Planning on doing my first ever strength cycle...

Discussion in 'Strength-Specific Training (SST)' started by LittleBigHorn, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. Chthonian

    Chthonian New Member

    In the dual-factor training theory, one deloads when they've pushed themselves just shy of overtraining, in order to create a rebound effect by the body, significantly increasing performance. This is achieved through overreaching. You load your body for a short period of time (3-6 weeks, usually) with a large degree of volume that you couldn't sustain for long. You basically run yourself into the ground on purpose. Like strategic deconditioning, it's strategic but it's called overreaching.

    In any case, from there you would slash volume and/or frequency significantly. You can also toy with intensity. Really, just do anything that would drastically drop the weekly load your body has to deal with. An example would be coming off a M/W/F frequency, doing 5x5 for squats 3x a week, along with benching and rowing on Fridays, and deadlifting, military pressing, and chinups on Wednesday, all for 5x5 - then as you begin to feel overtraining creeping in, you slash the volume to 3x3, and possibly, depending on your body and level of experience, cut down to training Monday and Thursday.

    This is just one example. The whole process can be tricky, because you need to learn how your body will react. It's a very individual thing. After deloading for a week or two, you could either start ramping up the weight significantly once again (you keep it the same with 3x3 as you used during 5x5 when you deload - no reason to try and make progress here) into an "intensity" phase, in order to push your strength limits that much higher.

    That's my very basic understanding of it, though.

    Aaron, I also wondered about jvroig's question - if you reach your genetic limit for size, even though you could probably progress for some time with strength, wouldn't you stall out? If your limit was 200 lbs. and you couldn't eek out anything more (naturally, of course), could your bench keep going up forever? I would think that eventually there would be nothing more you could do to increase your strength. Neural adapatations all made and muscles working at maximum capacity...what can you do if you can't get bigger without AAS?
  2. thehamma

    thehamma New Member

    Thanks for the reply Chthonian.
    So basically, it almost has the same kind of purpose that zigzagging serves, to kind of periodize the intensity, and volume of your training right?

    So for example for this week, if I was feeling "overtrained" and didnt feel as though I would be able to achieve my last workout of "10"'s I could go and do the "5"'s with lighter weight instead? How long would I continue to deload, and would I extend the length of my HST cycle, or am I totally off track?

    PS- jvroig at 200lbs at 5' 8" you'd look like an animal. I think Frank Zane competed at 185lbs, and I dont think he was 6". Arnold was almost 6'3" and he competed at around 225 for the 1975 Mr. O.
  3. Chthonian

    Chthonian New Member

    Well zigzagging is just the weights overlapping from once HST microcycle to another. It doesn't really have any use for periodizing.

    Trying to combine deloading into an HST cycle would be kind've hard, in my opinion. It's not a technique really meant for hypertrophy. I'm sure someone could figure a way to implement it into the routine, but I wouldn't do it in between the 10's and 5's. I'd follow Aaron's idea, dropping from 5's to triples. Even then, you'd have to really pack on the volume in order to push your boundaries, then take a step back in order to compensate.

    You're not entirely off track. If you wanted to aim for more strength, try another HST cycle that kicks you right into the 5's, with compound movements (Big-Four Oriented would work) and use a load of volume. Start progressively loading a few load intervals behind your 5x5 RM or so, and ramp up, making big weight jumps once a week, to your 5 RM for 5x5. You should be severely drained and begging for a week to deload. If not, ramp up and push for another week until you feel athletic performance ready to drop - don't let it drop, just come shy of it.

    At this point, you could do as I said - manipulate frequency, volume, or intensity (or a mixture), for a week or so. At this point, start ramping the weights back up (increase the load), albeit with less volume, and push forward until you feel ready to stall again. At this point, you'd want a week or two of lighter work if you're feeling very drained again (more deloading), then you'd hop back into a volume phase.
  4. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    unattractive to who?

    Thinking you cannot attain the goal of 200 means that you wont attain the goal of 200.
  5. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    1) what is the genetic limit for size? no one will ever know. If I used the charts supplied elsewhere I wouldnt weigh anywhere near as much as I do now.

    2) yes you could continue to gain strength. Just slower htan if you were gaining strength when you gained size.
  6. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    200lb an animal?

    you guys obviously havent been around many large people.
  7. Scooper182

    Scooper182 New Member

    Well, obviously when we use the term animal there's a bit of hyperbole going on, but I think one can agree 200 NATURAL pounds, mostly muscle at 5'8" is exceptional.  
    Look at Shawn Ray--he's 5'7.5" and weights 215 pounds at competition.  Now HE's an animal ;)
    Aaron_F I've been wondering for awhile, do you compete?
  8. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    Remember, shawn is as natural as me not having hair on my back...

    and 215 is clsoe to 10% over and above 200, and combined with that, he is 215 in compeition trim, which basically 99% of the people on this forum will never ever be close to that level.
    Even shawns off season shape is far better than most people will achieve, and thats 230 at 5'7"

    200lbs in relatively lean shape is not that huge...

    in powerlifting yes
  9. thehamma

    thehamma New Member

    Thats exactly the point I was making -that 200lbs at 5'8" is a tremendous amount of muscularity for a natural person.

    By comparing it to the extreme end of the spectrum- the top professionals, which are extremely genetically gifted, and on massive amount of AAS etc. you can really get an appreciation of how massive a natural 200lb person at 5'8" really is.

    Obviously, I meant a very lean person at 200lbs, there are plenty of fat, overweight, Americans that are shorter and fatter than 5"8" at 200lbs. I certainly wouldn't consider any of them "animals". I was thinking more along the lines of a bodybuilder physique rather than a powerlifter carrying a lot of bodyfat, with a big stomach. For a powerlifter, yea 200lbs isn't that massive, a lot people could easily put on 10-20 pounds on their stomach or @$$.

  10. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    Um, i sit at 260lbs @ 5'8", not lean, but my lean tissue is over 210...

    Im not big.

    and using a professional bodybuiilder, at the height of their conditioning is not exactly a good example.

    However, lee priest is 200lbs+, but 5'4"ish.
  11. Scooper182

    Scooper182 New Member

    Powerlifter--impressive Aaron. Have you found it difficult to be as strong as the guys you compete against that are tall?
  12. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    Most of the top guys in my weight class are shorter than me.

    At 5'8" I am tall
  13. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Remember that powerlifters aren't all fat. Once you reach your genetic ceiling, the only way to pack on more muscle is to use AAS or to have fat accompany it. So... YES, you CAN build more muscle after your genetic max is reached BUT you will have to gain some fat along with it.
  14. jvroig

    jvroig Super Moderator

    Hey :)

    Scooper and thehamma, don't believe Aaron when he said he's not big. I've seen his pictures on his webpages, I forgot the link to it, but there he posted stuff about his powerlifting competitions, I think the latest was 2004 stuff. He's a big boy.

    And stop saying powerlifters are "fat". C'mon now, that kind of thinking makes bodybuilders seem like bigots.

    1.) Cool! Just forget about the limit for a while, that's great.

    2.) Also great. So strength will just continue at a slower right, but forever as long as I keep on strength training properly?

    Hey Aaron, thanks! Oh yeah, one more question that has me confused. How come somebody who's ripped and HYOOOGE like Jay Cutler with muscles bulging all over can bench press far less than Gene Rychalk (I believe I misspelled his name, sorry, but you know who I'm talking about, the guy with the 1005 lbs benchpress)? Is it mainly because Gene has spent more time training specifically for strength rather than muscularity, or does accumulating a heck of a lot of fat together with muscle make you a lot stronger (but in that case, why?) ?

  15. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    Becuase Jay is small

    Standing besides Jay, wearing the feather boa, is Ryan Kennelly the third biggest bencher in the world, and he about 60lbs smaller than gene rycheck

  16. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    Gene is a huge person


    Thickness is important in benching
  17. Joe G

    Joe G New Member

  18. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Why is thickness important for benching?
  19. savagebeast

    savagebeast New Member

    A bigger chest & belly means a smaller ROM. Same goes for having shorter arms. A smaller ROM means you can use more weight.

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