How To Train Yourself

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    How To Train Yourself


    This is perhaps one of the most important articles I have written in a long time. It is about how to find the basic framework of routine structure that works best for YOU. As anyone that has been exposed to bodybuilding knows there are countless different training styles out there that all promise to give you the physique of your dreams. And they are all WRONG! And they are all CORRECT also. How can this be? Well what I meant by that is that they all work for some people at least some of the time. And MOST of them fail most of the people. Most bodybuilders continually sway back and forth, at least in their minds if not in the gym about how to train. They are lost in a sea of confusion about who is right and what the reality of effective training really is. Everyone has a very unique metabolism and what is pure magic for one person may be pure poison for another. Without going into too much detail I will just say that most guys out there in search that huge ripped physique just donít have the genetics to make it happen. ButÖ..almost everyone can build a physique that will impress about anyone except competitive level bodybuilders. How fast you get there, or if you ever get there at all depends on training and diet. Saving diet for another day lets discuss how to find an effective training protocol for you. In order to keep this from becoming the book it very well could be, we are going to keep the parameters limited. Instead of going into all the sub-categories of each basic training style we will just touch upon the ďbig pictureĒ styles, because within them are the volume and frequency that is the guiding factor of whether progress is made or not. Once you understand your basic needs there will still be much work and experimentation to be done to fine tune everything to make it fit you. But at least you will be in a position to make gains while this occurs. Lets face it, MOST people out there pouring their heart and souls into training are making marginal at best gains.
    The categories to be covered here are:

    1. Volume Training, be that traditional or GVT.
    2. Reduced level volume training.
    3. HIT
    4. Hardgainer style training (this is more often than not a sub-category of HIT, but I will treat it as itís own because there are differences that make a BIG difference as to if it, or HIT are effective.

    In order for this ďexperimentĒ to be effective and work for anyone out there that might be willing to try it I am going to establish some guidelines for each training protocol to be followed. I ABSOLUTLY KNOW that the guidelines will not stand-up to criticism from many proponents of each categories training style. SAVE IT GUYS! I know itís not perfect, and if you have a training style that fits you well and is effective great. MANY, MANY people are absolutely lost, and this will help them find their way if they are willing to take the time and take some risks. Those risks being that they absolutely will do some training that doesnít work well for them. My guess though is that the people that havenít put the pieces of the growth puzzle together yet are already not making progress so they have nothing to lose.

    Lets also clear up something else to make sure the trainee is not spinning their wheels. The most perfect routine is WORTHLESS if rest and nutrition are not there to back things up. You need to be getting 1.5 grams of protein per lb of bodyweight EVERY DAY, 2 grams if ďonĒ. Other basics required are:

    2 mega-dose multi-vitamin and 2 mega-dose multi-mineral a day.
    2000 mgs vit C a day
    6 tabs calcium/magnesium/zinc a day
    2 tablespoons of flax oil a day.
    2 tablespoons olive oil a day
    1 gram ALA a day, 2 x 500 mgs

    I am also going to ask that the trainee attempting this does not try it while they are trying to reduce bodyfat. While I can honestly say that I do not have a single trainee I personal train that doesnít build strength the whole time they are cutting I do know that most people simply just donít know how to make this happen so donít attempt this while cutting. Also if you are say, just starting a new physical labor job, or going out for a sport that requires large physical exertion expenditures this isnít the best time to experiment. Try to keep all the variables to a minimum.

    OK lets start, here are the basic parameters of each training style to try.

    Volume training. Pick three exercises per body-part and do 4 sets each. This is 12 sets per body-part and while it isnít as high as the 16-20 sets some volume trainers do, itís still high enough to get an adequate growth response if volume training will work for you. These sets are not to be done to failure but they should be done fairly heavy. Keep the reps in the 8-12 range with 2 to 3 minutes rest per set (always time it so you are consistent). Train 4 days a week using a split that has you only hitting each muscle group once a week. And yes volume guys I know some of you hit muscles more frequently than that with good results, but this experiment is made to get the trainee there as soon as possible and once a week volume training works fine if volume training will work for you. This section is probably the easiest one to be listed because almost all trainees try volume training at some point in time. It does NOT work well for the majority of the trainees out there because itís just too much to recover from, but for those it works good for nothing is better and they should be doing it!

    Reduced level volume training. Pick two exercises per body-part and do 3 sets each after warm-ups. These sets should be hard but not to failure. The last set of each exercise should be extremely tough though and going to failure on this set is fine, but not needed. While some will say this is too low to be called volume training, its still more than HIT, and quite frankly I donít care what itís called. It is a very useful protocol and one I have a lot of my personal training clients on because it works so well. Keep the reps between 8-12, and train 3-4 days a week (PREFERABLY 3) and only hit each muscle one a week. Use as little overlap as possible which means all pushing muscles on one day, pulling muscles on another, and legs the other day. Many folks do chest and back on one day, arms a day or so later and then wonder why they are not growing. Eliminate the overlap!

    HIT, this is probably the hardest one for me to define a basic training framework for because there are so many different variations of HIT that all qualify as HIT training. Without leaving anyone slighted for not picking their HIT style I will take a stab at providing a basic structure to work within. Itís particularly hard for me because Iím primarily known as a HIT trainer, but in truth my routines for personal training clients cover the full spectrum including Westside Barbell routines (ooops! Opened up another can of worms). Anyway, the protocol for this will be picking two sets per body-part (except biís and triís, and calves, only one lift here) and do one set of each lift (after warm-ups) to absolute failure. You may alternatively do these sets with beyond failure techniques such as rest-pause or drop-sets but most people find the beyond failure techniques too much if used for every lift. If you attempt them and they donít yield IMMEDIATE strengths gains from your first rotation drop them immediately and continue your experiment with strait sets only. Most everyone does well on a routine such as this and strength gains are usually phenomenal. Some people do not get the size gains to correspond to the strength gains, but that is a topic for another article.

    Hardgainer Style Training. There are many people on these boards that have absolutely ZERO knowledge about this style of routine. And unfortunately they are most often the ones that spout off about how it could never work. One of the objections often quoted is ďthere is no way you could build a competitive physique with a routine like thatĒ. To that I will say ďno ****ing duhĒ. No you are right you canít build a competitive physique on a routine like this. But ďduh EinsteinĒ the VAST majority of the trainees out there will never build a competitive physique no matter what they do. That takes great genetics and unfortunately most people just don't have it. But with proper training most guys can get damn big and strong. Big enough to turn heads wherever they go. For MANY people out there Hardgainer style training is the one and only thing that will get them there. I canít even count the number of trainees I have seen add 20-40 lbs in a few months after YEARS of making little or no gains. I know, I was one of them! I will make this category really simple on everyone. Do this:

    Split your routine up into 2 or 3 days and after warm-ups do:
    Bench Press or Dips 2 x 8-12
    Bent Row or Pull-up 2 x 8-12
    Military or Dumbell Press 2 x 8-12
    Squat 2 x 8-12
    Stiff Legged Deadlift 2 x 8-12
    Weighted Abs 2 x 10

    DONíT worry about detail here. The idea is to actually get brutally strong on a core group of lifts instead. Here is something I posted awhile back:

    For you people that are always concerned about balance and symmetry, yet donít grow, yes, you guys.always doing 3-4 exercises per body-part to ensure ďcomplete developmentĒ of all ďaspectsĒ of a muscle. What if all you did was:

    Squats 400 x 20
    Stiff-legged deadlifts 375 x 15
    Bench Press 315 x 12
    Pull-Up with 100 lbs extra weight x 12
    Military Press Body-Weight x 10
    Calf-Raise 700 x 15
    Weighted Sit-Up 175 x 12

    How much bigger would you be than you are now, and what muscle would be under developed?!?!?!?!?!?

    What if that was ALL THE LIFTS YOU ACTUALLY DID ON A WEEK-TO-WEEK BASIS, BUT ACTUALLY DID THAT AMOUNT OF WEIGHT? AND SINCE THAT WAS ALL YOU DID YOU NEVER OVERTRAINED AND YOU WERE ALWAYS ABLE ADD A LITTLE AMOUNT OF WEIGHT TO THE BAR. HOW MUCH ****ING BIGGER WOULD YOU BE THAN YOU ARE NOW???????

    Enough ranting about Hardgainer style training. Let me just add that if you have even a passing fancy about weight training and you have never read Stuart McRobertís book ďBrawnĒ you are really missing something.

    Well we have four basic categories and ways to go about testing them, and while admittedly the formats and methods of implementing them are far from perfect they will do for someone that is really determined to be successful at bodybuilding. So how to go about putting them to the test, and how to determine if they are working? Well, we could start at doing the volume training first and work down. But I will simply say this. On a percentile basis more people fail at volume training than succeed. Donít believe me? Go to your gym and closely observe. MOST people there will be doing a volume routine. And most will be the little guys you see spinning their wheels looking the same month after month. Volume guys, donít take this as a knock because as I stated volume works spectacularly for those it works for. If you are one of them count your blessings, but donít get ruffled and say that if it doesnít work for someone itís because they are doing something wrong. Actually you are right in a way, what they are doing wrong is overtraining. In my opinion it would be best to start at the bottom and work your way up. The big problem here is 80% of the people that decide to try a Hardgainer routine add **** until itís not a Hardgainer routine. LISTEN TO ME! THERE ARE VERY, VERY FEW PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT WILL NOT MAKE GREAT PROGRESS ON A HARDGAINER STYLE ROUTINE, DONíT ADD A THING AND IF IT DOESNíT WORK YOU WILL AT LEAST KNOW IT DOESNíT WORK BECAUSE IT DOESNíT SUT YOU, NOT BECAUSE YOU BASTARDIZED IT. Everyone owes it to themselves to try a routine like this at least once in their lives to at least see what it can do for them. Why have I spent so much time and words about Hardgainer style training? Do I think itís the best way to go? Absolutely not, but I do know that it is the most misunderstood, and least likely to be tried method. I also absolutely KNOW that for the extreme hardgainer itís the ONLY way they will ever develop an impressive physique.

    Again, I would suggest starting at the bottom and working up. By doing so you WILL make gains until you run into your overtraining threshold. If you make it to volume training and volume is working for you add a few sets and keep going till a wall is hit and back down. I would suggest trying each method for 6 weeks. Judge your results by strength and size gains. Strength gains should occur on about every lift every week until you get to volume training. It is common for volume trainers to not have consistent strength gains, but they do add size consistently. Still, slow strength gains are needed because if that is not occurring you are just continually repeating the last workout. You MUST pre progressing! I know some people are probably saying 6 weeks! Thatís 24 months, almost half a year. Let me put it to you this way. What were your gains like over the last 6 months. What if in 6 months from now you had a great handle on your training and could then devout your time to a training protocol that actually worked for you?

    I had a few people asking me why as a personal trainer I would write something like this and asked if I wasnít concerned that I would lose business because of it. My answer was simple. I get a great deal of satisfaction helping people achieve their lifting goals and know that those people I help are more likely to come to me for assistance when they get stuck, or are ready to take their training to the next level. This is what these boards are about. People sharing knowledge and everyone benefiting from it!

    As always I am available for personal training. Email for more info if interested.

    Iron Addict
    Last edited by iron addict; 07-18-2003 at 02:20 AM.

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    Great Info


    Great Info as always IA !!

    Stroyer
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    Awesome post IA.. and I will second the opinion about Brawn good book..
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    hell yea bro. i enjoy all of these articles. ive only read a few so far, but i like this one the best. keep it up!!
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    Some people do not get the size gains to correspond to the strength gains, but that is a topic for another article.
    How would one compensate/tweak things in order to offset the lack of size on such an HIT routine.
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    Great info bro. Thanks for your contributions to AM.
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    Again nice article IA, I read them all and look forward to them. After reading your articles I have recently switched over from volume training to a HIT style routine where my postive and negatives are about 4 seconds. So far it's really working well, of course the pain is unbearable but I find myself recovering a lot quicker and not nearly as much soreness in the days after. My strength is not improving but that's mainly because I am currently working in the tree business and lifting logs all day long in the sun just doesn't allow it, and yet I can tell I am getting bigger. Thanks for sharing the info. Later J
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    Originally posted by iron addict
    Hardgainer Style Training. There are many people on these boards that have absolutely ZERO knowledge about this style of routine.
    Split your routine up into 2 or 3 days and after warm-ups do:
    Bench Press or Dips 2 x 8-12
    Bent Row or Pull-up 2 x 8-12
    Military or Dumbell Press 2 x 8-12
    Squat 2 x 8-12
    Stiff Legged Deadlift 2 x 8-12
    Weighted Abs 2 x 10
    I didn't know what it was called but that is pretty similar to what I do. My question is why the high reps? I usually do 3 sets but lower reps. If I had to do the higher reps I'd also have to use less weight. If I were to change what differences should I expect to see?

    Traps
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    Lgoosey,

    Your question regarding:

    how would one compensate/tweak things in order to offset the lack of size on such an HIT routine.

    Is one I have a planned article on and it is too big of a subject to be covered in a quick response. Let me just say that this problem is far from universal and most people do get good size gains to go along with the strenght gains, and for those that don't there is a good comprimise solution.

    MrTrap,

    The higher rep ranges are cited because when writing an article that will go out to MANY people the best bet is to deal with the best odds, and more people will get better size gains with the higer reps. If you absolutely know you respond well to lower reps by all means use them, but on a percentile basis, more people will acheive more size with the reps a little higher.

    Iron Addict
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    Great article IA. Since early JuneI hit a wall in training so this definatley gives me a few new options in training style.
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    Thanks Iron. I guess I should try it. Some of these other guys tried to get me to before but this old goat has just been stuck on the lower reps.
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    Hey IA,

    Contemplating giving th hardgainer style a try. Was wondering why traditional deads were left off out of your hardgainer style training routine? I was always told that I had to do deads if I wanted to gain size. What impact would it have if I added them into the routine? (I realize this would be the bastardization you refer to)
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    Littlemark,

    Nothing wrong with doing regular deads but or a LOT of hardgainers doing regular deads and squats on the same day leads to overtraining. Doing them on different days of the week almost always overtrains guys that really need to be on a hardgainer style routine. If you want to do both of them reduce the amount of sets you do for each of them. I would reccommend only one heavy set of deads. There are a million ways to structure routines. Please understand none of the routines here are the deifinative way to do them. Just examples. The hargainer routine though really should be tried just as written though because it DOES WORK! for abou anyone as written.

    Iron Addict
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    Originally posted by iron addict
    Anyway, the protocol for this will be picking two sets per body-part (except biís and triís, and calves, only one lift here) and do one set of each lift (after warm-ups) to absolute failure.
    IA, the protocol for this "general" HIT standard u say pick two sets per body-part. is this just a typo and meant two exercises/BP, or did u actually mean 2 sets of one exc.?

    btw, i have been doing an HIT style for quite some time now as i said before, but I do 2 warmup sets and 4 pyramid sets ranging from 8-1reps for each excercise. and only doing 3-4 different exc. each time i train and only train 3x/week...............do u think that this is overdoing it? like i said, things have been going really slow for me recently, and im out of ideas, any info?

    p.s. i know that u do this for a living, but if u could just break it down for me quick-like

    --thx again......
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    Re: Re: How To Train Yourself


    Originally posted by Jergo

    i have been doing an HIT style for quite some time now as i said before, but I do 2 warmup sets and 4 pyramid sets ranging from 8-1reps for each excercise. and only doing 3-4 different exc. each time i train and only train 3x/week...............do u think that this is overdoing it? like i said, things have been going really slow for me recently, and im out of ideas, any info?
    I'm not the man your asking but I'll give you my $0.02 anyway:

    Only you know if your overdoing it, it would depend a great deal on your exercise selection, trying to do SLDL, squats and BLDL in the same routine would be too much for a lot of people. Get the idea out of your head that you 'only' train 3 days per week!

    Define slow, are you increasing your lifts at all? Progress will slow and eventually halt on any routine if you've been doing it long enough (how long have you been doing it?) If you've only just started this routine then you probably need to change something, take a little extra rest between sets, eat a bit more, drop a set and see where that gets you, if you've been doing the same routine for a while then it might be time to take a break or devise a new routine, a new routine doesn't have to be radically different - perhaps a change of rep range or swapping BLDL's for sumo deads.
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    IA-

    My biceps never grow. Therefore I devote a whole day to bis/brachialis/fore. how many failure sets total would you recommend? 2 for 2 diff exer (4total) for just biceps? this can't be too much, they get a week recovery!

    JWest
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    Re: Re: Re: How To Train Yourself


    Originally posted by daniel


    I'm not the man your asking but I'll give you my $0.02 anyway:

    Only you know if your overdoing it, it would depend a great deal on your exercise selection, trying to do SLDL, squats and BLDL in the same routine would be too much for a lot of people. Get the idea out of your head that you 'only' train 3 days per week!

    Define slow, are you increasing your lifts at all? Progress will slow and eventually halt on any routine if you've been doing it long enough (how long have you been doing it?) If you've only just started this routine then you probably need to change something, take a little extra rest between sets, eat a bit more, drop a set and see where that gets you, if you've been doing the same routine for a while then it might be time to take a break or devise a new routine, a new routine doesn't have to be radically different - perhaps a change of rep range or swapping BLDL's for sumo deads.
    im not sure what u mean by I "only" train 3x/week.

    as for the other variables, ive been using this routine since i started 10 months ago. i gained a hell of a lot of size since then, but lately, ive been seeing hardly any progress. lately, i haven't been able to do squats at all, since im most likely going to have knee surgery soon. but i only do deads and leg ext. on one day. i take 3 minutes between every set, and 1.5 between each warm-up set. every so often, i switch up routine as needed--w/ either higher reps, more sets, etc.

    ive just got done taken a break for 13 days, and i eat close to 6000 cals/day. over 2g of protein/lb. of bw.

    u see. its not like i haven't tried the obvious, i just cant seem to get anyhwhere lately. the thing is that i had been doing fine this way for so long, and the idea that it isn't working anymore even w/ all of those changes just doesn't seem possible. so the best idea i could come up w/ was possible overtraining w/ the same routine..................?
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    You said you 'only train three days per week', you make that sound like a bad thing as if its less than normal, three days is plenty.

    All good things come to an end you've done very well to keep the same programme going for 10 months but now its time for a change, a complete re-working imo, perhaps variations of what you were doing before, you need to find some new exercises build up the poundages in them then go back to the original exercises and you should be able to improve on them.

    For example you may have been doing squat and BLDL, your next training cycle you would do Trap bar deads and SLDL instead, work your poundages up in those movements.

    Adding extra sets is the worst thing you can do, taking some away would be a far better idea! Also setting your rest periods in stone is not the best idea in the world, rest as long as you need whether thats 5 mintues or 5 seconds.

    Perhaps if you post the routine that has served you well it will be easy to make a few adjustments to bring new life to your training, its very hard to comment on what could be wrong without seeing what your doing, I can only assume right now that after 10 months you need to mix things up a bit the very least of reasons would be that mentally its good to change things around.
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    I do 2 warmup sets and 4 pyramid sets ranging from 8-1reps for each excercise. and only doing 3-4 different exc. each time i train and only train 3x/week
    Um. That's technically not a HIT type of routine.....especially if you do that for each bodypart.
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    Originally posted by Atavis


    Um. That's technically not a HIT type of routine.....especially if you do that for each bodypart.
    more or less, it is still considered HIT.

    the excercises that i do are the basic ones: BB and DB bench, shoulder press, dips(bench &bar), close grip BB, lat raises, rot. cuff work, standard deads, BB rows, lat puldowns, squats(now leg ext.), pull-ups, straight bar curls, etc, etc. these aren't done all of the time, as i cycle all of them. there are more, but i tend to do these the most.

    there are exceptions for certain BP. ie, for biceps i usually shoot for around 10-12 reps w/ more concentration. sometimes will go real heavy.

    all excersises are dont till positive failure. no working past failure for me. ive tried that before, and it doesn't make me go anywhere.

    if u guys aren't gonna give positive advice and try to tell me that i dont know what im doin then id rather not hear it.

    as far as change-ups im going to reduce sets, and switch-up some exercises in the mean-time. ill see where that gets me.
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    Lol, sorry if I wasn't costructive enough.

    These statements are the reason that would conclude that you are fact not doing a HIT routine:

    ďIA, the protocol for this "general" HIT standard u say pick two sets per body-part. is this just a typo and meant two exercises/BP, or did u actually mean 2 sets of one exc.?Ē

    ďbut I do 2 warmup sets and 4 pyramid sets ranging from 8-1reps for each excercise. and only doing 3-4 different exc. each time i train and only train 3x/weekĒ

    ďi switch up routine as needed--w/ either higher reps, more sets, etc.Ē

    Here are some things i would try:
    - add an extra rest day between workouts
    - drop your works sets down to 1-2, because if you actually train to failure how can you do more?
    - try to make sure every work set has TUT of at least 45-60 seconds.
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    IA, when doing the hardgainer style training, are the sets treated like a HIT routine and taken to failure, or do you just train very heavy and not quite to failure?
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    I have been out of commision for a few days as I ****ed up my ankle. I will try to address some of the comments made in this thread intelligently bu that may be a stretch so I'll do my best. Daniel stated it very well when he said doing doing SLDL, Squats and regular deads in the same routine is too much for most mortals. The best way to make it work is doing squat/SLDL's week one, and deads, or deads/leg presses week two, which means the routine rotates week to week. Joe average falls flat on his face attmpting all three lifts during a 7 day period.

    As far as what costitutes HIT. Well, as no one ever copywrited the consumate HIT routine. I am known as a HIT trainer and often write routines with enough volume most hardcore HIT advocates would say I crossed the line. Loosely termed HIT is a training protocol that has one training:

    A) To the ragged edge of failure.
    B) To failure.
    C) T beyond failure.

    For USUALLY 1 to 2 excercises per bodypart. Using 1 to 3 sets per excercise. If a routine doesn't match the loosely defined description above is it still HIT? Maybe, maybe not. If it works THAT is what matters.

    SUPAJAwS1,

    It depends on the trainee. People with poor recovery abilty may do much better doing "hard" sets. Meaning much harder than the typical volume trainer pushes, b ut yet not all the way to failure. Leaving the last rep in them. Training to faulire is NOT needed to stimulate growth. But it does allow one to stimulate a strong growth response in as few sets as possible which is EXACTLY what most people need. Most people do not train too hard, they train too long.

    Iron Addict
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    Sorry to hear about the ankle, IA.

    With respect to the hardgainer style, are you saying we should take the routine you give and do it every day we workout (2-3 times/week)? Or do you mean split the exercises up over the course of 2-3 days?

    I read it as the latter, but I just want to make sure.

    - Brad
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    Yes, it is to be spread over the course of 2-3 days with at least 1 days rest between every workout, more if you do it in only 2 days.

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    Thanks, I'll be trying that starting next week. I have been doing 3 days per week, but with a fair bit more volume than you're suggesting. OTOH, I also haven't been making very good gains if at all.
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    Jergo,

    How about trying something very different?

    Do sets of 10-15 reps.
    Take 60 seconds between sets.
    Compound your sets. i.e. Do a set of say, pec, then immediately shoulder and THEN take your 60 seconds rest.
    Keep the volume reasonable (make it last no more than 40 minutes) depending on your ability to recover.

    I know, this is RADICALLY DIFFERENT. I believe that this may be just what you need. You've been going heavy, with long rest between sets. This is the opposite. You won't be lifting nearly as heavy, but you will wallop your body into a growth crisis by such an insanely demanding routine. I've seen a lot of guys add quite a bit of size this way - Not strength, though.

    AFAIK this has to do with such a routine being tuned to GH release, and not strength adaptation, which makes it a totally different way to get growth.

    Personnally, I switch every 5-6 months between low-reps, heavy and well-rested training to this kind, and back. One gives me strength and some size, the other gives me size and almost no strength gains. Clients - those that eat very well, at least - are also doing well on this rotation.

    One thing - Your heart rate will be getting close to its absolute maximum. It takes a lot of determination to BEGIN a set with your HR already at 170, but it IS doable. If you think people look at you like some alien when you do heavy deadlifts, they will look at you like you're insane, running back and forth between 2 lifts, breathing like you've just spent the last 5 minutes underwater... ;-)
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    Originally posted by LunaHotel
    Jergo,

    How about trying something very different?

    Do sets of 10-15 reps.
    Take 60 seconds between sets.
    Compound your sets. i.e. Do a set of say, pec, then immediately shoulder and THEN take your 60 seconds rest.
    Keep the volume reasonable (make it last no more than 40 minutes) depending on your ability to recover.

    I know, this is RADICALLY DIFFERENT. I believe that this may be just what you need. You've been going heavy, with long rest between sets. This is the opposite. You won't be lifting nearly as heavy, but you will wallop your body into a growth crisis by such an insanely demanding routine. I've seen a lot of guys add quite a bit of size this way - Not strength, though.

    AFAIK this has to do with such a routine being tuned to GH release, and not strength adaptation, which makes it a totally different way to get growth.

    Personnally, I switch every 5-6 months between low-reps, heavy and well-rested training to this kind, and back. One gives me strength and some size, the other gives me size and almost no strength gains. Clients - those that eat very well, at least - are also doing well on this rotation.

    One thing - Your heart rate will be getting close to its absolute maximum. It takes a lot of determination to BEGIN a set with your HR already at 170, but it IS doable. If you think people look at you like some alien when you do heavy deadlifts, they will look at you like you're insane, running back and forth between 2 lifts, breathing like you've just spent the last 5 minutes underwater... ;-)

    Yea, that does sound different. I have been doing IA's lower-level volume routine for a couple weeks now. It's kinda hard to tell how I'm doing because I've been doing low/heavy reps for so long, I forget what it feels like to go any higher than 8 and below failure. However my strength has went up since I started it, no size gains yet, I'll just have to wait and see.
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    Just a little update. (Need to vent a little)

    Today's workout was the absolute worst workout I've ever had in my whole life. I dunno wtf is going on. Doing the lower-level volume routine, w/ minor adjustments,(ie, one or two fewer sets for different bodyparts) I have dropped weight almost an average of 25-30lbs. in lifts. I said that I was increasing strength before, as in doing the higher reps from start of week 1 to current. But, that doesn't imply that I've increased strength in lower reps, in relation to my old routine.

    Today was chest, sh, tri's. ex. I did 230 for 8 reps on BB bench. Last week, I did 240 for 10. Compared to when I was doing my old routine, I was doing 275 or so for 8 reps, and that was going to one rep shy of failure. Today, I was so amazed at how much I lost, at my 6th rep, I decided to go to failure and got 230!!! WTF!!!

    Thats almost a 30lb. decrease compared to my old routine. I'm so friggin lost now, I'm worse off now than I was to begin w/.

    HIT doesn't work, Lower-level volume don't and I know for a fact that I can't keep up w/ volume. It seems as though I'll have to go back the way I was. Yeah, I wasn't gaining size or strength recently, but at least I wasn't losing it.

    Any help on my poor a$$ would be nice.........
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    Really, Jergo, it sounds to me like your body has gone all stale to training. Have you taken some time off recently? If not, then take maybe 2 weeks doing nothing.

    Then again, you really, really COULD gain from doing what I advise above. It is an insanely difficult routine when done correctly, but not one that will get you easily overtrained. At first you may find that it is your heart that has trouble keeping up, but I can guarantee that that workout is made specifically to have your body generate impressive amounts of GH.

    In my experience, this is a great way to treat a physique that has gone stale on heavy weights.

    Well, good luck on the gains man.
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    This might be a dumb question but....

    Split your routine up into 2 or 3 days and after warm-ups do:
    Bench Press or Dips 2 x 8-12
    Bent Row or Pull-up 2 x 8-12
    Military or Dumbell Press 2 x 8-12
    Squat 2 x 8-12
    Stiff Legged Deadlift 2 x 8-12
    Weighted Abs 2 x 10


    Do I do EVERYTHING listed everyday that I train? or do I take the 6 things listed and split them up (IE do only 2 of them) on the days that I train?
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    Originally posted by LunaHotel
    Really, Jergo, it sounds to me like your body has gone all stale to training. Have you taken some time off recently? If not, then take maybe 2 weeks doing nothing.

    Then again, you really, really COULD gain from doing what I advise above. It is an insanely difficult routine when done correctly, but not one that will get you easily overtrained. At first you may find that it is your heart that has trouble keeping up, but I can guarantee that that workout is made specifically to have your body generate impressive amounts of GH.

    In my experience, this is a great way to treat a physique that has gone stale on heavy weights.

    Well, good luck on the gains man.

    I've noticed w/ doing the lower-level volume is that I have lost strength, but haven't lost much size. Actually, it seems as though some days I will be looking pretty big and bulky, and for some reasons, like even 3-4 days after that, I'll lose some size to a considerable amount to actually notice it. Then when it comes time to train my upper body again, the few days after that, I'll get my size back. Weird, I know, but its the truth and is whats making me see lack of progress. So, I know why I'm not getting better; in relation to not being able to keep my size and strength for the next workout, but don't know WHAT is causing it.

    I dunno, I'll just have to keep switching up things and different variables until I can come to a conclusion as to what I do/don't need to be doing.

    I thought it was time for a break as well. But I had taken a 2 weeker about a month or so ago.

    Thanx for your insight, will try it out, if these latest modifications to my routine in the upcoming future do not workout for me.

    BTW, when doing this, how many sets and exc. am I doing? Guessing 1exc/BP and 3 sets/exc ?
    Last edited by lifted; 09-01-2003 at 11:58 PM.
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    conversekidz--
    IA had already stated that you split them up w/ a 2-3 day split, while making a push/pull/legs split w/ as little overlap as possible.
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    Jergo, can you give me some stats on your height, age, weight, body composition, and how long you've been training? This will certainly help us - well, me at least - help you. Especially to say how much volume you need to do!

    Anyways, the Fast-Intense type of routine can be done with more volume than the usual, for the reason that you are not going to be going to failure, although it will feel like it.

    You can do the heavy compound movements on this, but I recommend only one such exercise per body part. For example, you can do your Bench Press in a compound set with your side lateral raises. Do your upright rowing compounded with your inclined flyes for example, or otherwise you will be lifting baby-girl weights - your heart and lungs will feel about to burst. The idea is to give your BODY - not really your MUSCLES, but your whole organism as a WHOLE - a growth shock.

    So when doing this, your first set of Bench COULD be as heavy as usual, but then the second and third set you will have to take weight off the bar. What you need to do is to select a weight you can do for, say, 15 relatively easy reps on the first set - By the third set, that same weight will give you a really difficult 10th rep - it will feel like failure, although you won't really know if YOU are failing or if it is your PECS failing. It's YOU as a whole - not the pecs. That is what we want here.

    Selecting a weight you will be able to handle all the way through also enables you to completely omit the warm-up. I'm not saying to lift a 500-lb bar cold here. I'm saying that if you can lift a weight for 10-15 reps in a compound set with 60 seconds rest, that this weight is close enough to what you would use as a warm-up weight in heavy training that you don't need to warm up for it. Right?

    About the amount of volume you need to do:
    - The workout should never exceed 40 minutes.
    - Reps are done deliberately, with a 4-2 tempo, which means they last 6 seconds each
    - At 15 reps, each single set will last 90 seconds. 60s at 10 reps.
    - You need about 10s to get from one half of the compound set to the other
    - You take 60s rest between each compound set.
    - All in all, you need about 3:00 to 4:00 to do each compound set, including rest.
    - Doing 20 sets overall (10 compound sets) is about what you need to do.

    So for example is your split is
    - Back / Biceps : 20 sets
    - Chext / Shoulders / Triceps : 20 sets
    - Quads / Hams / Calves : 20 sets

    You divide things accordingly. It's up to you. I recommend doing 3 sets per exercise, which keeps things simple. This is essential if your gym is somewhat busy. Oh, and you may very well forgo the regular deadlifts on this routine

    Normally you will try to do each compound with different bodyparts. Obviously, you may very well compound behind-the-neck pulldowns with close-grip cable rowing. They both work "back" but different parts, so that's OK.

    And you may prefer compounding your squats with calf work than with stiff-legged deadlifts.

    Basically there are many things you can do. This is simply *THE* most demanding type of routine I have ever encountered, and it is the one that made me grow the most... In size.

    Oh, and if you feel like you've been hit by a truck after 35 minutes of this - you're doing it right. Finish off with a carb-only drink - with creatine if you take the stuff... IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE WORKOUT.

    Don't worry about taking protein right afterwards - If you've been eating right, you've taken in lots of protein in the two meals before working out and your bloodstream is already full of aminos. THOSE are the ones you will be pushing into your muscles with the insulin that you will release as a reaction to your carb drink.

    You will get an incredible pump out of this. But the pump is not what this is about. This is about shocking the body to release large amounts of GH. The more shocking the workout, the more GH will be released. When in doubt, keep it short. 30 minutes may well be enough. Go insane and grow, bro!
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    HEhe, thx man......

    This sounds good, I think I have actually tried this (somewhat) type of routine before. It actually did make me grow in a short amount of time, but of course I couldn't continue on it for too much longer.

    So, w/ your more specifically explanation, I think I will give it a go in a bit.

    Stats:
    age 22
    5'10"
    210 lbs.
    been having a rough time lately w/ diet and obviously training, so I'd have to say that BF% is 11-12% now.
    I have only been training for almost a year now. (consistently) Went from 155lbs. to current. Gained a descent amount of fat too, but was able to get rid of it w/ two short cycles of 1-test.

    The thing is, that when I was 19-20, my metabolism was through the friggin roof. But, when turning 21 and then recently 22, it seems like its getting slower by the damn day. Thats why I'm having a hard time w/ diet lately, because I can't seem to find my maintenance level at the moment. So, in all reality, its like my metabolism is still kinda of high--enough to overtrain still, but not enough to burn off fat like I used to. Kinda gets in the way, ya know?

    Oh yeah, I'm sure doin drugs from the ages of 15-20 and then cutting myself off, had something to do w/ it too. Hey, I'm just being truthful.

    thx a lot....
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    Hey Jergo, just a thought. When you switched routines, did you switch style as well? I know IA suggests using a slower eccentric. If you were moving faster before and changed to slower, the exercise just got harder.

    Traps
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    Originally posted by MrTrap
    Hey Jergo, just a thought. When you switched routines, did you switch style as well? I know IA suggests using a slower eccentric. If you were moving faster before and changed to slower, the exercise just got harder.

    Traps
    Cool, we got another detective on the case. Heh, I need to single out all variables. But, no, for the most part, I have always been using long negatives. Usually around 3-4 seconds.

    I noticed that w/ the lower-level volume style, I really enjoy getting undeneath the weight and have total concentration on the absolute whole movement, compared to doing the heavy for so long. So, it may be a culprit, dunno. But, I don't think it would be it by itself.

    So far, I know my diet is fine, as well as everything other than training.

    BUT, I came to the conclusion the other night that when I did his HIT routine and didn't get results for the 2-3 weeks that I tried it, I decided to go w/ the lower-level type. AND, the VERY next week that I had tried it, it was like I was given a godsend or something, because I blew up that week. I'm not exaggerating either, I know it sounds dumb, but its whats been happening. I noticed the dramatic size increase like say that wednesday. BUT, that Saturday, I started to shrink again. This is whats boggling my ****ing mind. Its that dramatic, that I can notice it, or otherwise, I wouldn't even say it, or think it.

    SO, I devised a new routine AGAIN, that lets me stay wit ha rep range between 6- 10 reps. I do 3 sets/exc at the most, and I sometimes do 2 for ones that I'm still pretty cautious about. Along w/ of course a 3 day- push/pull/leg split. And the last set going to failure, and the first two just one rep shy.

    ALSO, for each day, I train, I only pick one exc./BP, and then have a compound one that involves both parts that I'm training that day. IE, if I'm doing chest, shoulders, tri's. I'll do BB bench, shoulder press, and close grips. AND THEN, I'll do dips, because they work all of those BP's.

    Same for back/bi's. chins, curls, rows.

    legs-- ext., deads, calves.

    SO() I'm onthe right track still in trying to figure out what works for me, so I just have to be patient and things will prevail.

    How'd you like that book of a post?
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    Two more random thoughts to put in your next chapter. Did you start this new program maxing out? One thing I still do, we always did it in powerlifting, is to start a new routine with light weights and cycle up. IA has to agree with us cuz he thinks powerlifters are so smart. So if you hit 240 x 10 then took a week off, maybe start at 205 x 10 for an easy first week. If you start back trying to push the 240 x 10, you'll fry yourself. Also what are you doing for carbs in the meals after your workouts? It almost sounds like sometimes you get the carb-up swelling and other times you don't.

    Traps
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    Originally posted by MrTrap
    Two more random thoughts to put in your next chapter. Did you start this new program maxing out? One thing I still do, we always did it in powerlifting, is to start a new routine with light weights and cycle up. IA has to agree with us cuz he thinks powerlifters are so smart. So if you hit 240 x 10 then took a week off, maybe start at 205 x 10 for an easy first week. If you start back trying to push the 240 x 10, you'll fry yourself. Also what are you doing for carbs in the meals after your workouts? It almost sounds like sometimes you get the carb-up swelling and other times you don't.

    Traps
    I'm not sure what you mean. You mean did I start the low-level volume routine with easier weights? I just kinda started w/ an educated guess on how many reps I should be able to do for the "new" given rep scheme. IE, if I did 280 for 6 or so to failure, then I would do like 260 or so for 10 and one or two reps shy of failure.

    That could be in the mix as well though, but, I'm not sure if it would have done the same thing cuz I was actually lowering intensity. When I started IA' HIT routine, I was lowering intensity at the start of it too. Before that I was doing 4 sets to failure, I'm ****in nuts, I know, but it did work for a while.

    Oh yeah, I eat carbs all day long, which I need to quit, but right now its hard to limit them cause I have to eat so many friggin calories right now, ya know? So, next week, I'll be increasing protein intake so I can lower carb. This will also help me reduce carbs after 6:00pm. Although I thought IA was all for a diet like this, he stated otherwise now. So, I guess I'll just see where that gets me as far as the diet goes.

    Thanx for your help.
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    Jergo,

    We don't need detectives, only someone to tell you your main problem is bouncing from one thing to another to another to another. At your stage of the game let the weight on the bar be your baramoter of success and the rest will follow IN TIME.

    Mr. Trap is spot on about the intensity cycling (although if recovery ALWAYS perfect it isn't needed) and about the carb loading. You are not a machine. EVERYONE'S body is in a constant state of flux and it is EXTREMELY common for people to vary 5-10 lbs within a couple days time. If you change the major loading parameter every time this happens I feel for ya dude. It does take tame and experimentation to find the balance that works. Trust me on this one.

    Iron Addict
  

  
 

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