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Best Hypertrophy Split/Routine

CT, have you encountered many clients whose CNS and muscular recovery are fine but whose joints limit the type or frequency of training they would otherwise find preferable?

I’ve struggled against my horrible connective tissue for years (family trait) because I love high frequency training but can’t keep it up. Loved training Crossfit but it utterly slayed my knees. Even Look Like A Bodybuilder, Train Like An Athlete brought out joint pain within a few weeks. And I’m only 31! Your layer system has been one of the best things for me…1 main movement a day and I’ve seen great progress - pain free.

Just curious to know how many times you’ve had to tailor training not around CNS recovery but around joint management.

So… The first thing would be to stop training 2x a day also?

So how do we balance this with your other observation “don’t take 2 off days in a row” because of CNS downregulation etc. and the natural? train more frequently article today

CT’s reply had turned this thread from shitty to real gold. I truly believe that every beginner and almost every intermediate lifter should take a print out of these points, paste it in his locker, and repeatedly read till it gets ingrained in the brain.

CT you’re really awesome. Thanks

@jasper41 why is it a Shitty thread !? Just because I was vague in asking … If you don’t like it don’t comment in it simple !

Come on dude, don’t do it again. Let the readers to focus on all the great advice posted by CT.

Well, dion’t take two days off in a row! It is totally compatible with training 2 days on/1 day off … or 3 days on/1 day off/2 days on/1 day off…

As for training with more frequency if you are natural that is totally true. And if someone can train 6 days a week while being able to limit the amount of work they do at each session that is fine. But personally I find that it is really hard for me to avoid doing too much on any given day so the 3 on/1 off/2 on/` off schedule makes it less likely that I put myself in the hole.

And I don’t think that anybody would say that training 5 days out of 7 is not high frequency… you have more than twice the number of training days as day off… by high frequency I did not mean trained 7-10 sessions a week.

And by training the same but more often? 8/11 times a week for example!
The stress of each session is not enough to have a positive adaptation?

By day off you mean NCW or really nothing?


Until you grasp how important recovery and repair are you will always stay dissatisfied with your training.

BTW, here is something I posted on my facebook page:

I believe that a lot of you are killing their gains because they pride in the wrong things when it comes to training.

The ONLY thing that matters is how much progress you are making. That … is … all … that … matters. PERIOD.

I see a lot of people taking more pride in how much work they do than how much results they are getting. Listen: it doesn’t matter if you trained 7 days this week or 3. It doesn’t matter if you did 30 sets in your workout or 10. The only thing on which a program should be judged is how much progress you are making.

The work you are doing in the gym is done for one reason: to stimulate changes in your body. The goal is the changes, the work is only what you are doing to achieve the goal.

In real life would you brag about working 60 hours a week but only making 500$ that week?

Listen, being a hard worker is important. Unless you are a genetic freak hard work will be required to get maximum results. But understand that it is not an end in itself.

The problem is that those who pride themselves first and foremost in the amount of work they are doing, are often killing their gains because the amount they are doing exceeds the amount of work they can handle and have a positive adaptation from.

Because of biochemical factors that are outside the scope of this post, it is completely possible to regress because you are doing too much work (lose muscle and strength).

Take powerlifting for example. I know a lot of people who took the Westside Barbell system and decided that it wasn’t enough work soi they added more exercises and sets in each session. Listen why would you believe that YOU can tolerate more physical work than someone who is (1) likely genetically built to handle hard physical work (2) has years, sometimes decades of experience with high level strength lifting (3) might be using drugs.

If the Westside split is 4 hard days a week why could you handle 5 or 6? If they can handle 1 maximum and 1 heavy assistance lift per session why could you handle 2 or each?

And that is just one example. When you look at the top strength athletes for advice if your first reaction is 'are you sure that’s enough?" you might have a problem.

And another…


This is a continuation of yesterday’s post about getting results being the only important thing with training.

One of the basic needs of a human being is “esteem”: Feeling like you are achieving something and getting the respect of others.

People who are achieving either important things or accomplishing something worth respect have this fairly easily. But those who aren’t doing anything special need to crate surrogate goals for themselves.

This is true in life and in training.

A typical example is somebody who is a militant/manifestant for a cause that doesn’t affect him personally. For example an heterosexual, middle class male who is actively participating in feminist manifestations.

If you are a woman and you feel that you are oppressed or treated unfairly because of your sex I understand why you would want to protest publicly. I do not agree with the modern feminist views (I feel that our society is pretty balanced, in fact men are often treated unfairly themselves) but I understand why some females would feel strongly about that cause.

But why would a middle class, average male take this cause at heart? He might make you believe that he is fighting for the rights of women. But the truth is completely different.

The reality is that this cause is a surrogate goal: something that the person latches on to be able to earn the respect of others. In this case the person is subconsciously looking for the respect and approval of women.

Anyway I don’t want to engage on this slippery slope but that is an example of a surrogate goal.

I see the same thing in training all the time:

  • I might not strong but I can do more work than everybody else. That person uses the amount of work being done to get a sense of accomplishment or the approval/admiration of others.

  • I’m not gaining a lot of muscle mass but I can do crazy exercises like one-leg overhead squats on a Swiss ball, let’s see those muscle monsters do that! Again using a surrogate way to feel good about yourself and feel like others are respecting you.

The problem is that chasing these surrogate goals will take your eyes off of the real purpose of training. Training’s purposes are to improve your body’s composition (adding muscle, losing fat), capacity to perform (strength, power, agility, speed) and make it healthy (injury prevention, improving health markers). Anything other than that is just an illusion of accomplishment.

If focusing on the illusion prevents you from achieving the true meaning of training, you are wasting your time.

What will happen is that you will focus so much on the surrogate goals that eventually you will forget why you started training in the first place: to improve your body. And when that happens NOLT getting gains actually becomes acceptable to you as long as you are finding other ways to feel good about yourself.

Then you will ridicule those who are actually making significant changes in their body (he doesn’t even train hard… yeah he’s big but he isn’t functional like I am).

This is a dangerous spiral because the more you focus on those artificial validations the less results you will be getting and the more you will forget about actually trying to get results.

And when that happens you actually stop trying to find ways to solve your lack of progress issue.

See when you aren’t progressing (adding more muscle, getting stronger, getting more powerful, etc.) there is a problem somewhere… your training, nutrition, sleep pattern, etc. might not be adequate. And you need to fix the issue. But if you stop focusing strictly on the results you will also stop trying to find ways to solve your problems.

Once again: the only thing that matters in weight training is getting results. Everything else is just a surrogate goal to make you feel good about yourself when you really shouldn’t.
Listen it’s OKAY to feel bad about yourself, about your lack of results IF you use that frustration to find a way to solve your problem.

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That’s the thing. If you want to train that many times you can have these two things happen:

  1. You perform too much work/too much intensity at each session and you can’t recover properly from the workload and you either progress really slowly or you even start to regress

  2. You reduce stress too much and each session is not sufficient to trigger positive adaptations, basically you are doing a lot of work for nothing.

SOME people can handle twice a day training and progress. But these are normally elite athletes at the end of a selection process of many years in which volume and frequency was very gradually increased. As the volume and frequency increased some athletes (those who couldn’t handle the amount of work and positively adapt) drop out. So those you see at the top are genetically designed to handle the work and worked up to the amount of volume and frequency over many years.

Remember that ther is a difference between being able to physically do the work and having a positive adaptation from the work.

If your squat progressed only 10kg in a 3 months period from squatting twice per day everyday can you really say that your training is effective??? The only thing that matters is how much progress you are making.

Look at how much progress you are making and then count how many sessions for each lift were necessary to get those results. Then objectively ask yourself if the gains were worth the effort.

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Ask yourself this: “Why am I training?”

Is it to get stronger/more muscular or is it to feel good about yourself and proud? Be honest.

Because if it is to get stronger and more muscular why are you Training 10-12 times a week, doing the big 3 in all sessions?

Since you are doing the big 3 all the time I assume that your goal is to get strong at them.

Well you better be a world class powerlifter, because if you aren’t very strong on the big 3, what the hell are you doing training these lifts every day sometimes twice a day?

Tell me how many world class powerlifters are doing the big 3 10+ times a week? Not many! In fact I would say that none of them are.

Even if you find a few, they are the exception, not the rule. Most high level powerlifters train 4 or 5 times per week. YES some train all the competitive lifts at every session, but the majority still trains each lift once or twice per week, sometimes three.

Why would YOU be able to handle 2-3 the amount of work on the big 3 as the people in world that are the most genetically gifted to handle heavy physical work.

I myself used extreme frequency at one point. And it works in the short term. It’s good to peak one or a few lifts in 4-5 weeks. But it is not (IMHO) a viable long term strategy.

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Earlier in this thread, you mentioned that excessive training can lead to hormonal issues. If a person believes this has happened to them, are there specific ways to address this (i.e. return hormones to a proper state) beyond simply backing off the volume and/or intensity? In other words, given enough time, will the body simply return to its desired state, or does it need some guidance toward that goal?

Thanks for your time.

The truth is hard to to hear…
And the fact is that in terms of strength i’m progressing but my physique does almodt not change…
Because you know this feeling, going to gym is like smoking or drinking for an addict…
My numbers are not bad for my age and etc… it’s why i’ve some trouble to think that it’s not good but maybe i would be even better…
So, i’ll use super high frequency only on the norwegian and bulgarian phase of your article “4 paths to strength” doing a 2/1 or 3/1 days when on westside part ( plus i’m able to stop myself and respect what i want to do for a session ) and when i’ll be on the transition period could i do upper/lower body split and with how much frequency?
REALLY THANK YOU! Could not tell you the respect i’ve for you!