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Wednesday August 15, 2018

Maximum Muscle - Bodybuilding Program

Written by James Cipriani


Are you frustrated with busting your butt in the gym hour after hour, month after month, and year after year with little or no results to show for it? Are you frustrated with all of the conflicting information about how to train?

I am then confident that you will see me as a source for all of your bodybuilding, health, and fitness pursuits.  How do I plan to do that? Simply by providing you with the truth and a plan that will work at least three times faster than anything else you have ever tried before. My mission is to spread the word and educate as many as I can...whether that be just one, one hundred, or one thousand.

What I am going to uncover in this article is the basis for all my training. I did not create the following concepts that I am about to dispel to you. But, for over a  decade now, I has taken the combination of scientific knowledge and real world trial and error (through not only training myself, but hundreds of others) and provided our industry with a no B.S. approach to weightlifting. I am giving you a very valuable tool - - a tool that has created some of the greatest drug-free competitors in our sport (Skip Lacour, Jeff Willet, Derik Farnsworth, and Earl Snyder).

Let me make note: I do not feel that there is ONE way to train.  Obviously there isn’t, as proven by the countless training styles of such great physiques throughout history.  I personally think there is merit to all training styles and they should be incorporated in a “cycle training” method.  The body is a very adaptive organism and to insure that we avoid the dreaded “plateau” as well as injury, changes should be made on a consistent basis.

The one true variable in all the phases of my cycle training approach is “overload.” What do I mean by overload?  That is what this article is truly about. Learn it inside and out, upside and down. Put it to use 1000% and reap the rewards from it.   Overload is the #1 factor in all training.

How I Can Help You

If you are asking yourself, "Who is this guy and how can he possibly educate me?" I am pleading with you to not think this way and to give everything I write the opportunity to do for you what it has done for me and so many other bodybuilders in the world. Do not think that the more complicated and complex a training, dieting, or supplementation program is, the more effective it is. I know this for a fact because I have been there. I have done the high reps, the low reps, the volume training, and the high-intensity training.  I have been on the Zone Diets, the Atkins Diets, and the South Beach Diets.  I have used the Cybergenics, the Hot Stuffs, and countless other supplements... You name it in this sport of ours, I have tried it. I have been a personal guinea pig for it all (or at least most of it) for the last 15 years.

What I have uncovered in the last five years is a pivotal way that all of us should train to get the absolute most out of our efforts and to maximize our dreams and our desires.... man or woman, young or old, genetically-gifted or the so called "hard gainer." (In a series of articles, I will uncover all of nutrition, supplementation, and more and will lay out, in detail, a plan for you to follow).

Here's the formula: I write it + you read it + you do it = maximum muscle in minimum time!  I want to help educate as many as possible that have the same love for the iron as I do. So, with no further ado, let's start training for Maximum Results with Maximum Overload!

Overload Training 

Overload TrainingBefore I dive in, I want everyone reading this to do one thing for the rest of his or her training life. Always, always ask yourself "why" you are doing something. If you do not have a logical, scientifically proven reason to your "why," do not do it. I tell you this because as I lay the program out for you, I will explain each principle in detail. You will not just walk away knowing the "what’s," but you will be educated in the "whys."

To understand the principles behind Overload Training, you must first understand the physiological process of building muscle. One thing and only one thing is responsible for building muscle, OVERLOAD! What do I mean by overload? Overload is providing your muscle(s) with a stress that it is not used to or weight that has never been used before.

That is why so many people can train so many different ways and achieve some sort of muscular response from it. Some will do 6 reps, some 12 reps, and even some 15 reps or more.  Some people use supersets, some straight sets, some drop sets. Everybody has their own way of how to build muscle and they all work to some degree.

How can that be?

If you are providing your muscle with more work (weight, reps, sets, etc) than it was previously used to, no matter how you stimulate it, it is going to respond with some growth.

So, why am I lecturing you?

Well if you are like me you are not after just some growth…you are after MAXIMUM GROWTH! And if you are anything like me you are after it in the shortest possible time. We are unfortunately involved in an activity that allows us to do things (for lack of a better word) "wrong" and still get some results. Do not settle for some. Train the BEST way possible and maximize your results.

The Cycle Training Approach

As mentioned, cycle training is your best approach.  Cycle training allows you to avoid injury, avoid plateaus, train all muscle fibers for maximum growth, and stay mentally stimulated (just to name a few).  I use a three phase system - Strength and Growth Phase, Muscle Stimulation Phase, and Fat Burning Phase.  No matter what phase I am in or what the priority of the phase may be, one thing remains constant - the overload principle.

My Ultimate Cycle Training System always starts with a pivotal Strength and Growth Phase.  Whether you train using a cycle training approach or not, the principles behind my Strength and Growth Phase should be respected and followed at some point in your training. Let’s take a look at the principles behind this phase:

Principle #1
Do not train for more than an hour, 30-40 minutes being the optimal length.

It is scientifically proven that this shorter duration training maximizes your hormonal spikes. Training any longer is going to increase your secretion of cortisol, a catabolic hormone. Your routines also need to have a "sprint-like" quality to them to maintain maximum intensity. If you train too long you are going to pace yourself, whether that be consciously or subconsciously.  No matter what phase I am in, I try not to go over the one hour mark.

Principle #2
Train only 1 to 2 major muscle groups in a workout.

This allows you to take advantage of Principle #1, yet still take a multi-angle/multi-exercise approach to training your bodyparts.  It has psychological benefits, as well. You are more apt to pour more into your workouts if you know you are only hitting one or two muscle groups in a given workout.  Note: if you are only able to get to the gym 3 times a week, then this principle is obviously obsolete.

Principle #3
Do no more than 8-10 total heavy sets per muscle group.

I will tell you right now, this is generous. Honestly if you are pouring maximum intensity into your workouts, you probably won't need much more than 6 heavy sets. The stronger and more experienced you are, the less you will need. Also, with the given rest periods that will be prescribed, this is about all you could accomplish in the recommended time frame. Note: “Heavy” sets do not include warm-up sets.

Principle #4
Do 4 to 6 reps per muscle group.

This is the heart and soul of the Strength and Growth Phase. It is one of the Principles that separates it from other phases. For you to get the most muscle growth possible, you want to attack the muscle fibers that have the most growth potential - - your white, fast-twitched muscle fibers. Any other fiber has minimal growth potential in comparison and it is scientifically documented that the way to hit these white fibers is with a heavy weight in a 4 to 6 rep range. Also, any higher rep range is going to draw excess lactate into the muscle, thus fatiguing the muscle.

Remember... overload builds muscle, not fatigue. If you are constantly pulling lactate into the muscle, you will hinder your performance and shortchange your overload. Lastly, the added benefit of the 4 to 6 rep range is the "focus” element. It is a lot easier to put forth 100% mental intensity into a set that lasts 15-20 seconds than a set that would last double that time.

Principle #5
Rest 2 to 3 minutes between sets.

Another element critical to the Strength and Growth Phase.  A scientifically proven aspect of performance is that it can take anywhere from 90 seconds to 3 minutes for your Krebs’s cycle to recover maximally, depending on the muscle being worked, the amount of weight used, and the exercise being performed. Again, if you do not fully recover between sets you are going to compromise your next set performance. Thus, in turn, would shortchange your overload on your target muscle. Optimal rest-time between sets in a Strength and Growth Phase would be 2 1/2 minutes, so set your stopwatches.

Principle #6
Train each muscle once every 5 to 7 days.

It has been shown time and time again that a muscle can take up to 9 days to fully recover from a heavy, high-intensity workout. Get this straight if you don't already know it...WE DO NOT GROW IN THE GYM! Our lifting is just the stimulus for muscle growth. The recovery process is where the muscle responds by growing stronger and bigger, readying itself for future stress. If you do not allow full and complete recovery of your muscles, you will impede your growth and soon venture into the realm of overtraining.

The Workout


Kareem Petteway

Now that I have laid out the principles of Strength and Growth for you, you are probably asking yourself what a typical routine would look like. Below is one that I have used myself as well as with my personal training clients with great success. This routine is a great template for all of you to start with in your quest for MAXIMUM MUSCLE!

Mondays - Legs

Squats (4 warm-up sets) 3 x 4-6
Leg Press (1 acclimation set) 2 x 4-6
Stiff leg Dead lifts (1 acclimation set) 2 x 4-6
Standing Calf Raise (2-3 warm-up sets) 3 x 6-8
Seated Calf Raise 2 x 6-8

Click here for a Printable version of Monday's workout

Tuesdays - Chest & Forearms

Incline Bench Press (4 warm-up sets) 3 x 4-6
Bench Press 3 x 4-6
Decline Press 1 x 4-6
Barbell Wrist Curl (1 warm-up) 2 x 8-10
Standing Dumbbell Wrist Curls 2 x 6-8

Click here for a Printable version of Tuesday's workout

Wednesdays - Back & Traps

Bent Rows (3-4 warm-ups) 2 x 4-6

V-bar Pull downs 2 x 4-6
Weighted Pull-ups 2 x 4-6
Straight-bar Cable Rows 1 x 4-6
Dead lifts (2-3 warm-ups) 2 x 4-6
Barbell Shrugs 1 x 4-6

Click here for a Printable version of Wednesday's workout

Thursdays - Shoulders & Triceps

Seated Dumbbell Press (4 warm-ups) 3 x 4-6
Seated Military Press 2 x 4-6
Side Laterals (1 acclimation set) 2 x 4-6
Lying Extensions (1-2 warm-up sets) 2 x 4-6
Pushdowns 2 x 4-6
Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extensions 1 x 4-6

Click here for a Printable version of Thursday's workout

Fridays - Biceps & Abs

Barbell Curls (4 warm-up sets) 2 x 4-6
Hammer Curls 2 x 4-6
E-Z Bar Curls 1 x 4-6
Weighted Leg Lifts (1 warm-up set) 2 x 12-15
Cable Crunches 2 x 8-10

Click here for a Printable version of Friday's workout

There you have it. All of the whats and whys to get you started onto new and fast muscle growth. For more on my Ultimate Cycle Training Approach, visit my website - . Any questions, you can e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Tune in next time when I will show you how to eat for Maximum Results. In the meantime, train hard!

James Cipriani, ISSA-CPT
Cutting Edge Personal Training
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Natural Bodybuilding at its Finest - Lift for


0 #3 Eugene 2011-12-11 21:34
Thanks alot. Great advice!
+1 #2 Nafis 2011-01-29 05:22
thank you, thank you thank you. just the information i needed.
0 #1 kylee 2010-12-15 17:07
Thank you for the article it's fantastic and really opened my eyes to a few things i was doing wrong...
i have to learn patience and rest are important...

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