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  1. #1
    Registered User Project84's Avatar
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    How many working sets? (overtraining?)

    So I'm just going to list what I did today, and tell you that I do the same thing for my other routines; shoulders, legs, and back/bi's day.

    Monday

    Chest -
    Flat bench BB
    1 set at 1/2 weight 15 reps (warmup)
    1 set at 3/4 weight 10 reps (second warmup)
    1 set heavy to 8 reps max
    4 sets even heavier 6 reps max

    Incline or decline BB
    1 set warmup at heavy 8 reps
    4 working sets as heavy as possible 6 reps

    Incline DB if chose Decline BB that day (decline flies of chose incline BB)
    1 set warmup heavy 8 reps
    4 working sets 6 reps

    Individual Cable crossovers
    1 set medium heavy 12 reps
    4 working sets as heavy as possible to max at 6-7 reps

    So you see, I only do 4 exercises, and working sets is below 20 (which I heard is key to stay below 20 to avoid overtraining) but I just want to know if I'm risking overtraining.

    I don't know if it's because I don't have a spotter or what, but I've been lifting about 4 months straight now and my bench has only gone up about 30 lbs. (I REALLY want to bench 200, but I'm still only at 4 working sets of 185)

    I also do tri's on Mondays-

    Skull crushers
    4 sets of 12
    superset close grip bench
    3 sets of 15

    DB kickbacks
    4 sets increasing weight and dropping 2 reps each set
    first set is to 15
    then 13, 11, 9

    overhead rope extention
    4 sets of 8-10

    underhand pulldown
    4 sets of 10-12

    What do you guys think?

    I'm wondering about overtraining because my strength isn't going up like I'd thought it would, and after a chest session, I'm REALLY sore for a good 4 days. I love the soreness, makes it feel like I'm actually doing something!

    But am I doing too much?
    John - a newb.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Project84's Avatar
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    Oh, and is it necessary to warmup for each new exercise, like how I do only one real warmup at the flat bench, then move on and do 1 heavy set on my next exercise before doing my working sets?

    Should I be doing warmup sets for incline/decline just like I do for flat BB bench?
    John - a newb.
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  3. #3
    The BACKMAN DJAuto's Avatar
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    If you're not seeing results, it's probably an effect of training issues or diet issues.

    Up the caloric intake and see if that works. If not, try some lower repetition work specific to strength progression.
    Bodybuilding is 60% training and 50% diet. Yes that adds up to 110%, because that's what you should be giving it. Change the inside, and the physique will follow.
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  4. #4
    Encyclochuzzle chazzy1864's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Project84 View Post
    Oh, and is it necessary to warmup for each new exercise, like how I do only one real warmup at the flat bench, then move on and do 1 heavy set on my next exercise before doing my working sets?

    Should I be doing warmup sets for incline/decline just like I do for flat BB bench?
    I only warm up for the first exercise that hits that area. So for your workout, I'd warm up for the flat bench, then after my working sets with it, I'd go straight to other working sets.
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  5. #5
    'Defiant to Injuries' Ironlife's Avatar
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    Is that too much workload? for me Yes.. and i would struggle to recover from such an intense, long workout but for you i dont know.
    If your recovering well enough, eating enough calories and not crossing the overtraining border then keep going and doing what you are doing.
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  6. #6
    Encyclochuzzle chazzy1864's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Ironlife View Post
    Is that too much workload? for me Yes.. and i would struggle to recover from such an intense, long workout but for you i dont know.
    If your recovering well enough, eating enough calories and not crossing the overtraining border then keep going and doing what you are doing.
    +1 on this as well. 40 working sets a workout? Most people tend to do 12-20 working sets a workout.
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  7. #7
    Registered User Project84's Avatar
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    But how will I know if I'm overtraining? Is being sore for 4 days an indicator? Should I only be sore 2 or 3 days?

    My workouts are really long too, does fatigue play into the equation by influencing "overtraining"? I'm usually beat down and tired as hell when I leave the gym after a session like that.
    John - a newb.
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  8. #8
    Registered User Project84's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chazzy1864 View Post
    +1 on this as well. 40 working sets a workout? Most people tend to do 12-20 working sets a workout.
    Yeah, but they're split between chest and tri's.

    I thought you could do up to 20 working sets "per muscle group" and be safe?

    If I could only do 12 -15 working sets per workout I'd only be able to hit 1 muscle group each workout, and I like going to the gym 4 days a week, not 7.
    John - a newb.
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  9. #9
    Encyclochuzzle chazzy1864's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Project84 View Post
    Yeah, but they're split between chest and tri's.

    I thought you could do up to 20 working sets "per muscle group" and be safe?

    If I could only do 12 -15 working sets per workout I'd only be able to hit 1 muscle group each workout, and I like going to the gym 4 days a week, not 7.
    Why do you think people go to body part splits?

    Chest
    Back
    Bis/Tris
    Shoulders/Abs
    Legs

    12-20 work sets per workout. That is why they do it. To be able to properly hit the muscles, and not spend 3 hours in the gym. Also.....40 working sets 4x a week? Wowza.

    Only you can tell if you are overtrained. Being sore does not tell the picture. Sure signs, if you know you are eating enough and gettnig proper rest, and are still always tired. If you are getting weaker, or your lifts have stagnated. You don't seem to have much motivation at all. You have trouble sleeping. Those are all signs of overtraining.

    First time I was able to identify I was overtrained and burnt out my CNS. I was in a cut, I was timing calories, and eating to a T, I was getting 8 hours of sleep a night (all lights turned off at 10pm, and I was in bed by 10:05), but I was lifting 3x a week, doing hard cardio 2x, and bowling (doesn't seem hard, until you play multi lane league style for 2 straight hours..you sweat some). Even with my nutrition being planned down, and rest was timed perfectly, I was going into work, and looking worn out, feeling exhausted within 30 minutes of arriving. Everyone thought I was out partying the night before. I was like "no man, I was in bed by 10...I'm just worn out." 3 days before a fitness test, I stopped working out to recover, and went out with friends and ate like a horse. I felt rejuvinated, and performed better than I had. I realized then that I was overtrained for the last few weeks, and my body was never recovered.
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  10. #10
    Registered User JOHN GARGANI's Avatar
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    PROJECT: no knock on you, but from looking at your current physique you are GREATLY OVERTRAINING.....

    to a ridiculous degree......

    40 sets??? 20 sets alone for Chest, with your current physique???

    you are grinding yourself into the ground....


    this is the reason that supplement companies get rich with pre workout drinks...you need that, and a generous dose of cocaine to get through that workout! LOL.....


    why are you beating yourself up this much??


    That chest workout could be cut in half: alternate, every other workout, do the 2nd half......


    hey, for some people, high volume DOES work.....however, in all honesty, I don't think it is working for you, nor will it.....I think you will be cursed with sameness......


    you are doing a PRO type workout, but without the gear.....
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  11. #11
    Registered User Project84's Avatar
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    Red face

    Fellas, I really appreciate the input so far.

    I gotta be honest, reading what you had to say on overtraining chazzy, I've experienced that a bit, but not to the extent you say. I have full energy, until I exert myself a time or two say, the first few working sets on any muscle group, next thing I start yawning, dragging my feet, playing w/ the mp3 player rather than focusing on the weight.

    Gargani - regarding my "current physique" a lot has changed since my avatar pic. I was about 183 lbs there, doing cardio 5 days a week. I haven't touched cardio in months now, been lifting like this for 4 months straight and been on a semi-dirty bulk. I'm 202 lbs now. Probably look pretty out of shape honestly, although my back has grown like crazy.

    So, could someone take a minute to use my above workouts and change the sets/reps to what you all think would work better?

    I never really thought of it as "beating myself up" I just figured, to get big, I gotta lift big.

    Should I really cut this workout in half? How will I feel productive?! I'm so used to this...
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  12. #12
    Registered User JOHN GARGANI's Avatar
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    Project; it is not about what you can do in the workout, it is all about recuperation....

    if your body can fully recuperate from that, get stronger, bigger, then fine...

    if not, you must examine what you are doing.....

    sometimes it may work for a while and then you might suddenly crash and burn....

    we could all push ourselves and keep going if we have to...whether our body will respond to that in the long run or not is questionable....
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  13. #13
    Registered User JOHN GARGANI's Avatar
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    as to "beating oneself up", I am referring to the amount of work relative to the muscle size.....

    a larger muscle, might need larger amount of work.....

    working a smaller muscle with the same volume as that required for a larger muscle, may not.....

    if your pecs are "20 rep size", fine, but if they look "10 rep size", working them with 20 reps won't necessarily get you up to that corresponding size....




    but the ultimate decider in bodybuilder is always empirical results, which is why people should always keep track of:

    1. bodyfat percentage

    2. total weight

    3. number of reps with certain weight

    4. actual weight....


    so, in general: if you are gaining weight, but NOT gaining bodyfat , and if you are doing more reps with the same or more weight, while still IN CONTROL of the movements, then you are making progress.....

    there is no gray area in bodybuilding: it is either measurably effective or not.....

    apply these criteria to your own gains, objectively as possible and then rate your improvement with this current type of routine you are doing.
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  14. #14
    Registered User Project84's Avatar
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    Okay, that helps make me understand better.

    I just wanted to focus on all aspect of the chest in each workout, that's why I do flat, incline, decline, and cable cross.

    What if........ I did the same workout but took everything down to 3 working sets? That would only be 12 sets on chest.

    Or should I just realize this might be too much and split it into a 2 week chest routine? Do the same for tri's?

    Now I'm even more embarassed, I just realized I did 4x10 peck dec yesterday as well, while waiting for the cable machine to be free.
    Last edited by Project84; 03-24-2009 at 05:28 AM.
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  15. #15
    caught you mirin Devils's Avatar
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    20 sets?

    I don't usually go over 9. Are you putting in the best effort possible in those sets or is it just for the pump?
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    Registered User Project84's Avatar
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    Lets say I start at flat bench, I'm pressing 185 for my 4 working sets.

    I'm pressing at least 165 sometimes 175 for all my other working sets on incline/decline.

    So I'd say yes, I'm putting all my effort into it. Those are maxes also. I put enough weight on so that I'm REALLY pushing to get the last rep, but could possibly get 1 more rep out of it. I do this because I lift alone/no spotter/want to be safe.

    I think the problem here is I've seen so many other workout routines suggesting 4x6 or 5x5 but I guess I never paid attention to the total number of sets per muscle group.

    If I'm to stick to a 9 or 12 set routine for chest, what ratio should that be for gaining maximum size? 3x5? 4x6?
    Last edited by Project84; 03-24-2009 at 05:36 AM.
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  17. #17
    Former 130 lb skinnyboy! A-rod's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Devils View Post
    20 sets?

    I don't usually go over 9. Are you putting in the best effort possible in those sets or is it just for the pump?
    ^^^^^THIS.


    wHEN YOU DO AS MANY SETS and the thread starter (assuming he s natural) I belive this person isnt putting max effort on each set,Make it count.....go near failure and to failure sometimes and you wont need as many sets.

    Such high volume puts tremendous strain on your recovery, pay extra attetion to your diet and even increase protein intake, make sure you are on a daily good multi vitamin sup+ EFA s.
    5'11 @ 220lbs.
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    Originally Posted by Project84 View Post

    If I'm to stick to a 9 or 12 set routine for chest, what ratio should that be for gaining maximum size? 3x5? 4x6?
    3-4 sets with 6-8 reps seems to be a popular range for gaining both mass and strength.
    Reverse Dieting from Low bodyfat and Bulking log > http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=154107931
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  19. #19
    Former 130 lb skinnyboy! A-rod's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Devils View Post
    3-4 sets with 6-8 reps seems to be a popular range for gaining both mass and strength.
    I say around 4-6 reps on basics (bench, squats, deads) and 6-15 on the rest.

    Heavy and high TUT will lead to greater gains in both mass and strength.
    5'11 @ 220lbs.
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  20. #20
    Registered User Project84's Avatar
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    I'm very natural. All I take is whey and occasionally I remember to take Amino tabs with meals, but usually forget. I was on GNC MegaMan for a multi but I didn't like how it made my urine bright green. That just doesn't seem natural to me. lol

    As posted in post #16, I do have to drop a few lbs off the weight for my other working sets, but they are still basically 4 sets of 6 reps, and 6 is the most I can push.

    A-Rod - what's TUT?
    John - a newb.
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  21. #21
    Former 130 lb skinnyboy! A-rod's Avatar
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    Push yourself for high reps and heavy weights , BBers are known for doing (example) 10 reps with 80 % of the max....resulting and greater overload x time under tension=greater potential growth.
    5'11 @ 220lbs.
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  22. #22
    Former 130 lb skinnyboy! A-rod's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Project84 View Post
    I'

    A-Rod - what's TUT?
    Time under tension.
    5'11 @ 220lbs.
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  23. #23
    Encyclochuzzle chazzy1864's Avatar
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    Project, the foundation for any chest workout:

    Incline Bench press (db or bb is your choice)

    Then choose one of the following:

    Flat bench
    Decline Bench
    Weighted Dip

    Pair the Incline Bench press with the exercise you chose of the three. That is your base for a chest workout. An upper and lower chest exercise. Then add in auxiliary movements, such as maybe a couple burnout sets of one of hte other three, some flyes or cable cross overs. You will be fine.
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    brb flexing buffgrk's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by A-rod View Post
    I say around 4-6 reps on basics (bench, squats, deads) and 6-15 on the rest.

    Heavy and high TUT will lead to greater gains in both mass and strength.
    wayyy too low, 6-10 would reap all the benifits
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    Registered User Project84's Avatar
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    So yesterday for my leg workout, I cut it in half, and I can actually walk today!

    lol

    No really, I did though.

    I did:

    Squat
    12, 10, 8, 6, 6

    Seated Incline Leg Press
    12, 10, 8, 8, 6

    Seated Incline Calf Raises
    20, 15, 15, 15

    Seated Calf Raises
    15, 15, 15, 15

    Leg Extension
    12, 12, 10, 8,

    Then Abs.

    I would normally have also done:

    SLDL
    Leg Curls
    Glute/Ham Raise

    Does this look better fellas?
    John - a newb.
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  26. #26
    Former 130 lb skinnyboy! A-rod's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Project84 View Post
    So yesterday for my leg workout, I cut it in half, and I can actually walk today!

    lol

    No really, I did though.

    I did:

    Squat
    12, 10, 8, 6, 6

    Seated Incline Leg Press
    12, 10, 8, 8, 6

    Seated Incline Calf Raises
    20, 15, 15, 15

    Seated Calf Raises
    15, 15, 15, 15

    Leg Extension
    12, 12, 10, 8,

    Then Abs.

    I would normally have also done:

    SLDL
    Leg Curls
    Glute/Ham Raise

    Does this look better fellas?
    I would cut the leg extensions and add one hamstring motion, any of the 3 great choices you have.
    5'11 @ 220lbs.
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  27. #27
    'Defiant to Injuries' Ironlife's Avatar
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    Good stuff man, i hope you followed that workout up with a nice big protein shake?
    ~~~~~~~~~~
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  28. #28
    Registered User Project84's Avatar
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    Always protein in the morning (1 scoop in my oats), then one shake pre working and another post-workout with a healthy big dinner. I only take 1 scoop each time though, 26 grams protein plus 8-10 grams from milk.

    Last night it was (2) 4 oz. steaks, pinto beans, asparagus, handfull of fresh bread and an apple w/ peanut butter along with 3 glasses of water.

    I like leg extenstions though, they burn so freakin bad and then I can hardly walk for 20 minutes... should I do extentions and curls, SLDL, and calf raises one week; squat, press, glute/ham raises, more calf raises the next?
    John - a newb.
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