How little training can you get away with while still making progress or at least maintaining what you’ve already built?
There’s been a recent trend in the fitness space that more training volume is better. That’s great if you have lots of time to train, but not everyone wants to spend as much time as possible in the gym.
In fact, many people want to know how to optimize their training so they can get more out of less.
So, how little training can they get away with? The answer is that it’s less than many people think, and that’s what you’re going to learn about in this podcast.
Returning to the podcast is John North, and we’re discussing minimalist training and time-efficient workouts. In case you’re not familiar with John, he and I have been working together behind the scenes for years on articles, books, podcasts, and other content. In fact, he’s the Director of Content for Legion.
He’s also completed over 100 triathlons and cross-country, cycling, and adventure races, has squatted and deadlifted over 400 pounds and bench pressed over 300 pounds, and has researched and written for over a dozen organizations, including the National Institutes of Health. So he walks the walk and know a thing or two about both endurance and strength training, and helping people get into the best shape of their lives.
In our discussion about minimalist training programs, we chat about . . .
- Quality versus quantity when it comes to your workouts
- The “minimum effective dose” of training depending on your goals and experience level
- How to program short workouts and create effective minimalist programs
- Training frequency and splitting up longer workouts into shorter daily sessions
- How much training is needed to maintain your physique
- And more . . .
So, if you’re curious about how much training you really need to do to make progress or just maintain your size and strength, and how to program minimal workouts, you’re going to enjoy this podcast!
0:00 – Join my podcast giveaway! http://muscleforlife.show/giveaway
6:10 – Could you do 15-30 minutes of strength training per day and still produce decent results?
13:18 – Is there significant benefits to training seven 15 minute strength training workouts as opposed to doing two or three longer strength training workouts?
20:17 – What is that threshold range?
35:09 – How would you program shorter workouts?
39:28 – If you’re working out 3 days per week, do you recommend a full-body or split routine?
1:02:36 – Is there anything you would like to add?
1:18:54 – Where can people find your work?
Mentioned on the show:
I’m giving away over $1,000 worth of prizes to commemorate the 1,000th episode of Muscle For Life! Join the giveaway here: http://muscleforlife.show/giveaway
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Mike: Hey there, and welcome to another episode of Muscle for Life. I am your host, Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today to learn about minimalistic training or minimalist training programs. Now, what do I mean by that? Well, a question. How little training do you think that you can do while still making progress?
That’s one question. The next question, how little training do you think you can do while still maintaining your muscle and strength? Maybe you are not progressing, but you are not regressing well, you are going to get evidence-based answers to both of those questions in this podcast, and if you haven’t looked into them much, if you haven’t looked into the minimal effective dose of training, Progress and maintenance.
I have good news. It is almost certainly less than you think. It is probably easier to keep gaining muscle and strength, albeit slowly, or to maintain your muscle and strength indefinitely than you think. And I wanted to put this episode out now because there is a trend in the fitness space, or there has been a trend over the last couple of years.
More, just more reps, more sets, more training days, uh, et cetera, et cetera. And more is sometimes better and a lot is sometimes appropriate if you need to do a lot to achieve your goals. If you have the time to do a lot, if you have the inclination to do a lot, if you can recover from a lot, but the counterpoint to that entire trend, of course is less and sometimes less, makes a lot more sense for you individually, for your goals, for your circumstances.
Sometimes it makes sense to alternate between more and less, to have periods of less training, fewer training days, shorter workouts, depending on what else is going on in your life. And then sometimes doing more based on your goals and how you are feeling and how you are recovering and how much time you have.
And how much interest you have in spending, more time in the gym and so forth. So all that to say is I think this episode has something for everyone. Regardless of where you are at right now in your fitness journey and what you are doing and what you are trying to achieve, this episode will minimally help give you some perspective and maybe help you better plan for future phases of your fitness regimen.
And lastly, a little bit about my guest, John North. He is coming back on the podcast. Maybe this is his second or third appearance on the podcast. And I wanted to start having him on the podcast because he knows a lot about this stuff and he works with me. We’ve been working together behind the scenes on articles, books, podcasts, and other content for years now, he is the director of content for my sports nutrition company.
Legion and he’s been walking the walk for a long time. Uh, John has competed in over a hundred triathlons and cross-country cycling and adventure races. He’s gotten pretty strong. He has squatted and deadlifted over 400 pounds, bench pressure over 300 pounds at a weight of about one 70. And I’ve seen those things.
We trained together for, for years when we lived in Virginia. Now he’s in Colorado and I am in Florida. So Wamp on wmp. No more training partner, but it was fun while it lasted. And John has also researched and written for over a dozen organizations, including the National Institutes of Health. Quickly before we get started, I want to tell you about a special giveaway that I just launched in celebration of publishing 1000 episodes of this podcast, a thousand, and to commemorate that illustrious milestone, I’m giving away over $1,000 in prizes.
So if you want to enter to win some of those prizes, head over to Muscle for. Dot show slash giveaway muscle. F o r life.show/giveaway. Uh, entering is very simple. You simply have to subscribe to the podcast, rate it, and then submit some information to an email address. Takes a few minutes and you’ll be entered to win.
But wait, there is more because just for entering, you are going to get some free goodies. You are going to get a year’s worth of strength training workouts created by yours, unruly. You are going to get 40 different meal plans for different people of different sizes, and you are going to get a special coupon, a special discount code for my Sports Nutrition Company Legion.
So again, head over to Muscle for life.show/giveaway and enter now John Podcast number two.
John: Indeed. How’s it going?
Mike: Pretty good. You are in the Czech Republic right now. I’m surprised that I’m not getting any lag with your video for such a long distance. Uh, I guess you have good
John: internet. Yeah, we actually just upgraded it, so.
Mike: are here to talk about shorter workouts, just as a topic. A lot of people who are into working out tend to go in the other direction. They tend to spend, I would say over the years I’ve come across more people who spend. More time in the gym than they really need to, to accomplish their goals at at least a decent pace.
Or they work out too much period for anybody. Like they do six or seven strength training, like long, you know, one plus hours strength training workouts per week. So they’re, they’re lifting weights basically every day. And they are, if not doing cardio workouts per se, they’re playing sports, they’re doing other things in addition to that.
And eventually they, they don’t feel so good anymore and everything hurts. And so I thought it would be interesting to, to look at kind of the other end of the spectrum, maybe more like a minimum effective dose of exercise. And we could talk about strength training and cardio separately. But for example, , could you do 15 to, no more than 30 minutes of, let’s say strength training per day?
How many days per week? I guess I’ll, I’ll leave that up to you to talk about some different scenarios. If you had, didn’t have much time, could somebody knew, expect to, to make decent results with maybe two or three of those short workouts per week? If they could do more, what would you think about doing?
Let’s say every day you do 15 minutes of strength training, seven days a week. And I’ll just leave it there and I’ll give it over to you. But I think it’s a good topic that I haven’t explicitly really talked or written much about. And I think it can be useful for people who are new and also people who are experienced who maybe just wanna maintain for a bit and they need time for other things and they don’t realize that it’s, it’s much easier to maintain muscle and strength than it is to gain it.
John: Yeah, definitely. I mean, that is probably one of the more important takeaways from this whole discussion is just you don’t actually have to do that much to, to hold onto what you’ve earned, so to speak, when it comes to, to strength and especially muscle gain. But yeah, to answer your question on how, what, what’s essentially like the minimum effective dose to hold onto your gains or even make some progress?
Yeah, I mean, 15 to 30 minutes is probably not a bad starting place for most people. That’s probably a good baseline, especially if you’re doing it every day, but you don’t even necessarily have to do that. I mean, uh, we’ll go into some research today and that looks at this, I mean, some of it is specifically on answering that question essentially how, what’s the minimum amount you need to do Most of it, of course, like almost all health and fitness research is focused on what’s the minimum amount you need to do to stay healthy?
That’s where most of the funding goes. Some of it’s on, you know, how much do you need to, to maintain muscle mass and strength? And a lot of that actually comes from looking at research on tapering. So athletes who are doing. Probably a higher volume generally of a volume and intensity of training. And then they’re pulling either one or both of those down.
Usually they reduce volume, maintain their intensity, and the question is, you know, how much can you, can you dial down your volume so you can be more rested, going to a competition without also losing some of your fitness? You know, in the case of power lifting, for instance, that would be losing strength and muscle mass.
But yeah, if you’re talking about your average person, yeah, 15 to 30 minutes is not a, a bad place to start. And you know that number. It’s not just, obviously most people listening to this, if you know much about strength training time is always kind of a tricky way to measure strength training, right? You go into the gym, you know, you could be doing 50 sets and 30 minutes if you’re just doing a bunch of circuits, right?
Or you could do, you know, if you’re like some power lifters, I used to lift with, maybe you get two sets done in, you know, 30 minutes. They were, you know, squatting like 800 pounds. So they’re resting like 15 minutes between each set. So time is kind of a, maybe a poor way to measure it. But that math, if you break it down and.
We can get into more of this. It’s really about how many sets you’re doing right. There’s debates about, you know, the best way to measure strength training volume, but it’s, you know, number of hard sets per muscle group per week. Most of the research indicates that’s probably the best way to do it for now.
You can do reps and stuff like that too.
Mike: And a hard set just for people listening. A hard set, being a set close to muscular failure, regardless of rep
John: range. Right. It’s like the sets that kind of count and you know, I think anybody who lifts weights, you know what I’m talking about. It’s anything other than a warmup set, basically, or like a, a speed set.
Mike: people though, I’ll say, you know, just having worked out in a variety of gyms over the years, many people are doing sets, but not really hard sets. Unfortunately cuz they, they just don’t know that you need to push beyond the point where it’s just kind of hard and kind of uncomfortable to get a truly effective, or at least to maximize the training stimulus.
You, you gotta push to where it’s very hard and you’re getting close to failure. And I, and I see many people do not do that.
John: Yeah, true. That’s actually a really good point and it’s something that is especially relevant when you’re talking about time efficient training, so to speak, because I think this is a major problem and uh, I know you’ve had discussions like this with people as well, where I’ll talk to somebody and they’ll say, oh, I only have time for, you know, one or two workouts, so I rest.
Not at all between sets, basically I just jump from set to set to set. And I don’t train that heavy. Cause I’m trying to just get as much done as I can in that, uh, period of time. And that’s not completely wrong-headed. Right. For most things, the more you do, so to speak, like the more activity you cram into it, often the better your results are.
And it’s more true for endurance sports, definitely. But in the case of strength training, that’s not true, right? Like the quality really matters. And that’s what you were just describing, is they need to be quality sets or hard sets. As you said, you know, you’re using proper technique, you’re taking them relatively close to failure.
So, and throughout this discussion, that’s something I would say people should have in the back of their mind is that when we say a set, that’s what we’re talking about. It’s not warmups, it’s not relatively lightweight for circuits or something like that. It is stereotypical strength training taking.
Fairly close to the point where you, you know, you’re contracting your muscle as hard as you can and it’s not moving close to that, you know, not necessarily to that point, but fairly close to it. So, yeah. Anyway, going back to answer your question, yeah. At 15 to 30 minutes, it’s not a bad place to start. If you do, you know, we can get into more of the math here, but roughly a minimum for most purposes, and this is a good rule of thumb, is probably about two sets per muscle group per week.
And if you’re resting, you know, about two minutes for each, uh, between each set. Let’s say you break that between four exercises or so. Again, the math isn’t gonna perfectly add up. It also depends on how you calculate volume for different muscle groups. So, you know, one example would be, If you do a set of bench press, how do you calculate how many sets that is for your triceps?
And you know, some people will say, that’s just one set. I would tend to disagree. I mean, it’s not wrong necessarily. There isn’t a perfect way to calculate this, but Lyle McDonald, who’s, you know, a guy I followed for a long time and I think is right on this topic, says you should probably discount, you know, those sets for kind of a like secondary muscle.
Whenever I put together a training program, that’s what I do is I’ll look at it and I essentially use like a, a multiplier for those. So it’s like if you’re doing, let’s say a set of squats, for instance, like I don’t count that as one set for your, you know, erectors in your back or you know, your back mouse skecher, that’d be like half a set, something like that.
So same idea. Yeah. With this, with triceps. So anyway, that’s probably more detail than we need to really get into. But just to give people a general idea, it’s roughly two per muscle group per week. If you do roughly two sets for each exercise in a workout and then you do four exercises, you know, eight sets total rest about two minutes, that’d be like 16 minutes.
And then if you’re a more advanced trainee or you have maybe a bit more time, or maybe you’re not training as often throughout the week, so you’re just doing two or three workouts instead of, you know, four or five or even six, you can maybe, you know, stretch that out to like 30 minutes. Maybe you’re doing four sets, four exercises.
Three times a week, something like that. A really key point here too is this is very much a situation where there’s not a one size fits all answer. I mean, that’s a very, uh, cliche thing to say, but it’s true in this case. Cause it really depends on your goals, right? So are you trying to just stay healthy?
Are you trying to keep making some progress? But maybe just minimize the amount of time you’re training or maybe you’re just trying to maintain what you have. Maybe you’re traveling or you have like a, you’re working on an oil rig or something out in the middle of the Atlantic and you don’t have access to a good gym and you just wanna keep the gains you have with as little training as possible.
So it really depends on how you’re approaching it. And do you
Mike: think there would be. Significant benefits to doing let’s say six or seven 15 minutes. Strength training workouts, let’s just say it’s seven for a total of a hundred minutes or so of, of training. So an hour and a half or so of training per week versus doing two or three longer strength training workouts.
Cause like many strength training programs for beginners, many of them are three workouts per week, which makes sense. It’s definitely not necessary to train five times per week. If you’re new, you can, if you just like it and maybe you’ll, you’ll be able to grow some smaller muscle groups a little bit faster.
But on the whole, your progress is probably not gonna be that different between if you’re new, right, a well-designed three workout per week program versus five. But do you think if, let’s say we took that three workout per week program and again, Turned it into a seven day or six days per week, but shorter, just 15 minutes.
And, and, and there are reasons why people might want to do that. I mean, I personally wouldn’t wanna drive to the gym to do a 15 minute workout, but some people would, because it actually works better for them. Like they’re driving from, let’s say they’re driving home after work and they pass the gym, they have to drive anyway, and they don’t have that much time that works well for them.
Or they have a home gym and they don’t like doing long workouts. And this just sounds interesting. Like, oh, I could just, you know, 15 minutes that I can commit to every day without a problem. But committing to an hour, two or three days per week is
John: a bit. Yeah. Yeah, that’s, that gets to the, uh, the kind of frequency debate, right?
Of, uh, what’s the ideal distribution of, uh, your training volume throughout the week. It’s really the same question, right? Like usually that’s discussed in the context of maybe a more advanced weightlifter who is trying to maximize their progress, and generally as a tool for maximizing volume, right? If you do more workouts per week, you can maybe do a bit more in each workout.
The idea being that that’ll lead to better progress over time. But it’s the same question, right? For a beginner in this case, right? Like, is it better to do shorter workouts more often, or is it, can you get the same results with fewer workouts slightly longer? I mean, I would argue, if you’re not sure, I would go with fewer workouts, say like three 30 minute workouts per week versus like one 20 minute workout or one 15 minute workout every day.
A for what you said, logistical reasons. That usually isn’t really optimal for most people. Like, most people don’t live right next to a gym. They’re not necessarily driving by. And even if you are driving by, you still have to, you know, get your gym clothes on unless you’re, like, you and I used to be where we just, you know, go to the gym and gym clothes and then you sit in that all day and work at your desk.
That’s the, the best way to do it. But if you, you know, wanna be a little more dainty than, uh, you get cleaned up and stuff. So there’s logistical issues around that. But from a behavioral perspective, as you, as you said, many people do prefer that, right? Just doing the same thing every day is very simple from a, uh, habit forming standpoint.
So I would argue if you’re not sure, Do a bit less just because for most people, also, even from a habit standpoint, life happens, so to speak, right? Almost anybody can commit to like three workouts a week, right? So even if your schedule just gets completely obliterated one day, you can just make it up the next day.
And you know, it gives you a lot of flexibility when you have four days that you don’t necessarily have to be training. So that’s why I lean towards just keeping it simple with three days a week. The other reason is it really just doesn’t make a difference for beginners, right? Like even training.
Probably once per week versus twice per week for a beginner. The difference, it’s probably fairly significant twice per week versus once per week. When it’s like two versus three, the difference is maybe a little bit better in favor of three and then it’s, it’s like three versus four versus five. For a beginner probably doesn’t matter.
Volume matters a bit, but even then, right, like there’s a fair amount of research at this point showing that especially among beginners, like 20 sets per muscle group per week, A is just way too much for beginners. But even 12 versus eight versus six, the point of diminishing returns, you hit that very quickly for a beginner.
So, yeah, maybe I’m rambling a little bit, but the, the answer to your question is physiologically, there’s almost certainly not a significant difference between doing 30 minutes three times a week and you know, 15, 20 minutes every day habitually. That’s just something the person would have to decide for themselves.
Yeah. At that point I would say it doesn’t really matter.
Mike: Yeah. Some of the arguments I’ve seen are more applicable to a, to experienced weightlifters. Like some people, they say, oh, well there’s gonna be less muscle soreness with higher frequency. Yeah. But if you’re new and you’re following a well designed program, you’re not gonna be getting that sore.
Like yeah, your first two weeks, you’re like, oh wow, I’m actually feeling this. Probably by month two. You just get a little bit sore from your workouts and you’re not hobbling around. Whereas if you’re experienced, and let’s say you need to do 20 hard sets for some, for a major bustle group just to progress, yeah.
There is gonna be a difference in soreness between. Doing two 10 set workouts for your chest, for example, which wouldn’t necessarily be a terrible idea, versus maybe doing five sets four days a week or doing, you know, six to seven sets three days a week. And if you apply that to, let’s say a big muscle group to your lower body, whether two versus three times per week, it might produce the same.
Results ultimately. But if you’re quite sore on the two times per week, and if that is just not nice and it’s something you don’t like, then you can get around that by increasing frequency. Right? So like that, that’s one thing I know people will say in advocacy of higher frequency, always, it’s just better for everybody, period.
John: Yeah. I would say. On the whole, I’m very sympathetic to a lot of the arguments I’ve heard in favor of higher frequency training and maybe some of that is coming from kind of an endurance sports background where I actually think there’s even more validity to it from a, a technique and just a lot of reasons for that.
The main one I would say is actually the same for endurance sports and strength training, which is just fatigue management. So it’s not as much soreness, although I do think that’s a factor. You could consider that maybe a component of fatigue as well. You know, if you go into a, a, especially like a lower body workout where you’re doing six sets of squat variations, maybe like three sets of regular squats, three sets of front squats, some lunges, like a long leg workout just sucks.
Like, and even if you’re in a weightlifting, it just beats you up. So yeah, like splitting that up throughout the week is generally helpful. But again, that comes down to mostly a function of volume. And there is also an interesting counterargument to the idea of doing higher frequency, which is, uh, again, there’s no direct evidence of this that I’m aware of, but there’s some theoretical reasons or arguments why there might be some kind of minimum threshold for volume per session that you need to hit in order to optimally stimulate progress.
Uh, I know Mike is Rotel Lyle McDonald again, they, I think, tend to favor that. Whereas others, I know mental Hensman, who’s also a very smart guy, who I follow as well, he tends to believe there’s not enough evidence to say that should really be a factor when determining your programming. And that it really, it’s just about your volume, you know, across time, whether that’s like a week, two weeks, whatever, just uh, whatever time span you look at.
Mike: And what, what is that threshold according to Israel, McDonald, and others, or what do, what do they suspect it might be in a range?
John: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, I know Lyle has an article on that. I forget. He has a long series of articles on training volume that I definitely recommend for anyone listening to this if they wanna to dig into the nitty gritty.
And I believe he also touches on frequency there as well. And he gives some numbers. Again, it’s. You know, we don’t have any studies that have like specifically examined this, so it’s really like trying to read between the lines and look at a bunch of different research and what these numbers might be.
Also, it’s a moving target, right? Like it’s gonna be different almost certainly for a beginner versus a more advanced trainee. So it’s very difficult to, to try and figure out what that is. It, I would argue it, uh, or I wouldn’t be surprised, I wouldn’t argue, I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s also, uh, somewhat muscle group specific, right?
Like my arms definitely do not grow as fast as my legs do, and so I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe my threshold if that exists, uh, my workout threshold, right? The amount of volume I need to do for my arms is maybe just higher. So I don’t know. I, you know, I don’t have a strong opinion on those arguments.
I find them both interesting. You know, from what I’ve seen playing with my own programming and, you know, working with other people is it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. Now I’m always hesitant to use that as a, an argument for or against something, right? Because again, even if you’re say like an accomplished personal trainer and you’ve worked with a few hundred people as a sample size, you know, is that whenever you’re trying to draw conclusions about this stuff, I’m why is very, very worried about that.
So you do have to kind of go back to the theory, you know, cause there’s so many variables there too. And you’re working with hundreds of different people, men, women, old, young, you know, people following their diets, people not following it. It’s very hard to rely on that for, for drawing conclusions. So I think that’s where.
Going, looking at the theoretical evidence becomes very helpful. A, again, I think this is where my position is probably it is more of whatever suits your preferences and your goals. And also too, one other thing that you alluded to in the beginning that I think is important to keep in mind, many people, maybe even the majority of people, are not just strength training.
They are doing other things, right? So maybe they’re like hiking on the weekend, maybe they play a sport like soccer or something as well. And that’s where you do have to start weighing the benefits of these different strategies against that as well, or, and trying to incorporate that, not just, well, I’m gonna do whatever is supposedly optimal for strength training.
And then just, You know, shoehorn my other training into my schedule. Like, you have to take both of those things into consideration. So let’s say just an example, you know, one downside of, say, doing high frequency training. Let’s say you’re a runner or something like that, or your cyclist and you’re training your legs almost every day.
It might not be optimal. You know, it might actually be better to try and separate your lower body strength training a bit more from your running, just so you’re not fatigued, uh, for one or the other. And, you know, you can distribute that however you want, whatever makes sense. Like whatever your, your goals are, whether you’re prioritizing the running or the strength training.
But that’s probably the whole frequency debate is maybe we could do a whole podcast on that. Those are my working thoughts right now. Again, I wouldn’t say I have a. An extremely strong opinion on it. You know,
Mike: another scenario where somebody might prefer to do shorter strength training workouts more frequently would be, let’s say they have 30 or 40 minutes and they can, they could do that, let’s just say four or five, six, maybe even seven days per week.
But, but they only have 30, 40 minutes and they want to do some strength training and some cardio, and it’s easiest for them. And I, and I thought of this because there are some people who go to my gym, I’m speaking like these are, these are them, right? Where they wanna do some strength training, they also wanna do some cardio.
And if they’re in the gym, it’s easiest for them cause they’re gonna take a shower and they’re gonna leave. It’s easiest for them to do both while they’re there. And so in that scenario, that could be 15 to 20 minutes of strength training followed by some cardio and. I’m, I’m thinking of, of people, they’ll, they’ll go and walk on an incline treadmill or just do some rowing or do some biking.
And that also is something that it might be good for people to know that you can make that work. You don’t have to just choose one or the other, you, or you don’t have to be concerned that 15 or 20 minutes of strength painting, especially again, if you’re new, especially if it’s followed by cardio, is not enough to, to do anything
John: maybe that that would be.
One of the other kind of a, uh, baseline principles people should keep in mind here is that anything is better than nothing. So even if you’re doing literally one set for each muscle group per week, you are still going to see some progress. I mean, there are studies, and I’ve shared some of this with you too and we’ve talked about it, where, you know, you can have people who are sedentary and they just start riding a bike and they’ll build muscle like sometimes.
Fairly significant, right? They’ll see like a 10% increase in local muscle growth. So like you measure some particular muscle and it’ll get significantly bigger just from that because the stimulus is, you know, they’re so responsive to any kind of resistance training and that, you know, stereotypical resistance training.
So lifting weights or riding a bike or even walking at a moderate pace is a form of re resist a resistance training. I mean, look at, look
Mike: at the muscle wasting effects or the de training effects. This has been shown in research. I know you’ve, I know you’ve seen this when you compare people who were bedridden, completely sedentary to people who just were walking.
It’s shocking how quickly you lose muscle when you just don’t move around. And then it’s also a little bit surprising how well you can maintain muscle just going about your normal daily life without any training. You know, it takes several weeks, uh, until you really start to lose actual muscle tissue.
But if you sit in bed all day and, and don’t move, it’s probably kicks in. I think if I remember, it’s like several days you start to, to lose muscle tissue.
John: Yeah, definitely. And any, anyone who’s broken a bone, I actually am fairly lucky. I haven’t, but you know, I’ve had friends who have of course. And you know, just getting your arm out of a cast, apparently it feels like that right?
Is just a significant muscle. I fractured my
Mike: wrist when I was in, when I was like 20, 21. I was in a full arm cast for six weeks. I should have gotten pictures cause it was hilarious. So I had been weightlifting for a few years at this point, so I had more muscle than the average person. I wasn’t jacked, I had more muscle than the average person, and my left arm was completely atrophied.
I looked like the meme of the dude who jerks off . The
John: Coomer meme. Yeah,
Mike: my right arm looked twice as big as my left arm. It was good. I should have, I should’ve gotten
John: pictures. That’s, uh, that’s perfect that it happened to your left arm too. Uh, from a meme perspective, that’s a, that’s a good example of, yeah, just how, how bad inactivity is for, for my maintaining muscle.
And a good rule of thumb, just so people can have that in their head. And it’s something that, you know, I’ve shared with a few folks who, you know, there was, um, one guy we used to lift with or we’d see at the gym sometimes now I remember he would be gone for like a week and he’d come back and he’d say like, oh, hey, how’s it going man?
He’d be like, oh, I feel like I just lost everything. I feel so small. I’m just so glad to be back here. It’s, you know, it’s just funny when you hear that, right? Because when you look at the research, again, it’s gonna depend on the specifics of how active or inactive you are. But when it comes to losing muscle mass, generally you’re looking at about two months of not lifting weights before, you know, you probably start losing maybe a bit before that, but in terms of losing enough that it really matters that it, that it’s even measurable, you know, probably like six to eight weeks.
And then for strength, maybe like three to four to five weeks, something like that as well. Now, granted, you can feel a little bit rusty. What throws
Mike: people off though is size, muscle size, because the, the fluid, you start to lose that fairly quickly. The residual pump that you normally have from working out.
So you can look quite a bit smaller after just a week, certainly two weeks, uh, off the gym. But that doesn’t mean that you lost, if you got a DEXA scan, it actually would register as as lean mass. But yeah, lean mass loss. Yeah, there’s a difference between having less glycogen and less water in your muscles and less of that residual pump and actually losing.
John: right? Yeah. The stuff we think of when it comes to muscle mass. So yeah, and that’s also why, again, it’s another good example where looking at yourself or your personal anecdotes is actually very misleading in that case, where if you just look in the mirror, you’re like, oh man, I lost all my muscle.
I, I feel so small. When you actually look at it, the research, when, again, Dex as you said, it’s not perfect, especially when you’re looking at an individual, it’s very flawed. But if you look at a larger group of people, that’s really where it shines and where it’s helpful. So if you have, you know, 15, 20 people, If you look at DEXA scans for all of them over a period of time, then you can start to actually see some averages.
Cuz even if it’s off, it’s generally gonna be consistently off. So tldr, when you start looking at actual muscle loss, it takes, as you said, uh, weeks, if not even maybe a month or two before you see significant losses. And the reason that’s relevant to this discussion is just it shows you how low the bar is for maintaining it.
I mean, you can literally stop lifting weights entirely for, you know, a month or two and really not lose much at all if you’re just looking at, you know, how, what’s the minimum amount I have to do to maintain? It’s not that much.
Mike: It’s probably only to get numbers right. It’s probably no more than, no more than six, maybe as few as three hard sets per major muscle group per week to maintain more or less all the size and a fair amount of the strength.
If you are also training, if you’re, if you’re using your normal heavier training weights, you just are doing very little volume six. There’s no question from the research I’ve looked at and, and I think you could make an argument for as low as. Three hard sets per week. Like, oh, you wanna maintain your lower body, do three hard sets of squats per week.
Literally. That’s it. . Yeah.
John: Yeah. I mean, again, it depends on how you wanna measure it. I mean, yeah, I, I think three is absolutely a fine number to work with. Like we were saying, if two is kind of your, for a beginner, that’s your, maybe your absolute minimum for making progress. Yeah. Three is probably like a good general recommendation for most people, like assuming a, a fair number of those people have also been like, they’ve reached a certain level of competency, right?
With strength training. So you’re also, you’re including everybody in that. What I would generally recommend for people, and this is what most tapering research is on, so again, that’s going back to athletes who are preparing for competition and they’re pulling their volume down, trying to see, you know, in many cases what that is.
It’s kind of a, a game of figuring out what’s the minimum I can do. So I feel really rested and fresh while still holding onto my fitness. So in the case of strength training, there’s not that much research, but there’s actually one study, let me see when this came out. Cause I think it was actually a fairly recent.
Study from the, yeah. When was this? Uh, 2011, so not that recent, but it was from the, the University of Alabama at Birmingham where they looked at this exact issue. So it was people doing about nine sets per workout for five months. And then they did, you know, they split them into a few groups. They had one set, uh, group, one that did no exercise.
I’m just looking at my notes here. And then one that did, yeah, so one that basically kept doing what they were doing before, they kept their volume the same and then another group cut it by about 66%. So they went down to exactly what you said, where it was just three total sets. And these are all like exercises.
They just focused on one muscle group. But it’s fair to extrapolate this to other muscle groups as well. And they really found there was almost no difference between the group that maintained their volume and the group that cut it by about two thirds. So they’re doing only a third as much volume as they were before, which is.
Annoying when you think about it and you’re like, God, I’m doing like three times more training than I really need to. Again, I, I would say over time, you’re almost certainly gonna make better progress with the higher volume. And there’s other factors there too. What was their diet like, blah, blah, blah. All the normal.
I mean, it would be hard
Mike: to tell experienced weightlifters. So yeah, you can make slow and steady progress on three sets per week. That I don’t, I don’t think even six. I, I doubt prob probably once you start to get around 10 to 12, now you’re in a range that is gonna be more productive. But you know, it might take a little bit more than that for some people.
Some muscle groups. Yeah,
John: for some people in some muscle groups too, as we were saying. And yeah, that’s another one of these benchmarks to think with is. You know, I think the body of evidence at this point is fairly clear that roughly 10 to 20 sets per muscle group per week, uh, is a good range to think with.
Now that’s where you fall there is gonna vary. So, you know, it’s kinda like setting your calorie intake. You know, you can use different rules of thumb, but your exact numbers are gonna vary depending on your activity levels, et cetera. So it’s the same idea here with setting your, your volume for muscle group for a week.
Yeah. So if you’re a more advanced training, you’ve been training for a longer period of time, training properly for a longer period of time, you’re closer to your genetic potential for muscle growth, you’re probably gonna be toward the higher end of that spectrum. Maybe like 12, 15 sets per muscle group per week, maybe even a bit more for certain muscle groups.
From what I’ve seen, I have met very few natural weightlifters who can do much more than about 15 sets per muscle group per week consistently for all of their muscle groups. Right. So, seems to be more common, again, among naturals. If you’re on peds, that’s a very different story. Or,
Mike: or again, if, if you are not training at the intensity that.
We’ve been talking about. Again, I, I see people in the gym who, if they are on drugs, that’s a waste of drugs who are probably doing 20 to 30 hard sets. Not for all major muscle groups, but for some, I’m thinking of some guys, some of their upper body, they. Yeah, they’re always doing right and they are not though, doing a lot of compound exercises.
They’re doing a lot of its isolation work and a lot of those sets are not close. They, they’re probably four to five plus reps from failure, so sure, you can do, you could probably do, uh, a hundred sets per week for a muscle group if the sets are easy enough.
John: Yeah, I mean, you could even use endurance training as an analogy for this, right?
Like you look at a professional cyclist, they do, you know, way more sets of lower body exercises than most weightlifters because it’s super light and low resistance compared to a weightlifting workout. Yeah. On the extreme just to, you know, argument at absurdum, basically. But, uh, yeah, so if we’re talking about most people though, 10 to 20 sets per muscle group per week is a good guideline.
That would be like maximizing progress, right? So you’re, if you’re bulking, you’re in a calorie surplus, you’re sleeping properly, you’d wanna be somewhere in there, uh, most of the time. And again, you know, if you’re maybe a bit more advanced, probably you have most body parts at like. 10, 12, 15 sets per muscle group per week.
And then maybe you have one or two that are your kind of stubborn muscle groups that you, uh, have even, you know, 18, 20 sets per week. Probably not a good idea to maintain that for too long. And again, it also comes back to how do you calculate volume, right? Cause I know some people calculate it as like a one-to-one.
So, you know, you do one set of bench press, any muscle group affected, that counts as one set. And then you have people like myself, Liam McDonald, who would calculate that a bit differently. That would be like one set for chest, uh, half a set for shoulders and triceps is probably how I would count. Hey
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Plus you’ll get instant access to some pretty cool stuff that I think you’re gonna like, including workouts and meal plans, and a special coupon code, a special discount for my sports Nutrition company Legion. Let’s get back though to, so if you are programming shorter workouts, how might that look? So for people who want to tr give it a try, maybe.
Maybe we could start people who are brand new versus people who are experienced. So for the brand new person, this is somebody who’s looking to make progress and they certainly can make progress on just a few, even, let’s just say anywhere. Three plus, if they’re just doing 15 to 20 minutes of strength training per week, how might those workouts look?
And then, and then maybe we could talk about experienced, more experienced weightlifters who are thinking maintenance. All right. I want to do the bare minimum amount of strength training just to maintain my physique, to maintain most of my strength. But I wanna free up time or I just don’t have the time to do what I normally do, but I don’t wanna be out of the gym completely for
John: three months.
Yeah. So for beginners, I would say number one, uh, in terms of exercise selection, there’s really no point I would say in doing isolation exercises at that point. Now, the whole point of doing any kind of isolation exercises, so for listeners that would be, you know, isolation isn’t really the proper term, but it would be like an accessory exercise.
So, or a single joint exercise, something. The amount of muscle mass you’re using, the amount of joints involved or is fairly limited. Something like a biceps curl versus a pull-up, which would be more of a multi-joint exercise. So your elbows, your shoulders are involved. All the muscle groups associated that are connected across those joints.
So you’d really wanna focus on the ladder. So multi-joint, compound full body, however you wanna call it. These exercises that use as much muscle mass as possible, just cuz they are more efficient. And as far
Mike: as movement patterns, maybe something that you have that you’re pressing out in front of you, pressing overhead, some sort of squat, some sort of hip hinge.
And sure if you can just do the big boring basics, if you can just barbell squat and barbell deadlift, bench press. Overhead press, then great. Do those things. If you can’t do any of those exercises for any reason, that’s okay, but you can still do something that uses those patterns and probably ideally would use free weights.
But even if that doesn’t work, you still use those movement patterns and use machines again, especially if you’re new,
John: right? Yeah. Or even body weight too. I mean, uh, as you said, it’s probably good to think with like a vertical and a horizontal push and press. So you have a vertical press, so straight up and down be like an overhead press of some kind horizontal, so like some kind of pushup or a bench press.
You have a horizontal pull, which would be like a body weight row or a dumbbell row, a vertical pull, which would be like a lap pull down or a chin up or a pull up, and then some kind of squatting motion, so that could, or squat slash lunge, right? So anything that is kind of like a, almost like a leg pressing motion and then a hip hinge, so like deadlift, Romanian deadlift, dumbbell deadlift, things like that.
So if you get, and again, obviously you don’t need to do all of those and probably best for beginners not to do all of those necessarily in the same workouts, just ends up. You know, being a bit more than you need, uh, you can spread that out throughout the week. But, so that would be exercise selection. And then in terms of volume, so again, if we’re looking at maybe two to three sets per muscle group per week, probably more like two if you’re a beginner, if we’re, we’re talking about the bare minimum to either maintain or make small amounts of progress.
So probably something like three to four exercises per workout. And again, Recommendation to most people would be to do what I would say is maybe the maximum frequency necessary to get the volume in, in a way that is logistically, uh, feasible for you. So again, it really depends on personal preference, but let’s just work around three days per week.
Cause I do think that, uh, it tends to work really well for most people, like Monday, Wednesday, Friday, then you still have the weekends off. You have a bit of wiggle room, so this is gonna be six
Mike: to eight sets per workout, three
John: days a. Yeah, so again, if you’re looking at three days a week, it’s just a simple thing to work with.
So, you know, probably as you said, three or four exercises, maybe two exercise or two sets per exercise and also rest periods. I would say, you know, for most people, if you’re a beginner, you can in some cases get away with maybe just a minute of rest or so between exercises because you’re just not using enough weight to really generate the kind of metabolic fatigue that, uh, really is what necessitates longer rest periods.
Uh, metabolic fatigue and also muscular fatigue as well. Yeah. And then also, uh, generally, you know, just basic programming principles. So starting each, uh, workout with generally the more challenging exercises. So something if you’re, you know, barbell, squatting, that’s generally gonna come first. Same with deadlifting.
Some of that’s just down to personal preference. And
Mike: if it’s, if it’s three days per week, what are your thoughts on, uh, the split, so to speak? Not that that matters per se, but, but a lot of people, it makes it easy for them to think about, okay, we have a push workout, we have a pole, we have a legs. That’d be one way of doing it.
Or should it be three full body or,
John: uh, Yeah. Yeah. Uh, what I would say is, in general for beginners, I would say the most efficient way, especially if you’re doing fairly low volume, would be more of a full body, maybe higher frequency is a, a better, more accurate way to put it. Cuz full body is a little bit misleading cause it’s usually not actually full body, like you’re hitting every single muscle group.
Uh, you know, we’ve talked about this before, right? It’s a little bit of a misnomer, but it’s just, it’s
Mike: just kind of a m a mishmash. Uh, so you just call it full
John: body e Exactly, yeah. It, it, it doesn’t fit into a, uh, a clean category like a lot of workout splits. So push full legs is a great way to do it. And honestly, Push, pull legs, programs for beginners kind of fit this mold.
I mean, BLS is like this, right? It’s almost like built on the backbone of a traditional push pull legs routine, but it’s more, it’s like somewhere between full body and push pull legs, UMLS being bigger and stronger. Obviously your program. So for a beginner, you know, let’s say you’re just doing Monday, Wednesday, Friday, three days a week, you know, your first workout.
You know, I’ll probably mess it up if I try to actually program at every single workout in the week, but
Mike: yeah. Yeah, just I wanna give people an idea of what these workouts, so, okay, good. We know we have six to eight sets per workout. Okay. We have some exercises, but how might
John: that look? Right, right. So yeah, you could do, say Monday might be like bench press two sets of that.
And again, when we’re saying sets, we’re talking about harder sets. Wor warmups would be something a bit separate. And actually that might even be worth mentioning real quick, especially if you’re a beginner, you really don’t need to spend much time warming up. That’s something people waste a lot of time with, where the warmup becomes like its own little workout where you have to go through this whole routine.
It, you know, I have my own thoughts on that. I think warmups are over prioritized, you could say. I think for most people, even advanced weightlifters, you’re usually fine after two or three sets. Uh, it’s largely personal preference, but I think physiologically you get most of the benefits after. Probably even one or two warmup sets.
I’ll chime in
Mike: and say that. So lower body, like if I’m squatting, what is gonna be relatively heavy weight for me? I’ve tried this before. One warmup set is not enough for me. Like I’ve, I’ve not hurt myself, but I’ve not even gotten to the point of tweaking things, but had things kind of hurt, like, Ooh, that didn’t, that didn’t feel good.
Like I just felt stiff in my knees, my back, my hips. I’m always squatting what’s for me, relatively heavy weight, even if it’s for a set of 10 that’s still heavy enough that I like to do. Three, usually not four, but three. Like, I like to do two lighter warmup sets. Maybe they’re eight or 10 reps. And obviously the load is not heavy, but I’m, I’m not getting close to failure obviously.
But then I like to load it up heavier, and that might be 80% of one RM for one, uh, just to quaint myself with a heavier load and then get into my working
John: sets. Yeah, and maybe I would add a caveat, which is just that the closer you’re getting to your one rm, your one at max, like your, the maximum amount of weight you can lift, and also the more technical, the exercise, I would argue those are the times when more warmups generally most people prefer more warmups at that point.
I’m the same way. Like if I’m going for a squat one or m, it’ll. Usually at least three warmup sets or so, and it really depends how heavy I’m going. But for me, I’ll
Mike: do that even if it’s a six or it’s an eight, or even if it’s a 10. Again, I’ve just, I’ve tried the one set with a 10 where I’m going for tens, and that’s with 70, 75% of RM whatever.
I’ve tried one warmup set and then squatting tens, and it just didn’t feel as good as the two or three warmup sets. And then the.
John: Yeah. Yeah. Again, I would agree it’s, it’s definitely a personal preference as well. Uh, and it’s gonna depend on the individual. And also squats are, I would argue, you know, one of the more technical exercises you can do.
So, like, for myself, you know, to, to use a counter example would be something like pullups, where, you know, I never warm up for pullups. I usually just go into the gym, cold bench
Mike: press, I’ve found I could do one, maybe two max on the bench press doesn’t bother me. I, I think, not warming up might be becoming a little bit of a trend or something.
But some people, I’ve seen, some people even in the Evans space space say, you don’t need to warm up for the bench unless you’re going for a one rm. But even if you’re doing fives or something, just hop on the bench and go. I don’t think I would get hurt per se, but it wouldn’t feel good.
John: Yeah, I would say that again, the main reasons to warm up I would argue are a, you know, your joints do feel a little bit more comfortable when they’re warmed up.
I would say most people feel that way. There is a little bit of research showing that your, your risk of injury is a bit higher when you’re using like your muscles and, uh, connected tissues are colder. Um, I’ve actually seen a little bit more of that, uh, in reference to endurance training, specifically with how to dress for cold weather, for instance.
So the, the more evidence-based recommendation nowadays would be to overdress a little bit specifically for injury prevention actually, cuz your joints, it’s better to be a little bit sweaty and warm and than, you know, have cold joints. But that’s, Slightly separate
Mike: issue. So then for, for newer people then just coming back so they, they could get away with maybe a minute, minute and a half of rest with the purpose of doing the, these shorter workouts and making them as productive as possible in that 15 to 20 minutes that they have.
John: Yeah. And another thing too, that is definitely worth using, whether you’re a beginner or not, but especially if you’re, you’re trying to save time or antagonist pared sets, which I know you’ve talked about before on the podcast, but essentially it’s just a fancy way of saying, I mean, antagonist pared sets are specifically where.
You train one muscle group and then you train the antagonist of that muscle group, uh, in your next set. There’s multiple ways of doing it. I know some people advocate for doing say, you know, one example would be like bench press and dumbbell rows. It’s a very simple example. Or triceps extensions and, uh, dumbbell curls, something like that.
Mike: of pairs of muscles that perform opposite functions. Exactly,
John: yes. And there’s some research that actually can improve performance on a subsequent exercise. N not really worth getting into the specifics. I think you did a, a podcast with Menno where you touched on some of that as well. Meno, Hensel men’s, you can go listen to that.
But for the purposes of this discussion, I would say the main takeaway is just essentially you’re training one muscle group while the other one is resting. And the way I personally like to do it, I don’t generally, uh, and this is just personal preference, I actually do, do think there’s some merit to, to doing that even from a performance standpoint.
Combining these, uh, antagonist muscle groups in your training. But I like it just combining muscle groups that are not close to each other. So you could do like curls and calves, for instance, like as far apart as possible. It allows you to rest a bit longer while making better use of your time in the gym.
So in this case, let’s say you’re not doing isolation exercises like that. You do something like bench press, you knock out two sets of that. Maybe you do one to three warmup sets. And also too, just to, to wrap up on the warmup thing, it also really depends how strong you are. Like let’s say your one arm max on the bench press is 95 pounds.
You might be able to get away with just one set of warmups at that point where you’re really, you know, you just do, you’re doing five with the bar or something like that, and you work your way up to 95. But as you get stronger at usually the people doing the most warmups, um, who really need to do the most warmups are the stronger people in the gym.
People who are more closer to their natural potential for muscle growth. So going back to breast periods and antagonist. Parrot sets. So yeah, a way you could do that would be, let’s say you’re doing bench press. You could do dumbbell rows, so that would be like an upper body pulling exercise. And then you could do, you know, it could be a pull
Mike: up or a
John: lap pull down or whatever.
Right, right. Yeah. Some kind of pulling exercise. Yeah. It doesn’t have to be like if you’re doing a pushing exercise and a pulling exercise, they don’t ha, both have to be horizontal. One could be vertical, it doesn’t really matter and there’s nothing magical about that. Right. You also have exercises that are somewhere in between, like an incline bench press is a good example.
It’s somewhere in between a vertical and horizontal. The idea is you’re just training these muscle groups through different ranges of motion and through at different angles. Uh, cuz there is research a, you know, it’s a good way to avoid overuse injuries. There’s not a whole lot of research on that, but varying your training and rotating through different exercises probably is a bit better for joint health.
And then also it’s just a good way to make sure your muscles. Well-rounded, so to speak. Like they’re just getting trained from in different ways. And there’s some research that does show that, uh, is better from muscle growth over time. But anyway, so you, you could start with something like a bench press, then maybe you do a lap pull down or a dumbbell row, then you could do maybe dumbbell lunges or squats.
Uh, if you’re doing squats, you should probably do that first, generally. But let’s say you’re doing a different lower body exercise like lunges, you know, you know, in that case, one good way to do it would really be almost like, you could call it like a slow circuit in a way where you do like a set of bench press rest, maybe 90 seconds, and then you do a set of dumbbell rows, rest like 90 seconds, then a set of lunges, rest 90 seconds, and then you just do that once more and that’s it.
And then you’re, you’re done. And you know, generally people who are in. Strength training, uh, like more traditional strength training don’t like circuits. And there’s good reason for that. Cause generally, the way most people do them, they’re not great for muscle growth where you’re just jumping from one exercise right to the next and you have no rest periods.
And generally you’re not using very much weight. Uh, that’s not ideal. But in this case, that’s why, again, slow circuit is one way you could describe it, where you are giving yourself more rest and in a way that’s, you could argue that would be better even, you know, because you’re resting.
Mike: Cause when you come back around for, for those second sets,
Yeah, you’ve rested four and a half minutes between sets of bench press, so you should definitely be, uh, ready to go. So that would be pr if I were doing it, that would be how I would probably program it. And again, that would be with three exercises. If you have the time, you can do something else too. You know, maybe like a hip hinge motion emotion or something like that.
Or honestly, if you want, you can always throw in an isolation exercise, uh, if you just enjoy it too. Um, so, uh, it’s not like you can’t do those, it’s just they’re generally not as efficient. So that would be programming that exercise. That would be another thing too, is generally if I were programming it, I would try to have, you’re generally gonna make the most progress with whatever you do first in the exercise.
Now if you’re mixing and matching it like this with a kind of a slow circuit approach or however you wanna call it, it doesn’t matter quite as much. But if you start on Monday with like a pressing exercise, I would say on Wednesday, you might wanna start with something else. So maybe you start with a lower body exercise that day, like a squatting motion.
And then on Friday, maybe you do. Like an upper body, body pulling exercise to start, you’re making sure that you attack every movement when you’re fresh throughout the week. You know, I’m, I’m just
Mike: thinking that push pull legs really work nicely for, for this, uh, even, even we’re talking about shorter workouts kind of doing in this different circuit style.
But if that first workout, again, we have time for 68 sets and let’s just say it’s six. That’s what we have time for is six sets. And so you do six sets, uh, of, so cuz you could do your, your horizontal and, and your vertical pushing in that workout. And then you have six sets of pulling that starts with a hip hinge of some kind.
And then you have six sets for your lower body. Somebody who’s new is going to do well with that. Like they’re, they’re, they’re gonna make good progress, not just a little bit. And somebody who’s experienced is certainly going to maintain, um, their physique with that and they, they might lose a little bit of strength compared to their strongest uh, doing.
Twice or three times that volume, but they’re gonna maintain most of their performance with that. Yeah,
John: definitely. And especially when you’re looking at, that’s
Mike: probably how I would do it personally, just cuz I like to squat and deadlift in different workouts. I don’t like doing them in the same workout because it’s a lot on my lower back now.
I don’t have back problems, but it’s just a lot. It’s a lot on my lower back, it’s a lot on my, on my hips as well. And so I prefer to separate those things And so, you know, push pull legs just fits nicely into this approach. Yeah,
John: yeah. It’s a good way of approaching it, uh, in terms of that goal of just trying to make sure you’re attacking different motions when you’re fresh too, so you’re not always, you know, you’re not only kind of giving the choice, part of your workout to chest training, for instance, that’s like a, a common guy thing, right?
Where you always start with some kind of pressing exercise. You know, it’s, if that’s the muscle group you most wanna develop, that’s not a terrible thing to do either, if that’s, uh, what you wanna do, but especially if you have limited time. Doesn’t really make sense. So, yeah, I mean, push, pull legs is a great way to start.
And if you, you know, if you wanna train six days a week, you could just double it up, right? So you do push pull legs, push pull legs. Now if you want to do a slightly different cadence, let’s say you wanna do push pull legs, but you don’t want to do, you wanna train four days per week. You could do push, pull legs, push pull, legs, push, and then the next week would start with pull legs, push, you know, you can stagger it that way as well,
Mike: or, or that fourth day.
You could always just use to prioritize, just to give a little bit more volume to whatever you most want to develop. So with women, it’s, it’s usually lower body, so they might want to go push legs, pull legs, something like that. And, and as far as like those individual workouts, if, if we have six sets, then unless I’m missing something like the push workout, you could start with your horizontal or your vertical push, and then your next exercise is, The other, your, your final exercise could be an isolation exercise for say, your triceps in the pole.
It could also be a, it could be a vertical pole, a horizontal pole, and then you could do a little bit your two sets of biceps, which also for, it’s more, more for men than, than women in my experience. Uh, but, but many women also do like to train arms, and that is one of the body parts that they pay attention to.
You know, most women I’ve worked with over the years, they pay the most attention to their lower body and maybe the least attention to their pecs. But, but many do also pay attention to how their shoulders look and how their arms look often because they’re wearing clothing that, that reveal their shoulders and arms.
John: yeah, I mean, that’s a perfectly valid way to program it as well. And that’s where it just gets into personal preference of what you wanna prioritize with the time you have.
Mike: I I also, just to just, one other thing is, and I’ve seen, uh, sorry to keep jumping in, but I, I’ve just, I’ve seen some other versions of this.
Short workouts. You just do a few a week that are full body, so by full body, that means you’re doing a little bit of upper body and lower body training in the same session, and, and depending on where you’re at and what you’re doing, that can also entail more. So if you, if you have to do a barb bench press and a, let’s say a barbell squat in the same workout, is that bad?
No, of course not. You’re gonna spend a little bit more time warming up than if you’re doing, let’s say, a push workout. You, you warm up on that first push exercise and you don’t have to warm up. That’s it. You only had to do one or two warmup sets and you’re done warming up for the workout. Same thing, of course, goes for a pole workout.
Let’s say you’re starting with some sort of deadlift, some sort of hip hinge. You are not gonna have to warm up for your pullups that come next or your lap pull down. And of course, when you get to your biceps, your, your plenty warm there and you know, lower body, your, your one or two warmup, warmup sets that you do on that first exercise are all you need for your
John: entire workout.
Yeah, that would be another good logistical argument for, for not doing full body exercises. You’re right. Um, you know, it’s probably less, maybe one reason people can get away with that, so to speak, is that in many cases the exercises they’re doing are not as technical and not as challenging. So if you’re doing a full body workout and it’s mostly single joint exercises, if it’s body weight stuff Yeah.
Or body weight, you know, it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter so much. But yeah, if you’re doing what we’re recommending, which is mostly using multi-joint compound exercises, pushing fairly close failure. Yeah. I mean, you probably are gonna have to do more warmup sets if you’re doing a full body workout, whereas with something,
Mike: even if you’re new, right.
I mean, I wouldn’t tell somebody new to just, let’s say they’re gonna do a deadlift and don’t warm up, just go like, you’re not strong.
John: Yeah, that would not be a smart move. And even, especially if you’re new, the other argument for doing more warmup sets would just be technique practice. You know, more reps practicing good technique.
So yeah. Yeah, I’m definitely not a fan of, uh, of shirking that when you’re starting out. So yeah, that would be another good argument for doing something more like a pushable legs. And again, you can do all sorts of different combinations of these, right. But you could do a traditional, you know, the example we just gave was more of like a hybrid pushable legs, full body.
You could do just a traditional pushable legs as well, where you do three or four pushing exercises, do two or three sets of each, you know, pull, same thing, lower body, same thing, including the deadlift in the pull workout generally. And that’s also a perfectly fine way to do it. I would also say when you’re looking at using lower volumes in your training, the, yeah, the benefits of doing a higher frequency, I, I don’t really see those for most people.
I would say if you’re doing, uh, just like. Six sets throughout the week for a particular muscle group, you could probably trying to split that into multiple workouts. I don’t see a significant benefit physiologically there, or in terms of muscle growth or strength or anything like that. Cramming those all in one workout is probably entirely fine.
So you could even say that’s for. Let’s say you’re an advanced trainee and you’re just trying to maintain, you know, that would be actually a very good application there, like a push full legs program that might actually be a bit better than, uh, some alternatives you could do.
Mike: Yeah, yeah. Makes sense. And for, for people who are new, it’s easy to understand and it’s easy to execute so that that counts for something too.
And like you said, I, I don’t know why. Those six sets, as opposed to doing your six sets for your pull muscles in one workout, splitting those into three workouts of two sets, there’s, there’s no, there’s no way that, that, that increased frequency is gonna matter in that application. .
John: And again, the main argument in favor of doing a higher frequency is reducing fatigue.
So you know, you’re not going, you’re not doing success of one exercise and then of say, squats and then you go into six sets of leg press or something. Yeah, you’re gonna be toast. But in this case, the absolute amount of sets also matters quite a bit. I mean, that’s the main thing that matters when you’re talking about frequency.
So if you’re doing six total sets, you could do six total sets in one workout for one muscle group and be fine. Maybe the last set or two is a little bit lower quality. But even then it’s, it’s debatable. And if you’re a beginner, it almost certainly doesn’t matter. . Now, one other scenario too that might be worth touching on is, let’s say whether you are more of a beginner, say within your first year of training or more of an advanced trainee, uh, in the scenario too, let’s say you’re traveling or something like that and you hit a period where maybe you’re not able to train as much as you would like for a period, but you’re, you know, that’s not going to be your, your norm forever, but a month or two, something like that.
Uh, one interesting piece of research found that you could do just one set actually for each muscle group, one heavy set and maintain most of your strength. Now, I didn’t look at muscle gain, but again, when you look at, you know, you don’t really lose much of anything after six to eight weeks of doing nothing.
Uh, it’s, I would be very surprised if you lost any muscle gain, uh, muscle growth. With this strategy, but you can maintain most of your strength with doing just one heavy set from Muscle Group per week. Uh, and I, I’ve personally found that to be the case. And it also makes sense theoretically when you’re, you look at strength as a skill, it’s really a neuromuscular skill, just like hitting a golf ball with a club or swimming or anything like that.
When it comes to maintaining your strength, it’s mostly about just maintaining the technique and the weight matters with technique. So it’s not like you can just take an empty bar and do, you know, a set with that. Uh, you have to be using an appropriate weight or heavy weight, but you know, you can essentially maintain your strength with even less volume than you, it takes to maintain your muscle mass over time.
Mike: And you can lose a tremendous amount of strength on an exercise by not doing it for a long period of time. I experienced that firsthand during Covid for six to eight months. I was working. At home and I had dumbbells and bands and I didn’t lose any muscle. The dumbbells went up to like 80, 85 pounds.
They were adjustable, but whatever that maximum amount was, 80, 85. Doing dumbbell front squats was actually pretty difficult. I, I don’t know if I could do, at the time, more than sets of 10, like that was close to failure. So that’s a, that’s a perfectly effective training stimulus. And I was, I was doing, 12 hard sets per week for my lower body.
So I lost no muscle at all. But I hadn’t barbell squatted in six to eight months by the, by the time I finally wanted to get back in the gym, I could have gone back sooner, but I was kind of just liking being able to go downstairs, do a workout and just be done as opposed to driving to the gym, seeing people talking, which inevitably just happens.
And I mean, I like it, but at the same time it just takes more time. And so six to eight months go by and I remember that squatting maybe 2 25, might even been a little bit less, 1 95 for like sets of six ish. And it hurting my quads were like wrecked. I, it took a couple of months to get reacquainted with the exercise again, which is odd because I was doing dumbbell squats.
I was doing lunges, just not the same. Yeah.
John: Strength is, Very specific to the exercise and also to the rep range, which is, uh, a frustrating fact. But it’s, it’s the case. And squats are also just their own beast as well. And I think anyone who’s really gotten to a high level with squats will agree with that.
It seems like it’s a, it’s a harder exercise to progress on than most, in many cases, uh, just from a technique standpoint at least. Versus deadlift, let’s. Yeah, it’s definitely more technical. Yeah. And
Mike: riddle riddle me this, so I was doing no hip hinging. Maybe I did a little bit of dumbbell deadlifting, but I remember trying it and it just, the dumbbells weren’t heavy enough.
Feels like a waste. Yeah. I was just like, this is kind of waste time thinking about it. Now, maybe I could have made a single leg with that weight, but regardless, I did basically no hip hinging for months and months and months. And my deadlift was down, but I remember telling you about it. I think my one rm, I calculated it, um, based on my, my training.
I’m back in the gym. I have my little whatever I did for sets of what calculate my one rm, I think it was down 30 pounds, only 30 pounds. And I didn’t deadlift once in six to eight months. I trained my lower body and my squat onem. I don’t know, like 80 pounds .
John: Yeah. Yeah. And you were also a bit leaner too, so you know, your strength to weight ratio probably, uh, for the deadlift was not all that different.
Mike: that’s a good point actually. Yeah. Yeah. I lost I think eight pounds over that and not muscle. I, I got like pretty, pretty lean without even really trying that hard.
John: Yeah. If anything, you might have actually, when you calculate like your one arm versus your body weight, you might have actually had an improvement on the deadlift.
You, you should not train. That is the takeaway. ,
Mike: that’s the
John: key. But yeah, deadlifts are, Uh, yeah, it’s just different with squats and deadlifts too. It, it’s very exercise specific about what, what exercises degrade, uh, in terms of strength faster than others. Bench press seems like that’s kind of all over the place.
Depends on the individual, you know, I know most people find that tends to drop off more while cutting than some of the other exercises too. Yeah. What else, uh, what else is that are cover on minimalist training programs?
Mike: I mean, I think that that’s, that that’s everything that, um, I had, I was gonna ask you if there’s anything still kind of just, uh, bouncing around in your head that, that some, anything I
John: should have asked or, I mean, I jotted down a few just guidelines for people to keep in mind based on their goals.
So, uh, that’s really, whenever we’re talking about programming, that would be the first thing I would ask somebody is what are your goals? What, what’s the point of doing it? So in the case of minimalist training programs, I would say, Is your goal to try and do as little as you can while still making some progress?
Is it just to maintain and then, you know, as a stop gap until you can start training the way you want to again in the future? You know, is it just to stay healthy? Are you trying to gain muscle or strength? You know, it really, the, the proper setup for all of this depends, um, you know, for all those goals.
In many cases, one program will be fine for all of those as well. Uh, but there are a few guidelines people can use. So I would say if you’re just concerned about your strength, one heavy set for Muscle Group per week is probably fine for just maintaining it for health. It’s probably something like two to four sets per muscle group per week, which is really, you know, the, the main example we’ve come back to several times when we’re talking here for Muscle.
It’s probably about the same for, for a beginner, like two to four sets per muscle group per week. Now, for a beginner,
Mike: that would be to gain though, right? Not to maintain, like they’re gonna get, they’re gonna gain muscle on that.
John: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So if you’re a brand new beginner, I mean, you’re gonna, like, you’ve never lifted weights before.
It’s been years since you touched a weight. I mean, one set per week and you’ll be able to gain muscle. But yeah, so that, that’s true. Yeah. If you’re talking about a beginner, even two to four sets per week, you’ll actually make some progress. And then,
Mike: and then that, that six sets per week that we laid out a simple push, pull legs.
A, a beginner will do quite well with that. They could probably do a little bit better if they did a little bit more, but that’s gonna produce more than probably 50% of the. Total muscle and strength gain available to them, at least for the first several months, maybe even six months, maybe longer.
John: Yeah. So actually I have here in my notes, there was this, uh, review that Brad Schoenfeld and some of his colleagues did at, uh, Lehman College, where they looked at 15 different studies and they tried to, to essentially quantify this minimum effective dose and where the, the diminishing the point of diminishing returns occurred when it comes to sets per week for muscle group.
And you always have to take this with a grain of salt. You can’t look at these numbers as absolutes, but the, the conclusions were interesting. So what they found was one to four weekly sets per major muscle group per week. Got you. About 64% of the available. Gains and muscle mass. Now, this is, this is for people who are new.
That’s always a safe bet with research. Yeah, almost always. In general, it’s very rare to find studies on people who are even moderately well trained. Like in studies you see this often where they’ll say advanced trainees and they’re squatting, like maybe a bit above their body weight. Something like that where, you know, it’s almost like early intermediate.
Uh, late beginner stage. Yeah. It’s not to, to put these people down, it’s just the reality. You know, they’re often recruiting like college kids who’ve, you know, in many cases just got into weightlifting. It’s, you know, they’re not usually looking at somebody who’s been properly training and eating for a decade.
But yeah, I would assume this is almost certainly untrained or very lightly trained people. So yeah, one to four weekly sets for major muscle group. Uh, 64% of your maximum gains are hypothetical maximum gains. And then five to nine weekly sets per major muscle group was about 84%. So if you’re looking at the 80 20 on this five to nine weekly sets per muscle group per week, uh, is a good target shoot for.
So let’s say you’re still making half the progress you would if you were training optimally, so to speak, for muscle gain. Yeah, two to four sets per week is probably fine for that. You’re definitely gonna make progress. But if you’re a more advanced trainee, you probably are looking at maybe more of a minimum of like five to 10, something like that, to, to at least make progress.
Now if you’re just looking at maintaining, you know, 3, 2, 4, somewhere around there is still probably fine. Yeah, I mean, even two
Mike: workouts you think of. Okay, if, if one workout, you started with a squat and you did two sets of that, and then you did maybe a bench press and you did two sets of that, that’s one workout.
And then the other workout you started with, maybe you’d start with a deadlift and do two sets of that and then follow that up with, uh, two sets of, you probably would do some pulling, right? Just two sets of, uh, of a poll and that’s it. You do two workouts per week. Those are basically full body workouts.
Uh, that would be enough to produce significant results in somebody who’s new and probably to maintain. The physique and a lot of the performance of somebody who’s experienced.
John: Yeah, I, I would completely agree with that.
Mike: And you could, you could change up, like you could have week A that, and then week B instead of the bench press, you do an overhead press, uh, after the squat.
And so you could make some simple changes, but again, you’re, you’re only talking about. 15 minute workouts per week.
John: Yeah, and you know another funny thing too that I think more advanced weightlifters will find sometimes when say they’re forced to train less than they would normally like to, is they often perform better initially just because in many cases they we’re just doing too much and they’re always in the state of somewhat.
Fatigued, you know, they’re always going into workouts. Uh, a little bit suboptimally rested. You know, let’s say you have, you know, work constraints or something like that, that uh, or maybe you’re traveling and you’re not able to train as much. Uh, often they come back and they’re essentially, they were forced to taper without really knowing what was going on.
And they are, oh wow. I feel it’s so weird. I’m coming back and I feel so good in many cases. That actually makes perfect sense. The takeaway there is just, uh, don’t discount lower volume training too. I mean, I’ve experienced some of this as well, and I know you did as well actually with cutting. I remember during Covid especially like where you, you know, as you said, you were doing a bit less training overall than you were normally and,
Mike: and less, I think, I think less intensity was a big thing too.
My, my total volume went down a little bit, probably not too much, but now I wasn’t doing any dead lifting. I wasn’t doing barbell like real difficult squatting. The most difficult squatting I was do I was doing was a dumbbell front squat sets of 10. That’s, that’s just not the same. And doing some lunges.
John: Yeah, the stuff that beats you up if you
Mike: Yeah, exactly. A lot, a lot less stress on the body in that sense.
John: Yeah. It almost served as kind of a, a recuperate period while still, you know, holding onto what you had know. And I’ve experienced that as well where, you know, last year I was doing a lot more jiu-jitsu and I cut back on my strength training and.
On the one hand, I do enjoy lifting weights, so, you know, I don’t like cutting back too much there, but it was kind of nice just going into workouts and keeping it short and getting in, getting out and feeling pretty rested every time I would be in there. So even if you have the means to train a lot, uh, there’s nothing wrong with taking a bit of time to try a, a lower volume training plan.
And also this is just a, a general principle with anything. Setting limitations and then working within that also forces you to be a bit more resourceful and think a little, you know, a little more strategically about whether or not you need to do this exercise. You know, is that really helping me get toward whatever my goal is or not?
Uh, in many cases, you know, as you’re saying with people you see in the gym, a lot of what they do is they’re not really sure why they’re doing it. You know, if you, they’re putting together their program and they’re all right, I wanna do this exercise and this exercise, and I saw this YouTuber do it, so I should do that too.
And the reasons for including exercises or a certain volume in their program, they haven’t really thought that out. So embracing a little bit of a, a constraint on how much you can train can actually improve the quality of your training quite a bit as well. If we were to bring
Mike: it down to, to one workout, just, just, just for people.
Might want to consider that or, or maybe that is the best they can do. Uh, I suppose what you could do is you could start with a difficult lower body. So you could start with a squat and then you could do a push and then do a pole, not a deadlift. Off the top of my head, this is how I would do it. So let’s say start with some sort of squat, then maybe it’s a, so say barbell back squat.
Then I go over and do a bench press and then I just do some sort of pull, it might be a
John: lap pull down dumbbell rows or, yeah, something like that. Yeah.
Mike: It might be a dumbbell row. It might be a barbell row. I probably wouldn’t do that. I don’t like barbell rowing after deadlifting because I find it’s a bit much on my back.
John: Squats too. It, yeah, it kind
Mike: of beats you out. Yeah. Depends. Our front squat probably be okay cuz it, it’s not, not tough on the back, but, um, so that’s it. That, that’s your full body workout. You did, you started with a lower body and then you did a push exercise, then you did a pull exercise and then the next week instead of the squat, I would probably deadlift.
So I would do my two sets of. Deadlift and I would do the other push that I did not do. So let’s say I did the bench press the week before. I would do the overhead press now, and then I would do, if I did a, let’s say a lap pull down, a vertical pull, I now would do the horizontal pull and just flip back and forth.
Uh, week a week, a, we be, week B.
John: Yep. Just rotate. Yeah. I mean, it’s a good way of doing it. And there’s a reason that, uh, you know, starting strength, same idea, right? You have the workout a workout B, the, that formula works very well. So, um, but yeah, there’s a lot of different ways to do it, for sure. All
Mike: right, well, I think that’s it now, right?
I think we’ve
John: covered, yeah. I mean, I think we’ve, uh, we’ve beat it to death pretty well. Um, yeah, I mean, I would say that the main takeaway is just know why you’re doing it. Like there’s nothing that you, you have a goal going on into it of what you wanna get out of it, and that’s gonna dictate what kind of minimalist training program you take on.
Mike: If somebody has been, and, and I’ll speak to myself here. If somebody has been doing, uh, higher frequency, high volume training for some time, it might be interesting to them to try a little bit less training. I’ve reduced my volume. . Uh, so I cut back on the number of sets. Uh, that’s what I did first. So instead of doing four sets per exercise in my workouts, I cut back to three because I also wanted to cut.
I just wanted to see how my body felt in a calorie deficit with a bit less volume than I was doing previously. And I noticed, uh, sleeping better, I noticed, um, just, just seemed to be recovered a little bit better just by that slight reduction, even in a calorie deficit. And then, and then also actually today, I was like, I’m gonna go to four days per week.
Cause I really don’t need that fifth day if I’m just trying to maintain, like, I enjoy training, but I have a lot of other things that I want to do with my time and that I need to do with my time. And I’m thinking, man, I’m gonna drop to four days. And it, it is basically, push, pull legs with a little bit of additional upper body work, it’s probably gonna be like a shoulders and arms day is probably what it’s gonna be.
And I, and I think that makes sense for me. And I haven’t cut back on volume in a long time, over a year at least, because, uh, once I got back in the gym, I was back to a higher volume, five days a week program. And I haven’t done four days a week consistently. Like, sometimes it would just happen because it happens.
But I haven’t decided to do a four day a week program in a very long
John: time. Yeah. As long as I’ve known you, you’ve always done, uh, five days a week. I don’t
Mike: know. I, years and years and years, I know I could go down to two or three days per week and still maintain. I still, I still like doing what I’m doing.
And if I’m not doing that, I, I do want to be active. And so, you know, I could hop on my bike back here. That’s fine. Um, but I, I do enjoy strength training a little bit more than. Riding
John: the bike. So, and also over time, and maybe this is another point worth, uh, highlighting too, is just over time you are going to make better progress with a higher volume.
I think that is, uh, to a certain extent, right? It’s not a linear relationship. Yeah, yeah.
Mike: But at this point, I’ve accepted like progress. I can’t. Stay, let’s say 10, between eight and 10% body fat. I, I can’t stay there and make significant progress at this point. I’ve, I’ve had to accept that I have to be consistently in a calorie surplus, or I just can’t train hard enough to really move the needle.
And, and I see that in terms of tracking, like one rms tracking every workout. I mean, you know, we do the same thing, but I’m not, when I say for people listening that I can’t make progress unless I do that. Like I am measuring things. It’s not just do I feel like I’m making progress? Do I look bigger? Like no, it’s tracking everything and seeing that to make, to make slow and steady progress in my whole body’s strength, which is the only way I’m gonna gain any more muscle.
That’s what it takes. I, I can’t stay fairly lean. And do that because, uh, on the dietary side of things, for anybody who has stayed fairly lean for a while, uh, you know that you are going to undereat more often than overeat. That’s what it takes. I if it’s the other way around, you get fatter. So inevitably what happens is you tend to be in a calorie deficit more often than a calorie surplus.
And then occasionally you make up for what would be net fat loss by just going to a restaurant, eating a bunch of food, or you just eat a bit more for a few days because you’re feeling a bit hungry or whatever. And so over time, your body composition kind of just fluctuates in the same range. Yeah.
John: And, and that makes sense.You are at that point where every little detail matters in terms of optimizing body composition. So, you know, you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum from a, a beginner, you know, you could be in a significant calorie deficit and still gain a fair amount of muscle mass when you’re new in your case, you know, you’re very close to your absolute genetic potential.
It’s much harder to make any kind of progress unless you’re in a surplus. And that’s just of course why, uh, that’s what bodybuilders have done forever, right? Even the ones on drugs, they still have to do, uh, a similar process, even if they’re staying much leaner throughout that process. But yeah, and also too, maybe if, uh, if you are a more advanced, uh, weightlifter and the idea of going down to like two to four sets per week scares you a bit, I think that one third rule is a good one to operate based on.
So, uh, operate. So if you’re doing say, 12 sets per week, well that’s gonna give you the same number. Let’s say you’re doing uh, uh, like 18 sets per week. 15 or 18. Yeah, yeah. 15 sets or something like that. Just go down to five and see how, how you fare. And you can probably maintain for quite a long time doing that.
Mike: I mean, I, I can think of some people in the fitness space who it’s kind of their shtick and they make some dubious claims about the supposed benefits of training just two to three times per week. Like, oh, if you train five times per week, you’re gonna fry your nervous system. Said someone who’s full of shit.
But, uh, there, there are people, I, I don’t wanna name names, but there are people who, they maintain a great physique training on average, probably once or twice a week, because I’m thinking of a few people who they will go sometimes one, two weeks without training at all. And then, then they’ll do two workouts, then they’ll do two workouts the following week, then they’ll do one the following week, then they’ll skip the following week, then they’ll do two.
It’s not even necessarily consistently too, and you wouldn’t really know it. Looking at them, they kind of always look the same and they look good. And you can’t, you can’t just immediately point to drugs, like maybe in a couple of cases. But it doesn’t, it doesn’t appear. It’s not blatantly obvious, put it that way.
John: Yeah, maintain. That’s the, the nice thing about muscle gain is once you’ve got it, it’s actually pretty hard to lose it unless you make pretty significant, uh, missteps with your diet, uh, and sleep. Especially, it seems like those are two of the main areas where, you know, as long as they’re doing something in the gym and you’re still staying pretty active, and, you know, this is often the case, right?
With guys who are really into body weight training, who, you know, often build a pretty impressive physique. And then they, it seems like they just do gymnastics stuff and people get a little bit misled by the, that, I think at times as well, right? Where they, you know, they do traditional body building training for like 10 years and then this, you know, YouTuber starts doing calisthenics training and they are recommending that to get the body.
It’s like, all right, dude, , it’s a little bit misleading, but whatever. But yeah, the bottom line is once you, you’ve built a pretty impressive physique, uh, it doesn’t take that much effort to maintain and, and by impressive, it just means, you know, for a guy like 20, 30 pounds of muscle, relatively lean, like you’re bigger than most people and you’re somewhere close to your, your genetic potential.
Yeah. You don’t have to do that much to maintain it and still. Look pretty good.
Mike: Great. Well, um, I think that’s everything, right? Yeah. Yeah, I think so. Cool. Well, um, thanks again for, for taking the time and I know it’s, it’s late over there, so I appreciate and, uh, good information and for people who want. To learn more from you.
I mean, I guess, uh, a good place to, to head over is, um, to Legion’s website, right? Yeah.
John: Just, just go to the Legion blog. So, and that’s what I, I spend most of my time on each week is working on the articles that go up there. And I don’t know if we’ve done an article specifically on minimalist training programs yet, but No, I don’t think so.
No. I know that’s on our, our publication calendar, so that will be going up at some point in the near future. Yeah, a lot of information on training in general. So, you know, a lot of the topics we touched on, volume, frequency, intensity, you know, deloading tapering, stuff like that is on the website. Uh, if people wanna look at more of that rest periods too. Yep.
Mike: Yeah, exactly. And that’s, uh, legion athletics.com/blog. And you’ll see there are articles from me. There are articles from John, there are articles from Barney who works with us as well. Uh, I think that’s, that’s primarily, it’s just the three of us. Right. And, and there are some, some guest posts I guess you can find if you go far back.
Enough. Um, a lot of good information over on the blog from, from all of Us, I think. How many articles do we have now? Do you know what the number It’s, it’s thousands, right? It’s at least, it’s gotta be at least a thousand.
John: It might be. Yeah, actually it might be at this point, yeah. If, if it’s not, it’s, it’s darn close to it.
Mike: It’s definitely over, it’s between 500 and a thousand, I would say. Uh, and we have some, a lot of those are long articles too. I think the longest article we have is it’s, it’s probably one to 2 million total words.
John: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Yeah. It’s something like 25,000 words. It’s basically like a small book.
One of ’em, not most of ’em are not like that. That was that, uh, that one mega one we did. That would be a good one. If people are interested, you can, you know, it’s, uh, the 12 best strength training programs. If you just Google that and Legion Athletics, you’ll find it. But yeah, we have a, a lot of content, especially on training that people can go through and then there’s always new stuff going up.
Mike: Always a couple, couple of new articles every week. So if somebody is still listening, then they’re into this stuff and they’re gonna like the blog. So they should go . They should go check it out.
John: Yeah. , check it out.
Mike: Yeah. Cool man. Well, thanks again and I look forward to the next one. Well my friend. That is it for today’s episode.
I hope you liked it. Thank you for listening and don’t forget to enter my podcast giveaway in case you missed it because you skipped the intro. I understand. I normally skip intros to I am giving away over $1,000 in prizes to commemorate my 1000th episode of Muscle For Life. And to enter to win, you just have to head over to Muscle for life.show/giveaway muscle F O r life show slash giveaway.
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