Originally Posted by MikeM
Hola great bearded one, I crave a boon. Explain recovery to me. As I lift heavier and heavier, recovery is almost more important than the lifting. Is this normal? Or is this because I am an older lifter? Should we be talking more about hydration, rest, calories, etc. than we do about sets and reps?
Your thoughts great bearded beast.
Well one thing I have learned over time is that I needed less work than I thought to make gains. These days I seem the minimal amount of work to keep the gains process moving steady.
With that said, intermediate lifters need to get everything from head to toe strong. So the main priority is to set up a strong base of exercises. For example, if a lifter is doing face pulls yet has no rows in the mix, things are backwards.
So with the minimals set up, the next thing that needs to be balanced is the following for the big 3 lifts:
There are multiple ways of balance this, and different theories about which way is best. This is a complex topic, so hang with me.
Dual Factor Training - DFT - looks at training through 2 lenses: fatigue and fitness. It's ok to push fatigue because at some point you will deload, allowing the fatigue to rescind, the body to full recover, and at that point your fitness (strength) shines.
On the other hand you have conventional lifting which is more - lift, take a week off. this is more Single Factor Training, as your fitness levels rarely start to hinder your performance.
Regardless of your approach, there has to be some form of balance. For most of us, living with extra fatigue from pushing on programs like Smolov isn't something we want most of the time. We have lives to live outside the gym. That is why most of us choose to run programs like this when convenient opportunities crop up in life.
This isn't answering your question directly, but I hope it is leading you to the answer. Each of us needs to find that balance between volume, intensity and frequency. program in the minimal amount of assistance work; work that builds strength from head to toe. After this a balancing of the main lifts must take place.
Byrd's program, like many other powerlifting periodization programs, has you pulling back on assistance work (volume) as the intensity peaks. This is wise, in my opinion. Other programs, like Wendlers, do short intensity cycles and frequent deloads to allow for recovery.
What you need to balance is how frequently you lift heavy. If it's too often then you might be limiting the amount of "base building" you are doing via assistance work right now.
I personally do not think an intermediate lifter should be lifting heavy each week. They need reps, and to focus on building a muscular base while also building strength within those rep ranges.
Both Byrd's program and 531 are set up to do that. My programs tend to be less intense and more base-driven for intermediates.
You have to be willing to peel some things back, especially as we age. Doing 2 muscle building sets for back might be better than adding an extra third. Training with intensity might need to be decreased.
I train with intensity every workout but do little volume. My bases are built. I fi had to build a stronger back base I would have to cycle that intensity.
You need to focus on evolving your training at some point instead of moving to programs. This is essential. Adjust one variable at a time.
This is what Fazc and myself did during our long journey with frequency.
Does any of this make sense?