T Nation

Fatigue and Progression

Hi coach,

I wrestle (greco-roman) at an international level, and I am a bit weak and undersized for my weight to dominate so I tried a lot of programs of yours to get stronger and bigger without much success. In fact, my strength didn’t go up on a lot of exercises in the past few years and I got stuck at low levels of strength (for example a 105 kg power clean at 96kg bodyweight).

I train twice a day, one of these two trainings being wrestling (in the evening), which most of the time consists in live wrestling for periods, exercises with a partner, and pull ups/rope climbing ; the other being gpp but I generally lift in the morning since my cardio is already a strongsuit of mine and is thoroughly worked at night in a sports-specific way.

My question is : do you think that the “go heavy or go home” mantra should be applied in my case ? Am I overreaching on a daily basis ? Do you think the heavy neural implication that being in “fight or flight mode” every night means that I should go easy on the percentages and lift lighter weights to progress ?

Thank you in advance coach


The programs I post on the site are designed for individuals who do no engage in other activities. An athlete with a high volume of physical work will have a hard time recovering from them and progression wont be there.

As an athlete the most important element is to preserve the nervous system.

I would suggest using lighter weights but adding acceleration to your movements (Force = mass x acceleration) and never doing a rep that you have to grind or that you feel getting slow.

I also suggest sticking to few movements done very frequently.

For example:
power clean & push press
Bench press

Snatch grip high pull
Snatch grip deadlift
Front squat

Doing each workout 2-3 times per week using different loads (light, moderate, heavier) ranging from 65 to 85% (65, 75, 85). Sticking to sets of 3 reps and focusing on acceleration. Every 5th week test your lifts to calculate the weights for the next 4 weeks OR add 5-10lbs to all your sets.

Thank you for that answer.

I’ve tried something similar to that for six months at one point (lower body and oly lifts mon wed fri, upper body tue thur sat, sunday off), sets of 3, always accelerating, stopping the exercise at the max force set (I don’t remember your exact terminology but I think that it was pretty close to that).

It made me gain some upper body strength on my bench, push press, row, power clean, but none on my squats and deadlifts, and I didn’t see, in the mirror or on the scale, any hypertrophy gain.

From what you said in your answer, would a good explanation for the lack of progress on my lower body would be the fact that the LB exercises are much more CNS-intensive than the UB ?

The thing is, I followed your “perfect rep” principles during that time, with a rapid turnaround at the time when the main muscle is fully stretched, so what do you think I should do about the eccentric part of my reps ? Should I use tempos such as 30X1 to release more growth hormone ? Was hypertrophy an elusive goal since I workout so much ? Hypertrophy progress coming in spurts, especially for the natural athletes such as me, did I just get unlucky during that time period ? (of course I take great care of my rest, CNS or muscle-wise, and of my nutrition, being it intra workout, peri workout or throughout the day).

For the lower body strength my gut feeling is that you lost the feeling of a heavy bar.

Some people lose the feeling of a heavy bar more easily than others and when they find themselves under a max weight they are psychologically affected, they lose confidence and the lift is affected.

Also not getting under a max weight often enough might affect your capacity to brace your body under max loads.

In the bench press or overhead press it isn’t a big issue but with squats and deads it is major.

So while sticking to more accelerative work for most exercises I would recommend adding some heavy partials lifts (half squats, pin pulls just below knees) to get your body used to heavier weights.

As for the muscle mass increase You are wrestling quite a bit and probably trying to stay in the same weight class, obviously building more muscle will be hard with that volume and food intake.

Good point coach :slight_smile: I did some partial rep squatting for 2 months recently because I was too upset with the weights I was using and it helped me quite a bit as you predicted, I just thought of it as kind of an accident, it’s cool if it is a tool you recommend.

And for the eccentrics ? You are the person who scared me the most with this component of a rep ever since I read about your eccentric-less workouts which allowed pro bodybuilders to improve their back. With as much training as I do, I’m always scared not to invest correctly my ability to work-out (finances of training).

I can gain 8 kg total (water-muscle-adipose tissue-glycogen storage) and still fit in my weight class by dieting a bit during the end of my preparation, which is really easy since the weigh in is the day before the championships.