When I first landed in Los Angeles in 1980 I immediately started training at Gold’s Gym in Santa Monica. One of the guys who I became friends with was Samir Bannout who had already done well on the Pro Circuit. I had the opportunity in 1981 to train with Samir and his training partner Steve White and I eventually became the third training partner and trained with them for about 5 months. I made significant progress during that time. Samir had amazing muscle shape and balance, split biceps, cross striations in his triceps. Of course this was before his 1983 Mr. Olympia win where he set a new standard in back development being the first ever to display a “Christmas Tree” in his lower back.
As with Danny Padilla, people always ask me how Samir trained. To my knowledge Samir was one of the first of the top guys following a routine that was given to him by George Turner. Samir had lived in George’s city for a period of time before turning Pro and before moving to L.A. and had made a great deal of gains on this routine. So did I. George wrote an article about it back in 1978-79 in one of the Weider magazines. It was the first three days one day off routine anyone ever wrote about. Day 1 Chest and Back, Day two Legs, Day three Shoulders and Arms, Day 4 rest, Repeat then 2 days off, Repeat then One Day off.
We always performed three exercises on each body part. There were 11 working sets total per body part for large muscle groups and about 9 for smaller groups. We would vary the choice of movements each workout. An Example Chest workout started with Incline Barbell Press warm-up for 2 or 3 sets then 4 work sets then Flat Bench 4 work sets then Cable fly’s 3 work sets. Reps were typically 12-6.
Samir was VERY strong. He did Reps in Bent over rows with 405 lbs. Once, when we were squatting he had 315 for his first work set but when he finished the set of squats he proceeded to 8 reps of behind the neck standing presses to our amazement.
I got real strong and real big on this routine… to that point in time my biggest ever. At one point Samir changed the split but kept the body part workouts the same.
The new split was Day one AM chest/back day 1 PM shoulder/arm day 2 rest, day three legs, day 4 rest, Repeat, repeat, repeat. I did not like this split as well but Samir liked it. Rest periods… there were three of us so we just rotated through. Cadence was actually fairly fast 1/0/2. We did basic exercises for the most part but he always had a favorite variation or two.
Oh, before that I had been doing a lot of forced reps etc. and Samir got me to stop all forced reps and just go to failure, sometimes a rep SHORT of failure. It worked. We grew. I think that forced reps can be used occasionally but sparingly.