Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cycle Training & Bodybuilding - Rick Weil






Cycle Training & Bodybuilding
by Rick Weil (1988)


By now you are all training for strength and size by using the 4-7 rep program that we talked about a while ago. Strength is acquired over a long period of time. Therefore, sensible training goals and philosophies must be learned and followed. The rep system was on the those philosophies. The next stage that we are going to cover is developing size and strength through cycle training.

Perhaps this sounds a bit confusing. Just read on and all will begin to fall into place.

Cycle training is probably the most successful training practice that we have at our disposal when it comes to building lasting size and strength. It is based on the theory that it is easier to get to the top in stages, or by a stair-step method. It correlates with my personal beliefs in goal setting. That is, set goals that you can reach in a reasonable amount of time. Then set higher goals. All the time you are reaching goals and accomplishing a lot in small stages. Not only are you progressing upwards but you are also getting the PSYCHOLOGICAL HIGH OF BEING SUCCESSFUL.

Let me try to illustrate for you sample workouts that are examples of a cycle training routine. The one I will next present is for your bench press, and is built around a personal best single repetition of 300 pounds. Adapt this to your own personal best. If your current best single is 150 pounds, use multiply the weights given by 150/300, or ½. If your best single is currently 200 pounds, multiply by 200/300, or 2/3.

This cycle can be applied to any of the big exercise movements you use in your bodybuilding schedules. Squats, deadlifts, incline presses, etc.

Week 1:
135x8
185x5
225x5
225x5
225x5

Week 2:
135x8
185x5
235x5
235x5
235x5

Week 3:
135x8
185x5
245x5repsx3sets

Week 4:
135x8
185x5
255x5repsx3sets

Week 5:
135x8
185x5
265x3repsx3sets

Week 6:
135x8
185x5
275x3repsx3sets

Week 7:
135x8
185x5
285x2repsx3sets

Week 8:
135x8
185x5
295x2repsx3sets

Week 9:
135x8
185x5
245x5repsx3sets

Week 10:
135x8
185x5
255x5repsx3sets

Week 11:
135x8
185x5
265x5repsx3sets

Week 12:
135x8
185x5
275x5repsx3sets

Week 13:
135x8
185x5
285x3repsx3sets

Week 14:
135x8
185x5
295x3repsx3sets

Week 15:
135x8
185x5
305x2repsx3sets

Week 16:
135x8
185x5
315x2repsx3sets

And so on, and so on . . .

Let me try to explain what has just happened in those 16 weeks.

First of all, the 300 pound max single has just been shattered by a 315 double. Remember in the last article we talked about strength and size coming from rep training and not doing max singles? As you can see, not a single 1-rep set was performed in the 16 weeks, yet the bench press poundage went up.

Secondly, a cycle has begun to take place. Did you catch it? Every 8 weeks the poundage was dropped back, This illustrates the stair-step approach to going upwards. A good foundation is being built and gains are being made. Many bodybuilders nearing the intermediate stage use maximum weights on their main lifts, and over time find themselves stuck in a rut of using the same poundages month after month. This is only one example of how to overcome that common problem and carry on progressing.

Cycle training can be set up in a number of different ways. The cycle could change every 6 weeks or every 12. The number of reps could be adjusted differently. 4 sets of 6 instead of 3 sets of 5 etc. . .

The basic idea that must be understood is that every so many weeks a new cycle must begin by backing up, and then jumping ahead a little farther. Always using your maximum weights for the same number of repetitions will eventually put a stop to progress.

Try to set up a complete program where you use cycle training on your main exercises . . . squats, presses, bench presses, cleans, etc. It is important to note that you do not cycle your isolation exercises. For example, you can do your chest workout by following the above program for bench presses and your incline presses, but stay with higher rep dumbbell flyes using the best weight you can for that session. Again, do not cycle your isolation exercises and do not use low reps with them.

You will learn to know your body and and what it responds to best. You are the only one who can determine what will work for you.

Cycle training works and it must be given a fair amount of time in trial. Trying it for 3-4 weeks is hardly a reasonable time span to see any effect. Give it 6 months, better yet, a year and watch how much you improve. I will continue to remind you over and over that strength and size does not come from doing single repetition maxes, nor does it come without patience and consistency.

The cycle system has helped many powerlifters and it can readily be adapted to bodybuilding. As an individual you may find that, after a sufficient length of experimentation, you need some other method to progress. This is fine. I only try to offer a philosophy of training that may prove to be beneficial to you. Give it a fair chance and see if it helps.

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