T Nation

So Much Free Time to Train


I've got one last summer ahead of me before I enter the real world of work in September. I reckon that I can go to the gym twice each day, for an hour each - 14 hours isn't overtraining. What else can I do though, I have my workouts split into the following 6 routines:

Day 1: Chest (and triceps); legs
Day 2: Miscellaneous muscle groups like calves, abductor, adductor, forearms, rotary cuff, abs
2: Back and biceps
Day 3: HIIT; shoulders (and triceps).

Then I've kind of run out of muscle groups. I throw in a calf exercise every day as well as some kind of abs exercise, but then after day 3 I've run out of things to do.

Does anyone have any reccomendations? Now would be a perfect time to start doing all the less vane exercises that build stability and help prevent injuries (such as rotator cuff), but don't look as impressive, but are still important. I don't know any of these exercises though. Does anyone know of important exercises that everybody should be doing, but doesn't because they don't build nice in-your-face muscles?

Does anybody have any other thoughts about my training programme? Stupid? Misguided? Waste of time? ... good?
Don't forget I'm a loafer for the time being so I do still have time to eat well and sleep well.


first, what are your goals?


x2 on the "what are your goals?" question.

Some variant of squats, some variant of deadlifts, if you're not doing it already. Those aren't particularly vain, and they do help prevent injuries, if you train them right.

But there are other important questions...
1. what are your goals? strength? size? fat loss?
2. how long have you been training?
3. what weight are you currently lifting?
4. what kind of equipment do you have to work with? when I see adductor/abductor I immediately think you're training primarily on machines. when you say legs does that mean "squats and deadlifts" or "leg press, leg curl, leg extension machines"? or a mix?
5. what's your diet look like?
6. do you have any preexisting injuries that prevent you from doing certain exercises?


Your going to need to eat more than you probably think. Take your BMR and add in a minimum of 1000 calories each day. You would do better to aim for 1,500.

This might sound crazy at first but you will get to the point where a few extra hours of sleep isn't what your body is looking for.

Think of it like this, find your BMR with daily activity added in. Then add 500 calories every time you go to the gym; there's 1000. Next you want to build muscle right? So add in 300-500 more.

Good luck, and post some updated picks if it works out.


Goals are muscle and size mostly, strength will just come along concomitantly.
I've been training for roughly 5 years - although the last 3 have been on and off due to being a LAD at uni.
My bench press two-rep max is 90kg, although sets of 12 reps are at about 70,72.5,75kg.
Pull-ups, I can do about 9-10, chin-ups about 10-12 when fresh.
I use a lot of free weights and what I call 'semi-machines', those stations whereby you load your own plates on. I don't do many of the machine exercises, although sometimes they're good for things like lat pulldown. The abductor adductor thing etc. is just because I've run out of stuff to do. I don't want to overtrain muscle groups by repeating chest exercises every two and half days.

I eat a lot of carbohydrates. Pasta, rice, noodles, potatoes etc. I find anabolic diets and paleo diets to be a bit crap, just my personal experience and I'm sticking to this. Needless to say I eat a lot of protein too - and I'm not shy around fats either. Daily intake is about 3000-3500kcal which is seeing increases of about 0.5kg a week.

I had been recovering from a lower back injury which I incurred in January 2011 and saw me undergo lots of physio etc etc. You're all gonna hate this... but I can't do deadlifts, and even if I could I am dead scared of fucking myself up again because it had hampered my ability to walk properly and I had to give up a lot of sports, football, thaiboxing, even badminton - I had to stop all that for a while and I'm just a bit paranoid about risking it all again, so no amount of arguing is going to change that (believe me - I used to love doing deadlifts). My squats were at 100kg, 8 reps - but now for the same injury reason I'm on a remedial level of 40kg. Instead I'm doing leg presses, leg extension, leg curl, barbell lunges, rear kick.

I'm currently 78kg, and this display pic is pretty much what I look like now. I'm 178cm, about 5'10".


Don't listen to what people tell you that you "HAVE" to deadlift. That's a bunch of nonsense.

It's not even a good muscle developing move,this has been proven time and time again; hell it even says it on T-Nation articles themselves LOL.

You can use lighter Romanian/Stiff Deadlifts for your hamstrings , because they actually do get you some sick hamstrings and you have much less chance of injury since it is not off the floor. Keep in mind, even 8x Mr.Olympia Lee Haney only used ~225 pounds for his stiff legged deadlifts, and 6x Mr.Olympia Dorian Yates used a maximum of 405 pounds on his NORMAL deadlifts in training. That's less than how much the guy barbell rowed. If you are going to use it as a muscle building exercise, do it the correct way for that particular goal.

Don't fall into the trap and b/s that people spread about going super heavy on them for building muscle.

Also OP, Just me, but I think if you're trying to do a 3/1 split, it may look better this way because you will have some rest time for your Upper Body,but it's not like it really matters.... This is actually the same routine a lot of people who won the O used themselves for a very long time.


Your legs will be fresh and you can spend the day on them + add abs/calves or whatever. It will also give your upper body some recovery time before being used again so the joints,tendons,and ligaments get a chance to be a little more prepared before being worked again.


If you have unlimited time to be in the gym, switch to something with more volume. No comment on any other dumb thing you said.


Why are you worrying yourself with training twice daily at your stage of development? I think you'll do better by concentrating on just one workout a day instead of two as you can put more effort into it. This way you can increase your recovery (sleeping + eating).


Ethan - best post I've ever read. I'm gonna do your suggested 3 day routine.

As for 'worrying' myself with training twice daily... well I just have that much free time. I might see people here and there, I might take up a new skill for fun, I might jam on my guitars for a bit - but I have the time to spare in the gym (until September), so I might as well use it.

Louiek - what do you mean more volume?


when you can lift 14 times a week, lifting 3 times a week seems like a waste.


He's not going to be lifting 3 days a week. He's planning to lift 3 on / 1 off.

In other words for example...

Mon - Chest/Arms
Tue - Quads/Hams
Wed- Deltoids/Back
Thu- Off
Fri- Chest/Arms
Sat- Quads/Hams
Sun- Deltoids/Back
Mon- Off
Tue- Repeat etc etc

That means he will be lifting 6(sometimes 5) days a week. 5-6 days a week is by no means an easy training program; but he will be training each muscle group directly 2x a week and using a PROVEN successful training programs that tons of people have used.

Lee Haney won the Mr.O 8 times with this routine, Dorian Yates used it for many years and he went off to being 6X Mr.O, Frank Zane used the 3/1off, Rachel Mclish the Ms.Olympia did the same, I could just keep listing people on and on.

The point is every muscle group 2x a week with a smart approach.It's not lifting only 3 days, it's 5-6 days. Pretty basic concept, same thing even the more modern people like Ronnie Coleman(his training is Day1 Shoulders/Back/Biceps, Day2 Legs, Day3 Chest/Triceps, Day4 repeat...Day7 Off) and Phil Heath follow the same principle.


What are you doing instead of deads, due to the injury?

Also, by sleep well do you mean 8+ hours, consistently?

Good luck making the most of the summer - it's nice having that kind of time to really focus.


Don't like it. Chest/delt/tris, back/bis, legs is much better for recovery. You're talking about hitting the delts 4x/week, which can work in some training contexts, but definitely not a hypertrophy focused split with emphasis on volume. This can result in some long term upper extremity issues such as anteriorly dominant head-forward posture...not to mention, DELTS ARE A SMALL MUSCLE GROUP. Why hammer them to a pulp? Now hitting back 4x/week, that's actually doable and can be pulled off quite well.


7way/"shock week" split, take a 2 hour nap on as many days as possible...