Keeping fit the Weider way

Joe Weider, the body building legend

Joe Weider, the body building legend

I am sure everybody knows Joe Weider, Canadian bodybuilder who discovered Arnold Schwarznegger and dubbed the father of bodybuilding. Well there is nowhere in the world or any book about weight training or bodybuilding that would be complete without mentioning Joe Weider.

Over the past 60 years he had dedicated his life to studying and researching techniques of training, dieting and even the use of nutritional supplements.

The Weider system has been there for the past over 50 years and has grown to incorporate other great training ideas as they came along. This is a guide to help you develop your own personal system of training based on your experience and uniqueness.

The Weider system guidelines come in the form of training methods collected by Joe Weider personally over the many years and they became known as The Weider Principles. One of the concepts even changed the bodybuilding world forever, it is the Split system, splitting workouts to train specific body parts.

There are three wide categories of Weider principles:

1. Principles to help you plan your training cycle.
2. Principles to help you arrange your exercises in each workout.
3. Principles to help you perform each exercise.

Principles to help you plan your training cycle

I will highlight at least 5 of the principles I personally use to come up with training plans for me and my clients and fill like they give the best of results.

1. Cycle training: this is breaking your training into cycles for strength, mass or contest prep which helps you avoid injuries and keeps your body responsive to adaptation.
2. Split system: this was a unique one by Joe Weider, it involves breaking down your workout week into for example, upper versus lower-body training which results in more intense sessions.
3. Muscle confusion: constantly varying exercises, sets, reps and weight to avoid accommodation. Muscles adapt to a specific type of stress and this makes that almost impossible.
4. Progressive overload: when you increase any parameter of fitness your muscles work harder than they are accustomed to.
5. Eclectic training: this is whereby you combine mass, strength or isolation-refinement training techniques to help achieve greater progress.
Principles to help you arrange your exercises in each work out

1. Set system training: in the old days people used to perform one set per body part, this system calls for multiple sets for each each exercise in order to apply maximum adaptive stress.
2. Superset training: alternating opposing muscle group exercises with little rest between sets.
3. Pyramid training: here you begin a body part session with higher-rep lower-weight and as you gradually add weight and reduce reps – ending with a weight that can be lifted for 5 reps. You can also do a reverse pyramid, start with heavy weight with low rep range and end with a light weight with high rep range.
4. Pre-exhaustion: my personal favorite, for example you superset shoulder side raises, a shoulder isolation exercise, with seated barbell shoulder presses; a compound workout to maximize development by pre exhausting the triceps.
5. Muscle priority: working weaker muscles first or even work larger muscle groups first when energy levels are highest.

Principles to help you perform each exercise

1. Isolation training: all muscle act as stabilizers, synergistic, antagonist or agonist. By making one particular muscle the prime mover in any given exercise you have isolated it as much as possible, and therefore the stress applied to it.
2. Quality training: here we reduce the rest between sets while maintaining or increasing the number of repetitions performed.
3. Forced reps: it’s important to have a partner or a trainer so you can put some few last reps. This is more of a partner or trainer assisted reps.
4. Peak contraction: this is whereby you hold the weight through max contraction at the completion of a movement.
5. Retro-gravity: eccentrics, or as most of you call it, Negatives. This makes it possible to get more muscle cells to respond because you can lower approximately 30-40% more weight than you can lift concentrically.

With the Weider system you can come up with a very effective weight training plan for you or even your clients. Once you understand your training then it becomes easier for you to make changes when need be, for you and for your clients (for the fitness trainers). This of course alongside a good meal plan, it is never complete without a good eating plan. At least 5-6 meals a day, keep your metabolism going and avoid storage of fat for energy by the body. Eat more, get results (clean eating of course)!