Making your workouts deliver maximal muscular growth

The biggest mistake many a trainee does is work too hard right out of the gates. They come into the gym, start with a compound; let's say bench press and they take every set to failure. In effect they are rendering subsequent exercises less and less effective, higher in injury risk and likely draining your nervous system.

I had the pleasure of mentoring under physique guru Vince Gironda and top Strength Coach Charles Poliquin. Training goals and styles were clearly diametrically opposed but both maintained a mantra of "TRAIN HARD, RECUPERATE HARDER".

The beginner or workout junkie (I'm one of these and would happily train 6-7 days/week), have a loading pattern akin to:

  • 95 lbs x 20
  • 135 x 15
  • 185 x 12
  • 225 x 8-10 w/ forced reps, etc.

The pro bodybuilder's approach will look more like:

  • 95 lbs x 12
  • 135 x 8
  • 185 x 6
  • 225 (all out) x 12-15 reps w/ rest pauses

The difference is the pro still has juice for the next exercises making them equally productive. The beginner will likely have poor form and poor muscle connectivity with a higher risk of injury.


Years back I had the pleasure of working for a stretch with pro bodybuilder John Meadows. John was noted for creating exceptional results in a short time and he did.

With John, my chest day started with incline DB Press.

The loading pattern would look like this:

  1. 2 warm up sets to test joint integrity and warm the connective tissue. So think: 25's x 12 and 35's x 12
  2. Next we did two primer sets to tell the nervous system read ! But they weren't taken to anywhere near failure or my work sets would lack. So think:  45's x 6 and 55's x 6
  3. Now came the work sets. So think: 65's x 12 full reps- rest 30 sec and rest pause another 6 reps . .wait a good 3 minutes (nervous system had to be ready) and repeat once more . .possibly with the 70's this time . .. then move on using this same pattern.


NEVER was every set taken to failure and as such each exercise got 2 super hard work sets. Given the variable angles covered it made for a very well rounded physique development.

Because my goal was physique development my pre workout drinks tended to be a pump formula and a brain/ focus formula. I would use 2 scoops of E-NOS and 6 caps of Neuro-Prime.

Now post workout it was all about bringing back a YIN state. Remaining stimulated gets the sympathetic nervous system firing and digestion will be impeded.

My favourite post workout is 1 scoop Yin Reserve, 2 capsules of COOL DOWN and 2 synermag. I let these work their magic. You'll feel the calm and positive vibes as the parasympathetic system becomes primed. About 10-15 minutes later I will have my recovery shake of New Zealand whey (2 scoops) and Glutamed (also 2 scoops).


The take home points are:

  1. Train hard but recuperate harder.
  2. Plan each set to have warm ups, primer sets and then all out a couple work sets, then move on with the same approach on each subsequent exercise. 3 minutes rest between work sets.
  3. Plan your nutrition to reflect the needs of that workout aspect


Who loves ya ?!

"Coach Mike"

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