T Nation

A Thing Nobody Can Explain

Hi there,
I am brainstorming a lot at the moment about training-so sorry for overposting.
i always wondered why it is NOT possible to include the cycling approaches by pavel and bill starr. only for more volume-say mass.

i don´t want to invent new concepts or ´mess around with consisting ones-but wonder why the typical cycling approach doesn´t fit to more sets.

is it really so difficult?
Some might say its cause of the volume,that its not possible to maintain higher volume over time.
But high volume is relative…and depends on point of view and indiviual work capacity:
fex 5 reps (PTTP by Pavel) are more than 1 rep-so more volume.
A 40 rep volume is defenately more volume than 5,but also much less than 100.
See what i mean-who decides whats too much volume or too less?

look at bill starr-he advocates a volume of 25(5x5) and cycles only the weight.
But the volume is the same at each cycle-always 25.
You might say-well the first 4 are just warm ups-yeah sure-but each set about 60%1rpm can count as a work set.(training theory-min.weight to stimulate hypertrophy)
Regarding cycling-at PTTP by Pavel you start with a weight approx 80%of your best and start bulding up.
So if your best is 100 pounds for 5 you start with 80 pounds.
Stuart from Brawn does it the same way and so does Bill Starr.
Ok other example-lets say my record is 7 sets with 6 reps 1 min rest with 100pounds each set.(same number as above cause its easier for illustration)
Where is the problem if you also apply the 80% rule to that?
So you will start with 80pounds for 7 sets and 6 reps and 1min rest and start your way building the weights up like Bill starrs 5x5 or Pavels PTTP or BRAWN and try to make a PR fex with 85 pounds 7x6 then back off and start again.

Its exact the same idea-only with more sets.

i never got a reasonable explanation why this shouldn´t work.
its the same principle-back off and build slowly your weights-and as mentioned above “high” volume is relative.

Why the HELL is that so difficult?
i would be curious in an answer cause i NEVER get a GOOD one relating this topic.
science

You’re thinking way too much. Reps and sets don’t matter. Understand this:

  1. A Big Muscle is a Strong Muscle
  2. You get bigger, stronger muscles by lifting heavier weights, doing more reps, and/or doing more sets.

When you do an exercise you should have some amount of warm-up sets and some amount of working sets.

Bill Star did 4 warm-up sets and 1 working set.

Mike Metzner did 1 warm-up set and 1 working set.

Arnold did 1 warm-up set and 3-10 working sets. Jay Cutler also does 1 warm-up set and a lot of working sets.

Louie Simmons and other Westside Powerlifters do a lot of warm-up sets for his ME exercises and then only 1 working set.

Mariusz Pudzianowski and Ronnie Coleman does a few warm-up sets and a few working sets.

What do all these men have in common? They’re all big and strong. They all lift weights.

You can train your legs by using 40 rep squats. You can train your back and chest by using a 6-8 rep range. You can train your arms and shoulders with 12. You can train your abs with 3 reps.

You could also train your legs by never going over 6 reps. You could train your back and chest with 15-20 reps. You could train your arms and shoulders with 6 or 20 reps. You can train your abs with 100 reps.

As long as you put in the effort and push yourself to increase the weights you’re lifting, you’ll be fine.

This all holds true except for the calf muscle. The only way to get big calves is lots of reps, lots of sets, and lots of weight.

Can you re-explain this? I have made some jumbled posts in my time…this, though, is pretty hard to “get.”

Are you saying why don’t people progress or increase difficulty with volume and weight simultaneously? I do that sometimes, but it’s usually a bit much.

Also, what is fex? For example?

Of course he can’t re-explain it. Because NOBODY can explain it.

Why not try these routines yourself and let us know how they work?

(ie, this one and the one from your last post)

You’re right. It can’t be explained. Fuggetaboudit.

I never tried that “pavel” but Starr’s 5x5 is one of the oldest methods. Not much fun, not much variety, but it delivers big time. First months nothing seems to happen because your body is getting used to the frequency and not the volume.

Maybe your problem is that the focus is frequency in Starr’s model. Volume has to be constant because you are doing 3x the workload per week.

He is saying in bill stars 5x5 you keep ading weight and keeping reps the same he claims everyone says you can not do this with 7x6 because it is to much volume and he is asking if you guys think that is true. I think?

Hi guys,

Yes i am sorry,i love philosophing about training but I have to be convinced about sth,before i try it.
Sorry that my posts are sometimes a bit confusing;)
@mr.popular-
this one was good-NOBODY can explain it-not even me;)

@dylan you got the point-exactly

To make it a bit clearer:

The mentioned cycling approach-means that you start with a comfort weight and build it up,is used for low rep,low volume routines.
like Pavels book power to the people.
So if you lift 100 pounds 5 times (5rpm)
you start with 80.
You do 1 sets with 80x5 the first session.
The next session you go with 82,5x5
etc.You build up and make a new PersonalRecord.85x5For example
You do the cycling stuff all the time,no acc./intens.phases,no volume waving,nothing.
You build up,get a PersonalRecord and build up again.
Its a long term system for strength without bulk.

MY point is-like dylan already recognized.
To use the concept for mass.

For mass a higher volume is needed(says some theory)
So MY idea was like mentioned above to apply the cycling system to simple more volume.
In my example its not one set with 5RPM which dictates the starting weight.
It is the given weight for more sets.
So like mentioned above:
7x6 with 100 pounds is my personal best.
Now i also apply the 80% rule and start with
7x6 with 80 pounds.
The difference is the volume and of course the weight.
But the principle is the same.
I build my weights up and make a record of 7x6 with 110pounds fex.
Now I back off and start another cycle.
i wonder if via this idea,it is possible to make longer mass cycles without the need of varying the volume or other paramters.
The cycling approach fits well for strength methods,MY question was,if you think this could be also possible for more volume,like my example explains.
Hope its a bit clearer now and sorry for my “braniac” ideas once every 2 weeks;)
science

PS:That the 2 examples mention the same weight is for illustration purpose only.

I think one possible reason its not advocated is because generally in those cyclical programs like pavels the workouts are done 3 times per week. so monday would be light, wednesday medium, firday max or above. That general type layout. Well i would assume combing the allready high frequency nature of the program with the high volume you would be more likely to overtrain since overtraining occurs more easily through volume. BUT everyone has different work capacities and this could work for a cycle or two. Youll never know unless your try it, so try it and let us know how it goes

This sounds suspiciously like a case of analysis paralysis. To the OP… how much progress have you made by nitpicking theories this way?

Are you actually 200+lbs and muscular yet?

Are your powerlifts at or above the 3-4-5 mark yet?

[quote]science wrote:
Hi guys,

Yes i am sorry,i love philosophing about training but I have to be convinced about sth,before i try it.
[/quote]

That’s the problem. Philosophizing isn’t worth a shit. Experience is what counts. Starr didn’t make up shit off the top of his head, he worked out his programs from years of experience training himself and his athletes. His classic 5x5 is not the only program he wrote, it was the program he advocated for intermediate lifters. He wrote a 5x5 program that has significantly more volume for ADVANCED LIFTERS, who have a higher work capacity.

So get off your ass and start training, and eventually you will be ready for higher volume.

Good points though,

i start analyzing when I find a system which i like and progressed quite good and want to do it longer.
the AOW really busted my ass.
So i wanted to stick to chads philosophy.
So took after AOW paramters (others then AOW) from his rep bible but it didn´t worked anymore.
Next step was to try acc/intens.phases with chads paramters.So taken his paramters for hypertrophy one cycle,then the paramters for strength the intens.phase.
Also this didn´t worked out.I didn´t get stronger in the schemes.
Then I took of 2 weeks and started the 3-5 method from pavel-also no suxcess-not able to peak my Prs.

Then i tried to do a daily undulated approach (also a thread of mine) were I did a complete different paramters each time-also in the guidelines of the set rep bible.
i was able to progress in the new exercises(which doesn´t REALLY count for me cause you always have an improve in exercises not doin longer-pattern learning etc)
But in the “old” ones I still plateaud or even got weaker!

thats the reason why I start analyzing,cause i want to know why this system doesn´t really work anymore.
Perhaps it would be better to change the system-like the last article on T-Nation and do sth complete differently.
But i like the whole body approach and the typical paramters like 10x3 4x10 5x5 etc so much-that i want to maintain it.
The result is this thread;)

[quote]mr popular wrote:
This sounds suspiciously like a case of analysis paralysis. To the OP… how much progress have you made by nitpicking theories this way?

Are you actually 200+lbs and muscular yet?

Are your powerlifts at or above the 3-4-5 mark yet?[/quote]

iam 186cm tall and weighting 92kg thats around 200lbs.(with empty stomach) at bout 18%bf.
i was able to increase my performance on my lifts at 300% (regarding weight)in the carreer of my training.

Do you got solid simple templates to do longer,or recommondated systems?(excpet westside)

Screw 5x5, I do TWENTY FIVE BY TWENTY FIVE, yep thats 25x25 you read it here first.

Who says you can’t do it.

I use my 3 rep max for 25 reps then I do a further 24 sets

then my rack folds into a jet car and i speed away to the moon

[quote]Magarhe wrote:
Screw 5x5, I do TWENTY FIVE BY TWENTY FIVE, yep thats 25x25 you read it here first.

Who says you can’t do it.

I use my 3 rep max for 25 reps then I do a further 24 sets

then my rack folds into a jet car and i speed away to the moon[/quote]

100x100 with your 2 rpm and rest pause really rocks!

25x25 are for gym weenies;)

[quote]science wrote:
Magarhe wrote:
Screw 5x5, I do TWENTY FIVE BY TWENTY FIVE, yep thats 25x25 you read it here first.

Who says you can’t do it.

I use my 3 rep max for 25 reps then I do a further 24 sets

then my rack folds into a jet car and i speed away to the moon

100x100 with your 2 rpm and rest pause really rocks!

25x25 are for gym weenies;)

[/quote]

I can’t do 100x100 with a 2rm - NOBODY CAN EXPLAIN IT! zzzzzzzzzzzzoooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmm off I go

[quote]FightingScott wrote:
You’re thinking way too much. Reps and sets don’t matter. Understand this:

  1. A Big Muscle is a Strong Muscle
  2. You get bigger, stronger muscles by lifting heavier weights, doing more reps, and/or doing more sets.

When you do an exercise you should have some amount of warm-up sets and some amount of working sets.

Bill Star did 4 warm-up sets and 1 working set.

Mike Metzner did 1 warm-up set and 1 working set.

Arnold did 1 warm-up set and 3-10 working sets. Jay Cutler also does 1 warm-up set and a lot of working sets.

Louie Simmons and other Westside Powerlifters do a lot of warm-up sets for his ME exercises and then only 1 working set.

Mariusz Pudzianowski and Ronnie Coleman does a few warm-up sets and a few working sets.

What do all these men have in common? They’re all big and strong. They all lift weights.

You can train your legs by using 40 rep squats. You can train your back and chest by using a 6-8 rep range. You can train your arms and shoulders with 12. You can train your abs with 3 reps.

You could also train your legs by never going over 6 reps. You could train your back and chest with 15-20 reps. You could train your arms and shoulders with 6 or 20 reps. You can train your abs with 100 reps.

As long as you put in the effort and push yourself to increase the weights you’re lifting, you’ll be fine.

This all holds true except for the calf muscle. The only way to get big calves is lots of reps, lots of sets, and lots of weight. [/quote]

Thats what i always heard about calves but i found that i get best growth from 2 sets of 8 with a tempo of 2,2,4. Makes ya have this crazy pump like your calves are gonna explode as well. I can’t remember exactly where i read about this but it works (for me anyway).

Then again alot of people with big calves don’t even train them directly. If you have those calves that are all bunched up at the top it is hard to get them to grow. I am lucky in that i am not that way. I don’t even train my calves anymore and they grow just from squats and DL’s.

[quote]Magarhe wrote:
science wrote:
Magarhe wrote:
Screw 5x5, I do TWENTY FIVE BY TWENTY FIVE, yep thats 25x25 you read it here first.

Who says you can’t do it.

I use my 3 rep max for 25 reps then I do a further 24 sets

then my rack folds into a jet car and i speed away to the moon

100x100 with your 2 rpm and rest pause really rocks!

25x25 are for gym weenies;)

I can’t do 100x100 with a 2rm - NOBODY CAN EXPLAIN IT! zzzzzzzzzzzzoooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmm off I go
[/quote]

Lol thats weak. I have been doing a 1x1 with 500% of my 1rm. Math can’t even explain that.

They say that they don’t train them directly, but watch them and they walk on their toes. Essentially doing what so many women do. How many women that wear high heals do you see having no calves???

As for the OP

The secret lies in the total amount of reps per week

Starr’s
75 per week

yours (7x6)
126 per week

Also don’t over analyze is as Ph.D.'s still don’t know the extact whys of muscle growth, steroids and fat loss. They have theories, but not conclusive reasons.

Just lift, eat, sleep and repeat.