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PBF: 2x/week is enough?

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  • PBF: 2x/week is enough?

    I love Primal Blueprint, its nutritional advice is amazing and I'm seeing pounds flying away effortlessly ever since I shied away from grains in favor of saturated fat and the like.

    However, I am really skeptical about the fitness advice offered in PBF. How on earth can 1x/week sprinting and 2x/week strength training make you ripped? Especially when the sprints are 10-20 mins and the strength training is 10-30 mins. That amounts to 30 mins - 2 hours of high intensity training per week. What scientific evidence is there to support this is at all an optimal way to train? I understand the risk of over-training and burnout, but this seems to take things to the other end of the spectrum, ie undertraining. Would you really be worse off strength training 3-4x/week and sprinting in the days in between?

    I don't see how this makes sense from the hypothetical Grok's perspective either. Why would Grok only need to sprint once every 7-10 days? Surely he must dash away from predators more often than that. The same skepticism applies to lifting heavy things. Wouldn't there be days where Grok would have to hoist heavy things over his shoulder for an entire day? And in general, the need to lift heavy things would be far more sporadic than a dedicated 10-30 min workout. All to say, thinking fitness in terms of Grok is highly speculative, so you really need scientific backing for these LHT & sprint workouts. Unfortunately most of the citations in PBF are links to Mark's own articles.

    I agree with the concept of having 5-6 essential movements and that chronic cardio is harmful in a variety of ways, but I can't shake the sense that PBF needs more workout volume to achieve any kind of results. Is there any particular reason that a "conventional wisdom" type program like Starting Strength would be wasting your time?

  • #2
    It depends on what your goals are. If your diet is clean and you just want to be in good shape with a healthy body then yes it is enough. If you want to be a powerlifter or a marathon runner then no, you would need a specialized program.


    • #3
      Suppose I want to look like Blake Griffin:

      Obviously I work out for health primarily, but out of pure vanity that would be my ideal physique. What kind of training should I do for that? I don't care if it's slightly unnatural or demands working out 5x/week, I just want a realistic program for achieving those results given proper program adherence.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Amalgam54 View Post
        Suppose I want to look like Blake Griffin:

        Obviously I work out for health primarily, but out of pure vanity that would be my ideal physique. What kind of training should I do for that? I don't care if it's slightly unnatural or demands working out 5x/week, I just want a realistic program for achieving those results given proper program adherence.
        1) Win the genetic lottery
        2) Lift damn heavy weights and run around like it's your job. Because it IS your job.

        Sent via A-10 Warthog


        • #5
          Eating strict primal/paleo, being on a dedicated strength program where you lift heavy 3-4 times per week, and adding some high intensity metcons would put you as close to blake as your genetics will let you.


          • #6
            Your problem is that you have been bombarded by messages saying that the more exercise, the better. No. Ineffective exercise is not better when overdone. Nor is effective exercise.


            • #7
              I agree, more is not always better, but if you look at 99% of the training programs of people with ridiculous blake griffin bodies they DO workout a ton. It's because they have the genetics that 99% of us don't have. There bodies can handle crazy volume without breaking down. Just check out the regimens for crossfit games athletes. Almost all of them work out multiple times a day multiple times per week almost year round. That kind of volume would destroy me.


              • #8
                Aren't you overstating the importance of genetics a little? Sure, some factors are out of your control (eg/ height), but surely anyone (short of some type of medical condition) can theoretically manage 6 pack abs and such with the right training program. It's just a matter of time and dedication. Where I'm placing my doubts is whether PBF will yield the desired results given that time & dedication. Looking like Blake on 2 hours of high-intensity training per week seems like a pipe dream.


                • #9
                  If you want to be more committed to a ripped look, you can always check out leangains. To be sure, you will have to readapt your eating habits (aka intermittent fasting, either 16/8 or what a bunch of us is doing: 20/4 fasting protocol with an occasional 44/4).


                  • #10
                    PBF is not geared towards a person looking to get a ripped appearance, but rather to individuals that are looking to purely get healthy. Check out Starting Strength, Wendler's 531, or even Al Kavaldo if you want workouts that will get you ripped. You might also want to check out the gains people are having in the steak and eggs thread in terms of gaining visible muscle.

                    In short, no, PBF is not likely to have you looking like Blake Griffin.


                    • #11
                      Getting to low body fat with a good diet makes a huge difference. I look more muscular now that I did when I was working out 3-4 times as much with more body fat. The science says that it doesn't take multiple hours of exercise to get your body to adapt to stress by growing more muscles. A little intense exercise goes a long way. I'm personally growing stronger and stronger with less than one hour twice a week and more than half of that is core stuff like planks, body bridges, etc.

                      I was making good progress when I started with the Body by Science program with only 15 minutes of lifting once a week. For me the key has been to focus on the bigger multi-joint lifts like bench press, overhead press, bent rowing, lat pulldown, squats and dead lifts. I've started deviating a bit from BBS to meet my personal needs, but have mainained shorter, higher intensity lifting routines.
                      Last edited by miata; 05-23-2013, 09:22 PM.


                      • #12
                        You are forgetting that aside from the 1 sprint session and the 2-3 lift heavy things sessions that you are encouraged to move slowly every day and play as much as possible.

                        If you have been running on the hamster wheel for a while now and still don't have the ripped body you desire, what can it hurt to give PBF a try? Don't forget that abs are made in the kitchen, too.
                        Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                          ...Don't forget that abs are made in the kitchen, too.
                          ^^Too true: No amount of exercise can overcome a crappy diet.

                          Sent from my DROID RAZR using Marks Daily Apple Forum mobile app
                          Don't be so concerned about yesterday, or worried about tomorrow, that you forget to enjoy today.


                          • #14
                            Marks program works. I think just using planks as a core movement (even though the others hit your core) isn't the best. As someone who has had disc injuries in the past I think reverse hypers are a must.

                            I used it when I came off weights and saw great results in muscle gains which was unexpected after years of weights. My bf dropped from about 9% to 8%.

                            I have considered going back to it except using diamond pushups and doing the incline, flat then decline progressions before starting to use my trx and working through progressions on that.

                            I am training for a triathlon and thought these two intense sessions (that hits endurance hard) + my event training could be good.

                            If your wanting to make the training more Grok like, have you thought about doing bear crawl forward/backward sprints. Doing them on hills, going them for 400m's etc.

                            It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out....Its the grain of sand in your shoe.


                            • #15
                              I gotta be honest with you, my chest looks nearly the same as that Blake guy (can post pics later) and I only do "high intensity training" 2.5x/week.

                              45 mins upper body / abs on Monday
                              30 mins legs on Wednesday
                              45 mins upper body / abs on Friday

                              Thats it

                              Then sprint 1x/week
                              Jog 20 mins 2x/week

                              So yeah, slightly more than what Mark recommends, but I also eat nearly 200g of carbs per day
                              For the record, it wasn't until I read his book that I took it seriously to the point where my abs are stable
                              I feel like I stopped working out for a couple weeks they'd still be there - not something I coulda said for my high-carb, low-intensity self of the past