Okay… now that I posted the above question, I have a question about exersizes. Now when one of the gurus say that your body gets used to an exersize in like 6-9 workouts, what do they mean by that? Does that mean that I can’t do a narrowed stanced back squat after that time b/c it will be ineffective? Would changing the tempo nullify this? Same for Pullups? I know there are like 20 variations, but If I change the tempo/rest period, rep #, etc. is this going to help throw my body off? Thanks you guys…
Looking at this and your previous post makes me really think what I should answer. First a quick answer to this question. After you use an exercise a couple of times your progress will slow down and eventually stop all together. And if you have really bad luck you might even get worse :). 6-9 workouts might be a good number, but it’s not written in stone. For some people 6 might be too long, whereas others still make progress even after 10-12 workouts. This is often true for beginners since they usually have a large progress potential. As for the changes in your workouts anything goes. But how long your new workout routine will lead to progress depends somewhat on the amount of change you do. Just changing tempo alone but keeping all exercises and their order the same will probably only help you for a couple of workouts, due to its similarity to your previous program. Better throw in some new exercises, change the order,
change the rep range, etc.
Now to your previous mail. I don’t understand
what King’s, Alessi’s or Poliquin’s programs have to do with your bootcamp in 5 months. And with your second question right here I have to assume you are a beginner to weight training(?), however you seem to have been reading t-mag for quite a while. Well to answer that questio at least in some way - it is not that difficult to put a program together that will suit you, just remember there is no ideal program. Maybe you want to start reading the Dawg School articles by Chris Shugart they provide all information you need and have some examples.
I just wanted to add that I understand the reason progress slows down with consecative WO on the same exercises is mainly due to central nervous system adaption (CNS) to recruiting motor units. You increase strengh in at least 2 ways: a)increasing the efficiency of the central nervous system in recruiting motor units (each motor unit is a bundle of muscle fibers controlled by a single nerve). For instance, your biceps is controlled by large number of individual nerves and each nerve will fire one bundle of muscle fibers so that your biceps is really made up of a bunch of individual groups of muscle bundles and as you overload the entire muscle with heavier and heavier loads, your CNS fires more and more motor units to recruit more muscle bundles until you reach your 1 rep max and all motor units are recruiting the entire muscle and you’re maxed out. Through additional WO’s, your CNS becomes better and better at recruiting motor units and strength goes up through increased efficiencey of CNS until after X number of WO’s further adaption becomes difficult. b)The second way of increasing strength of course is muscle hypertrophy. A bigger muscle is stronger. And again, a muscle grows fastest in response to stimulation first and then slows down as you reach close to your genetic natural limit. Strength increases by a) and b) do occur simultaneously but a) will occur faster than b). After a certain amount of improvement, additional WO’s provide diminishing returns and at a certain point further WO’s will be more productive to change the stimulus and start over. You can change the stimulus many ways including tempo, order of WO, rep scheme, prefatigue with super sets, and complete different exercise selection among others. This is just a simplistic basic overview. Also want to add, The best way to determine when its time to change stimulus is when it becomes obvious that succesive WO’s no longer allow increases in either reps or additional weight overload. In other words, your WO becomes stale and you plateau.
I am a cynic about this, and I believe for
There’s one word that’s being left out here,
when saying that “progress stops after…”.
Namely, “illusory progress stops after…”
Your muscles cannot become say 10% stronger
per week every week, week in week out, year in year out. If they could you’d soon be benching 10,000 lb. In fact, for an advanced trainer, and average rate of 0.2% per week is excellent: that would take a 550 lb bencher
up past 600 lb in one training year, for example.
But what if you’re a trainer demanding $300 per hour for your time? Will your client be happy thinking he is 0.2% stronger this week than last week? No! He wants to think he is 5% or even 10% stronger.
Now, he really can’t be.
But you can fool him like this. Take an exercise he’s unskilled at. He really is
strong enough (if his brain were providing his nervous system with the correct instructions) to get say 8 reps with 300
lb, but because of his unfamiliarity
with the exercise, the first time he
performs very substantially under this.
Next time he easily does 5 or 10% better, not
because he necessarily gained anything in terms of strength as measurable in any other way, but simply because he’s now more skilled in the exercise. So he feels good about paying you, the trainer, $300.
The same is true for the next few sessions.
However, soon he’s performing at close to his maximal ability at the exercise. Real gains would now come, on average, at only a fraction of a percent per week. He’s going to be pissed. You’re not the magic trainer anymore. So you’ve got to change him off the exercise, telling him it won’t be “productive” anymore (actually, it might still be excellent at causing actual muscle growth and actual strength increases, but just not illusory ones anymore) and put him on another one he’s unskilled at.
This way, you can have your client gaining 5% or 10% every week, year in, year out, happily paying huge fees.
Of course, it’s an illusion: no practical measure of strength will show a 260% or 520% strength increase for the year.
Bill is right because every time you change the exercise, you change the CNS stimulation and CNS adaption provides the quickest strength increases. So if you are changing the exercise or stimulus frequently, your CNS adaption makes it appear like your strenght is also increasing quickly but only on that exercise because like Bill said, you get better quickly at preforming the exercise through CNS adaption.
This is another one of those “rules” that hurts more people than it helps. Too many people including myself ending changing EVERYTHING (exercise, order, tempo, reps, sets) to the point that there is no way to measure progress. Yes, it is good to switch stuff up and after 6-9 or maybe a few more workouts, you may have done something long enough to measure progress, but be careful with this rule. More often than not, it leads to workout chaos instead of workout progress.
I completely agree with Jason. While there
may be times when you want to go and try something totally different, most of the time you should stick with a consistent, cycling program through at least two, preferably three cycles so that progress or non-progress can be tracked.
Yes, within a given 8 week program, it can
be OK for some weeks to be substantially or even completely different than others. Almost
certainly the weight should be varying. But,
don’t then go do another totally different 8 week program after this. If you do, there’s no way to gauge progress. Try the SAME one, except just a little heavier (how much heavier will be realistic depends on how advanced you are as a trainer.) And then probably try it again after that.
Also, over the longer term, even while programs may be changing, there should be core exercises that you NEVER take long breaks from, which are always there to track your progress. For example, I’ll never give up
dumbbell overhead presses. They’re
a bread-and-butter shoulder exercise that
always give me a reliable measure of where I am – and also always give me good training.
It’s totattly person dependant. I used the same workout for 12 months once. I never stopped gaining. I also feel, I never stopped gaining because I provided A LOT of recovery time. (trained only 2 times per week!)
I consider 6-8 workouts as a micro cycle - one part of a periodization routine. And in my opinion periodization makes best sense with repeating macro cycles for all resons mentioned above. When I read Bill’s first answer it seemed to me like he advertises just the other extreme. I believe he put it into relation
in his second note.
What always comes to my mind is the guy in the gym doing the same bench routine over
and over again without being able to make progress. He sticks to the programm because after all he made great progress with it some time ago. But if he’s stuck (and provided his diet is o.k.), his routine simply does not provide enough stimulus. And the solution
is usually fairly simple - go heavy, go light, do something else (go on vacation - works according to M. Mentzer :)) and when you come back you will be better.
And just one more note - there are literaly hundreds of training routines published in various muscle mags but hardly any of these go beyond the routine itself. So you’re done with that routine, what do you do now? Just arbitrary pick the next hyped-up routine of
champion Xyz, or what? I think in that respect T-mags Growth Surge Project is truly great.