alternate/don't alternate exercises?

Discussion in 'Basic Training Principles and Methods' started by terp, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. terp

    terp New Member

    I've been lurking for a while, but this is my 1st post.  I searched & found conflicting opinions, so here goes.

    I see some posts which say simplify & only use 5 or so exercises each workout.  I see others that have 15 exercises & include 2 or 3 exercises for the same bodypart in each workout.  everyone seems to say keep the workout under an hour.

    my program is squat, SLDL, incline bench press, chins, dips, bent over row, dumbbell shrugs, calf raises, & ab work done M, W, F.  I plan to increase sets as I decrease reps & don't have time for an AM/PM split.  would you recommend alternating incline bench/dip & chins/rows or just do everything every workout?  (I should add a shoulder exercise in there too).

    some background- this is my 1st HST cycle.  I've been lifitng 20 years & have a fair strength base (can bench 150% of BW & squat & DL 200%).  I've been doing a hardgainer (2x/week) program the last 2 years, but D/N gain much size & am now increasing volume as my diet & sleep were in order.

    sorry for the length of my post.  thanks in advance!
     
  2. style

    style New Member

    ''would you recommend alternating incline bench/dip & chins/rows or just do everything every workout?''

    It depends. You could stick with one exercise the whole cycle and see good gains. For example a lot of guys on this site love dips because you can use a hefty load and they find its kinder on the shoulders than bench. If you were doing adequate volume of dips with a good load, you will be hitting the pecs, front delts and tri's quite hard so I see no need for an extra exercise to hit the chest. I would do rows and chins in the same workout though, feeling that there are muscles on the mid-back not hit by close-grip underarm chins which I assume you are doing as they facilitate the greatest load.
     
  3. style

    style New Member

    Squat
    Dips
    Row
    Mil press
    Chins
    Calfs (opt)
    Shrugs

    I would also do some external rotator cuff work, coming from someone who has never done these exercises and has develeoped a severe inbalance [​IMG]

    Happy lifting [​IMG]
     
  4. terp

    terp New Member

    I'm actually doing the palms-facing-away wide grip variety of chin, thinking it is more of a back than bicep exercise (though both overlap considerably). probably overthinking on my part. [​IMG]

    I agree it's wise to do rotator exercises. I've let those lapse, but I'll throw them back in!
     
  5. scientific muscle

    scientific muscle New Member

    I don't alternate...my current routine

    Squats
    BB Rows
    Dips
    Underhand Chins
    Seated press
    DB Curls
    DB Triceps pullovers

    Once/week I do deadlifts separate from my normal routine.
     
  6. If strength is my goal, I alternate. I have more energy for all my lifts. As a real example, I always do military press last (or near last). When it's the last of 9 lifts, I struggle to do 115 pounds for 3 sets of 5. I usually run out of gas and have to do a few reps as push presses. When Military press is the last of 5 lifts, I can do 3 sets of 5 at 120.

    If I want to make sure I'm burning calories (I.E. cutting, or keeping fat gain in check) I don't alternate. I'll do 9 or 10 lifts per workout (about an hour):

    Squat
    Bench
    Pullup
    Dead Lift
    Dip
    Row
    Military press
    Situps -- I don't really include those as lifts though.

    For me, alternating takes about 45 minutes to work out:

    Squat
    Bench
    Pullup
    Military Press
    Situp
    Skull Crushers(maybe)

    Deal Lift
    Dips
    Rows
    Military Press
    Situp
    Curls (maybe)
     
  7. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    <div>
    (terp @ Jan. 04 2007,12:16)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">I'm actually doing the palms-facing-away wide grip variety of chin, thinking it is more of a back than bicep exercise (though both overlap considerably).  probably overthinking on my part. [​IMG]

    I agree it's wise to do rotator exercises.  I've let those lapse, but I'll throw them back in!
    </div>
    That's a pullup and you're correct: more back than bicep.
    SF, why are you doing chins and curls in the same workout? Don't you think that's a lot of bicep work? I'd want to use some of that strength elsewhere...but maybe you're specializing?
    So far, I haven't seen a thread I'm aware of on the advantages of whole body vs. 3-4 exersizes without talking about splits. I'm on the 5x5 now, doing only 3 exersizes, plus the assistance stuff recommended, but when I return to HST, I'll be back to my old 13 exersizes, simply to cover all the bases. I should be steel-strong when I finish the 5x5, but wish to maintain balance overall. It remains to see what needs work at that point.
    I mean besides my two-pack.
     
  8. scientific muscle

    scientific muscle New Member

    Specializing on arms this cycle...
     
  9. need2eat

    need2eat New Member

    Given your exercise choices, you should alternate, as your performing exercises that target a muscle group twice.  In the least, on your first cycle, target each muscle group once per workout, see what happens, less is more might work out in your favor.


    IMO you should alternate every other workout as follows:

    squats and SLDL

    bench and weighted dips

    weighted chins and rows



    might consider adding the following, optional:

    shoulder press, either dumbell or bar, maybe alternate if your feeling froggy.




    get rid of the following:

    calf raises  (isolation movement, just a way to waste energy)

    shrugs (you can actually shrug at the top of your deadlift movement)




    Any questions as to why I feel this way, click the following:

    HST FAQ CLICK ME


    Good luck
     
  10. scientific muscle

    scientific muscle New Member

    I agree with alternate workouts, it is just that I tried them and don't like them.  I like to get a solid routine and stick with it every workout.  It is almost like you BECOME your workout.  When I was alternating, I missed my favorite exercises and routine.

    Alternating has the advantage of possible hitting muscle fibers you may be missing doing only one movement/bodypart.  For example doing only dips...guy with large sternal pectorals...medium clavicle pectorals, guy who only incline benches may have the opposite.  A guy who alternates dips with inclines will most likely get good overall pectoral development.

    NOT alternating has the advantage of increased gains for that movement, as the same movement is being performed repeatedly every workout and the neural gains will be faster this way as well as certain motor units will be recruited every workout guaranteed.
     
  11. need2eat

    need2eat New Member

    <div>
    (scientific muscle @ Jan. 06 2007,16:29)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">NOT alternating has the advantage of increased gains for that movement, as the same movement is being performed repeatedly every workout and the neural gains will be faster this way as well as certain motor units will be recruited every workout guaranteed.</div>
    You bring up an interesting point.

    Dan Moore suggested that neural learning happens within roughly a 4 week period.  What wasnt mentioned, was the frequency required of a specific exercise,  in order for neural learning to fully occur within that period of time or the effects of less frequency.  As with a basic routine, you hit the muscle every second day, with a split, it would be every 4-5th day, depending on the weekly rotation.

    This would really be something valuable to know, in regards to the alternate, dont alternate discussion.  

    Anyone?




    Ok, im not trying to provoke here, as in my previous discussions, this is a genuine question.   [​IMG]   Your second paragraph suggests improved physical development alternating exercises, your last suggests improved ability, IM guessing via poundage, possibly physical development?  Either case, as a bodybuilder, isnt overall development more important than isolated development?
     
  12. scientific muscle

    scientific muscle New Member

    Yes, but I am not a pro bodybuilder... I am a guy trying to get big muscles. If I was already 240 lb.s and going to a competition and needed to worry about symmetry/proportion etc. Then I would probably have to do a wide variety of exercises.

    For now I will stick to my half dozen exercises and see how far it takes me. I am not nearly big enough to worry about lagging bodyparts yet. I firstly have to have huge bodyparts in order to see what is lagging in comparison.

    Once I can do huge amounts in squats, rows, dips, chins, presses, etc....I will assess my physique and see what if anything is lacking.
     
  13. need2eat

    need2eat New Member

    I think you misunderstand...my question has little to do with isolation movements, as it does total muscle growth.

    Example, you do one compound movement, your gonna target certain muscle(s). You do a variation of the same compound movement or one in which it targets the same major muscle but involves more minor, then wouldnt it be more likely, one would gain more total muscle?

    I understand it would be great to say, well, squats are the end all, and they are great, no doubt but to incorporate some more back into the movement, you have to do deadlifts, its recommended they be split or alternated, is it possible, alternating some compounds are a necassary evil to get overall development?
     
  14. colby2152

    colby2152 New Member

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">I agree with alternate workouts, it is just that I tried them and don't like them. I like to get a solid routine and stick with it every workout. It is almost like you BECOME your workout. When I was alternating, I missed my favorite exercises and routine.

    Alternating has the advantage of possible hitting muscle fibers you may be missing doing only one movement/bodypart. For example doing only dips...guy with large sternal pectorals...medium clavicle pectorals, guy who only incline benches may have the opposite. A guy who alternates dips with inclines will most likely get good overall pectoral development.</div>

    I completely agree, good post.
     
  15. dkm1987

    dkm1987 New Member

    <div>
    (need2eat @ Jan. 06 2007,18:40)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">I think you misunderstand...my question has little to do with isolation movements, as it does total muscle growth.

    Example, you do one compound movement, your gonna target certain muscle(s).  You do a variation of the same compound movement or one in which it targets the same major muscle but involves more minor, then wouldnt it be more likely, one would gain more total muscle?

    I understand it would be great to say, well, squats are the end all, and they are great, no doubt but to incorporate some more back into the movement, you have to do deadlifts, its recommended they be split or alternated,  is it possible, alternating some compounds are a necassary evil to get overall development?</div>
    As SciM is pointing out, it comes down to your choices of exercises and whether or not they are sufficiently hitting the muscle group targeted.

    Using his example lets look at three exercise for the chest.

    A-Flat bench or dips
    B-High incline
    C-Low incline

    The Flat Bench or Dips are definatley hitting the Sternal Pec and also the clavicle to an extent.

    THe High Incline is definately hitting the Clavicle pec and also the sternal to an extent.

    Now you could alternate between these or use a low incline to hit both with more emphasis at the same time.

    Now if alternating between A and B and working out 3X a week, one or the other is being hit only once per week with more emphasis.

    If using C for all three workouts then both clavicle and sternal are getting stimulated 3X week.

    And this isn't even counting on the other exercises that hit these same muscle groups IE Chins, Rows, Military Press, BB curls or any other movement that gets these muscle activated in a synergist, antagonist, or other role.

    So as you can see it varies greatly on your overall workout.
     
  16. need2eat

    need2eat New Member

    <div>
    (Dan Moore @ Jan. 07 2007,08:49)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">The Flat Bench or Dips are definatley hitting the Sternal Pec and also the clavicle to an extent.

    THe High Incline is definately hitting the Clavicle pec and also the sternal to an extent.

    Now you could alternate between these or use a low incline to hit both with more emphasis at the same time.</div>
    I just wanted to be 100% as my latest HST cycle includes alternating exercises. The alternating exercises, primarily target each major muscle, so frequency is there, so its good to go.



    Thanks
     
  17. dkm1987

    dkm1987 New Member

    <div>
    (need2eat @ Jan. 06 2007,16:47)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Dan Moore suggested that neural learning happens within roughly a 4 week period.  What wasnt mentioned, was the frequency required of a specific exercise,</div>
    It's very muscle specific.

    A recent report shows that the less complex movements happen sooner than more complex. With this is mind it appears that a simple exercie like Biceps curl will have a faster learning curve than squats. In fact this is why I said 2 to 4 weeks as the 2 week is more related to simple movements where the 4 weeks is related to more complex.

    As far as frequency, about the only way to ID this is strength changes in the immediate weeks following training commencement. What has been seen by many is that with twice weekly training, the strength changes seen aren't significantly different from 3X week but this doesn't speak for how volume and the other training variables fit into this.

    In the series of articles I have titled &quot;The Basics&quot; I touch on pretty much all the variables invovled and what the scientific research shows us.
     
  18. need2eat

    need2eat New Member

    <div>
    (scientific muscle @ Jan. 06 2007,17:32)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">For now I will stick to my half dozen exercises and see how far it takes me.  I am not nearly big enough to worry about lagging bodyparts yet.  I firstly have to have huge bodyparts in order to see what is lagging in comparison.

    Once I can do huge amounts in squats, rows, dips, chins, presses, etc....I will assess my physique and see what if anything is lacking.</div>
    and


    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Specializing on arms this cycle...</div>


    Another question comes to mind, isnt this conflicting statements?



    Thanks Dan Moore

    Thought I had my answer, ready to proclaim that alternate movements wasnt a good idea, then I read this:

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE"> It also appears that since gains in hypertrophy show little difference between 2 or 3 days per week it is safe to assume that 2X week would be just as efficient as 3X per week for most trainees.</div>

    If a person alternates movements, in one specific week or 7 day period, they would use A exercises twice that seven day period and B exercises once within that seven day period, HOWEVER, you would perform B exercises again within 4-5 days, in effect, you would be performaing A and B exercises, twice in a week period.  Make sense?

    And given the close nature of some of the alternated exercises, still at best, you would be hitting them no more than 3 times in a seven day period, if they hit the primariy muscles specifically.

    Now im thinking alternating isnt such a bad idea.
     
  19. need2eat

    need2eat New Member

    Dan Moore


    I see your online, I made some changes to my previous post, by chance you read it before, maybe you could read it again, I had an epiphany of sorts. [​IMG]

    Thanks
     
  20. Fausto

    Fausto HST Expert

    Terp

    I'm throwing in my 2cents worth. [​IMG]

    My opinion is that by alternating you can:

    1 - Perform each exercise with more weight each time, but sometimes as in the case of squats/deadlifts it becomes a necessity to avoid lower back excessive strain.

    2 - Alternating will also permit more volume per exercise which ends up being for the same body part.

    3 - Not alternating on the other hand will allow one to use a variety of exercises fro the same body part but then one should do 1 set of each, as in Dans example, 1 x Flat bench, one incline bench and one dips will hit the entire chest area.

    4 - Many guys here use A, B and sometimes even a C workout which they rotate throughout the program, this permits the guys to use 15 different exercises,split into 5 p/workout for example.

    The only disadvantage (again as mentioned by Dan) is that each exercise will only get used once per week, also the opportunity for progression is spaced out every 7 days.

    In the original HST theory, beating RBE is the main idea, and therefore hitting the exercise 36 - 48 hours again is the way to go, thus the simplified versions you are finding.

    One other is the post I started &quot;Simplify and win&quot; which ended up having a lot of good programs just right for growth enhancement! [​IMG]
     

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