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Determine the Length of Your Workouts

Evaluate Your Progress

Keep Warm-Up in Perspective


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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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The Value of Rest Days
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hdlifter

Despite being a lifetime HIT/HD advocate, the one aspect I tried to downplay and ignore was the importance of rest days. But this year I decided to see how I'd fare, so I started to interspace more rest days between workouts with terrific results!

I started by adding an extra rest day between workouts on my 3-way split, so I was working each a muscle every 9 days. That was OK for a period, but then my progress rate stalled, so I extended that to every 12 days. HITting my gym every 4th day. Which proved even better.

Thanks to additional R&R, not only do I feel great (no niggling aches or pains) but I look thicker?last month I gained 5.5#, + 1/4″ chest and forearms, with other muscle gains and a waist loss.

Mike and I discussed the value of rest days, indepth, in 1998. But even then I was weary about it as I love to train. Now 110kg/242#, I believe on an every 7 days per muscle frequency I triggered growth but I just didn't allow enough time for it to manifest.
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PTDaniel

hdlifter wrote:
Despite being a lifetime HIT/HD advocate, the one aspect I tried to downplay and ignore was the importance of rest days. But this year I decided to see how I'd fare, so I started to interspace more rest days between workouts with terrific results!

I started by adding an extra rest day between workouts on my 3-way split, so I was working each a muscle every 9 days. That was OK for a period, but then my progress rate stalled, so I extended that to every 12 days. HITting my gym every 4th day. Which proven even better.

Thanks to additional R&R, not only do I feel great (no niggling aches or pains) but I look thicker?last month I gained 5.5#, + 1/4″ chest and forearms, with other muscle gains and a waist loss.

Mike and I discussed the value of rest days, indepth, in 1998. But even then I was weary about it as I love to train. Now 110kg/242#, I believe on an every 7 days per muscle frequency I triggered growth but I just didn't allow enough time for it to manifest.


I have an opposite response to volume and frequency. As I've progressed, I've increased the number of training days per week and the set count per body part. I'm seeing noticeable gains on 5 - 7 days/week after moving from 3 days per week with a lower set count per body part.
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Grant D.

Great to hear you're moving in the right temporal direction. I now do each unique exercise muscle group about every six to eight weeks, with each session visit every two to three weeks. When I "thirst" for a session in less than two weeks I will usually do a minor exercise (i.e. tricep extension or leg curl) as a test to see gains from the past. By extending recovery one should always be making gains!
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PTDaniel

Grant D. wrote:
Great to hear you're moving in the right temporal direction. I now do each unique exercise muscle group about every six to eight weeks, with each session visit every two to three weeks. When I "thirst" for a session in less than two weeks I will usually do a minor exercise (i.e. tricep extension or leg curl) as a test to see gains from the past. By extending recovery one should always be making gains!


So when you don't see gains by cutting workout frequency, what is your next option?
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

Grant D. wrote:
Great to hear you're moving in the right temporal direction. I now do each unique exercise muscle group about every six to eight weeks, with each session visit every two to three weeks...By extending recovery one should always be making gains!


"Riiiiiigghht...whatever you say."
[Side of the mouth: "Get the butterfly nets!" ]
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Grant D.

Three aspects must exist for continuous progress.
SAFE No Outroad Focused Intensity on Muscle with minimal motion and zero momentum
REDUCED session volume ... fewer exrecises
EXTENDED RECOVERY ... longer rest

If reduced frequency doesnt allow progress then you're short circuiting the other two ... good question btw.
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Bastion

I can totally relate and agree with Lifter's post. When I was training Heavy Duty/DC all the time, I was eventually forced to take 1-3 days off after each session. I didn't want to, because I've always liked to train 3-4 times a week. As much as I love training, and own a well equipped gym, which makes it tough to take off days. For myself, I came to realise that it's just not necessary for me to train balls out all the time. I did progress while training each bodypart every 9-12 days, but the gains did become slow, and I was annihilating myself to the point of dreading my workouts. With CFT, Myo Reps, and not focusing on how much I lift and trying to kill myself, I make just as good, if not better gains training more frequently 3-4 times a week, and I enjoy my training and look forward to every session. Many ways to skin a cat. If you like to torture yourself and train balls-out all the time, then more recovery time is obviously needed. I have to say that I'm definitely in much better condition and have much less bodyfat on me now with more frequent, less annihilation training. As much as I enjoy training heavy, and do from time to time to test my strength, I just don't feel it's a necessity year round. It all boils down to what you enjoy and can sustain in the long haul.
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Bastion

This thread could also lead to a good discussion regarding the "48 hour protein synthesis window" ala HST and DC / high frequency training.
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Nwlifter

Bastion wrote:
This thread could also lead to a good discussion regarding the "48 hour protein synthesis window" ala HST and DC / high frequency training.


good posts!

yes, the 48 hour window....

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Bastion

I definitely wasn't ever happy with my leg development when I trained balls out infrequently. Until the past 2 yrs of training them every 4-6 days , 1 compound and 1 isolation workout for the legs each week. It makes sense if you think about it, as the upper body is basically hit 2-3 times a week if you split your training up over 3-4 workouts like a traditional bodybuilding routine. I remember annihilating legs and being exhausted for days and never being satisfied with what I got in return for my effort.
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PTDaniel

The hardest thing for me as a former ultra HIT guy was to learn how to hold back on sets. In another thread some posters mentioned anxiety before the workout because they dreaded the impending stress of momentary muscular failure. I used to dread not going to failure. I felt like a loser with a weak will if I didn't break blood vessels in my face with every set. I learned the value of volume which requires holding back and it has yielded the best gains in my training career which spans 3 decades.
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Bastion

PTDaniel wrote:
The hardest thing for me as a former ultra HIT guy was to learn how to hold back on sets. In another thread some posters mentioned anxiety before the workout because they dreaded the impending stress of momentary muscular failure. I used to dread not going to failure. I felt like a loser with a weak will if I didn't break blood vessels in my face with every set. I learned the value of volume which requires holding back and it has yielded the best gains in my training career which spans 3 decades.


Your experience sounds very much like my own.

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Average Al

Bastion wrote:
For myself, I came to realise that it's just not necessary for me to train balls out all the time. I did progress while training each bodypart every 9-12 days, but the gains did become slow, and I was annihilating myself to the point of dreading my workouts. With CFT, Myo Reps, and not focusing on how much I lift and trying to kill myself, I make just as good, if not better gains training more frequently 3-4 times a week, and I enjoy my training and look forward to every session. Many ways to skin a cat. If you like to torture yourself and train balls-out all the time, then more recovery time is obviously needed. I have to say that I'm definitely in much better condition and have much less bodyfat on me now with more frequent, less annihilation training.


Some good thoughts here. "Annihilation Training" gets harder to do as you get older. It is a personal judgement call as to how important it is to keep gym time to an absolute minimum, or to maximizing the amount of weight you can move, either on a machine or with a barbell. In the end, you have to find something that is enjoyable enough to be sustainable, otherwise, you won't stick with it for the long haul.
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Nwlifter

I myself think it's individual differences in the tolerances and recovery factors for each 'system' in the body.

People who can train to failure often enough to stimulate the muscle at a good frequency AND their CNS tolerates it and recovers fast enough to 'do it again' soon enough, can thrive on it. Where other people's CNS cannot tolerate that super high level of output without a very protracted recovery time, need a very long time before they can recover enough to hit the muscles again progressively, make slow to no progress on it.

I also think that 'myth' that recovery happens first, THEN growth (which has long been found to be a made up idea) has contributed to the confusion on this. MUSCLE recovery and growth are one in the same and the process starts within hours after the workout and is done in 24-72 hours if the training is an accustomed method. If the person needs more time after than, it's not the muscles that are still 'recovering'.

It seems to me that the 'inroad' level goes up some percentage with each rep for the muscles, yet the CNS inroad goes up almost in a logarithmic fashion.

If muscular inroad is a desired goal, such as the classic idea of a 20% inroad, then causing a 20% strength reduction with the lowest CNS inroad might be more desirable. Example, a set plus two drop sets, none to killer failure would end with the muscles being 'inroaded' more than 20% most likely, but much less 'effort' and CNS stress.

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sirloin

hdlifter wrote:
Despite being a lifetime HIT/HD advocate, the one aspect I tried to downplay and ignore was the importance of rest days. But this year I decided to see how I'd fare, so I started to interspace more rest days between workouts with terrific results!

I started by adding an extra rest day between workouts on my 3-way split, so I was working each a muscle every 9 days. That was OK for a period, but then my progress rate stalled, so I extended that to every 12 days. HITting my gym every 4th day. Which proved even better.

Thanks to additional R&R, not only do I feel great (no niggling aches or pains) but I look thicker?last month I gained 5.5#, + 1/4″ chest and forearms, with other muscle gains and a waist loss.

Mike and I discussed the value of rest days, indepth, in 1998. But even then I was weary about it as I love to train. Now 110kg/242#, I believe on an every 7 days per muscle frequency I triggered growth but I just didn't allow enough time for it to manifest.


Great to hear your still progressing well Kev, made some good gains (initially) training with high frequency, but like yourself, I perfer to train all out or not at all.
What you posted reminded me of something Magnus Samuelsson said "the body needs two things, hard training and rest, so when you train TRAIN and when you rest REST, but dont do something in between!".

Best
Rob

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DownUnderLifter

Bastion wrote:
PTDaniel wrote:
The hardest thing for me as a former ultra HIT guy was to learn how to hold back on sets....I learned the value of volume which requires holding back and it has yielded the best gains in my training career which spans 3 decades.

Your experience sounds very much like my own.


And similar to my experience too after being a low-volume HIT/HD/HG trainer for most of my life.

As a change, I do go back to low-volume HIT training for certain periods of time as well.

DUL
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Crotalus

Bastion wrote:
PTDaniel wrote:
The hardest thing for me as a former ultra HIT guy was to learn how to hold back on sets. In another thread some posters mentioned anxiety before the workout because they dreaded the impending stress of momentary muscular failure. I used to dread not going to failure. I felt like a loser with a weak will if I didn't break blood vessels in my face with every set. I learned the value of volume which requires holding back and it has yielded the best gains in my training career which spans 3 decades.

Your experience sounds very much like my own.


I'm right in there with you two . Though I still go to failure most of the time, my routines are different where it doesn't render be useless, I recover quickly and can train hard three days a week.

The difference being I don't do full body workouts any more consisting of only compounds movements like I used to.

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ATP 4 Vitality

I like a unilateral farmer's walk hold. I like using my Nautilus OME with a stirrup revolving handle and a short link of chain. I rotate isometric holds and dynamic reps. This works the quadratus lumborum well, however it is next to impossible to isolate the abdominal muscles to any large degree.
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hdlifter

sirloin wrote:
hdlifter wrote:
Despite being a lifetime HIT/HD advocate, the one aspect I tried to downplay and ignore was the importance of rest days. But this year I decided to see how I'd fare, so I started to interspace more rest days between workouts with terrific results!

I started by adding an extra rest day between workouts on my 3-way split, so I was working each a muscle every 9 days. That was OK for a period, but then my progress rate stalled, so I extended that to every 12 days. HITting my gym every 4th day. Which proved even better.

Thanks to additional R&R, not only do I feel great (no niggling aches or pains) but I look thicker?last month I gained 5.5#, + 1/4″ chest and forearms, with other muscle gains and a waist loss.

Mike and I discussed the value of rest days, indepth, in 1998. But even then I was weary about it as I love to train. Now 110kg/242#, I believe on an every 7 days per muscle frequency I triggered growth but I just didn't allow enough time for it to manifest.

Great to hear your still progressing well Kev, made some good gains (initially) training with high frequency, but like yourself, I perfer to train all out or not at all.
What you posted reminded me of something Magnus Samuelsson said "the body needs two things, hard training and rest, so when you train TRAIN and when you rest REST, but dont do something in between!".

Best
Rob



Thanks Rob, it's all part of the journey. We all learn better, more efficient ways to train as we grow older and more advanced. Even among the genetic elites, the champs, many hone back over the years as they learn excess is just that...EXCESS!!!

All the best for future gains.
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