Posted on 27 Jan 2016
5 min read
As any regular readers of the blog will know, we’re big advocates of the old school approach to bodybuilding.
In the 40s and 50s bodybuilders favoured intense full-body routines, lots of rest and recovery and a focus on general health and wellbeing.
Their bodies were natural and beautiful; every man wanted to look like them and every woman lusted over them.
These days, however, bodybuilding is full of juiced up monsters who elicit more laughter and derision than respect and wonder.
No self-respecting male wants to look like Rich Piana and no self-respecting female would let his prune-like ballbag anywhere near their personal orifice.
Their physiques have the same structural integrity as a pile of soggy newspapers, average life expectancy is lower than a Dickensian orphan, and, perhaps most harmfully, this farce of a sport has propagated the notion that bodypart split routines are the most effective way to build muscle.
Walk into any gym around the country and you’ll see people of all ages training just one body part per session using the 3 x 8-10 reps protocol and 10 different variations of the same movement.
It’s utter, utter horse piss.
Before the advent of steroids, the great bodybuilders such as Steve Reeves and John Grimek had, through trial and error, completely refuted this approach, learning first-hand that this protocol was no way near as effective as full-body training.
Fact is, split routines only work if you’re on a very advanced drug programme.
If there’s no drugs in your system, full-body routines will build muscle mass faster than any other approach.
By hitting all the big lifts every session your body focuses on training the motor skills and neural pathways involved with these movements and you will progress much faster.
With bodypart splits you wait too long before repeating an exercise which is extremely inefficient and slows progress.
Why most people haven’t figured this out yet I have no idea, but we’ll keep ramming this message down your throat until everyone starts to cotton on.
So, today, we’re going to look at a full-body routine which was favoured by one of bodybuilding’s all-time greats.
Leroy Colbert was a bodybuilding legend of the 1950s and the first person in history to build 21 inch arms.
In 1953, he appeared on the cover of Joe Weider‘s ‘Muscle Power’ magazine, an acclamation that was unprecedented for a black athlete at a time when civil rights was but a pipe dream.
Like all the other greats of the 40s and 50s, Colbert built his physique naturally using full-body routines, and, since retiring, right up until his passing in November 2015, was highly critical of modern bodybuilding and split routines.
His YouTube videos are full of bang-on-the-money rants concerning current training methods and scornful takedowns of fitness personalities such as Rich Piana, Kali Muscle and CT Fletcher.
The ‘Full-Body Blitz’ is one of the more demanding routines used by Leroy Colbert and other champion bodybuilders back in the 50s.
Like all full-body routines, the Blitz hits multiple bodyparts in the same session, focusing on no more than two key exercises per muscle group.
However, the chief aim of the Blitz is to force continued muscle growth after a period of stagnation with your regular routine, to shock your muscles from boredeom with extra stimulation for a short, intense period of time.
In that respect, Leroy Colbert’s Full-Body Blitz has much in common with other brutal transitory-type routines such as German Volume Training and 20 Rep Squats.
As with these routines, you must be willing to bust a nut, but the rewards will be well worth the effort, as your muscles are forced to readjust to the severe demand you are placing on them.
|Bent arm lateral raises||10||8|
|Lat pull down||10||8|
|Behind neck pull ups||10||8|
|Behind neck sitting press||10||8|
|Standing lateral raises||10||8|
|Sitting barbell curl||10||8|
|Bent arm pullover||10||8|
Thanks for sharing – we really appreciate it!
This routine is absolutely not for beginners due to the high volume/high intensity nature of the workout.
Colbert suggests that no-one should attempt the Blitz until they have trained with weights properly for at least one year, otherwise you’ll risk injury.
Colbert recommends following this routine for two to four weeks, working out 2-3 times per week.
Then you should rest for a week before resuming training again at a normal pace.
After a few months of normal training, you can, if needed, resume the Blitz and start the cycle over again.
Rest for a minimum of two days between each Blitz workout.
As with all full-body routines, remember that recovery is the key, so maximise your nutrition on rest days and ensure that you get at least eight hours sleep a night, preferably 10.
Remember, your muscles don’t grow from lifting weights, they grow from recovering from lifting weights.
Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and consuming roughly two grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Get your nutrients from healthy, wholesome foods, such as fish, steaks, poultry, dairy, fruit and vegetables.
Supplement-wise, Colbert suggests a good protein shake to help you meet your protein needs and, due to the strenuous nature of this programme, at least four grams of glutamine per day to expedite muscle recovery.
Leroy Colbert’s Full-Body Blitz is a great routine to force growth and build additional muscle size.
Use it to dial up your workout intensity for a few weeks and induce continuous muscle gain, forcing your muscles to grow thicker and wider.
Even those short of time to complete the full Blitz can still employ the principles of this routine with some moderate improvisation, jolting your body just as it becomes accustomed to your regular routine with a few weeks of high-volume, high intensity, fucking mental full-body training.
Are you hitting your muscles with the same old song and dance every week?
Then it’s time to shock the hell out of them with Colbert’s Full-Body Blitz!
Be sure to let us know how you get on in the comments section below!
Old school workouts are the best, with full body focus.
We can see the nice integration of pull-ups and squats into the workout, so the whole body is working and reaching a balance.
Nice workout routine!
Thanks for the comment James – completely agree with you about the superiority of old-school workouts!
Leroy Colbert is a legend – listen to your body 🙂
One of the greats, certainly!
The volume seems high.
What about 2 sets, 3 sets, maybe even 4 sets?
For a beginner as such.
My question is should I do this routine as a super-set workout?
I mean should I jump from the bench press than with no rest to bent arm lateral raise and so on, or first complete one exercise then the next? 🙂
No need to super-set, complete one exercise before moving on to the next.
This website is incredible.
Great old school routines that work and a very entertaining read too!
Cant wait to try this out.
Thanks for the comment Luke – I really appreciate it.
Good luck with the routine!
I wanted to know if according to Leroy’s routine, I can train all sets per bodypart at a time.
I.e. all bíceps sets, then all tricpes sets etc.
Hi Juan, yes, you perform all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next.
How much rest between sets?
I would take 60-90 seconds, or if you have a workout partner, however long they take to finish their set.
How often should I change my workout?
3-4 weeks for all workouts I think
This routine is designed by Colbert as a blitz, a plateau-buster, to be followed for 2-4 weeks only, owing to its high volume/intensity.
For most routines, however, I would suggest sticking to them for several months at least, otherwise you’re not allowing any room for progressive overload.
Ignore the bro science – you’re not going to make any real progress in terms of size and strength if you’re changing things up every time you get bored or find things getting difficult.
Why do 10×8, I thought 4×8 was optimal..?
The problem with the 3×10, 4×10 rep ranges for the natural trainee is that, although this hypertrophy protocol certainly works well to begin with, your body soon adapts to the intensity, making long-term progressive overload difficult.
The purpose of hitting 80 reps per exercise in this routine is to ramp up the volume for a short period (2 – 4 weeks) to take your body out of its comfort zone.
Natural lifters like Colbert learnt this approach from years of experience and trial and error, not by listening to drugged-up bodybuilder wisdom or what someone is saying on Reddit.
Give it a go – would love to hear how you get on!
I agree, but Leroy was a big advocate of 3-6 sets per body part.
He always stressed minimum 6 reps and maximum 10.
Leroy’s general advise is this:
– 3-6 sets per body part
– 6-10 reps per set
– quickish reps
– Around 60 seconds rest between sets
– Full body every other day
He always stressed that the body complains but does not explain, so don’t follow any routine set in stone.
He always said the trainer has to adapt to his own body and how he feels.
One thing is for sure, Leroy was VERY against “splits” and made it clear that based on his knowledge and experience full-body was best for a natural lifter.
I’ve been watching Leroy for a few months now, so sad I didn’t discover him before he passed away.
I’m overweight but after watching Leroy for awhile I began a full body workout and am seeing the weight come off like water and feel stronger every time I lift.
I do every other day and do only one exercise per body part right now.
I’ve been doing drop sets for exercise, reps are 15, 12, 8, 8.
However, today I just stumbled upon another video of Leroy’s about sets and am going to just start doing 10, 8, 6 reps as per his advice.
I’ve been searching and searching for people with the old school mentality that Leroy had, and am glad I found your blog.
Look forward to reading more articles.
The Blitz won’t be for me for a long time but I will make sure I keep it handy for when that time comes.
Been using his style of lifting and made more progress in a year than my friends in 6.
They all think I took steroids – just shows how good it is.
Will continue til the day I die.
Why only 10 sets for chest?
And looks like 30 sets for shoulders?
It’s 20 sets for Chest and 20 for Shoulders.
The second exercise, Bent arm lateral raises, actually means Chest Flys (flat or incline.)
Just alternate weekly.
If I work out Monday, when is the next day I can train?
It’s say two days rest so that will be a Wednesday or Thursday?
What are bent arm latrails
How long should the blitz routine take?
My Full-Body usually takes me 2hrs when doing 6 sets a body part.
I tried the blitz starting Monday and it took 3 hrs doing 10 sets 8 reps with short rest.
Trust me guys this routine works.
Stay in a surplus and do 3 sets instead of 10.
I’ve seen more progress doing this Mon Wed Fri then another time in my life.
I’m 38 and let’s not forget his nutrition advice including dhea and b complex vitamins.
I’m handling 50kg dumbells on chest at 14.5stone bodyweight.