Which Routine Is For Me?

Lifting ChalkImage EliteFTS

This article ties together the threads that link the training program suggestions on this site. My goal is to help you understand what routine is going to be most suitable for yourself and when, what to expect, and how to modify things to progress from one to the next, so that you can keep the gains coming.

Training routines/methods to be discussed:

  • The Big 3 Routine
  • an Alternating Split (A/B split),
  • a Three Day Split (A/B/C split),
  • Reverse Pyramid Training
  • Periodization for the Intermediate - introduced by Greg Nuckols in the previous article.

We start off by filling in the broad strokes that will apply to most, then we discuss some caveats (that have been noted by asterisks’ * and are found further on in the article). Take what is relevant to you now and ignore the rest, bookmark it then come back later.

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What To Do When You’re Done With Your Beginner Strength Training Program

Stress, Recovery and Work Capacity - Sink Analogy

If you have exhausted the gains from your beginner program and are looking for what to do to push your physique to the next level then this guest article by Greg Nuckols, one of the top drug-free powerlifters in the world, could be for you.

Friendly, smart, and humble we got along well when I first met him at a conference in May, and I became a fan of his blog, Strength and Science. When I asked him to write this I didn’t realise quite how special his gift of making difficult concepts appear simple was. It is our sincere hope that this article will help to teach you to be independent with your strength training programming for the intermediate phase.

Enter Greg Nuckols…

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How To Count Macros – A More Flexible Approach

Rabbit CarrotYou have a pet rabbit. You have been feeding him 3 carrots a day but he has gotten so fat his stomach drags on the sidewalk. You are starting to worry about his health. What adjustment to his diet do you make to slim the fella down?  – Image: The Jester’s Corner

I liked maths at school – there was a single, neat answer with little room for interpretation, which meant I could ace tests with little effort compared to hacking through some Shakespeare and trying to sound intelligent by finding hidden meanings in a text I could barely understand.

It doesn’t give me any pleasure to tell you that calculations aren’t the key to solving the diet puzzle. Many people’s first encounter with this realisation is when the maths of their energy calculations doesn’t work out in reality, and they then start putting more emphasis on consistency, tracking and adjustments. This is good, because once we let go of the idea of perfection as a requirement for success, it’s less of a mental leap to accept that purposeful inaccuracies with counting our food can be fine also.

The purpose of this guide is to offer an easier and more sustainable method to counting your macros than entering every single food and drink you eat, every day, into a nutritional calculator. The trade-off to this is a little more thought up front. Essentially I’m going to explain here why your instinct to feed your rabbit just two carrots a day is correct, and how we can apply this principle to ourselves.

This is a long guide, not a quick blog post. It’s based on what I’ve learned guiding clients with this over the last several years. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • How and Why To Be Consistently Inaccurate
  • Common Counting Mistakes
  • How To Make Your Own Counting Rules
  • Simplified Counting Rule Suggestions
  • ‘The 10% Rule’ – Accuracy Targets That Are Accurate Enough

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Coaching Lessons #4 – Tracking Trumps Calculations

Tracking trumps calculations

If you are anything like me, after your initial calculations to get your calorie/macro requirements you ran a bit of math to try to predict rates of fat-loss rates and started getting a little excited.

Unfortunately the math doesn’t ever work out as neatly as planned, which can be disappointing, frustrating, and lead you to second guess yourself. If you’ve ever dieted then you know this. But as human nature is to seek neat answers to complex things we don’t want to hear it – the result is that calculations get prioritised, while proper tracking with relative adjustments is left largely ignored, people either start program hopping, quit, or go into an activity increase/ supplement buying spiral… yes I’ve been there too.

All too often if the right assessment framework used, then there would have been a lot of heartache avoided. In nearly all cases it’s just a small change that’s required to re-ignite progress.

Guiding on how and when to make changes isn’t simple (discussed at the end of the post) but I can illustrate concepts/principles by showing client examples to help you make your own decisions on when they may be appropriate.

In this quick post I’ll take you through my analysis and decision-making progress when client, Omar, had a concern about possible muscle-mass losses after making some calculations, and explain why I was confident we could make a downward adjustment to energy intake in order to keep progressing with his fat loss goal. This case-study illustrates the tracking > calculations concept brilliantly.

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‘The Big 3′ Routine – Revised

Deadlift RippedBody.jp
Yes, the deadlift works the biceps.

The core of building a strong body is the Squat, Deadlift, Bench and their variants. Anyone that tells you otherwise is simply ill-informed. As a look at weight category competition powerlifters will show you, these three alone are enough to get you big, strong and ripped.

One of the most popular posts on the site, I’ve completely re-written it with clearer details on progression rules and examples, as well as a new FAQ.

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RPT Revised

Martin Berkhan RPTSquats, Deadlifts, Bench press, Chins
Think you can’t get big with just these four? Tell that to Martin Berkhan.

I’m working through to update and improve all the training guides on the site to bring them up to date with my current thinking, as they were originally written three years ago. First to receive a full rewrite is Reverse Pyramid Training, the time-efficient training style made popular by Martin.

Who is it for? | When can it be used? | What are the pros and cons?

I’ve made it more of a ‘how-to’ guide, included workout and progression examples, along with a detailed FAQ. I hope you find it useful.

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