Is a mass building phase necessary to keep building strength?

Rif

More than 500 posts
Master Certified Instructor
Can a person follow a pure strength program employing Easy Strength principles (not the 5 day per week 40 day program) indefinitely and continue to build strength, or is it necessary to insert a mass building phase from time to time?
No one builds strength indefinitely, mass gaining or not. everyone has a limit that they can achieve but as you get older it's vital to keep trying to increase, or at least limit the loss of both muscle mass and strength
Sarcopenia( or age related loss of muscle mass and with that, strength) is real
 

Oscar

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I came across this bodyfat % calculator online, and I thought it would be interesting to share it in this thread:

Body Fat Calculator

Unlike other calculators, this one is based on your strength: You input your bench and squat weight x reps (as well as body weight, age etc of course). Its not based on measurements. From the description of the calculator page:

"If you bench, squat, and having been doing so for at least 3 months, how much you can lift depends greatly on how much lean mass you have. Subtract that from total body mass and you’ve got fat mass..."

In my case it gave 16%, which I think is fairly accurate. The navy calculator gives 15% for me, and some others 15% as well. I havent had a more accurate measurement lately though.
 

jca17

More than 300 posts
Oh shoot! Im 0.9%

I have no idea what I entered wrong haha. On repeat I got 12.7, seems a little off, but I have a shoulder injury and it mentions how that will skew number
 
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Antti

More than 2500 posts
I came across this bodyfat % calculator online, and I thought it would be interesting to share it in this thread:

Body Fat Calculator

Unlike other calculators, this one is based on your strength: You input your bench and squat weight x reps (as well as body weight, age etc of course). Its not based on measurements. From the description of the calculator page:

"If you bench, squat, and having been doing so for at least 3 months, how much you can lift depends greatly on how much lean mass you have. Subtract that from total body mass and you’ve got fat mass..."

In my case it gave 16%, which I think is fairly accurate. The navy calculator gives 15% for me, and some others 15% as well. I havent had a more accurate measurement lately though.
That's interesting. I'm sceptical of such calculators but it gave me a little under 34% which is just about what I've thought myself and close to the navy calculator.
 

Oscar

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@Antti I was surprised as well, as it was fairly accurate for me as well.

@jca17 if that injury is preventing you from benching more, maybe thats affecting the calculation. What if you enter your bench from before the injury?
 

jca17

More than 300 posts
Ill retest it in a few months. I hadnt benched before my injury. Being weak is dangerous.
 

LukeV

More than 300 posts
Weirdly accurate but the concept is counter-intuitive based on personal experience. I'm definitely stronger when heavier and I'm stronger whether I'm heavier due to muscle or fat. I walk around at about 20% body fat but seem to hit rep maxes more comfortably at 25% and on those few occasions when I've dropped below 15% strength has always seemed to be a casualty
 

adam80

Triple-Digit Post Count
It is surprisingly accurate, I found the calculator months ago and got a reasonably accurate BF% estimate. This time it says 19.4% which again is close to the mark.
 

jca17

More than 300 posts
Because deadlift is a lift people seem to be able to train to a much higher level without adding muscle mass. Of course, more gains would be possible if one allows for added mass, but deadlift doesnt seem to stall as hard as squat or bench when maintaining body weight. Observed in others and personal experience.
 

Mitchell Bernier

Double-Digit Post Count
Increasing Limit, 1 Repetition Max

Scientific Research as well as decades of empirical data have demonstrated a greater increase in Limit Strength when Hypertrophy (what is considered a mass phase) and Power Training are part of your Training Program.

Physiological Responses to Two Different Models of Daily Undulating Periodization in Trained Powerlifters | fsu.digital.flvc.org

T
he above is the "Abstract" (Cliff Notes) of Dr Michael Zourdos' dissertation on this.

Zourdos' research found a primary key to increasing Limit Strength is...

Conjugate Training

...training different types of Strength at the same time: Limit Strength, Hypertrophy and Power.

Doing so provideds a...

Synergistic Effect

Synergistic means the sum (total) is greater than its parts.

It is like adding 2 + 2 and getting 5. The total is larger than its parts.

Each Strength enhancing the other.

Empirical Data

The Westside Powerlifting Training Protocol has been around 36 years, since about 1982.

This method employs Conjugate Training; training Strength (Max Effort), Hypertrophy (Repetition Method) and Speed Training (actually it's Power Training).

One of the concerns with lifters in weight classes is gaining weight and having to move up a weight class. Thus, the avoidance of...

Hypertrophy Training

This method is used to muscle mass. However, that does not necessarily mean an increase in body weight.

A well written and preformed Hypertrophy Training Program enables lifter to increase muscle mass while minimizing body fat; the end result is relative no change in body weight.

Secondly, the prime root of weight gain or weight loss is caloric intake (Diet); not training.

Third, a minimal amount of Hypertrophy Training for extremely lean individual with concerns gaining weight and remaining in their present weight class is easily addressed by placing less emphasis on it; performing a minimal amount of Hypertrophy work.

One reason some Hypertrophy Training Sets need to be employed is as a means of increasing Strength is...

Muscle Recovery

One of the keys for increasing your training recover is to increase blood flow to the muscles after a training session.

The circulatory system delivers nutrients to the muscles for repair and eliminates "Metabolites", the garbage from training.

The most effective method for this is...

Active Recovery

This means performing light, easy exercise that flood the muscle tissue with blood.

The least productive method is...

Passive Recovery

This amount to doing nothing after your heavy training session, just sitting around watching TV, etc.

There are a variety of way to incorporate Hypertrophy Training into a program that enhances recovery without increasing body weight/muscle mass...

You'll get more progression if you do a long set at the end of a training session

"The present results demonstrated the effects of an additional set of low-intensity exercise immediately after a high-intensity, low-repetition exercise in gaining muscular strength and endurance, suggesting its usefulness in the strength protocol", ...

Performing a Hypertrophy Set at the end of your Limit Strength Training increases blood to the muscle involved (promoting recover).

However, the single Hypertrophy Set post Limit Strength Training only minimally affects an increase in body weight, if at all.

To reiterate, Diet is the prime factor for weight gain or loss.

Summary

A greater increase in Limit Strength is elicited when some Hypertrophy and Power Training are part of your program.

Kenny Croxdale
Very well explained
 

wespom9

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
The Body fat calculator was off for me, but I would say I'm surprised at how close it is. I am generally 8-9% on the DEXA we have a work, and it told me 11.6 on that calculator. But, I almost never bench (will be starting soon for the SFL though!) and I rarely back squat so took an estimate off a "easy" 5 reps of 185 based my input off that. Still interesting how close it is though
 

Abdul-Rasheed

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Per this calculator all I need to do is drive up my BP to 185lbs and back squat to 265lbs for 1 rep to bring down my body fat under 20%.
 
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