T Nation

Questions about "The Best Damn Workout Plan For Natural Lifters"


#1

Hey, Christian. I’ve been a fan of your articles for a while, and just signed up here.

I want to give this program a whirl, as I’ve been unhappy with my programming lately. I’ve been lifting for a few years, but not consistently enough (had a couple of injuries, including a seriously broken leg last year, so I’ve been derailed a bit, but I’m doing better now!). I do think my base is strong, though - my form is good and my strength has improved a whole lot (I wouldn’t say I’m strong, but I could be weaker). Anyway, this program peaked my interest, especially because I really like frequent training, and I want to try it out. I just have a couple of questions:

  1. Would it be OK to do regular deadlifts as opposed to Romanian deads, or will that not activate the hamstrings enough?

  2. How would you periodize this? How long would you run this and how would it progress?

Hope those aren’t stupid questions. Thank you so much.

Cheers.


#2

More questions for CT:

So most of your programs – all the “high volume” ones – were written for steroid users?

Just a month or two ago you wrote that 4x / week was optimal training frequency. Now it’s 6x?


#3

Dude I would relax for a moment before jumping to such conclusions. To be honest most splits work and work well if you put in the effort and work hard.

Furthermore peoples methods and opinions can and are allowed to change. For example I was on a strength training program for about a year and I switched to a more bodybuilding style of training for 4 months, gained 10lbs and increased my strength.

I could come to the conclusion thus that bodybuilding training is the best method to increase my strength but in reality its more likely that the difference in methods contributed to my gains.

What I’m trying to say here is that perhaps recently CT has been adapting his methods more to this style of training and seen some great gains.

You offer no question and just an accusation which I feel is very shortsighted. Perhaps try both 4x a week and 6x a week and see how you feel and then come to your own conclusion?

Like I’ve stated previously, some of the best splits are 4x a week and some of the biggest and strongest lifters follow this frequency.

I see nothing wrong with splitting up the volume into more training days personally and I will try it myself and see how I feel.


#4

CT’s training principles evolve. He’s said as much himself. He fully backed the Indigo training program, when he first wrote it, but has said it doesn’t align with his beliefs now and doesn’t recommend it. We should appreciate the fact he doesn’t doggedly advocate only one style.


#5

“An occasional bout of five or even six training days per week can be used as a shock week, but it shouldn’t be your normal approach”. That was written less than 5 months ago. While i appreciate everything Thib does for the fitness community, I can’t help but ask the same questions as Craze9.


#6

He also said that you can work out as many days as you want but that you have to adjust the volume. The workouts in this new article are pretty low volume.


#7

Yep, but CT was rather clear that what he was outlining in his article was not your average training program which more often than not charactarised by high volume and/or high intensity.

So I’d imagine his recs still stand: a body of a natural lifter will not respond best to five-six high volume/high intensity workouts per week. But with a little tweaking, you can train six times per week and get the best gains ever.


#8

If you read the article he wrote regarding 4 days optimal he stated that it was for people that couldn’t hold back in the gym and wanted to train all out in which case 4 days was optimal! Now his current high frequency approach has 6 days but only a single all out set so a trainee can cope with the higher frequency it’s just another approach that will work well for a natural trainee he certainly isn’t ontradicting himself


#9

Ok maybe I was being a dick with my initial questions but I have to wonder about the hyperbole. The “best” workout plan for naturals. The “optimal” number of days to lift. Drop-blocks for “maximum” growth. If he’s going to change his views so frequently perhaps use words like “optimal” and “best” less.

Indigo and I-Bodybuilder and even the original HP Mass prescribed A LOT of volume. They also promised the BEST results ever - I’m not exaggerating, the language was like a supplement ad. (And supplements were part of the pitch, of course).

Now it’s only 1 work set per exercise… and the ONLY point of training is to induce muscle protein synthesis? Really? That’s the only point? So if I want to bring my bench from 280 to 350 I should train like this program? Just because I’m “natural”? Why don’t natural powerlifters and bodybuilders train like this, then? Why do they incorporate more and more volume over time and periodize training with periods of greater intensity alternated w/ greater volume?

Why split quad/ham so you train legs 6x/ week? A front squat doesn’t use the hamstrings? A romanian deadlift doesn’t use quads?

I have learned a lot from CT and I’m not saying this program won’t work. On the contrary it looks very interesting – but with so many different recommendations I’m not willing to just jump into a CT program, any more. (I’ve done many). If a hundred people do this program and report amazing gains that’s one thing. But just because it’s posted as the new “best” program doesn’t mean much. It’s an experiment, to drive web traffic. Next month there will be a new one.


#10

yeah I understand your points! But this is a structure that allows a very high frequency and research shows that high frequency works best for natural trainees as long as they are able to recover properly the science of this programme is pretty sound and well thought out! As regards to power lifters body builders etc in all honesty the majority of those guys are aided by anabolic steroids even those who claim natural!! This programme is geared towards hypertrophy I believe though I’m sure could be tweaked for strength goals as high frequency allows for greater efficiency in your chosen lifts!! I certainly don’t think this is the only way a natural trainee should train its just another approach that is obviously in line with is current findings!!


#11

Well, he does say that this is a program for size. It’s not a powerlifting program.


#12

They do use them, but not much at all, so they don’t train them.


#13

Well said. You bring up some valid points, hopefully CT will chime in soon.


#14

Can I modify this program by hitting every upper body part three times per week? IOW, can I do 4 sets of a chest exercise, 4 sets of a back exercise, 4 sets of a shoulder exercise and 4’sets each of Bi’s and Tri’s and do this three times per week changing up the exercises each session? I don’t do legs because of an injury. Thanks


#15

i can’t agree more with you man


#16

HI CT,
I have been reading your articles for quite some time but never felt compelled to post. I tried your 915 program and got great result in the past. My older son, who recently started training seriously (almost 14) and I, beleive you are the best around when it comes to training (even if we often joke around by quoting you using your french canadian accent :slight_smile: … we are too BTW)

This week I decided to give perform like an athlete look like a bb a try. I felt that it was missing pull up and after reading your article on adding pull up at the beggining of every workout, I did it for the first three days.
But when I read your article yesterday, I understood your new pattern for natty and decided today to slightly modify my lower body day by adding in the same explosive format weighted pull up at the beginning and basically transform it in a pull day. A bit like you do with squat (which I do front to align with the power look) at the end of upper body day (which if I understand correctly according to your new pattern is really the push day)

Does that make sense? I also added 8-12m 3x a week metabolic/sprint work at the end of lighter work out

Keep the good work, we need more coach like you who can evolve and experiment for all of us instead of preaching the same protocols for years on end.


#17

Hi Christian

I like doing regular deadlifts and snatch grip high pulls, mostly from the rack, could you do them in the program and when, or should i just ditch them for the duration of the program?

I dont have acces to glute ham raises or a rev hyper at my gym, any exercise you would recommend to replace them?

Thank you in advance


#18

A few years ago CT published the 20 minute muscle building workout. It was 6 days a week and followed an ABABAB split. The program was designed to be high frequency, low intensity/volume. Its a great routine. While it is very different from this new Best Damn routine, you can see they have a similar organizing structure.

If you do a lot of CT’s programs,you’ll see that they are based on a few general principles. There’s hundreds of ways to implement these general principles for different specific goals. So, I think its a little unfair to think that these are just arbitrary new programs to bait more clicks on articles. A lot of them are refinements of much older methods.

If the work out had read “best arm workout ever
curls
3x10
curls, again
3x10
more curls
3x10”

then your criticism would hold more water


#19

As for workout nutrition with this, if you plan on using any, 1 scoop of Plazma seems plenty. It would help with recovery for the frequency of training. The workout don’t look taxing enough for 2 scoops. I’m just bringing up Plazma since that’s what I have in my inventory right now. Correct me if I’m wrong or let me know your thoughts.


#20

When I read the article, it did leave me wondering at first if I’ve been wasting my time taking the advice from most of these other articles, but I remind myself that every one of these articles are programs that worked for the person who wrote it. It’s up to us as readers to take advice we think makes sense for us and experiment. We’re all at different ages, genes, weights, and levels of strength and time availability, and have to take those differences into account.