T Nation

2 Day/4 Day Split for Strength & Mass?


#1

Hi,

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?


#2

[quote]Magma wrote:
Hi,

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?[/quote]

Greyskull is FAR BETTER than SS, I believe. It actually corrects SS’s faults.

Are you resetting by reducing weight by 10% when you hit a stall?


#3

[quote]BrickHead wrote:
Greyskull is FAR BETTER than SS, I believe. It actually corrects SS’s faults.

Are you resetting by reducing weight by 10% when you hit a stall?[/quote]

Hi, thanks for your reply.

Yes, I reset 10% if I stall. Although my stalls are often longer than just a week or so. So I’ve reset from far lower a bunch of times over the 2 years or so I’ve been doing this.

I’ve never heard of Greyskull - I’ll take a look, thanks.


#4

RE: Greyskull - it looks like I’ve got some reading to do. Thanks again, I dunno how I never heard of that before. I found an article over at Powerliftingtowin, about the GS author and it says:
"… he wasnâ??t thrilled about the fat gain and demotivating resets that tend to come along with the Starting Strength novice program."
Which I thought was interesting as that is the exact reason I was looking around for something else but didn’t know it was a common experience.

It’s gonna take me some time to read up on GS - in the meantime I found this 4 day split:

And was thinking of combining Day 1â??(Chest & Biceps) with Day 3â??(Shoulders, Triceps, & Abs) and Day 2â??(Back & Abs) with Day 4â??(Legs).
Maybe alternate/exchange my 3x3 intensity set/reps for 3x5? But keep those higher rep ranges for the supporting exercises?

I could run this Mon (Day 1) and Tue (Day 2), rest Wed, then Thu (Day 1) and Fri (Day 2) - any thoughts?

Currently, I’d describe myself as ‘early intermediate’ (or very late novice) by SS standards. At my current lifts, according to my log book, I’d be hitting (or already hit) failure and resets around now on LP.