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Old 12-19-2010, 10:41 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by glwanabe View Post
Working the entire body in one session has become a program that is set aside for beginners. At one time it was the way everybody trained for a majority of the year. Some people continued to train this way year round, while others transitioned to splits leading up to contest.
This is an important point, and one I stress often. Prior to the steroid era fullbody workouts were THE way to train. In the modern era, they are generally relegated for beginners only.

While one can engage in the endless debate over which approach is better, it should not be forgotten that fullbody workouts are viable for all levels of training.

Some of the strongest naturals of all time used them in one form or fashion.

Originally Posted by glwanabe View Post
There is enough scientific knowledge that an entire book, or books could be written about fullbody workouts. Over the course of the next few months we will delve into this subject in small bites of information. Trying to present all of the information in one post would be like trying to drink water from a fire hose.
Casey Butt's research alone is exhaustive. While it is certainly obvious that splits can work, as most modern naturals use them, it becomes apparent from Casey's research that fullbody workouts are not just for newbs or Rippetoe followers.

Casey Butt Muscle and Brawn Bodybuilding and Powerlifting.

Originally Posted by glwanabe View Post
A common scenario for people today who try to train fullbody coming off of a typical modern bodybuilding split is that they fail at it. It is actually easy to understand why they fail. You have to realize that a fullbody program and a split are so different from one another that they simply cannot be approached in the same manner. Working a fullbody program requires that you build up the conditioning needed to complete the session without failing. It is quite literally the difference between running a sprint, and running a marathon.
I failed quite a bit in 2010 when trying to use them. It definitely does take more of an evolutionary approach - meaning that you start slow and build into them either with weight or training volume.

This "training evolution" was actually more of a common practice in the pre-steroid era. In the modern era you don't see this preached often. It's usually enter with guns a-blazin'.

Originally Posted by glwanabe View Post
In performing a traditional modern 5 day split, you are concerned with working a particular muscle hard enough to disrupt it, and have the muscle respond by growing. Typically you will hit it directly once a week and possibly indirectly again, depending on what muscle it is. This is normally done by the application of numerous sets ranging anywhere from 9-20, again depending on what muscle you are targeting.
One thing I have found is that with splits (which I have used for 20+ years) is that I tend to overwork my joints a bit more because the focus was on doing as much as possible for a given bodypart in X amount of time.

Though a fullbody took be a while to "get into a groove" with, I found my joints tended to handle it better because it was a lower volume per session.

Mileage may vary of course...

I have run fullbody workouts for only 2-3 months this year, but I have fewer strains on them...(so far!)

Originally Posted by glwanabe View Post
The problem as I see it is this. Once you have worked a muscle hard enough to disrupt it, do you really need to keep hammering it to oblivion? Are you doing more harm than good?
It is my opinion that far too many trainees think only about muscle fatigue, and do not consider other factors such as the stresses place upon their joints, connective tissue, etc, when training.

I have run higher volume only several times during my lifting career, but on these occasions I have been smashing my joints to death, and have incurred the most strains.

Obviously some lifters handle this better than others. I do not wish to speak in generalizations. There are levels of conditioning at work with splits as well.

But for me as I age the question becomes - when lifting, looking through the lens of training longevity, what impact does high volume training have on the joints and connective tissue?

I worked in a factory as a machinest for 3 years and had to do an extremely high volume of heavy lifting. While my muscles did adapt to these demands, my body was beat up to no end (joints, connective tissue, CNS fatigue, poor recovery).

What this taught me is that while you can condition your body to handle extremes, some aspects of the body just don't handle things as well as others. Once again, I was forced to view lifting with more than just a "muscle" lens.

I want to repeat that I am not saying high volume workouts can't work. They are used successfully by many lifters. My greater points are that:

A) I am not convinced they are needed to achieve the same levels of muscularity and strength.

B) I am not convinced that high volume split workouts are healthy choices for non-competitors who enjoy training and have an eye on training longevity.

My personal slant - even though I have used splits, my set volume was rarely high volume.

Originally Posted by glwanabe View Post
I like to say, stimulate, not annihilate. During the course of the weeks work you actually do close to the same total amount of work to the muscle, but it is left in better shape to recover from more shorter sessions than from the one long blasting. You sti
Again the question everyone needs to ask I annihilating my joints and connective tissue doing 20 sets for chest in one session?

Originally Posted by glwanabe View Post
In the case of the fullbody workout you also work several muscles both directly and indirectly in one session. Another scenario I see from many people is the complaint that they can’t work their arms on back or chest day. The arm muscles the want to work are too tired from the compound movements of the major muscle. They do not make the connection of the simple concept of pre exhausting the muscle. Triceps tired from benching? Well then it should not take much too just finish them off and be done with your tricep work, right? No, they want to hit the tricep from 18 different angles. Seriously, why?
Modern lifting often strains really hard to separate compound lifts into "muscle groups" because that is the primary vessel it uses (splits). Each of us is different, with different strengths and weaknesses. This can mean that for some, a chest workout destroys the triceps, and a back workout the biceps and traps.

The natural tendency in the modern era, with splits, is to turn a compound lift into more of an isolation lift by lightening the weight and using intensity techniques and/or slowing the tempo and "feeling" the muscle work. This is a point rarely talked about.

Another point rarely talked about is that most naturals make the bulk of their gains on simple, basic programs and generally only adopt the above when the gains (naturally) stall. They do so with the hopes of "re-igniting" gains, which is a myth of course. Naturals can't re-ignite gains. They have finite gains.

This is not to say that certain new approaches can't create a small boost - they can. But realistically, if you are an experienced natural who is only gaining 1 pound of muscle per year, are these techniques really working to boost gains? This is a tough question to answer, and depends on the circumstances of the lifter involved. But as a general rule, I do not believe that this focus on "isolation-i-fying" compound lifts is any more effective than simple progression.

It does make the lift more mentally taxing, and you are working harder to battle the CNS and lactic acid buildup, but is this working the muscle as hard as a natural lift speed with heavy weight? That is the question.

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Last edited by BendtheBar; 12-19-2010 at 10:44 AM.
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