T Nation

Heavy, Light, Medium


#1

What is the proper way to incorporate heavy light and medium days into my full body routine?

The part that I’m unsure about is if I’m just changing the rep range and still going to failure or almost, or if I’m going lighter to the point where say I could do 15 and I stop at 10.

For the past couple months I’ve been doing different rep ranges. For example, my light day I use just my body weight for dips and pullups and I go to failure. Medium I use an extra 25 lbs to failure, and heavy I do 45 lbs. The sane amount of sets for all.

Even though I’m going to failure I still feel I recover much quicker on my light day. So it seems to be working. And I’m adding reps every week.

Here’s the weird thing though, I’m staying about the same reps on my heavy day for weeks at a time, but my light day I’m doing more reps. Currently I can do 14 Pullups full rom, slow up and down. More than I ever could. A while ago I couldn’t do more than 6-8 for the longest time. For dips I maxed at 10 now I can do 20. This week I finally added a couple reps I’m my heavy day though. The progress just seems weird but either way I’m doing a lot more than I used to.

It’s like I’m not fully recovered by my heavy day, but I am on my light day?


#2

Simple. You’re gaining endurance and work capacity but not gaining strength.


#3

So I’m hitting different fibers? Could this be my style of training? I always aim to complete my workout asap. Doing less and less time between sets sometimes only 15 seconds.


#4

So I wonder how I can change it so I can gain strength. The heavy light medium method seems to be used in a lot of strength programs


#5

See madcow 5x5… The changes in intensity are driven by manipulation of the squat volume. You still progress linearly and add weight to the bar every week. Doing sets of bodyweight exercises to failure will not add strength in the long run, especially for someone who is in decent shape already


#6

You could try using different exercises for H/L/M days.

Some lifts or moves are just more suited for different purposes. Trying to make 1 lift do everything is not a great idea. If you believe in muscles fibers, you can’t believe 1 exercise gets them all.

Try some kind of barbell press on heavy, lower rep days. Like for strength. Big lifts should be a part of your program.

Dips are perfect for light day. The resistance is light enough that you can focus the work on your chest or tris, without blowing out your shoulders or elbow. Calesthenics, or moves where you push your body through space should be part of your routine.

Hitting the angles in between, on medium day, with moderate weights and moderate reps, using dumbbells, seems like a no brainer to me.

Marvin Eder was strong at every lift and every move, from every angle, with any apparatus. Dude was great at dips, AND everything else.


#7

You are probably just lifting the weight faster than before on your lighter days without noticing it. If not…

The difficulty of coordination and activation of all the muscles involved in the lift increases when using heavier vs lighter loads. You may just not be very good this when lifting heavy. Notice that you are stronger while executing the lift in a more controlled manner on your lighter days. You might want to lighten the load slightly on the heavy days and get in more sets and consciously focus on this instead of going to failure.


#8

That makes a lot of sense. So basically your saying my shitty form is holding back my potential to do more reps. This makes a lot of sense for dips because of the variation in angle and target muscles like maybe I’m more upright with the heavy weight putting emphasis on my tris.

As for varying exercises your probably right I should alternate. I just love dips so much they’ve given me so much results on my chest which was a weak area and is finally catching up


#9

I think it’s less about form and more about you being aware of and knowing how to control the individual muscles moving the weight at heavier loads.

However, for DIPS, if you’re using a weight belt attached at the waist, that’s a different story. This would change the mechanics of the lift since you’re forced into a more upright position due to balance.


#10

Use all rep ranges. But don’t go to failure on so many sets in my opinion. I would be exhasted going to failure on all my sets, it wouldn’t work for me and i frankly don’t need to go all out like that all the time - to get nice results.