T Nation

Do All the Pros Train Like Yates?

I noticed that most of the pros seem to have routines like this. They will do some light warmups with the bar and with a light weight, then they basically do progressively heavier warm-up sets (they call it pyramiding) until they hit their last set, and then they take their last set to failure and maybe do some forced reps.

They almost never seem to do more than one working set.

I see Ronnie Coleman doing it, I see Dorian Yates doing it, I see just about all of them doing it. And then I see people saying they are using crazy amounts of volume… They are hardly doing any volume at all, only 1 working set per exercise (The warmup sets are too light to be much of a challenge. When you are benching 500 for 8 and you do 415 for 8 that 415 set isn’t a challenge).

When they write up their routines, 200x10, 300x10, 400x10, 600x10 suddenly becomes “4x10”, as if they did straight sets (but they don’t, it’s only one working set).

i believe when your that big your looking more into sculpting the muscle and getting specific look rather then jusat getting big.

also there specifically trying to work the muscle rather then moving weight
notice sometimes there also allot of volume aswell.

What the hell does ‘sculpting the muscle’ mean?

You can’t change the shape of a muscle. You can only make that muscle bigger and decrease the bodyfat around that muscle.

Bringing up lagging parts do you mean?

for example

some bodybuilders may look in the mirror and say
my lateral delts arent big enough or some shit then they would do more lateral raises and ease down on press etc etc etc

or incline bench more because they waqnt to build the upper part of there chest up

It’s not as though the “400x10” set is actually easy. They just make it look easy. No, it’s not balls to the wall but it’s not like it’s a 35 lb dumbbell.

For them it is easy. You get the idea, they use easy weights (for them) until they get to one big set. They don’t train high volume.

Right…I’m with you, but it’s not totally “easy” for them either I’m sure. It’s certainly more strenous than just a warmup set is what I meant.

Recovery is not linear. You don’t recover from 5 reps at 600 lbs the same way you did when that was your 5 rep max at 300 pounds. It takes longer, but less can equal more when you get up to that strength level.

most pros have a secret course that they use. Look in some old comic books or in the classified ads in the enquirer. If the ad is glossy, chances are it is the real deal. They’re all on the steroids so their muscle isn’t functional at all.

pyramiding has always seemed to be a good way to exhaust the lower twitch muscles first and then letting the fast twitch muscles take over for an all out set at the end. and like someone mentioned before, the “light” sets are still taxing. i’m sure there would be a difference in strength if one skipped such a high volume in these “lighter” sets

[quote]Trainer1928 wrote:
i believe when your that big your looking more into sculpting the muscle and getting specific look rather then jusat getting big.

also there specifically trying to work the muscle rather then moving weight
notice sometimes there also allot of volume aswell.[/quote]

how would training this way not get them big? i don’t think many professional bodybuilders are saying “shit, i think it’s time to sculpt, i’m too big”

Yes, 99% of big bodybuilders train that way and have done so from the beginning
(so much for the “oh, guess it’s time for sculpting”-nonsense).

Yates did more forced reps, negatives and such at the end of his work-set(s), which is the main difference between him and most other guys.

The basic ramping up/pyramiding technique is used by pretty much everyone huge.

(All this should give people here a fucking hint, shouldn’t it?)

We’ve had this discussion before, very recently, in several threads.

CC, it gave me the hint :slight_smile:

Too bad I was completely uninformed my first two and a half years of training… ugh.

[quote]jp_dubya wrote:
They’re all on the steroids so their muscle isn’t functional at all. [/quote]

Oh come on in a bodybuilding forum, not at all functional?! I would think that a bodybuilder’s “function” in life is to get big, if he can’t lift at all then he’s not functional for his purpose…

Just being 300lbs will make you less “functional” than normal people doing everyday things

[quote]plateau wrote:
jp_dubya wrote:
They’re all on the steroids so their muscle isn’t functional at all.

Oh come on in a bodybuilding forum, not at all functional?! I would think that a bodybuilder’s “function” in life is to get big, if he can’t lift at all then he’s not functional for his purpose…

Just being 300lbs will make you less “functional” than normal people doing everyday things[/quote]

Obviously you didn’t catch his joke.

Well, I do not think he trained the same way as all pros. He would do a flat pyramid for this first exercise of the workout. Every exercise thereafter, had one or NO warmup sets and he went straight into a work set. From '83 to '85, he used three work sets with the SAME weight. From '86 to '92, he used two working sets with the same weight, and from '93 to '97, he used ONE working set - and as stated - sometimes with no pyramided sets beforehand if he was already warmed up.

So, he did not train like all others. Most guys pyramid up on ALL exercises, which to me is pointless. Well, maybe not ENTIRELY pointless, but it can be overkill. I say not entirely pointless because as Dan Duchaine once stated, warmup sets still “groom the neural pathways”; “grease the groove” so to speak.

And in order to progress size wise, you need to progress neurally, as CT has stated. This is also why its not a good idea to change routines too often as stated ad nauseum on here too.

I think how Dorian was different from other pros was that he was meticulous in his record keeping, program design, and diet. He was one of the most cerebral bodybuilders ever! He never did instinctive training; never walked into a gym casually like some other guys I have seen in person and in videos. And I do not think these videos were an exception to how they train when not on camera.

I have seen videos of Craig Titus, Flex Wheeler, Paul Dillet, Jerome Ferguson, and some others either acting like complete idiots or seeming half asleep or acting very causal. This is not to criticize them or take away from them becoming pros, something I most cannot do. Its just that Dorian took things to a level they could not, either because they were not equipped emotionally or simply undisciplined. I doubt that the guys I speak of were trying to break records at EVERY workout like Dorian. These guys were loafers; Dorian was a performer.

Who has ever seen the old video of Titus, although looking like a Greek god, performing the most sissy machine and cable exercises, some of which I think he made up, in the most casual manner. It also has him parading around in a backwards Kangol and shorts with no shirt on, boasting and bragging to a young Triple H and his friend, and admiring himself in the mirror.

I can also vividly remember a video of Flex Wheeler doing forward shoulder raises with what looked like 12 to 20 lbs. This was a long time ago. Then he would walk around the gym telling jokes and engaging in behavior that seems similar to “pimped out rappers”.

You got a video on the FIT show of Jerome Ferguson doing arms, a workout in which he seems perfectly chipper in between sets of machine curls.

Guys like Dorian, Mike Francois, Gay Strydom, Chris Duffy, Ronnie, Milos Sarcev, and others NEVER fucked around like this, which is why they had some of the best physiques in the world, in my opinion. Flex was also extremely undisciplined with his diet, eating BK a few weeks out from shows. Again, some men (ie: Dorian) can deal with restriction well. Others can’t.

This is why people “perceive” Dorian as training so different. Perhaps its not that he trained drastically different but because of his mindset, and his PERFORMANCE BASED system of training.

There are also some pros who APPEAR to be training goofy, but they are actually not and have reasoning behind what they are doing, so I give them credit too. Rusty Jeffers, I saw a Fit Show video of him training and he had a chest routine I would probably NEVER do:
1)Bench Presses supersetted with bar pullovers
(he also “sandwiched” in bent over barbell concentration curls after the pullovers to keep his injury prone shoulder joints warm)

I know this post is not correctly written as I sometimes go on a tangent and I am not about to edit my own posts so thoroughly. I’ll leave that to more serious matters in my life.
2) Dips supersetted with slight decline flies
He might have done some other stuff but this is all I remember.

His routine was goofy to ME but he has his reasons. He was influenced by Reg Park, who he stated was fond of pullovers supersetted with bench presses. His doc stated that he would be less injury prone if he kept his bis warm during chest training. So, clearly he put some thought into his training system

I don’t know how I came up with this crazy rant. I guess in conclusion, its that some guys, like Dorian, have a really methodical system which makes them seeem different, and some guys just waltz into a gym and don’t do much.

[quote]APLASTICSPOON wrote:
plateau wrote:
jp_dubya wrote:
They’re all on the steroids so their muscle isn’t functional at all.

Oh come on in a bodybuilding forum, not at all functional?! I would think that a bodybuilder’s “function” in life is to get big, if he can’t lift at all then he’s not functional for his purpose…

Just being 300lbs will make you less “functional” than normal people doing everyday things

Obviously you didn’t catch his joke.[/quote]

But he did assume that weighing 300lbs of mostly muscle somehow makes you less “functional” at “everyday things” than normal people.

Most normal people think running for a bus is too much exercise. How is Ronnie Coleman less functional than that?

[quote]bulldogtor wrote:
pyramiding has always seemed to be a good way to exhaust the lower twitch muscles first and then letting the fast twitch muscles take over for an all out set at the end. and like someone mentioned before, the “light” sets are still taxing. i’m sure there would be a difference in strength if one skipped such a high volume in these “lighter” sets
[/quote]

I honestly doubt it. The “light” sets are designed as a specific warm-up, preparing the muscles, connective tissues, and nervous system for the heavier weights to be used in the final work set. If someone were to try to just jump into their work sets (after say a warm-up just using the bar), they would likely either injure themselves, or possibly actually lose strength.

[quote]
how would training this way not get them big? i don’t think many professional bodybuilders are saying “shit, i think it’s time to sculpt, i’m too big”[/quote]

Right on.

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
bulldogtor wrote:
pyramiding has always seemed to be a good way to exhaust the lower twitch muscles first and then letting the fast twitch muscles take over for an all out set at the end. and like someone mentioned before, the “light” sets are still taxing. i’m sure there would be a difference in strength if one skipped such a high volume in these “lighter” sets

I honestly doubt it. The “light” sets are designed as a specific warm-up, preparing the muscles, connective tissues, and nervous system for the heavier weights to be used in the final work set. If someone were to try to just jump into their work sets (after say a warm-up just using the bar), they would likely either injure themselves, or possibly actually lose strength.
[/quote]

This is true. I pyramid up because there is no way I could avoid a pec tear or some other injury if I tried to jump into my heaviest set right off the bat. This is something newbies don’t understand because they aren’t using weights that could actually KILL THEM.

[quote]bulldogtor wrote:
pyramiding has always seemed to be a good way to exhaust the lower twitch muscles first and then letting the fast twitch muscles take over for an all out set at the end. and like someone mentioned before, the “light” sets are still taxing. i’m sure there would be a difference in strength if one skipped such a high volume in these “lighter” sets

Trainer1928 wrote:
i believe when your that big your looking more into sculpting the muscle and getting specific look rather then jusat getting big.

also there specifically trying to work the muscle rather then moving weight
notice sometimes there also allot of volume aswell.

how would training this way not get them big? i don’t think many professional bodybuilders are saying “shit, i think it’s time to sculpt, i’m too big”[/quote]

ive seen allot of bb videos and stuff seems like there more concerned with being proportionate and having great looking muscle peaks/ straitions.

maybe it still has allot to do with genetics and stuff to obtain a look like that but im sure some them do train to get that look, wether or not its possible.
i guess its there way of doing it.

[quote]Trainer1928 wrote:
bulldogtor wrote:
pyramiding has always seemed to be a good way to exhaust the lower twitch muscles first and then letting the fast twitch muscles take over for an all out set at the end. and like someone mentioned before, the “light” sets are still taxing. i’m sure there would be a difference in strength if one skipped such a high volume in these “lighter” sets

Trainer1928 wrote:
i believe when your that big your looking more into sculpting the muscle and getting specific look rather then jusat getting big.

also there specifically trying to work the muscle rather then moving weight
notice sometimes there also allot of volume aswell.

how would training this way not get them big? i don’t think many professional bodybuilders are saying “shit, i think it’s time to sculpt, i’m too big”

ive seen allot of bb videos and stuff seems like there more concerned with being proportionate and having great looking muscle peaks/ straitions.
maybe it still has allot to do with genetics and stuff to obtain a look like that but im sure some them do train to get that look, wether or not its possible.
i guess its there way of doing it.[/quote]

How does any of that change the fact that they are trying to build bigger muscles? No one in bodybuilding gives a shit about “sculpting” anything. Proportion is the goal, but that only comes from increasing the size of muscle groups until they are proportionate.

It is like some of you still believe that “functional” bs.