20 Months to a Champion Physique – Month 7

Welcome to the first month of the intermediate phase of this training program.

The most significant change you will notice this month is that the number of exercises has increased significantly. During the beginner phase of the program the maximum number of exercises you were doing was 10 per workout, but this month you will be doing 14 exercises.

However, don’t be concerned at what appears to be a huge increase in workload. In reality the actual workload in terms of the total number of sets is only marginally greater at the beginning of this month than it was at the end of last month. At the end of Month 6 you were doing basically five sets per exercise for a total of 37 sets. At the beginning of this month you will be doing three sets per exercise, except in the case of the midsection exercises, for a total of 39 sets per workout. So as I said, it’s only a marginal increase in workload.

For variety’s sake, the order in which you will work the various body parts has been altered again. Last month the order of training was midsection, thighs, calves, chest, deltoids, back, triceps, biceps and midsection again. This month the order is chest, deltoids, back, triceps, biceps, triceps, thighs, calves and midsection. And since you will now be doing a greater number of exercises, we have included multiple exercises for more body parts – two exercises for chest, two for back, two for triceps, two for thighs and three for the midsection.

And one final point as you embark on this first month of training in the intermediate phase. At the beginning of this program we mentioned that we didn’t want you to overburden yourself, especially if you were new to training, by concerning yourself with aerobics, nutrition, etc. in addition to your weight training. My exact words were: “Initially we want you to simply get in the habit of weight training so you can develop muscle tone, strength and the capacity to handle gradually increasing workloads.”

Well, now that you have presumably developed that habit, it is indeed time for you to add some aerobic training to your exercise regimen if you haven’t been doing aerobics all along. The aerobic work will enable you to improve your cardiovascular condition, burn extra calories, reduce your body fat and thereby show off the results of your weight training.

Don’t Be A Half Baked Potato

Someone once said that “a runner without weight training is like a bodybuilder without cardiovascular conditioning, they are half baked potatoes.”

Don’t be a half baked potato. And in case cardiovascular conditioning is the farthest thing from your mind for some reason, please note that for a bodybuilder aerobics is not only important for health and fitness reasons but for aesthetic reasons as well. Developing exceptional muscle mass and tone is great, but is it not a sorry state of affairs if there’s so much bodyfat on your frame that the muscles you have worked so hard to build don’t even show?

There are, of course, many forms of aerobic exercise you can choose from and the choices have become all the greater with the development of the various high tech aerobic exercise machines you see at all the well equipped gyms nowadays. Some of the most common forms of aerobic exercise are stationary cycling, stair climbing, treadmill, jogging, stationary rowing, cross country skiing, aerobic dancing, swimming and walking.

If you haven’t done much aerobic exercise before, I would suggest that you start out at a level that is very comfortable to you, exercising at 60% to 80% of your maximum heart rate for 10 to 15 minutes at the outset and gradually increasing the duration of aerobic exercise from there. Don’t try to exceed that 60% to 80% range at any time unless you have an intention to become a competitive endurance athlete.

I’ve always done my aerobic exercise before my weight training session, which gives the aerobic work a kind of dual purpose it serves as a warm up as well as being a cardiovascular conditioner and calorie burner. I suggest you do your aerobic work before your weight training session, too, although that’s a matter of personal preference.

If you are new to aerobic exercise, my recommendation is that you limit your aerobic workouts to three times a week and gradually build up from there.

Medical Warning and Disclaimer

Please get a physical before starting any of the programs at billpearl.com, especially if you are overweight, have not exercised for a while, have had any health problems or if there is any history of health problems. We also recommend that you then visit your doctor on a regular basis while training and report any problems to your doctor.

Should any exercises in these routines be uncomfortable or dangerous to do because of some sort of physical impairment you have, please substitute another exercise for the same body part which will not aggravate the condition. There is a tremendous variety of exercises available for any body part, as you know if you have seen or read my book, Keys to the Inner Universe, so there’s absolutely no reason to be doing some particular exercise that aggravates a back problem, a weak knee or whatever condition you may have simply because you see it in a workout routine somebody put together.

billpearl.com and/or any associates are not prescribing any kind of treatments with these programs.

Exercise Sets/Reps
1. Incline Lateral 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps
2. Decline Lateral 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps
3. Seated Bent Over Rear Deltoid Raise 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps
4. Close Grip Front Lat Pull-Down 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps
5. Seated Two Arm Low Lat Pull-In 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps
6. Standing Close Grip Triceps Press Down on Lat Machine 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps
7. Incline Dumbbell Curl 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps
8. Incline Close Grip Easy Curl Bar Triceps Curl 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps
9. Heels Elevated Medium Stance Barbell Front Squat 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps
10. Thigh Extension on Leg Extension Machine 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps
11. Standing Toe Raise on Wall Calf Machine 3-4 sets of 20-25 reps
12. Feet Against Wall Sit-Up 2 sets of 25-50 reps
13. Alternated Twisting Dumbbell Bend to Opposite Foot 2 sets of 25-50 reps
14. Incline Leg Pull-In 2 sets of 25-50 reps
1. Incline Lateral
Muscle Group: Upper pectorals
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate

Use a hand position on the dumbbells similar to that of holding a barbell. Start with the dumbbells together at arm’s length above the shoulders. Slowly lower them to the down position so the dumbbells are approximately even with the chest but about ten inches from each side of the chest. Notice that the elbows are drawn downwards and back so they are in line with the ears. The forearms are slightly out of a vertical position. The press back to starting position is done by using the same arc as in letting the dumbbells down. Inhale at the beginning of the exercise and exhale at the finish.

Incline Lateral
Incline Lateral
2. Decline Lateral
Muscle Group: Lower pectorals
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate

Lie on a decline bench with two dumbbells together at arm’s length above the shoulders. The palms of the hands should be facing each other. Slowly lower the dumbbells to the down position so the dumbbells are approximately even with the chest but out about ten inches from each side of the chest. The elbows are drawn downwards and back so they are in line with the ears. The forearms are slightly out of a vertical position. The press back to starting position is done by using the same arc as in letting the dumbbells down. Inhale at the beginning of the exercise and exhale at the finish.

Decline Lateral
Decline Lateral
3. Seated Bent Over Rear Deltoid Raise
Muscle Group: Rear deltoids
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and sit at the end of a flat bench with your feet planted firmly on the floor and fairly close together. Bend forward at the waist until your chest nearly touches your upper thighs. Place the dumbbells between your lower legs and the bench. With your arms as straight as possible and your elbows locked out, inhale and raise both dumbbells out to each side in a semicircular motion until they are parallel with the floor. Lower them back to starting position and exhale. Keep your arms as straight as possible as you raise the dumbbells and at the top position both hands should be about in line with your ears.

Seated Bent Over Rear Deltoid Raise
Seated Bent Over Rear Deltoid Raise
4. Close Grip Front Lat Pull-Down
Muscle Group: Lower lats
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate

Place your hands on a lat machine bar about eight inches apart. Kneel down on your knees until you are supporting the weight stack with your arms while they are extended overhead. Inhale and pull the bar straight down until it is even with your upper chest. Return to starting position and exhale.

Close Grip Front Lat Pull-Down
Close Grip Front Lat Pull-Down
5. Seated Two Arm Low Lat Pull-In
Muscle Group: Lower lats
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate

Sit on the floor in front of a low pulley and place your feet against an object that will enable you to support the weight stacks with both arms as you grasp the pulley handles while seated in a bent-forward position. You must maintain this bent-forward position throughout the entire exercise. Do not bend backwards and forwards at the waist. Inhale and pull the cables directly to the sides of your chest just below the pectorals. Let the weight stacks back to starting position and exhale.

Seated Two Arm Low Lat Pull-In
Seated Two Arm Low Lat Pull-In
6. Standing Close Grip Triceps Press Down on Lat Machine
Muscle Group: Outer triceps
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate

Stand erect in front of a lat machine with your feet about sixteen inches apart and your back straight. Grasp the lat machine bar with both hands using a palms down grip about eight inches apart. Bring your upper arms to your sides and keep them there throughout the exercise. Your forearms and biceps should be touching as you inhale and then press the bar down in a semicircular motion to arm’s length. Return to starting position using a similar path, in a controlled manner, and exhale. Be sure to keep tension on your triceps while pressing down and returning to starting position.

Standing Close Grip Triceps Press Down on Lat Machine
Standing Close Grip Triceps Press Down on Lat Machine
7. Incline Dumbbell Curl
Muscle Group: Biceps
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie back on an incline bench with your head up and feet on the footpads. With the dumbbells hanging at arm’s length at your sides, with your palms in, inhale and curl the dumbbells up to the height of your shoulders. As you commence the curl and the dumbbells are past your thighs, then turn your palms-up and keep them in this position throughout the exercise until you are lowering the weights and again near your upper thighs before turning your palms in again and exhaling. Keep your upper arms in close to your sides and concentrate or your biceps raising and lowering the weights.

Incline Dumbbell Curl
Incline Dumbbell Curl
8. Incline Close Grip Easy Curl Bar Triceps Curl
Muscle Group: Triceps
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate

Hold an easy curl bar with both hands using the closest hand spacing possible on the bar. Lie back on an incline bench with your head up and feet on the foot pads. Press the easy curl bar overhead to arm’s length. Inhale and lower the bar straight down behind your head in a semicircular motion by bending your arms at the elbows but keeping your upper arms vertical throughout the exercise. The easy bar should be lowered until your forearms and biceps touch. Press the bar back to starting position using the same path and exhale. Be sure to keep your upper arms as close to the sides of your head as possible during the exercise.

Incline Close Grip Easy Curl Bar Triceps Curl
Incline Close Grip Easy Curl Bar Triceps Curl
9. Heels Elevated Medium Stance Barbell Front Squat
Muscle Group: Upper thighs
Degree of Difficulty: Difficult

Place a barbell high on your upper chest so it is resting on your front deltoids and upper thorax. Place your right hand on the bar about even with your left deltoid and your left hand on the bar about even with your right deltoid. Keep your upper arms slightly above parallel to help keep the bar from sliding down. Keep your head up, back straight and your heels on a 2×4 piece of wood about sixteen inches apart. Inhale and squat down until your upper thighs are parallel with the floor. Your head should remain up, back straight, and knees slightly out to the sides. Return to starting position and exhale.

Heels Elevated Medium Stance Barbell Front Squat
Heels Elevated Medium Stance Barbell Front Squat
10. Thigh Extension on Leg Extension Machine
Muscle Group: Lower thighs
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate

Sit at the end of a leg extension machine placing the top part of your ankles and feet under the lower foot pads. Back up far enough on the seat to keep the end of the seat against the rear of your knees. Hold on to the seat with both hands just behind your buttocks. Point your toes slightly downward. Inhale and raise the weight stack until your legs are parallel with the floor. Return to starting position and exhale. Keep your upper body in a fixed position during the exercise.

Thigh Extension on Leg Extension Machine
Thigh Extension on Leg Extension Machine
11. Standing Toe Raise on Wall Calf Machine
Muscle Group: Main calf muscles
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate

Position your shoulders under the extended portion of a wall calf machine. Stand erect and place the balls of your feet on the footpad that is directly below the extended portion of the machine. Keep your back straight, head up and legs locked during the entire exercise. Do not let your hips move backward and forward while performing the exercise. Lower your heels to the lowest possible comfortable position. Inhale and raise up on your toes as high as possible. Hold this position for a short period and return to starting position and exhale. If you turn your toes out and heels in, it will affect the inner calf more. If you keep your feet straight, it will affect the main calf muscle more. If you turn your toes in and heels out, it will affect the outside of the calf more.

Standing Toe Raise on Wall Calf Machine
Standing Toe Raise on Wall Calf Machine
12. Feet Against Wall Sit-Up
Muscle Group: Upper abdominals
Degree of Difficulty: Difficult

Lie on the floor with your body fairly close to a wall. Put your feet against the wall with a slight bend to your knees. Put your hands behind your head and inhale as you pull your torso up as close to your upper thighs as you possibly can. Return to starting position and exhale.

Feet Against Wall Sit-Up
Feet Against Wall Sit-Up
13. Alternated Twisting Dumbbell Bend to Opposite Foot
Muscle Group: Rear obliques
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate

Stand erect with your feet about sixteen inches apart. Grasp a dumbbell in each and with your palms facing in. Keep your back straight and head up as you twist your torso to the right while keeping the hips and knees locked. Draw your left hand cross your hips until it is in line with your right thigh and your right hand is behind your right buttocks. Bend downward holding the twist until the dumbbells nearly ouch your right foot. Return to starting position and exhale. Now the same movement to the left side and back to starting position. A movement to the right and left s considered one repetition.

Alternated Twisting Dumbbell Bend to Opposite Foot
Alternated Twisting Dumbbell Bend to Opposite Foot
14. Incline Leg Pull-In
Muscle Group: Lower abdominals
Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate

Position a sit-up board on a 25-30° angle. Lie on the board with your head at the top Use your hands to hold yourself in a stationary position. Inhale and bend your knees while pulling your upper thighs into your midsection. Return to starting position and exhale. Concentrate on your lower abdominals during the exercise. Do not let your feet touch the board once you have started the exercise.

Incline Leg Pull-In
Incline Leg Pull-In
Training Suggestions for Month 7
  • For best results do this routine three times a week ­ Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Use the off days for rest and recuperation.
  • Your weekly progression should be as follows:
    • Week 1: 3 sets, 8 reps (except midsection exercises).
    • Week 2: 4 sets, 8 reps.
    • Weeks 3 and 4: 4 sets, 10 reps.
  • In the three midsection exercises, start with the minimum number of reps (25) in the first week and gradually add reps as the weeks go by until you reach the maximum number (50).
  • Do not train to failure. The last rep of each set should feel difficult, but should not be an all out effort.
  • Increase the poundages in each exercises as your strength increases. The objective is to always make the last rep challenging. Make sure you keep accurate records of your
    exercises, sets and reps from workout to workout, month to month. This will enable you to easily keep track of your progress from one poundage to the next, rather than making the
    whole process haphazard.
  • Concentrate on correct form and mentally focus on the body part you’re working.
  • Rest for 30 seconds to two minutes between sets. If you feel any kind of unusual pain during your workout, consult with a trainer (if one is available). Of course, if you’re just starting a
    training program, you should always check with a physician to ensure that you have no health problems that could make training dangerous.
Do Not Train to Failure

People ask me why I don’t believe in training to failure at a time when the popular notion in bodybuilding is that the only way to make maximum progress is to always go for that last impossible rep (in other words, train to failure). I tell them the answer is quite simple: If you do a workout of, say, nine exercises, three sets per exercise, and in each set you go to failure, which means you couldn’t complete the last rep, what you have done in these 27 sets is trained yourself to fail 27 times! That doesn’t sound like success in my book.
My approach to training has always been to push yourself in your workouts, but do not train to failure! The last rep should be difficult, but not impossible or unachievable. And I’ve always been a great believer that you should leave the gym each day feeling like you had a great workout but you’ve still got a little bit left in the gas tank, so to speak. Because if you don’t leave the gym with the feeling of having something in reserve, you will sooner or later reach a point where your training begins to seem so hellish and burdensome, you will either start missing workouts or stop training altogether. And then where is your progress?
So speaking from experience, I urge you: Train hard, yes, but not to failure. Complete what you start — and that means every rep. I believe that this approach will not only ensure that you’ll stay with your training program year after year (obviously training longevity is a very important aspect of all of this) but you’ll also make the greatest progress. Why? Because you’ll be training yourself for success in each and every rep, set and workout. Your training will be a positive rather than negative experience. And you’ll be much more likely to keep your enthusiasm high and to avoid injury, overtraining and mental burnout.

Terms of Usage

Bill Pearl grants individuals the right to print and use this program for their own personal use. All content and graphics are copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form other then outlined in the previous sentence.

Editor’s Note

Bill Pearl, 84, is a four-time Mr. Universe and author of the best-selling bodybuilding books, Legends of The Iron Game, Keys to the Inner Universe, Getting Stronger, and Getting in Shape. He has personally coached more major contest winners than anyone else in history. At his own peak as a bodybuilder when he last won the Universe in 1971 at age 41, he weighed 242 pounds at a height of 5’10” and his arms measured 21 inches!

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