T Nation

Fixed Weight Progressive Overload?


#1

https://www.t-nation.com/workouts/best-way-to-keep-getting-stronger

Hey CT, I have a question about your new article on fixed weight progressive overload. When doing sets with eccentric and concentric pauses, is the goal to shoot for the same number of reps you do with the "regular" sets from previous weeks? Concentric pauses done for reps sounds brutal.

Still loving your power look program and hitting all my target weights/reps. Might as well ask this as well. If you were more concerned with long term gains, would you go ahead with the peak week at the end or avoid it and do another strength block (like weeks 1-4 of power look or fixed weight progressive overload).


#2

[quote]OUBobcatLifter wrote:

Hey CT, I have a question about your new article on fixed weight progressive overload. When doing sets with eccentric and concentric pauses, is the goal to shoot for the same number of reps you do with the “regular” sets from previous weeks? Concentric pauses done for reps sounds brutal.

Still loving your power look program and hitting all my target weights/reps. Might as well ask this as well. If you were more concerned with long term gains, would you go ahead with the peak week at the end or avoid it and do another strength block (like weeks 1-4 of power look or fixed weight progressive overload).[/quote]

From the article: “In an ideal world, you’ll keep the same number of reps per set, but don’t panic if you do one or even two less”

Yes the 3 concentric pauses are brutal but you should be getting stronger from week to week.

The goal of fixed weight progressive overload is long term program, as such it must be done for at least 12 weeks to be worth it. It’s not a change of pace program.


#3

CT this looks like just thing to ground me in the next 3 months and get solid on major lifts and add size. I think will enjoy the training style (esp 6/week frequency) and I’ve stalled at a concrete number for several lifts. Few questions:

  1. 1-3 progressively heavier activation sets and 3 work sets? So work sets always 5 reps (3x5) and if we do 2 warm up sets of 5 reps this looks like the ramping up 5x5 style right
  2. No backoff sets on main lift, just use two assistance exercises to accrue volume/fatigue?
  3. Exercise selection wise, olift variations (my favorite sghp) will have to be left out?
  4. Physique wise this will produce a positive but more gradual effect than say layers which you see muscles you hit growing that week…

Would following work (using exercises I’m most familiar with)
4 basic lifts: incline tilt bench, deficit low bar tbdl, weighted bar pullups, weighted bar dips)
Workout A
Incline tilt 3x5
Weighted dips 3x5
Handstand pushups
Ring dips
Workout B
Low bar trap bar Dl 3x5
Weighted pullups 3x5
Db lunges
Ring work pulling (front lever, inverted rows, maybe ring curls)

Does this exercise selection and patterning make sense? Thought about mixing the lifts but this gives more rest for body parts. Thanks.


#4

CT, I love the idea of this program…pay your dues and earn the right to slap on more plates. Brilliant!

Just one clarification though…in week #4 (concentric pauses), should I do the eccentrics at regular speed (two seconds), or do I do them like in the previous week (pauses)? It sounds like the former from the way you wrote it, but just want to make sure.


#5

[quote]MarcF wrote:
CT, I love the idea of this program…pay your dues and earn the right to slap on more plates. Brilliant!

Just one clarification though…in week #4 (concentric pauses), should I do the eccentrics at regular speed (two seconds), or do I do them like in the previous week (pauses)? It sounds like the former from the way you wrote it, but just want to make sure. [/quote]

Regular pace… you COULD add a 5th week where you do the pauses during both the eccentric and concentric


#6

Coach,

Could the row be swapped for the deadlift (sweeping band maybe)?
Or are long eccentrics a bit too much on deads?


#7

[quote]Panopticum wrote:
Coach,

Could the row be swapped for the deadlift (sweeping band maybe)?
Or are long eccentrics a bit too much on deads?[/quote]

The regular deadlift doesn’t work well with slow eccentrics and pauses during the eccentric phase. Doing it with a Sumo or Romanian deadlift can work.


#8

Thanks Coach!
Not that I wanna murder your program, I just feel a pull of the floor should be a main lift for me. I feel empty without them


#9

If the Goal is maximize Size. Can i go with this Program?

Maybe go one reprange higher 6-8?


#10

Hi CT,

So the whole point of fixed weight progression is to spend a longer time working with a low % of your 1RM while making the reps deliberately slow (either the eccentric or concentric portion) to make a given weight challenging, which would presumably give your tendons the necessary time to catch up and remodel. Sounds good as admittedly tendons are notoriously slow in their remodelling capacity, but my question is what would be advantage of this approach (slowing down your rep tempo at a given weight) versus using that same weight but doing more reps but at normal speed? Both approaches would result in roughly the same TUT and would likely elicit a similar adaptive response in terms of strengthening your muscles and tendons, no?

Cheers,

Anthony


#11

[quote]Anthony_85 wrote:
Hi CT,

So the whole point of fixed weight progression is to spend a longer time working with a low % of your 1RM while making the reps deliberately slow (either the eccentric or concentric portion) to make a given weight challenging, which would presumably give your tendons the necessary time to catch up and remodel. Sounds good as admittedly tendons are notoriously slow in their remodelling capacity, but my question is what would be advantage of this approach (slowing down your rep tempo at a given weight) versus using that same weight but doing more reps but at normal speed? Both approaches would result in roughly the same TUT and would likely elicit a similar adaptive response in terms of strengthening your muscles and tendons, no?

Cheers,

Anthony[/quote]

Yes both work. The option you talk about is the double progression that I also use and wrote about. But it’s not just about slowing down the reps but about increasing eccentric and isometric strength. I personally believe that both of these constitute a strength reserve on which concentric strength can be built on.


#12

CT, many thanks for the answer.


#13

Hey CT, I was wondering if I can replace the chest supported row with Weighted pull up, because I want to increase my pull up strength?


#14

Sure, if you can do these pull-ups with good form. Meaning ZERO cheating, starting from a full hang on every rep and finishing with the chin above the bar. If you have to use ANY body momentum to get up or if you cut down your reps, then you are not strong enough on this exercise to use it as a strength builder yet.


#15

What makes Pullups (and maybe dips?) so unique that you emphasize this perfect technique (otherwise “not strong enough to use [pullup] as strength builder yet”.

Curious because I don’t often see you describing exercises like this (don’t bench or row or press until X). For me, some of the best feeling exercises (in terms of tension, joint intengrity, overall stimulation) comes from weighted body movements


#16

You might not understand because 1) you are light (so not much resistance to lift) 2) you are fairly strong for your size 3) you have been emphasizing body weight exercises quite a bit.

So for you doing a pull up with no added weight might feel as easy as doing a push-up for most people. But the reality is that most “average” people have a hard time doing 3-5 reps on the strict pull-up with no added weight. Heck, I’ve seen plenty of guy with decent muscle mass who can’t do more than 2 decent pull-ups.

Now. if you can only do pull-ups for 2 reps it’s kinda like saying that the lightest you can go on the squat, even for your warm-ups, is 95% oif your max.

ON BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES YOU CANNOT LOWER THE WEIGTH. If you are shooting for 6 reps on the bench press, use 225lbs and only get 3, then you can always go down to 205 or 195 to get the 6. But what do you do on pull-ups if you can only get 3 reps with no added weight?

Sure you can use resistance bands, and I do from time to time, but it is not precise.

It’s not the nature of the exercise (bodyweight) that makes it unsuitable as a strength movement if you are not already good at them, it’s the fact that you cannot go lighter than your body weight.

So pull-ups should only be trained for strength if you are already good at them.

I would say the same thing with squats: training squats for strength is dumb if you can’t squat properly.


#17

Because you can always scale down free-weight movements by using less weight. Even a very weak individual can find a weight he will be able to squat, bench or row. But with pull-ups you can’t go lighter than your body weight. If body weight is too heavy to do the reps properly then you are screwed.

That’s why I say that if you are strong enough on pull ups, you CAN train them for strength. But not many people are there… and when I write an article I have to have the average reader in mind.


#18

Sure, because your are light an fairly strong for your size, spent a lot of time working on technique first and have a natural liking for body weight exercises.

But not everybody is you. If there is one thing I learned as a coach is that coaching as if people are like you is one of the biggest mistake you can make.


#19

Yes I can do them with good form. That means no momentum, starting from a dead hang (elevated Shoulders) to chin over bar with depressed shoulders. I even do them with 25 kilos added.


#20

Hmmn great points as usual. Do you think bodyweight stuff “signals” for less muscle mass?

You hear “relative strength” thrown around as king for effective weight loss (Fat loss/not muscle), so if you lose weight but pullups and bodyweight stuff maintains/becomes easier you’re doing it right.

Similarly if you bulk/“gain” and suddenly find chinup/bw performance going down, it signals fat gains rather than muscle.

For me, the heaviest and most muscular point of my life (maybe 2 years ago) I was all weight lifting, and just started the bodyweight “journey”. Back then, things were hard, and even balancing or moving body through space was a big strain.

Then over last two years I’ve gotten pretty good, and feel very limber/natural -> kicking up into handstand, doing a front lever 360 into back lever, kick out and repeat pretty easily. I can say when I"m “bulky” this stuff is difficult. And when I’m very lean/sinewy this stuff is really easy.

I don’t know if it’s cause/effect here…is it possible to be massive and still do BW effortlessley (thinking old time bodybuilers, that one huge guy who could do one arm handstand, marvin elder with heavy dips, big dudes doing front levers/human flags)?