Weider routine and its effectiveness for muscle hypertrophy

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Joe Weider along with his brother Ben is one of the fathers of current bodybuilding, both founded the most prestigious sporting event for this sport: Mr. Olympia, an event that is still current and world-renowned. Most top-level athletes still dream of competing there, as it is the perfect showcase to gain fame and succeed both sportingly and financially.

Joe made great contributions to the promotion and sale of bodybuilding, always hand in hand with Arnold Schwarzenegger, his favorite pupil. Together they managed to make this sport famous back in the 60s and 70s, previously it was not very popular among the American population, but thanks to the figure of Arnold and the intelligence and strategy of Joe Weider, this sport ended up gaining worldwide fame.

Another of Joe’s contributions was to make a compilation of routines to increase muscle mass, focused on getting the most out of the bodybuilder and managing to raise it to be one of the most famous of the time.

This training method is based on dividing muscle groups into days or sessions so that only one or two main muscle groups are worked at most during the day or session. Subsequently, a week of rest is given to the worked muscle so that a correct recovery takes place.

The duration of the routine is 4 to 6 days a week and the training frequency is usually one training per day, although it could be possible to train twice on the same day in the case of professional athletes.

In the Weider routines, we always work in hypertrophy ranges, that is, from 70% to 85% of the maximum repetition, giving rise to series between 6 and 12 repetitions, with breaks that range, generally between 1 and 3 minutes.

The possible combinations in terms of rest, series, repetitions, and exercises are innumerable, but the common rule is the performance of compound exercises (bench press, deadlift, squat) in the first part of the training and finishes it with isolation exercises (birds, peck-deck, machine leg extension, etc.).

The intensity of the training usually increases in each series, so that the number of repetitions has to be decreased during the duration of the exercise. For example, in a military dumbbell press, we could start with a range of about 12 repetitions and end the same with 6 repetitions. As I said before, this approach is the most common, but we can find combinations of inverse pyramids in which the number of repetitions would be increased and even others in which the repetitions would remain stable or the variation would be negligible.

Currently, there are many doubts about the efficiency of these routines for muscle growth compared to others that use more muscle groups per workout. But the truth is that its effectiveness is undeniable since there are many bodybuilders who have obtained great gains in muscle mass with this methodology, one of the Arnold Schwarzenegger himself.

Below is an example of the Weider training schedule for 4 days. It is based on the principles written previously.
Weider type training example:

DAY 1: Muscles involved: Pectoral and triceps. Rest: Between 70 and 90 seconds

  • Flat bench press 4 × 10
  • Incline Bench Press 1 × 12, 1 × 10, 1 × 8, 1 × 6
  • Peck deck 4 × 10
  • Pulley crossovers 1 × 12, 1 × 10, 1 × 8, 1 × 6
  • French Press 1 × 12, 1 × 10, 1 × 8, 1 × 6
  • 3×10 High Pulley Rope Extensions
  • Narrow Grip Bench Press 3×10

DAY 2: Muscles involved: Latissimus Dorsi, Teres Major and Minor, and Biceps. Rest: Between 70 and 90 seconds.

  • Deadlift 4 × 10
  • Pulldown 3 × 10
  • Hammer on high pulley 3 × 10
  • Dumbbell Row 1 × 12, 1 × 10, 1 × 8, 1 × 6
  • Alternate bicep curl 4×10
  • Preacher Bench Bicep Curl 4×10

DAY 3: Muscles involved: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Gluteal, and Calf. Rest: Between 70 and 90 seconds.

  • Barbell squat behind neck 3×10
  • Leg press in press 1 × 12, 1 × 10, 1 × 8, 1 × 6
  • Lunges 3 × 10
  • 3 × 12 machine leg extension
  • Machine leg flexion 3 × 12
  • 4 × 20 horizontal press heel lift

DAY 4: Muscles involved: Deltoids and trapezius. Rest: Between 70 and 90 seconds

  • Military press 3 × 10
  • 3×10 Low Pulley Lateral Raise
  • Front Dumbbell Raise 1×12, 1×10, 1×8, 1×6
  • Bird on flat bench 3 × 10
  • Shrink 4 × 10

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