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The best damn training plan for steroid-free exercisers - Revision 2 Guaranteed gains without steroids

Der beste verdammte Trainingsplan für steroidfreie Trainierende - Revision 2 Garantierte Zuwächse ohne Steroide

The secret

I'm going to let you in on a secret that will change your perception of training with weights forever: All high-level bodybuilders use performance-enhancing drugs.

You already knew that? But then why are there so many steroid-free exercisers copying the training approaches of chemically enhanced bodybuilders? Are you one of them? What works well for a trainee using performance enhancing substances will not be optimal for a natural trainee. If you are not using these substances, then this means you.

One of the biggest mistakes that holds steroid-free exercisers back is doing too much work or not doing the right type of work or not training hard enough. I addressed this years ago in the first part of this article, which gave exercisers good results. Because of that article, I keep hearing two things:

1. "I'm seeing the best results since I started training thanks to this guide."


2. "What can I do next?"

It's a program that you can use over a long period of time because the volume is not excessive, so it won't overload you. But the body is an adaptive machine and boredom (from repeating the same workout over and over) is a killer when it comes to gains. Using the same program for too long will therefore eventually lead to stagnation.

This is where this program was born. It is not an "upgrade" as it is not better than the original, it is simply a different program using the same principles.

The guidelines

First, here's a quick recap of the basic guidelines.

Train each muscle at a high frequency

If you are a natural exerciser, then the workout itself is the trigger that initiates protein synthesis (muscle building). The rate of protein synthesis remains elevated for 18 to 36 hours after training, depending on the nature of the workout.

For optimal gains, you should therefore train each muscle more often to promote a higher rate of protein synthesis. The minimum frequency for significant gains is to train a muscle twice a week, although three times a week would be better. This is the recommended frequency for this approach.

Use a low volume per training session

The amount of work you can do per training session is inversely proportional to the frequency with which you train a muscle. And since each muscle is trained three times a week, this means that the volume per training session cannot be high. Furthermore, excessive volume is a natural exerciser's worst enemy: More volume equals higher cortisol levels. And more cortisol can reduce muscle growth.

Maximize the intensity of your work sets

As you perform fewer work sets, you need to make sure that all of them are as demanding as possible. With only one work set per exercise (and 1 to 3 preparation sets) you will go to muscle failure and beyond on two out of three exercises. (The heavy multi-joint exercises are done with heavy weight, but not to muscle failure). This is the key to making low volume workouts effective. Remember that we cannot use volume accumulation to maximize muscle fiber fatigue, which is why we need to generate as much fatigue as possible with a work set.

Use three types of muscle stimulation

Not all muscles are the same. Some methods work by having a greater impact on mTOR activation (by emphasizing eccentric/negative stretch under load), others work by generating a greater amount of muscle fiber exhaustion, and still others work by increasing the release of local growth factors. To maximize muscle growth, you need to target all growth pathways using several different methods.

Use a modified push/pull split

The push/pull split makes it easier to develop everything in balance. An antagonist split is often suboptimal because many find it difficult to switch back and forth between antagonist exercises - one of the two always suffers. The modified split is also ideal for those who hate leg days because you only do a small amount of leg training in each session, rather than two full leg workouts.

The three methods

You will train each muscle using three different methods - a different one each day. One will focus more on moving heavy weight, the second will focus more on maximal mTOR activation and the third will focus on muscle fiber fatigue and growth factor accumulation.

1 - Heavy training

You will use two different options for the heavy method. Stick with each for two to three weeks and then switch to the other. These two methods are rest/pause and cluster:

A - For Rest/Pause

Your work set will require a weight that you can perform 4 to 6 repetitions with. With this weight you will perform as many technically correct repetitions as possible. Your goal is to double this number of repetitions. To achieve this, take short breaks.

Let's say, for example, that you manage 5 repetitions during the initial round. This means that you have to perform a total of 10 repetitions in your set. After your fifth repetition, rest for 15 seconds. Then you may be able to do 3 more repetitions. This means that you need to do two more repetitions. Rest for another 15 seconds and then you will probably be able to do the last 2 repetitions.

2 - For clusters

Use a weight with which you can perform 2 to 4 repetitions. Then perform as many sets of 1 repetition with 15 to 20 seconds between repetitions as possible. Stop when you know that the next repetition will not be a clean repetition. This could look like this:

  • 1 repetition, 15 seconds rest
  • 1 repetition, 15 seconds rest
  • 1 repetition, 20 seconds rest
  • 1 repetition, 20 seconds rest
  • 1 repetition

2 - mTOR activation

The two types of actions that have the greatest impact on mTOR activation are emphasized eccentric repetitions and stretching the muscle under load (holding a muscle contraction while the muscle is in a stretched position).

You will therefore use a nice torture method known as stretching under load post-fatigue. You choose a weight with which you can perform 8 to 10 repetitions with a slow negative repetition where you lower the weight in a controlled manner over a period of 4 to 5 repetitions. Go to muscle failure or close to muscle failure. When you reach that point, go down to the stretched position and hold the weight for as long as possible. This is an excellent way to stimulate growth, but also to improve flexibility and stability.

3 - Muscle fiber fatigue (Myo Reps)

For maximum muscle fiber fatigue, you will use the Myo Reps developed by Borge Fagerly. This is a type of rest/pause. You go to muscle failure - or close to muscle failure - and then perform as many microsets of 3 reps as possible, pausing for 20 seconds between each block.

If you can only manage 2 repetitions in a microset, stop. For the initial set you can use any number of reps from 6 to 20, but for this program we will use a weight that you can perform 10 to 12 reps with.

Start by performing as many repetitions as you can with this weight, pause for 20 seconds and then perform 3 more repetitions. Pause again for 20 seconds and perform 3 more repetitions. Continue until you can only do 2 more repetitions. If you can do more than 5 microsets, then you probably cheated yourself with the weight on the first set and didn't go close enough to muscle failure.

The split

The training split is a modified push/pull split. Why modified? Because one lower body exercise is performed each day. The quadriceps are trained on the push day and the hamstrings on the pull day.

Push day

  • Quadriceps
  • Chest muscles
  • shoulders
  • Triceps

Pull Tag

  • hamstrings
  • Latissimus
  • Rhomboid muscle and posterior shoulder muscles
  • Biceps

The exercises

These recommendations are personal preferences. You can make changes as long as the basic idea of the plan is maintained. For example, you should not replace squats with one-legged leg extensions.


  • Heavy: Front squats or Zercher squats
  • mTor: Goblet squats or lumberjack squats (lumberjack squats)
  • Myo Reps: Leg extensions

Chest muscles

  • Heavy: Bench press or incline bench press
  • mTor: Flying movements with dumbbells or dumbbell incline bench press
  • Myo Reps: Butterflys or chest presses on the machine

Shoulder muscles

  • Heavy: Barbell shoulder presses standing or shoulder presses on the multi-press
  • mTor: Side raises on the incline bench
  • Myo Reps: Side raises or shoulder presses on the machine


  • Heavy: Tight bench press or floor presses with a narrow grip
  • mTor: One-arm dumbbell shoulder press overhead
  • Myo Reps: Tricep presses on the cable pulley with a rope grip

Leg Curl

  • Heavy: Romanian deadlift (rest/pause) or deadlift cluster from a rack at mid-shin height
  • mTor: Romanian deadlift with dumbbells with front foot elevated by 3 centimetres
  • Myo Rep: Leg curls


  • Heavy: Pull-ups with neutral grip or lat pull-downs
  • mTor: Dumbbell pull-ups
  • Myo Reps: Pulldowns with outstretched arms

Diamond muscle

  • Heavy: Seal Row or Pendlay Row
  • mTor: Seated rows with neutral grip
  • Myo Reps: Rear shoulder muscles on the machine or bent-over side raises


  • Heavy: Standing barbell curls
  • mTor: Incline bench curls with dumbbells (with both arms simultaneously)
  • Myo Reps: Cable curls

In the second part, we will look at the weekly training program and how training for calves, abs and forearms as well as cardio training can be integrated into this program.


By Christian Thibaudeau

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