The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

It’s no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Wannabebig New Member
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    I'm Tired of Wasting My Time w/out Seeing Gains

    I have been lifting, on and off, for the past ten years, with limited success. While I feel I have gotten stronger, I haven't gotten nearly as big as I'd like to be. This is due, mainly, because I focused on arms and chest, paying almost no attention to legs. I have now come to realize, especially after reading this board, how important legs are. I feel like a real zero; all those hours in the gym with nothing to show for it.

    My goal is to get big, but I don't want to be bodybuilder-big. I just want to be a cut above the rest, be able to turn some heads when I'm walking through Wal-Mart, or something, if you know what I mean. I course I wouldn't mind the additional strength that comes from this, either.

    My stats:

    Age:32
    Weight: 190
    Height: 6'
    Bench: 230
    Squat: 200 (max)
    DL: 225 3x
    Chinups: 15

    Recently I started a new routine, one that I hope will bear gains.

    Day 1: lower body: squats, dl, other leg exercises
    Day 2: upper body: chest, back, shoulders, bis and tris
    Day 3: cardio, abs
    Day 4: same as Day 1
    Day 5: same as Day 2
    Day 6: cardio, abs
    Cycle repeats

    Please critique as harshly as you see fit. I'm tired of waisting my time in the gym without seeing results. I am fully committed to this. I have even started eating 5-6 meals, heavy on the protein, every day. Could you please fill in the missing link(s) for me.

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  3. #2
    195 lb. endurance geek Willie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdbrian View Post
    I have been lifting, on and off, for the past ten years, with limited success.
    Consistency breeds success. Believe in the training effect.

    You seem to be pretty fit though. 15 pull-ups isn't anything to sneeze at.
    Last edited by Willie; 08-16-2008 at 06:51 PM.
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  4. #3
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    I don't like your routine. There is no time to recxuperate.


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  5. #4
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    on and off,
    Your problem^.
    People who don't know how to keep themselves healthy ought to have the decency to get themselves buried, and not waste time about it.
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  6. #5
    Professional hobbit Focused70's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdizenzo View Post
    I don't like your routine. There is no time to recxuperate.


    OP: You grow out of the gym, not in it.
    me: so this is the "pump" you speak of
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  7. #6
    I wannabebig!
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    I think with 10 years training and saying you placed more focus on arms and chest... with those #'s youre putting up it is more to do with consistency as others have stated. You might have just put focus on arms and chest, but in the end it is you not being consistent and just being "on and off" if you want to get big then lift heavy and eat up... doesnt need some special routine, just not a jacked up one and you should see results. time + consistency + hard work
    Last edited by ryuage; 08-16-2008 at 11:38 PM.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdbrian View Post
    Day 1: lower body: squats, dl, other leg exercises
    Day 2: upper body: chest, back, shoulders, bis and tris
    Day 3: cardio, abs
    Day 4: same as Day 1
    Day 5: same as Day 2
    Day 6: cardio, abs
    Cycle repeats

    Please critique as harshly as you see fit.
    Your template seems reasonable. But everybody is different, the only way to know how good it is for you is to give it a try for a while. I'm assuming that Day 1, Day 2, etc aren't consecutive. Make sure you have rest days, lots of them ( IMHO more than you think you need ).

    Personally, I like that you're working chest and back the same day. It took me a long ( long ) time to realize how much your back/lats are involved in benching ( when you bench correctly, assuming your chest workout involves some flavor of bench press ).


    I'm tired of waisting my time in the gym without seeing results. I am fully committed to this.
    Yup. I've been there, I bet many who post here have too. But looking back, at least for me, it wasn't all wasted time, I suspect this is true for you as well. Personally, I've found that if you want to get big, it's the same as getting strong. In my opinion, to get strong you need to really push yourself to up the weight you're lifting on the complex exercises like squats/deads/bench. ( IMHO, don't view squats and especially deads as a leg exercise, they work your core, which is essential for being strong. ) Just remember good form keeps you injury free when lifting heavy ( it's more important to have somebody critique your form than your workout template ). Make sure you're constantly changing your workout. IMHO consider doing max effort days and dynamic effort days, ie westside barbell. It's made a big difference in my strength gains ( which is my most important measurement of my progress ), and it keeps workouts from getting boring.

    That's just my opinion. Good luck.
    Last edited by BigTallOx; 08-17-2008 at 03:59 AM.

  9. #8
    Wannabebig Member L3THAL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdizenzo View Post
    I don't like your routine. There is no time to recxuperate.
    ^Agree!

    You need some rest time in there. Also, personally I don't think doing Chest, Back, Shoulders, Bi's and Tris on the same day is very good idea. Space 'em out a little. Maybe Chest and Back one day, Shoulders, Bi's, and Tri's another.
    I also agree with the others on the "On and Off" thing. Need to stay consistant, and push yourself.
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  10. #9
    I sleep with pizza Rusty's Avatar
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    Eat more and stop dicking around. Either do it, or don't.
    Quote Originally Posted by RhodeHouse View Post
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  11. #10
    WBB's Juggernaut/Liason BigCorey75's Avatar
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    on and off was ur problem with seeing good results


    also ditch the cardio if ur trying to gain weight, do what ever u ned to get urself in a cal surplus, and doing cardio makes u burn more cals and buring more cals equals less muscle. also there is no reason to train abs by themselves, they get worked a ton in other exercises if u do them right, go check out t-nation and read an article called "Real Core Training" that is a fabulous one about very good functional ab exercises that can fit into any routine

    id train 4-5 days a week all big and heavy exercises, eat my ass of and get 2-3 days of rest and ditch the cardio, ur exercises look fine, just a little more rest cause u grow when u sleep not when u train, also ditch the ab days and work ur abs into your routine
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  12. #11
    Currently Obsessed with Sq
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    [QUOTE=sdbrian;1983800]
    Day 1: cardio morning, no abs ... 7-8 hours later (with loads of food and sleep between) - lower body: squats, dl, other freeweights/barbell leg exercises
    Day 2: upper body: chest, back, shoulders, bis and tris
    Day 3: Rest
    Day 4: cardio morning, Lower body evening
    Day 5: Rest
    Day 6: Upper body,
    Day 7: Rest
    QUOTE]

    If you insist on doing cardio, keep the sessions very short, no longer than 1/2 an hour, no more than twice a week and eat a ****load of food to make up for it. Also any leg cardio stuff (jogging, cycling, etc.) should be done on leg days, better for recovery. Check MariAnne's 'How to do Cardio if you MUST...' article.

  13. #12
    Wannabebig New Member
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    First, thanks for all the feedback. It is true that my consistency is not great. However, I faithfully worked out for months at a time, w/out seeing anything, which can be frustrating.

    I'm assuming that Day 1, Day 2, etc aren't consecutive. Make sure you have rest days, lots of them ( IMHO more than you think you need ).

    So, it would not be good to do lower body one day and upper body the very next day?

    Here's my thing: I am a cheapskate. I'm paying to be a member of a gym, so I want to go there nearly every day to get my money's worth, if you know what I mean. I realize that rest is crucial, but is there nothing I can do if I want to go to the gym 5 times a week?

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdbrian View Post
    First, thanks for all the feedback. It is true that my consistency is not great. However, I faithfully worked out for months at a time, w/out seeing anything, which can be frustrating.

    I'm assuming that Day 1, Day 2, etc aren't consecutive. Make sure you have rest days, lots of them ( IMHO more than you think you need ).

    So, it would not be good to do lower body one day and upper body the very next day?

    Here's my thing: I am a cheapskate. I'm paying to be a member of a gym, so I want to go there nearly every day to get my money's worth, if you know what I mean. I realize that rest is crucial, but is there nothing I can do if I want to go to the gym 5 times a week?
    Doing lower one day and then upper the next is fine provided that (A) you don't do too many exercises (5-6 as opposed to 2-3) (B) You stick to the big compound exercises (C) You put a day of rest or moderate cardio after the lower/upper days.

    Now if you want to go 5 times/days a week...that can be done. Probably not the optimal way to go about it (as others have pointed out), but you can make gains and good ones too. It's all about properly structuring your routine and moderating your volume to accommodate it.

    A sample template would be something along these lines:

    Day 1 Deadlift, leg press

    Day 2 Bench press, chin

    Day 3 Cardio/abs (ONLY)

    Day 4 Squat, lunges

    Day 5 Dip, row.

    Day 6 REST.

    Day 7 REST.

    Abs are worked with most other exercises as stabilizers so you should only need to do them once...but if you feel the need to hit them directly twice, you could do a short ab session on Day 6...it won't be that much overwork.

    Stick to 4-6 sets (8-10 reps). Track your calories and if you are not gaining after a month, add around 500 or so. Get at least 8 hours of sleep a night (more if you feel you need it). Be patient. You must be consistent as even the very best routine and diet will NOT work without consistency.
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 08-17-2008 at 06:13 PM.

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdbrian View Post
    Here's my thing: I am a cheapskate. I'm paying to be a member of a gym, so I want to go there nearly every day to get my money's worth, if you know what I mean. I realize that rest is crucial, but is there nothing I can do if I want to go to the gym 5 times a week?

    In my opinion, getting your money's worth means accomplishing your primary goal, ie getting as strong/big as you possibly can. Going to the gym 5 times a week may lower your cost/gym visit but that's all, it will not help what is your primary goal ( you even stated in your original post that you were tired of not seeing results )

    It's a hard thing to get over. You get motivated to build some muscle, so you become more focused while your at the gym, but then at the same time you have to completely forget about lifting for a couple days while you rest ( yes, a couple days! ), but once again you still have the intensity a couple days later for you next workout. It can be a difficult ballance to keep, but you need to get over it if you want to get strong. IMHO, workout hard when you're at the gym, but then forget about the gym while you're resting. Lifting 5 days a week is counter productive if your goal is to get big and strong.
    Last edited by BigTallOx; 08-17-2008 at 11:07 PM.

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdbrian View Post
    So, it would not be good to do lower body one day and upper body the very next day?
    This depends on where you're at. A beginner can maybe get away with doing it, but IMHO I wouldn't suggest it. To me doing lower body means squats, but squats aren't just lower body, so if you do squats and then upper body the next day, you're probably eventually going to be overtraining if you're doing squats with any intensity.

    But that's just my opinion. Eventually you need to find what works for you.

  17. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigTallOx View Post
    . Lifting 5 days a week is counter productive if your goal is to get big and strong.


    This is a blanket statement. As such it holds a grain of truth but is mainly incorrect. It is perfectly possible to get big and strong lifting five days a week. It certainly requires a bit more thought,(the grain of truth) but it is not counter-productive at all provided that you know what you are doing. But then that holds true for every other lifting regime whether you lift 3 or 4 or every Tuesday and Thursday that has a full moon.

    Would you say that is is counter-productive to lift 3 days a week or 4?

    Take the volume that you had in your three or 4 day workout and spread it out over five days....you'll probably have to juggle the exercises a bit, but basically you are doing the same amount of work that you did in 3-4 days in five. And you are doing less work per day than you did before. So please explain how that is counter productive and exactly where is the tipping point?

    Once and for all you could train SEVEN DAYS A WEEK and not overtrain. That has all to do with volume and intensity. Frequency is far far less important. If I went to the gym every day but did one exercise for 1 set, would I overtrain?

    Of course one set WOULD probably be counter-productive in that I would be likely undertraining, so I'd have to work with the training and maybe do five sets on one day, three on the next, four the day after...any type of split that allowed me to train and grow on this type of training. Again this requires more thought and effort then on a Rippetoe's or upper/lower split...but it certainly could be done. Is it OPTIMAL? Probably not given the time constraints that most people face with family, job and so forth.

    But five days a week is certainly feasible...whether it's optimal the OP is going to have to discover on his own.

  18. #17
    Bodybuilding Mythbuster
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    As regards 5 days a week training you might want to take a look at this.


    http://www.defrancotraining.com/arti...s_westside.htm

    Click on the link and you will see a list of linked articles on the right hand side. Click on the top one which says "Westside for skinny bastards, part II"

    Scroll down a bit and you will see a training program that calls for training six times, five days a week Mon-Fri (twice on Monday, once the rest of the days.)

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    whether it's optimal the OP is going to have to discover on his own.
    I agree with that, and also said something similar to the OP.

    However for the 5 days a week question, sure maybe some people can train like that and make gains. But it's been my experience that most people would be better off not doing it and should error on the side of more rest days instead of more training days. Also, since the OP asked about training 5 days a week, I suspect this is what they were doing when they weren't seeing any progress, thus it's time for them to change it. But that's just my opinion, everybody needs to figure out what works for themselves.

  20. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    Once and for all you could train SEVEN DAYS A WEEK and not overtrain. That has all to do with volume and intensity. Frequency is far far less important. If I went to the gym every day but did one exercise for 1 set, would I overtrain?
    Continuing this on... If you trained 7 days a week with such an intensity that you were just barely not overtraining, i doubt its enough intensity to be getting stronger either. 5 days isn't that much different than 7. It just seems to me if you're doing that you can't be training with enough intensity to grow and get stronger.

  21. #20
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Ya man, it's really about consistency. By consistency, I mean pick a GOOD routine, and give it your 100% effort.

    I was on and off for like 6 years, with some B.S. routine - no legs, no increase in weight, not much dedication, frequently skipping workouts, no real focus on diet, etc.....

    Obviously, I didn't get much more then just some bigger then average arms, and a nice beer gut.

    About a year and a half ago, I read the book "The new rules of lifting", and it taught me how to lift properly, and it got me really motivated to train with consistency (not skipping workouts, working the entire body, constantly increasing weight).

    Since then I've recently simplified things to a 3-day per week, full-body routine (rippetoe's routine), and I'm bigger and stronger then I ever was before.

    I've gained more strength and muscle in a year and a half then I did in over 6 years of dicking around. It's all about 100% effort and dedication to a good routine. That's not that hard to do either. It only takes 1 - 1.5 hours per day, 3 days per week.

  22. #21
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    Reading and re-reading the stickies at the top of this forum is a great first step to take you where you want to be. That, and check out the WBB routines. You'll notice recurring themes.

    1) Make compound movements the foundation of your workouts.
    2) Lift heavy.
    3) Lift smart.
    4) Eat a lot.
    5) Eat smart. (A lot.)
    6) Plenty of rest. Plenty of rest. Plenty of rest.

  23. #22
    Senior Member Turboboy's Avatar
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    Seems like you are doing way too much work in a weeks time. You can workout 5 days a week but split things up a bit. Work back, legs, chest shoulders and arms separately and only once per week. The other two days you can work abs, calves or do some cardio if you wish. I think you're honestly just over training bro. Good luck!
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  24. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigTallOx View Post
    Continuing this on... If you trained 7 days a week with such an intensity that you were just barely not overtraining, i doubt its enough intensity to be getting stronger either. 5 days isn't that much different than 7. It just seems to me if you're doing that you can't be training with enough intensity to grow and get stronger.
    First off (to respond to the last sentence)...intensity does not make you grow...that's caloric intake. You can train as intensely as you want but without sufficient calories you will not grow. Conversely you can never pick up a barbell, but still gain weight if you are eating more calories than you require. And getting stronger goes in hand in hand with size. If you added 50 lbs of muscle, do you think you would not be stronger by a considerable margin? Like I said provided you know what you are doing it is possible.

    Now let's examine the rest of your post:

    If you were training "with such an intensity that you were just barely not overtraining" then that training would be a GOOD thing. You are not overtraining (as that sentence makes clear) yet only "barely", thus pushing yourself to your absolute limits (before you become overtrained). That is the very idea about bodybuilding though..that is what you ARE SUPPOSED TO DO.

    Please explain how pushing one's self to the limits does NOT cause size and strength increases...because that is what you have said. I'll quote it again "If you trained 7 days a week with such an intensity that you were just barely not overtraining, i doubt it's enough intensity to be getting stronger either." In effect you are saying that training to a state where you are just barely not overtrained, is not enough intensity to get stronger. So that means that one has to OVERTRAIN TO GET STRONGER?

    Once and for all frequency has very little to do with getting stronger or bigger in and of its self. The link I posted has the coach working his trainees twice on Monday and once from Tues-Friday. That's six times a week (once twice a day) and still he can point to a number of trainees who have had remarkable success. Maybe you should e-mail him and tell him that his style of training is wrong and can't lead to gains in size and strength?

    There's more than one way to skin a cat. Yes training all out seven days a week is not good...but that's not what I was advocating. On the other hand spreading out the SAME VOLUME of work as you do in three days per week over seven will not necessarily lead to overtraining, especially if you weren't overtraining from that volume to begin with.

    And while we are on the subject, what do you feel about training up to NINE times per week?
    http://www.wannabebigforums.com/showthread.php?t=112714
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 08-18-2008 at 07:58 PM.

  25. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    First off (to respond to the last sentence)...intensity does not make you grow...that's caloric intake.
    Sure, but if you're not training with intensity, your growth will be fat not muscle.

    You can train as intensely as you want but without sufficient calories you will not grow.
    No argument here.

    Conversely you can never pick up a barbell, but still gain weight if you are eating more calories than you require. And getting stronger goes in hand in hand with size.
    Not if you only gained fat.


    If you were training "with such an intensity that you were just barely not overtraining" then that training would be a GOOD thing. You are not overtraining (as that sentence makes clear) yet only "barely", thus pushing yourself to your absolute limits (before you become overtrained). That is the very idea about bodybuilding though..that is what you ARE SUPPOSED TO DO.
    No, because each individual workout would be of very little intensity. Westside barbell has some of the most powerful lifters in the world, and I'm pretty sure that Louis Simmons would disagree with training 7 days a week.

    Please explain how pushing one's self to the limits does NOT cause size and strength increases...because that is what you have said.
    Because the "limit" is not much of a limit if you're training 7 days a week.

    I'll quote it again "If you trained 7 days a week with such an intensity that you were just barely not overtraining, i doubt it's enough intensity to be getting stronger either." In effect you are saying that training to a state where you are just barely not overtrained, is not enough intensity to get stronger. So that means that one has to OVERTRAIN TO GET STRONGER?
    No, it means you shouldn't train 7 days a week if your goal is to push more weight and get bigger.

    Once and for all frequency has very little to do with getting stronger or bigger in and of its self.
    Oh yes it does.


    Maybe you should e-mail him and tell him that his style of training is wrong and can't lead to gains in size and strength?
    I'm not a confrontational person. But if he were to ask me I'd definitely give him my opinion. Just because he's having some success, doesn't mean he's having the most success possible.

    There's more than one way to skin a cat. Yes training all out seven days a week is not good...but that's not what I was advocating.
    It sure sounded like you were. If you weren't then you must just want to argue. Thus I'm finished with this topic.

    And while we are on the subject, what do you feel about training up to NINE times per week?
    I think that's rediculous. The person training 9 times a week is 16 years old. The OP is 32.
    Last edited by BigTallOx; 08-18-2008 at 09:00 PM.

  26. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigTallOx View Post

    No, it means you shouldn't train 7 days a week if your goal is to push more weight and get bigger.

    Again with the blanket statements. Fuzzy does this. Other people (such as many Olympic lifters) do so as well. You should really add qualifiers to this.


    Oh yes it does.

    Frequency does? So then if I trained seven days a week I would NOT get any bigger? No possible exceptions? If there are exceptions then frequency doesn't really matter. There are people who train 3 times a week and progress nicely. There are people who train 4 times a week and progress nicely. There are people who train 5,6 or 7 times a week and still progress nicely. Heck I know people who go only twice a week and they still get bigger.

    If frequency were so critical or important to getting bigger, then only one or two of these groups should be making gains. But people in all these groups make gains. As I have said before it's about quality not quantity. Volume, intensity and caloric intake ALL have more to do with gaining size than frequency does.

    Think about it. Simply going to the gym (frequency) has little bearing on size with 1 or 2 exceptions (more on this later). The volume you use does, the weight you use does, the caloric intake you use does.

    Now if you are talking about going to the gym once a month or 50 times a week or something ridiculous like that, then yes, frequency may be somewhat more important. But within NORMAL parameters of a gym-going person, it matters very little in terms of gaining size.





    I'm not a confrontational person. But if he were to ask me I'd definitely give him my opinion. Just because he's having some success, doesn't mean he's having the most success possible.

    But he's having more success than either you or I. One can not discount another's methods on the sole basis that he doesn't agree with them. Not critically anyway.



    It sure sounded like you were. If you weren't then you must just want to argue. Thus I'm finished with this topic.

    I NEVER advocated training seven days a week all out. EVER. Nor did I imply it. If you don't understand what I said, then yes, it is probably best to be finished.


    I think that's rediculous. The person training 9 times a week is 16 years old. The OP is 32.
    Yes, but the whole point was to show you that blanket statements such as five days a week being counter-productive don't work, because they don't allow for such exceptions.
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 08-18-2008 at 11:08 PM.

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