My thoughts here basically evolved from a growing desire to simplify things, that things really shouldn’t be as complicated as they seem to be.
It seems to be generally accepted that we must be making some progress in our lifts week to week. Move more weight. Decrease rest periods. Do more reps. But whatever it is, there’s a limit.
Assuming you’ve picked a decent program (with appropriate periodization) why not do the same lifts with the same weights,reps,sets,rest periods etc for say 3-4 weeks?
You’d still be progressing - it would just be measured in more subjective terms, ie how easy each set feels.
Other possible benefits of this would be that repeating the same weight over and over forces our nervous system to see it as normal. I’m not sure if this theory has any “proof” behind it but it kind of sounds right enough at least.
Also, as you’d be gaining strength each week but not increasing the weight, you’d effectively be lifting at a lower intensity. This would give you an inbuilt back off to the program.
Having read on this site that beginners can progress with as little as 40% of the 1RM, I doubt the drop in intensity would create a problem - especially if we’re talking about something like 10x3 which may mean a drop from 80% to 78%
Then, after 3-4 weeks (maybe more or less depending on how accurate your initial weight selection was) you increase the weights.
This I figure would help you to avoid trying to lift too much too soon and the inevitable injuries that follow doing so.
After doing this for 8-12 weeks you’d then change lifts slightly (stance, grip position etc) and repeat.
The reason I’m asking all this is because I’m finding all the programs here a little bewildering (a little paralysis analyis perhaps) Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read and re-read all of them more times than I can count. But sometimes I get the feeling that I’m trying to climb a dozen mountains at the same time. Changing too much makes it hard to quantify progress. Was the weight on my 5RM close grip bench an improvement over last week’s 10RM incline bench? Even Waterbury’s programs (which are among my favourite) seem a bit daunting and overcomplicated when arranged in their recommended or “correct” sequence.
With all these (mostly) great programs here on T-Nation, things just seem to be getting far too complicated. Sure I can understand things being a bit tricky for the likes of Tate trying to increase his bench (or decrease the waistline!) but surely they should be much simpler for much lesser lifters? We’re all human so surely if we eat enough, lift heavy stuff, we’ll grow, right?
Ultimately, what I’m after is a way in which I can pick a single program, make steady, measurable progress and stick with it for a year or three.
Is anything I’ve suggested plausible?