Q: There are so many programs out there, every one of them claiming to be the “best” or “optimal” program. I am so confused, and it often makes me randomly jump from one to the other just to make sure I don’t miss out on anything. How do I know which program to follow – are there any basic principles I should look for?
A: The first thing you need to do is to realize that there is no single program that at any one time can be “optimal” for everyone. An optimal stimulus for muscle growth depends on several factors and varies both individually and from day to day. However, we can make some educated guesses, and based on this we can structure the desired stimulus into a template – something we call a “training program”.
We know that the range of 60-90 % of 1RM (equal to about 3-20 reps) is needed to provide sufficient mechanical pulling or strain on the muscle cells to make anything productive happen. For more advanced lifters, it appears as if the range 75-85 % of 1RM (about 5-10 reps) is the most productive, with the exception of occlusion/Myo-reps-type training which can provide short-term gains (including the “reactivation” of muscle growth response when it has stagnated, as well as an increase in supply and access to energy substrates such as glycogen, capillaries, buffering capabilities etc). Heavier training is obviously also productive, but more appropriate for neural training – the ability to contract your muscles coordinated and with maximum force. Hypertrophy requires that the load is applied to the muscle cells over a certain minimum period of time, and heavy weights usually only enables a few seconds of loading time (1-3 repetitions). It is obviously possible to do more sets to provide sufficient total time under load, as the latest study from Brad Schoenfeld demonstrated (7 sets of 3 vs 3 sets of 10). The downside is that heavy lifting is hard on the nervous system, tendons and joints – as witnessed by the experimental group who did 7 sets 3 reps each workout reporting more fatigue, pain and discomfort compared to the 3 sets of 10 group who felt that they could do even more work.
The number one priority should also be a progressive increase in load over time. This does not need to happen every workout, a given load can provide a stimulus for quite some time and increasing some other variable such as reps per set, rep speed, number of sets or frequency can be an intermediate progression before increasing the load again. A beginner can pretty much linearly increase loads from workout to workout. As you get more advanced, dividing the progression over two – or even three – different rep ranges allows you to spread the load increments further apart, which is probably part of the reason why the research on undulating periodization is so positive. You obviously reap benefits from working the various energy systems and pathways to muscle growth seen within higher, medium and lower reps – but the simple act of increasing your squat by 2.5kg once every 1-2 weeks when that respective rep range comes around is just a more realistic goal for someone who has been training for several years.
We know that protein synthesis – the anabolic phase/window after a workout – only lasts about 1-2 days, with an even shorter duration as you become more advanced (12-16 hours in some studies). More sets and exercises can provide a more powerful stimulus, but does not seem to be able to extend the anabolic window much at all. More volume does, however, require a longer recovery time to be able to perform maximally again. Pro bodybuilders routinely do 20 sets once a week per muscle group and can get great results from it, both because they have worked their way up to endure this volume over many years of training, because they have the genetics to respond to this type of training – but also because they use anabolic steroids that extends the anabolic phase from just 1-2 days to 1-2 weeks. In fact, studies have shown that subjects who only used steroids with NO training, built more muscle mass and strength over three months than subjects who lifted regularly WITHOUT steroids!
This suggests that Mr Average Joe/Miss Average Jane are wasting a lot of time if they don’t expose each muscle group to a certain load and volume at least twice per week. As the Frequency Project showed (see my article here…), 6 workouts per muscle group/lift per week was a significantly more effective than 3, but a caveat is that the 3x/week group had such a high training volume per workout that they may not have recovered sufficiently vs. the group that spread the same volume over 6 workouts per week. Wernbom’s meta-review didn’t show any particular benefits from going higher than a 3-4x/week frequency – but those studies also had their weaknesses…
We know that in untrained lifters, only one set is enough to stimulate muscle growth and strength. At least in the upper body, where 1 set actually seemed to provide better gains than 3 sets (3 sets may have been too much for this population) – while the legs could withstand a little more and had better results from 3 sets than 1 set. When you become more advanced, this volume threshold goes up, and here we clearly see that e.g. 5 sets is better than both 3 sets and 1 set. Very well trained and elite had the best results from 8 sets, at least when it comes to squats. The dose-response curve flattens out, however (as I illustrate in my article on exercise frequency) and shows that more does not necessarily equal better. The higher the volume, the longer the recovery time required, and you start losing out on the advantage of higher frequency. Wernbom’s meta-review suggested that the optimal range for highly trained lifters is between 30-60 total repetitions per musle group, within the aforementioned optimum loading range of about 75-85 % of 1RM. This corresponds to a set-rep combination of around 3-8 sets of 5-10 reps.
A short note on training to failure: While it may be necessary to work reasonably close to failure at lighter loads to ensure that you stimulate as many muscle fibers in a muscle as possible, at heavier loads you will have full recruitment from the very first reps – especially if you lift explosively. Excessive lifting to failure will not stimulate further gains, and may actually inhibit muscle growth if you overdo it – you can’t achieve a sufficient volume and recovery needs increase to the point that you might have to sacrifice frequency as well. A golden rule is to let failure be an unavoidable consequence of hard and proper training, not a goal in itself.
The Optimal Program™ – does it even exist?
To sum up, the “best” program will employ a combination of reps and sets that allows you to lift often enough (frequency) and heavy enough (load). You probably know by now that I prefer to keep the volume more conservative to be able to apply it more frequently, as per my article. The training program is simply an educated guess to fulfill these requirements, but it is equally difficult to know in advance what is “optimal” at any specific time as it is to predict the weather weeks or months ahead of time.
So, you should have a way to log and measure progress (training log) and from a certain expected rate of gains (which depends on how advanced and close to your genetic potential you are) you can determine if the educated guess (program) is sufficiently accurate. If progress stops – and you have ensured that other highly important factors are in order (i.e. sleep, rest and recovery, food intake, stress – or lack thereof) – then you should consider a change in any of the variables in the program to reignite progress again. By that, I mean that you should make one or two changes, not rework the whole program. I am a big fan of auto-regulation, where you can change both load, sets and reps based on the acute performance, following a predetermined set of rules (here is one implementation…). You may also need to take one or more days off from training, or do alternative training to promote recovery and reduce stress.
I know, it looks daunting to have to think about volume this and frequency that all the time, and trust me – I have fried plenty of brain cells in my search for that one “magic program” that takes care of everything…but the more I searched the more I realized this:
It doesn’t exist, and you don’t have think that one program “works” while another program does not work at all (well, unless you are a fan of Tracy Anderson). There are varying degrees of effectiveness to a program based on how well it meets your individual requirements, at any specific point in time, of how many sets and reps the load is applied to your muscles – and how often you can apply it. Whenever you find yourself in a state of mind I refer to as “paralysis by analysis”, remember that it is always better to start doing SOMETHING, and then adjust according to the gains you see (or lack thereof) instead of doing random stuff…or nothing at all. Constantly searching for the optimum often leads to what is popularly known as Fuckaround-itis syndrome and Program Hopping. Don’t be that guy.
Program design is both an art and a science, which is why I love doing it – and I’m confident enough to say that I’m pretty damn good at it. Come to think of it, I think I will from now on call myself The Scientific Artist…formerly known as Borge.
I hereby present: The As Close As You Can Get to The Optimal Program:
1. Pick a push, a pull, a hip hinge (aka deadlift-type movements), a squat (or one-leg variations), and carry or push around some heavy stuff (credit Dan John) instead of adding inane amounts of fluff/beach work (aka curls for the guns). I’m a fan of farmers walk, prowler/sled pulling/pushing, turkish get-ups and the like, but just unloading the damn weight plates after you are finished training makes it easier for the next person to do their workout – and will add some muscle to your biceps, too.
2. Pick a reasonably heavy weight you can lift anywhere from 3-20 reps, 80% of the time you should end up around 5-10 reps and the remaining 20% straying into heavier and lighter loads depending on goals. Hit a total rep count of 30-60 reps every workout (15-30 total reps with daily training) and you can be fairly certain that you are on your way to Gainzville.
3. Do the same thing 1-3 days later, but feel free to vary exercise, load and rep range – or even cut your workout short if you’re not improving and/or you are hurting somewhere.
Oh, and most importantly: Have Fun…so that you would want to do all of the above long enough for it to matter…
311 Comments on “The Optimal Program™”
Woooot…the scientific artist formerly known as Borge…formerly known as Blade is back with another awesome brain dump!
It’s been a while since I ran a full body workout and I’m not really sure how to program one wrt how many exercises. Your above description sounds fairly basic along the lines of a 5×5. Would you recommend more exercises for us vain bodybuilding types (like 8-10 exercises to hit bis/tris/side delts/calves etc etc similar to old school bb programs) or do you think they are redundant for the most part? Thanks
If adding exercises goes way beyond the volume I prescribe, then yeah – I think they are redundant. A 5×5 setup on compound lifts where you add some additional iso work should be fine, as it is right there in the lower part of the recommended total rep range. I personally prefer to add more work to compound lifts – e.g. I hit my biceps with chins and rows and only for those really intent on adding arm girth do I add something like 2-4 sets of curls.
I’ll preface this by saying nice article, it’s cool, I like how you address everything you need, and have summarised a lot of the reading I’ve done over the past few months and I’ve got to say, you’ve summed up what I’ve been thinking very eloquently.
I will add, however, that isolations always have place in a training program, either as prehab, or vanity. Vanity is still a large reason why most people train anyway, so it’s naive to try and pretend that looking good, as well as being strong, shouldn’t be a goal that most trainers acknowledge for their clients. I regard aesthetics as still quite important in non-athletic folks (ie just general weight trainees) as strength, movement quality and conditioning, and I think it is very important for continued success and motivation. ie fat grandma comes to train to look good for her granddaughters wedding, not to squat 2plate.
I think of training in this way:
Tier 1 exercises: main lift (squat, bench, deadlift, chin, row, etc.)
Tier 2 exercises: smaller accessories (wrong word because I’m not a powerlifter, but you know what I mean) ie glue ham raises, RDLs etc and this is where I put rehab/prehab exercises (rcuff, rear delt, low back etc.)
Tier 3 exercises: vanity isolation (bicep curls etc)
The goal is to work downwards, with emphasis placed on the big tier 1 exercise. 70% of the clients improvement will be in the first tier, maybe 15-20% in the next tier, and 10% in the last tier.
Nowhere did I exclude the use of isolation exercise, and I often use them in my program designs – as long as the compound lifts are already taken care of. So I agree with your sentiment completely.
Always appreciate the time you take to answer. Thank you.
Hey Borge, great article.
For somebody who wants to look more pumped and fuller 24/7. Do you feel a higher frequency (5-7 times per week per muscle), lower volume approach would be best due to muscle swelling being relatively short or would they be better with a little lower frequency 2-3 times per week each muscle with a higher volume with a possible higher glycogen compensation?
You appear to have lowered your reps slightly, I have enjoyed the higher rep ranges and I believe I’m going to spend a lot of time in the 18-22 rep range, not sure if you’ve seen it but Brad Scho is further in his tests now and actually found trained athletes gained significant size using 30 rep sets, should be an interesting read once he’s finished!
If you want to be more pumped and look fuller, eat more carbs and ensure your insulin sensitivity is high (with a low bf%) to ensure you can store it as glycogen. I feel that the high frequency approach is the key for advanced lifters due to the shortened anabolic window, and most research points in this direction, as does practical results with my clients. Whatever provides the bigger muscle, provides the most “pumped and fuller” look 24/7 IMO.
Solid article, dude! I’m a budding young coach-ling who is really digging into program design for the first time, and this was really helpful.
Getting started in the fitness industry, especially coming from a personal training background, you often learn a lot of bull fluff that doesn’t really cut it in the end, especially where program design is concerned. Most books make it seem like such a black and white thing, and seldom do they touch on the OCEANS of gray zone that separate the extremes.
With program design being such an individual process with so many possible directions to take, it is very much an artistic science, and that is what makes it so difficult to become skillful at writing programs.
Thank you for the kind words.
quick question: are we talking here about 30-60 Reps for Push,Pull,Hinge,Squat Movement combined or each respectively?
To my understanding it sounds like all combined,, but if I take your other points into account I quite hardly see it adding up to just 30 e.g. 😀
Could you comment on this?
Thanks – Cron
It is obviously 30-60 total reps for each movement/muscle group, or we would only be talking one set per exercise.
Hello Borge, I really enjoyed this article and your myo-reps one. I like tinkering with my routine, and I’m looking to implement some of these concepts. My current routine consists of Back Squats, Bench Press, Deadlifts, Klokov Presses and Chin-ups 5 to 6 times a week, alternating between 3×5 (heavy-ish) to 3×10 (light). Since I’m currently buying weights so I can start working out at home, I’m trying to find ways that give me the best results with lighter loads. Would it be productive in terms of hypertrophy to alternate this previous routine between 3×10 and Myo-reps, or to just use Myo-reps daily (or would that be overdoing it)?
I use high reps Myo-reps to reactivate hypertrophy during certain training phases/periods, in advanced lifters: http://articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/reignite-progress-with-new-science/
Thanks for another great article, Børge.
You make the “fitness jungle” of information more easy to navigate through ; )
I frequency of hitting the muscle more important than frequency of the lifts? For example a full body split 4 times per week should be more effective than an upper lower, given equal amount of lifts and volume?
Not sure I understand the first question, a lift would necessarily also hit a muscle group so frequency of muscle groups would be closely tied with frequency of lifts. You could set up a high-frequency split with compound lifts one day, isolation lifts the next – which is exactly what I do a lot of the time. And I think you know what my opinion of higher frequency for advanced lifters is, if you read my Elitefts article (link in this blog post).
As other have said; great article. After finishing a long period of Rippetoe’s Starting Strength, this is really helpful in trying to declutter all the programmes out there.
As a beginner, having weight trained for a year now, would a full-body 3x per week myo-rep setup (e.g. squat, bench, dl, row, ohp, chin) be a suitable model? The auto-regulation nature of myo-reps really make sense to me and I’d prefer that over following straight sets of 3×10 or 5×5.
Reading your other articles, I’ve seen both a 3-day myo-program (Myrevolution.no, Part 4) and a 6-day DUP cycle: myo, strength, volume (elitefts.com). In the comment section on elitefts, you mention that heavier loading is required for hypertrophy, leading me to think that the 3-day myo program is not suitable.
What basic structure would you recommend in my case? The 6-day DUP looks good and I don’t mind putting in the time, but varying rep ranges so much during the week seems a bit too advanced for my level.
Thanks for your input and all the great online resources!
A 3-day program with moderate volume and linear progression will work just fine for a beginner – a triple periodization plan is not needed and the high frequency is also too much. You would probably be better off with a moderate-high volume and a 2-split over 4 days per week, or if you are intent on a 6 day program (which is not clear from your post), you could go with a 3-split. Many ways of setting this up, and individual volume/load recommendations, beyond the guidelines given in my blog post, are part of my coaching services and beyond the scope of this comment section.
I know you don’t with direct routine advice on here, but the idea of a full body routine with low and high reps on separate days sounds interesting. Could this be along the lines of what you mean in terms of splitting high and low reps with a high frequency, just using lifts as examples, just wondering if its on the right track in terms of high frequency with separating the compound and isolation.
incline bench – low rep
dips – low rep
front squats – low rep
upright rows – low rep
prone raise – high rep
hip curls – high rep
leg curls – high rep
chin ups – low rep
pull ups – low rep
Roman dead – low rep
chest rows – low rep
flat flies – high rep
lateral raise – high rep
decline skull crushers – high rep
leg extensions – high rep
There’s a number of problems with your exercise selection here – dips and upright rows for low rep work, using both chins and pullups (pick one or the other or alternate), I would use a lunge/step-up and not a leg extension for high rep work. I am also a bigger fan of using all low reps in one workout and all high reps in the other workout.
hey borge. thanks for your quick reply.
would you more recommend a full body low rep day followed by a full body higher rep day? so it’s more of a powerlifting day alternated with a bodybuilding day?
I’ll move the upright rows and the dips to a higher rep day, any issues with low reps on the chin ups and chest rows?
I’ll replace the extensions with lunges.
thanks for your help.
It depends on the situation, but I generally do higher rep Myo-reps prior to heavy low rep – but only for 1-2 x 4 week phases depending on goals. A volume, bodybuilding type day can come after a low rep day, yes.
Chins and rows can be done heavy, of course.
great summary of the important factors of programming, you always deliver with your articles!
In the context of a “straight” cut, do you have a general preferance of reducing volume per session or reducing the frequency, while maintaining volume per lift/body part? If reduced frequency possibly in the sense of push/pull workouts, so still full body in nature?
Beyond a general preferance, on what factors do you base your programming for said volume/frequency trade-off, if you can/want to say anything about that?
I will maintain frequency and volume as long as possible, but depending on the length and severity of the diet, volume must come down (and sometimes frequency), yes. I usually implement autoregulation, and the volume takes care of itself.
you said before about a lower frequency and higher volume for AAS users, why is that?
With AAS use, protein synthesis is constantly ’on’ so there is no real need for higher frequency. Volume tolerance goes up, as does the dose-response to volume.
Great article borge! Trying to work in myo reps and hypertrophy strengh training. Thoughts?
DAY 1-full body myo reps 15-25 3+ upper first/LOWER SECOND
DAY 2-FULL BODY 3-6 reps 30-60 reps per muscle group lower first upper second
Day 3-,full body 6-9 reps 30-60 reps per muscle group
DAY 4 REPEAT BUT CHANGE upper and lower body cycles first and second
Rest day 7
Day 8 repeat day one
That is very close to how I set it up in many of my programs, yes – except that I test what loading ranges to use for individual lifts/muscle groups and volume per sessions needs to go down (at least initially) as frequency goes up. 15-30 total reps is a good starting point. Myo-reps gets 1-2 exercises/sets per muscle group.
How to get 30 reps when working the heavy days around 5 reps? 6×5 sets across I need to use very low intensity.
Do you still use auto regulation with ramping up to a top set and count at least a few of those sets as work sets and then add a few drop sets?
You count sets which are above approx 70% of 1RM. 6 sets of 5 should be easily accomplished at 80% of 1RM.
Thanks Borge I posted this on your Myo Reps Page thought it would be more appropriate on here for the “Optimal Program :)”
I Understand reducing volume per workout initially is a must of your drowned yourself but I been messing around with two splits back and fourth which do you prefer for a 4 year lifter whos been on a upper/lower split working in the 6-8 12-15 rep range for the past year in a upper/lower and full body routines. This is what I have come up with.
Day 1- Myp Reps 20-25-30 +3x up to +6x depends on Phase and Weeks (FULL BODY)
Day 2- Max Strength 3-6 Reps (FULL BODY)
Day 3- Volume 6-8 Reps 10-12 depends on exercise (Full Body)
Day 4 Rest and or Cardio (Think I will need the rest day at least initially)
Day 5 Repeat Day 1
Day 1 : Lower body 6-8Reps (squat, quad emphasis for bodybuilding) Upper Body Myo Reps at the End
Day 2: Upper body 6-8 Reps(bench, push emphasis for bodybuilding) Lower Body Myo Reps at the End
Day 3: Rest/Cardio
Day 4: Lower body 6-8 Reps (DL, hamstring emphasis for bodybuilding) Upper Body Myo Reps at the End Day 5: Upper body 6-8 Reps( pull emphasis for bodybuilding) Lower Body Myo Reps at the End
Day 6 Rest/ Cardio
Day 7- Myp Reps 20-25-30 +3x up to +6x depends on Phase and Weeks (FULL BODY)
Day 8- Max Strength 3-6 Reps (FULL BODY)
Day 9- Volume 6-8 Reps 10-12 depends on exercise (Full Body)
DAy 10: Rest/Cardio
Day 11: Repeat Day 1
What you think Borge which do you like? Been debating both… Thanks a bunch! 🙂
I don’t like mixing reps in the same workout. For a 4-5 year lifter, depending on your strength levels (i.e. that will determine whether you are intermediate or advanced), you can do a split where you hit each muscle group 3-4x/week. A mix of a 2-split and full-body should work well depending on how many days you intend to be in the gym.
I also think you are overcomplicating things here, and I can’t really go into depth on exercise selection and rep ranges without working with you – I always test to determine what rep ranges and volume is optimal.
Dang auto correct! on Spilt 2 Day 6 is suppose to be Day 5. and Day 10 is Repeat Day 1 its a TEN DAY CYCLE “NOT 11”
Ok thanks Borge sounds good, its the OCD haha. Mostly going to do the First Split then since it focuses on each rep range (Myo Reps, Max Strength, Hypertrophy) separately. Like this! and I understand loading parameters and stuff is hard to give recommendations on.
Day 1- Myp Reps 20-25-30 +3x up to (FULL BODY)
Day 2- Max Strength 3-6 Reps (FULL BODY)
Day 3- Volume 6-8 Reps 10-12 depends on exercise (Full Body)
Day 4 Possible (optional) Rest and or Cardio (Think I will need the rest day at least initially)
Day 5 Repeat Day 1
Pretty much what I saw in the comments and what you recommend and or like as a generic starting point and ill work on it from there to see what I “enjoy” and how I feel
Last thing lol, its just tough to stay how often I should do the Max Strength 3-6 reps and the myo reps If I want to focus on hypertrophy which I like the 6-9 rep range to. Ill figure it out Borge sir, you have opened my eyes to new training programs “rep ranges” with the whole MYO REPS! (DANG YOU) 🙂
Borge Just wanted to say thanks a bunch to the “new” to me kinda training style to implement Myo Reps my cycle for 6 week routine is as follows
Day 1- Myp Reps 20-25-30 +3x (FULL BODY) Mostly Linear Progression and some Auto Regulation
Day 2- Max Strength 3-6 Reps (FULL BODY) AutoRegulation
Day 3- Volume 6-8 Reps 10-12 depends on exercise (Full Body) Mostly Linear Progression
Day 4- Rest/Cardio
Day 5- Repeat
Borge do you like this set up, as a generic starting approach to a program that does different rep ranges each day and focuses on Strength and Hypertrophy.
LAST THING after the 6 weeks depending how it goes I will probably taper for a week on volume. maybe just train 3 days for the week idk we’ll see. After that do you always do myo reps in your programs and find them helpful and a useful tool to always use in a program?
Long time reader of your blog and very appreciative. I just had a quick question regarding the definition of advanced lifter vs intermediate, etc.
Ive been training for about 5 years consistently, and I’ve trained for strength three days a week and carb cycled for the past two years, rarely varying my training routine. Squats one day followed by (lunges or step ups or leg press). The exercises in parenthesis usually switched up every 6-8 weeks. Calves, and a small amount of ab work. The other two days look similar – weighted dips for my main chest exercise and then weighted chin ups and deadlifts for my main back exercises, with a couple of accessory exercises.
I stay within the 5-8 rep range. I’ve tried to switch to a program with more volume/less intensity and higher frequency and stuck with it for at least 3 weeks but ended up getting injured and didn’t make any progress in those three weeks.
I feel like my strength markers are fairly good, but I wanted to ask what level of lifter I am in your opinion. My bw is 184 and my numbers are as follows:
Squat @ 375×5
Weighted dips @ +140×6
Deadlifts @ 405×5 (I know this could use work.. My hamstrings are the weak link here)
Weighted chins @ +105 x4-5 (depending on the day)
I’m motivated by progress and my numbers do still go up albeit very slowly, but id really like to switch to a higher frequency training program for a while. Any thoughts on how to go about it?
It is difficult to provide you with a specific reply without working with you and doing a complete evaluation. I would say that if you didn’t get high frequency to work, you overdid the volume – simple as that. Most don’t realise that when you go from training a lift 1-2x/week to 4-6x/week this effectively doubles and triples the weekly volume, so where you normally did e.g. 6-8 sets for a muscle group you would be wise to start with 2-3 sets and work up from there. Most of my clients have great gains in the 2-5 set range (depending on muscle group and individual tolerance), just to give you an example. At your level of advancement, you should get nice gains hitting each muscle group or lift 3-4x/week. With higher frequency (5-7x/week), 1-2 days per week need to be lighter loads (I use the 20-30RM range) and I use these with a specific purpose in mind if hypertrophy is the goal, read my Reignite… article on Elitefts for more info.
Thanks much for the response, Borge.
One last thing I’d like to clarify if you would. Could you define “muscle group” for me? Like are you saying 2-5 sets just for “legs”? i.e. 2-5 of squats and that’s it? Or 2-5 sets for hamstrings, 2-5 sets for quads, etc? Thanks.
Depends. On low rep days I would try to cover more bases with compound lifts, so perhaps squats only – on higher rep days it can be more compounds+isolation stuff.
“At your level of advancement, you should get nice gains hitting each muscle group or lift 3-4x/week. With higher frequency (5-7x/week), 1-2 days per week need to be lighter loads (I use the 20-30RM range)” you saying train in the 3-10 rep range 4 days and 2 days a week use myo reps in the 20-30 activation rep correct..and your article on ELITE is great. thanks
So if I understood this article (and your comments below it) correctely you suggest to dived up in Myo, Heavy and Volum days, and in that order? Keep the same days consistent for some weeks before changing it up?
Is this suggestion ok?
Heavy: Squat, Chins, Benkpress, 1-arm shoulder press, Hiptrust
Volum: Legcurl (front and back), Rowing, barbell incline bench press, Facepulls, Goodmorning
Myo: Legpress x 1, Bulgarsk x 1, Lat pulldowns, Lateral raise x 2, Peck-Deck x 1, Calves x 1, Dips x 1.
Maybe its better if you could be so kind to post an example on a routine instead?
Look at my comment on May 28th.
The reason I don’t post example routines is because people will adopt them as gospel without putting any thought into program design, thus missing the point of this blog post completely.
There are a few inconsistencies with the exercise setup here, but knowing nothing about you I can’t really go into any specifics.
Sure, I understand.
Anyways; thanks for posting quality information.
Borge Im currently training 6 days a week myo,heavy,volume repeat. and was wondering I know you dont like mixing energy systems in training but what is a good way to implement the myos and heavy. Maybe heavy squats and deads and myo pulling and press; next day heavy pressing and rowing with myo lower body movements? repeat with one day a week to volume training full body?
Sure, you could do heavy lower body and myo-reps upper body and vice versa, just remember that e.g. deadlifts and squats will load the upper body quite extensively so there will be some overlap.
I have a question on something a thought about lately. Now I know this isn’t an article about exercise selection, but it’d be cool if you commented on this. I try to keep it as short as possible 😛
Do you think (or have you experienced), that as a general concept and starting point in training individualization, trainees do benefit from anthropometric considerations, where
Short torso/long limbs=compounds work more of the “torso musculature” while the limbs are limiting or understimulated (Tris in bench, legs in squat, etc.), and
short limbs/long torso=vice versa (weak pecs on bench, weak core on deadlifts, etc.)
Training volume would thusly shift continuum-like to either limb or torso musculature depending on body structure, to account for these “systematic/structural weaknesses”.
While it is clearly not black/white and further individualization of training is necessary, do you have anything to share on this? To me, it makes sense on paper and seems empirically to be true, but I figured you have a larger experience base and may be able to validate or dismiss this “hypothesis”.
Thanks in advance!
Happy Birthday Borge! Welcome to the naughty forties 😉 Thanks for all the help & advice you have given to me and the fitness community over the years. Your work is appreciated by many.
Thank you for the kind words. I am indeed more naughty now than only a few days ago 😉
I just recently discovered you and your site. Leigh Peele told me to read your work. Amazing information and i am amazed at how you have the patience and time to reply to so many comments.
Congrats man it takes a lot and you prob work many hours every day (i work 10-11 every day) probably many more than me!
If you get the time to see this and reply, what is your opinion on the training program of the book called The Max Muscle Plan by Brad Schoenfeld? Have you checked it out? It’s a 6 month program incorporating different phases.
I bought the book and read it. Very good information! I am debating if i should invest in 6 months trying out the program. I have been training for 2-3 years, male, 80gk, 10% bodyfat trying to gain some quality muscle.
Thank you for the kind words.
Brad is a good guy and I have no problems recommending you try out his program, it should do you well.
Good luck 🙂
Hi Borge welcome back with this illuminating article.
I find a good form of exercise to do 30-50 reps for each movement without a fixed amount of series. I.e. I start the first serie with a weight which permit me to do 10-11 reps, then I rest for 15-20 secs, then I do another serie near to failure, and so on until I’ve reached the prefix number of reps. I’m doing this kind of work three times at week using full body workouts, varying intensity (weight and number of partial and total reps) each time. So within a week I work with medium (Mon), light (Wed), and maximum (Fri) strive.
Whenever I can, I increase the weight on the bar. I’m 50, so I’m very careful about my body signals, a I never do too much work which can cause overtraining.
It seems to work enough well for me, but according to your knowledge, what can be the downside of this kind of system?
Many thanks in advance. 🙂
Using rest-pause exclusively might limit the total load and volume you could do otherwise, so I would recommend a 2min rest period between sets on some workouts. Training 3x/week is also in the very low end of recommended training frequency and would require a full-body program. What does medium, light and heavy mean in terms of % of 1RM or rep ranges?
(Monday) Medium: 10-12 reps for the first set. 40 total reps for exercise. 15-20 sec. of pause between reps.
(Wednesday) Light: 15-20 reps for the first set. 50 total reps for exercise. 15-20 sec. of pause between reps.
(Friday) Heavy: 5-8 reps for the first set. 20 total reps for exercise. 20-30 sec. of pause between reps.
+ 10-12 more reps with about the 90-95% of the previous weight. Always using rest pause (15-20 sec.)
Many thanks again… 😉
I have a ton of work in the following weeks, so I won’t have much free time. My idea is to do this once every 5 days, the calories will be at maintenance
Bench Press 2-3×6-8
Leg Press 2×6-8
Leg Curl 2×6-8
Lateral Raise 2×10-12
That’s enough work, from a muscle maintenance standpoint?
It doesn’t take much to maintain, so yeah…that should be sufficient.
Borge your preferred split?
Day 1 Myo Reps 20-25 +3-+5 30-50 reps per body part
Day 2 4-6 Reps 15-30 Reps per (varies)
Day 3 8-10 Reps 30-60 Reps per body-part
Take rest days when needed…….
The split is designed according to training experience and how many training days per week, not the other way around.
I like that split alot and just take rest days when needed DUP style and use Myo reps with BFR possibly
Good article, Borge. As a coach, my favorite answer has always been, “It depends.” But, I am curious as to the max number of myo rep sets you would do if you were following a full body split similar to what you outlined in your elite article:
Day 1: Myoreps
Day2: Heavy, low rep
Day3: Medium, higher volume
Do you think doing 2 sets of myoreps for each major muscle group is too much? Again, I know this depends, but have you ever used this much volume with someone. I have already done very frequent training for a while, but like the idea of adding the myoreps.
I actually use 2 sets for all my clients, only beginners should do 1 set (and I don’t work with beginners).
Borge you do 2 sets of the 20-25 +3 know it depends to on the rep range but like back to back? Say your doing Rows you do two sets ex. set one 25 +3 +3 +3 +3 rest set two 22 3+3+3+2..next exercise…
With 2-3mins rest between sets, yes all the time. Or antagonistic pairings with 1-2mins of rest.
Awesome thanks Borge!
Borge just a quick thing…Why do you like the order
Low Volume High Intensity
BUT Lyle in UD2 likes Higher volume first followed by Low Reps 3-6 after….
Do you like High Volume after Higher intensity since higher volume usually requires an extra rest day
Borge difference between myo reps and blood flow restriction training? Also could you do myo reps and BFR in the same workout? Like myo reps for Bodyparts that can not be blood flow restricted?
The difference in what way specifically?
Yes, you can combine the external blood flow restriction with internal (Myo-reps) in the same workout, but I would not do it for the same muscle groups.
Right like I’m thinking since you can not really BFR chest and back and shoulders to a extent. Do two sets of my reps for those muscle groups but then for bis tris quads Hams calves you can use BFR and do two sets of those with those muscle groups since you can properly BFR them. Idk could play around with it do one set myo reps and another exercise for one set of BFR idk just another tool for a workout before heavy 4-6 training.
I’m an student, and next year will be very hard, so I won’t be able to hit the gym more than once a week. It’s possible to maintain all my LBM only with that little training? How much volume should I use?
That depends on how much muscle mass and strength you have accumulated, the further you are from your genetic potential – the easier it will be to maintain those gains. If you are very advanced, more than a 60-70% reduction in volume will generally make it difficult to maintain gains.
My actual state is 175cms, 77kgs and 8-10%BF. My lifts are 100kg squat, 90kg bench press, 90kg Row
Your squat is in the Novice category, while the Bench is in the Intermediate category (I use this to determine training experience/strength levels: http://www.exrx.net/Testing/WeightLifting/StrengthStandards.html) – so it shouldn’t be a big problem. But a student only able to hit the gym once/week? What kind of school is this? Most of the students I coach have the time – or make time for – training 4-6x/week, at 1hr/workout, tops.
I’m doing two grades (lae and economics)
This was a great article.
In this template you provide, are you generally recommending full body workouts? If you have clients who can train about 3 days per week, would you generally recommend full body workouts?
3 days/week would be the absolute minimum I would recommend for anyone who wants to build muscle or get stronger, so yes – 3 full-body workouts in that case. When more training days/week are available, the splits are designed around training/strength level and volume so not necessarily full-body workouts anymore. You will just have to wait for the training program generator on http://www.cyberneticfitness.com to see what I mean 😉
When’s this coming borge? What’s cyber fitness? Your brand
Register at the site for updates, hopefully soon but I have learnt not to make any ETA promises when it comes to webpages. It’s a collaboration project with Menno Henselmans, my friend and colleague.
Borge with this article and your reignite article for optimal lol hypertrophy would a split like this be something you’d agree to for a training age of four years.
Myo and BFR
8-10 REPS SOME 12 REPS
THAT IS three full body workouts in a row idk about recovery and stuff how could that work? Trying something with your split you recommend
Repeat (rest days when needed?)
I don’t see the reasoning behind that split. My programs are full body on all training days, just depends on the training frequency (depends on training level) vs. the number of workouts per week. An intermediate training 6 days per week would have a training frequency of every muscle group 4x/week so for legs – day 1 would be squats and leg curls (or GHR), day 2 would be unilateral knee dominant (split squats) + leg extensions, day 3 would be RDL, day 4 would be a repeat of day 1 etc etc.
how would you play that out for other bodyparts though, for example chest. how would you train 6 days per week but only target each bodypart 4 times? day 1 chest, day 2 chest, day 3 no chest, day 4 repeat day 1?
Great Stuff Borge!
You mentioned only doing myo reps for 1-2 x4 week splits in a comment, how soon would you re-introduce another myo rep cycle? I’m considering doing 4wks of heavy/ myo, then 4 wks of heavy/ volume training…..etc.
I would wait 8-12 weeks or so.
Ok, great! Thanks! Appreciate the help.
OK cool! And borge with Myo reps and blood flow restriction training any pros or cons of using the Myo rep protocol with limbs you can BFR on like curl push down ham curls leg extensions. I know you can’t BFR chest and back effectively. So you think on limbs you can BFR you would receive better benefit if you use your 20-30+3 on curls with! BFR when possible? And just do Myo reps on chest and back and so on….
Thanks borge for the post this and the reignite article are pretty interesting.
Been following the
Approach with full body and just picking a push pull, pull-down knee dominate, how dominate and some core work for the Myo and 4~6 rep range day hitting around 20-40reps pee exercise then upping the volume a bit on the hypertrophy day to 40_60 reps since it’s a day before rest and also a structure refeed.
Like it gotta keep volume and mobility in check thought
DUP 4 Day Spilt
Day 1-Full Body Myo Reps 20+ & BFR
Day 2- Full Body 3-6 Reps 15-30 Reps per Exercise
Day 3- Full Body 8-10-12 Reps 40-60 Reps per Exercise
Day 4 – SFP 2.0 Cardio (Lyle McDonald)
Day 1- 240P/75F/200C
Day 2- 240P/75F/200C
Day 3- 240P/40F/860C Refeed
Day 4- 240P/75F/100C
Borge one question I have I know, for me on the heavier days I will be doing more compound movements (Deadlift variations, squats, presses, rows)
But when you set up a program I know depending on the gym equipment available, how important or relevant is it to change up the exercises for each different workout day of the microcycle? Like If I do Push Ups for the Myo Reps is it better then to do DB Press on the 8-12 Rep Day and Barbell Press on the heavy day? Idk any opinion on that?
I use mostly isolation for high rep work.
Thats interesting so If you did a whole workout of Myo Reps and BFR training be mostly all isolation work?
Think Closed Chained Exercises could work too in myo reps.. like push ups, inverted rows.. just my opinion
So for somebody with a good amount of training experience, training 6 days per week, with a lagging chest, how does this look:
Full Body (15-20+4 myorep chest iso)
Full Body (15-20+4 myorep chest iso)
Or would you just do the Full Body day as all myoreps 15-20+4 each bodypart.
Starting with a Myo rep only session is one exercise per Major muscle group a good place to start with two Myo rep sets per exercise?
Quads 2 sets 25-30reps +3
Maybe biceps and triceps 1 set each (overlap from chest and back)
Then add when needed and based on recovery
I would say 2 sets is plenty, and I will often start someone out with only 1 set.
Borge what’s your opinion on setting up a DUP style program for someone with hypertrophy based goals but still wants to implement heavy work 6<reps and higher reps 15 plus(Myo Reps) when setting you dup would recommend staying with the same exercises each day just changes the rep ranges into which format for the day.. Strength hypertrophy of endurance (Myo Reps higher reps) just seeing your thoughts on DUP for muscle growth since I know it's used somewhat in powerlifting especially. Thanks
Haven’t I answered this many times already? Yes, I vary rep/loading ranges, and yes I vary exercises.
So if you use the same weight ie 5-10 rep weight, and you do the same volume in total ie 40 reps, will it matter if you do straight sets or rest pause?
Yes, it matters. I don’t use rest-pause on heavier loads. Read Menno Henselmans’ and Brad Schoenfeld’s review paper on the topic. Short answer: 2-3mins between sets is optimal.
Borge I’m currently running a CKD two 24hr carb loads once on Wednesday and once on Saturday. I want to implement Myo Reps a long with BFR just don’t know where to place it since I would like to deplete muscle glycogen to 50_70mmol before the carb load for glycogen super compensation.
Idk I know from the comments you like having Myo Reps BFR high reps on a single day but could Myo Reps and or BFR just be added on to the end on a moderate intensity moderate volume workout?
If my diet looks like this (protein is set to 230g EACH DAY) I’M 190lbs 6 1″
Day 1 100G CHO 135G FAT
DAY 2 SAME
DAY 3 725G CHO BASED ON (10G PER LEAN LG FFM) FAT 40G
DAY 4 REPEAT DAY 1
DAY 5 REPEAT DAY 2
DAY 6 REPEAT DAY 3
DAY 7 100G CHO 135G FAT
BASED ON A 3,000 calorie diet.. So based on that information and what I’m trying to accomplish could you please help me out on training to figure out the best way to implement Myo Reps/BFR, moderate reps 8-12 and heavy work 3-6 in this routine. Training age is over 4 and half years.
Was thinking something like this… I know this is a long post but it’s been driving me kinda nuts. My goals are based more on hypertrophy then strength. But strength is still a goal just not in a powerlifting sense
Day 1 Myo/BFR
Day 2 Heavy Work
Day 3 carb load 8-12reps
Day 4 stubborn fat loss protocol 2.0 cardio
Day 5 Myo Reps BFR higher rep work 15 plus
Day 6 8-12 reps carb load
Day 7 low intensity cardio walking 60-65%maxhr 30-45minutes
Thatsbjust one idea I have others just not gonna post them. Borge or anyone else have ideas just have to make sure I deplete glycogen in all muscle groups before each carb load which ends up being around 3-4sets per group
Thanks sorry for the long post
Listen, dude – I can see your e-mail address and IP, it doesn’t matter if you keep changing your name. I can’t keep answering your repetitive questions on your own setup. Show me a little respect, this is what I do for a living and when I work with someone I do a complete evaluation and set up an individualized training program and diet, which is adjusted according to weekly (and sometimes daily) progress reports.
Anyway, I have told you over and over, that IF and WHEN I use Myo-reps in a set-up it has one of two purposes:
1. Reactivate satellite cell response in advanced lifters, optimally 24hrs prior to a heavier workout
2. As added volume in the lower loading ranges (50-60% of 1RM), using isolation exercises such as leg extensions, where the heavier loading ranges are comprised of e.g. squats at 80% of 1RM and unilateral work (split squats or lunges) at 70% of 1RM.
You need about 10-12 sets to deplete a muscle group, not that I even think that is needed for fat loss or in a CKD protocol – nor do I think a CKD protocol with only 2-3 days in ketosis is a good idea, it takes about 2 days to even get into ketosis.
Now please stop overcomplicating things and bombarding me with your OCD questions.
so on one day would you have using your example, squats at 5-10 reps, lunges at 8-12 reps then on the day prior, you’d have leg extensions at 15-20+4.
“Now please stop overcomplicating things and bombarding me with your OCD questions.”
AMEN TO THAT!
OK thanks Borge totally understand no worries, when I saw my reps months ago just kinda caught my attention and wanted to give it a shot.. Anyways, Appreciate all the help If I have a question. It won’t be to my specific routine. I know that usually doesn’t help the majority of people.
Thanks much bro
“Listen, dude – I can see your e-mail address and IP”
Nice and tricky :).
Gotcha Borge. Just you and Lyle I trust alot in this field and its hard to figure out what program I want to do since I want to implement Training with a Diet Protocol to help facilitate growth and minimize fat gain.
Best program is the one your not doing 🙂 I know haha
Borge just curious if you ever experimented with two a day training? Even with Myo reps?
Lyle just wrote a series on this two a day training was wondering if you have any anecdotal experience with it or what you think about it?
Like 40 minute full body Myo rep session in the morning AM
Then 4-6 hours later 40-45min full body 8-10 rep session
something like that. Just having some thoughts going through my mind.
Yes, training two times per day is more effective than one time per day. It also gives you two anabolic windows which will overlap if you train the same muscle groups in both workouts.
For tiden har jeg masse tid til overs. Jeg ønsker å trene to økter om dagen (redusert volum).
Tyngre vekter på morgenen, lettere/høyere repetisjoner på kvelden. Vil noe lignende oppsett være greit synes du:
Underkropp tung morgen
Overkropp MYO kveld
Overkropp tung morgen
Underkropp MYO kveld
Overkropp tung morgen
Overkropp lett kveld
Underkropp tung morgen
Underkropp lett kveld
Fullkropp tung morgen
Fullkropp lett kveld
Målet er i første omgang muskelvekst. Trent 5-6 år nå.
Hadde satt stor pris på svar!
Det kommer helt an på splitten, og splitten kommer an på hvor mange dager i uka du trener sett opp mot hvor avansert du er (jo mer avansert, jo høyere frekvens). Min foretrukne oppdeling er å trene samme muskelgrupper morgen og ettermiddag/kveld hvis jeg skal trene 2x/daglig. Du får da to anabole vindu som jo hver har en varighet på 6-12t hvis man viderekommen-avansert. Er man ikke på det nivået vil det være mer hensiktsmessig å trene separate muskelgrupper morgen og kveld, da det anabole vinduet allikevel varer i 24-48t.
Takk for svar.
Forstår at dette er kontekstavhengig, og at det er vanskelig å gi et generelt svar. Trener selv 6 dager i uken, fullkropp. Vurderer i en periode å kutte volumet i øktene, for så å trene 2 økter om dagen (potensielt 12 økter i løpet av uken). Ville høre dine tanker om dette, men er nok umulig å gi et godt svar når du ikke vet noe om meg.
Får nesten teste selv, og se hvordan kroppen responderer. Takk for at du tok deg tid
Hey Borge! I’m liking training everyday. With that much training frequency, would a split of squat/press and pull/press be wise? Or would you setup everyday training differently?
Just my two cents I usually train full body everyday..and take rest days when needed. But do it in a DUP style . One day will be 4’s next day will be 10’s another day will be mostly Myo Reps and BFR in the 20-30 Rep Range. Vary it up that way. Daily Periodization Fashion
So will you both squat and hinge on the same day? Even heavy?
If you are training every day, and you are an intermediate lifter, the frequency per muscle group is 3-4x/week. The split would be determined by that. I will usually combine heavy hip hinge with lighter knee-dominant leg training (split squats and/or leg extensions), while heavy squats are combined with leg curls or glute-ham raises. Just to show you how this would work for legs (upper body is also separated into vertical and horizontal push/pull patterns)
Day 1: squats, GHR or unilateral leg curls
Day 2: split squats and/or leg extensions
Day 3: RDL
Day 4: squats, GHR or unilateral leg curls
Day 5: split squats and/or leg extensions
Day 6: RDL
Day 7: repeat day ¼
Very nice set up Borge.
Just one thing as far as upper body?
do you do say
Day 1 Horizontal Press and Horizontal Row in one workout
Day 2 Vertical Press and Vertical Pull
Day 1 Horizontal Press and Vertical Pull
Day 2 Vertical Press and Horizontal Pull
Does that set up matter, first one would make most sense IMO
This, again, depends… It could be heavy bench and light side laterals in the same workout, but also a lighter pulldown. In another, pushups/dips with flyes and triceps, but no chins or rows (just heavy leg training).
No rows huh. Alright lol thanks borge… Back thickness not even once 😉
What is “back thickness” to you? Erector spinae? Taken care of with squats and RDLs. Trapezius, rhomboideus, teres group? Taken care of with face pulls and to some degree also overhead pressing (highest trap I activation is found in overhead shrugs, not regular). Lats are hit with chins/pullups – and this is what will contribute the most to the overall thickness of the back. A row is a very poor exercise for lats as it works it from almost fully contracted to fully contracted.
Ok, that helps a ton! I have been training for 10+ years, and more strength the last 3-4 probably, so I consider myself an intermediate to advanced I guess with my lifting numbers as well. After reading your elitefts article, this one, and your recommendation of Matt Perryman’s book, I tested training everyday for over a month now and my body feels great! I just needed to make sure my setup isn’t too off with training that much. Thanks Borge, really appreciate the time and help.
Nice to hear, happy to help 🙂
Was almost kinda tolling with that comment Borge… Buy I see your point. When I said that I wasn’t thinking lat development since lat is involved with shoulder extension vertically so pull ups.. I was thinking more Teres Rhomb and mid trap.
Also depends if you do face pulls with high external ration or a fave pull without and more of a ‘high pull’.
* face pull… Sorry for the spell check
And definitely I also do overhead shrugs I don’t remember last time I did them by my sides.
Do you recommend monkey overhead shrugs with single DBs or straight bar Overhead shrug.. Believe Cressey had a video on the latter.
Monkey shrugs (arms down) also involve upper traps to a greater degree. I don’t really do specific trap work for most clients. Face pulls with heavy loading, I am doing upwards of 90kg plus on this myself – not the pussy version with ultra-light weights, superslow reps and squeeze and contract and that kind of silliness.
Is your name Sam, William or Sam William?
haha alright so almost more of a High Pull towards the nose mouth area.
Yeah i try to do the straight DB monkey shrugs overhead once/twice a week. 1×2 Sets
Borge your exercise selection is pretty basic huh..
Chest: Press, Flies or Pec Dec
Back: Face Pulls ,Pulldowns
Shoulders: Overhead Press, Lat Raise, Overhead Shrug Rear Delt Flies
Triceps: Extensions …maybe pushdowns
Quads: Squat and 1 Legged Squats (Split or Bulgarian or Step Ups)
Hams: RDL, Back Extensions, Ham Curls
Glutes:? Hip Thrust
you like RDL better then DL if your not a powerlifter huh.
know it all depends was just throwing down some exercises I like myself.
Borge had one thing on Myo Reps. Just had a full Myo rep/BFR training session today. I do BFR on everything I can but always go by the Myo rep protocol (instead of the 30+15+15 used with BFR studies) 6 usually around 20-30reps activation set then 3-6+ depending on the exercise and the weight being used and do plus reps until I stopped at a desired number after the activation set ‘RPE’ I guess. Does that make some sense.
I know you have your ways and I’ve asked before but In my opinion doing the 20-30 activation with 3-6+is better then plus +15 reps (even if it’s BFR on just straight Myo Reps without BFR) Am i missing something or is that a fine way to do it also In your eyes.
Myo-reps uses internal occlusion (without a cuff), and thus goes to failure on the first set with constant tension on the muscle, then short rest with short sets to maintain the effect. With external occlusion you can take longer rests and do longer sets. Studies have shown that internal occlusion may, in fact, work better than external occlusion – at least for satellite cell activation and proliferation.
oh ok cool that makes sense for the longer rest periods and higher rep ranges after the activation set with BFR. Compared with your Myo Reps its shorter rest periods and lower reps after the activation set.
Thanks. would love to see some recent journals on BFR vs your Myo Reps.
Usually in my routine on the “higher” rep day I do BFR and myo-rep work together in different exercises depending on the movement and my set routine for that day. May switch the protocols I use since after what you said, and keep BFR to at least 10-15+reps after activation set with 20-30seconds rest, and myo-reps to one to two breathes and 3-5+ reps after the activation set
The study mentioned was in my frequency article at EliteFTS.
Yeah just looked over it. Cool. Borge any real reason you recommend isolation movements for Myo rep exercises? More of a safety reason? You like pec dec or crossovers instead of push-ups or presses for chest for Myo reps is that a safe assumption on most body parts.
Easier to achieve internal occlusion with isolation exercises.
G’day Borge, I’ve been reading about your Myo reps for a while and I’m intrigued but I also have some questions about setting up a program. I realize you don’t want to give out a generic program here (bad for business?) but I was hoping you could clarify a few things.
1. I’ve seen an increase in popularity around different training logs of people following the 3 day Myo reps, heavy – low rep, medium – higher volume setup. Is this how you intended it?
2. You say full body every day, but in the comments you say train each muscle group 3-4/week on a 6 day/week setup. I.e. chest day 1 and 2 but not day 3?
3. Volume on heavy and medium day. In reading your article on EliteFTS, I understand you recommend 4 sets (give or take). How many exercises per muscle groups would you do? I’ve seen a few that only do 1 per muscle group / day. I.e. 1 excercise for push/pull/legs per day following your 3 day setup. Is this enough for an intermediate lifter?
I’ve got lots of other questions, mainly about exercise selection and set/reps, but I know I just really want to be spoon fed all this info 😉
It’s not that it’s bad for business, but when I set up a program I base it on:
1. Strength levels – how advanced a person is. There are different volume, loading/intensity, frequency and exercise selections depending on whether you are a novice/beginner, intermediate or advanced/elite.
2. How many days per week can you work out
3. Stress level, sleep, food quality, whether or not you are in a caloric deficit etc etc.
…which is why it is not only difficult, but impossible to provide any templates or program examples, and many of the questions by some of the regulars here are impossible to go into specifics on since I know absolutely nothing about them…and getting all the information would effectively mean that I am taking them on as a client. I get tons of these questions on a daily basis, via my blog, via e-mail, via Facebook and even via phone/text messages, day and night, weekday or weekend, Christmas and Eastern Holidays. I realize that no one understands the time it takes me to go in depth and provide a meaningful answer, and that if I were to respond to everyone, I would essentially be doing pro bono work and my ass would be broke in no time.
A brief answer to your question is that I provided some examples in the EliteFTS article (on high frequency training), and as expected people copied it blindly even when I specifically said there were caveats and that an extensive program example would have to take many variables into account (as mentioned above). When Menno Henselmans and I get our website up and running at http://www.cyberneticfitness.com there will be a program generator integrated with a diet planner, which – based on user input – will take all the above variables into account when creating a program. It is still another 2-3 months of programming away, so until then I would kindly ask you and anyone reading this to understand and respect my time and how I need to prioritize my paying clients during some quite work intensive and busy days.
No worries at all mate. Thanks for the reply and I do understand where you are coming from. Looking forward to seeing the new website when it’s up and running.
OK makes sense. I’ll stick with leg curls, Pec Dec straight arm pull-down that kinda stuff with the 25-30+3 protocol when I am doing Myo reps and stick with the 20-30 +10-15 when doing BFR. Thanks for the time.
Hei, Børge. strålende artikkel!
ut ifra kommentarfeltet forstod jeg det slik at du kun bruker myo reps i perioder. hvordan ville du da satt opp en treningsperiode uten myo reps? altså tungt dag 2 og volum dag 3, men hva med dag 1, som i utgangspunktet vill vært Myo reps?
Se innlegget mitt like over her, det som starter med “It’s not that it’s bad for business”.
Since I am doing a whole “Myo Reps/ BFR Day” before a heavy lifting day.
Are the only exercsies avavilable for myo reps “iso lation” you said
Chest only pec dec or crossovers? Can you use Chest Press Machines? for myo reps?
Back only straight arm pulldowns? Can you use Rows,FacePulls and Pulldowns for myo reps? 30+3+3+3 protocol? Thanks
Have all the other body parts figured out just chest and back if you have any tips for those?
I’ve been cutting for 2 months with 2000 cals. Now I’ve made a transition into a maintenance diet with 2500 cals.
After 10 days eating 2500 cals, mi weight has increase from 161 lbs to 165lbs… My question here is if that could represent a real fat gain, or it’s just more glycogen in my muscles, or even just water retention?
PD: My stats are:
Actual Weight: 165 lbs (75 kgs)
Age: 19 years
Calories: 2500 cals /day
Macros: 200 gr protein, 70-90 gr fat, rest carbs
Activity: 4 days lifting 30 minutes (Push-Pull+Legs-Rest-Push-Pull+Legs- Rest- Rest) maintenance volumen, just 3 sets per muscle group , 2 days running 30 minutes
BF%: Less than 10% for sure
Hope this information is useful
If you track measurements (calipers and measurement tape around the waist) you would know, but I tend to think most of it is glycogen/water.
How do you feel about time under tension per set for muscle fiber type hypertrophy? Or is it moreso myofibrillar, sarcoplasmic, endurance you consider? Are there general ranges you recommend?
Time under tension is secondary to speed of movement. I suggest you listen to the recent podcast at evidencemag with Menno Henselmans to understand how we structure programs and rep ranges.
Thanks Borge for the New Podcast never heard this one. Cool Stuff
That was highly interesting. Thank you. I can’t wait for the transcript to review that information (I learn better by reading).
I agree that speed of movement is preferred over tempo — in my opinion, where doing more quality reps trumps purposely extending a rep.
My upper body movement last me about three seconds — explosive positive, brief pause for concentric squeeze, controlled negative, brief pause in bottom position. Does that sound okay?
I think you are getting into OCD territory here… Just lift the weight explosively without jerking, bouncing, or using momentum, and you should be fine.
Haha. I had a feeling you were going to say that. The tempo isn’t something I intentionaly seek; this was just something I naturally did and then had someone count for me. I suppose I was mainly curious about how three second reps could be implemented into a rep range that considers both ATP/PC and lactate thresholds.
But…you may be right. This is becoming too OCD.
Borge been following this protocol for 8 months really like it just a couple questions
The routine set up
Day 1 Myo reps 20-30 +3 x2 sets;added some BFR also
Day 2 4-6 reps
Day 3 8-10 reps
Day 4 cardio Hitt de0ending
Day 5 repeat
I know you should aim for 40-60 reps for induce hypertrophy if that’s the goal. And on the 8-10 rep day I usually do since I do 1-2 exercises each per Major muscle group.
But on the 4-6 rep day since it’s lower rep should someone aim for that 40-60 still on day 2 as well? Or just use the RPE scale and aim for like a 4×4 and go off prepiles table? Since it’s a lower rep day and your going to be doing hypertrophy work the next day?
Higher loads require fewer total reps. I usually just use set prescriptions and let the reps fall where they may, e.g. 3 sets of 80% @1RM = 8,6,5 in one exercise/muscle group, 5,4,3 in another – depends on fiber type, training history etc etc.
OK makes sense thanks..
Blade known you say you only really use higher reps for myo reps what do not go over for straight sets 15 reps 12 REPS?
Believe you said I really only use higher reps when doing Myo reps.. What do you consider the higher threshold for higher reps before switching to Myo reps? 12?15?reps per set?
Appreciate the help
if training at 80% 1rm, and your lifts fall in the 8-9 range,what does that say about your fiber type?
Pretty balanced, but perhaps a little on the slow side…and I think we can all agree that you are, in fact, a little on the slow side 😉
Question about total reps…you mention 15-30 reps per muscle group for daily training. With the exception of myo rep days, most of my workouts are strictly compound lifts. I do horizontal push and pull movements along with vertical push and pull movements.
Most of the time my goal is the upper end of that rep range for each movement. Is there too much overlap between for example horizontal and vertical push movements to be doing 30 reps on each movement with daily training?
Thanks in advance.
No, not really – as long as you are progressing..but you would have to keep that in mind if/when adding isolation exercises for e.g. biceps, triceps, delts, pecs and lats.
Prøvde myo reps for første gang i dag.
Er som skapt for meg det der. Nesten sånn jeg vil bare trene slikt? er det mulig? jeg er nok mer type 2 muskel fiber type så jeg hater å grinde å pumpe trening, mens dette var helt fantastisk.
Jeg trener som regel styrke med rundt 5 rep, så tenkte hvis jeg brukte sånn 5-8 rep type vekt slik at det ble litt mindre reps da, blir vel 1-2 kjappe man klarer da?
Eller vil det lønne seg å kombinere for best resultat, altså vanlig 5-8 rep styrke trening med myo reps ved siden? eller kan jeg kjøre mer myo reps som hovedfokus og vanlig styrke trening mer på siden?
Myo-reps egner seg best fra 15-20 reps og oppover, på tyngre vekter bruker du vanlige metoder.
Blade when doing Myo rep days 20-30 +3 protocol. Do you do two sets per exercises or two sets per Major muscle group?
One set of machine chest press 26 +3+3+3+2
One set of pec Dec 27 +3+3+3+3
Since they both work the chest sufficient? Or would you think two sets of both is necessary?
Been loving Myo reps days for higher rep days
Training volume is individual and depends on your training level, volume tolerance, split, sleep and food quality, stress etc etc. So I cannot answer your question.
are there muscle groups which are more suitable for freqeuncy than onthers?
When I train my chest 3 ore more times a week my strength decreases. But with my back and my shoulders it`s the opposite way. I can train them 5-6 days a week and gain muscle and strength without getting sore.
It is a matter of adjusting volume, intensity and effort (RPE). If you have a higher slow-twitch make up in your lats and shoulders (common) you can probably do more reps and volume, and still recover for the next day. Pushing muscles (tris and pecs) generally have more fast-twitch fibers and if you go higher reps and/or higher volume you will require more time to recover strength. Try e.g. 2 sets of 3-6 reps for bench, if you want to go into the 8-10 rep range you use more isolation type work or something like dips, pushups or incline bench (rotate from day to day, don’t do heavy bench every day) – still limiting it to 2 sets. Stop with 1-2 reps in the tank, i.e. keep it explosive. This should help you increase frequency.
Hey Borge! I have two questions about daily training.
1. Can you train daily forever, or is there a need to reduce frequency?
2. With daily training, do you worry about early spinal disc degeneration due to more frequent loading?
1. Yes, and many athletes and lifters in various disciplines do. You reduce frequency when/if needed, and the same obviously goes for volume and intensity.
2. Quite the contrary, as more frequent loading of bones, tendons and collagen increases its strength and resiliency.
Oh good! I was hoping you’d say that 🙂 Definitely makes sense, my body feels tons better with daily training. Thanks Borge! Appreciate your wisdom.
Taking into consideration that you don’t post routines for reasons previously mentioned, and that you don’t work with beginners, I would like to ask: Is there one established full body routine that you would recommend over others for most neophytes with no lifting experience save for calisthenics?
I reread (again) your articles (this one and the one linked herein) and gather that a natural beginner should probably err on the side of caution and apply the principles that are on the lower end of the spectrum.
A vertical push
A vertical pull
A horizontal push
A horizontal pull
A lower body knee-dominant
A lower body hip-dominant
Can also be simplified to e.g. a horizontal push+horizontal pull+lower body hip-dominant on one day, vertical push+vertical pull+knee dominant on the next.
3-4 days per week, 2-3 sets per exercise (9-12 sets per week) at 60-70% of 1RM. No need to go to total failure on each set, leave a couple of reps in the tank.
Ahh. It all makes perfect sense now. Very much appreciated.
And as you progress you will pump up the frequency to 5-6 days and increase the percentages, right?
Using percentages how does somebody progress? Like if they do 3 sets of 85% and get say 8,6,4, how do you know when it’s time to increase the weight, or the point where the weight they are using is no longer 85%?
You increase load on the next workout every time you reach 8 reps.
So you’d test with your 3rm to get a solid estimate of your 1rm, then do 85% of your 1rm, whatever rep you hit, ie 8, that becomes your target rep, anytime you hit the target rep you increase weight? I could see why it’s reserved for more int/adv as you’d have to track different reps for each muscle / lift.
For weighted bodyweight lifts like Chin Ups, do you work the 85% on the total weight body and added weight or just the added weight on the belt.
Borge, I know you are a friend of full body workouts but I would like to hear your opinion on a training I came up with.
I`m a natural Bodybuilder and tried to combine body part splits with higher frequency. I came up with doing a Myo-Reps workout for bigger muscles prior to their main heavy workout. So it looks like this:
Mon: Chest, Tricep, Back Myo-Reps
Tue: Back, Bicep, Shoulders Myo-Reps
Wed: Shoulders, Legs, Chest Myo-Reps
Thu: Chest, Tricep, Back Myo-Reps
Fri: Back, Bicep, Legs Myo-Reps
Sat: Shoulders, Legs, Chest Myo-Reps
So I hit the big muscles 3-4 times a week. 2 times heavy and 1-2 with Myo-Reps.
What do you think, Borge?
I wish you in advance all the best for 2015. Thank you.
It looks fine, just don’t try to overcomplicate things too much.
Frequency goes up, yes.
Borge, going from your last interview, do you not use much in the range of 15-20 reps? It seems your compound work for inter/advanced trainees is approximately 5-8 and 8-15 reps using your heavy/light scheme with myoreps the day prior in the 20-30 range? Do you also do the heavier/light scheme for all of your lifts, or just your main compounds? Thanks
Borge with Rep ranges I know you like to keep them “clean” what is the ranges you like to use?
or should it be closer?
does it matter just asking since I usually do the full body routines but my rep ranges are separated but usually into
15+ & (BFR and Myo Reps)
I don’t use rep ranges, I use target reps calculated as a % of 1RM (tested or estimated).
Cool thanks gives me some good ideas. I like that testing you and menno talk about.
Then say like 45-50 reps at “x” amount of % or whatever
Borge been using Myo Reps for a while now (love it)
what is an easy way to progress I use the 20-30x 3-5+
but when do you increase the weight?
I usually do two sets per movement.
I been increasing it when I am able to do both sets of 30 reps complete. the extra 3-5+ as just RPE based and doesn’t effect the weight increase next time since that is daily based.
How do you do recommend it do you have a easier way
This article really got me thinking about how women should workout. If anabolic steroids makes the anabolic signal turned on for a longer period, doesn’t that probably mean that women, with their lower testosterone, would benefit even more from more frequent workouts than men?
Most definitely. The higher estrogen also protects against microtrauma and muscle inflammation, and allows both a higher frequency and volume than in men.
Great read! I’ve been a fan of using higher frequency training for a while now. Many of the things you say here remind me of Vince Gironda’s routines (like 8x8s) with very short rest. Thanks for being kind enough to share your thoughts on everything you work with clients on!
When do you suggest adding a load to a pull-up or dip, for example? When one can successfully complete one set at 20 reps with perfect form and consistent speed, being two reps shy of failure? When one can do three sets each at the 17-20 range with the same criteria? Or do you have something else in mind?
If you prescribe 75% but its an awkward number, do you just round it to the nearest or do you round it up? For example 68kg, would you round it up to 70kg or down to 67.5kg? Or with isolation, where a few KG could be the difference between 75% and 85%.
If you prescribe 75% but its an awkward number, do you just round it to the nearest or do you round it up? For example 68kg, would you round it up to 70kg or down to 67.5kg? Or with isolation, where a few KG could be the difference between 75% and 85%
Bro Sam! Spit out some cash and go hire the guy rather than bombarding him with 20,000 questions and expect an answer every time!!!!!!!!! Seriously dude
Borge do you include hammer curls in your programme or do you find them unnecessary?
Depends on the program.
Borge is there anything wrong with Intermediates hitting a muscle 3/4 times per week and calves/shoulders daily due to their ability to recover more quickly.
Nothing wrong with daily training, but then there is no evidence suggesting that these muscle groups recover faster than others, don’t know where you got that idea.
Borge how do you approach rounding your weight to the percentage, say 75% of a compound is 81, and your isolation is 29, do you round the compounds up and the isolation exercises down (82.5, 27.5) or just to the nearest (80,30), thanks
OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!!
HOLY SHIT SAM (or NAT)! Your now asking the EXACT same questions on Menno’s site in his Back, Bicep, and Lower back article comment section. Your OCD has gotta stop, or your going to ruin it for the rest of us!
Hi Borge, have you seen Brad’s study on frequency in advanced trainees yet? Looks like another ‘win’ for higher frequency. Total weekly volume being the same, 3 x week was better than 1. And if you look at the split routine the arms were actually being hit twice a week (indirectly on back/chest day).
It’s also interesting that just 3 sets@3 times a week (which most bros would consider a beginners routine) was better than 9 sets once a week even in advanced.
I have seen it and it was truly anti-climactic as I believe 3x/week to be the minimum optimal frequency, and even higher frequencies being optimal the more advanced you get.
Yeah, I found out the hard way spending the last few years training a 2 split 3 days a week trying low, medium, high volume but pretty much spinning my wheels. Made some solid progress the first few years with HST though.
Was hoping Schoenfeld would have done something similar to the norwegian frequency project though 🙁
What do you think of the old Leo Costa Big Beyond Belief program? Would it be a good routine if the sets are not taken to failure?
I actually started out my training career on the BBB (or Serious Growth, more specifically – but same principles). It is a good program but way overkill on the volume if you want to do such a high frequency. Funny to think that 25 years later my programming is quite similar as it was when I first started out 🙂
Thanks for the great article “Reignite progress”. I would like to try your suggestion of “consider picking a few muscle groups” which will be pecs and lats. I have been lifting for 15 years, am 31, weight 81kgs and my main lifting weights are bench: 100×6, deads 195×5, squats 165×5 so I will probably go under “advanced” category at least in the squats and deads, which is why I want to target those damn pecs. I will be using a reverse pyramide protocol on heavy days. I don’t want to be in the gym more than 5 times a week so have considered the following schedule:
Day 1: rest
Day 2: 2 pec excersises myo-style and 2 lats excersises, then done
Day 3: heavy pec / lats like bench press, chins, incline dumbell, rows, 4-6 reps RPT style
Day 4: rest
Day 5: 6-9 reps moderate pec / lats day
Day 6: lower body RPT
Day 7: repeat
So 5 days on a rolling schedule where pecs and lats get hit 4 times. On the lower body day I will do heavy deads / squats alternate weeks (focus to maintain or add small on these since pecs/lats focus weeks) and other lower body stuff. Apologies if question is too specific, but if you could perhaps point out any major flaws with this setup or if I’m getting it wrong somewhere. Thanks!
I don’t really see any major flaws at all. I would do some testing to find out what rep ranges to lift in, though – this is covered in my upcoming webinar on training program design (see http://www.facebook.com/coach.borgefagerli)
Wow, thanks for the quick feedback! Will have a look at your webinar.
I did 20-25 + 5x yesterday followed by a 4-6 session today. It felt good. I think 12-15 reps will be the lower end for the myo day but as you suggested it will be a bit trial and error.
In terms of progress, I was thinking that on myo days I go with your protocol and increase weights when I hit the high end of the rep range (i.e if I hit 20 on a 15-20 rep range).
On heavy days, I will work on a 4-6 rep range for 3 sets and increase when hitting 6 reps on the first set, as Berkhan advises on his RPT protocol (which I have found very useful for heavy workouts).
On medium days I will probably try to get some volume and picka weight that I think I can do 7-9 reps of 3-4 sets and then increase when I can hit 9 reps of all the sets.
Does that make sense? I fully understand that your time is limited so of course no problem if you don’t have time to answer
That sounds fine, but can’t really say much about intensity/reps or volume without knowing your overall program setup. Webinar topic 😉
Thanks again, will look out for the webinar!
another quick question if I may. I know you state that myo-reps is not optimal for the heavy compound lifts like deadlift (perhaps not written in stone) But do you think deadlifts in the 4-6 days a week range like discussed in the article would work at all given that you adjust like suggested above, working in an averagen range of 75% RPM? A yes or no will do, thanks for taking the time.
Firstly many thanks for the material you have posted over recent years – I’ve been reading (and re-reading) everything I can find by yourself and Mr Henselmens as well as subscribing to your new collaboration.
My lifting stats (excluding chins, which recently became advanced as per Martin Berkhan’s standards) are only just into the intermediate category, but I have been training for 5 years (2 years sensible training!) and 3 day/week training seems to have me going round in circles.
Would a 6 day/week full-body (as per this article) light(myo reps)/heavy/medium (as per your “reignite” article) be appropriate or is this intended for more advanced trainees?
What – if any – freeweight/bodyweight exercises do you recommend for hip-hinge and squat variation using myo-reps?
Finally, could box jumps and sprints constitute valid selections as a squat variation and hip-hinge for either medium or heavy day? Seems like a bit of a stretch, but should help develop a bit of power and break up potential monotony.
I appreciate that you are a busy man, so please tell me to F-off if I’m taking the piss at all. Looking forward to the launch of Cybernetic Fitness. Many thanks and kind regards.
Hi Colin and thank you for the kind words. You should check out my webinar on training program design (see my facebook page for links).
Definitely try to increase your training frequency. Leg Curl w elastic band, 1-leg RDL/Good Morning w elastic band, bulgarian split squat. Box jumps and sprints I consider power exercises and would be used in addition to or in place of light on the Myo-reps day, in the hypertrophy-power/light-heavy sequence.
Thank you ever so much for your reply – all good news! I’m going to assume that pistol squats would be a poor choice for myo-reps due to the level of spinal flexion (in particular lumbar).
Are you referring to the webinar of June 13th (BFC, Design Better Programs, 2hrs50mins, $99)?
Finally – and feel free to ignore this if it’s covered in the webinar – is it feasible to utilise paired sets on heavy and medium days to save on time (whilst still applying ≥3min rest periods between sets of the same exercise) or better sticking to traditional set structure?
Once again many thanks and kind regards.
Yes, yes, and yes.
Great seminar the other week, Borge! I really enjoyed it.
I saw where you gave some recommendations for knee dominant and hip dominant bodyweight/at-home exercises above. Do you mind sharing some of your faves for the other main movement patterns/muscles? I am hoping to set up an at-home myorep/light/power day. I actually have access to dumbbells and bands. Thanks!
I listed exercises in the webinar.
Borge, you honestly have me rethinking most of what I “knew” about strength training. Thank you so very much for your valuable contributions!
Q. If one were cursed with historically moderately poor recovery, would you be more likely to reduce volume or frequency (perhaps to the minimum of 3x/wk)?
My preference is to keep frequency at 4-6x/wk while reducing volume to the minimum.
You were never cursed with poor recovery, you just haven’t taken the time to build it. Improving food quality, sleep, activity levels (yes, and even some cardio), getting ample sunlight, circadian rhythm optimization – not just one of them, but all of them. I favor a higher frequency over volume, then gradually build volume tolerance. Several ways of doing this, but going slightly submax (RPE 8) and doing an extra set – e.g. instead of a hard 2 sets of 8,6 you would do 7,5,3 – all at RPE 8. Or even 5,5,5 (equal volume, the last vs. the first set being closer to RPE 9).
At the risk of sounding like a broken record… great webinar (at least the bits I could hear ;P)!
Having never tested 3/5RM per se, would the Precision Nutrition protocol (google: “how to test 3RM”) be an appropriate measure for test days? And having been laid-off from training for a week due to man-flu and babysitting hospitalised sister, is it wise to go straight into testing, or better to ease back in with a week or so of myo-reps?
Both video and sound went when outlining ‘Progression Model’ for novices, was there supposed to be a page for intermediate/advanced? And what are your thoughts on micro-loading (fractionals) vs double progression?
Finally, at the risk of asking you the length of a piece of string, do you have a rule-of-thumb movement specific warm-up, a la Starting Strength (5xbar, 5×50% (of work set), 3×70%, etc.)?
Hopefully Menno will be providing me with 3 months of catch-up material any time now, so I promise I will cease badgering you for information!
Testing 3-5RM is simple. You gradually increase loads using 3-5 reps until 3-5 reps is so heavy that you can say it is a true 3-5RM. This is also a good way to warm up for training.
40 x 5
60 x 5
80 x 5
90 x 5
100 x 3 (you might have managed 4 reps if you strained yourself here, so you use 100 as your 4RM)
40 x 5
60 x 5
80 x 3
90 x 3
100 x 3
105 x 3 (strained and barely made it, so 3RM = 105)
The progression model is the same regardless of training category, you just change the intensity.
Oke doke, gotcha. Just got my invite to Menno’s PT group, lots to digest. Coupled with my own high frequency training experiment = exciting times! Wish me luck!
And thanks ever so much for your feedback.
Wow! Thank you!
Ok, just one more (I promise)!
Q. Do you have a thought or two about incorporating this high-frequency training to Strongman? Maybe related to working overhead presses and pulls in with front squats and events like stones and farmers walk etc.
This discussion is fascinating thanks again!
Thoughts in terms of what?
Sorry, I’ll clarify:
I’m curious how you’d set up a high-frequency training protocol 0for Stringman considering OHP and deadlifts are the two highest priorities and unlike powerlifting, strength-endurance reigns supreme.
Front Squats have a greater carryover than Back Squats and above most, one would need to train events often enough to become technically proficient which means at least weekly.
Oh God, “Stringman”? Really?!?
Thanks for your nice blog. I like to do 3 full body program’s. Could you give a example programm what you could recommend for day 1, day 2, day 3 if my target is shaping the body.
Best regards Jaap
There are plenty of examples in my articles (e.g. see the one at elitefts.com). There is no such thing as a program to “shape” the body. You make the muscle larger, you reduce the fat covering it – so basically 95% of goals can be separated into one of those two categories at a time…although it is possible to achieve both concurrently if you set up the diet correctly. I have a program design webinar here: http://www.anymeeting.com/PIID=EB55DC85834C38 (Safari doesn’t work for registering for some reason, you need to use Firefox or Chrome).
Hey Borge, is your current recommendation to have your higher rep/myo work the day before or after heavy lifting, curious as you seem to have posted both, any benefit to one over the other?
I know at one time you experimented with muscle rounds on the “medium” days. Do you think that is an okay option to try for the medium days or did you not find it as effective?
I honestly feel that I can do more total and effective reps with Myo-reps than Muscle Rounds. E.g. at a certain load I might get 6 sets of 4, where you could only consider the last 3-4 sets at maximum activation – the first 2-3 sets were kind of easy, where only the last rep would start reaching full recruitment. At a similar load I would get 15 +4+4+4+4 (I actually experimented with this).
So Muscle Rounds: 24 total reps of which 12-14 effective reps, with Myo-reps 31 total reps of which 18-20 effective reps.
Hey Borge, i downloaded and translated your myoreps guide and spreadsheet, quality job. I noticed in your spreadsheet, no direct calf isolation exercises? Just wanted to get your take on that?
I train from home so my exercise selection is limited, I know your a fan of full body rotating but due to my lack of equipment i just use the same exercises each day, do you have any clients in this situation?
Hey Borge! Have you experienced higher than normal creatinine blood levels with daily training?
Not at all. As the session volume and thus muscle breakdown is lower, creatinine levels are also lower.
That makes sense actually. I’ve been training 6 days per week using your advice with programming for about a year now, and I wanted to see if I was training too hard. So I had a blood panel done to get my levels checked, I was mostly interested in my Creatinine levels. I then took 7 days off of training and stopped taking Creatine as well to see what the difference would be. I got blood work done again at the end of the 7 day break and my Creatinine levels were the same, if not a little higher actually! I found this interesting since my Doctor said to stop taking Creatine because that was the main culprit, even the front desk receptionist (not a doctor/nurse) tried to tell me to stop taking it because it causes kidney damage……LOL! I kept my mouth shut and let her look awesome, especially when she said whey protein powder causes kidney damage too, only whey apparently 🙂 So, turns out daily training and taking a normal dose of creatine per day was actually better for me then not moving!! Imagine that!
Thank you for the knowledge you share with us. Your patience is astounding. Great work, and I’m sure the silent majority appreciate it more than some (who seem to want you to do everything but pay their gym fees) might lead you to believe.
Thankts alot for the advice you ve been giving users all over the internet again and again.
I have one question at the moment though.
I keep reading that you suggest to use Myo-Reps only for a limited period of time, not as something like a “standard-regimen” then.
Why is that? Taxation could be controlled via RPE if you want it. Is it the lesser overall volume? Is it “to focused” on hitting the muscles while other regimen give joints and the connective tissues a stimulus without stressing them to much?
I could argue both ways, Myo-reps seems to activate certain pathways inherent to occlusion training – some of which research still haven’t quite figured out yet – so I’m not completely against keeping it in the program for longer periods of time.
The main premise behind my recommendation of cycling it in and out is simply because it seems to work via satellite cell activation but also seems to push adaptions more towards the strength-endurance continuum (via AMPK). So periods of increasing SC activation would increase the potential for muscle growth, combined with heavier loading to complete the process of SC differentiation and hypertrophy. I would then cycle off it and focus on the heavier loading for a while, until gains seems to slow down again – then bring Myo-reps back in to reinitiate the process, while also allowing some improved recovery time for connective tissue etc.
It all depends on how you incorporate it:
1. As a stand-alone program I would only run it for 4-6 weeks.
2. Combined with heavier loading, you could (theoretically) run it for as long as you like.
When you say, “Hit a total rep count of 30-60 reps every workout,” do you mean for each body part? Or do you literally mean a “total” rep count of 30-60? It just seems extremely low. If you only did 3 exercises per workout (bench, rowing, squats) and do 3 sets of 10 for each, that’s already 90 reps. Surely you meant to say to hit a rep count of 30-60 per exercise, right? The way it is worded suggests that you mean a total rep count of 30-60 for all exercises combined, and I have trouble believing that is accurate.
Each bodypart. I have since updated my recommendations to 3-6 sets, and let reps fall where they may.
Borge, when I click on the link to your elitefts article it doesn’t recognize it. I’m having to Google the article title without your name and it comes up. Your not being seen as the author anymore on elitefts’s page, it now says “team elitefts”. Just thought you’d want to know. I think you deserve the recognition.
I do sincerely thank you for taking the time to respond to many of our questions, no matter how repetitious they may be. I think I have a good question for you and I’m fairly sure it’s not a deja vu:
As someone with a small frame (my thumb overlaps my middle finger when holding my wrist), are there certain intensity and volume parameters you recommend or does that ultimately not matter?
With a smaller frame, you will most likely max out your genetic potential faster, so you would move to the next level of volume/intensity/frequency parameters faster than someone else with the same muscle mass but larger frame. Specifics – or rather the ranges – depend on your current abilities and level of advancement, obviously.
Perfect. I completely understand what you’re saying. Much appreciated!
I do the following program like Monday-A/ Wed-B/ Fri-A and vice versa for the following week, my rep range is on the low side though, somewhere between 20-35 reps per every movement. Any flaws/ comments would be appreciated! What other exercises would add to this program yourself? Or would you?
Workout – A
2. Incline Dumbbell Chest Press
3. Romanian Deadlift
4. Single Leg Calf Raise
5. Machine Rear Deltoid Fly (rest pause)
Workout – B
2. Dumbbell Shrug
3. Bulgarian Split Squat
4. Dumbbell Curl
5. Kettlebell Lateral Raise (rest pause)
and it would be also great if you add my e-mail as a subscriber for your upcoming seminars.
Hi Matt, I spend 10-12 weeks and close to 200 pages in my online course covering program design, and when I work with clients I go through an extensive assessment before setting up a program – which is adjusted and optimized according to progress over the next 4+ weeks.
Knowing nothing about you, it is difficult to provide a generic program troubleshooting – but my initial impression is that the program looks very basic and solid. The training frequency per muscle group is different, but I will assume this is on purpose. For hypertrophy, you can’t go wrong with 2-3 hard sets (1 rep to failure) of 30-80% of 1RM depending on the exercise.
I don’t have a subscriber list for my english page, as I still haven’t expanded into the international market yet with seminar or regular articles, so you would have to subscribe to my Norwegian page at http://www.borgefagerli.no (just stay on the page for a few seconds and a pop-up offering a free Myo-reps e-book and program will appear).
I came across your work after hearing one of your podcasts where you discussed circadian biorhythms and diet. Fascinating stuff! So, thank you for all of the great information you are putting out. I’m in the process of reading as much as I can find! (And menno’s work too). I have always known that higher frequency works for me, but I was too used to following conventions.
Regarding this article, I know you give Dan John credit for his movement pools he uses for program design, but I can’t help but wonder how is this template you pose here different from his Even Easier Strength program? I ask because, as your title suggests, we are looking for optimal. Well, I ran a 2 month Even Easier Strength template a few years ago who the exercise breakdown was essentially the same and I had the BeST strength gains of my “career” (I’ve been lifting recreationally for almost 20 years–many many mistakes). If I remember correctly Dan John has the lifter do 5 workouts per week, but never exceeding 10 reps per movement per workout (3×3 or 5×2 or 2,3,5 etc). It worked so well for strength but I don’t feel like I got any bigger… So with this set up that you recommend should I just start slowly adding sets and reps over time, favoring 5+ rep ranges if I’m more interested in hypertrophy than strength at the present?
If you can answer this question I’d really appreciate it, and I look forward to continuing the exploration of your work.
Hi Pat, and thank you for your kind words.
Dan’s EES program will fit within the guidelines, yes – and there is a reason most programs that work well implement the same template/layout. Strength is a skill so by practicing the lift frequently you will push strength upwards. For hypertrophy, most of the research is pretty clear, though – you need to work closer to failure to get a sufficient stimulus (1 rep to failure seems to be sufficient, not absolute failure), but 2-3 sets 2-3x/week will be sufficient to drive the adaption for hypertrophy as well.
I have literally just read EVERY single response you’ve put on here, as I know how irritating it is to answer questions one has already answered several times. I must say, you have a LOT of patience with that “sam” guy. I kept reading down the page like “WHEN IS HE GONNA STOP!!!” lol Anyway here are my 2 quick questions:
1) Where can I go to find EVERYTHING I need to know about myo reps, so that I don’t waste your time asking too many already answered questions.
2) I struggle with Trapezius (upper trapezius) development, and I see you mentioned Overhead shrugs as a good alternative to regular shrugs… What will you recommend someone who’s been lifting for more than 5 years, 5’8, 220 lbs, and wants do develop massive upper trapezius? I’ve heard everything, some say deadlifts, some upright rows, some shrugs, some rack pulls, some say high reps, some low heavy reps etc. Please help end the confusion, what would YOU recommend (I know you need more information on the person, but let’s just say in general) for MAXIMUM upper trapezius development? Will the recommended 4x a week, 5-10 reps, 2-3 sets be enough? Thanks.
1. The Myo-reps article on this site will cover most of it, but you will also find podcasts with Iraki Nutrition and Modern Musclehead (Scott Tousignant) if you do a search on google. I also have a free e-book on my Norwegian site, I know some people have run it through google translate and gotten the gist of it: http://www.borgefagerli.no (you need to stay on the site for a minute until a pop-up box appears, then fill in your name and e-mail)
2. If you have been training for many years, it is becoming more and more unlikely that you can grow one muscle group much outside of its predetermined genetic potential, so I would keep that in mind.
Maybe you are also comparing your trapezius development to lifters on drugs, where the higher density of androgen receptors in delts, traps and upper chest makes these areas blow up when someone is using. This is also one of the tell-tale signs of drug use btw.
That being said, when a muscle group is noticeably weaker or underdeveloped compared to other muscle groups, it might very well be that it is overworked. By definition, it has a lower training status, so whereas your overall training status might be 2intermediate-advanced”, your traps might be “beginner”. This would require a lower volume and frequency, so if you are already doing lots of training where the traps are hit indirectly – you might consider replacing those with other exercises for a while – e.g. hold off on deadlifting for a while and do glute-ham raises for your traps, do bent flies instead of rows etc. 1-3 sets of 30-70% of 1RM 2x/week should cover most of your hypertrophy needs for a while, or a single myo-rep set for an exercise where you hit traps indirectly, once/week and then an exercise hitting the traps indirectly once/week with the 1-3×30-70% prescription.
Thanks a ton! I will implement these methods into my training.
Another thing i forgot to mention is that it is INSANELY hard for me to get a pump in my upper traps. I know this is perhaps not a scientifically proven prerequisite for growth, and that correlation doesn’t always mean causation, but out of ALL my body parts, the ones that I have no problem growing at all (every muscle except traps, forearms and calves) get INSANE pumps no matter what I do, but the ones I need to do super high reps and high sets in order to even feel a “bitch pump” (upper traps, forearms and calves) are the ones i have a hard time growing. I figured maybe it was due to the fact that those regions are more slow twitch dominant, but that didn’t make sense to me since slow twitch dominant should mean easier blood flow to the region. Anyway, I don’t wanna over complicate things like some of the comments above lol (i still can’t believe the guy that asked about how to round 1RM % maxes lol), so I’ll stop right here. Thanks for your insight though, I’ll try the suggested methods you provided.
When is your project with Menno will finalize? And can recreational lifters register/benefit from it when it is ready?
Lastly, would you tweak anything regarding my program? (intermediate level lifter/hypertrophy aim) I am thinking about adding another pull because I feel like it helps my posture.
Monday –pull emphasis
• Pull ups
• Rear delt fly
Tuesday –push emphasis
• Lat raise
Thursday –pull emphasis
• Romanian Deadlift
• Inverted row
• Barbell curl
Friday –push emphasis
• Incline dumbbell press
• Bulgarian split squat
• Triceps extension
*Forgot to say rear delt fly/lat raise/curl/triceps extension are all myo reps.
I’ve been using myoreps in the last 3 months, during cutting, and I had dramatic resaults. My strenght increased and I gained muscle mass while losing fat.
I’ve been working out 6 times x week, total body workout.
For 2 months my routine was: A (myoreps 20+5,5,5,5), B (6+3+3+3+3), C (12+4+4+4+4), A, B, C and rest
I had 2 sets per muscle group.
Than, I felt I was burining out, so I changed a little bit
6 times per week
B (3/5 sets per 5 reps)
C (3/5 stes per 12 reps)
Even if I’m still gaining good resaults, I think it’s too much for me and I would like to change something.
Option a: working out 4/5 times weekly
Option b: working out 6 times weekly, not training arms during the B day.
I feel great with frequent workouts, but sometimes I “feel” that training arms it’s a waste of time (or controproductive), doing some work that I don’t really need and make me feel tired.
PS: I’ve been working out total bosy for the last ten years, 4 times weekly, 4/6 sets per muscle group. I loved Hycocks ideas, but I felt that hst had too little volume for me.
I would try a lower frequency for a while. Just eliminating arm work isn’t gonna do it for you.
In last month, I’ve continued my diet (1400 ca.) and cutted on volume/frequency.
4 times/week upper-lower-upper-lower. I had 70/80 reps for chest/back 30/40 for smaller muscles and 120 reps for legs.
My last bia reported
I lost 3 kg
I lost 1,8 kg of fat
I lost 1,2 lt of water (but I increased a little intracellular water)
I gained 0,7kg of cell mass and gained of muscle mass!!!!!!!
Thank for your suggestions and thank you for your articles on muscle growth.
reading your theories, I learned a lot about this topic!!!
PS: I know my BIA datas are very strange: total fat free mass is decreased but cell mass and muscle mass are increased…and I know that if I added 0,7 of cell mass, I don’t add up! (1,8+1,2-0,7…it’s 2,3. I wonder how I lost 3 kg on the scale!).
Again, thanks for you time.
Awesome results! BIA is somewhat unreliable as you are probably aware of, but I have no doubts that you have done some great recomposition. I would advise that you raise your calories on training days, thought. I don’t even have any petite girls that low in calories.
In fact I’m measuring skinfold too and it seems I’m working fine (with pollok 7 skinfold equation, I lost 2,5 kg of fat).
anyway, I love cycling cals, so sometimes I have a 2/3 of meals daily at 1200 and sometimes I eat 1800/1900 cals.
Thanks again borge, you are a very kind person!
I’m 50 years old and have been training for a number of years. I can’t train as heavy as I used to, but I still train at home with the goal of adding some muscle if possible. Any general modifications you would suggest for a 50 year old, or just go with 3 sets 3 days a week, see how I recover and adjust from there?
Still young, then 🙂 With aging, it becomes necessary to reduce intensity of loading (the % of 1RM), and with more controlled repetitions (no jerking or bouncing). Other than that, you can, contrary to popular belief, maintain both frequency and volume – it may even be better for the connective tissue (with its lower blood flow) to maintain some type of training on a daily basis.
Thanks. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.
Borge, as said above, I’m gaining good resaults following your tips on workout.
As I said, I still used to do somenthing similar to your protocol, but now, reading your articles, I’ve a more aware approach to that.
Today I read your article on diet.
I’m very surprised to see that your guidelines are very similar to mine (year ago I read the 1997 research on women that really impressed me. Then I read a couple of researches showing the benefit of fasting).
For years I advocated to consume more carbs on night, post workout, while reducing cals and carbs during the first hours of the day (I suggest to starve up to lunch time).
A very interesting point is about pre w/o meal.
Several years ago, nandi12 (the late karl hoffman) made me read some studies showing that EAA right before w/o increased proteic synthesis.
Anyway, while you say the same thing in your article, you quote another research showing that “results indicate that prior fasting may stimulate the intramyocellular anabolic response to ingestion of a carbohydrate/protein/leucine mixture following a heavy resistance training session-“.
that said, how can you explain that fasting group had better results than fed group, while we know that EEA fed group had better results than fasted group?
Are these conflicting informations or not?
having some whey or EEA right before w/o will cause the release of AA in the bloodstream 15 minutes later. That means a person will be into “starvation mode” for the first part of his workout, gaining the first nutrients after his catabolism increased for a while.
Thank you for your attention and sorry for my english.
The study looks at protein synthesis in isolation, and there is no research showing that this will lead to more muscle mass in the long term. It may very well just be an artifact of the fasting period preceding the workout, a compensatory reaction to rebuild lost amino acids in the free amino acid pool – which you probably also know is recycled during autophagy.
borge, I need your help!
during the last month, I trained 5/6 times weekly total body (before, I cutted a little my workout, trying 4 times weekly, a-b-a-b).
considering my skinfolds (pollock 7), I lost another couple of fat during the last month and gained 200gr of lean mass.
Considering my bia, I lost 1.5 of fat and I lost 1,3 kg of cell mass, while I gained 1kg of water retetion…
Do you think i should consider bia or skinfolds?
BIA is completely unreliable. Calipers aren’t perfect, but if you know how to use them I would trust them over any BIA measurement any day.
Borge, you suggest to train every day considering that anabolic response to workout (especially in trained people) is very short. Sometimes 16 hours or less.
Now, consider that a person has a “longer” anabolic response, 24, 36 or 48 hours.
Training every day can reduce muscle growth.
Bret Contreras and Brad Schoenfeld, for example, says that training before SRA curve is back to baseline can reduce muscle gains, if not leading to muscle loss.
Brayn haycock, years ago, instead, said that the muscle can add an anabolic stimulus to an anabolic stimulus.
Quoting bryan: “my comments about training a muscle while sore come from research showing that muscle tissue is designed to recover from microtrauma even while it’s still being traumatized. This is a fundamentally foreign idea to most, if not all, bodybuilders. Heresy! they cry. Without going into detail, animal studies of overload-induced muscle growth use models that don’t remove the load for anywhere from one week to eight weeks. Later studies on humans demonstrated that after eccentric-exercise induced muscle damage, a second workout of eccentric reps didn’t hinder the recovery from the first workout”.
What’s your opion on this topic?
edit: “training every day can reduce muscle growth?”
I responded to the article on Bret’s site, which was a guest article written by someone else. The SRA curve is not how muscle recovers and grows, and there is nothing to suggest that you need to hold off on training a muscle until it is fully recovered. The limitations in applying overload to a muscle is primarily neural (excessive stress may cause the CNS to downregulate neural drive) and connective tissue (which has a slower turnover rate than muscle), so there could very well be reasons to lower training frequency.
Having said that, if a lifter has a more prolonged anabolic response – and thus, is a less advanced lifter, there would be no need for a high training frequency. At this level, a very slight overload would lead to a significant training effect, so I would rather have you do lighter technique practice if you absolutely wanted to do more volume or frequency.
Thanks again for your answer. I’ll look for your reply on bret’s board.
“The SRA curve is not how muscle recovers and grows, and there is nothing to suggest that you need to hold off on training a muscle until it is fully recovered.”
This is what I was looking for! 😀
The term “recovery” is generally used to indicate (at least) 3 different kind of recovery: 1) metabolic recovery (glycogen, atp etc); 2) nervous system recovery; 3) the increase in proteic anabolism.
I think that a persone shouldn’t train before get a full metabolic and nervous system recovery. I was wondering if the same rule should be applied to 3).
The idea that a person should’t train before the anabolic response is back to baseline is based on the concept on “supercompensation” and on GAS theory.
According to bryan, supercompensation and GAS has nothing to do with muscle growth.
“One example is the idea of super compensation. This idea, first described in the mid-50s by a Russian scientist named Yakovlev, was used to explain glycogen replenishment in the liver. It had nothing to do with muscle hypertrophy. The whole concept is just a gross misunderstanding and misapplication of the research and human physiology. Nevertheless, it became the foundation for traditional bodybuilding routines.”
I’m looking for your reply, I can’t find on bret’s page.
Can you give me the link, please?
Or can you tell me your nick name, so i can google it?
It’s on his facebook page:
Great article! One question on rep range.
If you got a program where you want to do sets of 3, 5 and 8, would you recommend doing one range at the time or change from one workout to the next? Or doesn’t it make much of a difference?
A: 3 weeks of 3×5, 3 weeks of 5×5 and 3 weeks of 8×3 (reps x sets)
B: Day 1: 3×5. Day 2: 5×5. Day 3: 8×5
(The weight is different on 3, 5 and 8. All rep ranges will have increased weight over time)
Or some other periodization.
There is no good data showing how often rep ranges need to be varied, but I personally find DUP (daily) to be better than WUP (weekly), as it also allows different exercises for different rep ranges.
I was listening to a podcast with James Krieger ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxh5fyKq9MI – at the 15:16 mark )where he said that he changed his views about high frequency training; one of the reason was that it is too taxing on joints without being better at building muscle than a moderate frequency (2-3 per week).
He also added that you discovered the same thing as him.
Care to expand on that?
Thank you very much and sorry for bothering you. I hope to read your book as soon as possible!
That was in reference to my own joint health. I have osteoarthritic hips – both hereditary and from decades of heavy lifting – so I needed to reduce my own training frequency to allow inflammation from each workout to dissipate.
High frequency training is, in general, better for joint health – given that you vary between heavier and lighter loads. One of my more productive training templates for advanced clients is rotating between both rep ranges and exercises for the same muscle groups, daily training. So e.g. Day 1 might be split squats at 70-75% of 1RM, Day 2 Myo-reps with leg extensions/curls+hip thrusts @50%, Day 3 Squats/front squats @80-85%.
That’s great, thanks.
I’ll take as a given that for an intermediate lifter, as you said elsewhere, a lower frequency (3-4 times per muscle group/week) is preferable.
In this scenario, do you follow the same moderate (6-15 reps) -> light/Myo-reps (15+ reps) -> heavy (less than 6 reps) undulating periodization?
3-4x/week will be optimal, yes – and if you go to failure, use heavier loading or use rest-pause/Myo-reps techniques and the optimal volume you would still be able to gain at an optimal rate at 2x/week frequency, given the data from recent studies.
There is most likely no need to vary the rep ranges/loading zones as much at a lower frequency.
Do you make any change in weekly volume? I mean: you suggest 30-6o reps per day, that means 180-360 reps per week for a person training 6 x week.
if the person trains 3 x week..should increase daily volume or not?
I usually prescribe volume with sets close to failure. In a given day you would be fine with anywhere from 1-3 sets per muscle groups (more sets if you train submaximally, e.g. for strength or explosiveness). As you get more advanced you would increase frequency to achieve a higher weekly volume.
A few clarifications if you don’t mind, Borge.
1) When you said ‘1-3 sets close to failure per muscle groups in a given day’, did you mean only sets with a very high RPE/low RIR?
So, for example, if someone is doing a 5X5 routine trying to accomplish all the 25 reps with the same weight, only the last one or two sets should count, providing that he’s not grinding reps since the first set.
2) Are you still using Myo-reps or other rest-pause techniques only for light weights and higher reps? Do you implement some other form of auto-regulation for heavier weights?
On a tangent note, I’ve read that Mike Tuchscherer stopped using fatigue percents drops in favor of a pre-determined number of sets based on TRAC scores.
I would really love to know how your thoughts evolved on this subject (I mean auto-regulation methods).
3) For an intermediate lifter (me) who loves daily training but hate long workouts, is an upper/lower split repeated 3 times a week (i.e. upper/lower/upper/lower/upper/lower/rest), with lower volume per session and different exercises and loading, fine?
That said, I sincerely hope you publish something training related for the international market. Judging from this comment section only, there are tons of people who would be interested. I’m sure my not-Norwegian-money would like to be in your pocket. Thanks!
1) You obviously “count” all sets and reps, but going closer to failure on all sets is indeed more productive. See the study comparing 5 sets of 5 reps vs. 25 reps in as few sets as possible (can’t find the reference right now), showing that the latter was more effective and achieved in 3 sets on average.
2) I use it all the way down to approx. 8-10RM as recent studies have shown RP training in general to be somewhat more effective than straight sets at this loading range (and lower).
3) Yes, there is a paucity of research except for the Norwegian Frequency Project showing that a frequency of 3+/week is better, and I suspect it is only better in the most advanced lifters where volume and RPE is controlled.
I have already decided to go international this year, the Norwegian market is run by the marketing geniuses and bloggers – and I’m neither. 🙂
1) That’s REALLY interesting (by the way, is the study you were referring to this one: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26789094 — A comparison of volume-equated knee extensions to failure, or not to failure, upon rating of perceived exertion and strength adaptations — ?).
But doesn’t your recommendation translate to a low weekly volume? It would mean 6-9 sets per muscle group at most for someone training 2-3 times a week.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing it, I’m just genuinely curious, since lately high(er) volumes have been ubiquitously promoted.
3) Amazing, thank you Borge. I was afraid that training six days in a row for an intermediate lifter could be too much.
By the way, I completely agree on your stance on very high training frequency and it also matches my quite consistent experience with it.
in their recent papers, Mike Israetel and Brad Schoenfeld suggest that weekly volume is more important than frequency. So, if you train 20 sets weekly per muscle group, it does’t make difference if you train 2xweek, 3xweek, 4xweek. I know: according to brad’s research, 9 sets 3 times x weekly is better than 9 sets 1 time x week, so it sound strange that he suggest that total volume is more important than frequncy. Anyway, he told me that when you train a muscle 2 or more times per week, it doesn’t make difference how you spread the sets during the week.
WOW WHAT A FANTASTIC ARTICLE!!! SIMPLY DO “ANYWHERE FROM 3-20 REPS” FOR “3-10” SETS AT “65-95%”OF YOUR 1MR AND “YOU CAN BE FAIRLY CERTAIN” THAT YOURE ON YOUR WAY TO “GAINZVILLE” That is possible the most useless and vague recommendation I have ever heard from anyone. Thanks for nothing author, you pedantic fake. For anyone looking for a legit, tried and true, scientifically substantiated program, check out Dante’s Doggcrapp. Used by Dorian Yates himself.
Haha…I guess you just missed the entire point of the article.
Yeah, go do some Doggcrapp and be like Dorian. Good luck! 🙂
Oh my…….ha ha ha! Thank you for that Slade, Broscience is strong in you! I love when people use heavily roided out pro bodybuilders as references to a program =) Perhaps this article was too much for you to understand given your response.
Borge, hhanks for the work!
You discussed joined and tendon health in the comments, an i have done similar experiences.
But on high frequency training i have seen a lot of people become problems with overactive muscles between the workouts, resulting in high “rest tension” on your structeres. What is your experience with that (and approach to solve it)?
I haven’t really seen this or experienced it as a problem, so I wonder what population you are working with or working out around if you see “a lot of people” experiencing this? Are we talking about the same thing here? You’re sure you’re not simply seeing a gain in muscle mass and concurrent fat loss?
Borge, I was curious if you think a novice could do an entire program based around myoreps philosophy.
So if for instance Monday would be bench press, squats and rows. Each would be 1 set of myoreps aiming for say 20-25 quality reps. Then either add reps or weight and keep re-doing this set-up over and over in a linear progression model.
I find the idea of rest pause good for time constraints and never really liked sitting around for 3-5 minutes between a set (assuming it was an exercise that didn’t have an easy antagonistic superset).
I guess the most likely thing is “if I am excited about doing this/ will stick to it it’s probably better than anything because I will consistently do it”.
But I figured it’d be interesting to hear your thoughts on using myoreps for an entire duration of a novice-beginner phase which would last probably 3-6+ months.
Thank you for your time and the good information you have put out.
Yes, I have a beginner program in Norwegian using Myo-reps only. Will see about getting it translated as soon as possible, just been crazy busy. I don’t use Myo-reps on squats and rows due to lower back fatigue.
If you just copy/ paste it or have an article to a link I can just google translate it myself.
Would be interesting to see.
Thanks for the response by the way.
The New Kid Has Arrived With Insane Results — High Frequency Training. – Normal Joe Fit
[…] are much smarter people than myself (Paul Carter, Menno Henselmans MSc, Brad Schoenfeld PhD, Borge Fagerli) who think working a body part multiple times per week might be better for building […]
Borge, are there any differences doing:
Yes, as Zourdos et al. showed, the sequence medium-light-heavy-rest seems to work better:
Thanks Borge, i’ve read the full txt and there 2 notable differences:
-In that study they trained on non consecutive days.. not daily training
-the light day was a power day (5 set for 1 rep at 85-90%).. not high reps (myo)
So i think, there is a possible correlation, but not so much.
I know what the study says, but I have confirmed this on my advanced clients doing daily training and high frequency.
Borge, do you think for bodybuilders is good using “power days” (80% 1RM – 3 reps) or not?
Which is your opinion about cluster set?
Yes, I use them all the time, and I think no matter what your goals are you should use every tool in your arsenal if it will eliminate weaknesses or limitations.
They work well.
Setting a DUP:
following Med-Lig-heav rotation.
Where medium is hypertrophy range, light is myo reps (15-20) and heavy is 6-8.. where I can put power days?
I think power day is something light, so i would put them after heavy days.. right?
The New Kid Has Arrived With Insane Results — High Frequency Training. - Normal Joe Fit
[…] are much smarter people than myself (Paul Carter, Menno Henselmans MSc, Brad Schoenfeld PhD, Borge Fagerli) who think working a body part multiple times per week might be better for building […]
I saw you suggested this template for a FB routine:
A vertical push
A vertical pull
A horizontal push
A horizontal pull
A lower body knee-dominant
A lower body hip-dominant
Would doing all these in one session be overkill and asking to burn out?
I do it all the time.
Do you vary your exercise selection and rep ranges every workout? Not sure how to setup something like this
Also, sorry had one more question. What are your thoughts on full body circuit training for strength & hypertrophy? Followed by myo rep assistance
It is inferior to antagonistic pairing of sets (e.g. 1 set bench, 1min rest, 1 set rows, 1min rest, 1set bench etc).
You still a fan of the 3 Day DUP set up?
Day 1 Myo rep 20-25 activation 3-5 repeating
Day 2 Heavy 4-6 reps 3-4 sets
Day 3 Moderate 10-12 reys 2-3 sets
Or you like it set up differently.
I tend to use a linear approach these days, so 3-6 weeks of higher reps and Myo-reps (depending on the client), 4-6 weeks of heavier, lower rep training. I might also insert a week of Myo-rep training during a longer phase of lower rep training, just to boost the associated adaptations – as that Swedish thesis by Daniel Cortobius showed (I don’t think the DUP model was the cause of the impressive hypertrophy, I think it was the higher rep phase interspersed at regular intervals):
An interesting question I have is, is it superior to use a Medium Light Heavy setup throughout the week with each rep range having its own day, or incorporating each rep range into every workout. For example:
Monday: Heavy Squat, Light Deadlift, Medium Bench
Wednesday: Heavy Bench, Light Squat, Medium Deadlift
Friday: Heavy Deadlift, Light Bench, Medium Squat
This is of course just a simple example, but is there any evidence one is superior to the other? Or is it just a matter of preference?
There are reasons to believe that separating the stimuli is better than mixing them, i.e. high-rep metabolic work have some redundancy with high-load mechanical work. I keep them separate in the majority of my programs.
Assuming good recovery, is the previously suggested routine advantageous done six times a week:
Day 1 Myo rep 20-25 activation 3-5 repeating
Day 2 Heavy 4-6 reps 3-4 sets
Day 3 Moderate 10-12 reys 2-3 sets
repeat cycle, i.e. train like this Monday to Saturday and take Sunday off.
Sure, but to tolerate that kind of frequency would indeed assume an pretty amazing recovery ability – and no life outside of the gym 😉
Hi Borge, would be doing this in one workout, 3x a week be fine?
– BB Row
– Overhead Press
and Farmer’s Walks + Face Pulls.
Would this be a recipe for burnout or fine?
Powerlifters do the big 3 up to 5-6x/week, so that should be fine. It will depend on how you load this. Going beyond 3 hard sets or so per workout may be excessive unless you have gradually worked up to this level over time. Working some exercises submaximally and 1-2 lifts hard will work better.