Hey guys, thank you all for your help and advice. It’s really appreciated.
I’m still looking at the programs you guys have recommended me. However, I am starting to understand what you guys are getting at with the different rep ranges and volume for strength vs. hypertrophy.
This causes me to have the question, would it be smart for me to train almost exclusively for strength on the compound lifts and hypertrophy on the accessory exercises? Or should I aim for something else?
I still feel like I am somewhat in noob gain region, so should I be aiming mostly for strength or is hypertrophy okay to start incorporating more?[/quote]
You should be increasing or trying to increase the weight or reps on your exercises every week while getting in enough volume. Constantly progressing in some way to give your muscles a reason to grow while in a caloric excess.
It is as simple as that. The discussions were about how to train for multiple days a week without burning out, that’s all. You will get similar results either way.
DO NOT start thinking about of strength vs hypertrophy training and “optimal rep ranges”.
*This is exactly why I refrain from writing the words “strength” and “hypertrophy”.
I see what you mean and it seems like there’s a misunderstanding in how those words are used. I’ll attempt to explain it for the OP. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong or any details should be clarified.
The OP thinks that any type of heavy compound movement is “strength” work and any type of lighter/accessory work is “hypertrophy” work. That isn’t exactly how you define it and I agree. We’re using the words to describe phases in training.
I would describe them as 3 somewhat distinct phases:
The hypertrophy phase is purposefully increasing workload to force the body to adapt to the continual increase in fatigue. This is where we want fatigue to increase and our recovery keeps up with or exceeds it to adapt to it in order to get bigger and stronger.
I would describe a hypertrophy/strength phase as workload and fatigue remaining about the same or slighlty increasing/decreasing. This is a grey area in between distinct hypertrophy and strength phases. The goal is to work with heavier weights although fatigue management isn’t really a priority. Mixing up intensity prevents stagnation and lighter weights feel easy when dropping back down to it.
A pure strength phase involves strategically managing and reducing fatigue significantly while working with very heavy weights in order to peak for maximal strength, e.g., competition.
All these phases can contain heavy (what the OP is considering strength work), medium and light work because all types can get you bigger and stronger. As far as the OP is concerned, he should stay in the hypertrophy and hypertrophy/strength phases for as long as possible because this is where he gets bigger and stronger. Taking a short deload is enough time to reduce fatigue, after beginning to stagnate in phases 1 and 2, to go back into them to continue the building process. Most programs out there especially for beginners really only involve the first two phases and there doesn’t have to be a specific order for them. A pure strength phase is really only needed for people competing or are significantly stronger where the time spent in this phase allows for a much longer time away from higher workloads because a short deload is not enough.
I have personally tried to stay in phases 1 and 2 without going into 3 by only taking 1-2 weeks off and it simply wasn’t enough time to reduce the fatigue. If I didn’t need to periodize through phase 3, I wouldn’t do it unless I had a competition coming up. Phases 1 and 2 are the moneymakers for beginners.[/quote]
This is where we have the mixup in definitions occurred earlier. When I say “strength phase”, I’m referring to a “strength building” phase, more akin to what you call “strength/hypertrophy”. What you call a “pure strength phase”, I would call a “peaking phase”.
OP, Waterbury’s program is pretty balanced. I’d probably switch out the decline bench for incline given your aesthetic goals. There are a few things though. If you’re out of your newb gains phase, working up to 87.5% of 1RM (about a 4RM of starting 1RM) for 10x3 with only a minute of rest in just 4 weeks is probably going to be brutally hard, unless you’re careful about what you input for a 1RM and really have your recovery down solid. It’s also only a 4 week program. Given the short nature of the program and the need for good recovery, it’s probably not the best choice for someone at your level.
Yogi’s advice is good stuff, and is reasonable, sustainable, and simple. After you’ve got your base down (know how to eat/rest/recover in general, are seeing consistent progress, are honest with yourself about lifting, and have developed consistent, safe, and purposeful technique on the big lifts), feel free to take a deload and give Waterbury’s 4-weeker a try! Haven’t tried it myself, but looking at it, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.