Tag Archives: advise

5-3-2 or 3-2-1 or maybe 1-1-1

What do they mean would be the best question to ask first of all.

These numbers are in reference to the frequency of training a muscle group, or if you are less about the aesthetic and more about performance it will be in reference to movement patterns.

So 3-2-1 is ideal for beginners and people who are short on time yet still want to make a decent amount of progress in terms of strength, hypertrophy, performance and fat loss.

For example:

Squat 3 days per week
Press 2 days per week
Deadlift 1 day per week

I’d also add in pulling (elbow flexion) and hip extension movements (rows, pull ups, face pulls, reverse fly, swings, rope pull throughs etc) to the three day group as these patterns are often left out.

Press vertically and horizontally both days, this would also encompass all elbow extension exercises – skull crushers etc.

The reason many will do well deadlifting once per week as they can often lift more weight in this lift and as such will cause more metabolic disturbance.

Taking in to consideration what is above you can guess where 5-3-2 is going.

Yep, more frequency for people with more experience who fall in the intermediate level and need more exposure to the movements.

Depending on goal you may find you squat 3 or 5 times per week, the sam gif true for pressing/pulling it might be 3 or 5 days, you can adjust this as you need to.


Press/Pull 5 days per week
Squat 3 days per week
Deadlift 2 days per week

Over the years it has been shown that more often than not the more frequently you train something (the more exposure it has to training stimuli) the stronger it is and the more developed the muscle/area/movement looks.

Now these guidelines aren’t gospel, they’re just a guide to give people some direction.

What is 1-1-1 then?

Yep, you’ve probably worked it out.

You may even find that you’re one of the luck ones who can train things once per week and make progress, if that is the case then stick with what works because there is no sense in fixing what isn’t broken. If this is you, just make sure each session you give it your all for maximal progress, due to the low frequency you will need to hammer the muscle to hit your required volume/intensity/work capacity needs.

In terms of my own training I will tell you that higher frequency has very much helped me gain high levels of strength relative to my size (what is needed for the combative sports is partake in), however when I dropped my frequency – it was still a minimum of twice per week per muscle group – I made more hypertrophic progress, this was due to not only a different style of training but also eating in a caloric surplus*.

*You need to be in a calorie surplus to gain weight, you’ll struggle if you’re not in one, regardless of set or rep range. If you want to shift fat you can train int he same way you will just need a caloric deficit, fact.

Take a look at your training and compete the frequency of your lifts to what body parts you have developed the most, you’ll probably find the ones you train the most are the best, or as some might say “Those are you naturally strong areas” – well duh, you train them more, they’re going to be stronger than the ones you avoid.

Training is all about learning, applying and adapting until you find what work best for YOU.

Let’s get started.


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Too Much Too Often

Morning Guys,
It’s fairly common practice for people to enjoy going ‘heavy’ in their training but the issue arises when they go heavy too often. This can result in burnout, potential regression and perhaps an unfortunate injury.
If you like going heavy that’s not a bad thing but you can easily fall in to the bait of ‘testing’ your 1RM and never building the required numbers & volume to improve it.
When you look at an experienced lifters training dairy you will notice that they do have phases where they will max out and test their limits, but these might only be 90-95% tops as they see no reason in leaving PB’s on the gym floor when they look much better on the comp floor.
The premise of this is quite simple. It’s basically standard periodisation (increasing weight over time), even with the DUP methods that have come about they still follow the rule of increasing the overall load as this is what you NEED to do to progress.
In times of building muscle this allows you the potential to hit new PB’s because as you know a bigger muscle has the potential to be a stronger muscle. There is only so much you can eek out of technique and neurological efficiency.
How often should you go have then?
Pressing – Every 5 Days
Squat – Every 7 Days
Deadlift – Every 10 days
Now, take note that when I say heavy I am referring to a heavy sub max load (90-95%). Doing this will allow you to make some necessary tweaks to your loading, if they’re applicable that is. Personally I would advise you go for a heavy double, this will be less demanding overall on your nervous system and more beneficial in the long run. You an even go for a heavy triple if you wish, this is because a good rule of thumb to remember is that adding roughly 20kg to your max triple gives you a guide to where your 1RM is.
There are some advisable rules to follow when going heavy, take not:
– This is not a true test.
– The rep(s) must be smooth and fast.
– No grining.
– No smelling salts or slaps to hyper yourself up.
– Concentrate on form, no breakdown allowed.
The rest of the time you would do well to have slightly high reps using 60-85% of your 1RM as loading guidelines and 15-50 reps, focus on 5-8 rep range for the majority of your lifting with the occasional 12+ burnout set in there. This will allow both Hypertrophy & Strength to progress nicely.
Take the info above and apply it to your training and watch your numbers climb over time.

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