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Frank Zane was voted as the bodybuilder that most guys want to emulate, with his classical looking clean lines, his efficiency of size, and his near-perfect symmetry, Frank was voted as the pinnacle of men’s physical beauty. Unfortunately his 3 Mr. O titles (1977-1979) did not mean a whole lot to most bodybuilding fans.
Franks training was very thorough and included both heavy weights with less volume and then training with light weights. But Frank was always very concerned with training heavy using maximum weight because to him training heavy was risking injury.
Joe Weider had been trying to convince Frank to up the weight he trained with for about 2 years before he decided to follow this advice for his preparation for the 1977 Mr. O, which worked. He stuck to 8-12 reps for most body-parts which was a lot lower volume training than Frank was used to.
He would only train 3-4 sets and then move onto another movement, with the exception of his calf training and his abs training for which he would continue with his high volume training that he was used to. The end result was a well-balanced aesthetically body that had more muscle.
After his first Mr. O win in 1977 Frank openly admitted that taking Joe’s advice was the correct thing to do and he is quoted as saying that when he trains heavy and then lays off for a while, he’s able to hold his lean body mass a bit longer than he used to. Adding that any additional muscle he carried would quickly disappear if he stopped training completely.
But his fear of getting injured from training heavy was justified because Frank eventually did suffer from shoulder, knee and lower back injuries. He is quoted as saying “Use poor form in an exercise with heavy weight and your chances of injury multiply.”
Below is an example of the type of routine Frank used for preparing for the 1977 Mr. Olympia competition:
Day 1: Thighs/Calves/Lower Back and Abs
Leg Extensions 3 x 16, 14, 12
Squats 3 x 15
Hack Squats 3 x 10
Leg Curls 3 x 18, 14, 12
Leg-Press Calf Raises 4 x 15
Seated Calf Raises 3 x 15
Roman-Chair Sit-up 1 x 100
Incline Knee-Ups 3 x 40, 30, 30
Hyperextensions 1 x 20
Day 2: Chest/Triceps/Shoulders/Lower Back and Abs
75-Degree Incline D/B Press 3 x 12, 11, 10
30-Degree Incline B/B Press 4 x 10, 9, 8, 6
D/B Flyes 3 x 12, 11, 10
D/B Pullovers 3 x 10
Close-Grip Bench-press 3 x 10, 10, 8
One-Arm D/B Extensions 3 x 10, 9, 8
Triceps Pushdowns 3 x 10
Triceps Kickbacks 3 x 10
Smith Machine Military Press 3 x 10
Rear Lateral Raises 3 x 10
Side Lateral Raises 3x 10
One-Arm Front Raises 3 x 10
One-Arm Lateral Raises 3 x 10
Side Cable Lateral Raises 3 x 10
Hanging Knee Ups 4 x 20
Roman-Chair Sit-up 5 x 30
Leg Raises 5 x 30
Crunches 5 x 30
Side Cable Crunches 3 x 25 per side
Hyperextensions 1 x 20
Disclaimer: This information is for entertainment purposes only. We strongly recommend that you consult a physician before beginning any exercise program. MuscleNet.com is not a licensed medical care provider. The reader should understand that participating in any exercise program can result in physical injury and agrees to do so at his own risk. The findings and opinions of authors expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily state or reflect those of MuscleNet.com.