Hey San Antonio,
I wrote and posted this yesterday on the Caveman Lifestyle Program blog, and wanted to also put it up here, as it explains the role of resistance training in both fat loss and building muscle, and puts a few misconceptions to rest. I employ several different philosophies when training different clients, and this is one of the systems that I’m working to perfect for many people looking for amazing body transformation. Unlike other personal trainers, I willingly put out as much information about my training principles and philosophies for the world to see.
When following the Caveman Program, my personal favorite training split is the Horizontal/Vertical split. Let me reiterate a point from earlier post – the training split has very little to do with progress in the grand scheme of things, but I definitely prefer a split that lends itself to training large groups of muscles in every workout, focuses on movements as much as body parts and stays as far away from the “a muscle group per day” mentality that is perpetuated by the bullshit message boards and by most bodybuilders, who are, in most cases, as full of shit as just about any group of people who should know better that simply do not. I’ll probably touch on that comment more on my San Antonio Personal Trainer blog.
Understand that I am a huge proponent of maximum muscle fiber recruitment during training and maximum effort during training. Of course, this is relative, and for those who simply aren’t conditioned enough to focus on the 1-5 rep range can benefit greatly from higher rep schemes anywhere from the 6-15 range. There’s never an “always” in my training programs, and there are exceptions to every rule.
One thing that many people do is drastically change their resistance training program when their focus changes from fat burning to muscle gain – this is a mistake. It’s important to understand that muscle only has two states: atrophy (shrinking) or hypertrophy (growing). There is no maintaining. This is why that it is important to ensure that your primary goal when you’re focused on losing fat is not weight loss, it is maintaining muscle by inducing growth! This may be difficult to understand, but remember that the more lean body mass your body has, the higher your resting metabolic rate is. A higher metabolic rate will lead to more fat being burned during every activity. Too many people become obsessed with actual “weight loss” which leads to a lowering of the metabolic rate which, in turn, leads to the body going into preservation mode.
Every workout is for body transformation, which is the addition of muscle mass (and no, ladies, that doesn’t mean to become overly large) and the reduction of body fat. The difference in specific goals (getting huge or getting absolutely shredded to the bone) require dietary and cardio modifications, not modifications in resistance training.
Body fat has no nutritional requirement. What most people do is lose weight and then adjust their caloric intake, without considering where the weight actually came from. However, if that individual actually increased muscle mass and still lost weight, the body would require a higher caloric intake, not a reduced amount, which is a mistake that so many people make.
I didn’t intend on turning this into a nutritional article but I will elaborate on those things in upcoming posts. For now, let me get back to the sample training day in the horizontal/vertical split.
Vertical Plane Training Day 1
For today, I’ll focus on 6 exercises on the vertical plane: rear squat, dead lift, front squat, stiff leg dead lift, db snatch and plyometric box jumps.
Rotation 1 – Rest 1 minute between sets, 2 minutes after the final set, repeat rotation for five total rounds. Warm up adequately before beginning rotation. Below are work sets and do not include warm ups.
Squats x 3-5 reps
Dead lifts x 3-5 reps
Front Squats x 8-10 reps
Rotation 2 – same rest protocol as above, repeat rotation 3 times.
SLDL x 8-10 reps
DB Snatches x 5 reps each arm
Plyometric Box Jumps x 10 reps
Each rep scheme describes the set’s intensity level. For example, 3-5 squats means to find a weight that is heavy enough to where you can barely do 5 reps but light enough to do at least 3 reps. The goal is to increase the weight each time you train – I prefer keeping the max amount of weight you can do for the entire rotation, not allowing the weight to fluctuate up or down during a given workout. It may take a couple of workouts to nail it down, but once you have a baseline, focus on slight increases each time you perform this workout.
Sample Week Training Split
Monday – Vertical Day 1
Tuesday – Horizontal Day 1
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – Vertical Day 2
Friday – Horizontal Day 2
Sat and Sunday – Off
Depending on the individual, I may advocate for three different training days. In this case, the following weeks would be:
Monday – Vertical Day 3
Tuesday – Horizontal Day 3
Thursday – Vertical Day 1
Friday – Horizontal Day 1
Sat and Sun – Off
Monday – Vertical Day 2
Tuesday – Horizontal Day 2
Thursday – Vertical Day 3
Friday – Horizontal Day 3
Sat and Sun – Off
Each workout may utilize different exercises, rep schemes, or a combination of both. In future posts, I’ll explain which would be most beneficial for you depending on your fitness level and how to design each program to maximize your progress by eliminating specific weaknesses you may have.
Questions and comments always welcome!