The Elite Physique

Weider Training Principles

The Weider Training Principles are the best bodybuilding techniques and are the backbone of building to achieving above average muscle size.   Joe Weider is the founder of the Weider Training Principles.

Joe Weider, along with his brother Ben Weider, are the founders of the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB), founded in 1946.  They are also the creators of the Olympia Bodybuilding competitions and the publishers of many bodybuilding magazines such as Flex, Muscle & Fitness, Shape, etc.  If you enjoy your current bodybuilding culture, you have these two brothers to thank.

weider training principles

The Weider Training Principles Have Built Champions

To expand on your current fitness lifestyle and build a better body, it’s imperative that you implement the Weider Training Principles.  These are training principles that give direction to a way of training to take your muscle development and strength to new levels.

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Beginners Training Principles

Set System Training Principle

Set System Training is using several sets (3-5 sets) of one exercise to completely fatigue each muscle group.

Progressive Overload Principle

Progressive Overload means to continually increase the demands on the musculoskeletal system every training session.  The idea is to constantly overload the muscles through increased poundage every workout by increasing the poundage each training session.

Isolation Training Principle

Isolation Training is a single-joint movement, an isolation exercise.  Several muscles can be trained as a unit and even isolated and worked separately.  It’s recommended to use 1-2 isolation exercises for each body part.

Muscle Confusion Training Principle

Muscle Confusion Training is where you constantly change the variables of your workouts each session such as changing the exercises, number of sets, reps, rest time, etc.  Muscle confusion keeps the body off guard and can ward off plateaus.

Intermediate Training Principles

Split-System Training Principle

Split-System Training separates your body so you can train certain muscle groups together for a better, high-intensity workout.  Examples are training your chest and shoulders together, training your biceps and triceps together, training your back and biceps together, etc.

Cycle Training Principle

Cycle Training is also known as Periodization.  This format of training designates portions of your training year to specific goals for strength and mass to getting lean and cut.  This is one of the more popular Weider Training Principles for those who compete.

Super Set Training Principle

Most people get this principle wrong.  They assume training ANY two muscle groups back-to-back is a super set.  That’s wrong.  A super set is performing a set of two OPPOSING muscle groups back-to-back such as biceps and triceps, chest and back, and hams and quads.

This standard is doing individual sets, one for each exercise, immediately after each other.  An example is Triceps extension immediately followed by Biceps curl.

Compound Set Principle

A compound set is doing two exercises for the SAME muscle group back-to-back with no rest between each set.  An example is doing the shoulder press immediately followed by lateral raises.

Pyramid Training Principle

Pyramid Training includes a range of light to heavy poundage with each exercise.  Start with light weight and high reps (15) and then progressively increase the poundage in each set while lowering your reps.  The final reps for the last set can be in the 6-8 rep range.

Holistic Training Principle

Your muscles are composed of different types of fibers and this is where Holistic Training can be of value.   Holistic Training is using numerous sorts of training methods (high and low reps, slow and fast paced reps, and various exercises) to stimulate the most muscle fibers possible.

Muscle Priority Training Principle

Muscle Priority Training helps to target a slow-responding muscle groups.  This principle is designed to target lagging muscle groups first in your workout, when you are mentally and physically strong.  By hitting your weakest muscle group first in your workout, you can train it with more intensity.

Flush Training Principle

Flush Training, also referred to as Circulation Training, is getting the maximum amount of blood to that targeted muscle group to stimulate growth.  Flush Training is simply body part training where you work one body part with several exercise before moving to another muscle group.  An example is doing 3-4 exercises for the chest before moving to the next muscle group.

Iso-Tension Training Principle

Iso-Tension is muscle control.  You can master this by flexing the muscle group you are training between sets.  Hold the contraction for 6-8 seconds or more.  Iso-Tension improves muscle conditioning.

Advanced Training Principles

Double and Triple-Split Training Principle

Double-Split and Triple-Split Training is when you workout 2 and 3 times a day.   These workouts are short, 1-2 body parts per session, with just a few heavy sets. These are intense workouts and commonly used pre-contest.

Tri-Sets Training Principle

A Tri-Set is performing 3 different exercises, back-to-back, for one muscle group.  One circuit of 3 exercises is considered one set.

Giant Sets Training Principle

A Giant Set is performing 4 or more varying exercises, back-to-back, for the same muscle group.  One circuit of 4 or more exercises is considered one set.

Rest-Pause Training Principle

Rest-Pause Training can help build muscle size and strength by lifting heavy weight within one set.

Load the bar with a poundage you can lift for 2-3 reps, rest 35-40 seconds, and then try to hit 2-3 more reps.  Rest 40-60 seconds and hit as many reps as you can until failure.  Rest 60-90 seconds of rest and repeat.

Speed Training Principle

Speed Training, some call it the Super-Speed Training, which breaks up the normal rhythm of your training.  Take your paced reps and do explosive lifts.

Continuous-Tension Training Principle

Continuous-Tension breaks the momentum of training.  If you race through sets, the momentum of your training is doing the work, not your muscles.  The amount of weight you lift is a lot less when you use controlled motion. In doing so, you’ll properly stimulate all your muscle fibers in the targeted muscle group.

Peak Contraction Training Principle

Peak-Contraction Training is an extension of controlled motion to promote maximum muscle tension.  This is simply squeezing the contracted muscle isometrically at the contraction of the rep.  This can help with muscle control and build muscle faster.  This is one of the most power Weider Training Principles.

Eclectic Training Principle

Eclectic Training is a type of muscle confusion technique. Design each muscle group workout to include some mass building, multi-joint movements, as well as several single-joint exercises.

Instinctive Training Principle

Instinctive Training is following your own instinct in creating your workout and choosing principles that appear best at the current time.  The advanced lifter can often use this principle well and not allow overtraining.

Forced Reps

Forced Reps involve reaching complete failure on a set and then a spotter steps in to help you finish a couple of more reps.

Reverse (Retro) Gravity Training Principle

Reverse-Gravity Training is resisting the descending motion of heavy poundage.  Having a spotter is a great help.  Your spotter can actually help you lift heavier than average weight and let you complete the negative part of the rep.

Staggered Sets Training Principle

A Staggered Set is typically performed for smaller muscle groups like forearms, calves, and traps.  When using this training principle, a lifter will alternate sets of these smaller body parts while training a major body part such as chest.

Cheating Training Principle

The Cheating Principle is training past muscle failure, proper form is compromised, and you use other muscles to assist in moving the weight a few more reps.

Pre-Exhaustion Training Principle

Pre-Exhaustion Training is putting a muscle group under stress to the point of exhaustion using a single-joint (isolation) exercise followed by a multi-joint (compound) exercise.

Burns Training Principle

The Burns Principle is training a muscle after complete exhaustion.  After you’ve trained the muscle to failure, continue with several more reps, even if it’s just a partial rep.  The idea is to keep moving the weight, even if it’s only an inch or two.

Partial Reps Training Principle

Partial Reps allows you to lift heavy poundage by using a shorter range of motion.  Rather than doing a full range of motion rep, the rep will be from mid-point to fully contracted, which is your strongest range.

21’s Training Principle

The 21’s Training Principle helps you break through sticking points.  You simply do 7 reps from fully stretched to mid-point, then 7 reps from mid-point to fully contracted, and then 7 reps full range of motion.

Descending Sets Training Principle

The Weider Training Principles also include the Descending Sets, also known as Stripping Sets or Drop Sets, is to extend a set by lowering the poundage each time you reach muscle failure in a set. This works the muscle to complete and ultimate failure.

The Quality Principle

The Quality Training Principle is the gradual decrease in the rest time between sets. This technique is typically used pre-contest and helps to improve muscle conditioning.

Most Important Principle…red arrow pointing down

Over the years a new breed of fitness enthusiast has emerged, renaming exercises and inventing weird and dangerous alternatives.  If you want the best training program, split and exercises, follow the path of a proven professional that can back everything up.

Now, if you want to get the absolute MOST out of your workouts, check out my Muscle Building Programs below…


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If you want to really build muscle by using the right training protocol for your body type, check out my Muscle Building Program.

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Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT

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My name is Karen Sessions and I am a life-time natural female bodybuilder, multi-certified fitness instructor, author, specialist in performance nutrition, and a success coach. I've been in the fitness industry since 1988! I teach people Just Like You how to transform their bodies, get in shape, build muscle, lose fat and compete in Bodybuilding, Physique, and Figure Competitions. When you have the CORRECT information you can have total confidence and turn your dreams into reality... and I can help transform YOUR body. I have helped THOUSANDS of clients reach their goals and I can help you, too. Be sure to grab my free gift above so you can start moving toward your goal.

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