T Nation

Bodybulding Program for Year Long Training


There seem to be so many "template-style" stregth programs out there such as Westside and 5/3/1 to name two of the most popular. Certainly these are great programs for building some size however these are primarily programs for increasing strength or for sports conditioning. It seems that people on these programs remain on them for months on end and simply change up the exercises such as in westside.

All of the bodybuilding programs that I've searched for that are for true size (I know diet plays the biggest role) are 6 ,8 or 12 week programs where you do the program and move on. Is anyone aware of a template style program that takes you through, say an entire year of training?




Tyr this, it takes you through both strength and size "cycles."



Such as?

Planning an entire year's training ahead of time is like planning an entire year's of dinner ahead of time. It's impractical because unexpected stuff is bound come up, and if you have to adjust your plan to compensate, why have such a solid plan written down in the first place?

You always want to be learning how your body reacts as you go along in life and lifting. Watch your progress in monthly, weekly, and session-to-session increments, and adapt your training accordingly.

Maybe your program calls for XYZ exercise, but you can't do it because you have a bad shoulder, so you adapt. Maybe after 8 weeks of Program ABC, your progress is consistent and your lifting is PR after PR. Are you going to do something different just because, "Well, time's up. Gotta switch now." Maybe you're attacked by a rabid chihuahua and the bite on your calf gets infected and swollen, which means no lower body training for a few weeks until you heal. What's the pre-written plan for that?

And that's all not to mention the fact that, in terms of setting goals, you don't just focus on one goal that's 365 days away. Sure, have your eye towards some bigger picture in the distance, but you need to be attacking smaller, shorter-term goals as you go, and your progress on those will help to determine your overall progress.

If I weigh 210 pounds now and I decide, "I'm going to weigh 285 pounds on August 27, 2011." Am I really going to get very far if that's all I pay attention to from now until then? Or would it be better for me to also say "... So I'm going to make sure I weigh 220 by October 27 2010."

Goal-setting 101 is S.M.A.R.T. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based. Mike Robertson wrote a nice article about these for the Figure Athlete site, but the info's still totally relevant:

You could probably summarize my long rant to say, there's no real need for any one year-long training template because it's simply impossible to know today how you'll need to be training 12 months from now.

Can you follow rough guidelines for a long period of time? Of course, but even those will work best when there's built-in room for adapting to unexpected circumstances.


Pick one of those 12 week programs and when it's over do it again with heavier weights. Repeat until the year is over.


You should just try different programmes see what works for you and change it up a bit. You can't do one programme for an entire year unless you want to have like 9 months of plataeu where you're not doing anything but working out and having no gains and probably some losses in fact.

Just try different stuff because different stuff works for different people and then when you feel like you're not having gains anymore change it up to something else new to not let your body get used to it.