Question on Program Design

Just read your article on Sets & Reps: The Nut And Bolts Of Program Design! (not sure how old that is), and I have a few questions about rep ranges in my own workouts and whether I’m doing it right.

To date I’ve been using a total body routine, but I want to add a second routine to rotate with so my training doesn’t stagnate:

1. 2 on, 1 off, 2 on, 2 off. Working each body part twice a week (2 movements per body part each session)

2. Full body training 3x's a week (1 movement per body part each session)

Question 1: For each session in the split routine I’m thinking of aiming for 6-8 reps for 1 movement and 10-12 reps for the other movement per body part. Is that a good range, or should I do say 8-10 reps and 14-16 reps so I hit both strength+hypertrophy and also muscle endurance?

The other option was splitting it up. So sessions 1 and 2, I aim for one rep range, and session 3 and 4, I aim for a different rep range.

Question 2: in the TBT routine I’m thinking of aiming for a different rep range for each of the 3 sessions in the week, i.e. session 1 (6-8 reps), session 2 (10-12 reps) and session 3 (14-16 reps). What do you think?

I’d really appreciate your feedback mate. Sorry about the big questions but there are so many conflicting articles out there I’d rather get the opinion from an expert than everyone’s 2 cents.


My Answer: Excellent question, and I must say you've come up with some well-thought solutions. FINALLY, somebody who's actually done their homework! For question #1, use 6-8 reps and 10-12 reps. This way you achieve both sarcomere and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

As for question #2, that looks perfect.

"I read your program Training for the Ectomorph, and I am willing and committed to follow it. It seems very rational and realistic, but I have one question: do I really only need to go to the gym 3 times a week? I have the time to do the full body workouts more than 3 times a week. Should I do it?

"I'm not sure if you have the time to answer this kind of email, but if you do, I would really appreciate it. Thanks in advance."

-Mariano Vadillo

My Answer: If you want to workout more than 3 times per week, then that's fine. So if you want to workout 4 times per week, then do the full body ectomorph workout 3 times per week with the 4th workout devoted to a body part specialization.

In other words, the 4th workout should address any 1-2 muscles lagging in size or strength. The exercises in this specialization workout should be completely different from the full body ectomorph workout.

For the ectomorph, I don't recommend any more than 4 workouts per week, as that will hinder your progress in gaining size.

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