As you go into the second month of the intermediate phase, there are certain things that you have to focus on and regulate more than in the past to make the kind of progress warranted by this level of training and commitment. After all, you are now training longer and harder than you were as a beginner, and you want to realize the maximum progress for your efforts – not only the kind of progress you deserve and are working so hard to achieve but the progress that will prepare you for the advanced training to come five months from now.
you will likely find that you have to really tighten up on your overall lifestyle to do this. For example, rest becomes much more important, so you should make sure you get at least 6 1/2 hours of sleep a night. If you have been a party animal accustomed to staying up all night, you are going to have to make some adjustments in order to get the most from your training.
You also have to monitor your eating habits more closely. Increase the complex carbohydrates in your diet and limit the fat intake. You should make sure you are getting 60 to 65 percent of your total calories from complex carbohydrates, about 15 to 20 percent from proteins and about 15 to 20 percent from fats. For muscle-building purposes your diet should include about a gram of protein for every two pounds of bodyweight per day.
I’ll discuss nutrition in much greater detail in a separate article in a future issue. For the time being I recommend that you incorporate the above nutritional advice into your diet to maximize your muscle gains and start reducing any excess bodyfat you may be carrying.
Of course, as I discussed last month, by now you should be doing some aerobics on a regular basis to burn extra calories, boost your metabolism and improve your cardiovascular conditioning. By making all of the above part of your lifestyle, you will be able to get the kind of results that warrant spending this much time and attention on a weight-training program.
And speaking of results, let me go back to a topic I’ve emphasized before. Now that you have graduated from the beginner category and have entered this new level of training, don’t forget to set new short term goals for yourself. As an intermediate bodybuilder you should decide where all this work is heading. Are you training to become more muscular and perhaps enter a physique contest? Or are you looking to become a very highly trained athlete and improve your athletic skills? Do you want to get in the best shape of your life by your next birthday or perhaps get in great shape for a class reunion? Your goals could pertain to body measurements) overall appearance and weight loss or weight gain – in fact, anything your heart desires.
Since no two people are alike and no two people look at themselves through the same set of eyes, it does no good for me or anyone else to set goals for you. Some goals should be set, however, and you should be working toward them. Choose goals you can reach and put time limits onion them. Then promise yourself that you will reach the goal – and keep that promise! The short term goals should lead you toward long-term goals, of course – one of them being that in five months you are going to be in good enough condition to move smoothly into an advanced-training program. The truth of the matter is that if you have no goals, your training is going fairly well, your physique looks okay, and that’s about all you are asking from yourself, then there’s no great necessity for you to make a lot of change. Consequently, you won’t make dramatic progress.
Goals are a way to motivate yourself to try a little harder; they give you a reason to get in better condition. If you haven’t already been doing this, it’s important that you start thinking along the following lines: Why you want to better yourself to this degree?
Sooner or later most people who weight train seriously want to have a trim, defined midsection – in other words, washboard abdominals. While there’s a school of thought that all you have to do to develop a great midsection is a crunching type of exercise, I disagree with that entirely.
For one thing, you can do crunches until your eyeballs pop, but once your body becomes accustomed to that particular exercise, it’s not going to continue responding.
Second, while an exercise like the abdominal crunch is good for your midsection in general, I don’t think the crunch by itself or in combination with other crunching-type movements can work all the muscle fibers of the midsection. For instance, there are muscle groups, such as the vastus internus, the intercostals and the lower back, that will never be affected by a crunching motion.
For this reason I have included a great variety of midsection exercises in these routines – to work your whole hip girdle and the entire midsection area. That’s what all the elite bodybuilders who have outstanding midsections do in their training. By the time you complete the 20 months of this program, you, too, are going to have a midsection that’s in fantastic condition because of the variety of exercises.
Of course, in order for you to see the results of all your midsection work, you will ultimately have to get your bodyfat level way down. That point applies to any part of the body, I know, but it’s particularly true where the abdominals are concerned.
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.
|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|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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!