I have always believed that every once in a while it was beneficial to reset my training. Take it all back to default settings. The basics. Fresh start. Stop all super sets, staggered splits, fancier exercises, and higher frequency body part assignments. Strip it down to bare and basic, then rebuild it back into a more complex program. I have no data to suggest this is physically beneficial, but I can tell you that it is definitely mentally beneficial for me. I have used this type of periodization for over 2 decades to help overcome injuries, mental burnout, and certain periods where I may have gotten lost in what I was doing.

A good example was last spring when my forearms started hurting so badly that I couldn't handle any free weights for chest. My grip strength was terrible because I had so much tennis elbow type pain. I also had some pain in my anterior deltoid, diagnosed as bicep tendonitis, as well as some pain in the back of my shoulder that I'm sure was triceps related. I realized that I was training biceps and triceps 3X per week each, as well as all the chest and delt work, and hard pulling for back. So I knew it was time to just back off and reset my training. My leg workouts had become too complicated and no longer served me, and my split was confusing because of all the extra frequency for arms and other things.

When it comes to resetting my training, I try to simplify as much as possible. So I will strip the program of anything fancy and just focus on the most foundational principles. I have boiled things down into a short list of the most important rules to follow:

• Train with perfect form and proper biomechanics, through functional ranges of motion, using explosive concentric and controlled eccentric reps.

• Perform the most difficult compound exercises (the hardest stuff works the best), and the most efficient isolation exercises (should feel the target muscle the most) you can do without joint pain or risk of injury.

• Reset back to basic volume and frequency settings, hitting each body part once every 5-7 days with 8-10 working sets, spread over 3-5 exercises. For simplicity, I'd train one large muscle group (chest, delts, back, or quads) with one smaller muscle group (bicep, tricep, calves, hamstrings) each session. My default is usually Chest/Biceps, Quads/Hams, Delts/triceps, back/calves. However, there are many others that would work fine.

• Working sets are performed to failure, with the final set of each exercise possibly getting some addition forced reps, partial reps, rest pause reps, or a possible drop set.

• Most of your working sets should occur in the 6-12 rep range, with some working sets being in the 12-20 rep zone.

• Take a full rest day every 2-4 days.

• When you get to the gym, warm up every joint that will be used that day, and make sure you have a bit of a pump from warming up, before lifting hard and heavy. When you're finished, stretch each muscle worked. Basic flexibility is important for joint health.

• Train abs 2-3 times per week with some basic crunches and hanging leg raises. Most bodybuilders aren't training abs at all most of the time, so the extra core engagement does the body good.

• Don't focus on weight. You've already done that, and you need to reset that as well. Drop all your poundages a tad, and make sure your form and biomechanical stuff is perfect for stressing the target muscle. For example, putting your feet lower on the leg press for more quads instead of putting them higher to use more weight. If you can't mature past that thinking, you will never gain the size needed.

That's the basics. If you just do these, and focus on maximum intensity during your working sets, you will find you don't need much altering of the plan. It's fun to get back to my roots, and rediscover the beauty of the most basic programs on the planet.