Finding What Works Best For You?

You really need to spend a few years training and try different things. Given that you’re 17 and you post like a madmen on these forums, I would suggest unplugging your modem and spending a few hours in the gym before you start wondering what works and what doesn’t. Just listen to your body and figure out what feels more effective, it’s really that simple.

[quote]David1991 wrote:
for strength i can understand easily seeing what gives you the best results. but as far as hypertrophy how do you distinguish what the factor is that works?
[/quote]

You’ve already got half of it figured out. Someday, someone here will accept the fact that you must increase your strength, to increase your size. I’ll get flamed by the 180lb experts, but it is what it is.
When I got my diet on par with my training, I finally figured out how to gain muscle. I was always strong, but didn’t “look” strong. (not that I do now either lol!)

Early on I didn’t require much change in terms of training. Now 20 some years later, I psychologically need some type of change every 8 weeks or so. However, early on in your training career IMHO too much change and over-analysis can be very detrimental. Ask me how I know?

[quote]Radjxf wrote:
David1991 wrote:
for strength i can understand easily seeing what gives you the best results. but as far as hypertrophy how do you distinguish what the factor is that works?

You’ve already got half of it figured out. Someday, someone here will accept the fact that you must increase your strength, to increase your size. I’ll get flamed by the 180lb experts, but it is what it is.
When I got my diet on par with my training, I finally figured out how to gain muscle. I was always strong, but didn’t “look” strong. (not that I do now either lol!)

Early on I didn’t require much change in terms of training. Now 20 some years later, I psychologically need some type of change every 8 weeks or so. However, early on in your training career IMHO too much change and over-analysis can be very detrimental. Ask me how I know?[/quote]

lol ok how do you know?

about getting stronger though, do you think that somethings are better for hypertrophy than strength and vice versa? i mean sure getting stronger helps you gain muscle but do you think theres more hypertrophy related ways to train over strength? thats what i’ve always believed

You’ll probably never know for sure, and even if you do ever figure it out, its going to change.

I recently heard someone say that the best program for you is the one you haven’t done yet.

Ive been thinking about this a lot lately, and from my past experience, the best gains on any program are usually the in the first week or two.

Ive also been thinking about “big rocks” and the law of diminishing returns lately.

1.) Squats and deadlifts might be responsible for 50% of your gains, while upper body compounds might be 35%, and all the isolation movements might be responsible for the remaining 15%. So if in your training plan your spending 75% of your time and effort on isolation movements, thats just foolish. In making my future plans, i’ll hopefully use these percentages to decide how much time/effort/volume/etc. I spend on different movements/body parts.

  1. The law of diminishing returns suggests that if your best results from a different stimulus will come early and will exponentially decrease as time goes on. Thinking in percentages, you might accomplish 50-80% of your increases in performance in the first 2 weeks of a new program or exercise. Why continue on after that if you are only making small gains each week. I know many experts say that you should NEVER do the exact same workout twice, and poliquin says you should never do a similar workout more than six times. This means you absolutely must aim to increase the training stimulus each session (weight,sets,reps,rest,frequency,etc.) and after doing “similar” workout six times, make some changes to the exercises, or more broad training variables.

My post to these ideas is here,

http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=2300770

I didn’t get any real responses to this, but im pretty sure this is how im gonna do things.

Ive noticed that when I do a deload for about 4-7 days, I make great gains for the first 2 weeks or so, and if im training really hard, by the third week, im itching to change things up and get back to deload.

So what im gonna be doing, is short deloads of 4 days, and short training phases of 2 weeks. This will allow me to train harder and focus more on improving.

Another important thing to think about is varying between accumulation and intensification phases. They are very different and if you stick with one for too long, your results will stagnate very quickly.

My basic ideas for these two phases are:

Intensification: Focus on as few exercises as possible preferably only big compounds. Also, focus on performance increases, mainly increases weight or volume. During this phase it doesn’t matter if you feel like you got a good workout if you lifted 10% less than the previous session. Sure you could be overreaching for a planned supercompensation phase, but for the most part you should be trying to set pr’s in your big lifts.

Accumulation: Focus on many exercises of both compound and isolation for all muscles. Focus can be performance based, but its a good idea to use this time for mind muscle training, feeling the muscle and lactic acid type training.

There are a ton of programs out there. By doing modified versions of them which are shorter, i’ll be able to experience many different ones and figure out what works. It may seem like a bad idea at first, but if planned out well, it should provide great increases in both strenght and muscular development.

Hope this kinda helps you in your quest to find the “perfect program”. And like you said, diet is a very big part of things. So unless your diet is up to bar, theres no reason to even be concerned with what is the best program.

well it’s not like theres really a best program but i see what your saying. as far as the changing thing, i think how often you change it depends on a lot of things. i’ve been doing the same routine for 6 weeks (upper/lower) but theres 3 different rep ranges of workouts (so like upper 5x5 one day, 3x10 another, etc…) and i havent noticed any real stagnation. each is done 4 times over 6 weeks though so there you go. 2 weeks seems very quick to change things though, doesnt seem like theres much time to progress before you change again

[quote]dankid wrote:
You’ll probably never know for sure, and even if you do ever figure it out, its going to change.

I recently heard someone say that the best program for you is the one you haven’t done yet.

Ive been thinking about this a lot lately, and from my past experience, the best gains on any program are usually the in the first week or two.

Ive also been thinking about “big rocks” and the law of diminishing returns lately.

1.) Squats and deadlifts might be responsible for 50% of your gains, while upper body compounds might be 35%, and all the isolation movements might be responsible for the remaining 15%. So if in your training plan your spending 75% of your time and effort on isolation movements, thats just foolish. In making my future plans, i’ll hopefully use these percentages to decide how much time/effort/volume/etc. I spend on different movements/body parts.

  1. The law of diminishing returns suggests that if your best results from a different stimulus will come early and will exponentially decrease as time goes on. Thinking in percentages, you might accomplish 50-80% of your increases in performance in the first 2 weeks of a new program or exercise. Why continue on after that if you are only making small gains each week. I know many experts say that you should NEVER do the exact same workout twice, and poliquin says you should never do a similar workout more than six times. This means you absolutely must aim to increase the training stimulus each session (weight,sets,reps,rest,frequency,etc.) and after doing “similar” workout six times, make some changes to the exercises, or more broad training variables.

My post to these ideas is here,

I didn’t get any real responses to this, but im pretty sure this is how im gonna do things.

Ive noticed that when I do a deload for about 4-7 days, I make great gains for the first 2 weeks or so, and if im training really hard, by the third week, im itching to change things up and get back to deload.

So what im gonna be doing, is short deloads of 4 days, and short training phases of 2 weeks. This will allow me to train harder and focus more on improving.

Another important thing to think about is varying between accumulation and intensification phases. They are very different and if you stick with one for too long, your results will stagnate very quickly.

My basic ideas for these two phases are:

Intensification: Focus on as few exercises as possible preferably only big compounds. Also, focus on performance increases, mainly increases weight or volume. During this phase it doesn’t matter if you feel like you got a good workout if you lifted 10% less than the previous session. Sure you could be overreaching for a planned supercompensation phase, but for the most part you should be trying to set pr’s in your big lifts.

Accumulation: Focus on many exercises of both compound and isolation for all muscles. Focus can be performance based, but its a good idea to use this time for mind muscle training, feeling the muscle and lactic acid type training.

There are a ton of programs out there. By doing modified versions of them which are shorter, i’ll be able to experience many different ones and figure out what works. It may seem like a bad idea at first, but if planned out well, it should provide great increases in both strenght and muscular development.

Hope this kinda helps you in your quest to find the “perfect program”. And like you said, diet is a very big part of things. So unless your diet is up to bar, theres no reason to even be concerned with what is the best program.[/quote]

Sorry to say, but this post (and the mentality behind it) totally ignores the real world.

I’m not saying that trying out a bunch of different programs/methods is a bad thing, far from it. But locking yourself into this “I can only do a workout for (insert some arbitrary length of time, or arbitrary number of sessions) before I have to switch things up, or else I will adapt” is a bad idea IMO/IME.

Building muscle/bodybuilding is about progression/getting stronger, eating enough to give your body the raw materials it needs to repair and grow new tissue, and getting enough rest so as not to overstress the recovery systems.

Finding out what works best for you basically comes down to figuring out what exercises you can best feel while you are doing them and the next day (DOMS); figuring out your recovery abilities (has to do with things like frequency/volume/training split/etc…); figuring out how much YOU need to eat in order to allow growth to occur; and figuring out what you ENJOY doing (as you won’t stick with something you hate for very long).

Unfortunately the only way to figure out these things is to actually try a bunch of things.

That said, I don’t believe that we are THAT different (as individuals). Sure, some will have better recovery abilities than others, some will need more/less calories to gain, and different people will respond better/worse to certain exercises. But, the basic physiological processes involved are the same and generally the same basic rules apply to the vast majority.

So, figure out how you can maximize your ability to continue getting stronger on the exercises that YOU feel best working for you (if for instance you don’t feel back squats in your quads and you are doing them to develop your quads, stop doing them), figure out how much YOU need to eat, and figure out how often YOU can train and continue to make progress.

There are lots of tried and tested programs out there. Give them a solid try (stick with it for as long as you continue to see progress with it, then and only then switch things up). Then take what you’ve learned from that routine (maybe an exercise, maybe you liked the frequency, maybe you learned a new method of progression, etc…) and use your new found knowledge about yourself to continue making progress.