Here is my current routine:
MedX Pullover Post-Exhaust Static Hold
Workout 2 (This workout is alternated with squats sometimes)
MedX Leg Extensions
MedX Leg Curl Static Hold
MedX Pec Deck Post-Exhaust Static Hold
Workout 4 (This workout is sometimes alternated with Stiff-Legged Deadlifts)
Trap Bar Deadlifts
I usually take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks off inbetween workouts. I TRY to make it around 2 weeks off, but sometimes it ends up being a less or more depending on how recovered I feel and how much other stress I′ve had in my life at the time. When my life has been really stressfull (which it HAS lately), I go more toward 3-4 weeks sometimes. If I′m feeling great and stess free, I can sometimes get away with 1 week off. I NEVER go below 1 week off inbetween workouts anymore. My strength is too high to do that anymore.
I am 5′9" tall and weigh about 173 pounds right now (I could afford to loose about 5 pounds of fat to be pretty lean). I am a VERY small boned ectomorph (small bones around but long bones). That′s why my bodyweight is so low for the strength I have. I USED to weigh about 135 pounds in high school, so that tells you how much muscle I′ve packed on the small frame I have. I don′t know what my body fat % is, but like I said, if I lost about 5 pounds of fat, I′d have a REALLY visible 6 pack. I can see my abs right now too, but there is a definate layer of fat I′d like to get rid of. Working out so infrequently forces me to focus more on diet to stay lean, which I haven′t done too well with lately since I′ve had a lot of stress (mainly work) in my life. When I was in high school and worked out ALL the time, I didn′t gain much muscle but I was very lean. Anyway, just trying to give you a little more detail on those aspects of my training too.
I feel like I AM doing better on the super consolidated program. I′ve really noticed my muscles thickening up in my arms, pecs, and back especially. Plus, weights that I used to use that were lighter than I use now used to feel SO heavy. I remember doing MedX dips with 440 pounds and it felt like it was going to crush my arms. Now I do 480 and it actually feels pretty light! So the "feel" of my workouts have changed. Instead of being skeptical about gaining reps or increasing weight each workout, I KNOW I will. That′s how amazing super consolidated is. I have had great strength gains with it, especially for the time off inbetween workouts. The one thing I WILL say is, in the beginning when I started training with HIT again, my strength gains were crazy fast when I was on more of an Ideal type workout. However, those started slowing down pretty quickly too, and I KNEW if I kept going with them I′d come to a definate halt. So, I slowly started adjusting time off and volume JUST like Mike said, and I only had ONE workout where I didn′t gain a rep (actually LOST reps). So, I knew I was overtrained and so I immediately took a break (just like Mike suggested AGAIN) and have been gaining ever since on the consolidated, now super consolidated routine.
So, overall for the amount of strength gains I′ve had doing HIT, I jumped MORE and QUICKER with more of an Ideal type workout, but that is to be expected in the beginning. One cannot expect that to happen forever. So, with how far I′ve come with the strength gains, I′m STILL having EXCELLENT progress with super consolidated. I′m THRILLED when I increase 20 pounds on an exercise or go up 2 reps instead of 1 each workout. I find it HARDER to increase reps than to add some weight. I′m not sure why that is (maybe metabolic reasons), but I′m definately seeing that. I can usually add 20 pounds to an exercise and get the same reps, but if I had used the same weight, maybe only go up one or two reps.
500 pounds for 5 reps in the deadlift is fantastic! That′s excellent work pounds. While my diet is pretty crappy, I DO think if one goes TOO low on calories (or even protein or carbs for that matter) for too long, it WOULD hurt progress. I′m always fine with calories (too high actually) and have low protein intake and have done really well. I′m not a believer in big protein intake. I′ve make fantastic progress with like 40-80 grams of protein a day! So for me, diet has never really been an issue.
As far as rep cadence is concerned, I just workout however feels natural. Certain exercises I do quicker negatives, others I do slower negatives. It probably ends up being around 2-3 seconds positive, 1 second hold, 1-2 second negative. But, like I said, I do whatever feels natural to me for the given exercise. With dips, for example, I almost skip the negative because the MedX machine is safe and I don′t feel the need to concentrate lowering the weight super slow. With pulldowns, I hold the weight in the static positition a little longer. Leg extensions, maybe 3-4 seconds up. Etc.
I don′t think it′s important to stick to 4/4. After all, static holds (no movement) can produce tremendous growth and strength increases, so rep speed really isn′t important. Intensity and rest time are FAR more important in my opinion.
If I had to rank importances of issues with gaining muscle it would be:
1) Intensity, Rest Time, and Volume
2) Exercises Chosen
4) Rep Speed
I know there are many more things to consider, but those are a few general topics.
I′ve probably given you more info. than you wanted to know, but I just wanted to be thorough.