Your experiences with linear cycling

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platypus
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Your experiences with linear cycling

#1

Post by platypus » Mon Nov 27, 2023 6:16 am

I've been reading up on Ed Coan and Kirk Karwoski's training, and it looks basically like a bro split: one day for each of the competition lifts, plus one for incline benching or overhead work. The programming was simple linear cycling, varying somewhat from lift to lift, but adding weight each week and shifting from higher reps to lower. Coan would follow this with a bunch of bro work, while Karwoski seems to have preferred to minimize assistance work.

For example, here's a bench cycle Coan did:

Bench, Close Grip, Incline
Wk 1: 395x2x10, 335x2x10, 285x2x10
Wk 2: 410x2x10, 350x2x10, 300x2x10
Wk 3: 425x2x8, 365x2x8, 315x2x8
Wk 4: 440x2x8, 380x2x8, 330x2x8
Wk 5: 455x2x5, 395x2x5, 345x2x5
Wk 6: 470x2x5, 410x2x5, 360x2x5
Wk 7: 485x2x5, 425x2x5, 375x2x5
Wk 8: 500x2x5, 440x2x5, 390x2x5
Wk 9: 515x2x3, 445x2x3, 405x2x3
Wk 10: 530x2x3, 470x2x3, 420x2x3
Wk 11: 545x2x2, 485x2x2, 435x2x2
Wk 12: 555x2x2, 500x2x2, 450x2x2
Wk 13: 585x1 paused with a bench shirt (1st week with a shirt)

Have any of you guys tried doing linear cycles like this? If so, how did it go? Did you consistently manage PRs at the top of the cycle?
The internet at large seems to be less than enamored with linear cycling, but I'm curious to hear from anyone who has tried it.

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Hardartery
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Re: Your experiences with linear cycling

#2

Post by Hardartery » Mon Nov 27, 2023 8:07 am

platypus wrote: Mon Nov 27, 2023 6:16 am I've been reading up on Ed Coan and Kirk Karwoski's training, and it looks basically like a bro split: one day for each of the competition lifts, plus one for incline benching or overhead work. The programming was simple linear cycling, varying somewhat from lift to lift, but adding weight each week and shifting from higher reps to lower. Coan would follow this with a bunch of bro work, while Karwoski seems to have preferred to minimize assistance work.

For example, here's a bench cycle Coan did:

Bench, Close Grip, Incline
Wk 1: 395x2x10, 335x2x10, 285x2x10
Wk 2: 410x2x10, 350x2x10, 300x2x10
Wk 3: 425x2x8, 365x2x8, 315x2x8
Wk 4: 440x2x8, 380x2x8, 330x2x8
Wk 5: 455x2x5, 395x2x5, 345x2x5
Wk 6: 470x2x5, 410x2x5, 360x2x5
Wk 7: 485x2x5, 425x2x5, 375x2x5
Wk 8: 500x2x5, 440x2x5, 390x2x5
Wk 9: 515x2x3, 445x2x3, 405x2x3
Wk 10: 530x2x3, 470x2x3, 420x2x3
Wk 11: 545x2x2, 485x2x2, 435x2x2
Wk 12: 555x2x2, 500x2x2, 450x2x2
Wk 13: 585x1 paused with a bench shirt (1st week with a shirt)

Have any of you guys tried doing linear cycles like this? If so, how did it go? Did you consistently manage PRs at the top of the cycle?
The internet at large seems to be less than enamored with linear cycling, but I'm curious to hear from anyone who has tried it.
All programs are linear progression in some form, whether it's fashionable to say it or not. They have to be unless you are going backwards. I like it, but I like Coan's approach in general and I steal from it liberally. His stated goal was just to add 5 or 10 pounds to the 1 RM and start over, usually testing it at a contest as the transition. The d-bol doesn't hurt the ability to keep doing that without a serious shakeup, but it is a patient approach that resulted in few injuries and a long career.

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CheekiBreekiFitness
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Re: Your experiences with linear cycling

#3

Post by CheekiBreekiFitness » Sat Dec 02, 2023 2:26 am

As far as anecdote is concerned, didn't everybody train like that (straight line periodization) in the 60's and 70's ? People were decently strong, so there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that it does work very well, at least for some people.

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Re: Your experiences with linear cycling

#4

Post by James » Sat Dec 16, 2023 8:20 am

I'm going to give this a go using the program in Coan's book.
CheekiBreekiFitness wrote: Sat Dec 02, 2023 2:26 am As far as anecdote is concerned, didn't everybody train like that (straight line periodization) in the 60's and 70's ? People were decently strong, so there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that it does work very well, at least for some people.
Not everyone. Doug Young used amraps in his off season for progression. For ever rep over 6 on his fifth set of bench he'd add 5 lbs. Switching to linear triples one day and singes another for contests.

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Re: Your experiences with linear cycling

#5

Post by 5hout » Mon Dec 18, 2023 5:54 am

platypus wrote: Mon Nov 27, 2023 6:16 am
Have any of you guys tried doing linear cycles like this? If so, how did it go? Did you consistently manage PRs at the top of the cycle?
The internet at large seems to be less than enamored with linear cycling, but I'm curious to hear from anyone who has tried it.
I've done chunks of them, I found it worked for a while (like most things do), but eventually the recovery demands outstripped my ability to eat/sleep/recover. This is a PURE guess, but my recollection is they both had physically active jobs (Kirk's was some kind of printing or welding?) and very long, very hard training backgrounds which meant they had a large training base/volume toleration ability and both used a good amount of accessory work before/during/after that is often neglected in write-ups discussion b/c it's boring to talk about.

So if you come from a training background, spend 40+ hours a week walking around, do a bunch of waved accessory work and really optimize your recovery it will probably work for a good long while, perhaps years and years. Of course they had pharmaceutical assistance factors, but I think overall it was just one piece of otherwise setting up a life style to allow the PL programming to be very simple.

If you can't/won't set your life up like that, than you probably need some more carefully tailored programming. I've also found a lot of truth in Louie's oft-repeated refrain that the more extroverted you are the more training variation you need. During times when I'm seeing lots of people, otherwise tapped out on my people tolerance scales (i.e. feeling more introverted or over my people limits) I find I crave simpler lifting programming where I just go in and grind. When I'm missing human interaction I find such programming very boring and hard to stick to and I seem to want my lifting variation. YMMV.

In re: life factors for example, I like my beer without protein in it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isdbuAwXjLs Bonus points if you know the clip b4 clicking.

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Re: Your experiences with linear cycling

#6

Post by platypus » Wed Jun 05, 2024 10:47 am

I came across this log on tnation, Training With Ed Coan. It's a combination of the sort of anecdotes you might expect from a highschool football player aspiring to join the infantry, and the story of a few 12 week lifting cycles done under Ed Coan's supervision.

Two things that stood out to me were:
1. Lots of submaximal assistance work. Things like
Triceps Extensions

Set 1 - 60x10
Set 2 - 65x10
Set 3 - 70x10
Set 4 - 75x10
Set 5 - 80x10
Set 6 - 75x10
whereas I would have expected to see AMRAPs for this kind of thing. The isolation work is also varied day to day and doesn't seem to be planned out like Ed did in his youth.

2. Looks like Ed had him train squat and deadlift on the same day, either doing a cycle of squats and SLDLs, or paused squats and regular deadlifts. He only does competition squat and deadlift in the same week during the meet peak.

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Re: Your experiences with linear cycling

#7

Post by TornAlien » Sat Jun 15, 2024 2:56 am

I've tried linear cycling in the past and it worked well for a while. I was able to consistently add weight and hit new PRs. However, I eventually plateaued and had to switch to a different approach. It can be demanding on the body and mind, so recovery time is crucial. It's not the only way to make progress, but it can be a useful tool in certain situations.

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