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2 Days a Week Works like a Charm

So I’ve been doing this minimalist training now for about 5 or 6 weeks. It has evolved some what. It evolved a little today. All good. It has stayed only 2 gym sessions a week. There has been numerous times that I’ve wanted to go just another day or restructure my workout to fit in 3 days instead of 2.

But I managed not to do any of it. I stuck to the 2 days. And it’s totally working.

I made a point to get more sleep this week since I didn’t last week. I also did some vitamin d3 supplementation experiment in the last few weeks that I’ll talk about in another post. I also took extra rest days between gym days because of poor sleep and extra stress at work.

I tweaked my workout this morning a little. I added Pendlay Rows—or strict barbell rows—and swapped out the flat bench press for the inclined bench press. Otherwise I did a complex of hang snatch, overhead squat, military press, hang clean, and front squat for 5 reps each with 65lbs as a warm up.

Then 4 x 5 front squats that ends with 1 max rep set at a solid weight. I did over 3000 pull-ups, push-ups, and box jumps in 30 days prior to starting this 2 days a week plan so I had to work to wake up my CNS for lifting heavy. Today, my 4th set of front squats was with 185lbs. I’ve always been about doing 3 or less reps so I’ve never actually done 5 reps of 185 before. I also bumped my max rep set weight to 165lbs today. All in all, I’m getting stronger. This workout IS working.

Next was 5-3-2 with dead lifts. I’ve been upping the weight consistently on this one every week. My 1RM is 335lbs. I wasn’t able to lift 275lbs coming off the 3000 in 30. Today I did 185 x 5, 275 x 3, and then 1.5 x 295. lol, I lost my grip on the last .5 but, I let it slide. I thought about using mixed grip but I didn’t. I should have. Either way, I’m getting stronger here too. This workout IS working.

I don’t have much to say about the Pendlay Row or the Incline Bench since I just rotated them in today. However, my bench press has been going up as well. My pull-ups are still there and improving; I got to 21 straight on a straight bar—my last max rep pull-ups was 21 on hammer grips.

All this is from lifting twice a week only. I’m sure that if I was working more and eating more and resting more—basically if it was my job—I’d make gains even faster. BUT, this is not my job or the only thing in my life. I’ve been able to fit a bunch other things in my life while still making solid gains at the gym. Seems like an awesome formula so far.

I’m also experiencing none of the mild overtraining issues that I used to when I went to the gym more. They aren’t big deals and you don’t even notice them until they aren’t there but, it feels better to not have them at all. I feel optimal—or very close to it—every time I’ve been at the gym with this plan.

I really can’t say enough good things about it. I’m also still lean and still look pretty good naked. Although I credit my diet—a paleo-esque one—with that more than my gym time.

Now I wonder how far I can go with this..

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Training Twice a Week. Only.

Crazy. It’s a crazy idea.

I’ve heard it many times. Less is more. Quality over quantity. I believe in all those things. Except I have a hard time following through in the gym.

I’m trying. Right now. I’ve done 2 gym sessions in the last week. I am dying to do more. This is after going to the gym for 30 days in a row which resulted in doing 3305 pull-ups and a hundred or so more of push-ups and box jumps. 

Now I’m consciously trying to stop myself from going to the gym more than twice a week. It’s hard.

I long for squats and dead lifts almost as much as a good roll around in the bedroom. I’m not sure what that says about me. hmm…

Here’s the plan, it’s evolving as I go but the idea is to hit all the big moves twice a week and call it a day.

Start with a warm-up complex of:

  • hang cleans
  • front squat
  • military press
  • overhead squat
  • bent over rows

I did 1 set of 8 reps each and it was killer last work out. I might bring it down to 5 reps instead. Increase sets/reps as it gets easier is my plan. It is just a warm up!

And then the main course:

  • front squat (5x5)
  • dead lift (5-3-2)
  • bench press (5x5)
  • pull-ups (as many as I want; at least 50 with as many sets as I need)

Go home.

This whole thing takes me about 40 minutes.

I stole this idea from Dan John. His plan is cleaner than mine. I feel obligated to do all the big moves if I’m only going to lift twice a week. His plan looks like this:

Day 1: front squat, bench press, extra upper body work

Day 2: dead lift, bench press, extra lower body work

Go home.

As usual, a 99% strict variant of the paleo diet underlies all this training. :) Variant being I eat cheese, tubers, drink wine and coffee—possibly other things that I can’t remember.