Strength Training for Bodybuilding by Reg Park

Do you want to combine strength training with bodybuilding? In this article bodybuilding icon and Arnold’s rolemodel Reg Park will reveal his secret about powerbuilding, have fun – Mr. Berg

Strength Training for Bodybuilding by Reg Park
“I have always felt that a bodybuilder should employ strength training along with his regular bodybuilding exercises. But at the same time, the ultimate goal must be kept clearly in mind. A certain amount of strength training will do great thing for your physique; but too much will destroy some of the muscle shape that is so necessary to win top physique titles.

In my own case, I have always tended to handle heavy poundages wherever possible. In fact, I devoted one whol year to strength training alone, and have always tried to handle progressively heavier poundages until just recently, when pressures of business have forced me to curtail my workouts sharply.

Bodybuilders are primarily concerned with increasing muscular size, and so their training must be oriented in this direction. The single repetition that will develop strength effectively will not aid the bodybuilder to any great degree. Increased muscular size can be accomplish only by handling progressively heavier poundages with sufficient repetitions to carry an increased blood supply to the muscle being exercised. In this manner the muscle fibres receive nutrition, stimulation and will grow.

From a bodybuilding point of view, repetitions of from five to ten have been found to be ideal for most people, but since increased poundages are necessary to activate dormant fibres, and to create growth in the already active ones, a form of strength training is essential for bodybuilders.

Beginners should follow a general type of training with about three setsof 10 repetitions per muscle group. After about six months to a year, I recommend a strength program such as the one that follows.

Exercise Sets x Reps
Prone Hyperextensions 5×10
Squat 5×5
Benchpress 5×5
Incline Dumbbell Benchpress 5×5
Deadlift 5×5
Bentover rowing 5×5
Press behind neck 5×5
Curl 5×5

The first two sets of each exercise should be used as progressive warmups, with the last three sets a heavy poundage. For example, if you are capable of squatting 200 pounds for 5 reps, start with 160 for 5, 180 for 5, and then do 200 for 3 sets of 5. When you are able to make five reps on all three heavy sets, increase the weight five pounds.

This method applies to all exercises listed. It is asdsumed that you are trying to gain muscular bodyweight on this program, so be sure that you eat and drink much more to give your body the added nutrition it needs. A good supplement is vital. Also make sure your diet containt plenty of protein rich foods, such as meat, eggs, and milk.

This is a very rugged workout, so be sure that you get at least 8 hours sleep every night. Try to maintain a very positive attitude as this will help you gain strength and size better than you can imagine.

After a year or so of strength training, you will find you have gained a great deal of size and your strength will have increased immeasureably, but you may discover that you have lost a little shape and definition.

At this stage it is advisable to change to basic bodybuilding exercises per group, 5 sets of 8 reps per exercise, making a total of 15 sets of 8 reps per muscle group. In six months, this program will not only add to your physique in size, but will create a very shapely and defined appearance.

Reg Park back bodybuilding

I feel that my own physique suffered from too much strength training. I worked up to a 600 pound squat, a 500 pound benchpress, and a 300 pound behind the neck press. At the time these strength goals were very important to me, but I am sure that I would have benefited more had I worked a little more on shape. It was my experience that strength training, when carried on for too long a period, develops the ligaments and tendons to the point where further muscle growth is difficult.

When I returned to pure bodybuilding, I was unable for some time to get any marked size increase on my arms. Now that I no longer try for strength records calling for supreme efforts of will, I can gain muscular size very easily.

So here we habe the dilemma. Strength training alone will not, in most cases, build a finished physique. But pure bodybuilding alone is not the answer either, as this tends to give a “puffy” appearance to the muscle, and takes away the appearance of power. I have also noticed over the years, that bodybuilders who went in for pure lightresistance movements alone did not retain their physiques well into life. Champions who trained for strength as well as size developed quality muscle that stays in top condition with a minimum of training. John Grimek, who won the first official Mr. America Contest back in 1940, and who must be close to 60 by now, still maintains a fantastic physique. Why? His muscle are quality muscles developed by a combination of heavy strength exercises and lighter shaping exercises.

What is your bodybuilding goal? Do you want a good build, or a great one? If you answer is the one I think it is, a combination of strength training and pure bodybuilding is for your.”

Strength and Health, Sept 68

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