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Poliquin's 1-6 Principle Results?


The 1-6 Principle
By Charles Poliquin

This training system had been known by the ungainly name of the mixed neural drive/hypertrophy program...The system is based on the neurological post-tetanic facilitation phenomenon as first discussed in strength training circles by German strength physiologist Dietmar Schmidtbleicher from Freiburg University (in order to be a successful strength coach, you must have an exotic-sounding name). In a nutshell, if you do a 6RM (the maximum load you can lift for 6 reps) load within 3-10 minutes of doing a max single, you can use a greater weight that you could have if you hadn't done the 1RM set.

For example, let's say you can normally do 220 pounds for six reps on the incline press. However, if you do a max single four minutes prior to doing your 6 reps�??which we'll say for the sake of argument is around 265�??you'll be able to do six reps at 225-230 pounds. That's a significant increase.

In fact, many trainees who use this method find that their single poundages improve each wave. In fact, a typical wave for someone who can do 6 reps with 220 pounds on the incline press may look like this:

Set 1) 1 rep with 265 pounds
Set 2) 6 reps with 220 pounds
Set 3) 1 rep with 270 pounds
Set 4) 6 reps with 225 pounds
Set 5) 1 rep with 272.5 pounds
Set 6) 6 reps with 230 pounds

This isn't just a parlor trick. The basic premise is to use maximal loads to potentiate the nervous system. Because of this newly increased, more efficient neural drive, you can use a greater load for six reps which ends up building bigger and stronger muscles.

Finnish strength physiologist Keijo H?kkinen has demonstrated in many of his experiments that long-term strength gains are directly related to how much you increase intensity. Therefore, expect to reach new heights in strength gains with this routine since it makes full use of that intensity increase principle.


Yep and works. I found more strength gains with it that hypertrophy though.

But that's just me.


yes, I did it with 5 reps instead of 6. Sets of 5 were way easier, and in the last week I used a weight higher than my previous 1rm. Works!


I tried this today for squats and benchpress and it helped me alot. Don't understand why but it works so im gonna keep doing it. Great post Doenitz79!


Tried this last year, during and after deployment. Saw good gains(to a point), but more strength than hypertrophy.

Problem was, my 6RM got stuck before my 1RM. But overall, I saw a good 30-40 lb increase in my 1RM, over a 3-4 month timeframe.

BTW, very good idea to throw in deloading weeks with this, due to high CNS recruitment. I was doing this in conjunction with Smolov for squats, though I was being a bit conservative on the squat max I estimated for the initial phase numbers. Still saw good increase, though.


This sounds like an interesting article. Out of interest from the guys who used it for Benching I have two questions:

1)how many bench/chest sessions were you doing a week with this and if you did more than one what did the second session look like?

2)did you warm up to the max weight and then drop down and hit the reps?




1) I was already doing 2 sessions per week, one heavy(ME), and one lighter high reps(Rep Effort). So I threw the 1-6 in on my heavy day, and still went max reps on my other day(heavy/1-6 Mon, max reps Fri)

2) Yes. Pay attention to rest periods, and plan accordingly. 4-10 minutes is a long time between sets, and adds up quick. You're looking at around 45 minutes on just benching. I kept my rest periods right at 4:30, unless I felt like an extra 30 would help.


That's really helpful - thx mate


I'd honestly suggest just doing one chest day (actually I believe CP has you pairing chest/back) per week.

Also, this is NOT a long term program. CP recommends switching to an "accumulation phase" (high volume, low/moderate intensity) upon finishing the 30 day program. It's incredibly intense and hard on your CNS, and trying to follow it for a prolonged period of time (if you're following it correctly) would most likely lead to overtraining in a very short period of time.

I have done this program and added 30 lbs to all of my lifts in just 3 weeks! I have also used this with several of my clients and they too received similar gains (30 lbs in 3 weeks actually seems to be about average). But, I personally stalled out in the 4th week and found that in most cases this is the case. Perhaps CP's super genetic freak athletes can continue to progress for the full 4 weeks, but unless you fall into that category you may not.

Either way I'd suggest discontinuing the program when you stall out (like I said will probably be around 3 weeks).

Also, I believe that CP mentions this in the program, but I haven't read it in a while so I'm not completely certain. But, the way I did the program (and the way that I took CP as intending you to do the program) was that I added weight to my second and third 1/6 waves. This averaged out to about a 10 lb increase in both my 1RM and 6RM in each workout. I would then use my new 1RM and 6RM as my starting points in the next workout (thus leading to a total of 30 lbs of strength increase in a 3 week period on every lift).

I will also say that I agree with what others have said in that the program is awesome for strength increases, but I personally didn't gain much in the way of muscle mass during the program (though I'm sure the increased strength helped me add muscle during the following mass/accumulation phase).

Hope this helps.

Good training,