? Lagging body parts can be trained up to 10 times per week using five, twice-daily workouts or three, three-times-per-day workouts along with one workout for the fourth day. Every third or fourth week those same lagging body parts should only be trained once.
? It’s backed up in the scientific literature that you can train a muscle up to nine times a week, as long as you give it some time after to rest. In other words, if you don’t train to the point of depression, it doesn’t really work.
I recently increased my arm size from 17 7/8 inch to 18 5/8 inch in 5 weeks by training according to the above made statements.
Now before I continue allow me to express how ?miraculous? those gains are for me.
If anyone has the right to claim he is a hard gainer it is me. At 16 I weighed a mere 116lbs and that was after two years of powerlifting and Olympic lifting (yeah, sad huh?). It took me two years more to get to 156lbs and another two years to get to 195lbs. And that?s at 6? by the way.
Most muscle groups grew at the same pace but to say my arms have a hard time growing is a super understatement. Squats (315lbs, 30-37 reps, 3 times per week) and milk didn?t make them grow; Deadlifts (currently 615 lbs is my 2 rep max) do not make them grow. Rows (315lbs for 20 reps) don?t, split training doesn?t, and traditional specialization programs hardly add any size.
At my current bodyweight of 230lbs I can squat 10 sets of 5 with 405lbs, Bench well over 400, Military Press 225lbs for a set of 5 and well, yada, yada, yada.
Basically, I can push and pull till the cows come home and hardly add any size to my arms at all. Hell, after 20 reps of rows with 315lbs the only part of my body that?s tired are my hands! No pump whatsoever in my biceps. I can do close grip pull ups and dips with 135lbs around my waist and get a swole back and chest and add virtually nothing to my arms.
And there is nothing wrong with my eating habits either. Although I am never hungry I still forced myself to eat more then 4000 calories a day every single ?bulking? cycle I have ever done. Amsterdam Animal and Prof X would have been proud :)although they would have probably been scratching their heads as to why I wasn?t gaining much.
I have always had the benefit of good coaching since my uncle was one of the top Olympic lifting and powerlifting trainers in Holland and he too many a times scratched his head not knowing why I wasn?t gaining faster.
I have bulked up over the years and the highest I got was 269lbs. My arm size at that weight?
Yep, pathetic. I could squat 585 at the time without a suit, and did bent rows with 385 for sets of 12 but still no real size on the arms. I have experimented with every program you can imagine and they stayed 17 inches.
Eventually I got so frustrated that I slimmed down till 225lbs so that I would look symmetrical at least. I focused mainly on strength.
That is till Mr. Waterbury started writing about high frequency training.
The first time I did his 6-9 full body sessions a week I gained one fourth of an inch on my arms in 6 weeks, while losing 5 lbs of fat!. I have been a fanboy every since Problem was that I added an inch every where else so I was still stuck with a symmetry problem. I added another fourth of an inch with his perfect 10 program (well?my version of it?a bit higher volume) and I added close to the same with Staley?s EDT arm program (8 weeks).
And then I got stuck, again. Tried intense bulk for a while and again gained size everywhere and only increased the size of my arms marginally. Could not get them over 18 inches, no matter what.
Slimmed back down for a while and then both Waterbury and Poliquin piqued my interest when they made the statements above.
I figured what have I got to lose and started training 9 times per 7 days.
Note: since Charles had not gone into specifics I did do things a bit differently then what his current article describes.
Now I made, I think, several mistakes but first let me tell you what I did and then go over what I could have done better.
For 17 days IN A ROW, I did 1-2 sessions a day consisting of a full body exercise and 6-9 sets of biceps and triceps work.
Deadlift 3-5 sets
Incline curls 3x8
Incline Triceps extensions 3x8
Scott curls 3x6
Tate presses 3x8
Perhaps a ten minute period of scapular/rotator, abdominal and/or forearm and calf work
Barbell curls 4x6
Close grip Bench press 4x6
Pull ups 2x6
Cable curls 6x10
Wrist curls 3x25
The other ?full body? exercises I used where Squats, Box Squats and Front Squats on Wednesday and Thursday and Snatch Grip Deadlift on box, Step ups and Split Jerk on Friday and Saturday.
Where I differ from Poliquin, and I did not know, so I followed what Chad suggests, is that I did a completely different arm session each time I stepped into the gym. I constantly changed parameters and exercises!
In line with what Poliquin mentioned after 12 days I did start losing strength and perhaps should have stopped but I did another 5 days because I kept growing. I guess here I differ from Poliquin as well because I actually grew 3/8 of an inch in the first 17 days (and yes I was ecstatic!).
By now I, save for the growth (#2) and not losing any weight, I exhibited every one of the signs Poliquin mentioned:
- Lose strength
- Lose muscle
- Be chronically overtrained
- Experience aching tendons and joints
- Be brutally sore (and train right through it)
- Be mentally depressed
I lost 20-30% of my strength (although oddly enough after the first week I had actually gained some), I felt chronically tired with deep, deep fatigue in my arms, hands and shoulders. Joints and tendons hurting quit bad and I was so sore I could hardly fall asleep.
I realize I was mentally depressed when watching one of my favorite shows: Stargate Atlantis. The Tao of Rodney episode. I?ll never forget. One of the main characters received, by accident, some superpowers but they are killing him slowly. During one of the scene?s where he is saying goodbye to one of his friends, he hugs the guy and heals the scars of his buddies back. The look on his face made me spontaneously burst into tears. I started crying uncontrollable for at least 5 minutes!
According to Poliquin I guess I was ready
I immediately took a week off!
I gained another 1/8 inch in the week rest that followed and when I resumed training for another week (I did 4 two a day sessions and one high rep flushing session that week,) I noticed I had gained a lot of strength as well as another 3/16 of an inch. After two more days of rest the total growth was 6/8 of an inch in 32 days. A bloody miracle when it comes to my arms. And my look has dramatically changed!
The strength gains by the way are unreal. I am not going to list all exercises but to give you an idea: I usually use 275lbs for 3 sets of 12 for close grip bench presses and I do that now with 315lbs! And it feels light!
What would I do differently?
Looking back I think my mistake was to train too long in the beginning. 10-12 days in a row is long enough. I agree that 10 - 12 days with 4-5 days rest is the best way and thus you can do this twice in a month. I also believe I did too many heavy sessions (2-3 reps)and should have limited those like Waterbury suggests in his 30 day mass plan.
My soreness and pain and discomfort as well as my depressed state were really bad. I really needed more then 5 days (I took 7 days) to recuperate (and then had to drag myself back to the gym).
Now Poliquin suggests doing the same exercises, all sets till failure, with the same parameters. That will get you overtrained faster, NO DOUBT. But boy, losing size in the order of 12-15lbs? That part I did not get. That seems a lot, especially since I actually gained some weight and strength in the first week.
But then again, I only did arms and forearms and the compound exercises I did not do till failure (I actually got stronger on every single one of them too, not by much but still).
What Poliquin suggests is for overall increases of size and I am curious if training with the same exercises and parameters will lead to a greater rebound effect.
Intuitively I believe Waterbury?s high frequency system is a better version of this (two weeks of 6-8 full body sessions, with constantly changing exercises and parameters, followed by a week of training only 3 times focusing on strength) but then again, I might be wrong.
Both coaches certainly have more in common then not. Berardi stated on his website that Poliquin was very impressed with Waterbury?s work and Charles doesn?t seem to compliment easily.
What would I recommend?
I have been training for over 20 years. Powerlifting, Olympic lifting, strongmen competition, martial arts, bodybuilding and sprinting. Often I did these at the same time! There have been many months where I trained 6 days a week with weights while sparring another 3 times so I am used to doing a lot of work.
I would recommend for those who want to give Ploquin?s program a try to first get used to full body sessions by doing a month of Waterbury?s HF program.
Do 2-a-days, 2 days a week, then 3 days per week for two weeks and then take a week off.
Follow that with Waterbury?s 30 day mass program increasing your capacity to work for 10 days in a row. Take 5 days of and then to Poliquin?s program.
Long ass post, I know, but I hope it will help some of you.
Good luck to all who are going to try this.