THE WEIDER PRINCIPLES
BUILD THE PERFECT ROUTINE -- OR MAKE ANY WORKOUT BETTER--WITH THESE 24 TRIED AND TESTED TRAINING PRINCIPLES, COLLECTED BY THE MASTER BLASTER HIMSELF, JOE WEIDER
JOE WEIDER - TRAINER OF CHAMPIONS
The Weider Principles, a list of weightlifting truisms gathered and honed by the father of bodybuilding Joe Weider, have stood the test of time. These 24 principles, which have been divided into 3 categories have guided us for decades in designing programmes. It is highly recommended that you use them too, as you learn and advance through your muscle building efforts.
1/ CYCLE TRAINING
Devote portions of your training year to specific goals for strength, mass or getting cut. This can help decrease your risk of injury and add variety to your routine. Cycle periods of high intensity and low intensity to allow for recovery and spur new gains.
2/ ECLECTIC TRAINING
Incorporate a diverse selection of variables, such as set, rep and exercise schemes, into your workout. Bodypart routines should utilise both mass-building multijoint moves and single-joint exercises.
3/ INSTINCTIVE TRAINING
Experiment to develop an instinct as to what works best for you. Use your training results along with past experiences to constantly fine-tune your programme. Go by feel in the gym: if your biceps just dont feel like they've recovered from the last workout, do another bodypart that day instead.
4/ MUSCLE CONFUSION
Constantly change variables in your workouts -- number of sets, number of reps, exercise choice, order of exercises, length of your rest periods -- to avoid getting in a rut and slowing growth.
5/ CONTINUOUS TENSION
Dont allow a given muscle to rest at the top or bottom of a movement. Control both the positive and negative portions of a rep and avoid momentum to maintain constant tension throughout the entire range of motion.
6/ FLUSHING TRAINING
Train one bodypart with multiple exercises ( 3-4 ) before you train another. The "flushing" is your body sending a maximum amount of blood and muscle-building nutrients to that area to best stimulate growth.
7/ HOLISTIC TRAINING
Use numerous training techniques ( lows and high reps, faster and slower speeds and alternate exercises ) to stimulate maximum muscle fibres. Don't always approach exercises with the same 6-10 repetition sets; try lightening the load and going for 10 reps in some training sessions to build endurance-related muscle fibres.
8/ ISOLATION TRAINING
This is a technique designed to work individual muscles without including adjacent muscles or muscle groups. A pressdown for triceps ( rather than a close grip bench press ) is an example of an isolation movement.
Between sets ( or even between workouts ), flex and hold various for 6-10 seconds, keeping them fully contracted before releasing. Competitive bodybuilders use this technique to enhance their posing ability through increased muscle control.
10/ MUSCLE PRIORITY
Hit your weakest bodypart first in a workout or bodypart split, when you can train with more weight and intensity because your energy level is higher.
11/ PEAK CONTRACTION
Squeeze your contracted muscle isometrically at the end point of a rep to intensify effort. Hold the weight in the fully contracted position for up to 2 seconds at the top of an exercise.
12/ PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD
To continue making gains, your muscles need to work harder in a progressive manner from one workout to the next. During most of your training cycle, try to increase your weights each session, do more reps or sets, or decrease your rest periods between sets.
13/ PYRAMID TRAINING
Incorporate a range of lighter to heavier weights for each exercise. Start light with higher reps ( 12-15 ) to warm up the muscle, then gradually increase the weights in each successive set while lowering your reps ( 6-8 ). You could also reverse the procedures -- moving from high weight and low reps to low weight and high reps, aka a reverse pyramid.
ADVANCED TRAINING TECHNIQUES
Perform sets of 2 exercises for the same or different muscle groups back-to-back with no rest in between
Perform three consecutive exercises for one muscle group
16/ GIANT SETS
Four or more exercises for one muscle group performed in back-to-back fashion without rest in between.
Continue a set past the point at which you can lift a weight through a full or even partial range of motion with a series of rapid partial reps. Do this as long as your muscles can move the weight, even if only a few inches.
Use momentum ( a slight swing of the weight ) to overcome a sticking point as you fatigue near the end of a set. While doing heavy barbell curls, for example, you might be able to perform only 8 strict reps to failure. A subtle swing of the weight or a slightly faster rep speed may help you get 1-2 additional reps. For advanced bodybuilders only.
19/ DESCENDING OR DROP SETS
After completing your reps in a heavy set, quickly strip an equal amount of weight from each side of the bar or select lighter dumbbells. Continue to do reps until you fail, then strip more weight off to complete even more reps.
20/ FORCED REPS
Have a training partner assist you with reps at the end of a set to help you train past the point of momentary muscular failure. Your training partner will lift the bar with just enough force to get you past the sticking point.
Resist the downward motion of a very heavy weight. For example, on the bench press, use a weight thats 15% - 25% heavier than you can typically handle, and fight the negative as you slowly lower the bar to your chest. Have your partner
22/ PARTIAL REPS
Do reps involving only partial range -- at the top, in the middle or at the bottom--- of a movement.
Pre-exhaust a muscle with a single-joint exercise before performing a multi-joint movement. In leg training, you can start with leg extensions ( which target the quads ) before a set of squats ( which also work the glutes and hamstrings.
Take brief rest periods during a set of a given exercise to squeeze more reps out of a set. Use a weight you can lift for 2-3 reps, rest as long as 20 seconds, then try for another 2-3 reps. Take another brief rest and go again for as many reps as you can handle, and repeat one more time.