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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:05 pm 
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Hi All,

After reading the "Low-Volume, Progressive-Intensity Training" article on ExRx, I decided to give it a try. My goal is reduce BF% from 15 to 10-12 while gaining some lean mass. I am not a bodybuilder.
Please help me clear out a few points regarding low volume, high intensity:

1. 90 second rest periods are ok for hypertrophy/strength?

2. Compound exercises of 2x6 worked majestically with higher intensity.
But a few auxiliary exercises felt weird. Specifically, when I worked posterior and lateral deltoids--increasing intensity and lowering reps made form suffer and after 6 reps I didn't even feel that I hit the muscle properly.

So what should I do regarding delts? My best guess is 2x8 with manageable weight, but lower the speed of negative contraction...
Interestingly, the 2x6 high intensity curls felt great. Not sure what to make of that.


All thoughts would be appreciated!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:41 pm 
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I'm a big fan of lower volume training. I think it's a great way to gain strength and muscle. With a little more pressure on the strength word. Let's get some pointers running.

1) 60s-120s is considered to be the optimal rest if you goal is maximal hypertrophy. So 90s is good. If you got more energy left, perform the set after 60s of rest. If the last set was a total nut buster, rest for 2 minutes. The point is to get the most benefit from the sets. The times are based on the muscles time to recover and harness some energy and things to get through the next effort.

2) Not every exercise is neccessary to do low-rep and high intensity. Especially something as complicated and small as the shoulder muscles. I personally like to go to bigger intensities only on big compound exercises. Curls and delt raises are not big compound exercises. It's a lot about personal preferences, but some exercises work better with higher volume. Like rows and calves are many times done with plus 15 reps. Also we must keep your goal in mind. As strength is important for appropriate muscle hyperthrophy, I would still maybe put you some more higher volume exercises in the mix. Stuff that work more to isolate muscle than to get maximium full-body power development. Stuff like 6-12 reps. That's atleast 6 reps, preferrably more. Two sets is alright, but I really think it's not the best option for higher hyperthrophy. I would recommend 3 to 5 sets.

But remember this, the rep ranges are a weird bunch to play with. It's not about the amount of reps, it's about the time under tension during these reps. It's also based on muscles functions during certain length efforts. Compare doing shrugs and dumbell curls as an example. I bet you can perform 10 reps of shrugs at least twice faster than you can 10 reps of DB curls. Do they both still produce the same type of hypertrophy and fatique? I doubt it. You can go higher than 6 if you got more in you. Doing six reps super fast may not be as beneficial as doing 10 reps with moderate speed and bigger effort.

3) DIET. Exercise without diet is nothing, whether you are trying to gain strenght or lose fat. So make sure your nutrition is in good condition.

4) How's your workout routine overall? What does your exercise week look like?

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:33 pm 
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You say that you're not a bodybuilder, but you think like one! The delts question makes me think that. You link hypertrophy and strength. Yes, the run together in real life, but for planning for your training you probably need to prioritize one or the other.

If strength is the target, rest as long as you need to. If you are doing sets of 2 or 3 with a heavy load, it may take 5-8 minutes to recover from your set. Rest until you feel ready, then a little more. If your priority is hypertrophy, then go with Dub's answer.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:15 pm 
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I would assume the OP is a beginner. That routine is more of a beginner routine. Strength and hypertrophy should both happen together no matter what you do at that point. The first year is always awesome like that.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:42 am 
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Dub wrote:
I'm a big fan of lower volume training...

1) ...The point is to get the most benefit from the sets...
2) Not every exercise is neccessary to do low-rep and high intensity...
3)DIET...
4) How's your workout routine overall? What does your exercise week look like?


First of all, I really appreciate your effort and time to write everything out so clearly!
Sorry for the vertical nature of the post--I wasn't sure what would be easier on the eyes..

1) Understood, thank you.

2) This cleared up a lot for me. To recap, due to the intricate mechanics of shoulder exercises--at least the free-weight ones--form is key. Also, it's good to mix in higher rep exercises even if your overall workout is LVHI.

3) I try my best to:
- eat every 3 hours
- never feel hungry
- consume low-glycemic index carbs while keeping in mind glycemic load
- eat lean proteins
- not neglect unsaturated fats (mono and poly)
- keep the protein-carb-fat ratio @ 50-35-15
- have at least 2, but preferably 3 food groups during every snack
- drink 5 liters of water daily
- get enough sleep

Few comments:
- Doing a great job on WHAT i'm consuming re: 3 groups and water
- I'd have to quit my job if I were to always make sure the ratio is maintained...
- Failing miserably on the sleep part...
- ALCOHOL. I can't give it up :/ I drink moderately, but still... A doctor friend of mine sent me a terrific article on this subject. Am I allowed to post links here?

4) I have knee problems, so my physical therapist allows only low-impact, low-strain leg work. Specifically, elliptical and/or bike. This is unfortunate as I know that leg work is the single-best catalyst of overall muscle growth...

My routine is simple, because my work/school schedule is extremely complex.
Day 1 - Full-body, Day 2 - HIIT. Repeat.
Days of rest always come up naturally due to life. It's an inevitability really :)

Elliptical HIIT:
- 3min warm-up
- 10 cycles of 1:3 ON:OFF
30sec full-force sprint on 8th level
90sec jog on 1st level
- 3min cool-down
Total: 25min

Weights:
*I leave the compound exercises alone, but I change up the order and type of the rest.
Current routine (naming convention is from this site):

2x6 Incline press
2x6 Flat press + 2x15 Leg raise (superset)
2x6 Pulldown
2x6 Row + 2x15 Incline crunch (superset)
2x8 Dip
2x8 Curl + 2x15 Hanging leg raise (superset)
2x8 Rear lateral raise
2x8 Dumbbell raise (interestingly, listed as a compound lateral delt exercise)
2x8 Shrugs

With 90sec rest periods, entire workout takes 40-45min. Shake consumed within 10 minutes after.

All of this is done on an olympic home gym at my apartment (not house). It is a versatile gym with plenty of toys and iron, BUT it does create situations where a certain order is more time-efficient (e.g., can't do flat press and hanging leg raise as the bench will be in the way).

Again, ANY thoughts would be appreciated!


Last edited by emil3m on Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:21 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:54 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
You say that you're not a bodybuilder, but you think like one! ...


Thank you, Jungledoc!

I'm always trying to find good legitimate source of information. Read somewhere that, when it comes to results, research has its share of the pie chart alongside nutrition and exercise.

To your point re:rest, I do want to gain lean mass while shredding the fat. Currently @ 15-16% BF and want to be at 10-12% depending on the good old mirror-test (should this blessed day ever come).

If I understand you correctly, 90sec rest between sets should be okay then?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:12 am 
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Ironman wrote:
I would assume the OP is a beginner. That routine is more of a beginner routine. Strength and hypertrophy should both happen together no matter what you do at that point. The first year is always awesome like that.


Would you help me define myself in that sense? Honest truth:

28 y.o., 5'10" last 8 years weight fluctuated from 170 to 195.
Lifted from 21 to 25. Did zero research. Young metabolism shredded everything including junk. Everything was bro-science based. Got big. Nothing crazy at peak: benched 275lb 3x8 (good form) and curled 60lb 3x8 (decent, not burf-evoking form).
Got married. Everything stopped for 3 years. Muscle turned into fat (in effect). Got divorced. Bought an olympic home gym and elliptical (due to an EXTREMELY demanding work/school schedule).
Last 2 months: Doing research and eating properly (trying). Lost 13lb, but also a few BF% points.
Form is watched closely now. Strength progressed from benching 3x8 @ 65lb to 2x6 @ 145lb; curls from 10lb to 30lb.

Btw, am I allowed to post reference links? for example, an article about alcohol I wanted to share. Also, I found the "attach signature" radio button, but couldn't find how to create it..

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:25 am 
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emil3m wrote:
- I'd have to quit my job if I were to always make sure the ratio is maintained...
- ALCOHOL. I can't give it up :/ I drink moderately, but still... A doctor friend of mine sent me a terrific article on this subject. Am I allowed to post links here?

What do you mean by that quit your job thing? How work has to do with nutrition?
Yeah, the alcohol is the number one problem stopping you from getting even better results. Even if you are a moderate drinker. I would try to cut it to one or two drinks max per evening. Some people don't want to ditch alcohol in its entirety, so just try to cut back on it.

Quote:
4) I have knee problems, so my physical therapist allows only low-impact, low-strain leg work. Specifically, elliptical and/or bike. This is unfortunate as I know that leg work is the single-best catalyst of overall muscle growth...

My routine is simple, because my work/school schedule is extremely complex.
Day 1 - Full-body, Day 2 - HIIT. Repeat.
Days of rest always come up naturally due to life. It's an inevitability really :)

Elliptical HIIT:
- 3min warm-up
- 10 cycles of 1:3 ON:OFF
30sec full-force sprint on 8th level
90sec jog on 1st level
- 3min cool-down
Total: 25min

Weights:
*I leave the compound exercises alone, but I change up the order and type of the rest.
Current routine (naming convention is from this site):

2x6 Incline press
2x6 Flat press + 2x15 Leg raise (superset)
2x6 Pulldown
2x6 Row + 2x15 Incline crunch (superset)
2x8 Dip
2x8 Curl + 2x15 Hanging leg raise (superset)
2x8 Rear lateral raise
2x8 Dumbbell raise (interestingly, listed as a compound lateral delt exercise)
2x8 Shrugs

How many times you oftenly get through this routine? Aka how many workouts you have per week?
I'm not really a fan of of your workout routine. Here's why:

1) No leg work. I understand, there's something in your knee. But you can still do high intensity intervals with it. What is it exactly that bothers your knee? Ain't there anything to fix it? You have zero leg work and that will surely give you muscular imbalances and weaknesses. There are leg/hip exercises that don't strain the knee too much.

2) Little sets but many exercises. I would like it the other way round. Maybe that's just a personal prefrence, but it looks more ADD if you do two sets of press variation, then move on to do two sets of different press variation. Then you do a press accessory for two sets. I would get some main lifts on that routine, like Flat press or incline press, and do it for several sets for 2-6 weeks then maybe change if you want variation. You can rotate your lifts even on every other workout if you want to. Like doing incline press on workout 1, then on workout 2 do flat presses. It's still pretty much the same exercise. Especially when you only got one workout routine. Pulldowns are great. It would be even nicer if you could perform pull-ups, but that's good. Low set amount is alright on the smaller and finishing exercises like dips and curls, where I assume you just want the muscles to burn after two more intense compound exercises.

3) About the shoulder work. Dumbell raises (I assume you are talking about front raises) are a compound exercise, yes. It uses several joints. But it still is an isolation exercise. You are only targeting the deltoid muscle with small assisting muscles. Big compound exercises (the moneymakers for fat loss and strenght) like squats, deadlifts, rows and presses are more effective since they use more muscle fibers and need way more effort than some raises. Rear delts are important and should be worked, but not too heavily. They need activation, not too much stress. I would say to rotate some shoulder presses with those press variations if you want bigger effect on your shoulder area. That's optional though. You shouldn't add any shoulder presses on your current routine however. There would be far too much pressing and stress on the triceps and shoulders. But maybe consider rotating shoulder presses also if possible.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:46 am 
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Dub wrote:
What do you mean by that quit your job thing?

eating/snacking every 3 hours means that 3-4 times I have to do it at work. There's simply no way for me to cook so much. I eat mostly at healthy salad places, but when you buy food like that you can only estimate proportions (lots of protein, some carbs, little fat).
I go at least 4 days a week without alcohol at all. 2 days would prob have 2 drinks and one day 3-4 drinks. Trying to cut down even more.
Dub wrote:
Aka how many workouts you have per week? I'm not really a fan of of your workout routine. Here's why:

3 days of lifting and 3 days of HIIT. Read a clinical study (ACSM) claiming that 48 hours is sufficient for recovery after a 60min resistance workout and mine is about 40-45min.

1) I have misaligned patellas on both knees. It hurts to do a proper squat without any weight at all. Knees are pretty destabilized too, so they shake like crazy when I tried to do leg work. Bigger issue than pain is that any joint-stressing exercise makes the condition worse. Cartilage, as I'm sure you know, is nonrenewable. I possibly messed them up during early years of lifting where I wasn't using my head too much.
HIIT on elliptical/bike bypasses my joints to a large extent. My full-force sprint cycles are on high resistance. I am also concentrating hard on using muscle and feel a really strong leg burn after the workout. Everything I ever read says that leg work is the best work you can do in the gym, so I see where you are coming from. At this point I am limited to rehabilitation work on an exercise ball (both stabilization and strengthening).

2) I came to this board with an open mind. How would you reconfigure?
I was thinking about doing two diff days: W1:Chest/Back/Abs and W2:Arms/Shoulders/Abs. With the cycles being W1-HIIT-W2-HIIT.
However, the article on this board ("Low-Volume, Progressive-Intensity Training") and other clinical studies says that only the second set for each type of exercise yields a noticeable marginal return. So if I keep that in mind, I will only have 4 sets of 6 reps to do for chest/back. With abs and 90 sec rests it like 10-12 minutes. Compound for 12 minutes and then wait for 4 days before I do it again seemed sub-optimal.

3) I actually hate front raises. Like you said, the anterior delt gets more work than it needs during chest and tricep work.
I am hitting the posterior delt with rear lateral rises. As for the lateral delt, these raises are nothing I ever saw before:
just tried to post a link and it is not allowed. Can you go to the ExRx Lat Delt section and click on "Raise" under Dumbbell? It claims to be a basic and compound exercise. I am still learning to do it as it feels like the bicep is working more and not so much stress on the lateral delt at all... What do you think?


Any criticism is welcome! I could use new perspectives.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:57 am 
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emil3m wrote:
eating/snacking every 3 hours means that 3-4 times I have to do it at work. There's simply no way for me to cook so much. I eat mostly at healthy salad places, but when you buy food like that you can only estimate proportions (lots of protein, some carbs, little fat).



Quote:
3 days of lifting and 3 days of HIIT. Read a clinical study (ACSM) claiming that 48 hours is sufficient for recovery after a 60min resistance workout and mine is about 40-45min.
That's quite plenty yeah. Recovery shouldn't be a problem if your nutrition and SLEEP is in order. But be careful with this, and analyze your recovery by yourself. If you are not recovering enough, drop one HIIT set. You'll know best when the recovery isn't sufficient.


Quote:
At this point I am limited to rehabilitation work on an exercise ball (both stabilization and strengthening).
Alright, good to know. I let this to Doc and other people who now more about real injuries and their treatments and such. But this worries me. What exercises do you do on an exercise ball?

Quote:
2) I came to this board with an open mind. How would you reconfigure?
I was thinking about doing two diff days: W1:Chest/Back/Abs and W2:Arms/Shoulders/Abs. With the cycles being W1-HIIT-W2-HIIT.
I think full-body workouts are alright. There's no need for a split necessarily. If I would split, I would do it the way you suggested actually. But with a full-body it's also possible. You see, all of these muscle groups are often used together in several exercises. For instance, pressing exercises use shoulders, chest and triceps in general, as pulling exercises use the back muscles and arms. Hence, I would suggest you to pick two main lifts, which you can rotate on workout or weekly basis, and build accesories from there. As an example:

Press variation (bench press, incline press, shoulder press. DB/BB)
Pull variation (Pull-up, pulldown, Row)
Delt exercise (Like lateral, rear or other)
Arm exercise (you can in example rotate bicep work and tricep work every other workout)
Core exercise (Abs, anti-flexion, anti-rotation, all kinds)

Or then you can have Back and chest exercises after the main lifts. It's most up to you, and what do you want to improve the most at the moment.

Quote:
However, the article on this board ("Low-Volume, Progressive-Intensity Training") and other clinical studies says that only the second set for each type of exercise yields a noticeable marginal return. So if I keep that in mind, I will only have 4 sets of 6 reps to do for chest/back. With abs and 90 sec rests it like 10-12 minutes. Compound for 12 minutes and then wait for 4 days before I do it again seemed sub-optimal.

With that logic we should all do fullbody workouts every other day to get results. But no, the body is more complicated than that. Some people only workout twice a week to get results. Any resistance training will give your results. Even one set a week can give you results. But it's not optimal. I would still recommend the 3-5 sets atleast per main lift.

The recovery system of the body is not that simple. The muscle doesn't track the time it's been exercised. No, after resistance training your muscle has been broken down and it will continue to break down for several hours afterwards. With proper nutrition and rest, the muscle cells start to rebuild and gain strength back, and possible get stronger also. It might take 4 days, or it might take 24 hours, it's very personal and also relates to amount of effort done. If you really stress and work out a muscle, 4 days is not even an improper amount of rest for that muscle. Atleast then it's fresh and totally ready for a new workout.

Quote:
Can you go to the ExRx Lat Delt section and click on "Raise" under Dumbbell? It claims to be a basic and compound exercise. I am still learning to do it as it feels like the bicep is working more and not so much stress on the lateral delt at all... What do you think?
Yeah, it's a variation of lateral raises. In that exercises you should concentrate on pulling the humerus and elbow up, not the DB's. Try to focus using your shoulders to lift the weight. But that's not the only possible lateral deltoid exercise in existence, so you might also want to consider changing the exercise if it doesn't feel good for you.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:20 am 
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Dub wrote:
1) 60s-120s is considered to be the optimal rest if you goal is maximal hypertrophy. So 90s is good. If you got more energy left, perform the set after 60s of rest. If the last set was a total nut buster, rest for 2 minutes...
This made me think that maybe the idea of a fixed rest time between sets might be changed. It seems reasonable to increase the rest period from set to set, thus cutting the effort difference between sets, actually allowing for more resistance on the first set (right now I set the limit so that I can complete the last set with a constant one minute rest between sets). Does it make sense?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:28 am 
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My view is that strength is best worked early in the workout, hypertrophy comes later. Following that theory, you should warmup, work up to a heavy set, taking as much rest as needed, then follow with quick, high rep sets using lower weights and short rests.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:36 am 
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Forgot to answer to this.

emil3m wrote:
eating/snacking every 3 hours means that 3-4 times I have to do it at work. There's simply no way for me to cook so much. I eat mostly at healthy salad places, but when you buy food like that you can only estimate proportions (lots of protein, some carbs, little fat).

Have you ever wondered why you are doing this? Why would one have to eat every three hours? The most popular theories rely on the facts that you have to keep the amino pools and protein synthesis going, as well as keeping the insulin, which is the most anabolic hormone some people say, running constantly. But there are a couple of problems here and there.
Let me say you this, you CAN eat 4-6 meals a day, like every 2-4 hours. But you DON'T HAVE TO. People get great results with higher and lower meal frequency. Don't worry if you haven't eaten in hours, it doesn't hinder you progress at all. The only important thing you have to worry about is meeting average macros day in and day out. Eating enough protein, carbs and fats in daily basis. Okay, it's cool if you don't eat enough some day, or gobble on some sugar the other, but the main point is constancy. If you eat well on average weekly basis, you'll get results.

stuward wrote:
My view is that strength is best worked early in the workout, hypertrophy comes later. Following that theory, you should warmup, work up to a heavy set, taking as much rest as needed, then follow with quick, high rep sets using lower weights and short rests.
Definitely. I agree with you 100%. That's what I've always been doing. But I'm still a bit thinking if the same method should be used with all. I know strength and hypertrophy go hand to hand, but a person that just wants the latter, is it necessary at the starting phase to use heavier than 6-rep intensity? I would say it's needed when your progress starts to go down, and you simply need more strength to get to heavier weights in hypertrophy ranges.

josh60 wrote:
This made me think that maybe the idea of a fixed rest time between sets might be changed. It seems reasonable to increase the rest period from set to set, thus cutting the effort difference between sets, actually allowing for more resistance on the first set (right now I set the limit so that I can complete the last set with a constant one minute rest between sets). Does it make sense?
To me it does. And I've used it all the time. Like doing Wendler 531 or some 3x5 routine. I always rest less in the beginning (2-3 minutes max), then after two sets I'm more burned, I take more rest since the last set is always the hardest. 3-5minutes at least. On PR days the rest can go over 7 minutes. On 531 I've kept rest time in 3-4 minutes at longest.

It does also have a physiological logic behind it.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:37 am 
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I'm confused by the knee issues. I would expect that "misaligned patellae" would be made worse by intense elliptical or bike work, and that properly-planned resistance work would help a lot. Who diagnosed the "misaligned patellae" and how?

Yeah, the lack of real leg work bothers me. I think you should start some unilateral leg work, starting with body weight or lighter. Here's one application for the knee extension machine. Do one leg at a time, starting with limited ROM, using the last 15 degrees or so of extension. Gradually increase the load, and gradually increase the ROM. Then add in some lunges or step-ups, BW only. If that goes well, you should be able to add some weight to the unilateral work, and then eventually start some BW bilateral work. It's true that cartilage doesn't regenerate, but you can also stop damaging it by getting things balanced a bit better.

And you apparently took my comment about thinking like a body builder as a compliment! You don't know me very well yet. :) Which leads me to my final thought for the moment. The "thinking like a body builder" continues as you discuss individual muscles. I can't think of very many individual muscles that do anything useful in real life all by themselves. To do anything useful, muscles have to work together. They should be trained together. Compound work should be the MAJORITY of your work. You should plan your training around movements, not muscles.

Well, I'm off to the gym for some horizontal push, vertical pull and horizontal pull.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:59 pm 
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Dub wrote:
If you eat well on average weekly basis, you'll get results.


Point taken on nutrition. I definitely can't be perfect as I like to go out, but I can make healthier choices as much as possible.

Dub wrote:
Press variation (bench press, incline press, shoulder press. DB/BB)
Pull variation (Pull-up, pulldown, Row)
Delt exercise (Like lateral, rear or other)
Arm exercise (you can in example rotate bicep work and tricep work every other workout)
Core exercise (Abs, anti-flexion, anti-rotation, all kinds)


So you suggest that I do no more than 5 exercises per workout? In other words 10 sets?
I'm ready to change my routine as I see it's poorly designed.

Dub wrote:
The recovery system of the body is not that simple. The muscle doesn't track the time it's been exercised. No, after resistance training your muscle has been broken down and it will continue to break down for several hours afterwards. With proper nutrition and rest, the muscle cells start to rebuild and gain strength back, and possible get stronger also. It might take 4 days, or it might take 24 hours, it's very personal and also relates to amount of effort done. If you really stress and work out a muscle, 4 days is not even an improper amount of rest for that muscle. Atleast then it's fresh and totally ready for a new workout.


Good stuff. With this in mind, I am really thinking about a 2 way split...
A: Intense, low vol -- Chest, Back, Legs**, Abs
B: Moderate, moderate vol -- Arms, Shoulders, Abs

**super light leg work. I tried these successfully: Stiff-leg-Straight-back Deadlift, Wall squat with a stability ball and light dumbbells, and Good Mornings.

Dub wrote:
Yeah, it's a variation of lateral raises. In that exercises you should concentrate on pulling the humerus and elbow up, not the DB's. Try to focus using your shoulders to lift the weight. But that's not the only possible lateral deltoid exerc

What do you like for lateral delts other than lat raises?


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