Modern Muscle Moulding: Taking Circuit Training to a New Level!

I love to go through books written by iron game pioneers. For every book I read from this millennium, I read at least one or two from the last millennium and many are decades old. I tell you, there is nothing better than discovering where many of today's training concepts originate and there is nothing new under the sun. One case in point is the obviously new one-day arm routine that you regularly see in muscle magazines. Iron legend, Harry Barton Paschall, wrote about this "unique form of rest-break training" practiced by Peary Rader, the founder of Iron Man magazine a long time ago. There is no new method in any way.

In fact, Paschall exposed many of these original concepts back in the day. This man was a professional cartoonist, long-term premier for Bob Hoffmans Strength and health magazine and author of several books. He brought with him the legendary cartoon character Bosco, and he introduced some effective training manuals along the way. Take for example his first book muscle Casting. This gem was published in 1950 and is considered one of the best bodybuilding books ever written. In fact, this book inspired one of the most effective training programs I have ever designed.

Below is the first weight loss routine from that book and the one that stimulated some creative thinking on my part. See if it has the same effect on you.

  1. Seated lid – 10 reps
  2. Seated press – 10 reps
  3. Squat – 20 reps
  4. Bent-arm pullover – 15 reps
  5. Squat – 20 reps
  6. Bench press – 10 reps
  7. Squat – 20 reps
  8. Straight arm pullover – 15 reps

When I saw this program, a light bulb went in my head. It had to do with the frequency and sequencing of squats. Notice how squat appears three times in this workout, while each exercise only appears once or twice. There is a reason for that. In addition to deadlifting, no other "Olympic" weightlifting stimulates as much muscle mass as the knee bend, and no other movement gives you as much for your training ability.

The squat is often spotted as "everybody king" and with good reason! If you want seriously increase muscle size and strength, then squat. It's so simple. And squats build the whole body, not just the legs. Three times Mr. Olympia, Sergio Oliva, once proclaimed that you have to squat if you want to build your arms. According to Oliva, "excessive raising" does everything. "How much true. The guys complaining that their arms never grow are the same ones that never harbor.

As for strength, "you are just as strong as your legs", according to Paschall. "Most people don't give their legs enough work to do." Making multiple sets of squats will give your legs plenty of work, but performance can be affected if each set is taken to the limit. It is, of course, if you do straight sets. What happens if you sequel squats after an upper body movement, or better than after two upper body movements, in a circuit pattern similar to the weight loss routine above? It should help improve recovery and performance, and I can tell you your experience that it works very well!

I know what you are thinking, but circuit training for strength and size gains – be real! The common belief is that circuit training is a beginner's method used primarily for muscle endurance and … getting ready for it … weight loss! Well, I'm here to tell you that there's more to this classic method. Yes, it is good for body composition, but does not discount its effect on hypertrophy. You can get some serious sizes with circuit training if you do it correctly, and with the size comes the strength.

Okay, enough speech – let's take it. I am revealing several programs that use the concepts discussed above. Start where appropriate for your level of training, and give it an honest shot. I think you will be quite impressed by the results.

Here is a three-program program for beginners. Each program lasts 4 weeks and training sessions are performed three times a week on non-consecutive days (eg Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

Program 1

  1. Reverse grip cable wrap
  2. Seated handle with neutral grip
  3. Squat
  4. One-arm dumbbell
  5. Flat neutral grip dumbbell press
  6. Squat
  7. Standing EZ bar curl with reverse grip
  8. Reduce dumbbell triceps extension
  9. Squat
  10. Seated dumbbell clock
  11. Seated handle with handle for handle
  12. Squat

1 set

15-20 reps

2-0-1-0 pace

60 second interval

Program 2

  1. Wide-grip cable routing
  2. Seated Arnold press
  3. Squat
  4. Sits the cable line
  5. Bench press with close grip
  6. Squat
  7. Seat dumbbell curl
  8. Flat EZ bar triceps extension
  9. Squat

2 sets

12-15 reps

3-0-1-0 pace

75 second interval

Program 3

  1. Mid-grip chin-up
  2. Raise neutral grip dumbbell press
  3. Squat
  4. Raise the hammer roll
  5. Parallellstångsdipning
  6. Squat

3 sets

10-12 reps

4-0-1-0 pace

90-second will interval

If desired, use three different squat variations each program. For example, wide support rear (Program 1), heel height (Program 2) and conventional rear height (Program 3).

For intermediate and advanced trainees, a two-day routine works best. Each day is carried out twice a week (eg day 1 on Monday and Thursday and day 2 on Tuesday and Friday) for a maximum of 6 exposures. Therefore, switch to a new routine after 3 weeks. You can follow Program 1 with Program 2 if you want, or vice versa; However, a more efficient alternative is to insert an experienced body party split between them.

Program 1

Day 1

  1. Lean-away pull-up
  2. Height dumbbell press
  3. front Height
  4. Gradient dumbbell curl
  5. Parallellstångsdipning
  6. front Height

Day 2

  1. bench Press
  2. Sits the cable line
  3. Hex-bar deadlift
  4. Low record rope French press
  5. Sitting preacher EZ-bar curl
  6. Hex-bar deadlift

3-4 sets

6-8 reps

4-0-X-0 tempo

90-second will interval

Program 2

Day 1

  1. Close-neutral grip chin-up
  2. Seated handle with neutral grip
  3. Back squat
  4. Sitting Zottman curl
  5. Tiger-bend push-up
  6. Back squat

Day 2

  1. Flat neutral grip dumbbell press
  2. One-arm dumbbell
  3. Bent-knee deadlift
  4. Standing low-pulley roller
  5. Landscape EZ bar triceps extension
  6. Bent-knee deadlift

3-4 sets

8-10 reps

3-0-X-0 tempo

90-second will interval

In this system, squats are performed in one day and deadlifts on the other hand. No screwing with low-quality leg movements – just the big boys! Paschall suggested "doing some functional, powerful exercise without exaggerating the non-essential accessory exercises" may be the key to breaking out a box and putting on some true muscle growth. I completely agree.

We've all read Super Squats by Randall Strossen, and we all know that with short inter-repetition rest intervals to pinch 20 reps of a 10RM load is a potent stimulus for hypertrophy and strength, but you can only get one set of that setting. Of course, it does not work if you plan to perform multiple sets. In fact, in this routine it is a good idea to keep a few reps in the reserve at the beginning. Do not train for failure first.

And why is it that we perform several sets? Well, Paschall noted that enthusiasts who experimented with 2, 3 and sometimes 6 or 8 sets of squats on an abbreviated program "grew like weeds in a garden". Again, I agree. If you take a look at the intermediate / advanced procedures above, you get up to a total of 6 or 8 sets of squats or deadlifts in each workout. It's pretty deceptive because of how they are sequenced, but it adds to the end.

As good as these programs seem to be on your screen, there are two real issues that need to be addressed – busy gym and enough equipment.

First of all, don't even try the routine in a busy gym. It won't work! If you plan your workouts during peak hours, I guarantee that someone will ruin your plans. Try to work out during the holidays or consider a private facility if possible, and there is no better place than at home … which gives us the second question and that means you have enough equipment?

If you review the programs above, you will see that no equipment is used twice in a workout. In my home gym I have one of everything – a power stand, an adjustable bench, a multi station, a functional trainer, an Olympic bar, an EZ bar (actually two – they have different sizes), etc. I have specifically designed these programs for to utilize what is in a decent gym without having to use anything twice. For example, if I arranged a squat and bench press the same day, yes there would be a great pain in the ass, don't you think? You get the idea. Feel free to change exercises when needed, just keep this concept in mind.

Let us end this discussion with a message to the producers of Spartacus: Vengeance: Traditional, low-intensity, machine-based circuit training results in poorer performance. Now that the season is over, try this modern muscle casting method to pack some mass on your new leading actor. In just a few weeks you will notice a little incredible results, and you get one more credible sign in return. With a modern twist on a classic method, today's weak and scrawny Spartacus may look like yesterday's big and strong Bosco.