T Nation

Should I Train Max-OT Style?

Hi everone i’m new here.
I’m 21, 6ft and 215 lb with a moderate bf level at the moment.
I’ve never done any cycles and been worjing out seriously for the last 3 years, on and of. I’ve tried very low volume/very high intensity, max-ot, which is moderate volume/high intensity(4-6 reps, 6-9 sets per bodypart to failure) and very high volume(in the first months of working out, when a beginner).

Which do youthink is the best way to achieve hypertrophy, without focussing on strength?
I ask becoz for the last 2.5 months i’ve been extremely focussed strength-wise. I’ve inceased all my lifts using very low volume, high intensity. E.G from dumbell bench 852 i went to 103.4lb(47kg)4 and at romanian dl from 265lb4 to 330lb4. Before this 2.5 month period i had taken a month off.

For the next 6 weeks i’ll continue bulking up and then i’ll start cutting. What program do you suggest i should use n order to achieve the highest hypertrophy possible? Thinking of following the max-ot principles for this period. Hope i get as much feedback as possible…

Lemme give u the split i’m thinking of follwing tell me what u think.

Monday-legs
5FRONT SQUATS
4
DUMBELL LUNGES
Tuesday-chest, bis
3DB FLAT PRESS
3
DB INCLINE
2DB CURLS
2
BB CURLS
2HAMMER CURLS
Wednesday off
Thursday-back, hams, traps
4
ROMANIAN DL
4PULLUPS
2
PULLOVERS
3* 1ARM DB ROWS
2BB SHRUGS
Friday-shoulders, tris
4
MILITARY PRESS
3DB LAT RAISES
2
BB UPRIGHT ROWS(Close grip, targetting delts)
4WEIGHTED DIPS
4
SEATED DB OR BB TRICEPS EXTENSION

I’ll do abs, forearms as well as calves and neck every second workout

hypertrophy has never really been linked to strength. use volume and work per unit time as your performance indicator and strive to always increase, that way your muscle will have no choice but to adapt.

but the key is make sure you are progressing. if in a month you arent doing more than u were the previous, why would your body have reason to grow

[quote]hardcoreukno0359 wrote:
hypertrophy has never really been linked to strength. [/quote]

Without reference to the timeframe, this statement is really ignorant. Anyone who has built a great deal of muscle in the long-term knows that lasting growth is associated with increasing tension over time.

Over the course of a month or two, delivering a lot of fatigue to the muscles without regard for strength gains may result in more hypertrophy. But then the gains dry up and you are stuck for years.

Focusing on strength goals, alternatively, delivers guaranteed results in the long-term; plus, you get the benefit of actually being strong, it that’s worth anything to you.

[quote]Ramo wrote:
hardcoreukno0359 wrote:
hypertrophy has never really been linked to strength.

Without reference to the timeframe, this statement is really ignorant; [/quote]

how is my statement ignorant. i like to go with what i call science which shows for average people, strength is not a good indicator of size increases. more adaptations to training are neural than anything, and if you are not looking for that adaptation anyway, why worry about it. plus along the strength continum with reps, traditional hypertrophy training closer to around the 10-12RM max, still produces significant strength gains, so in effect both will be worked but more muscle will be gained on average with the higher volume, than strict low rep strength training. I dont know about you, but i see more large weak people and small strong people than large strong people.

[quote]Ramo wrote:
Over the course of a month or two, delivering a lot of fatigue to the muscles without regard for strength gains may result in more hypertrophy. But then the gains dry up and you are stuck for years; [/quote]

(personally have never seen a study that tested more typical hypertrophy training, and did not find a signifcant increase in strength.

[quote]Ramo wrote:
Focusing on strength goals, alternatively, delivers guaranteed results in the long-term; [/quote]

guaranteed hugh, how many super strong large people do u see, not very many, natural anyways since anabolics mask training methodology

what guarantees success in the long run is increasing the stress on the muscle, which is more correlated to volume and work per unit time, not strength

the muscle size of most powerlifters for the weight they use is not that impressive.

check out table 7.6 on pg. 155 in this book if you can, it lists many studies with different training methods, and the most significant size gains were with multiple set programs in the 10-15 RM range
Designing Resistanc training Programs by Steven J. Fleck, and William J. Kraemer

[quote]hardcoreukno0359 wrote:
hypertrophy has never really been linked to strength. use volume and work per unit time as your performance indicator and strive to always increase, that way your muscle will have no choice but to adapt.

but the key is make sure you are progressing. if in a month you arent doing more than u were the previous, why would your body have reason to grow [/quote]

I partly agree here, in the sense that u can increase strength without incerasing size. I’ve also read a few theories in regards to time under tension, such as that a set should never last less than 20 secs and never longer than 60. Do u agree with this? (I guess this 20-60 secs means roughly a rep range of 6-12, maybe even more reps per set…)

Also, if i decide to pick ur approach for hypertrophy, i got a few questios on what u recommend. E.G. what number of sets should i begin with per bodypart? Do u suggest i go to failure on each set? What about the ideal frequency etc… I’d be glad if u could talk more about ur ideal version of hypertrophy training.

TO RAMO: I also believe strength to be very important and i value strength gains alot because
1)Strength is by itself a benefit
2)It is an easily measurable variable factor as far as atheletic and/or hypertrophy goals are concerned.
Also it takes some dedication to increase total work per workout, but it’s definitely easier doing it while working at 50-80% of ur 1RM, but working with 70-90% is way harder, especially taxing on the CNS.

I’ve used this program before. Its awsome for streight up raw power. The only problem is that I didn’t grow alot. If your just looking for some growth with a little power on the side you might want to switch programs.

Pros:

-power

-some (i stress some) growth

-easy to follow.

-great if your stuck in a rut.

CONS-

  • Gets stale after a couple of cycles.

  • Actual muscle GROWTH is a bit minimal.

bear in mind this was from MY personal experience, so your results may vary somewhat.

Your program looks solid but for hypertrophy in the chest you might want to do incline before you do flat bench.

[quote]guaglione wrote:
hardcoreukno0359 wrote:
hypertrophy has never really been linked to strength. use volume and work per unit time as your performance indicator and strive to always increase, that way your muscle will have no choice but to adapt.

but the key is make sure you are progressing. if in a month you arent doing more than u were the previous, why would your body have reason to grow

I partly agree here, in the sense that u can increase strength without incerasing size. I’ve also read a few theories in regards to time under tension, such as that a set should never last less than 20 secs and never longer than 60. Do u agree with this? (I guess this 20-60 secs means roughly a rep range of 6-12, maybe even more reps per set…)

Also, if i decide to pick ur approach for hypertrophy, i got a few questios on what u recommend. E.G. what number of sets should i begin with per bodypart? Do u suggest i go to failure on each set? What about the ideal frequency etc… I’d be glad if u could talk more about ur ideal version of hypertrophy training.

TO RAMO: I also believe strength to be very important and i value strength gains alot because
1)Strength is by itself a benefit
2)It is an easily measurable variable factor as far as atheletic and/or hypertrophy goals are concerned.
Also it takes some dedication to increase total work per workout, but it’s definitely easier doing it while working at 50-80% of ur 1RM, but working with 70-90% is way harder, especially taxing on the CNS.

[/quote]

training for strength is fine for people that would love to be strong. what has been shown so far is low rep training will get you strong, but not necessarily big.

so training in that hypertrophy zone 10-12RM or as low as 5rm. the 5x5 program has been tested to be effective at building strength and size. from Zatsiorsky’s book science and the practice of strength training, 5RM and 10Rm cause the most significant protein breakdown. for hypertrophy, your body reacts to damage for its growth. If you dont train with enough volume, you cant really do the needed damage for your body to over compensate.

strength is an easily measureable guideline, but there are many definitions of strength. also, part of your bodies response in adaptation is an eventual plateau in strength an or growth.

volume is very easy to measure reps x weight, and you can control it, gains in strength are not always measureable, but you can manipulate volume, even if you are not stronger the next time you workout.

for a hypertrophy program my number 1 recommendation and a mistake that i make often is check your ego at the door. lift the weight with the intended muscle. with fiber recruitment, the body will recruit muscle fibers not even in the muscle you are trying to work if you use more weight than the muscle can handle.

If you are in the gym to grow, lift the weight on each exercise with the muscle intended for use. dont pack on the most weight you can possibly manage without good form. contrary to belief I see the bigger guys at my gym are the ones with great form and you can just see the concentration that they use to squeeze the muscle.

It depends on your goals, do you want the bodybuilder physique or the thick power/lifter strong man look.

the problem with giving recommendations is that you need to experiment. its your body and you need to find what works for you. start out with the basics, 4-5 days between muscle groups for rest, that is if you blast them with the intensity and volume you need. I took from one of poliquins Q and A articles, use muscle soreness as your gauge.

the body will adapt to what you are doing, so you need to manipulate order, volume and intensity. but it will take about 4-5 workouts,start out with lets say 10 sets per body part, at the 10-12RM. with your first set warm up to a 5RM and do a first work set with that, to failure.

then the rest of your sets use the 10-12RM but cycle failure say every other workout. you have to use these variables for you body, write down everything and analyze the soreness, and change what you need to get that back, weather its going to failure or doing more work.

as to exercises theres no set to what will work, try everything, but throw away anything that hurts and keep what you feel deep in the muscle with good contractions.

everybody is built different so the tensions is placed at different points along the muscle for everyone. but dont let anyone tell you what works for you or what the mass builders are.

I used this program to build up my strength after being out of the gym for a while. I felt it worked real well at quickly building up my strength.

Can’t really comment on size increases though, people said I was bigger, but I probably could have gotten that result doing anything since I had been away from the gym for so long.

I enjoyed it though, I can see it as a nice way to change up a routine, shock the body into something completely different than normal.

It’s been about 2 weeks that i’m training like this, but def not strictly max/ot.
It’s been like this:
Day 1
LEGS
4front squats (3-8 rep range)
2
back squats (4-10 rep range)
3-4static lunges(different stride, 6-12 rep range)
Day 2
Chest, bis
3
dumbell press(4-6 rep range)
4dumbell incline(4-8 rep range)
2
dumbell curls(4-8)
2close grip bb curls (4-8)
2-3
hammer curls (4-8)
or
2-3*incline bench curls (4-8)
in the end i add 4 sets of bent over (12-15 rep range)raises
Day 3
Rest

Day 4
Hams, Back, traps
4Romanian deadlifts(4-6 rep range)
4
weighted pullups (4-8 rep range)
2pullovers (5-7 rep range)
3
dumbell rows(1arm) (6-8 rep range)
2*bb shrugs (6-10 rep range)
in the end i added 4 sets of bent ovr raises(12-15 rep range)
Day 5
Delts, tris

4db press(4-9 rep range)
4
lat raises (10-16 rep range, every set accompanied by a dropset)
4dips (4-6 rep range)
4
db tricep extension (4-8 rep range)

Day 6
Neck, forearms
Supersets of
6front neck presses(dunno how to call this exercise, i’m lying on a bench with plaes on my forehead and push)
6
the same but with body against the bench (12-18 rep range)
6*bb forearm curls(6-12 rep range)

I’d like to gather as many ideas as possible. I’m thinking of changing the rep ranges, adding more reps and lowering the weight for a few weeks. However i still find it important to work near my max’s for 1 or 2 sets.
Sidenote:After 2 months of eating almost anthing i like(which included a lot of dishes such as pasta tomato mozzarella, spaghetti and meatballs, Pizza mascarpone(u ought to try it), spaghetti bolognese, and alot of bread, it’s been 3 days i’ve switched to clean food, with carbs only from brown basmati rice, oats and glucose(after training) and fats from fish like salmon, omega-3 tablets, olive oil amd mixed nuts. I’m planning on keeping the calorie intake fairly high until the 10th of May, then gradually reducing them. I’ve gained some fat, sure, but i gained alot of muscle and strength too. To give an example, my previous all time record on db shoulder press was 70lb*6 and at my last shoulder workout, after two sets of 5-8 reps with 80lb i performed an easy (dumbells felt like feathers) set of 8 reps with the 70’s!

I would like to get advice on the following:

  1. I’m afraid there might be an imbalance between pressing and pulling movements, not sure though… What do you think on that?
    2)As far as neck training goes i figured i’d train it on a separate day with forearms because these two muscles are the most visible as well as very important for various functions. Being small muscles, i don’t think it will be very taxing.
    So has anyone paid attention to the neck muscles to such an extent? If yes, have u got anything to add on my neck routine?
    I use 15kg at the neck presses for at least 12 reps, not more than 18. Forearms i curl from 42.5-50kg(93.5-110lb).

[quote]guaglione wrote:

I would like to get advice on the following:

  1. I’m afraid there might be an imbalance between pressing and pulling movements, not sure though… What do you think on that? [/quote]

as far as the pressing and pulling balance, just look at balance in the same plane that the elbows move through, I would add some upper back barbell rows, basically the reverse of your benching moves. I like to do them with my upper body supported on an incline bench with my but in the air, and keeping the elbows nice and high toward my upper body.

After 3 weeks of trying the above program more or less, i experienced overtraining symptoms for the last 3 days, such as no mood for training, feeling tired and loss of appetite.

So the lesson is “IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT”, in other words i was progressing so fast strength wise with the last program that i shouldn’t have replaced it with that.
Now i’m going back to an upper/lower body workout split…
Day 1

3Squats
2
Lunges
2*R DL’S
calves/foreamrms
neck/abs

Day 2
1BENCH PRESS/1DB ROW
1INCLINE/1DB ROW
1SHOULDER PRESS/1PULLUPS
1DIPS/1UPRIGHT ROWS
1*TRI EXTENTIONS/DB CURLS

I will be having a day off between the upper/lower body workouts.