THE WEIDER PRINCIPLES
The greatest stars in Body Building use the Weider Principles, for mass, cuts and strength. They are the
foundation for great training results. For radical changes to your physique apply the Principles like the Pros.
(1) PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD PRINCIPLE
The basis of increasing any parameter of fitness (size, strength, endurance) is making your
muscles work harder than their accustomed to. You must progressively over load your muscles
to advance forward. Ie to gain strength you must consistently try to handle greater amount of
weight. To increase muscle size not only should you attempt heavier and heavier weight. But you
you might increase other variables, such as the number of sets or the number of training sessions.
To increase muscle endurance you might progressively decrease your between sets resting time
or increase your repetitions or sets. The overload concept underlies all physical training and is the
solid base of the Weider system.
(2) ISOLATION PRINCIPLE
Muscles can work in unison or they can work relatively separately from each other. Each muscle
contributes, in some fashion, to a whole movement, either as a stabilizer, an agonist, antagonist
or synergist. If you want to maximally shape or build a muscle independently you must separate
or isolate it from the other muscles as best you can. You do this through anatomical position
changes. Scott curls isolate the Brachialis arm flexor better than reverse close grip Lat pull downs.
(3) MUSCLE CONFUSION PRINCIPLE
Part of consistent growth is never allowing your body to fully adapt to one specific training
system. Muscles should never accommodate. They need stress to grow. If you consistently vary
exercises, sets, repetitions and angles of pull on your muscles, they can never accommodate
and stress upon them. You must confuse your muscles to keep them growing and changing.
(4) PRIORITY PRINCIPLE
Train your weakest body part first when your energy is highest. Intensity builds muscle and your
intensity can be great only when your energy is high. If your shoulders a weak on comparison to
your chest. You should do all the Laterals and Overhead presses, before you do any Bench
presses. In this way you can put a lot of intensity into your shoulders. You give training Priority.
(5) PYRAMIDING PRINCIPLE
Muscle fiber grows by contracting against heavy resistance. It also gains strength by contracting
against heavy resistance. If you were able to load the maximum amount of weight you could
lift in an exercise 8 times and do it for a number of sets, without a warm-up it would be a very effective size and strength builder.
But you can’t do that because of injury potential. No one starts
with their maximum weight. The Pyramid system was devised to get around this problem. Start
with a light weight and do many repetitions. Add weight and decrease your repetitions. Add more
weight and decrease your repetitions more. In this way you handle heavy weight after you
warm-up and reap the benefits without worrying about injury.
(6) SPLIT SYSTEM PRINCIPLE
After months of training on a 3 day a week system, you may want to increase the overall
intensity of your training. If you divide your body into upper and lower sections for training
purposes, you can include more exercises and more sets for each section of your body and
train them harder. On a Split system of training, you might do 8 exercises just for the lower body
whereas on a 3 day system, you may only have enough energy to do 10 exercises in 1 session
(5 for your Upper body and 5 for your Lower body). You get a more intense training session using
the Split system.
(7) FLUSHING PRINCIPLE
You must get blood into a specific muscle and keep it there to produce growth. Flushing is really
bodypart training. When you train the chest by its self ,you are using the Flushing Principle for your
chest. You are spending all your time on one area and consequently, consistently flushing this
area with blood.
(8) SUPERSETS PRINCIPLE
This Weider’s best known principle. Years ago jealous competitors referred to Super sets as Weider Stuper sets and the great physiques that Weider produced as “weedy men”. Life goes on. When
group 2 exercises of opposing muscle groups together, as Bicep curls and Tricep extensions you
are doing a “super set” . The idea is to do 2 individual sets back to back 1 of each exercise with
little or no rest between them. Super setting is neurologically solid. Tests prove that doing a set for
Triceps after doing a set for the Biceps improves the recovery rate for the Biceps. It has to do
with nervous impulses. So not only is Super setting is a great pump mechanism it actually
enhances overall recovery.
(9) COMPOUND SETS PRINCIPLE
A Super set for the same body part, back to back Bicep exercises. Is a compound set. In this
this case you are not trying to facilitate recovery, but to super pump your muscles. When you do
a compound for your Biceps, you would do a set of EZ-bar curls, immediately followed by a set of
Incline Dumbbell curl
(10)HOLISTIC TRAINING PRINCIPLE
Its a scientific fact that different parts of your muscle cell house Proteins and energy systems
that respond differently to levels of exercise. Muscular Fiber Proteins get larger when they are
with high resistance loads. The cells aerobic system(Mitochondria) respond to high Endurance
training. Therefore to maximize the size of the total muscle cell, you must do a variety of repetitions, from low to high. This the base tenet behind Holistic Training.
(11) CYCLE TRAINING PRINCIPLE
During 1 part of your training year, you should construct routines for Mass and Strength .Other times you should lower your weights, increase repetitions and train with less rest
between sets (quality training). In this way you will avoid injuries and keep progressing.
(12) ISO-TENSION TRAINING PRINCIPLE
Weider’s most revered principle Iso-Tension. It is also the misunderstood training principle
Iso-Tension has to do with muscle control. Both during and at the end of the exercise motion, you should consciously flex your working muscle. This constant isometric flexing, enables you to neurologically control your muscle better and allows you to bring out muscle
separation and peak when you pose on stage during competition.
Cheating should be viewed as not a way of removing stress from a muscle, but as a way
to increase stress upon a muscle. The whole idea of body building is to make your muscles work more, not less. You should use Cheating methods only to add a repetition here or there, or to assist your working muscles by using another body part. Lets say you are doing
a 1 arm concentration curl on a cable and your not able to finish your last repetitions, if you assist with your free hand to get out a few repetitions. That would be use of the Weider Cheating Principle. However if you lift your butt of the bench trying to get a couple more
repetitions in the Bench press, that’s not using the Weider Cheating Principle. The first adds to stress on the muscle, the second diminishes the stress on the muscle. The later technique may also send you to the hospital..
When you do 3 exercises for the same muscle group in rapid succession. You are doing a
Tri-set. This technique allows you to pump your muscles rapidly. Since you hit them from 3
different angles. Its primarily a shaping technique. Tri-setting emphasises local muscle
local muscle endurance recovery factors within the muscle and as such is a great
technique for increasing vascularity
(15)GIANT SETS PRINCIPLE
A Giant set is a series of 4-6 exercises for 1 muscle group, with little or no rest between
them. The purpose of a Giant set, lets say you have a weaker inner chest area and you want to produce more striations where your Pectorial muscles attach the Sternum. Every time you try to perform Cable Crossovers for this area the stronger muscles (Front Deltoids and outer Pectorals) interfere and you can’t get the tension in the area where you want it. If you do a Giant set to pre-fatigue your Shoulders and Pecs, you will be able to hit your inner Pectorals, by making Cable Crossovers your last exercise in the Giant set. Like Tri-sets,
Giant sets are a shaping technique. This separates the Giant set from pre-exhaustion movements, which are primarily mass enhancers.
(16) PRE- EXHAUSTION PRINCIPLE
When you work a muscle to the point of fatigue in its primary motion and immediately follow that with a secondary muscle motion that’s Pre-exhaustion. If you exhaust your Quadriceps by doing a set of Leg Extensions and immediately go into a set of Squats. You work the Quadriceps harder by bringing in assisting muscles like the Low- back extensors and Gluteus muscles.
(17) REST – PAUSE PRINCIPLE
How can you do a maximum weighted set every repetition. Rest-Pause is the answer. If you do as much weight as you can for 2-3 repetitions, rest for 30-45 seconds and squeeze out another 2-3 repetitions, rest 45-60 seconds and get another 2 repetitions and then rest 60-90 seconds and get 1-2 repetitions. You will have done a set of anywhere of 7-10 repetitio a ns, that will all have been completed at near maximum. Rest-Pause is a strength and size producing technique.
(18) PEAK CONTRACTION PRINCIPLE
Peak Contraction is a method by which you keep constant tension on your muscles through anatomical positioning. By keeping constant tension on your muscles as you approach lock-out positions, you can shape,striate and peak your muscles. When you do a dumbbell Bicep curl, you normally lose effective resistance at the top of the motion when you lock out with the weight, to avoid this loss and provide resistance in a position of full muscle contraction, lean forward taking your arm out of line of gravity, so you never fully lock out. You keep constant tension on your muscles, which helps Peak your Biceps.
(19) CONTINOUS TENSION PRINCIPLE
Momentum can be your muscles worst enemy, If you train so fast that you swing your weights through their full range of motion, you decrease the work of the muscle, Its better to train slowly and deliberately maintaining constant tension on your muscles all times, This type of training is intense and causes greater stimulation of the muscle fibers.
(20) NEGATIVE TRAINING OR RETRO-GRAVITY PRINCIPLE
Lowering your training weights against gravity is a very intense form of training that produces a lot of muscle soreness and may be a way to stimulate your muscles in a different way than in positive contraction. Negative training should be done on a occasional basis. Your training partner lifts the weight for you and you resist on the way back down.
(21) FORCED REPETITIONS PRINCIPLE
This is a very intense training method and many body builders will over train when they attempt to use it at all. It can be even worse if they use Forced Repetitions all the time. Which some misfortunate individuals do. Those champions who use Forced Repetitions are people of tremendous power, concentration and good genetics. Even then they use this Principle sparingly. At the end of a set when you can’t complete a repetition on your own, you enlist the aid of your training partner to ease you through your sticking point. Forced Repetitions push your muscles beyond normal fatigue to stimulate more growth.
(22) DOUBLE SPLIT PRINCIPLE
Many Body Builders train 1 body part in the morning and come back in the afternoon or evening. This is the famous Weider Double Split Principle. The advantage of training 1 body part per session, you can devote all your energy to training the 1 body part. By doing more sets, more weight and there fore stimulate more muscle growth.
(23) TRIPLE SPLIT PRINCIPLE
There are a few Body Builders who great recovery rates and can benefit by the same reasoning and train 3 times a day. Working different body parts each session. Albert Beckles trained this way.
(24) BURNS PRINCIPLE
When you do 3-6 partial repetitions at the end of a set, you bring extra blood and lactic acid into the muscle your training. The increased Lactate causes the discomfort known as Burns.
Physiologically the fatigue products and the extra blood carried into the muscle with these Partial movements swell the cells and proliferate capillary beds. All this contributes to increased size and vascularity of the muscles.
(25) BOMBING & BLITZING PRINCIPLES
Weider’s choice of descriptive terms reflects the short term intense training designed to saturate the muscle with blood in a short time. Bombing and Blitzing is a combination of repetitive exercise to failure, quality training , Flushing and Forced Repetitions. Say you wanted to Bomb and Blitz your Biceps. You would start with 50 pound dumbbells and curl to a point of failure. Then your training partner might Force a couple of repetitions immediately
you grab a pair of 45 pound dumbbell and repeat the process without any rest between sets
(quality training) You continue right down the rack until you can’t even curl 5 pounders. This is an advanced technique and shouldn’t be done all the time
(26) STAGGERED SETS PRINCIPLE
This means you interperse sets for weaker body parts(the ones that don’t require a lot of energy- forearms, calves and abdominals) in between sets of the main body part your training. This allows you to overcompensate for your weaker body parts.
(27) WEIDER SPEED PRINCIPLE
In this type of training you can consciously think speed and explode with your weights, but only on your heavy sets. You are trying to develop speed and power within your muscles by stimulating your white Fast Twitch Fibers
(28)QUALITY TRAINING PRINCIPLE
Quality training means you gradually reduce between set rest time while still trying to do the same or higher repetitions than before. Quality or Pre- contest training is great for increasing your muscle definition and vascularity.
(29) STRIPPING PRINCIPLE (also known as extended sets)
Weider’s Heavy to Light system requires that you have 2 training partners, who strip the weight of both sides of the barbell, after you have gone to failure with the weight. You grind out another 2 repetitions and repeat the procedure. You extend the set by Stripping weights
This is a way to increase intensity on each set, but very hard and you should only do it on occasions.
(30) INSTINCTIVE TRAINING PRINCIPLE
There is 1 over riding rule in Body Building, only you know what works best for your body. Eventually all Body Builders must attain the ability to construct routines, groups of exercises. Sets and repetitions that work. If they don’t and they don’t have a trainer that they trust completely they’ll never reach their full potential. All people respond to diets and training routines. With experience you’ll know instinctively how to train for the best gains. You are unique and you must train to reflect that fact.