I can remember reading in Muscle Builder/Power magazine back in the ‘70s about the Weider Staggered Sets Principle…
No, that’s not training drunk—it’s doing a set for another body part between sets of the one you’re working.
For example, Arnold used to alternate a set of calf work with sets for his chest and other muscle groups. And that extra work did add to his calves—which weren’t all that bad to begin with…
Of course, Arnold had Weider supplements, so there’s that.
If you’re familiar with my current training style, you know that would not work for me. I like to rest only 20 seconds between sets. That Vince Gironda-style Density Training has done great things for my physique lately, even at age 62.
I’m not opposed to alternating sets between two muscles. In fact, Mr. America and Mr. Universe Doug Brignole is doing that now—and loving it…
He will do a set of alternate cable curls, then a set of dumbbell decline extensions for his triceps—back and forth until he has completed four sets of each exercise.
That’s a good time saver for sure. At this point, it’s just not for me. Too much rest for each muscle. But I may try it…
I do like to experiment and am a big believer in change to gain—that is, using different workout styles every few sessions or different tactics to stimulate new growth….
It’s why I use the Stretch-First Pre-Ex POF Workout in my rotation every few sessions (it’s in the new ebook).
And, by the way, focusing on growth during my workouts is what it’s all about. I do NOT try to mix in wind sprints or train my balance by squatting on a Swiss ball or doing crane-stance karate moves.
On the other hand, my wife listens to music during her home-gym workouts, and she does dance around between sets. But she’s not doing it for aerobic fitness. She’s just happy that she’s not working out with Form Nazi—me.…
My goal is to zero in on a target muscle, train to failure on each set, and rest only briefly between sets to push as much blood into it as possible for maximum pump and quickly activate an array of muscle-fiber types. Then I move to the next body part…
Doing something aerobically or even shifting to a set for another muscle dilutes my focus and pump.
But each to his or her own. I will keep in touch with Doug and see how his results are progressing and report on it here. In the meantime, I may give his style a try for a couple of muscle groups….
Biceps and triceps sounds like the most conducive to my style, as it keeps all the blood in one area, the upper arms. Uh oh, I feel a gym experiment coming on. Stay tuned.
New: Get the ideal exercise for each muscle, the best add-on moves for ultimate mass, complete 35-minute workouts, exercise start/finish photos, and details on building muscle fast and efficiently in Old Man, Young Muscle.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
Former Editor in Chief, Iron Man Magazine
Mass-Building Lessons From the Master Trainer
Vince Gironda was the Iron Guru, a bodybuilding legend ahead of his time. His most famous pupil in the bodybuilding world was the very first Mr. Olympia Larry Scott, and he also trained many Hollywood stars back in the day, like Clint Eastwood, and even Arnold consulted with him and was a fan (even though Vince told Arnold that he was a “fat f**k” when he first arrived in the U.S.).
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Vince Gironda: Legend & Myth (300-page anthology + many bonus gifts and programs) HERE