T Nation

Should I Follow a Program Strictly?

i just started the mutation series, and i was wondering if i should only do the exercises in the program whenever i work out. whenever i try them, i get really tired (during the work out), but once i finish it, i feel like i can still work out some more. i’m used to working out for 1.5-2 hours each time, but i finish the program fairly quickly (most likely because i usually don’t take the full 2 min rest because my gym is usually packed, so i can’t just claim all the equipment)

do you think it’s okay if i do some isolation exercises after each day’s workout? or would you advise me to just stick with the program?

for example: today was chest/shoulders/triceps day. after i did all the exercises, i did some dumbbell flies, tricep extensions, and a standing shoulder press. i obviously couldn’t do them full strength since i was kinda tired, but i felt like i could (and should) work out a little more

I would suggest using the programs written exactly as they are, unless you pose your question to their author and use their response. The authors for of the programs posted on this site have taken into account fatigue and overtraining. You don’t have to punish yourself everyday in the gym to make progress with your lifts, in fact you can do more damage than good in cases where you overtrain. Why spend 2 hrs in the gym to get less results than you would if you only spent 45 mins. Charles Staley had a good line about this in his boot camp video, it went something like, If you go to the gym to fatigue yourself and feel pain just save yourself the trouble of lifting weights and drop a dubbell on your foot at the beginning of the workout-something along those lines anyways. I guess the point of this is that you don’t have to feel smoked at the end of a workout in order for it to be working or enduce hypertrophy.

alrite…makes sense

i’ll stick to the program then…thx

The biggest mistake I see beginners do is to judge of the efficacy of a workout by how tired they are afterwards.

In the whole history of mankind NOBODY has ever gotten stronger and bigger in the gym… and it will never happen! In fact, when you leave the gym you are worse then when you came in because you basically injured your body and depleted energy reserves.

The real growth occurs when you are resting and (more importantly) eating.

You can increase your rate of gains by increasing the amount of work you do UP TO A POINT. But doing too much work will greatly reduce the amount of muscle you’ll gain by destroying more than you can rebuild.

I personally never train more than 45 minutes per session and more often then not it’s closer to 30 minutes. But I do more quality work in that time frame than most peoples do in a whole week!

My athletes who gained the most muscle mass (one gained as much as 27lbs in 3 months) trained for 30-45 minutes, 3-4 times per week.

I’ll paraphrase Lee Haney: “When training, stimulate don’t anihilate”. Basically do enough quality work (quality will always be more important than quality) to stimulate gains then GET THE HELL OUT and start growing by restiong and EATING.

This needs to be addressed…You say you’re used to training 1.5-2 hours a pop…who cares? Have you had some smashing success in the past that dictates to you that this is the way to go? What makes you think you ‘should’ spend more time doing isolation stuff? Is there a compelling reason besides the fact that you’re not yet completely exhausted? My sense is that if you were used to making good progress in the gym, you wouldn’t be asking a question like this, and that said, you’d do a lot better to use methods that you were NOT used to!

When I was a philosophy major in college I took a class called ‘Developments in Modern Philosophy,’; it was a one hundred level course, and invariably some clown who couldn’t follow Hume or Spinoza’s reasoning would pose questions to the teacher suggesting that one of these Philosophical giants was wrong, that their logic was flawed…Professor Steiner would respond this way, and I think his words are applicable in this situation as well: ‘He’s smarter than you.’

Remembering that fact before you question the work of a Spinoza or David Hume, or an accomplished strength coach will serve you well in life. And just maybe, if you put in the time and effort over the years to learn from those smarter than you, someone will one day say the same about you…just a thought

Best of luck

I never follow any set kind of a program like this muscle part mixed with this muscle part on this day, etc. It just does not work for me.

What works really great for me is to work The upper body 3 times a week and the lower body (Including lower back) twice a week. “I” grow best this way.

Abs: 5 times a week:

  1. upper body day non weighted
  2. lower body day weighted

I Train 5 times a week (Mon-Fri.) and take the weekend off. I eat 3 (Sometimes 4) meals a day and get 10 hours of sleep every day. My workouts usally last about 2 hours.

On top of this, I also kickbox so I don’t worry about cardio in the gym.

What works for me…may be overtraining to another. I listen to my body and know what works and does not.

Why would you bother doing more than the program? And why isolation excercises, of all things?

More is not necessarily better in the gym… I see lots of guys in my gym doing lots of isolation exercises, and they look the same and move the same weight they did last year.


i did isolation exercises to focus on my weaknesses, but i guess they don’t really help as much as compound exercises

thx alot for all the advice. i’ll stick to doing the exercises outlined in the program.

I forgot to mention a few things.
I train heavy with 3 to 5 reps, and 2 sets for each exercise.

For example:
flat bench 2 sets, decline and incline 2 sets each. Then onto dumbells: flat, incline, and decline. Etc.
The above is just an example. I do a whole lot more exercises. I always train heavy with lighter reps and 2 sets each.
Why I train all upper body in one day:
My thinking is that all the upper body is involved with whatever upperbody exercise you are doing. So I train all in the same day. Sanme goes for lower body. I get the best results this way.
Sure in the past I trained just like whatever anybody else does this muscle group with that one etc. I didn’t get the results like I do now.
I train like this for 6 weeks then take off a whole week.

I don’t have a set pattern per say and will do different exercises from time to time, etc.

damn after reading this again I left out That I train the legs 4 sets each of whatever exercise I’m doing.

Calves I train first and then again last. I don’t count sets or reps.