Crawl through your attic. Dig through your old muscle magazines. If you’re a longtime IRON MAN reader, you may be lucky enough to have the April ’92 issue, which includes a feature by Gene Moz’e titled, ‘Power Pump Training: Build Mass That Lasts.’ That gem of an article was responsible for packing a lot of muscle on my frame.
Moz’e’s piece made quite an impression on me for two reasons. To begin with, it was my first exposure to the famous Vince Gironda quote, ‘Are you on a training program, or are you just working out?’ It was also my first exposure to the idea that combining ultraheavy power movements and pumping exercises was a good thing. Moz’e believed it was the ultimate for producing rapid growth of quality, shapely muscles.
The gist of Moz’e’s system was this: For each muscle group you perform one heavy, power exercise in order to activate more fibers and then superset two more exercises for the same group in order to produce the maximum pump possible. (Note: It’s similar to what Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson are doing at the IRON MAN Training & Research Center. They spice it up with X Reps. See page 72.)
Before giving the Power Pump workout a try, I’d been using basic abbreviated routines’the kind of workouts Steve Holman was espousing in his Homebodies column at the time. I have to admit that the program had laid the groundwork for muscle gains; however, at that point I was stuck in a rut, and PPT turned out to be just what I needed to take my muscle building to the next level.
Since that time I’ve tried every bodybuilding program under the sun, and I’ve also delved into powerlifting and strongman training. With all that I can still say that if you want to build quality mass, combining heavy, low-rep power training with light, high-rep pump training is the best way to go.
But I also think there’s a better, more efficient way to combine the two methods. Enter Power Pump Training 2.
The Next Generation of Muscle Building
Thirteen years is a long time to wait for a sequel, but I think you’ll agree that the result is well worth the wait. The difference between Power Pump Training and PPT2 is this: Moz’e seemed to base his routine on his personal experience in training and watching many of the bodybuilding champs of the 1960s and ’70s train. While PPT2 is based on my experience in training myself and others (strength athletes as well as bodybuilders) and observing how champion bodybuilders and powerlifters train, it’s also got a little something called science behind it.
For years powerlifters, Olympic lifters and strength coaches in the Western world thought the best way to build mass was with linear periodization. Basically, you’d focus on different aspects of strength training at different times of the year. In phase one you’d work on building muscular endurance for a couple of months. Then in phase two the focus would shift to hypertrophy training. Three was power, and, finally, in phase four you’d concentrate on building maximum strength. In the West we all said, ‘Hey, this linear periodization is pretty dern good.’
Then came the Russians. Their strength coaches and researchers were determined to find the fastest, most surefire way of producing strength gains. They tried several training systems and decided that linear periodization, basically, sucked.
The Russians saw no reason to focus on different aspects of training at different times. They thought that athletes should train all the different methods each and every week. The system they created is called conjugate periodization.
The idea is to train the different aspects on different days of the week. In other words, you devote one day to developing maximum strength, another to building speed and power and so forth. Incidentally, the Russians also discovered that combining different methods in the same workout took the concept too far; when they tried it, their results decreased. ALL The Powerlifting Factor
Conjugate periodization gained popularity in the West thanks to Louis Simmons and his Westside Barbell Club in Columbus, Ohio. Westside training involves maxing out on an exercise for a week or two and then switching to another exercise. The important factor is to hit a one- or three-rep max every week. Westside lifters use that technique once each week for upper body and once for lower body. On another day of the week they train for speed, performing nine to 12 sets of two to three reps with 50 to 60 percent of one-rep max.
That got me to thinking. Maybe Moz’e’s routine would work even better if you did the power work separate from the pump session. The workout that appears on page 144 is the result. It uses the Westside program as a template but replaces the speed work with pump training.
Some Words of Advice
This program looks pretty simple, but don’t be fooled. It’s pretty dang tough. The pump days are harder than they look, and you’ll really have to push yourself on the maximum-strength days.
If your calves need work’and whose don’t?’then don’t be afraid to do some calf work on every training day. Standing calf raises, seated raises and donkey calf raises would all do the trick. Use higher reps on them.
If you want to gain as much mass as possible, make sure you’re eating enough protein and total calories every day. This isn’t a precontest regimen, so don’t be afraid to eat bread and plenty of red meat, not to mention drinking a lot of milk. Eat at least 12 times your bodyweight in calories each day; 15 times your bodyweight would be even better.
The subtitle of Moz’e’s article was, ‘Build Mass That Lasts.’ With PPT2 you can build mass that lasts and lasts and lasts. Not only will you be massive, but you’ll have the strength to go with it, as well.
I’m interested in hearing from readers about this program. If you want to tell me about your results or ask a question, send e-mail to [email protected] IM
The PPT2 Workout
In this four-days-per-week program you train your upper body on two days and your lower body on the other two.
Day 1: Upper-body pump
1) Bench presses, parallel-bar dips or incline-bench presses 8 x 10
Pick a weight with which you can get about 20 reps before reaching failure, and use it on all eight sets. Take only about two minutes’ rest between sets. Rotate the exercises, switching to a different one every few weeks. 2) Wide-grip chins or wide-grip lat pulldowns 8 x 10
Use the same technique as discussed for the first exercise.
Barbell curls 5 x 10
Skull crushers 5 x 10
Take each set to a rep or two shy of failure. Rest about one minute between supersets.
4) Lateral raises 4 x 10
Your shoulders should be pretty pumped from all the other exercises, which is the reason that you only do four sets.
Day 2: Lower-body maximum strength
1) Squats, Olympic-style squats, box squats, bottom-position squats or deadlifts (sumo or conventional style) work up to a max set of 5, 3, or 1 Pick one of the exercises, and work up over at least five sets to hit your maximum weight for the rep range you’ve chosen. For example, if you chose squats, and your previous max set was 375 for three, your set-and-rep sequence would look like this: 135×5, 225×3, 275×3, 315×3, 350×3, 375×3, 405×2 (hit failure on third rep with 405).
Stick with the same exercise for two to three weeks, attempting to hit a new personal record every week.
2) Lunges 5 x 5
Perform all five sets with the same weight. Only the last two sets should be really taxing.
3) Incline situps 3 x 20
Do these on a steep incline bench.
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Upper-body maximum strength
1) Flat-bench presses, close-grip bench presses, bottom-position bench presses, close-grip bottom-position bench presses, rack lockouts, board presses or incline-bench presses work up to a max set of 5, 3 or 1
Use the same technique as described for the first exercise of day 2. Your flat-bench workout might look like this: 135×5, 175×3, 225×3, 245×1, 265×1, 280×1, 300×0 (missed with 300). Rotate exercises every two or three weeks.
2) Wide-grip chins, close-grip chins, bent-over rows or T-bar rows work up to a max set of 5, 3 or 1 Use the same technique as described for exercise 1.
3) Barbell curls, EZ-curl-bar curls, reverse curls or dumbbell curls work up to a max set of 5, 3 or 1
Day 5: Off
Day 6: Lower-body pump
1) Squats, leg presses or hack squats 8 x 10
Use a weight that lets you get about 20 reps before you hit failure. Use it for all eight sets. Take about two minutes’ rest between sets. Rotate exercises every few weeks.
2) Leg extensions 6 x 20
Do these with a weight that will let you get about 30 reps before you hit failure.
3) Leg curls 2 x 25
You simply won’t need very much hamstring work due to the first exercise in this workout and the work you did on lower-body maximum-strength day.
4) Hanging leg raises 3 x 20
Day 7: Off