Journal: Day 2 of my full body split

Today’s post is short and sweet, following on from my last post covering day one of my new, low volume, high frequency split.

I’ll cover the programming for the workout as a whole in a final post at the weekend. For now, I’ll just detail the workout I followed last night.

Overall, it was a pretty solid session, especially for a first run through. Balance seemed about right, although I found the single leg box steps left me feeling like more was needed for the legs, but I was also nowhere near my capacity there, so I’ll reserve judgment on that one until we’re working harder.

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Journal: First of three: Day 1 of my full-body split

Coming off the back of a torn hamstring (long story), a recent hernia repair and yet another bout of travel, I’m finally heading back to the gym!

For the last year, I’ve been hammering myself pretty hard following a variety of high volume programming. And truth be told, while it has worked, by some definition of “worked”, it’s also left me feeling pretty beat-up and generally decrepit.

To be fair, some of that is not about the programming, some of that’s squarely on me either pushing too hard, training through [the wrong kinds of] pain or including exercises because I think I should have them in my program.

So over the coming months, we’re again changing things up.

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Full cutting program

arnold-bicepsOver the last couple of weeks, I’ve been posting individual workouts I’ve been testing as part of a new cutting program.

Today, as promised, here’s a write-up of the entire program, largely for your convenience.

Before I’d finished the last bulk, I was already thinking ahead to this next phase and how I’d approach it. I shared my thoughts in a post as the tenets of my cutting program. So far, I’ve held true to those tenets.

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Last of the cutting workouts tested

IMG_20150122_172105Ran through the last of the new cutting routines last night, a row oriented back, traps and biceps session.

I didn’t have time for a full run-through, partly due to a time crunch, and partly because my gym partner wants to move the chest session to Monday.

My solution was to run through the back routine last night and test the programming, with the view to repeating it again on Wednesday for real.

The routine as written breaks-down like this:

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First of the back, trap and biceps sessions

IMG_20150410_163026Worked through the first of two back, trap and biceps workouts last night. This session was largely oriented in the vertical plane, so lots of pulling work.

With all of the workouts in this cutting phase, I am focused on density; getting more work done in less time with just enough stimulus to maintain lean mass. That means all rest intervals are kept to sixty seconds or less. As a result, the routine looks a little light on pure lat work, with only one pull-up movement programmed.

Here’s the routine as written:

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Chest, shoulders and tris, oh my

arnold-schwarzenegger-square-pecsContinuing on from yesterday’s post about my new cutting program, I ran through the first of the two chest, shoulder and triceps routines last night.

As with each of the other splits, this routine has a different emphasis and focuses largely on pushing, with a little ancillary shoulder work.

All in all, the programming was pretty close, needing just a few tweaks and a little improvisation to feel right.

Here’s the breakdown:

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First leg workout was spot on

kettlebells-with-towel-on-gym-floorI’ve been working on my cutting plan for the last week or so and eventually settled on a three day split, run six on, one off. Aggressive, yes, but as my good friend and top-drawer bro Bryan Krahn pointed out, it will work!

My first cut of the programming had me working the same split twice in the week, but after chatting it through with Bryan, I settled on two separate workouts for the splits, each with different characteristics.

This week, I am running through the programming to test the setup, intensity and timings, and last night was the first of the two leg workouts.

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Full body workout

dumbbells-on-floorWith travel and work schedule this week, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to maintain my normal three day split and six training-day setup, so I committed early to change in plans. With just three days carved out for training, I hit a lower body session, upper body session, and today, I hit an all-body workout.

Given I’ve been concerned recently with how much is enough, I thought I’d share the [improvised] program along with some narrative as to how it went. I am not going to list the weights used, as that is relevant to me only. Suffice to say the weights were at a level where I was leaving a two-to-three reps in the tank, give or take — so 80-90% of max loads for the given rep-range. Lots of supersets designated with “ss/”.

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How much is enough?

IMG_20150517_101515There are many aspects of bodybuilding that still confuse me greatly. However, there’s one question in particular that perplexes me more than any other: How much is enough?

The question of how hard to train, and how often, still has me beat on the best of days. It’s also likely the single biggest driver of program changes for me, and probably many others. Why? Because the question of splits, rep-ranges and protocols can not easily be untangled from the questions of load, volume, frequency and intensity.

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It’s a volume play

arnold-concentration-curlJust started a new program in the gym this week; a twelve-week, high-volume hypertrophy workout. High is always relative of course, but this program is definitely high volume for me, working all muscle groups two-times per week over six days.

It’s been a long time since I worked out more than five days a week consistently, and truth be told, I am pretty stoked. Not least of which is because training days means carbs! And who doesn’t love carbs?

The challenge for me with this workout will be moderation.

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