T Nation

EOD Triple Progression at 39 Years Old

Hey Coach.
Thank you for all that amazing stuff you share with us.
I try to run your EOD training with upper/lower lift spezific approach and tripple progression.
In your article “The 6 Training Rules For Over-40 Lifters” you recommend ramping up sets.
Is this doable with the tripple progression approach?
I think that might be better to recover from. Or is it to low volume?
Looking forward for your reply, Torsten

If you use the triple progression model (I do and I’m 44), you do all your work sets with the same weight. You take a few warm-up sets to get there.

What allows me to do that is:

  1. I use fewer exercises per session
    Instead of:
    *one big lift,
    *one multi-joint assistance,
    *one row/pull
    *1-2 isolation exercises,

I do:
*One big lift
*One row/pull
*2 isolation exercises

  1. I train every other day, which gives me enough recovery time to sustain the 4-6 work sets on the main lift.

CT, do you just do more volume on the main lift so you dont feel you need a large multi-joint assistance lift? I am considering running the template from the “10 rules” article (what you outlined above) but am questioning what would another 3-4 sets of Floor Presses do after 4 sets of bench already.

My thought process is recovering from 2 small isolation lifts would be easier than from 1 large multi joint assistance and 1 isolation (rows/pulls dont change)

That depends on your age and recoverability. As CT said, since he is 44, he drops out the heavy multi-joint assistance and does the split without it.
However, if you are, say in your 20s, get plenty of sleep, don’t have much stress in your life, and get plenty of good food, it is well worth adding an heavy multi-joint move. Of course, if your weakness isn’t the triceps or around the angle where a floor press would put you, pick a different one, something that applies to you. If you can recover from it, then it’ll do a whole lot in terms of bringing up a weakness.

So depending on your age, circumstances, and ultimately your recovery, you can achieve plenty with the added movement, or you can do plenty of damage if the opposite is the case, or if you have certain injuries.

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I started out with the original template. And honestly, it was working very well. The main reason why I cut out one exercise (and you are right, I bumped my work sets on the main lift from 4 to 6) is that I was getting short on time because:

  • Canadian COVID travelling restrictions have come down and allows me to resume travelling for seminars. I already booked 3 dates until the end of 2021 and needed to create a brand new seminar series (over 400 slides and tons of work).

  • With 2 young kids (Madyson is now 7 months old) and a breastfeeding (or is it chestfeeding now) wife, I spend more time with Jayden to allow my wife to rest when she needs it.

  • I’m working on several projects including a new book, new program series and an increased social media activity

  • I’m walking a lot more. I’m shooting for 10 000 steps a day. Both for health and to keep a sustainable low body fat while still being able to eat enough to gain size and strength (article coming up). Luckily this point is often aligned with spending more time with Jayden as one of his favorite activities is driving around the neighborhood in his motorized quad, bike or scooter (the thing that looks like a skateboard with a steering).

Anyway, cutting one exercise out might only give me 20-25 more minutes in my day, but at this point, I’l take everything I can get. I also cut out one or even both isolation exercises from time to time.

I also have this interest in finding out how little I can do and still progress at a satisfactory rate. So far it’s working well because even after 9 weeks, I’m still in the “6 reps zone” (I’m doing the 6, 4, 2 zones) on all my lifts, meaning that progress has not stalled at all.

Also from a body composition perspective, it seems to be working. After my photoshoot I went all-out bulking to try to regain strength as fast as possible. Went from 205 to 230. Now my goal is to get leaner while still progressing. This means that I want to get into a slight deficit while still having a lot of carbs and overall nutrients to fuel growth but also get the mTOR and IGF-1 from the carbs. This is why I’m walking so much. Heck, I even have a treadmilll n Jayden’s playroom so that I can walk while I watch him.

After 3 weeks I’m down to a leaner 224 and still progressing.

Anyway, that’s why I dropped one exercise, and sometimes more.


Thank you for that fast answer. I will give this a try

Thanks for the comprehensive response. Makes a ton of sense. Just need to find that balance between life stressors and gym stressors. Father of a 7 and 4.5 yo here so def. not on the “I’m in my 20s and can do what I want in the gym” train. Still figuring out that balance and that more is not necessarily better…

CT, given this interest of yours what are your thoughts on the Mike Mentzer “Heavy Duty” approach? It’s been twenty years since I read the book and tried the routine myself, but essentially you’re only working out once every 5 - 7 days. However, those workouts are extremely taxing and are designed to make significant inroads and thus needing the extra recovery. Anyway, I’m sure you remember more details than I but just curious on your thoughts.


I first want to say that Mentzer is one of my all-time favorite bodybuilder. As such I’m not at all biased against him, quite hte contrary. In fact, ironically, a lot of my favorite bodybuilders were HIT guys (Casey Viator, Mike Metnzer, Dorian Yates).

It is worth noting that in your post you are referring to the later Mentzer methodology (training eveyr 5-7 days). Originally Mentzer used a more typical HIT approach of 3 workouts per week. In fact, his consolidated Heavy Duty approach was only developped way after he was done competing. Not even sure he was still training at the time.

While I have learned the importance of including more rest days to progress optimally, especially as you get older and have more responsabilities, you still need to provide an adequate stimulus.

And my belief is that the less frequent your workouts are, the higher the stimulus must be on the workouts you do. After all, the goal of having more rest days is to allow you to recover from the training workload. If the stimulus is not intense enough you limit your gains by using a super low training frequency. Not to mention that you risk involution: following a workout you start by repairing the damage caused, then you build a little bit bigger and stronger. But if a second bout of stimulus doesn’t come quickly enough, the added tissue will be lost as the body doesn’t want to maintain tissue that is not seen as necessary anymore. That tissue requires ressources to sustain and the body would rather use those where they are more needed.

Now, to be effective, a once-a-week training plan would need to provide a veyr large training stimulus. And while Mentzer consolidated HD routine did provide a fairly intense stimulus by going to muscle failure, the extremely low volume (1 work set on few exercises) made it impossible to achieve the level of stimulus intensity that would require a full week of rest.

I simply don’t see it as effective to stimulate significant growth.

Now, ironically it can actually work for strength if you use heavy weight and fairly low reps. The reason is that neurological adaptations don’t require ressources to be maintained like muscle mass does. As such,the neurological gains for a workout can last up to 2 weeks before being lost.

In that regard the consolidated HD routine can allow you to gain strenght via improvements in neurological factors (better muscle fiber recruitment, higher fiber firing rate, better intra and intermuscular coordination). The issue is that can give the illusion of muscle mass progression: it is easy for someone to believe that he is gaining a lot of muscle if his strength is going up from workout to workout.

And while I’m a fan of progressive overload, the fact that strength goes up is not necessarily an indication that you are building muscle mass.

I will say that the consolidated HD routine likely won’t work well for the vast majority of the population.

At 1 workout per week you would need a very high training stimulus which means that two of the the three folowing variables are high and the third one is either moderate or high too:

*Intensiveness (how close to failure you take your work sets)
*Load (amount of weight used)


While I never ran such a low frequency plan when I had time to train and recover, I actually ran Mentzer’s above mentioned plan a few years back. I trained Monday, Friday, then Wednesday only on week 2, then start over next Monday.

The only reason I ran it is because at the I time I had a summer job between college years, working in a warehouse, doing manual labour for 8-12 hours a day, 6 days a week, my recovery was definitely impaired, especially because the long work hours also cut into my sleep.

With these circumstances, the program put some size on me but nothing significant, but I also gained some fat because of my high caloric intake (probably went overboard on that to avoid muscle loss).

Worth a try if your circumstances have a very high impact on your recovery, it’ll allow you to train hard, maybe even gain a little, definitely not lose any muscle, at least in the space of 6-8 weeks I didn’t, and also you won’t feel like shit from training, except if your circumstances are making you feel like shit in general.

this is best HIT/HD explaining answer ever read .,expound CNS-muscle recovery link
thank you coach