|Dr. Mike Israetel, PhD, RP's Chief Sport Scientist
When the coronavirus epidemic hit and gyms everywhere closed, like many, my training partner and RP’s athlete manager, Charly Joung and I were caught off guard. We were (and are, as I write this) in the middle of a massive, 20 week-long fat loss phase that relies on at least nine gym sessions per week and cardio on top of that. We were uninterested in pausing our dieting and training efforts despite the current obstacles. If you're right there with us, read on.
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READ MORE for some general tips on how to adapt your training to an effective at-home regimen.
The day gym closures were announced in our city, I wrote our at-home workout split, which we’d use for the foreseeable future. Because I had literally just finished adding the male component to the (originally female-oriented) RP Gym-Free training program, I was able to crank out our split very quickly. The at-home training templates max out at six workout sessions per week, plenty for anyone to maintain muscle and enough for many people to grow or prevent losses on a cut. Charly and I are, however, very advanced lifters and need quite a bit of stimulus to make sure we don’t lose muscle during our prolonged diet phases, which, as mentioned, requires at least nine session per week. In fact, because we’d be training much lighter, and training at home without the inconvenience of having to go out to the gym, we could actually benefit from training with a higher session number than we had been. Thus, the program I ended up writing was 12 sessions per week: two workouts every single day for six days straight.
As Charly and I started to implement the program, we realized that what we had built could benefit other advanced lifters for whom six weekly sessions might not suffice. This program could not only stave off muscle loss for the very advanced during these gymless times, but could also robustly grow muscle for high level lifters who are in a hypercaloric state.
Checking my Instagram, I saw numerous friends and followers expressing frustration at trying to cobble together a plan with nothing but household items and perhaps a few dumbbells. So I sat down, and wrote out an entire training block of at-home workouts with multiple daily sessions, using nothing more than a pair of dumbbells. If you’re an advanced lifter with no intention of taking a break during this indefinite lockdown, these programs are your ticket to three things:
- An increase in pain
- A reduction in boredom
- Muscle growth!
The program itself is composed of three mesocycles of training, and an instruction manual on how to execute them properly. The first mesocycle is eight sessions per week, the second is 10 sessions per week, and the third is 12 sessions per week. The program trains all main muscle groups, down to glutes, forearms, traps, and calves. For those unaccustomed to multi-session or higher frequency training, the safest bet is to start at the eight session mesocycle for at least two weeks and work up from there if higher session numbers are both tolerable and desirable. If you don’t already have a pair of dumbbells, getting them shipped to you is a very good idea, as this program heavily (no pun intended) relies on them. Ideally, you want dumbbells that are tough to do for lateral raises in the 5-15 rep range, as such dumbbells will be a workable tradeoff between exercises that ideally require heavier and lighter loads. (If you are unsure what dumbbell weight is tough for you in the 5-15 rep range, this program is likely unnecessarily advanced for you and RP Gym Free is likely a better fit!)
Who It’s For
This program is for advanced lifters, who were likely training six or more times a week when the gyms were open. It is for people who want to and can commit to training multiple times per day. If you don’t know what RIR is, what technical failure is, or how to implement a rep and set progression while tracking your performance, this program is likely not for you, as the instructions are just that, and not the in-depth explanations you’d get with the Gym-Free at-home programs. Remember as well that a four times per week program done consistently every week will be leagues more effective than a six times per week program done inconsistently. The progression aspect of the training is important so you should never shoot for any more weekly training than you are absolutely sure you can reliably do.
Who It’s Not For
This program is not for beginner to intermediate lifters or folks not interested in or able to train eight times per week or more, via multiple sessions per day. If you fall into these categories, the RP Gym-Free program is designed for you (and currently 60% OFF regular price in RP's effort to provide some covid relief). If you would like to learn more about the basics of achieving a hypertrophy stimulus with limited equipment geared more towards beginner to intermediate lifters, check out my relevant article with RP's Dr. Mel or her article on dieting and getting creative with training during quarantine.
How To Get It
If you’re interested in trying this very demanding form of training, you’re in luck. This program is 100% free of charge. Just sign up to our email list to get free expert advice and exclusive promos, and you'll be able to download it on the next screen! In the PDF, you’ll find some useful links, to the RP Diet App, our Instagram Account, and our Gym-Free program, carefully designed to guide less experienced lifters or those unable commit to multiple daily training sessions. If you know folks that can benefit from this program, thanks for passing it on (as Charly eats a lot, and we need money to buy him food!)
If you’d like detailed instructions on how to train each muscle group, from frequency and volume to loading and periodization, check out the Hypertrophy Central Hub. Visit my Instagram and RP’s Instagram, and if you’d like a digital diet for two weeks free and only $15 a month after, take a look at the RP Diet App. If a little more guidance suits you better, look into RP diet and training online coaching, and get yourself an extremely personalized plan, an expert to answer your questions within 24 hrs and serve as your cheerleader and accountability buddy. Lastly, if you like informative videos on training and diet theory, real world training tips and videos of actual lifting programs being done properly by hard-training lifters, visit the RP YouTube channel, where new content is posted multiple times each week.
We wish you the best in your training, and hope this free program helps keep the very advanced busy and hopeful.
And when you’re weeks deep into your multiple daily session program and suffering, don’t forget, Charly and I are suffering with you!