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swole troll

Creating your own program... It's not that difficult

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Right so this will be a lengthy one but this is a lengthy topic

in this guide I'm going to go over some basic programming information for a 'powerbuilding or hypertrophy specific' approach.

Now you cannot exclusively train for either size or strength to any notable degree hence I included powerbuilding as I'm not going to write out a more complicated powerlifting approach as that is a topic in it's own right so instead I'm going to go over some guidelines for those looking to get bigger and stronger

firstly let's discuss the principles

Frequency: the amount of times in a week you stimulate or train a muscle into protein synthesis / the adaptive response to progressive weight training, some like a high frequency approach due to the argument of muscle protein synthesis only lasting for 48hrs at most in natural trainees meaning that if you bench on Monday by Wednesday evening your pecs and triceps have gone through the full adaptive process and are back to baseline ready to be stimulated again.

Now most might conclude from this that it would make the most sense to train as frequently as possible in that case assuming the goal is purely hypertrophy (strength training has a more CNS adaptive and fatigue based response dependent on intensity) however there are several reasons why one might choose not to including motivation to train the same body part multiple times per week, tendons take a longer time to recovery than the more vascular muscle tissue, in the enhanced muscle protein synthesis is elevated round the clock, getting a better mind to muscle connection with higher sessionly volume due to pump and lactate build up 

which leads me onto my next topic 

Volume: this is the amount of work you do for a given body part, for instance 30 sets of chest work by way of 3 sets of 10 different exercises or just 30 sets of the same exercise and anything in between is the training volume, programs oriented toward hypertrophy largely differ by their weekly volume distribution (we'll touch on this more later)

volume requirements generally differ for different body parts, a very crude rule of thumb to keep in mind is generally a larger muscle will respond well to higher volume whereas a smaller muscle will respond better to less volume but more frequency

think a lower body session hitting nine sets for quads twice per week for a total of eighteen total sets vs bicep curls for three sets, three times per week for a total of nine sets 

many will argue training volume to be the primary driver of hypertrophy, I firmly disagree with this and would instead put a bigger emphasis on progressive overload 

which leads me to the next point

Progressive overload: the process of increasing the total tonnage lifted per week, to put it simply doing more weight on an exercise for the same reps you did last time or doing more reps with the same weight that you did last time.

I believe mechanical tension to be the easiest, most measurable and effective form of building size and strength, this is why many beginner programs seem more (wrongfully labeled) powerlifting based with a 5x5 approach on some core compound movements multiple times per week focusing on a session by session increase in weight.

As you become more advanced this becomes more difficult so you need to be a bit more instinctual and reactive to your training rather than focusing on what the beginner should be which is a big drive on ALL pathways of growth; high volume, high frequency, progressive overload and high intensity

which leads me onto my final point 

Intensity: the percentage of your 1 rep max, constantly misunderstood as 'train really really hard' by the misinformed

if your max bench press is 100kg, that is you are only able to hit a single rep with 100kg then bench pressing 80kg is an intensity of 80%, you don't need to be overly concerned with intensity as someone not looking to compete in strength sports or simply pushing their strength to the max as there is many paths to the same destination of hypertrophy and therefor you can ease off the gas of one as another becomes exhausted.

Think a heavy block of training, deload and then a block of higher rep, shorter rest period metabolic work,
since your soul goal isn't to get stronger you don't need to be so tightly tied to the fatigue management of intensity. 


Above is some of the different principles of muscle building, apply them knowing that each has an energy debt from your energy reserve, the newer to training you are, the weaker you are which means overall intensity is lowered and therefor you can push the other variables since intensity is the biggest cost of recovery 

a one rep max is as intense as you can train by definition and this would quickly lead to regression, burn out and or injury 

so with that out the way lets lay out some popular templates and describe how each program utilizes different variables and why 


Full body training

this approach is favored by beginners for the reasons I mentioned above, the strength level is lower therefor volume, frequency and progressive overload can be pushed whereas more advanced lifters may struggle without some complex periodization that I'm not going to get into in this article as we're then trickling down the powerlifting programming route which I'm not covering ITT 

so how might one lay out a full body program

well I'm only templating here so I'm going to use stronglifts as I believe this to be about as optimal as you can get for a rank novice trainee irrelevant of long term goal 

workout A
squat 5x5, bench 5x5, row 5x5 
workout B 
squat 5x5, overhead press 5x5, deadlift 1x5 

following a two weekly A, off, B, off, A, off, off, B, off, A, off, B, off, off, repeat approach 

nice and simple, aiming to add 2.5kg to each lift as you successfully hit 5 sets of 5 repetitions, if you fail a weight three times you deload the weight by 10% on your next session and build back up.

Upper Lower

this approach can be utilized by the late beginner all the way up to the early advanced lifter, it uses a twice weekly frequency as opposed to the full body three times weekly frequency therefor there is a larger period of time for CNS and connective tissue recovery 

a simple template could be 

Upper; bench press 4x8-12, row 4x8-12, overhead press 4x8-12, pull ups 4x8-12, tricep extensions 2x10-15, bicep curls 2x10-15
Lower; squat 4x8-12, romanian deadlift 4x8-12, leg press 4x8-12, leg curl 4x8-12, calf raise 2x10-15, cable crunches 2x10-15

you would typically perform 2 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on, 2 days off 
you could of course have an upper A and an upper B with the same 2 variants for Lower to offer some more diversity / exercise selection in the program

essentially the layout is just making sure to cover a vertical push, vertical pull, horizontal push, horizontal pull, arm extensions and arm flexion and two quad movements, two hamstring movements, an abdominal exercise and a calf exercise.

Push, Pull, Legs 

for the slightly more late intermediate to early advanced, this follows a 6x per week frequency per month vs the 8x per week frequency of an upper lower 
some program this as 3 days on, 1 day off, 3 days on, 1 day off however for anyone of any appreciable level of strength this approach will require frequent deloads otherwise you risk overtraining and or overuse injuries 

a template could be

Push; bench press 3x6-8, chest press 3x10-12, overhead press 3x6-8, machine shoulder press 3x10-12, chest fly supersetted with side laterals 4x10-15, tricep extensions 4x10-15
Pull; barbell row 3x6-8, chest supported row 3x10-12, weight pull ups 3x6-8, close grip lat pulldown 3x10-12, rear delt fly supersetted with shrugs 4x10-15, bicep curls 4x10-15
Legs squat; 3x6-8, romanian deadlift 3x10-12, lunges 3x6-8, laying leg curls 3x10-12, leg extensions supersetted with leg curls 4x10-15, hanging leg raises 4x10-15

as mentioned above you could either do a 2 on 1 off approach similar to the upper lower rotating through push, pull, legs or you can do a constant 1 on 1 off approach 

Body part split 

for the late intermediate to the late advanced, this follows a once per week frequency allowing for maximal recovery of central nervous system, connective tissue and muscles. if you take this approach too soon in your training career you are absolutely leaving weekly progress on the table as irrelevant of volume (baring injury) you WILL be ready to hit a muscle again sooner than once every 7 days 

a template could be

Chest and triceps: incline bench 5x5, dumbbell bench 4x8-12, chest press 4x8-12, cable fly 4x15-20, dips 3x8-12, tricep extensions 3x15-20
Back and biceps: Barbell row 5x5, weighted underhand pullups 4x8-12, wide grip lat pulldown 4x8-12, cable low row 4x15-20, barbell curls 3x8-12, dumbell preacher curls 3x15-20
Shoulders: overhead press 5x5, dumbbell seated shoulder press 4x8-12, shoulder press machine 4x8-12, rear delt fly 4x15-20, side laterals 3x8-12, shrugs 3x15-20
Legs and abs: squat 5x5, glute ham raise 4x8-12, leg press 4x8-12, leg extension 4x15-20, leg curl 4x15-20, cable rope crunches 3x15-20

you would then do a 5th day of calf, ab and arm top up training since frequency is so low and these are such small muscles you can train more days per week and these muscles with a higher frequency. 

The idea with this approach being to demolish a muscle group to your full ability and then focusing on rest and recovery leaving you completely fresh and ready to train that muscle again 7 days later with a much lower risk of CNS fatigue, overuse injury and mental drive to train.


now bare in mind these are all just templates and you can of course jumble them up with rep ranges, frequency, intensity and exercise selection in fact I encourage you to based on your individual needs and restrictions 

for instance a routine I often default back to is 

Bench, chest and tris, Rowing movements for back and bis
Squats, quads and core work
Off
Military press, shoulders and tris, Vertical pulls for back and bis
Deadlift, Hamstrings and core work
Off
Off 

as my legs take much longer to recover being bigger and stronger proportionately to my upper body musculature I need a full weeks rest in order to get the most out of my quad or hamstring training whereas my pecs and lats are ready to go much sooner 

which leads me to my closing points 

you should train to the highest frequency you are able to recover and progress on as this will net you the fastest long term progress.
advanced program does not mean advanced results and in most cases it means slower or inferior results if the program design is not matched to your level of development 

ie a beginner will be leaving progress on the table by performing exercises for a muscle group just once per week whereas an advanced lifter will burn out with injury and fatigue trying to perform an exercise for a muscle group three times per week (again unless carefully periodized) 

right I think that about wraps it up
please fire away below with any questions or help with program design 
 

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On 29/02/2020 at 6:22 AM, swole troll said:

that response vs the drug related threads really says it all... 

everyone has their programs in line, it's the 700mg of tren they need adjusted in order to break the 70 to 80kg body weight barrier :lol:

oh well at least this is here for those rare few that do need some templates and a QnA section for training structure or to simply discuss training.

Thanks ST, 

I’m just today 23 months into training, Natty, not sure whether you’ve seen the journal I have on here but I think I’m roughly where I should be for this stage. Will be people out there who’ve done better and worse at this stage.

I’m currently working a PPL routine, 4 times a week. Switching up the session I double up on. Think I’ve worked this out right every 3 weeks I do the following number of sets per week on average (taking the 3 week cycle into consideration). 

Quads: 12 sets

Hamstrings: 10.5 sets

Calves: 6 sets

Back: 13.5 sets

Chest: 13.5 sets

Shoulders: 12 sets

Triceps: 8 sets

Biceps: 6 sets

I’ve had a couple of rotator cuff problems early on and was advised to avoid BB Bench, Lat Pulldown, Pull Ups, CGBP and Dips. I’m okay with Lat Pulldowns but am avoiding the others. Also do no isolation front raises.

Think you’re also 6’4, the biggest issue I’ve found is putting on size without it turning to Fat. Im around 18% BF at the moment but always afraid of cutting because of looking small, lanky like. Diet is solid though and probably my ‘best’ area. I don’t really care about food and eat what I need to eat to hit targets.

I don’t do Cardio. Probably a mistake, but my sessions are limited to 1 hour before work so I don’t have time to mix it up with Cardio. Strength was my main goal all along but I’m now leaning towards size over strength (if that’s possible). Currently on a 200 calorie surplus.

Suppose my main question amongst all of this is whether a 4 day PPL is the optimum plan for me to be on? And whether there’s a better way for me to gain size without pushing my BF% up. Unable to do more than 4 days because of work.

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1 hour ago, DRKE said:

I’ve had a couple of rotator cuff problems early on and was advised to avoid BB Bench, Lat Pulldown, Pull Ups, CGBP and Dips. I’m okay with Lat Pulldowns but am avoiding the others. Also do no isolation front raises.

Think you’re also 6’4, the biggest issue I’ve found is putting on size without it turning to Fat. Im around 18% BF at the moment but always afraid of cutting because of looking small, lanky like. Diet is solid though and probably my ‘best’ area. I don’t really care about food and eat what I need to eat to hit targets.

I don’t do Cardio. Probably a mistake, but my sessions are limited to 1 hour before work so I don’t have time to mix it up with Cardio. Strength was my main goal all along but I’m now leaning towards size over strength (if that’s possible). Currently on a 200 calorie surplus.

Suppose my main question amongst all of this is whether a 4 day PPL is the optimum plan for me to be on? And whether there’s a better way for me to gain size without pushing my BF% up. Unable to do more than 4 days because of work.

I'm 6'2 and yes for us taller guys it's going to take a lot longer to fill out the frame and unfortunately require some prolonged bulks.

as a natural I always favor frequency as you don't have the luxury of synthetic hormones elevating MPS  
likewise I think you would be best served sticking to a lower rep range for your big compound movements (5-10 at most on your upper body lifts, slightly higher for lower body) as you won't have the same kind of sarcoplasmic response somebody enhanced has

so with all that in mind IF you are able to comfortably recover (you almost certainly can at under 2 years training) and progress session on session I'd advise an upper lower with a heavy focus on progressive overload, being consistent with your calories, regular protein feedings, staying hydrated and getting plenty of sleep.

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Guys feel free to post your own templates and current training plans ITT 

it will be good for other readers to formulate their own plans, ask questions or possibly give advice and constructive criticism. 

I'll get my current split up later today, I've got a 5 hour drive ahead of me so when I'm all knotted up with back pain this evening I'll get my current plan up just to keep this thread active and if nothing else for my own record and referral 

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11 hours ago, swole troll said:

Guys feel free to post your own templates and current training plans ITT 

it will be good for other readers to formulate their own plans, ask questions or possibly give advice and constructive criticism. 

I'll get my current split up later today, I've got a 5 hour drive ahead of me so when I'm all knotted up with back pain this evening I'll get my current plan up just to keep this thread active and if nothing else for my own record and referral 

Great thread. I feel that a nod to "relative intensity" i.e., RPE/RIR is worth a mention, especially for those of us who don't only train weights and need to manage the stimulus to fatigue ratio so we can perform in other domains.

Actually, once you get to "advanced intermediate", I feel managing relative intensity is the key to keeping progress rolling without getting niggles and or catastrophic injury. My observation is that people going to failure all the time will eventually hit a brick wall, or get badly injured.

 

My personal programme (bear in mind I am not your average BBer):

(obvs I do mobility and grip work separately, but this alone is about 15 hours a week)

 

Monday (high stress)

AM - BJJ, sparring class, 1 hour

Midday - Olympic lifting, 90 mins

Post OLY - Upper rotation A (see below)

Tuesday (high stress)

Midday - Olympic lifting, 90 mins

Post OLY - Legs rotation A (see below)

PM - BJJ, sparring class, 1 hour

Wednesday (low stress)

5-10 mins HIIT (something like a 2000m row in 7:00 or less) followed by 45-60 mins LISS (treadmill walk at 120HR)

Thursday (high stress)

Midday - Olympic lifting, 90 mins

Post OLY - Upper Rotation B (see below)

PM - BJJ, sparring class, 1 hour

Friday (moderate stress)

Midday - Olympic lifting + WOD, 60 mins

Post OLY - Legs rotation B (see below)

Post Legs - LISS 20-45 mins as above

Saturday (low stress)

5-10 mins HIIT (something like a 2000m row in 7:00 or less) followed by 45-60 mins LISS (treadmill walk at 120HR)

Sunday (low stress)

BJJ - open mat 2 hours positional sparring and drills (if Omegawave HRV says I am recovered, otherwise, off completely or maybe a light, VERY slow run outside)

 

I posted this so you can see that I actively manage the amount of exposure I have to "training stress", waving it up and down.

 

Anyway.... The actual bit you might be interested in...

 

Upper rotation A

Inc DB Bench (6-10 reps 1RIR heavy, 12-20 reps 1RIR back off set)

Flat Football Bar Bench (2-4 straight sets of 8-10 with 2RIR) 

Low Pulley Row (6-10 reps 1RIR heavy, 12-20 reps 1RIR back off set)

Dead Hang Neutral Grip Pullup (2-4 straight sets BW+load with 1RIR)

The reason it says 2-4 straight sets is I build volume over a 4-6 weeks period and then de load.

Legs rotation A

Squat (6-10 reps 1RIR heavy, 12-20 reps 1RIR back off set) - sometimes SSB if my lower back is fatigued, otherwise, back squat

Seated Ham Curl (2-4 straight sets of 8-10 with 2RIR) 

Arms if I can be bothered.

Ab wheel - s**t loads

Upper rotation B

Flat BB Bench (6-10 reps 1RIR heavy, 12-20 reps 1RIR back off set)

Dip (2-4 straight sets of 8-10 with 2RIR) 

Chest Support Machine Row (6-10 reps 1RIR heavy, 12-20 reps 1RIR back off set)

Lat Pull Down (2-4 straight sets BW+load with 1RIR)

Legs rotation B

Deadlift (6-10 reps 1RIR heavy, heavy single but NOT a max for a "back off") - sometimes snatch grip rack pull if lower back is fatigued, otherwise convo DL

Walking DB Lunge (2-4 straight sets of 8-10 with 2RIR) 

Arms if I can be bothered.

Ab wheel - s**t loads

 

An example DL session is e.g. 200x8, then 240x1

 

Overload gets progressed over the month through the following paradigms:

1. Working set weight goes up when threshold for rep targets are hit.

2. The actual number of reps goes up... getting from 6 to 12 for example takes weeks or months.

3. The number of "straight sets" goes from 2-4.

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I have recently moved from P/P/L to a more 'bro split', wasn't a fan of PPL as i feel it allows for certain bodyparts to lag and fall behind. I like to train lower volume, high intensity.

 

I do have a week A and week B, just switch between incline/flat focus and back width/thickness focus etc... but still the same idea

 

Chest and Biceps

Flat DB press: 1 x 6/8, 3 drop sets to failure

Incline BB press: 2 x 8/10

Incline DB fly: 1 x 10, SS into DB press to failure

Flat machine press: Rest pause, 10-8-6 reps

BB Curl: 2 x 10

Single arm preacher: 1 x 12 with forced reps and negatives

DB curl: 3 stage drop set

 

Quads

Leg extension: 3 stage drop set with 1 rest pause set

Leg press: 1 x 6/8, 1 x 15

Hack squat: Rest pause, 10-8-6 reps

BB Squats: straight reps to 40

Seated calf raises: 3 x 25

 

Shoulders and Triceps

DB shoulder press: 2 x 8/10

Side raise: 3 stage drop set

Upright DB row: 1 x 8/10

Machine Shoulder press: Rest pause, 10-8-6 reps

Rope extension: 2 x 10/12

Overhead extension: 1 x set to failure with 2 second hold at negative

Single arm extension: 2 x 10/12

 

Hamstrings

Lying Leg curl: 1 x 6/8, 1 x 10/12

DB stiff leg: 2 x 6/8

Hyperextension: Bodyweight to failure x 3

Seated leg curl: rest pause 10-8-6 reps

Adductor/Abbductor: SS to failure

 

Back

DB/Cable pullover: 2 x 8/10

High row: 1 x 6/8

Seated Machine row 1 arm: 2 x 6/8

Bent BB row: 1 x 6/8, rest pause to failure until can't do more than 3 reps

Rear DB fly: 3 stage drop set

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So I've ran just about every approach there is (bar the Bulgarian method and Smolov) and I am a strong proponent of running the highest frequency you can whilst still recovering which doesn't just mean your CNS but also your tendons, ligaments, bones and mental drive 

if any of these lag then you are either training with too much volume, intensity and or frequency (all this is covered above) 

that said for me personally about my max these days is either 2 upper days and 2 lower days with lower body split into a ham and quad day hitting each just once per week and upper days being hit with a full upper body twice per week frequency 

however due simply to the fact I am riddled with injuries I've ALWAYS accrued from high frequency training I now stick to straight bro splits for the majority of the year since what is faster annual progress:

consistent slower weekly progress or faster weekly progress followed by some form of injury setting me back several weeks

pretty obvious. 

so the current split I run just whilst I am doing a mini cut is: 

Chest and tris
Bench press: x6-8 reps, reduce weight by 20% and AMRAP aiming for 10-12 reps 
Machine flys: 4x10-20
Incline machine press: x10-12 reps, reduce weight by 25% and AMRAP aiming for 18-22 reps 
Smith machine incline: x10-12, -25%, 18-22 reps
Tricep Extensions: 2x100 (both amraps with a 16kg resistance band for tendon health) 

Back and bis
Barbell row : x6-8 reps, reduce weight by 20% and AMRAP aiming for 10-12 reps 
Straight arm lat pulldown/standing pullover: 4x10-20
Lat pulldown: x10-12 reps, reduce weight by 25% and AMRAP aiming for 18-22 reps 
Close grip cable low row: x10-12, -25%, 18-22 reps
EZ bar curls: 2x10-20

Rest day

Shoulders and arms
Military press: x6-8 reps, reduce weight by 20% and AMRAP aiming for 10-12 reps 
side lateralss: 4x10-20
Shoulder machine press: x10-12 reps, reduce weight by 25% and AMRAP aiming for 18-22 reps 
Tricep Extensions: 2x100 (both amraps with a 16kg resistance band for tendon health) 
Dumbbell curl super set with dip machine: 4x10-20
Hammer curl super set with tricep extensions machine: 4x10-20

Legs
Squat: x6-8 reps, reduce weight by 20% and AMRAP aiming for 10-12 reps 
Hip thrust machine: x10-12 reps, reduce weight by 25% and AMRAP aiming for 18-22 reps 
Hyperextensions: 2x10-20
Laying leg curl: 4x10-20
Standing leg curl: 4x20 (2 sets per leg)
Leg extensions: 4x10-20
Leg press: 4x15-25

Barbell lifts are about hitting the lift and progressively overloading.
Isolation work is a HEAVY focus on MMC, weight is almost irrelevant compared to pump, stretch and squeeze, no headphones for these, just pure focus.
Assistance work / machines and secondary compounds are a mixture of the two with a focus on MMC as well as close to linear progressive overload as I am able to.

the last set of every exercise is taken to failure (except for barbell movements which is 1 RIR) 

Pre wo I do 5 minutes on an incline treadmill + the McGill big 3
Post wo I do either RKC plank, bottoms-up KB carry, Mcgill crunches or farmers walk + 20 minutes on an incline treadmill (the cardio goes up and down intensity depending on current goals but 5% incline at 5kph for 20mins is the bare minimum year round) 

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Thanks for the post @swole troll

I am not a beginner, been going to weights gyms fairly regularly for the last 20+ years. But I certainly wouldn't ever call myself advanced.

I've only really had a good run at it twice.

4 years ago I started putting on some muscle, then injured everything before I got to the cut part, and left myself 20%+ body fat and took up hiking instead

 

This time round I have been training over a year, 6 months fairly consistently with weights and starting to make a bit progress but this time I have basically maintained body weight, perhaps dropping 2 or 3 pounds over the last few months.

6'1", 85kg and around 18% bf and the muscle is starting to grow, albeit not as fast as I would have liked because I've been reluctant to put on too much weight before I shed some more fat.

I've set the base strength and things are progressing nicely with what I'm lifting so I was going to try a cut and get a good bit leaner before attempting to bulk.

 

But I have had a backwards idea of the order what you posted above because I have started out on body part splits and was going to eventually move to a full body split later.  

Too late to fix that now but I do still want to have a go at full body splits and going from what you've said  I'm still novice enough to benefit from it. But reading your guide it does look a bit sparse.

I'm fortunate with work/life schedule and could be in the gym 2 or 3 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week if I wanted. 

I was thinking of doing full body but with a combination of larger compound 5x5 type stuff along with isolation exercises.

If I did bench press 5x5 on day A, I'd combine it with lateral raises 3 x 8-12 for shoulders, then day B do OHP 5x5, with crossovers or fly's 3 x 8-12. 

Same idea with quads and hamstrings etc. But when I started to write it down it has a lot more content than your template above.

So it looked something along the lines of

Day A

Squat 5x5

Leg curl 3 x 8-12

Barbbell bench press 5x5

Lateral raises 3 x 8-12

Chins/pull ups 3 x 8-10

Machine curls 3 x 8-10

Ab crunch exercizes

 

Day B

Deadlift 5x5

Leg extension 3 x 8-12

OHP 5x5

Dumbell fly's 3 x 8-12

Cable rows 3 x 8-12

Tricep pushdowns 3 x 10-12

Ab twist exercizes

 

Was thinking, for my week Monday-Sunday 

A, cardio, B, rest, A, Cardio, rest

B, cardio, A, rest, B, Cardio, rest

 

Thoughts?

As I say, I'm wary of doing too much.

My original plan had Leg press 3x8 in with squats, a seated dumbbell version of my OHP with the standing bar version and an incline dumbbell press along with the bench press, both 3x8 as well but I'm wondering if I was overloading it, particularly after reading your OP

I probably spend more time in the gym than I should just now and its counter productive but I have the time and don't like rest days when I am in the swing of things, I have suffered motivation dips in the past and I always see breaks in training of more than a couple days as the times where there is potential for laziness to creep in.

 

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9 hours ago, swole troll said:

that said for me personally about my max these days is either 2 upper days and 2 lower days with lower body split into a ham and quad day hitting each just once per week and upper days being hit with a full upper body twice per week frequency 

I have a tip when it comes to a U/L split. that is to add a upper compound or two on the lower sessions. typically I will hit quads first, then before I move onto Romanian dead and train hams. I’ll stick 3 reverse pyramid sets of chins before I RDL, this warms the back right up prior RDL’s (additional back work) I can attack the upper compound of choice somewhat semi fresh with solid effort. (No upper body work as such, I know trapz involved good degree squats however.) but upper body wise I’m still quiet fresh, grip hasn’t been taxed and ultimately I can progress that compound of choice. I rotate this method back to back, chest next week it could be 2 sets of dips and 3 flat dumbbell press. I have been off here while as alcohol+substance problems. but I’m enjoying my training again, particularly getting good frequency and volume. I like low vol PPLUL, the trainings simple and excellent but a 5 day committed routine has me spinning my wheels, I suspect CNS wise, general recovery and appetite suppression being the factors. Great thread btw. 

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I think its interesting how everyone responds differently to different training methods, I really don't think there is one superior method as long as someone is pushing themselves.

 

I know people who respond amazingly to the P/P/L progressive overload methods, but for me it really didn't do much. HIT low volume training to absolute failure for a couple of months and I can already see the improvements. Then you have the people who, in my opinion have superior genetics, who respond amazingly to higher volume 'pump' style training.

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4 hours ago, Fongtu said:

I think its interesting how everyone responds differently to different training methods, I really don't think there is one superior method as long as someone is pushing themselves.

 

I know people who respond amazingly to the P/P/L progressive overload methods, but for me it really didn't do much. HIT low volume training to absolute failure for a couple of months and I can already see the improvements. Then you have the people who, in my opinion have superior genetics, who respond amazingly to higher volume 'pump' style training.

Provided year on year progress is made and you stay injury free the approach is not actually that relevant.
There are many paths to the same destination.

just gear your training toward your desire, recovery capability, goals, injury and time limitations. 
so long as your lifts are on an upward trend whilst in a caloric surplus you are building muscle and getting stronger.

I think the only time that there is a real blanket recommendation is for beginners and early intermediates to be pushing frequency in order to ingrain neural practice, motor unit recruitment and just generally making fast progress with low risk of injury whilst they are able to 

beyond that phase its just preference based on the above ^^ 

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11 hours ago, Pancake' said:

I have a tip when it comes to a U/L split. that is to add a upper compound or two on the lower sessions. typically I will hit quads first, then before I move onto Romanian dead and train hams. I’ll stick 3 reverse pyramid sets of chins before I RDL, this warms the back right up prior RDL’s (additional back work) I can attack the upper compound of choice somewhat semi fresh with solid effort. (No upper body work as such, I know trapz involved good degree squats however.) but upper body wise I’m still quiet fresh, grip hasn’t been taxed and ultimately I can progress that compound of choice. I rotate this method back to back, chest next week it could be 2 sets of dips and 3 flat dumbbell press. I have been off here while as alcohol+substance problems. but I’m enjoying my training again, particularly getting good frequency and volume. I like low vol PPLUL, the trainings simple and excellent but a 5 day committed routine has me spinning my wheels, I suspect CNS wise, general recovery and appetite suppression being the factors. Great thread btw. 

It's not the upper body frequency I can't handle, It's the lower body 

training my quads multiple times per week with compound movements just runs me down and causes the need for more deloads which I'd rather do less of in exchange for training quads less frequently 

I think it all averages out with lesser risk of injury in my case, for which I am very prone. 

Same for upper body, I can train it more frequently but if I do so for too long my elbows will start to flare up. 

I juggle my approach throughout the year but these days just simply due to injuries and my level of development I tend to stick to the body part split. 

But as is the theme of this thread I'm not for or against any approach, so long as there is progressive overload in place.

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13 hours ago, Bigeffindavie said:

But I have had a backwards idea of the order what you posted above because I have started out on body part splits and was going to eventually move to a full body split later.  

Too late to fix that now but I do still want to have a go at full body splits and going from what you've said  I'm still novice enough to benefit from it. But reading your guide it does look a bit sparse.

All of the above is templates to adapt, they're far from written in stone and you are never too late to adopt any method provided you program it correctly and listen to your body

(I've added something in bold in your quote ^)

your routine looks fine on paper just as long as you keep progressing

5x5 wont last forever, it will eventually become too taxing as you get stronger although you're probably not at risk of this occurring whilst cutting  since you wont be gaining much strength. 

once progress starts to stall (3 failed attempt at the same weight after deloads) then pull the 5x5s down to 3x5 

I understand your desire to want to be in the gym all the time as most of us have been there at one stage or another but the question I pose to you is;

Is it more important to be in the gym or to make progress? 

sometimes the two arn't conducive of one another 
be wary of when this is the case and then make that decision.
recovery is a HUGE part of progression

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On 09/03/2020 at 3:42 PM, swole troll said:

So I've ran just about every approach there is (bar the Bulgarian method and Smolov) and I am a strong proponent of running the highest frequency you can whilst still recovering which doesn't just mean your CNS but also your tendons, ligaments, bones and mental drive 

if any of these lag then you are either training with too much volume, intensity and or frequency (all this is covered above) 

that said for me personally about my max these days is either 2 upper days and 2 lower days with lower body split into a ham and quad day hitting each just once per week and upper days being hit with a full upper body twice per week frequency 

however due simply to the fact I am riddled with injuries I've ALWAYS accrued from high frequency training I now stick to straight bro splits for the majority of the year since what is faster annual progress:

consistent slower weekly progress or faster weekly progress followed by some form of injury setting me back several weeks

pretty obvious. 

so the current split I run just whilst I am doing a mini cut is: 

Chest and tris
Bench press: x6-8 reps, reduce weight by 20% and AMRAP aiming for 10-12 reps 
Machine flys: 4x10-20
Incline machine press: x10-12 reps, reduce weight by 25% and AMRAP aiming for 18-22 reps 
Smith machine incline: x10-12, -25%, 18-22 reps
Tricep Extensions: 2x100 (both amraps with a 16kg resistance band for tendon health) 

Back and bis
Barbell row : x6-8 reps, reduce weight by 20% and AMRAP aiming for 10-12 reps 
Straight arm lat pulldown/standing pullover: 4x10-20
Lat pulldown: x10-12 reps, reduce weight by 25% and AMRAP aiming for 18-22 reps 
Close grip cable low row: x10-12, -25%, 18-22 reps
EZ bar curls: 2x10-20

Rest day

Shoulders and arms
Military press: x6-8 reps, reduce weight by 20% and AMRAP aiming for 10-12 reps 
side lateralss: 4x10-20
Shoulder machine press: x10-12 reps, reduce weight by 25% and AMRAP aiming for 18-22 reps 
Tricep Extensions: 2x100 (both amraps with a 16kg resistance band for tendon health) 
Dumbbell curl super set with dip machine: 4x10-20
Hammer curl super set with tricep extensions machine: 4x10-20

Legs
Squat: x6-8 reps, reduce weight by 20% and AMRAP aiming for 10-12 reps 
Hip thrust machine: x10-12 reps, reduce weight by 25% and AMRAP aiming for 18-22 reps 
Hyperextensions: 2x10-20
Laying leg curl: 4x10-20
Standing leg curl: 4x20 (2 sets per leg)
Leg extensions: 4x10-20
Leg press: 4x15-25

Barbell lifts are about hitting the lift and progressively overloading.
Isolation work is a HEAVY focus on MMC, weight is almost irrelevant compared to pump, stretch and squeeze, no headphones for these, just pure focus.
Assistance work / machines and secondary compounds are a mixture of the two with a focus on MMC as well as close to linear progressive overload as I am able to.

the last set of every exercise is taken to failure (except for barbell movements which is 1 RIR) 

Pre wo I do 5 minutes on an incline treadmill + the McGill big 3
Post wo I do either RKC plank, bottoms-up KB carry, Mcgill crunches or farmers walk + 20 minutes on an incline treadmill (the cardio goes up and down intensity depending on current goals but 5% incline at 5kph for 20mins is the bare minimum year round) 

For  your press (chest / military )  movement  are you doing only one set  of full weight then one set amrap   ? 

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15 minutes ago, sean m said:

For  your press (chest / military )  movement  are you doing only one set  of full weight then one set amrap   ? 

Yep 

Top set of 6-8 with 1ish RIR (occasionally grind out the final rep leaving nothing in the tank but I do this sparingly) 

Reduce the weight by about 20%

And do as many reps as possible until I believe I cannot perform another rep without failing / 0 RIR 

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Hi All,

 

Great Thread and read though interesting routines, I started the following off at the start of the year ready for what wold have been a holiday in May, Been lifting for many a year although deit has not always been the best or motivation to go at 6am due to work commitments this is the only times I can go and have around 45 minutes 4 x a week

 

I am 5 foot 11 and currently weigh around 14.3 stone.  What I was finding was maybe due to intensity I don't know that progress was not happening I changed my routine to hit each muscle group twice a week, But the volume was massive so I would simply be jumping constantly.

 

It looked something like this

 

Monday 

Chest                                     3 Sets of 3 different exercises 8-10 reps (Last Set normally around 5-6 reps) 

Back                                        3 Sets of 3 different Exercises Same as above

Bi-Ceps                                 3 Sets of 3 Different exercises 

 

So basically I would have done a total of 27 sets

 

Tuesday

 

Legs

Shoulders

Tri-Ceps

 

Same as above 3 sets 3 different 8-10 reps, Wednesday off Thursday repeat Monday and Friday repeat Tuesday, Weekend off

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