I’ve spent 23 years analyzing program design. In the beginning, I would read Arnold’s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding and peruse the muscle mags. Then I stumbled upon HIT Training, then HST Training, and finally T-Nation. Eventually I learned how to use Pubmed and investigate the research. I’ve also talked shop with probably over a thousand lifters, coaches, personal trainers, and physical therapists.
Program design was always a complicated topic for me. I went through the typical “I have to include every single exercise imaginable into my routine” phase, as well as the “just focus on the basic big five exercises” phase, and everything in between. I’ve examined the routines of all of my favorite bodybuilders and powerlifters over the years, in addition to attempting to decipher the rationale behind various Soviet and Bulgarian periodization schemes. Program design can be highly complicated, but it can also be fairly simple.