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Please keep questions on topic, write clearly, concisely, and don't post diet calculations.

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Andrew
Andrew
August 4, 2020 03:33

Hey Andy,
Sorry for bothering you with questions on every article. 🙂
I’m confused about this: Hypertrophy: ⅔–¾ of volume in the 6–12 rep range, remaining volume in the 1–6 and 12–20 rep range at a 5–10 RPE
Judging by your 4 day split example, total volume refers to all the exercises (compound + isolation), right? Does this make the full body day from your example strength oriented (although it’s in the hypertrophy table, it has the rep ranges you recommend for strength)? Basically, does it mean more weight for fewer reps?
Also, in the example above, compounds have 8-12 rep ranges, whereas in the example from the Intermediate program they have 6-8. So which one is correct?

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
August 4, 2020 08:11
Reply to  Andrew

Also, in the example above, compounds have 8-12 rep ranges, whereas in the example from the Intermediate program they have 6-8. So which one is correct?

There are many ways to program based on these principles. The two program examples you’re referring to are examples of the principles in action, neither one should be considered more correct than the other.

Please consider getting our book. It’ll put everything into context.

Andrew
Andrew
August 9, 2020 18:27
Reply to  Andy Morgan

Alright, I’ve read the book and now I understand the reasoning behind the examples. However I still have a silly question. Is the leg/lower body day always supposed to go before the upper body day or is it just an example?
I’m sorry if it’s been asked on the FAQ page already, I couldn’t find anything related.

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
August 10, 2020 10:19
Reply to  Andrew

It’s just one way of doing things. The logic in this specific set up is that as the lower body days tend to be more taxing, putting them when you’re freshest may be better.

Rene
Rene
July 20, 2020 21:25

Sry I looked on 12 pages on google on your homepage but found nowhere if you suggest a maximum training time and how high it would be. I am sure the answer is complicated as always. Is the maximum 1 hour rule a useful rule ? 

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
July 21, 2020 09:10
Reply to  Rene

Hi Rene,

No. A “1-hour rule” is arbitrary, and I like nothing arbitrary.

You go to the gym to deliver a specific stimulus. Once that is done, leave.

The time taken is a function of how many sets you have to do and the rest periods taken (to feel fresh enough to perform the subsequent sets well). This may take less or more time than an hour, but in general, the more advanced you get the longer the rest periods need to be and the longer workouts will take. If this becomes too much and training quality decreases over the course of a session, this is when you’ll split up your workouts into more sessions per week.

Bram
Bram
July 15, 2020 14:44

Hi Andy,

In the book I haven’t found anything on horizontal/vertical pushing/pulling balance. How important is this when setting up your program? What if someone only does lateral raises for a shoulder exercise and has zero vertical pushing volume? It’s just an example, I love the OHP.

Also, you mention here you don’t see a need for more bicep/tricep isolation exercises. In the book on page 92 there is a hypertrophy sample which has more bicep/tricep isolations, and also has no lower rep back work for example (so it doesn’t match the VIF recommendations, 1/4 or 2/3 in the 1-6 or 12-20 range). Could you clarify these decisions a little further?

I love the book and learnt a lot, these thi

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
July 16, 2020 07:53
Reply to  Bram

Hi Bram,

We have a support page for the books where we’ve answered ~1000 questions. Just use control+f to find the topic you’re after.

Bram
Bram
July 14, 2020 21:25

The table ‘Rep and RPE Range General Recommendations for Hypertrophy by
Exercise Type’ lists a rep range of 8-20 for lower body isolations.

The Intermediate Bodybuilding Program/Intermediate Bodybuilding Sample Program have these lower body isolations (leg curl etc.) for a rep range of 6-8. Why is this?

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
July 15, 2020 10:23
Reply to  Bram

Hi Bram, well spotted. Consider that 6–20.

You’ll see we have different rep ranges for the isolations work for the two lower-body days.

Bram
Bram
July 15, 2020 14:13
Reply to  Andy Morgan

Hi Andy, thanks for your quick reply.
Does that mean 8-20 was a typo and it’s meant to be 6-20? Is that something to be fixed in a newer version of the book/article? Thanks again.

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
July 15, 2020 14:41
Reply to  Bram

I’m not sure which, as Eric wrote the programs. I’ll of course fix any incongruencies, but I’m of the opinion that it really doesn’t matter which though, as both will work just fine.

These are just guidelines, not hard rules. Things are not black and white.

Bram
Bram
July 15, 2020 14:45
Reply to  Andy Morgan

Understood, thank you!

Bram
Bram
July 14, 2020 18:54

The intensity recommendations in step 2:

Intensity:

Strength: ⅔–¾ of volume in the 1–6 rep range, remaining volume in the 6–15 rep range at a 5–10 RPE

Hypertrophy: ⅔–¾ of volume in the 6–12 rep range, remaining volume in the 1–6 and 12–20 rep range at a 5–10 RPE

For Hypertrophy, does that mean 2/3 to 3/4 of the total training volume should be in the 6-12 range, or is that per muscle group? For example, does that mean 2/3 to 3/4 of the back volume should be in the 6-12 range and the rest in 1-6 and 12-20? Or is it meant for total volume and doesn’t it matter which exercises use the 1-6, 6-12 and 12-20 ranges?

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
July 15, 2020 10:17
Reply to  Bram

Hi Bram, this is the volume per muscle group. Thank you for asking.

David Tempest
David Tempest
July 7, 2020 06:40

Hi Andy. I have bad shoulders and use a swiss bar for my bench press. I can’t really do any other types of bench press. Since I train chest twice a week with the same exercise and same rep range, should I just use linear periodization on one of my chest day, and do a slightly lighter chest workout at the next session, but forego the linear periodization on the 2nd chest session… just adding weight to the bar when I’ve completed a full cycle on the first chest day? Thank you

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
July 7, 2020 09:06
Reply to  David Tempest

Hi David, I’d do one day of lower reps and one day of higher reps.

Choose the progression scheme independently, based on ability. Novice progression should be tried first; intermediate progression after. Linear Progression and Linear Periodization | Rules For Novice and Intermediate Trainees

Lars
Lars
July 7, 2020 05:45

Is 72 hours enough rest between leg days?

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
July 7, 2020 09:13
Reply to  Lars

Hi Lars, you’ve missed something quite fundamental to the article and I’d recommend you give it another read.

It depends entirely on how you train.

You’ll see in the first table that you can have a training split organized to work the full body (this includes legs) six days a week, you’ll also see much lower frequencies. The difference is how much training volume you assign to each day:

• Greater frequency = lower volume per day.
• Lower frequency = higher volume per day.

Your body can get used to almost any frequency of training you throw at it, as long as you adjust the variables to be appropriate (load, sets, reps, and the intensity of effort).

If on your Monday squat workout you train so hard you see Jesus on the last couple of reps, you might need a full week to recover from that workout. But if you do 3 sets of 8 while staying two reps shy of failure (an RPE of 8), you might be ready by Wednesday.

Riccardo mari
Riccardo mari
June 25, 2020 05:42

Hi Andy I have a question… for intermediate lifters you advise about 15 sets per muscle, for biceps/triceps/calves too?
Then, for example, how we count 3 sets of squat? Quads only or 3 set for quads, 1 for glutes and 1 for hamstrings?
And in this example, we have to consider if the squat is low bar, high bar etc…?
Thanks Andy

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
June 25, 2020 09:29
Reply to  Riccardo mari

Hi Riccardo,

1. Yes.
2. All three.

Abdullah
Abdullah
June 22, 2020 01:15

I am currently planning on making my own PPL split. Would you recommend that I stick to the same exercises or switch it up. For example, on the first pull day, suppose I was doing BB rows (3×6), lat pulldowns (3×8), and seated cable rows (3×8) as my back exercises. Would it be fine if I do different exercises on the 2nd pull day? For example instead of doing BB rows again, I would be doing DB rows in the 8-12 range, and instead of lat pulldowns I would be doing pull ups, and i’d include one heavy deadlift set. Or do you suggest I stick with the same exercises and switch it up every 4 weeks (mesocycle).

Very helpful post, thanks.

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
June 22, 2020 08:17
Reply to  Abdullah

Hi Abdulla, this is a big question for a comment, but I’ll try to be succinct as specific is not possible:

The less training experience you have, the better it is to minimize exercise variety so that a lack of competency in the lifts doesn’t hold you back.

More about the topic of exercise selection here: A Guide to Exercise Selection When You Don’t Have Access to a Coach

Andrew
Andrew
May 16, 2020 17:01

Great article!

There is however one little thing that is not clear to me, hopefully you can clarify:
You mentioned in the rest section that if we don’t have much time, we can use rest pause sets. I am not really pressed on time, but love the idea to complete a workout in less time.

Now, I wonder, when we can complete an equally effective workout in less time, why do we not always do rest pause sets instead of straight sets? (Maybe with the exception of heavy squats and deadlifts because that’s probably too exhausting, but I am only doing Bulgarian split squats and single leg RDLs anyway)

Are straight sets more effective (for muscle growth) after all? Or what could be the reason?

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
May 17, 2020 07:04
Reply to  Andrew

Hi Andrew, thanks for the question.

My co-author Eric actually released this article — “How can rest-pause/Myo reps and long rest periods BOTH be optimal for hypertrophy?” — last week which covers it. I’ll paste the conclusion and takeaway points, but the whole thing is worth a read:

This leads us to our final revision of our logical conclusion: whatever rest period allows for the theoretical “optimal” number of sets of at least ~5-6 reps, above ~30-40% of 1RM, at a sufficient proximity to muscle failure, so long as reductions in reps and load are primarily due to local rather than central fatigue, should be ideal for hypertrophy.

Is this the definitive answer to the question? Probably, but it’s possible something else might be going on. But as a hypothesis, it’s a pretty solid one that fits the data, is logical, and squares with anecdotal observations and experience.

The practical take-homes are as follows:

  • For compounds that train a lot of muscle mass, rest sufficiently so that you don’t generate a ton of cardiometabolic fatigue.
  • Only use short rest, rest-pause, high-rep, drop, and failure sets on non-tiring isolation exercises.
  • If you’re in great shape, you may get away with shorter rest periods but:
  • – To save time without hurting your gains, gradually acclimate to shorter rest periods over multiple sessions/weeks. Indeed, in two studies, a group resting 2 minutes grew similarly to a group gradually decreasing rest from 2 minutes by 15s per week, to eventually resting 30s between sets.
  • – You can also save time with antagonist paired sets. These are performed with short rest intervals after each exercise as one muscle group rests while you train the other (alternate an upper body push set with a pull, leg extensions followed by curls, etc.). This can be done with 30s to 1 min between sets. But, for compound push/pulls (vs bis/tris, or leg extension/curls), you need to be in good cardiovascular shape. Data shows this approach won’t compromise performance (if anything it might aid it).
Michael
Michael
April 23, 2020 04:56

Would you alter anything about design to accommodate resistance band-only (plus chin ups) training? Or give advice to someone wanting to use that as a primary method of hypertrophy?

I have a selection of bands that provide resistance from 5 kg up to 170 kg (and will buy more).
I’m late intermediate/ lowadvanced long-term trainee.
I’ve toyed with a few programs on my own but nothing feels “right” or gives too much fatigue. For example the couple of weeks of myo-rep band stuff just smashed me.

Ideally something like 4 days full-body. Would I do something like 4 sets per muscle 4 times a week rising to 5. What RPE though? Hinge I can load HEAVYl. Squat pattern mostly single leg split squats.

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
April 23, 2020 08:43
Reply to  Michael

Hi Michael, I have an article on that here: How To Adapt Your Training Program For Home. You’ll find lots of videos I filmed using resistance bands too.

As for finding the right volume: let’s say you swapped the exercises and sets like as I describe in that guide and you’re very sore.

Soreness when doing any new exercise is natural and shouldn’t be taken a sign that what you’re doing is inappropriate. It takes a few sessions for the repeated bout effect to kick in and for this to subside.

(A band row, for example, hits the lats in a slightly different way and will cause more soreness than whatever regular row you’re used to)

But if that same level of soreness is still there a few sessions in and hasn’t gotten much better, then lower the number of sets per exercise or the number of exercises per body part.

Michael
Michael
April 23, 2020 18:57
Reply to  Andy Morgan

Thanks Andy, I saw that article right after I posted and it was very helpful.

Yes, i’ll do what it said and just do my normal gym program sets/reps/split. The weird thing is I never thought of that as an option under lockdown if you were pretty strong.

I’m going to do that and focus on the RPE/RIR and try to hit that with a reasonable number of reps (4-20). Should be far more enjoyable.

Do you think if someone was band-only do you think they could build a similar amount of muscle compared to free weight? It obv be less but how much less?

I’m really tempted to try that as sort of “life-challenge” even after lockdown. Found I love bands and their versatility.

Drea
Drea
March 11, 2020 18:56

I am a novice with less than a year of experience. I love the 6 day LPP split but I am not making much strength progression. Should reduce volume withe LPP or should I switch to a U/L split

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
March 12, 2020 08:49
Reply to  Drea

Hi Drea, see my article on progression (How to Keep Progressing as a Novice and Intermediate Trainee) and then troubleshooting progression (How to Break Training Plateaus [Decision Tree & Checklist]).

Pedro
Pedro
February 19, 2020 23:44

Hello,
I can only train on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Is it better to do a 3x week Full Body workout (but then I would train on back to back days, and I’m not sure if this would be ok), or FB on Wed and Upper/Lower on the consecutive days (which may represent less volume)?
Thank you for the amazing post!

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
February 21, 2020 12:50
Reply to  Pedro

Probably the latter. But with some focussed effort, you’ll likely be able to keep the same volume.

Pedro
Pedro
February 22, 2020 02:45
Reply to  Andy Morgan

Thank you for the answer! Any post/comments on how to better structure specifically a full body routine?

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
February 22, 2020 09:02
Reply to  Pedro

As you said, Pedro: Full body, upper, lower.

Varun Kaushik
Varun Kaushik
February 16, 2020 16:15

Hey Andy, If you were counting a chin-up towards your weekly bicep volume and bench press towards you weekly tricep volume, would you count those movements as a 0.5 set or 1? I was following the RP model which focused on 0.5:1 (Secondary:Primary) basis of counting for each muscle group, but in MSP and James Krieger Volume bible it’s stated as 1:1 basis. It creates so much confusion as if I implement the RP style then I get a lot of direct isolation work (arms, delts etc.) in my workout plan, whereas if I follow the MSP and Krieger style then it takes away most of the direct work.

What is your opinion on this and what’s a better way for most of the general population clients?

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
February 17, 2020 10:14
Reply to  Varun Kaushik

Hi Varun, thanks for the question.

Mike has his RP volume counting guidelines that fit his program building and programming guidelines.

We have our volume counting guidelines that fit our program building and programming guidelines.

The issue isn’t that they’re different or one is better than the other, it’s that you’re trying to mix the two. This is like trying to build a Mercedes using a BMW build manual, or a car using a hybrid of the parts. — It’s not going to work. But there is no disputing the fact that both make great standalone cars.

Michael Bested
Michael Bested
February 12, 2020 21:49

Hi Andy I find the way you count sets per musclegroups to be very confusing. In the Muscle and Strength Training Pyramid book, first sample routine page 92-93 you count biceps to 12 sets although the routine has 12 sets total for back and 6 for biceps. The same goes for triceps. I would count those to 18 sets as the book says under description for back and chest that they work the bicep and tricep.I would really like to understand this as this would help me in building my own program

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
February 13, 2020 09:21
Reply to  Michael Bested

Hi Michael, at the top of page 93 it says: “As far as volume, there are 15 sets for glutes, 13 sets for chest, quads, and hams, 18 sets for biceps and 19 for triceps, and 12–16 sets for the delts, depending on which head (anterior, middle or rear) you are talking about.”

Michael Bested
Michael Bested
February 13, 2020 19:24
Reply to  Andy Morgan

I have “As far as volume, there are 15
sets for glutes, 13 sets for chest, quads, and hams, 12 sets for biceps
and triceps, and 12–16 sets for the delts, depending on which head
(anterior, middle or rear) you are talking about”

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
February 13, 2020 20:09
Reply to  Michael Bested

Gotcha. Thought this was a familiar question. We updated that bit after someone pointed it out. Update your copy by clicking “Support” » “Update your copies” in the menu.

Full update log here. I’ll add that to the menu now. Thank you for the idea.

Claudio Alarcon
Claudio Alarcon
February 12, 2020 03:47

Hi Andy, for a natural stalemate, what do you recommend? My training is T / P 4 times a week, my diet is a normocaloric with 14% fat, I do not want to make volume because I am very good at raising more fat than mass. Thank you for your advice, Greetings from Chile.

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
February 12, 2020 09:00

Hi Claudio, thank you for the question, greetings from Tokyo, Japan.

Two articles that address stagnation from both the diet and training sides:

How to Break Training Plateaus [Decision Tree & Checklist]
Should I Cut or Bulk? The Definitive Guide

Tee
Tee
February 4, 2020 11:18

To accelerate / jump start fat loss, any benefit to training legs 3x / week with some other lifts mixed in (push & pull), but making the main focus legs? I’ve read varying the volume by session (ie. 5×5, then 3×8-12, then 3×15-20) is best. The idea supposedly is legs expend the most energy and will burn the most body fat. I’ve read people trying this for 2-3 months. Thoughts? Thanks!

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
February 5, 2020 06:55
Reply to  Tee

No. Strength training is there to tell the body to hang onto muscle while dieting. You want enough training volume to do that, without being more than you can recover from.

A calorie deficit is what leads to fat loss and FAR the most efficient way to achieve that is through dietary control. The calorie burn from additional training is so small that it won’t make any meaningful difference to the weekly balance, but it could certainly put you in a recovery deficit, leading to burn-out or injury. Don’t mix the two.

Teo
Teo
February 4, 2020 03:51

Hi Andy, I was doing a 4-day split but I’m busy with school. What do you think about doing the same routine but only 3 days a week so that the 4-week mesocycle becomes a 5-week mesocycle? This way I don’t want to change the routine.

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
February 5, 2020 06:42
Reply to  Teo

Hi Teo,

Better to re-organize the routine across the three gym sessions you have time for each week. Otherwise, you’re effectively cutting weekly volume by 25% which could kill your progress.

Teo
Teo
February 5, 2020 19:56
Reply to  Andy Morgan

Thank you Andy

Tobias Schneider
Tobias Schneider
January 22, 2020 23:35

Hi guys,
I’ve got several questions:
1. You always talk about the recommended amount of sets, but isn’t the total volume per week much more important?
2. My ideal plan would look like this: 2 full body workouts and then upper, lower. Is it possible to perform the same exercises on each day using different rep ranges? Let’s say I’d do two volume days with 8-12 reps and 1 strength-based with 3-6 reps. So I would be hitting Squats, Bench Press and other exercises 3 times a week, but with different volume and intensity.
3. I would like to incorporate bench press and weighted dips. Is it possible to do them both (in the same workout) in the routine I mentioned above?
Thanks in advance!

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
January 23, 2020 14:09

Hi Tobias, thank you for the questions.

1. There are a few ways to measure volume. In the first edition of our book (which is where the recommendations in this article from), we gave volume recommendations as reps per body part per week. This was based on a 12-year old systematic review (Wernbom 2007) on training volume that looked at reps per body part, per week.

The more current meta-analyses we have today are based on ‘hard sets’ per body part/movement per week, so that’s why we present volume in this way.

2. Sure.

3. Yes, but the proof of any pudding is in the tasting. (Try it, see how you do, adjust if necessary.)

Tobias Schneider
Tobias Schneider
January 23, 2020 16:03
Reply to  Andy Morgan

Thanks a lot for your answers! Really helped me… I’ll definetly give it a try and see if it works for me. I just got one more question, which exercise do you personally favor, the Bench Press or the Dips? Are there any studies showing which of these builds more muscle?
Sorry btw for my bad english grammar skills, I am from Austria…

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
January 24, 2020 12:03

The Bench Press.

Dips are a great chest and triceps developer, and it feels awesome to have a couple of plates clanging between your legs as you knock out a few sets of 8, but the risk-reward ratio is skewed in the wrong direction I feel.

What I mean is, it’s very easy to cause yourself an injury with this exercise, especially as you start adding a lot of weight. If you go too deep once, or a little too deep often, this can lead to shoulder issues that can mess with the rest of your pushing exercises.

When there are safer alternatives that are equally effective (pushups, the close-grip bench press), I see no point in taking the risk with dips. I no longer do them myself, and I no longer recommend them to clients.

Neil
Neil
January 7, 2020 18:27

Hi! I’m interested in doing a 5 day Full Body routine but not sure where to start. Looking to bring up my Back, Lateral Delts and Triceps (Long head) but I don’t know how to organize doing this. Any idea what would be best to do?

Many thanks!

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
January 8, 2020 10:23
Reply to  Neil

Hi Neil, thank you for the question.

Right, so I take it you’re looking for a smarter answer here then the classic, “do more,” which is often correct, but there’s clearly nuance to it.

1. First thing’s first, if you’re a novice (I don’t know you, this isn’t a judgment), you have no specific weak points, everything is weak, just train.

2. If what you have been doing up until now differs considerably from our guidelines here, I’d start with setting up a program as if you didn’t have any weak points, giving it a good go, and seeing what the next three months bring. Often, when proper programming is implemented (like when proper form is implemented), fucked things un-fuck themselves.

3. If after that you find that these areas haven’t grown to your liking, taper off the volume in the areas you are happy with and add to the areas you are not, on a set-for-set swap basis. This isn’t the only way to do it, but it’s not a bad place to start.

Make sense? Note that I’m purposefully not getting into the specifics of exercise selection here to keep this as something everyone can benefit from as the principles apply to all.

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