Bodybuilding Training Article from

Is It Worth The Price?
by Arthur Jones - 1981

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I will point out a few things that can be applied to training with any type of equipment; well-proven but largely unknown - or misunderstood - points that can be the difference between outstanding success and outright failure.

  1. Regardless of what kind of equipment you have available, restrict your workouts to not more than three weekly - the so-called "split system" of training is ALWAYS A MISTAKE.
  2. In almost all cases, two sets of any one exercise will produce better results than any other number of sets - and more than three sets of an exercise should never be performed and - before increasing your number of sets from two to three - try doing only one set of each exercise in each workout.
  3. For best results, a workout should never exceed a total length of an hour and a half - and most people will gain most rapidly on a schedule of three weekly workouts of approximately one hour and twenty minutes each, or shorter.
  4. Drugs will NOT help your progress - regardless of widespread opinion to the contrary.
  5. The number of repetitions in any one set should never be less than six - nor more than twenty and best results will usually be produced by sets of eight to twelve repetitions - but every set of every exercise should be carried to a point of utter failure, where no additional movement is momentarily possible. It is almost literally impossible for most people to work too "hard" - but it is easily possible for anybody to work too "much." This first point, the required "intensity of effort," is one which cannot be overstressed - but it does seem to be a point which can easily be misunderstood; personally,. I have about reached the conclusion that it is simply impossible to make most people understand what you mean when you mention "working to the point of failure." So long as reasonably good form is being maintained, then it is impossible to work too hard - but even that isn't enough; after it becomes literally impossible to produce ANY AMOUNT OF ADDITIONAL MOVEMENT - when you are exerting maximum possible force and NOTHING IS HAPPENING, then at least two more repetitions should be performed by "cheating" - but such cheating should NOT involve sudden jerking, and it should be limited to the minimum amount required to make the movement possible. Do not cheat to make the movement EASY - cheat only enough to make the movement POSSIBLE: make the movement as hard as you can - the harder, the better. Properly performed, two such cheating repetitions performed immediately after the maximum possible number of repetitions done in a strict manner should leave you feeling like you just climbed a tall building with your car tied to your back - you should be breathing very hard, your pulse should be very rapid, you should be sweating freely, and you should find it necessary to sit down for a moment after the set is finished; if you merely "feel like" sitting down, then the set wasn't hard enough - you should have to sit down to avoid falling down. All of which above outline the required "style of training is easy enough to put into words - but putting it into words and getting people to understand those words seem to be two entirely different matters; and even when people do understand what is being said, they usually refuse to practice such a style of training - making all sorts of excuses and attempting to rationalize a much 'easier' style of training. Most bodybuilders seem to be perfectly willing to perform almost any "amount" of training - but avoid anything even approaching actual "hard" training. Then they wonder why it takes them ten years to produce the results that should have been produced in six months. They seldom if ever train hard enough to produce any growth stimulation - and they train so much that growth would be impossible even if growth stimulation was being produced.
  6. In spite of widespread opinion to the contrary, it is NOT necessary to devote your entire life to training in order to produce good results; in fact, all of the weight of very clear evidence supports the contention that a normal life is actually a requirement for producing best-possible results - many of the greatest bodybuilders of all time produced their best results at a time when they were working full-time at a hard job. Bodybuilders who attempt to explain their own failures by offering the excuse that they have to work are either lazy or misinformed, or both - or simply unwilling to admit that their individual potential will never permit them to reach championship class. And remember, a championship - class physique is just that - and outstanding example that is one out of thousands (or even millions); we can't all be champions, no matter how we train. But even if you do happen to be one of those actually very rare men, a man with the potential to be a champion, would such and accomplishment be worth the price of devoting your entire existence to efforts intended to produce the ultimate physique; is it ever worth that kind of a price? Personally, I think not - but that, of course, is merely my own opinion; however, it is not an 'opinion' that such an accomplishment does NOT require such a price.

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