Q: I’ve been on the same basic program for about six months. Would it be OK to mix things up now?
LEE HANEY: Not only do I think it would be OK, I think it’s probably necessary. The term for it is “cycling,” and it’s something I employed in my own training. When you train the same way—using the same exercises, set, and rep schemes—for a prolonged period, the body begins to adjust to the stresses it receives. Without new stimulation, the body won’t grow bigger or stronger. Let me explain by using my shoulder training as an example. Throughout the year, I rotated among three deltoid phases. Each stage was designed with a specifc goal in mind. The frst phase was a mass builder. It consisted of basic exercises performed with heavy weights, and rest periods of around one minute. The second phase was designed to carve detail into my shoulders. There were more sets and shorter rest periods (about 35 seconds), which meant using less weight. Finally, Phase 3 was a killer pre-contest workout that I’d turn to only during the eight to 10 weeks before a show—it was simply too intense to perform year-round. It involved dropping the poundage, increasing sets and reps, and reducing the rest period between sets to only the amount necessary to catch my breath. It’s as intense as it gets, but worth every drop of sweat!