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Jasper

Continuous Stream Of Injuries - Normal?

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Fair enough. I guess I figure if you're working doubles and triples, you're at ~90%. I haven't really heard much about the stronger guys working more than 3-5 reps, so that suggests 85-90% 1RM to me.

Yipp, low reps are very common, but multiple sets are popular and you just can´t do more than one set of 3 @ your 3RM per definition...so the percentages are a bit lower. Volume reigns for strength development, and you can´t put in much of that at higher percentages. Hence the usual practice of high volume cycles, followed by peaking cycles.

I dont know about this never training in 90-100% range. Isnt it important to hit heavier weights at regular intervals? For example I hit hard triples/singles once a week. As I become more advanced I plan to space these out more but still have scheduled and regular training in the 90-100% range. In this way every week I get a good gauge of what Im capable of and more importantly I learn how to lift very hard weights (which is an important skill in its own way. If you plan to compete then even more so). Right now Im not being beat up by it, and of course if you are running yourself into the ground with heavy work you wont go far.

I never said that you should never train with 90%+ weights. It just shouldn´t be the center of your training. I highlighted the one sentence that shows that we don´t actually disagree. You are doing the texas method, so the most reps you are doing by far is in the ~80% region.

So I guess, what I am saying basically boils down to two things:

  1. Once you are relatively strong and you compete, you peak maybe 2-4 times a year...for the planned competitions
  2. Maxing out in the gym is pointless. Train to get strong, not to show off.

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The guy who does the massages at my gym tore his bicep yesterday, so he won't be able to give massages for weeks.

I ringed up my old gym and the guy who did massages there will call me back, but it's likely I can't visit him until January. Might as well wait till the poor fella I mentioned first is healed up, since I got more faith in him anyway.

I also did some meditation and sun salutations yesterday, focusing on breathing, and that did make me feel more relaxed. I'll do that more often.

Oh and I did almost an hour of foam rolling today. Felt goood.

As a rough rule of thumb, I'd say when you reach 90% of your genetic potential it becomes necessary to train at 90% of your 1rm on a somewhat regular basis, but that does not mean exclusively at 90%+. Maybe even sooner. I'm not at 90% potential yet and I know I feel weak when I'm not putting up the occasional heavy double or triple.

As a general rule, the vast majority of your volume should come at the following % of 1rm depending on your training level:

-Newbies: 60%

-Intermediates: 70%

-Advanced: 80%

-Elite/Competition lifters: 90%

^^This is 100% my opinion. Feel free to disagree.

So what would your advised routines be for the four categories?

Newbies should obviously do something linear, but what should you do when you're in the intermediate stage? How could you make progress whilst staying around 70%? Same question for advanced lifters. For elite/competition lifters it's probably something like Sheiko or Westside, in which I'm not interested at all at the moment tbh.

I wondered about this today because I benched 70kg 3x5, while that weight felt like a 7RM. That would suggest that I lifted at 80-83%, estimating my max around 85kg. I use the following progress, for example:

Session 1: 3x5 65

Session 2: 2x5 65, 1x5 67.5

Session 3 3x5 67.5

Session 4: 2x5 67.5, 1x5 70

Session 5: 3x5 70

Session 6: 2x5 70, 1x5 72.5

etc.

If I would use 70%, like you suggest for an intermediate, I would lift with ~60kg. That would feel really light, how could I make progress on that? Because a few weeks ago I did 60kg, when it was hard but doable for 3x5, then after that worked up to 70kg 3x5 hard but doable. So again, what should my progress look like with 70% intensity?

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@Jasper, the name of the game is reps. The crux of the Big-15 program for instance is to take your 8 rep max and turn it into a 15 rep max for upper body lifts. Likewise for lower body lifts you take a 12 rep max and turn it into a 20 rep max. The percentages that the program uses is 77% of your every day max for upper body and 73% of your every day max for lower body. So using your 85kg max for bench as an example, it would go something like this:

  • Work sets at 65kg for 8+, rest 1 minute and try to match half the reps at the same weight.
  • Keep adding reps for 6 weeks straight, trying to best 15 reps in a single set if you can
  • At the end of 6 weeks, you are stronger, and you have a new max to work with.

I believe that Adam Wathan does something similar, and he was able to get his 500lb squat without ever lifting in the 400s in preparation for it. I think it wasn't long after his 315lb widowmaker that he tested his squat. Read the article where I got ripped apart again. And again.

It's a hard lesson, but I'm going to take my ego out of my training maxes, and just bang out reps. I'll increase weight along the way, but if all goes well, I'll be able to repeat Adam's, Paul's, and other really strong guy's success.

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Thanks for sharing and not to be disrespectful, but that sounds really, really boring.

Plus, so many coaches, from Mehdi to Wendler to Lewis to Prilepin, advise to stick with low reps for strength work and best motor coordination improvement or whatever that's called.

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Did you just put Mehdi in the same sentence as Wendler, Lewis and Prilepin...

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Well, let's see where we are in a year. But also, I wouldn't put Mehdi in the same range as Wendler, Lewis, or Prilepin.

Re-read Wendler. He advises to stick with a training max, and you start off with your training max 90% lower than your real max. That puts your first 5/3/1+ day really 85% of your current real max. Each cycle is pushing your max forward, and you are supposed to be going for As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP). Not to mention you add volume in your assistance work with the 5 sets of 10.

The heavy stuff really isn't a daily thing, and the majority of your work is well below 90%.

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Did you just put Mehdi in the same sentence as Wendler, Lewis and Prilepin...

Well, let's see where we are in a year. But also, I wouldn't put Mehdi in the same range as Wendler, Lewis, or Prilepin.

Re-read Wendler. He advises to stick with a training max, and you start off with your training max 90% lower than your real max. That puts your first 5/3/1+ day really 85% of your current real max. Each cycle is pushing your max forward, and you are supposed to be going for As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP). Not to mention you add volume in your assistance work with the 5 sets of 10.

The heavy stuff really isn't a daily thing, and the majority of your work is well below 90%.

Don't worry, I only named Mehdi because I wanted to name a coach from different backgrounds, Mehdi is there for the beginners, Wendler and Lewis have tons of PL experience, while Prilepin focused more on oly lifting (at least his famous chart is). I know Mehdi's shite compared to the others.

About the 531, even AMRAP is probably a lot less reps than the 15 or 20 you're working towards with the Big15 program. On week 1 in 531 you use 76.5% of your real max for AMRAP, an intensity similar to Big15, but where Big15 needs you to increase the reps at the same intensity, 531 will have you do AMRAP at a higher intensity in week 2 and again in week 3, so both programs go in another direction, right?

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For a coach for beginners, I think Rip has a bit more clout than Medhi...

As to the programming, there are some similarities and some divergence. They are training tools to use for what works best for you now. The similarity is that they start with reps. Switching off from Big-15 to the Strong-15, you are cycling up your weights in a wave pattern. When you get to the final week of a Strong-15 cycle you have 1 rep at 90% and above. Just one. Yet you can get plenty strong with it.

There's several ways of getting strong, and looking at a few of the long term programs, the bulk of your work is below 90%. You just hit above it occasionally.

The general principle to glean is to do the bulk of your training below 90% until you are peaking for a meet or to demonstrate that strength. What the Oly guys do instead of longer reps in one set, is to add sets. Since the Oly lifts are technical and anything longer than a set of 3 is not doing you any favors, they do lots of triples and doubles at the same weight.

Check out the stats from all the guys telling you to stop killing yourself with the 90-95% work. Some of them had injuries from training like that.

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For a coach for beginners, I think Rip has a bit more clout than Medhi...

As to the programming, there are some similarities and some divergence. They are training tools to use for what works best for you now. The similarity is that they start with reps. Switching off from Big-15 to the Strong-15, you are cycling up your weights in a wave pattern. When you get to the final week of a Strong-15 cycle you have 1 rep at 90% and above. Just one. Yet you can get plenty strong with it.

There's several ways of getting strong, and looking at a few of the long term programs, the bulk of your work is below 90%. You just hit above it occasionally.

The general principle to glean is to do the bulk of your training below 90% until you are peaking for a meet or to demonstrate that strength. What the Oly guys do instead of longer reps in one set, is to add sets. Since the Oly lifts are technical and anything longer than a set of 3 is not doing you any favors, they do lots of triples and doubles at the same weight.

Check out the stats from all the guys telling you to stop killing yourself with the 90-95% work. Some of them had injuries from training like that.

No doubt about that.

I do understand the importance of reps now though, thanks very much :)

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Plus, so many coaches, from Mehdi to Wendler to Lewis to Prilepin, advise to stick with low reps for strength work and best motor coordination improvement or whatever that's called.

Low reps doesn´t mean super heavy weights. You can still do low-ish reps (3-6 or so) and just do more sets to get the volume in.

Also, strength training is boring as fuck. Seriously. You lift things up and put them down. Over and over and over and over again. Get used to it or find a new hobby ;)

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So what would your advised routines be for the four categories?

Newbies should obviously do something linear, but what should you do when you're in the intermediate stage? How could you make progress whilst staying around 70%? Same question for advanced lifters. For elite/competition lifters it's probably something like Sheiko or Westside, in which I'm not interested at all at the moment tbh.

I wondered about this today because I benched 70kg 3x5, while that weight felt like a 7RM. That would suggest that I lifted at 80-83%, estimating my max around 85kg. I use the following progress, for example:

Session 1: 3x5 65

Session 2: 2x5 65, 1x5 67.5

Session 3 3x5 67.5

Session 4: 2x5 67.5, 1x5 70

Session 5: 3x5 70

Session 6: 2x5 70, 1x5 72.5

etc.

If I would use 70%, like you suggest for an intermediate, I would lift with ~60kg. That would feel really light, how could I make progress on that? Because a few weeks ago I did 60kg, when it was hard but doable for 3x5, then after that worked up to 70kg 3x5 hard but doable. So again, what should my progress look like with 70% intensity?

I think you need at least 20 reps at or above 70% of your 1rm with your stats or higher. I made great progress from ~300-500 DL doing my double reverse pyramids.(). This is based on your predicted 1rm using this chart: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AmmU-A33s29MdEJGUHpTbFlMcUV6S01URFpETGxUVkE&authkey=CJq%206tZgB&hl=en_US&authkey=CJq6tZgB#gid=0

Reps could look like any of the following:

1x95%, 1x95%, 3x85%, 3x85%, 5x75%, 5x75%, 6-8x60-65%

2x90%, 2x90%, 4x80%, 4x80%, 6x70%, 6x70%, 8x60%

3x85%, 3x85%, 4x80%, 4x80%, 5x75%, 5x75%, 8x60%

4x80%, 4x80%, 5x75%, 5x75%, 6x70%, 6x70%, 8x60%

or a whole bunch more - the possibilities are endless. General rule is to pick the rep structure you want to start at, make sure you can get 20+ reps at 70% or more or 1rm (I like 30+, honestly, except for singles day). Obviously be smart with your rep structure and recognize which lifts work better with lower reps and which with higher.

For your bench, with a predicted 1rm of 84, you could do:

4x76kg, 4x76kg, 5x72kg, 5x72kg, 6x68kg, 6x68kg, 8x62kg

If it went awesome, then just move down to the next row for your next workout and pick a column based on how you feel. If you missed reps, stay on that row (the 84kg 1rm row) and do another rep structure. Repeat until you hit all your reps, then move your predicted 1rm up and repeat. Yes, this requires some thinking and feeling (autoregulation) but it does work.

I think fixed rep sets (e.g 5x5, 3x5) are less than optimal because you're only working at one strength level when you have more in the tank at other strength levels. It also prevents you from using heavier weights since it's tough to get three sets of the same 5rm weight (if it's your true 5rm). Hell, sometimes finishing both sets of the Double reverse pyramid doesn't happen. By doing multiple fixed rep sets, it forces you to do your 7-9rm for 5 reps, which I'm not a fan of unless volume is sky high. 3x5 and 5x5 are low volume programs, so I just don't think that's enough stimulus for growth and one reason I think intermediates stagnate so much. The double RPT approach lets you get in volume at various points along the strength curve instead of just one (e.g. your 5rm) allowing more total volume with enough stimulus to create growth.

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I never said that you should never train with 90%+ weights. It just shouldn´t be the center of your training. I highlighted the one sentence that shows that we don´t actually disagree. You are doing the texas method, so the most reps you are doing by far is in the ~80% region.

So I guess, what I am saying basically boils down to two things:

  1. Once you are relatively strong and you compete, you peak maybe 2-4 times a year...for the planned competitions
  2. Maxing out in the gym is pointless. Train to get strong, not to show off.

I was just throwing it out there. I didnt want people reading this to think they should never test some limits. I would think in a different manner of speaking the 100% range is always the focus for a competative powerlifter/weightlifter. Its just that most of a persons strength can be build in the lower (and less likely to crush yourself ranges) to later be focused into that 95-100% effort.

I dont have any personal experience at that higher level yet, but I do agree thats what I see the more advanced and successful guys doing.

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Low reps doesn´t mean super heavy weights. You can still do low-ish reps (3-6 or so) and just do more sets to get the volume in.

Also, strength training is boring as fuck. Seriously. You lift things up and put them down. Over and over and over and over again. Get used to it or find a new hobby ;)

I disagree, I don't find it boring at all!

Also, I always associated low reps with heavy weights. Stupid why I never realized it could also be realized at lower weights... :/

I think you need at least 20 reps at or above 70% of your 1rm with your stats or higher. I made great progress from ~300-500 DL doing my double reverse pyramids.(http://ironstrong.or...__fromsearch__1). This is based on your predicted 1rm using this chart: https://docs.google....=CJq6tZgB#gid=0

I think fixed rep sets (e.g 5x5, 3x5) are less than optimal because you're only working at one strength level when you have more in the tank at other strength levels. It also prevents you from using heavier weights since it's tough to get three sets of the same 5rm weight (if it's your true 5rm). Hell, sometimes finishing both sets of the Double reverse pyramid doesn't happen. By doing multiple fixed rep sets, it forces you to do your 7-9rm for 5 reps, which I'm not a fan of unless volume is sky high. 3x5 and 5x5 are low volume programs, so I just don't think that's enough stimulus for growth and one reason I think intermediates stagnate so much. The double RPT approach lets you get in volume at various points along the strength curve instead of just one (e.g. your 5rm) allowing more total volume with enough stimulus to create growth.

That definitely looks like a plan in which has gone a lot of thought. Though why do you call it a double reverse pyramid, because the intensity keeps on dropping, right? Not like the intensity drops and reps rise, than intensity goes up and reps drop, then intensity drops and reps rise again. Or am I missing something here.

Wouldn't adding a back off set or two with a lower intensity and more reps fix that?

I was just throwing it out there. I didnt want people reading this to think they should never test some limits. I would think in a different manner of speaking the 100% range is always the focus for a competative powerlifter/weightlifter. Its just that most of a persons strength can be build in the lower (and less likely to crush yourself ranges) to later be focused into that 95-100% effort.

I dont have any personal experience at that higher level yet, but I do agree thats what I see the more advanced and successful guys doing.

Yeah that's clear to me now as well, thanks! :)

Also, I (well, my dad) bought a new mattress today, maybe that'll solve some injury/recovery issues as well. My old one was like 8 years old and the last year I sometimes felt like a broken, old man when waking up.

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I was just looking into the texas method cause I've heard good stuff about it, and I have a question about the rest times:

Monday — Volume Day

A) Squats, 5 x 5 @ 90% of 5RM

B) Bench press or overhead press, 5 x 5 @ 90% 5RM

C) Deadlifts, 1 x 5 @ 90% 5RM

Load: The weight should be such that all five sets of all five reps can be finished without more than 8-10 minutes rest between sets. For most people, this works out to about 90% of 5RM.

http://www.t-nation....he_texas_method

Does 8-10 minutes mean the rest time per exercise in total, or between EACH set? If it's the latter, it would mean that you'd spend 32-40 minutes per exercise resting, plus the time spent doing reps and warm up. Sessions could easily last from 2-3 hours. Considering that, you'd think it's the total rest time in between all sets. But would 2 to 2:30 minute of rest between sets of 5 @ 78.75% be enough?

I usually take 3-4 minutes in between most work sets, including the bench sets I mentioned already in this thread.

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Thats 8-10 minutes between sets. There was a time when I did that but I am having much better progress with 4-6 minute breaks on squats. Slightly shorter on upper body lifts.

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Thats 8-10 minutes between sets. There was a time when I did that but I am having much better progress with 4-6 minute breaks on squats. Slightly shorter on upper body lifts.

Total or between each set?

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between.

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I

That definitely looks like a plan in which has gone a lot of thought. Though why do you call it a double reverse pyramid, because the intensity keeps on dropping, right? Not like the intensity drops and reps rise, than intensity goes up and reps drop, then intensity drops and reps rise again. Or am I missing something here.

A reverse pyramid is one where you shed weight each set. In double reverse pyramids you just stay at each level on the pyramid for two sets instead of one. Hence, double reverse pyramids. It was just a way for me to add more volume to regular reverse pyramids as I always felt like I had more left in the tank after those workouts.

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between.

Holy shit.

A reverse pyramid is one where you shed weight each set. In double reverse pyramids you just stay at each level on the pyramid for two sets instead of one. Hence, double reverse pyramids. It was just a way for me to add more volume to regular reverse pyramids as I always felt like I had more left in the tank after those workouts.

Ohh I see now, sounds logical, thanks.

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Load: The weight should be such that all five sets of all five reps can be finished without more than 8-10 minutes rest between sets. For most people, this works out to about 90% of 5RM.

I can appreciate taking longer rests, but I understand this quote as the total rest time between all sets summed. For example if we would talk about a guy who squats 170 kg, his 5RM might be around 145 kg. 90 % of 145 kg this makes 130 kg. I don't think he or she would need to take 8-10 minutes rest between each set with 130 kg doing 5x5, but the total time for all the rest might be around 10 minutes.

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Since I have somewhat fallen off of my own preaching, I´ll revive this topic. Maybe as a reminder to myself:

Don´t go too heavy all the time. In the last months I trained in the 85%+ range 5x/week with very long and demanding sessions. Guess what happened? My shit started hurting pretty bad. Yes, I did make some progress, but I feel like I can do the same with less and smarter training. Don´t be a sissy when it comes to training, but don´t continously run yourself into the ground. Everybody will be somewhat different with this and even within people this will differ from time to time. If your job takes up more time, some training will have to go. You can´t have the maximum of everything all the time. Find out your personal limits and learn to operate within them and move it up consistently over time. Don´t do too much too soon, as I have.

/end of ramblings

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In the last few months I've had a hamstring problem, back strain, shoulder tendinitis, groin strain, hip issues and now another bloody back strain.

I think my body is trying to tell me something and am tempted to take at least a month off.

Thoughts?

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Since I have somewhat fallen off of my own preaching, I´ll revive this topic. Maybe as a reminder to myself:

Don´t go too heavy all the time. In the last months I trained in the 85%+ range 5x/week with very long and demanding sessions. Guess what happened? My shit started hurting pretty bad. Yes, I did make some progress, but I feel like I can do the same with less and smarter training. Don´t be a sissy when it comes to training, but don´t continously run yourself into the ground. Everybody will be somewhat different with this and even within people this will differ from time to time. If your job takes up more time, some training will have to go. You can´t have the maximum of everything all the time. Find out your personal limits and learn to operate within them and move it up consistently over time. Don´t do too much too soon, as I have.

/end of ramblings

This!

Even with just training twice a week, my knee has given me no end of trouble due to lifting at too high a percentage week in, week out.

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Fair enough. I guess I figure if you're working doubles and triples, you're at ~90%. I haven't really heard much about the stronger guys working more than 3-5 reps, so that suggests 85-90% 1RM to me.

 

This isn´t meant to slant spector, but to put things into perspective:

 

I´ll take Andy Bolton as an example.

His best squat is ~1200lbs /544kg, his best deadlift ~1000lbs/454kg. Following the previous logic, this means that the majority of his all-year volume should come from lifting ~3s at 1080lbs/490kg on the squat and 900lbs/409kg on the deadlift.

Does this really sound sustainable? It´s one thing to work at 90% when that translates to 100kg, a totally different thing when it´s 300kg+. Hell, even 200kg or below makes a hell lot of a difference. Sure, the body can adapt to higher workloads over time, but only to a certain degree.

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This isn´t meant to slant spector, but to put things into perspective:

 

I´ll take Andy Bolton as an example.

His best squat is ~1200lbs /544kg, his best deadlift ~1000lbs/454kg. Following the previous logic, this means that the majority of his all-year volume should come from lifting ~3s at 1080lbs/490kg on the squat and 900lbs/409kg on the deadlift.

Does this really sound sustainable? It´s one thing to work at 90% when that translates to 100kg, a totally different thing when it´s 300kg+. Hell, even 200kg or below makes a hell lot of a difference. Sure, the body can adapt to higher workloads over time, but only to a certain degree.

Andy's well known for going nowhere near his max efforts during training

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