Recuperation: TRAIN HARD! REST HARD!

The experts state that, "Muscles take at least 72 hours to fully recuperate." This might be true, but I still would not recommend constructing a workout routine based solely on this statement. I would guess that it takes longer than 72 hours to GROW MUSCLES! And I will bet that it takes your nervous system and glands longer than 72 hours to recover from a hard squat or back workout. The lesson to be learned here is to not follow an arbitrary amount of hours determined by "science" between your workouts. The guidelines help: light weights impose less stress than heavy weights, arms less stress than legs, and so on, but in the end you will have to judge for yourself if YOU ARE RECOVERED enough to return to the gym. You must balance your hard work in the gym with enough rest time to GROW from the hard training. Rotating bodyparts, in itself, does not provide enough rest. You have to take days of complete rest between HARD workouts to fully recuperate and grow. You MUST rest your entire body.

With recovery there are many variables to consider. The bottom line is if you train hard you have to rest hard. You will find that certain exercises require near maximum intensity to perform the workout, and require several days of complete rest to recover properly from (like heavy deadlifts). The rule of thumb is to wait until you feel recovered before going back to the gym. Quite often a heavy workout is followed by a two or more-day rest period.

Modern bodybuilding has been saturated with the BODY PART SPLIT SYSTEM. Day One is Legs, Day Two is back, Day Three is Arms, and so on. This splitting is not the best way to train for maximum strength and size. Your body, as a system, needs days of rest. You don't need 22 sets for back and 18 sets for chest, and so on..with all sorts of multiangle exercises to make progress. In fact just the opposite is true.

You need 6 to 8 basic, hard exercises, done in good form, performed every few days, for 15 to 20 some total sets. Some of you may not believe this type of training works. I challenge you to prove me wrong. Train this way for 6 months and (if you are resting and eating) you will experience gains like never before.

Don't confuse bodypart recovery with overall body recovery. Big exercises like squats and deadlifts, chins and dips, impact your entire body as a system. You have to let this system rest to grow muscles. If you are anything but big and strong already or doing detail training for a contest, you want to allow complete days of rest between workouts and you want to stick with 6 to 8 basic exercises done for 2 to 5 hard sets, always striving to lift heavier weight in these basic exercises. Follow a program like this for most of your bodybuilding life and you will not fail to grow muscles.

You can perform grip work, neck, calves and abs out of your regular training time. Ideally do these bodyparts later in the day (at a separate workout) on the same day as your main training. If that is not possible do them the day after you do your main training and then take the next day totally off (maybe even the next two days).

Recovery is 3 phases. First you recovery the energy you used while exercising. That takes a couple hours. Then you recover your nervous system and glands (your bodys chemical ability to cope with exercise) as you recover your muscles and connective tissue. This takes days. THEN and only then, after your body has recovered as an overall organism, do you grow new muscle. Most people return to the gym MUCH TOO soon after a hard workout.

Recovery takes time. Train hard and rest. Return to the gym fully rested. Do not drive yourself through daily workouts or training that is too frequent, too difficult or too lengthy.

It would be great to train hard and heavy everyday. However you won't get very far if you do. The "problem" with daily training and training in general is it feels so good. It's addictive. I know. The stimulation is wonderful. You have to have an extra normal vitality to engage in daily workouts. After a few short weeks most people become very overtrained from frequent training and progress stops. Test it for yourself.

The basic assumption with weight training is the more frequently a person trains the more rapidily that individual will improve.This is a big mistake that leads to no gains. This is the most common mistake enthusiastic athletes make and the reason so many quit the sport in frustration.

Train too frequently and the body will not recover properly to get bigger. You might get more muscular and you might get marginally stronger training every day (if you have the vitality to survive on a such a schedule) , but it would all happen faster if you broke up your training to have several days of complete rest between hard workouts. Try it. It works.

Bodybuilding Secret: Here is a little known schedule that works great for older and advanced athletes.

To really grow try this schedule: Train hard for no more than 45 minutes, then rest two days, at least, before you train again. This works best for advanced trainers who can generate a high degree of overload (intensity) in their training. Beginners can stick with every other day weight lifting till they feel that they are not recovering.

45 minute workout? What the heck do I do? Warm up well, then do one or two hard sets of your favorite mass builders.

Here is an example:
Squat or Leg Press
Dip or Bench
Chin (or lat pulls)or Rows
Shoulder Press or Curls
Deadlifts or Rows

99% of bodybuilders fail to make any gains because they refuse to master recovery. Too many workouts, too many sets and too many exercises. Most people will make maximum gains by resting 2 days (or more) between workouts. Training more frequently will not work if increased size and strength is the goal.

"Often I will wait one extra day before training again after a very intense session to be sure I am ready to return to the gym and not overtrain" Lee Apperson.

To grow you must recover completely between workouts. This means days of rest between heavy workouts.

You have to train inside a structured plan of action, however inside that plan is a goal of constant change and progression. You must lift heavier weights. You must get stronger.

Training to exhausten is not needed to improve. Training super hard and over working your nervous system is not needed. What is needed is "training hard enough" to IMPROVE. That is hard enough.

You train for several months one way, then switch for several months to a different training structure.

Each workout should be similar to, but different from, the last.

Consider doing more reps or performing several reps of a different nature during a set. Try something different each and every workout.

You have to keep the body guessing.

Don't use this as an excuse to overtrain.


Low reps are heavy weights performed for repetition's of 4 to 6. High reps are medium to light weights used for reps of 12, 15 or more. Heavy weights can be done for high reps (like high rep heavy squats) but this is considered "heavy work".

You should perform both kinds of training, sometimes even perform each exercise using both heavy and light weights, for high and low reps. For the most part, you will train with a combination of both rep schemes.

Examine the average power lifter physique,the athletes doing 5 sets of 5 reps. Their muscles always look thick and dense but lack shape and separation. Look at a person who follows a system of 12-reps or higher. They have a nice healthy toned appearance to the muscle but usually lack mass. High Rep exercises will change the appearance of the muscle because the capillary count is much higher. The answer is to use both types of rep schemes. Each contributes to the overall size and growth and appearance of the muscle.

Developing muscle is a two way situation (rep wise): (1) LOW REPS: building muscle fibers by increasing resistance to overcompensate for future stress and (2) HIGH REPS: developing more capillaries and nerve pathways to feed the new growth. You must perform high and low rep training (over time) to maximize your potential.

Your workouts must encompass training habits that maximize stimulation to encourage growth on both fronts. Actually, after a preliminary warm-up set (or two or three warm up sets), you can stimulate regular muscle fiber growth with one or two good sets, as Mr. Olympia, Dorian Yates has frequently explained (It is about intensity and heavier weights for Dorian). But capillary growth, only results from performing multiple sets, usually incorporating the use of fairly high reps.

Week one of a monthly cycle (as written in detail in this book) suggests the use of high reps for all exercises that week. Recovery is faster between workouts using medium to light weights with higher training volume. You can train more frequently with high rep workouts.

High rep training is important: It builds up a base of "muscular endurance" for the following weeks of heavier training. It prepares the joints and muscles for the heavier training to follow. After a week of 15 to 50 reps on bench for 4 to 5 sets, sets of 6 reps feel easy (no heavy breathing) no matter how heavy they are.

After a layoff or if you are using longer training cycles; longer than my suggested monthly cycles (like a 4 month cycle, building to a new strength peak over 4 months) you may engage in several weeks of high rep and increased set volume training using light to medium weights as the first phase of a cycle (the conditioning phase).


Many people switch to high rep training to prepare for a contest (or heal from an injury). A little extra high rep work can be helpful but for the most part, precontest high reps is a waste of time--instead train as heavy --as normal-- as you prepare for a contest or peak.

Do not switch over to high volume high rep workouts unless you are big and need to slim down. Such training will not build definition. Diets and losing fat builds definition. You want to stay as big and as full as possible.

For the most part, if you use the monthly cycle as outlined in this book you will be doing high reps for week one or for 1/3rd of your training time. That is sufficient to get all the benefits from high reps.

If you want to add in some high rep work into your normal workouts do it this way: High rep sets should be added onto the end of regular sets or at the end of a workout (just one or two sets will be fine) or performed later in the day after your heavy training. A set of 100 curls or bench press can be very stimulating. Usually once a week I like to do one exercise for lots of reps to really blow out the pump. I do this at the end of my workouts after I am finished with everything else.


This type of peaking is suggested for busy people.

Most people work jobs, go to school and lead busy lives out of the gym. Training has to fit in around a "normal" life. For the most part a person will train at a certain frequency year round. Let's say 2 heavy workouts a week, maybe 3. This is sufficient to gain strength and size and still go to work and raise a family.

If the athlete decides to enter a contest he will need to increase his training frequency. How much is dependent on many factors. At least 2 more workouts a week using secondary and "detail" exercises. My advice is to train as often and as frequently as you can tolerate. Daily abs and split workouts are suggested.

Frequent, small "secondary" workouts work very well. Short workouts several times a day, pumping the muscles fully are excellent. I often work my back 3 times on back day. Two of the workouts are just quick pump sessions.

This sort of peaking schedule, based on more frequent training with more exercises, sounds like contradictory advice from what I suggested in part one. And it is. The normal athlete (one who cannot build his life around his training) will need to increase his training frequency in order to peak properly for a contest.

This type of contest preparation is the method used by bodybuilding great Frank Zane.This training will take place about 6 to 8 weeks out from the show.

This increased volume of training includes more sets and more exercises to add increased separation and detail to the physique. This will amount to a certain amount of overtraining, and growth will stop during this time. However, you should become more muscular. This combined with the proper diet (to lose fat) will give you the right "look" when it's time to peak.

For me, this is not the best way to peak. This is because I train more frequently than most people (daily) and have a high degree of separation already. This puts me in an entirely different position physically ,3 months or even 6 weeks out from a peak than the average bodybuilder preparing for a show. However for many successful bodybuilders this is the preferred method to peak.