A few weeks of PTTP

Cris

Still New to StrongFirst Forum
Yes, sounds good, 2.5 lb plates are the smallest available so 5 lb increases it is. I'm thinking the challenging thing to figure out is how much is too much, on the increases. I did the initial DL 170 x 5, DL 150 x 5, MP 60 x 5, MP 55 x 5 yesterday and it felt pretty easy. But I have yet to try doing that day after day; next week will be the first time. In fact, I've never deadlifted more than twice a week before. So I'm interested to see how my body responds to this different type of program.
Hi - First time poster, some time observer.

I'm doing a PTTP-like program right now for back squat, bench press, deadlift, and press. Other than doing 4 lifts instead of 2, I'm following the program as prescribed (linear cycle): starting at 70% 1RM, lifting 2 work sets (5reps +5 90% reps), adding 5lbs per day to each lift, 5 days a week, Saturday through Wednesday.

I've only completed 3 weeks and am heading into my 4th week, but am enjoying the 4 lifts and feel pretty good after each session. Admittedly, by the end of day 5, I do feel tired, but it's a good kind of tired.

To the point you raise above, because of the variance in my 1RM between lifts, each lift cycle is different, with the DL the longest cycle. I thought about doing 10 lb increases for DL, but am glad I've done 5 lb increases instead. I just hit my DL 5RM yesterday (or what I had tested as my 5RM when I started the program) and it felt sooo easy. I'm sure I could have done a couple more reps.

I remember doing those early reps at 70% and the relatively small 5lb increases. Yes, they felt easy. But I've no doubt putting in all of that relatively easy work has helped nudge up my 5RM.

Anyway - my 2 cents. I have absolutely no idea how you should train for SFL.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Thank you @Cris , I appreciate the inputs.

Here's what I've done this week and I'm liking it so far. All weight in pounds:

Mon 9/18
DL: 1 x 5 @ 135, 1 x 5 @ 170, 1 x 5 @ 150
MP: 1 x 5 @ 60, 1 x 5 @ 55

Tues 9/19
DL: 1 x 5 @ 135, 1 x 5 @ 175, 1 x 5 @ 155
MP: 1 x 5 @ 45, 1 x 5 @ 65, 1 x 5 @ 60

Wed 9/20
Bench Press: 1 x 5 @ 45, 1 x 5 @ 75, 1 x 5 @ 70. Did these with a pause at the bottom and all felt strong.
Low bar back squat: 1 x 5 @45, 1 x 5 @ 135, another 1 x 5 @ 135 (didn't feel like changing the weights, 135 felt good, and only squatting heavy-ish once a week... doing plenty of light goblet squats on other days.)
A+A snatches, 16 repeats of 5 w/ 24kg.

Thurs 9/21
DL: 1 x 5, 3, 2 @ 175. This "2.0" format felt pretty good. I like the simplicity of it.
MP: 1 x 5 @ 70, 1 x 5 @ 65

I was planning to DL and MP tomorrow but had to take an unexpected trip out of town and away from the barbell. I plan on repeating this basic template next week with slight increases, at least on the DL.
 

krg

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Looks good Anna.

Are you timing rest periods between sets or going by feel?
 

ShawnM

More than 2500 posts
@Anna C- Just a thought here but why not run separate 2 week block, one for DL and MP and another for SQ and BP. During the DL/MP block warm up or finish with light SQ/BP to maintain form, say 50-65% for a couple sets of 5. The next 2 week block you flip the lifts. The low level work from the previous 2 weeks will keep your form and maintain your strength to a decent degree.

No matter which way you slice it, you're doing great work! Thanks for giving us so much insight on your preperation.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Are you timing rest periods between sets or going by feel?
Going by feel. Maybe 2-3 min between sets.

Just a thought here but why not run separate 2 week block, one for DL and MP and another for SQ and BP. During the DL/MP block warm up or finish with light SQ/BP to maintain form, say 50-65% for a couple sets of 5. The next 2 week block you flip the lifts. The low level work from the previous 2 weeks will keep your form and maintain your strength to a decent degree.
I like the idea. But I've really only got 2 weeks left to work the lifts, week of 9/25 and week of 10/1. The week of 10/8 will be an easy week leading up to cert weekend. So I think I'll stick with DL+MP on M/Tu/Th/F, and SQ+BP on Wed for these 2 weeks. I think I'll be ready! (Getting excited! :D)
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
I do have another question you all might be able to help with.

PTTP pg 68: "Apart from safety, there are many reasons to lift and lower your weights slowly: three to five seconds on the way up and three to five on the way down is the Power to the People! rule." Reasons explained are that muscular tension drops off as velocity increases, jerking the weight is a bad idea, and that the weight lowing or stopping is interpreted by the nervous system as a failed attempt. So, in general, grinding is good.

This is different from what I understood from 5/3/1, that the lifts were to be done explosively, and therefore, a quicker lift is better.

The weights I'm using currently don't feel heavy enough to have to grind. So, when doing PTTP, should I still aim for 3-5 sec up, hold for a second or two, and 3-5 sec down?
 

krg

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Just speaking for myself here.

Personally I try to grind my presses. As it gets heavier then I just try to get them up by any means necessary on the heavier set and I dont try and lower slowly, but I always take my time with the back off set.
My deadlift is just naturally slow (I have no idea how some people manage to do these explosively). I don't lower the weight slowly on the deadlift, I don't like the idea of that much fatigue on the lower back - which I think Pavel mentions somewhere as well.

I tend to time my rest periods - 3 minutes at the start of a mini cycle and 5-6 minutes towards the end when things are heavier.
 

Matts

More than 300 posts
@Anna C for best long-term results, follow the program the way you quoted it, and pay attention in each rep to how your body is working. Learn what each muscle does and when, how some parts brace while other parts move, and the sequencing. After that's all totally grooved in and unconscious (and a good coach confirms), you're ready for more explosive lifting. Don't make heavier weights or feeling a burn the goal, but perfect form time after time. That's the surest way to get to heavier weights.
 

jef

I am a student of strength.
Certified Instructor
@Anna C
I would stay with your template. It seems good to me, especially as you already meet the requirement. To quote Dan John, let the arrow fly.
As for the tempo... So close to the SFL, I would also keep doing what you do now. As long as you do an active negative on the presses and the squat and don't jerk the weight up, you cannot be really wrong.
As for the deadlift, the usual recommandation is to control the descent (respect the bar, don't let it fall), but not so much a slow negative.
 

Manuel Fortin

Triple-Digit Post Count
@AnnaC You may already know more than me about this, and you surely will in a few weeks ;), but the way I understand this is that if the weight is small, people may have a tendency to "go easy" and apply just enough force to get over with the lift quickly. However, lifting at 70% max is supposed to be practice for lifting at 100% max with PTTP, and basically all the Strongfirst programs in which you lift far from failure. If you want to practice lifting heavy with a lightish weight, you need to apply a lot of tension, otherwise it probably won't work. Every time I had success with this type of program, I did every rep with a lot of tension at the start (as presented in this recent article: A Self-Correcting Drill for a Classic Blunder of the Kettlebell Swing. Basically, anything below 225 was almost off the ground before I even started the pull. With that kind of tension, if you lift light, there is a good chance that you will loose the tension if you don't make an effort to keep it. Lifting slow is one way of keeping the tension. It's not the only way to lift though and I say good results from PTTP similar programs lifting and a bit quicker, but never in a "OK, let's get over this with the least amount of effort possible" mentality.

Note that in 5/3/1, the weights get heavy and if you lift as per the program leaving one or two reps in the tank, your last few reps will not be quick. The intent to be explosive is then more an intent than a fact.

tldr; The exact speed is highly individual, but it's not because the weight is light that it should be very easy. Lifting light with a lot of tension is a good way to practice lifting heavy, but you need to keep the tension and not transform the deadlift into a partial power clean. At least that's my limited understanding, but I am open to be corrected by more experienced lifters.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Thank you @krg @Matts @jef @Manuel Fortin !

@Anna C for best long-term results, follow the program the way you quoted it, and pay attention in each rep to how your body is working. Learn what each muscle does and when, how some parts brace while other parts move, and the sequencing. After that's all totally grooved in and unconscious (and a good coach confirms), you're ready for more explosive lifting. Don't make heavier weights or feeling a burn the goal, but perfect form time after time. That's the surest way to get to heavier weights.
That's some gold right there.

I'm glad to hear that the slower pace is a good thing in many ways. It does feel like better practice. Also seems to me, as with the get-up, that Time Under Tension (TUT) matters. For example with a deadlift, 2 sec up, 1 sec pause, 1 sec down = 4 sec TUT. But 3 sec up, 2 sec pause, 3 sec down = 8 sec TUT. Seems like that would add up to twice as much work/benefit (in some ways, not all) for the same amount of reps in the session.
 

Cris

Still New to StrongFirst Forum
I do have another question you all might be able to help with.

PTTP pg 68: "Apart from safety, there are many reasons to lift and lower your weights slowly: three to five seconds on the way up and three to five on the way down is the Power to the People! rule." Reasons explained are that muscular tension drops off as velocity increases, jerking the weight is a bad idea, and that the weight lowing or stopping is interpreted by the nervous system as a failed attempt. So, in general, grinding is good.

This is different from what I understood from 5/3/1, that the lifts were to be done explosively, and therefore, a quicker lift is better.

The weights I'm using currently don't feel heavy enough to have to grind. So, when doing PTTP, should I still aim for 3-5 sec up, hold for a second or two, and 3-5 sec down?
I practice the lighter weights the same way I would grind the heavier ones. That is, I practice the same tensioning techniques that I will need to do when the weights get heavy.

I even do the same thing with my warm up sets. So, for example, I'll do 2 sets of 5 with an empty bar for the bench press. I'll do them all slow up and down, about 3 seconds each; feet firmly planted; core squeezed; lats engaged; a little arched; elbows in; etc. If anyone were watching they'd probably think I was struggling with an empty bar, but right now my work sets are between 180-205lbs.

I don't tension as much as I will for my work sets, because I don't want to exhaust myself, but I do want to wake everything up before I get to those work sets.
 

jca17

More than 300 posts
It's interesting because remember reading about keeping light reps still 3-5 seconds, but also heard from an SFGII/SFL that your light weights should move fast, otherwise you are training your body to hold back which is a bad habit when it gets heavy. Stay really tight but let the weight accelerate? Something in the middle?
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
It's interesting because remember reading about keeping light reps still 3-5 seconds, but also heard from an SFGII/SFL that your light weights should move fast, otherwise you are training your body to hold back which is a bad habit when it gets heavy. Stay really tight but let the weight accelerate? Something in the middle?
I will report back on what I learn at SFL on this subject. :)
 

Matts

More than 300 posts
Speed and explosiveness are highly individual, like running times. A 7-min mile for one person might be like quick walking for someone else, metabolically. Lifting quickly is a skill that's developed over time, and it's a natural progression after forms are rock-solid and the body's well-coordinated and ready for it. Walk before running. If good coaches (like Pavel and DJ) prescribe a certain time as in PttP, I'd follow it. If other "coaches" prescribe fast rep times in a beginner's program, or for everyone, I'd run like hell.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
@AnnaC, lots of good advice already here for you about speed.

If you want the weight to come up more slowly, put more weight on the bar.

There is a difference between: option A, pulling with the intention of being explosive, and; option B, pulling with all necessary tension and then, on top of that, trying to move quickly. The former is the domain of Olympic lifting. For deadlifts, the thought process of a beginner is "stay tight" and as you become more advanced, it's "let's stay tight but try to move the bar more quickly."

There's also a difference between getting artificially tight by trying to move 100 lbs. as if it was 250 lbs and the type of getting tight that's productive. The former is not a good idea and is not necessary.

-S-
 

Phil12

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
If you happen to run into Danny Sawaya at the SFL cert (no idea whether he will be there), you might ask him. He expounded at length on bar speed when I took the SFL course.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
This morning's PTTP, videos of first set, DL 175 lb and MP 70 lb. Recalibrating the lift speed as described above for 3-5 sec up, 3-5 sec down. I think I like it. Feels like good solid practice, and time to absorb a little more of what's going on within the lift.

 
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