Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Splitting the Split and Adaptability - 1965



Tommy Kono


Dave Draper


Splitting the Split

Though it is tough to do, it is easy to understand. The principle is simple. Instead of working the upper body one day and the lower body the next, you split this in HALF, working out TWICE each day. Thus, instead of six workouts you will have 12, one workout every morning and one workout every evening. Then, instead of working out half of your body at each workout you work approximately one-quarter of it each time. As can be seen, you have simple split the split routine.

Here is a sample layout. 

On Monday morning work your arms and shoulders, hitting triceps, biceps, forearms and deltoids for about 90 minutes with all you've got. Monday evening work your upper body again, but this time spend about 90 minutes on chest, back and abs. 

Tuesday morning concentrate on your legs. Hit them from every angle for about an hour, working thighs, hamstrings and calves all hard with a variety of exercises other than the basics, such as leg extensions, leg curls, lunges and one-legged versions of squats and calf raises. On Tuesday evening again work your legs for 60-90 minutes with heavy basic exercises like squats, leg presses, partials, stiff legged deadlifts etc. 

On Wednesday and Friday repeat your Monday workouts, and on Thursday and Saturday repeat your Tuesday workouts. It may take some time to adjust to this type of work, so go slowly at first, resting for a few days each time you reach your current limit. Keep pushing the limits of what you can do and come back from.

Each of us holds back for fear of feeling pain or hurting ourselves. Not one man in a million really puts forth everything he's got, whether it is running a mile, throwing a shot, lifting a weight, or forcing his muscles to put out with maximum effort in a bodybuilding program. This fear of exertion is man-made.

Only those few, very strong-willed rebels who are able to detach from these ropes of fear  holding them back, mentally as well as physically, can ever make to their peak, no matter the endeavor selected.

Those who do make it are the few who have been willing to push back the threshold of pain and low expectations, those few who were willing to force themselves on, against what may seem to be the toughest obstacles and the most excruciating pain.

If you think that 'splitting the split' is tough, then take a lesson from Japan's World and Olympic Champion women's volleyball team. These girls trained every day after work for eight solid hours, and 12 hours on Saturdays and Sundays.



They ran and jumped and spiked and blocked, hour after hour, until their legs collapsed and their arms were too exhausted to raise hands overhead. Their coach drove them without mercy day in and day out, week after week, month after month, year in and year out until they became the best the world has ever seen.

If you want to make incredible progress it will take hard work, and hard work for not just a few weeks or months. You must develop your mental and physical ability to adapt to hard training, a laborious yet rewarding task indeed.

But back now to this double split program. You will be working like two men, putting in two and three hours a day training. Don't forget that sets of high reps can force you to work on the nerve, so stick to high sets and low reps, using all the weight you can handle. For best results you should use about 80-90% of maximum for all of your exercises. Don't forget as well that you must strive constantly to add more and more weight, more reps, more sets as you become stronger and stronger.

I can hear you asking about 'over-training' and burning yourself out, about training so hard and so long that you go stale. How long can you keep up this hard, twice-a-day training? It 's a good question! We have found that anyone in good condition who has a fair build-up of previous training experience can go all-out for about three weeks before needing a short layoff. Some highly trained individuals could go five or even six weeks . . . and then fatigue set in . . . boredom . . . staleness and sticking points.

Eventually, the breakdown is greater than the build-up and it takes your body three or four days of rest to reduce the gap to its optimum again. Amazingly, if you push slightly beyond your limit during the third week, after a rest or active rest of one week you will often realize an improvement in strength over that of the third hard week. Of course, if you go well beyond your limit this effect will not be seen. Speaking of which . . .




Adaptability - Ditillo

Scientists tell us: Given enough time and bringing in the law of adaptability, man will adapt to his outside environmental conditions in an attempt to accept the circumstantial changes of his environment, his aim being survival. Also, I am positive this same law of adaptability can be incorporated into the lifter's routine with great gains in muscle size, strength, condition and an increase in the trainee's workload capabilities, plus an ability to handle heavy weights without any waste of nervous energy.

But perhaps I'm getting ahead of the story. In July of 1974 I began training with a good friend of mine, who at one time was quite an accomplished Olympic lifter. Dezi and I began an intensive six-days-a-week training routine which lasted all year long. It was during this time that he began sharing his priceless training philosophies, experiences, etc., with me, and to say he helped me tremendously is putting it mildly. Dezi had lifter seriously for over 20 years, and when you realize what knowledge such a lifetime of work creates, you learn to listen and watch such a man carefully.

It was during this particular time, through various conversations, that I learned Dezi had himself used this law of adaptability without ever consciously being aware of it. At least he didn't make too much out of it and seemed to use it as though EVERYONE knew of its existence! He told me that when he was a competitive weightlifter he pressed EVERY DAY. Various pulls, squats, lunges, etc., were done every day, day after day until unrecoverable fatigue set in. Then, and only then, three days or so were taken off, and the result was you were STRONGER AFTER the short rest than before it. This enabled you to continue with the every day training until nature would once again step in and literally TELL YOU to rest.

I trained using my coach's advice for the most part, five days a week on the following movements: presses, high pulls, shrugs, and possibly sometimes power snatches. Whenever I felt like it I also included full, bar high on the neck, back completely straight, Olympic squats. Most of these movements were done in sets of 3 to 5 repetitions working up to a maximum poundage for the day.

It seemed that after two weeks work the limit sets were increased and progress was slow but steady, and you were psychologically secure as to where you were strength-wise. The need to psych up for a workout or daily limit lift was no longer necessary. This is because your body is slowly adapting to the workload you are putting on it and it gets to the point where you can recuperate overnight. It seems far more rational to me to condition the body to accept workloads on a DAILY basis then to use the two or three times a week method of operation.

Let me try to break this point down some, for easier understanding. Most trainees will hit a muscle group most severely, twice a week. In other words, each muscle group is subjected to many sets and repetitions, using medium heavy and heavy weights, twice weekly. The severity of such exercise requires 72 hours rest for recuperation, removal of lactic acid, and finally, growth.

Naturally, if you tried to work the same muscle group every day, you would lose strength and undergo great physical and emotional trauma (by way of soreness and tiredness) at least through the first three weeks. But I guarantee, if your diet is adequate and you if you discover the CORRECT TRAINING LOAD for each movement each day, you will OVERCOME the trauma, and your body will begin to recuperate OVERNIGHT.

For me (and you will have to experiment to determine this for yourself), the correct training load was as follows:

One pressing movement, and either one pulling and one squatting movement or two pulling movements daily. I used 3 reps per pulling or squatting movement and usually 5 reps for the first 3 warmup sets (jumping weight each set); and then one medium-heavy set of 3 reps; and finally 4 or 5 heavy sets of 3 reps.

An example:
warmup x 5, add weight
warmup x 5, add weight
warmup x 5, add weight
medium-heavy x 3, add weight
4-5 heavy sets of 3 reps

weights depending on strength level that particular day. On days when I was very energetic, I would go for broke on the heavy sets. Usually on the third or fourth training day, stress comes into play and that workout would consist of relatively light weights with a low rep scheme, and the next day I was right back on course. However, I NEVER omitted a prescribed movement for ANY reason on ANY day.

Using this training theory of every day performing the same movements but with different intensity really helped me in both muscle growth and strength. I grew a pair of trapezius muscles the size of a male gorilla  -


- my entire back musculature dramatically improved, and my competition-style Press reached an all time high, with my pulling style and strength also improving. I am still energetic and enthusiastic about this type of training,and I also never feel dragged out or overtrained, and I know I am progressing just about as fast as I can. I am recuperating overnight, and muscle soreness is almost a thing of the past. For me, the benefits were well worth the sacrifice of such hard daily training. This was back in 1974, and today I and all whom I train work out the same way. 

Finally, to all who are afraid to deviate from past training methodologies, let me remind you that we are defined by our actions, not our words. Our deeds define us, existentially. 

"Man is what he does. Man is condemned to be free."
 - Jean Paul Sartre. 

Therefore, CREATE!  





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