T Nation

Clear Something Up For Me?

On any form of split workout, why is it advantageous to do lots of exercises with few sets on each, as opposed to one exercise with lots of sets? People talk about hitting the muscle from multiple angles, but surely the benefits also might exist from simple pummeling a muscle even harder from the same angle??

I.e.
incline, flat, flyes, dips (3 sets each) vs flat (8 sets) and say incline flyes (4 sets)

[quote]No_Pain_No_Gain wrote:
but surely the benefits also might exist from simple pummeling a muscle even harder from the same angle?
[/quote]

What benefits? My upper chest is as big as it is because I train it directly. Before I made incline presses a large part of my routine, my upper chest was severely lagging. What “benefit” exists by ignoring my upper chest and only doing flat presses?

If one exercise was all that was needed to get full development, why do you think bodybuilders, over DECADES of trial and error, would do things just for the hell of it?

What one exercise works your entire shoulder complex?

The type of question you just asked is not one that someone would ask if they had actually spent a few years building their body up and seeing what it took to get proportioned development.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
…seeing what it took to get proportioned development.
[/quote]

Thats part of the problem with a lot of trainees. They dont even shoot for proportioned, and if they do their proportions are wildly skewed. They want arms as big as their thighs, when in reality your arms should never be close to you thighs.

These guys never learn what it takes to get a well-rounded physique because they spend too much time abusing the mirror muscles, and thus always wear long pants to workout to conceal their 13 inch calves, and 20 in thighs. Im by no means accusing the OP of this though. Dont take it the wrong way. Im just stating that being proportional is a lost art to many.

In terms of the opening topic. Prof X got it right. When someone finds an exercise that hits the entire shoulder complex, entire chest, etc. optimally then I will do it all day. Im still waiting though…

it would appear that the OP hasn’t yet had the time lifting to have answered it for themself, so I think it’s a valid beginner question. (though the answer could have easily been actually researched in articles rather than just taking the lazy route of asking).

X summed it up well - no single exercise can hit all parts of a muscle effectively enough to create a balanced physique. so, beating the piss out of yourself with one exercise would probably just limit your ability to recover, and you’d end up out of proportion and probably wind up with some ugly muscle imbalances that would potentially lead to injuries down the road.

i hope that helps, without unnecessarily making you feel like an ass for asking. (though, really, do some research next time - there’s a lot of good articles here that will answer most of your questions)

You can alternate days. Most of the time, you want more variety, but some days I’ll feel like just picking one or two exercises and hammering them with more volume.

[quote]agent37 wrote:
it would appear that the OP hasn’t yet had the time lifting to have answered it for themself, so I think it’s a valid beginner question. (though the answer could have easily been actually researched in articles rather than just taking the lazy route of asking).

X summed it up well - no single exercise can hit all parts of a muscle effectively enough to create a balanced physique. so, beating the piss out of yourself with one exercise would probably just limit your ability to recover, and you’d end up out of proportion and probably wind up with some ugly muscle imbalances that would potentially lead to injuries down the road.

i hope that helps, without unnecessarily making you feel like an ass for asking. (though, really, do some research next time - there’s a lot of good articles here that will answer most of your questions)[/quote]

Thanks for the non-abusive answer. As for Prof X, I fully appreciate the fact that you’re one of the most knowledgeable, experienced and developed posters on this site, so it saddens me that you take this attitude towards someone innocently asking a question.

Returning back to the point though, how come people don’t just end up doing 1 set in each of 15 or so exercises (ie. variations in hand position, width, angle, movement plane etc) for a workout?

Edit- sorry if I’ve misinterpreted your tone.

[quote]No_Pain_No_Gain wrote:

Returning back to the point though, how come people don’t just end up doing 1 set in each of 15 or so exercises (ie. variations in hand position, width, angle, movement plane etc) for a workout?

[/quote]

Your body requires repetition in a given movement pattern in order to become optimally efficient. When you are maxing out on a lift do you immediately jump to your max, or do you do lighter weights and work up? Your joints need time to get lubricated, your nervous system needs time to get primed, and you need to get your juices flowing for lack of a better term.

So if you do one set of bench, you cant do anywhere close to your maximum weight, and thus stimulation wont be ideal. Then you run over and do another exercise, with a different recruitment pattern, and again perform sub-optimally. In the end it just becomes a workout of 15 different exercises with 15 poor sets, and you can see how that wont work very well.

[quote]No_Pain_No_Gain wrote:
agent37 wrote:
it would appear that the OP hasn’t yet had the time lifting to have answered it for themself, so I think it’s a valid beginner question. (though the answer could have easily been actually researched in articles rather than just taking the lazy route of asking).

X summed it up well - no single exercise can hit all parts of a muscle effectively enough to create a balanced physique. so, beating the piss out of yourself with one exercise would probably just limit your ability to recover, and you’d end up out of proportion and probably wind up with some ugly muscle imbalances that would potentially lead to injuries down the road.

i hope that helps, without unnecessarily making you feel like an ass for asking. (though, really, do some research next time - there’s a lot of good articles here that will answer most of your questions)

Thanks for the non-abusive answer. As for Prof X, I fully appreciate the fact that you’re one of the most knowledgeable, experienced and developed posters on this site, so it saddens me that you take this attitude towards someone innocently asking a question.

Returning back to the point though, how come people don’t just end up doing 1 set in each of 15 or so exercises (ie. variations in hand position, width, angle, movement plane etc) for a workout?

Edit- sorry if I’ve misinterpreted your tone.
[/quote]

Because there’s next to no neurological adaptation to the movent patterns used, and next to no progression on load per movement. From other angle, do you think you’re gonna have at least a decent level of intensity on 15 sets (there’s no point on doing those exercises for hypertrophy and 1 set if not taken to failure)?

Man, from my experience, one “guru” told me once “I don’t get why you make lateral elevations, bent over raises and all that for shoulders, its just one muscle…”, as pathetic as it may or may not sound to someone, guess how the guy looked?

[quote]Htowner wrote:
No_Pain_No_Gain wrote:

Returning back to the point though, how come people don’t just end up doing 1 set in each of 15 or so exercises (ie. variations in hand position, width, angle, movement plane etc) for a workout?

Your body requires repetition in a given movement pattern in order to become optimally efficient. When you are maxing out on a lift do you immediately jump to your max, or do you do lighter weights and work up? Your joints need time to get lubricated, your nervous system needs time to get primed, and you need to get your juices flowing for lack of a better term.

So if you do one set of bench, you cant do anywhere close to your maximum weight, and thus stimulation wont be ideal. Then you run over and do another exercise, with a different recruitment pattern, and again perform sub-optimally. In the end it just becomes a workout of 15 different exercises with 15 poor sets, and you can see how that wont work very well.[/quote]

He won’t see that if he is sitting at home trying to theorize this instead of getting in a gym and actually seeing how this feels. People who lift heavy weights know not to do their heaviest max with no warm up because they know that leads to injury. They know this because they’ve lifted really heavy weights before.

But of course, people like that are also often the type who dismiss answers quickly based on how sweet they perceive the post to be written…whether the truth was actually there or not.

it doesn’t seem like anyone dismissed a thing in this thread. pretty much everyone who chimed in added something useful on the topic at hand. i just don’t see a need to bash someone while giving out information. if you’re being kind enough to take the time to give a useful answer, why not just be polite about it?

and on a side note, why is it that if someone asks a question on here, it is assumed that they never lift, but simply sit around and hypothesize about how to work out? we really can’t be in the gym all day long, so at some point, you’ll inevitably have time to sit down and type something, right? now maybe some people do do that, but not everyone…

[quote]agent37 wrote:
it doesn’t seem like anyone dismissed a thing in this thread. pretty much everyone who chimed in added something useful on the topic at hand. i just don’t see a need to bash someone while giving out information. if you’re being kind enough to take the time to give a useful answer, why not just be polite about it?[/quote]

You said yourself he was asking to be spoon fed, then acted like a vagina when he wasn’t coddled. There is no point in wiping someone’s ass. If someone isn’t going to put in the effort to read a few threads or articles, they aren’t going to put in the effort to go to the gym and figure some of this shit out for themselves. (ASIDE from the fact, X’s post wasn’t that harsh, unless you want it to be and read it that way.)

I only see this attitude taken with beginner questions (outside of that forum) that could be easily answered by reading more and lifting more.

[quote]Htowner wrote:
Thats part of the problem with a lot of trainees. They dont even shoot for proportioned, and if they do their proportions are wildly skewed. They want arms as big as their thighs, when in reality your arms should never be close to you thighs.

These guys never learn what it takes to get a well-rounded physique because they spend too much time abusing the mirror muscles, and thus always wear long pants to workout to conceal their 13 inch calves, and 20 in thighs. Im by no means accusing the OP of this though. Dont take it the wrong way. Im just stating that being proportional is a lost art to many.

[/quote]

IMO that’s a lot harder than most people think. well if u want to have any size that is. while i feel i have made good size gains, i am just now trying to figure out the whole ‘proportionality’ thing. and it kinda blows, lol.

Im not for the NECESSITY of hitting each movement from different angles to equally target each muscle each workout. I think you can easily develop a well proportioned body by focusing on a few lifts, and having a few isolation moves added in to bring up lagging areas.

BUT, there is also no need to “pummel a muscle from the same angle” Once its worked, more is not better. Hitting from different angles makes more sense, because you are less likely to overwork one group of muscles and less likely to underwork others.

[quote]agent37 wrote:
it doesn’t seem like anyone dismissed a thing in this thread. pretty much everyone who chimed in added something useful on the topic at hand. i just don’t see a need to bash someone while giving out information. if you’re being kind enough to take the time to give a useful answer, why not just be polite about it?

and on a side note, why is it that if someone asks a question on here, it is assumed that they never lift, but simply sit around and hypothesize about how to work out? we really can’t be in the gym all day long, so at some point, you’ll inevitably have time to sit down and type something, right? now maybe some people do do that, but not everyone…[/quote]

Who was bashed in this thread? This is a beginner question. He is lucky everyone respected that as it is considering he ignored that forum and apparently believes as such that this is not a beginner question.

Pointing out that people who have lifted heavy would know that one set isn’t enough is now a “bash”?

Fucking really?

How do some of you get through the day with egos this fragile?

[quote]HolyMacaroni wrote:

IMO that’s a lot harder than most people think. well if u want to have any size that is. while i feel i have made good size gains, i am just now trying to figure out the whole ‘proportionality’ thing. and it kinda blows, lol.
[/quote]

I agree completely. Even the Mr. Olympia contestants get critiqued on what they are lacking, so that just goes to show that even the best of the best have a hard time being completely proportional. Heaven knows Ive got some muscle groups that need catching up…

[quote]Htowner wrote:
HolyMacaroni wrote:

IMO that’s a lot harder than most people think. well if u want to have any size that is. while i feel i have made good size gains, i am just now trying to figure out the whole ‘proportionality’ thing. and it kinda blows, lol.

I agree completely. Even the Mr. Olympia contestants get critiqued on what they are lacking, so that just goes to show that even the best of the best have a hard time being completely proportional. Heaven knows Ive got some muscle groups that need catching up…[/quote]

That’s everybody…and also why there is no true “finish line”. There will always be something that could be improved, but the art in this is seeing changes that need to be made and being quick enough to make those changes before you end up injuring yourself or worse.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
agent37 wrote:
it doesn’t seem like anyone dismissed a thing in this thread. pretty much everyone who chimed in added something useful on the topic at hand. i just don’t see a need to bash someone while giving out information. if you’re being kind enough to take the time to give a useful answer, why not just be polite about it?

and on a side note, why is it that if someone asks a question on here, it is assumed that they never lift, but simply sit around and hypothesize about how to work out? we really can’t be in the gym all day long, so at some point, you’ll inevitably have time to sit down and type something, right? now maybe some people do do that, but not everyone…

Who was bashed in this thread? This is a beginner question. He is lucky everyone respected that as it is considering he ignored that forum and apparently believes as such that this is not a beginner question.

Pointing out that people who have lifted heavy would know that one set isn’t enough is now a “bash”?

Fucking really?

How do some of you get through the day with egos this fragile?[/quote]

-fair enough, reading through it again i’ll concede that you didn’t really bash him, just came off a bit condescending. and i’ll definitely agree this should have been in the beginner forum, no argument there.

-my fragile ego cries itself to sleep at night, all alone in the dark without any internet coddling.

-for the record, i also never called anyone a vagina

[quote]agent37 wrote:

-for the record, i also never called anyone a vagina

[/quote]

I called him a vagina in response to your question. What is your point?

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
agent37 wrote:

-for the record, i also never called anyone a vagina

I called him a vagina in response to your question. What is your point?

[/quote]

no point, i thought you were saying i called him a vagina, which i didn’t - i misunderstood. you are free to call whoever you deem worthy a vagina, which i am betting will be me after this thread lol.

[quote]agent37 wrote:
countingbeans wrote:
agent37 wrote:

-for the record, i also never called anyone a vagina

I called him a vagina in response to your question. What is your point?

no point, i thought you were saying i called him a vagina, which i didn’t - i misunderstood. you are free to call whoever you deem worthy a vagina, which i am betting will be me after this thread lol.[/quote]

Nah, you’re fine.

So is Nancy. People need thicker skin, and wider testicles is all, this isn’t E-Nation. I mean the fact people are trying to put down those with a “hardcore” attitude is when this place loses members that have accomplished shit. I mean I’m not Big Ron, but I bust my ass, and fuckers act like my attitude is bad because I go out and get mine and expect the same effort from others… It is a sad day. (I’m not talking about you here.)

The other day someone complained that I told them to “read more” when I posted a link to answer their question. Other websites a Mod would have said it with just as much disgust if not more. Imagine how someone with 10 years lifting and 7 on this site anwering the same questions over and over and over feels, when all the poster had to do was a little leg work himself…

Jesus I’m just rambling now… I don’t even know if what I typed makes sense…