T Nation

Frequency of Routing and Overtraining


First, great forum. Given that I’m a newby it’s tough for me to make a judgement on it, but it certainly seems the most informed from the ones I’ve been reading.

Anyway, I just need some feedback on my routine. As background, I’m 6 foot 3 inches and about 180 - pretty lanky - and 36 years old. I’m a hard gainer (in fact I have an allergy to gluten which affects my nutrition intake unless I’m really careful.) I’ve been training for about three months now and am happy to see some improvement. I am following for the most part the advice of Stuart McRobert in Beyond Brawn. I am afraid of overtraining so I do the same routine every five days:

2 sets of situps to fatigue
2x20 squats
3x… dumbell presses
3x… lat pulldowns
3x… military presses
3x… dumbell rows

Now, the … is that each session I try to add one rep. That is, in Beyond Brawn it is suggested to add 1lb per session. However, dumbbells only go up in 5lb increments. So, to progress, what I’m doing is every session I add a rep (if I can). Once I hit 12 reps, then I the next session drop down to 6 reps with the next 5 lb increment. E.g.

session 1 3x11 @ 45lbs
session 2 3x12 @ 45lbs
session 3 3x6 @ 50lbs
session 4 3x7 @50lbs

Is this a good way of doing things? If not, what is an alternative?

Should I/could I be training more? Should I divide this up into two routines and add, say, deadlifts? If so, how far apart should they be? How do I keep from overtraining one muscle group?

Anyway, I’m still really new and am not at all confident I’m doing the right thing, so any advice would be really appreciated.

Dividing it into two routines would be a good start. Definitely add Deadlifts. Bench Press is a must have exercise for physique development.

I’m not sure if I have this right but are you training once every 5 days? 3 days a week is the normal amount for most people.

Read the stickies on the beginner’s forum these will help alot. They are the first 4 posts in the forum. They give links to good articles for beginner’s to read. Vroom’s “Are You A Beginner II” is a must read.

“3 days a week is the normal amount for most people”

Thanks for the feedback. In Stuart McRobert’s book he can’t seem to stress enough the risks of over training, which I why I’m only working out once every five days. Perhaps his advice is somewhat dated?

And I’m reading through those links now - great stuff.

I would try 3 days a week.

Any overtraining will become evident by a lack of progress in the weights lifted. Even if overtraining occurs for you on a 3-day a week routine (which I doubt it would) you always just cut it back to 2 days.

Don’t let a fear of overtraining hold you back. Just try stuff out, experiment and always use proper form on the movements and you should be okay. Keep reading the stickies and try to follow the advice given there.

Also I didn’t think Stuart McRobert meant for you to train only once every 5 days. He might have meant each muscle-group once every 5 days, which in that case would encourage a bodypart split-style training as opposed to total body workouts.

Yes, Stuart McRobert did quite possibly mean that, as he has advocated training whole-body three times each two weeks, or once every 5 days. Back when I read his stuff a long while back, he was way off the edges of the reservation when it came to fear of overtraining.

He has advocated different things at different times (which I don’t criticize him for: upon recognizing different situations or getting a better understanding, it’s wise to offer more suitable advice rather than be bent on sticking with the same thing.)

For example in this one he is still sticking with the three times every two weeks, but at least now it’s a split routine so you do train three times a week:

Try 3 workouts a week, in an A-B split:

Workout A

2x20 squats
2 sets of situps to fatigue
3x… military presses
3x… dumbell rows

Workout B

3x5-7 deadlift (avoid both high reps and failure on these…)
2 set of leg raises
3x… dumbell presses
3x… lat pulldowns

Mon: A
Wed: B
Fri: A
Mon: B
and so on…

I found it’s better to squat and deadlift with fresh abs, that’s why I suggest you to do them later in your WO. I really like your reps progression.
When I started lifting, I was afraid of overtraining (I had read too many Mentzer-like articles:); it took me two years to find the courage to experiment with higher volume/frequence.
Just be shure to increase your caloric intake: you can use a “dirty trick” like “olive oil shots” (30 gr of olive oil, three times a day…), if you can stomach it.