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The Weider Principles

The Weider principles are a guide to aid you in developing your own personal system based on your own unique recuperative ability, experience, goals, strengths and weaknesses.

Remember it’s not important how much weight you lift, but how you perform exercises and you feel the muscles while improving your techniques that counts! Therefore software is important (aka the program you choose to get you ripped!) , not the hardware (your actual hardware are the muscles, that, if you’re reading through this guide, are still to be built up!)

This Weider System “guidelines” comes in the form of a series of training methods collected and sometime named by Joe Weider personally over many years, which became widely known as the Weider Principles. In fact, of the Weider Principles that were developed by Joe personally, one in particular had a major impact on the world of bodybuilding.

That was the concept of splitting your workouts to train specific body parts. The split system, double split system and triple split system, as they became known as, are Joe’s unique contribution to bodybuilding science.

There are three broad categories of Weider Principles:

  1. Principles to help you plan your training cycle
  2. Principles to help you arrange your exercises in each workout
  3. Principles to help you perform each exercise

Training to failure, full range of motion (full extension and full contraction), one joint isolation training (isolation to one joint without other secondary movements) and two joints exercises mix are essential components for your successful training. On the list below, in bold the principles I’ve found most advantageus in my own training experience.

PLAN YOUR TRAINING CYCLE

1. Cycle Training Principle (Breaking your training year into cycles for strength, mass or contest preparation you help avoid injury and keep your body responsive to adaptation) heavy first cycle, lighter second cycle, etc

2. Split System Training Principle (Breaking your workout week into upper versus lower body training, for example, results in more intense training sessions)

3. Double or Triple Split Training Principle (Breaking your workout down into two or three shorter, more intense training sessions per day)

4. Muscle Confusion Principle (Muscles accommodate to a specific type of stress (“habituate” or “plateau”) when you continually apply the same stress to your muscles over time, so you must constantly vary exercises, sets, reps and weight to avoid accommodation)

5. Progressive Overload Principle (The basis of increasing any parameter of fitness is to make your muscles work harder than they are accustomed to)

6. Holistic Training Principle (Different cellular organelles respond differently to different forms of stress, so using a variety of rep/set schemes, intensity and frequency will maximize muscle mass) To develop strength lower the weight and higher the number of reps.

7. Eclectic Training Principle (Combining mass, strength or isolation-refinement training techniques as your instincts dictate into your program often help you achieve greater progress)

8. Instinctive Training Principle (Eventually, all bodybuilders instinctively attain the ability to construct diets, routines, cycles, intensity levels, reps and sets that work best for them)

ARRANGE YOUR WORKOUT

1. Set System Training Principle (Performing one set per bodypart was the old way; the Set System calls for multiple sets for each exercise in order to apply maximum adaptive stress)

2. Superset Training Principle (alternating opposing muscle group exercises with little rest between sets)

3. Compound Sets Training Principle (alternating two exercises for one body-part with little rest between sets)

4. Tri-Sets Training Principle (Doing 3 exercises for one muscle group with little rest between sets)

5. Giant Sets Training Principle (Doing 4-6 exercises for one muscle group with little rest between sets)

6. Staggered Sets Principle (injecting 10 sets of boring forearm, abdominal or calf work in between sets for (say) chest or legs) mixing minor muscles with major muscles (e.g. bench press + calves)

7. Rest-Pause Principle (using 85-90 percent of your max, do 2-3 reps and put the weight down. Then do 2-3 more, rest, 2-3 more and rest for a total of 3-4 rest-pauses. The short rest-pauses allow enough time for ATP to be re-synthesized and permit further reps with the heavy weight)

8. Muscle Priority Principle (Work your weaker body parts first in any given workout; alternatively, work the larger muscle groups first, while you’re fresh and energy levels still high)

9. Pre-Exhaustion Principle (example: superset flies, a chest isolation exercise, with bench presses, a compound exercise involving triceps and chest, in order to maximize chest development by pre-exhausting the triceps). Overload the muscle combining one and two joint exercises. Start with fly for chest (one joint) and move on to bench press (two joints); same for leg extension (one joint) + squat (two joints).

10. Pyramiding Training Principle (start a body-part session with higher rep/low weight and gradually add weight (and commensurably reduce the reps), ending with a weight you can do for 5 reps or so). Warm up progressively increasing the weight and go back the opposite way in a pyramid fashion.

11. Descending Sets or Drop system Principle (lighter weights from set to set as fatigue sets in –0 called “stripping”)

12. Staggered Sets Training Principle (stagger smaller, slow-developing body parts in between sets for larger muscle groups)

13. Instinctive Training Principle (Eventually, all bodybuilders instinctively attain the ability to construct diets, routines, cycles, intensity levels, reps and sets that work best for them)

PERFORM EACH EXERCISE

1. Isolation Principle (All muscles act as stabilizers, synergists, antagonist or protagonist. By making any given muscle the prime mover in any given exercise you’ve “isolated” it as much as possible, and therefore the stress applied to it)

2. Quality Training Principle (gradually reducing the rest between sets while still maintaining or increasing the number of reps performed)

3. Cheating Training Principle (swing weight past the sticking point at the end of a set in order to add stress) using other muscles to help and do 2-3 more extra reps

4. Continuous Tension Principle (maintain slow, continuous tension on muscles to maximize red fiber involvement)

5. Forced Reps Training Principle (partner-assisted reps at the end of a set)

6. Flushing Training Principle (Doing 3-4 exercises for a bodypart before moving to another bodypart) creating more blood into the area and generating as much growth as you possibly can

7. Burns Training Principle (2-3 inch, quick movements at the end of a set). Complete set of full range of motion, than few short little burn to half motion exhausting the muscle.

8. Partial Reps Training Principle (Because of leverage changes throughout any given exercise, it’s sometimes helpful to do partial movements with varying weight in order to derive maximum overload stress for that bodypart). Avoid full range of motion for this principle.

9. Retro-Gravity or reverse gravity Principle (“Negatives” or “eccentrics” as they’re called, make it possible to get more muscle cells to respond because you can lower about 30-40 percent more weight than you can successfully lift concentrically)

10. Peak Contraction Principle (holding the weight through maximum contraction for a few seconds at the completion of a movement)

11. Super-speed Principle (compensatory acceleration of movements to stimulate hard-to-reach fast twitch fibres). Explosive movement on the way up (heavier weight, more power to push against gravity) and slower movement on the way down (heavier weight going same direction of gravity) – e.g.: in bench press difficulty is on the way up (weakness), not on the way down (strength) , so movement would be faster (explosive) on the way up!

12. Iso-Tension Principle (method of practicing posing, tensing each muscle maximally for 6-10 seconds for up to a total of 30-44 flexes in a variety of posing positions).

13. Instinctive Training Principle (Eventually, all bodybuilders instinctively attain the ability to construct diets, routines, cycles, intensity levels, reps and sets that work best for them)

And most of all! Have your mind in the muscle, not in the weight. Don’t forget to control your muscles to perform your best!

Get dedication in these principles, give yourself one year at least to get good results. Monitor your progresses along the way, looking at your commitments and at what you see in the mirror.

In case of injury you should apply the R.I.C.E. method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).

Back off from training 10% on the 1st day, 10% on the second day, 10% on the 3rd day. If you still feel the pain, stop you training until you recover and see a doctor first!

You can find those principles explained exactly with videos and exciting interesting details in Joe Weider’s Bodybuilding training system DVD set.

Have a look also on this BodyBuilding e-course or this full featured guide to build muscles!

Reader Feedback

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