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Basic Concepts for Lean Mass Gains – What I learned from Danny Padilla

Right around the time Danny Padilla was about to turn Pro in bodybuilding, I had the opportunity to train with him for about 6 weeks. That was about 1977. I still see him about once a year and he still hasn’t changed his training much at all. Why would he, he’s found what works for him.

People on the forums consider Danny one of the greatest short bodybuilders ever because of his awesome symmetry and massive development despite his short stature.

During most of the year Danny trained 4 to 6 days a week. He always followed the same split. Day 1 Chest and Back we’d often superset each chest movement with a back movement. Day 2 Shoulders and Arms we’d often superset 2 shoulder exercises and we’d frequently superset biceps with triceps. Day 3 legs. Repeat. If we missed a workout, he didn’t worry about it. He just does that workout when he returns to the gym. During the off season he did 2 to 3 exercises per body-part for 5 sets of 12 reps where the same weight is used on all sets. That means the first set or 2 is really a warm-up and by set three he’s close to the edge of course set four and five are all out. When he can get 12 reps on all 5 sets, he’ll add weight during the next workout. His rest between sets is short, no longer than a minute. One he began preparing for a competition he’d do 4 exercises for each body part in the same manner… 5 sets of 12 reps.

Even though the volume is high Danny would complete these workouts in just over an hour… This is another way of keeping the intensity high, which was taught by Vince Gironda, Bill Pearl and other great trainers of “the golden era” of bodybuilding.

Training in this fashion, was the first time in my bodybuilding career that I really started to make significant progress.

[*Get the latest e-book collection of Vince’s methods, quotes, workouts and advice Vince Gironda: Legend & Myth by Alan Palmieri, one of Vince’s students. Read the Iron Man magazine review here.]

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