Massive Muscle for the Natural Athlete
Before we get started let’s make sure that you have at least a solid year of lifting behind you. The more experience you have, the more effective this program will be.
I’ve followed this program three times myself with amazing results. The first time I was in my late 30’s, the second time about 5 years later, and the last time I was in my 50’s. One caveat. In my 50’s I cut the number of sets by about 25%.
This program is based on 4 core principles. It is essential to the success of the program that all 4 principles are adhered to. This is not a mix and match program, but is to be followed as presented. The 4 core principles are:
Let’s take them one at a time. Then we’ll put them altogether into a comprehensive program. First, read each section carefully so that you fully understand it.
It’s impossible for the natural athlete to train every bodypart maximally in terms of volume and intensity. For this reason specialization becomes essential. If you are a drug free athlete the quickest way to increase your muscular size is to specialize on your legs. I cannot emphasize the importance of leg specialization enough. All of the greats in the pre-steroid era relied on leg specialization whenever they wished to bring up their strength and size. And what was true for them is still true for the non steroid athlete today.
If you want to start growing or keep growing, sooner or later you must specialize on your legs. Let’s do it over the next 42 days.
The cool thing about leg specialization is that it’s not just your legs that benefit. Your whole body does. What’s the quickest way to a larger chest? Leg Specialization. How about arms and shoulders? You guessed it Leg Specialization. Natural bodybuilders have even documented increases of an inch or more on their arms while specializing on legs with little or no direct arm work.
You’ll not only garner gains in overall size during the specialization period but your body will also learn to assimilate more of the food you eat making your nutrition and supplement intake that much more effective. When you go back to your regular training you’ll still gain at a faster rate from the metabolic changes that your heavy leg specialization has induced.
Planned Progression’, is the 2nd premise essential to this program. Progression doesn’t
just happen: You have to strategically map it out. Realistic progression is a key factor that most natural trainees miss because they try to progress too fast, or at an unrealistic pace. Trying to progress too fast will cause you to fail. Instead, you have to become goal-oriented in your progression. Every day you go into the gym, set a small goal for yourself even if it is just one extra rep on a particular set.
The progression scheme for each exercise in this program may be even more important than the actual sets, reps, and exercises. Make sure you understand exactly how and when you are to add weight on every listed exercise before you start the program.
Rest-Recovery is promoted by cycling training and rest days around the varying stress levels on your entire neuromuscular system. You don’t actually overtrain a single muscle like biceps or triceps – you overtrain your entire neuromuscular system. That is why there are two rest days following heavy leg training – because exercises like squats tax your entire body. Recovery and recuperation within the workouts is also promoted by doing a push/pull style of training on the major upper-body training days. This facilitates blood flow to opposing muscle groups and prevents premature lactic acid buildups and fatigue in one muscle group and also has a spinal core mediated basis for recovery. This workout is not just a listing of sets, reps, and exercises. Everything in there is there for a reason.
The science of nutrition and advanced supplementation has advanced to the point where anyone can add muscular size if they train and eat properly.
Diet is covered extensively in every issue of No Nonsense and in the FAQ’s on the Beverly International website. You don’t need another complete course here, but you may need a review.
Protein is the key element for muscle building. Eat all the beef, eggs, chicken, cottage cheese and fish that you can at each meal. Then eat just a little more. Aim for at least 1.5 times your body weight in grams of protein every day. Get familiar with the protein content of foods and don’t go to bed at night until you reach your protein intake goal. You’ll want to gain at least 5 lbs during this 6-week course.
Most people just can not eat 5-7 whole food meals every day. Instead of trying to choke down whole food meals one after the other all day long, protein drinks make getting your protein quota much easier.
To get the best results from the program that follows you’ll need an intelligent blend of superior source, high nitrogen proteins for growth and support. I strongly believe that Beverly Ultimate Muscle Protein is the best in quality, convenience, taste and thus results. UMP is most often consumed as a rich and creamy shake. You can also make UMP pudding, pancakes and more. Consult the BI FAQ at bevnut.com/faq for shake and bake UMP recipes. There are two sections of special relevance here,
Shakes for Staying Lean while Building Muscle and
High Protein, High Calorie Shakes.
The next important support tool in your program is Creatine Select. Hundreds of research studies show that next to protein, creatine is the most important supplement there is to help you put on muscle and gain strength. Creatine Select goes a step further with the addition of 1000 mg beta-alanine in each serving. Creatine is made even more effective when combined with beta-alanine. The addition of beta-alanine increases your growth potential even further.
If you can only afford two supplements take Ultimate Muscle Protein and Creatine Select. Drink at least two UMP shakes each day and follow the loading and maintenance schedules on the Creatine Select bottle. However, if you can fit another supplement into your budget, get Quadracarn. Quadracarn is a critical supplement for the natural bodybuilder. It helps you make better muscle building use of the testosterone that you naturally produce.
Day One: Chest / Back
(Planned Progression / Rest Recovery through Push-Pull)
Day Two: Legs (Light)
Day Three: Shoulders / Arms
Day Four: Rest
Day Five: Legs (Heavy)
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: Rest
For our routine below, we are basing our poundage on a person who can squat 225x10 and bench 225 x 5. This applies to the widest range of the gym population. Adjust the weights as needed to your own level of strength. But, it’s always better to start a little lighter than too heavy. Add calves and abs if you feel you need them, but not too much.
Bench Press / Bent Row (or Seated Cable Row, Hammer Row, etc.)
Alternate exercises as follows: Do 1st set of bench presses, rest 60 – 90 seconds, and then do your 1st set of rows. Continue this pattern for all 5 sets.
Bench Press: (based on a current best bench of 225x5; adjust the weights proportionately as needed)
Set #1 Warm-up – 135 x 10 reps
Set #2 Warm-up – 185 x 3 reps
Set #3 10–12 reps – 185 max reps if you get 12 increase by 5% (10 lbs.) next workout
Sets #4 & 5: 5–7 reps to failure – 215 both sets when you get 7 reps on both sets add 10 lbs.
Bent Row (or any rowing exercise that you prefer): First do 2 progressive warm-up sets, then 3 work sets of 7–9 reps. When you are able to get 9 reps on all 3 of your work sets, increase the poundage by 5% (5-10 lbs).
Push/Pull Series #2 (Same procedure as 1st group – alternate 1 set pressing with a set of pulling)
Incline Press (BB or DB) your choice / Pulldown
3 Sets 6 – 10 reps to failure on each. When you can get 10 reps on all 3 sets of either exercise increase the weight by 5 or 10 lbs (or 1 plate on the Pulldown).
Push/Pull Series #3
DB Bench Press or Machine Press / Chins
1st Set: 20 – 25 reps to failure (add weight when you can get 25 reps on this set)
2nd Set: 12 – 15 reps to failure (add weight when you can get 15 reps on this set)
Chins: 2 sets to failure (if you can do less than 6 reps per set of chins, add additional sets so that total reps performed over all sets is at least 12). Add one or two reps per week until you reach a total of 40 reps cumulative. (This could take as many as 6 sets).
Compound Sets – same muscle group is worked:
We find very few trainees spend enough time on their legs. The addition of this short workout can make a large difference in your development. Choose 2 leg exercises (preferably two variations of squat or squat and leg press) and superset them for six sets each with just 60 seconds rest interval after each superset is completed. You could choose Front Squat and Hack Squat for example or Machine Squat and Leg Press. It’s best not to use the traditional squat version for this exercise as you’ll be doing plenty of those on Day 5.
Example: Front Squat / Hack Squat
6 Supersets. Try for 12 reps per set. When you reach 12 reps on all 6 sets add 20% to the weight. Start light! (95 lbs on the Front Squat and 1 plate on the Hack Squat will be fine.) Rest just 60 seconds between each superset. By the 3rd set you’ll probably have to sacrifice reps – but be sure to adhere to the 60-second rest interval no matter what.
If you don’t have a Hack Squat machine try them old school holding the bar behind you under your butt.
Leg Curl / Straight Leg Deadlift or Lunges
3 sets 8-12 reps each – constant weight, 60 second rest interval between supersets. When you can get 12 reps on all 3 sets add 5-10 lbs on your next workout.
Push/Pull Series #1
Shoulder Press (Seated, Standing or behind Neck)
Warm-up set, then 3 sets 5 – 7 reps
Heavy BB Curl warm-up set, then 3 sets 5 – 7 reps
Triceps Pushdown: 3 sets 6 – 10 reps to failure
Here again we’re alternating exercises: 1st set Shoulder Press, take a 90 second rest then 1st set BB Curl, rest, then 1st set Pushdown. Rest 60 – 90 and repeat series. Whenever you achieve 7 reps on all 3 sets of a particular exercise (or 10 reps on pushdowns) add 5 lbs for your next workout.
3 Way DB Lateral Raise (3 sets of 5-5-5) – 1st 5 reps Bent Lateral, 2nd 5 reps Front Raise, final 5 reps Side Raise
3 Way DB Curls (3 way 5-5-5) – 3 sets
1st 5 reps top half, 2nd 5 reps bottom half, final 5 reps are full reps
3 Way Triceps Press (3 Way 5-5-5) – 3 sets
1st 5 reps skull crushers to forehead, next 5 reps bring behind head, final 5 reps pullover and press. Add weight when you are able to complete all recommended reps and sets on any of the three exercises.
Planned Progressionconcepts every heavy leg day.
Heavy Legs (Weights are based on 225 x 10 reps normal work out poundage. Adjust the poundages below based on your best 10 rep squat.)
Squat – Straight Sets (lots of rest)
1st Set Warm –Up 10 easy reps – 135
2nd Set Warm – Up 5 Reps easy – 185
3rd Warm Up Set – 3 Easy Reps – 205
Work Set #1 Take your normal 12 – 15 rep poundage (in this case 205) and do 15 – 25 reps. After 1st 10 reps start taking 2 – 4 breaths between each rep.
Rest 5 minutes
Work Set #2 Add 20 lbs (225) get 10 – 20 reps
Rest 5 minutes
Work Set same weight as 1st Work Set (205) x max reps
Try to add at least 1 rep to each work set above each workout until you reach the upper prescribed limit.
*** Add weight when you get to 25 reps on 1st work set or 20 reps on 2nd work set, 3rd work set is always the same weight as 1st.
Push/Pull Series to finish: Leg Press: 2 x 8 – 12 reps / Leg Curl: 2 x 8 – 12 reps
Try this workout for the next 42 days. If you are still able to meet your planned progression goals go another two weeks. Be sure you pay close attention to your nutrition. Take your supplements regularly.