Some bodybuilding training systems claim you can
make great progress by training with only a few sets per body part. Actually,
this idea is not new; that was the way bodybuilders trained in the early days of
The more advanced you become
as a bodybuilder, the more the body tends to resist further development. That
means you have to work harder to create the necessary intensity in your
bodybuilding workouts and be certain that you are training in the most efficient
manner possible. To ensure that this continued development takes place, the
Advanced Training Program requires performing a relatively high number of sets.
This is not arbitrary or just a matter of personal preference; it is designed
with specific physiological purposes in mind: 1) to recruit and innervate all
the fiber available to each muscle, then work the muscle to exhaustion in any
particular exercise; 2) to do enough different exercises for every single body
part so that each individual muscle is worked from every angle to create the
fullest possible shape and development - and to be sure that no major muscle of
the body escapes this complete stimulation.
Some training systems advocate as many as 75
sets per bodybuilding workout, but this is not what we mean by high sets. As far
as we are concerned, the ideal training program involves doing 4 sets per
exercise. The fact that you can keep going for 4 sets, resting very little in
between, proves that there is still fresh and unrecruited fiber available after
the first few sets. The second task is sheer necessity, since no one exercise is
enough to fully develop even the simplest muscle. Take, for example, a
relatively small muscle like the biceps: You can train to develop the upper area
(point of origin), the lower area (point of insertion), the thickness of the
muscle, the inner and outer areas, or to create a really high peak. Once you
start dealing with the larger and more complex muscle groups, the number of
different ways you can train and shape them becomes really immense.
You don't have to be a mathematician to realize
that a task this size cannot be accomplished by doing 3 or 5 total sets per body
part. The physiques of those modern bodybuilders who are seduced into following
an old-fashioned theory of training masquerading under the guise of a new
scientific approach to bodybuilding will surely be lacking. It takes a minimum
of 4 or 5 exercises to train each major body part, at least 3 for the smaller
ones, and this can add up to a total of 20 sets.
With the right combination of exercises, you
not only develop each individual muscle fully, but also build definition,
striations, and a full separation between one muscle group and another.
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