Way back in 2008, when I was a Moderator on the MuscleAndStrength.Com forums, I developed a tri-phase routine called the “V.I.F.” which stood for Volume, Intensity, and Frequency. You can find the program here.
Hundreds of new to training guys had great success on the program and have periodically through the years have asked me to come up with a newer version.
Looking back at the original program, and learning more about resistance training and heavy lifting throughout the years, I revisited the V.I.F and made some changes that I believe will bring better results.
This program tackles three different types of workout methods that will hopefully keep your body growing in the right direction: Volume, Intensity, and Frequency or V.I.F for short. Each phase is 4 weeks long for a total of 12 weeks.
Volume Phase: In the first phase or the “Volume” phase we increase the volume of each workout from week to week. Volume is defined as Sets X Reps X Weight Used.
Because of the high volume of work for a muscle group, only one or two muscle groups can be trained in a session which also means that you can (and should) train each muscle group only once per week.
Week 1 = 2 Sets of 8 Reps Per Exercise
Week 2 = 3 Sets of 8 Reps Per Exercise (Increase Volume, add 3rd Set)
Week 3 = 3Sets of 10 Reps Per Exercise(Increase Volume, add 2 reps to each set, keep weight the same as week 2 unless too light previously)
Week 4 = 3Sets of 12 Reps Per Exercise (Increase Volume, add 2 reps to each set, keep weight the same as week 3 unless too light previously)
Rest 60 seconds between sets.
Intensity Phase: In this phase we move to an Upper/Lower body A/B Split. The Volume of sets and reps will remain the same through out weeks 5 – 8. However the intensity will vary from week to week. Reps are in the 6 – 12 range. During this phase, the number of sets per exercise varies but the overall volume stays the same (24 reps). You’ll be doing either 2 sets of 12, 3 sets of 8 or 4 sets of 6 for each exercise in the “A” workouts. Because you are training each body part twice a week, the intensity for the “B” workouts will be slightly less demanding because it is difficult to match the intensity of the “A” workouts week after week. On the “B” workouts you’ll be doing up to 3 sets of 12 reps with moderate weight.
Each week you should aim for slight increases in the weight you are using for each exercise. Compound/multijoint exercises you should aim for a 5 – 10 pound increase. Isolation/Single joint exercises you should aim for 2.5 – 5 pound increase.
Week 5 = 2 Sets of 12
Week 6 = 3 Sets of 8 Reps (increase weight)
Week 7 = 4 Sets of 6 Reps (increase weight)
Week 8 = 4 Sets of 6 Reps (maintain weight from week 7 unless too light, then increase)
Rest 60 Seconds between sets in weeks 5 and 6, 90 Seconds in weeks 7 and 8
Frequency Phase: The last phase or the “Frequency” phase relies on training each muscle group more frequently, 3 times per week. It works by improving neural drive to the muscle and ‘forcing’ the body to add muscle because it needs them to work hard almost every day. With this type of training the volume of work needs to be super low to avoid overtraining. You will do 3 “Whole Body” workouts.
The weights will be heavy.
Workout A – Choose a weight for each exercise that you can only get about 3 reps. You’ll be doing 8 sets of 3 reps coupled into a 4 exercise circuit 1A-1D.
Workout B – Choose a weight for each exercise that you can only get about 6 reps on your first set. Then do 5 sets of 5 reps.
Workout C – Choose a weight for each exercise that you can only get about 6 reps on your first set. Then do as many sets as it takes to reach 25 reps. On average this should take 4 sets, but may take more or less. If you can do it in 3 sets of 8, then the weight may be too light.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Where are the ab movements?
Ab movements can be added to the end of any of the workout. As the Abs are muscles like your chest and biceps my recommendation is to use weighted movements and train them like you would any other body part. Doing hundred and hundreds of crunches won’t get you a six pack any faster than doing hundreds and hundreds of curls would get you 18” biceps.
What about Cardio?
The benefits of steady state cardio sessions of 30 minutes or more have been vastly overstated. I’d prefer you would do 10-20 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) switching from an All Out Effort Sprint for 15-30 seconds with a recovery period of 30 – 60 seconds for 6 or more rounds. Bike, Treadmill, Elliptical, Kettlebell Swings, Jump Rope or outdoor sprints are all better tools. If you *MUST* do cardio, then do HIIT at the end of your weight training workouts or on a rest day.
I don’t have XX Equipment or Can’t Do XX exercise, can I use a different exercise?
Of course, just make sure you swap it with an exercise that is close to the movement of the original exercise. Switch compound movements for compound movements, not isolation exercises.
After increasing the weight on a exercise I can’t get the required reps, should I go back down to the previous weight?
It depends. If you fall short of the required reps by 1 or 2 reps. Then yes, keep the new heavier weight, just try to get “One-More Rep!” the next time the workout is performed until you can reach the required reps. If you still can’t get the prescribed reps you probably were a little aggressive in the weight increase. Try to jump up in weight in smaller increments.
If you have anymore questions, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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