One Lift Per Day Workout…

September 13, 2013 — Leave a comment
Workout science is ever changing, and different methods is the key to consisten gains!

Workout science is ever changing, and different methods is the key to consisten gains!

The title is not a misprint or anything like that. We are actually going to discuss a training methodology which involves performing ONE lift per day. There is even a whole routine included!!

How is it possible to make gains and progress by performing one lift a day? We’ll tell ya, don’t worry. This is uber unorthodox, as most of us are used to destroying our muscle groups with a variety of lift. Whether it’s hitting the muscle once per week or three times per week, we all want the frequency, the volume, and the intensity. This type of training is fantastic, obviously, for long term body composition and strength / size goals. But what happens when we gotta mix it up to either get past a plateau, an injury, or whatever? We need to switch programs, but we cannot sacrifice strength in the process! Enter the One Lift Per Day Workout, one of the very finest sites out there, luckily has lots of different of authors which provide some good articles for them. One of these many articles, called The Single-Lift-A-Day Workout, written by author John Paul Catanzaro, is something we at Gone Liftin’ call a little bit of a game changer. I mean who the hell in their right minds could think doing one lift per day could actually benefit their progress? Well, for starters, John does! And now… so do we.

Here’s the deal. To not only survive but also thrive on this type of regimen, you need to remove the fluff that will otherwise deplete your energy stores, hamper recovery, and promote a catabolic environment. In other words, you need to get the most results from the least number of exercises.

The number of exercises required to accomplish big results? Just one a day! Dan John wrote something like this years ago here on T-Nation, but here’s another prescription.

Basically, this routine involves 2 things: a workout for size – a workout for strength. This protocol really, really works – believe it or not!

You’re going to do two programs, one for size and one for strength. You’ll do 6-8 weeks of routine 1 (for size), and then 6-8 weeks of routine 2 (for strength). In each program, you’ll do just one lift a day, six days out of the week.


The first phase of the program involves working on size – in other words, hypertrophy training. Let’s see what Mr. Catanzaro prescribes…

Monday: Back Squat
Tuesday: Chin-Up
Wednesday: Incline Barbell Press
Thursday: Trap-Bar Deadlift
Friday: Seated Cable Row or Bent-Over Barbell Row
Saturday: Parallel-Bar Dip
Sunday: Off

Sets: 8-10
Reps: 8-10
Tempo: 3-0-1-0
Rest Interval: 3 minutes


Next phase of this training protocol is the strength aspect. John, you’re up…

Monday: Front Squat
Tuesday: Pull-Up
Wednesday: Standing Military Press
Thursday: Snatch Podium Deadlift
Friday: One-Arm Dumbbell/Cable Row
Saturday: Close-Grip Bench Press
Sunday: Off

Sets: 10-12
Reps: 3-5
Tempo: 4-0-X-0
Rest Interval: 3 minutes

Get all that? You should, since it’s right there in black and white. We need to strive for progress every single workout, week in and week out. You should be concentrating on getting bigger and / or stronger for every workout you perform. This is not out of the realm of possibility, guys – it can and it WILL be done!

The goal is to make progress every workout. You’ll be able to tell from the first work set whether or not you got stronger as you should be able to do more reps than the previous week. If that’s not the case, your nutrition is poor or sleep is inadequate.

You can’t screw around during the non-gym hours with this program. You must stay disciplined. If there are exams or you anticipate an excessive amount of partying in the near future, don’t attempt this routine. Wait until things are calm and you have the time, energy, and focus to concentrate on daily training and recovery.

Out-of-gym time is just as important as in-gym time, as per usual! There are standards that we are gonna have to live up to – muscle standards – NO FUCKING AROUND IS ALLOWED!!! Being too tired or too sore and not being able to perform your pre-assigned number of sets / reps is NOT acceptable. It only means your nutrition and / or your recovery is poor. Fuck that, peeps! Check out one of the Gone Liftin’ articles, Improve Your Athletic Recovery, cause we ain’t gonna clutter this piece up with tips to improve your muscular recovery. Seriously, go there and read it now – there is 2 parts – read them both!

Anyhoo… let’s talk about rest. Rest is key here! Between sets and reps, adequate rest intervals must be implemented to be at full capacity for the remaining rigors of this regime. Don’t try to be Superman and think decreasing the rest intervals will help even more. It won’t! There’s a reason this is a regime written out for you – for you to follow it! Rest… Rest AND stretch! Allow us to refer you over to another Gone Liftin’ article – When Should I Stretch? How Should I Stretch? Knowing the differences in various stretching methods is important.

You can use this time to your benefit by stretching tight antagonistic or non-competing muscles. For example, between sets of rows, you can stretch either your chest (the antagonistic muscle) or calves (a non-competing muscle), whichever requires greater attention.

Static stretching works best in this case. Perform multiple sets at various angles for the tight muscles, and hold each stretch for only 15 seconds. With static stretching it’s more effective to use many different angles for a short duration rather than holding one angle for a long time. The rule is, the more intensive the stretching, the shorter its application. Stretching between sets isn’t just to fill time. Research shows that a greater amount of work can be performed after active rest compared to passive rest. During the rest interval, a diversionary activity such as stretching can facilitate faster recovery of the prime movers. Additionally, the flexibility of the muscles being stretched will improve over time, and performance of the muscles being trained will improve immediately.

How Long

Well, on a good day, it’s about 7-8 inches… Oh shit!! Sorry, wrong topic… Anyway, stay on this program for about 6-8 weeks from what we understand.

You should stay on each program for about 6-8 weeks, or until you fail to make any real progress. After you’ve completed both routines, start back on a conventional multi-exercise regimen with more frequent off days for recovery.

This is a really cool training protocol, and we love it! We are gonna give it a whirl as well, because we always practice what we preach. Have fun with it, and don’t forget to leave us feedback below if you do indeed try it…

Lush Sleutsky

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Trying to provide the most current, accurate information. No tricks - no smoke & mirrors. We all want to learn more and more and keep progressing! There is no need for tricks or sales tactics. We want to gather, learn, share, and debate any and all fitness related info for the betterment of our minds and our bodies...

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