T Nation

Full Body Routines and General Health/Wellness

Happy New Year Everyone!

I’m at the half way point of GZCL UHF (5 week). This is my first full body split program since my SL days (now 2ish years ago). With GZCL UHF, I’m squating 3 times a week, DLing 2 times a week, and “pressing” (bench/OHP/incline) 5 times a week. I’ve made some modifications to the arrangement and selection of T1 and T2 lifts, but have kept the program true to the original GZCL UHF template.

Since starting this program, I’ve noticed a great increase in strength, recovery, and generally just feeling really good…and yet I’m putting myself under far more regular training stress than with previous program I’ve run (Candito 6 week and 5/3/1).

I was just curious if anyone else has experienced a sudden increase in wellness in changing to a full body program or could explain why this could be the case.


Maybe your previous programs had more volume per session? Otherwise I can’t explain it.

Hey Chris,

I thought of that already but honestly, aside from counting rep-to-rep each week, I’d say that I’m doing MORE per movement each week because of increased frequency, especially for the squat and bench.

Volume with associated intensity (working percentages) I’d say is also up week to week on GZCL. With Candito there is a 5 week ramp up with undulation occuring in each session. 5/3/1 is generally low on intensity for most of that programs cycle (hold the hate here guys - the program percentages, TM increases, and prescribed volume are what they are). So, in all honestly, I am pretty sure I’m doing more work overall at the appropriate intensity.

The only factor I can account this “feel great phenomena” to is the full body set up. Hell, I’m even losing weight while getting stronger when taking in to account the amount pre-fatigue work that I do before my final rep-out set at the end of each session. Maintaining strength has always been an immediate issue for me when losing weight - not so anymore! Lol

I’m absolutely not trying to sell GZCL, I’m just curious why things are falling in to place so “easily”.


Inb4 OP tells us he’s in week 4 of his first cycle.

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I’m starting week 4 this coming Monday - 2 full weeks to go.


Just an update about this program and progress:

-Squat: used a 2rm of 325lbs to determine weights during the program. Test day on squat looked like this:
90% (209) 3 reps (got it with no issue)
95% (310) 2 reps (got it with no issue)
100% (325) 1+ reps (Got 4 with good chance of getting the fifth rep)
Then for kicks: 1x345 AND 1x365 (PR!)

  • progress made (and while pre-fatigued)

-Bench: used a 2rm of 245lbs to determine weights of the program. Test day went like this:
90% (220) 3 reps (got it with no issue)
95% (235) 2 reps (got it with no issue)
100% (245) 1+ reps (Got 4 with good chance of getting the fifth rep)
Then I tried 275lbs for a single but failed it…of course pre-fatigued.

Definitely sticking with this style of training


How long have you been training? And how long have you been powerlifting?

I’m in my 2nd year of training in a gym, and have a few years of training at home using DBs, bands, and body weight stuff. Been more PL focused for the last 12 months or so.

I really messed up my knee early on squatting (IT Band Syndrome) very early on. Its been a hard road to travel for that lift especially.


I’ll be honest, the gains are still coming decently because you haven’t been lifting long. Neither have I, but I can guarantee that’s a main factor, coupled with you programming hopping a bit. I don’t mean any harm or to be mean, I’m just trying to help.

You are putting yourself under waaaaaaaaaaay too much volume.

I’ve heard of the GZCL method, and while it has good intentions, the guy who made it probably didn’t fully understand 5/3/1, or Forever, or Beyond, and tried to supplement with his own way of doing things. At least that’s what I’m getting from most of what he posts.

Scratch what I said here originally, because everyone’s opinion is different.

If you wish to keep the template please back down on the overall frequency and intensity. And add in a bit more volume to the assistance portion of whatever lift day it is.

And I’m gonna go ahead and make an extra edit that’s also a disclaimer: I don’t know the guy personally, not saying he’s a bad person or anything, or knocking his progress, but Wendler has touched on and explained in great detail how to implement 5/3/1, and even tweak it a bit to suit the vast majority of people who use his templates, and trying to combine 5/3/1 with what looks like an overly intensified and volumized program kind of defeats even using 5/3/1 in the first place.

While I personally don’t like GZCL from top to bottom and everything in between, if you can manage the program and progress go for it, but I’d personally say to completely separate it from the main principles of 5/3/1 and just run it by itself, but in doing that you’d just complicate an already complicated training template.

So in conclusion I think you’d do better running 5/3/1 for a much longer period. And when I say longer I mean well over a year. There will be stalls and bumps in the road, but that’s normal.


No harm done and no offence taken. However, I’m going to respectfully disagree with you regarding most of your advice and here’s why:

  • it’s only when I got out of the mold of “one move a day, once a week” that I’ve seen any sort of progress. Benching once, maybe twice, a week just wasn’t enough. Same goes for squatting. Only my deadlift continued to (slowly) grow being trained once a week.

  • I’ve been heavily influenced by Alan Thrall’s (hold the hate!!!) video from last year in which he discussed the relationship between volume, intensity, and frequency. You can definitely squat 3 times per week, press 4-5 days per week and not kill yourself, though I understand this will have to be cut back eventually.

  • I’ve run 5/3/1 in the past and didn’t make any progress. (Hold the hate!!!). Volume, intensity, and frequency are just too low. I got off 5/3/1, got on Candito’s 6 week program and saw progress. And the progress train is really moving now that I’m on UHF. What’s the take away? With each program swap came an increase in volume, intensity, and frequency. As much as I love Jim’s books, writing, style, commitment to athletes, 5/3/1 didn’t work for me at the time. Now, as you said, maybe I’m still in a “late noob gain” phase…and maybe that’s why increased frequency has aided me (the main beginner programs like SL and SS have you squatting 3 times a week after all and for good reason). If that’s the case, 5/3/1’s programming structure isn’t ideal right now (again, hold the hate! Lol).


The two of you are on opposite ends of the spectrum, something in the middle would probably work best.

I agree that you should be squatting and benching at least twice a week, although going beyond that might not provide any additional benefit. As for deadlift, once a week works well for plenty of people and you can always add RDLs or GMs on your main squat day.

How much volume is appropriate will vary from person to person. Mike Israetel has written a lot about this, go over his facebook posts from the last year and you will learn a thing or two. He has a couple books on this, but most of the info is right there on his FB page. Plenty of people do way more volume than necessary, and progress is slower as a result. I used to do the same.

This is the only part of what you said that I really disagree with. At his level, he should be able to make steady progress. There are 5/3/1 templates and variations that could work for him, but I don’t see the point of sticking with a particular program or method if you aren’t getting anywhere.

Lefever’s method provides appropriate volume to intensity guidelines - and these are working well for me. Love Israetel’s stuff, but I’ll stick with what is working for now.

Have any of you guys tried squatting three times a week or “pressing” three times a week? I’m willing to bet that the last time either of you did this was during your beginner LP stage (SL or SS). Try it now - you might be surprised. I’m amazed at how put off ppl are by the very notion of training a move more than once week. Lol are each of my squat days “heavy?” Nope - that would be suicide. Just as when you were a beginner, your body will handle doing the same movement multiple times in a week; what has changed is the working intensity - that has to be managed and properly structure vis-a-vis planned volume.


Israetel’s stuff, as you put it, is using appropriate training volume based on your actual response to training and ability to recover, not following a program that some guy sold on e-book format.

Last year I spent a few months squatting and benching 5 days a week. I made some quick progress on squat, but it slowed down and my arms and shoulders were aching like crazy. Bench didn’t go anywhere, partly due to arm pain but also because that doesn’t appear to be a good way to train bench. I’m making progress training squat and bench twice a week, any frequency beyond that doesn’t seem to provide any additional benefit to me at the moment.

Why do you say that? You can squat heavy frequently, you just can’t do too much volume in one session. It’s also questionable whether it’s any better than twice a week. The main benefit of increased frequency is that you get to practice the movement more often, once you have reasonably solid technique it doesn’t make a difference for most people.

Frequency is exactly why I’ve gone this route. Increased exposure to a movement pattern is going to improve your skill at that movement.

While one can have more than one heavy squat day or bench day or even deadlift day, it has to be balanced with consideration to recovery and overall volume. In this way, “heavy” I guess is relative to how many reps are planned for a movement in a session along with the actual load. You should never really have a “light” day, nor ultimately need one with proper programming.

Glad to hear you made gains with this approach and sad to hear they slowed. As I’ve stated elsewhere, I doubt I’ll be able to sustain a training regiment like this indefinitely.

Why not? Plenty of people use light days. I have a light squat day, I squat right before deadlifting.

Well why do you need a light day?

Fair enough. I assumed maybe he hadn’t been doing long enough, but it could just plain not work for him.

Yes. And you’d definitely lose that bet (joking manner)

It’s a bet I’m happy to lose in this case lol

We are all different and respond to different approaches in a different way. My point was to try squatting more frequently before dismissing it as “too much” - most of us did just fine squatting 3 times a week on a beginner program but stopped doing so once we moved to an intermediate program.