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BRaWNy 07-06-2009 10:31 AM

My approach on Training
From my message conversation with Steve at Facebook:

Well, I (and most of my friends) use mostly an upper body/lower body split, 3 times/week (week 1: A-off-B-off-A-off-off, week 2: B-off-A-off-B-off-off etc) or 4 times/week (on-on-off-on-off-on-off).
Also, mostly, we have 2 exercise choices of each program (1 exercise per muscle a day), for example A1-B1-A2-B2 days (DC has 3 choices, sometimes we also).

We use 1 main set per exercise, if it's with high intensity method/technique, like Conventional Rest-Pauses like DC, like Rest-Pauses 5/4/3/2/1 or 4/3/2/1 or 3/2/1, like Drop sets, and sometimes a mix of them.
Also we use straight sets, mostly 2-3/exercise, or more if its with contrast load or waves.

We don't go to failure always, i go this way mostly, 1 of 3 workouts per exercise/muscle group.
I don't go often at failure at the big compound exercises, when I use failure it's mostly with "smaller" muscle groups and exercises, like delts, arms.
This means, I use mostly 5/4/3/2/1 or 4/3/2/1 etc or straight sets for the big muscles and exercises, and conventional rest-pauses, drop sets etc with failure and beyond failure at the smaller groups and exercises.

The 5/4/3/2/1 rest-pauses doesn't have to be at every mini set with failure.
For example, we use 8-10RM for sets with 5/4/3/2/1.
Failure at this comes mostly at the last mini set/sets.

We also use cluster sets, like Thibadeau describes and like you describe I think at bulldozer training.
Thibs clusters are only with single reps (1/1/1/1/1) up only to 5 total reps.
But we also do doubles and triples, sometimes 4s and 5s (rare) for clusters, like 2/2/2/2 or 3/3/3, but not for total 20 reps when its with low rep brackets.

Also, we use power-lifting techniques, like DE with box squats etc., but we have also (for power) Olympic lift drills, and mostly work with them as DE or clusters.
Always, we try to progress with any kind of sets we use, and sometimes in between we have and back off days or deloading, and it goes mostly by feeling, instinctive, impulsive (for me).
I am not like a 25 year old man anymore, my recovery ability is not the same as then.


The rest periods (between mini-sets or parts of a rest-pause set) are about 15-20 sec, and sometimes if its hard up to 20-30 sec

The negatives are just controlled, I don't use either slow negatives, maybe sometimes rarely.

I don't like high volume either.
Maybe sometimes I have high volume in an exercise, but the total volume of the training day remains low or medium.
One reason for this is that we use mostly upper/lower split and each muscle is trained every 4-5 days, and sometimes every 3 days, when we use this split for 4 days/week.

I forgot to mention, that I use lately alternating sets between antagonist muscles.
It's easy to do when the split is upper body/lower body.

I called our system B.i.Z.Z. Training (if it's a system on its own).
"BRaWNy'S intense Zig Zag Training"

The zig zag is for the split, day 1 is zig, day 2 is zag, and when its with 2 exercise choices, it goes zig1, zag1, zig2, zag2.
Sometimes we use also 3 choices (3 "Z" days), so it goes zig1, zag1, zig2, zag2, zig3, zag 3.

The split is upper/lower but not every time, I had also divided a little bit different, something like DC (but different, because I don't agree with DCs bodypart splits), and it looks:
Back width
Front Delts
Back thickness

Posterior chain (Hams. glutes)
Upper Traps
Side Delts
sometimes we use lesser bodyparts at a day or little different the split, and this is regulated according individually and exercise selection for each muscle group.
One reason, to avoid as much possible overlapping.

I think side delts and upper traps (now I always do traps as a posterior chain muscle group and with lower body, with RDLs, Shrugs, Power shrugs and the Olympic power drills), could be done a different day of upper body and with lesser overlapping as other muscles, like biceps.
DC has biceps with lower body, and the biceps are strongly involved with almost every pull-up/pull-down and rowing movement, so there is an overlapping.
I can't train biceps 2 days after back or 2 days before, but with side delts and upper traps its easier.
Also, we use every Dead lift variation with the lower body day, and because Dead lift involves strongly the back (thickness), and for the most there is an overlap again, we have an extra day of rest between a day with dead lift and a day with back thickness, etc
At a DC split, sometimes there is Dead lift for back thickness and 2 days later a quad, glute and a ham exercise, I think this is also difficult to handle.

But he split can be regulated in anyway someone prefers.

BendtheBar 07-06-2009 10:31 AM

Thanks for posting this. I might have a few more questions for you as I re-read it.

One of the first questions I have is do you use good mornings at all in your training, and if so on which day?

jwood 07-06-2009 10:33 AM

Cooll post, seems like you put a lot of variety in your training and that looks good to me.

BRaWNy 07-06-2009 10:34 AM

May 22, 2009, 2:57pm, Muscle and Brawn wrote:
Thanks for posting this. I might have a few more questions for you as I re-read it.

One of the first questions I have is do you use good mornings at all in your training, and if so on which day?
Of course I do.
GM Bents are in my opinion one of the best exercises for developing the posterior chain and overall strength.

GM Bent goes with lower body.
Lately I do them with alternated sets vs Front Squats.
It is a little bit difficult to do antagonist alternate sets at lower body, because most exercises are using pretty much the same muscles (see Dead lifts vs Back Squats) except for movements like leg extensions and leg curls (I use them rare), but GMs match for me good with Front Squats.

Sometimes I also do them in a Dead-Stop manner, beginning the movement from the bottom position with positive rep and then the negative, from a rack at the height of the the lowest position of the movement, then let the bar resting again at the rack before doing the next rep, so there isn't any stretch reflex, just for variety or increasing strength at the bottom position etc.

For beginners, GMs are always a exercise I recommend to use especially for posterior chain (I think its the base of the body)from the beginning, along with Dead lift variations, to build right fundamentals, and keep them forever or at least use them at 80% in training

BendtheBar 07-06-2009 10:34 AM

It's funny you bring up Good Mornings and Front Squats. I am a big believer in training both for better deadlift totals.

I've never tried the dead stop good morning though.

I should also mention that I rarely to regular squats anymore. When I log workouts it's almost always low box squats.

Also, I really like the idea of training posterior chain on its own day. I've set up a few powerbuilding style routines like this, And I tend to train like this myself, though I haven't for the last 3-4 months.

It's a very foreign concept to bodybuilding routines.

Do you use the 5/4/3/2/1 with deadlifts? I assume you do. My back responds really well to heavier singles, so I have lately been doing rest pause singles to a 10 rep total.

And what exercises do you primarily use for side/front delts? The reason I ask is because I see side delts on the day after the "pressing" day, and was wondering if you do any dumbbell or barbell overhead presses?

BRaWNy 07-06-2009 10:35 AM

No I don't use 5/4/3/2/1 for Deadlifts, or better, I haven't used it yet.
I find it too much for Deadlifts, to go over 10 reps total in a set.
I do straight sets and sometimes 3/2/1.
I also tried 1/1/1/1/1 Cluster.
I avoid to go to failure in Deadlifts and avoid high reps in a straight set or in a mini set of a Rest-Pause.
I do so in almost every big compound movement, like Deads, Squats and their variations and GMs, because the higher the reps, the higher the fatigue and higher the tendency of the form/technique to be lost.

It's OK to do 5/4/3/2/1 with Deads, well the reps are 15 in total, but you never do more of 5 in a mini-set/part of the set.

I train side delts together with front delts in an upper body day.
But if someone prefers, he can train side delts apart with traps in a lower body day, so that the muscle groups are even apart at the split, and he can use upright rows with a widegrip to hit side delts and traps.
I doesn't matter so much how the split is, it matters which exercises you select for muscle groups.
For example, if I have side delts with upper body, I will not use upright rows, because traps are involved and the movement is similar with movements of the lower body day, like power cleans or power high pulls.

It's a little bit confusing to explain with the splits etc, I try to make my plan with less overlapping and with ways it will fit to me etc.
The base is to use upper/lower split, but there can be some auto-regulations with some muscles and exercises, especially if someone uses 2 choices for every Zig and Zag day (Zig1, Zag1, Zig2, Zag 2).

For Delts I use press movements.
Standing Barbell Press, Standing Behind Neck Press sometimes, Standing Dumbbell Press .
Rarely I do them seated.
I also use the push-press variation at these movements, except behind neck.
Sometimes I do Bradford (Rocky) presses.

The side delts are getting some work from the above movements, but I sometimes include some Lateral Raise variations, or Dumbbell raise and upright rows if I choose to have side delts apart, in a lower body day with traps.

For a better idea, my current/latest split is:
With antagonist alternating sets

Zig 1
A1) Flat Bench vs A2) Row variation
B1) Neck Press vs B2) Pull Up variation
C1) Floor Skull Crusher vs C2) Preacher Curl

Zag 1
A1) Romanian Deadlift (Rack Pull) from a little bit under the knee (midshin) vs A2)Ab Pull Down
B1) GMs vs B2) Front Squat
C)Power Snatch or Clean Drills (sometimes I do them before RDLs, to "wake" up my CNS)

Zig 2
A1) Incline Bench vs A2) Pull Up variation
B1) Lateral Raise variation or push-press variation vs B2) Pullover
C1) Incline Barbell Extension vs C2) Incline Curl

Zag 2
A1) Back Squats vs A2) Incline Reverse Crunch
B1) Hyper or GHR vs B2) Ab exercise
C) Power Shrugs, and sometimes Regular Shrugs extra added

I do my Box Squats either, but I use them lately as part of the warmup sets before Back Squats or Front Squats in a DE manner.

I don' train directly forearms and Calves (my Calves are big enough and get a lot work from some lower body exercises and the power drills, my forearms take a lot work also from the pulling movements.
I am suffering a bit with tennis elbow at my left elbow, just began after my right tennis elbow cured, and it had taken me about a year to go away.
I feel it a bit with Curls, Pull Ups, Lateral raises and a bit lesser with the power movements, but I can handle it)

I don't do any more conventional Deadlifts.
They involve quads also, and for quads I have Front Squats and leg extensions sometimes.
I do Back Squats with a powerlifting style (and I go pretty well full) withe a medium to wide stance, the bar low on the traps and doing them more with the glutes and back and less with the quads.
I don't do olympic "high bar" style Squats, because they don't fit me, as I have long limbed thigs.

So for Deadlifting I prefer Rack Pull Romanians and everything involves more my posterior chain

BendtheBar 07-06-2009 10:35 AM

Thanks for clearing that up. I was confused about how you were training delts. The outline of your workout in the last post really helped.

I don't directly train my forearms or calves either. I have genetically large calves, and my forearms are generally overworked from my employment. I don't think they could handle any more work.

I used to do high bar squats, but no longer. I've been doing the lower bar squats for the last two years, and I don't think i could go back.

I've never tried rack pull Romanians.

BRaWNy 07-06-2009 10:35 AM

In one of your videos in the video section, you are doing rack pulls.
These can we either call Romanians, because you are not using your knees, you have them locked slightly bent, except from the standing position.
This is because you don't go any lower from the knees.

I mean, these are for me Romanians, because of not using the knees.
Anyway I ment something like that wwhen I said Romanian Rack Pulls.
But I lower the bar more, past the knees and keep the knees locked.
Anything over the knees I call it Top Deads or Rack Top Deads.
Sometimes it is a little bit confusing with the names of the deadlift variations.

I use the term Rack, when I start the exercise from the Rack in a Dead-stop manner.
Sometimes I do lifts taking the bar from the pins at the standing position and do them from there, without leting the bar in the lowest position on a rack to pause etc, and using the advantage of the stretch reflex.

Anyway, I hope you understand what I mean.

I will come back when I have time, with more info about B.i.Z.Z. training and the muscle group splitting.
I'm working on it at the moment.

BendtheBar 07-06-2009 10:36 AM

I understand what you mean. My rack pulls are all hips and hamstrings and back, and they are the same as an upper half of a Romanian deadlift.

It is still confusing to me all the names of different exercises used by powerlifters. I'm still learning.

And thanks for all you've contributed on this thread. It has been extremely enlightening.

BRaWNy 07-06-2009 10:36 AM

I feel like at home here.
A reason for this is that I found common interests and similar approaches etc.
Also, I see a lot in common between you and me.

Thank you too

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