Joe Weider, ‘How to Make Up Your Own Routine,’ Joe Weider’s Bodybuilding System (1942)

I have brought you through the first three months of training three times a week on your whole body. I have brought you through my special advance split system of training and finally my special bulk and power routine. You’ve seen how to incorporate all that into my cycle system of training. Now I will show you how to make up some bodybuilding routines using different forms of my split system.

You will be able to make up your own routines because you now have the maturity to understand and appreciate the Weider Instinctive Principle. My Instinctive Principle says that, ultimately, only you can be the master of your body and the training to make your body the way you want it! You must be creative and imaginative. You must be unique in your approach to maximize your gains. Different people respond to different programs, sets, reps and exercises. At some point, you will see that a particular routine may not be giving you the mass or power you want, or maybe a particular scheme of sets and reps doesn’t seem to be giving you the shape you want. Also, during different periods of your training year, you will need to adjust your routine to gain mass. Then, later on, you might need to construct a new routine to improve your definition and shape. So, as you can see, the Weider Instinctive Principle is crucial to your understanding of how to develop and construct new routines. Here are some routine options for you:



1) Chest
2) Shoulders
3) Triceps
4) Forearms
5) Calves
6) Abdominals


1) Thighs
2) Back
3) Biceps
4) Abdominals



1) Abdominals

2) Chest
3) Back (Upper)
4) Shoulders
5) Forearms


1) Abdominals
2) Thighs
3) Biceps
4) Triceps
5) Lower Back
6) Calves

After about a year of consistent dedicated workouts, you can graduate to using a five-day-a-week split routine, training Monday through Saturday with Wednesday and Sunday off. In this case, you will still divide your body into roughly equal halves, training the first half on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, the other half on Tuesday and Friday. Then in the next week you should train the half that was worked only twice the first week on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday.

To illustrate how a five-day split routine works, here is a four week plan of the Split (‘A” and “B” designate the two bodypart splits):

Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Week 1 A B A B A
Week 2 B A B A B
Week 3 A B A B A
Week 4 B A B A B

After another six months to a year of this style of hard training, you might be able to go up to a six-day split routine. You can determine whether such a routine is effective only by experimenting with the Weider Instinctive Training Principle. However, even a few of the top bodybuilders (Dennis Tinerino for one) have found that they make their best off-season gains training only four days per week.

If you intend to follow a six-day split routine, you should use one in which you train each major muscle group only twice per week. Here are two examples of the most popular six-day split routines:

Alternate A

Monday – Thursday Tuesday – Friday  Wednesday – Saturday
Abdominals Abdominals Abdominals
Chest Back Thighs
Shoulders Biceps Lower Back
Triceps Forearms Forearms
Calves Neck Calves

Alternate B

Monday – Thursday Tuesday – Friday  Wednesday – Saturday
Abdominals Abdominals Abdominals
Chest Shoulders Thighs
Back Biceps Lower Back
Forearms Triceps Forearms
Calves Neck Calves

As you formulate your own personalized training program, try to keep within these off-season parameters for total sets per each muscle group:

Large Bodyparts Small Bodyparts
Beginner 6-8 (3 ex., 2-3 sets per ex) 4-6
Intermediate 8-10 6-8
Advanced Bodybuilders 10-12 8-10

When you make up a training program for each muscle group, be sure you include at least one basic exercise. For example, an intermediate bodybuilder could do a chest routine comprising six sets of bench presses and four sets of incline dumbbell presses. Or for the biceps he could do three sets of barbell curls and three sets of incline dumbbell curls.

Be careful as you follow your individualized training program that you place exercises for your slower growing bodypart(s) at the beginning of your training schedule to take advantage of the Weider Muscle Priority Training Principle (see Chapter 28). Only then can you devote full physical and mental energies to blasting a lagging muscle group until it’s in balance with the rest of your physique.

Remember, too, what I told you earlier: Do not spend all your valuable time running through different training routines. You should stay on one training routine until you cease to make progress on it! And do not attempt to follow a routine too advanced or complicated for your time schedule and personal maturity level. A final piece of advice: Always try to train in a “groove’ fashion, using strict exercise form. Otherwise, working with heavy weights may lead to injury. But, occasionally, there is room for the Weider Cheating Training Principle (see Chapter 28) in the off-season to extend a set past the point of failure after doing at least 6-8 reps in strict form.

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