T Nation

350 Question- Cortisol and Natural Lifter

I have a question on your 350 method. (3 sets to failure with 2 min rest between sets trying to reach a total of 50 reps)

Would this be too much volume for a natural lifter and raise cortisol too much?

After reading a lot of Christian Thibaudeau’s articles, he believes in 1 set to failure at around 6 to 8 reps and sometime beyond (rest pause) to promote growth in natural lifters while keeping glycogen and cortisol levels down.

Would it be a better idea if you are natural to maybe limit the 50 total rep goal to 25 or 30 over the 3 sets?

Thank you

I don’t think that 3 sets to failure is going to raise cortisol levels that are detrimental to anyone. And glycogen levels “down”?

A big difference between 350 and what Thibs recommends is the weight you’ll be using. Obviously with Thibs’ method the weight will be heavier so you shouldn’t use as much volume. With 350 the weight will be lighter and, unless I misunderstood how to do the 350 method, your goal is to work up to 50 total reps not to hit 50 reps your first workout. So you have time to adapt to the volume.

1 Like

Yea from what I have researched is to keep reps low so that it doesn’t use a lot of glycogen which result in increased cortisol levels in natural lifters that can turn off protein synthesis

I’ll still try it

Nothing can “turn off” protein synthesis. Whole body protein synthesis is occurring basically all the time. Weight training turns on muscle protein synthesis.

I’d have to read what Thibs was getting at here, or your interpretation of it.

This is where I got it from. I may be misunderstanding it?

More or less, yes, you’re misunderstanding it.

I don’t want to speak for Thibs, but I will…LOL

He’s saying that guys on gear have a more pronounced degree of MUSCLE protein synthesis (being technical, there’s a difference in protein synthesis and muscle protein synthesis). So therefore they are more sensitive to training stimulus of any kind.

Where he says with a natural guy, achieving MPS can be done without doing a lot of rep sets, were more glycogen is used. Training hard raises cortisol period. High reps, low reps, whatever. This is NOT a bad thing. Cortisol is a protein mobilizing, meaning it helps to increase the rate that protein is broken down into amino acids, and helps to shuttle them into the cells.

Acute cortisol release is not a bad thing. It’s chronically elevated levels of cortisol that has all the bad stuff associated with it like an increase in fat storage and muscle degradation.

So basically, if you like doing high reps, do them and work hard on those sets.

Thanks for clearing that up for me. I like going heavy on the big compound movements but want to try the 350 method for some smaller exercises. Thanks again!

1 Like