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Started By B-WINE (Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands)

Started on: 1/26/2008 3:07:51 AM, viewed 519 times
Optimal frequency/warming-up?

I have two questions I would like to ask:

1. What is your optimal workout frequency?

2. How do you warm-up?

Ad 1. For years now I′ve been convinced that Mike Mentzer′s Heavy Duty system is the best way to go. But still I′m a bit thick-skulled when it comes to optimal training frequency. I simply refused to believe I needed to train less often than 2-3 times a week to get optimal results. Even when I got overtrained more times that I care to remember, I remained somewhat sceptical, believing I would lose something when I would train a bodypart less than once a week. I wasn′t only afraid I would lose muscletissue, but also the right "groove" for the exercises, especially those with free weights like barbell squats and regular deadlifts.

Recently I got a new job. It′s a nice office job (legal advice) and I really like it, but it when I come home from work I′m pretty much spend. This is also because I have to travel for more than an hour to reach my work and another hour to get back home. When I force myself to go into the gym, I just can′t seem to motivate myself to get into a productive high-intensity workout. Even after a light workout, I feel pretty tired the day or even days after the workout. I don′t want to be tired in my new job, but I still want to get into great shape again. That′s why I was thinking about working out once every 6-7 days (once a week on Saturday- or Sundaymorning) using Mike′s New Improved Consolidation Program, i.e., the "Athlete′s Routine". My problem is that I′m still somewhat sceptical to so low a frequency. What′s your experience by working out so infrequently? The idea of bursting my ass only once a week is very appealing, though… 😉

Ad 2. When I started working out in my early teens, I believe in extended warming-up to prevent injuries. So, before each workout I started with 5 minutes of low-intensity cardio, followed by some basic stretching (later I learned that correct stretching is something most people simply don′t know how to perform and that you′re then better off doing NO stretches at all!). Then I would do a couple of progressive, pyramid-style warm-up sets for each(!) weight-lifting exercise to follow. At first I didn′t realise that because of my energy-draining warm-ups my training intensity was somewhat limited. Also, it didn′t occur to me that you can warm-up for hours and STILL get injured when your lifting form is not correct. For some years I tried to copy the champions I saw in their workout videos who weren′t into weight-LIFTING per se, but more so into weight-THROWING (probably thanks to genetics AND large amounts of performance enhancing drugs they got away with it – at least for a while).

Nowdays, thanks to the teachings of Mike, I only warm-up with the weights themselves and it′s ALL I need. But I′m still bothered by this question: am I still waisting too much energy prior to my working sets? To make thing more concrete, I′ll use two examples.

Say, hypothetically, I can barbell squat 100 kgs for 8 reps to positive failure, how should I warm-up?

Example A (this is what I would typically do):

Set 1: 40 kgs x 12-15 reps (light warm-up set).

Set 2: 60 kgs x 10-12 reps (medium warm-up set).

Set 3: 80 kgs x 8-10 reps (medium warm-up set).

Set 4: 100 kgs x 8 reps.

Example B:

Set 1: 40 kgs x 10 reps.

Set 2: 60 kgs x 5 reps.

Set 3: 80 kgs x 2-3 reps.

Set 4: 100 kgs x 8 reps.

Thanks in advance!

This Topic has 9 Replies: Displaying out of Replies:

Stevo (Perth, W.A, Australia) on 1/26/2008 4:45:44 AM

Hey B-Wine

I also have recently been forced to workout only once per week due to work commitments and have started to use a "tweaked" version of the Athletes Routine:

Incline Bench Press


rest 7 days

Leg Press

Standing Calf Raise

rest 7 days


I used the Athlete′s Routine once before when I was cutting and lost 3lb (all fat) in 6 weeks. And I didn′t do any cardio, it was just from eating a reduced calorie diet as Mike suggests.

I started another cutting cycle today using the above routine. I will be using a cadence of 8/8 for 1 set x 2-4 reps (TUL 32-64 seconds) to positive failure.

And today on Pulldowns I used 150lb and managed 3 and a half reps. The last time I did Pulldowns (3 weeks ago) I also used 150lb but only managed 1 rep! So don′t be worried about the low frequency:-)

In regards to warm-ups, I personally do 1 w/up set with 50% of my work set for 12 reps, using a normal, controlled cadence. I then go straight to my all-out work set.


HD27 (N.Falls, Ontario, Canada) on 1/26/2008 5:25:12 AM


For warm ups,try not to burn up too much energy warming up,but at the same time make sure you are warmed up.An example I would use and works great,using your 100kg squat for example-





I think you′ll find that you are much stronger when not using such high reps for warm ups.This is how Mike recommended warming up,and the few powerlifters that I know warm up this way as well.

godan (F. Collins, CO, U.S.A.) on 1/26/2008 10:14:18 AM

B-Wine: Many of us who migrated from high volume have had to learn reluctantly, but eventually, that a once-weekly consolidated/heavy duty program is enough. Jobs and family considerations often make it practical to exercise on the same day every week. As for warm-ups, my experience is probably different from most other men. For decades, I studied and taught traditional, hard-style karate. We never warmed up, on the theory that in real life, violence arrives suddenly. I do not warm up for any athletic activity, including lifting. Every Sunday morning, I go to the gym and start cold with chins or pull-downs. So far, this method has produced reasonable progress without injury. Godan

Christoph (South Sioux City, NE, United States) on 1/26/2008 10:31:53 AM


You′re probably aware of my views on frequency. I think if you′re training more often than once a week, you′re robbing yourself. If you′re growing at all working out more frequently than that, you′re growing much less than you could. On a workout-to-workout basis, you′ll always make more progress with a week or more rest between workouts. This tells you that the process of growth isn′t complete until atleast a week after the workout. Remember, the process of recovery has to complete before the body even begins the growth process. You must recover before you grow. Only after you′ve recovered, that is, if you have successfully stimulated growth, will you actually grow. For both of these processes to complete ("come full-circle") takes much more than a few days! It takes atleast 7. Remember the reason you′re putting in all this time and effort in the first place. Keep your eye on the target: GROWTH!


As for warm-ups, in my opinion, they′re much less important than people think. I think people do too many of them and go too heavy with them, using up energy that could have been used for the "working set." For a couple years, I didn′t even do warm-ups, none at all! I just stood in front of my "station," in front of the weight, physically went through the movement, but with no weight. I would simultaneously visualize myself powering through what I was about to. This works from the assumption that a warm-up prepares the motor-part of your brain to carry out the movement, and that warm-ups are a negative in terms of energy consumption. The first reps in the set just worked as the warm-up. I can′t say I found a negative with that method.

I still work under this same assumption. I do 1 set of only 5 reps with 50% of the weight I′ll be using in my work set. Again, I think the greatest thing a warm-up accomplishes is not physical. It works to psychologically "fire" you up for powering through that movement. "I can do more!" "That felt light!" It′s like a switch gets hit and your drive skyrockets because reality is you can do this! From there you push to your goal.

If it takes someone a couple warm-up sets, or "firing-up" sets if you will, to have the feelings of capability I mentioned above, so be it. These thoughts are necessary and we must do what′s necessary to have them. You need the drive. Again, for me this "firing up" seems to quickly occur in the first reps of the set and bam, I′m stronger than ever. If someone else feels they need more, then I′d advise them to do more. I′d advise them to do what they need to do. I only use the warm-up set I mentioned only for psychological purposes, and it seems you may agree with me that energy consumption on warm-ups should be kept to a minimum. The benefit from them is psychological, but, again, that′s necessary, and some need more "priming" than others.

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