There are, of course, numerous approaches for forcing muscle growth but one of the most unusual ones I have ever heard of was the Condensed High-Volume Training Program used by a bodybuilder (and former prolific writer for Iron Man magazine in the '60's) named Richard Simons back in 1966. Richard told me about it during a long bus ride in Miami, Florida one evening.
He began to speak and said that he went on a 21 day program consisting of 9 brutally intense workouts and an aggressive stepped up mega-calorie diet. He declared that at the conclusion of the program he had gained 25 Pounds in 21 Days. He then described in detail the program he used. I took notes while he was talking and I'm glad I did not leave it to memory alone (it's been 36+ years since that conversation). As the saying goes; "The palest of ink is better than the best memory."
He said he performed an average of only four exercises each workout on a rotational schedule, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He went on to say that the key to his condensed method of training was to work the involved muscle group with a high number of sets with maximum poundages that correspond to the particular multiple-rep set. He went on to say that his workout tempo (rep speed) was of a MEDIUM SPEED, which was neither SLO-MO INTENSITY or RAPID-FIRE (two opposite extremes in workout tempo). With regard to rest periods between sets he said this would vary from five minutes, when using low reps and heavy weight, to a minimum of one minute when using higher reps. His workout ethic was to maintain a maximum concentration of mind on his training effort with perfect execution of movement each and every rep of every set. To avoid frustrating his training efforts he allowed for proper physical and mental recovery by resting & relaxing on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. This kept his body and mind from becoming over trained.
His workout days were not written in stone. If, for example, he came into Monday's workout in a negative frame of mind - perhaps through lack of rest or extreme muscle soreness from lactic acid accumulation - and felt that it would take away from his maximum concentration on a particular exercise (or the total workout as a whole) he would move the exercise or workout ahead to Tuesday. This is known as the 24-hour float method. If only one exercise was affected the Wednesday and Friday workouts remain the same. However, if the total workout on Monday would be moved up to Tuesday, and the Wednesday and Friday workouts moved to Thursday and Saturday respectively. After explaining his workout concepts to me, Richard then wrote out his condensed high-volume training schedule. Here is the exact training schedule (exercises, sets, reps etc.) he used, plus an explicitly calculated commentary on the Exercise Mastery Techniques used on each exercise.
Condensed High-Volume Training Workouts
1, Supine (flat) bench press - Using a barbell (though sometimes he used dumbbells) he would do one set each of 15, 10, 8, 4 and 1 reps, then rests for 5 minutes. Next was 10 hard work sets of 5 to 6 reps each. When these were completed he would take another short rest and would finish up with one set each of 10, 15 and 20 maxi-pump reps.
A change in training intensity was always necessary to create a new muscle response (and up his bench press power base), and here two or three one-inch thick high-density sponge rubber pads and a cambered bar (similar to the Jackson cambered squat bar) were useful. The rubber pads were cut to a length that covered his chest from the collar bone (clavicle) to the sternum, and wide enough to add protection to the extreme outer pec region. Richard custom cut the rubber pads to 1" x 9" x 19" to fit his 6'2" frame and 51.5 inch chest.
Now it was just a matter of placing rubber pads in position on the chest and of lowering the cambered bar quickly to the chest with a slight (note, only slight) bounce so as to give an initial boost and distribute the weight over a greater area of the chest. Yet another way to use rubber pads as a shock/rebound technique was to place two pads, one on the top surface of two bench press wooden safety boxes (which have been previously arranged and measured), so that the edges of the barbell plates will touch the rubber surface in a rebound effect just before it is touching high on the chest.
This shock/rebound technique was best used on the 15 and 20 maxi-pump rep sets.
2. Leg press - Richard selected this leg exercise because of four immediate and obvious advantages it has over other thigh-bombing exercises. First, there was no oppressive weight on the shoulders causing a spine compression. This will allow for maximum freedom of breathing and oxygen saturation which is necessary for increased rib cage circumference and respiratory and cardiovascular benefits. Second, with no effect of spine compression, there is a corresponding marked decrease in the anatomical strain on the lumbo-sacral region. Third, little concern is needed regarding balance, because the weight is within the center of gravity and this gives the option or freedom to explore the outer limits of physical strength safely. Fourth and finally, the exercise is performed on a vertical leg press machine. It is a mechanically controlled movement that allows for stress where it needs to be. Richard, for example, would take a somewhat wide foot placing on the platform where his feet are 18 to 24 inches apart and angled out at 45 degrees or slightly more. From this extended position he would take in two or three big gulps of air and slowly lower the weight, bringing the knees wide and outward to the sides of the body. This was impacting on the inner thighs to say the least. He began by doing one set each of 30, 20, 15 and 10 maxi-pump reps. He then did 10 hard work sets of 15 reps each. He finished off his leg press program with two quick pump-out sets of 20 and 30 reps. The last two pump sets for this and other exercises were done with light weights and helped to relieve the congestion of the muscles and restore normal circulation. This hastened recuperation and muscle growth.
3. Lat machine pulldown - Richard performed this exercise using either a conventional straight and/or angled Lat- bar.
Richard began this exercise by first taking a wide enough hand spacing (palms forward) on the bar so that his forearms were never parallel during the movement. He took a "false grip" (thumbs wrapped over the bar rather than under) and always makes sure that the bar was positioned high in the palm of his hand (near the base of the meaty part of the thumb). He would then take the path of most resistance by first pulling his shoulders down. Then he began the actual pulling motion with his elbows (his hands only act as hooks in an extension of himself to the bar), making sure that his arms rotated out to the sides. Just these actions alone will stimulate more lat involvement and minimize biceps and forearms action. As the bar touched the base of his neck he would try desperately to touch his elbows at an imaginary point behind his back. This action must be done without hunching over and, if done correctly, the shoulder blades will rotate inward. Richard imagined himself squeezing a tennis ball between them. This is the feeling he wanted to achieve for maximum contraction of his lats. Slowly he extended his arms back to the starting position at which point he leaned forward somewhat so that he could get his shoulders into a semi dislocated state and s-t-r-e-t-c-h the scapulae attachments outward for maximum back width.
For the sake of variety and due to the number of high-volume sets that he did, he would, at times, do lat pulldowns so that the bar touched the chest below the pec line. On these he would arch his back and lean backward 30 degrees to as much as 70 degrees from vertical as the bar touches. He would also at times take a narrow hand spacing of eight to twelve inches on the dorsi bar, using a supinated (palms up, curl) grip. This variation of the pulldown seemed to work well and involved the lats in a different way. It was a favorite of Sergio Oliva and other top bodybuilders of that era. The particular action of this lat pulldown to just below the low pec line requires that the arms pull all the way in to the sides of the body. The aim of these or any other lat exercises is to first pull exclusively with pure lat action alone before involving the biceps by bending the arms. To up the percentage of his lat involvement, Richard would always chalk his hands prior to gripping the bar, and use power wrist straps to help minimize biceps involvement.
Richard bombed his lats by opening with one set each of 25, 20, 15, 12 and 10 maxi-pump reps. These were followed up with a 12-set blitz of 10 reps each. He finished off with a pump-out set of 15 to 25 reps.
Pro Tip #1: For a more complete scapulae attachment rotation use a Lat- bar that allows you to position the little fingers higher than the thumbs. The only bar that I know of that meets this criteria is the Upside Down Lat Pull Down Bar which Larry Scott, the first IFBB Mr. Olympia, sells commercially on his web site (www.biophase.com).
Pro Tip #2: Lat-bars which have horizontal grip handles also works well for developing sweeping lats.
1. Barbell press behind neck - I remember well the unique and totally isolationary manner in which Richard said he did this exercise. He sat on the floor with his legs outstretched and his back braced securely against the foot of a stationary flat exercise bench. He readied himself by rotating and pulling his shoulders back as if standing at attention. This subtle move helps to eliminate the shoulder pain usually associated with this exercise. He was now ready for his training partner to position the heavily loaded bar correctly in his hands. The correct hand placement is achieved when his forearms are perpendicular to the upper arms (biceps) when the bar is being pressed off the back of his traps. His elbows were kept directly under his hands (knuckles face ceiling), and pointing out to the sides and down. From this position he took a couple of deep breaths. Holding the second breath, he began pressing the barbell to an arm-extended position. At two-thirds of the way to lockout he forcefully expels the air from his lungs. At the overhead lockout position he will inhale a deep breath of air and hold it. He then lowered the bar back down to the base of the neck, exhaling air while doing so. Breath in again. This is called "double oxygen" saturation. The bar touches, the base of the neck, in a feather-like fashion and the next rep begins. Occasionally he pressed the barbell only four to six inches above his head rather than going to complete lockout.
He began by performing one set each of 15, 10 and 8 repetitions and then, after a rest, he got into the serous muscle growth by attacking his delts with 10 brutally hard sets of 6 full reps each, finishing up with a final blitz set of 25 lightweight reps.
2. Barbell shoulder shrug - On this particular exercise Richard, by the strength of his trapezius muscles alone, moved mega poundage by raising his shoulders in a very direct up-and-down shrugging motion, trying like mad to touch his traps to his ears while at the same time extending his head backward as far as possible. He then squeezed and tenses his traps for all they were worth.
He was always very conscious not to rotate the shoulder joint, for this would take away from the very direct trapezius stimulation he is achieving with the straight up-and-down motion. He always chalked his hands prior to each set just to make sure that his vice-like grip on the bar never gives out before the traps become fully pumped. Sometimes using the magnesium carbonate chalk wasn't enough, and he'd use training straps for extra holding power.
There were training sessions where he grasped a heavy dumbbell
In each hand and then positioned himself by sitting lengthwise on a flat bench with legs outstretched. Seated, holding the dumbbells with a neutral hand position (palms facing and parallel to each other) with the arms hanging straight down and in line with the shoulders, he was able to perform the purest shrugging action known. The arms were kept perfectly straight during the movement, and thus biceps action was kept to an absolute minimum. Because the dumbbells are hanging as they are, the resistance is now in the center of gravity instead of in front of it when using the barbell. The seated shrug eliminates those little knee kicks (especially if the legs are outstretched on the bench) that normally occur during the standing barbell shrugs towards the end of a fatiguing set. A cambered bench press bar (with the cambered portion of the bar facing down) positioned under a flat exercise bench is another option.
One set of 20 and one of 15 reps were performed then it was on to 8 sets of 10 to 12 muscle-searing reps, finishing off with a lightweight flush set of 15 to 20 reps.
Pro Tip: Sometimes Richard tilted his head towards his chest (which he said isolated his traps even more) while going for a maximum squeeze & contraction at the top of the shrug movement.
3. *Leg extension - Like everything else this exercise was done very strictly and smoothly, holding the legs out in the contracted position for two seconds on every rep. He began with a set of 25 reps, then 20 reps followed by 6 sets of 15 reps each, then a pump set of 20 and one of 30 reps.
Pro Tip: Sometimes he would push on the seat with his hands, while raising his glutes off it 6 inches or so. His legs were facing downward at almost 45 degrees. He termed this as an incline leg extension.
4. *Machine leg curl - Lying prone on the machine, with his upper body and legs on the same plane, he would bend the legs and try to touch his heels to his glutes. Sometimes he flexed his feet towards his shins through the positive and negative phases of the movement. Yet, at other times, he extended his feet in the opposite direction because he felt this effect in the soleus muscle of the calf strongly. To Richard, this created dual muscle stimulus in the hamstrings and the calves all in one exercise.
One set each of 30, 20 and 15 reps, then 6 sets of 10 to 12 reps were performed, followed by a final 20-to-30-rep set. Richard said that when this exercise is executed in a flowing full contraction-and-extension manner, it is to the hamstrings what the barbell curl is to the biceps.
Pro Tip: Richard adducted (turned) his feet inward to stress inner hams on some sets and on others abducts or rotated them outward to hit the outer hamstrings.
*A Professional (plate-loaded) Leg Extension/Leg Curl Machine was used for exercises #3 & #4 (above).
1. Neck extension and flexion - The exercises for this muscle group were of manual type resistance, performed with the help of a training partner. Anterior flexion (front of the neck), posterior extension (back of the neck) and lateral contraction (for the sides of the neck) were performed for a combined 10 sets of 20 reps each. It is interesting to notice that bodybuilders such as Richard, back in the 1960's almost always included some type of exercise for the neck, unlike many of the bodybuilders of today.
2. Close-grip triceps extension - This exercise is performed in a supine or flat position on an exercise bench, using an EZ-curl bar. The elbows are sometimes positioned so that the lower arm could be extended to arms' length and lowered directly in line with the nose. At other times the elbows are positioned back at approximately 45 degrees past horizontal. The lower arm is then lowered to the surface of the flat bench behind the head and then extended to lockout, which was in line with the shoulders. Richard picked up this unique triceps extension variation from Ed Yarick, a trainer of three Mr. America's years ago.
One set each of 20, 15 and 10, 6, 3 and 1 were completed and this was followed up by 11 sets of 5 or 6 power reps and a usual 20-rep pump set.
3. Close-grip standing wall curl - On this exercise, which tests the strength and power in his biceps, Richard began by grasping a loaded EZ-curl bar with a 4-to-6-inch hand spacing. He then leaned back against a wall (a stationary post or door jamb is much better) so that his back was flat against it for support. His legs were straight with his feet slightly forward from his body (approximately 18") with the barbell held at arms' length, resting against the front of his thighs. He kept the elbows well behind the plane of his body with the insides of his biceps touching his rib cage. From here he curled the barbell (which is brushing the front of the body all the way up) to just below the low pec line. This action worked both the inner and lateral heads of his biceps.
At other times he curled the barbell in to his neck. In doing so his elbows moved forward and up which means that some deltoid action is taking place - not enough, however, to detract from the maximum peak squeezing and tensing effect he is able to accomplish on the biceps in this position. He then contracted the biceps muscles for a full two counts on each and every rep.
He used the same sets and reps as in the triceps extension exercise (Exercise #2 above).
Pro Tip: During some workouts, at the conclusion of the final rep of a particular set, Richard would step away from the door jamb and cheat curls the weight up in the positive phase and lowers in the negative style for 15 or so seconds for an additional 2 or 3 reps.
4. Stiff-legged deadlift - On this exercise he used an Olympic barbell so he can grasp the lip edge of the 45-pound plates (called snatch-grip deads). With the knees in a semi-locked position, arms locked straight at the elbow joints, one 45-pound plate in each hand, and using the muscles of his lower back and hamstrings, he raised up to a vertical position where he rotated his shoulders back and thrusts his chest out. Sometimes he did this exercise while standing on the floor and other times while standing on the end of a flat exercise bench, which has been securely bolted to the floor. At other times he would a wide grip on the bar itself, using a false grip. Again, he stood on a flat bench but with his toes placed exactly at the end. Then he stood up slowly, but then, when he began the descent for his next rep, he lowered the bar as far as possible below bench level. He did one set each of 20, 12, 8, 4, 1, 5,10 and 15 reps.
5. Donkey calf raise - Richard would do this exercise on a Rheo H. Blair wood calf block.
The block is six inches in height and allows for non interference of the stretching at the bottom of the movement. The ultimate in stretching is achieved because the block has a rounded edge and is completely covered with a 1/2" thick rubber foam and a 1/8" thick piece of ribbed rubber on top of that. This allows a bodybuilder to really grab hold of the surface with the toes and balls of the feet (without pain) and go into the calf-building super stretch without any fear of slipping off the block.
Richard used one of two basic foot positions on the Blair calf block.
Position #1: (toes 12 to 16" apart with heels 4" apart) develops the inner calf, but only coming up on the ball of the foot and big toe.
Position #2: (toes 8 to 12" apart with the heels much, much wider, as if assuming a pigeon-toed stance) it is most important to come up on the lateral or outer edge of the foot for maximum outer-calf stress. Richard assumed either one of these two positions without his shoes on.
(Personally I feel that it is best to wear shoes, which offer a high degree of traction and have a very thin, flexible sole. The best shoes that I have found that serve this purpose are the low-top Otomix. For Information visit: www.otomix.com).
He then bent over until his upper torso was perpendicular to the floor and supported himself by placing his elbows on another bench or on a horizontal bar which is about waist height and 30 to 36" away from the Blair calf block. Now it was just a matter of bending his knees and dropping down (to protect his lower back), allowing his workout partner to mount him in a position directly over his hips. He then locked his knee joints and begins with a set of 30 maxi-pump reps. Richard rested for a minute between sets then continued his journey into the pain zone by doing one set each of 20, 12, 15, 20 and 30 maxi-pump reps.
Sometimes he did what he termed a standing donkey calf raise where a workout partner sits astride his shoulders. He felt that this particular variation allowed for a more direct approach to the stretch at the bottom of the movement. Either one of these two exercises become especially intense if the workout partner holding a pair of 40-pound (plus) dumbbells in his hands.
If a workout partner was not available for the donkey calf raises, he improvised by doing them on a vertical leg press machine, or if things come to the worse, he attached a very heavy dumbbell or some cast iron dumbbell plates to a dip belt and would go from there.
Pro Tip #1: The Rheo H. Blair calf block was a revolutionary new design in calf training equipment back in the 1960's but unfortunately it is no longer available. However a company named ARC International has developed the CALF MASTER block. The CALF MASTER block has a bio-mechanically designed footplate which is shaped like an arc that follows the contour of the foot. The unique footplate (curve/arc) on this piece of equipment is a mirror image in design of the Blair calf block except that it is made of metal.
The CALF MASTER comes in three models. I suggest you call ARC International at 1.877.272.1468 and learn more about the revolutionary CALF MASTER.
Another calf training innovation that I have recently become aware of is Roger Stewart's EXTREME CALF MACHINE. This machine is actually a calf block made of aluminum but with one important and unique feature. It has a patented pivoting footplate which adds an important new dimension for expanding and upgrading calf training as we know it. The pivoting footplate extends the exercise motion and thereby creates the ultimate stretch and contraction of the calves. I own both of the calf units mentioned and I find that I get the utmost calf isolation, stimulation and growth using Roger Stewart's EXTREME CALF MACHINE. For more information e-mail Roger at B1Fit@bellsouth.net or call 1.866.468.3688.
Pro Tip #2: Between sets of the donkey calf raises, he did alternating one-legged donkey calf raises using just his own bodyweight. This was done while still maintaining good form. Richard's methods of transition from two to one leg is was as follows: With both legs absolutely locked at the knee joints he s-l-o-w-l-y lowered both of his heels down to the maximum negative stretch contraction position, actually trying to touch them to the floor. This was the starting point for beginning the set. From here and again with a s-l-o-w deliberate rep speed he raised his heels through the positive muscle contraction phase, going up on the balls of his feet and finally shifting his weight distribution to the first three toes (big toe and next two) of each foot at the top of the peak contraction.
At this point he bent his left knee joint and shifted his weight distribution to the right leg, which was still maintaining a knee-lock position. He then lowered s-l-o-w-l-y on the right leg through the complete negative stretch contraction, pauses for a one-second stretch and then rose back up through the positive muscle contraction phases. He held this "peak contraction" with the right leg for a count of two and then bent his right knee joint and shifted his weight distribution to his left leg and locked this knee joint. He then proceeded to do the sequence in the manner described for the right leg again.
It is important to remember that, although only one leg at a time is being worked, both feet are gripping the ribbed rubber surface of the calf block, but with one leg bent and the other leg straight. He does this in a smooth and rhythmical motion, rather than rapidly, for 50 maxi-pump reps. Doing this movement in between sets helps to maintain a muscle fatigue tension threshold for maximum gains. Sometimes, if he didn't make it to the gym, he did a weightless workout for the legs (using just his own bodyweight), supersetting this exercise with the Sissy squat for 10 nonstop supersets. He did 20 to 30 maxi-pump reps on each set of the alternate one-legged donkey calf raises and 12 to 15 maxi-pump reps on the Sissy squat. For those of you who are not familiar with the Sissy squat I offer you this brief description.
Sissy Squat Technique
Stand in an upright vertical posture next to a stationary post, power rack or chair, etc. With a slight absence of knee lock, place your feet approximately 12 to 18 inches apart, with heels inward and toes rotated out laterally, just slightly. Vince Gironda says the feet should be 13" apart and the knees 17" wide.
To maintain a perfect balance in this "fire-bombing" quadriceps exercise, lightly grasp hold of the stationary post, etc. with one hand.
Now, with just your own bodyweight, rise up on your toes or, if you wish, place your heels on a 4" x 4" block of wood. Lean your upper torso backward (approximately 45 degrees from vertical) until you feel a maximum stretch contraction in the quads, especially just above the knees. Your upper torso and thighs will be in alignment with one another if you have done this correctly.
While maintaining this inclined, lying back position (you will basically be at a 45-degree angle to horizontal position), slowly lower your body by bending your knees, allowing them to thrust forward. Allow the upper torso and thighs to descend to where the shoulders are directly over the heels and beyond. Do not relax at this point. Keep continuous tension on the quads by doing a smooth direction reversal at the bottom of the negative stretch (approximately parallel to the floor) phase by straightening your quads and driving your hips forward till you are once again at the non-lock starting point. Remember, as you come up, to push off on your heels while pulling the front part of your foot up off the floor.
Begin the next rep immediately. With absolutely no pausing, continue until you have completed 12 to 15 maxi-pump reps in nonstop, nonlock style.
It is a very good idea to practice the sissy squats with just your own bodyweight until it becomes a natural movement. There is a saying, "Practice makes perfect." I prefer to take it one step further and say, "Perfect practice makes perfect." This makes sense because, if you practice the Sissy squat or any other exercise for that matter, using sloppy form, you will never develop a precision technique.
Once you have mastered a precision technique with your own bodyweight you can begin to use extra weight in the form of a cast iron plate or a dumbbell or dumbbells. Of the three options, the loose plate is the easiest to accommodate because all you have to do is hold it securely against your chest with your free hand while maintaining perfect balance with the other. Holding a barbell (as in a Front squat position) or holding dumbbells hanging at your sides does not allow for the degree of leaning back you achieved with your bodyweight alone. The reason is that your balance is compromised because your hands are not free to assist you. This is a very minor obstacle to overcome. You can attach a 4-6 foot length of ½" rope securely around your waist (or tie it to the front of your lifting belt, directly in the center) then tie the other end of the rope at chest level to a stationary post. This will free up your hands so that you can use the barbell or dumbbells, and at the same time allow you to maintain the proper inclined layback position - and with perfect balance.
Sometimes Richard not only super-setted this bodyweight-only quads exercise with calves, but from time to time he supersets the Sissy squat (using a Roman chair exercise unit) with Duc leg presses on a vertical Leg press machine.
The late Chuck Sipes, a former IFBB Mr. World, on the other hand, would take the supported bodyweight-only Sissy squat to the outer limits of muscle stimulation by doing cumulative repetitions, finishing off with 20 maxi-pump reps. I explained in detail the premise behind cumulative repetitions on pages 81 through 84 in my book, Mass! (Contemporary Books, Inc. 1986). The bottom line is that if you want the ultimate in granite-hard quads, laced with deep cuts, then do as Richard Simons, Chuck Sipes and many of the west coast bodybuilding champions did and still do to this day - do Sissy squats!
Richard was into legwork in a big way - especially using the advanced superset technique just described. Sometimes he would superset Sissy squats with Leg curls or uses any one of the following combinations: Back squats with Front squats, Leg presses with Leg extensions, Leg presses with Leg curls (non-lock style).
As I mentioned at the beginning of this report Richard used a maximum poundage loading scheme (known as the Kaizen Principle. Charles Poliquin explains it in chapter 6 of his book The Poliquin Principles. Visit www.charlespoliquin.net) and perfect "technique emphasis" within each of the sets of the condensed high-volume workouts.
Though I didn't actually see any of the condensed high-volume workouts mentioned in this article I had the opportunity of watching Richard work out on other occasions (Donne Hales "Fitness and Figure Gym in Hialeah, Florida in 1966) and can testify to his use of maximum poundage and perfect "technique-emphasis" on the exercises he was doing and have no reason to believe that he would do otherwise in any training program that he would embark upon.
Richard told me that an exercise is only effective as the effort you apply. The most effective ones he used in the condensed high-volume workouts were movements he enjoyed doing rather than similar exercises he had a mental block against. He said that some of the exercises he used in this particular program may not be suitable for others, due to certain injuries that may make the exercise painful and limit progress. He suggested using other exercises that perform a similar action but allow you to make better, pain-free gains.
Thinking back to this discussion on exercise I completely spaced asking Richard why there weren't any abdominal or forearm exercises in this particular program.
The Mega-Calorie Diet
Supporting the huge energy requirements necessary for the condensed high-volume training program required an aggressive stepped up increase in daily calories consumed. Over a very short period of time Richard went from 5,000 to 9,000 calories per day with about 1,560 of the calories (390 grams) being in the form of complete proteins. He did say that most male bodybuilders could meet most of their nutritional demands on 5,000-6,000 calories with a 1000 of those calories (250 grams) being in the form of quality dietary protein.
To meet the demands of consuming 390 grams of quality dietary protein per day, Richard said that he would chug down 6-9 quarts of milk, 3 pounds of meat (mostly hamburger), and plenty of fish, tuna and cheese. To insure that the protein was properly assimilated he would drink one quart of Papaya juice daily. He also took in plenty of vitamins and minerals in supplement form throughout each day. It should be noted that Richard didn't have any mealtime strategies except to eat and drink whenever he felt the need throughout the day.
By following the condensed high-volume training and stepped up daily calorie consumption, as outlined, Richard increased his bodyweight from 200 pounds to 225 pounds. This was a gain of 25 Pounds of in 21 Days. The gains Richard experienced were startling. At a height of 6'2" Richard had some impressive body part measurements to go along with his muscle weight gain. His upper arms measured 18.5 inches, forearms (gooseneck) 15.5 inches, chest 51.5 inches, waist 34 inches, thighs 28.5 inches and calves 17.5 inches (this was a weak area for Richard).
Richard told me that his primary goal was to one day weigh in at a rock hard, 255 pounds. To achieve this he said that he would have to get his bodyweight up to 300 pounds and then train and diet back down slowly to his goal of 255 pounds. As the years past I lost track of Richard so I never did find out if he achieved his primary goal.
Reflecting back to 1966, I was only 20 years old and very impressionable and a bit naive so I have to look deep within and ask myself if I really believed that Richard Simons actually gained 25 Pounds in 21 Days and with only 9 muscle-pumping workouts. Personally, I believe he did and I'll tell you why shortly.
I realize that some of you reading this report may be somewhat skeptical and take issue with regard to the High-Volume Training Strategy he used and The Transformation!, or physical metamorphosis resulting from it. I would be amiss if I didn't briefly comment on each of these two issues.
Evolutionary High-Volume Training Was in Vogue
I realize that many HIT (high intensity training) advocates (who believe that one of the keys to any weight training is intensity within a set rather than the quantity of sets performed) will literally freak when looking at the training approach he took on for it appears that in addition to the adrenaline fueled intensity he put into each exercise he also placed a lot of emphasis on the quantity of sets (up to 18 per exercise) he used to achieve his goals.
It should be noted that Evolutionary high-volume training was in vogue back in the 1960's, an example being the PHA (Peripheral Heart Action) system that the 1966 Mr. America Robert S. Gajda and others such as Frank Zane and Sergio Oliva were following at the time. It wasn't uncommon to see Gajda, for example, performing two hundred plus sets and beyond in just one workout. By comparison the total number of sets Richard on the otherhand was averaging only 56 sets per workout which would seem to be a modified high-volume training style when compared to the PHA system. The bottom line was, high-volume training, however you define it, worked for the contest entering and winning bodybuilders of that era.
There were many reasons why Richard succeeded with high-volume training. Here are a few of them.
1 - He was an Iron Head in his early 20's so he had an over abundance of natural growth hormone pouring over the pours of his awakened and alert muscle fibers.
2 - He had the Mind Power Doctrine of An Iron Warrior, which was an ABSOLUTE BELIEF IN THE EFFECTIVENESS AND THE END RESULT OF THE PROCESS HE WAS USING. Richard said that it is was his mind that provided the impetus to succeed with the challenging condensed high-volume training program with the end result being a super gain of 25 Pounds in 21 Days.
3 - His workout program was designed to overload specific muscle groups on three non-consecutive days per week only. The remaining four days per week allowed for the twofold recovery of the muscles and central nervous system.
4 - Rest & relaxation were of vital importance. He would get at least eight to nine hours of sleep a night and three hours of total relaxation throughout each day, which he felt was the equivalent to a night's sleep.
5 - Adequate nutritional support (i.e. Mega-Calorie or Ultra Mass Diet).
Defending The Transformation!
The skeptic might say that a gain of 25 Pounds in 21 Days and with only 9 muscle-pumping workouts is a case of "Sounds Too Good to Be True." However I must point out that as far back as the 1930s, it was not uncommon to see guys making gains of 25-30 pounds in a month or less, the two most famous names being Joseph Curtis Hise and Buck Reed. Enter into the 1950s and one had to marvel at ability of the great John C. Grimek, who could vary his weight 30 pounds or so in a couple of weeks, either up or down and at one time went up to 240 pounds at 5'8".
Richard Simons was not the sole boss of super gain theory in the 1960s. Other bodybuilders such as AAU Mr. America competitor Ralph Kroger stated on numerous occasions that he could make gains of 30-40 pounds in a month if need be. Another person that comes to mind during this era was a bodybuilder named Vern Bickel, who gained 15 pounds in 17 days.
One of the most famous and well documented (actual research papers) transformations was The Colorado Experiment in 1972-73 where the 1971 AAU Mr. America, Casey Viator (www.caseyviator.com) gained more than 60 Pounds (of muscular mass) in 28 Days and with only 12 (high-intensity) workouts, each of which were less than 30 minutes. There are a couple of other literature references pertaining to the super gain theory that I want to make mention of. In 1974, Ernest F. Cottrell, a feature writer and ex-Editor of Joe Weider's Muscle Builder/ Power magazine, gained 38 pounds in less than two weeks, while performing only 4 total body workouts on a special exercise apparatus (he invented in 1953) called a "Maxi-Sizer". And in more recent years (1995) David Hudlow gained 18.5 pounds of muscle in 11 days using a system called Upside-Down Bodybuilding, while under the supervision of Dr. Ellington Darden.
It is not my intent to discuss whether or not the gains mentioned in each of the cases sited were over-hyped, and/or the ratio of muscle to fat gain (although in the Colorado Experiment, Casey Viator gained more than 45 pounds of bodyweight while losing about 19 pounds of fat).
I believe the 8 examples that I have just mentioned strongly supports my belief that Richard Simons did in fact gain 25 Pounds in 21 Days and with only 9 muscle pumping workouts. There is one other factor in this bodybuilding equation that needs to be mentioned and it is...
To accelerate strength gains and a mild muscle hardness Richard was very candid and stated that he took 25 milligrams per day of the oral anabolic steroid Anavar (Oxandrolone) for 21 days only. I have no idea how much effect the very minimal daily dosages (Ten 2.5 milligram tablets) of Anavar had on the overall gain factor of 25 Pounds in 21 Days as opposed to non-anabolic steroid use and I doubt Richard did either. Richard provided the information on his use of Anavar as a point of view and NOT as a recommendation for others to follow.
On a personal note I would say that, unless you are a pituitary dwarf or 99 years old and weight 60 pounds, you shouldn't ever risk taking anabolic steroids without medical permission and supervision.
This program-neither the diet nor the workout are NOT for beginners or for advanced bodybuilders 40 and beyond as it might seriously overtax recovery (muscle and central nervous system) limits. Remember that recovery must always proceed muscle growth!
I hope you have enjoyed reading about the persistence, hard work and nutrition that one man (Richard Simons) used to gain to Get Big.FAST!