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
    Formerly Nick Hatfield SW's Avatar
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    Change # of sets or reps every week in routine?????

    Ok guys, this one has been aggravating the **** out of me so I came to my most reliable source. A program that I plan to start at the beginning of school in late August seems really good to me and I've given it lots of thought and this is a good one IMO. I think I have everything covered exept for 2 things. I lift Mon. Wed. Fri.

    First this: should I go Week 1: 3 sets 4 reps Week 2: 3 sets 6 reps Week 3: 3 sets 8 reps.

    Weight will not go up on any exercise. Then on the fourth max out on everything. I do a three day split as you will soon see.

    Or should I do Week 1: 3 sets 4reps and increase the sets 1 or 2 each week for the following 2 weeks and the max out on 4?

    So really the ? here is should I increase sets or reps every week or what the Hell?

    The other pressing thing on my mind is "Damn, should I max out on everything that fourth week? Will my lifts on Wed. and/or Fri. suffer because my body already did max out on Mon."?

    Then I think to myself " Should I max out on 4 or 5 different exercises in one day?"

    Sorry if this confuses you guys, it does me too. It's driving me nuts.

    Maybe the routine of this will help

    Monday arms/chest/abs/obliques
    1. Bench
    2. Db press
    3. Curl
    4. Tricep extension.
    5. Russian twist + Bench leg lift + Medicine ball

    Wednesday back/traps
    1. Deadlift
    2. Seated boat row
    3. Low-lat pulldown

    Friday Legs
    1. Squat
    2. Leg press
    3. Calf raises

    Good God this is a long post sorry guys but this means alot to me to get the opinion of you and get this straightened out so I can have a good routine when school starts. Thanks for even reading this s***.
    "You can take control of my mind and my body, but there is one thing a Saiyan always keeps.... his PRIDE!"- Vegeta

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  3. #2
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    First off, you should go at least 8 weeks between maxing. Though if you do insist on the 4 week rotation, this is how your reps should be.
    Week 1: 8reps
    Week 2: 5reps
    Week 3: 3reps
    Week 4: Max

  4. #3
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    And you should increase the weight each week.

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DontGiveUp
    And you should increase the weight each week.
    That's a good way to burn out, unless you are genetically gifted and take steroids. Given that the smallest plates in most gyms are 2.5 lbs, that's a total of five pounds per week. While this might work for a while, that quickly adds up. If the OP works out for 20 weeks (5 months) that is a 100 lb gain he is supposed to be using. Increasing the weight when you feel ready is a better method then sticking rigidly to a certain regime of increasing the weight.

  6. #5
    Formerly Nick Hatfield SW's Avatar
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    What about this maxing out: once every 6 weeks but only on core lifts? Suggestions on alternate methods of maxing?
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  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExtremeAnabolic
    That's a good way to burn out, unless you are genetically gifted and take steroids. Given that the smallest plates in most gyms are 2.5 lbs, that's a total of five pounds per week. While this might work for a while, that quickly adds up. If the OP works out for 20 weeks (5 months) that is a 100 lb gain he is supposed to be using. Increasing the weight when you feel ready is a better method then sticking rigidly to a certain regime of increasing the weight.
    Since most people can't put a program together, that's their first guess. If I had offered the best way to gain strength, most people would not try it because it is so different from what they are doing. People don't like to steer too far away from their current program

    What this guy would do is use close to his 8rm for the first week, close to his 5rm for the second, 3rm for third and max out on the last week. For the next cycle you would use a little bit more for the first week than on the first cycle, a little more for the second week than on the first cycle and so on.

    You don't keep adding weight every week for the rest of your life. You keep add weight every week for the entire training cycle(which a good one would be about 10-14 weeks).

    I would do this for only your core lifts(squat, bench, deadlift). This is a very crude cycle for strength and far from optimal, but will probably work better than anything you were going to try(at least by what I read in your original post)

  8. #7
    Formerly Nick Hatfield SW's Avatar
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    ^^ Ok. IMO it's not a crude cycle. I've been lifting since the last part of sept. and maybe once a week since school ended. In that span I gained 130lbs on my bench. Naturally. Other than beginner gains, I think I've done nicely. I just need help fine tuning this program. So please don't **** all over what I've said.
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  9. #8
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    I don't know that there is any need to test you maxes so often. I think the basics of the program look quite nice. I would just do the 3 workouts in a row upping the reps each session and then bump the resistance slightly and start all over again. So, I think what you are doing is fine, just skip the maxing session. After a few cycles of this then you might want to check you max.


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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by superior_will
    ^^ Ok. IMO it's not a crude cycle. I've been lifting since the last part of sept. and maybe once a week since school ended. In that span I gained 130lbs on my bench. Naturally. Other than beginner gains, I think I've done nicely. I just need help fine tuning this program. So please don't **** all over what I've said.
    By crude, I mean basic and unrefined. Don't be so self-conscience. I'm trying to help your ass out. Let me know if the next year holds another 130lb gain on the bench.

  11. #10
    Formerly Nick Hatfield SW's Avatar
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    ^^ Sorry I'm very self concious, I took it wrong. Thought you were trying to be sort of a dick lol guess you weren't. Next year will not hold +130lbs gain on bench. Can't help but try though. What would you say would be refinements?
    Last edited by SW; 08-01-2004 at 07:50 PM.
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  12. #11
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    Take the weight down and build it back up over the course of at least 8 weeks so that you reach your old max on the 8th week. You can start with either 8 rep sets or 5 reps set. Your 9th week will be for your maxing.

    Also, I would move your squat and deadlift days farther apart. Deadlift/Mon and squat/Fri. Something like that. These 2 exercises use most of the same muscles. I personally don't use leg presses.

    These are some of the major changes I would make. Set, rep and weight schemes are a little more personalized.

  13. #12
    Formerly Nick Hatfield SW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason
    I don't know that there is any need to test you maxes so often. I think the basics of the program look quite nice. I would just do the 3 workouts in a row upping the reps each session and then bump the resistance slightly and start all over again. So, I think what you are doing is fine, just skip the maxing session. After a few cycles of this then you might want to check you max.

    I've always maxed out every 4-6 weeks. I've guess it's an old habit from newbie gains. So you think raise upping the sets and then increase weight, right?
    So what, max out every 8 weeks? Is that also what you think DontGiveUp?
    Maybe I should switch mon. and wed. workouts.
    Last edited by SW; 08-02-2004 at 06:30 AM.
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  14. #13
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    Now remember, you are not going to train to failure in the beginning. I'll focus on the squat, benchpress and deadlift.

    Start with 5 sets of 8 reps in the beginning. Increasing the weight on each set. Your top set should be somewhat difficult but not brutal.

    Increase the weight for week 2. You should still do the 5 sets of 8 reps.

    Increase the weight for week 3. You might change to 5 sets of 5 reps.

    Keep increasing the weight each week. Eventually you will have to go with 5 sets of 3 reps.

    Keep increasing the weight. Eventually you will have to go with 5 sets of 1 rep.

    You'll know when it's time to max.

  15. #14
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superior_will
    I've always maxed out every 4-6 weeks. I've guess it's an old habit from newbie gains. So you think raise upping the sets and then increase weight, right?
    So what, max out every 8 weeks? Is that also what you think DontGiveUp?
    Maybe I should switch mon. and wed. workouts.

    Please read this carefully. I said that your routine looked fine with the exception of the frequent max attempts which are not really necessary.

    You said that your program consisted of 3 sets of 4 reps on week 1, then 3 sets of 6 reps on week 2, and finally 3 sets of 8 reps on week 3, correct? You said that you do not increase the weight over the 3 week course, just the reps, correct? If so, that looks like a good plan to me. I assume that you are not training to failure for the majority of those sets, is this true?

    Once you have completed your 3 week cycle I recommend that you increase the resistance and start over (3 x 4, 3 x 6, 3 x 8). This is a simple, yet effective method of progression. Now, you may find that it takes longer to complete the cycle than 3 weeks from time to time (i.e. you don't feel like you can up the reps each week), that is ok and will happen. Just work with your body.

    The idea of moving your squat and deadlift days is really only necessary if you train close to failure. If not, and you find that you are progressing well then you can leave it the way it is.

    I think your program looks excellent overall and should be continued.
    Last edited by chris mason; 08-03-2004 at 05:33 AM.


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  16. #15
    Formerly Nick Hatfield SW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason
    Please read this carefully. I said that your routine looked fine with the exception of the frequent max attempts which are not really necessary.

    You said that your program consisted of 3 sets of 4 reps on week 1, then 3 sets of 6 reps on week 2, and finally 3 sets of 8 reps on week 3, correct? You said that you do not increase the weight over the 3 week course, just the reps, correct? If so, that looks like a good plan to me. I assume that you are not training to failure for the majority of those sets, is this true?

    Once you have completed your 3 week cycle I recommend that you increase the resistance and start over (3 x 4, 3 x 6, 3 x 8). This is a simple, yet effective method of progression. Now, you may find that it takes longer to complete the cycle than 3 weeks from time to time (i.e. you don't feel like you can up the reps each week), that is ok and will happen. Just work with your body.

    The idea of moving your squat and deadlift days is really only necessary if you train close to failure. If not, and you find that you are progressing well then you can leave it the way it is.

    I think your program looks excellent overall and should be continued.

    Correct on reps and correct on not increasing the weight chris. Not training to failure. It's possible I'll switch mon. and wed. just to be on the safe side, in case I do happen to get quite tired. Maybe not. I appreciate all the help from everyone.
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  17. #16
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    My bad. I thought you were interested in strength training.

  18. #17
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Don't, exactly how will that program not increase his strength?


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  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExtremeAnabolic
    That's a good way to burn out, unless you are genetically gifted and take steroids. Given that the smallest plates in most gyms are 2.5 lbs, that's a total of five pounds per week. While this might work for a while, that quickly adds up. If the OP works out for 20 weeks (5 months) that is a 100 lb gain he is supposed to be using. Increasing the weight when you feel ready is a better method then sticking rigidly to a certain regime of increasing the weight.
    That's why you don't do the same workout for 20 weeks AND you don't start at your max weight. If you start out at about 15lbs below your max weight (for whatever # of reps) and then increase by 5lbs/week and do this for 8 weeks you will have increased your lift by 25lbs in 2 months...very doable in my opinion. At this point you would change your routine/exercises.

  20. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason
    Don't, exactly how will that program not increase his strength?
    That would be better for increasing the amount of reps you can do with a weight not increasing your 1rm. 1rm is a neural adaptation which needs to be acclimated to by progression of intensity.

  21. #20
    As I Am Paul Stagg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DontGiveUp
    By crude, I mean basic and unrefined. Don't be so self-conscience. I'm trying to help your ass out. Let me know if the next year holds another 130lb gain on the bench.
    I was hoping you were gone.

    Have you decided to actually tell us who all the world champions are you train, or are you still just talking out of your ass?
    Squats work better than supplements.
    "You know, if I thought like that, I'd never put more than one plate on the bar for anything, I'd never use bands or chains, I'd never squat to parallel or below, and I'd never let out the slightest grunt when I lift. At some point in your lifting career (assuming you're planning on getting reasonably strong and big), you're going to have to accept that most people think you are some kind of freak." -Sensei
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  22. #21
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    Did you need some training advice as well? I'd be happy to for a nominal fee.

    Are you still class 4. You must have stopped training.

  23. #22
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    Dude, he am teh best0rz str3nth train0r on teh E4rth. You can't argue with that.
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  24. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by DontGiveUp
    Did you need some training advice as well? I'd be happy to for a nominal fee.

    Are you still class 4. You must have stopped training.
    You give a list of references and accomplishments and I might consider it. What have you got to offer. Anybody that makes the claims you do should have plenty of reference points to expand your growing clientele.
    What is elite?
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  25. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by DontGiveUp
    Since most people can't put a program together, that's their first guess. If I had offered the best way to gain strength, most people would not try it because it is so different from what they are doing. People don't like to steer too far away from their current program

    What this guy would do is use close to his 8rm for the first week, close to his 5rm for the second, 3rm for third and max out on the last week. For the next cycle you would use a little bit more for the first week than on the first cycle, a little more for the second week than on the first cycle and so on.

    You don't keep adding weight every week for the rest of your life. You keep add weight every week for the entire training cycle(which a good one would be about 10-14 weeks).

    I would do this for only your core lifts(squat, bench, deadlift). This is a very crude cycle for strength and far from optimal, but will probably work better than anything you were going to try(at least by what I read in your original post)

    So you know the "best way to train for strength". By that logic then everyone else is misguided.

    First of all I never said to "keep adding weight every week for the rest of your life" I pointed out that adding weight every week can lead to burnout. 14 weeks? Okay, that is 70 pounds per cycle (Most gyms do not have plates that allow for less of an increase in weight.) You did not specify a cycle or length of time. You simply said "And you should increase the weight each week". That is the post I was responding to.

    By the way if you are such a good personal trainer why would you (in your own words) offer a "crude cycle for strength and far from optimal". Someone comes on here asking for help and you give him a third or fourth hand training regime? Nice. BTW I am still waiting for a list of your accomplishments and the world champions you have trained.

    To the OP. Mr. Mason's suggestions sound good. Like I said, he pointed out that you may not be able to accomplish the reps or weight each time. As he said "just work with your body". This is far superior then sticking to a regime that you may not (yet) be able to handle. Listening to your body is much better.
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 08-04-2004 at 10:47 PM.

  26. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vido
    That's why you don't do the same workout for 20 weeks AND you don't start at your max weight. If you start out at about 15lbs below your max weight (for whatever # of reps) and then increase by 5lbs/week and do this for 8 weeks you will have increased your lift by 25lbs in 2 months...very doable in my opinion. At this point you would change your routine/exercises.
    You are assuming that this will work. Many people may not be able to gain from this. You can't possibly make a blanket statement that "you will have increased your lift by 25 lbs in 2 months" (italics mine) Some people may hit a plateau before that, some may make slower gains, and some may overtrain (and thus regress). It is doable, but adhering strictly to any one program rather than listening to your body seems foolish. Also Mr. Don'tgiveup suggested a significantly longer training cycle than what you recommend.

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