Is a mass building phase necessary to keep building strength?

Jeff

Level 4 Valued Member
No I don't think it will. @Kettlebelephant answered this earlier positively but to be frank, I'm very skeptical.

ES is supposed to be pure CNS strength. You practice the lift very frequently, for very low volume. You get "good" at it. You don't need much volume or intensity and that's precisely why it gets the "Easy" name. It's perfect training for athletes or the common person.

Muscle building, on the other hand, does require fatigue. It requires blood occlusion, it requires metabolic waste buildup, it requires heavy weights (to turn on as many muscle fibers as possible) and higher volume (to create the fatigue level necessary for the physiological adaptations).

Easy Strength is a great strength program, but that doesn't mean it's a great hypertrophy program. Pavel has released hypertrophy protocols in the past (and a book dedicated to it) so if you're looking for mass without compromising strength, I'd start there.

Just my 2 cents
Which book? Would it be Beyond Bodybuilding?
 

Jeff

Level 4 Valued Member
Going back to square one, is it asking too much to want to do a program that builds size and strength, or is it optimum (or best, for crying out loud) to focus on ES for a while and then do a hypertrophy program such as the Bear?
 

305pelusa

Level 6 Valued Member
Going back to square one, is it asking too much to want to do a program that builds size and strength, or is it optimum (or best, for crying out loud) to focus on ES for a while and then do a hypertrophy program such as the Bear?
It depends on how advanced you are. For the most part, it's perfectly acceptable to build strength and muscle in the same program. In fact, I'd say that's the norm. That's why Pavel's idea of training for strength without gaining any mass was novel back with PTTP.

A more advanced lifter might need to periodize it a bit more.

Also, I don't want to sound like I'm knocking the Bear down. But it's not a protocol I would choose first.

The diet advice is a bit overstated. You don't need so many calories (you'll just get fat). Muscle building also takes many weeks. A program done for 4 weeks won't build much beef (typical Bear duration).

Those people who do the Bear and its diet and gain 10+ lbs... it honestly feels like it's mostly fat.

Since PTTP, Pavel released BBing which does contain some rather good routines. Good volume levels, slightly higher rep ranges for the smaller muscles and so on. I think that would be my choice.

There's other muscle + strength protocols out there too. Greyskull in particular is pretty famous for building quite a bit of size and strength on beginners for instance.

Just my 2 cents. Hope it helps a bit!
 

Jeff

Level 4 Valued Member
And no argument from me there.


That's far too broad a generalization, IMO. Carryover from one thing to another is going to vary widely based on the activities on both sides of the equation, and also on gear.

I will advance the argument that perhaps the completely raw DL - NB, this is my lift - may be the best predictor of carryover. By "completely raw," I mean DL slippers, socks, underwear, a t-shirt and a singlet - no belt, no wraps, no straps. Using PL gear is a specific skill, and lifting with an eccentric phase also allows sport-specific skill.

I can tell you this - if I felt there was a lift that had more carryover to the "application of strength to unrelated/un-programmed movements," I'd practice it.

-S-

This is also a good question. If the goal is to compete in powerlifting that is one thing. But in my case, carryover to other nonspecific things is the goal. I want to be useful outside of the gym.
 

vegpedlr

Level 6 Valued Member
Run a 40 day program and see what happens. You won't get weaker, you won't shrivel up. Then evaluate it. If you like it, run it again. If you want to try something else, then do that. One of its virtues is its versatility. It's also an awesome park bench workout. While not designed for mass, people do put on some muscle, depending on their individual situation.
 

Jeff

Level 4 Valued Member
I read about the Greyskull. I am going to commit to that since it looks like it aligns with my goals. Strength and hypertrophy. Simple programming with a few basic movements. Three days per week. Perfect.
 

vegpedlr

Level 6 Valued Member
How does Greyskull differ from Starting Strength or 5-3-1?

I browsed the books on Amazon, and while I'm not averse to adding to the collection things I won't necessarily use right away, $30 is just too much to ask for a Kindle version. I understand independent pub hard copies will cost more, but ePub should let the savings flow downward.
 

jca17

Level 3 Valued Member
@vegpedlr You can google search:
greyskull strengthvillain
And you'll come across the author's forum post where he lays out the actual programming. When I search it in chrome with an incognito window, its the first result. Since google optimizes searches, the results may be different without incognito mode.

The main differences? Part of the premise is that you are going to go to failure every session on each lift. You'll do 2 sets of 5, then a set to failure with the working weight (except for deadlift, where you get some warm up reps, then just do one set to failure with the working weight).

Once your set to failure is less than 5 reps, you cut back 90% from the weight you were using on that exercise and start increasing weight again. 2.5 pounds per session with upper body, 5 pounds a session with lower body. You won't peak in the lifts simultaneously, but this isn't meant as a program to peak for a competition.

Like with 5-3-1, if you do the program, but think "StrongFirst doesn't usually train to failure, I'll do the program but save some reps in the tank on the AMRAPs", then you are not doing the program, and even Pavel, who espouses volume, frequency, and not to failure, would tell you that you are not doing that program right.

When You Don't Know What You Believe... | StrongFirst

Use technique from StrongFirst that you've learned, but when you use a program, honor the requirements. This style is in line with the Gallagher-Coan/American style. You do an all out set, often training on the nerve. You get a mix of size and strength at relatively less training time than if you're doing 5 working sets of stuff every day. It also has elements of Bill Star, where you are training each lift more than once a week with more than one working set (a la starting strength), but that's possible to use elements of both systems because we're still working with beginner/intermediate gains and can recover from the all out sets faster.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
How does Greyskull differ from Starting Strength or 5-3-1?
You might try a forum search to see more about what people say about that program/book.

Another searching option, which will yield different results, is to use a web search engine but specify our site. On Google, you can put this into the search window:

greyskull site:strongfirst.com/community

-S-
 

305pelusa

Level 6 Valued Member
How does Greyskull differ from Starting Strength or 5-3-1?

I browsed the books on Amazon, and while I'm not averse to adding to the collection things I won't necessarily use right away, $30 is just too much to ask for a Kindle version. I understand independent pub hard copies will cost more, but ePub should let the savings flow downward.
Diet advice is totally different from the "gain as much fat/mass/muscle as possible, drink a gallon of milk, etc" advice of SS. I think diet is very relevant. Also it has some more bodybuilding accessory work.

It's very diffirent than 5-3-1. Wendler's program is aimed at advanced lifters based on the periodization and the very slow rate of progression. The amount of fatigue management is huge. In fact, I believe Wendler has realized it's too much rest and has since recommended extra work like Joker sets and extra Bodybuilding work (which are the more current recommended prescriptions of 5-3-1).

Greyskull is a novice to slight intermediate program with much faster loading. It's supposed to be more general strength (where you can make the argument that 5-3-1 is a bit more PLing specific, especially considering Wendler's background).
 

vegpedlr

Level 6 Valued Member
Thanks gang. I did google it when I first heard of it, but nothing stuck. Probably it was mention of training to failure. I hate that, so I instantly put it out of mind. It was quite a revelation to me when I read Pavel and Dan John and I realized I did not need to fail any longer.
 

jca17

Level 3 Valued Member
Youre able to get a feel for when youve done your last rep without actually failing any reps. Sure, you maybe will miss out on a potential rep here or there and not make optimal progress, but youll still make good progress. The main thing is you are always going have some unintentionally slowed grinding reps in “approach failure” mentality.
But yeah, if you want to avoid even approaching failure, then 531 will not be good for you (and you wont gain size easily), but I think greyskull would still make progress because youre doing the lifts multiple times a week and you have the flat working sets for everything but deadlift.

Ive gained size and strength with the Faleev 5x5, and you arent supposed to go to failure in that plan. Basically you can just stop after the first rep where your bar speed slows down.
 

william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
I use 10/20/Life program the last 2 years in a row. I'm hooked on it for my power lifting programming. This programs builds both strength and muscle and doesn't push the lifter to failure.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@william bad butt, the program you're describing is an American style, yes? Once a week on each lift, with assistance lifts to address weaknesses. From my quick bit of reading, it also seems to stress the need not to push hard all the time but to push hard as you near a competition.

A fair summary?

Thanks.

-S-
 

william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
illiam bad butt, the program you're describing is an American style, yes? Once a week on each lift, with assistance lifts to address weaknesses. From my quick bit of reading, it also seems to stress the need not to push hard all the time but to push hard as you near a competition.

A fair summary?
Steve, yes, that is a fair summary. Competition lifts are 1 to 2 days per week, depending on how you set it up.

Other positive attributes are:

-Lots of options for customizing to your specific needs (workout structure and accessory lifts and days/week). Normally I would list this as a negative, but the book does a great job helping the lifter to navigate all the nuances and make the right decisions for his/her specific needs.
-The book is recommended by Stuart McGill, back expert. This is why I initially chose it. The author and Stu McGill collaborate. If you are someone that has a history of lower back issues and likes to barbell lift heavy, this book is gold. The author has a history of spinal flexion issues and has put a lot of content out there on this topic.
-The author (and a handful of other members of his team) make themselves available to you if you need help. Very approachable.

The main negative attribute is that this program really does not push a beginner hard enough (in terms of increasing intensity). If someone doesn't have at least 6 months experience following a linear periodization program like Starting Strength (where weight is added very quickly), then I would not recommend this program. If you think "turtle vs hare", this program is the turtle. Long term steady improvements. If you just started lifting and want rapid improvement in 6 weeks, this program is not for you and it will frustrate you.
 

Jeff

Level 4 Valued Member
I'm probably going to receive a lecture with this question, but at the risk of an Internet beating about the head and shoulders....

The only upper body pressing exercise I have been doing is the military. I haven't been benching.

Is there anything wrong with doing a program such as SS or Greyskull and military pressing 3x per week instead of alternating MP and BP? I mean apart from "You are not doing the program"? Would there be an overtraining issue with that?
 

Oscar

Level 6 Valued Member
I'm probably going to receive a lecture with this question, but at the risk of an Internet beating about the head and shoulders....

The only upper body pressing exercise I have been doing is the military. I haven't been benching.

Is there anything wrong with doing a program such as SS or Greyskull and military pressing 3x per week instead of alternating MP and BP? I mean apart from "You are not doing the program"? Would there be an overtraining issue with that?
If you cant bench press, why dont you alternate floor press and miliary press?
 

305pelusa

Level 6 Valued Member
I'm probably going to receive a lecture with this question, but at the risk of an Internet beating about the head and shoulders....

The only upper body pressing exercise I have been doing is the military. I haven't been benching.

Is there anything wrong with doing a program such as SS or Greyskull and military pressing 3x per week instead of alternating MP and BP? I mean apart from "You are not doing the program"? Would there be an overtraining issue with that?
Not everybody can bench while on SS. Some can't find reliable racks/spotters, some have injuries, etc. It happens.

I believe the consensus is if you can't/won't bench, weighted dips are an acceptable substitute. I have heard some who Press every session. You can also try that. Either way, make sure you microload. In the case that you Press every time, you might have to move to the "Advanced Novice" protocol where Wednesday becomes a light day of presses earlier than normal.
 
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