Back to basics
The last six months I have been experimenting with my workout routine. I have, in fact, never before altered my overall program and my different workout sessions to such a degree as I have during this period. I have tried high volume training (in the shape of GVT; German Volume Training – where one aims for at least 6 sets of each exercise, all consisting of 12 reps each, adding up to plenty of reps and, more often than not, a strong pump in the targeted muscle) and I have tried the opposite, going through workout sessions where the rest intervals were long and the weights were heavy (and where 5 reps was considered the maximum of each set). I have performed plenty of exercises that I have never employed before, during all my years of training. I have also changed my schedule several times, experimenting with different combinations of the muscle groups.
A week ago I decided to try on yet another method; namely high frequency training. The plan was to aim for rapid strength developing. This was to be accomplished by training each muscle group 2-3 times/week. For this to be done one has to keep the volume low and make sure to stay away from failure (at least most of the time). Emphasis is to be put on regular increases in the weights that is being handled. The number of different exercises being performed is also low.
That was the plan.
I was inspired by some articles I found online. There are several fitness authors out there who advocates high frequency training. I thought it sounded appealing.
Today, though, I broke every promise I had made to myself. I threw high frequency out of the window and plunged into an arm session that turned out like this:
1. Biceps curl, barbell, 4x6-10
2. Triceps push ups, 4x30
3. Inclined biceps curl, 4x6-10
4. Rocky extensions (= seated triceps extensions), 4x8-10
5. Standing concentrated biceps curl, 4x6-10/arm
6. Triceps pushdowns, 4x6-10
7. Biceps pump, 1 hand, dumbbell, 4x6-arm
8. Triceps extensions with rope, 4x8-12
9. Forearm curls, dumbbell, 4x6-8/arm
This adds up to almost 40 sets of arm work – and plenty of sets landing in the range of 8 to 10 reps. This, however, was not part of any plan or any thought-out experiment. Instead it was a matter of just following my heart and composing the kind of workout session that I like best: an intense and traditional muscle building session that ends up with a good solid pump, lots of sweating, heightened pulse and plenty of endorphins pulsating through the body.
The immediate feeling after having gone through this workout session was: enough with the experimenting for now. Let´s have a period where I just do what I have always done: dividing the body into 3 or 4 groups, blasting each muscle group with 10-20 sets/session, keeping the majority of sets within the range of 5 to 10 reps – and, when I feel so inclined, finishing it all off with 10 or 15 minutes of intense cardio.
I’m all for variation. I have written a lot about that here on Penandbarbell.com. But if one were to sum up my approach to training in a few sentences it would look like the one outlined above. So, all trends, schools and alternations aside – this is the kind of training that have allowed me to reach my results in the past – and now I feel the urge to return to this my most trusted kind of program; at least for the next few months.
I feel that there is a lesson in this. We are constantly bombarded with different methods, trends and approaches. This can be great fun – trying, as I have done a lot this year, different things and realizing that there is more than one way to reach one’s goals. Still: the most successful workout program will always consist of the kind of training that suits you personally – the kind of training that is in accordance not only with your ideals when it comes to look and performance, but also when it comes to achieving that fantastic feeling of reward and happiness that should be the prioritized goal of any workout session.