T Nation

Anyone Tried the Hormonal Fluctuation Model?

For those that aren’t familiar with what I am talking about, it is the model based on a 5, 6 or 8 week training period, where both intensity and volume are increased together for two weeks to a peak of 1-2 weeks of absolutely brutal training starting on week 3 (1 week in the 5 week model and 2 weeks in both the 6 and 8 week models) followed by a 2 or 4 week taper where volume and intensity are decreased substantially (2 week taper in the 5 and 6 week models, 4 week taper in the 8 week model).

Basically, this program is contrary to the general concept that as you increase intensity, you decrease volume, instead increasing and decreasing volume and intensity together.

This model was designed by Glenn Pendlay (of Wichita Falls Weightlifting fame) and Michael Hartman and is described in “Practical Programming for Strength” in the “Advanced Trainee” section of the book. This is basically a model for overreaching which is supposed to cause a drop between 10-30% on the test/cortisol ration during the period of overreaching, resulting in overcompensation during the tapering period, when intensity and volume are reduced.

Some information on the net about this program can be found here:


An example of a program for O-lifting based around a 6-week program can be found here (you can download the .xlc files under the “MSU Experimental Training Program”):


Anyway, I wanted to know if anyone has ever tried to use a program like this either for an OL or PL program or a hybrid program for both, and to see some examples of how you designed your program, and what sort of results you had, and what tweaks you think you might make to the program if you were to give it another go. I have read the Glenn Pendlay thinks that the original 6 week program works better as an 8 week program using a 4 week taper instead of a 2 week taper.

Thanks in advance for your input.

I don’t see how this is contrary to any general concepts; circa meet training is often super intense and moderate to high volume followed by a taper.

I know that I like to train my balls off the last week or two before a meet, then when I taper off a week or ten days before I’ll throw in something like Alpha Male or high dose tribulus and my test levels rebound and sore like crazy, as judged by my temperament and libido.

It seems like a solid method and I agree with the reasoning, I just don’t think it’s contrarian or revolutionary. I think it’s common sense.

I am not saying it is revolutionary. The concept of overreaching (or planned overtraining) has been around for a while. But the HFM is a bit more structured than simply training your balls to the wall up until 2 weeks before competition then backing off and it is a very aggressive form of overreaching.

Heck, I have used planned overreaching before competition before as well, but nothing along the lines of what is proposed by the HFM.

I am mostly trying to find out if anyone has any experience using THIS FORM of planned overreaching, and if so, what their results have been.

Under the HFM, the volume increases massively as the intensity also increases to maximal weights and the ramp up is over a very short time.

Under the example used for O-Lifting, the number of training days increase as well from 3 full body days to 4 full body days, to 5 full body days (with some of the those days being 2-a-days) for 2 weeks, followed by backing off to 4 full body days and eventually to 2 full body days.

During the 2 weeks overreaching, Coach Pendlay reports that relative maximums fall to about 94% or so (which jibes with the critical drop off percentage used by coach Francis and others) and you are trying to hit your daily maximum single every day during the overreaching period.

From what I have read of the program, ramping up both volume and intensity is so extreme that the 5 week program (where you only overreach for 1 week) is supposed to be for those who are just entering the advanced phase.

The 6 week program (with 2 weeks of overreaching and deloading over 2 weeks) is for advanced teens (or ostensibly those with enhanced recovery abilities from steroids or other performance enhancers). Apparently, to reap the full benefits of the 2 weeks of overreaching for most advanced trainees, it takes a full 4 weeks of tapering.

Apparently this program was developed based on research showing that, at least for advanced trainees, a drop off in your T/E ratio of between 10-30% is required to create supercompensation. Apparently, having your T/E ratio depressed beyond 30% (due to training) results in overtraining and having your T/E ration depressed by less than 10% (due to training) is insufficient (at least for advanced athletes.

Anyway, just trying to find out if anyone has experimented with this particular model of overreaching for PL or OL.