Bodybuilding 101 – The Best Training Philosophy

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Arnold Schwarzenegger’s workouts were legendary for their intensity. Arnold was rumored to need to train with at least three different training partners at separate workouts because no mortal could keep up with the Champ.

Arnold trained for six days a week and twice a day. He would train each muscle group three times a week and do as many as 20 sets for each body part click here.


Everyone who lifted weights and wanted to be a body builder would follow the same workouts because of Arnold. Everyone trained at least six days a week. A typical workout split would be Monday and Thursday, chest and back, Tuesday and Friday, legs, and Wednesday and Saturday.

Arnold and many of his peers training at the Gold’s Gym in Venice, California had some advantages over the average weight trainer. He was gifted with building muscles. Performance enhancing drugs were legal at the time and he was using them. The average aspiring bodybuilder was frustrated with their lack of muscular gains as compared to the Bodybuilding Gods that they admired in the pages of the muscle magazines.


The preaching of Arthur Jones was vastly different to that of Arnold. Jones advocated a short period of intense workouts. Jones had his students only perform minimal sets for each muscle group as opposed to the high volume sets that were being practiced by most of the world at the time.

Jones bragged to the world that he used brief but intense workouts to build his impressive body. At the age of 19 years old, he won the coveted Mr. America title.


Mike Mentzer won the Mr. America title in 1976 after following a similar training philosophy. After his win, Mentzer shared his training routine with Muscle Builder Magazine. He said that he used to train six days a week, using the same sets as everyone else. After becoming frustrated with his lack of progress, he decided to dramatically decrease the amount of training he did, doing as little as 5 sets per body part and only three days a week. High intensity training is what it is.

Mentzer went from a distant third place at the 1975 Mr. America contest to dominating the event one year later and winning the overall title.

Some might ask how often they work out. You can train long or hard, but not at the same time. A person who is doing 30 sets for each muscle group is not training hard enough. He is pacing himself to get through the sets he has to do. He wouldn’t be able to do that many sets if he was really training hard. It would be like running for a long time.


In the 1980’s and ’90’s, the importance of recuperation led to a reduction in the amount of training. In the 1980’s, a popular training routine was 3 days on, 1 day off as opposed to 6 days in a row. The extra day of rest gave the body a chance to recover.


HIT came back after Mr. Olympia won in 1992. A training program very similar to the one advocated by Mentzer was followed by Dorian. More people started following his lead by cutting back on training and volume as he continued to win contests. During this time period, most of the time, the muscles were only trained once a week.


The training programs of the 1970’s have been returned to by the aspiring athletes. Training frequencies have increased due to the growing influence of social media, in which people like to post what they are doing on a daily basis It is not uncommon to see people training in a row. Phrases like “never give up” and “don’t quit” are used in social media posts as aspiring athletes brag about how committed they are to training by showing up at the gym twice in the same day. Slow to respond muscle groups are hit three times a week in order to improve. The approach is back with a vengeance.


The question of which training philosophy is the best has been asked many times. It depends on a number of factors including your age, recovery ability, genetics and metabolism.

1. The Age Factor

Older trainers tend to take longer to recover. Training each muscle group twice a week would be more suitable for these athletes compared to those in the middle age category. Older trainers don’t find it easy to work on the joints and the muscles at the same time.

2. Training Intensity

Training intensity is one factor. Training with less resistance for more reps and volume will result in a different type of stress compared to training with heavy weights. The training will cause more damage to the muscles and joints. It’s not advisable to train every day. If your goal is more fitness oriented training instead of building muscle, you will be using less resistance and will not be putting your nervous system to the test. You would be able to train more frequently if you had less days off.

3. Workout Type

The type of workouts that you do is important. With reduced rest periods, workouts that are designed to burn body fat, increase endurance and raise the overall fitness level will be done faster. The emphasis is on training hard so as to increase endurance and muscle development.

The opposite approach is required for training to get strong. It takes an all-out training approach to get more resistance with less repetition. Muscular development can be achieved by pushing the muscles. The need for more rest and recovery is caused by the stress on the nervous system.

When designing a training program, keep in mind these factors. You should look at your training experience, intensity and goals as well as your personal characteristics. It is possible that following the routine of your favorite internet sensation is not the best path to follow. Success will be yours, if you do what is best for you.

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