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Train To Gain: Wait to Isolate?

When should you add shaping movements to your workout?

You shouldn’t add light shaping exercises to your routine until you’ve normalized your body. Let me explain.

Some of the people I hold in the highest regard, like the late and truly great Harry B. Paschall, are not always people I agree with 100 percent of the time. Paschall stressed that a trainee could use shaping exercises along with basic work almost from the beginning and that such training really helped make a program superior. I’m not so sure.

I don’t believe that heavy and hard training on a simple program of, say, six to eight basics requires any shaping exercises at all in order to build a shapely physique. I believe that heredity and diet determine the shapeliness of a physique.

I’ve seen trainees who worked on only two or three movements for long periods of time and enjoyed a more pleasing appearance than bodybuilders who did all they could to round out their training programs. Not that I feel there’s never a place for a little light shaping work’only that I wouldn’t worry all that much about it. Here are a few guidelines:

‘Spend at least one solid year building on the big core exercises’like squats, presses, deadlifts, curls, rows, cleans, bench presses and abdominal work. Once you’ve put on a substantial amount of muscle weight, you can begin to include some simple shaping exercises.

‘Keep the ratio of basics to shaping movements at about 8-to-12’80 percent basics and 20 percent shaping work.

‘Take one or two six-week periods each year to simply work hard on the basics and omit all shaping work.

Remember, you must keep your foundation solid and strong. IM

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