My High-Intensity Workout Routine

I’ve had a number of requests both here and on Twitter asking about my high-intensity workout routine. Since I’m doing a version of high-intensity training, people are curious as to what that entails, whether I do HIT cardio also, recovery days, and so on, so I’ll discuss it here.

Two-way split

I’ve retained my 2-way split workout from my previous, conventional routine — one in which I performed multiple sets, as many as 5, for each exercise.

Workout A

  • deadlifts
  • T-bar rows
  • straight-arm pulldowns
  • close-grip, palms-facing pulldowns
  • bent-over dumbbell lateral raises
  • chest press
  • pec deck
  • weighted dips
  • triceps pulldown
  • curls

Workout B

  • leg extension
  • leg press (or squats)
  • standing calf raises
  • shoulder press
  • dumbbell lateral raises
  • upright rows
  • weighted chin-ups
  • barbell shrugs
  • crunches

I do most of these exercises at one set to failure — that’s complete and utter failure, in which, as Drew Baye said, you couldn’t do another rep even if someone was holding a gun to your head.

I say “most” because there are a couple of exceptions. One is if I choose a weight for my set that turns out to be too heavy and I can only get in a few reps, say 4 or 5, in which case I’ll drop the weight a bit and knock out a few more reps.

The other exception is for isolation exercises like curls or triceps pulldowns; on these, I often do 2, sometimes 3 sets. My rationale for that is thinking that it can’t hurt, and that since they involve smaller muscles, it won’t hurt my recovery.

I also use negative reps, in which you increase the weight and then only lower it. This is possible on, for example, a chest press machine, which allows you to use your feet to extend the load, after which you lower it with arms only.

I use drop sets also. This works best on machine moves, since it’s easy to set the weight lower and then immediately continue the set.

My workouts have become short. Yesterday it lasted 30 minutes, and I could have finished earlier but for thinking that I should be working out longer. Typically, my workouts are no longer than 40 minutes.

Recovery time and high-intensity interval training

I currently go to the gym once every 4 days. I need the recovery time; while I’m dedicated to increasing my fitness and muscularity, I dread the feeling of utter exhaustion that happens starting about 24 hours after a hard workout, or when I’ve gone into the gym more frequently than I should.

Another question I’ve heard a few times lately is whether I still do high-intensity interval training, what I referred to as “HIT cardio” above. The answer is not much. While I would like to be doing more of it, it cuts so much into my recovery time from lifting that I’ve often ended up having to take an extra day before I return to the gym for a lifting session, and I don’t want to do that.

Between high-intensity lifting and high-intensity cardio, you put a lot of stress on your body. If you find that you can do both, say a couple sessions of each one per week, and you don’t get overly fatigued, by all means go for it.

In my lifting sessions, I move from one exercise to another as quickly as possible, taking time only to catch my breath, or to break down or set up equipment.

The big compound moves such as deadlifts and squats, when done in a high-intensity style, will leave you gasping for breath, which confirms the aerobic aspect of lifting weights.

When you work out in this way, moving quickly to the next exercise, it appears that everyone else in the gym isn’t doing much work. You see them sitting between sets, playing with their phones, talking; and when they are actually lifting, you notice them jerking the weights around through use of momentum, not going to true failure, taking 5 minutes between sets, doing lots of isolation — not compound — exercises, in short, working out ineffectively and not making good use of their gym time.

Mike Mentzer said that you should cultivate a “siege mentality” when in the gym. No distractions, great concentration, focused on the goal, which is to put your muscles and cardiovascular system through an intense workout.

Fasted, fed, and consolidated training

I sometimes do my workouts after a 16-hour fast, and when I do, I take about 5 grams of leucine before. This helps to prevent muscle breakdown while lifting.

Whether I work out fasted or fed, I drink a shake with 25 grams of whey and 5 grams of creatine immediately after, to promote muscle protein synthesis.

I’ve been working out using a high-intensity style for about 3 months now, and it seems to me to be more effective than the conventional, multi-set style, so much so that I don’t see myself returning to that conventional style. Although you never know.

I’m getting gains with this style, although since muscle growth for veteran bodybuilders is slow, it may take awhile before I can definitively answer for the superior effectiveness of high-intensity training.

In his book on high-intensity training, Mike Mentzer advocated what he calls “consolidated training” for advanced bodybuilders. In consolidated training, one does very brief workouts consisting of only a few exercises. Here’s Mentzer’s suggestion for a consolidated routine:

Workout A

  • squats — alternate with leg press
  • close-grip, palms up pulldowns
  • dips

Workout B

  • deadlifts — alternate with shrugs
  • press behind neck
  • standing calf raises

That’s it. All are one set to failure, with 5 to 6 days rest in between each set.

While I’m skeptical about such a routine, I’m interested in learning more about it. Mentzer claims that an advanced bodybuilder needs an incredible amount of rest to produce maximum muscle growth. But his claims clash violently with standard bodybuilding prescriptions, hence my skepticism.

To try and answer some of the questions I have about high-intensity training, and to improve my routine, I’ve scheduled a consultation with Markus Reinhardt, who bills himself as “Mr. High Intensity” and who can be seen training with Mike Mentzer in several videos.

PS: I wrote about the nefits of weight lifting and why everyone should do it in my book Muscle Up.

PPS: Check out my Supplements Buying Guide for Men.

image_pdfimage_print
Liked it? Take a second to support me on Patreon.

Leave a Comment:

53 comments
ProudDaddy says August 16, 2016

At age 75, I too have found that strength suffers if I lift more often than every 4 days. I have also found that once weekly won’t result in lost strength, so I often do HIIT on a stationary bike on an off day and add an extra recovery day.

The near absense of good studies on people my age make my own measurements and experimentation (and your blog) nearly the only resources I can turn to.

Reply
Jim Johnson says August 16, 2016

just to make sure I understand–for most of the exercises in your 2 day split, you do one set to utter failure once per week? (sounds like Mentzer’s consolidated approach but with more exercises?)
Thanks for all you shared knowledge.

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says August 16, 2016

    Jim, yes, that’s right.

    Reply
My High-Intensity Workout Routine – Technology and Longevity Feed says August 16, 2016

[…] Original Article: My High-Intensity Workout Routine […]

Reply
Joshua Mayes says August 16, 2016

My workout is not too different from Mentzer’s, and I’ve had good success. I do the following

A: Squats, Bench, Bent-Over Rows

B: Deadlift, Overhead Press, Reverse Grip Pulldowns

This has worked pretty well for me. I’m 40 and my total is around 1275, and it was around 1100 when I started this routine a couple years ago.

I usually do 3*5. Once every month or two, I do a day of heavy doubles for each workout, working up to what feels like my max for 2.

Reply
Royal says August 16, 2016

You’ve previously advised to take protein before workouts instead of after, why the change?

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says August 16, 2016

    There doesn’t seem to be a lot of difference in results if protein is taken immediately before or after a workout.

    Reply
Jesse says August 16, 2016

This is going to be my next workout program. The program I am doing now is great but the exact opposite of this.

http://danjohn.net/2011/06/even-easier-strength-perform-better-notes/

On this program, I’m hitting new PRs but not gaining mass. Switching back and forth may work well.

Reply
Nathan says August 16, 2016

I know this may sound crazy, but I bet you’ll begin to do many FEWER exercises as you become even stronger.

isolation exercises are just not worth it

Reply
Jonas says August 16, 2016

What would roughly be your rep range?

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says August 16, 2016

    I shoot for 8-12.

    Reply
Allan Folz says August 18, 2016

Need moar Power Cleans.

Seriously, I think you should give them a try in lieu of Dead Lifts sometime. Nothing short of a wind sprint gets me out of breathe faster than a dozen Power Cleans. They are the ultimate whole body work-out. If you want to exhaust all your stored muscle glycogen in 10 minutes or less, nothing I”m aware of comes close to Power Cleans. IMHO if you were doing serious PC sets you could replace 3 other exercises with them.

My biggest reason/excuse for not doing them every work-out is they’re too hard. I also think that’s the real reason they aren’t more common. Exercises that hit 1 or 2 muscle groups are mentally a piece of cake.

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says August 18, 2016

    Hi Allan, that’s a good suggestion. I’ve never done them, but occasionally have seen a few guys – always young and big – doing them. I’ll give them a try.

    Reply
      Allan Folz says August 18, 2016

      I should mention then, they take a little technique and some practice. Checking out YouTube isn’t a bad idea.

      As one more naturally inclined to endurance sports and slow-twitch muscle exercise, I mentally vision myself as a sprinter coming out of the blocks before the first rep and towards the end of the set when I’m starting to feel the fatigue. That helps considerably to keep me going. A little anger aimed at ‘da man’ never hurts either.

      Good luck! Keep us posted.

      Reply
        DF says August 20, 2016

        I would recommend caution because any kind of olympic lifting is technical, its a game of centimeters at the elite level. Youtube vids can help but you need hands on instruction if you have no experience doing them. Unless you have excellent technique keep the loads light until the movement is mastered but I agree the benefits are phenomenal. If you do heavy PCs for 10 minutes, either every 30 seconds or every minute doing 1 clean you engage virtually the whole body at high intensity. I also like the power snatch.

        Reply
Lee says August 19, 2016

Your mileage may vary but I personally have found that that much volume is unnecessary.

Do a workout A or B every 2 or 3 days.

My workout A: 2 sets 10-15 reps clean and press done as quickly as you can. 2 minutes rest between sets followed by 2 sets dips 10-15 reps. Add weight when you can do 15 reps.

Workout B: 2 sets 10-15 reps trap bar squats standing on a 5 inch platform followed by 2 sets 10-15 reps chinup/pullup. One set overhand one set underhand. Add weight when you can do 15.

Also, twice a week do 4 or 5 20 second all out sprints, preferably going up and downhill with 2 minutes rest between sets. I personally train fasted first thing in the morning.

This works out to about a 15 minute workout every other day and works the entire body with compound movements.

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says August 19, 2016

    Lee, how do you look muscularity-wise? (Serious not sarcastic question.)

    Reply
      Lee says August 19, 2016

      No offense taken. Similar to you but much less arm. Very lean. 5’8 153, Mesomorph, maybe 6% body fat. 48″ around my delts, 41″ chest 31.5″ waist, 14.5″ arm. 55 years old. I water-only fast 3 days straight each month and eat breakfast and lunch only on most days in a 6-8 hour window.

      I feel a brief, high effort, fast movement workout works best for me and could also for others.
      Clean and press is I think the best exercise there is, period, and magical I think because of the weight is moved a great distance. Work=load x distance x time.

      Reply
jer says August 21, 2016

Hi PD

Do you do a warm up of any variety (on the bike or a warm up weights set to get the muscles firing?
Thanks

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says August 21, 2016

    On deadlift days, I do those first, and I do a bit of stretching, then lift the bar alone 10 times. Then I add 2 45 lb plates (for 135 lbs), and deadlift 10 times. After that I’m ready to jump into the main lift. On squat days likewise, I’ll squat with the bar alone first, but since I’m only supposed to be doing 1 set to failure, and don’t use a super heavy weight any more, I then go to my main set.

    Reply
eah says August 22, 2016

“a shake with 25 grams of whey and 5 grams of creatine”

Simple question: what is in one of your typical shakes? — I ask because many commercial mixes contain a lot of calories via carbohydrate — to improve the taste I guess — I know the basic ‘active ingredients’ (whey, creatine) can be obtained without that — so it would be interesting to know how you make a shake out of them.

Thanks for your site and your efforts Dennis.

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says August 22, 2016

    The only ingredients besides whey and creatine are water, so this shake has only a little more than 100 calories. In fact, the latest whey concentrate I got is unflavored, so the drink tastes bland. Inoffensive, but tasteless. I don’t believe in masses of carbs in a post-workout shake. If a commercial shake has lots of carbs, and you’re not either in perfect shape or you’re trying to gain weight, I’d recommend skipping those for one that’s nearly all whey protein only.

    Reply
Shaq says August 24, 2016

If he allows it, I would be very interested in what Markus Reinhardt has to say.

Reply
Nick says September 5, 2016

Thanks for this, PD! Since I more or less effectively changed over to long, slow, lighter sets in early July, and then since then have spent a total of 5 weeks NOT in the gym, due to travel and getting over a cold I caught while travelling. So the gains I started making early in July kind of fell away, and I’m just now back into what I expect to be my long-term routine. And that is:

Back/shoulders/chest/arms day, rest day, 30 min HIIT/abs day, rest day, legs/lower back day, rest day. Basically in the gym every other day on a 6-day cycle. I may alternate legs/lower back/abs and skip the HIIT, increasing the upper body training frequency, every cycle or so. I need to build my shoulders & chest more than my legs.

Or I might also try adding a shorter HIIT session before my leg work. My HIIT routine is on the elliptical, 45 second intervals.

I still find it hard to feel really done after one hard set though, so I mostly do two sets. I focus on 90 second sets (8 second reps when possible), to failure, also getting well huffed, puffed, and sweaty in the process. Some moves are just hard to do that slowly, like shrugs. I do basically the same lifts that I used to do, so my sessions in the gym are still long, upper body day being nearly 2 hours. I don’t THINK I’m over-training though. One day off between seems to be enough.

I’ve also started doing forearm work, because, dammit, I’ve had long, skinny arms and big hands my whole life.

After a couple of 6-day cycles, I find I don’t get much in the way of DOMS at all, even when I feel really smashed after a session. Guess I shouldn’t complain, but I really like the pain to remind me of how hard I’ve worked.

I go in late morning, ideally 2 – 2-1/2 hours after breakfast, which is 125 g yogurt, 30 g seeds & coconut bits, berries, 150 g quark (sort of cottage cheese meets sour cream, no fat, casein), 30 g whey powder, ~150 g berries. I take 5 g creatine in my coffee, having read it’s best to have it fully dissolved. That’s over 50 g protein, 30 g carb, 20 g fat.

My post-workout shake is 40 – 60 g whey with 5 g creatine which I first dissolve in hot water. I used to add dextrose for an insulin bump, but then I read that whey triggers an insulin reaction of its own. The 60 g one is on upper body day, when I drink about half of it about half way through.

Anyway, I owe you one for having brought this new method to my attention!

One thing that’s occurred to me, and bear in mind I’m not a bodybuilder, nor have I been following fitness stuff online until very recently. Mentzer was certainly on steroids, right? Like, all the other giants of that era, right? So, how much should we really be trying to emulate any of those guys’ routines? I mean, yeah, learn from what we can of his training methods, but I for one have no interest in trying to look like Mentzer with only one day a week in the gym. Nor like Arnold with 3 hours a day or whatever he did.

I mean, it’s a bit of a paradox to me to hold those guys’ results up as praiseworthy, if I don’t want to emulate their drug use. Does this make sense?

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says September 5, 2016

    Hi Nick – yes, I think it’s about certain that Mentzer took steroids. I could be wrong, but it seems near impossible for anyone to look like that without them. If you want to see what a bodybuilder looks like without steroids, try some of the old school guys from the 40s and 50s – although some of them may have had access to steroids too. I read somewhere not long ago that for a man my height (5’10” or 178 cm) that about 175 lbs (79 kg) is about the most I could weigh while being very lean and muscular. That’s only 15 lbs more than I weigh now. To get up to 200+ lbs would appear to require steroids, or at least TRT.

    BTW, Mike Mentzer apparently took amphetamines when he was older, and was also a cigarette smoker, so these alone could fully account for his early demise at age 49.

    Reply
      Nick says September 6, 2016

      You’re my height. Those Mercedes coupes for the US market must be smaller than the German ones, because you look taller than that in that pic. Only 160#? I’m at 179, but there’s lots of fat in there. I’m working on it though.

      I forgot to ask about the deadlifts–seems like those would be really hard to do slowly. How much less weight do you use for them now? I still don’t do dead lifts or squats, not having a partner.

      And FWIW, my military press, inclined, bench, and declined press sets are all only using the bar, no weights on them, and I can barely get 60 – 75 seconds out ofthem. But I’m pretty weak in my shoulders & chest, compared to the rest of me. I was also when I was in the gym in my early 20’s, though freakishly strong in my legs.

      There’s this guy at the gym here who reminds the missus & me of a David Lee Roth lookalike, though on steroids. It’s clear to me that he juices up, as I see him there only on weekends, and he’s both hugely muscled and well cut, probably in his 40’s. And when he’s there, although he does use lots of weight on the machines, he spends as much time posing and looking around as he does working.

      He was there Sunday, barefoot with golden toe rings, which I noticed when he walked by me in the middle of a set on the ab twister. I started to chuckle and had to start the set over. I’ve also seen him in town once, smoking.

      Reply
Steve says September 12, 2016

I was really excited to read this. I have both Mentzer’s books on the subject and have enjoyed reading them. In the second book (which I don’t recommend as it was published after his death and is largely Q&A by the author) he further down-sized the workout to deadlift and dips on one day and squats and palms-in pulldowns on the other. I always wonder why he never advocated weighted chinups rather than pull downs.

I think this approach might work for some but I am also skeptical. I agree with the consolidation and the compound exercises, but not so much the pushing beyond failure and long rest periods. I don’t follow this because I became really interested in body-weight calisthenics and also training with lighter resistance for reps. Even though it goes against body-building dogma, it can work really well to build muscle and certainly works better for me than low rep / high weight weight training ever did. Plus the risk of injury is almost zero and I love not having to go to a gym or needing much in the way of equipment.

But whatever keeps you going back for more, right? Have you looked at Casey Viator or Arthur Jones?

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says September 12, 2016

    Hi Steve, yes, I’m tolerably familiar with both Viator and Jones. Jones is interesting because he developed a sense of how things worked with only his own experience – no scientific studies – and he seems largely correct. I remain skeptical about Mentzer’s consolidation routines, and I have not done any. Just today in the gym, I spent all of 30 minutes on my routine, and had a through workout. I’m convinced that Mentzer’s approach in general is correct, but it’s difficult to leave behind the more is better attitude.

    Reply
Joshua says September 16, 2016

Hi P.D.,

Your comment “… but it’s difficult to leave behind the more is better attitude” is likely on target. There is some pretty good evidence that higher volume is better for both strength and hypertrophy, as long as overtraining doesn’t occur. If you haven’t seen it, you’d probably find this site very worthwhile: https://www.strengthandconditioningresearch.com/strength/

That said, periodization is more or less a proven principle as well, so having some periods of lower volume/higher effort work (i.e. HIT) is probably a good idea also.

Reply
Rob H says September 20, 2016

Hi Dennis,

I hope you are still obtaining good gains from your high intensity workouts? I certainly am – but my question to you was I was wondering if you could explain to us why you prefer to take 5g of Leucine prior to your workouts when working out fasted, as opposed to 10g of branched chain amino acids (ie Leucine + Isoleucine + Valine). Do you feel that the Isoleucine and Valine are just not necessary, or rather that they are actually detrimental in terms of preventing muscular catabolism during a strength workout?

The other thing I wanted to mention is that I spotted that the likes of Doug McGuff, Mark Sisson and Art DeVaney are all recommending working out in a fasted state – but crucially they recommend to remain fasted for at least an hour afterwards. The reason being that this allows growth hormone to proliferate and circulate whilst still in the fasted state after a workout. I found this difficult to take on board at first as intuitively, it feels like one should take a whey shake immediately after a fasted workout to prevent muscular breakdown, yet if one can get over this preconception then I find it both feels good and also leads to more results. After all one of the key aims of the workout is to break down muscle, and the science seems to say that the timing of the post workout protein is not so crucial anyway. What are your thoughts on that – have you ever put that to the test?

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says September 20, 2016

    Hi Rob – I am indeed getting good results from my workout routine. I’ve become convinced that of the BCAAs, leucine is the only important one, and the other two do little if anything as far as growth signaling. So I use leucine only. I don’t think the others are detrimental, just superfluous.

    As for fasting for an hour after the workout for GH release, I don’t know. Logically it makes some sort of sense, but unless someone shows that it results in better gains… Everything I know says that the best gains come with whey taken shortly after a workout. Granted, the anabolic window isn’t as narrow as it used to be thought, but optimal growth stimulation comes from whey or other protein shortly after.

    Reply
      Rob H says September 21, 2016

      Hi Dennis, Ah, that sounds logical re the leucine supplementation prior to a fasted workout. I have read that it is also the most highly ketogenic of the 3 BCAAs (although I believe that a standard BCAA mix is ketogenic in itself, so maybe that is a moot point).

      However, from having just scanned Paul Jaminet’s ‘Perfect Health Diet’ blog, I came across the following:

      http://perfecthealthdiet.com/category/diets/ketogenic_diet/

      “There is a risk of toxicity at high doses of leucine supplementation unless it is accompanied by the other branched-chain amino acids, isoleucine and valine:

      “Could we provide leucine alone as the most ketotic of branched chain amino acids? Providing exclusively leucine as an adjunctive treatment to ketogenic diet is impossible because it is toxic when consumed out of proportion to valine and isoleucine…. Lack of valine and isoleucine inhibits protein synthesis. The consequence is that leucine should not be consumed in large amounts without valine and isoleucine, even though only leucine promotes protein synthesis. [3]””

      I guess it depends how one defines “large amounts” of leucine, but food for thought.. Then there is this quote from the same post:

      ” it seems that the amino acid supplements should be some mix of lysine, leucine, isoleucine, and valine, with the isoleucine and valine included solely to reduce leucine toxicity. The optimal amount of isoleucine and valine should be smaller than is found in branched-chain amino acid supplements, since leucine by itself may help prevent iron accumulation and increase ketosis. Also, one rat study [4] indicates that isoleucine alone, excluding valine, might be enough to relieve leucine toxicity. Excluding valine would increase the ketogenicity of the supplement mix.”

      Maybe the answer is 5g of leucine + 5g of BCAA mix? What do you think?

      Reply
        P. D. Mangan says September 21, 2016

        Hi Rob. Saying leucine could be toxic in large amounts seems a stretch to me, but as you say, depends on what makes a large amount. I’ve never heard of anything like that, nor why the other BCAAs would relieve it. The other essential AAs are necessary for muscle protein synthesis, which is why I sometimes take leucine with a post-workout meal – it increases leucine signaling in the presence of the other necessary AAs. Leucine alone before a fasted workout stops muscle breakdown. The usual mix of commercial BCAAs is 2 parts leucine to 1 each of isoleucine and valine.

        Reply
Zach says September 21, 2016

Thanks for sharing, Dennis. I have been intrigued by this style of training, but I have not pulled the trigger.

In addition to this training, are you doing any form or “cardio” on off days? Walking, intervals, etc.?

Also, do you have a post where you detail what a typical day of eating might look like for you? Just curious.

Thanks!

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says September 21, 2016

    Hi Zach – for awhile I’ve slacked a bit on the cardio, for which I do interval training, no more than about 10 minutes worth. But I recently took it up again as I felt I needed it. I need to be careful with it as I don’t want it to cut into recovery from lifting. I walk daily and always have. I don’t have a post on typical eating, maybe the closest is this: http://roguehealthandfitness.com/heart-disease-risk-low-carb/

    Reply
Rob H says September 24, 2016

Hi Dennis, I just found this YouTube video on Drew Baye’s site, which to be honest I had been putting off watching as it concerns using bodyweight exercises to perform a HIT routine. I thought this would be pointless, but having seen this video, I am converted! Have a look and see what you think – my only problem is that I don’t have any parallel bars for dipping/ rowing in my house (nor the space to put them), but maybe one day.. Will definitely add in the neck isometrics though, as I have read other articles by him recommending that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mLtiTp5WNY

By the way, in another video on his site (“good and bad exercises”) he strongly advises against performing upright rows..

Reply
Sean Wickham says October 11, 2016

Squats and deadlift, but no direct exertion on the hamstrings?
Also, could you give us a few alternate lifts? Ex: DB pullover subbed for straight arm pulldown?

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says October 11, 2016

    I occasionally do leg curls, but to me it seems an ineffective isolation exercise. If you didn’t want or couldn’t do straight arm pulldown, just do T-bar rows or lat pulldown.

    Reply
      Sean says October 11, 2016

      Good points. Also should mention how a drop set is good for smaller muscle groups to ensure 1-set total fatigue.

      Reply
Crap says October 11, 2016

Yeah, you mentioned that twice. Dangit!

Reply
Once A Week Workouts Are As Good As Three - Rogue Health and Fitness says November 29, 2016

[…] My own workout routine uses a two-way split, and I train twice week, and therefore exercise each muscle group only once a week. However, there’s a lot of overlap between muscle groups, e.g. you can’t work out the chest without using shoulders, or do rows without training arms. So in fact some muscle groups get trained more than once a week. […]

Reply
Rob H. says December 7, 2016

Hi Dennis, You may be interested to hear that my ‘body by science’ approach, ie logging each workout performance in terms of all variables has pretty much demonstrated that in my case it is more effective to move away from the 2 sets approach I have been following to just 1 set – provided of course that every set is to very high intensity. I have tried instead to substitute out the 2nd set with a different exercise that works the same general muscle group: eg instead of a 2nd set of bench presses (which I stalled on for weeks), to do a set of push-ups or incline push-ups instead (if only I had space at home for some dipping bars!) I was with you on theorising that it should be OK to continue doing 2 sets on isolation movements, but things are starting to stall there too, eg bicep curls, so I think I will move to one set of those. It does seem to be the case that the more you increase weight/ intensity the more impact just a single set seems to have.. Have you made any recent changes to your workout principles which you could share with us? Many thanks!

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says December 7, 2016

    Hi Rob, I’m doing something similar: 1 set per exercise, not muscle group. So I’ll do T-bar rows, then a set of close-grip pull-downs. Overlap there. Or a set of chest press, then pec deck, then dips.

    Reply
      Rob H says December 7, 2016

      Oh, and that reminds me: re-reading through your post inspired me to get a bit more familiar with what ‘straight arm pull-downs’ are: not an exercise I was familiar with until I looked it up on Youtube today. I will definitely be subbing this one into my Friday workout and removing the dumbbell pullover: the weight had got to a point where I was actually beginning to panic about lifting the dumbbell over my head: if it slipped or a plate came loose my head would split like the proverbial watermelon! The straight arm pull-down looks a LOT safer, so really glad you mentioned that one!

      Reply
My Supplement Stack - Rogue Health and Fitness says January 25, 2017

[…] every three days I lift weights. On those days, after my workout I […]

Reply
Rob H says January 25, 2017

Hi Dennis, thanks for your reply on the supplements thread. I just thought I’d also mention here that I heard recently that new research out of mcmaters university in Canada has shown that 1 MINUTE (yes you read that right) of high intensity interval training matched the benefits of 50 mins of steady state cardio, when each were performed 3 times per week. The 1 minute is split into 3 x all out sprints of 20 seconds with a couple of minutes rest in between as well as 2 mins warm up and cool down. The reason I mention it here is that I am hoping that unlike the full Tabata protocol it will not mess up my progress with my HIT resistance training on Mondays and Fridays if I add in the 1 minute HIIT interval sprints on Wednesdays each week. At least that’s the theory! I’ll keep you posted on whether it affects my HIT progress or not. Subjectively though, I did the 1 minute sprints today and boy do you feel good afterwards!

Reply
Five Ways to Fight Depression - Rogue Health and Fitness says February 19, 2017

[…] 5 minutes between sets looking at your phone or chatting with friends. Work. Out. For that I favor high-intensity lifting and high-intensity interval […]

Reply
Rutina de musculación de Alta Intensidad - Seductivamente Atractivo says April 6, 2017

[…] (enlace al original en ingles) […]

Reply
My Current Workout Routine - Rogue Health and Fitness says May 25, 2017

[…] back I wrote about my high-intensity workout routine. Not much has changed; here are my A/B split workouts, which I do once every 3 days, […]

Reply
Dom guy says May 25, 2017

So just to make this clear:

You do 2 workout sessions a week (A and B) and each of those exercises is one SET and done for 5 REPS at a weight where you can just barely do 5 reps. Correct?

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says May 26, 2017

    Hi DG, That’s correct except for the number of reps. I do as many reps as possible, to failure, choosing a weight that gets me to failure in 8-12 reps, although the rep number isn’t that important. Going to failure *is* important.

    Reply
Mario says July 21, 2017

WO A: chest + back + arms
WO B: legs + shoulders

Why chin-ups are included in B?

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says July 21, 2017

    Arbitrary I guess. I wanted to do weighted chins so I threw them in.

    Reply
Add Your Reply