High Frequency Training Split

I am a fan of training often for many reasons, most of which are psychological. I feel better, eat better and find my waking hours to have been more productive if I started the day in the gym. No matter what happens the rest of the day, I got some quality work in, perhaps even set a record of some type and have “earned” the calories I will chow down on all day. I’ve done 3-day splits, I’ve done 4-day splits, I’ve trained 23 days in a row. Guess which of those was more enjoyable?

I am also a firm proponent of practicing to get better. I’ve never gotten better at something by doing less of it. I highly recommend reading Matt Perryman’s Squat Every Day and Jamie Lewis’s Exercises in Extremity, Issuance of Insanity. They provide a lot of evidence to support more frequent battles with the iron. The Norwegian Powerlifting Team’s now notorious experiment showed total dominance by the team that trained 6 days per week vs. the team that trained 3 days per week, even though the lifts, training volumes and intensity were identical.

I tinker with my split a lot, mostly out of boredom but also because it will occasionally occur to me that something in my plan isn’t optimal. These random thoughts can be subdued into submission, but more often than not I end up in front of a blank document or spreadsheet and start messing with stuff. I’m not talking about wholesale change in methodology, but more around which lifts I’ll combine into any given workout, how often each week I want to train a particular lift and whether I want to use a linear progression scheme for some rep work, or do a lot of singles, doubles and triples.

With competing this year as my goal, I want to get a good amount of work with heavier, low rep sets on the competitive lifts themselves, but I’m doing more rep work with the supportive lifts. My basic attack plan in formulating the schedule was to create a good training plan for each lift first, for example:

Squat

  • Squats -high bar or low bar
  • Paused Squats
  • Front Squats
  • Stiff-legged deadlifts / Romanian Deadlifts / Good mornings
  • Ab work

Bench Press

  • Paused Bench
  • Touch & Go Bench
  • CG Bench / Dips / Incline Bench

Deadlift

  • Sumo Deadlift
  • Sumo Block Pulls
  • Conventional Deadlift
  • Deficit Deadlift
  • Stiff-legged Deadlift / Romanian Deadlift / Good mornings
  • Ab work

Extra Day

  • Overhead press variety, e.g. Military Press, BTN Press, BTN Push Press
  • Pull-up’s
  • Pendlay Rows

Then I determined how I’d progress with each lift:

  1. All competition lifts will be at 85% or above of my 1RM. I will try to get 10-15 total reps in each session, in whatever combination of sets / reps I feel like doing that day. I will add a little weight each time I train until I can’t get at least 10 reps on the day, then I’ll back off some weight for the next session and build back up.
  2. For the supportive lifts, I’ll do a straight linear progression, adding 2.5 lbs each time I train the lift until I can’t get 5 reps on my first working set. Then I’ll start over with 90% of the last weight I used the next time around.
  3. Now for the fun part. How to mix and match the above into a grab bag of mayhem and spread it out so I’m training six days each week.

I want to be able to give my all to each lift I train that day, whether it’s a competitive lift or a supportive one, so I limit myself to one lift from each “section” each training session. In other words, I’m not doing two deadlift movements in the same day. I give you, The Behemoth:

Monday: OFF (I refuse to start my week when everyone else does)

Tuesday:

  • Squat
  • Pull-ups

Wednesday:

  • Close Grip Bench
  • Paused Squats
  • Press variation

Thursday:

  • Stiff-legged DL or Romanian DL or Good Mornings
  • Touch & Go Bench

Friday:

  • Ab work (Typically ab wheel rollouts)
  • Sumo Deadlift
  • Pendlay Rows

Saturday:

  • Front Squats
  • Weighted Dips

Sunday:

  • Ab work
  • Deficit DL or Sumo Block Pulls or Conventional DL
  • Paused Bench

Add in’s when and if desired:

  • Barbell Shrugs
  • Hammer Curls
  • Rack Pulls

After tomorrow’s session I will have completed my first week of the split. The first five days have gone swimmingly, and I am hopeful tomorrow’s Sunday session will follow suit. The real test will of course be if I make any freaking progress. I know that I am because of the little PR flags I get on my tracking app, but I only truly care about increased 1RM’s on the competitive lifts, not if I got 1 more rep with Close Grip Bench than I got last time.

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