A few queries I have...

Discussion in 'Basic Training Principles and Methods' started by SameOldSameOld, Jul 12, 2007.

  1. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    You see, I'm not saying we should grab an unloaded barbell, do 6x5 sets and go home. Load does matter. But volume does too. You have to balance load & volume (& frequency). It wouldn't do good to emphasize only 1 variable. Working with 1 heavy set of 5RM and going home sounds just as silly as doing 12 sets of 5's with an empty barbell for the purposes of muscle growth (for an experienced guy). So you have to balance things out a bit.

    Volume is as important as load. For all our Bryan fans, here's a quote:
  2. Sci

    Sci Well-Known Member

    yeah, 3x5 is fine. The only reason I do more sets is because I only do three exercises for the whole body, which is the exact same volume as 6 exercises for 3 sets.
  3. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Umm ... you're the (only?) one who hangs on his every word ...

    You've what, 2 years lifting under your belt? The necessary TUT for you to build muscle is still going to be extremely low.

    At least you're only doing 3x5, but for the love of God don't stop going to 5RM and beyond as you've indicated you want to elsewhere. It's ridiculous to expect the same stimulus from your 8RM as your 5RM, 3RM range.

    Last thing - volume and load are still dependent on diet, and until you're eating in surplus, gaining muscle AND fat, you won't be getting bigger regardless of your training.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2013
  4. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Fyi, most of my size personally was built early on doing HST cycles where I skipped the 15s and extended the 5s, doing an average of 2-3 sets in the fives for most lifts, 4-5 sets for the one or two lifts where I wanted to specialize. That took me from my starting point up to over 200 lbs. Point being, it worked for a very long time. It wasn't 30 reps total per muscle group.

    You have to remember that it isn't actually total reps that matter. It is more like time under tension that matters. Obviously reps are going to go a bit slower when you are in the 5s, so each rep will mean more time under tension. In theory this means that you should get the same time under tension with fewer reps when using heavier loads as you would doing more reps with a lighter load. Further benefit is that with heavier loads, you activate more muscle fibers out of the gate instead of having to wait for fatigue to accumulate... it becomes pretty clear that you can do fewer reps with a heavier load and still illicit an optimal growth signal. Obviously the amount of time you take to complete a rep will have diminishing returns, otherwise we could just do all reps super slow and grow like weeds.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  5. Sci

    Sci Well-Known Member

    good point. As the loads progress into the 5s, volume is going to have to drop anyway. Once I get into loads where I an hitting failure in the 5th set, or the 4th set, I know it's time in the cycle to drop some volume in exchange for Progressive Loading, as in the Haycocks example of chin-ups.
  6. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Lol, "The Haycock" - thats awesome, sci. we should just refer him as that from now on like he is some sort of god. And.haycock.dammit, it is really hard to type posts between sets at the gym on this tiny phone with my big fat fingers
  7. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    Good point on TUT. That is why I will be increasing volume gradually up to whatever current demands are. I will no longer be stopping at my true 5RM, but rather my "5RM in 3 sets w/~3 min. rest".
    See this post by Bryan (surprise!): http://thinkmuscle.com/forum/showthread.php?16035-Are-5's-really-necessary&p=51329#post51329
  8. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Boris Boris Boris ... does anyone know what happened to that monster?

    (FYI @ Rihad - Boris was a monsterous Hulk of a lifter, pretty sure he picked up his pro card at some point)

    Bare in mind that Bryan is agreeing w/Totentanz, in that the 5's are the most important aspect of HST. As discussed, it isn't a magic # of '5', it's the % of 1RM (conceptually, not specifically 5RM) that the 5's cover; being eff'ing heavy.

    Also, re: TUT, you shouldn't be increasing volume just because sets become shorter, as heavier weights are lowered and raised at lesser speeds; more TUT for 1 set of 5RM than a set of 10RM, arguably. If nothing else, it's almost certainly comparable.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2013
  9. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    This is debatable. For one thing, markedly slow lowering of the weight during 5's to match the TUT of 10's. It's not only about TUT, it's about the action of the muscle while under load. Markedly slow lowering at that load would hardly qualify as a "negative" (in HST's meaning), and would begin to resemble rest-pause stuff, refilling a bit more resources before pushing up again. For another, truly heavy 5RM wouldn't allow "enough" per-bout volume and/or frequency, and would make the whole process unpleasant overall (IMO). That's the reason I'm going to try to avoid hard 5's for the most part during the last 2 weeks, bringing in some more volume instead. I might throw in a couple of hard 1-2 sets on the final 2-3 w/os by correspondingly extending the cycle by a few w/os.
  10. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    You cannot control your 5RM at the same speed you can control your 10RM, this is true for both concentric and eccentric portions of the repetition. Lowering a weight less quickly is not a 'negative'. A 'negative' is strictly doing ONLY the eccentric portion of a rep, at a load that is more than you complete concentrically. If you can lift the weight up for a normal rep, you're not doing negatives.

    I would never recommend (or personally attempt) rest-pause when using anything near my 5RM or heavier.

    Will the times be precisely even? Obviously not. Will they be close enough? Extremely likely.

    And no amount of cumulative TUT will ever make up for

    This is going to sound unnecessarily blunt, it isn't intended to be rude; I really find it hard to accept that you have any idea what you're talking about. There aren't degrees of 5RM, no 'hard' or 'soft' 5RM's (or any xRM's for that matter). It's either your RM, or it isn't. And going to your 5RM, and ideally increasing it is a critical part of HST. Between this sort of mentality and your unwillingness to eat in surplus, it's not difficult to understand why your gains beyond 'beginner' have stopped - and judging from your signature, I'd say you're smack bang at the end of beginner gains.

    Volume is not a substitute for load. Don't get me wrong, I'm like you; I've plateau'd at about those levels before I really and absolutely committed to bulking, and I also love actually working out. If it was up to me, volume would be the purest route to hypertrophy there was. But it isn't. Strength (increasing load) is. And HST is a formidable system for becoming stronger and therefore becoming bigger. Load is the stimulus for muscle building. Should we moderate, structure and control our exposure to load? Absolutely, and we do that, especially using a system like HST. Read and re-read Bryan's quote (you seem to only follow anything Bryan or Borge said ... it's a bit weird but not unexplainable, I suppose). Load, load, load ... volume is only increased as a mechanism to expose the tissue to a greater load (i.e. work done). If the threshold isn't met (too small a load), you can't overcome that with extra volume. Sure, you'll recruit extra fibres as you fatigue. Whoop-dee-do ... they won't get the stimulus to grow, they'll just be doing their contraction thing.

    Furthermore, volume is cyclical (or ought to be applied in that fashion, I should say). Lets say my 5RM is 100kg for whatever. I do my 5. Then in order to attempt to increase it, I do another set. The next workout I push out 3 sets of 5. The following workout I bump to 102.5kg and do 5. Just 5. The next workout I do the 5, then try a second set and manage 3. Next time it's 5 and 5 again ... see where I'm going ... ? Volume, as a factor, shouldn't be applied in a 'more is more' context. It should be increased once you're satisfactorily completing your lifts, and then load should be increased and volume dropped (SS//5x5 workouts have taught us this much at the very least). Bryan also applied this in his chin-up discussion that was quoted. Volume is a merely indication of strength, and a means to complete the 'work-done' once a threshold load is passed.

    Go to your 5RM and make it higher, push your strength and the endurance (volume) will follow, it doesn't work the other way around.

    And no, working at sufficiently and relatively heavy weights will not ruin your joints, not overtrain you and not destroy your CNS.
  11. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    Strength gains! It's muscle size I'm after. I specifically don't want to be chasing heavy weights.
    I realize what 5RM is, it's just given me more problems than I believe are necessary (for muscle growth!) due to lack of volume, so I'm thinking of limiting their negative effects on volume & frequency by moving them out towards the last extra 2-3 workouts.
    At least if they do ruin my workouts, the time frame will be limited.
    I'm a strong believer that heavy load is a relative term when it concerns MY muscles. If they have not experienced this load for long enough, it IS going to be efficient for some time (until they get adapted), there's no way around that.

    I understand you up to a point, but I tend to get the feeling you think I want to be constantly lifting light weights and expect to grow. This couldn't be farther from the truth.
    If you're after muscle through strength gains, why are you using HST?

    I used to do exactly the progression you described. Limited to 1-2 sets, after a certain point size & strength gains came by more & more slowly. And no, it's not a food issue, all I know is that I need to eat more during my HST cycle than during SD to beat hunger. This time I'm gonna shoot for more volume w/rest periods limited to ~3 min, and see where I get from there. I'll only add more weight as soon as I get all 3 sets done to completion. The unchanging weight would still ellicit some growth all the while.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  12. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Strength gains is what leads to size gains. You can't put on muscle without becoming stronger.

    No, it won't.

    Good luck w/it, regardless, post before and after pics and see what happens, if you like.

    EDIT: to directly answer your qn that I quoted; HST facilitates tremendous strength in my experience. It's really that simple. SD means you get the most hypertrophy possible out of each load you are exposed to, but HST makes you strong, which makes you big.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2013
  13. Sci

    Sci Well-Known Member

    True. He is right about this. HST works great, but if you repeat loads every cycle and never increase them, you'll stop growing.
  14. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    Of course I know this! So you guys mean I won't be getting stronger by working in the 3x5/3' range, adding weight as I'm able to do them all (which is the idea)? Mind you, it's not the absolute load I want to avoid, by load relative to my RM. If I can ever bench 120 kg x5x3/3' (265 lbs), so be it. If I'm ever plateaued somewhere, and eventually breaking the plateau would necessitate adding a few workouts at weights heavier than 3x5/3', I will do that. But for the overall scheme of things - I'd like to try and keep my workouts below the arbitrary 3x5/~3', to spare my CNS and make the experience more pleasant.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  15. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Umm, no ... I'm pretty sure there's about 10 posts around here of me telling you to stop working out at lower weights and start doing high-load, low rep work ... I'm not really sure if this is a poor attempt at sarcasm or a genuinely strange effort to re-work your contention in the conversation.

    What you've been told, is don't add volume to low weights, don't be afraid to work out with heavy weights and don't expect hypertrophy from loads that aren't heavy enough to produce them. Volume doesn't make you big. If it did, we'd all be massive.
  16. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    Ok, I'll run this one cycle as planned (3x5/~3'), and probably will test loads heavier than that at lower volume for the final extra 2-3 workouts, and will see what I have. I'm expecting CNS to be in a good form when I reach those heavy w/os. How's that for a compromise.
  17. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Dude, do what you feel comfortable doing. No one here (and certainly not me) is saying that you can't do the high volume stuff you're looking forward to. The line being put to you is that said volume-bonanza isn't going to make your grow more, and certainly not when you aren't eating enough (which you haven't been, as you aren't increasing your mass).

    My personal advice remains that sticking to HST and doing 15s-10s-5s-heavy stuff remains an ideal way to gain muscle and doing a low volume means your frequency will be higher; more acute stimulus. If you want to do a 3rd set in the 5s, do it. But increasing load is more important than increasing volume.

    doesn't make complete sense. 3x5 = 3 sets of 5 ... but /~3' ... ? ... no idea. 3x3 to 5 ? is that what you're getting at?
  18. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    Sorry, 3 sets of 5s, ~3 minute rest.

    I've been adding body weight easily, adding weight is easiest for me. But what kind of weight is that...

    Ok, I'll try 3x5/~3' this cycle and see.

    If I'm ever plateaued somewhere, and eventually breaking the plateau would necessitate adding a few workouts at weights heavier than 3x5/3', I will do that. But for the overall scheme of things - I'd like to try and keep my workouts at the arbitrary 3x5/~3' limit, to spare my CNS and make the experience more pleasant.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  19. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Not sure why you think that will spare your cns.

    Volume stresses the cns more than load does.

    Not sure why you think that is more pleasant. Who doesn't like slinging around heavy weights, feeling like a monster?

    I guess it's like Ronnie Coleman said. Something along the lines of "Everybody wanna be big but ain't nobody want to lift no heavy ass weight!" referring to the fact that everyone aspires to be large but are not generally willing to put forth the effort to lift heavy enough to become large.
  20. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    But it wouldn't be my true 5RM, but rather ~6-7RM. I'll be employing auto-regulation and let the 3x5/~3' load be easily detected. Since I will be progressively approaching that weight from my 10RM, I won't miss it. Staying at a safe distance from CNS exhaustion would allow me to add strength (and probably size) in the same vein as I can build up my strength & size progressively after SD. Keeping rest periods in check will allow me to keep CNS safe and not overdo with loads. This is a mix of ideas seen by me from Bryan (HST), Lyle (fixed rest periods between sets), and Blade (auto-regulation). If I'm feeling able & willing when the cycle is over, I'll also be using AlexAustralia's idea of heavier loads/lower volume for the last few extra workouts, just to top things off.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013

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