Weight Training Protocols: Weapons of Mass Gains.
The more you understand the principles and methods behind weight training, the more likely you will be able to spot the BS in fitness magazines, and distinguish fitness fad from quality information.
Below are a number of systems that I have at one time personally used, tested on clients and athletes and have got results.
Each one has it’s own merits. Just like there is always more that one way to get to your destination,each method is a different way to reach a goal.
Read them, test them for yourself, give the program a chance to work (12 - 16 weeks minimum) and then evaluate from there.
If you ask yourself the following questions you may gain a little clarity
So let’s get to this..
5 x 5 System
Popularised by Reg Parks, and immortalised by Brooks Kubik in Dinosaur Training. This system will get you beastly strong and heavy set.
Purpose: Strength / Lean Muscle Mass
It’s based around the main compound lifts (lifts that involve two or more or the large muscle groups). These are,
Plus some accessory movements to work the smaller muscle groups. The great thing about this style of training is that you don’t need to train every day. 3 -4 days is good enough to see marked improvements.
Below I’ve given you examples of some training splits and programs that you can try out for yourself.
And remember above all remember these two things
Give the program a chance. It will work if you do.
You can grab a copy of training splits in the Raw Strength ebook if you want more detail. Well worth checking it out.
Now I know what you are thinking, “Shouldn’t I be training more than 3 times a week?!”
Possibly. Possibly not. Listen, remember Seyle’s theory about stressors? Remember 3# The Exhaustion Stage?
Chances are, if you are working stupid hours in a day (more than 12) getting less than 7 hours quality sleep, and your nutrition is quite frankly piss poor, and chuck in some quality weight training and you are heading smack on for stage 3. So we want to manage that.
Under promise, over deliver. I’ve seen so many men going balls to the floor in the gym, with this kind of lifestyle and wondering why 6 months to 1 year down the line, no kinds of gains were made.
It’s pretty easy to understand once you grasp Seyle’s principle and that
“You don’t get stronger and bigger by training. Gains are made in your recovery.”
Over the next 12 - 16 weeks of any program you chose, monitor the results that you are getting, and only once we’ve mastered the nutrition and recovery aspect then look at if adding an extra day will be of any benefit to you.
So what's next on the menu?
Purpose: Strength / Lean Muscle Mass
This program was popularised by Jim Wendler. It’s based around the big lifts too
(Are you noticing a running theme yet?). It’s based on 4 week cycles working at a 5 reps / 3 reps/ 1 rep over the cycles, plus a deload week. We’ll jump into the details of the programming in a hot minute. But lets get the basics right.
First step. You need to know your 1RM on each of the lifts. Not ones that you used to do. Not ones that you think you can do. But what you can actually do right now!
The reason is, if you let your ego get into it, as you get into the program you are in for a WTF?! moment of epic proportions.
So don’t say I didn’t warn you.
So here’s the formula for working out your 1RM.
Weight x Reps x 0.033 + Weight = 1RM
No go grab yourself a calculator, and I’ll show you how it works. Let’s just say for arguments sake you could deadlift 180kg (396lbs ) for 8 reps. The calculation would look like this
180kg x 8 x0.033 + 180kg = 227.5kg
Thus your 1RM for the deadlift is 227kg. Got it? Now do that for each of the lifts. Now Windler want’s you to use 90% of your 1RM. This is the number to work you percentages off for the first 4 weeks of training.
Confusing I know. Here’s how it works with the given example of the 227.5kg deadlift.
227kg x0.9 = 204kg
So you would now base your training percentages for the deadlift off a 204kg 1RM
Now go workout your new 1RM for each lift.
Jim Windler lays out two different options you can use for the 5/3/1 method. The sets and reps are the same, but only the percentages differ.
Got it? Want to see how this works in action and gain some ideas for your training week split? Then you can check out examples here.
The Gironda Protocol
Purpose: Muscle Mass / Strength
Vince Gironda was known as The Iron Guru. He was a stuntman and renowned bodybuilder based out of california in the 1950’s up until the1990’s.
He trained IFBB Pro Larry Scott who won the first Mr Olympia back in1965. His gym, based in California, boasted various stars and athletes including Lou Ferrigno (The Hulk), Arnold Schwarzenneger, Frank Zane. If you don’t know who these guys are, get to know.
Carl Weathers (Rocky’s Apollo Creed), Cher and Clint Eastwood were often seen pumping iron down at Vince’s gym.
Vince was a natural athlete and was against the use of drugs, and had some views on nutrition that were quite revolutionary for the time. His ideas are outside the scope of this book, but we’ve got your nutritional needs covered in Beyond Body Transformations ebook.
But lets get down to the principles of The Gironda Protocol
This is a high volume, high 1RM percentage with minimal rest (less than a minute). If you think that sounds like a ball breaker, that’s because it is.
Vince recommended this for intermediate and advanced trainees. Beginners can do it too, but you will need to modify the weight percentage (use a lower %) until you body has learned to deal with the stress.
How it works
The short rest periods will also give you a cardiovascular benefit to the workout so don’t be surprised if you start blowing like the wind during this workout.
Attempt to keep the weight the same for each of the eight sets on a given exercise. It may take you a few sessions to figure out the right weight. Don’t sweat it, be patient.
My advice is to start at the light, you can always add weight to the bar. But once you’re injured, you’re injured.
Progression: When you can perform the workout with the given weight, and your time for completion is getting quicker, add weight to the bar. Make sure it’s small increments though.
Another way is to rotate the exercises for each body part. For example, you may have an A Program and B Program for chest (and each body part), Week 1 you do progam A, week 2 you do program B. The on the 3rd week you do program A again, and so on.
This article is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the different weight training methods out there. The Raw Strength ebook will throw a few more in the mix and will give you is a guiding set of principles that enable you to construct your own training program.
Select one based on your goal. Give the program time to work and see what type of results you get. If you like that method and it works for you then you’d be wise to stick with it. If not then try one of the other methods outlined in this article and see which one is a best fit.
The truth is this, as a beginner to intermediate trainee, there is not much more that you need to know. All you need to do now is apply. Keep a training journal, mark your progress in strength, take your body measurements if you wish, or periodic photos of yourself.
The point is to get objective data on how your training is going, so you can really tell what works and what doesn’t work. Rather than just jumping onto the next training fad that the industry spits out.
Now go out there are crush some iron!