Maximize your strength training routine by cutting out these time wasters.Read article
Photos by Charles Lowthian
Y3T (Yoda 3 Training) is the brand name of my training method, which incorporates a three-week structure based on utilizing low, medium, and high reps with varying training volumes and rep tempos to target all muscle-fiber types. Other people put the “Yoda” tag there. The ideology of Y3T has grown from more than 2 1/2 decades of testing methods with a wide selection of athletes, including four-time Olympia 212 Showdown winner Flex Lewis and IFBB pro William Bonac.
Most programs cater to just one or two fiber types, essentially failing to target more than 50% of your overall muscle fiber mass and, as a result, missing out on huge growth potential. Y3T targets Type 1 slow-twitch fibers, Type 2a medium-twitch, and Type 2b fast-twitch. Y3T’s focus is breaking down muscle fibers, increasing blood flow to muscles while not actually putting the connective tissues under as much stress as other programs.
I recommend a 12-week training cycle with my Y3T protocol. You’ll complete four rotations of the same three-week training cycle. You can use Y3T forever if your primary objective is to build more muscle, burn fat, improve performance, and stay injury-free. Rather than another training technique to try short term, Y3T is a fully comprehensive, three-dimensional overview of how to train correctly for optimal body-composition changes. After every 12-week cycle, change the exercises for Weeks 1 to 3 and complete another 12-week block.
I rotate the three-week training cycle four times to ensure perfect form and establish a mind-muscle connection with each exercise. The neuro-connection between the mind and muscle is essential to maximizing hypertrophy because it’s through the central nervous system that the body recruits muscle fibers. The better the connection, the more fibers you should be able to recruit and in turn see better results.
A PROPORTIONAL PHYSIQUE
Many bodybuilders have concerns about lagging body parts and look for ways to build size on specific muscle groups. Y3T includes crossover between muscle groups and allows for additional stimulation throughout the week. For instance, anterior deltoids will become stimulated on chest day by default.
However, if someone still feels they are lagging in certain areas, then I introduce additional stimulation work four to five days after he or she trained the muscle. It’s less intense than the primary workout, with more focus on just flushing the muscle with blood. For instance, if you think you have lagging shoulders, do six to seven sets, with 60 seconds between each set, after training your back.
WHAT ABOUT CARDIO?
Your cardio needs will depend on your goals, body type, gender, and age. I advocate of keeping some degree of low-impact, steady-state cardio in the plan year-round with most athletes for the health benefits. Improved digestion, cardiac health, and blood flow to the muscles help keep you fresh.
Y3T is the ultimate recipe for positive changes in overall body composition. With the varied rep ranges, you are targeting both myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and taxing all the energy systems to maximize fat loss. It’s about understanding physiology properly and then creating a training protocol, which manipulates this to achieve maximal results.
Use compound movements in low-rep ranges to maximize high-threshold motor-unit stimulation and fast-twitch fiber involvement.
Use compound and isolation movements in moderate rep ranges. There’s involvement from fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers, and the blood flushing helps stretch fascia, creating a lot of tension.
Use both compound and isolation movements once again. Straight high-rep sets, supersets, dropsets, and giant sets can be used to help break the target muscle down in a multifaceted way. The approach used depends on the muscle group and lifter.
Y3T LIKE A PRO
How four-time Olympia 212 Showdown champ Flex Lewis and IFBB pro William Bonac use Y3T to their advantage:
Flex is very responsive to a training environment in which there’s a lot of iso-tension, which means Week 2 is potentially his sweet spot. However, you cannot train in one range all the time because you will stagnate and miss out on growth potential. With that said, Flex follows a Y3T cycle as follows: Week 1, Week 2, Week 2, Week 3, and repeat. The extra Week 2 really enables Flex to benefit from the tension those workouts bring.
William is highly responsive to lower-rep work, with a natural tendency to be extremely strong with great control. William follows a Y3T cycle as follows: Week 1, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and repeat. The extra Week 1 really complements William’s muscle-fiber makeup, and as you’ve seen with his dramatic level of growth during the past 18 months, it has worked very well.