The Weider Principles: Holistic Training

Installment eight of the Hardgainers Growth Enhancement System (H.U.G.E): How to use a variety of training styles to maximize muscle growth.


"Holistic" isn’t a word you hear bandied about anymore, but in the ’70s it was a ubiquitous adjective: holistic medicine, holistic nutrition, holistic ecology and a Weider Principle, holistic training.

“Holistic” signifies a relationship to whole systems as opposed to breaking things down to their parts. It’s macro, not micro. Picture a river. The more tributaries that flow into it the larger and faster that river will be. Likewise, by utilizing a variety of workout styles, you can focus these styles on one goal — more muscle — and, flowing together, they can help you reach that end faster.

The Weider Holistic Training Principlecolor>

This tenet prescribes you utilize a variety of training techniques to stimulate muscle growth. The best rep range is 8–12 reps, and exercises should generally be performed for three or four working sets. However, this is not the only way to grow. What’s more, doing it workout after workout most certainly is not the fastest way to grow.

This brings us to one of FLEX’s favorite maxims: everything works, but not everything works forever. Incorporating a variety of workout styles in your training regimen allows you to take the best from each to build strength and size.

Typically, you should do a different style of workout each week, and rotate three to five of these. There are dozens of valuable styles, but here’s a quick look at seven major ones:

STANDARD:color> This is the old standby: three or four sets per exercise and 8–12 reps per set.

HIT:color> Focus on one or two working sets per exercise for high-intensity sets taken beyond failure via forced reps, rest-pause, etc. Do four to seven working sets per bodypart.

HIGH REP:color> Sets of 20–100 reps. Utilize drop sets to extend sets to the upper ranges.


color> Emphasize the three powerlifts (squats, deadlifts, bench presses), pyramided to max sets of 3–6 reps. Also incorporate speed training via exercises like box jumps, partial deadlifts and bench presses with bands.

10 X 10:color> Maximize variety by doing 10 exercises per bodypart, but do only one set of 10 reps of each exercise. (This is a variation of German Volume Training, which is actually 10 sets of 10 reps on one exercise.)

SUPERSETS:color> Do workouts consisting entirely of supersets. For example, follow every set for biceps with a set for triceps.

CIRCUIT:color> These are conditioning workouts, so a week of three circuit sessions should be used as a “working rest.” Do 6–12 exercises in a circuit without stopping, stressing your entire body. Do three to five
such circuits.