T Nation

High-Frequency ME Training?


#1

Recently there have been a couple of articles that have espoused the benefits of high-frequency training. Also I know that Zatiorsky talks about it in terms of synaptic facilitation. However, how are you supposed to combine high-frequency training with methods that are CNS-intensive?

I know Charlie Francis (and now James Smith over at EliteFTS) utilize the high-low method which entails CNS-intensive methods every other day with tempo or recovery methods in between. So if you did a traditional split it would be like:

Day 1- ME Upper
Day 2- off/recovery
Day 3- ME Lower
Day 4- off/recovery
Day 5- ME Upper
Day 6- off/recovery
Day 7- ME Lower
Day 8- off/recovery

So that is only 2 ME days over a microcycle and there is no dynamic days in there at all. Anybody have any ideas for combining high-frequency training with ME work?


#2

I don't know If you want to increase actual ME frequency. But maybe you could spread out 2-3 workouts some how, working in the relative, limit, and functionl rep ranges, as they all contribute to strength gains. I too, have been trying to find a way to incorporate higher frequency strength based training in a week, in order to emphasize its quality, while maintaining the others. Just a thought. Hopefully this thread will help.

-The Truth


#3

One thing I thought about was factorized training arrangement. DB discusses this in some of his writings but does not go into very great detail. I believe the premise behind it is to spread out training so CNS stress is better handled and it should allow you to do more work. Here is a very simple example:

Using a super-simple 8-day split where you only have two total body ME workouts:

Day 1- Bench and Squat
Work up to a heavy single in both. Most likely you would have two, maybe 3 reps above the 90% "max strength" threshold.
Days 2,3,4- Rest
Day 5- Bench and Squat
Same thing
Days 6,7,8

Using a factorized arrangement, you should be able to do more work. Something like this:

For both bench and squat
Day 1- work up to a double @ 90%
Day 2- work up to a single @ 90%
Day 3- work up to a single @ 95%
Day 4- work up to a single @ 90%
Day 5- work up to a double @ 90%
Day 6- work up to a single @ 90%
Day 7- work up to a single @ 95%
Day 8- work up to a single @ 90%

So now over the course of the microcycle, instead of having 4-6 reps over the 90% threshold, you would have 10.

An arrangement like this could also be used:
Day 1- work up to a triple @ 90%
Day 2- work up to a double @ 90%
Day 3- work up to a single @ 90%
Day 4- rest
Day 5- work up to a triple @ 90%
Day 6- work up to a double @ 90%
Day 7- work up to a single @ 90%
Day 8- rest

Which would give you 12 reps meeting the 90% threshold.

That might be something to think about, I'm not sure. I think I will be experimenting with some factorized arrangements when I get into the off-season, but I'm not sure how I would arrange the microcycles in terms of how to address more than one quality, etc. Just wanted to make sure this thread didn't die though.


#4

Just listen to your body so you know when to deload.


#5

That doesn't really make a lot of sense in the context of this discussion...


#6

It makes tons of sense, when your CNS starts to feel beat up, deload by cutting either volume, intensity or just plain do nothing...

it doesn't make sense...lol...


#7

It didn't make sense because the discussion had nothing to do with deloading. It had to do with the frequency of ME training within a microcycle. Also, I think you need to do a lot more than just "listen to your body" in some vague sense. CNS fatigue can and should be monitored quantitatively on a day-to-day basis and you have to plan in advance for recovery.

I really don't want to start a flame war though because I'm pretty sure we both agree with the concept of deloading, etc. I just wanted to sort of open up a forum of sorts for discussion on higher-frequency ME training.


#8

The absolutely most up to date Russian research says that 1 out of every 2-4 workouts must be reduced load or you will NEVER re-set your baseline neuro-physio parameters and will eventually stop making progress. In other words, you recover better with a light workout (say 4 x 6 at 60%) than with no workout at all.

Assuming that at the highest effective frequency, every other workout would need to be reduced intensity, then I think you can train a lift about every other day, or even 2 out of 3 with one being intense.

I think the worst thing you can do is sit around for 7 days after an intense workout. The natural response is for blood flow to shut down , and muscle to catabolize itself after intense training.


#9

mertdawg,

Definitly good points there and I think that is a big part of what the Charlie Francis training system is all about and James Smith has really expanded upon it with his hi-lo system. Basically alternating intense workouts (sprinting or ME work for example) with less intense workouts (high-rep work avoiding failure or tempo runs).

I wonder if anybody has had success with factorizing or "spreading out" their ME work. Basically taking how ever many reps over the 90% threhold that you would do on one day (say 2-6) and adding a little bit to that, and spreading it out over 3-4 days. You would get the advantages of the warmups each day as acting as a sort of active recovery.


#10

I agree with what has been said, already, to a large extent but let me add a little bit of what I've learned over the years. First, wave loading is a necessity. You need to take advantage of wave loading within a workout, between successive workouts, and between sequential training blocks.

In other words, you could factorize your workload with the use of high(er) intensity days alternated with low(er) intensity days or, as a method that I have found superior, you could wave your intensity from day to day. If you want to Auto-Regulate then you can use trend-line periodization.

But let's keep it simple with this example. If you are training four days per week (i.e. 3-on, 1-off, 1-on, 2-off) then you could use 85%, 90%, 95% and back down to 80% in a week...or climb with 80%, 85%, 90%, take a day off and then hit 95% before taking a few days off. The 95% day will allow you to determine your cumulative fatigue (i.e. if you can't hit 1 rep on that day then you are 5% in the hole).

You could also wave betwen higher and lower intensity days - i.e. 80% x 6 reps and 95% x 1 rep per set.

The options are endless but the key is to wave your intensity and coincident volume from day to day. I know it sounds a bit odd at first but if you give a few of these "ramped" programs a shot you will realize that there must be something to the synaptic facilitation (i.e. "grease the groove") concept because each day you get stronger and stronger even though the intensity keep increasing....then when the intensity drops and you take a few days off your strength literally jumps through the roof. I've had athletes use these principles and gain 15-lb of muscle and add over 50-lb to their bench press in 4 weeks! And I'm not talking total newbies here either.

There are two final considerations I'm going to throw your way: (1) when you drop the intensity to the lowest point also drop the volume to the lowest point (give it a shot and you'll see why) and (2) shake things up every so often. The best kept secret - if I even dare call it that - in the iron game (and sports training scene) is to do what you haven't been doing.

All I'm saying is that high frequency training is no exception to the fact that you must shake things up if you want to rattle loose continued improvement. For instance, if you've been training on high frequency for a while then switch over to high fatigue (read: lower frequency) for a while, and visa versa. Shake, rattle and roll!

(I have a few examples posted on my site for those who are interested)

p.s. That chick's ass in the powerful images today is ridiculous!


#11

Brad,

I'm really glad you could get into this discussion, it's not often when you can get a dialogue going with an expert!

I've read pretty much everything over at Inno-Sport. I don't think I've got the factorization or wave-loading down that well, but I think I'm starting to understand a little more.

The only thing that I don't really understand is how to incorporate the factorization with AREG. I think I understand how to do it within a session (coupling 51%AW work with 74%AW work), but I don't understand how to do it over a microcycle. I think I would go with something like

Day 1- 80% intensity, 2% drop-off
Day 2- 85% intensity, 2% drop-off
Day 3- 90% intensity, 2% drop-off
Day 4- off
Day 5- 95% intensity, 2% drop-off
Day 6- off
Day 7- off

So with 2% you should be able to recover each day but accumulate that residual fatigue which should equate to 5% total after day 5?

Does that make sense or am I way off base?


#12

I am not Brad, by any means, but I may be able to help you understand factorization and AREG a little. Factorization occurs when your drop off via AREG has gotten too high. An example that I have seen deals with sprints. An athlete is able to perform 28 sprints before he achieves a 3% drop off. If you factorize the sprints, you can spread the sprints out over several days. I.E. 10 sprints on day 1, 6 sprints on day 2, 8 sprints on day 3, and 4 sprints on day 4; then repeat.

This way you can add other things in the workout as doing 28 sprints will not leave much time for anything else to be trained. You can also be fairly sure that you are not overly taxing you CNS, since you used AREG principles to determine the total number of sprints that are appropriate.

In your case, I don't think factorization is truly what you are looking for. From my understanding of factorization, you would only begin to factorize your work when you were doing a ton of sets for ME before drop off was achieved. I think you could use AREG principles to increase your frequency of ME training. You could use a lower drop off % like 1-2% and train the movement several times a week. I think this would work well when combined with the previous post by Brad Nuttall.

Does any of the above make sense? I felt like I was talking in circles.


#13

climbon,

I get what you are saying. I knew I was using factorization incorrectly (by DB terminology at least), but I couldn't really think of another way to put it.

"I think you could use AREG principles to increase your frequency of ME training. You could use a lower drop off % like 1-2% and train the movement several times a week. I think this would work well when combined with the previous post by Brad Nuttall."

I think that's what I was going towards with the arrangement I posted. The only thing that's tricky is that since your work capacity varies, you might not know how many sets to perform. However, I'm pretty sure it would be easy to approximate pretty close.


#14

I think that's what I was going towards with the arrangement I posted. The only thing that's tricky is that since your work capacity varies, you might not know how many sets to perform. However, I'm pretty sure it would be easy to approximate pretty close.[/quote]

Use AREG to determine the number of sets. I would suggest you go through a cycle using a 1-2% drop off. Keep track of how well you do and how you feel. Then you can get a little more fancy by adding in the waveloading the Mr. Nuttall discussed.

I have performed 4 total body workouts per week before using a low drop off percentage and made good gains. VJ and strength both increased and I did not feel tired.

I would come up with 2-3 different workouts that you will alternate throughout the week; i.e. different ME exercise but same emphasis at each workout.


#15

Climbon i just have a question.
Did you train an muscle to failure 4 times a week or did you just use some heavy load and left a rep in the tank?


#16

Climbon,

My question is how are you supposed to AREG factorized work sets? Like... how would you know how many to put on each day if you don't know in advance what your work capacity integer will be?

I like the idea of going 4 days a week with low drop-offs and waveloading them in the manner that Brad describes.

How would you determine intensity for work besides ME? For instance, if you're doing depth drops, would intensity be in terms of height?


#17

You don't AREG factorized work. You will factorize work only after you determine your drop off using AREG. In other words, you can perform ME 4x/wk using a drop off of 1-2%, but this is not truly factorized work. Your volume will be taken care of since you are using AREG.

Depth drops would not be considered ME. I think of ME as strength work or Duration using DB's terminology. Depth drops are a part of Magnitude work. Intensity/difficulty would be determined by drop height, but make sure you are able to absorb the force properly.

Depending on what exercies/goals you have, you may not want to include Mag work in your "high frequency ME" training program. You would probably be better off performing some Strength-endurance work. Maybe do 1-2 exercises as ME and another 1-2 as strength-endurance.


#18

I used AREG principles to determine the volume of every workout.


#19

climbon,

I know depth drops aren't considered ME. That's why I was asking how to gauge intensity for work BESIDES ME (DUR An-1). My question is how to determine intensity for MAG work. For instance, if you are doing REA squats, how would you assign intensity for that. I guess I would just wave-load using the 51%AW to 63%AW?

I think I get what you are saying about factorized work right now. Basically once I have a pretty good idea of what my work capacity integer should be for a certain exercise, then I could go to a factorized arrangement.

I think I like the higher-frequency, low drop-off idea better anyway.


#20

You are not going to do factorized work until your work capacity allows for an extremely high number of sets to be performed in one workout. For example, you can complete 12 sets before you reach 3% drop off. Then you could factorize your work over 4 days, (5-2-4-1, then repeat).

You have the right idea as far as Mag work is concerned. For depth drops, you could vary drop height from 30" to 18". (that is just an example, obviously do not use a height that does not allow for proper absorption)

If you do use AREG and high frequency, I would suggest you err on the side of lower volume. Basically, if you don't think you will reach the required rep total, don't perform the set. Remember that when working with heavy weights in the 1-3 rep range (completed in 9sec) a loss of 1 rep equates to a 3-6% drop off. Even if you "guess" wrong and do too few sets, the increased frequency should take care of any mistakes.