Long-Term Program Design Made Simple


How to schedule popular workouts for maximal results

By Strength Sensei CP

Publication Date: 2001


My favorite workouts for athletes take into consideration all the major loading parameters of program design, including sets, reps, tempo, and rest periods. For convenience, it’s possible to design long-term training programs using combinations of these workouts. I want to share with you how to arrange four of the most popular workouts to increase strength, muscle mass, and decreasing bodyfat.

Four of the most popular workouts I’ve written extensively about are German Body Comp, German Volume Training, 1-6 Training System, and the Maximal Weights Method. Let’s call each of these workouts “training phases.” Here is how I would schedule them:

Phase 1: German Body Composition. This phase provides a very sound general conditioning base. It should lean you out considerably and improve your anaerobic endurance. Your maximal strength probably won’t go up too dramatically, but strength endurance should climb. In other words, you’ll be able to do more reps at a given weight than you could otherwise. Of course, people with a high percentage of Type IIa fibers have made substantial gains in size on it. Contrast that with someone like me, who leans out from the program because of my heavy concentration of fast-twitch, IIb fibers.

Phase 2: Maximal Weights. After a phase of high-volume training, such as with German body comp, your nervous system will welcome an intensification phase like this one. Using heavy weights, low reps, and a high number of sets, the maximal weights method strengthens the link between the nervous system and the muscular system. The program will make your maximal strength levels soar so you can start the following hypertrophy phase at a higher-than-normal level of overload.

Using heavy weights for multiple sets strengthens the link between the nervous system and the muscular system.


Phase 3: German Volume Training. In a nutshell, for those of you who aren’t familiar with GVT, it consists of performing 10 sets of 10 on specific exercises. Since you’ll be coming directly off a strength phase, your average load for this type of hypertrophy training will be high. Therefore, you can expect to apply a better overload, reaping more muscle mass gains than usual.

Phase 4: The 1-6 Principle. I learned about this training system from Romanian weightlifting champion Dragomir Cioroslan. It finishes off your cycle nicely since it’s a hybrid method that combines both strength and hypertrophy stimuli. Essentially, you perform a maximal single repetition for an exercise, then reduce the weight so you can grind out six reps. Repeat this sequence for several more sets.

I’d suggest doing each program for about three weeks, so this total road to “buffness” would take about 12 weeks.


Photos by Miloš Šarčev

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