Man, it felt good to be back in the gym after about 2 weeks of essentially no gym.
I had a week being down with strep throat (or something like that), then I was out of town on business. Between the two I was just run down, tired, and in no real shape or mood to work out. Sure I tried a little bit, but rest and recovery was more important. And that I think is a theme as I go forward.
Right up until last night I was undecided as to where to go next. I have a basic idea of course. I want to run a little more hypertrophy for a while. Yeah, I have my strength goals, but I’ve honestly shifted a bit towards wanting to build some muscle. First, more muscle will be good for more strength. Second, after all I’ve lost over the past almost-2-years of loss-dieting, I’d like to rebuild some stuff. Because honestly, I’m enjoying the way things look in the mirror and I’d like to build on that a little bit. Third, the more I read, the more it seems right to cycle things — if you focus mainly on strength, do a hypertrophy cycle every so often; if you focus mainly on hypertrophy, do a strength cycle every so often. It breaks adaptation cycles, solidifies gains, and allows longer-term progress. So it’s been my goal to do one more hypertrophy cycle, then do a short strength cycle, then see from there.
Question was: what to do for hypertrophy for the next 6-8 weeks? I had thought about just another 4x/week bodypart split hitting each major group 1x week. That certainly works OK for me, especially with the setup I’ve been running. But there’s more than enough out there, both literature and my own experience, that tells me hitting a part more often than once every 7 days should actually be better for me. Granted, if I hit it hard enough to require 7 days for recovery, that works out — and I tend to like how those sessions go. When I hit things more often, the sessions need to be lesser so that the cumulative work is what I need, but then each session is a little less than I want. That’s a little hard for me to pull back to do, but if it amounts to better results in the end…
I’ve long been thinking about it, a sort of A/B upper/lower split type of thing. But I wasn’t sure how I wanted to do it. Biggest thing was days. I’ve been on 4x/week because of The Defattening, and while I enjoy the groove of 4x and find that can work alright when I do something like a bodypart split because let’s face it: having an arm day is basically a rest day (compared to say a leg/squat day). But trying to squat 2x/week, heavy work like this 4x/week ultimately kicks my ass. Can I do it? Sure I could — but recovery needs to take a higher priority, and that’s many times difficult for me because of life. I have found that 3x/week works alright for me, and with a upper/lower type of split that’s about 4-5 days between sessions — which may be about right.
So for the past week I was thinking about hitting Paul Carter’s “Inception” again because that seemed right up the alley. But I admit I wasn’t sure how well the 4x/week would do for me. So last night I opted to flip back to Paul’s Guaranteed Muscle Mass program. This is that A/B 1/2 split, it works 3x/week so it takes 4 weeks to fully “cycle” through it. I’ve done it before, about a year ago, but because I was Defattening I ran it 4x/week — and it kicked my ass. But I think about the circumstnaces: 4x/week (program is written for 3x/week), I was defattening so I was low on fuel (and now I’m not), and I’ve got some other things going on right now that well…. I suspect this might work out for me.
So, giving it a shot. I’ll run it for 8 weeks and see how it goes. Yeah, I hate it to some extent — shit like split squats I just hate, but they are good for me and really kick my ass so… here I am.
SO! How about today?
I only had a rough idea of where weights and reps would be for today, so I just picked some things, did what I could, and I’ll adjust for next time.
It felt good to (back) squat again, tho for sure this is the biggest place I need to bring my strength up. I miss squatting in the 300’s and I really want to get back there.
Stiffs went fine, and I think it’ll be good for me — letting my back bend over, get rounded, I think my lower back needs that sort of thing right now. It’s hard to explain, but these days I find myself just bending over and letting my lower back “expand and relax” like that and it feels good. A little too heavy on the AMRAP set, so I’ll adjust for that, but otherwise I was fine.
And split squats. How I hate you. These kick my ass so hard, but they are so good for me. My knees appreciate it and are better for it.
Another note: it’s amazing how quickly you lose conditioning. All these AMRAP sets, 1-minute rest between all sets, man… I was huffing and puffing. If anything, that’s why I gave out “so soon” on my AMRAP sets — conditioning stopped me before anything else. That will come back in time. Just keep working and pushing.
Based on Paul Carter’s “Guaranteed Muscle Mass” article.
- BW x 10
- bar x 5
- 135 x 5
- 175 x 4
- 215 x 3
- 245 x 2
- 265 x 1
- 215 x 12 (AMRAP)
- 215 x 6 (50%)
- Stiff-Legged Deadlift
- 135 x 5
- 185 x 4
- 225 x 3
- 275 x 2
- 325 x 1
- 275 x 6 (AMRAP)
- Split Squats
- BW x 10 (each leg)
- BW x 10
- BW x 10
- BW x 10
- BW x 10