homeshoppingbills careertraining programscart contents
  select a program 

Congratulations!

You are about to embark on a progressive weight training program which will take you from the Beginner to the Intermediate and on up to the Advanced level in the next 20 months. I have always been a great believer in incorporating a lot of variety into my training regimen. Consequently, in this 20-month program, we will change the exercises and the training routine every month, In addition, we will also vary the order in which the various body parts are trained.

One result of all this variety, I think you will find, is that your training will be much more interesting and your bodybuilding progress much greater. Why? Because you will be keeping your training fresh from month to month, and you will be hitting the muscles from so many angles. An additional benefit of all this, of course, is that by the end of the 20 months, you will be familiar with such a large number of weight training exercises, you will really be an expert on how to work any muscle from any angle to produce the desired results.

As you proceed through this program, you will have the option of doing the workouts as we've described them month to month -- six months for the Beginner level, six for the Intermediate level, and eight for the Advanced level. If, however, you wish to take longer to go from one level to the next, you can stay on a particular routine longer -- e.g., six weeks or two months -- which would ultimately expand this into a 30- or 40-month program. Generally speaking, however, I recommend that you change your exercises at least every six weeks; otherwise, your muscles start adapting to the particular movement and your progress slows.

You also have the option of going to a certain level of difficulty in this program and electing not to train any harder. For example, you may want to work up to the intensity of Month 12, the end of the Intermediate level, and no further. It's totally up to you. What we are giving you here is a tried and tested program which is guaranteed to give you exciting results if you follow it and really apply yourself. But you are the one doing the work, you know what you want, how far you seek to go with your bodybuilding, how much time, energy and dedication you have to apply to this, etc. So ultimately you are the one who has to decide exactly what you want to do and accomplish. My role is simply to provide you with some direction and whatever expertise I've been able to acquire in the 50 plus years I've been a bodybuilder.

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.

If you are a fairly experienced or even advanced bodybuilder accustomed to much high training loads than we have prescribed in the initial workouts here, don't worry! My suggestion would be: Take a break from the higher workload you've been doing, start back in at this lower level, and progressively build back up. Believe me, soon enough in this program the workload will increase to a level which you will find more than challenging -- regardless of your training background.

One last note, in this initial routine and all the others during the first 10 months, you will train your entire body in each workout. But starting with Month 11, which will be the latter part of the Intermediate phase, we'll switch to a split routine in which you will train half your body in one workout, the other half in the next one.


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.

Bill Pearl Enterprises, Inc. and/or any associates are not prescribing any kind of treatments with these programs.

 Exercise Sets Reps
 1) Thigh Extension on Leg Extension Machine - Lower Thighs 3 12
 2) Medium-Grip Bench Press - Chest 3 12
 3) Dumbbell Upright Row - Deltiods 3 12
 4) Close-Grip Lat Pull-Down to the Front - Back 3 12
 5) Straight-Arm Dumbbell Pullover - Pectorals and Rib Cage 3 12
 6) Standing Dumbbell Triceps Curl - Triceps 3 12
 7) Standing Medium-Grip Barbell Curl - Biceps 3 12
 8) Heel-High Sit-Up - Upper Abdominals 3 10-30
 9) Flat-Bench Leg Pull-In - Lower Abdominals 3 10-30

 1) Thigh Extension on Leg Extension Machine - Lower Thighs
  • Sit on machine with feet under lower foot pads as shown.
  • Have seat against back of knees.
  • Hold seat behind buttocks.
  • Point toes slightly down.
  • Raise weight up until legs are parallel to floor.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Inhale up, exhale down.
Thigh Extension on Leg Extension Machine

 2) Medium-Grip Bench Press - Chest
  • Lie on your back on a bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Hold a barbell over your chest with a grip that's about six inches wider than shoulder width.
  • Lower the bar to your chest and touch about one inch below your nipples.
  • Push the bar to arm's length.
  • Keep your elbows out and your chest high.
  • Lower the weight with complete control and pause at your chest.
  • Keep your head on the bench, and don't arch your back too sharply.
  • Don't raise your hips off the bench.
Medium-Grip Bench Press

 3) Dumbbell Upright Row - Deltiods
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand at arm's length and resting against your upper thighs.
  • Keep the dumbbells 10 inches apart and your thumbs facing each other.
  • Pull the 'bells straight up until they're nearly even with your chin.
  • Keep your elbows out.
  • At the top position the dumbbells should be level with your ears.
  • Keep the 'bells close to your body, and pause at the top.
  • Concentrate on keeping tension on your shoulders as you lower the weights.
Dumbbell Upright Row

 4) Close-Grip Lat Pull-Down to the Front - Back
  • Take a narrow grip on the lat bar with your hands about eight inches apart and your arms extended overhead.
  • Kneel or sit low enough that you support the weight with your arms.
  • Pull the bar straight down until it's even with your upper chest.
  • Return to the starting position.
Close-Grip Lat Pull-Down to the Front

 5) Straight-Arm Dumbbell Pullover - Pectorals and Rib Cage
  • Lie on a flat bench with your head extending over the end and your feet flat on floor, straddling the bench.
  • Hold a dumbbell at arm's length above your chest. Your hands should be flat against the inside plate of the dumbbell.
  • Keep your elbows locked and lower the dumbbell in a semicircular motion behind your head as far as possible without causing pain.
  • Return the dumbbell to the starting position.
  • Breathe deeply, keeping your head down and your chest high.
Straight-Arm Dumbbell Pullover

 6) Standing Dumbbell Triceps Curl - Triceps
  • Hold dumbbell with both hands, raise overhead to arms' length.
  • Stand erect, head up, feet 16" apart.
  • Rotate hands while raising dumbbell so top plates of dumbbell rest in palms, thumbs around handle.
  • Keep upper arms close to head.
  • Lower dumbbell in semicircular motion behind head until forearms touch biceps.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Inhale down, exhale up.
Standing Dumbbell Triceps Curl

 7) Standing Medium-Grip Barbell Curl - Biceps
  • Hold barbell with both hands, palms up, 18" apart.
  • Stand erect, back straight, head up, feet 16" apart.
  • Start with bar at arms' length against upper thighs.
  • Curl bar up in semicircular motion until forearms touch biceps.
  • Keep upper arms close to sides.
  • Lower to starting position using same path.
  • Do not swing back and forth to help lift bar.
  • Inhale up, exhale down.
  • Can also be done with wide grip.
Standing Medium-Grip Barbell Curl

 8) Heel-High Sit-Up - Upper Abdominals
  • Lie on floor with lower legs on top of bench.
  • Position body so thighs are at a 45 degree angle.
  • With hands behind head, pull up as far as possible.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Do not swing body up and down but concentrate on abdominal muscles.
  • Exhale up, inhale down.
  • To make harder, hold light weight on chest.
Heel-High Sit-Up

 9) Flat-Bench Leg Pull-In - Lower Abdominals
  • Lie on flat bench with legs off end.
  • Place your hands under buttocks, palms down, legs out straight.
  • Bend knees, pulling upper thighs into midsection.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Concentrate on lower abdominals.
  • Inhale up, exhale down.
  • To make harder, hold light weight dumbbell between feet.
Flat-Bench Leg Pull-In

Training Suggestions for Month 1
  • 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, which your body will need, particularly if you're new to weight training.
  • Your weekly progression should be as follows:
    • Week 1: one set and minimum reps (i.e., the suggested number of reps unless there is a range).
    • Week 2: The suggested sets and medium reps (where a range is indicated).
    • Week 3 and 4: Full sets and reps.
  • In the case of the two abdominal exercises included in this routine, start each exercise with the minimum number of reps and add a few reps at each workout until you reach the maximum number.
  • How much weight should you use in these various exercises? Use as much weight as is comfortable for the reps indicated. The last rep should feel difficult, but should NOT be an all-out effort.
  • As you continue training and your strength improves, the poundages you've been using will feel easy. Whenever you reach that point, increase the poundage until the last rep is difficult again. Always keep accurate records of your exercises, sets and reps from workout to workout, week to week, month to month. This will enable you, among other things, to keep track of your progress from one poundage to the next rather than making the whole process haphazard. Don't get caught up in always trying to top yourself from workout to workout. Remember what we said earlier: The last rep should feel difficult but should not be an all-out effort.
  • Concentrate on correct form when doing each exercise.
  • Inhale as you lower the weight and exhale forcefully on the exertion phase of the movement.
  • Rest for 30 seconds to two minutes between sets. If you feel pain or need any kind of help during your workout, check with a trainer (if one is available).
  • Of course, you should always consult with a physician before undertaking a training program to ensure that you have no health problems which could make training dangerous for you.

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, 83, is a five-time Mr. Universe and author of the best-selling bodybuilding books, 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!

health hintslinksabout billcontact usproduct indexsecurity & privacy
Copyright 1999-2014 Bill Pearl Enterprises, Inc. - All rights reserved. Site by Thorsoft Corporation