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Old 01-16-2012, 03:48 PM   #1
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Default Lighter work for strength training

I thought about posting this in the 'Strength Thread', but it's a long post, so I'll start a new thread.

Q: What do these powerlifting routines have in common?


Ortmayer-Magnussen deadlift program
Coan-Phillipi deadllift program
Stefan Korte 3 X 3 powerlifting routine
Sheiko routines (e.g. 29, 37)

Answer 1: a lot of lifters seem to achieve success using them.

For example, here's Travis Ortmayer, talking about the Ortmayer-Magnussen:

Quote:
That's the routine I used when I hit that 870 deadlift at Madison Square Garden last year. My father used it and added 70 lbs to his deadlift in about 9-10 weeks. Oh yeah, it was also what Benni Magnusson was using when he broke the WR with 970
With regard to Coan-Phillipi, a recent thread on Sugdenbarbell had several lifters claiming 10-20kg increases over the ten week cycle.

Korte is the odd one out, in that I can't find a lot of people using it. However, one source claims:

Quote:
IPF junior world champion Ralf Gierz totaled nearly 2200 pounds using this training system and Michael Bruegger benched over 600 pounds without a bench shirt
Sheiko routines have a lot of fans. One of their most well-known advocates in the US is Eric Talmant. Here he is pulling 640 in the 165s:



So, I think it's fair to say that all of these programs have some pedigree to them.

Answer number two: they all involve a lot of sets at relatively low percentages of 1RM

Take a look at Travis-Ortmayer - 26 reps at 70%:

Quote:
week 1
warm up
4x4 at 70%
2x2 at 80%
back to 70%- try to get 10 but if you do 8 or more you go up 10 lbs next week

The following weeks repeat the pattern, adding 10lbs a week if possible
Then there's Coan-Phillipi. In addition to the work sets, there are up to 6 sets of 60-75% speed work - then there is a ton of assistance work: good mornings, hyperextensions etc.

Korte has you doing the three main lifts three times a week - five to eight sets at 58-64%. There is a second peaking phase, but according to Korte, the strngth base is built in the above volume phase.

There are many Sheiko programs, but here's a sample workout:

Quote:
1) Bench press: 50% 5x1, 60% 4x2, 70% 3x2, 75% 3x5
2) Squat: 50% 5x1, 60% 5x2, 70% 5x5
3) Bench press: 50% 6x1, 60% 6x2, 65% 6x4
4) Flat-bench dumbbell fly: 10x5
5) Standing good morning: 5x5
Even later in the program, the percentages don't rise over 75% or so.

So, there you have it. Four routines that either (a) exclusively use relatively low percentages for massive volume/frequency or (b) use low percentage work alongside higher percentage work.

Now, personally, I like training in the 85-90%+ range. Most of my training fits into that. Nevertheless, I have to say that I'm impressed by the consistent success people seem to achieve with Travis/Ortmayer and Coan/Phillipi.

What are people's thoughts on these lower percentage-high volume routines?
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:54 PM   #2
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I'm interested to hear others input on this as well.
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:08 PM   #3
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Sheiko 29 gave me a good 10 kg (22lbs) on my deads - even though there doesn't seem to be much deadlifting in it. Again, nothing over 80%.
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:09 PM   #4
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I think there's a few things to consider:

1) Changes in form between lower percentages and higher percentages. A lift at 100% very rarely looks the same as a lift at 70% or less for most people. Something Talmant/Pavel talks about is making each rep consistent with what your heavy work looks like.

2) Losing touch with the heavy weights. Constantly training at 70% or less is tough when you get back to 100% max weights, even with a break-in period. Some heavy work needs to be maintained throughout or partials.

3) Transference between rep ranges. Getting better at 10 reps will get you better at 10 reps, will there be carryover? Is it worth it, in place of just more work at what you want to get better at?

4) Tendon/ligament strengthening.

5) Mindset of coping with the heavy weights. If Grade-A form is possible at lighter weights, but you fall apart at max then more max work is needed. Lower percent work doesn't teach you to grind either.

I'm of the opinion lower percentages are useful, I've just had varying results in my own training when transferring them to max work.
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fazc View Post
I think there's a few things to consider:

1) Changes in form between lower percentages and higher percentages. A lift at 100% very rarely looks the same as a lift at 70% or less for most people. Something Talmant/Pavel talks about is making each rep consistent with what your heavy work looks like.

2) Losing touch with the heavy weights. Constantly training at 70% or less is tough when you get back to 100% max weights, even with a break-in period. Some heavy work needs to be maintained throughout or partials.

3) Transference between rep ranges. Getting better at 10 reps will get you better at 10 reps, will there be carryover? Is it worth it, in place of just more work at what you want to get better at?

4) Tendon/ligament strengthening.

5) Mindset of coping with the heavy weights. If Grade-A form is possible at lighter weights, but you fall apart at max then more max work is needed. Lower percent work doesn't teach you to grind either.

.
I agree with all of those points - the worst aspect of those routines is the horrific shock to the system when you go for the single and the weight feels like lifting a bank vault. So without regularly using heavy weight, there can be a big challenge to confidence.
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:37 PM   #6
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Yeah, however on the plus side the years of BB style work I did when my hamstring was injured lead to a very good Bench. I regularly did 3 x 10 timed (45 second rest between sets) but with the Bench I was more inclined to max every now and again whereas with the SQ/DL I had no interest in doing so. I think that probably explained the increase in Bench without such luck in SQ/DL.
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:38 PM   #7
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My experience varies depending on lifts. Squats for example I hammered away at 80% for nearly the last 3 years and made absolutely zero progress. Bench Press I spent the last 2+ years training around 80-85% and added maybe 10-15 pounds to my total. I did a lot of sets around these percentages for both lifts. A lot. Didn't help me a bit.

Deadlifts are a different story. Last year I dropped 80% work and focused only on 20 rep sumo sets for quite a long time. When I came back to conventionals I started to destroy PRs like crazy. My max went up my about 60 pounds in 6 months and I didn't work above 80% until the final month or two before my meet. I will add that I starting using a ton of speed work during this time, and began attacking the bar, and I think this was a major contributing factor ion my progress. Also, perhaps the rep work helps my glute and hamstring weaknesses.

My opinion on 90% work has changed a lot this year due to personal experience. I have made better progress in 14 weeks on bench and squat using more frequent 90% work than I did in years without it. I am not educated enough on all of these programs to comment much. I have read them and know what their percentages look like, but have never tried them.

I will say that I believe some form of 90% work is needed once you hit hard walls. How frequently this is required, I am not certain of yet.

I also want to add that there are other variables at play in some of these programs...frequency, volume and with some overreaching.

Korte, if I remember correctly, starts with high frequency and moves towards intensity. I believe in Phase II it adds heavier work on Fridays.

Stephan Korte?s 33 Powerlifting Program - Muscle and Brawn Bodybuilding, Powerlifting and Muscle Building.

Coan-Phillipi adds 85% work fairly early in the cycle.

My only point is that Sheiko and Korte introduce variables other than intensity. And I think both Coan and the Ortmayer program have you with some 85% work on week 2 or 3. I think the Ortmayer has 90% at week 2, correct me if I am wrong.

Anyway...just floating out some info and random thoughts.
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
My opinion on 90% work has changed a lot this year due to personal experience. I have made better progress in 14 weeks on bench and squat using more frequent 90% work than I did in years without it.
Yep, something to pick out that's very important here is how you respond to a routine is also dependant a lot on what you did prior to that routine. I fully believe it all follows the basic rules periodisation, you either go from periods of high volume/low intensity to periods of low volume/high intensity or you go from periods of low volume/low intensity to periods of high volume/high intensity, either works and often the first is done via the natural ebbs and flow of life.

For example, lifter makes decent gains on some high volume training but as typical of all lifters thinks he can progress faster on something else. Grass is greener or simply he succumbs to the inevitable law of accommodation and stalls. So what does he do, he curse high volume and he goes to a low volume split and boom, progress. Lifter credits the low volume for increased gains. Was it that really? Or was it the interaction between the two. The higher volume stuff building the strength, or as Starr would put it, widening the base of the pyramid, and the low volume allowing the lifter to express that strength while not in a state of fatigue.

To fully understand the benefits of lower percentages we need to discuss them within the workings of a fully periodised plan.

I know I sound like a broken record with this but 2 weeks of frequent and heavy loading followed by a week or two of light work really does work well in the grand scheme of things. A big mistake I see people generally make in their training is that their 'lows' are too high, so that their 'highs' are never high enough.

Last edited by Fazc; 01-16-2012 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:58 PM   #9
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If you are working a lot in the 80% range, it will take a break-in period to realize gains within the 90%+ rage.
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Old 01-16-2012, 05:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
My only point is that Sheiko and Korte introduce variables other than intensity. And I think both Coan and the Ortmayer program have you with some 85% work on week 2 or 3. I think the Ortmayer has 90% at week 2, correct me if I am wrong.
Yep, I quite liked the Ortmayer routine for that reason. Heavy work done quickly and deloads planned in. Looked good.

The Sheiko routines were designed as more of a block system, with each block representing either a volume block or a peaking block. In that way they were no different to Korte, it's just with Sheiko you're expected to do more of a 'pick and choose' type approach based on how long you want your cycle to be. For example a 12 week cycle could include 2 volume blocks and 1 peak block.

Either way the commonalities are there between the various routines. Periods of lower intensities and higher volume matched with periods of higher intensities and lower volume. It's the contrast which drives adaption.
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