T Nation

5-Way Split: Overkill?

Hello fellow T-men. I’ve been lurking for well over a year, but this is my first post. I’m a Norwegian living in Norway, I hope my English isn’t too terrible.

Now, before I get to my question, I should briefly tell you about my training background…

(Edit: this part deleted due to being long and boring and largely irrelevant)

After about three years and some experimenting (tried HST, for example, which is when I finally learned how to squat and deadlift, because the program called for it)I quit again, never having gone beyond an unimpressive 200 lbs (studies and work and other life stuff played a role in that too).

Around Christmass 2005, I decided it was time to start yet again. In my search for some more solid information I found this site. Whew! Had I been doing everything wrong before! Clearly, I had been training like only drugged-up genetic freaks should be training.

In addition, my previous training had obviously left me horribly unfunctional. I started to implement all the stuff I learned from the articles of coach Davies, Cressey & Robertson, Waterbury, Dan John etc. Single-leg Romanian deadlifts, one-hand power snatch, Zercher squats etc etc. 3-4 days a week full body workouts.

Again, I gained muscle, probably about 12 lbs in 7-8 months. Then I reached a plateau which I haven’t been able to overcome until now. I then started to experiment with a very low-carb/“paleo” type diet about 6 months ago, which I’ve concluded is NOT conducive to gaining muscle, at lest not for me.

It’s safe to say that I lost a little muscle on the diet. I also got extremely lean, and realized that I look better with some more subcutaneous fat on me, as long as I’m not carrying more muscle than I am now.

It’s only been a few weeks since I started eating carbs again, and I’ve gained back at least 10 lbs. I’ve decided that my goal now is to gain muscle mass and strength. I’m currently about 195, I’d like to at least get up to 225 (100kg) and then take it from there. I’m fairly tall - between 6’1 and 6’2 - and I think I need to get to at least 225 to “fill out”.

So this is what I’m doing: I’m on a high-carb, high-protein, high-fat diet :slight_smile: I’ve also gone back to the good old once-a-week bodypart split. I’ve tried the full body, compound lifts only routines and I don’t think they’re optimal for my current goals. I feel a split allows me to focus on the specific muscles in a way that full body or upper/lower doesn’t. It currently looks something like this:

back: barbell row, pull-ups, t-bar row, barbell shrugs, haney shrugs, face pulls, maybe some “body rows”.

legs: back squat, leg press (one or two legs), leg curl, calf raises, seated calf raises.

chest and shoulders: seated db press, incline db press, standing behind the neck press, gironda dips/wide grip bench press to neck, lateral raises, rear delt flyes.

legs again: front squats, split squats, walking lunges or something like that.

arms: weighted dips, weighted supinated close-grip chin-ups, neutral grip flat bench db presses, EZ bar (cheated) curls, rope push-downs, EZ bar reverse curls.

  • other stuff I want to do, there should always be an element of spontaneity to training, I feel.

It all amounts to quite a lot of work over the course of a week. Each session lasts about an hour and the intensity is all out. Which (finally!) leads me to my question: would it be a better idea to reduce the volume right away?

I feel I have the energy for it at the moment, but I’d love to hear from people who have used/are using a similar split (and who are natural). What are your experiences with it? Is it too much for a skinny bastard who eats a lot but who has no intention of juicing?

Is the frequency too low for each muscle group (though on the subject of frequency, my lats and chest are sore after “arms” day, and my biceps is sore after “back” day…)? Or would it be better to limit legs to once a week too? I just feel three days for upper body and only one day for legs is a little unbalanced.

One of the authors here wrote that very few natural people get away with training 5 days a week. I know I should listen to my body and all that (for the time being, my body is saying go ahead), but I’d love to hear anyone’s experience.

BTW, I’m 28, single, with a fairly normal work week and no major commitments outside of my work.

Im using a split very similar to this one, except that on the second leg day i do romanian deadlifts.

And im gaining very well.

Listen to your body, and you will be fine.

Thanks irongutted, that’s what I wanted to hear :slight_smile:

BTW, this was my post-workout meal yesterday (squat day):

  • one large white bread baguette with
    plenty of real butter
  • one whole (large) package of bacon
  • 7 eggs
  • 3 large glasses of whole milk

I think even Elvis might have approved of that meal, lol. Bulking is fun. But seriously, I don’t gain weight easily. Previously I seem to have had a natural ceiling at about 200 lbs that I couldn’t get past. We’ll see this time around…

[quote]max manus wrote:
Thanks irongutted, that’s what I wanted to hear :slight_smile:

BTW, this was my post-workout meal yesterday (squat day):

  • one large white bread baguette with
    plenty of real butter
  • one whole (large) package of bacon
  • 7 eggs
  • 3 large glasses of whole milk

I think even Elvis might have approved of that meal, lol. Bulking is fun. But seriously, I don’t gain weight easily. Previously I seem to have had a natural ceiling at about 200 lbs that I couldn’t get past. We’ll see this time around…
[/quote]

You seem pretty dedicated…
On the post-workout meal, i would suggest using a pure whey powder with glutamine and creatine separately added, plus 50-60 grams of dextrose or glucose, again in powder form. This is the best and most easily absorbed meal.

And another thing…Do not be close minded about training techniques. The once a week 5 day split thing can become boring after a while and boring means it’s getting tougher to keep making progress. So u might as well try upper/lower body splits or high frquency low volume, german volume training etc…

If you have the time check my last post about my workout schedule. Now you might go uh? But it works. So my point is there are no wrong training methods for the most part, there are incorrectways of applying those methods.

[quote]You seem pretty dedicated…
On the post-workout meal, i would suggest using a pure whey powder with glutamine and creatine separately added, plus 50-60 grams of dextrose or glucose, again in powder form. This is the best and most easily absorbed meal.

And another thing…Do not be close minded about training techniques. The once a week 5 day split thing can become boring after a while and boring means it’s getting tougher to keep making progress. So u might as well try upper/lower body splits or high frquency low volume, german volume training etc…

If you have the time check my last post about my workout schedule. Now you might go uh? But it works. So my point is there are no wrong training methods for the most part, there are incorrectways of applying those methods.
[/quote]

Thanks for your feedback. On the subject of liquid nutrition, I feel it’s a bit overrated, at least when the goal is to gain mass. I mostly just have one shake a day, which is first thing in the morning. That would be whey protein and dextrose mixed in about a pint of whole milk with a banana.

I used to drink them PWO but I don’t think they did that much for me that a solid meal wouldn’t have done. I’ll still make one, but not after every session. I did have one today though, followed by a large meal of chicken liver and rice with roasted nuts. Crazy as it seems, I think I’ve lost some fat these last days while my weight has been increasing. I’ve got a protruding vein on my lower abs…

Also, when you eat a lot of carbs, does glutamine really do anything for you?

From what I understand, you’re now training with an “A and B” split? That’s how I spent much of last year training. In the end, I feel it doesn’t get intense enough… didn’t gain to well training like that either. But I agree completely about changing things up and preventing boredom. Going to the gym should be fun, and I usually throw in a few sets of something I hadn’t planned to do that day, which could be for a totally different muscle group.

My biggest problem I think has been lack of consistency, which this site is partly to blame for! Which is one reason I will never follow a “program” again. I did try GVT for about three weeks, but it was the most boring thing I’ve ever done… I hate sticking to one rep range all the time. The way I train now, I will work up to maybe a 2-3 rep max in the squat and a couple of 6-7 rep sets to failure in other heavy movements, but I also incorporate high rep sets, drop sets etc.

[quote]max manus wrote:
You seem pretty dedicated…
On the post-workout meal, i would suggest using a pure whey powder with glutamine and creatine separately added, plus 50-60 grams of dextrose or glucose, again in powder form. This is the best and most easily absorbed meal.

And another thing…Do not be close minded about training techniques. The once a week 5 day split thing can become boring after a while and boring means it’s getting tougher to keep making progress. So u might as well try upper/lower body splits or high frquency low volume, german volume training etc…

If you have the time check my last post about my workout schedule. Now you might go uh? But it works. So my point is there are no wrong training methods for the most part, there are incorrectways of applying those methods.

Thanks for your feedback. On the subject of liquid nutrition, I feel it’s a bit overrated, at least when the goal is to gain mass. I mostly just have one shake a day, which is first thing in the morning. That would be whey protein and dextrose mixed in about a pint of whole milk with a banana.

I used to drink them PWO but I don’t think they did that much for me that a solid meal wouldn’t have done. I’ll still make one, but not after every session. I did have one today though, followed by a large meal of chicken liver and rice with roasted nuts. Crazy as it seems, I think I’ve lost some fat these last days while my weight has been increasing. I’ve got a protruding vein on my lower abs…

Also, when you eat a lot of carbs, does glutamine really do anything for you?

From what I understand, you’re now training with an “A and B” split? That’s how I spent much of last year training. In the end, I feel it doesn’t get intense enough… didn’t gain to well training like that either. But I agree completely about changing things up and preventing boredom. Going to the gym should be fun, and I usually throw in a few sets of something I hadn’t planned to do that day, which could be for a totally different muscle group.

My biggest problem I think has been lack of consistency, which this site is partly to blame for! Which is one reason I will never follow a “program” again. I did try GVT for about three weeks, but it was the most boring thing I’ve ever done… I hate sticking to one rep range all the time. The way I train now, I will work up to maybe a 2-3 rep max in the squat and a couple of 6-7 rep sets to failure in other heavy movements, but I also incorporate high rep sets, drop sets etc.[/quote]

Yes, i train in the fashion you described above. What i’ve seen from this kind of low volume/high frequency/high intensity training is that strength increases very fast.

As far as GVT goes, i’ve never tried it but i’m thinking of incorporating some variation of it in the near future, although i wouldn’t try the 10x10, more likely something between 4-8 reps. My next split and training style will be a 3day split and sets will be executed in the pyramid style, i.e. 10-8-6-4, slower negatives and with less inensity such as no more dropsets or rest-pause.

Finally on the pwo meal issue, the reason i suggest the dextrose/whey combo is that this is the most easily absorbed meal there is and i believe this is what we need after a hard enough training session.

Plus milk is quite the opposite, i.e. very slowly absorbed and digested(casein protein) and it bloats you.

What i prefer is a whey/dextrose mix(i get pure dextrose from a pharmacy) and add creatine and glutamine(but i understand it is cerainly not necessary to add those) immediately after training. Then, an hour later basmati brown rice and protein from turkey or tuna chunks.

When including cheat meals, instead of basmati i would get penne pomodoro mozzarela and add turkey accompagning them with bread or a pizza mascarpone at extreme situations…So i get your point about bulking.