Your training split sucks. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. But training is the easy part. What’s difficult, however, is recovering.
You wouldn’t know that though. You have no care for recovery. No care for logistics. No care for anything other than training.
What happens when you miss a day? Do you just skip it? Shift days around? Scream bloody murder?
Do you consider the effects of a workout done the day(s) prior to your current workout? Do you make sure a squat workout isn’t impacting your bench workout?
Don’t worry. We can fix it.
All of it.
THIS AIN’T UPS
It’s all about logistics. The fine balance between stress and recovery. We pay taxes. We go to work. We do things that stress us out more than we probably should. But it’s all good because we relax on the weekends. We take vacations. We do things that help us recover, albeit less than we probably should.
Somehow, it all evens out. Somehow.
As long as it does, few of us care how.
Training is no different. We’re all relying on that somehow.
But it all comes back to logistics.
WHY YOU’RE VOLUNTARILY STRESSING OUT
Pretend public speaking curdles your pants, and you’re a businessman that’s forced to give presentations. Given the choice to schedule your presentations, would you: give one every day –or– batch them on one day.
The right choice here is getting them all done on one day. Otherwise, you’re laying a brick in your pants every morning during your commute.
On common training splits, the rage is to focus on one “big” exercise every session. The most common one is a four day split with one squatting day, one benching day, one deadlifting day, and one overhead pressing day.
But this is like presenting every day.
We don’t want to buy new pants frequently, so let’s rethink it.
WHY YOUR PROGRAM ISN’T IDEAL
Although we’re using the four day split as an example, this applies to three day templates too (although to a lesser degree).
In most programs, the “meat” is spread out. And by meat I mean the “big” lifts like squats, presses, and pulls. So every day you have to bring your “A” game.
This does two things.
First, it impairs your lifestyle. Who has time to date, mate, and get their hair cut when you gots to get your train on? Your life becomes a mix of “training days,” and “stuff needed taken care of that you don’t want to do on your training day because it throws your rituals out of whack.”
Second, it impairs recovery. Just like Mr. Presentation Man, batching makes for a less stressful life. After all, Goku took care of the Ginyu Force in one swoop. No rain checks.
It’s best to do damage when you’re prepared to do damage. If you’re up and ready, you might as well finish the job.
HOW TO DO DAMAGE WHEN IT COUNTS
Constructing a damage producing routine starts with opening your heart and choosing a few big lifts you love doing. This is very “Pareto,” in that we’re estimating 80% of your results to be determined by 20% of your lifts.
So limit yourself to four “big” lifts. For myself, a former skinny-fat dude, I’d go with the front squat, snatch grip deadlift, incline press, and chin-up. Although, if you’re a current skinny-fat dude without much experience, you’re better off with the conventional deadlift.
Whatever four you choose, they are your 20%. Most of your results will come from simply “practicing” these lifts regularly. Not always with gut busting, mind wrenching intensity either. Sometimes it will be hitting a few light sets. Other times it will be a spirit bomb of an effort, RPT style. The scheme you use doesn’t matter. Focus on progressively overloading them in some fashion over time. More weight. More reps. Less rest. Whatever.
HOW TO NOT PROGRAM HOP
80% of your results come from practicing the lifts chosen above. But the sad truth is that most people don’t even make it that far. They program hop before making consistent progress.
Face it. We, as a human race, have bad attention spans. Sentencing yourself to just four lifts for the rest of your existence, won’t end well. Most programs control every variable. Often times, trying “new things” leads to throwing “old things” away. But some of these “old things” could be one of your 20% lifts. We don’t want that.
Failure to plan for this, once again, comes down to logistics.
You’re going to try different exercises from time to time. Don’t ignore the urge. Just plan for it.
ENTER THE 242 METHOD
The 242 Method is a box of logistics. It originally stood for “2” lifts being done “for” “2” days of the week, after a look back at my training showed only two lifts being responsible for most of my progress.
The purpose of the 242 Method is to keep your focus on the lifts that matter most while condensing them into two days, which is unlike most templates that spread them over three or four.
Using the example already started, these exercises are the front squat, deadlift, incline press, and chin-up. So two days, every week, do these lifts with some semblance of structure with the goal being both practice and progressive overload.
Don’t worry. You can train more than two times per week. Three or four days if you want to, actually. Use these trips to the gym to have fun. Get caught up in bodybuilding pump work. Do your curls. Toy around with magazine exercises. Get jacked all around with low(er) intensity exercises, machine work, and isolation movements.
Don’t worry about training the same muscle on back to back days. You can actually increase your recovery as you’re flushing the damaged muscles with blood.
Here’s a template:
Monday: Damage Day / front squats, incline presses, deadlifts, chin-ups
Tuesday: Bodybuilding Day / arm exercises, back extensions, experiment with new things
Thursday: Damage Day / front squats, incline presses, deadlifts, chin-ups
Friday: Bodybuilding Day / arm exercises, back extensions, experiment with new things
Or if you’re a classic M-W-F person, use Wednesday as your bodybuilding and exploratory day.
WHY THE 242 METHOD IS SEXIFICATION INCARNATE
The 242 Method is fool proof. It’s pure sexification. You can try new exercises without program hopping. You can customize it with any popular progressive overload scheme. You can miss a day here and there, as bodybuilding days are easily sacrificed as. As long as you’re hitting your damage days consistently, you’re good to go. Compounded onto all of that, you only have to align the stars twice per week, not three or four.
And since you’re going to ask, I’ll let you in on a little secret. If you want to alternate your damage day exercises, go ahead. So do rows one day and chins the other. Do incline presses one day and overheads the other. Deadlifts and squats can be swapped too.
STILL A LITTLE CONFUSED?
The entire structure of the 242 Method is exposed in an eBook so aptly titled “The 242 Method: The Anti-Program Hopping and Injury Reducing Strength Solution.” Since Rog was nice enough to let me violate his home, I’m going to give all of you sexy readers a direct link to download the eBook. It’s totally free. No strings attached. No e-mail bartering. Just the goods. To get to the download page, click this link. And make sure you shoot your questions below. Tell Rog thanks. And most of all, keep it sexy.
Anthony Mychal exists at the crossroad between fitness and athleticism. As a professional, he’s a writer appearing on the likes of T-Nation, LIVESTRONG.com, STACK, and Greatist. As a dude, he’s a self-proclaimed performance junkie that practices martial arts tricking. He splatters his ideas about building a body that matters on a weekly basis at his blog.