Q: I want to get strong over the winter. I heard that that’s what Arnold used to do. I know that if I get strong, I will eventually get bigger, which was how the Oak did it. What’s the best workout for that?
A: First let’s get some insight into Arnold’s winter training routine. Former IRON MAN Publisher John Balik was there, often training with Arnold, and this is what he had to say about it:
Winter was Arnold’s basic building stage. At this point in his training he used relatively few exercises but worked them very hard—every [work] set with 100 percent effort. He worked each bodypart twice a week.
That produced great gains for Arnold over the winter, as he looked incredible on the beach when summer rolled around…
John also noted that Arnold was fond of pyramiding his poundage on the big exercises; that is, adding weight on each successive set, which reduced his reps. For example, often his reps would go 10, 8, 8, 6, 4-5, with the first two sets as lighter warmups, but adding weight on each. So the last three—8, 6, 4-5—were his key all-out mass-building work sets.
A similar program you can use to get strong and huge is the 3D Power Pyramid Program in the Stretch-Overload e-book. You split the body over two workouts and train four days a week. In other words, each muscle gets hit twice every seven days (like Arnold). And you only use two or three exercises per bodypart, the Positions-of-Flexion moves. Arnold was also fond of doing that. In fact, one of his favorite biceps routines was curls (midrange), incline curls (stretch), and concentration curls (contracted)—POF. Here’s another more specific example, the Power Pyramid shoulder workout:
Midrange—Dumbbell upright rows, 3 x 8, 6, 3-4
Stretch—Incline one-arm lateral raises, 1 x 8-12
Contracted—Lateral raises, 1 x 8-12
After two lighter subfailure warmup sets (not listed), you do three progressively heavier work sets on the big exercise so your reps go 8, 6, 3-4—those are the work sets. Then you follow with one set of a stretch-position exercise and one set of a contracted-position move, each for 8-12 reps to exhaustion. Very efficient and easy for you to set up if that’s the type of program you’re looking for. Does it work? Here’s a quote from one of our earliest users:
I decided to do the Power Pyramid Program because I was looking for both mass and strength—and that’s exactly what I got. I went from 195 to 215 in two short months [almost 20 pounds of muscle in eight weeks]! My bench press went from 340 to 405, squats from 460 to 515 and deadlifts from 375 to 435. I’ve never felt better, and my strength and power are unbelievable. Thank you very much for POF. Without it I might have given up. —K.T., Fostoria, OH
Here’s another John Balik photo of Arnold training with all-out intensity. Very motivating…
If that doesn’t get you fired up for winter workouts, here’s another option: The most incredible strength gains we’ve ever experienced in recent years occurred the first time we used Power/Rep Range/Shock program infused with X Reps (from the 3D Muscle Building e-book). Our poundages went up at almost every workout. We believe it’s because of the unique changes you make to the workout every week—Week 1, Power, 4-6 reps per set; Week 2, Rep Range, 7-9 reps on the first exercise, 10-12 on second and 13-15 on the third; Week 3, Shock, supersets, drop sets, etc. to shock new size and strength gains. Your muscles and nervous system continue adapting, recovering and expanding.
Workouts on the P/RR/S routine are fun and exciting because you keep getting stronger, and you stay interested and keep the muscles growing due to the weekly variation. You train each bodypart only once a week.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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