The Weider System of Progressive Barbell Exercise

Looking to workout like it’s 1960? Well come no further. Published in the mid-twentieth century, ‘The Weider System of Progressive Barbell Exercise’ was one of Joe Weider’s first attempts to introduce body-split training to the bodybuilding community. Divided into six different levels, from beginner to advanced, the Weider System adorned the walls of many old-school bodybuilding gyms.

Check out his first beginner programme below


For those unable to read the poster. This workout, aimed at the true beginner, composed of the following:

Chart One

1) Barbell Bench Press, Normal Grip

2) Bent Arm Lying Lateral

3) Stiff Arm Barbell Pullover

4) Strict Barbell Curl

5) Lying Triceps Curl (extension)

6) Bent Rowing, Normal Grip

7) Bentover Lateral

8) Side Lateral

9) Forward Lateral

10) Press Down, Neck Resistance

11) Wrist Curl, Palms Down

12) Flat Footed Squat

13) Standing Calf Raise

14) Leg Raise

This full-body routine would be done until the trainee had adapted to the rigours of weight training. Although Joe regularly changed his rep/set schemes, somewhere in between 3-4 sets for 8-12 reps on each exercise was encouraged. Equally important was progressively overloading the weight as the weeks continued.

As beginner programmes go, there’s a lot to be said for it.

17 thoughts on “The Weider System of Progressive Barbell Exercise

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  1. Haha that had yet to happen at this stage. If you haven’t already read it Randy Roach’s third volume covers the Robby Robinson bust story. Truly one of the most bizarre Weider decisions!

  2. I wish I knew Joe and Ben Weider. They inspired me to workout at 15. Now 54, I’m still training. I now follow some of Mike Mentzer’s training ideas. Thanks guys!

      1. I have to say..I am 65 years old…back in 1973-74 this program probably saved my life. I was sick and doing drugs as many 17 year olds did in those days .. Started with his dumbell program and worked to this program…3 different charts of 14 exercises….Got super Fit…joined the Marines..went to college on the GI Bill…went on to a successful career….This program..doing all 14 exercises..2 sets per exercise…when you are young can be done about 5 times a week….and taper off to 3 as you get older..if truth be told … I only do it about twice a week in my 60s…strangely I did many routines like HIT and some others over the years….and perhaps out of nostalgia..but mostly because it works…I keep coming back to this program…

      2. That is an absolutely incredible story John and a good testament to your longevity! I’ve found the program a great reset one – I continually come back. You cannot beat the basics!

  3. I am looking for good quality copies of the six workout charts just like the chart 1 you posted at the top here. Any idea where I can acquire them. I used these back in the 70’s and have to admit that I did like the results achieved back in the day s they say.

    1. Hey John. No worries at all. I often see them advertised on Ebay. Failing that Joe Roark’s website is a wonderful resource for collectors. Someone there may have information?

  4. Thanks Conor I appreciate this. On another note, do you happen to know the names of the exercise for Charts 2 & 3 in a similar manner to what you have posted here for Chart 1?

  5. This was my first introduction to bodybuilding at the age of 14. I’m 59 now and look back fondly at those workouts and the results I got. `if you could publish workouts 2 and 3 I’d be very grateful. Thank you for the memories.

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