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Advice on taking my workouts to the next level - looking for split suggestions, etc

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    Advice on taking my workouts to the next level - looking for split suggestions, etc

    Howdy everbody!

    Looking for some help structuring a new workout. I've been on the same plan since a bit before COVID started and I'm definitely seeing results, but I'd like to figure out what's next to keep progressing and I'm looking for some advice. Here's my current details and structure:
    • I have dumbbells up to 50lbs, which is still enough for most exercises
    • I have an adjustable bench
    • I'm adding resistance bands (with wall anchors)
    • Cardio is handled by either an exercise bike or heavy bag
    • Currently working out an hour and a half Mon-Thu + Saturday, and about an hour on Fri. Can't add much more time than that

    This phase of my current plan is:
    • Monday - Lower body (~hour) + cardio (half an hour)
    • Tuesday - Back and biceps (~hour) + cardio (half an hour)
    • Wednesday - Chest and triceps (~hour) + cardio (half an hour)
    • Thursday - Shoulders and delts (~hour) + cardio (half an hour)
    • Friday - Cardio (hour)
    • Saturday - Cardio (hour) + pickup work (biceps, triceps, chest, shoulders - half an hour or so)

    I'm interested in ways I can change this up and keep progressing. I'm been looking at push/pull plans in particular if anyone has experience with those. Any advice appreciated!


    #2
    Awesome routine dude, great you're seeing results. Can you help define "progressing".... Do you want to lose fat? Do you want to gain strength?

    Comment


      #3
      Losing fat would be great - I carry mine around the thighs and stomach so it tends to overshadow the work I'm doing.That being said, I've sorta given up on ever being "lean", so I figured I'd go for size up top (chest/shoulders/delts). I've actually considered dropping some leg exercises since I don't really want to add more mass there and my cardio is almost entirely legs anyway. And leg day sucks anyway, as we all know.

      I've also thought focusing more on strength, too - potentially dropping reps and going for max lifts - but I'm always terrified that I'll lose the gains I've made, lol.

      If I sound a little scattershot, it's because I am. I've basically been able to follow a pre-set program that feels like it's plateaued and now I'm not sure

      Comment


        #4
        Looks like Sunday is your recovery day. If you are going to get rid of leg day I would shuffle things around a little to add work on the core or an "Active recovery day" in place of leg day but don't have it the day after your recovery day. Just a day where you do something fun that is physical in nature but not overly demanding.

        A few things that I recommend doing if you are not are Pullups and using a jump rope.

        Also, There has been some science that has suggested that training opposing muscles one after the other lead to better results (IE Triceps and Biceps on the same day)

        Small changes in the routine or even a break can help. Maybe take a few days off and then switch it up so that your days are back/chest, triceps/biceps, shoulders/delts.

        If you are going for size aim for a weight that is challenging at 3 sets of 8-12 reps.


        Originally posted by MAr
        ... Nish deleted it...

        Originally posted by Axel "coffee-fueled, beer-cooled."

        Master Jar-Jar

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Nish View Post
          Also, There has been some science that has suggested that training opposing muscles one after the other lead to better results (IE Triceps and Biceps on the same day)

          Small changes in the routine or even a break can help. Maybe take a few days off and then switch it up so that your days are back/chest, triceps/biceps, shoulders/delts.

          If you are going for size aim for a weight that is challenging at 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

          Appreciate the help!

          That's an interesting thought about doing opposite groups on the same day. One of things that's been confusing me lately is a lot of the advice I see (on the internet, to be fair) is to train muscle groups twice a week for better results. I'm definitely hitting most more than once, but it's all on the same day; I wasn't sure if there was a benefit to trying to spread them out some. I think that's how I wound up looking at push/pull routines.

          I'm doing 4 sets of 12 on most things right now but dropping a set and going for more weight might make sense. One strategy I've read is to do 3 sets of 12 or until failure; so, choose a heavy weight that you might fail early (say, 12/10/8 reps), keep working it until you hit 12/12/12, then move up. Seems like a reasonable way to systemize progressive overload rather than my usual method of arbitrarily thinking "Okay, that's starting to seem easy; I guess add more weight...?"

          Core gets a different dedicated exercise on each day right now as well as being incorporated into the more compound lifts.

          You're probably right in that I just need to start adding in some variety. This program had four phases of progression and I've been on the last one for seven weeks or so now.

          Comment


            #6
            If you are doing 4 of 12 gaining size is going to take a very long time.

            The 12/10/8 idea is called drop sets. I know of it but haven't researched or tried it with anything other than body weight exercises starting at High reps (In that case I found it to be really effective)

            If you are going for size I would say the lightest you should go is something you can do 3x12. Try the drop sets of go with a weight that is a reasonable challenge at 3x10.

            I will offer the caveat that I am not a professional trainer, nor am I someone that has ever tried to put on a lot of size preferring to stay on the smaller leaner side.

            Originally posted by MAr
            ... Nish deleted it...

            Originally posted by Axel "coffee-fueled, beer-cooled."

            Master Jar-Jar

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Nish View Post
              I will offer the caveat that I am not a professional trainer, nor am I someone that has ever tried to put on a lot of size preferring to stay on the smaller leaner side.
              WHAT?! Then get the hell out!

              😛

              Appreciate the feedback. Definitely leaning towards going heavier and might restructure some things at the same time.

              Comment


                #8
                Losing fat is more about diet and cardio. What sort of work are you doing on exercise bike? Maybe incorporate more intervals if you're limited to 30 minutes a day. But diet is the big one if you want to lean out. If you want pure size, then heavy weights + calories will get you there. But if you want a leaner look with more definition, it's diet.

                Honestly I've moved goals around a lot and as long as you stay consistent, you really don't "lose" that much. A few years back I focused on strength and lifted heavy and upped my maxes. Then this past year, I focused more on my running times and wanted to improve on my marathon time so replaced some gym sessions with mileage as I was doing 45+ miles a week. Marathon was first weekend of March right before lockdown so never got back into as much lifting as before but my overall max lifts have dropped very little.

                Originally posted by matteekay View Post
                Losing fat would be great - I carry mine around the thighs and stomach so it tends to overshadow the work I'm doing.That being said, I've sorta given up on ever being "lean", so I figured I'd go for size up top (chest/shoulders/delts). I've actually considered dropping some leg exercises since I don't really want to add more mass there and my cardio is almost entirely legs anyway. And leg day sucks anyway, as we all know.

                I've also thought focusing more on strength, too - potentially dropping reps and going for max lifts - but I'm always terrified that I'll lose the gains I've made, lol.

                If I sound a little scattershot, it's because I am. I've basically been able to follow a pre-set program that feels like it's plateaued and now I'm not sure

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by matteekay View Post
                  Losing fat would be great - I carry mine around the thighs and stomach so it tends to overshadow the work I'm doing.That being said, I've sorta given up on ever being "lean", so I figured I'd go for size up top (chest/shoulders/delts).
                  Losing fat can be frustrating man, fore sure. Please don't quit, you can get lean trust me.

                  You probably already know this but:
                  • Losing fat almost exclusively happens in the kitchen, NOT at the gym. And definitely not with a bunch of cardio.
                  • When fat covers your muscles it does two things, one it hides them and two it makes you bulky. When you trim the fat down considerably, your muscles actually look bigger and much better (toned). When I got down to my goal weight 160 pds, I lost all motivation to lift because I was happy with the muscle that existed after all that exercise. I just had to dig them out of layers of fat.
                  • Cardio is actually not a really good activity for fat loss. I've been a state competing long distance runner in highschool starting my sophomore year. I've ran probably well over 1000 miles in my life. I still run and think cardio is a great, healthy way to exercise. And when you just pick up running (or cardio), yes you absolutely will lose some fat, not denying that at all. But your body quickly adapts to these exercises over a few months and in short time, you'll plateau your fat loss and find yourself even hangrier than before. There is also some new research that suggests cardio makes our bodies even more stingy about letting go of a fat cell.
                  My suggestion if you want to lose fat:
                  • Keep lifting and don't stop your leg days. My legs are big too but you need to lift your legs for other whole body lifts (squat, lifts, etc.) Your legs are your biggest muscles in your body... you want those puppies big and consuming calories all day.
                  • Cut out the cardio. And if you do cardio, only do it once week and make it really intense for for 30-45 minutes.
                  • Cut out sugar. Sugar is what makes us fat. Even avoid fruit which has healthy sugar. (I love fruit but sugar is sugar guys)
                  • Cut your carbohydrate intake substantially and only eat complex carbohydrates, avoiding any grains or starchy vegetables (potato).
                  • Increase your protein and fat intake.
                  • Drink a shit load of water.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Honestly I’d suggest taking some time and figuring out what your goals are, then scheduling a session or two with a good trainer who can assess how you move and steer you in the right direction. Sounds like you’ve overcome the biggest barrier of having the discipline to put the work in. The best thing you can do now is ensure that effort moves you towards where you want to be, and that you prevent injury. Look into trainers that evaluate using FMS (functional movement screening).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Really appreciate the advice, everybody. I've been doing a bunch of research in addition to this thread and I think I have my plan:
                      • Change from 4x sets to 3x drop sets so I can push more weight
                      • Move legs to the middle of week
                      • Rearrange the schedule so I can hit muscle groups 2x a week instead of all on one day; I'll distribute the exercises I'm doing now and should be able to add a few more
                      • Should look something like:
                        • Monday - Muscle group A (TBD, but lets say Chest/Back/Shoulders)
                        • Tuesday - Muscle group B (TBD, but lets say Biceps/Triceps/Delts)
                        • Wednesday - Legs
                        • Thursday - Group A
                        • Friday - Group B
                        • Sat/Sun - TBD
                      The idea being I can work a group up to a point of diminishing returns, let it rest for 2 days, then hit it again right when growth should be tapering off from the first day. I'm keeping legs in on one day, but if I feel like that's not enough, I can add Saturday or distribute some additional exercises across the rest of the schedule. I'll have 1-2 core-focused exercises on each day, too.

                      Addressing a few other points...

                      Originally posted by Arthur View Post
                      Losing fat almost exclusively happens in the kitchen, NOT at the gym. And definitely not with a bunch of cardio.
                      I already track everything I eat as well as my macros. My current daily goal is around 2200 calories, heavier on protein and fat than carbs. That being said, I could always do better. The good thing is I don't have much of a sweet tooth (and I lost whatever taste for it I had when I did a year of keto a ways back).

                      Cardio is such a bewildering component to fitness. Online and even in this thread, people will tell you it's the *only* way to lose fat. I've been hearing more people voice your point of view lately that it's really not as helpful as we've been taught. Do you think it's detrimental, though? I don't mind keeping it in just for conditioning, if nothing else.


                      Originally posted by Dave Cameron View Post
                      Honestly I’d suggest taking some time and figuring out what your goals are, then scheduling a session or two with a good trainer who can assess how you move and steer you in the right direction. Sounds like you’ve overcome the biggest barrier of having the discipline to put the work in. The best thing you can do now is ensure that effort moves you towards where you want to be, and that you prevent injury. Look into trainers that evaluate using FMS (functional movement screening).
                      Goal: Get huge. Solved.

                      😛

                      Dedication has never been a problem, thankfully. Prior to shifting to free weights a few months ago, I was doing the basic "intro to the gym" routine at the local Y for a few years (pretty much all isolation exercises on machines with probably too many reps and too little weight). I'd been thinking about a change and COVID made the decision easier; now I'm just ready to move to the next phase. I haven't ruled out talking to a trainer but it will probably be once things have gotten closer to normal.

                      Comment


                      • shadow191
                        shadow191 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Cardio isn't the only way to lose fat but it burns a lot of calories so I think it should be part of plan. Only way it would be detrimental to your goals would be if you replaced your strength sessions with it. But if you have time to do both it's not going to hurt you. Also, it's good for overall health.

                        I do a ton of cardio because I actually like it. 10-11 years ago I was typical overweight guy with busy job/life. Decided to get serious about fitness so began working with trainers. Mostly weights but some intervals/springs and in my off days I started running. Got faster so kept at it and lost ~35 lbs in 7 months (200 to 165) and decided to get into triathlons + running. Of course cleaned up diet a bunch but not to the level of some people. Realized I really liked running and have always been cyclist so stuck with it. Since then focused more on strength and definition so back up to 180lbs but do some races here and there.

                        My trainer is now my friend since we've known each other so long. We debate the cardio bit a lot as up until a couple of years ago he didn't really run other than sprints. But he was really good about what he ate obviously as he has to look a certain way given his job. Now he throws a little running into the mix mostly to maintain weight if he wants to cheat a bit on meals. Having said that, he is much more defined than me even though I average 30+ miles a week running, 50+ cycling and lift 4 days so I do agree that diet is key.

                      #12
                      Originally posted by matteekay View Post

                      Cardio is such a bewildering component to fitness. Online and even in this thread, people will tell you it's the *only* way to lose fat. I've been hearing more people voice your point of view lately that it's really not as helpful as we've been taught. Do you think it's detrimental, though? I don't mind keeping it in just for conditioning, if nothing else.
                      Any activity is good so no, I would never say cardio is detrimental in and of itself. If you're happy with your current weight, than yes cardio is great to maintain or improve your overall physical health and capability.

                      Fat loss is a very specific thing. Doing a ton of cardio and expecting that to translate to burning fat is the biggest mistake that people make. Its not that cardio is bad, its just their using it the wrong way. You are much better off sticking to weights (maintaining strength) while being selective about your diet and/or restricting your sugar intake. You will see results in fat loss faster and more sustainable going this route. I have tried both routes and thats what I have determined for myself, personally. Yes lots of research and opinions on both sides of the fence.



                      Comment


                        #13
                        Here is what I have learned about Cardio.

                        The old thought is that Cardio gets the heart pumping and gets you burning calories and this makes you loose weight.
                        You likely do burn way more calories in the moment doing cardio than strength training (At least traditional sets) for the same amount of time.

                        Here is the catch. The muscles that you have cause your body to burn more calories at a rest. So gaining muscle in the long term will help loose weight more than cardio because the long term calorie burn is far greater.

                        That doesn't mean you shouldn't do Cardio. Cardio works the most important muscle in the whole body. Keep the heart strong and the arteries clear.

                        For Diet you are going to have to do some balancing and decision making. Building size and cutting fat at the same time require opposing meal plans. As a rule my first advice to anyone is the more processed it is. The less you should eat it.
                        Originally posted by MAr
                        ... Nish deleted it...

                        Originally posted by Axel "coffee-fueled, beer-cooled."

                        Master Jar-Jar

                        Comment

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