Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ditillo-Inspired Training Program


     After yesterday’s post – Anthony Ditillo on Adaptability – I received an email from a reader.  The reader – new to this idea of frequent, intense[1] training – wanted to know what a program would actually look like if he were to follow Ditillo’s advice.  At first, I thought, “Well, I would rather not give a more detailed plan.  Part of what makes someone a successful lifter is actually learning how to lift.”  But then I thought better of it, and decided to write this post.
     What follows is some advice and a week of sample training.  Keep in mind that this is just an example program.  If you are going to become a skilled lifter – and lifting, bulk-building, power training are skills – then you need to practice, you need to experiment, and you don’t need everything laid out for you in complete detail – hence, my initial reluctance at wring this piece.
     First off, I recommend 5 days per week of training.  You can train 5 days straight, then take a couple of days off before repeating.  This is a good schedule if you enjoy working out Monday through Friday, and then taking the weekends off.  Myself, I prefer to train 3 days in a row, take a day off, train two days in a row, take a day off, then repeat the schedule.  If you need an extra day off here or there, don’t be afraid to take it.  At the same time, you want to make sure that you are training frequently enough so that your body is forced to adapt to the increased weekly volume.  If you’re taking every other day off, obviously your body’s not going to adapt as it needs to.  So, for the first few weeks of this program, don’t skip any training days.  Once you have adapted to the increased volume, then and only then should you start to add extra recovery days off.
     Here’s an example of a week of training:
Workout One:
·         Squats: 3 progressively heavier sets of 5 reps, followed by a set of 3 reps, and then an even heavier double.
·         Snatch-grip High Pulls: 3 progressively heavier triples, followed by two progressively heavier doubles.
·         Overhead Presses: 3 progressively heavier sets of 5 reps, followed by two progressively heavier triples.
Workout Two:
·         Deadlifts: 3 progressively heavier triples, followed by two progressively heavier doubles.
·         Power Snatches: 5 progressively heavier doubles.
·         Bench Presses: 3 progressively heavier sets of 5 reps, followed by two progressively heavier triples.
Workout Three:
·         Front Squats: 3 progressively heavier sets of 5 reps, followed by two progressively heavier triples.
·         Power Cleans: 3 progressively heavier triples, followed by two progressively heavier doubles.
·         One-Arm Dumbbell Overhead Presses: 3 progressively heavier sets of 5 reps, followed by two progressively heavier triples (each arm).
Workout Four:
·         Squats: 3 progressively heavier sets of 5 reps, followed by a set of 3 reps, and then an even heavier double.
·         Barbell Curls: 3 progressively heavier sets of 5 reps, followed by two progressively heavier triples.
·         Incline Dumbbell Bench Presses: 3 progressively heavier sets of 5 reps, followed by two progressively heavier triples.
Workout Five:
·         Pull Shrugs: 3 progressively heavier triples, followed by two progressively heavier doubles.
·         Deficit Deadlifts: 3 progressively heavier triples, followed by two progressively heavier doubles.
·         Behind-the-Neck Presses: 3 progressively heavier sets of 5 reps, followed by two progressively heavier triples.

     I realize that many people reading this – who are new to this concept of such frequent training – may not have realized just how much work Ditillo was talking about.  For the first week that you perform this program (or a program similar – I can’t stress how much this is just an example of an effective routine), you may find yourself sore and tired.  (If you had problems sleeping before beginning this program, that problem should soon be a thing of the past.)  Don’t worry.  After a few weeks, you’ll be looking forward to your daily regimen of three exercises.  Personally, I enjoy these kind of workouts, and the more that you perform them, the more that you look forward to them.
     Also, after a few weeks, you may need to add occasional days where you throw in some high-rep stuff.  If your back – your lower back, in particular – is feeling beat up, it may be good to engage in a workout session of push-ups, bodyweight squats, and walking lunges.  This should give your body the break it needs, and renew your mind and body for throwing around some heavy iron on the subsequent workout.





[1] Here I’m using “intense” to mean % of maximum weight being lifted, not effort that is being put into each set/rep.

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