Haney's Shoulder Cycle

Lee Haney's advice on periodically changing your workouts.

 QUESTION 

I’ve been on the same basic program for about six months. Would it be OK to mix things up at this point?

 ANSWER 

Not only do I think it would be OK, I think it’s quite beneficial to periodically change your workouts. The term for it is “cycling,” and it’s something I employed in my own training throughout my competitive career. 

When you train the same way — using the same exercise, set and rep schemes — for a prolonged period, the body begins to adjust to the stresses it receives. The human body is an amazing machine that can adapt to a variety of external conditions, and training is really just an external condition that we put upon it. Without new stimulation, the body won’t grow bigger or stronger.


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Therefore, it is a bodybuilder’s responsibility to provide new stimulation by way of a revamped workout — one that the muscles aren’t expecting. The idea is to kick-start the muscles into action by forcing them to respond to a new stress. Basically, it’s evolution at warp speed — adapt or . . . well, just adapt!

Let me explain by using my shoulder training as an example. Throughout the year, I rotated between three distinct deltoid phases composed of various exercises. Each stage was designed with a specific goal in mind. The first phase was a mass builder for achieving ultimate size and strength. It consisted of basic exercises performed with relatively heavy weights and rest periods of up to one minute between sets.

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 slightly less weight.

I would alternate between the two programs regularly as I saw fit. If I wanted to bulk up my delts a little (which I rarely needed to do), I would spend more time on phase 1. If I wanted added separation, I’d focus on phase 2. Otherwise, I’d simply alternate back and forth between the two.

Finally, phase 3 was a killer precontest workout that I’d turn to only during the eight to 10 weeks before a contest. It was simply too intense to perform year-round — my body would break down from its inability to handle the stress. Phase 3 involved dropping the poundage, increasing sets and reps and reducing the rest period between sets to the amount necessary to catch my breath. It’s as intense as it gets, but worth every drop of sweat!

Go ahead and cycle some changes into your program. Remember, the more you keep your muscles guessing, the more they’ll have to second-guess your next move by growing!

 LEE HANEY'S THREE-PHASE SHOULDER PLAN 

PHASE 1

  • Front Military Presses or Behind-the-Neck Military Presses | SETS: 5* | REPS: 6-8
  • Lateral Raises | SETS: 4 | REPS: 10-12
  • Behind-the-Back Upright Rows | SETS: 3 | REPS: 8-10

PHASE 2

  • Behind-the-Nack Military Presses | SETS: 5* | REPS: 6-8
  • Front Dumbbell Military Presses | SETS: 4 | REPS: 6-8
  • Lateral Raises | SETS: 4 | REPS: 10-12
  • Bent Lateral Raises | SETS: 4 | REPS: 10-12
  • Upright Rows | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12-15

PHASE 3

  • Front Military Presses | SETS: 3-4 | REPS: 10-12
  • Behind-the-Neck Military Presses | SETS: 3-4 | REPS: 10-12
  • Lateral Raises | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12-15
  • One-Arm Cable Lateral Raises | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12-15
  • Bent Lateral Raises | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12-15
  • Behind-the-Back Upright Rows | SETS: 4 | REPS: 8-10

*Includes one warm-up set.

 FLEX 

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