During my preparation for my second bodybuilding contest I knew that I would have to work hard to put on mass. Now I am a strong believer in trying and tweaking things that work for others. Yes, I said tweaking. I know that may upset some, but I will explain in the course of this article why I think tweaking is important and what, if anything, I tweaked in Y3T.
The Need Was There
I do not believe in coincidences. That is just something I am not a fan of. I believe that all things happen for a specific reason and that includes selecting a training program. As my first bodybuilding show approached I knew that I would have to change preparation coaches. While I love what my first coach did for me and I have the utmost respect for his programs, he is so successful that our arrangement was no longer working for me strictly (and I want this to be clear) from the perspective of the attention I needed. I am happy that he has become so successful, but at the same time I need the attention from my preparation coach because when I have questions that need fast answers I cannot afford to wait for those answers.
Armed with this knowledge I knew I would have to pay money for the new coach. The previous coach and I had an arrangement where I provided technical services in exchange for my contest preparation. This new situation meant I would not be able to afford someone to also train me, so I chose to pay for the part I know the least about–contest preparation. I would basically be on my own for the training part.
There is No Such Thing as a Coincidence
I began doing a little bit of research on the newer programs for mass building. I came across many good suggestions, but one seemed very interesting to me and I stuck it in Pearltrees for future review–Y3T. The weekend of my second bodybuilding show I was attending a soccer tournament for my youngest daughter. As I awaited one of the games I flipped through Flex magazine. No less than two times I read about Y3T in that magazine. One was in a question and answer column by Neil Hill (creator of Y3T) and one was in an article about Flex Lewis (one of my favorite bodybuilders and a client of Neil Hill). I was inspired to do more research.
After my Memorial Day contest I sat down at my computer and searched on Y3T. I discovered that Bodybuilding.com would be doing a 9 week video program lead by Neil Hill and Flex Lewis all about the Y3T program. It would teach how to execute the 3 cycles of the Y3T program. It came complete with the exercises to do and the correct volume to use. That was all I needed. I knew that this was the program for me. After all, there are no such things as coincidences.
Mass Building Principles of Y3T
The Y3T program focuses on building mass by hitting all muscle fibers in a variety of ways. It is a 3 week cycle that uses a body part split for the training. It emphasizes controlled movements, but heavy weights. It stresses that in order to grow you must push your muscles to the brink.
The first week involves heavy training at lower repetitions. Each set is taken to complete failure. The muscle is squeezed tightly on every repetition. Good form is followed throughout the entire workout. It is all about taking the muscles to places they haven't been before.
The second week sees a change in the number of repetitions. The rep range broadens, which means the weight decreases slightly. The movements are slowed down, but the focused squeezing remains.
The third week is where everything goes crazy. Many different training principles are introduced. Neil Hill is a big believer in both rest-pause and drop sets. He is trying his best to totally obliterate the muscles during the workout. As one example, during the leg training I was doing sets of 50 repetitions on some exercises. It was an amazing experience–that coming from someone who simply loves intense training principles.
Tweaks to Y3T
As a big believer in the Experiment of One, I began the Y3T program stating that I would not modify the actual program itself at all. I wanted to see how well my body would respond to this type of training. Changing things would nullify the validity of any results I got either way. However, being in the off-season and wanting to keep the fat at a minimum, I immediately noticed that there was no cardio training prescribed for the entire 9 weeks. That wasn't going to fly. In addition, I did not see any abdominal training and that is an area I want to improve upon–my abdominals.
As a result, I decided to introduce cardio into my weight training workouts. I had been doing 30 minutes of cardio after every weight training session during my contest preparation. That gave me such great results that I wanted to include those into the Y3T program. After examining all the workouts I realized that I would not be able to do cardio on the quads and hamstrings day, but could pull it off on every other day.
After much thought about an approach, I decided to cycle my cardio. Each day of Y3T involves 2 muscle groups. To keep things interesting, I do the first muscle group's weight training and then I do 10 minutes of HIIT cardio. When that is complete, I do the second muscle group's weight training and then finish off with 20 minutes of HIIT cardio. This gives me a total of 30 minutes of HIIT cardio. On the next weight training day I simply go straight through the weight training and then stick 30 minutes of steady state cardio at the end of the training. I rotate back and forth like this on weight training days that don't involve my quads and hamstrings. I then add one more day of cardio on a rest day (probably the biggest change to the program). That gives me 4 days of cardio every week.
Y3T – Strict or Modified – It Works
Over the first 2 weeks of my Y3T program I have seen some pretty impressive results. My back has responded the most favorably to the training. My arms have grown about 1/4″ in the 2 weeks as well. My shoulders are getting more mass. My legs look tighter and more full.
The fact is that you can follow this program as is or you can make the small modifications that I made. Either way, it is an awesome program and one I highly recommend to anyone looking to gain some mass.
Tried Y3T? Interested in discussing Y3T? Leave a comment below!