Joe Weider is considered the father of modern bodybuilding by many people. His contributions to the industry are unparalleled. Along with providing equipment and running numerous gyms, Joe also helped create a number of principles of bodybuilding. Students of the sport such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and others utilized many of these concepts in their training and so can you.
Weider created a lot of principles but for this article we will focus on out top 10. The principles themselves are more like an overall guide versus some sort of specific training system. But the concepts are very sound and have been well used by thousands of people over the years (if not millions).
- Continuous Tension Principle – The idea is to maintain a slow and controlled movement during the entire exercise to keep constant tension on the muscle. This will maximize muscle fiber involvement.
- Superset Training Principle – The idea is to pick to opposing muscle groups (such as back and chest) and perform an exercise for one group and superset that (short rest period) with the other group. So you would do a set of pullups, rest 30 seconds and do a set of bench press.
- Pre-Exhaustion Principle – You perform an isolation movement first prior to doing a compound exercise (such as chest flyes followed by bench presses). This allows the other muscles to push the primary muscle harder during the compound exercise because it is already tired.
- Rest-Pause Principle – You perform a few reps at close to maximum weight you can lift. Then you rest 10 to 15 seconds before doing your next set. The short rest time creates a higher level of intensity.
- Cheating Principle – You use momentum to help move a weight past the ‘sticking’ point in an exercise to allow an extra rep or two and thus more stress on the target muscle.
- Muscle Priority Principle – Basically you target your weakest points first. At the beginning of a workout you have the most energy and best focus so it should be used on your weakest links.
- Split System Training Principle – The idea of splitting your workout into upper and lower body and training them on different days. People actually used to just work the entire body each time.
- Muscle Confusion Principle – The idea of changing exercises, sets, reps, and weight to attack the muscles in different ways.
- Progressive Overload Principle – The idea of constantly making your workouts more difficult to stress and overload your body to spur change and growth.
- Instinctive Training Principle – The concept that you can vary all aspects of your workout based on what you feel works the best at that given time. Some days involve higher reps while others you change routines or sets.
As you can tell Joe Weider either helped create or was the first to put into print many of the basic fundamentals of intermediate and advanced bodybuilding. In fact, you would be hard pressed to not find a single person at the gym that isn’t doing at least one or two things Joe preached. That is why his principles are important to study. As they are the backbone of modern bodybuilding, it is knowledge that is worthwhile having.