Three Ways to Gain - Arnold Schwarzenegger, Larry Scott, and Bill Pearl
Three Golden Era Greats on Gaining Mass
by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Larry Scott, and Bill Pearl
I would like to clear up any confusion you may have about anabolic steroids. Every serious bodybuilder should know the truth about steroids. It is my opinion that you can gain all the weight you want without them. Steroids are a very radical departure from physical culture. Far too much emphasis is placed on their value in the quest for an improved physique. Personally, I think the usefulness of steroids is overrated and, needless to day, overdone. Superstars of the past, such as Reg Park, John Grimek, Steve Reeves, Clancy Ross, Jack Delinger and Bill Pearl reached the ultimate in massive muscularity without them. So too can you reach your ultimate with proper training and diet.
Some advanced bodybuilders can train three hours a day and show amazing gains, while others cannot make any kind of improvement if they train much more than one hour or so. When I was trying to get bigger in my early days of training, I followed a routine called the Golden Six. I made tremendous gains on this program and do did many others who trained at my gym in Munich. All agreed that this simple system of training produced excellent gains in muscle size and bodyweight. Here are the Golden Six:
1.) Barbell Squats. This exercise not only develops the lower body, but it strengthens the heart and lungs while improving the general circulation as well. Use a weight that will permit you to perform 4 sets of 10 reps. Always lower yourself until your upper thighs are at least parallel to the floor, and keep your back flat.
2.) Barbell Bench Presses. This is my favorite upper body exercise, and almost every training program I've ever used includes it. Take a fairly wide grip -- your hands about 32 inches apart. Inhale as you lower the bar to your nipples and exhale as you push it back to arms' length. Don't bounce the weight off your chest. 3 sets of 10 reps.
3.) Chins. If you have limited training experience you may find chins difficult at first. If you have a lat machine, you can perform pulldowns until you've developed sufficient strength to do chins. Use a fairly wide grip and try to bring your chin over the bar. Do as many reps as you can for 3 sets.
4.) Overhead Presses. This exercise reigns supreme for widening and thickening the shoulders. I prefer to do it seated and often press behind the neck. Use a wide grip -- your thumbs about six inches wider than your delts on each side. Lower the weight slowly and don't pause at the bottom. 4 sets of 10 reps.
5.) Barbell Curls. The triceps have already been thoroughly exercised during the bench press and the overhead press. Use a shoulder width grip and a weight you can curl without any body movement. Don't let your elbows move away from the sides of your body, make sure you straighten your arms completely before each rep and do 3 sets of 10 reps.
6.) Bent-Knee Situps. It's only sensible to keep your midsection firm and toned when gaining muscular weight. Situps also improve digestion and elimination as well. Don't pause between reps and continue for 20 or as many reps as you can do without stopping. Do 3 or 4 sets.
I feel sure that if you use these basic exercises for a minimum of three months without missing any workouts, doing them three times a week on alternate days, you can gain many pounds of new muscle. Paul Grant, former Mr. World, used almost this exact same program and gained 65 pounds of muscle in less than a year. All he did was increase the sets on the first five exercises to four after three months, and after six months he went to six sets. Always strive to continually add more weight to each exercise when you can do two or three more reps over the recommended amount.
Gaining muscular weight is a problem faced by nearly everyone at one time or another during his or her bodybuilding career. I was no exception, weighing in at only 120 pounds as a beginner. The first few years of my training were primarily devoted to gaining additional muscular weight and size. Through proper training and nutrition I eventually reached a bodyweight of 215 pounds, a total gain of 95 pounds of muscle.
When it comes to gaining solid weight the real secret is diet. Only by supplying your body with the proper nutritional elements that it requires will you be able to build maximum size and strength. It is my opinion that 75% of the battle to build a better body is proper nutrition. Exercise and proper rest and sleep are also of major importance, but diet builds muscle tissue when the exercise stimulates the body to grow.
One of the best mass-training routines that I used was to select one exercise for each major muscle group and do 6 sets of 8 reps on each. The following workout is intended for the intermediate bodybuilder who is not a total beginner and wants to pack on a lot more bodyweight and muscle mass:
Bench presses to neck - 6 sets of 6to 8 reps.
Barbell squats - 6 x 8.
Calf raises - 6 x 15-20.
Behind the neck presses - 6 x 6-8.
Front pulldowns - 6 x 8-10.
Lying barbell triceps extensions - 6 x 8.
Preacher bench curls - 6 x 8.
Bent-leg knee raises - 1 x 100-150.
This is a rugged routine. You might wish to begin with just 3 sets of each exercise and add one additional set every 30 days until you work up to 6 sets. Do this program 3 days a week on alternate days.
Think big and train with all the enthusiasm you're capable of. You can go as far as you want when it comes to gaining solid weight if you train intelligently, eat properly and get enough sleep and rest.
A lot of time has passed since I first began training seriously. At first I employed a basic all-round training program for conditioning. Then I began to work on my weak spots, which at the time included just about everything. I weighed about 165 at 5'11". I wasn't skinny. I just had an average athletic build. When I competed and won the Mr. Universe, however, I weighed 241 pounds in my final competition.
My plan when gaining muscular weight was to eat five meals a day so that the digestive system was not overtaxed. Often when a person is using all-out effort to gain bodyweight, the average individual eats to the point of force-feeding and in doing so stretches the stomach. When you eat smaller meals more often, not only is the food more easily digested and utilized to build muscle and produce energy, it also helps keep the waistline under control. Generally speaking, when trying to reach a desired higher bodyweight I consume mostly fresh vegetables, fruits, baked potatoes, cheese, meat and fish (at least I did before converting to a vegetarian diet in later years). All foods are either baked or broiled for easier digestion.
Here is the mass program that helped me win the Mr. Universe. I trained down to 190 then slowly built up to 240 pounds.
Incline Flyes - 5 sets of 6 reps
Bent-Arm Flat Bench Flyes - 5x6
Decline Flyes - 5x6
Seated Behind the Neck Presses - 5x6
Standing Barbell Press - 5x6
Dumbbell Lateral Raises - 5x8
Lying Triceps Extension - 5x8
Triceps Pushdowns - 5x8
Barbell Curls - 5x6
Incline Dumbbell Curls - 5x6
Concentration Curls - 5x6
Situps - 100-200
Alternate Leg Raises - 100-200
Dumbbell Side Bends - 50
Situps - 100-200
Alternate Leg Raises - 100-200
Dumbbell Side Bends - 50
Wide Grip Chins - 5x10
Close Grip Chins - 5x10
Shrugs - 5x10
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts - 5x8
Wrist Curls - 5x20
Reverse Curls - 5x20
Squats - 5x8
Hack Squats - 5x10
Leg Curls - 5x12
Standing Calf Raises - 6x10
Donkey Calf Raises - 6x10
I like reading about the old guys and how they trained.
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