T Nation

Dual Factor Theory Questions


Hi there,

In the last time the dual factor theory catched my eye. I am currently on madcows 5x5 and enjoying the results. Cause out of a injury in my elbow last week,I am currently more reading than training-so i had enough time to read over 1 week all dual factor related articles which exists

The basic concept is clear and i thought of connecting it with changing set rep paramters to avoid adaption and include the law of variation.

One thing I am not aware about,is if you also need loading phases like in 5x5 where you begin light and increase the weight,or if the longer deloads after a volume phase will be enough to jump in the heavy weights again?


loading:4x10 2min rest whole body 2x the week.(I think for 3 times fatigue will raise to fast and with different paramters in the week the concept will get too weird)I start with a weight where the last rep on the 4th set is near failure.

After f.ex. the second week of hopefully progress in reps,weight whatever I notice,that I get weeker (fatigue)-so deload lets say to cut the volume in half and the wieghts about 10%:

4x5 rest as needed with 10%of my best 4x10rpm.

I deload lets say for 2 weeks.

Now I take a new parameter like 5x6 and 3 min rest.
I again start with my 5x6rpm weight and try to increase it again for long as possible(if its not possible the deload was too short and i delaoad again for 3 weeks)-perhaps again 2 weeks,then i notice fatigue again.deload with 5x3 -10% of the weight used.after the deload i choose again a new paramter etc.

The exericises i want to remain as long as possible to avoid too much variation and not adapting.

So the whole idea would be a dual factor based concept to manage fatigue with changing paramters for variation

comments on this?


Wrong forum.


really? Thought the dual factor theory also applies to bodybuilding?


Nothing wrong with posting this here...


Dual factor is the fitness-fatigue theory right?

I consider myself a very scientific person. Everything I do is methodical, and based on numbers. But what I have come to realize lately, is that if you treat your body like a computer, you'll have less than optimal results. The theory is the basis for almost all programs that exist now though.

I believe the basics of it are that every workout will result in some fatigue, and some fitness. And I believe I read somewhere that the fatigue will last about 1/3 the time that the fitness will last. So basically if you do a good workout, and are fatigued for three days, the benefits from that workout might last about 9 days. And with dual factor training, you aren't recovering fully between each session, but instead progressing like a step ladder. It sounds like a nice theory, but can make training overcomplicated.

Theres also another theory, I believe its the supercomensation theory, but I could be wrong. This method of training you basically keep training and aquire more and more fatigue, and then rest completely to supercompensate.

Im finding that a combination of the two can be used for great results.

You sound like your far ahead of most gym goers in that you understand the necessity for a deload. Without a deload, your body never gets a chance to supercompensate, and results will stagnate very quickly.

A good basic recomendation is 3 weeks loading, 1 week deload, but this will vary based on your training and abilities.

For example, if your training very hard, doing a lot of compounds, and taking many sets to failure, 2 weeks might be enough of a load. While if you are doing a lot of isolation work, or not going to failure much, you can go for 4-6 weeks without a deload.

I myself tend to train very hard, and feel that I will do best with 2 week loading periods, and 4-7 day deloads. Most people try to tell me that two weeks is not enough time to make progress, but I whole heartedly disagree. They dont train the way I do.

Also, although it is always recomended that you should always be progressing from workout to workout, and week to week, this is not true. Sure if your relying on dual factor training, then you should aim to always do more each workout, which means that the fitness is greater than the fatigue. But if your going more with the supercompensation approach, then you'll welcome even decreases in performance, because a deload will allow you to supercompensate. Search for the super-accumulation program on here. Its a very extreme version of this type of training, but it will give you an idea of how it works.

Another thing to do, is to break loading periods down into different phases. If your doing a three week deload, you might have the first week be a little higher volume, but less intensity. Then on the second and third week, really push the intensity and maybe volume as well, and try to reach new goals. You cant train with maximal intensity and volume for more than a couple of workouts, so you gotta use some form of micro-periodization to do so. Im also breaking my deloads into phases. I'll have loading phases, deloads, and then maintenance phases. My maintenance phases my only goal will be to try to maintain a certain percentage of my PR's from a previous loading period. I may try to progress very slowly as well, to get a bit of momentum for when I go back into a load. The main thing is to have a planned period of overreaching, and a planned period of recovery before overtraining sets in.

Hope this helps you a bit. Its all theory though, so really what matters is what progresses you in the gym IN THE LONG RUN, not short term.

As for your question about a light week at the beginning of a load. If its a longer loading period of 4-6 weeks, a light week is a good idea. If its shorter like 1-3 weeks, it may not be necessary. Also, your deloads and your level of conditioning may determine what you should do on the first week. If your keeping the intensity pretty high (90%) on the deload, but with a cut in volume, you may want to start the first week with 85-90% intensity and bump up the volume. Then cut the volume and up the intensity as the loading period progresses.


Deload week: 4x5 with 90% of your 10rm

Load week 1: 6x10 with 85% of 10rm
Load week 2: 5x10 with 90% of 10rm
Load week 3: 4x10 with 95% of 10rm
Load week 4: 3x10 with 100% of 10rm
Load week 5: 2x10 with 105% of 10rm
Load week 6: 1x10 with 110% of 10rm

You just raised your 10rm by 10% in 6 weeks. May be good or bad.

This isn't how I would do it, but it also depends on your goals.


Hi dankind,
Thank you very much for your time and dedication for writing this post- iappreciate that.

You are right according to the DF thory you accumulate fatigue and when you ovverreach you taper in.

The bill starr is a good combination of both the loding is the 5x5 stuff and the following 3x3 is thought for the deload and loading/peak in the end.

Because I want to incorporate a bit more exercises and upper the volume (for mass) the bill starr doesn´t serve my purpose-athough its a great programm indeed and i will finish it correctly.
thats why i searched about the dual f. theory to take this concept for my needs.

My idea as writen was,to individ.(as you have written) the deloads for myself.Some needs 1 week,another 3 weeks and so on.

So my idea was to do quite short and tough loading cycle and look how much delaod i need to catch up again.
The loading phase to me,where you really slowly build up to your previous Pr seems a bit like a really long deload.
the weights under your PR are light and sure,if you slowly climb them up it gets heavy-but the first weeks could be seen as a deload.(Perhaps it would be also possible to quit training for 3 weeks after a loading period-think of holidays,where you often come home and get a new PR in the gym-but thats a bit out of the scope and more for HIT guys then..)

In short-after training hard you need some weeks of training light to catch up,then you jump in the hard weeks again.to avoid adaption i will frequrtly change the paramter i am using.

I will set up a specific example for that:

bench 100kg 10RPM

3x8 1 min rest with a load that is near failure on the last rep on the last set.lets say 85kg.

MO:85x 3x8

FR: 85x 3x9

MO:85x 3x10

FR:85x 3x10
ok i see i didn´t get stronger-one more try next week.

mo: 85x 10x9x9
ok overreached so deload:

50%volume and 10%less weight



try for a new paramter-lets see iff i am already recovered:
MO: 100 5x5 (failure on the last rep on the last set)
FR: 100x5x4
ok not recoverd-one week deload was too less-so still deload neccessary:

deload as above
week 7:

week 8:
new try:
MO 100 5x5(near failure on the last rep on the last set)
FR: 100 6x6
well done-recovered-now same way as above.

Seems a bit weird-but throught this way its possible to variate the paramters as often as needed and include some undulating period-combined with the inidivdulised deload (2factorTh.)

That was my idea-whats your thought-i am also scientific a bit (thats where my nick come from) but i try to individ.it as posted above.