T Nation

DL/Squat Frequency in my Split

During the last 4 months I’ve gained close to 20 lbs (most of which is quality muscle), a lot of strength, and for the last 8 weeks (when most of the gains gave occurred) I’ve been training 3x a week on a chest/tris, back/bis, legs split and it’s worked really well.

I now have 5 days available due to being able to train at home (I have a power rack, oly bar and 2x adjustable DBs with a stack of weights, many kettlebells up to 88 lbs, bench with leg ext/ham curl/preacher attachment but at the moment I’m working with a 4-day split, something like:

Day 1: BACK
Chin/pull ups 5x5ish (numbers dropped with increased weight)
DL 6x6
DB row 3x10
Bent row 3x10

Day 2: ARMS/SHOULDERS
2xDB military press 3x8-12
Lateral raises 3x8-12
Rear flyes 3x8-12
Close-grip bench 3x8-12
Alternating DB curls 3x8-10
DB shrugs 3x12-15

Day 3: off

Day 4: LEGS
Squat 6x6-8
SL DL 4x6
Planning to add leg extensions and ham curls.

Day 5: CHEST
Flat bench 6x6-8
Incline DB press 3x8-12
Decline DB press 3x8-12 (dips cane my right shoulder)
Flyes (flat or incline) 3x8-12 (only exercise that really isolates my pecs)

Day 6: off
Day 7: off

Now, I conventional DL on back day and squat and SL DL on leg day. At the moment I’ve placed those days as far apart as I can in 1 week so I don’t burn out my CNS and lower back.

I’d like to make use of an extra day by just removing a day off (i.e. shortening the cycle and increasing the frequency in a 2 week period) but I’m not quite sure how to go about the lower back/CNS concerns.

My numbers aren’t big by any stretch:
Squat 6x6-8 210lbs
SL deadlift 4x6 230lbs
Conventional DL 6x4 250lbs

That’s a big improvement on where they were.

I know there will be those who say, “If it aint broke, don’t fix it”, but I was doing the 3 day split because my training time was limited. I really want to ramp it up now and include more direct shoulder and arm work along with potentially greater frequency.

Thanks for any comments or assistance. I’d love help with my whole program if possible but it’s not as crucial for me.

Tom

First thing you should do is eliminate the sl deadlift on squat day. At your strength level you can get away with a program like that but once you get strong going hard and heavy on squats deads and sl deads in the same cycle will likely over train the lumbar and lead to injury.

On squat day you could sub in one legged dumb bell dead lifts or just drop them entirely and work on leg curls or cable pull through for hams on that day. All these exercises will be less intense on the lower lumbar.

As you get stronger you will probably do well to reduce the strain on the lower back even more.

Some ways to do this are to sub trap bar dead or power cleans on some of your back days and to use front squats and leg press on squat day when your low back is tired.

I am a very big proponent of cycling lifts to avoid over training and injury. That’s the main idea of these suggestions.

Another effective strategy I like to use is to maintain frequency and intensity but lower volume as needed to avoid over training.

Lowering intensity by using high reps especially for squat(quad day) is a good call as well as quads love high rep work and it is great for conditioning the lower back and providing active recovery as well.

In the end we all have to find what works best for our bodies and our lifestyle.

Finding the balance between over training and being a pussy that doesn’t train hard enough to progress is one of the first steps to reaching your goals in this game. Good luck.

[quote]Heliotrope wrote:
First thing you should do is eliminate the sl deadlift on squat day. At your strength level you can get away with a program like that but once you get strong going hard and heavy on squats deads and sl deads in the same cycle will likely over train the lumbar and lead to injury.

On squat day you could sub in one legged dumb bell dead lifts or just drop them entirely and work on leg curls or cable pull through for hams on that day. All these exercises will be less intense on the lower lumbar.

As you get stronger you will probably do well to reduce the strain on the lower back even more.

Some ways to do this are to sub trap bar dead or power cleans on some of your back days and to use front squats and leg press on squat day when your low back is tired.

I am a very big proponent of cycling lifts to avoid over training and injury. That’s the main idea of these suggestions.

Another effective strategy I like to use is to maintain frequency and intensity but lower volume as needed to avoid over training.

Lowering intensity by using high reps especially for squat(quad day) is a good call as well as quads love high rep work and it is great for conditioning the lower back and providing active recovery as well.

In the end we all have to find what works best for our bodies and our lifestyle.

Finding the balance between over training and being a pussy that doesn’t train hard enough to progress is one of the first steps to reaching your goals in this game. Good luck.

[/quote]

I think there is a better solution for the op…
He should replace squats with front squats, so that he doesnt overtrain his lower back.

I would also advise dropping the stiff leg Deadlift. Spacing the Squat and Deadlift as far apart as possible is a good idea. Both are very demanding on the body.
As you get stronger you may have a hard time increasing weight on both of them if they are both performed each week.
You might have to pick one or the other each week.

If you did gain 20lb of muscle that is fantastic and I would advise you to stick to your program. Do you really a feel another day of training after all you are already doing is going to accelerate your gains. Best results come from flirting with the line of overtraining but not going over.

Good Luck.

Michael

Thanks for your responses guys - there’s some good advice there that I’ll try to factor into my training. Even the weights I’m up to now, while not big, are starting to tire my back a little.

I just went through a period when I couldn’t train legs effectively for a couple of weeks and when I hit them the other day for the first time my strength had gone through the roof. I think it was probably actually my lower back that had recovered, not my legs as I first thought (I ride a bike to work but had also not done that in a couple of weeks due to torrential rain…).

Michael, I see where you’re coming from about changing my program but I’m really needing to put a little more focus on my shoulders. My extra free training time seemed to justify adding a day for a smaller group like arms or shoulders. I do think I’ll stick to training each major group once a week though, at least for now.

Thanks again for your suggestions.

Tom