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  1. #1
    Registered User preslove's Avatar
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    PPL too much for a novice?

    Ok, I have an exercise bike, a bunch of 1" plates, adjustable dumbbells, an adjustable bench, and an ez bar in my spare bedroom/office. I started a focused weight loss program in early February, and went from 185 lb to 143 (meant to stop at 145) with lots of cardio and some unfocused garbage lifting. Since I already had a home micro gym, COVID actually helped my adherence. Once I hit my goal weight of 145, I added calories back in for a bulk.

    I'm socially distancing and working from home, so I don't have much else to do than train at home. I've never done a consistent lifting program until 3 or 4 weeks ago. But I've been on youtube during my weight loss months and finally came up with a dumbbell program that I liked as I was closing in on my cutting goal.

    Question is, lately, I keep seeing people say that novices should start slow to avoid burnout or preventing recovery (and GAINZ). The thing is, a switch flipped and I have started *looking forward to lifting.* I'm not too sore. But I'm concerned that the volume might be counterproductive bc of all the "beginners should start slow" messaging I've seen (only lately, for whatever reason). I was really happy with this until I started seeing mike israetel et al videos saying beginners should go slower than what I've been doing.

    Here's the program

    1 Pull
    dumbbell lat pullovers
    Single arm dumbbell rows or neutral grip bench supported row (alternating workouts)
    Pronated bench support rows
    Reverse fly

    2 Leg
    Goblet squat
    Dumbbell RDL
    Dumbbell hip thrust
    Dumbbell calf raise

    3 Push
    Flat dumbbell bench press
    Incline dumbbell bench press
    Seated dumbbell shoulder press
    Seated lateral raises

    4 Rest day

    Repeat


    I don't follow a weekly schedule, so it ends up being 6 workouts one week and 4 the next. Since I do legs between upper body workouts, and have a rest day, I never workout upper body two days in a row. Are there any reasons not to continue this program, other than burnout?
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  2. #2
    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    I think you have it slightly backwards. A novice recovers far faster than a more advanced trainee. A proper novice program takes advantage of that and ramps up progression accordingly.
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  3. #3
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    You've already come to your own conclusions on the list of exercises above, so you should do whatever you want - there's no actual "volume" in your program anyway.
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    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Throw in some overhead Tricep extensions on push days and exercise selection looks good
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    Registered User TAWS6's Avatar
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    It depends. The question is why would you want to be in the gym 6 days when you’ll get far better results on a 3 day novice program? If ppl gets you in the gym and you enjoy it then that would be more important than what’s optimal. Beginners shouldn’t be writing their own programs to begin with but that’s a whole other topic.
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    Registered User pondman's Avatar
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    I prefer PPL. But it's because I can't do heavy lifting on everybody part in 1 training session. Once I'm finished with heavy squats, I don't have the ATP left in the tank to do bench pressing or anything overhead. So I split it out.

    Personally I believe novices are better building initial strength, which probably is more suitable to whole body workouts for a while.
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  7. #7
    Registered User preslove's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TAWS6 View Post
    It depends. The question is why would you want to be in the gym 6 days when you’ll get far better results on a 3 day novice program? If ppl gets you in the gym and you enjoy it then that would be more important than what’s optimal. Beginners shouldn’t be writing their own programs to begin with but that’s a whole other topic.
    That's kind of my question. Would a 3 day novice program actually give me better results than a higher frequency program? I haven't seen the reasoning behind this, other than 'burnout'
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    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by preslove View Post
    That's kind of my question. Would a 3 day novice program actually give me better results than a higher frequency program? I haven't seen the reasoning behind this, other than 'burnout'
    That's another thing you got backwards. The 3 day novice program is higher frequency than the PPL.
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  9. #9
    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    It's fine tbh, though could probably progress quicker with more frequency on the major lifts
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  10. #10
    Registered User TAWS6's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by preslove View Post
    That's kind of my question. Would a 3 day novice program actually give me better results than a higher frequency program? I haven't seen the reasoning behind this, other than 'burnout'
    Novices do better training each muscle group 3 times per week. Full body allows for that. PPL does not. Once you’re intermediate volume needs to go up and frequency comes down to twice per week to compensate. Well, for bodybuilding at least.
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  11. #11
    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TAWS6 View Post
    Novices do better training each muscle group 3 times per week. Full body allows for that. PPL does not. Once you’re intermediate volume needs to go up and frequency comes down to twice per week to compensate. Well, for bodybuilding at least.
    That is the general consensus here but such a blanket statement probably isn’t helping the OP. If he likes whatever results he has so far, and likes to work out 6x a week then who are we to say something will DEFINITELY work better?

    And to that point, not everyone wants, or needs, to “progress in the big lifts”. There is more to bodybuilding than that and judging by his exercise selection, big numbers in each quickly isn’t what he is after.

    OP please correct me if I’m wrong.
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  12. #12
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    That is the general consensus here but such a blanket statement probably isn’t helping the OP. If he likes whatever results he has so far, and likes to work out 6x a week then who are we to say something will DEFINITELY work better?

    And to that point, not everyone wants, or needs, to “progress in the big lifts”. There is more to bodybuilding than that and judging by his exercise selection, big numbers in each quickly isn’t what he is after.

    OP please correct me if I’m wrong.
    OP is asking Qs and also has incorrect assumptions, so people are giving him answers. :P Although I agree that I don't give af if OP wants to do things his own way based on incorrect thinking, which is why I responded per #3 above.
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  13. #13
    Unregistered User MyEgoProblem's Avatar
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    Yeah sure why not.
    Go for it.

    Id rather see a consistent 2x freq with upper/lower, push/pull out fb but it's whatever.

    But Most people do just fine on ****ty bro splits and get fairly big and strong. In a few years it won't have mattered at all anyway… if you are still lifting then ofc.
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    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    OP is asking Qs and also has incorrect assumptions, so people are giving him answers. :P Although I agree that I don't give af if OP wants to do things his own way based on incorrect thinking, which is why I responded per #3 above.
    He said he has more energy splitting it up as PPL so maybe that will be better for him

    We are all different and in different situations

    I have to do upper/ lower on the weekend and a full body somewhere between Tuesday and Thursday but what like to do ULUL but that isn’t in the cards right now
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  15. #15
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    You can do ppl as many or as few days a week as you want, OP
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    He said he has more energy splitting it up as PPL so maybe that will be better for him

    We are all different and in different situations

    I have to do upper/ lower on the weekend and a full body somewhere between Tuesday and Thursday but what like to do ULUL but that isn’t in the cards right now
    I don't recall him saying anything about more energy this way, just that he has nothing better to do with his COVID time.

    Personally I find the advice others have given above to be more helpful objectively than your "We are all different and in different situations" and my "you should do whatever you want", although I think our statements align better with what he had already decided to do anyway. It's not the end of the world either way.
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  17. #17
    Registered User lsiberian's Avatar
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    Nope just be consistent and you'll look amazing in 6 months.
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    Originally Posted by MyEgoProblem View Post
    Yeah sure why not.
    Go for it.

    Id rather see a consistent 2x freq with upper/lower, push/pull out fb but it's whatever.

    But Most people do just fine on ****ty bro splits and get fairly big and strong. In a few years it won't have mattered at all anyway… if you are still lifting then ofc.
    ^
    this
    All of them can work
    Although I don't like training a group once a week (DOMS + fatigue reasons... especially legs), most of the big guys I know do them. And they started with them, not with full body.
    I actually had a recent conversation with one (not big, but OKish)
    - you train only bicep today?
    - yeah. monday chest, tuesday back, W legs, T shoulders, F bicep, S tricep
    - why don't you you do bicep + tricep at least?
    - well, if I do tricep friday, what will I do on Saturday (looking confusing)
    - yeaaaah, huge dilemma, dude!

    And yeah, it may not be optimal, but like you said, it won't have mattered at all anyway... for most people, the ones who just want to look better, not competing.


    "if you are still lifting then ofc." - interesting to know how many of the people who opened a thread here and received advice continue lifting after 2-3 years
    "Reminds me of the good ol' days back in 03-04 when ripptoes/5 by 5/hit/doggcrap reigned supreme and you did not need direct arm work for big biceps. Rows and chins were it. "Ever see a guy rowing 300+lbs with chicken arms?". Ah yes those were the days. God bless amusclehead and his twisted one dimensional views along with the rest of the former flock."
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  19. #19
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    Really the main problem with novices doing too much is 1) It is unneeded and 2) You WILL have to add volume at some point to progress.

    If you start out with a large volume as a beginner, you don't exactly have much room to add *effective* volume. You may think you'll be able to now, but once cumulative fatigue starts building, joints start aching, you're constantly sore and drained, etc etc etc. you may think otherwise. It's always best for a beginner to do the minimal amount of work possible for the maximum benefit. Any lifter really, but novices are more guilty of this IMO
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    Originally Posted by Nicksosure1 View Post
    Really the main problem with novices doing too much is 1) It is unneeded and 2) You WILL have to add volume at some point to progress.

    If you start out with a large volume as a beginner, you don't exactly have much room to add *effective* volume. You may think you'll be able to now, but once cumulative fatigue starts building, joints start aching, you're constantly sore and drained, etc etc etc. you may think otherwise. It's always best for a beginner to do the minimal amount of work possible for the maximum benefit. Any lifter really, but novices are more guilty of this IMO
    I'm not convinced 2 is true.
    I'm not even sure 1 matters.

    Really all that matters is if you can tolerate that volume at the time.
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    I'm not convinced 2 is true.
    I'm not even sure 1 matters.

    Really all that matters is if you can tolerate that volume at the time.
    Why wouldn't #1 matter? That means you would be doing more work required with no benefit, and possible detriment to proceeding workouts. And you could potentially be doing too much for an unadapted body at the time, limiting recovery and potentially limiting gains. To add more, a novice usually has no gauge of connection to their bodies as more advanced lifters do, meaning they could potentially have no idea they are doing too much, and possibly think their lack of progress is because of them DOING TOO LITTLE. Which further plants them into a hole. I don't see how you would think that factor wouldn't matter to a novice looking to maximize their current and future potential.

    And #2, volume is one of the biggest factors, given adequate recovery, to continue growth. Some people have trouble progressing past a certain weight without sacrificing form, which would work against you in terms of progressive overload. So adding volume is one of the bigger jumpstarts to a novices' plateau. I'll need to find the research though.
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  22. #22
    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Nicksosure1 View Post
    Why wouldn't #1 matter? That means you would be doing more work required with no benefit, and possible detriment to proceeding workouts. And you could potentially be doing too much for an unadapted body at the time, limiting recovery and potentially limiting gains. To add more, a novice usually has no gauge of connection to their bodies as more advanced lifters do, meaning they could potentially have no idea they are doing too much, and possibly think their lack of progress is because of them DOING TOO LITTLE. Which further plants them into a hole. I don't see how you would think that factor wouldn't matter to a novice looking to maximize their current and future potential.

    And #2, volume is one of the biggest factors, given adequate recovery, to continue growth. Some people have trouble progressing past a certain weight without sacrificing form, which would work against you in terms of progressive overload. So adding volume is one of the bigger jumpstarts to a novices' plateau. I'll need to find the research though.

    Detriment to other workouts would be a tolerance issue, which I've already said is the only thing I think matters.

    I'm not sure what the hoodoo of connection to bodies that we somehow discover at a certain level is about, if you simply mean knowing what fatigue feels like and when to back off, I think most can't be taught in a couple of weeks. The research on Rpe bears this out.

    Adequate volume is important, I've not seen much to convince me that it needs to ramp or grow much. If people stall there are many ways you can change the stimulus other than just adding volume.
    And progressive overload is not a requirement.
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    Detriment to other workouts would be a tolerance issue, which I've already said is the only thing I think matters.

    I'm not sure what the hoodoo of connection to bodies that we somehow discover at a certain level is about, if you simply mean knowing what fatigue feels like and when to back off, I think most can't be taught in a couple of weeks. The research on Rpe bears this out.

    Adequate volume is important, I've not seen much to convince me that it needs to ramp or grow much. If people stall there are many ways you can change the stimulus other than just adding volume.
    And progressive overload is not a requirement.
    Then with everything you just said, why wouldn't a beginner not start at the lowest amount of work possible for maximum benefit?

    And what you said about connecting to your body in terms of recovery, fatigue, and generally knowing what your body SHOULD feel like takes much longer than a couple of weeks, both with myself and many others I've worked with. When you combine that with the fact that they usually don't understand the mechanisms behind recovery and adaptation, their inexperienced mind automatically thinks more, more, more. Especially those who have that passion and enthusiasm we all get wrapped up in from time to time when it comes to this.

    We may have to just agree to disagree on this one. I don't think anything you've said has come close to convince me otherwise nor I to you.
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    Originally Posted by Nicksosure1 View Post
    Then with everything you just said, why wouldn't a beginner not start at the lowest amount of work possible for maximum benefit?

    And what you said about connecting to your body in terms of recovery, fatigue, and generally knowing what your body SHOULD feel like takes much longer than a couple of weeks, both with myself and many others I've worked with. When you combine that with the fact that they usually don't understand the mechanisms behind recovery and adaptation, their inexperienced mind automatically thinks more, more, more. Especially those who have that passion and enthusiasm we all get wrapped up in from time to time when it comes to this.

    We may have to just agree to disagree on this one. I don't think anything you've said has come close to convince me otherwise nor I to you.
    How do you determine the lowest amount for maximum benefit? Especially if you avoid volume for the sake of avoidance
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    How do you determine the lowest amount for maximum benefit? Especially if you avoid volume for the sake of avoidance
    The same way we find out what is optimal for anything relative to the person, which we can't without trial and error. That's why they should be on a proven low volume beginners' program and progress from there. It works for the majority of novices as a base to build upon vs. a PPL that was thrown together without much base, progression schemes, or direction, without the knowledge needed of what you have done and should be doing.
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    PPL is fine man. Let’s not over complicate this chit lol
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    Originally Posted by Nicksosure1 View Post
    The same way we find out what is optimal for anything relative to the person, which we can't without trial and error. That's why they should be on a proven low volume beginners' program and progress from there. It works for the majority of novices as a base to build upon vs. a PPL that was thrown together without much base, progression schemes, or direction, without the knowledge needed of what you have done and should be doing.
    I'd rather just give them whatever keeps them training long enough to want to do it for longer.

    Some of us were fine with full body 3x, some needed more volume, some find upper lower or PPL more enjoyable.
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    It matters more what's being done overall throughout the week rather than whether it's split into a 3 day fb, UL or PPL. OPs question of whether a PPL is too much is silly since he didn't give any volume/intensity detail on his list of exercises, and sometimes does only 4 days/week.

    That being said, assuming OP's doing 3 sets for each exercise - given that he's left out all the bi/tri isos that tend to be in most PPLs that are asked to be critiqued, and every other week he only trains 4 days - it likely is a within reasonable amount of volume for most novices regardless of how well it actually works for him.
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    I'd rather just give them whatever keeps them training long enough to want to do it for longer.

    Some of us were fine with full body 3x, some needed more volume, some find upper lower or PPL more enjoyable.
    Enjoyment=consistency

    Originally Posted by George2100 View Post
    PPL is fine man. Let’s not over complicate this chit lol
    Exactly my point. Pick something you can progressively overload by weight, reps, sets, reduced rest times, frequency, etc and stick with it
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    I'd rather just give them whatever keeps them training long enough to want to do it for longer.

    Some of us were fine with full body 3x, some needed more volume, some find upper lower or PPL more enjoyable.
    With this we can definitely agree. I'd rather someone follow a "less-than-optimal" program consistently due to enjoyment and enthusiasm than follow a great program that they dread, and will likely lead to a disdain for the gym.
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