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Old 09-04-2012, 08:16 PM   #1
Ken "Skip" Hill
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TEAM SKIP Training Protocol (ARTICLE)

What I am best known for in the Bodybuilding Industry is having an unorthodox approach to nutrition and training. I have always approached things with great cynicism because from an early age the accepted rules of training and nutrition just didn’t seem terribly logical. In fact, a lot of those so-called rules seemed stupid. It didn’t take long for me to come to the point where everything I heard and read I had to somehow test and see for myself whether it worked or not. It didn’t matter to me where I heard the information and how reputable the source. This is likely the reason that I am in the position I am today and why people value my opinions and methodology in the areas of training and nutrition.

Over the years I have battled with overtraining and this has forced me to take a closer look at how I could make sure that I was recovering and growing as efficiently as possible. I tend to have a relatively slow recovery rate compared to most everyone else around me. I think my seven-year-old daughter may have a better recovery ability than I do. My nutrition isn’t an issue because that is an area that I am very well versed in, as most of you know. I tend to sleep like a baby, and almost always have, so that isn’t an issue, either. My life is relatively low stress given that I don’t have financial problems or marital problems. I am in a very good place with business and my wife swears she is happily married after almost twenty years. Whether she is lying is up for debate but at least I believe her, so, that right there would keep my stress levels low. My point? I have no obvious reason for having a slow recovery ability so over the years I have basically accepted it.

That being said, I figured the next logical step was to put my training under the microscope and see if there were things that I could change or adjust that could help my recovery so that I could make better gains. I noticed that my shoulders constantly bothered me and have never really been very strong. I have also battled with minor injuries to my shoulders over the years, as well. In taking a closer look at my training it seemed that I might be overtraining my shoulders and arms and possibly undertraining chest and back as chest and back have always been my weakest areas. I seemed to be in a position that if I could find a way to train delts and arms less and chest and back more, I might have the answer. My legs have always been a strong body part so there was no need to change my leg training, at all. What I came up with has not only worked incredibly well to bring up my back and chest but my shoulders have made more progress in the last year and a half than they have in the last ten years. My arms, even though they were always a relative strong point, had inexplicably started to grow even more. What the hell was going on? I was right: I was over-training my arms and shoulders and under-training chest and back. It just took me ten years to figure it out.

With the typical training splits that have been popular for the last ten years or so, I have found that most people are overtraining delts and arms just as I was. Most tend to add more work when they feel the frustration of a body part not growing but when it comes to secondary muscle groups like delts and arms, more is not the answer most of the time, less is. With all of the heavy pressing for chest, the delts and triceps are getting fried with a lot of indirect work. And with all of the heavy pulling movements for back, the biceps and posterior delts are getting hammered, as well. Example: If you are doing a chest workout and then two days later a shoulder workout followed two more days later by another chest workout, it is almost impossible for your shoulders to recover. The never-ending cycle of overtraining perpetuates itself.

To combat the overtraining of the delts and arms, the structure of the training protocol that I use, looks like this:

Workout 1
Back/chest/traps

Workout 2
Calves/quads/hams/abs

Workout 3
Chest/Back/lowerback

Workout 4
Delts, tris, bis


Your workout sequence will look like this:

M – workout 1
W – workout 2
F – workout 3
M – workout 4
W – workout 2
F – workout 1
M – workout 3
W – workout 2
F – workout 4

REPEAT the cycle.


An additional issue that I have not ever truly wrapped my brain around is: How much volume is best? We know that Arnold did high volume work and guys like John Defendis were successful at using upwards of thirty sets for quads. And then on the other hand you have the Dorian Yates’ style of training or the Mentzer style or the DC Training style that are very low volume and every bit as successful as any of the higher volume protocols. So, which one style is right and how much volume is the best for growth? All of them.

The best training style will only be successful for so long before the body adapts and the gains slow or stop, altogether. Even if you respond really well to low volume training that does not mean that you should not do higher volume training or that you won’t respond to it. I highly recommend that everyone train through different levels of volume. Last year I added the “progressive volume” approach to my training and that of my clients and the results have been very, very good. In fact, my clients are raving about it.

The Progressive Volume approach looks like this:

The cycle takes 3 weeks to complete so you will plan to blast your training for 6 weeks so that you get 2 full cycles and then take a cruise or deload week where you rest the entire week from weight training to maximize recovery.

Week 1 and 2 - Start with 2 working sets per exercise.
Week 3 and 4 - Start with 3 working sets per exercise.
Week 5 and 6 - Start with 4 working sets per exercise.

Reps on all weeks are 8-12 for upper body and 10-15 for lower body but I don't believe that rep ranges matter all that much. I do believe in mixing up rep ranges as much as possible for maximum results and keeping the body off balance.

Sample Exercise Setup:
Chest – 3 exercises, 1 incline, 1 flat and 1 decline
Back – 4 exercises, 1 wide chin up or latt pull, 1 row, 1 pulley or machine row, Deads or pullovers (alternate between these two)
Delts – 3 exercises, overhead press, side laterals, bent laterals
Triceps – 3 exercises, overhead tricep extension with bar or dumbbell, cable pressdown, machine dip
Biceps – 3 exercises, preacher curl, barbell or dumbbell curl, cable curl
Quads – 3 exercises, press of some kind, extension, hack or press or squat of some kind
Hams – 1 exercise, leg curl
Calves – 3 exercises, standing calf raise, bent lower back calf raise (like donkey calf raises where your upper body and lower body are in an “L” shape), seated calf raises
Abs- 3 exercises, weighted machine crunch, hanging leg lifts, cable reverse crunches
Traps – 1 exercise, shrugs

It is important to note that you do not have to increase the volume from week to week unless you feel you need it or you can handle the increased volume. It is there to offer you the opportunity to increase it if you need it but it is not a requirement. If you are getting very sore from the current volume of two sets per exercise, stay with that volume.

These days it seems everything has been done and no style of training has not been invented or reinvented. My training protocol is not at all a different workout style, if you think about it. All this really is, is a protocol that maximizes recovery so that the delts and arms aren’t overtrained by using a volume schedule that has you working across the entire spectrum of low volume to high volume over a 6 week blast phase . The idea is to maximize recovery because that translates into muscle gains and less chance for injury. If you are struggling with delt and arm progress then I recommend giving my training protocol a shot. The worst that will happen is you won’t grow. And if you weren’t growing to begin with, it would seem that you have nothing to lose.


Skip
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:25 PM   #2
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SKIP, do you recommend a certain Rep Range for say Upper Body and Lower Body. Having been training low rep for powerlifting I'm currently rehabbing and upped my upper body reps to 10-15 and lower body to 10-20. Any reccomendations?
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:57 PM   #3
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Thanks Skip, Wife and I was wondering when this was coming out.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:06 PM   #4
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Nice article
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:21 PM   #5
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Awesome read! Do you three exercises for each body part? I that is how you have it laid out. Thanks!
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:57 PM   #6
Ken "Skip" Hill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCBliever View Post
SKIP, do you recommend a certain Rep Range for say Upper Body and Lower Body. Having been training low rep for powerlifting I'm currently rehabbing and upped my upper body reps to 10-15 and lower body to 10-20. Any reccomendations?
I went back and edited the rep ranges.

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Old 09-04-2012, 11:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyJohnson View Post
Thanks Skip, Wife and I was wondering when this was coming out.
It has been awhile and I didnt want to wait any longer.

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Old 09-04-2012, 11:59 PM   #8
Ken "Skip" Hill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwtiger69 View Post
Awesome read! Do you three exercises for each body part? I that is how you have it laid out. Thanks!
There aee exceptions for people that work with me based on that person's needs but it does usually start at 3 excercises, yes.

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Old 09-05-2012, 12:10 AM   #9
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Posting in a legendary thread. Saving my spot

Editing this post four and a half years later.. Still one of my favorite workout regimes. Can't thank you enough for your wisdom Skip.

This and DC are all I've ever needed.

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Old 09-05-2012, 07:50 AM   #10
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I can honestly attribute my gains over the last 2 years to this very program. Thanks for sharing Skip
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:29 AM   #11
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Great article Skip! I particularly like that you don't say one methodology is "the best" from an absolute perspective and encourage experimenting and using a progressive training approach to ensure one is making continuous gains.

It is nice hearing someone so versed in training and nutrition reflect on their own training and share it with others. It truly provokes thought as to what one is doing in their own program that may be hindering their desired progress.
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:08 PM   #12
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Are sets to failure?
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:09 PM   #13
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Curious about Darkguitars question, too. Also, I'm assuming you only increase working sets and not weight as you progress through the blast...?
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:42 PM   #14
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Train to the point where you are not going to get another full rep on your own. I dont believe in training past failure.

You can always increase weight whenever possible but it is not a necessity. You are more likely to increase it at the start of the volume phase than when the volume starts to climb.

Rep ranges are guidelines and aren't absolute, either. What is absolute is that you work your ass off with weights you can control.

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Old 09-05-2012, 02:50 PM   #15
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Rog! Thanks, Skip!
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:35 PM   #16
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One more question: Would you suggest the same set up if one's legs were the lagging body part?
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:51 PM   #17
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Depends on why they are lagging. Is it because they are overtrained or undertrained?

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Old 09-05-2012, 04:07 PM   #18
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I would say that over the long run (past several years), they've been undertrained. I have recently made them a priority in routines I have used over the past year and have had them respond well (both with strength and size). I would say the most stubborn part of them is my calves and have never really been sure how much indirect work they recieve from upper leg training.
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:34 PM   #19
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Then the answer for you would be to just train legs more frequently to see if that helps. The protocol I have set up is strictly for upper body but the same principle holds true in that your legs may just need more frequent sessions.

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Old 09-05-2012, 05:57 PM   #20
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this system is awesome and one of the reasons my physique took me to a top 4 finish at the British and a top 6 at the NABBA Worlds this year......
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:20 PM   #21
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Thanks, Skip. I'll sub in some leg days for some chest/back spots (I've always been thicker up top...in the genes). I'm due for a change, and volume increase as opposed to weight increase is not something I've tried before.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:27 PM   #22
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What about rest periods between sets? Do you just go by feel?
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:57 PM   #23
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Go by feel. Dont over-think the small stuff, guys. I always have believed that once you get your breath controlled again you get into the next set. Stay warm and keep moving but dont start the next set if you are sucking air.

Skip

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Old 09-05-2012, 10:04 PM   #24
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Great article Skip really makes alot of sense when you think about it.

When it comes to the chest and back workout, do you typically having clients do all chest work then move on to back ( or back then chest etc ) or do some do one chest exercise then one back then chest again etc... I know every client is different just asking in general.

Thanks.

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Old 09-06-2012, 07:00 AM   #25
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Can you give an example of a complete exercise (with weight progressions and reps) por favor?
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