6 weeks to clear, visible muscle growth is awesome dude. Good work.
Thanks man! It’s been hard to believe the results and how quick they’ve come on, but it’s been a lot of work. It does not come free! But getting the results makes it easier to keep doing the work.
You have found what works for you - and that is equal to the holy grail in bodybuilding! Some go the long way around (like me) - when the only way is through (like you)! Did I even see some development in calves there?
Also, you have inspired me to check out Fortitude Training - which I am grateful for! If I am to achieve even half of your accomplishments - I am a lucky man (beast, I mean)!
Btw, where did you find out about FT? The book is actually well written and seems to be the best balance of where excercise science is today. I will be sure to try it out once I’m finished evaluating Zone Training.
Thank you so much! My calves are actually about .5-.75” bigger than they used to measure which was about 16” and is now 16.5” and noticeably more defined! I am very fortunate to have found a method that works so well for me!
I found Fortitude Training by researching Doggcrapp training and finding Dave Maconi’s (of The Brains and Gains Podcast) review of the system, where he mentioned that he was advised to do it by Doctor Scott Stevenson, who created his favorite training system Fortitude Training, and then by chance, I saw a video of Scott Stevenson’s podcast Muscle Minds where they were talking about Mike Mentzer. I think the thing that really sold me was in Christian Thibaudeau’s YouTube video on how to train Natural vs Enhanced, he said that if he were to develop the perfect workout program for Natural lifters, it would look a lot like Scott Stevenson’s Fortitude Training. It just seemed like all roads were leading to Fortitude for me! It really appealed to my bias of training with full body sessions and training to failure haha!
I love how packed full of information the book is, containing so many sources and references as well as drawing from personal experiences and giving it all a practical application. I’m really excited for you and hope you make tremendous gains with it!
Got a great workout in this morning! Enjoying this cruise phase very much, being down a volume tier and only doing Muscle Rounds! I’m still progressing in weight/reps on every exercise which feels incredible. I feel like I just keep growing and keep getting stronger, even my own mind can’t seem to comprehend it, but I refuse to limit myself! I’ll have to become very creative with exercise selection too, or start doing unilateral movements on muscle Rounds, as I’m already outgrowing many of the selectorized machines at my gym. Had a nice huge meal post workout. Went to Arby’s and got the BBQ Brisket sandwich, French dip sandwich, and an orange cream shake! Delicious and I’m super full!
Upper Focused Muscle Rounds Turbo Tier II
Seated Cable Row 160x4,4,4,4,4,5
Nautilus Compound Row “24.9”x4,4,4,4,4,6
Weighted Chins 45x4,4,4,4,2 35x4
Cable Crossovers “13”x4,4,4,4,4,4
Machine Overhead Press 180x4,4,4,4,4,2
Tricep Rope Pushdowns 140x4,4,4,4,4,2
Nautilus Leg Press “20”x4,4,4,4,4,26
Seated Calf Raise 180x4,4,4,4,4,3
Ab Wheel Roller From Standing 4,4,4,4,4,3
Really enjoyed the extra rest day yesterday. Today’s workout was extremely intense and I really wanted to focus on the stretches today, so my pump was truly insane by the end! It feels amazing to be making gains even during the cruise with a lower volume and frequency and it’s been really nice for my body to get a little bit of a break after pushing so hard for 6 weeks. I’m enjoying the extra rest, but at the same time, I can’t wait to get back to business!
My knee was kind of bothering me to get started so I warmed up with some smith machine squats before I went into hacks, which really felt great. Was really able to focus on my legs.
Lower Focused Muscle Rounds
Hack Squat 365x4,4,4,4,4,5
Leg Extension 235x4,4,4,4,4,2
Donkey Calf Raise 215x4,4,4,4,4,6
Yates Rows 225x4,4,4,4,4,4
Incline Bench 205x4,4,4,4,2 185x3(needed to strip more weight off)
Cable Lateral Raise 30x4,4,4,4,3 20x4
Barbell Curl 105x4,4,4,4,2 95x4
Happy Independence Day!
Impressive that this type of clustersets seems to be working even during your cruise! I have tried clustersets before on the bench press, where I did some significant progress in strength - did not dare to continue myself without an assistant.
What kind of stretches are you into? I am curious about the loaded stretches. Have always done flexibility stretches after my workouts, and felt reassured this was good after reading it in the FT book (though Dr Darden says it’s not necessary - Sometimes you just have to kill your darlings).
I first heard about the possible importance of stretches directly after a set in the mid 90-ties, by then pro bodybuilder Lance Gille. Meaning that the stretch gave the muscle room to grow in the muscle sheath, making comparisons to a banana for some reason (LOL). I wonder where he got this tip from, since it sounds a bit prehistoric? In fact, this question gave me so much to ponder I will take it further in the bigger stronger leaner forum.
These cluster sets are great! It’s a nice balance between lifting heavy and going high rep! It’s very easy to progressively overload as well, as I just try to fail later into the set and then increase weight! The main tenants of the cruise is to keep Intensity just as high while lowering volume and frequency a bit. Taking a rest from heavy loading sets is a great way to let my body heal up and recover a little extra too.
I’ve found some good stretch examples on Scott Stevenson’s YouTube and Instagram. For chest I like to use dumbbells in the bottom position of a bench Press and hold there for 60 seconds, or hold myself in the bottom of a dip. For back I do either a pseudo dead hang from a smith machine with my knees on the ground or just grab something stationary like a squat rack with both hands and sit back into a stretch. For shoulders, I really do more of an isometric hold with my hands pushing against either side of a smith machine because I haven’t found a great shoulder stretch yet. For triceps, I grab a barbell in the rack palms down and lean my body underneath to where the bar is positioned as though I’m at the bottom of an overhead Tricep Extension. For Biceps, I hold the bar in a smith machine with my arms straight in front of me and slightly lean forward. For quads, I put my feet up on the leg Extension, bending my knees and using a keg to keep myself pushed upright and stretching the quads. You could also do that one Standing with one leg at a time, which might be easier. For hamstrings, I like to bend over as though I’m touching my toes with dumbbells in my hands (this is the hardest in my opinion). For calves I basically stretch them in the bottom position of a calf raise. I aim for 60 seconds on every stretch as I’m not man enough to handle 90 seconds on most of these stretches yet haha!
I really do love the stretches, they fill my muscles with so much extra blood after I finish the exercise. I do believe they could help Foster extra growth, but they seem to be really good at improving my flexibility as well, which should be good for injury prevention! I know many in the HIT community, including Darden aren’t big on stretching, but I’ve never been opposed to them!
Thanks for a very thorough response, Dave! You answered pretty much everything I wanted to know.
Awesome! I’m always happy to help! If you ever have any questions just let me know and I’ll answer to the best of my abilities!
Got my last workout of the cruise in this weekend before I go back to the grind on Monday for my second ever Fortitude Training Progressive Blast!
Tried a couple of new things this morning, such as The Meadows Row, which felt great! I did underestimate my strength on it a bit and because it’s done one arm at a time, for a muscle Round that means no real rest between sets, I kept my head down just going from one arm to the other. By the time I stood up straight after it was over, I was light headed and needed to pop my ear haha!
The other new thing I tried for a muscle round was Smith Machine Squats. I overestimated my weight a bit here, but the feel on the legs during the exercise was great. I will say, this exercise was brutally intense and I was so exhausted, breathing like a freight train after I hit failure in the 4th set, I stripped 90 pounds off the bar, just to ensure I could finish the last two sets with continuous reps and not turn this thing into a widow maker type set with lots of breaths just to get the reps to happen. Thankfully I have until Monday to recover, so no worries there. This workout was really great and I’m super excited to get back to the standard grind Monday. Also, ate 5 mini boxes of cereal afterwards, poured into a bowl with my protein shake. Delicious glycogen replenishment!
Upper Focused Muscle Rounds
Seated Cable Rows 170x4,4,4,4,4,7
Meadows Rows 90x4,4,4,4,4,6
Weighted Chins 45x4,4,4,4,4,2
Cable Crossover “14”x4,4,4,4,4 “13”x4
Overhead Press Machine 195x4,4,4,4,2 180x4
Tricep Rope Pushdown 150x4,4,4,4,3 140x4
Smith Squats 245x4,4,4,3 155x4,4
Seated Calf Raise 190x4,4,4,4,4,5
Cable Crunches 140x4,4,4,4,4,11
How are things Dave? I hope all is well. Summer is here, even if the world’s hit by the pandemic. Looking forward to hear more about your continuous journey in Fortitude Training.
Thanks for reaching out Pettersson! I hope you’ve been doing great! Things have been going great over here! I’m half way through the second week of my second Fortitude Blast and I’ve continued to make awesome gains and increasing my lifts every week! The cruise was smooth and I got to really rest up!
It’s basically been business as usual, great sessions. Similar exercise selection overall from my first blast. I’m currently utilizing volume tier 2-turbo version, which I also used for week 1. I’ll finish the last 3 weeks at volume tier 3-turbo version and then I’ll align my cruise with my vacation to Canada and just rest up and maybe do some stuff with resistance bands!
My only real change from my first run-through is putting a heavier emphasis on the stretches, which I think have really been helping with mobility, Pump, and even strength, especially on Dumbbell Bench! Have you started using Fortitude yet?
Awesome Dave! Great to hear! I understand and respect you need to focus on your training instead of keeping a regular training log here. You and FT are indeed made for each other! Why change something that works so well for you? Do keep a regular update on progress! I find it fascinating that so few trainees publicly adopt FT - when it is backed up by science.
As for me, I had to help out in taking care of sudden illness in the family, with everything that comes along with that. I also have two wonderful kids who deserve their father’s attention. Ah life! Though I still manage to train twice weekly (late evenings), but no time for implementing new strategies unf (namely FT). Still stuck in the middle of this excellent book.
Also, I have incurred an adductor longus strain (mentioned in the Darden forum, for advice). No serious damage, but a reminder of what was missing in my routine: A high rep element! Have always done things Darden HIT til failure, which finally took its toll on my 46 yo young body. LOL which is why FT is on my next agenda!
Not sure on how to make it possible to train more than twice weekly, but I’m thinking about a full body rotating schedule with the three different FT inspired lifting sessions (cluster sets, loading, high rep). A bit curious on how much volume I can manage these days, but time will tell. Hopefully into the FT-strategy after my vacation in mid-august.
I will come back to you with my first impressions then. Thanks for carrying the flame!
Sorry to hear of all you’re having to deal with sir! I pray everyone is doing well and recovers nicely!
I, too, would like to see more people adopt Fortitude Training! It’s a great low volume, high Intensity approach that is great for Hypertrophy! Scott has a few thousand members on his discussion board, but I’m guessing they mostly stick to that site. I’ve noticed online, there’s a real bias towards strength training rather than Hypertrophy training, which probably plays into it.
I need to get caught up on the Darden board and I’ll read your post and see if I can offer anything! I’ll say in regards to training twice a week, that is an interesting question of adapting FT to that. He does give a good “Family Man Plan” which is a 3 day a week version which features Lower Load/Upper Pump, Upper Load/Lower Pump, and Upper Focused Muscle Rounds Day. I would guess, maybe the best way to do it twice a week would be to cycle between Upper Load/Lower Pump and Lower Load/Upper Pump every week and then have your Muscle Round day as your day 2 every week. As long as you’re doing that, there should be no need for blasting and cruising, you should be good.
Thanks again Dave! Your suggestion put me in the right direction of what I’m currently thinking about. That is probably my best strategy of solving the 3 day vs 2 day issue. Blues we may call it!
How do you find the high-rep contribution of FT? Has it given you any obvious results, since it supposedly to be taken to failure? I would assume you increase the load even on this over time, right?
I LOVE Pump Sets! I Think high rep nature of it gives you the best “Pump” of any of the set types, so it’s my favorite for looking in the mirror afterwards for sure. I love them for how they feel and how much I’m able to focus on the muscle. I do overload on the weight over time, although this isn’t really the focus of this set type per se. Sometimes I actually drop the weight down a bit to try some of the variations of it like fives into the Hole, which Scott has a video on where you do five full reps, five pulses in the hardest part of the range of motion, 4 reps, 5 pulses, 3 reps, 5 pulses, and so on. If I still have anything left in the tank after that, I just rep it out to failure. 21’s are another great variation. It’s kind of Scott Stevenson’s answer to occlusion training since you’re doing so many continuous reps without stopping, it creates a similar effect. It really lets you connect with the muscle and “feel “ each movement and is very brutal on legs! Personally, I think it is the most underrated set type!