My Current Training Regimen (May 2006)
Many people have inquired about specific workouts and are surprised when I tell them I do variations of “my favorite routine”
(Click Here to Read about It). I’ve tried lots of variations of routines but always it seems I
gravitate back to this 3-way split routine. The advantages include
People are also curious about specific weights, reps, time under load, and other aspects of workouts. There's some workout-to-workout variation in what I do including some exercises, resistance, repetition duration, and time under load. In addition, the weights I use, as is the case for everyone, simply represent individual strengths and weaknesses that are genetically based such as leverage and neuromuscular efficiency, bodyweight (I'm 148 lbs soaking wet), age (I'm 61 years young), rep duration, and range of motion.
With some variation in repetition range and a few new exercises, I find that there's really no reason to make any major changes in a routine that is very productive. When you find something that works well, stick with it.
Here are my three workouts from the week of May 12-17, 2006. The first number is the resistance, the second number is reps, and the third number is time under load (e.g., 200 lbs, 6 reps, 60 tul). As you can see, most of the exercises this week were done, with some exceptions, with about an 4-second concentric and a 4-second eccentric time for each rep. To protect my joints as I've gotten older, I do sets with a longer time under load and somewhat less resistance than in prior years. It also makes recovery easier.
I also used less resistance and extended the time under load this year compared to last year for the squat, leg extension, and leg press. Using too much resistance and a shorter time under load led to injuries this year. I want to continue to train as productively as I can so dropping the resistance on these movements was a necessity.
All exercises are done for the one set listed with 75 - 120 seconds between exercises. Since I am not using maximum weights, I only do a warm-up on the first exercise of the day with no other warm-ups.
Here are my warm-ups:
I do each set to "failure" in that I end the set when I have done the last rep that I can do in good form. There are no documented benefits to extending sets with forced reps, drop sets, or negative (eccentric) reps, and once you break form, you are risking a serious injury. On squats, deadlifts, and leg presses, I stop a rep or two short of failure. Whatever benefit may exist for getting the last rep in these movements pales compared to the costs of collapsing under heavy weights or injuring your back.
I also still like the idea of focusing on "performance" in one to three movements in a workout during a cycle of workouts. The plan follows the one described in the "Painless Progressions" article on this site. For this cycle, I've been focusing on squats, stiff leg deadlifts, and seated dips. So, basic free weight movements are blended with machine-based movements.
Cycles last 6-8 weeks. Typically, at the end of a cycle, I will take a few days off and then do one or two lighter training weeks using about 10% less resistance from a top weight on many movements and simply do not push myself that hard. Then I'll train hard for 6 to 8 more weeks trying to increase resistance while still maintaining the same range of motion, repetition duration, and time under load.
Obviously, if you've been training for decades, you will not see great increases in resistance year-to-year if you are training strictly. And, you certainly won't see significant increases as you get older. In fact, as you get older, a good idea is to only use as a comparison base your recent training - such as the prior year. At this point, trying to reach levels of the prior year for most exercises and just surpassing that level for a few exercises makes sense and is very gratifying.
Looking back in my training diary to last year, I can see that I've held my own in all the many movements I do. And, in a few, I've done slightly better.