T Nation

Why Do Pros Not Stick to One Program?


When you hear a lot of pros talk, they seem to suggest they get into the gym and make it up as they go along; deciding that today they’re going to excessive drop sets, and change everything around. They talk about this being the best way to train, to avoid the body getting used to your program. Especially old school bodybuilders like Arny, who constantly talked about “Shocking the muscle”.

Whenever anyone else trains however, they’re told that they should pick one program, and stick to it rigorously, only increasing weight along the very strict protocol that the program has set out.

I’m not suggesting that this is wrong, it actually makes a lot of sense, but why is there this discrepancy?


It’s because anyone asking how to train has demonstrated an inability to train instinctively. Different questions get different answers.


Because…most people who are given that advice do not have the needed experience to start. It takes awhile for someone to get in tune what works and doesn’t for them.


For obvious reasons instinctive training is not for everyone
The nice thing about modern technology and access to the internet is that time and time again it is repeatedly proven that following the advice of the a pro bodybuilder is quite possibly the worst advice anyone can take. Its actually more counterproductive than good
I don’t miss the days of picking up the latest Flex magazine, that’s for sure
A pro bodybuilder may want bigger biceps but knows they’re already too big compared to his calves or rear delts.
A program that is laid out good revolves around progressive overload. You will grow and progress if you follow that strictly. annihilating your body in any workout is not productive if you excessively exceed what was needed that day.


Some stick to the same program for years. Dorian Yates went through three or four routines in fourteen years of competing.


Both methods work, assuming volume/frequency/intensity/recovery ability is dialed in.

progressive overload is ‘shocking the muscle’ in itself… the problem is that few guys want to push progressive overload to their genetic limit, and where do you go from there when you get there?

It can make sense for some guys to go instinctive and switch things up once they have built a base and learnt their body… there’s possibly less chance of serious injury and you’d assume less repetitive wear and tear on connective tissue as opposed to sticking to the same thing while increasing the load indefinitely in the long run.

It’s up to the individual - assuming someone already trains correctly and intensely enough, diet and hormones are going to play a bigger role on how they respond than which way they prefer to train