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Old 03-05-2012, 06:56 PM   #1
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Default EXPERIENCE REQUEST: Change Reps or Exercises

Hi there,

I posted this thread also on Caseys Forum-but I like to hear the opinions here too, because I know we have clean users here.

As we know there are general 2 changes someone can take advantage of to enter adaption again or to periodize his training:

Quantitative Changes (reps,volume,weight etc)
Qualitative Changes (change the exercises)

In the training community both concepts are present:
Like Wendlers 531 who favours point 1 or Dante Trudels DC who favours point 2. Or westside who uses both: Exercise rotation on ME day and exercise/volume/rep rotation on RE day.

My question is, how you periodize your training. Which method has been proven for you to be superior for Hypertrophy?

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Old 03-05-2012, 06:56 PM   #2
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MY take:

Still fan of the HLM system I tried 2 variations:

Rotating the reps but remaining the same exercises on all days.
Rotating the exercises and Reps.

In my case I didn´t noticed any difference. No method was superior as long as the reps were mixed up.

Now I want to try to remain my rep and volume paramters but switch the exercises between each other.
So when the bearbell bench was trained heavy and the dumbbell press light the last cycle, the next cycle it will get flipped. Dumbbell heavy, barbell light.
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:10 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by flow View Post
Like Wendlers 531 who favours point 1 or Dante Trudels DC who favours point 2. Or westside who uses both: Exercise rotation on ME day and exercise/volume/rep rotation on RE day.
Actually, all three of those systems use weight progression as their number one means of progress. DC only rotates exercises when they stall, Wendler is all about sticking with an exercise and getting stronger, and Westside rotates exercises because they max it out every time they use it and therefore need to rest it. I know from my experience that if I want to increase muscle size then i have to increase the weight used for that exercise. For instance, If I want to make my legs bigger then I need to increase my squats by 100 lbs. All the other stuff like exercise rotation, varying reps, and changing routines has not led to any noticeable increase in size.
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:22 PM   #4
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Actually, all three of those systems use weight progression as their number one means of progress. DC only rotates exercises when they stall, Wendler is all about sticking with an exercise and getting stronger, and Westside rotates exercises because they max it out every time they use it and therefore need to rest it. I know from my experience that if I want to increase muscle size then i have to increase the weight used for that exercise. For instance, If I want to make my legs bigger then I need to increase my squats by 100 lbs. All the other stuff like exercise rotation, varying reps, and changing routines has not led to any noticeable increase in size.
In my eyes there are 3 reason why someone stalls:

-Overreaching/Overtraining
-Diet
-Accomodation

So when you stall on an exercise, diet is in check and back cycling (deload) doesn´t work. What do you do then?
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by flow View Post
In my eyes there are 3 reason why someone stalls:

-Overreaching/Overtraining
-Diet
-Accomodation

So when you stall on an exercise, diet is in check and back cycling (deload) doesn´t work. What do you do then?
Most people don't really stall for a long, long time. They only think they stall. That's my honest opinion. And when they do hit these soft walls, they are already pretty darn big if bodybuilding is the focus.

I work with elite naturals and I can tell you most don't do anything. They simply hit the gym and do what they always did. Most don't deload, and most don't eat more (certainly not as an advanced bodybuilder because aggressive bulking is a road to fast fat gains). They tend to add volume over time and not focus as much upon adding strength past a certain point. Sure, they get gradually stronger, but it's not the prime focus after a certain point in time.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:13 PM   #6
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So when you stall on an exercise, diet is in check and back cycling (deload) doesn´t work. What do you do then?
Cycling has never failed me, I always find myself making at least a small bit of progress from cycle to cycle. At a certain level, all you can ask of yourself is small increases.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:45 PM   #7
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Let me summarize my bloated post.

In muscle building I believe you move from point A to B to C. Point A to B is about 85% of your gains, a point past which most never see. To move from A to B you need to get much stronger, using sensible and level-appropriate rep ranges, volume and exercises, and not much else.

If you add periodization to this, that's ok. At some point in your intermediate journey it's hard to lift week in and out heavy all the time. Many elite bodybuilders still do, but that's a topic for another thread. I never periodized, but then again I used a split so my rest management was not in the context of a fullbody.

If you change between similar exercises occasionally, that's ok. As long as they are similar, and not a step down.

In making the journey from point A to B, of the two I believe swapping exercises could be a waste of time. If can be utilized, but it's not a requirement. With that said it could be detrimental if not used properly.

Bottom line...get to point B. Get stronger. Everything else, if reasonable, is personal preference. Let it be known that I consider point B to be a lot stronger than most people will ever get, probably around a 300-400-500 total or even a little more.
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Old 03-06-2012, 12:07 PM   #8
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Thank you for the interesting insights!

Well but doesn´t any body "believe" in the law of accomodation?
If the body adapted to the loading stimulus do you really never change anything?
It seems not understandable for me, that a trainee trains with the same programm forever.
I know thats a example out of the strength world, but also rippetoes training changes over time. The demands get bigger. (like from SS to TM)

Also casey advocates switching from HLM to HML over time. Or when staying with the same rep count to vary exercises to fullfill the HLM principle.

Also Stone (2007) has written about "overtraining" because of monotounos training.(same load, exercises) The CNS is no longer challanged-so you need to change something of course in the frame of your goals. And Stones work was not only based on scientific research but also from his work with athletes.

Getting stronger is always the cornerstone, but does not somebody need some variation /new stimulus to get stronger again?

Also I cannot imagine that someone for BB purpose is training his whole live German Volume training and gets still stronger on the 10x10 sets.
Thats why after 10x10 a 5x5 programm is advocated-to get stronger again and to let the body adapt to a new stimulus.

I know DE FRanco is a strength coach-but he stated regarding hypertrophy thats its best to change it as much up as possible.

I can only speak for myself-i reached my top weight 2 years ago with 98.5kg and 23%BF on 186cm height. Started with 68kg (BF unnknown but quite lean) but this was a decade ago. This was during a HLM cycle and a bunch of food.

But after deloading I stalled out. Does this mean I reached my 85-90% limit and that changing anything is worthless?

Last edited by flow; 03-06-2012 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:34 PM   #9
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Too deep for me...lol

Eat, lift, sleep, injury and heal up. Start cycle over again....
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:45 PM   #10
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Which method has been proven for you to be superior for Hypertrophy?

science
My honest opinion...

Strength building. Nothing else really matters to me, and for 95% of natural muscle builders that aren't approaching late intermediate and advanced stages. The natural trainee you can get very far without varying anything. I don't change exercises ever and don't believe it's necessary. It is my opinion you can get to 85-90% of your muscle building potential without doing anything fancy. That last 10-15% is hard and more complicated.

I know from personal experience, as a natural real close to Casey's mass predictions, that the last 10-15% for me was more a function of time than anything. Gains are halved about every year, and nothing magical is going to change this by any substantial degree. Advanced bodybuilders don't (ever) get huge muscle gain spurts. They have to turn into muckers and grinders rather that acrobats and elites powerlifters. My opinion is based on myself and all the elites I work with.

I think far too many people over-complicate things before they need to, worried too much about sets, reps, volume, etc. When strength is almost all that matters. Let's face it, it's rare to see natural, lean arms over 16.5" on bodybuilding forums. But when you do see them, it generally happened quickly (2-4 years) because they rapidly improved their strength on mostly compound lifts. Guys that aren't here yet don't need magic or to worry about anything other than strength on beefy lifts.

Everything seems to work, because everything can work if progression is applied. Programs need to fit the lifter. Some never need to periodize, some do. All need to get much stronger.

I speak to the elite of the elite in the natural bodybuilding realm and I can tell you none of them, that I know of, periodize to any substantial degree. They train like freaks, and train year in and year out generally with a high tolerance for volume. They are very strong, but not super-elite powerlifting strong. Most of them never change the core exercises. There are some that swap for the sake of variety, and for various other personal reasons, but most don't.

I am not advocating the lack of periodizationn. I'm simply stating facts. The biggest guys are muckers and grinders and continue to lift hard over the years.

Regarding some of the points in the initial post, I feel we need to bring a few things up to keep everthing in a proper frame of reference.

Westside is an advanced program for (generally) advanced powerlifters and not really applicable here. Westside changes exercises based on the science that maximal training on the same exercise for longer than 3 weeks brings a limited return on investment.

This doesn't apply in the same way for natural hypertrophy for the Average Joe because 95% of naturals looking to build muscle are not approaching the late-intermediate and advanced stages of bodybuilding, and can progress in strength without having to resort to the theory behind Westside.

Now for advanced bodybuilders one could argue that they still need to increase strength to add that extra half pound of muscle per year, and you'll get no argument from me here. But in my experience elite natural bodybuilders are very strong, but not at that next level of strength that elite natural powerlifters are. They reach a point where strength is not the prime focus. They may still add strength, but most tend to add volume and advanced training techniques while slowly, indirectly, adding more strength.

I personally believe time with heavy iron, and perhaps added volume to be a bigger factor in getting that last 15% for naturals than going from a 600 to a 700 deadlift.

DC training is a system focused on progression, but the exercise rotation is very much focused on near-advanced level bodybuilders. For you to stall frequently you need to be very strong as is. You certainly can't be undereating on DC training because they advocate a bulking system that would make a powerlifter happy.

For a natural, you will already have built up a quality amount of beef to be in the position where you are stalling on a lift frequently. For this reason I think the switching of exercises is a non-issue for the 95% of natural muscle builders who are not near late intermediate/advanced level, and not close to soft strength walls.

DC works, obviously because of it's hardcore focus on progression, and the exercise rotation is not going to hinder and early intermediate because they are progressing on similar lifts, but I also don't believe it's any more beneficial than sticking with the same exercise over the long run.

Wendlers is not applicable to hypertrophy because the mini-periodization is for strength building. If you are muscle building on Wendler's it will be far more important to structure your assistance work properly.

From my understanding Westside uses RE work for unique circumstances and only when necessary. Ltl summed up RE work:

Quote:
Westside also has RE which is repetition effort which can be used to replace max effort work with the goal of letting injuries heal or addressing weaknesses in terms of size or technique.
I don't see these RE usages as periodization, but more as a means to an end for gaining strength. It is a puzzle pieces inserted when required.
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