Workout (07/13/2009)

A new week and an old injury: these marked the theme for the workout today. The injury’s not that old, really…I suffered it only a week ago, but still, these things should heal themselves much faster. Anyway, I’ve been floundering around with my workouts, trying to figure out the best training protocol: high volume, high intensity, escalating density, German volume training, go-big-or-go-home loading, some-other-crazy-shit-program…

Taking a rest week to lick my wounds gave me some time to re-evaluate what I’ve done in the gym over the last few months and why. In Florida, for two months, I grew like a weed, adding 10 lbs of muscle. My strength went up, I had good energy levels and undying motivation. When I got back to CA, however, all that changed. I somehow convinced myself that I needed high volume to grow. I never do high volume. The worst growth I ever had: high volume; best growth: low volume. What the hell was I thinking? High volume? Kiefer, seriously, get your head out of your ass.

But my internal you’re-about-to-do-something-stupid alarm didn’t stop me and for the last three months my volume went up, and up and up. Naturally, intensity sank and fatigue increased. I couldn’t eat enough, sleep enough or bitch enough. Like a trooper, I kept on giving the gym more and more of my day.

Today I said, screw it. Low volume works and works well. With a few cues from Ian King, who believes the more years experience in the gym equates to lower total volume, I started the lifting week as follows:


This is primarily to warm my body up, but also to get the nervous system firing in the right context. For example, my glutes (particularly my left) are deactivated, therefore I performed the fire hydrants immediately followed by light deadlifts to get those gluteals contracting.

  • Fire Hydrants: 2 sets x 10 reps
  • Deadlift: 135 x 6, 225 x 6 (should have done sumo deadlifts in retrospect)

Work Sets:

  • Rack Pulls: 315 x 6, 315 x 6
  • Shoulder Dumps: 6 per side (technically a rehab movement used as warm-up; should have done 10 per side)
  • Single Arm DB Rows: 100 x 13, 100 x 8
  • Pullups: 7
  • 45° Bentover Row: 185 x 13
  • High-Wide Pulley Row: 160 x 15
  • Incline Curls: 25 x 12, 25 x 10
  • BB Curls: 90 x 5
  • DB Shrugs: 100 x 15, 80 x 14

Much lower volume, much higher intensity and much shorter time. I tried to rest a minute between sets except when switching body parts, when I moved quickly, but whatever time elapsed is whatever time elapsed. I shot for 12 to 15 sets total–not per body part, but total for the workout. Obviously, not including warm-up, I stopped at 12 sets. I debated throwing a few hamstring movements in, but I was beat and I wasn’t sure my injured leg was up for it.

Overall the workout felt great, like it should have: I was strong, my joints moved freely and without pain, and I had rock-solid focus. It was a good day.  I missed my rep targets on just about everything (which was 8 to 10), but I didn’t know what to expect with two weeks off and a semi-bum leg. Next week, I’ll be on target.