T Nation

Volume vs Frequency

Smash 1 body part per week or lighter load 2 times per week?

Hey guys. First post here. Been training for quite a while now, from a 6’0 300lb offensive lineman to now 3 years after my senior at 205lb as a recreational lifter. My lifts are:

Bench: 335 1RM
Squat: 510 1RM
Deadlift: 475 1RM (I took a couple years off deadlifting after I finished playing, used to Dead 565, been slower to get back up than my squat)

My question is regarding my workout split. For about the last year, I have been doing a 4 day split: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Legs. I would add cardio, abs, and extra arms when I felt like it.

Now, as a recreational lifter with a full time job, lets be honest, my biggest concern is to look good, but at the same time, with my experience in heavy lifting, I dont want to wimp out. I just recently tied switching to a 3 day split twice a week, but found the intensity after a couple weeks just wasnt the same. Even tho I was working out each body part once every 3-4 days, optimal for protein synthesis apparently, I just didnt have the intensity and anger in the gym to smash weights. It almost felt more leisurely, since I couldnt push as hard. Also, realistically, with a full time job, going to the gym 6x a week isn’t optimal.

Im thinking of going back Dorian Yates style split, or a 5/3/1 with bodybuilding template…4 days a week (bench/chest, deads/back, military/shoulders, squat/legs), maybe an extra arm day for fun.

But my question is, is it really optimal to hit the muscle twice a week with lower volume? Or can I still get as ripped by smashing each part into oblivion once a week?

Dude, you obviously know what you’re doing if you have achieved those lifts. If you like putting everything into that last set after pyramiding up, Yates style training is excellent. If you want to increase your frequency just a little bit, go with a 4-way split over 6 days (what I do, incidentally).

My split looks like this: Delts/traps, Legs/abs, Chest/tri, Back/bi… going 2 days on, 1 day off. It would work fine 4 days a week as well.

You can start every session with a 5/3/1 lift and do everything else Dorian style, nothing wrong with that either… say something like this:

Squat 5/3/1
Front Squat - warm up set, work set to failure 6-8 or 8-10
Leg Press - warm up, work set to failure 8-10
Leg Curls - ramp up over 3-4 sets, 8-10 for the last set to failure
Calves…
Abs maybe

If you do floor deadlifts on back day, no need for stiff leg deads here really.