T Nation

New Ripped, Rugged, and Dense Routine

Since the writing of my RRD article, my views on training have really evolved. A few of changes that I would make to the program outlined there are:

  1. I’d cut a lot of the minor work out. (i.e. Direct forearm and trap work)

  2. I’d never have anyone doing 5x5 with 4 exercises in one workout; I’d go with 2-3 and more frequent workouts.

From working working with a number of individuals, experimenting with myself, and speaking with Chad Waterbury, I’ve become a strong believer in short frequent workouts. When you leave the gym, you should feel fresh and motivated, not tired and rundown. This has become an essential part of my training philosophy. Overly long and tiring workouts slam the CNS and even when working out only 3 times weekly, you’ll lose motivation and will start to loathe the thought of having to train. When this happens, you lose. You are wasting your time in the gym if you are running on a drained CNS. Chad and I just wrote a wonderful article on this very subject (the CNS/overtraining/workout frequency). My current views are to train short, and train often. It’s a wonderful feeling leaving the gym fresh! I guarantee that if you try this approach, you’ll never go back to 60+ min workouts.

Here is the 5x5 split (you can apply this to other rep ranges besides 5x5 as well):

Day 1 (Chest and Biceps)
A1) 30-degree incline DB Bench Press
A2) Incline Bicep Curls

Day 2 (Quad Dom Legs and Calves)
A1) Narrow Stance Squat
A2) Calve Press in a Leg Press Machine

Day 3 (Back and Triceps)
A1) Pullups
A2) Dips

Day 4 (Hip Dom Legs and Shoulders)
A1) Deadlift
A2) Standing DB Military Press

Day 5 Off

Repeat the 5 day cycle back to back for the duration of your program. Also, perform abdominal training outside of the gym once to twice weekly whenever you have some spare time to “destress.”

If you are motivated, skip day 5. I’m telling you, you are going to feel so fresh that you’re just going to want to train. You’ll look forward to your training sessions, everytime. You get to train more frequently, make more progress, and feel better than ever while doing it.

Joel

Perfect timing, Joel. This is great.

Ko and I had experienced terrific results from the first 5x5 program. And the 5x5 is what I’m considering AFTER strongman contests as a way of increasing strength gains AND for a change of pace.

When I have more time later, I’m going to sit down and give this a thorough read-through.

Good stuff! And, likewise, beautiful timing. Domo arigato, Joel.

Don’t know if you got my PM on this subject, but this is just the info I was looking for. And after completing Chad’s Anti-bodybuilding workout, I do like the shorter sessions. Thanks Joel!

Joel, - looks really good ! I did the original RR&D with good results (strength and LBM gains, 1% reduction in BF) but must confess to cutting out the direct forearm work as well, since the seated EZ-bar curls somehow overworked them (I changed the bar and grip after realizing this).

One question on the updated version: Ive often read (Ian King is an example) that you shouldnt go more than 2 days in a row, irrespective of the muscles worked. Do the brief sessions (reduced CNS fatigue) take care of this ?
The gym Im currently at is only open monday-saturday, - how would you structure it in this case:

  1. Lift monday-thursday, - repeat next week.

  2. Lift monday, tuesday, thursday, friday, - repeat next week.

  3. Lift monday-thursday, rest friday, start cycle again saturday (with rest sunday…).

This plan fits into what I need to do.

Between physical therapy, work, and putting 60+ minutes in at the gym, I get too worn out. I’m going to apply your system and let you know how it turns out.

Thanks Joel.

Brad

Da joel

A question.

Do you favor shorter bouts when training to failue or near failure or any time?

I’m doing your first RR&D now with some modifications and it feals good

my mods:

  1. not to failure.
  2. 3-4 sets, 3-4 exersizes , 3 day split
  3. 4-5 sessions a week

I’m resting 2-3 minutes between my sets and it takes me 40-60 minutes.

my split:
A: Power clean, squat, bench, (abs)
B: DL, Push press, calves(assistance) OH walk (assistance)
C: Chin-ups, front squats, GMs, tricep work(assistance)

any thoughts will be mucho appreciated.

S-man

DD90:

Just take Sunday’s off every week, lifting M-Sa with this approach is more than fine. You are only going to be training for 20-30 mins at a time, so you’ll be leaving the gym fresh and feeling damn good.

In regards to the training multiple days in a row, so long as you are motivated and are keeping the sessions short, you can train pretty much close to everyday. This has been working very well for myself and and a number of people who consult with me.

Take care,

Joel

Glute, here is a section from the article regarding training to failure:

There are a number of variables that can contribute to exhausting the central nervous system, but for this purpose of this article, Chad and I are going to address those more specifically related to training:

  1. Training to Failure- First off, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page. While fairly self-explanatory, the term “failure” tends to carry quite a bit of ambiguity within the bodybuilding and fitness communities. For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to define failure in terms of completed repetitions. If you complete a repetition (in good form), you succeed (at completing that repetition- no failure occurs); if you do not complete the repetition (again, in good form), you fail. This is failure. Some strength coaches will try to tell you that if you barely complete the last repetition of a given set and would not be able to perform any subsequent repetitions, you have trained that set to failure. This is distorting the English language. When did you fail? You didn’t! You fail when you attempt something and do not succeed. So how does this relate to fatigue of the central nervous system? Well, attempting to move a load and having to set it back down because you are unable to lift it again is extremely taxing to the CNS; this must be avoided. Also, the use of forced reps (additional reps performed with the help of a spotter when you can no longer perform reps with the given load by yourself), is completely pointless and a waste of time. This further taxes the CNS and adds absolutely nothing to the stimulus generated to the working muscle. Repeatedly using these tactics set after set, workout after workout will quickly leave you drained with very little desire to train. Therefore, it is our recommendation that you complete all reps possible, but never attempt an impossible repetition (or simply one that you will not complete in near perfect form).

Take care,

Joel

G-S,

With that split, how are you managing to train 4-5 days per week without any overlap?

interesting joel. that split is really close to the split i have been following for a while myself. i developed my split out of necessity. basically i cant perform quad and hip dom legs in 1 workout without killing my back, so this is what i came up with:

day 1
chest and back

day 2
calves and quad dominant legs

day 3
arms

day 4
calves and hip dominant legs.

same 5x5 protocol as your rr&d. 402 tempo and 60-180 minutes of rest, depending on muscles being trained. ive had excellent strength and lbm gains following this protocol while dieting, so i am very pleased. just thought id share. p-dog

If I may interject here, I would like to outline an every-other-day split that Joel helped me with. I’ve had tremendous success with this:

Workout One (Upper Body)
A1. Incline Barbell Press
A2. Medium-Grip Pull-Up
B. Standing DB Shoulder Press or Dip

Workout Two (Lower Body)
A1. Sumo Deadlift or Squat
A2. Weighted Decline Sit-Up
B. Leg Press Calf Raise

Joel,

Thanks for posting an update to the fab article. :slight_smile: How does this work for someone who may hit the gym twice a day? Short AM workout and short PM workout? (AM hiit/cardio and PM 5x5)?

Thanks!

“From working working with a number of individuals, experimenting with myself, and speaking with Chad Waterbury, I’ve become a strong believer in short frequent workouts. When you leave the gym, you should feel fresh and motivated, not tired and rundown. This has become an essential part of my training philosophy. Overly long and tiring workouts slam the CNS and even when working out only 3 times weekly, you’ll lose motivation and will start to loathe the thought of having to train. When this happens, you lose. You are wasting your time in the gym if you are running on a drained CNS. Chad and I just wrote a wonderful article on this very subject (the CNS/overtraining/workout frequency). My current views are to train short, and train often. It’s a wonderful feeling leaving the gym fresh! I guarantee that if you try this approach, you’ll never go back to 60+ min workouts.”

Joel-
No, offense and not trying to flame you
but, can profread before you post :wink:

Since, you are always watching my grammer and flaming me.

Just kidding-

Silas C.

Okay flame me away Joel I forgot the “you” in can “you” profreed.

:wink:

E.C

I am overlapping, because I do 3-4 sets and not 5. the total volume of work per exersize per week is 5-6 sets - same as Joel’s RR&D.

Joel
Regading training to failure - Thanks for the clarification. I think I am one step further down the no-failure road, which means I always leave one rep in the bag - the rep which I MAY stagger with my form to complete. this makes my workouts just a bit less intense and allows the total volume to be just a little bit more then your plan. by doing that, I manage to get in some intense cardio.

I realy had a problem going low-cals and lifting with high intensity and doing cardio with high intensity for long periods. by playing with the intensity of the workouts I can lift 5 times a week with 2-4 intense cardio sessions and some intense(for me) flexibility sessions and not be overtrained while on a hypocaloric diet.

I do think though that once I’m down to 6% your plan will suite me better, because I will be in a smaller caloric deficit and refeeding(currently ~8)

thanks and appreciate your thoughts

S-MAN

Joel, - thanx for the tips !

Stella,

I would go with around 6-7 weight training sessions, 3 HIIT sessions, and perhaps a moderate cardio session weekly.

Take care,

Joel

fitone, - when suggesting that, try to spell it “proofread”…:slight_smile:

Joel, I really love doing 5x5 stuff in general. I tend to stick with 4 or 5 exercises and hit the gym usually 3 times per week. If I do 5x5 for more than a month, I’ll change the exercises or the order every four weeks or so. My split tends to look like this:

day 1: pushing movements–may include bench, squat, dips, military press, close grip bench, calves, etc…
day 2: pulling–deadlifts, pullups, all kinds of rows, glute-ham raises, stiff-legged deads, maybe some curls, etc…
day 3: power/dynamic day–power snatch, power clean, push press, speed squat, front squat, overhead squat, speed bench, etc…

Anyway, I’ve been doing three day splits for at least six months, now…very seldom even four day splits. My questions, like one of the questions from DD90, are about CNS fatigue.

How long have you and/or your trainees been following this kind of protocol? Do you know of any studies that support the notion that 20-30 minutes of training with no failure won’t fatigue the CNS?

I’m really very curious about this because I feel like I’ve done a good job of varying intensity (as a % of 1RM) and volume (usually in proportion to intensity) in my workouts, but I have not tried to vary the frequency at all. I’m a little reluctant to start training 5-6 days per week, though, just because I’m curious about longer term effects. I’d suspect that just about anybody could get away with just about anything for a month or maybe even two before any effects of overtraining the CNS would catch up. But then what happens? And how long would that take?