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the_wolf's Guide on How to Create Your Own Workout Routine: Contents: 1. 2. 3. Sets, 4. 1.

Exercise reps, rest Splitting

and it

Introduction choice tempo up Introduction

OK, despite the fancy name and a content table, this is going to be a pretty clear and straight-forward guide on how to create your own workout routine, or, at least, to check whether it's right or not. We get this kind of question on the Bulking up board all the time, be it users who have a routine that needs to be rated, or they don't even know how to start putting a routine up. Having viewed (and answered) lots of those questions, I came to observe the fact that the problems we see in these routines are very similar, or, to say it in a different way, that most of the people make the same mistakes, which are pretty easy to correct, as they aren't tightly related to a specific trainee. Let me say this once again: just a few people on the forum are advanced enough to make the advice offered in this post obsolete (and I expect those people to already know something on how to create a routine ); for the rest (and I'm sorry if this is going to sound rude, but it is true), 99% of advice given here will work. Bodybuilding is extremely complex when we try to grasp everything known about it, but, in its core, it is still very simple and easy to understand and apply. Please take note of that. Squats work the legs, pullups work the back, and although many subtle variations exist, these two facts are, even when as stripped as I've written them here, true and easy to implement to reap gains. Of course, if you have an injury or a problem (a real one, not falsely perceived by yourself), some exercises are not for you, and that's perfectly okay. Another note is in order here: the forum audience consists of both the people who work out at home gym, those who workout at regular gyms, and those who are just starting at home with no equipment. The last group has, at least in my opinion, its need covered through Scooby's advice on bodyweight beginner routines, as well as advice provided in the Bulking up section. So, this guide assumes you to have some equipment available. It really doesn't matter how much, as I'll try to offer alternatives to some exercises

and plans, but, ideally, your (home) gym should include: a dumbbell set and a barbell with enough weight plates, and adjustable bench, preferably with leg extensions/curl attachment, a squat rack (or anything which can allow you to squat), a pullup bar, somewhere to do dips on (Scooby has shown as that all you need is a pair of chairs), and, if possible, a high-pulley cable setup. I know this may seem like a lot, but after you've been into fitness for several years (and plan on doing it for a long, long time ), you'll probably acquire/make yourself all of the listed bodybuilding tools. Now, despite the fact some people have expected this subject to arise later, in the "Splitting it up" section, I'm going to take the time here and discuss what is, in my opinion, the most important decision you have to make before designing a workout, and this is the thing I ask our forum users first when they request a routine. So, the majestic question is: How often do you plan to work out? Despite seeming simple and not to so important, the answer to this question pulls along everything else we're going to discuss in this Guide. But first things first, as giving an answer is not as easy one might think. How often you're going to train is dependant on many factors, most important of which are (in hierarchical order in which they are listed): 1) How long have you been into fitness/bodybuilding (what's your level of experience)? 2) How much time do your other duties/activities leave you with? 3) What are your specific goals? Let's cover all of them:

1) Your level of experience is what should come first. Beginners tend to recuperate faster than people who are longer into working out, but they can also overtrain more easily. Someone who's been working out longer might want to increase the frequency of workouts, or cut it down. Well, to cut this short, I'll say my opinion on the matter: a) If you're a beginner (and here I'm not applying Scooby's definition as someone who's been lifting for less th an 6 months beginner is anyone under 17, and anyone who has never been lifting in his life, or hasn't been lifting for quite some time, up until the point where they have a need to push themselves more than Scooby's beginner plan offers) - stick to Scooby's beginner plan, and bodyweight-train 3 times a week.

First one is working out 3 times a week (full body routines. but if you have 12" arms. but I'll outline some options: 4 or 5 DAW split routines. For example. but we'll get there later). you simply don't have time to do 3 different exercises for your triceps. most people who start off early on specific training (for example. or at least." 3) Having specific goals is more likely to occur with more advanced trainees. etc. Those 2 days of upper body training need to be dense. and require cutting out all the additional exercises and work which would probably be done on a classic. As Scooby said it: "Bodybuilding is the means. jump straight into the advanced routine) sooner or later realize their mistake and experience the best gains after switching to a routine more appropriate to them. Now that some of you rejoiced. So instead of doing them with other upper body muscles. work. Again. So. college. thinking I just gave my blessing with working chest and biceps 4 times a week. it's time to come back down to earth. which effectively increases your training frequency by on(c)e (a week). . 3 on 1 off training. Again. and this makes a. and that is that weakpoints dictate the whole routine. of course. this third point is off for most of the people on the forum. your bicep peak is the last thing s you should be worrying about (and this. I'll just state my opinion here: never allow bodybuilding to come before your school. Most people who give their routines to be inspected do not have weak points. you should probably know that this affects pretty much everything concerning your training. and the latter is 4 times a week (upper/lower splits).most of the time. people either have to work. Now that you have decided how often you're going to work out. or study. 3 or 4 DAW full body routine. or to do 5 sets of bench presses. 2) What I've written above is just an idealization . you decide to give them a separate day. for example. not the end. or have other. family. I'll clarify this by example: If you're doing a 4 DAW upper/lower split. 5 DAW split routine. c) More advanced trainees know best what's for them. Trust me (and it can be seen on the forum). A general rule also follows.two options are available. no weakpoints which would require specific addressing. this may sound harsh. and this can affect your training frequency.b) Intermediate lifters (those who can't get a proper workout out of bodyweight-only routines) . more important things in life to take care for. let's say your arms are lagging. 3-on1-off routine somewhat difficult to practice. applies to many other cases).

sacrificing health and general good shape for the sake of it. let's say something about exercise choice and what to train. The reason for this is simple: compounds are hard. which include stabilizer muscles isolation exercises usually don't target. but I'll explain so no . This is the first thing one must realize before starting to work out.trust me. and add the mental toughness component into the training. without even sweating. is hampers your gains . your chest can't grow out if your back isn't there to support it. require near perfect form. OK. they sit and enjoy themselves curling a dumbbell. etc. but I'll try to outline the most important ones: a) Compounds work multiple muscle groups. and second. compounds make your body act in a more natural way. chins. squatting. is definitely a good thing. exemplum gratia. so to speak. and don't realize soon enough that this approach is wrong for two reasons: first. Exercise choice This part will be written in a somewhat different manner than expected. and I hope that you'll. of course. So. as they engage the muscle groups which are naturally made to work togethe r. I'll put in some important workout-related facts which most people don't seem to follow (and probably understand). Every body likes curling and doing flys and leg extensions. Chest) in mind. but also avoid rowing. and as most beginners tend to think they know what's best for their bicep. This one is somewhat clear. This means you work a much larger portion of your body doing squats than leg extensions. by the end of this article. extend to other splits. Also. be able to recognize and apply them properly. both from a me dical and aesthetical perspective.Similarities. Biceps. b) Compounds allow much higher weights to be used. it results in an unbalanced. This forum isn't comprised of pro bodybuilders who are only into adding muscle mass. which. with this settled. so instead of simply listing best exercises for each bodypart. here we go: 1) You must work out your entire body I cannot overemphasize this one. 2) You should focus your training on several major compound exercises This one is also very important. injury prone physique that does more harm than good. 2. resulting in more muscle fiber stimulation. I hope it's clear. Everyone starts out with just ABCs (Abs. The positive ef fect of compound are hard to grasp in a few sentences. resulting in a more functional and less injury-prone physique. People also wrongly think that. pullups work the biceps a lot more ineffectively than curls do.

not a strongman. Also. On the other hand. don't bother trying a dumbbell to your ankle ). Of course you can move a lot more weight deadlifting than leg curling . at least. which almost everyone can testify it's true: you'll sweat and huff and puff a lot more when doing pullups than curling (or. which means you're moving just half the weight most of the time). and in that process. d) Compounds allow your body to produce more hormones. I won't go into much detail here as the answer is simple: use free weights whenever possible. 4) There's much more to working chest out than bench pressing Much has been written on the forum about the bench press (I here mean flat BB bench press). but involves much more stabilizer muscles and allows you to follow natural movement patterns. I'm not going to go into those kind of discussions here. you burn A LOT more calories than when doing isolation exercises. so I do include them into my workout routines (although they are stapled upon compounds). except for the exercises which can't be done without a machine (such as leg extensions if you have a leg extension machine. But what I'm trying to tell here is that the weight load applied to hamstrings alone is much greater in the DL than it is in the isolating leg curl (but we'll get to more detailed hamstring training later). in the long run it ruins the joints and leads to severe muscle imbalances by completely excluding most small. isolation exercises sure do have their rightful place. not an athlete looking for sport -specific performance enhancements. as it is a counterweight machine. in its essence. I'll sum this up into a simple statement: to build chest. 3) Avoid machines whenever possible The issue here is. Using free weights is tougher.after all. it shoul d be so). My goal is to build muscle. and how it doesn't do the best job when building the chest. Now let's elaborate each: . c) During the compound lifts. assisting muscle groups. This topic is still controversial. and allowing you to do some lifts without a spotter. machines offer "safety" and feel more comfortable working with. an incline press. Not a powerlifter. and a fly. does that mean isolation exercises are to be completel y thrown out? My stand here is no. which contribute to larger muscle growth. so I won't sticky it out or explain it further. Now. stay away from the dreaded Smith machine although allowing you to move lots of weight (but just virtually. and here's why: I am a bodybuilder. it's your entire body that's lifting th e bar off the floor. but rather add some tips about exercise choices for chest training.misinterpretations arise. Just look at the example I've show before. you ne ed a main press. similar to the conflict between compounds and isolation exercises.

are overlooked and usually completely forsaken. which leaves chest worked minimally. and focus on one major lift . as well as putting shoulders and triceps to work. Pulls. You can do both incline and flat flys. And ag ain. eventually. But when I go to rowing.grab a barbell or dumbbells and press on this incline bench. Most people start their beginner programs with pushups. But even until t hen it's imperative to work your back out for the sake of your joints and muscle balance. The best exercises for this are: pushups. many of you will. most people can't find joy in working the back out. realize how much fun can working out the back be.Scooby swears by them. I'll compress my basic idea into one. and neutral grip (these don't have a specific name). which just consists of doing regular chest work at a low to medium incline bench (15-65°). maybe dips. and most people around here know how great a pump and burning sensation this isolation exercise brings to the chest. This exercise provides the best overall chest development. such as rows and pullups. for example) alongside them.a) Main press . putting mass to it and developing your other pulling muscles (biceps. all you need is a vertical pull. Again. Also.this exercise should be a staple of your chest routine. which are a upper trap/bicep/medial delt exercise. short sentence: to build great back. flat presses (be it BB or DB). let's clarify it: a) Vertical pull . Note here than chins . He nce. b) Incline press . we do incline work. I know this myself: nothing feels better than watching my veins popping out when doing reverse preacher curls. try to minimize your shoulder movement by keeping your shoulder blades tight against each other. your chest needs to be "brought up". one note is at hand here: when performing chest exercises.the chins. A must. this would be it. 5) Please. I can't even see the muscles working! Hopefully.here I exclude vertical rows. Also. and similar pushing exercises. do work out your back Okay. Nothing beats these exercises when it comes to widening you back. Period.for the sake of more aesthetically pleasing appearance. your back isn't "already pretty developed". the force transmission between your arms and chest is not effective and results in shoulders having to take up most of the pounding. c) Flys . Bear this in mind. and if you had to do just one. and I recommend alternating between those two each workout. I use this as a crown term form vertical pulls done with pronated grip (pullups). supinated (chinups). a horizontal pull and a lower back exercise. Otherwise. and how good this bodypart looks when it's nicely developed. and chest dips. unless you're a professional rower. There's not much wisdom here .

the military press. I believe only one rowing exercise is necessary for great back thickness. DB rows. there's really no need for pulldowns. a row. not what Scooby shows) are great for isolating the lower back. you name it. so if your delts aren't growing. a. at least. if you do chins. a comprehension is at hand: to build shoulders. and it'll surely add to your upper back thickness as well. but if someone wants to do two of them. b) Horizontal pull . a) Overhead press . My view here is pretty clear: deadlifts. which often occurs in the real life. or. a lateral raise and a rear delt exercise. and squats on the leg day. as I find them too taxing and form -dependant to be done side by side. 6) What to do with shoulders? People. according to the "free weight over machines" principle. If you were to do .a. Hence. T-bar rows. Yet again. I always recommend doing DLs on your back day. One may now ask. c) Lower back exercise . with the bar on your shoulders. all do a great job at developing the back. Nothing beats the amount of work your body will have to exert when this exercise is used. in my opinion. Lower back soreness is guaranteed. I can tell you it is a very natural movement. The serratus anterior (intercostals) loves it as well. Smith machine is not an option. Also. I won't recommend eit her of those to be used as a primary lower back exercise. usually overwork their shoulders by adding lots of unnecessary exercises and excessive number of sets to their routines. and should be done for at least a set or two.should always be placed before pulldowns. Seated presses are also okay. The deltoids are small muscles which get their share of work with almost any upper body movement imaginable. if done properly. it might be because you're actually overtraining them.a. Not only will this quic kly pack mass on your shoulders. either done with a barbell or dumbbells. why not do the deadlift on the leg day? It is. be my guest. and does a great deal for the entire upper body. you need an overhead press.this is the best compound exercise there is for shoulders. no to do them on the sam e day. but will also add great strength to your core needed to balance the weight over your head. and those are pullovers. The press I recommend is the standing barbell overhead press.k.a. Although there doesn't see m a general consensus on what muscles does this exercise primarily target. I always like to separate squats from deadlifts.k. a primarily lower body movement. seated rows. after all. As you'll see later in the guide. Another exercise is worth mentioning here. Right now I can't think of a rowing exercise which I would tell you to stay away from (except maybe Smith machine bent -over rows). Bent-over BB rows.although hyperextensions and good morning (real ones.

again. for the sake of balance. which has much to do with the fact I've talked before. My advice is to do traps with shoulders for a couple of sets. but still make the best work for medial deltoid development. Some of you may now ask: "But where are the front deltoid exercises?" In my experience. More advanced BBers may rely on isolation exercises more. Every pushup. The first step to having big arms is doing the compound exercises for the chest. making the grip wider takes away the stress from traps and puts it onto medial deltoids. as they'll provide adequate stimulation. b) Lateral raises .just one exercise for shoulders. reverse cable crossovers and some other gym-specific exercises). So. The straight arm lateral raises call for less weight to be used. compared to the front deltoids. I usually don't put any front deltoid exercises in my programs. This part is often found most lacking. presses would be it. The exercise Scooby shows on his site is the L -lateral raise.arms are done a couple of times a week. I'm probably not the best person to give trap workout advice. otherwise I feel people wouldn't read it properly (and I'm still sure most people won't listen to what I have to say in this section). back and shoulders. c) Rear delts .shrugs and upright rows are the sole exercises you need. Most of the routines I've seen on the forum are arm based . due to the advantageous leverage. But I'll still give some general guide lines . due to all the pressing they do. Behind the back shrugs tend to target the middle and lower traps more. and 5-10 for triceps. In this section I'll also include the advice on traps.developing the rear delts is a necessity is you are to keep your shoulders healthy and in balance. most people have their front deltoids way out of balance with the rest of the shoulders which is. and make the movement harder to cheat. although rear delt rows and facepulls do the job as well (and reverse peck deck. and this is overd oing pressing movements at the expense of doing less pulls. . since I almost never work my upper traps out. dip. Good rear delts will also help your posture. These alone should be enough for an intermediate bodybuilder.medial delts are the ones who mostly contribute to the "wide shoulders" appearance. or bench press you do will contribute to the size of your front delts. The single best exercise for these are the reverse flys. While performing upright rows. Low -pulley cables also make great work here. and are usually found lacking with many people.stop overtraining your arms! I had to write this with the exclamation mark at the end. 7) More is not always better . not to mention that these are the muscles which are mostly engaged during overhead pressing as well. which. and most people are under the impression this will make their arms get bigger. allows for more weight to be used. or only once with somewhere between 20 and 30 sets for bi ceps.

but some people simply can't make their arms grow that way and need to have a separate day to give full attention to them. which really makes me mad. it's enough for my legs".Scooby's site also has some good advice here. those would be DB curls. "I go drinking on Friday so I don't get time . maybe 3 curls are necessary (if you asked me. or this one. Again.doing 10 exercises for the biceps won't make them grow any faster! b) triceps . i. 9) Your legs constitute a half of your body . do tricep pushdowns. The only note I'd take is to do your DB curls with a supination. Doing arms together with chest or back has its benefits. And remember: just 2. Russian twists and static hold hanging knee -ins.I think Scooby's site has this covered pretty well. What about abs? I won't get into detail concerning the ab training. so we'll skip it). it's truly a terrific tricep exercise. be it with a straight bar. Another thing to mention is the amount of work to be done. let's go to the exercises: a) biceps . applies to split routines only. and finish in the supinated one (ideally. but that can get hairy. you'd start at the pronated position. with this settled. but I'll add some. I'd just list some of mine favorite exercise: Swiss-ball crunches. once they go past doing 200 rep curls three times a day. so both of these aspects need to be taken care of. start in the neutral (hammer) position.". let's cover the "arm day" question: "Do the arms need to have their separate day. Experiment with grips as well. or should they be done with other major upper body muscle groups?" (This. Now we're at it.this really gets you a good stretch. which is also beneficial for muscle growth. so it's easy to overtrain them by doing excessiv e sets/exercises on the arm day.don't forsake them! This one is probably the most common error beginners make.. incline hammer curls and concentration curls) . Most of the time they have similar excuses as well: "I find my upper body more important right now.". Another note would be to try to do curls on an incline bench . Doing close-grip bench presses is also great for overloading the triceps in the low rep range (4 -8). OK.e. of course. biceps is also the supinator of the forearm (not only it's abductor). as I could write as long an article as this one concerning the subject. If you have a cable setup. "I am a soccer/basketball/chess player. "I do cardio everyday. my legs are developed enough.) My adv ice would be: find out for yourself. hanging leg raises (bring your ankles to the bar). a V-attachment or with a rope. do what you feel is best for you . I always recommend doing the same amount of sets for both biceps and triceps (and sometimes even supersetting the exercises).but the fact still stands: your arms are getting plenty of work during other upper body lifts. Remember.

In my opinion. The answer is no. only the leg extensions and curls are worth mentioning. to say an exercise is for "quads" or "hamstring" has little meaning for these compound lifts. So I hope this is clear: you must work your legs out. period. i. If your dumbbells don't satisfy you. "How deep to go on my squats?". The answer here is simple. limit the amount of weight you can move (and with squats.. for reasons similar to why pulldowns are not pullups.to do them. a) Squats . although this will. I'd say you should definitely try fro nt squats and hack squats (with or without a machine). and pretty worthless and cheap ones. However. exhausting or inconvenient it is you'll have to get used to it (I find it interesting that people like to complain about the pain during squats. In this particular section. This is truly not the place to discuss it. leg press is still a great exercise. and this is that the separation between "quad" and "hams" exercises is pretty vague." I hope it's clear that all of these are just excuses. eventually. and if you don't train them. Similarly to back training. hamstring. Few are good leg exercises which are purely isolation.if you still aren't aware of the importance of squats. and can be very well suited for taller trainees (as would front squats be). you're missing en enormous boost of overall muscle mass (plus you're turning yourself into a chicken legged comic book character). the main compound exercises that build quads. consisting of just two or three exercises. From other variations. It's perfectly okay to do squats with dumbbells . but never about pain during bench press or curls). Squats and lunges work hamstring and glutes besides quads. glutes and hip muscles up. try split squats or single -legged squats for more resistance. and their usage is often limited to machines which can only be found in gym. People often ask what would be the minimal leg routine. just type it into Google and read several articles. Squats are to be done. I do now have a definite answer. compared to back squats. as additional exercises to the main compound lifts. As for the question which I'm sure will eventually arise. we'll focus on the thighs. I don't care how painful. Another commonly asked question is does the leg press substitute the squat. Now onto more important topic: how to do squats if you don't have a way to get the bar up to your shoulders (and you can't execute a proper power clean). deadlift is not only a hamstring movement. Another note should be made. I'm a proponent of using full range of motion on all .e. Take note of the tit le of the section: leg are half your body. as these exercises should be a staple of any leg routine: IMPORTANT: Before you do squats at home. Hence. watch this video. this should be a serious number). the compound exercises priority principle is accented here as well.

Yet again. It's definitely worth trying. Although some will disagree this to be a compound exercise (the movement occurs only at hips). but can be used as an auxiliary quad exercise. which makes it unique and more difficult to perform. Right now. a deadlift variations which gives more emphasis one the glutes and hamstrings. but we'll get to his aspect later in the guide. which require almost no equipment. lunges are a unilateral movement wi th a more complex motion involved. the calves are followed by lots of confronted opinions. two exercises are needed: . Again.. Walking lunge variant is even more challenging. it's really a simple thing to conduct: gastroenciemus is trained when the knees are locked (tibia in line with femurs). Partial squats. and as complex as it sounds when written this way. which means going past parallel on squats. For more information. both the gastroenciemus and soleus part of the calf have to be train ed. the lunge develops the entire thigh.e. b) Stiff-legged deadlifts . as those two enable the hams to develop both of their prima ry functions (abduction of the tibia and extension of the hips). I repeat.if not. let's just focus on calf exercises. but can make your hamstring ache like they never have. The story here is similar to the one connected with squats although considered a primarily quad -targeting movement. called Full vs. are not a complete thigh building exercise and do not replace nor squats nor lunges. I consider leg curls to be crucial for complete hamstring development in conjunction with SLDLs. and should surely be tried (if space allows for it. while the soleus is trained when there's an angle between those two bones (i. that do regular deadlifts instead of the stiff -legged variant. whether you have the equipment necessary for SLDLs and leg curls or not. before the end .exercises.this is what Scooby calls "Good mornings" on his site. the knees are bent).Unlike squats. of course ). I'd mention just three of them: Leg extensions are not. I still consider it as such because of the several important muscle groups which work together in it. On the other hand. as in. I still do imply you're doin g regular deadlifts somewhere else in the week . which mainly don't agree on the frequency/volume relations in their training. The third exercise very worth mentioning are the glute -ham raises. c) Lunges . check out my previous "lengthy post". Try the Romanian deadlift variant as well. a full body routine. but not all people share my opinion so I won't dwelve into further discussions concerning this one. Enough said. 10) Last but not least .the calves Similarly to abs.do work out your legs. As for the other thigh exercises. For full calf development. Of course. for example. a must for good hamstring development. So.

The execution of this exercise is pretty straightforward. but some issues may arise with trainees who work out at home. and ultimately. if you're a gym user. and the loading is much simpler than people think . at your upper back).your approach the calf raise machine. In my experience. but so is holding a barbell in your hands while at the bottom Good Morning position (or. and than do calf raises. it's important to utilize both of these exercises into your routine.you can just put a plate or two and stand on them. and these issues concern using weights. b) seated calf raises . Again. and while simple. there is a way to (slightly) increase the weight you can use try a weight belt or. of course. Trust me.these ones are also simple . put the comfortable pads on your shoulders and just do the exerc ise. but at home we face the problem of adding workl oad. deadlift i t and hold it in your hands until the end of the set. you have two options: the first is to load the bar up on the squat rack. which has lots of weight added on it. Right now I'm trying to come up with a padding of some sort which would relieve the pain of having the bar on my shoulders. then put it back down. Some elevation of the front of the foot is desired for the grea ter stretch at the bottom position. this approach can be very painful for the shoulders. and at higher reps. Another exercise I'll mention are the donkey calf raises. as each rep involves a heavy deadlift followed by a not-so-easy forearm static hold.a) standing calf raises . put your legs in such position that the angle at the knee is sl ightly greater than 90°. I speak from experience. but you don't need the accessory Scooby has (although it's a very simple one to make) . if you don't have one. even worse. and the weight you can use on them progresses rapidly. I've tried both methods. You can do them unilateral or bilateral. Nothing special about this one as well.these are the ones Scooby describes in his calf video.sit down. Calves are VERY strong muscles. this one won't pose any problems to you. The situation is simple at the gym . and then do calf raises with the bar on your shoulders. but it's surely conductible).just stack lots of plates on your lower thighs (this does require some preparations. Arnold's method of having multiple men on your back isn't too practical nor safe for many of us. ended up with the first one. puts some weight into a backpack (or anything similar). so a dumbbell or two method Scooby uses quickly becomes obsolete. as the weights became higher and higher. Again. Again. However. especially if the weight used is much higher than those used at squats. The alternative method is to have the bar on the floor. and soon exceeds the weight you use while squatting or deadlifting (doing 1000 lbs on the cal f machine is not such a big deal). depends on you. . I trust it's clear on how this approach can be problematic. we who train at home face a problem how to put the weight on. but it's still a great exercise to perform. For these reasons I won't list donkey calf raises in my routines.

a forced negative and finally into a static hold . and the low -volume routines (such as HIT and DC training.3. I feel that this level will be appropriate for the audiences to which the Guide is aimed at. the balance between the amount of work done on certain days. balanced routines which can. which means. sets. which rely on a single working set (which is extended. which includes deciding upon adequate rest times and tempo to be used while performing the exercises. The second balance is between opposing muscle groups.. So take note of this: I'll try to present some basic. and that is creating set/rep schemes. for example. i. so I will discard both high -volume routines (such as those which Arnold used. and this means 20+ sets per bodypart). generally accepted ideas.e.holy muscle trauma!)). let's get down to business.g. The problem I faced several times during the process of writing this guide is becoming clearer and more overwhelming n ow. or which the pros supposedly use. it's time to pay a little more attention to the second important aspect of workout design. you just have two . As you might have guessed. In a split routine. Sets. by my estimations. upper/lower split and real split routines. So. The word "balanced" here is related with two things: the first is balance between the amount of work given to certain bodyparts. you might have a chest day in which you do 12 sets for chest. rest and tempo With the exercise choice covered as much as possible. reps. I hope it's clear that there exists a differen ce between splitting sets up in full body routines. and the content outlined here doesn't nearly reflect all the knowledge that we possess on the subject. a partial rep. while when performing an upper/lower split. this problem concerns the amount of simplifications I have to do to make this topic as small as possible. that the chest should always do more than biceps (which people often forget). There is a third kind of balance here as well. and focus on medium volume. But again. rest and tempo. that chest and triceps combined will do roughly the same amou nt of work as back and biceps. The "How many sets" question is very important when designing a routine as it basically defines the amount of work you have to do in a single workout. be carried out in 45 min tops. reps. have hundreds upon hundreds of pages written about them. but it can vary a lot more so I won't get further into explaining it. then turns into a dropset. e. All of those. and these are all very complex and exhaustive topics which are hard to cover in a simplistic manner I intended to follow in this Guide. 1) Sets As mentioned earlier. I don't believe in extremes here.. I'll try to keep the story as simple as possib le.

due to this. but believe that the bulk of forearm development comes from all the heavy compounds that you do. maybe 4 sets of chest exercises (we'll get to this problem in the "Splitting it up" section). and in each one just enough time to do 3. to be preceded by an adequate amount of warmup sets (1-4). Also. Muscle Sets --------Chest 12 Back 12-14 Shoulders 6-8 Traps 2-4 Triceps 6-8 Biceps 6-8 Forearms 0-2 Abs 4-6 Thighs 12-18 Calves 6-12 A couple of notes are in order here. . of course). I include reverse curls and hammer curls into my routines. most of the time. do note the "working set" part . Third. and that forearms. First. Now onto something more practical. work almost every day and don't need additional stimulation. However. who are blessed with good calf genetics. and that is the fact that it's often hard (and sometimes impossible) to separate whether a particular exercise works just one or the other. I haven't separated quads from hams for the reasons I already spoke about. Second.I always recommend a major compound exercise. the biggest explanation concerns calves. or any exercise done first in the workout (which will. while the others (myself included). The table outlined below shows the relations between the amount of work given to certain muscle groups as I view (and often apply) it. the number of sets done for the chest and back is far greater than for any other upper body muscle group because compound exercises used to train them involve these other muscles to a great extent. of course. Which approach works for you is. Let's repeat it: the numbers in this table show how much sets you should do for a certain muscle group in relation to other muscles. and which I advise you to do as well is: do around 3 working sets per exercise. As I've mentioned earlier. something you'll have to find out by yourse lf. This is a very crude approach. but it works. I don't believe in the necessity of working the forearms out. A rule of the thumb I'll be using. people have very different views on how to train yo ur calves. be a major compound). Some believe in high -volume. and pick the number of exercises accordingly to the table shown above (in relative terms. rely on a smaller amount of work to stimulate them.upper body days.

To make it a bit simpler. if we are to look from the other corner. Although still being good for hypertrophy (especially when in need for a "lighter" training).2) Reps The general rule of this section will be expressed negatively: if doing a weighted exercise. using more weight requires for a different type of "triggering" of the central nervous system. but usually suffers from a lack of pump. are necessary and have their purposes. Anything between those two values works (things work outside those boundaries. provides maximum muscle growth. and it builds more muscle.moderate rep range. it's taxing on the joints and CNS. do not. but normal training calls for a more efficient approach.. in which you deliberately use less than maximum weights. My view is that you should always aim to use the maximum weight you can for the given amount of reps. Again. why bother using 40 kg for that same number of reps. c) 13-20 reps . b) 8-12 reps . this rep range leans towards muscle endurance rather than strength development. in my opinion at least. as it. Deloading phases. but should be left for special training. This is called the "ideal hypertrophy" rep range. i. while doing 20 reps calls for quite a mental endurance and strength needed to push through all the reps with perfect focus. this view is false. and more than 20 reps. and to. For example. nobody would need to invest into weight plates . Offers great pump.moderate to high rep range. means using weights from 8090% of your estimated 1 RM. let's look at the following rep range division: a) 4-7 reps . supposedly. do less than 4 reps. except in some very special cases. such as powerlifting and endurance training).we'd just take a bottle of water and do a couple of hundred reps. and consider that doing 100 reps is better than doing 10 reps. 50-70% 1 RM. and I hope everyone realized this very early into their training. make your progress more rapid and evident. You should also note another thi ng: the amount of reps done (or. as is suitable for warming up . This is an utter misconception which simply doesn't work. Greatly develops strength alongside mass. So.e. the low number of reps often fails to usher lots of blood into the muscle and provide burning sensation as well. If doing more reps meant doing better work. as it will surely provide less stimulation to the muscle. I've noticed that people usually don't realize this. and is more tiring to it. hence. the percentage of 1 RM used) has some other effects as well. As all heavy lifting. For example. always aim do to your best. which comes from giving your best all the time. if you k now you can do 12 reps with 50 kg. The amount of reps to do is closely related to the weight used.low to moderate rep range. 70-80% of 1 RM.

switches to the right arm. that's for sure (most likely 80 -100 sec). and your cardiovascular endurance as well (try doing several high -rep sets of squats with short rest in between .. I think you're getting the picture now. which is set for. my entire calf routine is done with no rest between sets). For example. 1 min.and cooling down sets. and it says that the amount of time you need to rest is directly proportional to the intensity of the set. This is the . let's say. a fan of shorter rest between sets. For a normal. Most of the time. The last thing I'll mention here is a mistake I often witness with people when it comes to unilateral training. and then starts his rest timer. By intensity. I only rest for 2 full minutes after superheavy deadlifts and squats (volume squat routine also requires for such a longer rest for time to time). personally. b) The pump is usually better. I am. etc. easier exercises. you rest for days after that one ). you won't need cardio after that). but we still have to determine some real numbers to use. c) The entire workout is much shorter in duration. require from 30 to 45 seconds of rest. and I believe this to be a better approach for several reasons: a) Shorter rest improve your muscle endurance. Also. I hope you see my point. such as leg extensions and curls. but by how taxing a set was to your body (and brain ). you should rest more after a superheavy set of squats than after a moderate one (unless you've been doing 20 rep death squats. a general rule does exist. I am also a great fan of supersets. 3) Rest The question we're asking ourselves here is: "How long should I rest between sets?" Although this does depend on one's training level (being accommodated to using weights. cardiovascular endurance. trisets. someone does a set of concentration curls with the left arm. CNS recovery capabilities). For a something a bit more. and employ them on a regular basis (for example. start counting your rest time after you're done with the first limb. When performing unilateral exercises. I rest 1 min. between 70 and 90 sec. For example. And for how long do his arms rest? Longer than 1 min. you should rest more after a 10 rep set of squats than you should after a 10 rep set of DB curls. non-superheavy and not-too-taxing set. as well as the focus on the exercise (thoughts tend to slip away when resting for a few minutes between sets). giant sets. but I also like doing low rep range for heavy compounds (deadlifts especially). and high rep range for some finalizing isolation exercise. On the other hand. I don't directly mean the percentage of the 1 RM used.rest assured. I tend to use moderate rep range for hypertrophy.

of course. and (sometimes) the pause at the top. The next question which probably arises is: "Why do I need any of it? 2 s up. and is defined by four numbers (and is usually written in such a manner): the duration of the negative part of the lift. it means you should des cend for 4 seconds. what actually is tempo? Simply speaking. the duration of the positive part of the lift. making it harder to lift the weight again (of course. you shouldn't rest in that period) c) making a faster concentric can have positive effect on developing explosive strength d) holding at the top of the lift ("squeezing" and static holds) also have their benefits e) always control the descent of the lift (the negative part) f) changing tempo greatly affects the time under tension . more variant tempos.accurate method for measuring rest time in such cases. Here are some notes which may help you: a) slowing down the negative can make the positive stronger (the idea behind forced negatives) b) making a pause at the bottom of the lift makes the so -called "stretch reflex" to disappear. This is a very common reaction when this kind of discussion arises for the simple reason of tempo being one of the most neglected aspect of training which. remain down for 1 second. e. and this means another way of adjusting your workouts. For example. the rest y ou have to do will probably decrease (if you. this should only last for a second or two. reps and rest at all. 2 s down works fine for me.g. As I assume most of the forum audience to be unfamiliar with the concept of tempo. So I strongly encourage you to give it a try and drop your u sual training cadences for new. and limit my ideas on several easy-to-understand advices. by its importance." Tempo is just another training parameters. I'll keep the story as short and simple as possible. tempo is the speed at which you perform your reps.. pause at the bottom. for squats.take note of that . then come up as fast as possible and rest 3 seconds at the top. allow it to ). So. One last note: as you get more experienced with training. 4) Tempo The topics of tempo is probably the only one in the Guide who's title left you confused and not knowing what to expect. when someone writes 41X3. doesn't fall behind sets. increased muscle growth and targeting muscles in a different way. Making changes in performance tempo can be used for busting plateaus.

and two are auxiliary. We have the A and B workout. The full body routine I'll describe here is suited for no vices to weightlifting (after they've passed the "beginner phase"). Just a note: I don't include ab work into my routines as I see it to be too trainee-specific. Here we go: 1) Full body routine I'll note this in the very beginning: for a more exhaustive description of full body routines. Splitting it u p So. The full body routine I offer here is a 3 DAW non -consecutive split. but I don't think this to be convenient for anyone).2x8-12 . done either Mon-Wed-Fri or Tue-Thu-Sat (or Wed-Fri-Sun.3x8-12 (weighted) pullups . here's the plan: THE_WOLF'S 3 DAY FULL-BODY ROUTINE WORKOUT A squat . read this excellent article by dodoth ebird. and intermediate trainees who want to try something new. So. and that you'll be able to use it adequately in constructing your own routines. 4 of which are major compound exercises.4.3x8-12 (weighted) dips . here we are.2-4 warmup sets. named Full Body Workouts for the Advanced.. isolation ones. at the very summit of our journey. More Advanced trainees (and everyone else interested in the subject) will find out everything they need in dodo's article..3x8-12 military press . and offer a sample routine alongside it (I just hope most of you won't simply copy these routines without applying the previously gathered knowledge ). Each workout consists of 6 exercises. I hope you learned something in the previous sections. then 3-4x5-8 bent-over BB rows .3x8-12 DB curls .3x8-12 upright rows . which differ slightly among each other. then 3-4x5-8 incline BB bench press .3x8-12 cable pushdowns (or french press) . and the principles which apply in them.2x8-12 standing/seated calf raises .2-4 warmup sets. This last section will cover 4 types of routine splits.3-5x8-12 WORKOUT B deadlift . and consider it should be done on off (non-training or cardio) days. and you should al ternate between those two: A-B-A-B-A.

5x15-20 . then 3x5-8 incline db bench press . The routine outlined below is a 4 day routine.warmup.4x8-12 standing calf raises .Upper body B bent-over BB row .3x10 TUE .4x8-12 seated calf raises .3x8-12 FRI . then 5x5 leg curls .3x8-12 chinups . Let's have a look at it: THE_WOLF'S 4 DAY UPPER-LOWER ROUTINE MON .3-5x8-12 2) Upper-lower split These kinds of splits are very effective for intermediate and advanced trainees alike.Lower body knee dominant squat .3x8-12 hammer curl . as they allow you to stimulate each muscle groups twice a week. as I hope you've understood.and hamstring-dominant ones. then 3x5-8 (weighted) pullup .3x8-12 millitary press . then 5x5 leg extension .1-2 warmup sets.warmup.3x5-8 BB curl .Lower body hip dominant deadlift .3x8-12 lateral raise .3x8-12 reverse fly .cardio & abs THU .3x8-12 walking lunge .3x8-12 french press (or cable pushdowns) . and out much more emphasis on the lower body than other routines (which is.1-2 warmup sets.5x8-12 WED .3x5-8 split squats (or leg press) . a good thing).3x5-8 weighted dip . while the lower body days are separated between quad .reverse fly (or a rotator cuff stabilizing exercise.Upper body A flat BB bench press . Upper workouts differ among each other by the exercise choice and emphasis on the pushing and pulling motions. in which you alternate upper and lower workouts. such as the Cuban press) .

then 3x5 bent-over BB rows . from those split over 6 days a week.3x5-8 lateral raises .3x8-12 WED . a back day.3x8-12 weighted dips .SAT .3x8-12 standing calf raises . I consider 4 DAW approach to be the best. of course. this would be THE routine (with slight modifications. an arms day. there would be less straight sets than here. done 4 days a week.cardio & abs SUN . and more weakness -specific work): THE_WOLF'S 4 DAY SPLIT ROUTINE MON . I tried lots of slit routines.Legs (front) squats .Chest/shoulders warmup with 2 sets of pushups flat BB bench press . and working out for not more than 2 consecutive days gives your joints and CNS a bigger opportunity to fully recover as well. and everyone seems eager to hop into this training regime which has a chest day. done 5 DAW. and a leg day (or two! ).3x8-12 unilateral leg curls .Back deadlifts . of course. but if I were to fully simplify my training.4x8-12 reverse flys .3x8-12 leg extensions . then 3x5-20 walking lunges .2x5-8 (incline) DB flys .3x5-8 SLDL .off 3) Split routine These kind of routines are by far the most favored ones among trainees.Cardio & abs THU . as it gives you much more time to recover.4x5-8 weighted pullups .warmup with 2-4 sets.warm up with 2-4 sets.2x8-12 military press . via my last routine. I haven't tried the routine described below (my training system is a bit more complex to be explained here). to my current routine.3x8-12 TUE .3x5-8 incline DB bench press .4x8-12 .

which are to be carried in this order: push A .2x8-12 WEEKEND .seated calf raises . I offer two alternative types of push.push B .pull B . adequate only for advanced trainees. Here.3x8-12 close-grip bench press ..pull A .3x8-12 incline hammer curls .3x5-8 cable pushdowns (or french press or overhead tricep extensions) .3x8-12 concentration curls .. when it comes to 3-on-1-off.off . in my opinion.pull A -.Arms weighted dips . Also. pull and leg workouts.2x812 DB curls .2x12-25 FRI . I'll leave it to you to figure out the best set/rep schemes . I like to mix in the push/pull/legs division of the exercises.off .Cardio & abs 4) 3-on-1-off routine A 3 day on 1 day off routines are. THE_WOLF'S 3-ON-1-OFF ROUTINE PUSH A flat BB bench press low-incline DB bench press incline DB fly military press lateral raises rope pushdowns DB overhead extensions PUSH B mid-incline BB bench press flat DB flys weighted chest dips DB seated press L-lateral raises french press DB kickbacks PULL A weighted pullups .legs A . because they combine the specific targeting of a split routine with the frequency of a upper-lower one.legs B .

. and then stop in a park or a children's playground). The exercises would be done in a circuit.bent-over BB rows upright rows pullovers DB curls hammer curls reverse flys PULL B T-bar rows chinups high-pulley rows rear-delt rows BB shrugs behind the back BB curls reverse curls LEGS A squats lunges leg extensions leg curls SLDL standing calf raises seated calf raises LEGS B deadlifts front-squats split squats leg curls leg extensions one-legged standing calf raises donkey calf raises BONUS: A bodyweight -only routine! This routine is for trainees who have limited or no equipment. which would be repeated 3-5 times. but just trying to keep myself in shape. and it wouldn't last more than 15 -20 mins. If you prefer floor ab work. depending on the soreness. this is something I'd follow if I weren't into bodybuilding so much. or just want to perform some training after their cardio (you run. This routine would be done 3 -4 days a week. Again. you can do it at home (don't forget to throw in some hyperextensions there).

mixing grips. wipers. pullups.THE_WOLF'S BODYWEIGHT-ONLY ROUTINE a pullup variant . adding static holds at the end dips bodyweight rows or inverted rows a pushup variant ...hanging leg raises.Scooby shows a whole lot of them single-legged squats or split-squats glute-ham raises a bar ab exercise .chinups. . hanging knee ins. lever twists.