Monthly Archives: March 2018

Optimal Frequency = Every 3-5

According to the research you’d do well to hit a lift every 3-5 days.

This is of course under the proviso that you hit it with the necessary stimulus to trigger and adaptive response, or at least start to build towards creating one in a long term periodised protocol.

One way of looking at programming this frequency is to work in 5 days microcycles, one option would be as follows:

  • Day 1 – Chest & Back
  • Day 2 – Legs
  • Day 3 – off
  • Day 4 -Shoulders & Back
  • Day 5 – Off
  • The cycle then repeats back to day one after this.

If that was your chosen plan You’d find Charles Poliquin quite happy, as that is one of his most recommended and it works rather well, hence why it is the first example. Repeat that cycle 4-8 times depending on your level of ability and progress you make.

The above is good if you have no restriction on the days you can train, however if you are bound by the working week then you may have an issue, as such here is an example that fits that frequency of hitting each lift every 3-5 days.

  • Monday – Anterior Chain Movements
  • Tuesday – Off
  • Wednesday Off
  • Thursday – Posterior Chain Movements
  • Friday – Off
  • Saturday – Anterior Chain Movements
  • Sunday – Off
  • Monday – Posterior Chain Movements
  • As you can see you alternate Anterior/Posterior days

The above puts your lifting frequency at ever 4-5 days, a nice spacing for you to really give each day a good hammering.

If you’re wondering what would fall in to each day, here is a brief example:

Anterior Chain – Presses, Squats, Ab Roll outs (or think pushing muscles)

Posterior Chain – Pulls, Deadlifts, Loaded Carries (or think pulling muscles)

You might even go for Upper Body, Lower Body, the options are many.

So long as you covered every movement pattern/or muscle over the two days you’d have no issues in terms of making progress, however I would advise picking exercises that would give you the most bang for you buck, such as Snatch Grip Deficit Deadlifts, Clean & press, Chins for example.

Over the years if there is one thing I’ve noticed it is this – people are way too focused on doing everything under the in a session, bodybuilder style, even if this is not the most optimal style of training for them, as a result they often end up with unbalanced training protocols that are sub standard for progress.

Speaking of which, this bring the question to “What sets & reps should be used?” – Always something asked, and as per the norm many will say “It depends” which is fair, however what people are really asking for is a starting point or at least some direction.

For this I like the ‘rule of 15-25’ meaning that your main lifts will contain 15 to 35 working reps, this has been shown to allow progress (look up PRE by Delorme & Watkins), you can use many loading schemes, it might be any of the following:

  • 1x5x50%, 1x5x75%, 3x5x100% – all % are of 5RM
  • 1x10x50%, 1x10x75%, 1x10x100% – all % are of 10RM

The options are endless,s however I;d recommend starting with one of those two for your main ‘heavy lifts’ and for accessory work (smaller muscles or isolation work), doing 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps, hitting momentary muscular failure at the end of each set – however this doesn’t mean your form goes to pot, all of your from must be as close to ‘perfect’ as possible, if its not, lower the weight and focus on using a slower cadence, say 4 seconds down, 1 second pause at bottom of lift, then 1-2 second concentric and repeat for all desired reps.

All fairly simple, perhaps even boring, however it will work, trust me.

There you go, some info/options to get you started.



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The Genius of the Lazy

Being lazy has always been seen as something that is inherently bad, however I’m not so sure that’s true.
Now we are to talking so lazy that you won’t get out of bed or have any form of meaningful life, more the style of lazy that always seems to have an easy life.
I’m sure you know someone like this.
They rarely make an effort, yet they always seem be doing well or come out on top and you can’t ever understand why.
Well I’m going to tell you.
Firstly people who are lazy in a job will often find the most productive way to do something, as opposed to what many other do which ends up just being busy for the sake of it.
Second is that they will do what needs to be done, when it is a priority because if its not a priority why bother about it – that’s their attitude.
Finally, many of these people won’t chase stress and as such they often live within their means and never put themselves in situations that will end up being disastrous. Essentially they have the foresight to understand a situation and the cost-reward ratio.
The reward in the end is often higher then the initial cost, hence why things get done.
A lot of other people don’t think this way, they only see the immediate and always some what will make them busiest of stretch them the most will be the best option, this isn’t always the case.
The same principles can be applied for a great many things in life.
Try to find the minimum amount you need to do that will give you maximum benefit, this is productivity in a nutshell.
Fun fact, apparently Bill Gates once said that he would always “hire a lazy person to do a difficult job” at Microsoft. … “Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
Neat, right?

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Pain isn’t always progress.

“No pain, no gain!”
“If you’re sore you know you did something.”
“The more you hurt, the more you progress.”
“You have to break the muscle down so it can build back up stronger.”
All things I’ve heard several times over the years, however just because you’re sore or you have DOMS it doesn’t mean you’re making progress.
*DOMS = Delayed onset muscle soreness
Let me use a logical fallacy to elaborate on my point.
If you lift weights and hurt the next day then this means you’ll make progress, so by that logic all people who are in major car accidents should be jacked because they’re really sore after one.
Seems a tad silly when put like that doesn’t it.
Of course that is pure fallacy, the two situations are not comparable, however the logic of pain = progress is.
As a beginner we may feel some discomfort or DOMS, this forces us to perhaps what 2-3 days before training again to recover.
^^ There is a key point in that.
It’s not the soreness that made us progress, it’s the recovery element and adaptation that occurred.
You can cause enough muscular inroad/oxygen debt to make your body change without necessarily feeling like you’ve been hit by a train, however people don’t think like that.
People think that unless they are destroyed then the session was wasted, this is a flawed logic.
People chase fatigue rather than performance – bad move.
If you were making progress (getting stronger, bigger, leaner etc) on a training protocol would you stop it just because you didn’t ‘feel’ like you were doing anything?
Sadly the answer for many is yes because people are idiots.
Yep, I’ve know plenty that have been making epic progress, then stopped that style of training because they didn’t feel like they were working hard enough, which lead them to doing something similar to what they had done before.
This of course left them feel destroyed and like they’d worked hard, yet they made no progress.
I suppose that doesn’t matter so long was you ‘feel’ like you did something, right?
Crazy logic.
Progress is progress, even if you don’t leave a season hardly able to walk.
If you want to feel sore go and do 1000 reps of a single moment in a workout, you’ll be epically sore, however you won’t progress the way you think.
Well MPS (muscle protein synthesis) lasts 24-48 hours and if you are too sore you can’t train frequently enough to keep it elevated to actually create a need for you body to adapt and overcome and surpass it’s limits, you merely end up surviving workouts.
Think about that.
Now this is not to say that you won’t have session where you don’t feel like that, of course you will, they’re usually the first 2-3 the you start a new block of training, then your body adapts to that initial surprise and the DOMS/discomfort disappears.
Once this happens you need to buckle down and begin the grind for progress.
Don’t chase fatigue, chase performance.

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