Workouts

Just to make it simple, I'll say there are two main types of workouts: Total-body workouts

To most people who've been lifting for a while, this seems impossible: "How could I possibly do three or four sets of eight to twelve reps of all thirty-seven exercises in my workout plan?"

And there's no way to answer that, except to ask, "Why are you doing thirty-seven exercises?"

Of course, the reason is pretty obvious. The bodybuilding magazines have made strength training so complicated that every guy thinks he needs to do at least six exercises for his biceps and triceps alone. That's not counting the three he does for his calves; the three he does for his front, middle, and rear shoulders; and the half-dozen or so he does on the floor for abs. That's eighteen exercises right there, before he does a single squat, deadlift, bench press, or pull-up.

And the women in the gym haven't escaped the workout-inflation cycle, either. Equipment manufacturers have convinced them they need to do special exercises to open and close their legs, and the stomp-aerobics cartel gave them another set of moves for their buttocks.

So the only people who actually do total-body workouts are the poor saps doing "the machines," mindlessly pushing and pulling on weights that wouldn't challenge a prepubescent spelling-bee champion.

Alwyn and I happen to be fans of total-body programs. If you simply do our Big Six for two or three sets each, you have a perfect workout with just six exercises to remember.

You don't sacrifice any benefits for that simplicity. You still work all your body's muscles, major and minor, and work them hard. You get all the hormonal benefits of strength training, since those come from the big-muscle exercises. It's the best of all worlds—no muscles missed, no time wasted.

However, at a certain point, most of us will find that it's hard to put equal effort into six structural exercises in a single workout. Maybe we start with squats and dead-

lifts, and then we're too wiped out for the pushes and pulls. Or, for no reason but vanity (which is fine; I consider vanity highly overrated, as deadly sins go), we work ourselves into pumped-up splendor on the upper-body exercises and have nothing left for the squats and deadlifts.

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