Just some random stuff I’ve either discussed or thought about in the last few days.

  1. The deadlift is poorly suited to a high training frequency. I’ve never derived any benefit from training the lift more than once per week; and even that is pushing it in terms of recovery if I’m squatting heavy within that same week. Generally speaking, I’ve had my best deadlift-sessions while training the lift no more than once every 8-12th day.
  2. When increasing the weight for a movement, you need to pay attention to the percentage increase in load. This may seem like common sense, but people are prone to ignore it and only think of the increase in terms of poundage. Guys are sometimes stumped about why they lose a lot of reps when switching to a heavier set of dumbells. They go from 50 lbs x 8 for seated dumbbell presses to 55 lbs x 5-6 – a loss of 2-3 reps accompanied by a feeling of “Oh shit. This was a lot heavier than I imagined.” Well, a mere 5-lb increase in load for dumbbells often represents a +10% increase in load unless you’re fairly strong. Assuming strength is unchanged, you’ll lose about 1 rep for every 2.5% increase in load. Thus a 10% increase may cause the loss of 4 reps if you didn’t gain any strength since the last session. So when you’re moving up to the next pair of dumbbells, consider the percentage increase in the load you’ll be working with. Make sure to get at least 8 reps with your current dumbbell-pair before jumping to the next pair; this will give you some leeway with regards to potential loss of reps and hopefully be able to eek out at least 5 reps using the new weight.
  3. Going all out on some compound movements, i.e RPT, warrants a day of rest before returning to the gym. Attempting a second session within 24 hrs after the first is more often than not a losing strategy. I always note a negative effect on my strength on the second session – even if the lift(s) trained on the preceding day(s) involved completely different muscle group(s). For example, squats to failure will affect pressing strength on the next day. This is likely due to effects on the central nervous system caused by failure-training (such as RPT or HIT).
Old training log
A crumpled old “training log”. Don’t matter where or how you keep it, but you better make damn sure you have one. For as long as I can remember I’ve been using old post-it notes to keep track of my workouts.
  1. The primary function of weight-training on a diet should be to preserve muscle mass and maintain strength. If this attitude is in place, it’s possible to increase strength and muscle mass while losing fat depending on the training status of the client.
  2. I am not a fan of “metabolic” workouts or glycogen-depletion as a means to fat loss. It’s inferior to regular weight-training and not a time-efficient way to increase calorie expenditure. It also tends to increase the perceived challenge of the diet; lactate-inducing workouts can be gruesome. My goal is always to make the diet as painless and easy as possible. Painful workouts are never part of the plan.
  3. During fat loss, no one needs to weight-train more than 3x/week. Muscle groups don’t need higher frequency than 1x/week if intensity is high. Find more productive things to do with your time. Most people screw themselves over by being in the gym too much and too often. Less is more and this is especially true on a diet.
  4. Studies suggest greater strength gains with longer rest periods. In a recent study, 5 minutes was superior to 1 and 3 mins. Too bad they didn’t measure muscle gain. I wonder if longer rest periods would yield greater hypertrophy in the long run. I suspect it will.
  5. Personality traits play a role in ultimately determining the right training routine. My experiment with high frequency training taught me a few things. One of those things is that I am hopelessly addicted to high intensity training and ill suited to be allowed in the gym for more than three sessions per week.
  6. My experiment also taught me that high frequency training is quite effective when temperance is exercised. My template had me benching, chinning and squatting every fourth day with good success, but in only one of those sessions I was allowed to go anywhere near failure.
  7. Generally speaking, people have no business contemplating specialization-routines for lagging body parts until they achieve two out of the following four goals: bench press 1.5 x body weight, chin-up 1.5 x body weight, squat 2 x body weight or deadlift 2.5 x body weight.
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