T Nation

Bill R 2 on 4 off question

Bill, I normally train three days per week on a three way split. Mon- Wed-Fri. This hits each muscle group directly once per week. When on the 14 day cycle would it be better to train more frequently, say 3 on 1 off or at least every other day with no weekend off?

Just a bump for Bill

No. Once per week training can work excellently. In fact, it even works well to
use a routine like this:

Monday: Triceps, shoulders, chest, high volume
high effort workout intended for maximum growth stimulation.

Wednesday: Legs, abs, lower back, optionally forearms and/or rotator cuff low volume
low effort workout (don’t even bother
with slow negatives, but rather minimum effort eccentrics) so as to avoid draining resources
that could be going towards growth from Monday’s workout.

Friday: Biceps, upper and midback, high volume, high effort, for maximum stimulation.

Monday next week: Low volume low effort triceps/shoulders/chest workout.

Wednesday: High volume, high effort
lower body workout.

Friday: Low volume, low effort biceps/back

This can be adjusted for specialization to
improve lagging bodyparts. For example, say
your triceps are lagging. In this case,
they’d receive high volume, high effort
work both weeks rather than just one. But this should not be carried too far, where what is supposed to be an easy day becomes hard.

Growth is just as good or better with this
approach as with hitting each bodypart hard
twice per two week cycle. Results from each
single hard workout can be shocking.

That is an almost identicle split to mine, except I train shoulders on back/biceps day because they are a weakness and I don’t want my over head presses to be weak from chest and tri work.
Bill,I normally train pretty darn hard and with low volume…I am from the Dorian Yates camp ,except I don’t train quite so intensly since I have been natural. For example I train in very strict controlled style and always go to positive failure on all my work sets, and sometimes do rest pause reps or forced reps after going to failure. I seem to work much harder than most of the guys in the gym, especially in the squat rack and with Deadlifts. I always wondered if steroid use wouldn’t result in a huge and rapid gain in mass and strength due to this intense focus coupled with ample recovery time. Also, I really focus on adding a small amount of weight to the bar every week and I have tiny plates in my gym bag for that purpose. Work sets are low ie:4-5 for chest and upper back and 3 for arms, only 3 for quads and 3 for lower back/hams and 3 for calves. I use basic compound movements for the most part.
Would you recommend an increase in volume for someone like me when on a cycle, and if so how much.

Yes, I’d recommend an increase in volume,
and not following the philosophy of making
every set as hard as possible. Using Dorian
Yates as an example, it seems that it was only
his last two sets or so that he really pushed
himself with. Your nervous system is not
well suited to absolute maximum effort work
carried out too many times. In fact, I don’t
believe that what one could call “absolute
maximum” effort is needed at all, though
the last rep performed certainly should be
genuinely difficult in the last set performed, or the
last couple of sets, where another rep would
not be possible.

Somewhere in the range of 72-120 sets per
week seems best while “on.”

Long term, I prefer cycling beginning
at about 60% 1RM, and adding, depending
on the cycle plan, 4-8% 1RM each week until
reps have gotten as low as what you’ve found
to be productive for you, rather than adding
tiny amounts of weight each week. Or if you
prefer the approach of keeping reps the
same, try adding 5%-10% while “on,” rather
than a tiny weight. For a longer cycle
than 2 weeks, of course that would have to be
less but your initial strength gain can be
this much.

Also, when it comes to your shoulder prioritization, performing exercises in the
order “triceps, shoulders, chest” does
accomplish that. But training shoulders along
with back certainly can be a viable option also. Though, back and shoulders adds up
to a lot more work than chest, and results
in the shoulders being trained twice as often
as chest, since it’s substantially trained while training chest. This is acceptable in a split where bodyparts are intended to be trained once per week, but problematic if the plan is for twice per week training (in that case, shoulders are being trained four times.)