First, beginners-trainees who have been working out less than six months- should never use multi-angular training. It's best for beginners to use one, or on rare occasions two, basic
movements per bodypart for one to three sets.
Second, intermediates can benefit from multi-angular training but only for short periods (four to six weeks). After that they should return to a basic routine. Cycling a basic routine with a multi-angular regimen prevents boredom and keeps the intermediate bodybuilder from outrunning his or her recovery ability.
Third, advanced bodybuilders do require multi-angular training, but they can still benefit from a basic routine every so often. The basic, compound movements are undoubtedly the best for packing on raw size no matter how advanced you are.
Fourth and most important, the correct way of using multi-angular training involves more than simply picking a bunch of exercises for each bodypart. Correct multi-angular training takes logical thought and scientific reasoning, qualities most advanced routines don't reflect.
If you analyze almost any advanced routine, you'll see abuse of the multi-angular-training concept. This abuse stems from the fact that most bodybuilders don't realize that there are three, and only three, positions for each muscle or muscle group that need to be worked in order to achieve complete development-the midrange, stretch and contracted positions. This three-position approach is the basic premise of one logical, multi-angular strategy known as Positions-of-Flexion (POF) training.
POF is an efficient training regimen that maximizes recovery and growth because it is based on the three positions, or angles, each muscle requires. This means that you need a maximum of three exercises to fully work a particular muscle group. For example, a POF triceps routine would consist of lying triceps extensions (midrange), overhead triceps extensions (stretch) and triceps kickbacks (contracted). You can take each bodypart and devise a three-exercise routine that hits its three positions-that's all the muscle needs for total development.
Most bodybuilders don't bother to dissect muscle function, so their routines lack efficiency. They incorporate countless movements for each bodypart in order to hit all the angles. With this shot-gun approach there is usually extensive overlap. Many of the same positions are worked more than once in any single routine, which causes wasted effort, which in turn causes an unnecessary drain on the recovery system that results in delayed muscle gains.
For example, an advanced deltoid routine might include the military press and the seated dumbbell press among other shoulder movements. If you think about it, both of these presses work the shoulders in a similar manner, or from the same position, or angle. A biceps routine might include barbell curls and preacher curls as well as other biceps movements. Barbell curls and preacher curls are two very similar exercises as far as training angles go.
Once you train a muscle in one of its positions, there's no need to hit that position again with a second exercise. This duplication causes inefficiency, especially for the steroid-free trainee who is trying to minimize the drain on his or her recovery ability by keeping workouts as brief as possible while still making optimal gains.
The lack of efficiency is one reason advanced bodybuilders work out two to four hours a day, six days per week. Most of them simply haven't taken the time to analyze the actual function of the muscles they're working. If they did, their time spent in the gym would decrease dramatically and, conversely, their muscle mass would increase.
Unfortunately, however, misinformation continues to flourish as the shotgun approach is perpetuated from generation to generation. Man is a creature of habit, and bodybuilders are no exception. If an average bodybuilder sees or hears of a more genetically gifted bodybuilder doing something, the average bodybuilder will often adopt the practice without even thinking about it.
That's the real kicker: The habit of adopting a technique without putting it through a rigorous thought process is totally illogical and one of the reasons so many fallacies are hailed as gospel in the realm of weight training. This lack of rational thought is also the reason it takes bodybuilders so long to reach their genetic potentials. Many will use techniques and methods that are nonproductive and sometimes downright detrimental for years and often decades because some Mr. Something-or-other was seen using them at one time.
As far as multi-angular training is concerned, the time has come to change the way it is usually applied. With rational thought as your guide you can prevent wasted effort in the gym and achieve maximum muscle mass in the shortest time possible. Efficiency of effort within a multi-angular framework is the key to use without abuse, and it will put you on a shorter path to better muscular gains.