A Longer, 10-Day Program

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Training Programs

A longer, 10-day training program to build maximum muscle.

Unlike the Short, 7-Day Workout Plan, this plan has you working out 10 days in a row. That gives each muscle extra time to recover, and it lets you do more exercises in each series of 10 days. It’s only drawback is that it doesn’t let you adjust the sequence of training days to accommodate other activities. But if that isn’t a concern, this program is an efficient way to change body composition in hurry.

To avoid overtraining, you still need to build in periods of rest. One way is to do the 10-day sequence twice, and then take a week off. Like the 7-day program, that has you taking a week off every 20 days or so. However, that strategy hits a particular muscle group only twice, before taking time off. Another strategy is do the 10-day sequence 3 times, and then take 10 days off. You can’t use the calendar to regulate yourself, but it should provide adequate time for rest and recovery.

Daily Workouts

I followed this program for quite a while, with great effect. But I am honor-bound to point out that it was so effective, I wound up with a case of massive overtraining syndrome, to the point that I couldn’t see any reason for getting out of bed. The insidious thing about that syndrome is that sneaks up so quietly, it is almost impossible to recognize it. (That’s why it’s important to be on the lookout for the early warning signs, as described in Avoid Overtraining.)

When I finally did recognize it, I stopped training and got the rest I needed — but it was then months before I started training again. So by all means use this program. But be sure to build adequate rest-and-recovery “vacations” into your schedule!

Sequence #1
Sequence #2
French press – 45
Alt Curls – 25
Forearm  Twist/Hammer
Alt Tri press – 20
Alt Curls – 25
Wrist Roller
Grip Squeeze
Pulldown – 85
Elastic Rev Fly – red
Deadlift/Shrug – 80
Alt. Tw Bent Row – 50
Pulldown – 80
GoodMorn/UprBk GdM.
Low Row – 80
Bench – 40
Bench Ovhd – 40
Files – 30
Dips, Elastic Fly
Hvy CB
Delt Raise – 10
Mil Press – 20
Upright Row – 20
Neck Isos
    (exhale & squeeze)
Med. CB
Hvy Bag, Shadow Box
Kicks, Light Bag
Ropes, Swim
Plyo Squats – 35^
Power Squats – 80
Calf Raise
Leg Bands
Bulg. Split Squats
Suitcase carry
P.bar Rev. Curls
KB Twist
Bench Dbl Crunch
Hang’g Leg Lift
Roman Chair
Dbl Crunch
Plyo Jumps, Skips
  • As always, adjust the program however you need to. Stick to the basic plan, but substitute any
    exercises you like to do, or have the equipment to do.
  • Light CB series: thresher, cross in/out, twist L/R, back&front low circles
  • Med/Hvy CB series: thresher, rotation-L/R, iron cross
  • KB Series: Alt. Clean & Jerk, Alt. Snatch

Phasing in the Program

  1. Start with Cardio
    • Cardio is the foundation. Start there, and make it an unwavering part of your routine. Why?
      • Cardio improves heart and lungs — the foundation for health and long life
      • Cardio increases the metabolism and burns fat
      • Cardio suppresses the appetite. (Your body, being the intelligent, adaptive organism that it is, seeks to “lighten the load”, once it detects a regular pattern of cardiovascular activity.)
    • The goal is 20 minutes of cardio, every third day.
    • To get there, start with what you can do. Three minutes, maybe. One minute, if you have to. Every week to 10 days, increase the amount of effort by 10%.
    • The sequence is: regularity, duration, intensity. First, get to where you are doing regular effort, at whatever level. Gradually increase the duration until you are doing 20 minutes of effort, at a minimum. (Things will get to the point that you are able to do even more, at times. Great! But the first goal is to get to that minimum duration. Finally, ratchet up the intensity, also at 10% more every 7 to 10 days.
    • Some days, you will feel like pushing yourself a little harder. Fine. Go for it! But 2 days later, you may not be feeling like another bout with the cardio machine. Also fine! Take another day if you need to. If you really need to, take two. But then get back in the saddle!
    • Remember: Always stretch after your cardio session, to reduce soreness, promote growth, and maintain flexibility.
  2. Add strength training
    When you’re doing 20 minutes of cardio regularly, every third day, without muscle pain during, without a lot of soreness after, and without having to push* yourself to finish, it’s time to add strength training. (If any of those things is not true, it means your body is still adapting to the cardio effort, and it’s not yet time for strength training.)
    For cardio training, I favor a “bell curve” workout, with an easy-effort first segment,
    a medium-effort second segment, with the hardest segment in the middle,
    followed by a medium-effort and easy-effort segments to taper off. The first time
    I got to 20 minutes on that program, I was pushing myself mid-way through
    the hardest segment. The next time, I was pushing myself towards the end of that
    segment. The third time, I didn’t have to push myself until mid-way through the
    next-to-last, medium-effort segment. And so on. In other words, the point at which
    which you have to start “pushing” is one way to measure your progress, even if
    you’re doing the same cardio workout.

    • Start by adding one strength training session.
    • Find what works for you: It might be the day after the cardio session, or the day before. It might even be the day of. The strength training sessions are short, so it’s easy to do. In that case, do the strength training first, and finish with the cardio.
    • When that’s doing well, and you’re maintaining a regular cardio routine, add a second day of resistance training. Again, find the day that works best.
    • To add exercises, follow this sequence:
      1. Major Upper Body muscle groups
        • a) Chest and upper back (bench press, bent row)
        • b) Lats and Traps (pull downs, Mil press)
      2. Core – low back and abs (deadlifts, roman situps)
      3. Minor Upper body muscle groups – delts & forearms
      4. Major Lower body muscle groups – glutes & quads (squats)
      5. Minor Lower body muscle groups – calves & ankles (calf raise, foot lifts)

Training Notes

Strength Training days: Bed Yoga, Yoga 1, workout, Yoga 2
     Workouts: 10-min max! (to add exercises, create additional routines!)
     For major muscle groups:
          Warmup set (8-12 reps), Power set (5 rep max), Flushout set (light weight, 15-25 reps) Leg Training:
  • When first starting this program, the legs will be busy adapting to the cardio effort.
  • If you’ve been doing regular workouts that involve the legs (running, cycling, or weight training) that won’t be a problem. But if you haven’t the legs will be feeling the burn.
  • In that situation, you should be cutting your cardio workouts short. So instead of a full 20-minute workout, maybe you’re stopping at 5 minutes, or even 3 minutes. That’s a good plan, and one that should allow you to build up to 20 minutes, in time.
  • But during that period, it’s a good idea to skip leg-training days in your strength workouts. To do that, just take the day off, and pick up with the next session in the series on the following day.
  • You’ll know your legs have acclimated to the demands placed on them by the cardio effort when a) You finish your cardio session feeling like you could have done more, and b) your legs feel “normal”, the next day.
  • When you’re at that stage, it’s time to include the leg-training day in your strength workout schedule.
Cardio days:
  • Cardio, Standing ham/quad/straddle-lunge/calf stretches
  • Can substitute cycling on any cardio day
  • Compound Movements w/ Cardio Component

Cardio Time Ratios

Running, Elliptical
Outdoor Cycling
4 to 1
2 hrs = 30 min of running
Indoor Cycling
15 min interval training = 30 min steady state
But it’s like weight training. It puts more demanding.
And it requires fuel. (Not good on low carb days.)
cf: James Grage video, The Truth about HIIT_Cardio

Possible Schedule

Goal: Avoid overtraining, which tends to kick in at 6 weeks (42 days)
Time Off
10 days
4 days (all at once, or 2 days every week)
10 days
4 days
#1 & # 2
20 days
7 days
#1, #2, #1
30 days
7 days
#2, #1, #2
30 days
7 days
#1, #2, #1, #2
40 days
7 days
Phase progressions need not be linear. In other words, there is no absolute requirement to go from phase 1 to phase 2 to 3 to 4. Instead, it makes sense to have a jagged, zig-zag, gradually increasing progression, with occasional jumps. For example:
  • 1, 2, 1, 2, 2, 1, 2, 3, 2, 3, 1, 2, 2, 3, 2, (jump) 4, 2, 1, 2, …
To get that sequence, “play it by ear”, so to speak. Towards the end of each phase, figure out how you’re feeling, and decide on your next phase.

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