine would be good for me as for the past few years I have been training every body part once every seven days. However, I always felt that about five days after hitting a muscle it was fully recovered and ready to be trained again, but I wouldn't, as my seven-day plan wouldn't allow it. Following the early Dorian's training method my new training routine now appears as follows:
|Day 1:||Chest, Biceps, Delts (front & side)|
|Day 2:||Legs, Calves|
|Day 4:||Back, Rear Delts, Traps, Triceps|
|Day 6:||Chest, Biceps, Delts (front & side)|
|Day 7:||Legs, Calves|
|Day 9:||Back, Rear Delts, Traps, Triceps|
|Day 11:||Chest, Biceps, Delts (front & side)|
|Day 12:||Legs, Calves|
|DAY 14:||Back, Rear delts, Traps, Triceps|
As you can see it is a two on, one off, one on, one off routine. This allows for full recovery days and no more than two consecutive training days. However, if I ever feel the need for a rest day I will take it and then just resume the routine from where I left off. This is a big plus about this routine, as previously my training days where locked in with specific days of the week (e.g. Monday was always chest day) and if I missed a day I felt that I would just have to move on to the next body part to be trained as it would mess up the rest of my weekly training plan. I am going to train abs every other weight workout and perform at least three cardio sessions per week.
Another positive I find about this training split is that I can follow two different routines for each body part, alternating each session. I have always struggled mentally with most of my routines thinking that I'm missing out on certain exercises, which would be of benefit to me, but to include them within my existing routine, would cause me to over-train. I have tried doing two different training routines for certain body parts alternating each week.
But, I always felt that not training a certain exercise for 14 days was too long, especially when I was really trying to improve my strength levels. Now that it is just over 10 days I feel much more at ease with it, this takes away a bit of mental turmoil from always questioning myself if I'm doing everything possible with my training to improve my physique.
My Current Training Routines:
Day 1 - Chest, Biceps, Delts (front & side)
|Session 1:||Session 2:|
|Low Incline D/B Press X 3||Flat Bench Press X 3|
|Flat Bench Press X 3||Incline D/B Press X 2|
|Deps (weighted) X 2||Incline D/B Press X 2|
|Incline D/B Flyes X 2||Flat D/B Flyes X 2|
|Arm Curl Machine X 2||Incline D/B Curl X 2|
|EZ B/B Curls X 2||Reverse Curls X 2|
|Smith Delt Presses X 2||Military Press X 2|
|D/B Laterals X 2||1 Arm Laterals X 2|
Day 2 - Legs, Calves
|Session 1:||Session 2:|
|Leg Extension X 2||Leg Ext (1 leg negatives) X 2|
|Leg Curls X 2||Cybex Leg Press x 2|
|Hammer Leg Press x 3||Rack Squats x 2|
|Stiff Leg Deadlifts x 2||Stiff Leg Deadlifts x 2|
|Standing Calf Raise x 3||Seated Calf Raise x 3|
Day 4 - Back, Rear Delts, Traps, Triceps
|Session 1:||Session 2:|
|Chins (bodyweight) x 2||Weighted chins x 2|
|B/B Rows x 2||Deadlifts x 2|
|Reverse Grip Pulldown x 2||Seated Row x 2|
|1 Arm D/B Row x 2||T-bar Row x 2|
|Bent Over Laterals x 2||Hammer Rear Delt x 2|
|Hammer Shrug x 2||D/B Shrugs x 2|
|Triceps Pushdown x 2||Reverse Pushdowns x 2|
|Decline B/B Tricep Ext. X 3||Machine Tri Ext. X 3|
On each exercise I try to stay in the rep range of 6 - 8. For legs I will go higher between 10 - 15 reps. I have set myself a goal of increasing my strength by at least 10% on all exercises over my next 6 -8 week training cycle. I keep this in mind every time I train and always strive to lift heavy weights, or at least do more reps than before to keep moving forward in the right direction. I realize that with my main goal being to pack on muscle I need to increase my caloric intake to support my training and give my body the building blocks for new growth.
I eat 4 - 5 food meals per day, all high in protein. However to increase my caloric and protein levels further I have included ProLab's N-Large II to my supplement list. Being on a bit of a tight budget means I do not have the cash to buy the more costly MRP packets, so I do the next best thing and mix up my own high protein, high carbs, low fat shake using 2 scoops of N-Large II and 1 scoop of Optimum Nutrition's 100% Whey Protein. Both of these are really economical and taste pretty good too! I have this twice a day and together create a drink of the following nutrient breakdown.
|N-Large II - 2 scoops||300||26||43||3|
|Opt. Nutrition Whey -1 scoop||110||22||2||2|
In addition to this I take the whey protein drink by itself 3 - 4 times a day, along with creatine and l-glutamine. I also make it a point to get a least 3 grams of Vitamin C and 800 i.u. of Vitamin E per day, these are great for keeping your immune system in order and serve as anti-oxidants after heavy training sessions.
I think the magazines should write more articles on how the pro's used to train in order to get the size they were searching for when they were just starting out. I appreciate that these are the most genetically gifted and therefore could probably get away with over-training, compared to most people. However, it would give a better insight for a lot of readers as to what the top bodybuilders did to build the base for their current level of development.
I'm going to give this new type of training routine 100% in every area and hopefully in a couple of months time I will have a few more pounds of new muscle on my frame. I hope this article might be of help to the readers out there, especially those who are beginners or intermediate levels that are looking for a basic and effective training plan.
All the best,