Welcome back to the ‘golden oldies’ series where we go over some of the all time best tricks and tips bodybuilders have used for decades! Last week the focus was on nutrition as where this week we are going to focus on training! Why is it that bodybuilders have done certain things for all these years? They must work!
Every great bodybuilder, past and present built their Olympian physiques with compound exercises! Greats like Arnine, Franko, Jay and Ronnie all used leg presses, squats, bench presses and military presses to add slabs of dense muscle on to their frame! So the question is, why? In short, compound exercises recruit more muscle fibres than any other type of exercise. As a result there is the potential to stimulate more muscular hypertrophy, and due to the fact that these exercises are very strenuous on the body they force the body to react. The reaction is of course elevated testosterone and growth hormone levels which can benefit muscle recovery, muscle growth as well as fat metabolisation. With that said it would be advisable to base your workouts around the kingpin exercises of bodybuilding!
Go heavy or go home
Admittedly since the old days of Arnie and Franko benching several hundred pounds for low reps we have been fortunate to learn of new methods which don’t just require heavy weights and low repetitions. However, at some point almost every great bodybuilder will have used low repetition training with heavy weights. Why? Using a repetition range of say 5-8 stimulates the type 1 fast twitch muscle fibres and as a result helps stimulate myofribullar hypertrophy. This form of muscle hypertrophy is the one which looks very hard, dense and grainy! Dorian Yates is a great example and if you look at his style of training all he ever did was very heavy weights and low repetitions! This approach to training certainly works!
Drop sets are simply this – lifting a certain weight to near failure before decreasing the weight and going again. You can do a single, double, triple or even more if you wish to! Drop sets have always been very popular among bodybuilders, why? Essentially what they do is allow you to take the muscle beyond the usual limit where you fail. For example, if you press 6 reps and fail you would normally leave it. By doing a drop set you are forcing the muscle beyond failure and you are also flushing the muscle with a higher volume of blood. As a result you could potentially force the fascia to stretch as well as drive more nutrients into the muscle! If drop sets are new to you, try them on your last set of the first compound exercise you do in every workout for a week!
There are 3 top golden oldies which have always managed to stand the test of time! Whilst there are definitely more advanced ways to train today these still remain good corner stones of any training programme which is there to stimulate muscular hypertrophy!