Workout change promotes muscle gains. That’s true anytime, but it’s especially true when the weather turns frigid. It can be prime growing time, but for most trainees winter means low temperatures and low motivation—who needs peaked-out, ripped-up muscles when you’re all bundled up and no one can see them? Unfortunately, that attitude can lead to a big missed opportunity.
Arnold considered the beginning of winter as his first mass-building phase, kicking off around the end of November. According to IRON MAN Publisher John Balik, who stayed with the Oak in Santa Monica, California, in 1974, “At this point in his training he was using relatively few exercises but working them very hard.”
In other words, as winter moved in, Arnold adopted a pure back-to-basics approach, using only the key exercises that work the major muscle groups—you probably know them by heart: squats, bench presses, rows, chins, etc. We have a few fine examples of that type of training in this issue.
Two great ones appear in “Old-School Bodybuilding, Shredder Style,” an interview with new drug-free IFBB pro Dave Goodin. He outlines his three-days-per-week off-season routine and also a unique power-bodybuilding program, either of which is perfect for a winter size-and-strength phase. David Young also gets Goodin to go into detail about his diet and motivation strategies, so there’s obviously lots of valuable information packed into the in-depth Q&A, which begins on page 120.
Two more excellent programs are outlined in Train, Eat, Grow, written by yours truly and my workout partner, Jonathan Lawson. While they aren’t pure back to basics per se, each bodypart routine begins with a big, compound exercise and finishes with stretch- and contracted-position moves to complete the full-range chain economically. They represent more of a balanced Positions-of-Flexion–based attack that you can easily alter to your winter-training needs. [Note: Next month’s Train, Eat, Grow will feature a more basic power-density program you can use as your second phase of winter training.]
Along those same lines is this month’s selection from the Bodybuilding.com archive, “Mass-Building Economics,” in which Steven Morris lays out a philosophy for retooling your workouts to get the biggest bang for your effort buck. It’s better exercise allocation for serious muscle inflation. His views are informative as well as entertaining, and after reading the piece, which starts on page 200, you’ll see why whittling your workouts to a few key mass moves, especially at this time of year, is a size-surging necessity.
No question that now’s the time to take advantage of winter’s mass-building opportunities and redesign your program . A calorie surplus means it’s much easier for your body to pack on muscle than it is when you’re on a summer ripping diet. Take advantage of this prime time, and you’ll be growing like crazy into the new year and beyond. Happy holidays, indeed! IM