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Please keep questions on topic, write clearly, concisely, and don't post diet calculations.

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Calin
Calin
February 9, 2018 22:16

Awesome article! Just one question about the programming that you laid out: The week 4 after you kept increasing the sets do you implement a deload on intensity as well or you just reduce the sets? Thank you!

Bryan
Bryan
February 10, 2018 09:39
Reply to  Calin

Hey Chris,

You know, it depends. Sometimes I suggest cutting both volume and intensity; other times (when someone still feels fresh) I suggest cutting volume but maintaining intensity.

Chris
Chris
December 3, 2016 11:08

Awesome article, this is bookmarked on my desktop. Every coach should read this

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
December 5, 2016 15:41
Reply to  Chris

Glad you liked it Chris!

Alex
Alex
September 6, 2016 00:31

Great article Bryan! I am curious to hear more about your thoughts on doing hypertrophy protocols while in a caloric deficit. A lot of what I have read suggests that during a cut, the goal is to keep intensity high to preserve muscle, as opposed to trying to gain new muscle which would be very difficult in a deficit. Mike Isreatel talks a lot about how you need a lot of volume to make new muscle, but very little to preserve already-acquired muscle. Can you expand a bit on this?

Andy Morgan
Admin
Andy Morgan
September 6, 2016 11:34
Reply to  Alex

Great question Alex. Allow me to answer.

In short, you can run a hypertrophy protocol when cutting, yes. Your ability to respond to it will be hampered, but you may still make progress depending on circumstance.

Taken from:
Which Training Program Is For Me?

How much progress can be made while cutting?

On average, for someone let’s say cutting from 20% body fat to a stage shredded 5%, they’ll make progress during the first 1/3 of the cut, work to maintain their progress during the middle third, and then probably regress a little in the last 1/3 as they get below 9% body fat. Now, as the vast majority of clients aren’t destined for the stage, regressions don’t typically happen to any significant extent at all. They usually make progress until they get down to around 13-14% body fat, after which point the training is often mainly about maintaining what they have. But this is just averages, and there aren’t any average cases.

It’s rare that people are equally experienced in all lifts, some will progress better than others. The bench tends to be one that suffers, but that’s the combination of people generally having more experience here, as well as the loss of fat from the back and chest meaning the bar has to travel further. Any new lift will expect good progress, but that won’t necessarily relate to muscle mass gain while base competency with the movement pattern is gained.

Some people are coming back to training from a period of time off so they make great progress.

Some people tell themselves they won’t make any progress in a deficit and that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy (the mind has a powerful effect on the body).

Some people have life stress come up that hampers how well they respond to the training.

Lastly, different people are just different. I’ve seen some guys make progress throughout the entirety of a cut. I’ve seen some people just get stuck without explanation. (Though in these latter cases I’m fairly convinced it’s just a lack of belief in themselves that holds them back – poor gym environment, etc. I try to weed these people out in the application process though and just tell them straight – get your arse to a proper gym – which means I rarely see this issue anymore.)

Gabriel
Gabriel
September 1, 2016 17:05

Hi Bryan,

thanks for the great summary of your findings. I have a question about the progression. Starting at 12 sets / part / week. In weeks 3,6,9,12 you do the same number of sets but divided across 1,2,3,3 exposures? Or is it that once you switch to twice a week then it becomes twice 12 sets in week 6?

If its the first case, i dont see how you increase volume, instead of just dividing it into parts…

Thanks

Daren Willcock
Daren Willcock
September 1, 2016 15:53

Good article. I would be interested to hear more about training for the over 50s, especially those of us who have been training since our teens. I am 49 and have trained since I was 14. I am almost as strong now as I was at my peak (41 years) on pressing movements, and as strong as I have ever been on rowing (back) exercises. Because of lower back problems I can no longer deadlift, squat, pick up heavy dumbbells off the rack, or do anything that recruits a lot of lower back muscles, or puts compression on the spine, other than physiotherapist prescribed remedial exercises like careful hyperextensions.

If I bench press with a barbell, my shoulders become painfully stiff the next day. If I lift directly overhead, I usually pull a neck muscle… blah blah blah. Many people lifting for 35 years three or four times a week will get the idea.

After reaching strength plateaus and increasing injury occurrence doing a classic 8 to 10 sets per bodypart once a weeks, split into three Push, Pull, Legs sessions, I switched to the old Casey Viator total body routine using mainly machines. If you look him up on youtube “Casey Viator Training” you will see an exact workout he puts his trainee through.

I do a very similar workout (minus the squats) once every 6 to 10 days. For me it works out to about 2 minutes under tension for each muscle group.

All I want to say is, that if you are suffering from your training past, give this routine a try. I have been able to increase strength every week, and allowing my entire body to rest 6 to 10 days between workouts has been fantastic for my injuries and hypertrophy. I am actually the biggest I have ever been in my life.

Warning! Because of the decreased volume and frequency you will have to readjust your maintenance calories somewhat, unless you compensate like I do with a lot of walking (hills in Scotland).

But if you were thinking about throwing in the towel because of weight training induced pain, give it a go. Hope this helps anybody (old gits) out there. Cheers. Daren.

Daniel Zhang
Daniel Zhang
August 29, 2016 10:52

Cogent article with a measured approach. As a fellow online coach this rings true on a sustained level. 1 question, the line towards the end of the article “There are always best practices, but the overarching theme is to make the client fit the program, not vice versa.”, is that a typo? To me it should read as the program should fit the client (individualisation).

Bill
Bill
August 28, 2016 22:38

Great article, as a long time trainer I use and believe in these techniques.

Rob
Rob
August 27, 2016 15:30

Great article! Just curious about those example mesocycles you listed. Lets say those sets apply to back workouts and a trainee is doing barbell rows which contributes to weekly sets. Could one do week 1 4×8, week 2 5×10 and then week 3 6×12 and then deload on week 4? Or is it better to manipulate just the number of sets and keep the weight on the bar similar so that one hits 4×8, 5×8 and then 6×8?

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