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Old 11-06-2009, 08:11 AM   #14
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Good post Ludovic.

BTW, post up some pics and maybe a log when you get a chance. One of the ways we handle training and advice on this forum is to be open about where we are at. This allows those reading, including numerous lurkers, to see the man behind the message. This isn't just aimed at you, but is actually a forum rule. The basic rule is that if you give training advice, you need to post pics, video or numbers.

It's not that you have to be big and strong to talk training...far from it. This is just to discourage a 130 pound guy with a 130 pound bench lecturing endlessly about training theory like he's Ronnie Coleman. Again, don't take this personal. It's just better for the overall community.

Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
Fullbody workouts twice a week worked for me, at least several months. For building the initial mass or the foundation, it propably the best way to train.
Also, a good way for a new trainee to focus on learning the major lifts. A beginner need not only worry about muscle mass, but also train to learn and concentrate on form.

Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
But some muscle groups tend to respond better than others. Training the whole body at once with the sole purpose of making it bigger is maybe not the best approach.
In my opinion, as long as the major lifts are in the formula, it's up to the lifter to find the formula for their body. My chest needs higher reps. My legs grow of low reps. My arms respond to only one exercise per week, if a lot of heavy compounds are in the mix.

Splits tend to encourage useless, unneeded work for newbs. If I ever walk into a gym again and see a 135 pound guy on the pec deck, I'll vomit on the spot.

While it is debatable just "what" a split should look like, there are knowns in the iron game. We know that steroid users get extra benefits from intense contractions, so high volume splits work better for them. We know that natural lifters place themselves in an anabolic deficit training over an hour.

So, with these knowns, it is possible to piece together how a natural beginner should train...generally it's 2-3 days per week. Intermediates, 3-4 days per weeks. I open the possibility of more training days for intermediates simply because they are learning their bodies, and may find that an extra day is needed for muscle...or simply for pleasure.

Looking at necessary exercises, it is simply wasting personal time for a beginner to train 5-6 days a week, blasting from "every angle". Personally, I can "blast" a muscle in about 20-25 minutes. I'm exhausted, pumped, and left drooling on the dungeon floor. This is with 2 exercises for a major muscle group.

The old school volume method recommends the use of a lot of exercises, and a loose rest between sets. I don't really care if a trainee uses a lot of exercises, but he needs to keep moving in the gym. Again, naturals don't have the benefit of unlimited daily gym time. Whatever you do...get in and do it.

Personally, until you're close to a 1,000 lift total, you shouldn't be training too far off from a 2-3 day, fullbody/near full body schedule. Honestly, if you can't bench 200, squat 350 and deadlift 400, a focus on those lifts is going to help you quite a bit. They are far better then hammer curls, incline flyes, side laterals, pec dec, etc.

To the OP's point...some muscle groups respond better. Yes, some do. Tis true for everyone. But I also will pull the card that heavy compounds are the best known way to pack on muscle, and should be used by a beginner in a simple routine because:

A) They have no idea how any muscle responds.
B) The body grows quickly the first two years of training, so this muscle that is growing rapidly, may slow down once you begin to approach your natural muscle mass limits.

Attacking lagging, or slow growing muscles too soon, may be misguided in many cases. Or assuming that your legs will always grow rapidly is misguided as well.

Much of the training "nonsense" of our generation isn't seen through the lens of natural muscle mass potential. It needs to be. We grow in phases.

Phase 1
Beginner. Rapid muscle growth in Year 1, assuming solid training. Gains average 16 pounds a year.

Phase 2
Beginner to Intermediate. Year 2, 8 pound gain. Muscles gains still strong, but are cut in half. This is generally the danger zone for most trainees...they start to believe that more is better, and that their bodies are slowing down because they "need to confuse" a muscle. Nonsense. They are dreaming..they're not steroids users. They're slowing down because naturals have limits.

The closer you are to your natural limits, the slower muscle gains become. End of story.

Phase 3
Intermediate. Years 3, 4 and 5. Muscle gains average only 2-3 pounds a year, tops. Strength is still increasing. At this time, you know what your weak bodyparts are, and your strong. It is acceptable to focus on lagging parts, but with the understanding that it's going to be a grind, because muscle gains are slim to none.

Phase 4
Advanced. Gains, at most, are a pound a year. Strength still increasing with hard work.

These numbers are provided via Casey Butt's work on natural bodybuilding. They are solid estimates. Training needs to be viewed through their lens, and not just through the lens of training splits.

Why? You can maximize your potential gains by doing all the right things the first several years. Or, you can fart around and take 5-10 years to accrue the gains you should have picked up in year 1.

Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
Once a muscle group is big enough there is also the possibility to train it for maintenance, once a week.
True. I would add that once a muscle is big, you're advanced and loading heavy weight on the bar. Weight weight general requires more care, so even maintenance is hard work.

Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
For the week muscle groups they can be trained twice a week with maybe a little bit more volume until the muscle is in balance with the rest. This is even possible with 3 days of training a week.
I'll up you one with progression of weight. I don't believe volume is the key for a natural.

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Last edited by BendtheBar; 11-06-2009 at 11:56 AM.
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