CW, do you think for MS training, is it better to rotate less excercises more frequently or more excercises less frequently? I feel that I need to just simply, as youve mentioned multiple time, simply change grips and stances, do you think this is enough or will there come or should there be a point where one should change the excercise completely.
I think I just confused myself.
Chad Waterbury wrote:
Something I've been thinking more about lately is how a lot of high-level bodybuilders and strength-athletes use what many of us would consider sub-optimal programming. Now I've tended for awhile to believe that nutritional status was far more important than the specifc training program used when it comes to hypertrophy, one thing I have trouble wrapping my head around is how guys can do almost the same workouts week-to-week year round, continue to progress, and become highly successful bodybuilders.
The obvious answer seems like 'great genetics!' but is that really all there is to it? Plenty of guys with great genetics have observed that they need to change their programs very often, sometimes week to week. Guys that lift at Westside Barbell change very frequently, and I don't think many of these guys got shortchanged genetically.
What I'm getting at is the possibility that some lifters might do better to keep their program largely the same year round (at least as far as structural gains are concerned,) whereas others need constant variety, and others some smaller measure of variety. One might be led to believe that there is some separate element, be it psychological or physiological, that causes this difference.
Have you observed this in your clients? Do you think it's possible some lifters can get optimal results by keeping their program mostly the same?
Appreciate your time!
This is a very good post. It involves many facets that are well-beyond what I'm willing to write out, but I'll address a few key points.
1. Genetics - as you mentioned, genetics play a huge role. Is the issue of genetics merely enough for some elite bodybuilders? Yes. Some are so damn genetically predisposed to gaining muscle that it's scary (eg, Casey Viator). I would consider genetics to be the most important factor. If something causes growth, why change it (providing the growth continues)?
2. Exercise Selection - some lifters, especially O-lifters, began their lifting career with exercises that cause profound muscle growth. Since these same exercises (O-lifts) tend to cause the slowest adaptation, said exercises can be performed for months without stagnation. In other words, a lifter will quickly adapt to preacher curls, whereas snatches vary enough from rep-to-rep to cause a slightly different stimulus. The issue of total muscles involved is also important. The more muscles involved in a lift, the longer it takes to adapt.
Therefore, some lifters can perform nothing but snatches, squats, presses, and pulls without ever stagnating. In fact, such exercises are recommended for that purpose.
3. Training Goal - if a lifter is primarily interested in elite levels of maximal strength, exercises should be rotated more often. The reason? It's necessary for p-lifters to really push the intensity on certain key exercises. Once you push the intensity of a certain exercise for a few weeks, adaptations take place that causes quicker accumulation to the demand.
Once again, good question.