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E-zine #19: Downshifting into the Recovery Zone

Reducing the volume for a medium-intensity phase.

For those who’ve been following the E-zine for the past few installments, you might be fooled by the title of this month’s issue. You’ll remember that we’ve actually cut back on our training for the past few months in an effort to increase recovery. We actually found the last routine to be very productive, but we’re also trying to follow the phase-training concept. That’s where you train hard for six to eight weeks, and then cut back on everything for a week or two. That’s exactly what we’re doing. Not only are we reducing the volume, but we’re also bringing our intensity levels down for this medium-intensity phase.

This two weeks of training will be abbreviated to a point that we’ll be training only Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It’s not necessarily a three-day split either. This is a Monday-Wednesday split with a light, full-body routine on Friday. Of course, this is a sign that we’ll also be ramping everything up again soon, so it’s important that we stay in the medium intensity zone if we’re going to allow for complete recovery between phases.

The Monday-Wednesday split is all straight sets, aside from the forearm work, in which we’ll still be incorporating Aftershock training. Everything else, however, will be genuine straight sets, so that alone will bring the intensity levels down.

Many of the sets on these two days are down from two to one as well, so volume is obviously coming down a good amount too. Monday is upper legs, calves, arms and abs. The Wednesday workout is chest, delts, back and forearms. It may sound like long training days but trust me, they aren't. Keep in mind that we’ve cut back to one set on many of the movements. For instance, Monday’s workout is a total of 20 sets compared to about 40 sets on Monday’s workout from last month. (Don’t let that 40 sets frighten off any of you readers thinking about trying the previous routine. Those sets included many supersets, which significantly cut down on the training time. That was also the longest of all the days on that routine, and there was an alternative home-gym-based program that was a bit shorter as well.)

This is what Monday’s workout looks like on our abbreviated routine:

Squats 2 x 8-12
Leg extensions 1 x 15
Smith-machine squats 1 x 10-12
Leg curls 1 x 8-12
One-leg leg curls 1 x 8-12
Stiff-legged deadlifts 1 x 8-12
Standing calf raises 2 x 10-15
Leg press calf raises 1 x 10-15
Seated calf raises 2 x 10-15
Donkey calf raises 1 x 10-15
Preacher curls 2 x 8-12
Lying extensions 2 x 8-12
Hanging kneeups 1 x 8-12
Ab Bench crunches 1 x 8-12
Low-back machine 1 x 8-12

As you can see, it’s quite a simple routine, but necessary in order to allow for complete recovery before the next intensity phase. Wednesday's workout look much the same, with the exception of forearms. For the forearms, we’re simply doing one Aftershock tri-set for flexors and one for extensors, making it a total of three sets each. Our reasoning for the tri-sets is simply to speed up the routine. Volume and intensity can still be maintained at low levels without problems.

Friday is the light, full-body routine and it consists of about 20 sets also. Those sets, however, are split up over 20 different exercises, and reps are a bit higher. Obviously, that means only one set per exercise and no supersets. Aside from any necessary setting up, Friday’s routine is also quite quick and simple, even though it’s a full-body workout. To see the whole routine, pick up the April 2002 issue of IRONMAN.

With many of the people around us starting to get sick, the timing couldn’t be better for our downshift. By maintaining the low intensity levels and low volume, we’ll be guaranteed to be fully rested and recovered by the time we start the next phase.

Until next month, train hard, but not too hard. If you happen to be in Columbus, Ohio for the Arnold Classic weekend from March 22 to 24, Brenda Kelly and I will be at the IRONMAN Magazine booth #201, so stop by and say Hi.

To follow the ITRC training program in ‘Train, Eat, Grow,’ get a copy of the latest issue of IRONMAN.

This Special Report was submitted by Jonathan Lawson
The IRONMAN Training & Research Team

The ITRC Training Newsletter is not intended as training advice for everyone. You must consult your physician before beginning any diet or training program. You may forward this email to as many friends as you want, but do not photocopy or reprint this report in any format without the written permission of the copyright holder.

All Content (c) Copyright 2002 IRONMAN Magazine
All Rights Reserved

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