My SST candidate

Discussion in 'Strength-Specific Training (SST)' started by mikeynov, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    Alright, this is going to take a little bit of explaining. Probably a lot more after people look it over (it's not the smallest thing I've ever written).

    My basic idea was to come up with a strength-specific training routine based on general principles of the subject.

    Here's a few of them:

    * SAID implies that the best way to optimize performance in a given lift is to practice that lift specifically
    * More frequent (say, 2-3x weekly) training has been shown to foster comparatively greater strength gains versus infrequent training
    * Rhea's reviews imply that 3 times a week training is more optimal for a beginner (then again, lighter weights are too, which would screw up logic of a beginner doing SST - just do HST!;)
    * Similarly, Rhea's review has twice a week frequency as optimal for this target audience, with ~80% 1 RM (on the light side of our cycles) and possibly 85% 1 RM for "athletes," which might represent those of us with a lot of training years. Either way, we're mostly in the 80-89% of 1 RM range for training, which may be about right-ish.
    * Prilepin's figures for 80-89% of 1 RM holds that "optimal" reps per session would be around 15, with 2-4 reps per set. I'm thinking default at 3.
    * Strength is better retained when it occurs alongside a gain in muscle. As per the previous principle, muscle gain is optimized by creating a general environment for hypertrophy via more frequent training (i.e. more frequent elevation of MPS).
    * The body will accrue resistance over time towards growing more muscular via RBE
    * There is apparently some research that the 4-6 rep range (5 is the default) may foster better strength gains than 1-3. And it's probably a safer default range. Though I'm now leaning again towards sets of 3 while bumping up the total number of sets (safeness will be the same as the intensity isn't changing).
    * Comparatively higher frequency of training can be fostered by avoiding excess neural fatigue - i.e. don't often train to failure in any of the movements, ~once every two weeks.
    * Smaller/conservative increments (from one training session to the next) lend themselves towards strength accrual versus comparatively larger increments.

    Now, here's a few anecdotal principles based on other successful systems:

    * Cycling of "max effort" exercises
    * Optional inclusion of speed work
    * Attempts to address weak points over time
    * Occasional "peaking" in which new 1 (or optionally 3) RM's are established in the competition lifts. Considering adding more extended cycles of 3 at some point, not sure how to implement that.
    * Periodic deconditioning so you don't explode. Note that with 2 week blocks, the first week will represent a "mini-deconditioning" with the second approaching all out effort by the end.
    * Always use good form, which can be reinforced by cycling intensities (so there's always periods of time when you can focus more on technique than max strength)
    * 2 weeks seems to be "enough" time to yield some measurable strength gain if you're playing your cards right, depending on what you're doing. Consider that HST, Westside and DC training all average out to having ~2 week cycles to establish new RM's, albeit in different rep ranges from each other. Anecdotally, I've noticed people that are training hard/smart can add a bit of iron to the bar on average every couple of weeks.

    So, all of this spells SST. The general premise is to use the basic format of 2 week blocks of intensity (%RM) cycling for "max effort" movements, which can be the competition lifts (squats/deadlifts and bench) or similar movements that work the same muscle groups ala Westside (ie good mornings and the like). The rep range chosen as default for these 2 week blocks is 5 reps. However, after reconsideration, assuming Prilepin's guidelines have any value, sets of 3 with the last day of the cycle aiming for one max set of 5 seems possibly more appropriate.

    I've also included an assistance movement for each max effort lift, meant to address the weak point (which could, optionally, be speed work for that movement), as well as specific work for the core, posterior chain and triceps. This "assistance" work can be cycled using a variety of rep ranges, will probably depend on a lot of factors, including exercise selection.

    Note that I do NOT have a separate deadlift day, as I couldn't think of any way to address both squats and deadlifts all the time, other than it being an option to use deadlifts as one of the ME movements for lower body.

    I originally tried to think of a format that would be thrice weekly, but realized quickly that the number of exercises involved might be a bit prohibitive for some people. Also, I doubt people lifting generally heavier stuff (i.e. the more advanced people) could get away with lifting comparatively high loads thrice a week by default, which is why I originally created the twice a week format for that target audience.

    It's actually probably easiest to pull off thrice weekly if you can train twice a day, which not many can.

    However, I imagine strength noobs could adopt a simplified version of a 3 day a week system and probably benefit greatly due to the increased motor learning. Others may prefer the twice weekly approach in general, probably depends on a lot of factors (i.e. some people do very well strength-wise with HST, others not well, this may have a lot to do with it). Further consideration leads me to conclude that the four day, twice a week frequency version should probably be the default way to go.

    Otherwise, there's not much left other than to post what I've written up. I've included "filler" information that is totally subject to change, so don't consider much of anything written in stone. For example, the size of increments is HUGELY dependent on your current level of strength. The values here are general guesstimates relative to my own strength.

    This may be total garbage - I dunno. I'd appreciate feedback either way, though.
  2. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    SST

    2 week cycles of 5s in squat/deadlift and bench Max Effort movements, establishing new 5 RM's in the ME movements at the end of each 2 week block.

    Assistance/accessory/core work is also potentially cycled, usually at higher rep ranges.

    Option to stick to competition lifts or vary ME lifts ala westside.

    Periodically establish new 1 or 3 RM in competition lifts. Do this even if you rotate ME movements and your previous cycle wasn't the competition lifts.

    Note: DE work normally not included, option to include it as assistance movement.

    Likely Rep Ranges
    Lower Body Assistance: 5, 8, 12 reps or speed
    Upper Body Assistance: 5, 8, 12 reps or speed
    Core: static 15-20 reps
    Primary Movement: 5 reps
    Posterior Chain: 10-15 reps
    Triceps Movement: 10-15 reps
    Lats/Midback: Whatever

    A
    Squat/deadlift ME movement
    Squat/deadlift assistance movement (weak point)
    Posterior Chain movement
    Core movement

    B
    Bench ME movement
    Bench assistance movement (weak point)
    Triceps
    Lats/Midback

    Format 1 - 3 Days a week. Beginner & Intermediate format.(squat assistance = posterior chain movement, triceps optional).

    Increments:

    ME Squat/Deadlift: 5-10+ lbs
    Squat/Deadlift assistance / Posterior Chain: 10-15 lbs
    Core: Static

    ME Bench: ~5 lbs
    Bench Assistance: 5-10 lbs
    Triceps: 5-10 lbs
    Lats/Midback: 5-10 lbs

    Optional Format A
    Saturday - off
    Sunday - off
    Monday - A + B
    Tuesday - off
    Wednesday - A + B
    Thursday - off
    Friday - A + B
    Saturday - off
    Sunday - off
    Monday - A + B
    Tuesday - off
    Wednesday - A + B
    Thursday - off
    Friday - A + B (new 5 RM's)
    Saturday - off
    Sunday - off
    Monday - New 2 week cycle

    Optional Format B
    Saturday - off
    Sunday - off
    Monday - A
    Tuesday - B
    Wednesday - A
    Thursday - B
    Friday - A + B (drop one upper and lower movement?)
    Saturday - off
    Sunday - off
    Monday - A
    Tuesday - B
    Wednesday - A
    Thursday - B
    Friday - A + B (drop one upper and lower movement?) (New 5 RM's)
    Saturday - off
    Sunday - off
    Monday - New 2 week cycle

    Example:

    Saturday - off
    Sunday - off
    Monday - Squats, RDL's, Abs + Bench, Pause Bench, Rows,Chins
    Tuesday - off
    Wednesday - Squats, RDL's, Abs + Bench, Pause Bench, Rows,Chins
    Thursday - off
    Friday - Squats, RDL's, Abs + Bench, Pause Bench, Rows,Chins
    Saturday - off
    Sunday - off
    Monday - Squats, RDL's, Abs + Bench, Pause Bench, Rows,Chins
    Tuesday - off
    Wednesday - Squats, RDL's, Abs + Bench, Pause Bench, Rows,Chins
    Thursday - off
    Friday - Squats, RDL's, Abs + Bench, Pause Bench, Rows,Chins (New 5 RM's)
    Saturday - off
    Sunday - off
    Monday - New 2 week cycle

    Format 2 - Twice a week. Intermediate/Advanced format(Separate assistance and posterior chain movement)

    Increments:

    ME Squat/Deadlift: 10-15+ lbs
    Squat/Deadlift assistance / Posterior Chain: ~15 lbs
    Core: Static

    ME Bench: ~10 lbs
    Bench Assistance: ~10 lbs
    Triceps: ~10 lbs
    Lats/Midback: ~10 lbs

    Saturday - off
    Sunday - off
    Monday - A
    Tuesday - B
    Wednesday - off
    Thursday - A
    Friday - B
    Saturday - off
    Friday - off
    Monday - A
    Tuesday - B
    Wednesday - off
    Thursday - A (New 5 RM in Squat/Deadlit movement)
    Friday - B (New 5 RM in Bench movement)
    Saturday - off
    Sunday - off
    Monday - New 2 week cycle


    Example:

    Saturday - off
    Sunday - off
    Monday - Squats, Box Squats, RDL's, Abs
    Tuesday - Bench, Pause Bench, Skullcrushers, Rows, Chins
    Wednesday - off
    Thursday - Squats, Box Squats, RDL's, Abs
    Friday - Bench, Pause Bench, Skullcrushers, Rows, Chins
    Saturday - off
    Friday - off
    Monday - Squats, Box Squats, RDL's, Abs
    Tuesday - Bench, Pause Bench, Skullcrushers, Rows, Chins
    Wednesday - off
    Thursday - Squats, Box Squats, RDL's, Abs (New 5 RM in squat movement)
    Friday - Bench, Pause Bench, Skullcrushers, Rows, Chins (New 5 RM in bench movement)
    Saturday - off
    Sunday - off
    Monday - New 2 week cycle

    Peaking/Deconditioning:

    Every 2-4 cycles, 1 week of peaking followed by 1 week deconditioning (LIGHT 15s or off)

    Peaking:

    Saturday - off
    Sunday - off
    Monday - Squat Max
    Tuesday - off
    Wednesday - Bench Max
    Thursday - off
    Friday - Deadlift Max
    Saturday - off
    Sunday - off
    Monday - Start deconditioning week
  3. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    One thought is that instead of 2 week blocks for the twice-a-week format, 3 week blocks using somewhat smaller increments might work better for some.

    Also, a simpler way of handling accessory stuff (i.e. everything but the max effort lifts) might be to simply go a bit easy on it the first week, then intensify the second as opposed to changing the working weight every day. If you limited working sets per day and cut everything shy of failure, that'd probably be pretty doable.

    I'm also not sure how often peaking (establishing new 1 or 3 rep max in the competition lifts) would be a good idear, but 2-4 cycles in a row seemed in the general ballpark. Note sure how to handle the fact that the previous friday would have been a 5 RM and that monday you're already shooting for a 1 RM. Might have to give it more thought.
  4. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    I'll also try to illustrate this using the thrice a week format following a max effort squat movement (same logic for the bench max effort movement as well as assistance stuff, though rep ranges on assistance stuff probably wouldn't be 5s):

    Monday:
    Squats
    2-3 sets of 220 x 5

    Wednesday:
    Squats:
    2-3 of 225 x 5

    Friday:
    Squats:
    2-3 of 230 x 5

    Next Monday:
    Squats
    2-3 of 235 x 5

    Wednesday:
    Squats
    2-3 of 240 x 5

    Friday (new 5 RM):
    Squats
    2-3 of 245 x 5

    Same idea with two-a-day format:

    Monday: 3-4 of 215 x 5

    Thursday: 3-4 of 225 x 5

    Following Monday: 3-4 of 235 x 5

    Thursday: 3-4 of 245 x 5 (new RM)

    Note: you'd only be aiming for 5 on the first set, probably. Subsequent sets would terminate using the principle of "form breakdown or decreased rep speed" to help maintain a higher frequency of lifting without CNS overtraining.

    Also, no reason you can't freeboot the RM's. Meaning, use "target" RM's to base each minicycle, but adjust as needed as you approach the final session (either up or down in weight).
  5. stevie

    stevie New Member

    hi there. its been a while.
    Im a little tired, so maybe i missed something. I dont quite get how you can guarentee that you'll acheive the new 5RM...especially every 2 weeks? Also, how do you determine what your new RM will be?
    Maybe you can keep cycling the same weights based on the same RM until you acheive it?
  6. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    Well, the goal is to achieve a new 5 RM every two weeks. Might be a simple 5 pound bump up, but I'd wager most people can do this for a while.

    If you fail to hit a new 5 RM from one cycle to the next, a change in exercise or time off (depending on your school of thought) is probably warranted.

    If you can't hit a new 5 RM from the very first cycle to the second, then the plan probably sucks :p
  7. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    Just to further confuse myself, I tried comparing these default recommendations I came up with to Prilepin's chart (basically a chart which allegedly optimizes reps per set and total number of reps/sets at certain intensity ranges), and found that the total volume I was using was dead on.

    Of course, Prilepin didn't even look at the power lifts, but rather the olympic lifts. And that with olympic athletes. Still, a lot of powerlifters claim it seems to have a lot of utility even in that sport.

    So, Prilepin guidelines would suggest ~15 total reps per session in the 80-89% 1 RM range (which, using the increments I came up with, is most of the two week cycle, possibly all of it depending on what numbers you'd use), but 2-4 reps per set. Using that logic (let's say 3 reps), it'd actually be 3 reps x 5 sets, rather than 5 reps x 3 sets, as I was thinking.

    Might be an interesting idear - 5 sets per session of 3 reps a pop, on the last day of each minicycle, instead of doing a bunch of fixed weight triples, aim for a single best 5 RM, maybe a set or two after for good measure (shying away from failure).

    Also, Lyle (Mcdonald) gave me some research reviews by Rhea on the dose/response relationships of frequency/intensity/volume on strength in untrained and trained laypeople, as well as athletes.

    The general trend was that untrained (defined as having less than a year of weight training) individuals responded best to ~thrice weekly, ~60% 1 RM (12-15 RM). More experienced laypeople responded best to ~80% 1 RM, and athletes ~85% 1 RM.

    Using my magical powers of extrapolation, I'd argue that athletes would be something akin to laypeople with a lot of years spent under the iron. And while I'm not sure I agree with those specific numbers, they do reinforce the general idea of sticking to that 80-90% range for most of SST training for the best dose/response. Bonus in that Prilepin's guidelines, then would apply as above.

    So yah, just some more random thoughts. I'm full of a lot of those.
  8. I never understood why the heck Rhea repeated these metas in 03 and 04 other than the ES both showed the exact same thing.

    Anyway Mike, have you looked at J Strength Cond Res. 2005 Aug;19(3):689-97?

    I also added a strength page on my site with interesting stuff on Velocity, ROM and others, you might want to read those.

    Good luck in your Strength Gains

    Dan
  9. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    becuase the sample size increased, it just reinforced the origonal meta analysis

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