T Nation

Full Body Training Every Day?

Hi Coach CT!

I’ve been a huge fan of your work since discovering T-Nation last year - especially since I am a natural lifter and use many of your articles to guide me in my training.

I would highly appreciate your guidance on a thought I had while reading one of your articles:

Specifically with regards to this extract: “Natural lifters need the workout to elevate protein synthesis. And since it only stays elevated for 24-36 hours after a workout, they need to hit each muscle more often if they hope to make significant gains.”

I am basing my query on the principle that natural lifters need to acquire volume through frequency rather than volume per workout:

My question is thus:

Would it in any way be beneficial to train your whole body everyday by acquiring volume through frequency?

For example:
Instead of training back for 4 sets 3 times a week (4x3 = 12 sets) you train back for 2 sets 6 days a week (2x6 = 12 sets).

Would the above result in greater protein synthesis and greater muscle building or would the low volume per workout not trigger sufficient protein synthesis to begin with?

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

*Note: The above in no way reflects the opinion of coach CT and is merely an idea I had while reading a number of his articles on which I am seeking and would appreciate guidance and insight.

It can definitely work. In fact I’ve been training my whole body every workout for the past 14 days (except for one day when I was traveling).

HOWEVER I believe that you do need a certain volume threshold at each workout to stimulate protein synthesis. So it’s not as simple as dividing the total number of weekly work sets into 6 rather than 3 workouts. It might not work.

Research leads me to believe that you need at least 3 work sets taken to failure for a muscle to stimulate a significant amount of growth in a workout. And I would say that 4-6 would be more “effective in real life”.

That’s why you can’t major on the minors when doing whole body training. I don’t like whole body routines where you have an exercise for every muscle… pecs, back, delts, traps, hamstrings, quads, biceps, triceps, abs, lower back (sometimes more since they divide back and delts in two). I prefer to use an approach with less exercises, covering everything with compound movements, and doing more sets for each exercise.

For example:

Pairing A (A1, A2): lower body
A1: quads focus
A2. posterior chain focus

Pairing B (B1, B2): push/pull with emphasis on push
B1. Pressing movement
B2. Biceps exercise

Pairing C (C1, C2): pull/push with emphasis on pull
C1. Pulling movement
C2. Triceps exercise

Then you can do abs

Depending on your tolerance for volume you would do 4-6 work sets of each, the last 1-2 being taken to failure or beyond.

You can change exercise every workout or have 2 or 3 sets of exercises or even keep the same exercises everyday.

This approach is best for a type 2B or 2A… type 1A and 1B would do better on a high frequency routine based on big lifts…

A. Squat variation
B. Press variation
C. Hinge variation
D. Pull variation


Thanks for taking the time to reply coach - it is greatly appreciated.

I have one additional question on the pairings and as to how they should be approached (using pairing A as an example):

  1. One set A1, rest, A2, rest, repeat.
  2. A1 superset with A2.
  3. Complete all sets of A1 before moving on to A2.

Which of the above methods would be the best/intended way to approach a workout?

"Research leads me to believe that you need at least 3 work sets taken to failure for a muscle to stimulate a significant amount of growth in a workout. And I would say that 4-6 would be more “effective in real life”.

Hi Coach, when you say “work set” here, do you include the “preparation sets” in the BDW? I assume by “taken to failure” here you mean, taken to failure on the last set?


Work set to me is anything at a RPE of aronud 8/10. so with about 2 reps left in the thank. So not all preparation sets in BDW would be considered work sets.

how many reps should be use ? and we use big lift ?

How does this approach compare/contrast with that of the BDW? Volume is higher and frequency is higher in my view. Which plan is “better” for natural lifters’ hypertrophy? Are special methods to be used or avoided in this approach?

I don’t really use special methods with this approach.

Even in the natural world there is a range of how much volume you can tolerate. That’s one thing I need to be clear about: I have a high tolerance for work. When I competed in olympic lifting I would often do two 2-hours training sessions per day, sometimes adding a third short one. I wasn’t using drugs at the time and reached a pretty high level of strength. When I did bodybuilding I was enhanced and could do 100 sets in a workout!!! When doing bodybuilding training naturally I can do 40 total sets in a workout and progress. I normally don’t push it that high but I can do it and not feel like crap and build muscle. That’s why in the past I designed programs that led to overtraining: I honestly thought that I had average genetics and though that everybody had the same tolerance as I did.

Some people have the genetic gift of easily building muscle and strength. Others have the genetic gift of losing fat easily. Personally I have the gift of tolerating volume. As long as I don’t get bored I can do pretty much any kind of volume.

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Hi CT this full body daily template looks amazing. Am I understanding the layout right (if so, it looks incredibly difficult/taxing…2x the work of BDW)?

Pairing A: Lower body
Front squat from box
Ramp up to a 5-6RM (with 4-6 sets ramping up approaching “work weight”), followed by last set taking to failure & possibly rest pause

Pairing B: Push/Pull empahsize on push
Bench Press
Curl 4x6-10, last set taking to failure/beyond

Pairing C:
Chest supported row
Tricep extension 4x6-10, last set taken to failure/beyond

Then repeat next day, 5-6x a week, with possibly different exercises (or the same). Is this right?

It looks almost like bestdamn for naturals but done daily!? Basically every muscle is hitting failure (& possibly after), daily, with more volume (4-6 work sets vs. BDW 2 x 6 prep sets)?

Incredible template, just wanted ot make sure understanding right…thank you!

I wouldn’t use front squats and RDL together…too much work on the lower back and one will severely interfere with the other.

One day use a compound squat and more isolated post chain (e.g. front squat / leg curl) the next day do the opposite (e.g. RDL / leg extension)

Hi Coach, thanks for the reply.

Do you think then that it would be better to increase the work sets in the BDW compared to the one exercise per muscle group, three total sets: two moderate and one hard set?

Do you hit delts just with compound/pressing or fit in some laterals at the end?

CT says a pressing movement. That doesn’t mean Chest Press. Go with overhead press to work delts, if you’re looking to hitting them specifically.

Remember, the 4-6 sets you speak of are RPE 8+. Not just prep sets like BDW.

Mostly pressing. But delts are my dominance and I just completed a 6 weeks plan where I focused on them. That’s being said I don’t like to give the green light to add some lateral raises in because some people will see it as a green light to add a little bit of the things they like and soon everybody is doing way too much volume and I look like an idiot.

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Thanks for the feedback. Yeah so the 4-6 sets of RPE 8+, that’s what made me think this is actually an incredibly intense program.

If you think about BDW, there’s really only 3 sets (4-5 max on back days), 1 set per muscle part, where we actually hit a RPE 8+ every other day.

Now we are doing 4-6 sets per muscle group @ RPE 8+, every day & whole body. Basically 4x the “effective” volume (2x the sets, 2x the frequency)

So I was a little surprised at this huge jump. I like this style a lot but i’m just seeing how intense daily workouts actually are.

As perspective, for me a 315 front squat from box for 5 reps would be a RPE 8. If I rest pause and cluster out then it is RPE 8+ for sure.

So now I’m basically going to do 4-6 sets of this? And do it everyday (maybe changing the comcpound exericse)? And do the same for all the major muscle groups with heavy compounds?

Thats like 315x5x4-6 sets for quad. Then 215x5x4-6 sets for bench. 215x6x4-sets for Rows. And of course the straight sets for complementary muscles (leg curl, bicep curl, tricep extension in this case).

It’s super heavy, lots of compounds, and more volume than built for bad (which was already so intense). Thats why i wanted to clarify…

Thank you!

“Depending on your tolerance for volume” - CT

I think I will probably adapt this to take the 4-6 sets as more “ramp” style sets. And just have one top set near failure/RPE8+.

Maybe over time add in a few more intense sets per compound/per bodypart.

Is the high frequency, but sub maximal concept similar to Best Damn for Naturals? One has higher frequency but none to failure vs. 3/ week with failure…

What do you mean? “Best Damn Workout” IS done to failure, for the most part

Yeah, just trying to get a grasp of mechanisms because i cant imagine that 3-6*/week works no matter what you do… yours clearly uses repeated failure (makes sense), but the other says no grinds or failure (im guessing its just repeated bouts with adequate tension) so i wondered if its the frequency that is the common factor (as in 6 days moderate or 3 w failure) that makes both work?
btw, holding the stretch at the end of mTor sets BURNS!