The basic set design for this program is the reverse pyramid (progressing from heavier to lighter weights). This is
because a reverse pyramid allows the muscles to contract to their fullest with the heaviest poundages while still fresh, thereby
inducing maximum gains in mass.
The reverse pyramid also allows the lifter to work through a smaller range on the heaviest sets, gradually working
down to a full stretch on the lighter sets.
An example of this would be doing barbell bench presses on the heavier sets, then doing machine or dumbbell presses
to a full stretch on the lighter sets.
A traditional pyramid (from lighter to heavier) while not normally as effective for building maximum mass, may be helpful
if training through an injury which may not allow one to lift as heavy as one would prefer.
A reverse pyramid should generally be 4-6 sets, with the first, heaviest set consisting of 4-6 reps. Reps should increase
with each progressively lighter set until the final, lightest set of 12-15 reps.
Varying ranges of motion.
The above principle is most effective for building muscle mass because the muscles need to be worked through all ranges
of motion for maximum gains. This includes upper range contractions, such as 90-degree squats, barbell rows and barbell bench
presses, midrange contractions, such as parallel squats, and full-range contractions, such as one-armed cable rows, machine
and dumbbell presses, flyes and pec deck, and full range squats or leg presses.
If muscles are only worked through a full range of motion they cannot get the benefit of a full contraction or negative
with the maximum possible resistance at their strongest. Conversely, if they are only worked through heavier, more decreased
ranges of motion, they will not benefit from full stretches or contractions.
Generally, with limited ranges of motion in heavy exercises, flexors (back, biceps, hamstrings) are denied the contraction
but can still be fully stretched, whereas extensors (chest, triceps, quads) are denied the stretch but can get a good peak
This program is designed to work each muscle group once per week directly and once per week indirectly. It is scheduled
so the chest and back get worked indirectly with their complementary muscle groups (shoulders/ triceps and biceps respectively)
three days after being worked directly.
Many bodybuilders have enjoyed success supersetting their muscle groups. I have found, however, as did Dorian Yates,
that superseding chest and back simply made each rob the other of vital energy.
When I train chest and back I typically do at least 20-25 sets for each. When I try to train them together, however,
I usually run out of gas around 12-16 sets.
Thighs work well being supersetted, as do smaller muscle groups such as shoulders and arms. Shoulders and arms, or
just arms, could effectively be supersetted to save time if desired.
I would strongly caution, however, against supersetting chest and back. Doing so doubtlessly yields results, as the
physiques of Arnold and Sergio prove. Yet if these legends had trained chest and back on separate days, I am convinced they
would have been even more massive still. This technique has allowed me to develop a 57-inch chest DRUG FREE at a height of
only 5’7”. Believe me, it works.
Supersetting can also be used to extend the intensity of a set. An example of this is dropping to the floor and doing
a set of pushups immediately following a set of cable crossovers. Many exercises in this program focus on extending the intensity
of your sets, and optimum success depends on doing so.