Dr Casey Butt, Weightrainer magazine "lost" articles

Topics that focus on building strength and muscle using old school and modern training techniques. Post questions, share training tips and programs.

Moderator: peter yates

Post Reply
Tom K
Posts: 123
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:17 am

Dr Casey Butt, Weightrainer magazine "lost" articles

Post by Tom K » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:16 pm

Dr Casey Butt, from the excellent weightrainer website, Milo magazine and Hardgainer.

http://www.weightrainer.net/

With his ebook that I think is essential for all trainees about how far you can take your genetic potential, well worth the $10.

http://www.weightrainer.net/potential_e-book.html

His site got deleted years ago and with it he lost a LOT of very good articles about how to construct a full body routine. A few years ago I managed to track them down and "save" them, but they never went outside of his weightrainer forum. He has given me permission to share these.

Less work for me as I typed and edited these a few years ago, but with the Christy articles being a hit I thought I'd share a few of these.

Enjoy,

Thomas.


The WeighTrainer

Advanced Strength/Size Routine Construction

The WeighTrainer

Advanced Strength/Size Routine Construction Part I:
Rebalancing The Balancing Act

Once you go through the fine-tuning procedure outlined in the 'Making A Strength/Size Routine' series you'll have yourself a good, solid training schedule. That's not to say, however, that it will be perfect. Advanced trainees, especially, will notice one critical thing: Some muscle groups recover faster than others; at least you fully recover from some exercises faster than others. Once you reach a more advanced level you'll probably find that you make optimal gains on certain exercises by training them more or less frequently than other exercises. And, if you think about it, usually the exercises that require the longest rest periods after training are the ones that involve a strong isometric contraction of stabilizing muscles. Borrowing a section from the 'Muscular Fatigue During Weight Training' article on the 'Physiology Related Articles' Page:

Studies on isolated muscle fibers have, indeed, linked reduced sarcoplasmic Ca++ concentrations to fatigue. Specifically, repetitive 'tetanic' contractions of isolated muscles caused a gradual decline of force that was closely associated with a decline in sarcoplasmic Ca++ concentrations (Westerblad & Allen, 1991).

...the problem appears not to be with the Ca++ concentrations in the sarcoplasmic reticulum, or their release channels, but probably as a consequence of impaired T-tubule signaling. During repeated contractions of a muscle fiber, K+ begins 'pooling' in the T-tubules. This results from an inability of the Na+/K+ ATPase Pump to maintain the proper Na+/K+ balance on the sarcolemma (at the T-tubules). This disturbance of the membrane potential in the T-tubules inhibits the conduction of the action potential to the sarcoplasmic reticulum and Ca++ is not optimally released - and, thus, forceful contraction is not achieved.

and...

Incidently, the Ca-Pump is, itself, a major ATP consumer. During isometric contractions (when it's relative ATP consumption is greatest) it is estimated to consume ~30% of the total ATP produced in the muscle cell. This could, theoretically, contribute to declining ATP stores available for cross-bridge formation.

From this we can see that isometric contractions greatly involve the Ca-Pump. If the Ca-Pump is abnormally active then this means that Ca++ must be being released from the sarcoplasmic reticulum at accelerated rates also (the Ca-Pump acts to return Ca++ to the sarcoplasmic reticulum - if it is returning an elevated amount then an elevated amount must have been released). And if Ca++ is being released from the sarcoplasmic reticulum at accelerated rates then K+ 'pooling' in the T-tubules must also be heightened. To cut to the chase, what this all means is that isometric contractions take a significant toll on the signaling processes in muscle cells. This is, in fact, another form of nervous system fatigue because the signal to twitch cannot be effectively transmitted to the interior of the muscle fiber. When it's all said and done you need a longer recovery period after isometric training than after regular concentric training.

But what if you don't do isometric training? Well, if you look a little closer at your training you'll find, in fact, that you do. Squats involve a strong isometric contraction of the muscles of your lower back. If this didn't happen you'd slump forward on your face as you tried to stand up. Likewise, Deadlifts involve the same intense lower back isometrics as do Squats. Consider the fact that, on top of this, the lower back has an abnormally poor blood supply to it's lower regions (less transport of waste products out and all the 'good stuff' in) and you can begin to see why Squats and Deadlifts take so long to recover from. In addition, Squats (as do Deadlifts) inherently require a controlled descent. This means that muscles such as the adductors of the legs and various hip muscles experience a significant eccentric contraction. The eccentric phase actually causes more damage to the individual muscle fibers than the concentric phase (albeit, less total fibers are involved), thus requiring a longer recovery period. Bench Presses involve strong eccentric contractions of the small rotator cuff muscles of the shoulders and, therefore, themselves require a somewhat lengthy recovery period. In fact, most all of the compound exercises involve eccentric and isometric contractions to some degree. That's part of the reason why isolation exercises don't take the same 'toll' on your body as compounds do.

So, back here on planet Earth, what it all comes down to is that you may find you can sucessfully train Squats heavy once every 7 days but Bench Presses heavy once every 5 (just an example). How do you work your routine so that these two training frequencies can peacefully co-exist?

Let Them Fall Where They May

Well, for one, you could train a lift as it's ideal time comes up. Using our example, that means that you would indeed train your Squats every 7 days and your Bench Press every 5. Your training days would then move around in relation to each other and may eventually even all fall on the same day. If you break your exercises into two groups and do half on one training day and half on the other this means eventually your schedule will dictate that you'll have to do both routines on the same day. In that situation you have a couple of choices:

Do both training routines at once but condense your routine so you don't over-work.
Postpone one of the days to the next day.



Do both training routines at once but condense your routine so you don't over-work: Using our Bench Presses/Squats example, that means that if you combine your two routines and do a full-body routine you'll then have 5 complete days rest before you train again (when Bench Press day comes around again). That's only appropriate because a full 5 day rest will probably do you good after an intense full-body workout.

Postpone one of the days to the next day: Of course, if you do this you have to keep in mind that you are now training two days in a row - which may present a unneeded load on the central nervous system. Because of this, it may be a good idea to back off on training volume on one or both of those days.

You'll also notice that on the kind of fall-where-they-may schedule we're discussing this type of back-to-back training day situation might occur fairly frequently. This would mean that you'd need to closely watch your overtraining state around those periods. It may be that, due to your personal 'ideal' training frequencies, this type of routine structure just isn't practical.

Before we finish with this kind of routine design one more very important thing has to be considered. Because your training days may fall in very close proximity to each other it is very important that the separate training days contain very little overlap. To illustrate what I'm saying consider what would happen if you placed Deadlifts on day 1 and Squats on day 2. Eventually your schedule would roll around so that you're supposed to Deadlift the day before Squatting. Obviously this would not be a very wise way to train. On this type of schedule overlap has to be very highly considered.

Let's take a look at a sample two-day plan for someone who has determined that he can Squat heavy once every 7 days and Bench Press heavy once every 5. Such a program may look like this:

For Mass and Strength

Day 1

Squats
Deadlifts
Chin-Ups
Barbell Curls
Crunches

Day 2

Bench Presses
Military Presses
Dips
Calf Raises
Lying L-Flyes



For Strength and Power

Day 1

Power Cleans
Squats
Bent-Over Rows
Barbell Curls
Crunches

Day 2

Bench Presses
Power Jerks
Military Presses
Calf Raises
Lying L-Flyes

And the schedule would be:

Day of Month - Training Day
1 ---------------- 1
2 ---------------- 2
3 ---------------
4 ---------------
5 ---------------
6 ---------------- 1
7 ---------------
8 ---------------
9 ---------------- 2
10 --------------
11 --------------
12 --------------
13 --------------
14 --------------
15 --------------
16---------------- 1 & 2
17 --------------
18 --------------
19 --------------
20 --------------
21 --------------- 1
22 --------------
23 --------------- 2
24 --------------
25 --------------
26 --------------- 1

... and so on.

These two routines contain a minimum of overlap. The exception to this is the shoulders; but the shoulders are involved in just about every weight training exercise to some degree, so eliminating overlap there would be nearly impossible. If you did accomplish it your routine would probably be worthless by that point. You'll also notice that these two routines are taken straight from Part V of the 'Making A Strength/Size Routine' series - they were designed with minimum overlap in the first place. The reason was so that the routines could be repeated as frequently as possible, without interfering with each other.

But even on a schedule such as this you may not be able to cover all the bases. For instance, in the above routine for strength and power, what if you found that you could Power Clean heavy once every 4 days? Well, you could switch to a three-day training split and draft up a schedule similar to the above but with three days - but the Power Clean stresses many of the same muscles as the Squat, so now we're running into overlap problems.

Still, I have to say that if you can get a routine such as this to work you'll probably make your fastest gains - at least on those exercises that you have optimized the program for.

But there's more than one way to skin a cat. Let's look at some others.

Constructing Your Cycle Around Your Slowest Recovering Exercise

Let's say your slowest recovering exercise is Squats - and you find that you can Squat heavy once every 7 days. With this approach you would train all bodyparts intensely once every 7 days. "But that doesn't fix the problem", you'll probably say, "If a bodypart is ready to go again in 5 days but I don't train it for 7 I'll be missing out on those 2 extra days!" Well, what you could do is train the other bodyparts so hard that they do require 7 days rest. If, going back to our example, you find that you can train Bench Press hard once every 5 days then adding in extra chest exercises could extend that recovery period to a full seven days. Tack on 2 sets of Incline Presses and you just might hit the nail on the head. I caution you not to overdo it, though - a little goes a long way.

What we've done here is really a radical departure from our approach up to now. Before we've concentrated on tailoring our training frequency to fit our fixed training volume, now we're tailoring our training volume to fit our fixed frequency. And both approaches really are fine. I remind you that we don't want to have to extend our recuperation period due to extended nervous system recovery needs, though - we're after a longer muscle recovery period. So, this is not a licence to start training super-intensely. You'd be better off creating more muscular damage (micro-trauma) by upping your volume a bit than by hammering your nervous system with high intensity techniques (not to mention the long-term risk of irrational hypertrophy).

Now that we do have this new approach, though, a big convenience factor comes into our routine construction. We can decide to train a muscle once a week and then tailor our workload to 'fit' that frequency. This allows us to construct a routine that peacefully coexists with our lives outside of the gym. It may seem like an unsophisticated approach but it's convenience just may make it the one for you. And besides, by properly adjusting your training volume to fit that once a week frequency (or whatever else you decide on), you may not be compromising on your training at all.

In the next article of this series I'll present another method of dealing with differing exercise and bodypart recovery rates: The Heavy/Medium System.
Last edited by Tom K on Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Tom K
Posts: 123
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:17 am

Re: Casey Butt, Weightrainer magazine "lost" articles

Post by Tom K » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:18 pm

Casey Butt, http://www.weightrainer.net the owner of this article.

http://www.weightrainer.net/potential_e-book.html Well worth a look at his ebook as well for those of you enjoying his magazine... No more plugs, honest :D

The WeighTrainer

Advanced Strength/Size Routine Construction
Advanced Strength/Size Routine Construction Part II:
The Heavy/Medium System


Going back to our Bench Presses/Squats example again, we could train out Bench Press twice for every period that we train our Squats once. "That's way too often for me to Bench Press", you might be saying - and that's true. This wouldn't work if we trained our Bench Press heavy both of those times because we've already established that we need 5 days rest between heavy Bench Press sessions - yet we're Squatting once every 7 days. The solution is to train only moderately on the additional Bench Press day. Already I can hear your objections: "But there's no sense in training light because that won't stimulate growth", and "If I train heavy enough to stimulate growth on this day, won't that cause nervous system overtraining?" Those objections cerainly are justified, so let's take a closer look at the approach.

It has been established that weights over ~60 to ~85% of 1 rep max (depending on the specfific muscle) recruit practically all of the fibers available for simultaneous contraction in a muscle. The catch is that the higher threshold fibers won't twitch fast enough at ~60 to ~85% of 1 rep max to develop maximum tension. The lower threshold fibers, however, will twitch with maximum frequency - but because of the high-endurance nature of these fibers, they are very resistant to 'damage'. This means that if we train with weights in this range, but limit the number of reps per set, we may indeed do some trauma to the lower threshold fibers (and provide a growth stimulus to them) but it is unlikely that they will require an extended recovery period. This type of training is also unlikely to cause nervous system overtraining, because it is firing the larger, higher threshold motor units at maximum frequency (referred to as high 'discharge rates') that take the greatest toll on the nervous system - and training with lighter weights does not produce that. In addition, recapping from the 'Volume: Set Volume And Frequency' article:

...when a muscle contracts it actually releases chemicals such as nerve growth factor (NGF) and members of the TGF-b superfamily, among others, which actually promote neuron recuperation. These 'neurotrophic' factors are released from the sarcolemma, cross the synapse, and work their 'healing' magic on the innervating neuron. Each rep contributes to the release of these factors.

This means that if we train with weights heavy enough to stimulate the higher threshold motor units, but at a low discharge rate (so as not to produce exhaustion), very little inroads may be made into nervous system recovery (at least of the higher threshold units for sure). It's even conceivable that the training could help speed nervous system recovery from our heavy day. And remember, the lower threshold units that are being fired with maximum frequency recover more quickly anyway. It may also help to remember that these units are 'slow-twitch' units, so even their maximum frequency is unlikely to place large demands on the nervous system (they are, after all, designed to twitch for hours).

But we do want to train heavy enough to do some degree of damage to the higher threshold fibers (and, inevitably, to the lower threshold ones also). What kind of a recovery impact will this have? Well, it has been established that after typical weight training sessions (NOT isometric or negative accentuated training) muscle repair is complete within 36 to 72 hours - with repair occuring fastest in the lower threshold fibers. In this strategy we're firing the lower threshold fibers hard (but they incur little damage and recover the quickest anyway) and the higher threshold fibers only moderately - producing only moderate damage. So, if we don't train too heavy, we should be able to schedule this second 'medium' day in, no problem. It should even provide us with additional muscular growth - not just holding us over until heavy day gets here. The key would be in doing just the right amount of damage.

It must also be considered that we do not want to do such a volume of work on this medium day that we exhaust our glycogen stores to the point that they are not fully recovered by the time the heavy day comes up.

So, overall, what are we after with this training session? Well, simply put, we want to stimulate growth processes (protein synthesis) in the muscle fibers that will be completed by the time our heavy day rolls around, but we don't want to further exhaust our nervous system in any way or unnessecarily deplete our glycogen stores.

In this way we can keep the growth in our more quickly recovering bodyparts on an even keel with our most slowly recovering bodyparts (perhaps even ahead of them) and still train all our bodyparts heavy with the same frequency.

General Guidelines For The Medium Day

You may recall from the 'The Weakest Link: Strengthening The Tendons' article that force = mass x acceleration. This means that if we want to produce a certain amount of force in a muscle we can do it in a couple of ways. We can lift a weight at our 'normal' tempo (to be determined as in Part III of the 'Making A Strength/Size Routine' series, 'Sets And Reps And How To Perform Them') or we can lift a lighter weight more quickly. Recall:

If you lift 100 kg at an acceleration of 1 m/s then you are producing 100 x 1 = 100 N of force.

If you lift 50 kg at an acceleration of 2 m/s then you are producing 50 x 2 = 100 N of force.

So you can lift a light weight faster than you can a heavy one, but if the bar speed is high enough with the light weight the force applied will be the same. The point is if you accelerate the weight quickly you are dramatically increasing the force that the muscle is required to produce. If you think about a yo-yo you'll get an intuitive idea of how this works - when the yo-yo is at the bottom you yank up suddenly, drawing the rope tight. The yo-yo feels much heavier at that point than it actually is.

...and

By accelerating the weight as quickly as possible you are 'teaching' your nervous system to voluntarily recruit as many IIB fibers as possible and to fire these fibers with maximum frequency. This could be extremely beneficial in power training.

So, for a power athlete for certain, it may be beneficial to use weights on the medium day that are roughly 60% - 65% of 1 rep max but accelerate them quickly. Weights above this should generally be avoided because quickly accelerating heavier weights will produce more muscular damage and higher neural discharge rates than we're after. There is a physiological limit as to how quickly you can voluntarily contract a muscle (this can be increased with training) so 60% - 65% should keep you within acceptable neural discharge limits and prevent excessive muscular tension development. It should also be realized that it is highly unlikely that bar speed will be maintained with 60% - 65% of 1 rep max when you do more than a few reps per set. For this reason, it's best to keep these sets to no more than 3 reps - and to perform mulitiple sets (4-6) to compensate for the short times under tension.

NOTE: Soviet research has shown that maximum power output in the Squat is actually developed with weights of around 66% - 70% of 1 rep max. However, the experience of many Powerlifters worldwide, who follow the Westside system, has demonstrated that lighter weights can be employed and maximum benefits still attained. The lighter weight reduces the load placed on the muscle fibers, tendons and nervous system and allows for speedier recovery while still producing optimum increases in limit strength and power. Hence my recommendation of medium day training weights in the 60% - 65% range.

This 'high speed' approach may not be ideal for a person looking purely to build muscular size. It must be realized that speed training is done with recruiting the higher threshold, type IIB motor units in mind. These aren't the ideal fibers for producing maximum muscular size so their training is not of primary concern for the Bodybuilder as it is for the power athlete. To suit the Bodybuilder's purpose fewer sets of higher reps with heavier weights would be in order. I would suggest that 2-3 sets of 5 reps with ~75% of 1 rep max would be more prudent for size building purposes.

In either style of medium day training you can, no doubt, piece together that training to failure is absolutely 'out'. To sum up our medium day guidelines we have.

Training Goal - # of Sets - # of Reps - %age of 1RM - Cadence of Lifting

Increased Power 4 - 6 ..... 2 - 3 ........ 60% - 65% ..... explosive
Increased Size... 2 - 3 ..... 5 ............... ~ 75% ......... same as heavy day

A Sample Heavy/Medium Schedule

So using the two day 'Mass And Strength' and 'Strength And Power' routines presented previously, and based on our considerations, a complete Heavy/Medium schedule may look like this:

For Mass and Strength

Day 1

Squats
Deadlifts
Chin-Ups
Barbell Curls
Crunches

Day 2
Bench Presses
Military Presses
Dips
Calf Raises
Lying L-Flyes

For Strength and Power

Day 1

Power Cleans
Squats
Bent-Over Rows
Barbell Curls
Crunches

Day 2

Bench Presses
Power Jerks
Military Presses
Calf Raises
Lying L-Flye

And the schedule would be:

Weekday - Training Day:

M - 2 (heavy)
T
W - 1
Th
F - 2 (medium)
Sa
S
M - 2 (heavy)
T
W - 1
Th
F - 2 (medium)
Sa
S

As you can see from the above schedule, this allows us to work our pressing muscles twice for each time that we train our legs and pulling muscles once.

Now, you're probably getting all kinds of ideas floating around in your head. "What if I can do Bent-Over Rows more often?" "I can do Power Cleans more often than that." If so, good, you're getting the idea. Re-work your routine to take advantage of your personal recovery patterns.

You may find that you can go a little heavier on the medium day than I've suggested. Maybe you have to go lighter. If that's the case then do it. NEVER slavishly stick to a program just because it makes good scientific sense to you. Winston Churchill once said, "However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results." Maybe he should have written weight training articles!

Variations On A Theme

Some people have taken this approach a step further and incorporated a Heavy/Light/Medium system of training. Famous strength coach Bill Starr is most famous for this because of articles he wrote for 'Strength and Health' magazine in the late 1960s and his fine book 'The Strongest Shall Survive ...Strength Training For Football' (which you can get from Ironmind at: http://www.ironmind.com/ironcms/opencms/ironmind/). Here's a sample routine from that book, aimed at Football player's who are new to weight training.

Beginner's Off-Season Football Program

Monday (Heavy Day)
Wednesday (Light Day) - 80% of Heavy Day weights
Friday (Medium Day) - 90% of Heavy Day weights



Lift ----- # of Sets ----- # of Reps

Sit-Up ........ 1 ............. ~
Power Clean ... 5 .......... 5
Bench Press ... 5 .......... 5
Back Squat .... 5 .......... 5
Leg Extension . 2 .......... 10
Leg Curl ....... 2 ........... 10
Leg Raise ...... 1 ........... ~

Before you freak out, you should know that it was further specified in 'The Strongest Shall Survive...' that when doing 5 x 5 only the last set is with the maximum weight for the day - the other 4 sets are warm-ups (each set progressively heavier). Also, the first sets of the 2 sets listed for each of Leg Extensions and Leg Curls are light warm-ups (with 50% of your working weight). Only the Power Cleans, Bench Presses and Squats are meant to be trained in Heavy/Light/Medium fashion - the others are meant to be trained with the same weight each session.

So why include the light day at all? Well, part of the idea is to work out some of the soreness and stiffness that you have from the heavy day; it also gives you an opportunity to practice your form and technique. And, based on the neurotrophic arguments presented at the beginning of this article, the light work might even help speed nervous system recovery from the heavy day, thereby leading you into the medium day. It may even provide a little bit of growth stimulus to carry you through. I have to caution you, though, the light day must be kept light. If not, you will almost certainly run into overtraining problems.

In Part III of this series I'll take a yet closer look at the Heavy/Medium and Heavy/Light/Medium systems. There are questions yet to be answered...
Last edited by Tom K on Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tom K
Posts: 123
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:17 am

Re: Casey Butt, Weightrainer magazine "lost" articles

Post by Tom K » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:19 pm

Casey Butt, owner of this article http://www.weightrainer.net
Part 3 of the series
The WeighTrainer

Advanced Strength/Size Routine Construction

Advanced Strength/Size Routine Construction Part III:
The Heavy/Medium System Continued

You'll recall from way back in Part I of this series that I said that Squats take so long to recover from primarily because of lower back fatigue. Generally, the more you allow your body to incline forward while Squatting the more the lower back will be involved and the longer you'll have to wait between Squat sessions. This helps explain why Olympic Lifters, with their upright style of Squatting, generally Squat much more frequently than Powerlifters, with their more leaned-forward style of Squatting. What it comes down to is if you Squat in such a style that heavily taxes the lower back (really, no traditional style of Squatting will totally spare it - maybe Hip Belt Squats do) then you probably end up requiring an extended rest period, not because of your legs but because of your back. If you think about it, what that means is that your legs may be recovered 3 days after Squatting (just an example) but you then have to wait another 4 in order for your back to come around. Then is there a way that you could get in some productive leg work between heavy Squat sessions without hammering your lower back into oblivion? Let's play around with the Heavy/Medium System.

Using the above Squat recovery guidelines, let's say 4 days after Back Squats our legs are ready to go again. Our lower backs, however, won't be ready for a full 7. So really, we can train legs, themselves, every 4 days - it's the supporting structure that forces the extended break on us. One way around this situation is to include a medium leg day in between our heavy Squat sessions, but reserve this day for exercises that DO NOT overly tax the lower back. Prime candidates for this day would be Front Squats and Trap Bar Deadlifts. Both of these movements require a much more upright position, thus reducing the load placed on the lower back. They also involve the legs in a manner very similar to Back Squats (with a bit more emphasis on the quads) - so they are good compound exercises that stress the quads in their optimum range for producing force, but spare the lower back. And looking at it a bit more closely, since we've determined that it's the lower back that isn't fully recovered at this point, is there any reason not to work the quads to full capacity? They are themselves, after all, ready to go again.

To get the answer to that question we'll have to look a little closer at the actual exercises we choose for our medium day. Depending on exercise selection, there could actually be some significant stress placed on the muscle(s) that you're trying to bypass. For example, say on medium day for legs you perform a movement such as Sissy Squats, which place relatively little load on the lower back muscles, then it's posible that you may be able to train at %100 intensity. If, on the other hand, you choose an exercise such as Front Squats, which stress the lower back muscles a bit harder (but still much less than Back Squats), you may have to limit the effort you put forth. What we get into then is whether you'd be better off training hard on an isolation exercise or curtailing your effort on a compound. Remember, we don't need to train to all-out failure to stimulate growth, so it may be wisest to train with reduced intensity compound exercises on medium day (because of their tendency to stress the muscles in the optimum range) - and it may be possible that you don't need to reduce intensity at all.

What about the nervous system impacts of training a bodypart this frequently? If you've read the previous articles on The WeighTrainer you'll know that the nervous system may indeed need a longer recovery period than the musculature involved. We're going to tiptoe our way around that in a couple of manners. One, it was pointed out in the 'Variety: How Often Should You Change Your Routine?' that the nervous system optimizes itself very specifically to perform specific movements. That means that the same firing patterns will not occur in both Front Squats and Back Squats (just an example). So, at least to a degree, performing Front Squats will not impact the same motor units, in the same manner, as Back Squats. Generalize this to all of our exercises and bodyparts and we afford ourselves a bit of leeway, nervous system-wise. To further take advantage of these differing recruitment patterns we could try to make our medium day exercises as dissimilar to our heavy day exercises as possible (for example, Incline Presses and Dips). But keep in mind that the more dissimilar the medium day exercise is, the less carry-over there will be to the heavy day exercise. This may be of no concern to a Bodybuilder, but to an athlete who contests specific lifts, such as a Powerlifter or Weightlifter, it certainly well may be.

A sample Heavy/Medium Squatting program would then look like:

Sample Heavy/Medium Squatting Program
Training Day - Main Exercise - Exertion Level

Heavy -------- Back Squat -------- 100%
Medium ------- Front Squat ------- to be determined

So, going back to the exertion matter, the amount of exertion (intensity) that you put into your medium day would have to be determined at your own discretion. You could quickly determine this in as little as a few weeks. Simply try Front Squatting heavy (or Trap Bar Deadlifting) between your Back Squat sessions and see what happens. If your progress on Back Squats stops then you're probably working too hard on Front Squats (or Trap Bar Deadlifts) - try taking it a bit easier. If your progress on Back Squats goes up then you're on to something. Constantly monitor your Squat performance and make adjustments to your medium day exertion level as required. Use this day as a variable - like water seeking it's own level, find your own medium day exertion level.

As a general guideline, I'd recommend that you stop several reps short of failure on medium day, at first. After a few weeks of this you can start pushing your Front Squats a bit harder and see what happens. You may find that you can go to your 100% exertion level on this day. On the other hand, you may find that you can't tolerate a medium day at all. If that's the case then scrap it.

So, since you can do this for Squats, can you also do this with other exercises and bodyparts? Of course you can. I caution you before you get too carried away, however, that this approach is designed to find 'short-cuts' around bodyparts that require extended rest periods after the compound exercises. And that's how the approach should be implemented. Examine what bodyparts are the slowest to recover after your compound exercises and try to find ways around them. You may not be able to pin-point the actual muscle groups that are the culprits but you may have a 'feeling' that you're just not ready to train a certain lift again. A common example of this is the Bench Press and shoulder girdle fatigue. The smaller muscles of the shoulder capsule that act to hold the structure secure and balance out the forces produced by the pressing muscles during Bench Presses are hard to pinpoint, but when they are fatigued you're left with a feeling of mild weakness and 'instability' in the shoulder area. The actual prime movers of the Bench Press - the pecs, delts and triceps - may be fully recovered and ready to be trained again, however. What would be in order here would be an exercise that places less strain on the stabilizing muscles of the shoulder joints (primarily the rotator cuff muscles) but still allows the pressing muscles to be trained again. Perhaps Incline Presses would be a good choice.

At this point an important caveat is in order. It takes an extremely advanced trainee, who knows his body very well, in order to make judgement calls like I've discussed above. It's not impossible but it is highly unlikely that a more novice trainee would have the ability to judge his fatigue state accurately - especially when we're talking about recognizing the subtle signs of shoulder girdle fatigue. If you don't think you have this ability it's still possible for you to experiment with this approach, though. I'll present some conservative routines later which everyone can try - but a constant eye must be kept on heavy session poundage increases (or lack thereof).

To complete the picture, let's take a look at the pulling muscles - the muscles of the back. Let's say you do Deadlifts or some form of heavy Olympic-style pulling movement (Clean-Grip High Pulls, Power Cleans, etc) on your heavy day. You then finish your back training with some Bent-Over Rows. And let's assume that it takes you a full 7 days to recover from this session. As is the case with Squats, it's very likely that it's the lower back that requires the longest recovery period after this session, not the muscles of the upper back. A medium day, inserted between heavy days for back, could, therefore, consist of some type of Chin-Up or Pull-Up motion. Pull-Ups would target the lats (which are probably the first back muscles to recover after pulling and heavy rowing sessions) while placing practically no stress on the lower back muscles.

You'll also notice that medium day exercises involve less total weight than heavy day ones. This is only to be expected because you are deliberately choosing exercises that do not involve as great a muscle mass as their heavy day counterparts. Indeed, they are usually one step closer to being considered isolation exercises - although we're still trying to choose compound exercises as our medium day alternatives.

Well, I'm sure that by now you're getting a fairly good idea of the general procedure for constructing a heavy/medium style training schedule, but to give us something solid to chew on here are a couple of sample routines.

For Mass and Strength

Day 1 - Heavy

Squats
Deadlifts
Barbell Curls
Leg Raises

Day 2 - Heavy

Bench Presses
Military Presses
Calf Raises
Lying L-Flyes

Day 1 - Medium

Front Squats
Chin-Ups
Incline DB Curls
Crunches

Day 2 - Medium

Incline Presses
Lateral Raises
Seated Calf Raises

And the schedule would be:

Weekday/ Training Day:
M 1 - Heavy
T 2 - Medium
W
Th 1 - Medium
F 2 - Heavy
Sa
S

As you can see, if we want to train a lift/bodypart heavy once per week then this schedule has us training 4 times a week. Up until now the most frequent recommendation I've made has been 3 times per week. You'll also notice that, because we're trying to omit certain bodyparts from the action, on our medium days there are a few more isolation-style exercises creeping in. So, to counteract the tendency to overtrain a maximum of only 4 exercises are to be performed on any given day. And I have to re-iterate that if at any time your training weights stagnate or start slipping backwards then it's time to make some changes. In that case you might start training less intensely on your medium days or consider switching to a different schedule.

Even with a keen eye towards caution it can be a slippery slope trying to train 4 times per week for the genetically average, drug-free trainee. Let's look at how we can get the frequency down to 2 and 3 day per week training.

2 Day Per Week Heavy/Medium Training

Obviously, since we're going to be training 2 days per week and also hitting a bodypart 2 times per week, we're going to have to adopt a full-body training routine. With this kind of program that can be done quite easily. Consider the following:

For Mass and Strength

Day 1 - Heavy

Squats
Dips
Reverse Grip Chin-Ups
Military Presses
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts
Barbell Curls
Donkey Calf Raises
Leg Raises
Lying L-Flyes

Day 2 - Medium

Front Squats
Incline Presses
Bent-Over Rows
Lateral Raises
Lying Leg Curls
Preacher Curls
Standing Calf Raises
Pre-Stretch Crunches

For Strength and Power

Day 1 - Heavy

Power Cleans
Squats
Bench Presses
Bent-Over Rows
Push Presses
Reverse Hypers
Calf Raises
Leg Raises
Lying L-Flyes

Day 2 - Medium

Power Snatches
Front Squats
Incline Presses
Chin-Ups
Military Presses
Back Extensions
Seated Calf Raises
Crunches

As you can tell, routines of this sort have a tendency to get long. On the other hand, you'll find that the medium day tends to go a bit more quickly because the exercises aren't quite so taxing (even though you might be putting full effort into them). Why don't we rearrange things so that it's a bit more 'even' time-wise? And this would also have the effect of dividing out the week's total workload more evenly between the two sessions. So what we could do is mix up the heavy and medium day exercises so that on one day only half the bodyparts are being hit heavy and the other half medium.

For Mass and Strength

Day 1

Squats
Incline Presses
Reverse Grip Chin-Ups
Lateral Raises
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts
Preacher Curls
Donkey Calf Raises
Pre-Stretch Crunches
Lying L-Flyes

Day 2

Front Squats
Dips
Bent-Over Rows
Military Presses
Lying Leg Curls
Barbell Curls
Standing Calf Raises
Leg Raises

For Strength and Power

Day 1

Power Cleans
Front Squats
Bench Presses
Chin-Ups
Push Presses
Back Extensions
Calf Raises
Crunches
Lying L-Flyes

Day 2

Power Snatches
Squats
Incline Presses
Bent-Over Rows
Military Presses
Reverse Hypers
Seated Calf Raises
Leg Raises

You may also notice that the way I have staggered these heavy and medium day exercises ensures that after a heavy day exercise you are always doing a medium day one.

The Heavy/Light/Medium System

It wouldn't be fair to cover this subject without looking at what Bill Starr has to say about the Heavy/Light/Medium system - since he is probably the most famous proponent of many of the ideas that have been presented here (albeit with a twist). In Mr. Starr's approach the full body is trained 3 times per week. But the exercises are divided up further so that some fall into an extra category - the light category. It should also be mentioned that Bill Starr treats all pressing exercises as shoulder girdle exercises and makes no distinction between what many would consider exercises aimed at either the pecs or delts. So, in his system, Bench Presses and Military Presses would be seen as a shoulder girdle exercises and not as separate chest and delt exercises. This means that Military Presses qualify as light day work for the shoulder girdle and Bench Presses are their heavy day counterpart. Incline Presses would be an example of medium day shoulder girdle work. Here's a sample Bill Starr-style Heavy/Light/Medium schedule for more advanced Football players - it isn't 'Simon Pure' Bill Starr but it does follow his philosophy:

Advanced Off-Season Football Program

Monday - Heavy

Squats
Bench Presses
Power Shrugs
Dumbbell Curls

Weds - Light

Power Cleans
Overhead Presses
Lunges
Good Mornings

Friday - Medium

Clean-Grip High Pulls
Incline Presses
Front Squats
Triceps Pressdowns

Before you even consider a routine such as the one layed out above I have to warn you: It is extremely 'rugged'. Most, if not all, genetically average trainees will quickly overtrain if they jump head first into such a program. I present it more as an example of the heavy/light/medium philosophy than anything else. Still, in all fairness, there are advanced trainees who can tolerate such a load - but they have a very keen understanding of what they're body is capable of and of their recovery state at any given time. They also know when to 'back off' and when to 'push it'.

Why don't we do as we did with the 2 day approach and stagger our heavy, light and medium exercises across the three days so that each day contains a mixture of heavy, light and medium exercises, instead of being purely heavy, light and medium days? And let's do it in pure strength and size fashion rather than aiming at Football. Such an approach might look like this:

Staggered Heavy/Light/Medium Program

Monday

Military Presses
Squats (H)
Dips
Bent-Over Rows

Weds

Front Squats
Back Extensions
Barbell Curls
Donkey Calf Raises

Friday

Incline Presses
Squats (M)
Chin-Ups
Triceps Pressdowns

In the above program H = heavy and M = medium. Medium day Squatting weights would generally be ~75% - 85% of heavy day weights (for the same number of reps). It also needs to be pointed out that the 'main' exercises in the above program would be Military Presses, Incline Presses, Squats and Bent-Over Rows. The exertion (intensity level) you put into all the other exercises would be based on your ability to progress on those 'main' lifts. Start the program by only putting a limited amount of effort into the 'secondary' exercises, then as weeks pass begin to push them a bit harder and see what happens. If at any time your progress on the 'main' exercises halts (or slows dramatically) then curtail the intensity of effort that you're placing into the 'secondary' ones.

It also has to be acknowledged that the above program has you performing a squatting movement 3 times per week. This will be too much for most people unless intensity is carefully manipulated. The vast majority of trainees would not be able to push Front Squats to full exertion levels on Wednesdays.

Summary

So, by now you should have a fairly complete understanding of how you can construct your strength/size routine for maximum training efficiency. In this series I've given you several different options to approach differing bodypart recovery rates with. I have to say once again, though, that all of these approaches rely on YOU. You are the one (unless you have a good coach) that has to listen to your body and construct your training sessions accordingly. Never blindly follow a routine merely because it sounds 'good'. Nothing sounds as good as the idea of adding more weight to the bar. And you'll only accomplish that by heeding the signals (i.e. progress or lack thereof) that your body sends you.
Last edited by Tom K on Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tom K
Posts: 123
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:17 am

Re: Casey Butt, Weightrainer magazine "lost" articles

Post by Tom K » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:23 pm

This is part 6 of the Making a strength and size routine, the ones above are the Advanced routines.

Part 6 got lost, but parts 1 to 5 are still up at http://www.weightrainer.net/articles.html

The WeighTrainer

Making a strength and size routine

Making A Strength/Size Routine Part VI: Balancing The Balancing Act

You'll remember the following guidelines from the Making A Strength/Size Routine Part IV: Training Frequency article:

The Balancing Act

Here's a good place to start - it's not the only way, but it will serve as a launching point:

- Work each major bodypart once every 3-8 days. The exact frequency will be determined by factors such as rep range, intensity and exercise selection.
- Do 2-3 'hard' sets per exercise.
- Weight train no more than 3 times per week.
- The VAST majority of your workout should be devoted to free weight compound exercises.
- Do few isolation exercises - unless you are genetically elite or on drugs they will not accelerate your progress, they will hinder it.
- Do not train to actual failure - end your sets with maybe another rep left in you.

The above recommendations are only very general guidelines. Guidelines that will produce consistent results for the VAST majority of drug-free trainers...

...The above guidelines provide the proper place for you to start.

So, how do we tailor these guidelines into a routine specifically for the individual? If you've been following them for a while and are not gaining strength as fast as you think you should be, then it's time for some tweaking. First of all, make sure that everything outside of the gym is in order. If you are not getting adequate rest and/or nutrition no program will work for you! If these aspects of your training life are in order then there are only two possible reasons for your lack of progress: You are either overtraining or undertraining. All you have to do is determine which one it is and correct it. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to successful training, but the ideal approach for anyone can be painlessly found. All it requires is a little bit of time and effort. The first thing you have to accept is that no one can give you the answers but yourself. As great as Mr. Joe Champion may be, he doesn't live in your body, so he can't tell you exactly how to train. If you want to know what's best for you you're going to have to do a little experimentation with your own body. That's the process this article will outline.

Dealing With Undertraining

The first possibility that most people will suspect is undertraining. Well, believe it or not, undertraining is pretty unlikely when following the above guidelines. The progress of thousands of drug-free trainees throughout the years has verified the efficiency of the above approach. Still, undertraining is a possibility if you are not pushing your sets hard enough. It may be that you have been misjudging your failure point incorrectly and have been stopping your sets several reps short of failure. If this is so, try pushing a bit harder, but DON'T go all the way to the failure point - you have to know your own capabilities. Maybe your training sessions are not frequent enough. It may be a number of things.

First thing to do, if you feel that you are undertraining, is to eliminate one of your rest days - so that you are training a bodypart one day more frequently. Change to training a bodypart once every six days as we started with the once every 7 day training. Don't get 'intensity happy' and start pushing your sets to failure just yet. Remember, it's better if you can get your body gaining strength every six days than if you have to wait seven days because you are pushing to failure.

If satisfactory progress still isn't achieved eliminate another rest day so that you are training each bodypart once every five days. If, at this point, you are still not making fractional strength increases each session then eliminate another rest so that you are training a lift once every 4 days. Now, if this doesn't bring progress, you can go to training a lift once every 3 days, but ONLY IF you are performing higher reps (8 or more) on that lift. If you are performing lower reps (less than 8) then do not train the lift more frequently than once every 4 days.

Let's say you're still not making progress. Now you might want to up your set volume. If you've only been doing two 'hard' sets per exercise, try doing three. If that doesn't work, then start pushing your sets a bit harder - maybe going to failure on one set per bodypart. Don't increase bodypart training frequency to once every 2 (or 3 for lower-rep training) days though; if a bodypart doesn't need that amount of time to recover on this program then you're not training it hard enough. If you've reached this point and you're still not fractionally gaining strength regularly then start pushing all of your sets to momentary failure. Now you are doing 2-3 sets to muscular failure for each exercise once every 3-4 days. I caution you against upping your intensity too high while performing an abbreviated routine for extended periods, though - remember our discussion of irrational hypertrophy (the article Growth Part II: Why, And How, Does A Muscle Grow And Get Stronger?)?

Whatever you do, at no point during this process should you start adding in frivolous isolation exercises in an attempt to 'hit different fibers' or something. If it's size and strength you're after (this is, after all, a strength/size series), you're better off training the compound exercises harder (or more frequently) than 'sharing' your body's recovery capacities with extra exercises.

If you've followed this process and gains still aren't coming then you're faced with only one conclusion: You were wrong in your initial conclusion that you were undertraining - you were overtraining. Of course, you may have concluded anywhere along this process that you were overtraining, but keeping in mind the training nonsense that has percolated through the strength training world over the past 35 years or so I'd say that most people will follow this process right up to the 'bitter end' before they even entertain that possibility. That's if those people could even be convinced to follow such an 'old-school' approach in the first place. In any case, once you've determined that overtraining was your problem you should take a week off from training completely to give your body a chance to get back to 'square one'. It's bad enough that you were overtraining in the first place, but now you've made the situation worse by increasing your training frequency and intensity over the past few weeks!

Dealing With Overtraining

Overtraining is possible even when following a program structured as layed out above. If you have included too many isolation exercises in your routine overtraining is even likely. If you're not gaining it may be that you've been pushing some of your sets to the failure point. It could be that you're training too frequently.

It may be possible that your routine is fine and that you started the routine in an overtrained state in the first place. This would mean that you haven't been giving your body a chance to get gaining. You built up a recuperation deficit before you even started out on the above guidelines. The best way out of this situation is to take 7-10 days off from training; to let your body's nervous, enzymatic and glycogen replenishment systems get back on an 'even keel'. When you return to the gym only use about 95% of the weight that you used before the break, for the same number of reps. Up the weight a little at your second bodypart session after the break, and then go full steam at the third. This may be all that's needed to get your body responding again. If it isn't then read on.

To systematically check all the possibilities, you should first eliminate all exercises from your routine that are not absolutely essential to producing strength gains in the compound exercises or that are for the purposes of strengthening the body's stabilizing muscles. Also, if you have the tendency to train all of your 'hard' sets to failure then fight this urge! If this doesn't produce results, then you should reduce the number of 'hard' sets you've been doing per bodypart. If you've been doing three, drop back to two; if you've been doing two, drop back to one. This may get you back on track.

Possibly, you've been on a three-way bodypart split. Try a two-way, this will give you an extra rest day in place of another training day. At this point you're doing 1-3 hard sets per exercise, doing very few or no isolation exercises, stopping your sets close to, but before, the failure point, training twice a week and 'hitting' each bodypart only once in that time period. If you're still not regularly gaining strength the only logical course of action from here is to reduce your bodypart training frequency to once every 8 days. If this doesn't work you have to keep inserting rest days until regular strength gains do start coming.

Dare I Say It: One Size Fits All!

The above procedure will work for anybody. It is absolutely failure-proof. How many times have I read enthusiastic articles from Bodybuilding, Powerlifting, etc. champions and their trainers guaranteeing results if I followed their program to a tee? Problem is, it's their program; not mine. The above procedure will lead you to your own gaining program. You will heed the signs your own progess (or lack thereof) is giving you until you find a combination that works for YOU. Whatever it takes to get your body gaining will be found by the above systematic approach; no matter how ridiculous that eventual routine might have seemed to you before you started the process. It may be that you can only do one set per bodypart once every 7-8 days. It may be that you can train a bodypart with several different exercises, for several sets each, once every five days. That is for you to find out - not for you to be told by someone else.

So give it a shot. It may take you several weeks (maybe even months) before you find your 'ideal' routine, but find it you will. And when you do you will have learned extremely valuable lessions about your own body. In all honesty, this route will get you gaining faster than any other. Every workout is being monitored for progress - when gains cease training variables are changed to produce gains again. Constant modification - like a heat-seeker closing in on it's target. You don't have to commit yourself to something you're unsure because every step of the process is dictated by your own body. What have you got to lose?

Tom K
Posts: 123
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:17 am

Re: Casey Butt, Weightrainer magazine "lost" articles

Post by Tom K » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:32 pm

This article was lost for so long that Casey forgot he wrote it :)

This was an early experiment from his Olympic lifting days and his attempt to make a bodybuilding periodisation routine out of it. Its well worth a read, plenty of knowledge in this. It was not in a text format, so some of the formatting is lost, like tables etc. but its still very readable.

I can't attach the pdf to this board but if you want it, I have it.

The WeighTrainer
Advanced Training Part I: Quantifying Loading - The Stress Point System


The WeighTrainer
Advanced Training Part I: Quantifying Loading - The Stress Point System

Let's say you've been lifting for a while. You've gained some serious strength and put on a good degree of muscle mass (if that's what you're after). You've been training long enough now for it to become apparent to you that certain weaknesses in your physique, strength or technique are becoming limiting factors in your progress. If you're a Bodybuilder this could mean that there are imbalances in your physique that need to be addressed. If you're a Powerlifter or Weightlifter it could be that specific muscle or technique weaknesses are limiting your lifts.
Here's your dilemma: If you add in extra assistance and/or isolation exercises in an attempt to correct these weaknesses you'll likely bring on overtraining. Unless, of course, you limit your work on the 'core' lifts - but this will probably result in detraining on those all-important lifts and/or muscle atrophy. So what do you do? It seems like you've reached an impasse.
Well, you haven't really reached an impasse - just a junction point in your training that may require a little finesse to get around. But before we get into how we can work this we have to be able to quantify the approximate workload that we're actually capable of handling. That way we can monitor our plans to fit our abilities. How do we do this? Start with the 'stress point system'.
The Stress Point System
We all know (at least we all should) that we can only tolerate a finite workload over a given period of time. If you've followed the advice given in other articles on this site you've probably gained a good idea of what your own body is capable of or are closing in on that knowledge right now. Every exercise we do places a certain degree of 'strain' on our bodies. This is a necessary trait of an exercise in order for it to elicit a training response. In fact, this is part and parcel of the adaptation and supercompensation process itself. It also happens that the exercises that take the greatest toll on us are also the ones that hold the most potential for growth/strengthening. Nobody would argue that Leg Extensions are superior to Squats for strengthening the legs and producing growth and neither would anyone argue that Leg Extensions are 'harder' to perform than Squats.
So, having accepted this, we can begin to quantify exercises in relation to others with regards to how 'hard' they are on us. For instance, one could say that Bench Presses are twice as 'hard' as Flyes. You could also say, because of the loading parameters of these two exercises, that it will take you longer to recover from 3 sets of maximal Bench Presses than it will to recover from 3 sets of maximal Flyes. Reasons for this could be numerous: Bench Presses involve a much greater muscle mass and, therefore, deplete much more total ATP and glycogen. They also stress the nervous system much harder, requiring a longer period for such things as Sodium/Potassium and Calcium levels within the neurons and cells to return to optimal ratios. They stress the delicate musculature of the shoulder girdle much more intensely and they place a much greater stress on the connective tissues. If we were to try to quantify this, then, would it be safe to say that Bench Presses are 2 or 3 times as 'taxing' as Flyes?
This is exactly what the 'stress point system' attempts to do. All the exercises in your current routine would be assigned a number value which corresponds to the load that this exercise places on your muscles (both structurally and substrate-wise), the connective tissues, the supporting musculature and the nervous system. To start, and according to these criteria, the most demanding exercise that you do would be given a stress point value of 10. All other exercises would then be ranked in relation to this maximum value of 10. If there are several exercises that you feel warrant a 10 then go right ahead and assign it to them.
I can just hear the people bitching about this now. "That's impossible to do accurately!" some will say - and they're right. This isn't an exact science, but it doesn't have to be. The most important thing is that, if done sufficiently accurately, the stress point system allows us to place a number value on the total work load that we are performing. This is EXTREMELY valuable for an advanced trainee. For example, I may know that I can tolerate a weekly workload of ~200 but will start to overtrain when the load begins to creep above this.
What about such things as differing rep schemes? Well, it doesn't really matter. What matters is the relationship between exercises that this system gives us. Like I said this isn't an exact science - but it doesn't need to be.
From my own perspective, I have done this with the most common Bodybuilding, Weightlifting and Powerlifting exercises. Here's my appraisal of these exercises as they impact me. It will give you an idea of the process.
The Stress Point System
  Bodypart  
  Exercise  
  Stress Pts  
Back
Bent-Legged Deadlifts
10

Bent-Over Rows
5-6

T-Bar Rows
5

Chin-Ups
4-5

One-Arm Dumbell Rows
4

Seated Cable Rows
4

Pulldowns
3-4

Bent-Arm Barbell Pullovers
3

Barbell Shrugs
4-5

Dumbell Shrugs
3

Reverse Hypers
2

Back Extensions
2
Deltoids
Military Presses
4

Behind-Neck Presses
3-4

Seated Dumbell Presses
3-4

Dumbell Lateral Raises
2-3

Cable Lateral Raises
1-2

Incline/Flat Laterals
1-2

Bent-Over Laterals
1
Quads
Squats
10

Smith-Machine Squats
7-8

Leg Presses
7

Front Squats
6-7

Hack Squats
5-6

Reverse Lunges
4-5

Lunges
4-5

Sissy Squats
3

Leg Extensions
3

Overhead Squats
2-6 (learning curve)
Hamstrings
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts
6-7

Leg Curls
3
Calfs
Donkey Calf Raises
2

Standing Calf Raises
2

Seated Calf Raises
1
Chest
Bench Presses
6

Decline Presses
6-7

Incline Presses
5

Chest Dips
5

Flat Dumbell Presses
4-5

Incline Dumbell Presses
4

Decline Dumbell Presses
5

Flat Dumbell Flyes
3

Incline Dumbell Flyes
2

Decline Dumbell Flyes
3-4

Dumbell Pullovers
2

Cable Crossovers
1
Biceps
Barbell Curls
2-3

Dumbell Curls
2-3

Incline Dumbell Curls
2

Cable Curls
2

Preacher Curls
2

Hammer Curls
2-3

Concentration Curls
1-2
Triceps
Close-Grip Bench Press
5

Overhead Triceps Extensions
2-3

Lying Triceps Extensions
2-3

Pressdowns
2

Kickbacks
1
Forearms
Wrist Curls
1

Reverse Wrist Curls
1

Reverse-Grip Curls
1

Behind-Back Wrist Curls
1
Abs
Standing Abs (Westside)
3

Hanging Leg Raises
2-3

Lying Leg Raises
2

Pre-Stretch Crunches
2

Reverse Crunches
2

Sidebends
2
Stabilizers
Lying L-Flyes
1

Seated L-Flyes
1

Cuban Presses
1
Olympic-Style
Pulling
Squat Cleans
8

Power Cleans
6-7

Clean-Grip High Pulls
7-8

Hang Cleans (above knees)
5

Squat Snatches
6

Power Snatches
5

Power Snatches
5

Snatch-Grip High Pulls
5-6

  Hang Snatches (above knees)  
4
  Olympic-Style  
Jerking
Split Jerks
5-6

Power Jerks
4-5

Jerk Supports
4

Jerk Drives
4-5

Push Presses
4-5
I'm pretty sure you'll think of some exercises that I've left out. You'll probably also disagree with some of my numbers. That's fine. These things will change depending on things such as muscle fiber composition, biomechanical (leverage) factors, exercise form and neurological adaptations to specific exercises. But the table will give you a general idea of how the system works and will also be relatively accurate for most people.
It should also be clarified that these numbers refer to the exertion that you put into your 'work' sets. These sets are assumed to 'difficult' sets. You should understand that, for the purposes of this system, it actually really doesn't matter the exertion that you put into these sets, per se, as long as you are consistent from set to set, workout to workout, week to week, etc. What matters is the relationship that these points show between exercises and total workload on a recovery, or 'stress', basis. Obviously, if you assign a value of 10 to a set of Squats that were taken to the verge of failure you wouldn't also assign a value of 10 to a set that was stopped 2 reps short of failure. So some common sense and judgement is needed here. I would suggest that the number values in the above table correspond to sets that are taken very near to, but not quite, failure. I think I've covered my reasons for, generally, preferring this level of intensity sufficiently in other articles on this site. After I've explained some of the details of computing total workout stress points I'll show you how to deal with 'light' and 'moderate' days - when you don't train as intensely as I've assumed for the purposes of my stress point table. This may be of use for Powerlifters and Weightlifters but also for Bodybuilders and strength athletes who 'back off' for a few weaks after reaching a peak in their training (as was covered in the 'Progress: How To Measure It And What to Expect (for the advanced lifter)' article, also found on this site).
So - back to calculating total workout stress points - if you did one hard set of Bench Presses that would represent a workload of 6 stress points. Two hard sets would be a load of 12 points.
You're probably wondering how warm-up sets fit into this. After all, if a 'hard' set of Squats is equal to 10 revovery points what would an easier warm-up set be? To calculate that you compare your warm-up set (or sets) to the set that you do immediately after that set. As an example, let's say on your first 'working' Squat set you handle 275 for 5 reps and for the warm-up set just before this you used 225 for 3. How would you assign a stress point number to this warm-up set of 225 x 3? First you divide 225 by 275. This will give you the fraction of 275 that 225 represents. In this case, 225 is about 82% of 275 (225/275 = 0.82). Then you divide the number of reps in the warm-up set by the number of reps in the 'work' set and get a fraction the same way. In this case we have 60% (3/5 = 0.60). Multiply these two numbers together, and then multiple that product by the stress point value that you assigned to the exercise and you'll get the stress point number of the warm-up set. Here we have 0.82 x 0.6 = 0.49 and 0.49 x 10 (Squats have a stress point value of 10) = 4.9. For convenience you could round this up to 5.
Let's go further and say that just before the set of 225 x 3 you did 185 x 5. How would you handle that set? Well, 185/225 = 0.82 and 0.82 x 5 (the number that you assigned to the 225 x 3 set) = 4.1. So this set would be assigned a value of 4.1, which could be rounded down to 4. You've probably noticed that I haven't accounted for the fact that you did 5 reps with 185 but only 3 reps with 225. Because these sets are submaximal, and neither one represents a significant burden to you, comparing only the weights used will work fine for warm-up sets that are compared to other warm-up sets. Considering that warm-up sets generally shouldn't be of significantly higher reps than your work sets (because of potential lactic acid accumulation in the muscle) this rule holds up fine.
To complete the picture, let's say before the set of 185 x 5 you did a set of 135 x 5. This set would be given a value of 3 (135/185 x 4 = 3).
If you use a lighter weight on your second 'working' set (or do less reps) that set still gets a value of 10 because it is still equal to your maximum effort for that exercise - you're just more fatigued at that point.
So, what do you do about those light days? It's pretty simple actually. Let's continue with the above numbers and say 275 x 5 was your max effort. Say on a 'light' day you only do 225 x 5. Simply divide 225/275 to get 0.82. Multilpy that by 10 (the stress point value for a maximal set of Squats) to get 8.2. Round that to 8 and this is your stress point value for that set. If you only do 225 for 3 reps, instead of 5, you divide 3 by 5 and mulitply the result by 0.82 to get 0.49, as you did above (3/5 x 0.82 = 0.49). Your stress value for that set would now be 4.9, rounded up to 5. Other 'work' sets at that intensity would also be assigned a value of 5 (or 8 if you did 5 reps). Using this as your 'base', instead of 10, you'd then calculate your warm-up sets as was covered above.
I hope you're sticking with me - this may be boring stuff for some of you. But I assure you it can be extremely useful in routine design and planning. Hopefully, if it's value isn't becoming clear to you now it will become clear to you in a little while.
How Do We Use This Information?
So, what can we actually use this information for? Or is really just an exercise in arithmetic? Well, there are several beneficial things that can be done now that we have quantified our exercises from a stress standpoint. First of all, we can calculate our daily and weekly workloads. To do this you write down every exercise you do on each day and how many sets you do of each one. In the above table I gave Squats a value of 10. So if you do 2 hard sets of Squats that would represent a load of 20. Let's say you did three warm-up sets before you did those 'working' sets and you calculated their stress points as 3, 4 and 5, respectively (like I did above). That would represent a total of 3 + 4 + 5 + 10 + 10 = 32. If you follow this up with 2 hard sets of Stiff-Legged Deadlifts (let's assign a value of 6 to SLDLs) with one warm-up set, that would be equal to 3 + 6 + 6 = 15 (I've calculated the warm-up set as having a value of 3) . Your total would now be 32 + 15 = 47. Continuing on with this procedure you can calculate your daily, weekly, monthly, etc workload.
Now we can quantify, approximately, what you're capable of tolerating in your daily, weekly and monthly training periods. Is this significant? It sure is. You can now compare any potential routines to the one you're currently following, or one you have followed in the past. If you know that you can handle a consistent weekly load of 200 stress points and a monthly load of 800 stress points then you can periodize your routine to coincide with the common observation that strength and workload capacity increase in three week phases and then plateaus. For example, in a training month, you might do a load of 175 on your first week, 225 on your second week, 275 on the third week (your peak) and then perform an 'unloading' week of 125 stress points on the last week of the month. This is the essence of true Soviet and Bulgarian periodized training programs.
So what has all this got to do with addressing weaknesses in your physique or strength? Simple. On your 'unloading' week you perform only the core exercises but on successive weeks you add in assistance and/or isolation exercises to target your weak areas. Then, before overtraining has a chance to manifest itself, you drop the volume back to your 'unloading' week. Your monthly stress point total is still under your overtraining limit but you managed to include the supplementary exercises which are now important to your continued progress!
In following articles in this series I'll explain specifically how the daily, weekly and monthly workloads can be manipulated to accomplish all of this. I'll also explain how this system can be used to determine loading for a specific bodypart and present some specific routines aimed at Bodybuilding and Weightlifting. Until then, go to work on making your own stress point chart.


Copyright © 2001 The WeighTrainer
All rights reserved
Last edited by Tom K on Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tom K
Posts: 123
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:17 am

Re: Casey Butt, Weightrainer magazine "lost" articles

Post by Tom K » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:33 pm

Again the tables are lost in formatting, but if you want the pdf I can arrange to share it with you.

The WeighTrainer
Advanced Training Part IIa: Bodybuilding Periodization - WeighTrainer Style



The WeighTrainer
Advanced Training Part IIa: Bodybuilding Periodization - WeighTrainer Style

In Part I of this series it was acknowledged that, for reasons of achieving balanced development, advanced Bodybuilders may wish to include 'targeted' isolation exercises in their routines. For a drug-free trainee that presents a bit of a problem, however. A drug-free Bodybuilder can only tolerate a certain workload, and adding in additional exercises could very easily touch off overtraining. Cutting out some 'core' compound exercises to 'make room' for these isolation exercises isn't a good idea because this will likely result in overall atrophy due to decreased anabolic hormone stimulus - amongst other effects. So what does the advanced Bodybuilder do? Enter Volume Periodization.
The typical approach to periodization that the western world is familiar with is that of Intensity Periodization; whereby training intensity (referring to weight lifted) is varied over a certain period of time. This is a very common approach to Powerlifting cycle construction. Intensity cycling is only part of the periodization methodology, however. True Eastern Bloc Periodization also involved (involves) cycling of exercises to modulate total training volume. This often involves periods of time during which the 'core' lifts are not performed at all, with other auxilliary exercises taking the forefront. The common argument against this form of periodization is that detraining occurs on the 'core' lifts during the time that they are omitted. The counter-rebuttal to this has always been that the gains made by this type of cycling outweigh the detraining that occurs and that advanced athletes have such finely optimized nervous systems that any losses are quickly recovered.
The story is a little different from the perspective of a drug-free Bodybuilder, however. For these lifters, 'core' lifts such as Squats, Bench Presses, Bent-Over Rows, etc provide growth stimuli in such ways as that they should never be omitted from the trainees' routines (or at least equally effective compound exercise variations should be included). The loss of the systemic anabolic stimulus that they provide may make it extremely difficult to improve weak bodyparts even if a plethora of isolation movements are included to target those areas. And while the phenomenom of 'muscle memory' might ensure that muscle loss could be quickly be regained if atrophy did occur due to the ommision of these exercises, this is still not an ideal situation for a drug-free Bodybuilder who is struggling for every scrap of muscle he or she can get.
Clearly, what we need is a way to include the necessary isolation exercises but to hang them on a backbone of compound exercises. That is the process that this article will outline.
WeighTrainer Volume Periodization
The Soviets and Bulgarians (who have dominated Olympic-style Weightliftng since the mid 60s) have found that the body, typically, can handle increasing workloads for periods of three weeks before a 'break' - due to overtraining - is needed. This also corresponds to a period during which the body's strength reaches a 'mini-peak'. Using this information, several prominent coaches have proposed monthly loading patterns based upon obeservation and experiments that they have performed with their lifters. Using this data future training loads can be planned for maximum gains based upon what has been established in the past. This process is how the scientific theory of periodization evolved. It was not a theory which was put into practice but rather a practice that has come to be explained by theory.
For training purposes, we have to accept that concurrently including all of the exercises in our routines that may be beneficial to us will invoke overtraining. Second of all, we have to accept that we must always include the core compound exercises (as argued above). This means that, for periods of time anyway, we are going to have to train with a workload volume that exceeds the capacity that our bodies are capable of handling on a continuing basis. But we must not continue with this volume of training for too long or overtraining will surely result. What we will have to do is 'flirt' with overtraining - actually called a period of over-reaching - and then 'back off' before the ill-effects of overtraining can manifest themselves. To accomplish this we are going to turn to the Eastern Bloc patterns of weekly/monthly loading parameters.
To my knowledge, the famous Soviet Weightlifting coach Alexsei Medvedyev was first to propose prescribed weekly loading patterns which he considered to be effective. Subsequently, so did his fellow Soviet coach R.A. Roman and the renowned Bulgarian coach Angel Spassov. What all of these schemes had in common was a progression of three 'stress' weeks (actually they usually only called one of the weeks a 'stress' week) followed by a lower volume 'unloading' week. The purpose of these plans were just as was described above - to provoke over-reaching but then to allow time for the body to heal before overtraining can be incurred. The way these plans are generally presented is by the percentage of the monthly workload that is to be performed during each week. For example, the trainee might perform 35% of his total monthly load on week 2 (the 'stress' week) and only 16% on week 4 (the 'unloading' week).
NOTE: True eastern-style periodization will also involve modulating total workload across the months (not just weeks), with the intent of peaking athletic performance to coincide with scheduled competitions. For general bodybuilding purposes, I don't believe that type of long-term planning is necessary. The method presented here will focus on training in 4 week 'blocks' only.
At this stage I have to clarify a point. In the training sense, a week is not necessarily 7 days. A 'week' is considered the smallest complete training 'block'. The way this would be determined is by when the trainee repeats a certain session again. For instance, if you train your entire body over a span of 5 days and then repeat the procedure then your training 'week' would be 5 days. For the purposes of this article I'm going to use a training 'week' of actually 7 days. This is because 7 days is convenient for most trainees and because training volume can be adjusted to 'fit' this period anyway. If you wish to utilize a training 'week' that has more or less than 7 days then you can feel free to do so.
The way training loads were established by Soviet and Bulgarian coaches was based upon the total amount of weight that the lifter was lifting each week (referred to as tonnage). One of the problems with that approach has always been that no account for the training stress of particular movements is made. For example, no consideration of the difference in difficulty between Squatting a weight and Bench Pressing that same weight is made - and, as we all know, there is quite a difference in Squatting 250 lbs and Bench Pressing it. The total tonnage system does not take this into consideration. In addition no consideration of intensity of effort is made. For example, Squatting 400 lbs for 6 reps to failure would be considered the same as Squatting 400 lbs for two easier sets of 3 reps - which it is not. This is why the 'Stress Point System' was made. As was covered in Part I of this series, the Stress Point System allows us to quantify each exercise based on it's physiological impact on us.
Sample Weekly Loading Patterns
Here are some patterns that the above mentioned coaches have proposed and used with success (all loadings are given as a percentage of the total workload performed over a 4 week period):
Weekly Loading Patterns
  Coach  
  Week 1  
  Week 2  
  Week 3  
  Week 4  
Spassov
24
33
26
17

23
35
26
16

22
36
27
15
  Medvedyev  
35
28
22
15

14
25
29
32

14
31
31
24

14
26
36
24
Roman
21
28
17
34

27
18
32
23

20
35
27
18

32
19
27
22

22
33
18
27

23
32
26
19

31
27
23
19
Applying This To Drug-Free Bodybuilding
To adapt the methodology of these schemes to our purpose we're going to identify some general trends. There is a clear range of percentages of total monthly workloads that are performed in each week. Each scheme has an 'unloading' week and most have a maximum volume 'stress' week. In most of the schemes the other two weeks are similar in loading, with one outweighing the other. Using Angel Spassov's recommendations as a general guideline we get the following:
Generalized Angel Spassov Weekly Periodization
  Week  
  %age of Monthly Workload  
1
22 - 24%
2
33 - 36%
3
26 - 27%
4
15 - 17%
Now, the whole purpose of all of this is to allow us to include more isolation exercises in our advanced Bodybuilding routine without bringing on manifest overtraining. So we're going to conform to the above weekly workload quota ranges by increasing and decreasing the volume of these exercises while continually performing a training skeleton of compound exercises.
I'm going to take a typical 3 day per week Bodybuilding training program which has the trainee splitting the body 3 ways as follows:
Monday: Chest/Delts/Triceps
Wednesday: Back/Biceps/Forearms
Friday: Legs/Abs/Stabilizers
By the nature of this scheme, and to provide a basis for the program, the unloading week will consist of the bare essential compound movements. This week must also be of very low volume, as the purpose of this week is to allow the body a period of dramatically decreased loading so that recovery from the over-reaching state (brought on during the 'stress' weeks) can be achieved. Nevertheless, detraining during this week is to be avoided and, hence, the compound movements remain. All other weeks will be built upon the framework that this 'unloading' week provides.
We're going to take our 'unloading' week and modify it by increasing our set volume and adding supplementary exercises to meet the prescribed workload quota of each week. So let's jump right into it - a sample Volume Periodized Bodybuilding Routine based upon Spassov's guidelines is outlined in the table below.
Volume Periodized Bodybuilding
  Day  
  Exercise  
Exercise
  Stress Pts  
Sets



  Week 1  
  Week 2  
  Week 3  
  Week 4  
Monday:
  Chest/Delts/Tris  
Bench Presses
6
2
3
2
1

Incline DB Flyes
3
1
2
2
1

DB Pullovers
2
1
2
1
0

Military Presses
4
2
3
2
1

Lateral Raises
2
1
2
2
1

Bent Lateral Raises
1
1
2
1
0

Overhead BB Extensions
2
2
2
2
1

Pressdowns
2
0
2
1
0
Wednesday:
Back/Bis/Fores
Bent-Over Rows
5
2
3
2
1

Chin-Ups
4
1
2
2
0

BB Shrugs
4
2
2
2
1

BB Curls
2
1
2
2
1

Preacher Curls
2
1
2
1
0

Wrist Curls
1
1
2
2
1

Reverse Wrist Curls
1
1
2
1
1
Friday:
Legs/Abs/Stab
Squats
10
2
3
2
1

Reverse Lunges
5
1
2
1
0

Sissy Squats
3
0
2
1
0

Stiff-Legged Deadlifts
6
2
2
2
1

Lying Leg Curls
3
1
2
1
1

Donkey Calf Raises
2
2
2
2
1

Seated Calf Raises
1
1
2
1
0

Prestretch Crunches
2
1
2
1
1

DB Side Bends
2
1
2
1
1

Lying L-Flyes
1
1
2
2
1
Summary, So Far
The above volume periodized Bodybuilding training schedule serves as an example of the basic layout of such a program. In Part IIb of this series I'll analyze this program in depth and outline the procedure I used in designing it. I'll also describe how you can create your own, personalized routine. In addition, I'll answer some of the questions that I'm anticipating you might have.


Copyright © 2001 The WeighTrainer
All rights reserved

Tom K
Posts: 123
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:17 am

Re: Casey Butt, Weightrainer magazine "lost" articles

Post by Tom K » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:40 pm

Part 2b

Again, some formatting is lost in the translation, so if you want the pdf I can arrange it for you.

The WeighTrainer
Advanced Training Part IIb: Bodybuilding Periodization - WeighTrainer Style

In order to determine the loading pattern that the sample program presented in Part IIa entails I first calculated the total workload of each workout session using the Stress Point Table given in Part I of this series. This gives me a stress point representation of each session's workload. I then calculated the weekly load totals and the total load for the entire month. The table below provides an example of this procedure for Monday of week 2.
Week 2 - Monday Session Stress Point Analysis
  Exercise  
  Set  
Stress Pts
Bench Presses
  warm-up #1  
2

warm-up #2
3

working #1
6

working #2
6

working #3
6
Incline DB Flyes
warm-up #1
1

working #1
3

working #2
3
DB Pullovers
warm-up #1
1

working #1
2

working #2
2
Military Presses
  warm-up #1  
1

warm-up #2
2

working #1
4

working #2
4

working #3
4
Lateral Raises
warm-up #1
1

working #1
2

working #2
2
Bent Lateral Raises
working #1
1

working #2
1
Overhead BB Extensions
warm-up #1
1

working #1
2

working #2
2
Pressdowns
working #1
2

working #2
2
TOTAL =
66
Following this procedure for the other training days of week 2 yields: Wednesday = 54 Stress Pts, Friday = 97 Stress Pts for a weekly total of 217 Stress Pts during week 2. Completing the calculations for the other 3 weeks yields the following:
Weekly Stress Point Analysis
  Week  
  Stress Pts  
  %age of Monthly Total  
1
  150  
24%
2
  217  
34%
3
  168  
27%
4
  93  
15%
Total
  628  
100%
Comparing this to Angel Spassov's general guidelines we see:
  Week  
  Us  
  Spassov  
1
24%
22 - 24%
2
34%
33 - 36%
3
27%
26 - 27%
4
15%
15 - 17%
As you can see, the percentages of our Bodybuilding program fit nicely into our generalized Spassov recommendations. You could re-work the routine so that they fit a certain plan exactly, but this would be somewhat meaningless because of the uncertainty associated with our stress point table - not to mention differences in perceived exertion on a workout to workout basis.
So, we have a volume periodized Bodybuilding training schedule based on our personal stress point table and Bulgarian coach Angel Spassov's weekly periodization outline. Keep in mind that the above program is just that - a sample. The whole purpose of this style of training is to allow the advanced Bodybuilder the freedom to include supplementary exercises specifically targeted at improving his or her weak points - the above program may or may not fit your personal goals. Also, the total volume may not be appropriate for your recovery abilities. To personalize a routine to you, you'll have to substitute in exercises that suit your purposes and/or modify the overall exercise volume and re-calculate the stress points - while being sure to tailor your program to conform to the general periodization scheme parameters. That's what we'll look at in the next section.
Determining Optimum Monthly And Weekly Training Volumes
Let's take a look at the average weekly load that our sample periodized Bodybuilding program has us handling. The total monthly load was calculated to be 628 Stress Pts. That averages out to 157 Stress Pts a week (628/4 = 157). If you'll notice, that's a load just about right in between Week 1 (150 Stress Pts) and Week 3 (168 Stress Pts). To determine whether this particular program prescribes the right total monthly training volume compare this average weekly load to a routine that you know you can tolerate on a continuing basis. To get a more accurate appraisal you should calculate the total weekly stress points of a productive non-periodized program that you followed in the past and compare it directly to the average weekly load that this program has you performing.
In fact, a good starting point for routine design of this sort is to calculate the total weekly workload of a current (or past) productive non-periodized routine and use this to set your weekly training loads in the periodized scheme. For example: Say, using your training experience, you have determined that you can consistently tolerate a weekly training load of 150 Stress Pts. This is equal to a monthly Stress Pt total of 600. Now, using Spassov's recommendations (you could also try Roman's or Medvedyev's), you calculate your weekly totals by multiplying 600 by the appropriate percentages. For instance Week 1 would see you doing a stress point load of (0.22 to 0.24) x 600 = 132 to 144 Stress Pts. The full training month would work out as follows:
Sample Weekly Load Determination Based On A Total Monthly Load of 600 Stress Pts
  Week  
  %age of Monthly Workload  
  Calculated Stress Pts  
1
22 - 24%
132 - 144
2
33 - 36%
198 - 216
3
26 - 27%
156 - 162
4
15 - 17%
90 - 102
You would then use these guidelines to produce your periodized monthly scheme.
Determining Optimum Bodypart Training Volumes
Detemining bodypart training volumes somewhat follows from the overall weekly scheme. We first know that during the 'unloading' week we are going to perform only the compound exercises for each bodypart. The following weeks we will build upon this by adding additional sets to this workload and also by introducing isolation exercises targeted at weak bodyparts. Following a procedure similar to the one layed out above, we calculate the stress points that a current (or past) productive non-periodized routine has us performing and we use that to determine our periodized workload for each bodypart. As an example, let's say that we can currently tolerate a weekly load of 24 Stress Pts, on a continuing basis, in training chest. Using the weekly periodization scheme we calculate our weekly chest training loads in a similar fashion to how we determined total weekly loads above. So, over a month we can productively perform 24 x 4 = 96 Stress Pts for chest. Then on our volume periodized routine for Week 1 we should perform, roughly, 0.22 to 0.24 x 96 = 21 to 23 Stress Pts worth of work. Calculating the entire month we get:
Sample Bodypart Load Determination Based On A Total Monthly Load of 96 Stress Pts
  Week  
  %age of Monthly Workload  
  Calculated Stress Pts  
1
22 - 24%
21 - 23
2
33 - 36%
32 - 35
3
26 - 27%
25 - 26
4
15 - 17%
14 - 16
You'll find that these guidelines must be more roughly followed than the total weekly and monthly loading schemes. The reason for this is because of the inherent lack of precision involved in constructing a stress point table. For larger muscle groups, if your numbers are within a couple of percent either way of the prescribed bodypart workloads then you should be okay. If your numbers differ much more than this you may be flirting with bodypart overtraining or undertraining. Smaller muscle groups' training will be harder to get to conform as nicely.
Summary
So, there you have it. All you need to know about constructing a volume periodized Bodybuilding routine - WeighTrainer style. If my experience with Bodybuilders in the past is any indication, a lot of you will be extremely anxious to try this approach. And it does have it's merits. A word of warning though: If you aren't at the developmental stage where bodypart weaknesses are becoming apparent then don't bother with a routine like this - you're better off concentrating all of your energy on the compound exercises. That's were the size is. If, on the other hand, you do feel you'd benefit from a little weakness specialization, then give this approach a try.
As usual, if you have any questions that haven't been answered above (or below) feel free to bring them up on the Strength And Size Forum.
Frequently Anticipated Questions
QUESTION:I only have a few bodyparts that I feel need targeted special attention. How do I handle that?
ANSWER:You have two choices. You can draft up a volume periodized routine for those bodyparts only or you can perform the entire plan but use mainly compound exercises for your other bodyparts. If you choose the first option just train the rest of your bodyparts as normal. If you go with the second option construct your bodypart specialization routine as described above but just vary your set volume on the compound exercises to meet your Stress Pt quotas for your other bodyparts.
--------------------

QUESTION:It seems to me that I should train all bodyparts with the same number of stress points. Is this right?
ANSWER:No! The stress point table is a reflection of the physiological impact that each exercise has on your body. And, because of this, it is only fitting that training certain bodyparts will result in higher stress point totals than training others. You'll find that larger bodyparts 'require' more stress points than smaller ones. After all, you would only expect that training legs would take a larger 'toll' on the body than training arms - and the stress points reflect this. If they didn't the stress point concept would be useless.
--------------------

QUESTION:Should I train less 'intensely' on the 'unloading' week, or more 'intensely' on the 'stress' week?
ANSWER:No. The purpose of this program is to allow the trainee to include more total exercises in the training month by modulating training volume NOT intensity. For now, stick to the 'intenisity' level that you find most productive for you. After several months of this type of training you may experiment by training more intensely on your 'stress' week but keep in mind that this means you will no longer be following the loading parameters set forth in the program.
--------------------

QUESTION:Can I do a bit more work on the 'unloading' week? I feel like I'm going to detrain with such a small workload.
ANSWER:That wouldn't be a good idea. The only thing between you and overtraining (read: no gains!) while on this program is that 'unloading' week. It is absolutely crucial that you follow the 'unloading' concept as planned. Keep in mind that, while training volume is low during this week, set intensity is still the same as other weeks - not only is that sufficient to deter detraining but you'll grow.
--------------------

QUESTION:Won't detraining on the supplementary exercises occur during the weeks that I don't perform them?
ANSWER:That's unlikely. Keep in mind that the compound exercises recruit a large amount of muscle mass. They will be sufficient to retain the muscle you gained from performing the supplementary exercises. As for nervous system adaptations, you don't need to worry about that. Neural optimization doesn't disappear that fast. How long do you think it would take you to 'forget' how to ride a bike?
--------------------

QUESTION:In Part IIa you mentioned that the eastern-bloc countries went further and planned their athletes training over several months. They must have thought that was the optimal way of doing things or they wouldn't have done it. How do I use that information?
ANSWER:Generally, it was found that athletes can make the most optimal progress if they stay on a training 'cycle' for around 12 to 16 weeks. It was also observed that athletes typically need to back down on training volume and intensity every 6-8 weeks or so, in order to avoid overtraining. But, for bodybuilding purposes, I suggest that you stick with your routine as long as you continue to see progress in your strength levels (although those increases may only be fractional from session to session). Still, if you wish to experiment with longer term planning you could perform a very light unloading week every second training cycle (in this case every 8 weeks) - perhaps just take a week of rest. You could also experiment with following a different weekly loading pattern every cycle (every 4 weeks). This may be as simple as altering the order of your 4 training weeks. You may also consider totally restructuring your routine every 12-16 weeks.


Copyright © 2001 The WeighTrainer
All rights reserved
Remember to pop over and visit Dr Casey Butt full site, the excellent calculators, muscular potential calculator, ebook and articles

http://www.weightrainer.net/index.html

peter yates
Posts: 2331
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:38 pm
Location: NEW YORK, USA

Re: Dr Casey Butt, Weightrainer magazine "lost" articles

Post by peter yates » Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:24 pm

Hi Tom,
excellent work my friend and a big thank you for doing all this.Some valuable information contained here. I read quite a bit of his work a few years ago, and was only thinking of him the other day, and here you posted all this.So most certainly going to read all again. He has several Phds, one in biochemistry i believe, and was one of the few speaking out against the whole cholesterol myth and writing sensible articles about nutrition in the 80s and 90s. Once again thank you for this,your efforts are appreciated and you are an asset to the site.
Regards, Peter.
Peter Yates

Post Reply