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Questions on Volume and Exercise order in Best Damn Work For Natural Lifters

Dear CT,

I have two main questions regarding your article on training for natural lifters.

  1. I notice that all body parts receive an equal number of sets. I was under the impression that larger muscle groups required slightly more sets than smaller muscles groups.

    1a) What is your view on this assumption?
    1b) What is the reason you’ve included the same number of sets

  2. I notice that in your workout you provide a rigid structure where quads/hams always go first then chest/back…etc until were at shoulders and arms.I was under the impression that it is generally better to program the tougher more compound lifts first in a workout and move down from there

i.e. 1.Dips
3. Leg Ext
4. Chest Flye

“Should” be superior to Leg Ext, Chest Flye, Ohp, Dips

Did you structure your program in this fashion for any particular reason other than the largest muscle groups always go first?

Would it be detrimental if I changed the order of exercise as above?



It’s false. If there are muscles needing more sets it’s due to the complexity of the muscle (back for example) or because it’s a weak point. When you are advanced you can design your program so that more work is done for your weak link and less (or even none) for your dominant muscle(s)

Because you have to start somewhere. If I wrote a plan taking into considering every possible individual differences that would affect volume per muscle and provided individual variations the article would have been 10 000 words long. Might as well write a book about it

The plan is ONLY TO ILLUSTRATE A GENERAL CONCEPT, a way of thinking.

What works great in theory doesn’t always work optimally in real life and vice versa.

A lot of very successful lifters do the most demanding exercise last (deadlift last in a back workout like Dorian Yates and Paul Carter for example). That actually allows you to get a great stimulus without having to use as much weight. Of course if you are training for strength and performance it might not be the best way to train but for hypertrophy it works.

Another example we often say that explosive work needs to be done early in the workout, on a fresh CNS. Well I’ve done explosive work (speed bench, speed squat) at the END of the workout and registered a higher bar speed then when I did it first (using the Beast velocity measurement device). So sometimes things that “don’t make sense” until you actually try them.

As I mention, you have to start somewhere. From the concept explained in this article I could come up with about 20 different applications (already wrote articles about 2 more applications). I write about concepts then illustrate them. I want people to understand ideas and learn to apply them, not feed them ready-to-follow plans. I do provide programs applying the concepts so that people can try it out and then make modification depending on their own findings based on their own strength and weaknesses.

Thank you for your thoughts on my questions this far. Very insightful.

This leads me into another question about focusing on one body part though. So you just stated that lagging muscles may require more volume and strong ones less.

How would one implement this into their training without overdoing it? In your recent podcast you stated that the number one mistake natural trainees do to bring up a lagging muscle is to add more volume and that they should instead increase frequency.

In this new workout program frequency is already high at 3x per week. Would it be best to:
A) add another exercise on one of the days
B) increase frequency further to 4x a week

Once again your thoughts are always appreciated and I’m thankful to learn so much from you as a coach.

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