What is Y3T?
Y3T is a method of training developed by Neil Hill, IFBB pro bodybuilder & coach to many of the world’s best bodybuilders and physique athletes including Flex Lewis & Ryan Terry.
The 3 Week Training Cycle
Y3T is a 3 dimensional approach to training that works over a 3 week cycle rotating load and volume to maximise hypertrophy by targeting differing muscle fibres and energy systems. It is a complete training system that over time allows flexibility to determine which the most effective rep ranges are for creating individual hypertrophy. Over 12 weeks you will hit each of your workouts 4 times with the aim of bettering the previous each time. This progressive overloading of your muscles is vital in creating a hypertrophic response & improvements in body composition.
Here's how it is broken down:
Week 1 - 6-10 reps per set, usually 12-16 working sets per body part
This first micro cycle develops strength & power, stimulating high threshold motor units and targeting fast twitch muscle fibres to induce myofibrillar hypertrophy. Emphasis on the eccentric contraction here also develops ability to absorb and perform mechanical work which plays a major role for injury prevention in functional sports.
Week 2 - 12-18 reps per set, usually 8-12 working sets per body part
This second micro cycle allows a progression in volume of work and time under tension (TUT) targeting both slow and fast twitch muscle fibre populations. Higher rep ranges here increase blood flow into muscles and joints resulting in transient hypertrophy which plays a key role in driving nutrients and growth factors into muscles to act on target tissues. These provide all the raw nutrients and hormonal support to optimise recovery and muscle growth.
Week 3 - 20-80 per set, usually 3-6 working sets per body part
This third micro cycle consists of higher volume training at high intensity creating a large demand on energy systems. This elevates excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) which keeps the body in a state of prolonged elevated calorie burning improving conditioning. Typically targeting slow twitch muscle fibres, intense high volume training causes metabolic damage which impacts on the Central Nervous System (CNS) and endocrine system to illicit adaptive, hypertrophic responses in all muscle fibre types. The increased volume during this week is also hypothesized to produce sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, a training-induced increase in various non contractile elements (e.g collagen, organelles) & fluid expanding muscle size.
Improved Physique Balance & Reduced Injury Risk
Inducing fatigue at appropriate loads is a key determinant for stimulating muscle hypertrophy of all muscle fibre types so each micro cycle has specific load guidelines.
Of all the principles that influence muscle growth progressive overload is the most important for initiating hypertrophic response hence the increase in volume and TUT through each micro cycle. Cycling from week 3 straight back into week 1 provides a built in de load week due to the significant drop in volume which prevents overtraining. Heavy lifting occurs only once every 3 weeks reducing loading levels at joints, therefore decreasing risk of injury.
Lifting regularly in the same patterns can lead to muscle imbalances that increase the risk of injury due to more dominant muscles taking over and developing quicker than others. This results in an inability to recruit certain muscle groups causing weakness in the body’s kinetic chain. To combat this Y3T uses a varied approach hitting target muscles with an array of exercises and angles whilst each micro cycle has its own strict rep tempo’s. Employing techniques with focussed contractions develops mind muscle connection which helps engage inactive muscle groups improving performance. Under developed muscle groups are also targeted with higher volume work to improve physique balance and reduce injury risk.