Has this happened to you?

Hello, all.

Most T-Maggers follow some type of Mag-10 plan when it comes to training; i.e., so many weeks hardcore training followed by so many weeks recovery training.

Did you ever notice that by the end of your "hardcore" cycle your muscle soreness post workouts is very small, regardless of the extra intensity you may have added during this phase?

Likewise, when you come off a "recovery" training regimen, that first workout in the "high" intensity phase causes EXTREME soreness.

Is there a physiological reason why this happens? I just find it interesting that every time I come off a two-week recovery training regimen that the first 1 or 2 workouts into the heavy duty phase causes all that soreness (over and over again). By the end of the high intensity phase, though, I hardly get sore at all any more...and it's certainly not for lack of increasing intensity as the program goes on.

Let me know what y'all think!

It makes sense to me. When you stress your muscles in a different way, you create more microtrauma and release more hydroxyproline. Initial soreness will be high, but then your body compensates by adding more contractile proteins and connective tissue to support the weight, which allows you to workout and get less sore over time. It does not take long also. One study I saw used a painful eccentric loading program to cause soreness, and after each workout, hydroxyproline excretion dropped dramatically and so did DOMS.

Jason covered it pretty well. In short, it’s the body’s response to attempting to cope with a new stimulus. I would imagine that the lactic acid threshold increases as the duration of time on a high intensity cycle increases. However, when one immediately jumps into a higher intensity period without any gradual preparation (not to say that it’s needed), the body doesn’t have enough time to adjust. The lactic acid accumulates at the same rate, but it can’t be cleared as quickly as one experiences several workouts later. The same is true of first time lifters after their initial sessions; it’s no wonder that some people lift once and never go back to the gym! Then again, maybe they’re just lazy…

Very enlightening responses…which leads me to the following question:

If what you are saying is true, perhaps a 1 week high intensity / 1 week recovery training method would be optimal for building muscle. After all, the body would literally have almost no time to adapt. Any thoughts?

Ian King discusses your proposition in Get Buffed. He says that this is the problem with most workouts, they do not have any continuity. See you can, do different exercises everytime you go to the gym, but your strength will suffer. That’s why if you look at some of his programs, they almost always have some sort of bench press, squat, and deadlift movement. Charles Poliquin also states the limiting factor in many bodybuilders hypertrophy (as he sees it) is that they are not strong enough for their given muscle crossectional area.

It definately could work as long as you put some forward thinking into it. I would be wary of the lack of consistency and the difficulty in determining progress, but with a well devised plan, it could work. We know that 2on 2off works fairly well and maybe 1on 1off would work better. I don’t know, but it is worth a try.

I think the problems in assessing progress are the foremost challenges in the one week cycles. If you bench 300 for three reps one weeks, and then switch to a protocol that calls for 12 reps at 250 for hypertrophy, how can you assess whether your previous workout was effective in inducing strength gains? I think that two weeks is the minimum amount of time that one should stay on a program before switching things up. Great post.

I’d like to continue the discussion here ('cuz it’s getting pretty interesting). I do have a theory on this, but since I don’t have any kind of a scientific or physiological background please feel free to shoot me down if I’m way off base.

Let's say you wanted to do a 1 on / 1 off type routine for the sole purpose of gaining muscle mass (not for cutting up). Take working legs as an example. On your hypertrophy week you could focus on some hack squats, leg extensions, stiff legged deadlifts and so forth.

Then on your off week you could incorporate a 5x5 routine with either free weight squats or deadlifts. (Note: even though you'd be going heavy, it's still considered an "off" week because of the total reduction of work performed)

In other words, go heavy / low volume on the "off" week on the most important exercises such as squats, bench press, shoulder press and so forth. Then on the "on" weeks you can incorporate secondary exercises focusing on higher reps and more sets (overload).

I think this could work for the following three reasons.

1. The body would be in a constant state of being forced to adapt to new stimuli while still maintaining a regimen of core exercises.

2. In theory, you'd be able to increase strength and size virtually at the same time.

3. You won't be doing the same exercises for both your "on" and "off" weeks. In other words, under the two on / two off system I would do free weight squats on my "on" weeks as well as my "off" weeks...the only difference being poundage. Under this system, I wouldn't do squats at all on my "on" week. I would save that exercise for the 5x5 blast.

The big question is this: will this type of regimen produce gains faster? After all, this is what we all seek from the iron game.

Looking forward to your feedback!!!

Mike - I really think that what you are saying makes a lot of sense, but I think somebody has sort of beat you to the punch. I got to thinking about what we’ve been talking about and realized that the Westside guys are doing something very similar to what you are suggesting. Read the Periodation Bible Part 2 by Dave Tate. Last year I used a Westside Barbell style of lifting with great success to get me back in the iron game. Read through the article and let me know what you think.

THe problem I have with this program is “hack squats, leg extensions, stiff legged deadlifts” during the hypertrophy phase! Surely squats and full deadlifts should be your #1 mass builders! Nix the leg extensions. Save them for when you’re really lean and you want to see you cool your quads look when flexed. Even then, only do them occasionally.


GREAT article...it definitely deserves to be on the "reprint" list for T-Mag.

I don't think I'd be able to incorporate exactly what is recommended as far as strength training, only because I'd most definitely need either (a) a partner who can do the same workout or (b) a spotter for all those 1 rep sets.

Looks like I might have to guinea pig myself on this method, if I choose to do it.

Mike- I say go for it! With the exceptions of avoiding soy, Muscle & Fiction, and curling in the squat rack at all costs, nothing in bodybuilding or powerlifting is out of bounds or sacred. Who knows? You might stumble onto something really effective. I’m trying some new stuff out right now myself in hopes of stumbling onto a protocol that might yield better results. Also, remember that when training for strength, it isn’t always necessary to train to failure, so you can get away without a spotter SOMETIMES. I would expect that Joel will chime in here any second to quote Pavel on how training to failure impedes strength gains:) Good luck, and keep up posted.

Mike - I totally agree with you. I think it is one of the top 5 articles ever written at T-mag. When I had the luxury of a training partner, the max effort work was easier to do. My suggestion would be to do max effort work for sets of 3-5. You still get the neural adaptations, but you always know that you’ll get the bar up on the first rep or two and you can rack the bar if you expect to fail on the 3rd rep. My long term periodization plan involves returning back to Westside style of lifting after my summer ABCDE cycle. Some other options include substituting cleans and snatches for dynamic work.

The key is to suit the periodized style of lifting to meet your needs. WSB has perfected this style for powerlifting, but I think it could be tweeked to optimally serve bodybuilding.

Good luck, let me know how you like it.

This thread has caused me to do something I don’t like to do a lot of…THINK!

Seriously, though, I am going to give this method a try. The only wrinkle I'm throwing in here is that I'm going on a restricted calorie diet starting tomorrow.

I had tremendous success with my Mag-10 cycles. I gained 40 pounds and have kept 35 of them. The only fly in the ointment was a 2-inch gain in my middle. But hey, I haven't had a 6-pack since I was 12 years old, so I'm not expecting to get one now.

Why am I cutting calories now? Well, to be honest, it's my faith in Myostat. I'm just starting my third bottle, so in another three weeks I'll be at the 60 day mark...right around the time TC says that results begin kicking in.

IF (and a really big IF at that) Myostat does as it's reported to do, even if I cut calories I should still see LBM increases if all those satellite cells start hitting puberty.

Here's the program. I'm going to do 20 minutes of light cardio before every workout. Oh, and by the way, my diet will be 50% protein, 30% fat, 20% carbs.

Week 1 - Hypertrophy training; supplements will be 4-AD and Myostat

Week 2 - 5x5 training; supplements will be Methoxy-7 and Myostat;

Week 3 - Repeat week 1

Week 4 - Repeat week 2

Jason - as far as what you said about my method's similarity to Tate's, there is one big difference. I'll only be incorporating the staple exercises (squats, deads, bench press, shrugs, etc.) on my 5x5 weeks when I can go really heavy. I'll be doing totally different exercises on the hypertrophy weeks.

Eric - you're right! You never know when you may have the next big idea in the iron game. It would be nice if I could make a worthwhile contribution to a forum that has given so much to me.

If you guys have any other suggestions for me before I begin, lett-er-rip! I'm all ears.

Sounds great! Please let me know how it works out for you!

I just started the German Volume Training and I’ve never hurt so bad. I’ve been doing sets of no more than eight reps. The kicker is that the weight is so light. It’s almost embarrassing loading the bars. I don’t think it’s psychological though, because it feels pretty damn real to me. Today was only my second arms workout, so hopefully the pain will go away once I hit my third workout for each muscle group.