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Duel Factor Training


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Dual Factor Training: How to Use Training Theory to Reach Your Physique and Performance Goals

by Matt Reynolds
www.midwestbarbell.com

Training Theory? The very words make my spine cringe. Isn?t training theory the love child of those Russian communist scientists from Rocky 4? You know, the one where Ivan Drago is running and lifting and punching machines while pencil neck guys in glasses and lab-coats follow him around with their clipboards and occasionally give each other that leering glance of communist satisfaction. Are these the guys who do Training Theory? What about my teachers from high school anatomy class and freshman PED 100? The professors were self proclaimed \"experts,\" even though I never saw them in gym, and most looked like starving Somalian children. Were they the great theorists of training? Well, probably not.

The fact is, having a good working knowledge of training theory isn?t just about reading texts from fallen Eastern Bloc countries. When you know why you train the way you do, you can make dramatic progress in the gym concerning your physique and performance through more efficient training. i.e. ? you?ll be bigger and stronger and look better naked!
So let?s get started?

There are basically two accepted theories in the world of weight training (and outlined in Zatsiorsky?s Science and Practice of Strength Training). One is called Supercompensation (or Single Factor Theory), and the other is called Dual Factor Theory. Bodybuilding tends to follow the Supercompensation way of thinking, while virtually every field of strength and conditioning, athletics, etc. follows the Dual Factor Theory. The reasoning that almost everyone involved in strength training adheres to the Dual Factor Theory is because there is scientific proof that it works, not to mention that the Eastern Bloc countries that have adhered to this theory have killed the U.S. at every Olympics since the 1950s. In the following paragraphs, I hope to prove to you why Dual Factor Theory should be accepted, taught, and adhered to in the world of bodybuilding as well as all other athletes concerned with strength and conditioning.

The Supercompensation Theory has been, in the bodybuilding community, the most widely accepted school of thought. The theory itself is based on the fact that training depletes certain substances (like glycogen and slowing protein synthesis). Training is seen as catabolic, draining the body of its necessary nutrients and fun stuff. So to grow, according to the theory, the body must then be rested for the optimal amount of time, and, it (the body) must be supplied with all the nutrients it lost. If both of these things are done correctly, then theoretically your body will increase protein synthesis and store more nutrients than it originally had! (i.e. ? your muscles will be bigger!)

So obviously the most important part of this theory is timing, specifically concerning rest periods. But that?s where the problem comes in. If the rest period is too short, then you won?t be completely recovered, and as a result, the next training session would deplete substances even more, which over a period of time would result in overtraining and a loss of performance. If the rest period is too long then the training would lose its stimulus and you would recover completely and lose the window of opportunity to provide the stimulus again. Improvements only occur when the training sessions are optimally timed. So you are left with the problem of timing workouts to correspond to the Supercompensation wave; anything sooner or later will lead to a useless workout.

A Better Way?

The Dual Factor Theory is somewhat more complex than the Supercompensation Theory. The theory is based on the fact that the body is left with both positive and negative effects from a training session. On the negative side, fatigue sets in. On the positive side, fitness (or \"gain\" as it?s referred in the exercise phys. world) increases. So the theory works like an equilibrium in that the effect of training is both positive (gain) and negative (fatigue). By striking the correct balance, fatigue should be great in extent, but shouldn?t last very long. Gain, on the other hand, should be moderate, but will last longer. Typically the relationship is 1:3 ? if fatigue lasts x amount of time, then gain lasts 3x amount of time.

Now, granted that?s some deep, confusing stuff, but here is where the wheat is separated from the chaff?The timing of individual workouts is relatively unimportant to long term gains (unlike Supercompensation), and whether fatigue is or is not present, fitness can and still will be increased (which is the goal).

Bodybuilders often get stuck in the \"one time per week per bodypart\" rut, and that determines how many sets they do and the intensity they use. Since they are not going to change frequency, they end up not changing much over time. So what happens (when you view training through the lens of Supercompensation) is that you beat the crap out of a muscle group and then don?t target it again for another week. This is because you think that the muscle needs time to completely recover before beating it into submission again. Well, the fact is, that when you see training through the lens of Dual Factor Theory, then you?ll note that it is ok to train a muscle group again even if fatigue is still present.

Now the really cool part is this?science has shown that the body responds better in physique and performance enhancements when you have a period of peaking fatigue (2-6 weeks), followed by a period of \"unloading\" (1-4 weeks). (Unloading just refers to a time where you allow fatigue to fade. This usually means active unloading, where you continue to train, but with reduced intensity, volume, or frequency. Occasionally it could mean total rest.) You view entire weeks and maybe months, as you would?ve viewed just one workout with Supercompensation. For example, with Supercompensation, one workout represents a period of fatigue. But, in the Dual Factor Theory, up to 6 weeks would represent a period of fatigue. With Supercompensation, a day or two (up to a week) represents a period of rest. But in the Dual Factor Theory, up to four weeks may represent a period rest.

So to recap?

? Each training session exerts both positive (gain) and negative (fatigue) aspects. Instead of thinking of each training session as fatiguing and then the next 6 days as recovery, begin to think of entire periods of training as fatiguing or recovery.

? Obviously then the most important thing is to understand how long and how hard to \"load\" during the fatiguing phases and how long and how much to \"unload\" during the recovery phase.

Applying it to the real world?

When setting up dual factor periodization for the bodybuilder, it is important to remember to plan for periods of fatigue and periods of rest. During a fatigue period (say, 3 weeks), you slowly build up fatigue, and never fully recover. Then you have a period of recovery (another 1-2 weeks) where you train with reduced frequency, volume, or intensity.

In the next issue of CORE, we?ll cover how long and how hard to load and unload, why it?s important to train muscles multiple times per week, why you don?t have to go to complete muscular failure, and we?ll break down a sample Dual Factor Hypertrophy split.

But hey, what good is it to give you all this info without giving you something to do with it today?!

So here is a sample plan for loading and unloading weeks for an athlete looking to put on slabs of mass and gain tons of strength.

THE PROGRAM

Loading Weeks: (2-3 weeks)

Upper Body Workout One: (Monday)

  1. Barbell Bench Press: (flat or incline, primarily wide grip, 4x10 with the same weight for each set)

  2. Dumbell Press (flat, incline, or decline for 3x8-12 same weight)

  3. Horizontal Lat Work (heavy barbell rows, 5x5)

  4. Shoulders/ Traps (emphasis on medial delts - shrugs, high pulls, dumbell cleans, lateral raise complex, face pulls ? pick 1-2 exercises for 4-6 sets total)

  5. Tricep Extension (skull crushers, French presses, JM Presses, rolling dumbbell extensions, Tate Presses, pushdowns ? pick one exercise for 3x10-12)

  6. Biceps (1-2 exercises, 3-5 sets total)

Lower Body Workout One: (Tuesday)

  1. Heavy Squats (butt to ankles, 5x5 working up each set to a 5rm, or try for a 3rm or even an occasional 1rm)

  2. Goodmornings (3x5 same weight or work up to 5rm)

  3. Pullthroughs (3-5 sets of 10-12, some arched back, some rounded back)

  4. Glute Ham Raises or Hamstring Curls followed by Leg Extensions (2 sets each)
    -or-

  5. Leg Presses (3-4 sets of 10-12) ?or- Occasionally a Hack Squat (for 3-4x10-12)

  6. Weighted Abs/ Obliques (5x10 total ? weighted situps, ab pulldowns on high cable or with bands, dumbbell side bends, etc.)

Upper Body Workout Two: (Thursday)

  1. Flat Barbell Bench Press (close or regular grip ? heavy work 1rm, 3rm, 5rm, or 5x5)

  2. Board Press/ Floor Press (5rm usually start where you left off on bench press)

  3. Overhead Press (Standing military press, push press, dumbbell overhead press ? various rep schemes ? 5rm, 5x5, 4x10)

  4. Dips (2-3 sets)

  5. Vertical Lat Work (lat pull-downs or pull-ups ? 5+ sets ? if on lat pull-down use different bars and work different planes)

  6. Triceps Extension (skull crushers, French presses, JM Presses, rolling dumbbell extensions, Tate Presses, pushdowns ? pick one exercise for 3x10-12)

  7. Biceps (1-2 exercises, 3-5 sets total)

Lower Body Workout Two: (Friday)

  1. Lighter Squats (back squats or front squats for 5x5 or 4x10 with the same weight)

  2. Deadlifts (conventional deadlifts or deadlifts standing on 2-3\" box, mat, or 100lb plate - 1rm, 3rm, 5rm, or 3x5 same weight, )

  3. Pullthroughs (3-5 sets of 10-12, some arched back, some rounded back)

  4. Glute Ham Raises or Hamstring Curls followed by Leg Extensions (2 sets each)

  5. Weighted Hyperextensions (2-3x10-12)

  6. Weighted Abs/ Obliques (5x10 total ? weighted sit-ups, ab pull-downs on high cable or with bands, dumbbell side bends, etc.)

For unloading weeks (1 week), reduce volume drastically by completing only the first two exercises on lower body days, and the first three exercises on upper body days. Slightly reduce intensity/load (with regards to one rep max), and keep frequency the same (four workouts per week.)
Remember, if you consciously decide from the start that that you are going to have to take your body to the edge at least once every training cycle, you can plan when you do it, and how long you have to recover from it, you can have shorter training cycles, more precisely timed peaks, and generally more progress.

Remember that we?ll break down this plan in the next issue of CORE. Until then, lift heavy and have fun!

FT ?Dual Factor Training: The Program

by Matt Reynolds
www.midwestbarbell.com

Training Theory?

Ok, ok, so it?s not so bad this time around. In our last article, we not only addressed our fear of training theory, but also embraced the aforementioned lovable communist science and turned it into something that could be useful in the weight room (i.e..? something that will actually give us a leg up on reaching our physique and performance goals).

In the last article I presented a sample program which utilizes 2FT, and in this article we?ll break down all aspects of the program to better explain how to make 2FT work for you.

Before we start, let?s recap what we?ve learned so far?.

Supercompensation Theory:

Supercompensation theory says to beat the crap out of our muscles and deplete them of all their good stuff (like glycogen, amino acids, creatine, etc.), let them recover for 3-10 days, and provide them with all the nutrients they lost (and then a little bit more). The result should be that the muscles will store more nutrients than they originally had, and thus will be bigger and stronger.

Result: Doesn?t really work ? at least not very well. Unfortunately, it?s almost impossible to time your workouts just right, meaning that you either won?t rest long enough, which will quickly lead to overtraining, or rest too long, which means that the growth stimulus is lost, and you end up back where you started.

Dual Factor Theory (2FT):

Dual Factor theory, on the other hand, provides a better (and correct) view of training theory. Instead of looking at each single training session as fatiguing, and the few days after it as the recovery period, 2FT views entire periods of training as fatiguing or recovery. (And as I mentioned in the last article, science has shown us that the body makes extraordinary gains when provided with a period of peaking fatigue, or \"loading,\" (2-6 weeks) followed by a period of recovery, or \"unloading\" (1-4 weeks).

So the most important thing about 2FT is to understand how long and how hard to \"load\" during the fatiguing phases and how long and how much to \"unload\" during the recovery phase.

Result: You can have shorter training cycles, more precisely timed peaks, and generally more progress in both physique and performance goals.
Loading and Unloading:

The first thing to remember about the program is that it is setup with periods of peaking fatigue (called \"loading\"), where you will slowly reach the point of over-reaching (near overtraining). In simple terms, during loading periods you will train hard and not allow yourself to fully recover before training again. By doing this, fatigue will slowly build up in your system until you approach overtraining. These loading periods should last around 2-3 weeks. It?s important to note that the program laid out will most likely be fatiguing to just about any athlete, but some may overreach in only 1-2 weeks, and for others, it might take 3 or even 4 weeks. So it?s important to note that what is loading for me might not be loading for you. In the same manner, if you follow this program and feel like you are overtrained after only a week or so, then you will need to back off a bit and find the right amount of work for you as an individual.

\"How will I know how hard to load and unload?\"

Well, honestly, it?s not an exact science. The easiest thing to do is to start this program and load for only one week, and follow it with a one week unloading period. If you felt fine, and never felt like you were overreaching, then try to load for 2 weeks next, followed again by a one week unloading period. If you are still fine, then you could even try loading for 3 weeks, followed again, by just one week of unloading. I would note, however, that I have found that most athletes do best with a 2 week loading period, followed by a one week unloading period. For unloading, it?s usually best if intensity is kept relatively high. (Intensity is not a perception of how hard you are working, but is a term relating to how close of a % to your rep maximum you are working ? therefore, it?s important during unloading weeks to still train heavy.) However, even though intensity is kept high during unloading, volume is drastically reduced, by dropping the workouts from approx 7 exercises down to only two or three. Frequency (number of training sessions per week) is sometimes reduced, but in this program it?s kept the same.

\"How will I know if I am overreaching?\"

Well, again, it?s not an exact science, but you?ll feel lethargic, your joints will probably hurt, and most importantly, the amount of weight you can lift will begin to decrease. If at any time the weights you are using fall down to 85% or so of your previous best, then you are overreaching (and nearing overtraining), and it?s time to start unloading. Now, sometimes you just have a bad day in the gym, or you didn?t sleep well last night, or maybe you?ve been sick. I rarely make a decision about overreaching after just one bad workout. However, if two or three training sessions go by, and you aren?t even getting close to hitting new maxes, then it?s time to start unloading.
The goal of this program is to get to that point (or near it) after approximately two weeks of loading. The first week you?ll probably feel fine, and you?ll get in some good hard workouts. By midway through the second loading week, however, you?ll probably start feeling run down, and by the Friday or Saturday session of the second week, you?ll probably feel really run down and \"beat up.\" When you hit that point, then it?s time to back off the volume substantially for a week or so and allow your body to recover from the two hard weeks of loading.

If done correctly, the result will be a noticeable improvement in size and strength following the unloading period. (Now, obviously you aren?t going to notice huge gains after a single three week cycle of this program, but after several cycles, you should begin noticing real differences in your strength and appearance.

Program:

Loading Weeks: (2-3 weeks)

Upper Body Workout One: (Monday)

  1. Barbell Bench Press: 4x10, same weight used for each set.
    For this exercise you should do either flat or low incline bench press (preferably alternating each week), and use primarily wide grip. Make sure to use plenty of warm up sets and then pick a weight you can do for 4 sets of 10 reps. The final set should be very hard to complete. The progression might look like this; barx10, 95x10, 135x5, 185x3, 225x10x5sets.

  2. Dumbell Bench Press: 3x8-12 same weight for each set.
    For this exercise you can choose to do flat, incline, or decline dumbbell press. (I prefer a slight decline.) ? Make sure to bring the dumbbells deep into your armpits. The final set should be very hard to complete.

  3. Horizontal Lat Work: Preferably Heavy Barbell Rows: 5x5, same weight.
    \"The best way to do them is to start with the bar on the floor every single rep. Your middle back will have slight bend to it. You pull the bar off the floor quickly with the arms, and by a powerful arch of your middle back. You finish by touching the bar to your upper stomach or middle stomach. At no time is there any movement of the hips or knees, no hip extension at all, all that bends is the middle back and the shoulders and elbows. This is hard to do and you have to have good muscular control to do it, or you\'ll end up straightening up at the hips along with the arching of the back. But if you can master doing them this way you will get a big back\" (Glenn Pendlay).

  4. Shoulders/ Traps
    For shoulders/ traps, you?ll want to pick one or two exercises that put an emphasis on medial delts, like heavy shrugs, high pulls, dumbell cleans, lateral raise complex, face pulls, etc. Do a total of 4-6 sets (2-3 per exercise). Reps don?t matter that much, but I prefer something in the 8-12 range.

  5. Tricep Extension: 3x8-12, same weight.
    For triceps, pick an extension exercise like skull crushers, French presses, JM Presses, rolling dumbbell extensions, Tate Presses, or pushdowns. Pick one exercise and knock out 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

  6. Biceps: 3-5 sets of 8-12, same weight
    Lord knows that most of you guys don?t need any help here, as most of you would do curls all day long if given the chance. Basically pick one or two curling exercises (I couldn?t care less which ones you do, although the foundation should be some sort of compound bicep movement, like standing barbell or ez bar curls), and knock out 3-5 total sets.

Lower Body Workout One: (Tuesday)

  1. Heavy Squats: 5x5 working up each set to a 5rm, or try for an occasional 1-3rm.
    Well, if there is any exercise most guys don?t do correctly, its squats. This is pretty simple. If you aren?t a competitive powerlifter (powerlifters squat to parallel), then you have no business squatting anything higher than absolutely rock bottom. Learn how to squat right. Anyone can put 4 or 5 plates on each side and quarter or half squat it. It takes a real man to put on 500 and squat it down until he?s sitting on his calves. Your leg size will thank me for it.

This is our heavy squat day, and typically you?ll want to work up to a 5 rep max. However, you need to make sure you get in 5 good work sets with equal weight jumps between each set. For example, if you best set of 5 is 325x5 (rock bottom), then you might do this; barx10, 95x5, 135x5, 185x3, 225x1, 250x5, 270x5, 290x5, 310x5, 330x5. Occasionally, feel free to try to work up to a 3rm or even a 1rm, but the majority of the work done on this day should be 5x5.

  1. Goodmornings: 3x5 same weight or work up to 5rm
    There are multiple variations of goodmornings. All have their place. There are wide stance arched back GMs, narrow stance rounded back GMs, suspended GMs, seated GMs, etc. Pick one, push your butt back, bend over at the waist, and work hard to goodmorning the weight up, rather than squatting it up. Usually pick a weight you can do for 3 sets of 5 (after a proper warm-up of course), but occasionally, feel free to work up to a 5 rep max.

  2. Pullthroughs: 3-5 sets of 10-12, some arched back, some rounded back.
    Dave Tate offers a good explanation of pullthroughs at his site, www.elitefts.com. Here is how he says to perform them, \"The pull through is one of the best movements to use to bring up the glutes, hips and hamstrings. The muscles of the posterior chain are the most important when it comes to squatting and deadlifting. To do this movemnt you will need a low pulley unit (a band will also work). Stand facing away from the machine with the cable between your legs using a medium to wide stance. Begin by letting the cable pull your torso through your legs. Then flex back to the starting position making sure to squeeze your glutes as you rise.\"

  3. Glute Ham Raises or Hamstring Curls followed by Leg Extensions (2 sets each)
    -or-

  4. Leg Presses (3-4 sets of 10-12) ?or- Occasionally a Hack Squat (for 3-4x10-12)
    Basically after your squats, goodmornings, and pullthroughs, find a leg exercise you like to do and knock it out. I think glute ham raises are top notch, but many of you won?t have a glute ham raise bench, so feel free to knock out a few sets of leg presses or hack squats, or some other good compound leg movement.

  5. Weighted Abs/ Obliques 5x10, same weight.
    Pick one or two weighted exercises for abs and do approximately 5 total sets. You could choose from weighted situps, ab pulldowns on high cable or with bands, dumbbell side bends, etc.

  6. Calves: 5 sets of 12-20, same weight.
    Pick one or two heavy calf exercises (standing calf raises, donkey calf raises, seated calf raises, or calf raises on the leg press machine) and knock out approximately 5 sets of 12-20 reps.

Upper Body Workout Two: (Thursday)

  1. Flat Barbell Bench Press: 5x5, or occasionally a 1-5rm.
    This is our heavy bench press day. Use a regular or medium-close grip and typically perform 5 sets of 5 reps, using the same weight for each set. Occasionally feel free to work up to a 1-5 rep max.

  2. Board Press/ Floor Press: 5 rep max.
    Usually start where you left off on bench press, (or drop 10-20%) and do sets of 5 reps, working up to a 5 rep max on either a 2-3 board press or a floor press.

  3. Overhead Press: 5rm, 5x5, or 4x10
    For overhead pressing, pick a standing exercise that meets your needs. My personal favorite is strict standing military press, but push presses or standing dumbbell overhead press will do as well. If you are looking to add strength, work up to a 5 rep max. If hypertrophy is your main goal, then do 4x10 with the same weight. If you want a good combo of both, do 5x5 with the same weight.

  4. Dips (2-3 sets)

  5. Vertical Lat Work: 5 sets of 10-12
    For vertical lat work, choose either pull-ups for 5 sets of failure, or lat pull-downs for 5+ sets of 10-12 using different bars and working on different planes

  6. Triceps Extension (same as workout one)

  7. Biceps (same as workout one)

Lower Body Workout Two: (Friday)

  1. Squats: 5x5 or 4x10, same weight
    Choose either back squats or front squats (I think for most guys 2 weeks of back squats followed by one week of front squats would be optimal). Do 5 sets of 5 or 4 sets of 10 using the same weight for each set. SQUAT ROCK BOTTOM.

  2. Deadlifts: 3x5, same weight or 1-5 rep max.
    Choose either conventional deadlifts or deadlifts standing on 2-3\" box, mat, or 100lb plate. If you can?t deadlift at least 2x your bodyweight, then don?t use a belt. Keep good form.

  3. Pullthroughs (same as workout one)

  4. Glute Ham Raises or Hamstring Curls followed by Leg Extensions (2 sets each)

  5. Weighted Hyperextensions: 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps

  6. Weighted Abs/ Obliques (same as workout one)

  7. Calves: (same as workout one)

A few quick notes about the program: Rest and Tempo should be natural. For big compound movements you?ll need more rest. For smaller ones you?ll need less. Tempo of the concentric (raising) and eccentric (lowering) of the movement should be natural as well. You should just about always try to lift the weight as fast as you can, and lower it under control.

Progressive Overload: This is a simple term to understand, most guys make it too complicated. Simply stated, if you complete all your reps for a given exercise, then next time bump up the weight 5-10 pounds. If you don?t complete all the reps, then keep the weight the same until you do. Now was that hard?

Remember, the workouts listed are for loading weeks. It?s a good amount of volume and lots of gut busting sets. Your body will build up fatigue training this way, and every couple weeks or so, you will need to unload and allow your body to recover.

For unloading weeks, reduce volume drastically by completing only the first two exercises on lower body days, and the first three exercises on upper body days. Slightly reduce intensity/load (with regards to one rep max ? ie. ? drop your weights down just a tad), and keep frequency the same (four workouts per week).