Switching but confused


New Member
I've been cramming a bit on PL programs lately and it would appear that there are many contradictions in routines, and some in opinions of strength development.
Whilst I finish the 16 week dead program I'm on, I'm considering something like this after I stall out and deload.

The outline will be:
Day One: Squat, Abs.
Day Two: Bench, Triceps, abs
Day Three: Deadlift, Upper Back, Biceps, Forearms, abs
(Day Four: Light Bench)

Day One:
Front Squat

Day Two:
Incline Bench
Machine ab crunch
Tricep Pushdowns

Day Three:
Stiff Leg Deadlift
Cable Pulls or Pendlays
Weighted Chins

Day Four:
MyoRep Bench

I want to do ME on one week and 5x5 or less on alternates for each of the 3 lifts. I posted here because I trust the science based knowledge and experience of the members of HST. And my ol' lady is about to kill me for living on the computer again.
This isn't based on science, but Day 3 looks brutal.

If I were doing that workout I wouldn't plan on doing much after I went to the gym.
I think you need to ask yourself what is each exercise going to do to help the goal of getting more powerful on your core lifts and then cut any that may be vanity driven or redundant  (I see incline,skulls,tricep push downs but no close grip bench for instance).



If you aren't already familiar with these two sights they have a wealth of information pertaining to pure strength focus/PLing.

Also I can't recommend the strategies and routines of Doug Hepburn enough for the natural athlete looking to focus purely on strength.

I don't want to insult your intelligence though - I have every confidence that how ever you go - your experience and knowledge will quickly lead you to tweak/modify until you are left with a very effective program FOR YOU.
Muscle vs Neural efficiency/Skill

nice little collection of quotes here from the now defunct Midwest Barbell forum

<div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">i was talking to someone today about weightlifting training vs powerlifting training, and something kind of stuck in my mind... the differences and similarities of the evolution of training in each sport. in weightlifting, many of the best lifters of the 50's trained mainly on the competitive lifts, doing snatches, clean and jerks and squats 3 or 4 days a week, going relatively light for a few weeks, then ramping up for several weeks of hard training, then going back down again for several weeks of light training... the soviets changed this in the 70's (well, not just the soviets, but i suppose they were the most vocal about the new training style) and began planning more long term, and employing more assistance exercises, culminating in a training style where the lifter spent very little time on the competition exercises, and rarely did maximums on them outside competition, but did many, many different assistance exercises designed to improve the competition lifts, and changed these assistance exercises often. now, we have largely turned back to the &quot;old style&quot; of training, this was started by the bulgarians, just do the snatch and the clean and jerk, and squat, and do these things heavy and often, and progress slowly to doing them even heavier and even more often...

in powerlifting, it seems a similar thing has happened, though not quite following the same timeline. most lifters up to the early 90's it seems trained the same way OLers did in the 50's, except for doing the lifts less often. just the basics, squat, bench, deadlift, with maybe some close grip benches or shrugs or leg presses, but most of all just heavy work on the competition lifts. of course louie brought powerlifting in the 90's to the same place where OL was in the 70's, de-emphasising the competitive lifts and concentrating on assistance exercises, and also just like OLing in the 70's, increasing the overall workload. however, it seems that now, people are starting to go back to more work on the actuall competitive lifts, for example, it seems to me that most of the best benchers no longer follow the formula that louie preached 5 or 10 years ago of only wearing a shirt in a meet and only benching heavy in a meet, it seems that many of the best wear their shirt and bench heavy in it every week, doing things just like they would do in competition on a regular basis.

the interesting thing is that real strength levels of the athletes in both sports really havnt changed all that much in the last 30 years. alexiev clean and jerked around 575lbs almost 30 years ago, and the best lifters of each of the intervening decades has been within 5 or so kilos of this number either way. i know that the actuall weights in powerlifting have gone up a lot recently, but there were 900+ squats in the 70's without squat suits, and with knee wraps that people wouldnt even consider as supportive equipment today, and i doubt any of the current 1000+ squatters in their canvas suits could really beat that. likewise, jim williams benched 700 in the 70's without a shirt, and that number really hasnt been bettered by any large margin even today.

so it would seem to me that exercise selection and whether your training style emphasises the competitive lifts or assistance exercises isnt the most important variable when it comes to successfull training. ill agree that bands and chains and the 100 versions of the good morning are fun and can help break plateaus, but in reality, the strength levels of the best powerlifters havent increased signigicantly since we all started using these things. likewise in OL, we argue about whether to use the soviet or bulgarian models, but in reality, both have produced comparable athletes.

perhaps there is another variable, a thing or things not talked about often enough, that can be successfully applied within widely different training regimines, that is more important than what band to use or whether to do powercleans or pulls, or just clean and jerks. of course i have my own ideas about this, but id like to hear what some other people think.
Besides the obvious answer that you need more practice with more advanced gear, like squat suits and bench shirts, couldn't one make the argument that the two styles aren't that different after all?

I should tell everyone that Glenn and I were talking about something very closely related to this issue already about a month ago. So I'm sort of repeating a lot of what he told me then, but for the benefit of everyone else here now.

To be a good strength athlete, you pretty much need good neural efficiency with your competitive lifts, and the muscles that are going to be doing all that work really do need to be pretty big.

Do not both styles of training (Russian/WSB versus Bulgarian/Milita) accomplish this?

For OLing and PLing with Russian training and WSB respectively, using the conjugate method, you develop your neural ability with lots of dynamic and max effort work. With Bulgarian and Militia training, we'll call it 'direct training' for now I guess, you develop this ability through lots of repetitive practice with the competition lifts...for hours and hours per training session. Just different methods of achieving the same result...a highly 'peaked' degree of neural strength.

But you can't just be peaked...you can't get away from myofibril hypertrophy of the muscle groups that are going to be doing all this work. To do this with the conjugate method you need lots of volume with difficult weight. Glenn called this, &quot;real gut busting sets&quot;...&quot;boring and really hard&quot;. Stuff like 6 sets of 4, or 5 sets of 5, or 4 sets of 10 with weight that is difficult...like around 80% of your max. The Russians did lots of variations of pulls and jerks to accomplish this, and WSB guys do a lot of GHRs, rows, dumbell presses, and goodmornings. The &quot;direct training&quot; camp gets all this volume straight from the huge amount of competitive lifts that they practice. No one is going to accuse the Bulgarians or the Militia of using anything but a lot of volume. And these of course work the necessary muscles because the lifts are mostly the competitive lifts (with a few exceptions). Again, its just a different way of achieving the same goal.

As long as you are efficient and big (big enough), isn't exercise selection really a moot point? After all, the lifts you do in the gym are really only one training variable...if all the other variables are similar...is your training really that different?
This is more Glenn regurgetation coming at you...I hope he doesn't mind too much.

You need to get lots of work in at the 80% range, with multiple sets of multiple reps. 5x5 is an easy way to do it...but 6x4 or 4x10 seems to work really well too. Just keep the weight on the barbell the same for all of the sets. For example, warm up with the barbell by itself, than do 5 sets of 5 reps of 225 for Romanian deadlifts.

I know you train mostly WSB style Susan...so for your assistance stuff, if adding more weight is your gameplan, than do your GHRs and rows and JM presses for a bunch of sets with the same weight on the bar...and make sure its hard. Don't train to failure! But make sure that its difficult weight.

I think the &quot;other variable&quot; that you might be talking about is hard work. I mean really hard work. Work that builds up a serious amount of fatigue in your system.

I am one of the loudest proponents of efficient training planning, periodization, peaking, keeping intensity high (with regards to 1rm), etc., but the fact is the foundation that is built in all these elite athletes comes from time periods of extremely hard work, where fatigue builds up to the point of d**n near overtraining. (and then allowing that fatigue to dissipate during deloading phases).

Look at Jay Schroeder. This guy is a nut - more of a cult leader than a Strength and Conditioning coach. Most of his ideas couldn't be more against what science and time have proven over and over again to be correct. However, he works the hell out of his guys - and they adapt and become stronger.

Whether you subscribe to the conjugate Soviet/WSB methods or to the direct training Bulgarian/Militia training isn't as important as to whether you build up fatigue for periods of time and then back off, allowing yourself to recover. i.e. - when do you get really strong with WSB? It's during the circa maximal phase, which in essence is the only time that WSB plans to truly raise the fatigue level of their athletes.


At some point, there is a limit to how big and how efficient you can get.&quot; I'm going to pretend, for now, that this is a lie! A vicious lie!

I wonder how much sports psychology weighs in to this. It seems that &quot;fatigue&quot; is relative. This is just another way of saying training tollerance though.

Fred, was the 80% thing about mass or recruitment?
Couple of points here Susan and Fred...

Constantly maxing out weights does little to induce hypertrophy in any form. What adds size (specifically myofibrillar hypertrophy) is the &quot;extra work&quot; that is done. Like Fred said, WSB and the Soviets accomplish this from the extra work they do like Glute Ham Raises, Rev. Hypers, Extra tricep exercises, etc.

The Bulgarians do their extra work in terms of competitive lifts done in the 80% range for maybe 2-5 sets of 3-5 reps. This keeps them from deviating form their program by allowing them to hit maxes daily, but then drop down in that same lift they just maxed at do some rep work for hypertrophy.

Susan, it's hard to ask what caused your hypertrophy as you started WSB. It may have been the extra work, or it may have just been that you were stuck in a rut in bodybuilding and the higher intensity came as a shock to your body and so you adapted.

However, the fact that you have since not gained much muslce but have become much much, much stronger is definitely due to increased nueral efficiency.

I'm not sure what I think about genetic limits. I honeslty don't believe there really is such a thing. Obviously growth and strength will slow once you have become efficient and big, but it doesn't stop.

So the issue os to continue the maxes for the nueral efficiency, and continue the rep work for the hypertrophy.

Matt brought up some real good points, I'm glad he did!

About the 80% of your 1 rep max...that was just an arbitrary number to use for the amount of weight you put on bar for gaining lean weight. The idea is just to use medium-heavy weight for a lot of &quot;gut-busting&quot; volume.

And Susan...just because there is a limit...it doesn't mean you're anywhere near it.
Yes, growth wise I respond very well to heavy work. This is why I always thought TUT theories were a joke. I think variety makes people grow, along with RECOVERY. Since the beginning my routine has had a mix of 1 RM, 3 RM, 3 x 3, 5 x 5, and 10-15 rep work. I think it's very likely that I should expect my LBM to slow (but not stop, as you said) at some point. I mean, I AM a chick. hehehe

Fred, I'm definitely not concerned with limits. &quot;Limitations are for people who have them.&quot;

Question though...if the 80% comment was in regard to hypertrophy, then what do you think improves recruitment best? Practice? Practice in a certain range/model?
Yes and no. Fatigue is relative in the terms you are describing. But this is why I hate using the term &quot;intensity&quot; because most people define it incorrectly. Intensity is defined as how close you are working in regards to your 1 rep max. &quot;Perceived intensity&quot; is how hard you perceive yourself as working regardless of what % of 1rm you are at. (i.e. - bodybuilders really &quot;feeling&quot; the burn.)

Perceived intensity is pretty much worthless in training. Perceived fatigue is as well.

True fatigue is a physical issue (concerning CNS and muscles), not necessarily an emotional or mental one. However, many times an athlete's perceived fatigue holds them back from reaching the true amount of physical fatigue they need in order to truly get bigger and stronger. This is where Glenn has an advantage with the blood tests he's designed to measure overtraining and fatigue.

For the rest of us it's an issue of slowly building up fatigue and specifically for a 1-3 week period load so hard that you can't hardly handle it anymore. Then back off, allow yourself several weeks to recover and then start the process over. If you can't finish the workouts at all during the heavy loading weeks, or you don't recover properly, then you loaded too hard and built up too much fatigue. Next time, don't load so hard. If you are setting new maxes during your heavy loading weeks and it didn't take long to recover, then you didn't load hard enough and therefore didn't give your body the optimal training stimulus it needed to most efficiently grow and get stronger.

BTW, The more I think about dual-factor training and periodizing wth periods of heavy loading followed by periods of unloading rarely happens in powerlifting. (I wonder if it ever did?) Even the best of the best I see aren't doing it in powerlifting, and I feel it contributes greatly to so many guys bombing out of meets with weights they were hitting easily a month before.

It seems arrogant for me to say so, being that I don't live on the same universe as most of those lifters, and yet, I honestly believe that if they knew how to periodize correctly using fatigue that we would see the records go through the roof, (not like we're seeing with the mastery of equipment, but rather because of true strength gains.)

It's funny to me the science and planning and money that goes into OLY weight lifting or even training in other olympic sports, and yet most powerlifters go into the gym with no real clue as to what they are doing, never ramp up fatigue on purpose, and the only unloading they do is not working out the week before the meet.

This idea of cognitive training (training by feel) is bullshit for the most part IMHO. 99% of the strength community can't be trusted to train correctly in going by &quot;feel.&quot; After the first or second week of a heavy 3 week loading period, obviously you will &quot;feel&quot; like you need to back off. But you don't need to back off - you need to push yourself into a place you've never been before. The word &quot;overtraining&quot; is vastly overused in strength training, defined by most people as when they don't feel like working out that day, or they didn't happen to set a max that day because they have been feeling &quot;a little overtrained.&quot; Their not overtrained - they've probably just allowed some fatigue to build up, which is a great thing. But without planning and testing by trial and error, how can you ever know how hard to push yourself or when to back off or how long you need to back off before testing your maxes?

Now, one major exception to this rule is concerning injuries. Obviously if you are dying with tendonitis, you have to know when to back off, even if your body as a whole hasn't built up much fatigue. Injuries are a whole different ballgame.

Just something to think about. </div>
That was a great article I think, and I'll get to Russ's sites quickly as I can. Since I'd done chest/tri's the other day and was due for deads, I did w.o. 3 with a few modifications.
Deads, same PR (445) with heavier singles before and 3's after (more TUT); I get to PR again next week.
SLDL's - 3x10 up to 385.
Pendlay's 3x5 up to just 315 - back getting a bit sore.
Bentover db forward flyes 3x8 up to 50's.
DB standing forward laterals to overhead; 3x8 up to 50's.
Face pulls 2x25x50.
We skipped the shrugs; guess why.

Looking forward to the &quot;break&quot; of MyoRep bench day. Dreading the squats I haven't done heavy for a while now.
That was an insightful post CCJ, thanks.

In my opinion Quad, PL is easier than BBing.  The reason being that in PL the results of a program are really black and white:  did the lift go up or not?  In BBing people don't keep measurements.  When was the last time someone said &quot;this routine put 3/4 an inch on my upper arms&quot; and there's a whole forum of people claiming the same?  That never happens in bodybuilding.  In powerlifting there are many programs that have worked successfully.   Really all you need to do is go &quot;shopping&quot; for one and use it utterly and completely.  Complete faith.  I am a skeptical SOB myself.  After much study I can look through common BB books at the bookstores today and correct many of them.  I found a gross error in one last week regarding the supraspinatus.  I have found in my reading that there are some questions that will not have matter-of-fact answers.  Once you cut the wheat from the chaff what remains isn't clarity - its confusion.  Instead of trying even harder to hybridize your findings - to take the best of everything in an effort to make it all even better, start trying out the information you have left.  Take a program literally off the internet and use it and only it for 6 months to a year.  Then try another.  As one progresses in weightlifting gains become increasingly harder to make.  I think the same can be said for learning.  In academia first one learns the basics (undergraduate degree), then one learns the basics in depth (master's degree), finally one learns all there is available (doctorate) and finally one develops and publishes his own research, his own original ideas.  In academia this is the doctorate, the hundred+ page research paper where the student contributes some new finding to the field.  If all that's left in your PL reading is other people's ideas you've just passed your doctoral courses in weightlifting.  The only thing left is to do your own research in your own lab.
Wow, good stuff QP! I've felt that way on different forums, and now my friends and I have a private research website just to get away from the continual noob questions and to stay focused on our ideas and developments (green energy research), HST was sort of like that and I think many like Blade have dropped off for not learning much new. Westside I see has intentionally been run as an R&amp;D center, the students becoming coaches, coaches becoming mentors, developers and so forth.
For now, with my strengths up somewhat, it's hard to try and do anything submax to train anything that is allready strong.
Today I did MR's for bench, using 210 (5lbs. up from last week) MR's for pec deck (250) a few sets of twisting DB flyes with 35's (haven't done flyes in a year) and 2-board presses with 225, my first time, pausing and exploding reps x 3, sort of MR.
The recommendation was to do the board presses at 65%, but why? I can do them at 100%.
Just for fun, I did tri pushdowns and a MR set of close grip bench with 135 and exploding VERY fast each rep. When I finally decide to deload, I may take one program and start from the beginning, as I've read that my old favorite, instinctive training doesn't work for PL.
I've made 3 of the workouts thus far and find it extremely easy, being used to more BB'ing style w.o.'s.
I'm tweaking a bit on it, like adding Pec Dec Myo's and hammer presses on day four, and a whole list of alternates to use every other week, including good mornings, narrow bench, incline DB's, leg raises, cable rows, DB bentover reverse flyes, supinated front DB raises, Pec Dec ME work, DB myo presses, and for sprints, a sled I built that is TOTALLY BRUTAL in 60 seconds! I'll still only be doing 4-5 exersizes per workout though.

I always wondered what I was gonna do with those ol' tires and cement weights that held tarps in place!
I talked with the ONE PL in our gym, who just does 1-3 exersizes in his workouts. I doubt that would work for me, and I'm enjoying the arms and arm strength from what I'm doing. I consider this routine to be pretty minimal, but I know it's because I'm used to much more.
If I go back to Stack's gym eventually, I'll probably get much more coaching, as they have a PL team, monolift and all the chain/band/block toys.
That picture is bad *** Quad ! Since you are transitioning to strength focused training have you toyed with the idea of participating in local (PL) competitions?
Long ago, when my numbers were in the middle of the Master's class I did. But they won't let me use my Manta Ray, which I can't squat without due to hypersensitive traps. (I'm one of the 1/1000 people they designed it for) They let you use wraps, belts, shirts and suits, which help the lift, but won't let me use a pad that does nothing but protect my spine.
I'm not going to be one of those guys who just goes and competes in one part of the thing. To me, that's not powerlifting. I had a sponsor and everything too.