How often should you
train? How much is enough? What is TOO much? Do I need to max out?
If so, how often?
All of these questions are just some of the questions the average
training individual asks. The following material answers the ultimate
question, how can I build a fantastic body?
Go back and
read our free online course on the basics of strength and then come
back and read this. Now that you have done that, we can begin. It
takes 3 to 5 years to build a base for a well built body. Sometimes
it takes longer. In these years you concentrate on the basic exercises
with free weights. You practice the principles of cycling your yearly
training as I am about to discuss with you.
I go in depth on this but in a nutshell you train 3 to 4 months
focusing on conditioning and basic strength. Then you go 3 months
using all strength training. Next you go to a full bodybuilding
routine pre-contest mode for 3 to 4 months to really shape up. Then,
you repeat the cycle, year after year. Each year you attempt to
hit a peak of strength (during the power phase) and a peak of looking
great during the pre-contest phase and a peak of cardio fitness
during the conditioning phase. Years ago during a conditioning phase
I did 33 chins in a set. On the second set I did 26 reps. My conditioning
was superb at that time.
Another valuable cycle
is the LONG CYCLE. This type of cycle is described in great
detail in the book, "BRAWN" by Stuart McRobert.
This cycle is purely
for gaining strength and size over a long period of time. Basically
you stay on a building cycle (a strength cycle) for months or years
till you max out (can go no further, go stale) or till you get hurt.
You make very small weight additions to the weight bar in basic
exercises, training once or twice a week at most on exercise like
squats and deadlifts and other "big" movements.
After you break into
this schedule you will find yourself training at your maximum
(weight) limit for quite a period of time. And even though you
are always adding weight to the bar it is done in small (8 ounces
or 1 pound at most) increments and the change in weight is often
imperceptible. After several months of adding 1 pound to the bar
a week, let's say you started at a 200 lb bench for 6 reps, you
would end up in 6 months at a 230 some bench for 6 reps or more.
In a year a 300 bench. You can really build up training like this,
but you have to really recover fully between workouts, or
you won't grow. A week of rest is often taken between workouts.
If you are squatting hundreds of pounds for reps you will need the
rest time to recover and then grow. Many people return to the gym
before GROWTH HAPPENS. This type of training is fun and productive
and is very hard work. This is because you are training with your
max weights ( plus: adding 8 oz to a pound each week) at every
workout for months or asl long as the cycle lasts. Once you
top out you start again. Usually I get hurt, have to rest for a
time and then build up again at a later date. Your body takes a
real beating training with heavy weights and nothing else. This
is one of the reasons I suggest not training heavy all the time.
Heavy training is productive but can be rough on the joints over
You have to be very motivated
on this program as you are literally training at your max weight
limit every time you touch the bar.
CREATING A SCHEDULE
You will need to create
a schedule based on the weather in your area and the best times
for you to perform certain exercises. I have always been stronger
in the winter and have set up my training to match this natural
rhythm of my body. However, it took 10 years of training to figure
out this fact ! For a beginner, just do your best to get one yearly
cycle under your belt and start from there.