T Nation

Things You've Learned From Programs

I am currently doing a TBT program with 3 sets of 30 reps per exercise. I HATE it. I went to a physiotherapist because my lower back was hurting and she suggested this. After I tried it once I was ready to drop it right away. The weight I have to use to actually make it to the end of the third set is embarassing (yeah I know, ‘leave your ego at the door’, but still…) and with 630 reps in total (7 exercises) this program just sucks the life out of me.

I stuck with it though just to see what would happen, how my body would respond, and because maybe, just maybe, the physiotherapist knew what she was doing. I still hate it but after 4 weeks I have learned a couple of things, the most important of which is that you can PUSH through the pain.

My workouts have always been a high weight/low rep kind of thing. I’ve never really had to deal with the lactic acid buildup you get while doing higher reps, and if my muscles did start to burn during a workout, more often than not I would not make it to the end of the set. Well, with 3 x 30 you can be sure you start to feel it burn halfway through the second set.

It took me a while to distinguish this physical discomfort from physical exhaustion, meaning I didn’t immediately realize it can hurt like hell but I’d still be able to raise the weight. Now I can finish three sets without stopping for rest and I’m sure this new knowledge and experience is going to help me greatly when I go back to heavier weights.

I’ve learned a couple of other things as well, for instance that a high rep workout can do nice things for your physique, although most people will say you’re not building muscle just endurance. While there are definitely better ways to build muscle than a 3 x 30 program, the mirror is giving me some good, positive feedback. Maybe I’m just getting more toned, or maybe there’s real new muscle there, but I can definitely recommend trying a workout like this for a few weeks if only to shock your body into adaptation.

So what new knowledge and/or insights have you gained from one program or another you’ve tried?

i tried the program in arnold’s bodybuilding book, i learnt that recovery is key to building muscle… its not quantity of workouts, but the quality

What I’ve learned over the course of the last 20 years is, that the nervous system recovery is key if you want to gain muscle, keep it and stay healthy. I had made great short-time gains with just about every new program I tryed, but most of the “conventional” routines eventually lead to cns exhaustion.

I know focus on cns recovery and follow periodized workout patterns (switch phases with high volumes and low intensities with phases with high intensities and low volumes) and schedual a deloading week every 5 weeks.

I did Waterbury workouts for a while. Thought they were the bee’s knee’s. But after months, when my deadlift, front squats, pullups and dips went up, but my physique was the same, I figured out it is NOT a bodybuilding training method… go figure right?

i learned theyre overrated

The best thing I’ve learned from off the shelf programs is not to follow them. Learning to listen to my body, and noting what actually works for me, has made all the difference.

I do think vanilla programs are good for newbies though, to provide a foundation in the various techniques and programs.

Programs are overrated. They are only as good as the amount of effort you put into it. As long as you focus on progression, desired results tend to follow.