184 Comments

  1. Hey Andy,

    I have a fair few clients who can only train x2 / week – most due to life & circumstance, others as lifting isn’t their main sport (e.g combat sports being the most common)

    I’ve always kept things simple and more often than not followed a linear approach to increasing volume these guys (as discussed in your article above)

    After reading the strength pyramid and what looks to be “optimal” volume etc it got me thinking…

    So My Q:

    As it’s harder to hit those more optimal volume targets over just 2 d/week, would you lean towards having bigger longer sessions e.g more sets?

    Or just keep at an appropriate level without overtraining and know progress might not be as fast as volume is lower?

    How would you go about structuring a 2d/w plan for a novice and intermediate?

    Appreciate any thoughts, tips & guidance! 🤗😎💪🏻!

    1. As it’s harder to hit those more optimal volume targets over just 2 d/week, would you lean towards having bigger longer sessions e.g more sets?
      Yes. It would be a necessity. For the true intermediate, two days won’t likely be enough to deliver sufficient training volume.

      As for how to structure it, start by condensing what we have in the novice program into two days and tweak from there. You have our book so just apply those principles.

  2. Hello Andy,

    I have been following your work for a few months now and definitely want to follow one of your programs. I’ve read a lot of the content on your site, but was wondering if I could get some advice on my situation to go along with the info.

    I am a 22-year-old male with a couple of years of training experience, though I have been bad about program hopping and what not. I have been very inconsistent for the past six months or so and feel I have lost a lot of my strength and I have gained a good bit of fat. I figure I should start with a novice program to build back up, but am not sure whether to fo with something such as the Novice Bodybuilding Routine, the Big 3 routine, or Novice Powerlifting Routine.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!

    1. Unless you like to keep things super simple, go with either of the others. Read the introduction paragraph to each and choose which excited you more.

    2. Thank you so much for the quick response! When you go with either of the others, do you mean besides the Big 3? As in pick either the novice bodybuilding or powerlifting depending on which sounds most exciting?

      Thanks again so much for the response and awesome content!

  3. I’m 31 I’ve been going to gyms for 5 years now, before all i did was outdoor stuff (rock climb, mountain bike, kayak, surf, skate, etc…) when i started i had no idea what i was doing so I’ve hopped around trying many different programs from mass builders to CrossFit and HIIT, and always find myself in an overtraining situation and I think it comes from two things; initially i felt guilty if i wasn’t constantly training to get better for a navy SO contract I was chasing and now I just really enjoy exercise and working out so I tend to over do it. This program is very simple and short which i know is by design but I’m worried I’ll get bored. Is it okay to do yoga or something in addition?

    My goal is a better physique I’m fine with strength levels currently. My diet is trash but I’m changing it.
    6’1” 223lbs ~15-18% bf
    315 bench (bad shoulder)
    430 squat
    520 deadlift

    P.s. as someone with two very bad shoulders. I️ can’t agree more with avoiding dips and kipping pull ups. I️ even have trouble with my bench and push ups because of it.

    1. Hi Sebastian,
      Just think about it in terms of recovery. Yoga, while fun and with great views of girls in Lulu Lemon pants, is not going to provide a progressive overload for you as an experienced trainee, and thus the recovery demands are minimal. You can consider it active stretching and yes it is absolutely fine to include.

  4. I’ve been training for 1.5 years now, gained 27lbs by doing a full body routine and lately an upper/lower split. But due to my upcoming exams I can only train 2 times a week.

    Would a full body (A/B) style still be effective?

    Also, my TDEE is around 2400 calories, should I lower this to 2200 now that I’m only working out 2 times a week instead of 3-4?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Glenn, thanks for the questions.
      1. ‘Effective’ depends on your goal and thus how you define that. Your exams are temporary, thus your goal should be physique maintenance. To maintain, you need less volume than to grow, so, twice a week may be enough, but you might consider putting three days of volume in those two if you can recover from that.

      2. Your energy expenditure and needs will be slightly lower, so it makes sense to bump things down a little if you were maintaining weight at the current caloric intake.

  5. Hi Andy,

    How do you tell if you have sufficient recovery? I’m 190lbs, 45yo, with a 4×5 of 200 bench, 215 squat, and 280 dead about 6 months in using an ABAB weekly split. (I tried a Big 3 type AAA weekly and my lifts quickly cratered at my age). I’ve stopped progressing, and can’t tell if I should add sets or decrease volume to an ABA split. BTW I naturally have a big chest and long thin legs so the bench and squat numbers being so close doesn’t really surprise me.

    1. Hi David. There are multiple ways to define it, but in this situation gauge it by whether you are able to progress. As a rule of thumb:

    2. If you’re not sore and not progressing – increase volume.
    3. If you are sore and not progressing – decrease volume.
  6. Hi Andy, do you have any information on training resources catered specifically to women?

    I have a sister that is in the process of trying to improve her physique. She has gotten her dietary lifestyle locked in and has been shedding a lot of body fat. Now she is in a position where she wants to increase the intensity of her training. Like most women, she has the phobia of getting “too big/bulky.” I have tried to dispel these worries to an extent, telling her that at this point she still just needs to focus on weight/fat loss, but admittedly my knowledge regarding training is pretty much exclusive to men. While I believe wholly in the training approaches you espouse on the site, I would like to provide her some more specialized resources regarding training approaches for women. Any resources you would recommend? Thanks!

  7. hi my name is oliver, i was wondering if you offer any time up of training program, As in work out program or service that i could maybe get to follow . I am not so good at setting up a program to do my self. i am currently trying to prep for a novice bodybuilding and want to try the methods you teach and try a workout program if you offer it of course

    1. Hi Oliver, thanks for the question.

      Currently I offer full on monthly nutrition and training coaching, only. There’s no pleasure (or education) for me in setting up a program and not guiding people through it. The key to success is tweaking things to keep people progressing. If you think that may interest you, please have a read of the coaching page.

      The other option if you would like to teach yourself if to get a copy of The Muscle and Strength Training Pyramid book. This will teach you the principles of how to develop a program for yourself and adjust it to keep progressing.

  8. Andrew Colucci

    Hey Andy. I’ve been lifting for about 5 years but never really followed a solid training program. My strength numbers would leave me still at the beginner level. I always followed a bodybuilding style routine, 5-6 days per week. Would I benefit from using a 3 day split and focusing on building strength with RPT?

    1. Sure try it, see if you enjoy this style of training Andrew. You will have a base from your years of lifting that you won’t be able to use to the fullest potential at the start. The initial phase will be skill acquisition and neurological adaptation, building up to the point where you start to push the limits of what you’ve got and building new muscle.

  9. Love your site and articles, Andy. I was just wondering, if alright with you, that i can have some suggestions to further study this? Do you have textbooks i can look up or literature to search on this articles topic. I am not challenging you or doubting the information provided, i just want to learn and further research this (weight training while on a deficit, cardio, stress, and dieting). Thanks in advance 🙂

  10. Hi Andy,

    First of all, thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise – it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say I’m on here most days.

    I’m currently coming to the end of my cutting phase – 12%BF and lower abs almost visible – and began planning my bulking routine after a two week stabilisation period (I feel more a sign of enjoying the journey/thinking than rushing to the next step)

    However, I’ve found that using kettlebells at home to the form of training I can stick to most – routine, cost and general enjoyment wise. 5×5 has helped me make well above expected progress towards my cutting goal along side your nutritional advice.

    Would you have any kettlebell routine recommendations for the bulking phase?

    I’m considering German Volume Training with front squats and military presses – however, reading of their potential detrimental effects on strength go against your advice to focus on strength and size will come.

    I’d consider myself begginer-intermedieted.

    Kindest regards,
    David

    1. Hi David. Not personally no. The principles will be the same but I haven’t played around with Kettlebells much (they aren’t a thing in Japan) so it’s really not my area to make suggestions I’m afraid.


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