BDWP: Is Low Volume Enough? Realistic Gains at 41? When to Progress to Part 2?

It’s my first week of best damn WO plan. I’m 41 and on TRT for 9 months now. Been lifting for 4 years with minimal gains.

The low level of volume in this program is wildly opposite to how I’ve been training. But I am nowhere near pleased with my gains so I have to admit what I’m doing is probably not working.

I’ve been doing Dr John Rusins FHT program and the volume is insanely high. For example: Like in phase 3 he has you doing upwards of 60 work sets of legs a week (split into 2 sessions). Note: that includes hip thrusts, calves so it’s not 60 sets of squats and RDLs.

I end those sessions feeling totally fried, both physically and in my CNS. But I am confused because I am able to add weight and/or reps every week so I am still progressing correct?

Am I doing more damage through excess volume than I can properly recover from?

I’m only in my first week of “the best damn WO plan” but I’m just worried only 1 true working set is not enough to maximize protein synthesis. At the end of these workouts the muscles groups I hit don’t even feel tired. Perhaps I am not making the one true working set really count but damn I feel like I am going as hard as I can.

Thoughts on realistic gains for a 41 year old on this program?

60 sets of legs? What the hell…

But what kind of gains do you expect in only one week?

Anyway maybe yeah, you have to push harder. When I did my true 2RM on squats the other week, really gave it all, a fight for survival, well my legs were suuuuuper sore. You have to see it that way also, it’s actually 3 sets beyond failure per week.

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It’s a bit of a transition to go from many sets to few sets.

I usually need a couple weeks to figure out how to get all the effort into one set. Or sometimes it takes a workout or two to find the right weight to use to get that first Good workout.

It can be a let down at first, like it’s too easy. The good part is that when you’re less fatigued and more recovered it’s easy to add weight to the bar week after week without getting all worked up and stressed out.

Regarding the gains, it sounds like you’ve got nothing to lose by trying the lower volume strategy out. Commit for awhile and see how it works. At the very least you might learn you really like rest/pause or mTor reps.


Crazy right?! Granted 10 of those 60 was a hip thrust variation and 10 was calves. But the rest were squat, lunge or hip hinge movements all taken to technical failure or damn close to it

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Not really expecting a bunch of gains in a week per se. It’s just I feel like I’ve waisted so much time (at first being super low T and 2nd with all the excess volume) that I want to make sure I’m doing the optimal program for mass gains given my age. I k ow once I reach around 45 I won’t be able to put on mass as easy.

Hip thrusts aren’t not demanding when you start loading 500 pounds ahah

Well then you definitely can gain from trying this program. It is specifically tailored to be easily recovered, and suitable for older or busy people

Not necessarily, and that’s the problem. When the body has an overactive sympathetic nervous system (always being on high alert) compared to its parasymphathetic system performance can actually improve despite the body/brain being worse and worse.

I’ve seen tons of athletes who didn’t sleep, were losing weight because of being overworked and felt depressive and unmotivated, beat big PRs in the gym.

That’s because the brain/body feels weak and any potential threat is seen as a lot more dangerous than it really is and as a result there is a huge dump of cortisol and adrenaline. You are essentially performing simply on a survival mechanism.

This is no good because it gives the illusion that you are doing just fine, so you keep going and digging a bigger and bigger hole.


It is if you push it hard enough. I


Thanks CT!

Good post. In the contest prep for my one show in which I got shredded to the bone, though a few lifts suffered, it wasn’t significant and I was performing off of adrenaline, caffeine, and will. The insomnia was unexplainable. I also felt slightly mentally disturbed.

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Dude, very easily explainable. High cortisol (the increased need for energy mobilization and the deprivation, among others) leads to high adrenaline. If on top of that your serotonin is lowered (which happens when you are dieting down, especially on lower carbs) you don’t have a biochemical way to calm the brain down from the adrenaline, The mind keeps racing.


Thanks for that. Though I think I meant to say unbearable. I appreciate the explanation though, because I didn’t know that. I slept four to five hours a night for weeks!

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Fellow 40-year-old here with about the same training age and the same minimal progress. Yes, it’s a solid program. I’ve been running Pt. 2 (with some dabbling into Pt 1) for about 15 weeks at 6 days a week and I’ve put on more healthy weight with this program than others I’ve run. Had to kick up my calories to 19xBW and take an easy week every 7-8 weeks, but other than that I’ve felt better day-to-day from cutting down on volume than I did running higher volume programs 3 or 4 days a week.

If you feel like you need a bit more volume, you can add an extra exercise to the end of each session – I’ve added a single set of one of the Growth Factor Shoulder Training supersets to my push days and a single set of light glute work to my pull days and the occasional Zercher or suitcase static hold.

And I think Parts 1 and 2 are interchangeable. It’s not so much progressing from one to the next as much as changing adding changing things up a bit while keeping the same principles in place. They’re both solid and challenging provided you push those top sets hard.

If I recall correctly there’s also an upper body workout with 30 or more sets.

Man that program was too much, i only made it 5 weeks. Too much volume, I started at 5 day split, went down to 3 and that helped a tad but the fatigue eventually caught up so I stopped. Actually felt Weaker as the program went on and the lower back started getting some pain.


Yes, and 3 total upper body workouts a week on that program adding up to approximately 80 plus sets. I definitely gave it a good try, just too much damn volume to properly recover and grow from.

I’m a slow learner

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Good to hear brother. I’m gonna avoid the trap of ADD and stick to The best damn program and see what the increased frequency and lower volume will do. I started week 2 today

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I bought it, picked up some stuff but didn’t follow it. I like John Rusin but I didn’t see what was unique about it.

What is this program best damn WO plan…trains 6 days a week with push and pull exercises? At the moment I started one of the CT with 3 training sessions-The first workout is a whole body with multiple exercises - squats, benches, chins, military press rows. The second is isolation exercises, and the third is still like the first day, but with machines.My first workout will be in the range 3x5, the second 2-3x10-12, the third 2-3x8-10. I don’t know if I got it right, but I know that when there is perseverance, it brings success. I am 46 years old, but I want to lose fat and train my muscles and am constantly looking for the “best program” :slight_smile: But we all know there is no such program. At this age, too, it is important to be healthy and fit. Muscle enhancement does not have to be our primary goal. It is important that we remain constant and strive to become stronger. And as we get stronger, our muscles will grow bigger.

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It’s Christian Thibaudeau’s “Best damn workout plan for natural lifters”. I’ve started with part one of the program, he also wrote a part 2 a year or so later. The premise is high frequency For each muscle group but low volume. Only one true working set per muscle put you use techniques on that one set to push beyond failure

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