Rotational Routines

  1. Rotational Routines

    Rotating Routines

    The most common way to structure a routine is to select a fixed number of exercises, decide how many sets and reps are to be done, and use this routine week to week, always doing the same lifts until it is decided a change is needed and then either exercises are removed and new ones inserted into the routine, or wholesale changes are made and a complete new set of lifts and sets/reps is selected. This is the traditional way routines are structured and for most trainees it is an effective way to get the job done. There are other camps out there that believe this is all wrong for a variety of reasons—and in SOME cases they are correct. The top name and mid level bodybuilders that go into the gym and attack each workout by “feel” are almost too numerous to name, but suffice to say that many people just go to the gym and do what “feels right” for that particular day, and rarely do the same workout twice. While no one can argue with their success, this route is usually a recipe for failure for the average guy. More structure is generally needed unless you have absolutely fantastic genetics and/or are on a BOATLOAD of gear. A more reasonable approach, and one that has a lot more chance of success is planning the routine to change on a pre-planned basis. A couple of good examples of those that prefer rotating routines would be Westside Barbell (Louis Simmoms/Dave Tate) and Doggcrap (AKA Dante, AKA..well, never mind you know the guy). Westside Barbell Pretty much dominates the powerlifting world, and DC’s rep is almost unparalleled as a trainer that gets AWESOME results for his trainees. It would take MANY pages to describe Westside training, but the condensed version is that they take a core group of lifts and rotate them every one to three weeks dependant on the trainee. Here is a copy paste out of DC’s cycles on pennies thread describing his basic training format.

    I did a copy-paste because I’m lazy, but it will give you the idea. ALL Dogg’s training principles are SPOT-ON and if it doesn’t work for you all that need be changed is frequency and for some people only doing mostly strait sets instead of rest-pause. ALL body-parts are trained with ONE SET ONLY, performed in rest-pause fashion.









    Example Day one
    first exercise smith incline presses (ill use the weights i use for example)
    135 for warm-up for 12--185 for 8 warm-up--225 for 6-8 warm-up-----then 375 for 8 reps to total absolute failure (then 12-15 deep breaths) 375 for 2-4 reps to total absolute failure (then 12-15 deep breaths) 375 for 1-3 reps to absolute total failure (then a 20-30 second static hold) DONE!--that’s it 375lbs for 8+4+3= 375 for 15 reps rest paused..... next week I go for 385 (again rest paused)-----directly after that rest pause set I go to extreme stretching flyes as described earlier in this post and that’s it for chest and on to shoulders, triceps and back........the next day I come in to do chest would be day 4 and i would do hammer flat presses in the same rest paused manner (and then extreme stretching again)---the next day i come in to do chest is day seven and I would do my third favorite exercise rest paused and then the cycle repeats. Three chest workouts in nine days with low enough volume to recover in between workouts and high enough intensity and load to grow rapidly--my workouts last an hour—I’m doing one exercise for one all out balls to the wall rest pause set (I don’t count warm-ups only the working set) ---so in simple terms I am using techniques with extreme high intensity(rest pause) which i feel make a persons strength go up as quickly as possible + low volume so i can (recover) as quickly as possible with as many growth phases (damage/remodel/recover)I can do in a years time.

    That is Dogg’s format in a nutshell, but it is ONLY the basic format and Dogg alters it to fit those he trains.

    Here is a routine I used a while back with good success:

    Bench 2 x15
    Dips 2 x10
    1 Arm Upright Row 1 x25
    Neck Work 1 x10

    Day Two
    Shrugs 1 x15
    Pull-Ups 1 x5
    Bent Row 2 x10
    Hammer Curls 1 x15

    Day Three
    Glute Ham Raise 2 x15
    Leg Extensions 2 x15
    Squats 1 x15
    Abs 1 x15

    Day One, Week Two
    Incline Dumbell Press/BP 1 x15
    Incline Fly 1 x15
    Lateral Raises 1 x25
    Tricep Push Downs 1 x20

    Day Two, Week Two
    Pull-ups/Downs, Vary Grip Every Wk 1 15
    Dumbell Curls 1 x15
    Reverse Curls 1 x15
    Rack-Pulls 1 x10

    Day Three, Week Two
    Hanging Leg Raises 1 x15
    Resistance abs 1 x15
    Hammer Leg Curl 1 x10
    Leg Extension 2 x10
    Leg Press 1 x30

    All lifts noted as 15 reps are done rest-pause fashion which means you fail at 8 and rest JUST long enough to do a couple more reps, then a couple more, until the full 15 have been reached. PLEASE do not peek at this and say “that’s how Iron Addict trains” like many people did when I posted it awhile back on another board because my current routine is NOTHING like this, and my routines vary a lot. For some muscles I find I need more volume for size, but going back to a pure HIT routine ALWAYS works for me.

    Here is a routine I recently put together for an advanced trainee with good recovery ability that has been working well for him:

    Day One Sets Reps
    Machine Incline 3 x6
    Pec Deck 2 x8
    Military or Machine Press 3 x8
    Lateral Raise 3 x12
    Laying Tricep extensions 4 x10

    Day Two
    Shrugs 3 x6
    Pull-Ups 3 x5
    Row Machine 2 x10
    Cable Preacher Curl 2 x8/15

    Day Three
    Glute Ham Raise 2 x10
    Squats 2 x10
    Abs 1 x15
    Standing Calf Raise 2 x10/20

    Day One, Week Two
    Machine, or Dumbell Bench Press 3 x6
    Incline Fly 3 x8
    Lateral Raises 2 x8/20
    Tricep Push Downs (neutral Grip) x3 12

    Day Two, Week Two
    Pull-ups/Downs, Vary Grip Every Wk x3 8
    Dumbell Curls 2 x10/20
    Reverse Curls 2 x10
    Rack-Pulls 2 x8

    Day Three, Week Two
    Hanging Leg Raises 2 x15
    Resistance abs, HEAVY!! 2 x10
    Leg Press 2 x12
    Hack Squat 2 x10
    Calf Raise 2 15, 15/30

    Some of the reps there may make no sense to you, but the ones with a high and low number are rest-pause.

    For the average person wanting to attempt doing a rotating routine my best advice is to pick a hardgainer style routine that is brief and infrequent, and then make another variation of that with different exercises and do that the following week. I have many of my trainees doing rotational routines. Where I differ from many is that I only like a two-way routine split while many trainers break it up more. They both work, but my experience has been that people that are not that gifted with the ability to “fire” (send the signal from brain to muscle to contract) are more likely to do well on a shorter rotation. That way some of the neural recruitment patterns are not lost as is more likely to be the case when a longer time between doing the same lift occurs.

    OK, your reading this and maybe thinking awesome, how should I try this? Well let me give you a couple of qualifiers. If you are a BRAND NEW trainee, and have been training less than a year, stick to a routine that has you doing the same things week to week. If you are an extreme hardgainer, or are someone that feels naturally weak anytime you switch lifts leave this alone, it will PROBABLY not yield optimal results for you. If these categories don’t fit you, and you want to give it a try, my advice is to pick a routine that has worked well for you in the past, and then KEEPING THE SETS AND REPS THE SAME, put together a different routine and do that the following week. How should your routine be best structured as far as bodyparts per day? That is a question for another day and article.

    I am available for personal training if needed. Email me for details.

    Iron Addict

  2. bump for all to read....

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