I was watching some JTS videos and reading some articles this past week, and I came across a graphic of the SRA curve. I looked into it more and had an epiphany of sorts. I’ve always understood the principle of stimulus recovery adaptation, but to actually read and hear about it and realize that it is a quantifiable thing really made me think consciously about it. I have heard from various YouTubers that pressing movements can be performed more frequently than lower body movements, but I didn’t really think much of it until I heard Chad Wesley Smith speak on the subject.
So, please correct me if I’m wrong (really), but this is my understanding of the SRA curve:
Altitude of the stimulus curve is dependent on the amount & size of muscles being used. It also depends on the intensity and volume that said muscles are being subjected to.
Slope of the recovery depends largely on nutrition and rest. Better recovery will generally lead to a better (higher altitude) adaptation curve.
Sort of a sum of the stimulus and recovery curves.
So less stimulus leads to less of a required recovery curve and less of an adaptation. A weak (slope with a low numerical value) recovery from a steep stimulus curve will lead to less of an adaptation. In short, adaptation is entirely dependent on stimulus and recovery.
Big muscles (posterior chain + quadriceps) require more energy to move the weights that they are capable of moving (which are higher than those used in upper body exercises most of the time), as well as requiring more effort from the nervous system. This leads to more fatigue.
Now to the good stuff: how often can I bench? In other words, how long after the initial stimulus of my bench workout can I bench again? Personally, I have found it to be every 3 days. Bench, rest day 1, rest day 2, bench again.
Side note: I’m not on a bench-only program. I’m on 5/3/1 right now, and it’s been working for me pretty well. I’m just seeing if it is compatible with a small tweak.
My current split is Bench, Squat, rest, Bench, Deadlift, rest, Bench, Squat, rest, etc. By “current split,” I mean this is what I’ve been doing for the last week. Lol. I’m not a crazy strong bench presser, but my hope is that by better utilizing the principle of the SRA curve, I’m able to progress more quickly.
Now, this is what I really would like everyone’s opinion on:
Should I increase the volume and/or intensity on my squat and deadlift days since (at least for the next month or two) I’ll be benching every other training day? I get good nutrition and good amounts of sleep, so recovery isn’t an issue for me. I’ve heard that deadlifting once a week works well, but how about low-bar squats?
I realize this post is probably entirely too long. I apologize for that, but if you took the time to read everything, thank you.