T Nation

How Has Your Training Evolved?

Just curious for those people who have been training for a while now how their training has changed and evolved. Priorities change, life happens, injuries happen, etc…

I’ll chime in a bit later but just wanted to get the ball rolling.

Giant sets. Lots of giant sets.

Time saver, conditioning effect, volume and variety.

And the pump.


Alpha style?

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Less weight, more volume, focus on recovery and gaining weight more than anything.


Increasing aerobic base. The benefits are insane and carry over into every single aspect of training.

Ditching long held beliefs and flying with the wind. If I want to hit the weights eight days in a row while eating one meal a day, i will.

Not following programs anymore. That’s a young man’s game. Training is a luxury now. Getting to the gym and working hard is the answer, regardless of what you do.

More bodybuilding style training and less strength work/performance based routines. Too stressful trying to beat numbers now. Just get into the fucking gym and burn those muscles out.

Becoming totally apathetic to nutrition. Not giving a rats ass with nutrient timing/post workout feeds. I obsessed over this for years and ALWAYS remained fluffy. Now i I train in the morning fasted and don’t eat for 8 hours afterwards. My physique has never looked so good.


Lazy bum who sucked at every sport I tried (tried pretty much all of them) -> somehow fell in love with running-> exercise videos +running-> found the gym and did cardio with weights-> decided to really work on strength ( still love conditioning)

The science is always in flux. I obsessed over minutia for years and for what ? Absolutely nothing. Breeds needless anxiety.


Started out with lots of insanely high rep body weight stuff due to martial arts. It was fun, and simple; I was always trying to beat previous rep records on stuff like push ups, sit ups, squats, jumps, etc etc. But again, it was SIMPLE.

Then I got some weights and made the mistake of doing a shit ton of reading over the next number of years. My workouts progressively became overly complicated, and I spun my wheels thinking I was some kinda of super athlete.

Now I’m back to simplicity again. Use simple movements, hit them for rep records, don’t fuss over the minutia, watch the weight go up.


I’d say I made the same mistake at some point. Not sure when it started or what happened, but reading other coach’s programs and seeing the promised results really put me on a zig zag path.

I also get injured regularly.

I would say my training started simple by copying my big brother. That fueled my passion for the gym and I ended up getting an Exercise Science degree. That was probably where it started to fall apart. I was better off not knowing the why and how of training because, in hindsight, I was training in a very solid manner.

I hope I’ve found my way back to the basics, but time will tell. I tend to let my body dictate my training. If I get upset with physique pursuits then I cut and try to improve my strength without getting fat. Typically this leads to some sort of joint pain so then I switch back to a hypertrophy focus until the cycle repeats.

I’m hoping to just lift and progress. If I get stronger then I’ll get bigger. If I can finally stick to a short list of exercises then I’ll be able to see progress (or lack thereof). My training does not need to change for my goals. The only thing that needs to change is nutrition.


I no longer burn myself out by doing too much, so I guess learning “less is more”

I no longer get injured because I am proactive with pre-hab work, warm ups, and yoga, and I stop immediately if I feel anything off.

I superset pretty much everything.

I don’t do isolation work, but focus more on barbell lifts and bodyweight moves.

I pretty much only do full body workouts these days. No more “chest day” or “arms day” for me.

I know more of what type of programs I like, and don’t try to force myself to do ones that I’m not excited about.


I originally hit the gym simply to lose weight. I lost 70 lbs in 5 months and built some muscle in the process. Then became addicted to powerlifting and have been chasing a larger total for 8 years. Running conjugate, 5/3/1, and tons of other programming for different training blocks. Sadly I started this to be in shape and ended up a fat load again cause all that mattered was “ma total”.

A few months ago I decided I was done. Started hitting lighter weights harder. Stopped benching with a high arch, stopped pulling off the floor etc.

Now I go in to work the muscles I’m training for the day. I have a garage gym, purchased a hack squat machine and just lift 3 x week and try to walk, sprint or whatever 2-3 days a week. On Saturdays I do any manual labor I have to do around the house mowing the yard raking leaves, rearranging garage etc. basically trying to be more active.

I am dieting and of course “ma total” is going down the drain but I’ve lost 17 lbs in 6 weeks. Already feeling much better.

I don’t follow workout plans, I have a few movements that I like to do and I’ll switch the rep scheme up and try to add a little weight each week. I’ll also throw in cluster sets, rest pause, strip sets here and there And sometimes just do straight sets. Literally just depends what I want to do and how I feel.

Also I’ve added giant sets (yes alpha style) on isolation movements and I lowered the weight on iso movements and get a nice pump and get the Hr up.

That may be over share but that’s where I am. Cheers


I used to just do bullshit until in one session I stopped progressing, then I’d throw a fit and start over.

Then I started doing other people’s programs until in one session I stopped progressing, then I’d throw a fit and start with a new program.

I’m much wiser now. I do other people’s programs until I don’t progress over a cycle, then I throw a fit and start with a new program lol


Cool topic!

If I’m being honest, mine hasn’t evolved; I’m still an idiot


My “training” started in the backyard with the soccer ball. Endless dribbling around cones, kicking the ball against the wall, juggling and practicing moves against my younger brother.

Eventually I got my first bench press set. It was the cheaper kind with a thin bar and not so stable bench. I started doing 5x5 benching every 2-3 days after my ball work/run in the park. The results of this was actually pretty impressive and I decided I needed to add in some other weight lifting exercises in my routine. So I added the overhead press and got some dumbbells for the occasional curl. I also added pull ups on the bar at the park in between my runs.

At some stage I had finally discovered tnation and decided I needed to learn how to squat and deadlift. I had hired a PT to teach me these moves once a week. At this time I bought my first road bike and was enjoying cycling to work and back. I soon learned the idea of programming and as I was still playing football, so it only made sense to follow the Defranco way of training.

Fast forward a few years and I have stopped playing football, but still lift weights, and train BJJ 2-3 times a week. I still follow the Defranco way of doing things: heavy compound lifts, followed by supersets of more traditional bodybuilding moves, and then finished off with the prowler or a carry. I don’t ride my bike or run anymore but I am thinking of reintroducing some sort of cardio maybe once a week, although it’s an issue of time. I might have to drop my weightlifting from 4/ week to 3, to allow a once a week bike ride.


What are giant sets

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Supersets with like 3-4 movements I think.


I used to focus on lifting as heavy as possible but after training for over 30 years that’s just not and option anymore. Now I focus on training quicker and to maintain my intensity. There are times when I will still go heavy on some movements just not every workout.


I went from doing things simply because they were challenging and what big and strong guys did/said to do to doing everything that I was supposed to do because that’s what science said was right to doing things simply because they were challenging and what big and strong guys did/said to do.


As of now I’ve been mainly focused on just lifting something and moving around, due to personal reasons. Before that I slowly switched to increasing work capacity. Didn’t really matter the movement, and I’d just tailor it to whatever percentage(s) I was using.

Yeah pretty much. Main movement for strength/progression with 2-3 other movements rotating.

More than two exercises supersetted. Be creative. You can hit any rep range you want. Movements can be strength oriented. For some reason, when people hear giant set or superset, they think high reps. Doesn’t have to be. Even try same muscle group back to back for some serious crazy.