The word maintenance is misleading. it means “to keep things the same and in working order.” Yet, nothing ever remains the same, and in the world of bodybuilding it never should. The idea of maintenance is to prevent regression while at the same time focusing on improving weak points. This is where the method of specialization comes into play.

While maintaining your physique, you shouldn’t focus too much on your strong points—working these areas once a week is enough, just get a good pump on every set you do. For example, in 1976 I had the goal of increasing size and definition in my back. To accomplish this, I began each of my workouts with eight sets of bentover barbell rows. I would routinely add 10 pounds after each set, working up to 200 pounds for a strict set of 10. I went on to place first in the 1977 Mr. Olympia following my high-volume back barrage.

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This proved to be a good plan of attack. However, not everyone can handle such a rigorous protocol, so I recommend hitting your lagging body part three days in a row followed by three days of rest. Since this type of training is extremely taxing, you shouldn’t do it for more than three consecutive weeks.

It’s also important to gauge your intensity accordingly so don’t do as many sets to start. Four or five sets of the specialization exercise you choose work well in the beginning. After three days’ rest, increase your specialization sets to six. After another three days of rest, increase the sets to seven or eight. This protocol should be done at the beginning of your workout, which in turn will also increase the intensity of your regular routine, as your body is more fatigued.

SEE ALSO: Frank Zane’s 4 Secrets to a Smaller Waist

A maintenance phase shouldn’t be an excuse to take it easy. Instead, identify your weak points and use the specialization method to refocus your efforts. You’re going to be sore, but the payoff will be a physique that you’re truly proud of.

Quick Tip

Frank Zane advocates focusing on weak points during maintenance periods, while still hitting the strong ones once a week.