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Some questions from yesterday......

First, I just want to thank everyone that is reading along and/or passing this information or blog address to their friends, family or co-workers. I really appreciate it.

I had some great questions regarding my post yesterday, so I thought I would answer them here. I had a few questions emailed to me from people regarding how they go about implementing a more "athletic" type training program and how they get out of the "funk" of a body part split.

Well first, they way you get out of the funk of being in a body part split is you just stop doing it! Look for other things. As far as an athletic type training program goes, maybe that wasn't the best term. Maybe I should have said something along the lines of "a more well-rounded approach to training". The bodybuiling split is very one-sided in my opinion. While yes, you can have certain days were you lift heavy or heavier and you can set up some form of periodization and make it work. In general it is just limiting in that you really only work on one thing.....hypertrophy....and you do it in a manner that is not a productive use of time in my opinion (ie, training a full day on small muscle groups like arms or delts). There are many more things to training than just hypertrophy, especially if your goal is overall health and fitness. This is why I tell people to train like an athlete. Athletes need to have strength, power, stability, mobility, some need more hypertrophy and a good work capacity to be able to sustain those qualities as well. Look at those qualities again....strength, power, stability, mobility.....The thing that sticks out to me, is whether you are an athlete preparing for a training season or not, you are going to need those qualities in the sport of life! That is your sport. That is what you are training for. Those qualities help to enhance your overall fitness (espeically as we age). So, however you want to say it....train like an athlete, train more well-rounded. I think the main thing is just train to be FIT!

Another individual posted some questions in the comment section at the end of yesterday's blog entry. Here they are (one by one):

1) Anyhow, what did you mean when you said train like an athlete? Do you mean you randomly rotate between exercises or what? You’re not an advocate of the split routine then?

The first part of that question I answered above. As far as randomly rotating exercises go, I am not saying that. I am just saying to look at your program and see if it is well rounded. Does it include mobility work? Does it have some strength work? Power work? What are you doing for energy system development? Etc...Basically, does it have other qualities than just working in an 8-10 rep range? Not that all of those qualities need to be worked on at once either. You can (and should) have phases of training where you might emphasize one over the other. These phases might last somewhere between 3-4 weeks long (maybe a little longer) and you might focus on developing more strength (while you train some of the other qualities like power at a lower volume). Iam not, NOT advocating a split routine. You can certainly split your training up. Some do upper/lower, some do push/legs/pull, etc...I prefer total body workouts with upper/lower coming in second. I don't use body part splits and rarely do i do a push/legs/pull split either. I am not saying that they are bad. There are times when they can come in handy and variation is always a good thing. For most people though, they don't need an "arms" day. They need to get stronger at pulling and pushing exercises. That alone will help them develop bigger arms. It all comes down to what your goals are, how advanced you are (and most are not as advanced as they think in their training) and how you manipulate the variables.

2) I’m following Tom Venuto’s two day split workout. Care to write your next blog entry about why this is not good and also what kinda “athlete’s training” you do? I’m under the impression that you target all kinda random muscles in your workout? How often do you hit the gym then?

I don't know what Tom Venuto's two day split workout is. I do know that Tom Venuto is a smart guy though. So, I am sure it is well thought out. As far as what I do. No, I don't target random muscles. I DO target movement patterns though. How often I hit the gym depends on how busy my schedule looks over certain weeks at a time. If I don't have to much going on and I can get some good sleep and rest, they I like to get in and lift 4x's a week (and do 2-3 interval cardio session. I try to do the interval work at the end of my workouts so that I can take 3 full days off. Sometimes I can only get two interval workouts in on lifting days for that week. So, if I feel like it, I get in there on a 5th day and do my cardio). If my schedule is busy and I have things going on, I drop down to three days a week (I don't go below that though.). I typically always do total body training, but occasionally I will do upper/lower over a four day split. On my three day a week training, I hit a push and a pull for both the upper and lower bodies. I laid this out a few entries ago as far as pushing and pulling goes. If I train total body over 4 days a week, like now, I do my lower body pushing movements with my upper body pulling and my lower body pulling with my upper body pulling (or sometimes I will do all my pushing, upper and lower, on one day and all my pulling, upper and lower, on the next day). My current training split looks like this:

Day 1

core- side planks

1) 1-arm DB snatch

2a) Front Squats
2b) pull up

3a) walking lunge
3b) 1-arm/1-leg DB row
3c) DB scaption raises

Day 2

core- half kneeling two part chop

1) Hang Power Clean

2a) DB bench press
2b) snatch grip DL

3a) Standing BB press
3b) 1-leg glute bridge
3c) YTA's

Day 3

core- crunches

1) hang power snatch

2a) front split squat
2b) Pull up

3a) lateral lunge
3b) supine row
3c) cable single leg D2 pattern

Day 4

core- half kneeling sequential lift

1) hang power clean (60% of Day 2 weight)

2a) incline BB press
2b) single leg BB RDL

3a) Db push press
3b) stabillity ball leg curl
3c) stability ball prone T's

Every workout will start with some foam rolling, easy stretching and a dynamic warm up performed bare footed to strengthen the foot and ending with short quick feet drills (again in bare feet), performed for 4-6 sets x 4-6 sec. Every workout will end with stretching.

I hope that helps give you an idea of how I break up my training and a little food for thought when planning your own training program.

More tomorrow!!


Hello Patrick, it is Raz from IM. An excellent blog page you have here. I have always admired your writings and all your work. I will be browsing this place daily and passing on comments to friends etc.

I know you are very knowlegable in most aspects of strength training and the human body/anatomy.

I would like you to write a blog article on muscular imbalances/weaknesses/tightnesses. I know it is difficult without observation of the person but one in which you see the most problems occur going into detail. It would be great to know some of the technique's to assess these problems and solve them.

I myself have found when doing squats, my hip flexors always take most of the workload, they are sore as hell the next day. Also, when I stretch my lower back (cat stretch) my hip flexors tighten up. This means I need to stretch these right? Also, when doing a back squat I tend to fall back going atg. I have a mega sore back from squats also, I stretch this and it feels great. But maybe I need to strengthen it? It always murders me when running and also just doing a jog I get a massive ache in my lower leg (ankle area.)

You see I am young and fit, and genrally well rounded. Yet, I still have all these problems. I would just like something more than program insight. You can have the best program in the world, but one must really assess their weaknesses. It goes deep.

Thanks, and please keep up the hard work!!! Raz

First of all, thanks for that really detailed blog entry. Very informative.
Second, OUCH! My eyes are watering as I try to absorb all the info you’ve laid out. That’s really detailed for a newbie like me. But thank you, I now have some kind of idea about what you meant when you say “athlete’s training”.

My training, with a goal to look more athletic, lean and slightly built is like this:

Day 1 (Mon & Friday)
Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Abs

Day 2 (Tues & Sat)
Legs, Back, Biceps, Calves

I do two exercises per muscle group, 3 sets x 12 reps, per exercise.
I do 45 minutes of cardio on Wednesday and Friday. Sunday is off day.

Been doing this for about 3 weeks now since I’m on university semester break which comes to an end in a weeks time.

4 months prior to this, I’ve been doing a hell lot of cardio, my RHR is now 47bpm.
Earlier than that, I was a total noob at the gym, doing whatever I fancied for 3 months. LOL

First 3 months  do whatever I fancy
Next 4 months  concentrate on Cardio
Jan 2007  following Tom Venuto’s workout plan, the 2 day split + some cardio.
March 2007  will try to do a more all rounded training

Once my classes start, I think I’ll change my workout more towards what you’d call “athlete’s training” since I’ll be quite busy and won’t be able to hit the gym everyday.

My experience at the gym is a working progress, and thanks to people like Tom Venuto and you, I am always learning something new as I progress. Thank you and keep up the good work Patrick. :)
You’ve got yourself a faithful blog reader right here. ;)

Ps: Looking at the comment above from Raz, yeah, what’s your take on muscular imbalances/weaknesses/tightness? I myself have some pain in the area where the scapula meets the clavicle on my right shoulder. Feels like a tearing pain in that area. I did some painting of some walls in my house today, and boy does it hurt right now. :(

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