JOE WEIDER is the man who went on to revolutionize the sport of bodybuilding. Nicknamed ‘the master blaster’, Joe happened to be the guiding light of many old-school bodybuilding legends such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Frank Zane, and many more.
Joe Weider will always be regarded as a legendary figure in the world of bodybuilding. Despite having limited resources, not only he went on to build a great physique but also influenced and guided many to make a successful career in bodybuilding.
So let’s get to know about Joe Weider’s workout routine and diet plan that he relied on in his early years to build a muscular and aesthetic body.
Joe Weider’s Workout Principles
Joe Weider’s workout plan was all about packing on dense muscle mass on his frame. He did so by practicing weight training at an early age which also made him win some weightlifting competitions.
In the era of Joe Weider, the sport of bodybuilding was still in it’s infancy phase. But he made sure to give the sport the kind popularity it deserved.
Before doing so, he also went on to build a decently muscular physique. So how did he do that? Let’s find out the answer to that question in the next section.
Joe Weider’s Workout Routine
The era in which Joe Weider had started his weight training journey neither had world-class gym equipment nor did it have modern training principles and techniques. All that was available to him was some dumbbells and barbells and a strong will to build a physique.
Joe relied on basic compound and isolation exercises to build up his muscle mass. His exercise routine was pretty simple but at the same time, it was immensely effective in terms of facilitating lean muscle gains.
When Joe Weider started training individuals who wanted to get muscular, he suggested they follow the same workout routine. And doing so indeed put decent amounts of muscle mass on their frame.
For both beginner and intermediate lifters Joe designed a training program that required them to hit the gym just 4 days a week. It was targeted toward building maximum muscle mass and hence it followed a full-body workout split.
So let’s have a look at the exercises that were there in Joe Weider’s workout routine:-
Monday and Thursday
- Barbell bench press- 6 sets of 5-15 reps
- Bent-over barbell rows- 6 sets of 5-15 reps
- Standing overhead press- 5 sets of 5-12 reps
- Barbell reverse curls- 3 sets of 6-10 reps
- Wrist curls- 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Incline sit-ups- 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps
- Seated calf raises- 5 sets of 6-15 reps
Tuesday and Friday
- Barbell squats- 6 sets of 5-15 reps
- Stiff-leg deadlifts- 4 sets of 6-12 reps
- Barbell curls- 4 sets of 6-12 reps
- Close grip bench press- 4 sets of 6-12 reps
- Hanging leg raises- 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Standing calf raises- 5 sets of 6-15 reps
Joe recommended to follow the above-mentioned training program for at least 3 months. Once, that training program becomes relatively easier for the lifter, he must switch to the following exercise routine:-
Monday and Thursday
- Incline bench press- 6 sets of 5-15 reps
- Weighted dips- 4 sets of 6-12 reps
- Front lat pulldowns- 4 sets of 6-12 reps
- Seated cable rows- 6 sets of 5-15 reps
- Barbell upright rows- 3 sets of 6-10 rows
- Barbell reverse curls- 4 sets of 5-10 reps
- Barbell wrist curls- 4 sets of 10-15 reps
- Incline sit-ups- 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps
- Seated calf raises- 6 sets of 6-15 reps
Tuesday and Friday
- Squats- 6 sets of 5-15 reps
- Leg press- 5 sets of 5-12 reps
- Stiff-leg deadlift- 5 sets of 5-12 reps
- Lying leg curls- 3 sets of 6-10 reps
- Barbell preacher curls- 5 sets of 6-15 reps
- Close-grip bench press- 5 sets of 6-15 reps
- Hanging leg raises- 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
- Standing calf raises- 5 sets of 6-15 reps
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Joe Weider is officially the father of all the training principles and intensity techniques that have become a crucial part of modern training programs. He not only included these techniques in his workout routine but also asked the ones who trained under him to do so. The application of those techniques and principles enhanced the training intensity of lifters which fetched them greater size and strength gains.
The principles and intensity techniques that were discovered and implemented by Joe Weider are as follows:-
This principle says that a weaker muscle group should be trained first. For instance, if you train your chest and back together and your chest is a weaker muscle group as compared to your back, you must first train your chest.
This is because by doing so you will be able to subject your pectorals to greater stress as you would be fresh and energetic at the start of your workout session. This will also allow you to train your pectoral with relatively heavier weights.
This principle states that muscles tend to get used to performing the same exercises in the same way. And once that happens, muscle growth becomes extremely slow.
To counter such a scenario, the muscles should be shocked on a regular basis. You can do so by changing the order of the exercises, increasing/decreasing the number of sets and reps, or by simply doing some exercises that your body is not used to.
By applying the shocking principle, your muscles get a new kind of stimulus that facilitates both strength and size gains.
This technique was designed by Weider to train a muscle beyond failure. You can implement it by choosing a weight (on any exercise) that allows you to perform 8-12 strict reps. Once you get in the position of not being able to do even a single rep, ask your training partner to spot you so that you hit additional 3-5 reps.
This technique subjects the muscles to greater stress that promotes both strength and size gains.
This intensity technique requires the lifter to perform some partial reps once the desired number of reps have been performed and the targeted muscles are fully exhausted. By doing so the targeted muscle group(s) has to work a bit extra which completely stimulates it putting it into growth mode.
This principle states that at times before performing a compound lift with heavier weights one should choose a moderately heavier weight and perform an isolation lift for the targeted muscle group. For instance, before performing some heavy sets on the bench press, you can choose to perform a few sets of dumbbell flys.
Doing so will flush your pectorals with blood and will also give them a decent warm-up. This will allow you to get greater pectoral stimulation while performing the bench press.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout Routine
Lou Ferrigno Workout Routine
Frank Zane Growth Workout Plan
Arnold Golden Six Routine
Joe Weider’s Diet Plan
Talking about the importance of a well-structured diet plan when it comes to building a muscular and aesthetic physique, Joe claimed,
“Diet is 75% of the battle.”
He was absolutely right as a strenuous training routine breaks muscle fibers. Their recovery occurs when they are fetched with vital nutrients that come from a nutritious diet plan.
A diet plan that is targeted toward building muscle size and strength should have a decent amount of protein. Joe said that one should have some amount of protein in each of the meals. Food items like milk, eggs, fish, beef, and poultry are quite rich in their protein component and they should be there in a diet plan focused on facilitating muscle building.
Here are some other features that Joe recommended should be there in a muscle building diet plan:-
- Don’t consume more than 30 grams of protein in a single meal as doing so leads to better assimilation of proteins in the body.
- Eat 3 major meals in a day and a few smaller meals in between the major meals.
- For the smaller meals, you can rely on having raw fruits and vegetables.
- You should also make it a point to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- In order to fetch the body healthy fats, one should prefer consuming nuts and seeds. Their consumption also keeps the health of nerves and skin on point.
Variety is Important
Joe always recommended making slight changes in one’s diet plan regularly. By doing so one can stick to the habit of feeding the body nutritiously and that too without getting bored from having the same food items every single day.
Foods to Avoid
To maintain his muscular and aesthetic physique, Joe stayed away from junk foods, processed/fried foods, and food items that have excess amounts of sugar or white flour. He avoided eating food items that have too much salt or other seasonings. He also recommended not consuming soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.
Joe Weider’s Supplements
The supplement industry during the times of Joe Weider was in its infancy phase. There were just a handful of supplements that were available in that era.
So, below are options that may benefit anyone following a bodybuilding diet plan:-
- Vitamin supplement
- Mineral supplement
Above-mentioned supplements will increase the proportion of vitamins and minerals in your diet.
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German Volume Training
Joe Weider popularized bodybuilding in an era when it was not main stream. And his vision turned into a reality with his determination. Well, that’s some serious stuff we all should learn from the Master Blaster.
So if you too are getting started with your lifting journey, follow the Weider principles and techniques mentioned in this post. We can guarantee you that it will not only guide you well but will also enable you to build a physique that you will always be proud of.