Are you happy with your current size and strength? Of course not-who is? If you tip the scale at 190, you swear you'd be content once you inch past the 200 mark, Yeah sure. Even if you weigh 250 and squat 600, you still want more. 'More mass" is the bodybuilder's battle cry, no
matter where he or she stands.
There's nothing wrong with wanting more; that's what bodybuilding is all about-as long as the more is in proportion to the rest. The problem arises when you equate more mass with mote sets. While it's true that volume is a form of overload, and adding sets every so often for a phase or two can stimulate more growth, overdoing the overload simply leads to over stressing the body, a.k.a. overtraining, the number-one cause of muscle loss.
With that caveat stated, let's get to the subject I ended the last installment of this column with, split training. Splitting up your routine can be a great way to stimulate the adaptive mechanism and trigger more growth, if you don't over train. The most popular version is the three-on/one-off split, which goes something like this:
Day 1: Chest, shoulders and triceps
Day 2: Quads, hams and calves
Day 3: Back, biceps and abs
Day 4: Rest
This is a pretty good split, which is why you see most of the champs using something similar. Remember, however that if you're not a champ, you must follow a few rules to be successful with this approach-and if you are a champ, you may make even better gains with this split by adhering to the following:
1) Don't get carried away with volume-Because you only work three bodyparts per session, there's a great temptation to up the workload. Don't. Stick with six to eight high-intensity sets per bodypart. One of the problems with this split is that you're forced to train three days in a row without giving your system a rest. This is a minor problem if you keep your set totals low; it becomes major when you start hitting double digits for each bodypart.
2) Only use this split for four weeks, Because of the minor problem mentioned above-three days of training in a row before your system gets a break- this routine isn't very recovery oriented, and if you use it for longer than four weeks, you may dive headfirst into the bottomless pit of overtraining. Use it for four weeks, downshift your intensity for one or two weeks and then go to a three-days-per-week, full- body split similar to the one outlined last month. After four to six weeks of full-body training, downshift your intensity for a week and then hit the three-day split again or try Super compensation training, a volume-oriented approach, in which you train each bodypart only once per week, or Compound Aftershock, a high-intensity four-sets-per-body- part POF regimen based on the every-other-day split.
3) If you start feeling overtrained, stop using this routine immediately. The three-day split is not for hardgainers, and if you fall into that category, you'll no doubt be overtrained in a matter of days on this schedule. Don't ignore what your body tells you. Shift to a two-to- three-days-per-week, full-body schedule, or at least move to an every-other-day split to give your body a day of rest between workouts. I'll cover the every- other-day split next month.