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09
17
2010

Programming Mistake: Doing Too Much

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When otherwise intelligent people get into the gym for the first time (or their second/third/fourth time after a layoff), they invariably come up with some elaborate program that isolates body parts and looks ridiculously scientific to them. To people who have even a basic understanding of exercise science, it’s a load of garbage.

Take for example this workout routine:

Day 1 – Chest/Abs:

Cable Flies 3×12-15 reps (alternate between working upper and base)
Incline Smith Bench 4×12-15 reps
Flat Bench 4×12-15 reps
Decline Bench 4 12-15 reps
Incline DB flies (30 degrees) 3×10-12 reps
Exercise Ball Crunches 3×15-20 reps
Leg Lifts 3×12-15 reps
Cable Crunches 3×15-20 reps

Day 2 – Back:

Deadlifts 5×8-10 reps
Lat Pull Downs 5×10-12 reps
Seated Rows 4×8-10 reps
DB Single Arm Rows 3×12-15 reps
Barbell Rows 3×10 reps
Str8 Arm Lat Pulldowns 4×12-15 reps

Day 3 – Shoulders/Calves:

Rear Delt Flies 4×10-12 reps
Arnold Press 3×8-10 reps
Lat Raises 4×10-12 reps
Front Raises 4×10-12 reps
Wide Grip BB High Pulls 3×10-12 reps
Behind The Head Smith Machine Military Press 3×10-12 reps
Seated Calf Raises/Donkey Calf Raise Superset 5×12-15 reps
Farmer Walk Forward and Backward

Day 4 – Arms/Traps/Abs:

Alt DB Curls/Single Arm Tricep Extension superset 4×10-12 reps
BB Curl/DB Tricep Kickbacks superset 3×12-15 reps
Isolated DB Curl/Dips superset 3x 10-12 reps
Armblaster Cable Curls/V Bar Pulldowns or Rope superset 4×10-12 reps
Close grip BB Shrugs (front and back) 4×10-12 reps
DB Shrugs 3×10-12 reps
Close Grip BB High Pulls 3×10-12 reps
*repeat Ab routine

Day5 – Quads/Hams/Calves:

DB Deadlifts/Stiff legged deadlifts superset 4×10-12 reps
Lunges/Lying Leg Curls superset 3×12-15 reps
Standing Leg Curl 4×10-12 reps
Leg Extension 4×10-12 reps
*repeat Calve routine

This lifter is a beginner based on his previous lifts and training status. What do you immediately notice? Well, that he’s “isolating” muscle groups and doing a ridiculous amount of repetitions per day over five days in the gym. Beginners do not need this much volume. It is far too much fancy nonsense and not enough actual compound movements to get strong and/or look better.

If you can wade through that giant mess of a “program,” you’ll see that there aren’t any squats. Any training program without squats is useless – period.

The program above is fairly common for people who like to think for themselves and pride themselves on being smart and free-thinking. The problem, of course, is that nearly all these people suffer from the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which essentially states that unskilled/uneducated people suffer from an illusion that they are smarter than everyone else and can do things their way, when in reality they are completely incompetent. As Charles Darwin said: “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”

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