Strategic Deconditioning

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by Bryan Haycock, May 7, 2008.

  1. Bryan Haycock

    Bryan Haycock Administrator Staff Member

    Hello all,

    I just wanted to post a few comments about Strategic Deconditioning (SD) in hopes of clarifying what I think is being misunderstood, or at least, misrepresented.

    The problem reached a threshold when reading my friend Lyle McDonald’s newsletter/blog when he classified HST as not being high-intensity, or not involving heavy loads. This assumption is based on the idea of not training to failure, and the incorporation of SD followed by relatively lighter weight loads, only using your nRM relatively infrequently during the 6 week progression to your 5RM.

    I don’t blame Lyle, or the people here who have the same understanding. He and other people I see debating the issue are all sharp cookies. It is perfectly natural that over time, we end up talking about methods far more often than the principles behind them, as a result we lose touch of the original reasons behind what we do. Those sharp cookies listening in are then left to their own devices to make sense of the method without any discussion of the principles behind them.

    SD is a “method” of addressing a problem. This problem is a natural, if not unavoidable, result of demonstrable principles. What has happened is that the method has taken priority over the principle upon which it is based. This always leads to trouble! Without an understanding of the underlying principle, the method will be misapplied.

    Ok, so what is/are the principles upon which SD is based? Well, let’s start at the beginning (the beginning after specificity). The first principle is the Load principle. The Load principle states that, “the chronic external load applied to a muscle is the primary determinant of the change in size.” Now, this does not take into account the physiology behind the adaptive-hypertrophic process because it is just a principle.

    Now, standing upon the Load principle is the “Relative Load” principle. The principle of Relative Load states that “the effectiveness of any fixed-weight load is dependant upon the level of conditioning of the muscle at the time the load is applied.” Thus, as the level of conditioning changes, so does the effectiveness of a fixed external load to produce hypertrophy.

    The final HST principle we need to consider is that of Diminishing Returns. It states that, “a given load, applied in a consistent manner will produce diminishing returns over time.” This is an inevitable consequence of the relationship between external stimuli and internal adaptation. We can speak of this relationship in terms of the Repeated Bout Effect (RBE) when describing some of the adaptive changes that take place in muscle tissue exposed to frequent loading. Both hypertrophy and resistance to further hypertrophy are part of the RBE.

    Now, there is one final principle that makes sense of SD, and that is the principle of Specificity. The principle of Specificity states that the nature of the demands placed on the body will determine the nature of the adaptation that follows.

    So, with that understanding of the principles, I hope it becomes clear why SD came into being. The net result of all those principles in action is eventual stagnation. Just when and to what degree that stagnation is reached depends on many variables. But that is not our concern. What we are concerned with is what to do about it when it becomes necessary that we do something.

    SD is a simple method of applying an opposite stimulus to the tissue in order that it will become more sensitive to external loading, once growth is no longer occurring while using maximum weight loads. It is based on demonstrable physiological principles of adaptive hypertrophy.

    Ok, for fear of this becoming so long no one will read it, let me close with a brief Q&A.

    Q. Does SD work?
    A. In my experience is does.

    Q. Is there any other way of increasing the tissues sensitivity to external loading once growth stops?
    A. Yes, testosterone works better than anything else I know of.

    Q. Is SD always required after only 6-8 weeks of loading?
    A. No. It depends on how close you are to your natural limits. The more growth potential you have, the longer you can train without stagnating.

    Q. How do I know how close I am to my natural limits?
    A. http://www.hypertrophy-specific.com/maximum-size-calculator.html

    Q. Is there any other reason to do SD regularly?
    A. Yes. Joints need more time to heal than muscle. Over long periods of heavy loading joints can become chronically inflamed, leading to maladaptive changes to the tendons. There is also evidence of favorable hormonal changes in response to short term detraining in highly trained lifters (i.e. deconditioning). I am also very interested in the impact of training > SD and satellite cell overshoot…but that is still unfolding.


    Free thinking individuals will always question why a given method is recommended. If the only answer they are given is, “Because that’s the way you do it.” they will inevitably reject the method. Not because there is anything inherently wrong with the method (i.e. SD) but because they refuse to go along with anything that they don’t fully understand. Obviously this attitude can lead to unnecessary difficulty in the gym as well as in life, but it can also be the spark that keeps them searching for more knowledge. That is a good thing. This forum must remain a place for knowledge, not just rhetoric.


    -bryan
     
  2. Joe.Muscle

    Joe.Muscle Active Member

    Thanks Bryan for jumping in on this issue.

    We know you are a busy man...but this is one of those topics that has been brought up over and over for a while so it was good to see you input.

    Take care....and get off your butt and compete with us at the end of the year HST challenge! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    For what it's worth, I'm glad you posted this, because I think it's the biggest issue that needs clarification regarding HST principles. I'd go so far as to say that even most of the regulars on this board are now quite skeptical of the benefits of SD as anything other than a psychological/physical break. I.e. the common perspective is now that SD is useful in regards to avoiding mental burnout/overtraining/injury rather than re-sensitizing muscle tissue to the effects of load.

    And, to be honest, I understand this skepticism. You indicated that, in your experience, SD "worked," but the obvious question for a routine rooted in scientific research is where the actual evidence is that it "works" as prescribed, i.e. that it is appreciably impacting the ability of lighter loads to cause growth again.

    Because the entire superstructure of HST, if you think about it, is contingent on SD working as advertised. SD is a solution (in conjunction with the actual HST routine, of course), in a sense, to the problem you've raised before:

    "Why do people stop growing when they lift weights?"

    There have been many attempts to answer this question, or rather, to come up with a solution, e.g. "muscle confusion" principles and so forth.

    The popular answer now amongst most of the labcoats (people here, at Lyle's board, etc) is basically to "get stronger," with the increases in load as a result of getting stronger slowly allowing one to increase their capacity to hold muscle until, presumably, they max out their levels of strength. In effect, "hypertrophy-specific" training becomes "strength-specific" training, which really puts us back to square one in terms of conventional wisdom dictating our training methods.
     
  4. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    I love SD! My body loves SD.    [​IMG]

    Who has been bad mouthing SD? Hang the miscreant!
        [​IMG]
     
  5. scientific muscle

    scientific muscle New Member

    I have, come and hang me old man! [​IMG]

    Seriously though, I am glad you posted this Bryan. It clears a lot of doubts up that have been hanging around for years.
     
  6. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    Consider yourself hanged Pup. [​IMG]
     
  7. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    Might as well bring it up. Bryan, out of the contingent of us who DO believe in SD and HST principles throughout, there is disparity amonst us as to the time period required to satisfactorily decondition. In my experience, 2 weeks worked better than 8-9 days; some say even that isn't long enough...but at some point along the timeline, the muscles will enter the atrophic stage -
    I guess I'm wondering what information you might have on this, regarding fairly seasoned lifters in particular.
     
  8. Joe.Muscle

    Joe.Muscle Active Member

    For the record Lyle is about to blow a gasket over at his forum!

    To be so smart...that is one angry guru!
     
  9. scientific muscle

    scientific muscle New Member

    <div>
    (mikeynov @ May 07 2008,5:56)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">&quot;Why do people stop growing when they lift weights?&quot;

    There have been many attempts to answer this question, or rather, to come up with a solution, e.g. &quot;muscle confusion&quot; principles and so forth.

    The popular answer now amongst most of the labcoats (people here, at Lyle's board, etc) is basically to &quot;get stronger,&quot; with the increases in load as a result of getting stronger slowly allowing one to increase their capacity to hold muscle until, presumably, they max out their levels of strength.  In effect, &quot;hypertrophy-specific&quot; training becomes &quot;strength-specific&quot; training, which really puts us back to square one in terms of conventional wisdom dictating our training methods.</div>
    Thats a good way to put it, I have found many useful things about short periods of deconditioning, but they are mostly related to recovery issues and injury prevention, etc.
    Lately I am focused on getting stronger muscles in order to grow them. So its kind of an SST approach to HST, if that makes any sense.
     
  10. soflsun

    soflsun New Member

    <div>
    (scientific muscle @ May 07 2008,11:59)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Thats a good way to put it, I have found many useful things about short periods of deconditioning, but they are mostly related to recovery issues and injury prevention, etc.
    Lately I am focused on getting stronger muscles in order to grow them.  So its kind of an SST approach to HST, if that makes any sense.</div>
    I believe that regardless of whether (or how much) SD truly resensitizes our muscles to the point that lighter weights will illicit a hypertrophic response, all of the other more clear benefits (physical and emotional rest and recovery, injury prevention, etc.) will still lead to stronger muscles in the long-run and hence more hypertrophy.

    edit: spelling
     
  11. faz

    faz Active Member

    <div>
    (Joe.Muscle @ May 08 2008,2:35)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">For the record Lyle is about to blow a gasket over at his forum!

    To be so smart...that is one angry guru!</div>
    over what [​IMG] have i missed something what thread [​IMG]
     
  12. Fausto

    Fausto HST Expert

    Bryan

    Thanks for clarifying this, I never ever stopped believing in SD and have always practiced it, my joints can't do without it, however long I &quot;milk&quot; the 5's, after a while I favour a good SD, that to me tends to be best at 14 days.

    It not only gives one a opportunity to rest one's joint and allow healing it also rejuvenates one's mind, it is as I understood it from the beggining an inherent party of HST and cannot be separated from it, once one skips it, one's essentially preforming some other method, not that it is wrong to do so...but it is just not HST!

    I am exceedingly glad for this forum and treasure it with all my heart, it differs from all other BB boards by miles and is ruled entirely by mutual respect...the knowledge shared is nothing short of magnificent and what is best...it is all free!

    Bryan Kudus to you...you're the man! [​IMG]
     
  13. jvroig

    jvroig Super Moderator

    <div>
    (faz @ May 08 2008,5:46)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE"><div>
    (Joe.Muscle @ May 08 2008,2:35)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">For the record Lyle is about to blow a gasket over at his forum!

    To be so smart...that is one angry guru!</div>
    over what [​IMG] have i missed something what thread [​IMG]</div>
    I am curious as well about this.

    What thread, and in what board? Lyle now keeps two boards, the old &quot;wild&quot; one and the new, much tamer board.
     
  14. faz

    faz Active Member

    didnt even know he had two boards [​IMG] i just thought he started a new one??? wonered where all the old posters had gone.
    how do you get back on the old board.
     
  15. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    The old board is still at the same spot. bodyrecomposition.com/forums/
     
  16. faz

    faz Active Member

  17. Joe.Muscle

    Joe.Muscle Active Member

    I meant it sort of in tongue and cheak.

    I was referring to how Lyle deals with something like this...and it normally involves something along the line of (stupid, f-ing ideotic...etc.)

    Those are normally his comments and they are no different for his view on this thread.

    But any of us who know Lyle knows he does this sh-it....I just figured with Bryan he would be a little more open.
     
  18. colby2152

    colby2152 New Member

    <div>
    (Old and Grey @ May 07 2008,7:24)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">I love SD! My body loves SD. [​IMG]

    Who has been bad mouthing SD? Hang the miscreant!
    [​IMG]</div>
    I am not sure... Bryan's post isn't necessarily anything different than what you will find in the articles or FAQ. I suppose it is reassurance. I fully believe in SD, and it works for me (even makes my cuts more successful), but that's just me I guess.
     
  19. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    <div>
    (faz @ May 08 2008,7:55)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">all i keep getting is this
    http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/
    and when you click on forum it brings you to the new one.</div>
    Don't do that. Go specifically to the url www.bodyrecomposition.com/forums

    The old forums aren't linked to on the main site anymore, I don't think.
     
  20. colby2152

    colby2152 New Member

    <div>
    (quadancer @ May 07 2008,9:09)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Might as well bring it up. Bryan, out of the contingent of us who DO believe in SD and HST principles throughout, there is disparity amonst us as to the time period required to satisfactorily decondition. In my experience, 2 weeks worked better than 8-9 days; some say even that isn't long enough...but at some point along the timeline, the muscles will enter the atrophic stage -
    I guess I'm wondering what information you might have on this, regarding fairly seasoned lifters in particular.</div>
    Quad; I too believe in SD and I like two weeks (actually, 16 days off including a weekend) as my SD. I feel that the longer the HST cycle is, then the longer SD shall be. This relative philosophy is in line with what Bryan has said all along about SD, the RBE and adaptation.
     

Share This Page