CW Article...

In a reply to one of the questions in the “Branding Iron” article CW says that most people could work a muscle 4 times a week given there ability to recover is up to par… assuming one has the recovery ability, would it matter what exercise is used to stimulate the muscle? Take back for example, could Rows be used in all four workouts, or do other back exercises need to be used on the other days?

Hey Charlie check out CW article called Quattro Dynamo.

Most people? He mentions that you must be able to get high amounts of sleep (plus a nap), pretty much take a pro-hormone at double dosage and eat GIGANTIC! AND THATS THE MINIMUM!!! Thats not most people! The program is designed to hit EVERY muscle EACH day. He wrote an entire article based around this method (PURE MADNESS!!!)

I personally am working out with 4 full body workouts per week ala CW style, which is very close to HST. I have two different workouts, A and B, and alternate them. For instance, A may have incline db bench press for chest and B may have dips. The first week I do 8 reps, 6 the second and 4 the third week. In this cycle, I will be taking the 4th week off to go to Tortola for some strategic deconditioning. I never go past 6 weeks without at least one week off. You do not need phormones to work each bodypart 4 times per week. It might be helpful if you were doing 6 workouts though. Creatine would be helpful though. I keep most exercises to compound movements and hit each muscle 2 to 3 sets with 1 exercise. Total sets in a workout average about 12 but can be as low as 10 but never higher than 15. At 15, and sometimes even at 12 sets, I will split the workout up between AM and PM workouts. It helps with fatigue and motivation.

Good question.
It’s absolutely imperative that a newbie to 4x/week training use DIFFERENT exercises for all four workouts. This is one of the keys to adapting to 4x/week training. Hitting the same muscle group with the same exercise 4x/week is only for those with a lot of 4x/week training under their belt.
I highly recommend you use 4 exercises that are as different from each other as possible. Only after 5-6 months of this style of training should you start performing the same exercise more than 2x/week.

One more thing…

In the post, you mentioned “only if recovery is up to par.” My point in giving the parameters for 4x/week training is based on the simple fact that 99% of trainees out there don’t have recovery rates that are up to par. Using my 4x/week guidelines is a way to force the body to increase recovery rates. The body will adapt to the demands placed upon it (if it’s done intelligently).

My training philosophies live and breath on the SAID principle (Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demand). The body will adapt to the demands that are imposed upon it.

Ian King agrees with what CW is saying. He has been quoted in the past as saying that it is not the number of sets you do that counts the most but the number of different exercises. However, I choose to go with only two different workouts instead of four per week so that I can work near my max all the time. I usually get a good feel where my max for any given rep range is with my first workout so that my second workout of the same exercises can be right on my max, i.e., I can complete the prescribed number of reps in good form. Doing four different workouts requires me to be guessing a lot at each workout. However, this can be avoided if you determine your maxes beforehand or by expanding each rep range to 2 weeks instead of 1 as I am currently doing. For years, decades actually, I went along with the crowd and did 5 or 6 1-1/2 hour workouts per week, hitting each bodypart once with as many as 20 sets. I stagnated big time. It wasn’t until I tried HST, which has a lot in common with CW’s program, that I saw some significant additional growth. I now alternate this type of workout with a 5X5 program wherein I hit each bodypart twice per week with 5 sets of 5 reps. The change seems to work great for me. Ian King has also stated in the past that the more advanced a person is, the heavier the weight should be, i.e., keeping the number of reps low. I found that to be very true. However, I will, at least 3 times per year begin my HST series with 2 weeks of 15’s and then 2 weeks of 10’s followed by 2 weeks of 5’s and negatives. That gives my joints and tendons the ability to recover and be strengthened. That becomes even more important as one ages and tendons tend to stiffen and lose flexibility.

My experience very closey mirrors avoid’s. For many years I followed the “train each bodypart once a week so as not to get overtrained” camp. Like avoids, I stagnated big time and it felt like each time I trained a bodypart I was relearning the exercises. I switched to HST when it first came out and then began incorportating CW’s ideas once I began to read his stuff. At present I am using 4 total body workouts a week with two different workouts, like avoid roids has done. I also alter between horizontal and vertical plane movement workouts and I vary the set and rep scheme and intesity along the lines of ‘quattro dynamo’.
All I can say is that I wish I had come upon this type of training years ago, particularily when I was a competitive athlete.

This method is good, but remember that every method will have it’s peaks and valleys. I would alternate this method with the “1 or 2 bodyparts/workout” method. Repeating a stimulus several times per week is great for developing strength and learning a movement, but the lessened amount of muscle fibre breakdown per workout will diminish the hypertrophy response, due to less supercompensation of protein at the cell level. If your goals include hypertrophy, then don’t dismiss the old stand-by of training each bodypart for high volume only once or twice per week.

Loop, this is where the very important concept of Strategic Deconditioning comes in. Without it, you will stagnate. And, the length of time for SD is important. It has to be long enough to untrain muscle fibers, at least 7 days, but not long enough to atrophy, over 2 weeks. The length of the SD should depend on the length and intensity of the previous workout cycle. Staying within those parameters allows a person to continue growing. I do agree, however, that change is good. That is why I throw in the 5X5’s every other cycle.

Anyway, just my experience. I am sure that age, state of development, ability to rest and recovery, muscle type, etc., requires that everyone find their own optimim program at any given point in time. I previously found that my biggest obstacle was my unwillingness to change because I was afraid of missing out on some “gains”, even though I wasn’t gaining. Go figure!

I hear ya "Roids,
I can remember my first ten years of training were a joke. Pure insanity, defined as doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. I find most young people suffer from this. As I’ve aged, I’ve discovered there are better ways to do things. I can only imagine what discoveries the next decades will bring to me. I cant wait!