Controlled Overtraining to Jumpstart Muscle Growth

Q: “I have a question regarding the ‘Controlled Overtraining’ strategy you presented in the 5 battle-tested strategies article. I was wondering what type of split I should use during the decompression phase (5X5, 5 body parts)? Upper/lower body split (2 times a week each) or full body (3 times a week)? And should I use only compound movements or also some isolation work?”

“Sorry to bother you with those questions, especially 6 months after the article was written, but I’d really like to give this approach a shot. Thanks for your help! And your blog is really great!”

Mathieu, a trainee from France


My Answer: Good to hear from you, Mathieu. To answer your question, go with the upper/lower body split (2 times a week). Just compound movements. No isolation movements. The whole point of decompression is to pull back from your training, so adding extra isolation movements would defeat the purpose.


Q: Hello, I consider myself to be partly a hardgainer but no beginner. Therefore I plan to modify the Hypertrophy Training for Ectomorphs program in your book by taking 8-6-5-12 reps instead of 10-8-6-15 as in the book.

My question: If I follow this program I will end up training my biceps and triceps each for 4 sets 3 times a week, in other words 12 sets each week. Isn’t that a little too hard on the arms, especially if I am 45 years old?



My Answer: The program calls for you to train each body part 4 sets 3 times per week, regardless what pyramid scheme of reps you use. It’s not going to push you into the overtraining zone, but if you’re scared that it will, then cut the arms altogether. With smaller body parts, you are less likely to overtrain, because the amount of nerve force is so low compared to large body parts. You are more likely to overtrain squatting or deadlifting three times per week than doing biceps curls and dips 3 times per week. But even then, 4 sets is not much.

If you are older and you feel you’ve been hormonally castrated through the years, then you may benefit from single set training programs from the early 20th century.


Q: “First of all, I would like to compliment you on the Shotgun Method article! I plan to apply for the position of a police officer, and I’m having trouble finding a training regimen that incorporates: v-taper, cardio, size, and strength. If you could find time out of your day to email me your take or a training regimen, that would be awesome.”

Shawn H.


My Answer: Glad you like the article, Shawn. The Shotgun Method is an excellent template on which you can design a strength program to address all your issues: size and strength exercises on shotgun days, v-taper exercises on troubleshooting days. Do some sprint intervals for cardio. But if you haven’t checked it out already, then read my Strength Training for the Professional Warrior. It addresses all of the issues you mentioned. Keep in mind, though, that police academies don’t give a rat’s ass about your V-taper or your size and strength.


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