• Making Your Routine More Efficient

      by Noah Oct Bodybuilding .com


      Name: Noah Siegel
      Height: 5'10"
      Weight: 218 lbs
      Occupation: Physique athlete, Optimum Nutrition-sponsored athlete, personal trainer
      Website: www.siegefitness.com


      The muscle-building mantra: To build it, you have to do a high-volume, seven-day split that begins with Monday, International Chest Day.

      This might come as a shock, so you may want to sit down: You're being lied to.

      Do you truly believe your muscles know what day of the week it is, or that it would matter if they did? A program needs to be set up by principles of growth and rest, not because there are seven days in a week. Stop worrying about doing chest on Monday, back on Tuesday, shoulders on Wednesday, and legs on Friday.

      I'm about to show you why that's all nonsense.


      I strongly believe in training frequency over volume. My beliefs are backed by science. First, muscular hypertrophy ceases at the cellular level 48 hours post-trauma, (i.e. post destruction from a killer workout). If you're doing the typically misguided bodybuilder routine, you hit any given muscle group once per week. That means if you train chest on Monday, it doesn't get worked again for six days. That's just too much rest. Just a few days after you crush your chest, it's ready for another bout. Worried about overtraining? Ask yourself this: Has an athlete ever become great from practicing something once per week?

      Second, Pareto's Principle, or the 80/20 Rule, states that 80 percent of your results are from the key 20 percent of your work. In reference to growing and training our muscles, Pareto's Principle implies that 80 percent of what you do at the gym is not giving you optimal results. Even so, I like to err on the side of caution and do accessory movements and intricate detail work. The bulk of my growth is centered on the essential movements and doing them with all-out effort.

      Third and most important principle of growth is called reciprocal innervation. Reciprocal innervation is a reaction by your central nervous system that essentially shuts down the stimuli to the antagonist muscle you are working. You can understand this by performing a leg extension: your quad fires like crazy but your hamstrings are relaxed so they don't resist the quadriceps contraction.

      You can use reciprocal innervation to your advantage. Instead of training synergist muscles—like chest and triceps—on the same day, train antagonist muscles. While you work your chest, your back gets a break. There's no need for rest periods if you alternate antagonist muscle groups because the rest periods are already built in!


      For years I read the muscle mags and tried to copy the four-hour push or pull workouts the mass monsters were doing. I did sets of endless volume with huge rest periods between exercises. Why? I spent so much time and energy on misguided focus.

      Sound familiar? If it does, you're just wasting time at the gym sitting around doing nothing but resting. You're there too long, your secondary muscle group is already tired by the time you get to it, and your energy is gone. Wouldn't you be able to work your triceps heavier and harder—and thus make them stronger—if you didn't do chest first? Do you think it would be more efficient to do fewer sets of triceps work, but hit them heavier, harder, and faster?

      The basis of my entire training is doing antagonist muscle groups on the same day. Like I said, I use reciprocal innervation to get a lot of work done in one day. I don't have to sit for two minutes between exercises in order to rest my chest. My chest gets a break when I move to a back exercise. By the time I'm done with my back movement, my chest is ready to go again. This type of training allows me to keep the pace moving, keep my heart rate up, and keep my intensity high. I also get done quickly; my routines never go longer than an hour. Even better, my constantly elevated heart rate means I don't have to do traditional cardio. Not even once per week!

      I prepare my split as follows—you will notice that I base it on prescribed rest and recovery, not days of the week. This means that you may not get to hit chest on Monday with all the cool kids, but I think the gains will be worth it! I work two antagonist muscles and then hit them again a few days later. You may choose to move your rest days around depending on your personal abilities. You may also need to re-arrange your split to increase the frequency of body parts that need more work. There is no single absolute correct way to do things; everyone is unique.

      Day 1: Chest and Back (Heavy)
      Day 2: Quads and Hams (Heavy)
      Day 3: Shoulders, Abs, Calves
      Day 4: Biceps and Triceps
      Day 5: Rest
      Day 6: Chest and Back (Lighter)
      Day 7: Quads and Hams (Lighter)
      Day 8: Rest

      Organize your workout so you alternate exercises between muscle groups. Do sets of a back exercise and then couple it with a chest exercise. Continue going back and forth between chest and back movements. Keep the intensity high and the volume low. Make your sets count. Toss out that ineffective 80 percent and replace it with efficiency. Every workout you do will have focus and drive. You'll get better work done faster.

      Source: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ask-...efficient.html
      Comments 10 Comments
      1. Quatie's Avatar
        Quatie -
        Lol. Typical bodybuilding split makes me laugh!
      1. cyrix's Avatar
        cyrix -
        if a typical split works for someone why laugh? no need to be an elitist. do what works for you.
      1. tx_bencher's Avatar
        tx_bencher -
        I train very similarly and always have. Never felt one bodypart per day as effective unless it's strictly powerlifting you're after.
        I tran there on, one off, two on, one off:
        Mon: quads,hams, calves
        Tues: chest, back, side & rear delts
        Wed: triceps, biceps, abs
        Thurs: OFF
        Fri: quads, hams, calves
        Sat: chest, back, side & rear delts
        Sun: OFF
        Mon: repeat cycle, beginning with bi's, tri's, abs
      1. Quatie's Avatar
        Quatie -
        I did the same type of split for 14 years and I was big but weak. You need to be doing your big compound lifts to get strong and big. Now I'm big and very strong.
      1. mountainman33's Avatar
        mountainman33 -
        I found that when I split my hamstrings and quads, and did calves on both days, I saw great response from my lower body. My knees felt a lot better as well.
      1. mcafaro's Avatar
        mcafaro -
        Originally Posted by mountainman33 View Post
        I found that when I split my hamstrings and quads, and did calves on both days, I saw great response from my lower body. My knees felt a lot better as well.
        That's interesting...I always found that difficult because it'd be hard to do major quad lift when my hamstrings are sore and vice versa especially for something like squats

        You feel me? But then again, I've never even tried it
      1. Nepipeline's Avatar
        Nepipeline -
        I have found truth any many of these statements, based on the fact that one needs to change up their routines periodically in order to avoid plateauing. I have like doing the heavy 1 day a week blast per major muscle group and then switched it up to a 2 time a week cycle in order take my weight lifting gains and now apply them to a more hyper trophy / building program. But again as stated before by many others you need to find what fits you.
      1. bachelard's Avatar
        bachelard -
        I must be missing something here. You argue against the one-day-a-week approach in favor of frequency over volume. But the difference in your routine is only one day. Does one day make that much difference? Also, despite the priority of frequency, you say you do a lot of "accessory" work. That in itself makes a lot out of volume, doesn't it?

        So, if frequency is paramount, why not a 3X weekly full-body workout heavy on the compound lifts. This doesn't preclude working antagonistic muscles in serial fashion.

        Finally, I always find it a bit annoying that this issue of volume/frequency never accounts for the use of "supplements." If you're "on," your routine can be all over the map.
      1. mountainman33's Avatar
        mountainman33 -
        Originally Posted by mcafaro View Post
        That's interesting...I always found that difficult because it'd be hard to do major quad lift when my hamstrings are sore and vice versa especially for something like squats

        You feel me? But then again, I've never even tried it
        After my first 2 weeks of that split my soreness was no longer an issue. I started it in college for volleyball. My vertical improved greatly, my patellar tendinitis almost completely disappeared, and my girlfriend at the time couldn't keep her hands off my a$$. I also found that my recovery seemed faster than when I did my whole lower body. Could have just been in my head. Heavy lifts (i.e. squats, deads, RDL's) didn't suffer either. I didn't see huge jumps in strength, but the other positives made that split well worth the time. Oh, I also saw great calf developement. That was a major bonus in my book.
      1. JD261985's Avatar
        JD261985 -
        So if I'm sore as hell I should still lift after 48 hrs of rest? Then why do my muscles look bigger and fuller when they aren't sore anymore? Is this article geared toward a steroids user I can't tell. All I know is that soreness has definitely effected strength negatively and I dont see a citation for hypertrophy stops after 48 hrs...really?

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