Natural bodybuilders, whether they are amateurs or pros, cannot train the same way as doped bodybuilders.
What are the differences between natural and doped in training?
Difference # 1:
I’ll start by reminding you that the muscle building process is about balancing training and recovery:
• Training is a phase of catabolism, in other words of muscle breakdown.
• Recovery is the anabolic phase: the body will repair the damage caused by training.
Put simply, training will deconstruct muscle and recovery will help rebuild it, but stronger and larger.
The paradox of bodybuilding is this: the more you train, the more you destroy, the more time you have to take for recovery, the less you can train.
– Doping drugs can remedy this problem, since they allow rapid recovery. We can therefore continue to practice a high volume of training without having to fear an unfavorable catabolism / anabolism balance.
– The “natties” will have to adopt a lower training volume.
Difference # 2:
As a consequence of Difference # 1, doped bodybuilders will not need a high frequency of training as they can concentrate all of their efforts in one session for one muscle group. That said, some can afford to combine volume AND frequency as they can recover quickly (this will also depend on their level). It’s like the idea of a 3-day program repeated twice a week despite the high volume per session.
Monday: pecs / triceps (workout 1)
Tuesday: legs (workout 2)
Wednesday: back / biceps (workout 3)
Thursday: pecs / triceps (workout 1)
Friday: legs (workout 2)
Saturday: back / biceps (workout 3)
With this type of session (example workout 1):
Bench press 5 × 10
Inclined press 5 × 10
Dips: 4 × 15
Pulley spreads: 4 × 15
Tight grip bench press 4 × 10
Front bar: 4 × 10
Pushdown rope: 3 × 15
This training choice is however often chosen by natural practitioners, including beginners. When you are a beginner, you gain muscle easily and this with any type of program, so they can see results. But not only will the risk of injury due to poor recovery be great, but also stagnation may happen for the more experienced.
In fact, insofar as natural practitioners cannot adopt a high volume of training, we will prefer a higher frequency.
Since the volume will be low and therefore the recovery more fast , there will be no no worries about working the same muscle group several times a week .
By training this way, you accumulate the same volume over the week as concentrating each muscle group in one session, but without the deleterious effects of poor recovery. We therefore continue to gain muscle continuously without having to worry about catabolism.
Difference # 3
Doped practitioners will have good results with long series (10 repetitions or more). That’s why you can see huge guys lifting “light” weights.
On the contrary, natties need to push as hard as possible to build muscle mass.
The series will therefore be short (between 6 and 8 repetitions) and heavy.
Difference # 4
While pros will progress by articulating each session around one or two muscle groups, it is much more effective to work in full or half-body for a natural practitioner.
In his article, Christian Thibaudeau offers a program in two types of sessions: a push session and a pull session, each repeated 3 times a week, according to the following model:
Session A (pull):
• 1 ischios exercise
• 1 back exercise (width)
• 1 back exercise (thickness)
• 1 bicep exercise
Session B (push):
• 1 quadriceps exercise
• 1 chest exercise
• 1 deltoids exercise
• 1 triceps exercise
You can easily integrate abdominal exercises at the end of the session as they are very short.
Thibaudeau then suggests organizing each exercise into 3 sets: 2 first sets of 6 or 8 repetitions, then a last set following a given intensification technique. There are many techniques of intensification, but few are really effective, especially if you do not take a doping product. For this reason, only proven ones will be used.
Here are the three types of intensification methods in the program:
1 – Double Rest Pause:
• Gain a weight that you can lift around 4-6 reps
• Do these 4-6 reps, rest 10-15 seconds, repeat 2-3 reps, rest 10-15 seconds, repeat 1-2 reps.
• Keep the same weight for each repetition (this is not a sliding series!)
2 – Maximum m-Tor Activation (5 sec eccentric + 2 sec pause)
• Perform the concentric phase (contraction) in a normal way (in 1 second) then the eccentric phase (descent) in 5 seconds keeping the muscle under tension as much as possible for each rep.
• Keep the stretched position for 2 seconds
• Do 6-8 reps this way. At the last repetition, keep the stretched position as long as possible.
3 – 6-8-10 Drop Set (6 + 8 + 10 Degressive Series)
• Start the set with a weight that allows you to do 6 repetitions
• Take off about 25 to 40% of the weight (depending on the exercise) and perform 8 repetitions
• Take 25 to 40% of the weight again and perform 10 repetitions
• Rest a minimum (5 seconds max) between the three parts of the series
MONDAY: Workout A1
• Straight leg deadlift : 2 × 6 + 1x double rest / pause set
• Pull-ups or high pronation pulley pull : 1 × 6 + 1x double rest / pause set
• Bird sitting or on inclined bench : 2 × 8 + 1x 6-8-10 drop set
• Standing bar curl (straight or EZ) : 2 × 6 + 1x double rest / pause set
TUESDAY: Workout B1
• Front Squat or Neck Squat : 2 × 6 + 1x double rest / pause set
• Bench press : 2 × 6 + 1x double rest / pause set
• Side elevations (dumbbells or cable) : 2 × 6 + 1x 6-8-10 drop set
• Extended triceps extension : 2 × 6 + 1x max m-Tor activation set
WEDNESDAY: Workout A2
• Leg Curl (sitting or lying down) : 2 × 6 + 1x 6-8-10 drop set
• Outstretched arms pulldown or Pullover : 2 × 6 + 1x max m-Tor activation set
• Rowing on inclined bench : 2 × 8 + 1x double rest / pause set
• Curl desk (barbell or bar) : 2 × 6 + 1x max m-Tor activation set
THURSDAY: Workout B2
• Leg extension : 2 × 6 + 1x 6-8-10 drop set
• Machine fly or opposite pulley : 2 × 6 + 1x max m-Tor activation set
• Bench press / military / dumbbells : 2 × 6 + 1x double rest / break set
• Close grip bench press or dips : 2 × 6 + 1x double rest / pause set
FRIDAY: Workout A3
• Glute Ham Raise or Hyperextensions : 2 × 6 + 1x max m-Tor activation set
• Vertical pull supination grip : 2 × 6 + 1x 6-8-10 drop set
• Horizontal rowing neutral plug: 2 × 6 + 1x max m-Tor activation set
• Hammer curl : 2 × 6 + 1x 6-8-10 drop set
SATURDAY: Workout B3
• Hack Squat or Leg Press : 2 × 6 + 1x max m-Tor activation set
• Incline bench press or barbell bench : 2 × 6 + 1x 6-8-10 drop set
• Frontal elevations on inclined bench : 2 × 6 + 1x max m-Tor activation set
• Rope triceps extensions : 2 × 6 + 1x 6-8-10 drop set