No Progress

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DanCR
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Re: No Progress

#21

Post by DanCR » Wed May 08, 2024 11:55 am

Jamessmithson wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 11:13 am Thanks so much, I genuinely really appreciate that! Yes, those comments about my squat had me worried, but I've heard Rippetoe is dead set on a low bar squat. That makes sense, I'll start doing low reps. I'm assuming all the comments about high reps (hypertrophy) not being effective and pause stretch movements mean that they are ineffective for strength (seemingly the purpose of this forum), rather than ineffective for muscle size.
Higher reps absolutely can be effective for muscle size, and paused / stretch movements may be (emphasizing the stretch is all the rage now with the hypertrophy guys), but there's got to be enough intensity / tension / choose your preferred term to stimulate growth. I don't care what technique you employ, no one is getting jacked benching 135 lbs.

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Re: No Progress

#22

Post by aurelius » Wed May 08, 2024 12:20 pm

Jamessmithson wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 11:45 amMakes ideal sense, thank you! So apart from motivation, technique (tension) and ensuring progressive overload and progress without excessive fatigue (hard to measure with 8-12 reps) in beginners, 4-6 reps is not superior to 8-12 for muscle size in beginners?
@mgil posted why lower rep ranges (4-6) are better for beginners and specifically strength. The rule of thumbs I posted are just that. Goals to shoot for but not hard rules. The takeaway: focus on getting stronger first.

“Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but nobody wants to lift no heavy-ass weights.” Ronnie Coleman

The bodyweight is real issue to your hypertrophy goals. I cannot emphasize this enough. Can you build anything without the resources? No. You can't build muscle either. Where you are at, which is underweight for your frame, you need a calorie surplus to achieve hypertrophy.

Biggest lesson I have learned from over a decade of lifting: success is dependent on consistency and time. Don't focus on short term gains. Focus on process.

You are 21. Stick with it, eat a double cheeseburger now and then, and you will see results.

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Re: No Progress

#23

Post by mgil » Wed May 08, 2024 1:26 pm

Jamessmithson wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 11:45 am
mgil wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 11:26 am Most of the strength oriented guys will tell you the 4-6 rep range is pretty good for beginners as it allows for frequent progression, useful stress, and trainee motivation. The side effects of running a progression scheme using these rep ranges, for young/small trainees, is hypertrophy. Eventually these gains peter out and you have to focus on certain aspects of the process, whether that be display of skill/strength or muscle protein synthesis.

You’re not at that stage, OP.

Pick a reasonable program in the 4-6 rep range, and run it with the intent of progressive overload (in other words, start lighter than you might want to - maybe start where your sets of 10 are now and add weight every session for several weeks) and try to do this smartly for approximately 12 weeks. Then you’ll probably want to do a reasonable DUP style setup which has you progressing small sets (1 - 3 reps), “strength” sets (4 to 6), and then hypertrophy sets (8 - 12) at some reasonable pace.

A rule of thumb: for most people at your stage, 2 to 3 major compound lifts with 2 to 3 accessories is more than enough to make a session.
Makes ideal sense, thank you! So apart from motivation, technique (tension) and ensuring progressive overload and progress without excessive fatigue (hard to measure with 8-12 reps) in beginners, 4-6 reps is not superior to 8-12 for muscle size in beginners?
4-6 reps is generally superior for beginners. There’s a reason why the Nx5 programming has been around since Reg Park.

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Re: No Progress

#24

Post by DanCR » Wed May 08, 2024 2:12 pm

@Jamessmithson, this will be covered in any of the programs referenced but, to be clear, no one is saying to take your current max weight for 4-6 reps, and add weight the next session. There are protocols for determining where to begin, and it's not at your max. You'll want to start light and give yourself some significant runway.

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Re: No Progress

#25

Post by dw » Wed May 08, 2024 2:26 pm

I don't agree at all that you should do strength oriented programming before hypertrophy oriented programming.

You can do whatever program you want though hypertrophy oriented would make more sense given that your goal is hypertrophy.

The important thing, which I did not see in your post, is that you should be making steady progress in your lifts when you are bulking, and if not analyzing why that might be.

You shouldn't have the experience of going 6 months or a year or whatever it may be without making substantial progress, which was the impression I got from your post. It should be week after week, and if not it you're either not doing enough volume/RPE or you need a deload.

I would actually advise you away from strength oriented programming just on the hunch that you are a relatively low responder and it's harder to get in high volume with barbell movements.

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Re: No Progress

#26

Post by cole » Wed May 08, 2024 6:32 pm

mgil wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 11:26 am
Pick a reasonable program in the 4-6 rep range, and run it with the intent of progressive overload (in other words, start lighter than you might want to - maybe start where your sets of 10 are now and add weight every session for several weeks) and try to do this smartly for approximately 12 weeks. Then you’ll probably want to do a reasonable DUP style setup which has you progressing small sets (1 - 3 reps), “strength” sets (4 to 6), and then hypertrophy sets (8 - 12) at some reasonable pace.

A rule of thumb: for most people at your stage, 2 to 3 major compound lifts with 2 to 3 accessories is more than enough to make a session.
This is the advice I would complety agree with. You are making it too complicated OP. simplify it and ease your brain.

also,
mgil wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 9:10 am Some wild shit in this thread.
lol

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Re: No Progress

#27

Post by DanCR » Wed May 08, 2024 8:20 pm

dw wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 2:26 pmI would actually advise you away from strength oriented programming just on the hunch that you are a relatively low responder and it's harder to get in high volume with barbell movements.
I'm curious as to why the hunch. You may be right, but the available evidence is that he hasn't done a single thing to pursue strength gains. I have no idea what would happen if he did.
dw wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 2:26 pm I don't agree at all that you should do strength oriented programming before hypertrophy oriented programming.

You can do whatever program you want though hypertrophy oriented would make more sense given that your goal is hypertrophy.
Not even for a few months, to start his hypertrophy journey with the ability to handle significantly heavier weights? We're not talking about years here, or even one year, or even six months. At least I'm not, anyway. I would agree that continuing to try to eke out incremental strength gains beyond a true stall on an initial LP wouldn't make any sense. At that point, yes, pursue the goal of hypertrophy directly. But why begin the journey in a much weaker state when that can be addressed so quickly and easily? Why thumb one's nose at some guaranteed upside (we can debate how much, but I think that we can agree that there's surely some) when there's nearly no downside? Three (lost) months of hypertrophy training with very light weights has almost zero value.
dw wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 2:26 pm The important thing, which I did not see in your post, is that you should be making steady progress in your lifts when you are bulking, and if not analyzing why that might be.

You shouldn't have the experience of going 6 months or a year or whatever it may be without making substantial progress, which was the impression I got from your post. It should be week after week, and if not it you're either not doing enough volume/RPE or you need a deload.
Of course I totally agree with this - hence my cite to the Efferding piece. I just still would do it post easy strength gains (which naturally will come with some size), and would choose a program that focuses strongly on how to progress, with a feasible means of doing so. As I said earlier, the old "add weight when you can get 3x12" (forget about 4x15 or some shit) just does not work for more than ten minutes sans drugs, regardless of what you eat or how much you sleep. That's how many SS cultists (and 5/3/1 cultists, etc.) became cultists: after however many years of getting absolutely nowhere with whatever "bodybuilding" program that was just particular exercises x sets x reps, with progression a seeming afterthought, their minds were blown when for the first time in their training lives they saw tangible results, and fast.

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Re: No Progress

#28

Post by dw » Wed May 08, 2024 8:30 pm

DanCR wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 8:20 pm
dw wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 2:26 pmI would actually advise you away from strength oriented programming just on the hunch that you are a relatively low responder and it's harder to get in high volume with barbell movements.
I'm curious as to why the hunch. You may be right, but the available evidence is that he hasn't done a single thing to pursue strength gains. I have no idea what would happen if he did.
dw wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 2:26 pm I don't agree at all that you should do strength oriented programming before hypertrophy oriented programming.

You can do whatever program you want though hypertrophy oriented would make more sense given that your goal is hypertrophy.
Not even for a few months, to start his hypertrophy journey with the ability to handle significantly heavier weights? We're not talking about years here, or even one year, or even six months. At least I'm not, anyway. I would agree that continuing to try to eke out incremental strength gains beyond a true stall on an initial LP wouldn't make any sense. At that point, yes, pursue the goal of hypertrophy directly. But why begin the journey in a much weaker state when that can be addressed so quickly and easily? Why thumb one's nose at some guaranteed upside (we can debate how much, but I think that we can agree that there's surely some) when there's nearly no downside? Three (lost) months of hypertrophy training with very light weights has almost zero value.
dw wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 2:26 pm The important thing, which I did not see in your post, is that you should be making steady progress in your lifts when you are bulking, and if not analyzing why that might be.

You shouldn't have the experience of going 6 months or a year or whatever it may be without making substantial progress, which was the impression I got from your post. It should be week after week, and if not it you're either not doing enough volume/RPE or you need a deload.
Of course I totally agree with this - hence my cite to the Efferding piece. I just still would do it post easy strength gains (which naturally will come with some size), and would choose a program that focuses strongly on how to progress, with a feasible means of doing so. As I said earlier, the old "add weight when you can get 3x12" (forget about 4x15 or some shit) just does not work for more than ten minutes sans drugs, regardless of what you eat or how much you sleep. That's how many SS cultists (and 5/3/1 cultists, etc.) became cultists: after however many years of getting absolutely nowhere with whatever "bodybuilding" program that was just particular exercises x sets x reps, with progression a seeming afterthought, their minds were blown when for the first time in their lives they saw tangible results, and fast.

When I said low responder I had in mind hypertrophy but to me it seems unlikely to me there's a difference - that a person makes purely strength related adaptations with low volume but needs a lot of volume for hypertrophy, or vice versa. Idk.

I also think most of the gains in a successful run of something like SS are from hypertrophy anyway. Successful being let's say 3 months without a reset.

By "most of the gains" I mean that if you somehow replicated the hypertrophy gains with very dissimilar movements to SBD, you could probably get the strength gains in about 4 weeks without bulking, but if you replicated the CNS and technique gains without bulking, you would still need 3 months of hypertrophy work to get to the same end point. (Hopefully that thought experiment is not too convoluted.)

But regardless I'm not against him doing strength training at all if he wants to, I just don't see that it has any special benefit, and if I'm right that he needs more volume than typical programs are giving him, even at an early stage of development, I think SBD will probably get in the way of what he needs to do.

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Re: No Progress

#29

Post by CheekiBreekiFitness » Wed May 08, 2024 10:09 pm

I feel that this divide between "strength training" and "hypertrophy training" is artificial in that context. I think that a good program will expose you to a wide variety of rep ranges : some 3s, some 5s, some 10s, maybe some 15s and a variety of training modalities: barbell, dumbell, even machines. You'll build plenty of strength and if you're eating at a slight surplus you'll build size too. This idea of "do this particular rep range to achieve goal X" is misplaced in my opinion. Speaking of which, when I look at some of the recommended programs in the thread, many are not "strength" programs, they are just lifting programs that'll get you bigger and stronger.

Look at something written by an actual strength coach like Sheiko for beginners: there's a variety of rep ranges and schemes, you have some barbell compounds, some dumbbells, isolations etc.

Also, I think that you guys overlook what's in the program beyond just the sets and reps and exercise selection. So OP was mentioning that he was doing 200 sets a week. From this I can immediately tell that he does not know how to train "hard". I do about 100 sets a week and I cannot fathom doing twice that and surviving. So a program like super squats or starting strength or 5/3/1 with AMRAPs to true failure or DC training or whatever that is will teach you how to train hard enough so that those sets actually stimulate something. To take the example of super squats, those 6 weeks doing 1 set of 20 reps and adding weight each session will teach you something that can't be taught through the internet or a book. Now once you know how to train hard enough, then you can pivot to something else, you don't have to be married to just one approach.

I also don't believe in this notion of a "low responder" in an abstract sense. OP does not respond to his current programming so he's a low responder to that program, and should do something else, but that does not mean that he needs more volume, he just needs to do something different. Going in the lifting game while already having this self limiting belief of being a "low responder" is not good for your progress. You should go in the gym feeling that you're going to kick ass, not feeling sorry for yourself.

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Re: No Progress

#30

Post by Adams » Wed May 08, 2024 11:57 pm

I'm not going to give advice to the OP as honestly there's only so much you can do in a forum post.

Only thing I will say is this is a strength forum so people will be biased towards the barbell lifts, they're great lifts but they aren't essential unless your goal is to be strong at them. I've seen loads of jacked people who aren't near the numbers 300/400/500. One of my clients has gained loads of muscle and is jacked (people are shocked when they see him if they haven't seen him in a while) and he doesn't do any of the barbell lifts and would be weak if he tried. The idea that you won't look jacked until you can lift 300/400/500, or hypertrophy training doesn't work until you're strong just isn't true. I know lots of strong people who look average. I got to a 140kg bench and 180kg x 10 squat and I didn't look great until I changed the way I trained. Just getting the big three lifts up isn't the best approach if looking good and being big is the goal.

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Re: No Progress

#31

Post by DanCR » Thu May 09, 2024 11:49 am

dw wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 8:30 pmWhen I said low responder I had in mind hypertrophy but to me it seems unlikely to me there's a difference - that a person makes purely strength related adaptations with low volume but needs a lot of volume for hypertrophy, or vice versa. Idk.
I agree, especially early on, but I think that's another reason to start by running an initial "strength" program for a limited period of time.
dw wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 8:30 pmI also think most of the gains in a successful run of something like SS are from hypertrophy anyway. Successful being let's say 3 months without a reset.

By "most of the gains" I mean that if you somehow replicated the hypertrophy gains with very dissimilar movements to SBD, you could probably get the strength gains in about 4 weeks without bulking, but if you replicated the CNS and technique gains without bulking, you would still need 3 months of hypertrophy work to get to the same end point. (Hopefully that thought experiment is not too convoluted.)
The bold is the rub, though. Certainly one doesn't necessarily have to low bar squat, flat bench, and conventional deadlift for newbie gains. Plenty of alternatives. But I do think that, once one has chosen their preferred alternatives, there's value in LPing the shit out of them for a limited period. If someone wanted to, for example, Zercher squat, incline bench, and RDL, I think that would be great. Once you start thinking about "very dissimilar movements," though, I don't think there's a lot of hope for similar results. It's just very hard to progress, say, dumbbell work, in the same way. (That said, this all caused me to ruminate last night on what an all DB version of SS or whatever might look like. I've been loving DBs lately.)
CheekiBreekiFitness wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 10:09 pm I feel that this divide between "strength training" and "hypertrophy training" is artificial in that context. I think that a good program will expose you to a wide variety of rep ranges : some 3s, some 5s, some 10s, maybe some 15s and a variety of training modalities: barbell, dumbell, even machines. You'll build plenty of strength and if you're eating at a slight surplus you'll build size too. This idea of "do this particular rep range to achieve goal X" is misplaced in my opinion. Speaking of which, when I look at some of the recommended programs in the thread, many are not "strength" programs, they are just lifting programs that'll get you bigger and stronger.
I agree, but I think that there's a distinction between the first few months and everything later.
CheekiBreekiFitness wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 10:09 pm Also, I think that you guys overlook what's in the program beyond just the sets and reps and exercise selection. So OP was mentioning that he was doing 200 sets a week. From this I can immediately tell that he does not know how to train "hard". I do about 100 sets a week and I cannot fathom doing twice that and surviving. So a program like super squats or starting strength or 5/3/1 with AMRAPs to true failure or DC training or whatever that is will teach you how to train hard enough so that those sets actually stimulate something. To take the example of super squats, those 6 weeks doing 1 set of 20 reps and adding weight each session will teach you something that can't be taught through the internet or a book. Now once you know how to train hard enough, then you can pivot to something else, you don't have to be married to just one approach.
You beat me to it. There is no chance that OP's claim to train in the @9-10 range is true. I'm not saying that he doesn't believe that; I'm saying that at over 200 sets a week of all different kinds of stuff, he's wrong. As you say, learning to train hard is part of the value in these programs. It's far easier to learn to train hard when you have limited things on which to concentrate and aren't distracted by fucking wrist curls and tibia raises lol. Of course there are outliers but what are the chances that dude is one of them?
CheekiBreekiFitness wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 10:09 pmI also don't believe in this notion of a "low responder" in an abstract sense. OP does not respond to his current programming so he's a low responder to that program, and should do something else, but that does not mean that he needs more volume, he just needs to do something different. Going in the lifting game while already having this self limiting belief of being a "low responder" is not good for your progress. You should go in the gym feeling that you're going to kick ass, not feeling sorry for yourself.
Right, maybe he’s just a low responder to super slow eccentrics and stretched pauses. I mean do we even know anyone who does respond well to that stuff, especially a newbie? If you follow the folks online, they seem to fall into two groups (1) dudes who look great when ripped / in the right lighting / from the right angle but actually are small, e.g. Menno Henselmans; and (2) dudes who are big but got that way doing entirely different shit, e.g. Mike Israetel.
Adams wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 11:57 pm Only thing I will say is this is a strength forum so people will be biased towards the barbell lifts, they're great lifts but they aren't essential unless your goal is to be strong at them. I've seen loads of jacked people who aren't near the numbers 300/400/500. One of my clients has gained loads of muscle and is jacked (people are shocked when they see him if they haven't seen him in a while) and he doesn't do any of the barbell lifts and would be weak if he tried. The idea that you won't look jacked until you can lift 300/400/500, or hypertrophy training doesn't work until you're strong just isn't true. I know lots of strong people who look average. I got to a 140kg bench and 180kg x 10 squat and I didn't look great until I changed the way I trained. Just getting the big three lifts up isn't the best approach if looking good and being big is the goal.
Generally what is your client doing? (I say "generally" because I'm not asking for every particular - that's what your client pays you for.)

Anyway, I think we're getting too caught up in the definition of "strong" posited at the outset of the thread re: 300/400/500. We all know endless dudes who can't hit those numbers who are jacked af. We also all know lots of dudes who are really strong and have no physique to speak of. That said, I do think it's true that you have to be strong in some relative sense in order for hypertrophy training to work. No one with big biceps failed to progress his curls beyond the 25s, and it's just a lot easier to make those numbers move when some big compounds are in the mix and going up, versus trying to progress the curls on their own. That's not to say that you can't do so otherwise, but in any event there's just no harm in taking a short period to make one's self reasonably strong on some compound lifts before diving in.

Final thought: I'm not suggesting that anyone here is doing this, but we should avoid the usual problem in this hobby of the pendulum swinging too far. No, you don't need to SBD to get jacked, but you sure as hell can get jacked doing them. I don't have a very impressive physique, but I do have some strengths, one of which is some pretty damn developed legs, and nearly the entirety of that development is from squatting ("nearly" because I had a productive period of deficit deadlifts). I haven't seriously touched a leg extension in decades and have never seriously leg pressed or used the hack squat or any other machine. I'm not the first person to build big ass thighs solely from squats, or the millionth. Obviously that doesn't mean that squats are a good tool for everyone or necessary for anyone. I'm just saying, "hypertrophy" training shouldn't necessarily exclude these tried and true lifts.

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Re: No Progress

#32

Post by mgil » Thu May 09, 2024 1:42 pm

Some people get jacked on push-ups, sit ups, and sprints. Those people aren’t normal.

At the end of the day, peeps can do whatever the fuck they want. That being said, fastest path for most peeps is building a basic amount of strength and using that to build hypertrophy.

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Re: No Progress

#33

Post by Adams » Thu May 09, 2024 1:48 pm

DanCR wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 11:49 am
dw wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 8:30 pmWhen I said low responder I had in mind hypertrophy but to me it seems unlikely to me there's a difference - that a person makes purely strength related adaptations with low volume but needs a lot of volume for hypertrophy, or vice versa. Idk.
I agree, especially early on, but I think that's another reason to start by running an initial "strength" program for a limited period of time.
dw wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 8:30 pmI also think most of the gains in a successful run of something like SS are from hypertrophy anyway. Successful being let's say 3 months without a reset.

By "most of the gains" I mean that if you somehow replicated the hypertrophy gains with very dissimilar movements to SBD, you could probably get the strength gains in about 4 weeks without bulking, but if you replicated the CNS and technique gains without bulking, you would still need 3 months of hypertrophy work to get to the same end point. (Hopefully that thought experiment is not too convoluted.)
The bold is the rub, though. Certainly one doesn't necessarily have to low bar squat, flat bench, and conventional deadlift for newbie gains. Plenty of alternatives. But I do think that, once one has chosen their preferred alternatives, there's value in LPing the shit out of them for a limited period. If someone wanted to, for example, Zercher squat, incline bench, and RDL, I think that would be great. Once you start thinking about "very dissimilar movements," though, I don't think there's a lot of hope for similar results. It's just very hard to progress, say, dumbbell work, in the same way. (That said, this all caused me to ruminate last night on what an all DB version of SS or whatever might look like. I've been loving DBs lately.)
CheekiBreekiFitness wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 10:09 pm I feel that this divide between "strength training" and "hypertrophy training" is artificial in that context. I think that a good program will expose you to a wide variety of rep ranges : some 3s, some 5s, some 10s, maybe some 15s and a variety of training modalities: barbell, dumbell, even machines. You'll build plenty of strength and if you're eating at a slight surplus you'll build size too. This idea of "do this particular rep range to achieve goal X" is misplaced in my opinion. Speaking of which, when I look at some of the recommended programs in the thread, many are not "strength" programs, they are just lifting programs that'll get you bigger and stronger.
I agree, but I think that there's a distinction between the first few months and everything later.
CheekiBreekiFitness wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 10:09 pm Also, I think that you guys overlook what's in the program beyond just the sets and reps and exercise selection. So OP was mentioning that he was doing 200 sets a week. From this I can immediately tell that he does not know how to train "hard". I do about 100 sets a week and I cannot fathom doing twice that and surviving. So a program like super squats or starting strength or 5/3/1 with AMRAPs to true failure or DC training or whatever that is will teach you how to train hard enough so that those sets actually stimulate something. To take the example of super squats, those 6 weeks doing 1 set of 20 reps and adding weight each session will teach you something that can't be taught through the internet or a book. Now once you know how to train hard enough, then you can pivot to something else, you don't have to be married to just one approach.
You beat me to it. There is no chance that OP's claim to train in the @9-10 range is true. I'm not saying that he doesn't believe that; I'm saying that at over 200 sets a week of all different kinds of stuff, he's wrong. As you say, learning to train hard is part of the value in these programs. It's far easier to learn to train hard when you have limited things on which to concentrate and aren't distracted by fucking wrist curls and tibia raises lol. Of course there are outliers but what are the chances that dude is one of them?
CheekiBreekiFitness wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 10:09 pmI also don't believe in this notion of a "low responder" in an abstract sense. OP does not respond to his current programming so he's a low responder to that program, and should do something else, but that does not mean that he needs more volume, he just needs to do something different. Going in the lifting game while already having this self limiting belief of being a "low responder" is not good for your progress. You should go in the gym feeling that you're going to kick ass, not feeling sorry for yourself.
Right, maybe he’s just a low responder to super slow eccentrics and stretched pauses. I mean do we even know anyone who does respond well to that stuff, especially a newbie? If you follow the folks online, they seem to fall into two groups (1) dudes who look great when ripped / in the right lighting / from the right angle but actually are small, e.g. Menno Henselmans; and (2) dudes who are big but got that way doing entirely different shit, e.g. Mike Israetel.
Adams wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 11:57 pm Only thing I will say is this is a strength forum so people will be biased towards the barbell lifts, they're great lifts but they aren't essential unless your goal is to be strong at them. I've seen loads of jacked people who aren't near the numbers 300/400/500. One of my clients has gained loads of muscle and is jacked (people are shocked when they see him if they haven't seen him in a while) and he doesn't do any of the barbell lifts and would be weak if he tried. The idea that you won't look jacked until you can lift 300/400/500, or hypertrophy training doesn't work until you're strong just isn't true. I know lots of strong people who look average. I got to a 140kg bench and 180kg x 10 squat and I didn't look great until I changed the way I trained. Just getting the big three lifts up isn't the best approach if looking good and being big is the goal.
Generally what is your client doing? (I say "generally" because I'm not asking for every particular - that's what your client pays you for.)

Anyway, I think we're getting too caught up in the definition of "strong" posited at the outset of the thread re: 300/400/500. We all know endless dudes who can't hit those numbers who are jacked af. We also all know lots of dudes who are really strong and have no physique to speak of. That said, I do think it's true that you have to be strong in some relative sense in order for hypertrophy training to work. No one with big biceps failed to progress his curls beyond the 25s, and it's just a lot easier to make those numbers move when some big compounds are in the mix and going up, versus trying to progress the curls on their own. That's not to say that you can't do so otherwise, but in any event there's just no harm in taking a short period to make one's self reasonably strong on some compound lifts before diving in.

Final thought: I'm not suggesting that anyone here is doing this, but we should avoid the usual problem in this hobby of the pendulum swinging too far. No, you don't need to SBD to get jacked, but you sure as hell can get jacked doing them. I don't have a very impressive physique, but I do have some strengths, one of which is some pretty damn developed legs, and nearly the entirety of that development is from squatting ("nearly" because I had a productive period of deficit deadlifts). I haven't seriously touched a leg extension in decades and have never seriously leg pressed or used the hack squat or any other machine. I'm not the first person to build big ass thighs solely from squats, or the millionth. Obviously that doesn't mean that squats are a good tool for everyone or necessary for anyone. I'm just saying, "hypertrophy" training shouldn't necessarily exclude these tried and true lifts.
He just does a bro split. He would never have got those results focusing on the barbell lifts.

Obviously you need to make progress on the lifts you’re doing and get stronger in them. You should be getting stronger when training for hypertrophy, but that means on a variety of lifts and often in a higher rep range rather than focusing on a few lifts. The strength community massively overrated the importance of the big three lifts when someone’s goal isn’t building a big squat, bench and deadlift.

I’m not suggesting they’re bad lifts or should be avoided, I do some of them myself. I was replying to the many posts suggesting that should be the priority. It’s old school mindset that often leaves people frustrated with the results. Getting to 140kg didn’t do anything for my chest or arms. I wished I hadn’t listen to the advice like what’s been given in this thread many years ago.

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Re: No Progress

#34

Post by mgil » Thu May 09, 2024 5:32 pm

@Adams i was reading through a prior thread and saw the link to you post about the Dan John “big plates” deal which is what I’ve been doing (albeit in slow motion) for a while with accommodations for bench due to injury.

I think I see where you’re coming from now. I agree that a guy can bench 315 and not look swole. One of the posters that used to be active here (Victor E, can’t remember his handle), can pull 700 and bench 400 and doesn’t look like a massive monster of a dude.

However, I still think building a base (and not some arbitrary 3/4/5 type of bullshit) is useful for the typical younger trainee looking for sheer size to then cut from. So running a basic progression in moderate rep ranges will usually build that base quickly and then the trainee can deviate as needed. Using the barbell as the only tool to get a more typical BB physique is a fool’s errand, unless a lot of gear (the Rx type) is involved.

I think this is highlighted prior but if not I’ll reiterate it now. Using the barbell also allows for a person to work harder and understand what it feels like to work hard. There are other ways to do this, but it’s a simple and readily available tool. Without knowing much else about a person’s genetics, we can at least get some understanding of calibration from asking about “when did you run an Nx5 program and how did it end?” This often provides good context for understanding systemic response.

I think gauging response using machines becomes nearly impossible as machines are notoriously uncalibrated (for example weight stack numbers between machines sometimes don’t align) and higher rep work speaks to things like cardiovascular efficiency and other metabolic stuff.

Single joint exercises are a bit tricky as well, even with free weights, as without video, we don’t know much about what’s going on to execute the lift. As an anecdote, my daughter came back home for summer break and I started her in the garage gym to be ready for rugby next fall. She was commenting on the young men at her school and their execution of curls. You know, the typical nonsense. But again, that makes it hard to reckon when discussing response.

So we are left with stuff like bench, squat, and deads. The average bro knows the barbell needs to touch his chest, so ROM is somewhat consistent. Sure, the ass can lift, but that’s usually not super common for a set of reps in the 4-6 range. At least the first few! (lol)

Deadlifts can be cheated with hitching and whatnot, but again, pulling from the floor and standing up straight with the barbell in hand guarantees some consistency. Similarly, a set for reps mitigates some risk. But not always.

Squats are one that I don’t hold to a similar expectation as those can be cheated in the half to quarter rep regime. And sometimes the lifter isn’t really cognizant that their ROM sucks. So while squats are a compound lift that can be done heavy, they are a little tough to adjudicate from numbers alone.

This rambling isn’t to say that strength oriented programs are the best programs to start people on for whatever their goals may be. Rather, they are probably a really good way for the lifter (and coach) to figure out response to resistance training with some rough notion of standards involved. Those programs carry the potential positive side effect of getting someone to lift something heavy towards the end which drives motivation.

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Re: No Progress

#35

Post by Adams » Thu May 09, 2024 10:32 pm

mgil wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 5:32 pm @Adams i was reading through a prior thread and saw the link to you post about the Dan John “big plates” deal which is what I’ve been doing (albeit in slow motion) for a while with accommodations for bench due to injury.

I think I see where you’re coming from now. I agree that a guy can bench 315 and not look swole. One of the posters that used to be active here (Victor E, can’t remember his handle), can pull 700 and bench 400 and doesn’t look like a massive monster of a dude.

However, I still think building a base (and not some arbitrary 3/4/5 type of bullshit) is useful for the typical younger trainee looking for sheer size to then cut from. So running a basic progression in moderate rep ranges will usually build that base quickly and then the trainee can deviate as needed. Using the barbell as the only tool to get a more typical BB physique is a fool’s errand, unless a lot of gear (the Rx type) is involved.

I think this is highlighted prior but if not I’ll reiterate it now. Using the barbell also allows for a person to work harder and understand what it feels like to work hard. There are other ways to do this, but it’s a simple and readily available tool. Without knowing much else about a person’s genetics, we can at least get some understanding of calibration from asking about “when did you run an Nx5 program and how did it end?” This often provides good context for understanding systemic response.

I think gauging response using machines becomes nearly impossible as machines are notoriously uncalibrated (for example weight stack numbers between machines sometimes don’t align) and higher rep work speaks to things like cardiovascular efficiency and other metabolic stuff.

Single joint exercises are a bit tricky as well, even with free weights, as without video, we don’t know much about what’s going on to execute the lift. As an anecdote, my daughter came back home for summer break and I started her in the garage gym to be ready for rugby next fall. She was commenting on the young men at her school and their execution of curls. You know, the typical nonsense. But again, that makes it hard to reckon when discussing response.

So we are left with stuff like bench, squat, and deads. The average bro knows the barbell needs to touch his chest, so ROM is somewhat consistent. Sure, the ass can lift, but that’s usually not super common for a set of reps in the 4-6 range. At least the first few! (lol)

Deadlifts can be cheated with hitching and whatnot, but again, pulling from the floor and standing up straight with the barbell in hand guarantees some consistency. Similarly, a set for reps mitigates some risk. But not always.

Squats are one that I don’t hold to a similar expectation as those can be cheated in the half to quarter rep regime. And sometimes the lifter isn’t really cognizant that their ROM sucks. So while squats are a compound lift that can be done heavy, they are a little tough to adjudicate from numbers alone.

This rambling isn’t to say that strength oriented programs are the best programs to start people on for whatever their goals may be. Rather, they are probably a really good way for the lifter (and coach) to figure out response to resistance training with some rough notion of standards involved. Those programs carry the potential positive side effect of getting someone to lift something heavy towards the end which drives motivation.
I don’t really disagree with you. I was more replying to the extreme posts.

I should point out that the majority of my clients do the barbell lifts and I still squat, bench and overhead press myself. I think they’re good lifts for many reasons. One being motivation as you’ll never outgrow them and so can set short and long term targets. I think most beginners should start out doing them and do other exercises.

There is a lot of the general public who honestly aren’t mentally tough enough, and don’t care enough to push those exercises, but they still can get the results they want. Saying get your squat, bench and deadlift up to these people won’t help them. The client I mentioned is one of them. It’s why he was better off training like “a bro” and achieved the results he wanted.

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Re: No Progress

#36

Post by KyleSchuant » Fri May 10, 2024 3:47 am

In my dusty little gym, I get enquiries from men and women. The women basically all just say they want to get stronger, except a few who are rehabbing some injury; the occasional one mentions weight loss, but it's usually an afterthought and once they start training they never mention it again. But the men fall into two categories.

1. "I hurt my back deadlifting." It was something between 120 and 160kg.
2. "I did a novice progression, then when I hit [insert weight here, usually 90-110kg] backed off to work on form. That was two years ago." Somehow, their form was never quite right to add more weight to the bar.

Your video appears to be an 80kg work set squat, and you mention having trained for two years, so it seems like you're the second kind, with the added complication of majoring in the minors. You've probably heard the saying that 80% of your results will come from 20% of the things you could be doing. The question for newbies is what that particular 20% is, it's not always obvious.

But when you look into it, it becomes more obvious. The problem is that the 20% of stuff that'll give you 80% of your results is a bit boring. "Squat for whatever reps you like within reason - more than 1 set of 1 but less than 10 sets of 10 - but do the same reps next time, and add a bit of weight to the bar next time." This will stimulate your body to grow. "Eat a bit more, mostly vegies and protein-rich food," will provide the material for that growth.

The other 80% of the stuff you could do will give you 20% of your possible results. That's fussing about whether you have 135g of protein or 145g of protein, your leucine intake, nutrient timing, whether you do 3 sets of 5 or 1 set of 20, all that stuff. That's much more interesting, but unfortunately not helpful.

I understand you're a bit timid about adding weight to the bar and eating lots of good food. That's alright, just titrate it up over time. Pick 3-6 lifts, and every time you go in do at least one of more weight, more reps or more sets. Which 3-6 isn't that important, I think, compared to your just sticking to them and improving them.

And try to eat so that your weight creeps up. You'll get used to the new weight on the bar and on the scale, it just takes time, ease into it. Some others have suggested goal bodyweight or barbell weights. I wouldn't worry about that. Some people will feel good at lift X, and some feel terrible at lift 3 x X. Others will be thrilled with how they look at bodyweight Y, but depressed as hell at bodyweight 0.9 x Y or 1.1 x Y. So just edge up both the barbell and your bodyweight over time, and see how you go.

You've already trained for two years, which is good. Now bear in mind that you're planning to train for a lifetime. Take your time, edge it up - but do progress. The rate of progression is negotiable, progress is not. Edge it up over time.

Obviously you can't do that forever. But you appear to be a healthy young male squatting 80kg for his work sets. You can do more without flattening yourself.

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Re: No Progress

#37

Post by Jamessmithson » Fri May 10, 2024 4:46 am

Thank you so much for such detailed comments from everyone!!! Took me a while just wrapping my head around them. I'll try doing 5 reps for several months as a useful strength 'base' as has been suggested and up my calories. I'll stop the super slow eccentrics and pauses. I'll also ensure I'm making progress week by week (easy doing 5 reps), and if not increasing volume/intensity or deloading. I deloaded every 4/8 weeks before - maybe I just wasn't doing enough volume previously since I wasn't get sore.
On doing 210 sets and not being RPE 9/10. Surely my squat linked in the previous page was RPE 9/10 (look at the faces made)? I have tried to make everything as intense as possible. Why wouldn't RPE 9/10 on 210 sets a week be possible in a highly motivated disciplined person if you train 7 days a week and most of those 210 exercises are small (e.g. wrist curls)?

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Re: No Progress

#38

Post by KyleSchuant » Fri May 10, 2024 5:20 am

I don't think it's useful for an inexperienced lifter to try to gauge RPE. Simply look at whether you completed the target reps or not. If you did, then you go up in weight next time.

And if you don't do the target reps, have a close look to figure out whether you failed, or you gave up. For newer lifters, giving up is much more common than failing.

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Re: No Progress

#39

Post by Jamessmithson » Fri May 10, 2024 5:45 am

KyleSchuant wrote: Fri May 10, 2024 5:20 am You said "Squat for whatever reps you like within reason - more than 1 set of 1 but less than 10 sets of 10 - but do the same reps next time, and add a bit of weight to the bar next time."
KyleSchuant wrote: Fri May 10, 2024 5:20 am I don't think it's useful for an inexperienced lifter to try to gauge RPE. Simply look at whether you completed the target reps or not. If you did, then you go up in weight next time.

And if you don't do the target reps, have a close look to figure out whether you failed, or you gave up. For newer lifters, giving up is much more common than failing.
I think the issue is, as you and others have said, I've been trying to add reps in the 8-12 range of very slow reps. Instead of adding weight. 8-12 reps in the very slow range would equal around 16 normal reps. Progressing with weight there takes a long time and cannot be tracked accurately. Hence, I haven't been accordingly adding volume or deloading. And I haven't been training with high enough weight for hypertrophy training to be effective.


This squat of 6 reps is a lower rep range than what I usually do, but similar intensity. Given how hard I train (see the faces), I doubt you can say that's me being hesitant to progressively overload with reps.

I've always heard 5 reps is tough on the joints and tendons, and 8-12 is better. I'm sure that certainly isn't a concern for novices as long as progression rates are sensible and deloads are taken.
Last edited by Jamessmithson on Fri May 10, 2024 6:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: No Progress

#40

Post by KyleSchuant » Fri May 10, 2024 6:13 am

It's 80kg and maybe some change, I can't see from the vid. That won't be hard on any tendons and ligaments unless you hang it from your penis or something.

I think the rep range is a secondary consideration in this instance. Your squat rep speed is slow here because you've chosen for it to be slow. You're moving slowly and cautiously, obviously apprehensive about the weight. Don't be apprehensive. Put the safeties up by about one slot, then if it gets too heavy you can simply lean forward and dump the bar, and nothing will be hurt except your ego - of course, the most delicate part of any man. Make the barbell your bitch. If you and the barbell are in prison together, the barbell gets the bottom bunk.

Think of this long term. As I said, you've already done it for two years. Think of two years from now. Even if you got yourself microplates and all you did was add 0.5kg each week, in two years you'd be squatting 52kg more - 132kg for work sets. I would suggest that even at that slow pace of progress you'd get some physique changes.

As an example, here's my lifter Cass. At 172cm she's gone from 59 to 70kg bodyweight. So she's 8cm shorter than you but the same weight. She's far from HYUGE. She took two years to put that bodyweight on.

Following her is Merkava who at 162cm went from 58 to 65kg bodyweight, taking eight months to do it, front squatted 60kg and back squatted 80, while doing night shifts as a paramedic. 18cm shorter than you but just 5kg lower bodyweight. HYUGE?

Oh, and here's Rosie who popped in to say hi one day after being absent for some years, she'd previously squatted 80 and deadlifted 120kg at 70yo, here she did 90kg at 75yo.

Lastly there's OG Pete who squatted 60kg for work sets after five months. But he was 77 years old, and had no previous history of weight training.

This is not to boast, because these lifts are in no way remarkable in stength-focused gyms. The guys here will all have examples of themselves and - for those who are trainers or coaches - their lifters doing much more. Still less is it intended to shame you. It's simply to put what you're doing in perspective and inspire you. You've shown commitment to training steadily for two years. This is good. Now it's time to take that consistency and focus it better so you can get better results and get closer to your potential.

Edge up the weight on the bar and the weight on the scale gradually over time. Ideally, look for a decent powerlifting or weightlifting gym in your area. Really you just need someone to slap you on the back and say, "you'll be alright, mate, get under the bar" and shout at you a bit when you unrack it and look nervous.

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