Single Factor Training

Discussion in 'Strength-Specific Training (SST)' started by Joe G, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. Joe G

    Joe G New Member

    I've set up a single Factor training routine. I am looking for some opinions and critiques before I start it on monday.


    Squat- 135x5, 185x5, 225x5, 245x5, 275x5
    Flat Bench- 115x5, 135x5, 155x5, 175x5, 195x5
    Bent Over Rows- 115x5, 135x5, 155x5, 175x5, 195x5


    Squat- 135x5, 185x5, 225x5, 225x5
    Deadlifts- 135x5, 185x5, 225x5, 245x5, 275x5
    Incline Bench Press- 115x5, 135x5, 165x5, 165x5


    Squat- 135x5, 185x5, 225x5, 285x3, 225x8
    Flat Bench Press- 115x5, 135x5, 155x5, 205x3, 155x8
    Bent Over Rows- 115x5, 135x5, 155x5, 205x3, 155x8
    Weighted Dips- 25x8, 35x8, 45x8
    Cambered Bar Curl- 85x8, 85x8, 85x8


    Joe G
  2. Chthonian

    Chthonian New Member

    You did a few small things wrong. The incline bench is supposed to use about 80% of the flat bench press weight.

    Deadlifts don't need to be 5x5 but if you don't feel comfortable making such large weight jumps using 4x5, then you can use the extra sets.

    I'd think about using standing military presses for the Wednesday workout, in place of incline bench pressing. It's a much more functional movement. If you're concerned about the clavicular pectoral heads being stimulated, use some deep incline flies, if you're that worried.

    On Friday, you're supposed to do 4x5, repeating the same weights you used on Monday. For flat bench, that would mean you'd also do you 175x5 set. Then you'd go ahead and do your triple which should be 5% over your top set of 5 on Monday (i.e. 195x5 = 205x3 - like you have it). Finally, a backoff set with eight reps using the weight from your third set.

    The isolation stuff looks just fine. I spread a set of curls and skull crushers across the entire week - one set each day at the end of my workouts. Kind've coincides with the frequency principle. Not sure if it'll make a difference, but it cuts down a bigger workload on Friday, which is already a pretty long day.

    Other than that, you're set. Make sure you start conservatively! Don't try to start near your maxes. Start low, ramp up and hit your previous maxes a few weeks in, hopefully pass them, and press onward. Keep us updated.
  3. Joe G

    Joe G New Member


    Thanks for all the great advice. I made all the adjustments: changed the incline bench to military press, spread the bis and tris out through the week, changes the friday bench numbers, but I left the deadlfit the same because like you said I'm not really comfortable with any big jumps on there.

    Thanks again,

    Joe G
  4. Chthonian

    Chthonian New Member

    No problem. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. Good luck running the program. Once you plateau, you can break for a week and start back up lighter than where you left off, try dropping the reps to three (the Friday triple and backoff set stays), or switching over to dual-factor. Honestly, you can stall a few times with the single-factor program, take time off and come back to make greater leaps forward. This would be a good idea for those not comfortable applying loading and deloading phases. That stuff can get complicated.
  5. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    for extreme simplicity single factor is fine. Dual factor adds in too much garbage for the most part.
    and inclines being 80% of flat, depends on the individual.

    there are a million ways to do it, doesnt have to do it any special way as long as it increases loading over time.
  6. Chthonian

    Chthonian New Member

    True, but in a PM him I pointed him to a program that used the method I outlined - so I figured I'd let him know he missed that one point. Obviously in the end progressively loading and selecting the right exercises is the biggest part of single factor training.
  7. Joe G

    Joe G New Member

    So I am in my 4th week of Single Factor now...
    I definitely started conservatively and today (Monday) the weights started to get heavy.

    I have a strategy question for those of you that have ran the program before....

    I have been incrementing 10 pounds from my last set of 5 reps on the bench on Monday to my set of 3 reps on Friday.

    Week 1: Monday: 175x5, Friday: 185x3
    Week 2: Monday: 185x5, Friday: 195x3
    Week 3: MOnday: 195x5, Friday: 205x3
    Week 4: MOnday: 205X5, Friday: ?x?

    The reason I am asking this is because the first 3 weeks were pretty easy. Now I am getting into the realm of new maxes. I must admit I am getting impacient and want to start putting some more weight on the bar. But at the same time I don't want to not get 3 reps for a certain weight (in this case 215). Cause that would suck, I would have to either take a week off or deload right? And i really dont want to do that.

    Any guidance would be appreciated.

    Joe G
  8. Joe G

    Joe G New Member

    Basically what is better 5lb. increments or 10 lb. increments for Single factor?
  9. thehamma

    thehamma New Member

    Hey Joe G.

    This is one you basically have to play by ear. Your motivation and energy levels will tell how many pounds you should increment each workout. Also, experience with the program will also help you to determine how heavy to increment.
    I have also just begun the same program you have started but I don't think it is mandatory to deload or take a week off if you miss the weights for one workout. But I'm not sure. I'd like to hear what Chthonian and Aaron and others have to say about it.

  10. Chthonian

    Chthonian New Member

    Make a 5% jump each week if you hit all the sets and reps.

    There is no deloading or week off if you stall. Just try at it again. Should you stall, start by decreasing the reps on the warmups. Drop the heavier sets before your workset from 5 to maybe 2-3 reps, so you have more in the tank come the fifth, final, working set. If you still fail, then drop to using triples instead.

    Once you fail with triples, take a week or so off (just what you feel you need, maybe do some higher rep stuff for joints, if they're bothersome) and jump back to 5x5, at about 85-90% of where you left off when you stalled with 5x5 the previous time. Continue ramping.
  11. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    I'm trying to figure out the gist of this.... ?
    Single factor is any program in which you time your frequency with recovery factors, so that each session is hopefully performed at the peak of supercompensation. Dual, or two factor is one in which you 'build fatigue' until a type of deload/intensification period is planned. As long as one has recovered and supercompensated, at least as far as they can tell, before another workout is performed, they are indeed doing 'single factor' training.

  12. Chthonian

    Chthonian New Member

    Single-factor is just a lot simpler. You plan no type've deloading ahead of time. You just keep training until you hit a wall, then deal with the problem at that time. Supercompensation originally defined the typical once-per-week splits known to many bodybuilders and gym rats. The thing is, the 5x5 SF routine I advocate has you hitting a lot of bodyparts 3x a week, albeit indirectly (arms). Legs, back, deltoids and chest all get hit, for the most part thrice weekly.

    So, you're really not waiting to "fully recover" in that sense either. Honestly, the term seems a bit jumbled, but the way I look at it is:

    Dual-Factor - Planning ahead, determining in advance where you're going to deload.

    Single-Factor - Running with it, taking it as it comes, i.e., "crossing the bridge when you come to it" type've training.

    I really don't see the need for dual-factor anymore, unless you get to an advanced or elite level. If you're not a professional athlete then you probably won't need dual-factor.
  13. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    I agree, my feelings on this, (as I posted in the other thread) is that there is no research on "two factor hypertrophy" it's on "Two factor fitness". Looking at all the research, I really can't see how one could 'build a hypertrophic stimulus' by training too soon. The closest studies looking at this (high frequency training) show a net loss from a catabolic state. There doesn't seem to be a "super rebound" effect. It's more like when you finally give the muscles the needed recovery, then a normal protein synthesis is allowed to occur.
    But for increasing fitness for athletics, it sure seems like a winner.
  14. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    Ya, signle factor is looking at it in the short term, classical sense of supercompensation. Most of the authors (recent authors that is) are writing to a bbr group, so they will provide information towards the normal bodybuilding setup which is one session of loading followed by one week of rest.
    Simple single factor training can be squat three tiems per week, but with the concept that you are recovered for the next session.

    Dual factor is taking that process out to weeks or months.

    Instead of looking at the single 'session' of loading, you are looking at a 'period' of loading. From which you recover for adequate time period, and the resulting 'fitness' is greater than before.

    The actual concept is not complicated as Hypertrophier
    would say its just load and unload... but the doing becomes more complicated.

    Becuase to achieve the optimal response, you require optimal loading/fatigue. Too much and you take too long to recover and too little and you may as well not bothered.

    The same can be said for recovering from a single session during single factor, but its usually easier to see when your not recovering from one session to the next rather than something that can happen over weeks/months, especially for novices and even intermediates.
  15. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    From your post in the other thread, you seem to undervalue the role of neural training in overall strength and over -rating the value of hypertrophy.

    Its far easier to get stronger by getting bigger, but some people have gotten extremely strong without getting bigger..

    strength is the component of fitness, and the component we are interested in at this point :) and it is a component of fitness that can be increased in the supercompensation sense, unlike hypertrophy per se...
  16. Joe G

    Joe G New Member

    Aaron F


    Do you think that single factor is effective in building mass (hypertrophy) as well as strength? I sort of got the impression that you felt single factor is designed for strength gains without getting bigger.

    Joe G
  17. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Aside from coordination issues, which may last longer the more complex a movement is, hypertrophy is the key to true 'musclular strength' increases.

    Hakkinen K, Keskinen KL. 1989
    Trained subjects CSA was highly coorolated with strength

    Hakkinen K, Hakkinen A. 1991
    In equal subjects, true muscle CSA was almost completely proportiona with muscle strength

    Maughan RJ, Watson JS, Weir J. 1983
    CSA and strength related with same subject but not between different subjects

    Morris, 1949; Tricker and Tricker, 1967; Ikai and Fukunaga, 1970; Norman, 1977
    CSA tied to muscular strength potential

    Muscle Adaptation: Molecular and Cellular Basis of Muscle
    Adaptation to Training for Athletic Performance Geoffrey Goldspink
    CSA is tied close enough to strength, due to strength being equal to the number of cross bridges in parallel, that it is a reliable predictor

    1. Yeu et al. (2000) in (p.376) writes:
    "a majority of studies using the TI technique have concluded that
    healthy subjects, regardless of their age, gender, or physical
    condition, can fully activate most of the limb muscles."

    2. Garfinkel and Cafarelli (1992) also writes:
    "Although there have been occassional reports of a few subjects who are not able to fully activate a particular muscle these are usually small differences that can be overcome with practice."

    3. Behm (1995) (p. 265) in another review writes "The TI was first used by Merton, who described full activation of the adductor pollicis muscle with fatigue. Full activation of the tibialis anterior (Bellanger and McComas, 1981) , elbow flexors , abductor digiti minimi (Gandevia and McKenzie, 1988) quadriceps (Chapman et al., 1985; Rice et al., 1992), adductor pollicis, and soleus (Bellemare et al., 1983) have been reported in untrained individuals."

    4. Sale (1987) in another review in (p.121) writes:
    "in the majority of studies, subjects were able to produce voluntary contractions equal in force to contractions evoked by tetanic stimulation."
  18. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    you got that backwards, the more complex the quicker you delearn the perfect movement.
    Co-ordination is the main issue (besides the use of correlation as indicative of anything, correlation shows a relationship, if you measured a bunch of us powerlifters you would get a pretty good correlation between bald heads and strength) because we dont do many single joint movements (such as researched in those studies).

    There is wok out there on powerlifts and CSA (
    Brechue WF, Abe T, 2002), and thats where it gets interesting and they say powerlifting performance is a function of FFM - because correlation is rubbish for the most part (because they rely on observation rather than experimental)

    They need to spend some time looking at a cohort of lifters and checking their performance overtime with mass gains
  19. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    You misunderstand me. That's what I'm saying, the learning time for complex movements lasts longer. Takes longer.

    Right, aside from coordination, hypertrophy becomes the big factor in strength once a person passes the beginner stage. For regular bodybuilder exercises, most people get 'into' the main hypertrophic areas after 8-12 weeks of training. If they are really trying to keep their form, ROM, etc. on target.

    We can even throw all that out and just look at activation levels.

    There is some work that did just that. They found advanced lifters gained strength very slowly on a 6 month long program. Hypertrophy was minimal and this was pointed to as the main culprit.
  20. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    are you saying it takes longer or lasts longer?
    ? No, they get into the hypertropy straight after one session, its just not possible to measure it (unless your getting into isotope labelling and muscle samples which are not conductive to chronic studies). Whens the begineer stage? I have squatted heaps over the past 15 years, I have added no mass in the past 6months or so, but have added to my squat quite significantly :)
    except activation doesnt show co-ordination.
    If thats the one I remember, they pointed out hypertrophy as a potential candidate. Most likely one at the utmost limit, but not the only factor.

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