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
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    What are your thoughts on lifting without a routine or a plan?

    Basically for the last 3.5 years, I have been strictly following routines. First I started out with NROL (which does a lot of routine switching and changing of reps and sets). I then moved onto SS into the texas method.....After a while I realized that I could just design my own routine, and I made a decent upper/lower split that has been working well for me. But basically, I have always been following some sort of template.

    In my MMA class, the way we train is we are always doing something different. Sometimes we do circuits, sometimes we spar, sometimes we'll do some crazy cardio sessions, sometimes well do strongman stuff like tireflips and atlas stones, etc.... It's basically always something different.

    I'm wondering if I started doing that in the gym....Like maybe one day I'll work up to a heavy single on the DL followed by a burnout set and some random assistance exercises. Then the next day, I'll do some upper body push/pull stuff for higher reps and higher volume. Then the next day I'll bang out some 20 rep squats. Then the next day work up to 5RM on bench followed by assistance. Then the next day, maybe some barbell circuit training....etc.... Basically every day in the gym would be something new, something challenging (whether it's going for a RM or just something that will have me almost puking), never neglecting any major movements, etc...but basically I'll be switching it up every time I'm in the gym to keep it interesting...

    Does anyone else train like this? And if so (or even if not) what are your thoughts?
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  3. #2
    WBB's Juggernaut/Liason BigCorey75's Avatar
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    Training without a set routine is definetly dooable, i havent had a specified routine in nearly 5 years and ive been making good gains. But lifting without a plan is akin to driving a car without holding on to the steering wheel.


    With a plan there some a goal, and with goals u have the plan and u have some basis on how you want to go in and work. See u can do it without a routine but as long as u have a plan you are money. Because with the plan ill know i wanna do some heavy hip extension work that day, but my body my not be up to doing deadlifts and ill feel more comfortable that day doing Good mornings , so a plan give me guidance but without a set routine it allows some flexibility so i can train by feel alot of times.


    so i dont think its a good idea to hit the gym without a plan because you have no idea where you want to take your body or your goals, but it can be done without a set in stone routine
    Why live if one can not Deadlift?- John Paul Sigmasson

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  4. #3
    THE IRON NEVER LIES given'er's Avatar
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    I believe that a general game plan is good to have, but a dead set routine for me is hard to follow. I basically go to the gym knowing it's "chest day" or "leg day" and take it from there.

  5. #4
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    I guess the "plan" would be to just make every workout more challenging then the previous one....keep pushing myself....but basically just lift some heavy a** weights if I feel like going heavy that day, or just lift fast with short rest if I'm doing circuits, or do high volume if I'm going moderate weight/higher reps. Basically keep track of the numbers, and keep pushing to increase them.
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  6. #5
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by given'er View Post
    I believe that a general game plan is good to have, but a dead set routine for me is hard to follow. I basically go to the gym knowing it's "chest day" or "leg day" and take it from there.
    Basically for me it would either be a full body day, an upper day, or a lower day. I still tend to think in terms of movements as opposed to bodyparts.
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  7. #6
    Wannabebig Member
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    I have a set routine as far as what muscle group I do on a certain day, and I always do the big 3 and military press, but the rest of the exercises I switch around all the time, basically whatever my body is feeling for that day.
    6'0 @ 206 lbs
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  8. #7
    Senior Member deeder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brihead301 View Post
    Basically for me it would either be a full body day, an upper day, or a lower day. I still tend to think in terms of movements as opposed to bodyparts.
    None of those are movements
    Full Powerlifting
    Squat - 595lbs -- 270kg -- Dec. 31, '09 (Provincial Record @100kg class)
    Bench - 374lbs -- 170kg -- Dec 20, '08 (@100kg class)
    Dead - 589lbs -- 267.5kg -- Dec 20, '08 (Provincial Record @100kg class)
    Total: 1537lbs -- 697.5kg -- Dec 20, '08 (Provincial Record @ 100kg class)
    Bench Only -- 358lbs -- 162.5kg -- Nov. 25, '07 (Provincial Record @ 90kg class)
    Bench Only -- 376lbs -- 171kg -- Jan. 26, '08 (Provincial Record @ 100kg class)

  9. #8
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Always a smarta** huh?

    Upper body movements - OH press, bench, pull-ups, dips, rows, CG bench, etc..
    Lower body movements - squat, front squat, deadlift, power clean, good mornings, etc...

    Full body days combine bother upper and lower.
    How to Find Your Dream Job
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  10. #9
    WBB's Juggernaut/Liason BigCorey75's Avatar
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    constantly trying to make each workout harder will ultimately let you hit a wall, every so often you need to back off for a week or so to let your body fully recover
    Why live if one can not Deadlift?- John Paul Sigmasson

    Accept that which is useful and reject what is not- Bruce Lee

    Reason and Logic trump religion- Me

    Restriction of education, Censorship of knowledge, and Proliferation of religion helps keep the masses tamed- Me

    "Money does not fix everything, Smart fixes everything"

  11. #10
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    well I don't understand it personally. Our bodies recover nearly at the same rate if we keep nutrients and sleep constant/good. So, after about 3-5 (or more for very advanced people?) days we're ready to hit our chest again hard...or we're ready to hit our quads/hams hard again after 3-4 days since squatting last. So, I dunno what the point of not having a routine is? You'll probably fall into a sort of routine anyways wouldn't you with the natural recovery rates of different body parts?

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigCorey75 View Post
    constantly trying to make each workout harder will ultimately let you hit a wall, every so often you need to back off for a week or so to let your body fully recover
    I been doing 8 weeks on and 2 weeks of deload (1 week fully off and 1 week of moderate volume moderate intensity). Works good! psychologically its much nicer to know that I have an 8 week cycle where I must push hard to meet my weight goals. Then I can cruise for a couple weeks and be ready to go at it again.

  13. #12
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    I understand my recovery and all that, and I don't expect to progress forever. I don't have any particular goals in mind, other then to just keep pushing myself harder and harder. Like I don't have any particular strength goals right now, and I'm not really a bodybuilder. I just like beating the crap out of myself at the gym. When I deadlift or squat heavy I feel like my a** is whooped. When I run for a long distance, I also feel like my a** is whooped but in another way. When I do circuit training, my a** feels whooped yet in even another way!!!

    I just like to train in different ways, but always make it hard.
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  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by brihead301 View Post
    But basically, I have always been following some sort of template.

    In my MMA class, the way we train is we are always doing something different. Sometimes we do circuits, sometimes we spar, sometimes we'll do some crazy cardio sessions, sometimes well do strongman stuff like tireflips and atlas stones, etc.... It's basically always something different.

    I'm wondering if I started doing that in the gym
    Personally I think it's important to have a plan, but that doesn't mean you can't do something different every workout. For example, saturday is my max effort bench session, but one week we'll do straight weight raw working up to a max single, the next weak we might do chains with sets of 3, the next week me might bench shirted, etc. Same thing with max effort squat night. One week it's straight weight, the next it's reverse bands, the next maxing out on box squats, etc. I think it's very important to change it up and do something different, but it doesn't have to mean you don't have a plan.


    Quote Originally Posted by brihead301 View Post
    Does anyone else train like this?
    Not exactly, but I do try to change things up as described above. I could see something like that working.

  15. #14
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    I've been on SS for three weeks, so take this with a grain of salt.

    Trying to have your next workout be "harder" than the last isn't a very good way to measure progress: it's too subjective. Even if you decide to randomly throw things together, I think it'd be a good idea to document what you did the previous time.

    For instance, if you decide to throw jump rope in there for 5 min, next time you throw it in make it for 7 min. And same with anything else. You have to track your progress somehow, even if you don't have a "set" routine.

  16. #15
    Squat Heavy, Squat Often Cards's Avatar
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    I'm with BigTallOx, I go in with some form of a plan or atleast some type of goal for the day, but I always leave room for change. I started doing powercleans out of the blue one day and now they're a staple in my routine.
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  17. #16
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Ya that's what I'm talking about Bigtallox! Only, you train specifically for strength. Me, I'm doing it for stuff that would translate over to MMA for me, which is a mix of strength, endurance (both cardio and muscular), etc... Basically in a fight, ALL systems need to be working top notch, so a constant mixture of types of training would most likely translate over better then simply lifting for strength and doing cardio for endurance.
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  18. #17
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d0rkyd00d View Post
    I've been on SS for three weeks, so take this with a grain of salt.

    Trying to have your next workout be "harder" than the last isn't a very good way to measure progress: it's too subjective. Even if you decide to randomly throw things together, I think it'd be a good idea to document what you did the previous time.

    For instance, if you decide to throw jump rope in there for 5 min, next time you throw it in make it for 7 min. And same with anything else. You have to track your progress somehow, even if you don't have a "set" routine.
    Absolutely. I always log my training sessions. I know I'm making progress. I will eventually repeat a workout. Like, on a "heavy 5RM dead day", I'll shoot for heavier weight next time. On a 5 lift circuit day such as:

    front squats - 135 x 10
    OH press - 95 x 10
    pull-ups - bodyweight x 10
    bench - 135 x 10
    deadlift - 185 x 10

    -no rest between lifts

    I'd make my progress by either doing an extra set, or adding 5 lbs. to each lift, or doing more reps
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  19. #18
    Senior Member Drew92's Avatar
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    I find that when you mix things up and keep it intersting you have more fun. When you have more fun it doesn't seem like a workout and you will push yourself harder.

  20. #19
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    I'm sure this has been said already, but not having a definite routine is fine, but not having at least a general 'plan' is a really, really bad idea. A general map will do for most people unless they have specific needs/goals and deadlines.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
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  21. #20
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    I guess I do have a general plan:

    - Keep pushing myself to improve on my 1RM's, 3RM's, and 5RM's in all major lifts
    - get my endurance/stamina up by doing progressively harder circuits and short rest/high rep workouts
    - Mix it up to keep things fun and interesting

    I won't just randomly do whatever, so I guess the title of this thread should have just said without a routine and not a "plan".
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  22. #21
    Mr. Big Adam-7's Avatar
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    I need a plan. It provides me with focus in the gym. Plus, with a plan comes goals.

    I do know people that have never used a "plan" and they are in better shape than me. I say to each their own.
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