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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
  • the ability to do multiple movements per muscle group within a brief workout,
  • time for recovery, plus
  • the flexibility to do the routine over a 5 to 9 day cycle although the typical 7 days is most often used and preferred.
The different protocols that I briefly tried again this year included a three-days per week upper body/lower body split. In that routine, you train on nonconsecutive days. I also tried the more traditional upper body/lower body split with four training days per week. Neither protocol worked as well as the 3-way split using the criteria of recovery, overall strength and fitness, and enthusiasm for training.

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:

Day One: Pullover, 125 x2, 145 x 1
Day Two: Squat 145 x 5, 200 x 3, 235 x 3, 265 x 2, 285 x 1; 300 x 1
Day Three: Press 70 x2, 90 x 1

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.

Day Exercise Resistance (Lbs) Repetitions TUL(Sec.)
One Pullover Machine160475
Hammer Close Grip Pulldown200665
Nautilus Row110560
DB Shrugs106 (each)1065
Nautilus Chest Press160450
Nautilus Fly160560
Hammer Decline Press210450
Nautilus 40-Degree Chest160560
Nautilus Behind the Neck160570
Rear Delt Raise90450
Nautilus 4-Way Neck55670
(about 40 minutes for the workout)

15 minute break
Extended GXP on the Air Dyne: 8-minute graded warm-up; 5-minute work-part at ~12 METs and 75%-80% aerobic capacity; 12 minutes at ~11 METS and 70-75% of aerobic capacity; 5-minute gradual cooldown.
Two Walk ~ 60 minutes
  Exercise Resistance (Lbs) Repetitions TUL(Sec.)
Three Squat3002075
Nautilus Leg Extension205975
Nautilus Leg Press4001080
Stiff Leg Deadlift3001075
Nautilus Lower Back155560
Nautilus Leg Curl90555
Glute Ham Bench20450
Nautilus Seated Leg Curl110560
Standing Calf Raise1501070
1 Leg Calf Raise501060
Nautilus Crunch196560
DB Side Bend96545
Hanging Reverse Crunch5645
Nautilus Rotary Torso150550
Nautilus Abductor125980
Nautilus Adductor125860
(about 40 minutes for the workout)

Walk 20 minutes
Four Walk ~ 60 minutes
  Exercise Resistance (Lbs) Repetitions TUL(Sec.)
Five Nautilus Military Press105560
Nautilus Lateral Raise160560
Nautilus One Hand Contralateral Raise
Incline DB Curls50560
Nautilus Seated Dips225972
Nautilus 1 Hand Curl100455
MedX Triceps224655
Forearm Curl105755
Reverse Forearm Curl65855
Forearm Twists
(about 30 minutes for the workout)

15 minute break

Extended GXP on the Concept 2 Rower: 8-minute graded warm-up; 5-minute work-part at ~12 METs and 75%- 80% aerobic capacity; 12 minutes at 11 METs and ~70-75% of aerobic capacity; 5-minute gradual cooldown.
Six Walk ~ 60 minutes
Seven Walk ~ 60 minutes