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» Reference List

  1. Helms, E.R., et al., Recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: resistance and cardiovascular training. J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 2015. 55(3): p. 164.
  2. Morton, R.W., et al., A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults. Br J Sports Med, 2018. 52(6): p. 376.

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

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John
John

Hi Andy,

Do you know how one could determine whether to increase volume to continue progressing or if it is better to keep the same volume but change progression schemes?

I have been running a routine similar to the novice bodybuilding routine found here and in the books. My strength gains are starting to slow and I notice how when I add weight to the bar my RPE is going up meaning my strength isn’t keeping up. I am just having trouble figuring out whether an increase in training volume will allow me to continue using linear progression or if I should keep my volume the same and just change to the intermediate progression styles.

Hopefully this all made sense.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi John, makes sense. Try a little additional volume first by adding a set or so on body parts where progression is slowing. Bear in mind this may require a temporary dip in total load used.

Michael Bested
Michael Bested

Hi Andy can you help me understand this from the Muscle and Strength book “After the deload, in the first week of your next cycle, select a load
that you will be able to complete the wave loading pattern with for
that exercise you stalled on (5–10% lighter than the load you stalled
with on the week or weeks you stalled).”
If I on my bench did 4×5 with 102,5kg and next week stalled on 105kg and only did x4 x4 x3 x3. and the week after with 107,5kg only did x3 x2 and then had to drop weight to achieve final reps.What weight should I start with after the deload week? im confused to if I should start with the x4 wave with 5-10% lighter weight or start from beginning 4×5 with 102,5 – 5-10%

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Michael,

It was too heavy, so lighten it up a little. Don’t think in terms of percentages, just take a guess at what might be right. 100 or 97.5 kg for the first week of the next cycle, perhaps.

Have you seen the support page for the books? You’ll see ~800 questions answered there which you might find helpful. Just search using control/command + f.

Mark Nelson
Mark Nelson

Hi Andy,
Thanks for taking questions! If a program (like your intermediate hypertrophy sample) calls for 4×8-12 on something, would you rather see someone:

1) push each set to RPE 8-9, and thus hit something like 17,12,8,6 OR 2) hold back on the first couple sets, so they’re maybe only RPE 5-6, and get 12,12,10,9 OR 3) doesn’t really matter that much long term.

Thanks!

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Mark,
Broadly speaking, I usually program a first set RPE of 8/7/6 for sets of 3/4/5 respectively. You’ll see that in action in our Novice and Intermediate programs (see here for links).

Mark Nelson
Mark Nelson

Thanks for the reply.

I guess what I’m asking is, look at the double progression example in the table in Step 3 of your new “How to Build Training Programs” article. You have the trainee working at a set load until they complete all sets at the top end of the range. In that example, it’s 3 sets of 8-15.

So if the trainee could do 19 reps that first set and still be within the recommended RPE range, should they take it to 19, or should they cap it at 15 in order to save energy for the later sets of that exercise?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Cap it at 15. You’ll

Carlos Vanegas
Carlos Vanegas

Hi Andy,
I’m little confused on how to combine this information here with the “How to keep progressing…” article. Is the flowchart applicable to novice progression? or only after plateauing when already implementing intermediate progression?
I was following the Novice BB program for several months using novice progression, then plateaued on my bench press and squat and started to make transition to Intermediate program, moved from 4 to 5 days and from 50 to 70 sets total. I’m second guessing my decision since I feel like i’m not recovering as well as I used to when I was training 4 or even 3 days a week. I’m thinking I should have changed the progression method to intermediate without adding volume necessarily.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Carlos, thank you for the question.
If you’re taking care of steps 1–6, I think the next logical step is to consider the intermediate progression.

Carlos
Carlos

So just to be 100% clear, before considering adding volume I should move to intermediate progression (assuming point 1 thru 5 are already taken care of)

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Thinking about it, adding volume to a particular exercise prior to doing that can work also. So I can’t state this as a must.

As frustrating as that may be, bear in mind this is us trying to put a rule framework on a dynamic system, and more often than not our decisions come down to coaching instinct built up over experience, not running through a checklist.

Try one or the other and see how you do.

Fred
Fred

Martin Berkhan recommends 60% of calories to come from protein, what are your thoughts on this?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Calorie intake will change (decrease) over the course of a diet, but protein needs will largely remain the same, (or if anything, go up slightly). Thus, I prefer to set protein intake based on weight.

Viktor Nilsson
Viktor Nilsson

The flowchart was useful! Makes it easier to get into my head that I shouldn’t skip on the initial important parts (as energy surplus).

Gret reading as always, thanks Andy!

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Most welcome, Viktor.

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