Q: I use your P/RR/S training system on a three-day split, and it’s working great. Currently, I enjoy doing chest and back on day 1; quads and hams on day 2; and shoulders, bi’s and tri’s on day 3. I work out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and do cardio Tuesday and Thursday. My question: Since I work antagonistic bodyparts on the same day, is it okay for me to do something like a chest exercise first, then a back movement and then chest again, etc.?
A: Have you ever heard of a dude named Arnold Schwarzenegger? If not, would it ring a bell if I called him seven-time Mr. Olympia, “Conan the Barbarian,” “The Terminator,” the former Governor of California or the most famous bodybuilder who ever lived? Yeah, I thought that might do it. Arnold not only trained on a very similar split to yours (although on a three-days-on/one-off schedule), but he would very often do supersets for chest/back, bi’s/tri’s and quads /hams—and it seemed to work pretty darn well for him!
It’s also a technique that I use quite often myself and with my hundreds of clients all over the world. My favorite P/RR/S workouts for implementing this protocol occur during both Power and Shock weeks. This type of antagonistic-bodypart training has several important advantages that should be tapped into from time to time if you’re going to follow my golden rule of constant progression: variety in stimulation.
For example, by doing a back exercise like a row or pulldown right after a chest movement, you will be able to keep your strength at a greater level for each bodypart and enhance the recovery for each bodypart. Because you’re alternating pushing and pulling muscles, the pushing muscles will actually return to full strength at a faster rate than if you were just to rest—and vice versa—and you’ll more than likely be able to complete the same amount of overall work in a shorter period of time.
Here are a couple of sample workouts to give you a better idea of how to put antagonistic bodypart training to the test:
Power Chest/Back Blast
Bench presses 3 x 4-6
Wide-grip bent-over rows 3 x 4-6
Incline presses 3 x 4-6
Undergrip pulldowns 3 x 4-6
Weighted dips 3 x 4-6
Close-grip cable rows 3 x 4-6
Shock Quad/Ham Crusher
Squats 3 x 7-9
Seated leg curls 3 x 7-9
Leg presses 3 x 7-9
Lying leg curls 3 x 7-9
Leg extensions 3 x 10-12
Stiff-legged deadlifts 3 x 10-12
Editor’s note: Eric Broser’s new DVD “Power/Rep Range/Shock Max-Mass Training System” is available at Home-Gym.com. His e-books, Power/Rep Range/Shock Workout and The FD/FS Mass-Shock Workout, which include complete printable workout templates and Q&A sections, are available at X-Workouts.com.