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Determine the Length of Your Workouts

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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
Arthur Jones believes, "has all but
destroyed the actual great value
of weight training. Something
must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."

 

This is one of 93 photos of Andy McCutcheon that are used in The New High-Intensity Training to illustrate the recommended exercises.

To find out more about McCutcheon and his training, click here.

 

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Hitit

Can some of you share what variations you've tried in detail and what you've come to like the most please and what feedback you've experienced with them?

I just want to hear more on what you've tried and how you came to find it to work for you or not.

My last upper body WO was this:

Tricep presses: BJ's 30/15/8
*Quite sore next day
*1st set was more of a warm up/ 2nd set was moderate/ 3rd was maybe a couple reps short of failure

HI row/pulldowns: Darden's 15/15/15 - 9 reps
* A Little sore in ant delts next day
* Good intensity stopped at 9 reps just short of 1 or 2 failure
* Good fatigue during the set but not much feeling the day after in my other muscles

Bicep curl: SSTF x 9 reps (3/3 speeds)
* Slight pump
* no real soreness

Chest Press: Darden 30/30/30
* Slight pump
* No real soreness
* got the weight just right on this one and pretty close to failure on the last 30 sec
* Deep fatigue while doing the set but not much the day after.

This is the first time I've tried any of these variations on the listed exercises recently so they were all different from my WOs of late.

If I were to give the most sense of fullness and work done this time around at the end I'd say my triceps got the best from the above WO.



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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

To get the fullness, I find that a couple of things need to be done together.

Tried the 15/15/15 on Preacher Machine (Precor), but must have misjudged the weight cause I only got 4-1/2 reps (NOT total failure)

I followed that a minute later with Alt DB Curls in sets of 8, 6, and 5 reps --- same weight with 5 breaths between each set.

Biceps still nice and full 3 days later.

Similar concept (stretch exercise followed by contraction one) for triceps:
1. Seated Triceps Bar* Extensions - 3 sets of 5 (*the one with parallel grips)
2. CG Incline Machine Press Partials - 20/12/7 (40-sec rests)

Sore AND full.
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Hitit

Thanks Scott. Approx. what % of weight do you use for the 20/12/7 set compared if it were a SSTF?

I took what I use on a SSTF (close to failure) dropped it about 60% for my first set of 30.

2nd set of 15 is about -30% of my SSTF.

Last set of 6-10 is about -10% SSTF.

I could probably stand to only drop 50% on the first set but the 2nd set (-30% sstf) was pretty good leaving plenty of steam for the last set which seemed pretty good at the -10% of the SSTF amount.

I think I've gotten more out of this then the other variations thus far with the exception of when I tried 21's (7 half reps top/7 bottom reps then 7 full reps). This worked quite well for me as well with regards to size, feel and look.

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PTDaniel

Hitit wrote:
Thanks Scott. Approx. what % of weight do you use for the 20/12/7 set compared if it were a SSTF?

I took what I use on a SSTF (close to failure) dropped it about 60% for my first set of 30.

2nd set of 15 is about -30% of my SSTF.

Last set of 6-10 is about -10% SSTF.

I could probably stand to only drop 50% on the first set but the 2nd set (-30% sstf) was pretty good leaving plenty of steam for the last set which seemed pretty good at the -10% of the SSTF amount.

I think I've gotten more out of this then the other variations thus far with the exception of when I tried 21's (7 half reps top/7 bottom reps then 7 full reps). This worked quite well for me as well with regards to size, feel and look.



I've taken the idea behind 21's to an extreme. I have a list of 80 different full and partial repetition clusters I randomly insert into my workouts.

I've started to use cluster sets of varying lengths. I'm also starting to experiment with mixing rep cadences within sets. I've used alternating high rep rhythmic sets and low rep, slow cadence sets. I'm also starting to use 3 second isometric holds during repetitions. Often I gather different repetition and set schemes into numbered lists, then use random number generators to create a different workout every session. If I read about or come up with something novel, I will usually try it. I'm a stickler for randomness and variation in my routines.
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Hitit

PTDaniel wrote:

I've taken the idea behind 21's to an extreme. I have a list of 80 different full and partial repetition clusters I randomly insert into my workouts.

I've started to use cluster sets of varying lengths. I'm also starting to experiment with mixing rep cadences within sets. I've used alternating high rep rhythmic sets and low rep, slow cadence sets. I'm also starting to use 3 second isometric holds during repetitions. Often I gather different repetition and set schemes into numbered lists, then use random number generators to create a different workout every session. If I read about or come up with something novel, I will usually try it. I'm a stickler for randomness and variation in my routines.


Very cool thanks, anything stand out most for you?

I had thought of mixing half reps with full reps in sequence.

Something like bottom half rep to a full rep to the top half to full rep to a bottom half to a full rep top half then again to full bottom rep again and so on....
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

That's the 1 and 1/2 rep method doubled up. It's OK. It will feel different if you're only used to full ROM reps.
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PTDaniel

Hitit wrote:
PTDaniel wrote:

I've taken the idea behind 21's to an extreme. I have a list of 80 different full and partial repetition clusters I randomly insert into my workouts.

I've started to use cluster sets of varying lengths. I'm also starting to experiment with mixing rep cadences within sets. I've used alternating high rep rhythmic sets and low rep, slow cadence sets. I'm also starting to use 3 second isometric holds during repetitions. Often I gather different repetition and set schemes into numbered lists, then use random number generators to create a different workout every session. If I read about or come up with something novel, I will usually try it. I'm a stickler for randomness and variation in my routines.


Very cool thanks, anything stand out most for you?

I had thought of mixing half reps with full reps in sequence.

Something like bottom half rep to a full rep to the top half to full rep to a bottom half to a full rep top half then again to full bottom rep again and so on....


That is one of the patterns I use. One of my favorites is 4 full, 8 in the hardest half, 4 full, 8 in the easier half, 4 full to finish. You can also create patterns that have you alternating between the halfs in two different clusters. An example would be 5 in the hard half, 5 in the easy half, 4 full, 5 in the hard half, 5 in the easy half, 4 full to finish.

You can also incorporate thirds and fulls. An example would be 3 full, 7 in the top third, 3 full, 7 in the middle third, 3 full, 7 in the bottom third, 3 full to finish.

It helps to use a rhythmic pace since the total rep count is high you want to keep the TUL in an anaerobic range. I also have patterns where I blend halfs, thirds, and fulls. I have patterns that use expanding ranges of motion like 1/5 up, then 2/5 up, then 3/5 up, then 4/5 up. You can reverse orientation too and start expanding from the top of the ROM as you lower the weight. There's so much you can do when you start breaking down the ROM of an exercise into varying length segments then combine them. The constraining factor is your ability to remember the patterns and the TUL. Sometimes it's fun to freestyle and wing it.
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

That 20/12/7 was about 30% less than my SSTF weight (8-10 reps), though that's FROM. I kept the same weight throughout.

Honestly, I just picked a weight that was less than what I usually used and let the reps fall as they may.

I think I had half intended the 30/15/8, but obviously didn't drop back enough --- I thought I didn't need to since I was doing partials*, but my tris told me otherwise!
(*about the top 60% of the ROM)
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PTDaniel

I started yesterday's workout with back squats. First set was a combination of 5 cluster sets of 8 reps with 20 second rests between cluster sets. I then did another round of 7 cluster sets with 3 full ROM reps, 3 reps in the bottom half, 3 reps in the top half, 5 full reps, 5 reps in the bottom half, 5 reps in the top half, and 5 full reps with approximately 2 or 3 seconds break between clusters. I finished the back squat with a 50 Rep challenge ala "High-Density-Training" style.

I then moved to the kettlebell sumo lift and performed the same set configuration as the back squat.

I then performed 4 sets of prone curls with varying rep patterns composed of full reps, half reps, and third reps. On the third set I tried a pattern based on Dr. Darden's 15-15-15 + 8-12 rhythmic reps. I wanted to shorten the TUL so I did 10-10-10 + 10 rhythmic reps. The 10-10-10 + 10 felt very different from rhythmic only.

I finished the workout with calves. I tried occluding my veinous blood flow by wrapping resistance tape beneath my knees. After wrapping I went right to machine calf raises and with light weight performed 5 rep burns cluster sets.

Occluding my calves seems to make them fatigue too fast. I could only perform 1 set of burns in cluster with little weight. I then stood on an incline bench spotter platform and tried to cluster with burns. I could barely complete 2 clusters. The pump was very different compared to non-occluded training. It was very uncomfortable and "throbby". I may save the occlusion for the final set in my calf workout next time.
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DownUnderLifter

PTDaniel wrote:
I started yesterday's workout with back squats. First set was a combination of 5 cluster sets of 8 reps with 20 second rests between cluster sets. I then did another round of 7 cluster sets with 3 full ROM reps, 3 reps in the bottom half, 3 reps in the top half, 5 full reps, 5 reps in the bottom half, 5 reps in the top half, and 5 full reps with approximately 2 or 3 seconds break between clusters. I finished the back squat with a 50 Rep challenge ala "High-Density-Training" style.

I then moved to the kettlebell sumo lift and performed the same set configuration as the back squat.

I then performed 4 sets of prone curls with varying rep patterns composed of full reps, half reps, and third reps. On the third set I tried a pattern based on Dr. Darden's 15-15-15 + 8-12 rhythmic reps. I wanted to shorten the TUL so I did 10-10-10 + 10 rhythmic reps. The 10-10-10 + 10 felt very different from rhythmic only.

I finished the workout with calves. I tried occluding my veinous blood flow by wrapping resistance tape beneath my knees. After wrapping I went right to machine calf raises and with light weight performed 5 rep burns cluster sets.

Occluding my calves seems to make them fatigue too fast. I could only perform 1 set of burns in cluster with little weight. I then stood on an incline bench spotter platform and tried to cluster with burns. I could barely complete 2 clusters. The pump was very different compared to non-occluded training. It was very uncomfortable and "throbby". I may save the occlusion for the final set in my calf
workout next time.

Hey PT

Sounds like a brutal workout. How long did it take you to get through all that?
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Hitit

simon-hecubus wrote:
That 20/12/7 was about 30% less than my SSTF weight (8-10 reps), though that's FROM. I kept the same weight throughout.

Honestly, I just picked a weight that was less than what I usually used and let the reps fall as they may.

I think I had half intended the 30/15/8, but obviously didn't drop back enough --- I thought I didn't need to since I was doing partials*, but my tris told me otherwise!
(*about the top 60% of the ROM)


That's about what I did the first time on the chins. But no longer as it's too much at this time. I now do about 60% (SSTF weight) for the set of 30 then about 75% then 90% on the last set of 8-ish. This is better for me if I am going to do more then one exercise for that body part. But I think it could be something on just 1 exercise of combined with a compound to an secondary iso exercise. I.E. Chest Press/tris.
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Hitit

Did legs last week:

Used 21's on Leg Ext.

Leg Presses were 30/15/8 which ended up being 25/15/10.

I find that with most exercises I cannot move fast enough comfortably to get 30 reps in a minute, especially with a long range on movement like leg presses. I'll probably stick with 20/15/10-ish for most now.

Did 21's on the calf raises.

All exercises made a nice inroad into fatigue.

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Hitit

I'm going back to more splits now as another variation. This time it will be:

M - chest, Ant delts, tris
W - Legs
F - Back, bi, post delts, abs

No sstf now and all using variations from Brian Johnston's book (maybe a couple of others) as well as alternating exercises focusing on muscle fatigue not system fatigue.

Will keep the volume low at this time with no more than 4 exercises per WO and no more than (2) exercises per body part and adjusting according to bio feedback.

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AShortt

Ontario, CAN

Assisted wide pronated grip pull-ups. 10 inch middle range only. Trying to bend the handles in toward your body...wicked back wake-er-up-er.

Regards,
Andrew
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Hitit

AShortt wrote:
Assisted wide pronated grip pull-ups. 10 inch middle range only. Trying to bend the handles in toward your body...wicked back wake-er-up-er.

Regards,
Andrew


Hey, I was going to try those mid-range but was concerned about my shoulder but thought that might be easier on the joint.

You did them palms facing away right?

That used to irritate my shoulder so I began parallel grips but often feel that in my chest also with assisted chins. Did you get a sense of chest involvement?

Trying to get away from getting any chest work on back days since going to the splits.
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

When you do chins, think about pushing the chest (ribcage) up toward the ceiling (which cause the back to arch). If you pull with the back, and allow the chest to aim upward (arch upward) there is no friggin' way you're going to feel that in the chest. I'm not sure how it's even possible, since the pecs MUST relax in order for the lats to flex and remain under tension.
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Hitit

Brian Johnston wrote:
When you do chins, think about pushing the chest (ribcage) up toward the ceiling (which cause the back to arch). If you pull with the back, and allow the chest to aim upward (arch upward) there is no friggin' way you're going to feel that in the chest. I'm not sure how it's even possible, since the pecs MUST relax in order for the lats to flex and remain under tension.


Thanks. Maybe because I do them with a parallel grip and pull from the front to avoid my elbows going far back which irritates my shoulder then.
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PTDaniel

DownUnderLifter wrote:
PTDaniel wrote:
I started yesterday's workout with back squats. First set was a combination of 5 cluster sets of 8 reps with 20 second rests between cluster sets. I then did another round of 7 cluster sets with 3 full ROM reps, 3 reps in the bottom half, 3 reps in the top half, 5 full reps, 5 reps in the bottom half, 5 reps in the top half, and 5 full reps with approximately 2 or 3 seconds break between clusters. I finished the back squat with a 50 Rep challenge ala "High-Density-Training" style.

I then moved to the kettlebell sumo lift and performed the same set configuration as the back squat.

I then performed 4 sets of prone curls with varying rep patterns composed of full reps, half reps, and third reps. On the third set I tried a pattern based on Dr. Darden's 15-15-15 + 8-12 rhythmic reps. I wanted to shorten the TUL so I did 10-10-10 + 10 rhythmic reps. The 10-10-10 + 10 felt very different from rhythmic only.

I finished the workout with calves. I tried occluding my veinous blood flow by wrapping resistance tape beneath my knees. After wrapping I went right to machine calf raises and with light weight performed 5 rep burns cluster sets.

Occluding my calves seems to make them fatigue too fast. I could only perform 1 set of burns in cluster with little weight. I then stood on an incline bench spotter platform and tried to cluster with burns. I could barely complete 2 clusters. The pump was very different compared to non-occluded training. It was very uncomfortable and "throbby". I may save the occlusion for the final set in my calf
workout next time.
Hey PT

Sounds like a brutal workout. How long did it take you to get through all that?


Half an hour. Like Brian Johnston I focus on, "High-Density-Training", lots of contractions per unit of time. I may have over done it though. I was sore until yesterday.
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PTDaniel

AShortt wrote:
Assisted wide pronated grip pull-ups. 10 inch middle range only. Trying to bend the handles in toward your body...wicked back wake-er-up-er.

Regards,
Andrew


I'm going to try the bending. I only recently tried pronated pullups. One set at an effort of 6/10 and my lats pumped up. I have a hard time pumping lats too.
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PTDaniel

Brian Johnston wrote:
When you do chins, think about pushing the chest (ribcage) up toward the ceiling (which cause the back to arch). If you pull with the back, and allow the chest to aim upward (arch upward) there is no friggin' way you're going to feel that in the chest. I'm not sure how it's even possible, since the pecs MUST relax in order for the lats to flex and remain under tension.


I get clients that claim they feel pullups in the chest. What that usually means is that they are sore in the chest from the prior work out so the slight stretch in the chest when in the position of near full back contraction was felt.
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AShortt

Ontario, CAN

Hitit wrote:
AShortt wrote:
Assisted wide pronated grip pull-ups. 10 inch middle range only. Trying to bend the handles in toward your body...wicked back wake-er-up-er.

Regards,
Andrew

Hey, I was going to try those mid-range but was concerned about my shoulder but thought that might be easier on the joint.

You did them palms facing away right?

That used to irritate my shoulder so I began parallel grips but often feel that in my chest also with assisted chins. Did you get a sense of chest involvement?

Trying to get away from getting any chest work on back days since going to the splits.


Yes wide palms away chest to bar angle. The bending is to get the shoulder blades to slide down and towards each other slightly.

Regards,
Andrew
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AShortt

Ontario, CAN

PTDaniel wrote:
Brian Johnston wrote:
When you do chins, think about pushing the chest (ribcage) up toward the ceiling (which cause the back to arch). If you pull with the back, and allow the chest to aim upward (arch upward) there is no friggin' way you're going to feel that in the chest. I'm not sure how it's even possible, since the pecs MUST relax in order for the lats to flex and remain under tension.

I get clients that claim they feel pullups in the chest. What that usually means is that they are sore in the chest from the prior work out so the slight stretch in the chest when in the position of near full back contraction was felt.


Sometimes the chest will try to contract possibly to help stability. This is felt as you contract the lats and the pecs resist stretching.

Regards,
Andrew
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Hitit

Sticking with 4 core exercises today I did legs:

Leg Ext - studder reps - 4 reps x 6 studder steps if that makes sense.

Hip Ad - 3 reg progressive weight set x 12 reps

Leg Press - 1 1/4 reps x 8 reps (slow speed about 3/3 TUL about 1 minute)

1 calf raises - 1 1/4 reps top and bottom 1/2s. 12 reps (TUL about 90 sec.)

I will be tossing in a couple of body exercises just a buffers. I did 2 sets of 20 rubber Thera band walks and leg curls on the rubber ball. These I do more so for my back and they are not intense but I shoot for about 1 minute in the sets. There are more like warm ups.

I finished the WO with 5 minutes on the elliptical just to feel like I'm flushing the blood in my legs around.

Total WO time was 30 minutes.

Took each set to what I felt was muscle fatigue then stopped. It's a different feel right now than SSTF and the best way I could describe NTF with these techniques is that if I pushed further I would be using system energy to fatigue rather than stopping at the point of local muscle fatigue. It's like when you reach those last reps in a SSTF and you muscles are already fatigued but you use your CNS energy to push it further. This is the threshold I'm trying to get a better feel for as to the stopping point. Brian mentions something about practicing his techniques to get the feel for this NTF stopping point I believe.

All in all I feel a good local muscle fatigue in my legs in spite of using lighter weights and not going to failure. I think my CNS is thanking me for it as well.
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S.M.Punisher

Well since the lats are involved in benching- and when I used to do chins before incline bench the latter always suffered a bit, and vice versa- I can see how, depending on technique, the chest could become somewhat involved in some pulling movements. I don?t feel it when I do wide pronated pull ups, but I do with one armed supinated chin ups (which incidently are the only exercise that make my side delts sore...).
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S.M.Punisher

Hitit wrote:
Took each set to what I felt was muscle fatigue then stopped. It's a different feel right now than SSTF and the best way I could describe NTF with these techniques is that if I pushed further I would be using system energy to fatigue rather than stopping at the point of local muscle fatigue. It's like when you reach those last reps in a SSTF and you muscles are already fatigued but you use your CNS energy to push it further. This is the threshold I'm trying to get a better feel for as to the stopping point. Brian mentions something about practicing his techniques to get the feel for this NTF stopping point I believe.


The CNS supplies the muscle to contract, so greater CNS fatigue as a result of stimulating muscular contractions means greater muscle fatigue. Greater muscle fatigue must equal greater CNS fatigue, since a muscle cannot contract without the CNS making it do so. The two are inseperable.
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