Best Way To Plan a High Intensity Low Volume Routine

I have always hated using percentages, calculating reps intensity volume etc unless I want to peak.
I like to train for heavy triples and then move to accessories:

Work up to heavy triple or 5rm
Legs work 10-15reps X 3-4sets- quads, hamstrings, glutes

work up to a heavy triple or 5rm
Hypertrophy chest, shoulders, triceps

work up to heavy triple
Hypertrophy back

Do you guys do something like that?

How old are you? What are your maxes? The vast majority of people can easily recover from benching twice a week, why do you only want to bench once? The volume on the main lifts looks a bit too low as well.

+Question: What are you current goals? Like specifically are you building a base in the off season, accumulating volume and increasing work capacity, hypertrophy phase or intensifying/using the base you built to make all kinds of strength gains?

How you gon track, periodise and progress this? Why do you dislike using percentages, reps, intensity volume etc. That’s programming. Without a plan you’ve got a program that’s as useful as a cookie cutter one, hell some of them even “program”. Are you sure you know what you’re doing?

If I could I be on 3-4 days per weeks I would but out of necessity am on twice a week right now. SBD, assistance and accessories twice a week.

As I’m in an accumulation block right now. I track weekly volume, maintain or conservatively increase intensity and wave up from the low end of my maximum adaptive volume to maximum recoverable volume over 4 weeks, exceed it week 5 to functionally overreach then deload W6 to supercompensate. Then I repeat the cycle. All kinds of gains so far which sets me up for… well as far as I’m concerned guarantees future PRs.

This is one of my favorite ways to train. Work up to a top set of 5. If a PR is there, take it. If not, I will usually either do a few cluster or drop sets and try to set a volume PR. If i start stalling, I’ll either move on to trying to PR for triples or drop down to 65-70% of my best 3 or 5rm and work back up trying to set rep PR’s along the way. Some make programming and periodization out to be rocket science, when it’s not. I personally enjoy knowing where I’m at in every session and gunning for PR’s, when they are there, as well as getting a feel of when to back off, when they’re not. I would keep track of rep and volume PR’s though.

Planned PRs are the future tho

But in all seriousness this. Plan or don’t plan or whatever but don’t expect to progress on the same rep/weight scheme every session. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t and set some kind of PR however small just to keep moving forwards.

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Couldn’t agree more. I may set a rep max PR for a big lift once or twice a year anymore. However, some form of a volume PR for the same lift, supplemental, accessory or conditioning PR gets set quite often usually. It opens allot of doors, once one realizes that weight on the bar isn’t the only way to progress.

Oh noes I’d donate some PRs to you if I could.

How about setting some rep PRs with random weights then. Work with 315 for a week or two then 325, then 335 and so on. If more reps ain’t happening hit more sets and try to match it. All kinds of PRs if you look for them.

If this is how you like to train and you are getting stronger in the 3 lifts then it is a great plan.

That’s what I meant by moving from 5’s to triples or dropping my working weights to 65-70% and building back up over time. Pretty much starting back over with an accumulation phase and trying to peak it again.

This is what I use my cluster, multiple, drop sets, etc for.

Hmm I mean like setting legitimate lifetime yet conservative rep PRs at a given weight or rep range then microloading that and working it the same rep range e.g. hypertrophy rep ranges.

So like if you drop back and set a conservative but still lifetime PR of 315x8reps, then sets across or backoff, you can do 315 by 9 next session at a higher RPE no prob. Lifetime PR. You can even do two weeks of this adding 1 rep to a 8RM @ 8RPE is plenty doable.

The next week work with 325,which is only a 3% increase though technically if you don’t yet have a rep PR at the weight any work is a PR. You’ll probably hit for at least 7-8 so another lifetime PR. Small PRs every session though PRs nonetheless.

Never miss a rep/RPE < 9.5. Always tell yourself you had another rep ez. Every session week in week out moving forward, unstoppable like the momentum of a SHW as soon as the squat rack frees up. The kind of confidence built long term is incredible: Confidence even expectation that you’ll hit or have the ability to hit PRs every time you step in the gym .

Or am I confused/confusing?

That’s not the whole story though, only a snapshot of a microcycle, because of course you can’t keep progressing linearly like that forever. Knowing when to deload and change rep ranges putting all your accumulated volume PRs to good use.

Not at all. This type of training is almost purely instinctual. It’s rarely ever cut and dry. Those I listed are just a few audibles at disposal. Sometimes, say for example I’m slow off the chest and know a rep max isn’t in the cards, but I’m picking up speed about mid way and lockout is strong, I might turn to a 3 board and set a PR, take advantage of PAP, drop back down to a weight where bar speed is fast and get some quality work in with full ROM. That’s just one option. If I feel I need to work on my conditioning I may work up to a 1-3rm daily max, leaving one or two in the tank and dropping down to 50-65% of that estimated 1rm and do some lactate tolerance type training. Set a stop watch for 20 minutes and see how many singles, doubles or triples I can get and play on density. The options are endless. It really just depends on where I am in my training, analyzing my weaknesses and going from there.

Thanks for the replies, of course I do not expect to use this method forever but right now my maxes are 180squat/120bench/200dead so I am pretty much a beginner.
When I don’t hit a 3rm I try to do 5x5 of a 5rm for a few weeks until it gets very easy.
About frequency, I generally train 3times a week but if I have an extra day I use it for rep bench (take a random weight and see how many reps I can do), it is a method used by Eric spoto and i find it fun to use.
I don’t like to use percentages because I just like to lift heavy and see if I am getting stronger week by week, but when I’m planning a 1rm test I’ll follow a Russian type of program for 6-9 weeks with high volume high frequency for the 3 lifts and very few accessories (see sheiko, smolov, Russian squat routine etc) or I’ll just pay a coach to create a short program for me

I would recommend some volume for you and stay away from anything near max. Its very important to learn proper form first and its difficult to do max weights with good form if you are a beginner. The body needs countless hours under the bar to learn motor patterns.

Do this first. The weight will come. Take your time and be patient.

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Exactly what I was going to say. Rep maxes are a very bad idea for beginners, your technique will definitely break down and you will ingrain bad movement patterns that can take a long time to fix. Something like 5x5 is ideal, squat and bench at least twice a week and deadlift at least once. You can do some bodybuilding-style assistance work but don’t make it the majority of your training and definitely don’t do so much that you can’t recover and add weight to the lifts that count. With your numbers there is no reason not to use linear progression.

re: the title of this thread: you should absolutely not be doing a high intensity low volume program. You need volume to build muscle and develop your technique, and the intensity should be low enough that your form doesn’t break down.

I’ll agree with chris on this one with one additional comment.

IMMEDIATELY buy “starting strength” and “practical programming for strength training” because as your program stands now you’re clueless.

If I were to take a beginner I would structure the volume in a 1:2:3 ratio for the Deadlift, Squat, Bench Press. Deadlift once/wk, Squat twice/wk, Bench 3times/wk

Deadlift would be triples heavy one week 50% the next week
Squat would be 5 x 5 heavy on one day, 3 x 8 the next day 60 lbs less than the heavy day
Bench would be 6 x 6 heavy on one day 4 x 10 the next day 40 lbs less than the heavy day

Assistance work would be as follows:

DL - Chins/pulldowns, Some rowing
Squat - Leg curls, calf raises
Bench - Overhead press, dips

Progression: On the main lifts when you can add 1 rep to EACH set go up in weight (5-10) lbs. (Hepburn style progression). This makes you earn your increases.

I won’t go into further detail because I would need much more info. If you wish you could PM me for customized programming.

BTW forget about peaking for now. You would need experience and data to be able to peak out properly.