T Nation

Are You Training Intensely?

Here’s a good question. If you train with intense techniques maybe you can help out.

Intensity training…What is too much? Where do you go after a Intense program ?Up it more, rest,…or do a compound movement medium intensity training to give room to catch up?

Each of my four training days incorporates two supersets, and concentrations, during all lifts I EXPLODE to the high point of the lift.

Right now back starts with 3 sets of widegrip chins. deep concentration.
I superset lat pulls with reverse grip lat pulls 3 sets of 10 each I do 4 sets of 12,10,8,6 of cable rows Superset barbell shrugs with dumbbell shrugs 3 x 10 each.

My Chest/Tri workout starts with 8-10 flat bench supersetted with 10 Incline flyes for 3 sets.
I move to cable crossovers( intense concentration)8-10 for 3 sets
Skullcrushers supersetted with bilateral kickbacks 8-10 for 3 sets, and finish triceps with Pressdowns for 3 sets of 10…2 mins between sets.

My shoulder day, and leg day represent the same format.

I also sprint train in between shoulder and back days, and cardio “If I’m Not out of Gas” for 15 mins after the workout. Usually, I try to ride the bike during my two minute rest periods to keep my heart rate up.

I seem to be losing a little steam as far as motivation but my weight keeps going up, as well as size gains. I’ve been at this program since the first of April.

I took a week off prior to starting this program, so the dumbells gleamed and sparkled when I started my new workout!!

How do you know when your taxed, and what should the next four weeks look like after a workout like this? Is it a good idea to progress with tri, or giant sets?
Or Do I need a week off to rest?

What would be your take on next month’s workout?

I hate to inform you, but we cannot tell you what you need to specifically do. Listen to your body-are you still making gains; do you have the symptoms of overtraining?

Ask those questions, listen to your body, and decide what you should do. I can’t tell you if you need to take a break or not unless you show symptoms of overtraining. For example, a routine like that would be low volume for myself.

The best predictor of what to do next is your history. Even though your program may seem taxing to you, it might be nothing to someone else(olympic athletes)

Even though I think 3 weeks is a short period for every day lifters, I like Charles Poloquins theory that you should change your program every 3 weeks.

The key is, are you progressing?
How much longer can you stay motivated? Try finding another program that builds results, and mix up the cardio.

If your not training for anything in particular and you think your on the verge of overtraining, you can try a simple deload week. Simple meaning not that scientific of an approach - either half volume, or half frequency.

Here’s one for you to ponder: what do you call “Intense” ?

Some people call “Intense” an H.I.T. training session, doing 1 set to failure. Others say you need to do 2, even 3 sets like this per bodypart, preceeded by 3-4 warm-up sets which are more like standard work sets.

Some may call a heavy-lifting routine of 10 x 3 or 20 x 5 (split in 2 exercises in this case) in which the eccentric phase is greatly accentuated with a 5-6 seconds eccentric and a fast concentric, or a 312 type of tempo.

Some consider an 8 x 8 routine at a 2020 tempo intense if you cut the rest periods to 15-30 seconds in the typical Gironda style.

Basically, the guideline for Intense is simple: make each rep count starting with the second, or third rep of the set, don’t go above 8 reps, don’t go below 6.

Don’t overstrain yourself with tempo, don’t go too fast as to uae momentum to lift, don’t lower too slow as to get a cramp or overload the joints, something between 1-2 seconds up and 1-2 seconds down, favoring a slower lowering than a slower lifting.

Work up to the set like this: 1 light warm-up with 15-12 reps, a heavier warm-up with 12-10 reps, and 1 or 2 sets to get to your best 6-8 reps, so the final set goes to failure.

Do 2 sets to failure per bodypart, in the vertical and horizontal axis of motion, and throw in a high-rep isolation exercise as a finisher, getting max reps and a pump.

In the end, it’s all about how you feel, how much work you put into the muscle in the least amount of time and variations, and how good you feel.

try Doggcrapp’s routine, with a twist: if you can’t work to a rest-pasuse set, don’t, if you can’t feel yourself working intense with a fast lifting, don’t use it, and i’d even say to limit the lwoering phase to 2-3 seconds AT MOST, even if you are not deaccelerating on the lifting, if you are not using a 2-seconds concentric or almost that. Try the typical 2-days a week approach on full-body workouts

What do I call Intense? Well I’m using supersets, 21’s down the racks, mind buscle connection(took awhile to develop the way muscles FEEL when in motion)and keeping my heart rate up.

On the last 5 reps of 10 I lower the weight slowly undercontrol, and push back under control, and then flex and hold.

Intense for me, is using each rep to the max…feeling each muscle contraction,DEEPLY, and holding it for as long as possible as to finish the sets. Using heavy enough weights that I can contract fully, and the last few I have to dig deep inside and through some miracle of God, I exhale and pull or push the last rep out.

On supersets When I get to the 6,7,8,…9…I’m thinking What the Hell am I doing this for, just before snapping my brain into my muscle to dig deep for any strength I can muster to MOVE THAT WEIGHT!!

Keeping the heart rate up when resting, and Getting back into the exersize as soon as I can…sometimes 2 minutes, after a workout I could grab a bucket sometimes, half way through…When I’m done, I’m satisfied. And dead.

Thats intensity for me…for some it may be more than that.

Yes I am still progressing. I feel good heading out of the gym room, but it takes a good preworkout booster to get in there. So I just start preparing for my workout on the way home from work, mentally that is. I’ve not talked myself out of it yet…but I’m gettin there…mentally tired would be the term. I’m not depressed yet…My muscle seems to be filling out nicely still.

Some history on me,I switched from a 3 day workout using 2 primary compounds, and 2 secondaries. and using another one for high reps to chase the pump. I stuck with that for the last 6 months, switching exercises out.

I tried the full body deal, 8-10 months ago it was cool until I got an overuse injury from too many pressing movements in a week. Hence, the 3 a week program.

I really would like to progress in my workouts,I love feeling like I’m getting stronger. but I’ll be cutting next month for 4 -6 weeks. trying to lose the last 8-10 lbs or so. I don’t know if my body can hack it on lower caloric intake.

I’ve lifted weights for years, but using nutrition to obtain goals, and how it affects my body is new. As well as introducing new ways to tax the muscle. I can honestly say these last few workouts have me learning about what my body can handle. I just don’t want to make a mistake, and screw with something, I have no business screwing with.

[quote]luckytats wrote:
What do I call Intense? Well I’m using supersets, 21’s down the racks, mind buscle connection(took awhile to develop the way muscles FEEL when in motion)and keeping my heart rate up.

On the last 5 reps of 10 I lower the weight slowly undercontrol, and push back under control, and then flex and hold.

Intense for me, is using each rep to the max…feeling each muscle contraction,DEEPLY, and holding it for as long as possible as to finish the sets. Using heavy enough weights that I can contract fully, and the last few I have to dig deep inside and through some miracle of God, I exhale and pull or push the last rep out.

On supersets When I get to the 6,7,8,…9…I’m thinking What the Hell am I doing this for, just before snapping my brain into my muscle to dig deep for any strength I can muster to MOVE THAT WEIGHT!!

Keeping the heart rate up when resting, and Getting back into the exersize as soon as I can…sometimes 2 minutes, after a workout I could grab a bucket sometimes, half way through…When I’m done, I’m satisfied. And dead.

Thats intensity for me…for some it may be more than that.[/quote]

Good…you ARE training intensively, in your way, and I guess it can work, if you fix it so your body finds it challenging enough to adapt to it by growing bigger, and not challenging enough to adjust to it by getting stronger.

I know a person who told me once “I lift the load very fast from rep 1…as my force diminishes through the set, the speed decreases, but you know i am giving it 100% from rep 1”…he did about 4-5 sets of 3-4 exercises per bodypart, only 1 being an isolation exercise, 2 days a week per bodypart…and he grew really big and ripped, combining this with a 3-days a week 5 x 5 program in which the session was followed by a 30-minute session of timed sets or 100-rep sets.

Another person told me “I lift the load under control at first, when i am strong enough to endure and maintain a controlled concentric, like 2 seconds almost, and a lowering of that same speed, and through the se, as i get a little weaker, I start lifting faster, and lowering faster to get to a 1 and a half seconds rep, or such, while I started with a 3-4 seconds rep”…

he did just 2-3 exercises per bodypart, 1 being an isolation one, 2-3 times a week, and periodized or switched to a similar program in which he used 1 compound exercise per bodypart, doing low rep sets (4-6 reps for 10-12 sets) and lifted explosively from rep #1 to last rep (kinda like my first friend did, with some speed decreasement as his srength died down) and using long eccentrics: he started with something like a 6-seconds eccentric and ended up in a 1-second eccentric, doing 10-12 sets of 4-6 reps like these, and finishing with 2-3 sets of maximum reps, fast-paced ones, on an isolation exercise. He also grew big and lean.

I had a friend who couldn’t play it slow. He usually loved bodyweight exercises, he just did as many reps as he could on dips, then dropped down and did as many reps as he could on push-ups, and then as many as he could on “bitch-ups” (a pushup in which your knees and not your feet support the weight) for about a half-dozen set or so, not more than 8, 2-3 times a week,

and he switched to doing a 5 x 5 routine of weighted dips and 5 x 5 of weighted pushups followed by a 4-6 drop sets of flies, using a couple of water gallon jugs he brought to the park when he trained, he did a set of max reps, something like 8-15 per set, then dropped out of the gallon about 10-15% of the water inside it, he never finished with less than 50% of the initial volume of water in them, and if you wonder about weights, he started with small ones that would weight like 25 pounds when full, and nowadays he uses big ones that are like 45 pounds heavy, no kidding here.

As you can see, there are many options. I myself do this: I do a monday and thursday routone of 15-12 sets of 4-6 reps, with heavy weights, with a paced tempo close to 2010 tempo (I’d say a little bit less than a full 1-second to lift, and little less than 2 full seconds to lower) resting only 30-60 seconds between sets, and then doing timed sets on Tuesdays and Fridays, usually aiming for 30-45 seconds, and starting heavy with a laod that lets me get 15-20 reps, at 1 rep per second on cable or pulleys stations or machines, and dropping the weight a brick at a time, like 10 lbs per drop, and do about 6-8 sets like these…

if I need a change of pace, i just do 2 weeks of a 2-days a week routine, a 10 sets of 5 routine in which I rest 10 seconds between reps, lowering as slow as I can, and after 5 reps, i rest 1 minute between sets, and on the other day, I hit 20-rep sets done in rest-pause style for 3-4 sets of 2 exercises and I consider myself fit and big, even if I have to maintain a light weight for my other hobbie/art (dancing with my girlfriend, latin dancing) but that’s becuase of the calorie intake. If i ate decently for a weight gain, i’d be over 195 pounds, and I’d maintain my low bodyfat of 11%, and that’s a lot for a 5’7’’ guy.

You just have to find out how to get your muscles to grow even if it means doing concentration curls while aiming a gun to the biceps to scare it into growth (just kidding), but your body will feel what works and what doesn’t…just train intensely the Arthur Jones way: “If you like doing an exercise, chances are you are most likely doing it wrong”…put the body through Hell in the smartest way you can so you can reach Heaven when looking at yourself grow bigger and ripped in the mirror.

[quote]TenaciousMe wrote:
luckytats wrote:
What do I call Intense? Well I’m using supersets, 21’s down the racks, mind buscle connection(took awhile to develop the way muscles FEEL when in motion)and keeping my heart rate up.

On the last 5 reps of 10 I lower the weight slowly undercontrol, and push back under control, and then flex and hold.

Intense for me, is using each rep to the max…feeling each muscle contraction,DEEPLY, and holding it for as long as possible as to finish the sets. Using heavy enough weights that I can contract fully, and the last few I have to dig deep inside and through some miracle of God, I exhale and pull or push the last rep out.

On supersets When I get to the 6,7,8,…9…I’m thinking What the Hell am I doing this for, just before snapping my brain into my muscle to dig deep for any strength I can muster to MOVE THAT WEIGHT!!

Keeping the heart rate up when resting, and Getting back into the exersize as soon as I can…sometimes 2 minutes, after a workout I could grab a bucket sometimes, half way through…When I’m done, I’m satisfied. And dead.

Thats intensity for me…for some it may be more than that.

Good…you ARE training intensively, in your way, and I guess it can work, if you fix it so your body finds it challenging enough to adapt to it by growing bigger, and not challenging enough to adjust to it by getting stronger.

I know a person who told me once “I lift the load very fast from rep 1…as my force diminishes through the set, the speed decreases, but you know i am giving it 100% from rep 1”…he did about 4-5 sets of 3-4 exercises per bodypart, only 1 being an isolation exercise, 2 days a week per bodypart…and he grew really big and ripped, combining this with a 3-days a week 5 x 5 program in which the session was followed by a 30-minute session of timed sets or 100-rep sets.

Another person told me “I lift the load under control at first, when i am strong enough to endure and maintain a controlled concentric, like 2 seconds almost, and a lowering of that same speed, and through the se, as i get a little weaker, I start lifting faster, and lowering faster to get to a 1 and a half seconds rep, or such, while I started with a 3-4 seconds rep”…

he did just 2-3 exercises per bodypart, 1 being an isolation one, 2-3 times a week, and periodized or switched to a similar program in which he used 1 compound exercise per bodypart, doing low rep sets (4-6 reps for 10-12 sets) and lifted explosively from rep #1 to last rep (kinda like my first friend did, with some speed decreasement as his srength died down) and using long eccentrics: he started with something like a 6-seconds eccentric and ended up in a 1-second eccentric, doing 10-12 sets of 4-6 reps like these, and finishing with 2-3 sets of maximum reps, fast-paced ones, on an isolation exercise. He also grew big and lean.

I had a friend who couldn’t play it slow. He usually loved bodyweight exercises, he just did as many reps as he could on dips, then dropped down and did as many reps as he could on push-ups, and then as many as he could on “bitch-ups” (a pushup in which your knees and not your feet support the weight) for about a half-dozen set or so, not more than 8, 2-3 times a week,

and he switched to doing a 5 x 5 routine of weighted dips and 5 x 5 of weighted pushups followed by a 4-6 drop sets of flies, using a couple of water gallon jugs he brought to the park when he trained, he did a set of max reps, something like 8-15 per set, then dropped out of the gallon about 10-15% of the water inside it, he never finished with less than 50% of the initial volume of water in them, and if you wonder about weights, he started with small ones that would weight like 25 pounds when full, and nowadays he uses big ones that are like 45 pounds heavy, no kidding here.

As you can see, there are many options. I myself do this: I do a monday and thursday routone of 15-12 sets of 4-6 reps, with heavy weights, with a paced tempo close to 2010 tempo (I’d say a little bit less than a full 1-second to lift, and little less than 2 full seconds to lower) resting only 30-60 seconds between sets, and then doing timed sets on Tuesdays and Fridays, usually aiming for 30-45 seconds, and starting heavy with a laod that lets me get 15-20 reps, at 1 rep per second on cable or pulleys stations or machines, and dropping the weight a brick at a time, like 10 lbs per drop, and do about 6-8 sets like these…

if I need a change of pace, i just do 2 weeks of a 2-days a week routine, a 10 sets of 5 routine in which I rest 10 seconds between reps, lowering as slow as I can, and after 5 reps, i rest 1 minute between sets, and on the other day, I hit 20-rep sets done in rest-pause style for 3-4 sets of 2 exercises and I consider myself fit and big, even if I have to maintain a light weight for my other hobbie/art (dancing with my girlfriend, latin dancing) but that’s becuase of the calorie intake. If i ate decently for a weight gain, i’d be over 195 pounds, and I’d maintain my low bodyfat of 11%, and that’s a lot for a 5’7’’ guy.

You just have to find out how to get your muscles to grow even if it means doing concentration curls while aiming a gun to the biceps to scare it into growth (just kidding), but your body will feel what works and what doesn’t…just train intensely the Arthur Jones way: “If you like doing an exercise, chances are you are most likely doing it wrong”…put the body through Hell in the smartest way you can so you can reach Heaven when looking at yourself grow bigger and ripped in the mirror.[/quote]

wow that’s a long post.

No, I train without intensity. At times, I pay someone to workout for me just in case I get a bug up my ass and want to put forth effort. My gym even set up a bed for me so I can sleep there, but sometimes, it gets my blood up when others make too much noise, so I have to use intense yelling to get them to stop all the banging and clanging, which goes against my philosophy of no intensity.

Thank you for posting guys!

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
The best predictor of what to do next is your history. Even though your program may seem taxing to you, it might be nothing to someone else(olympic athletes)

Even though I think 3 weeks is a short period for every day lifters, I like Charles Poloquins theory that you should change your program every 3 weeks.

The key is, are you progressing?
How much longer can you stay motivated? Try finding another program that builds results, and mix up the cardio.[/quote]

Poliquin has actuallt refined that definition:
Beginners - Change routines every 3 weeks
Intermediate - Every 2 weeks
Advanced - Every week

Weekly may not be practical if you want to measure improvement. An alternative is to have A and B (and maybe C) routines for each split day and alternate those.