Dan John - Mass Made Simple

IonRod

Level 5 Valued Member
Creatine??? I thought the main focus of Mass Made Simple was the PB&J sammiches.
Getting back to original post, I have not ran the program, but I've always been intrigued. I would be very interested to hear about real results from this program. I really respect Dan's work, but the high rep back squats seem to fly smack in the face of what's taught at strongfirst. But then again, strongfirst doesn't advocate building mass over strength.
I am not sure that is really what SF advocates. Or that you somehow build mass and don't gain strength. If one looks at the SF instructors, they are in their majority big and muscular.
Muscular cross sectional area is still the best predictor of strength and even though you can be much stronger than you look, you can also just be strong and look strong, and I don't think it flies in the face of SF teachings.
 

Papa Georgio

Level 5 Valued Member
I am not sure that is really what SF advocates. Or that you somehow build mass and don't gain strength. If one looks at the SF instructors, they are in their majority big and muscular.
Muscular cross sectional area is still the best predictor of strength and even though you can be much stronger than you look, you can also just be strong and look strong, and I don't think it flies in the face of SF teachings.
I guess my assumption is high reps are equivocal to hypertrophy of the sarcoplasmic variety. More show than go. Also more likely to disappear quicker.

I was interested to hear real results because anybody will gain mass on a caloric surplus, working out or not. So I guess I'd like know how much lean mass was actually gained, how much fat was gained, what were the strength gains, and how long was the lean mass retained.
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
I understand the water retention of creatine is pretty much what makes it work. I don't think anyone goes off it for competition. I don't believe anyone has to go off it per se.

I am mostly non-responsive to creatine. It may be because I eat a lot of meat, where one can get it from through the diet. I still take some after training, just in case, it is dirt cheap.

I too have read studies that have found creatine help cognitive function.

If one is interested, creatine monohydrate branded Creapure is generally considered the best option.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
StrongFirst advocates getting stronger. We will help you with both a hypertrophy and a non-hypertrophy approach.

-S-
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
I guess my assumption is high reps are equivocal to hypertrophy of the sarcoplasmic variety. More show than go. Also more likely to disappear quicker.
There really isn't any such thing as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, all muscle increases have pretty much the same composition = potential strength gains depending on how it is trained. If you train at higher %RM you get better at lifting higher %RM in those lifts.

There may be other changes to the tissues etc, but nothing that has ever been demonstrated.
 

KenKennedy

Level 2 Valued Member
There really isn't any such thing as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy
What makes you think that? I don't train specifically for hypertrophy so I don't particularly care about which kind exists, but a great number of people who do care believe sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is real. Pavel has written about it in at least a few places, e.g. Beyond Bodybuilding. Also, Greg Nuckols at Stronger By Science wrote an article that summarizes research and says sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is probably real.
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
What makes you think that? I don't train specifically for hypertrophy so I don't particularly care about which kind exists, but a great number of people who do care believe sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is real. Pavel has written about it in at least a few places, e.g. Beyond Bodybuilding. Also, Greg Nuckols at Stronger By Science wrote an article that summarizes research and says sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is probably real.
Greg Nuckols also says that powerlifters should train more like bodybuilders. For the optimal result, as in a bigger 1RM, we need both skill and size.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
What makes you think that? I don't train specifically for hypertrophy so I don't particularly care about which kind exists, but a great number of people who do care believe sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is real. Pavel has written about it in at least a few places, e.g. Beyond Bodybuilding. Also, Greg Nuckols at Stronger By Science wrote an article that summarizes research and says sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is probably real.
In that same article, Nuckols mentions that with any increase in muscle mass there is an increase in sarcoplasmic volume roughly same percentage as myofibrilar and other non contractile proteins. This regardless of how the muscle was trained - with any increase in size there is an increase in sarcoplasm (and strength).

IIRC he states that the surest way to improve sarcoplasmic density compared to overall mass is to stop training and or grow old.

There is not a single bit of research that ever has demonstrated a physical difference in the muscle fibers, and until one comes along this is more Bro science than science. Yes, training with heavier loads makes you better at lifting heavier loads for those lifts, but Nuckols also cites research showing no difference in isometric strength based on training methods, only a close correlation to muscle cross section. Is tough to make definitive statements.
 
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Papa Georgio

Level 5 Valued Member
There really isn't any such thing as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, all muscle increases have pretty much the same composition = potential strength gains
Straight from Pavel in EASY STRENGTH

Professor Evgeniy Ilyin explains the two types of muscular hypertrophy: sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar. The former is the result of an increase in the volume of the sarcoplasm, or the noncontractile part of the muscle fibers. The latter increases the size of the fibers’ contractile apparatus, or myofibrils. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is characterized by an increase in the muscle’s energy stores—glycogen, creatine phosphate, myoglobin—and an increase in the capillary number. The Russian scientist stresses that these processes increase the muscle’s size and endurance but not its strength: “Which type of the working hypertrophy is going to develop depends on the nature of training. Prolonged dynamic efforts with a small load lead to the first type of hypertrophy, large muscle tensions in isometric regime—to the hypertrophy of the second type.”

John, Dan. Tsatsouline, Pavel. Easy Strength: How to Get a Lot Stronger Than Your Competition-And Dominate in Your Sport . DD Publications. Kindle Edition.


Not saying it's either-or. Probably a blend of both kinds when mass is gained, but Pavel points out that certain training methods will illicit more of one than the other. Your goals should help determine the methodology of your training.
 
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North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
@ Papa Georgio,

If you look for actual science behind the sarcoplasmic hypertrophy theory you'll find there is very little. It is supposition to support what is observed - lifting heavier weights makes you better at lifting heavy weights and presumably there must be a difference in the muscles tissue.

It has never been proven and attempts to do so have not panned out. Whatever the difference it isn't because of any notable changes in sarcoplasmic volume, though there may be other changes such as muscle cross linking, specific density of tendons - again none of this has been proven either.

From the Schoenfeld research:
Gains in 1RM strength were significantly greater in favor of high- vs. low-load training, whereas no significant differences were found for isometric strength between conditions.

Not saying it's either-or. Probably a blend of both kinds when mass is gained, but Pavel points out that certain training methods will illicit more of one than the other. Your goals should help determine the methodology of your training.
This ^ 100%, but a variety of rep and loading seems to produce the best overall effect - tweaked for the specific outcome.
 

wespom9

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Charles Poliquin talks a lot about "functional hypertrophy" and I always kind of assumed he meant myofibrillar (if there is such a difference)
I've always wondered if bodybuilders aren't as strong (compared to powerlifters) due to the lacking neural factor that may come with not training at a low rep/high intensity point. Maybe not a difference in anatomy but training effect.

Anyway, tomorrow is my first "to fifty" workout for squats. The program has been pretty tough so far, especially for a guy like me who hasn't done more than 6 reps in the grinds for a long long time. I'm appreciating the difference in training.
I really notice in this hypertrophy style of training the soreness the next few days. Most of my training is typical of here - low rep, high intensity, not max reps, etc the soviet style - and I rarely induce soreness in myself. Noticing I am more tired and more sore than typical. Glad this competition came up before my baseball sport season starts in 6-7 weeks!
 

wespom9

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Well, I finished Training Day 9 today. The last two days, the program had called for 185 lbs. Day 8 was "to fifty" with it, but I had thought that 185 would be too close to my old max to make it worthwhile (195). I undershot myself at 155lbs, because I pulled it off in 3 sets (18, 16, 16). I should have known better but for Day 9 and gone up to 185, but still was conservative and took 165. The goal was 2 x 5, then a set of "as many" up to 20. Well I shocked myself and got back up 15 times at 165, which is currently about 13lbs above my bodyweight. Definitely the first time I've done anything like that. Also felt ridiculously strong in the bench today - took 145 for five sets of triples and knocked them out no questions asked, paused at the chest.

I am currently up about 5-6 lbs since I started the program. I'm eating more, but probably not as much as the book intends. Doing protein as directed, though no creatine as discussed above. I'm really happy so far though - for my first foray into hypertrophy in a long long time, it's been a welcome change. The workouts are hitting me, but not to the degree I thought that I'd be exhausted. I'm surprising myself with my capability.
 
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wespom9

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I feel as though I'm turning this too much into a training diary, but today was another "to fifty" workout today. Did 165 lbs for 18, 14, 12, 6. Though I'm a little disappointed I'm only about 4lbs up (before always hovered 146.5-147.5, now hovering between 150-151) I'm enjoying the process and the mental challenge of lifting heavy weights for high reps. I think it was @Steve Freides mentioned in another thread, sometimes us small guys don't realize how much we need to eat to grow. I feel like I'm eating more, + having 1-2 protein drinks a day yet haven't gained weight.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I compete in the 145 lb class but I have weighed 170. Eat enough and you'll get bigger, and lift at the same time and you'll get stronger, too.

-S-
 

Xene

Level 5 Valued Member
I did the program one and a half year ago. My goal was to get some weight, to bulk up and use this bulk to even get stronger again. It's one possible strategy and it came out well for me.

I started the program pretty lean at about 92 kg and finished it with 97.3 kg. I got some body fat, too and water, BUT my squat got better and my benching too. I managed to squat numbers for reps I could not imagine before the program. I was consistent, I took care about my diet and I didn't miss one training. It's how Dan describes it: a bus bench program. Do it for the reason of hypertrophy, shut down all other sports this time, eat and sleep and I think you can be happy with it.

These days I would not do it again, I am too much into aerobic conditioning, low rep strength training and A&A/Q&D work. I am also pretty happy with my bodyweight and don't have to bulk up these days. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
 

wespom9

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I finished by hitting 22 reps at 165lbs, a record for me. I finished about 5 lbs heavier, although according to my body comp measure (bio electrical impedance) I only gained 1lb of muscle.
It's been about 4 months since I finished the program and I am down back to my usual 148 or so. Haven't done another body comp to see if the muscle stuck around.
 

Nate

Level 5 Valued Member
I ran the program in 2014. 3 major parts: ladders for push movements, complexes and high rep squats. DJ argues hypertrophy is about volume and this is just that. I did 531 prior so my strength was up. Worked up to the set of 50 with 185 (more than my bodyweight) but didn't gain appreciable size. Oddly, in the months after i ran an old fashioned push pull legs program and had the only dramatic size gains of my life. Could it have been a factor somehow in there? No idea. I tried running it again after i first reached Simple, quickly went too gung ho on the pressing & bench ladders and injured my shoulder. DJ (and the rest of these folks referenced) know some stuff so always worth a shot.

If you cant get enough food sourced protein in your diet, supplement with powder.
If you need more creatine, take monohydrate. Well studied, largely effective, safe and cheap.
Everyone Should Use Creatine | T Nation
 
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