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Luke Doran
Luke Doran

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! 🤗😎💪🏻!

Brandon
Brandon

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!

Brandon
Brandon

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!

Sebastian
Sebastian

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.

Glenn
Glenn

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!

David
David

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.

Elton
Elton

Great stuff thanks Andy – you answered a couple of questions already 🙂

Jon
Jon

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!

oliver hinojosa
oliver hinojosa

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

Andrew Colucci
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?

Gabe
Gabe

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 🙂

David
David

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

Christine
Christine

Hi Andy,
I am enjoying all the information I have been reading on your site.
I know that it tends to be frowned on, but where could one find a good strength and endurance program?
Love lifting, but love running. I understand doing both limits strength and limits running records, but that isn’t why I do either.
Not looking for hypertrophy, more strength and physical benefits of lifting.
Thanks!

Pedro
Pedro

Hi andy , ive read that doing weighted dips could damage my shoulders in the long term, my goal is to be able to do dips 2x my bodyweight (80kg), right now I’m at bw+15kg and I haven’t had any problems and I wanna continue doing dips cause is one of the exercises I like the most, do you think I can continue until i reach my goal or should I change dips for something else? And if so what exercise do you recommend? My chest routine right now is dips and bench press rpt style, and push ups with my hands forming a triangle

Jeff Couret
Jeff Couret

Is there an example on your site of the “periodisation” plan that you are suggesting to intermediate and advanced bulkers?

mehdi
mehdi

hello Andy thank you for your answer but i think that i didn t explain my question enough i meant that if someone want to transition from a more focused hyperthrophy routine to a strenght one should he adjust his volume and see were its lead them or restart from the big 3 ps: just start reading the science of lifting

mehdi
mehdi

hello Andy what can someone who have been doing a lot of accessory work (hyperthrophy day) PHAT do to adjust to one of those routines tnx

Stephen
Stephen

Hi Andy,

I have a few questions. After I complete my cut and want to start bulking again, where do I start? Do I start over with the Big3 again even though on my cut i progressed to the A/B/C split?

I understand the part explaining cutting back on the weight lifted and start building up the volume. I’m just a little confused which routine I should start on. I progressed to the A/B/C split because I was trying to still make strength gains on a deficit. But now that I’m not on a deficit do I start over again?

Thanks

Stephen
Stephen

Yes I think so. I think I’ll probably start back with the A/B split because I prefer the 5×5 straight sets to RPT and I find the volume is too low on the 3 day split.

Thank you for the quick response.

Tobias Hupel
Tobias Hupel

Hey Andy,
I’m going to start my first cut next week. Until now I was bulking and trained like your Intermediate Bodybuilding program with just a few changes. My body fat percentage is around 12%. I estimate myself on intermediate level. (based on strength standards)

So probaply i need to shrink the training volume. I have read in “The 9 Categories Guide..” that 3 days training per week is enough to retain muscle mass. (My Category: “Muscled, a few pounds to lose”). Furthermore I have read in the comments: “Key point: adjust and modify your routine based on how you progress rather then just switching from one routine to another.”

My Question: Should I continue with the 5 day split program without decreasing volume until i feel not regenerated and then switch to a 3 full body split program or should I start with the 3 day split anyway?

BTW: Thanks for your great work! I have read the nutrition setup guide in one go, awesome! (Fortunately, I did some things right before without counting macros)

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Anthony
Anthony

Hi Andy,

I have a couple questions.
First a little background: I was a college athlete, played American Football for 4 years, and lifted very consistently according to the strength and conditioning coaches’ plans. When football finally ended 3.5 years ago, I took the last three years off to help my body recover fully from the many injuries and such from playing sports. I’ve since returned to lifting in January, using the guides you put forth here. I started off with the RPT 3 Day split routine since I had the weight lifting experience from the past, and my only break from the gym was about 4 weeks when I came down with the flu and then went to Europe.
My stats: 6’0″, 198lbs, 18% body fat
Estimated 1RM’s:
Bench: 265lbs
Squat: 315lbs
Deadlift: 315lbs

My first question, is should I have been starting off in the beginner section, since I hadn’t been lifting for 3 years? Or possibly Intermediate?

Next, should I change routine from the 3 day split to the Big 3 or an A/B split?

I’m still hitting strength gains virtually every week and starting to see changes in my physique, but I’m curious if I am missing, or have missed, the benefits that beginner lifters get to recovery when first starting out.

Anthony
Anthony

Thanks for the quick reply, Andy!

Last question: When switching to the 5×5, should rest between sets be kept at 90-120 seconds, or should I do a longer rest period, like 3-5 minutes?

Thank you again for taking the time to answer these!

Crystal
Crystal

How do i know if I need to cut or not? Have been weight training hard starting to see results but not where I want to be. Need to lose a bit more fat in my legs but starting to see quad development but have lost quite a bit of belly fat. Starting to have a flat stomach and upper abs. Don’t know what macro method I should choose