I'd like some advice on programming for a 4 day a week routine as a 2 or 4 day split for strength and mass, whilst allowing recovery.
I'm 50 yrs and been doing strength/powerlifting programming for 2 years. I'm 6'3 and 120kg. I had a bit of a layoff for the second half of last year, only hitting the gym once every couple weeks. I started back on 3 days a week 6 weeks ago. My lifts now are Squat 140kg, Bench 95kg, Deadlift 165kg.
Previously I've always followed the Starting Strength program and progression route using a 3 day program of ever increasing weight on the bar, squating every day and 3x5. I find it gets 1) tedious as hell and 2) exhausting. Every time I run it, it gets me to my PB but within a few weeks of hitting PBs I generally fall into exhaustion, lose progress etc. But also, I don't find it builds much muscle mass and, if anything, I always get fat on it (my fault, admittedly!)
So when I restarted 6 weeks ago, this time round I skipped the SS newbie program and run an intermediate Heavy/light/medium program from week 1. Doing Squats/Bench/Deadlifts on Monday 3x3 at full intensity. If I have energy left I add dips. Then Wed I do Squats, bench, bent row at 5x5 plus 1 or 2 assistance work per body region - eg, leg ext/ham curls, incline/decline bench/dips, pulls/chins at 3x10. And on Fri I do squats/bench/deads at 3x10 and assistance work per body region (as Wed) but at 3x15. I add arm and shoulder work on Wed and Fri at the end of the workouts at the 3x10 or 3x15 range. Strenth is increasing nicely - I'm within 5kg of my PB deadlift and withn 10kg of my PB Bench. And I'm building some noticeable mass in my upper body - BUT!!! = I've put on weight and my belly is noticeably protruding.
When I do the SS program I just look like an overweight middle aged man, at least now I look like an overweight middle aged man who works out!
So I was thinking of adding conditioning days Tue and Thu but quickly decided against as I hate conditioning.
So I was thinking that if I ran a split program Mon & Tue, Thu & Fri I'd be adding one day a week of workout (therefore more calories burned).
I was thinking I could do Mon as my Squat/Deadlift intensity day at 3x3 as before, but add assistance exercises for lower body - leg ext & ham curls, maybe roman chair/back ext? At 3x10?
Tue would be bench intensity 3x3, plus bench assistance incline/decline 3x8 or 3x10? What else?
Wed I could do some conditioning, but not necessary.
Then Thu Lower body at 3x10? with assistance at 3x15?
And Fri Upper body at 3x10 with assistance at 3x15?
Running 3 days a week and repeating the same lifts each day at different reps means I get all levels of intensity into one week. But by breaking it up into a 2 day split I potentially lose one of those levels.
Anyone have any suggestions? I find that one intensity exercise on each of the 3 main compound exercises each week keeps my strength increasing each week without any problem. So I feel comfortable with that - and over the last 6 weeks or so I've added noticeable muscle to my upper body which must be down to the variations in reps I've been doing.
For example, I've hit 120kg body weight before just doing the SS program but didn't look like this.
I'm fine with recovery. Eating well and supping with creatine/whey/bcaas/zma sleeping well and no DOMs (when I run SS I sleep badly and ache like hell). So I think I could add that 4th day if I need to - what do you guys think?