T Nation

Weak Squat Strong Quads


Here’s the funny thing, he actually says for PL you don’t necessarily need to add sets each week since the overall goal is to get stronger and pushing volume too high will compromise that. They way he wrote the recommendations in “Scientific Principles” is kind of vague, but what it says is to add weight and/or sets each week, more sets is not necessarily required. He discussed this in his presentation in that “Online PL Summit” or whatever they call that thing that Koevoets guy runs. You can start each hypertrophy/volume block with a lower volume week if you tend to get real sore the first week after a deload but basically you want to maintain a sustainable volume that will allow you to get 4-6 weeks of hard training before you deload again.

As far as total number of sets for MRV and whatever else, that is going to depend on you as an individual as well as what sort of training block you are in and how you set up your training. Mike likes the idea of strength/intensity blocks being all heavy lifts in the 3-6 rep range and no isolation work or high rep assistance stuff, that is one way of doing things but it isn’t absolutely necessary either. I find that if I do that I start to lose a bit of muscle after a month or so, if you take PEDs then you won’t have to worry about that so much but at the same time Chad Wesley Smith doesn’t program the same way as Israetel. Programming is more of an art than a science.

Yes and no. If you don’t care about strength then you can bulk hard and gain a bit of fat then do a cut and lose the extra fat and repeat, that’s what Israetel has been doing since he weighed like 220 or so. For PL it’s not really a good idea because you will get weaker when you cut, it’s better to avoid cutting unless you are just too fat. So what you do is hypertrophy phase for 3 months in a caloric surplus - but aim to gain maybe 2lbs/month so that you don’t add much fat, then intensity block for 1-3 months and calories at maintenance. Just keep repeating and you will get bigger and stronger.

Also, if you end up getting a little fatter than you like after a couple months of low volume training then a recomp can work well - keep calories at maintenance (you might even have to increase them) and increase training volume, you can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time if your body is in a state where it’s extra responsive to training volume. I asked Israetel about this on facebook a couple years ago because he was saying that losing fat while gaining muscle only works if you either haven’t been training or just started taking PEDs, neither of those were my case and I made it work. What he said is that essentially there was a detraining effect as a result of low volume training and peaking for a meet (I also took a week off training after the meet) so I was more or less in the same situation as someone who had taken a long break from training.


The way ive set up my program is that the perdiodization for my hypertrophy work is completely seperate from my strength work. In my hypertrophy training i increase the volume as weeks go and do the opposite on the powerlifts.

Love this^^^

Sounds good to me. Ill do it.


Update: Heres a few vids of my high bar squat from 3 different angles

And also,im very proud that today i did my first overhead squat to depth which i thought was never gonna happen at least not in a few years

Also,the hip tightness and pain appears more on my right hip than my left hip,and my right hip has less flexibility based on my split jerk


That can work, but if you notice that you are losing weight or staying the same weight but looking more fat and less muscular during an intensity block then consider adding some higher rep stuff and/or lots of low rep sets with moderate intensity (like a bunch of doubles or triples with 70-80%).

Your squat looks good, only problem I see is your legs look skinny.


I dont think i worded that clearly. I meant that i do hypertrophy and strength at the same time,i just train them differently as different parts of my workout. I do the powerlifts with low reps high intensity while lowering the volume every week while SIMULTANEOUSLY doing hypertrophy work after it with less energy demanding exercises to fill volume for muscle groups and i increase the volume for this part of training every week till deload. Do you think this works?


It will work, but you don’t necessarily need to increase volume over the course of the block. You can progressively overload hypertrophy work by lifting heavier weights each week or doing more reps with the same weight. In the end, if it’s working for you right not then it’s fine. If you aren’t making progress in terms of strength then don’t increase volume.


The newest stuff is pretty clear. Overload hypertrophy phases with additional volume (sets). Overload strength phases with intensity.

The difference between MEV and MRV in strength phases is only like 5 sets where it’s (more than?) double that in volume phases.

Now this is within reason, you still increase intensity in hypertrophy phases and still increase volume in strength phases but the balance changes.

An interesting point is MikeT has moved away from this model. His volume doesn’t fluctuate, you increase volume after you have evidence that your current volume isn’t working and exercise variation hasn’t worked. He does throw a crapload of volume at you from the start though.


Dont you decrease volume in strength phases and increase intensity,then the next strength cycle because of ur 1rm increase ur volume is gonna increase by itzelf?


Yes but in this case, I was talking about what happens to volume/intensity within each phase, not across the phases.

As you progress through your strength phase, you don’t only increase intensity, you increase volume as well but not to the extent that you do in the hypertrophy block. It’s worth noting that they recommend you undulate the intensity rather than progress linearly during strength phases to help with fatigue


Could you give an example?


You basically work higher rep ranges (6ish) in the squat and bench in the weeks when you are working lower rep ranges (4ish) in the deadlift and Visa versa. See below.

You probably don’t need to worry about this for a while yet. It’s more important for big lifters.


At around what numbers in the big 3 do you think should i start incoorporating undulating periodization like this?


When you are pushing elite totals.


The stuff that Israetel puts on facebook and Instagram is mostly relating to bodybuilding. I was referring to a presentation he did for the “Online Powerlifiting Summit” about hypertrophy specifically for PL. The recommendations are slightly different than for bodybuilding/physique stuff.

Mike T goes too far with volume, that’s why so many of his lifters are always injured. What he does works for some people who can handle a ton of volume, but for most it’s totally unnecessary and counterproductive. I was in “Project Momentum” 2 years ago where it was a 4 day program that had you do all three lifts each session, I dropped out after 2 and a half weeks because I was totally exhausted, all my lifts went down, and I was worried I would injure myself because I couldn’t even brace properly anymore. That’s why only about 1/4 of the people who signed up ended up finishing the program. There are things you can learn from Mike T, but I wouldn’t follow him word for word.


That sort of thing is only really necessary if you have recovery issues, which is usually if you are at a very advanced level or just old. Is there a reason you can’t deadlift heavy every week? Probably not.


Sorry to break the news to you, but Israetel actually now says not to do this. He did talk about that in the past and the PL templates in the Renaissance Diet follow that model but he seems to have changed his mind. It’s counterproductive to increase volume while trying to lift heavier weights each week because the added volume will affect your recovery and you won’t be able to perform as well as you would have otherwise.


Chris, you’ve been working your way through all the different methods.

Have you given more thought about how to like, “weave” them together during your different training phases?

Some stupid examples could be

You don’t want to raise volume on assistance exercises during your intensity/strength phase. Could you increase “density” (with rest/pause or myo-reps, or even paul carter 3-50 method) instead?

Or you don’t want huge weights and extreme fatigue during your mass gaining. Could you do CAT with 6-8 reps to get more “work” out of less weight?


You wouldn’t want to do that either during an intensity block. If you are going to do rest-pause sets then you should get used to the during a volume block, you may or may not keep them in the intensity block. Rest-pause singles for bench is kind of different because it’s singles, but it’s still fatiguing and you will have to cut something else out to fit that in. Basically, trying new things that cause a lot of fatigue when the main objective is putting more weight is risky.

You’re going to accumulate fatigue when you’re bulking, there just isn’t any way around it. But that’s not necessarily bad because you will increase work capacity at the same time. For CAT, sets of 6-8 would have to be too light to really do much for you. You could just do sets of 6-8 at RPE6-9, or if you want to do CAT (which is a good idea) then another method would be to do 5’s and instead of adding weight each week you add sets. So you could start with 4 sets of 5 and add 2 sets each week, by the 4th week you would do 10 sets of 5, use about 60-65%. You would do a heavy top set first (start with a triple at 85%) and that’s where you will increase weight, not on the volume work. This is good to simultaneously work on technique, and build muscle and work capacity, but it’s not the only way to do things either. If you need to gain mass for PL and your technique is a bit shaky then it’s way better than sets of 8-10. If you aren’t really looking to gain mass then do 5x5 or 3x8 (8 sets) something of that sort and add weight to the bar each week.

I could give you some more ideas, I have to get to work right now though. Basically, there are a lot of methods and a lot of them work, but you can’t just mix and match because the overall program will be fucked up. It’s like saying I like beer, I like chocolate milk, I like pineapple juice, let’s mix them together. You have to prioritize certain things and take recovery into consideration.


Heavy triple first then build to 10 x5 Back off. That sounds like an old Anthony Ditillo routine.


So he used to say the intensity would regulate total volume (sets x reps). I have seen him move away from this idea but not entirely. Strength phases still have their volume landmarks, they are just much closer together than volume phases, for example MEV and MRV for deadlift can have one set of volume differences between them.

Happy to be pointed to where he says he has moved entirely away from this idea.