Starting Training in the New Year: Program Analysis

What to do and not to do when training this year

It's the New Year and a lot of people will begin a new training program OR get back into an old one.  I recently came across an Instagram post by Arnold Schwarzenegger providing a beginner workout for people to try.  I screenshot the program because it is an opportunity to learn how destructive most training programs are, even the ones from someone as respected as Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Here are a few key points to consider when training:

1. Being sore doesn't equate to a successful training session.  In fact, excessive soreness is a sign you did too much.

2. How much you sweat doesn't make or break your training.  Most popular training programs using this model are ONLY training endurance which doesn't produce well rounded results.  It also allows trainers and coaches to distract you with what seems like a great product, but underneath lacks substance towards YOUR goals and who YOU ARE.

3.  Strength programs that create muscle imbalance also create injury as a result.  Not only do imbalanced programs make your physique look distorted, but they damage your joints from the unequal distribution of force throughout the body

With that Being Said...Let's take a look at Arnie's Program...it ain't pretty but it might look familiar

LET ME BE CLEAR.  I AM NOT RECOMMENDING THIS PROGRAM!!

ARNIE'S PROGRAM ANALYSIS DAY 1   Let's look at volume (amount of exercises and sets) and exercise selection (muscle balance).  The Warm-up is 6 sets. The workout is 15 sets. The grand total is 21 sets. This is considered low volume for a mainstream program. For a beginner this MIGHT be ok, but it is on the higher volume end for me. You don't have to exhaust yourself in a workout. Plan to work hard during the sets you do, but leave something in the tank. Your objective is to do enough to get the result and then stop.  Exercise Selection:  When training legs, squats train quads predominantly and deadlifts train glutes/hamstrings predominantly. In your program you have to have a balance of each equally (generally speaking). If you don't you will get hurt. This program has 3 squat varieties and 1 from the deadlift family. If you do this program your quads will be tightening 3x as fast as your glutes and hamstrings. This means you are headed for knee pain and eventual injury to the knee.  When training upper body bench press trains chest and the front deltoids (front of shoulder). Rowing exercises train the back. This program has 2 exercise training the chest, the push-up and plank. It has 2 exercises training the deltoids, the plank and the side plank and 0 exercises training the back. If you do this program your chest will become tighter than your back. You will develop shoulder pain (most likely neck as well) and eventual injury to the shoulder.  When training the abdominals this program has...well not much. The plank is an advanced integrated abdominal exercise as described by Ian King in his books (i.e. How to Write Strength Training Programs). If you follow this program you will not develop abdominals, BUT you WILL develop back pain.   So just from doing day 1 you are on your way to neck pain, knee pain and lower back pain...your orthopedic doctor is already counting his/her money. Onto Day 2...  I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS PROGRAM TO BE CLEAR

ARNIE'S PROGRAM ANALYSIS DAY 1

Let's look at volume (amount of exercises and sets) and exercise selection (muscle balance).

The Warm-up is 6 sets. The workout is 15 sets. The grand total is 21 sets. This is considered low volume for a mainstream program. For a beginner this MIGHT be ok, but it is on the higher volume end for me. You don't have to exhaust yourself in a workout. Plan to work hard during the sets you do, but leave something in the tank. Your objective is to do enough to get the result and then stop.

Exercise Selection:

When training legs, squats train quads predominantly and deadlifts train glutes/hamstrings predominantly. In your program you have to have a balance of each equally (generally speaking). If you don't you will get hurt. This program has 3 squat varieties and 1 from the deadlift family. If you do this program your quads will be tightening 3x as fast as your glutes and hamstrings. This means you are headed for knee pain and eventual injury to the knee.

When training upper body bench press trains chest and the front deltoids (front of shoulder). Rowing exercises train the back. This program has 2 exercise training the chest, the push-up and plank. It has 2 exercises training the deltoids, the plank and the side plank and 0 exercises training the back. If you do this program your chest will become tighter than your back. You will develop shoulder pain (most likely neck as well) and eventual injury to the shoulder.

When training the abdominals this program has...well not much. The plank is an advanced integrated abdominal exercise as described by Ian King in his books (i.e. How to Write Strength Training Programs). If you follow this program you will not develop abdominals, BUT you WILL develop back pain.

So just from doing day 1 you are on your way to neck pain, knee pain and lower back pain...your orthopedic doctor is already counting his/her money. Onto Day 2...

I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS PROGRAM TO BE CLEAR

ARNIE'S PROGRAM ANALYSIS DAY 2   You use the same Warm-up in day 2 so the volume break down goes like this. 21 total sets...which is a bit high but could be ok for a beginner if the exercise selection was appropriate with appropriate rest periods.  Exercise Selection:  Step-Ups are a squat variety. You use your butt in squats to be sure, BUT your quads get most of the work. If you only do squats you will develop knee injuries and lower back injuries as well.  So this program has a total of 3 squat varieties (Step-Up, Mountain Climber, and Split Squat). It has a total of 1 exercise from the deadlift family tree. This means your quads are taking 3x as much force as your glutes/hamstrings and tightening 3x faster. If you do this program you will develop knee pain and eventual knee injury. If you do this program you will experience back pain and potentially more severe back problems.  The only other exercise in this portion of the program is the plank. The plank is considered an abdominal exercise, but you are using your chest/shoulders to support your weight. You also have to use your legs to stay in a straight line. If you do this exercise and haven't become proficient at the components of the exercise you could potentially create neck/shoulder issues as well as lower back. Which is VERY common the way they are performed by the masses. This exercise works the chest and shoulders again which is similar to Day 1. There are 0 back exercises. If you do this program or do this in a training program you will develop shoulder pain and eventual shoulder injuries. You will probably also develop neck and lower back pain.

ARNIE'S PROGRAM ANALYSIS DAY 2

You use the same Warm-up in day 2 so the volume break down goes like this.
21 total sets...which is a bit high but could be ok for a beginner if the exercise selection was appropriate with appropriate rest periods.

Exercise Selection:

Step-Ups are a squat variety. You use your butt in squats to be sure, BUT your quads get most of the work. If you only do squats you will develop knee injuries and lower back injuries as well.

So this program has a total of 3 squat varieties (Step-Up, Mountain Climber, and Split Squat). It has a total of 1 exercise from the deadlift family tree. This means your quads are taking 3x as much force as your glutes/hamstrings and tightening 3x faster. If you do this program you will develop knee pain and eventual knee injury. If you do this program you will experience back pain and potentially more severe back problems.

The only other exercise in this portion of the program is the plank. The plank is considered an abdominal exercise, but you are using your chest/shoulders to support your weight. You also have to use your legs to stay in a straight line. If you do this exercise and haven't become proficient at the components of the exercise you could potentially create neck/shoulder issues as well as lower back. Which is VERY common the way they are performed by the masses. This exercise works the chest and shoulders again which is similar to Day 1. There are 0 back exercises. If you do this program or do this in a training program you will develop shoulder pain and eventual shoulder injuries. You will probably also develop neck and lower back pain.

IN CONCLUSION:

This program sucks.  It's total shit and if you do it don't say I didn't warn you.  Happy New Year!!

Arnold was one of the most successful bodybuilders and actors in history.  Enjoy his professional work, but stay away from workout advice like this.

 

Tom LegathComment