"Owning the weight" in barbells, size of increments

guardian7

More than 500 posts
In the PTTP program, Starting Strength and other barbell programs, there is a call for 5 pound and even 2.5 pound increments for the latter program. I know I can buy microplates but I don't live in the US and the gym where I am at only for this winter when I do barbell work has 2.5KG as the smallest plate.

I was just wondering if there is a benefit to repeating workouts instead and going up in 5KG increments. Like Pavel talks about owning the weight and big jumps in bell sizes. For deadlift, not as big a deal but bench? I am 50 years old, 74KG and bench is my worst lift which I only trained systematically for a couple of months last year. My deadlift is better. Thai boxing, bodyweight, and KB are my main workouts.

Wondering how I should approach this. Last year I made linear gains and it was not as much of an issue but I am starting with a weight I worked up to last year and I don't expect the same linear gains.

How would you approach the programming in this situation? Just go by autoregulation and repeat a workout until I feel confident to add the 5KG to the bench? Or add 5KG every second workout. The program calls for backing off 10-15 percent if you don't feel confident completing the second set.
 

Alan Mackey

More than 300 posts
Both PttP and Easy Strength can be followed using a step cycle, where you lift the same load multiple times until it gets almost too easy, and then bump the load quite a bit.

If I recall correctly, Pat Flynn proposes doing 2x1,2,3 several times a week, using the same load for three months. And then bump the load using big plates only.
 

Bro Mo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I think working up to an 8 RM, back off, then a 5RM, back off, then a 3RM, back off, then a 1RM, then work with something like Soju and Tuba, then start over is a decent way to use something like starting strength but with bigger jumps.

An alternate would be to do max rep set the last set and when you get to a certain number of reps on that last set, add weight and repeat.
 

guardian7

More than 500 posts
I think working up to an 8 RM, back off, then a 5RM, back off, then a 3RM, back off, then a 1RM, then work with something like Soju and Tuba, then start over is a decent way to use something like starting strength but with bigger jumps.

An alternate would be to do max rep set the last set and when you get to a certain number of reps on that last set, add weight and repeat.
Thank you. Max rep 2nd set sounds simple and perfect. If I can't add a rep then it is clear that I shouldn't be adding 5kg weight.
 

guardian7

More than 500 posts
Both PttP and Easy Strength can be followed using a step cycle, where you lift the same load multiple times until it gets almost too easy, and then bump the load quite a bit.

If I recall correctly, Pat Flynn proposes doing 2x1,2,3 several times a week, using the same load for three months. And then bump the load using big plates only.
The program calls for ladders when you stall like what you mention. I only have two months to focus on this. I don't think I am advanced enough for staying at that weight for that long. It sounds like a program for guys who have a harder time making gains but I will bookmark it. Thanks.
 

Timmer C

Double-Digit Post Count
Owning the weight is worth exploring in other contexts besides kettlebells. I like the way owning the weight helps me develop competencies with where I am at right now rather than get fixated on, “I need to add such and such weight each session.” I am not a body builder or pro athlete, just a middle aged dude who began to get decent muscle tone once I moved away from the standard “keep adding such and such weight each session” to owning the weight. Part of this may be due to the fact that I get injured a lot less often in the gym these days and so can work harder in the gym more often.
 

Alan Mackey

More than 300 posts
The program calls for ladders when you stall like what you mention. I only have two months to focus on this. I don't think I am advanced enough for staying at that weight for that long. It sounds like a program for guys who have a harder time making gains but I will bookmark it. Thanks.
You can always use the good old:

Choose a load and don't change it for the duration of the cycle.

Do 10x2.

Next time do 8x3.

Next time do 6x4.

Next time do 5x5.

Next time do 4x6.

Next time do 3x8.

Finally, do 2x10.

This might be anywhere from seven different sessions to a few months of training. It all depends on how well you choose the initial load. The goal here is to progress to the next set/rep scheme when the current one was completed somewhat easy-ish.

This may mean spending a couple of weeks in a step cycle at that precise load.

Anyway, when your old 2RM "sorta max" becomes your new 10RM "sorta max", that's when you own the weight.
 

Sean M

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@Alan Mackey A variation would be hold the reps constant but add sets, then bump weight and start back with fewer sets, such as 4 singles at a given weight, add a set every session until 10 sets, then go back to 4 singles but heavier.

I am in my fourth cycle of such a progression (4x1-->10x1) with overhead press and progress has been steady over about two months, from 115 for 4x1 to 130 for 4x1 the other day (I press every third day, on-off-off). 115 was my estimated 1RM (I tested it for 3 reps but couldn't make a 4th), so we're talking rather heavy ~90%.

You could use the same concept but lighter for slightly higher reps, e.g. 4 sets of 3 to 10 sets of 3.
 

Timo Keskitalo

Triple-Digit Post Count
If you are referring "the program" as PTTP, I've understood that you always drop 10% for the second set. This way you can go to bigger weights in a single wave. Dont wait to get two sets on same weight.

If you bench five times a week you probably don't need more sets. If not so often, you can do some more back off sets, depending on what is the volume you're used to do. But always do warm up sets.

You can keep the same weight for 2-3 workouts, depending on how often you bench. Don't stay in same weight too long or you'll stall, in my opinion. If you can't make 5 reps, just go back down (a bit higher than what you started with) and start over, some easier workout is earned. I'd try to get roughly 20% of max increase in the first wave, so start low enough.

If your heaviest weight doesn't improve in reps, it's time to do something else. My feeling was that too small increments (when compared to max) can make you stay in a rather heavy intensity for too long, and lead to overload.
 

guardian7

More than 500 posts
If you are referring "the program" as PTTP, I've understood that you always drop 10% for the second set. This way you can go to bigger weights in a single wave. Dont wait to get two sets on same weight.

If you bench five times a week you probably don't need more sets. If not so often, you can do some more back off sets, depending on what is the volume you're used to do. But always do warm up sets.

You can keep the same weight for 2-3 workouts, depending on how often you bench. Don't stay in same weight too long or you'll stall, in my opinion. If you can't make 5 reps, just go back down (a bit higher than what you started with) and start over, some easier workout is earned. I'd try to get roughly 20% of max increase in the first wave, so start low enough.

If your heaviest weight doesn't improve in reps, it's time to do something else. My feeling was that too small increments (when compared to max) can make you stay in a rather heavy intensity for too long, and lead to overload.
I agree that at a certain point last year I instinctively knew I needed to repeat or back off 10 percent because I didn't own it. The frequency will be 3-4 times a week. I was able to handle 4-5 last year because it was a new lift for me believe it or not. Yes, Pavel mentioned two steps forward and one step back with regard to programming progression. He and others have mentioned that about 2 weeks is optional for moving forward. Like ladder work there is a psychologically relief to knowing an easier day is coming. The user course version doesn't have take off 10 percent for the second set. I will use that rule of thumb if it feels iffy or I am tired though. Thanks.
 

guardian7

More than 500 posts
Owning the weight is worth exploring in other contexts besides kettlebells. I like the way owning the weight helps me develop competencies with where I am at right now rather than get fixated on, “I need to add such and such weight each session.” I am not a body builder or pro athlete, just a middle aged dude who began to get decent muscle tone once I moved away from the standard “keep adding such and such weight each session” to owning the weight. Part of this may be due to the fact that I get injured a lot less often in the gym these days and so can work harder in the gym more often.
Yeah, 50 year old here too. I try to concentrate on the principle of practice not workout. The rep is not successful if not done well. Much better long term, safe, gains that way. Thankfully got the ego out of the way in my 40s with regard to lifting at least. I took the bodyweight course. The pistol and one arm pushup are very difficult but there are a lot of progressions and you learn about form and tension principles while doing them. If you don't have perfect tension and form, you can't do them. Very interesting difference with barbells.
 

LukeV

More than 300 posts
You can always use the good old:

Choose a load and don't change it for the duration of the cycle.

Do 10x2.

Next time do 8x3.

Next time do 6x4.

Next time do 5x5.

Next time do 4x6.

Next time do 3x8.

Finally, do 2x10.

This might be anywhere from seven different sessions to a few months of training. It all depends on how well you choose the initial load. The goal here is to progress to the next set/rep scheme when the current one was completed somewhat easy-ish.

This may mean spending a couple of weeks in a step cycle at that precise load.

Anyway, when your old 2RM "sorta max" becomes your new 10RM "sorta max", that's when you own the weight.
I love that progression
 

guardian7

More than 500 posts
In the PTTP program, Starting Strength and other barbell programs, there is a call for 5 pound and even 2.5 pound increments for the latter program. I know I can buy microplates but I don't live in the US and the gym where I am at only for this winter when I do barbell work has 2.5KG as the smallest plate.

I was just wondering if there is a benefit to repeating workouts instead and going up in 5KG increments. Like Pavel talks about owning the weight and big jumps in bell sizes. For deadlift, not as big a deal but bench? I am 50 years old, 74KG and bench is my worst lift which I only trained systematically for a couple of months last year. My deadlift is better. Thai boxing, bodyweight, and KB are my main workouts.

Wondering how I should approach this. Last year I made linear gains and it was not as much of an issue but I am starting with a weight I worked up to last year and I don't expect the same linear gains.

How would you approach the programming in this situation? Just go by autoregulation and repeat a workout until I feel confident to add the 5KG to the bench? Or add 5KG every second workout. The program calls for backing off 10-15 percent if you don't feel confident completing the second set.
I asked today and it turns out they do have 1.25 KG plates, so I can do the five pound increments.

I also found a line in Power To The People that partially answers my question as well.

"Some people use tiny, one pound and even lighter, plates to solve the problem. Don’t bother. Just stay at the same weight for two or even three workouts, then add five pounds. Soviet experience proved step cycling to be a very powerful strength builder."

I still like BroMo's suggestion though of adding reps to the second set because the timing of when to add weight should have an element of feedback and self-regulation because it would depend on experience and bodyweight percentage or even how you are feeling that day/week as Pavel states in the first linear option of the cycling chapter in PTTP book. It also seems motivating compared to repeating weight. The ability to add a rep is a clear indication of progress. If you preplan 2-3 steps you may be leaving some money on the table so to speak and wouldn't know it. Of course, you won't know until subsequent workouts. This is more for inexperienced lifters like me for bench.
 

guardian7

More than 500 posts
I think working up to an 8 RM, back off, then a 5RM, back off, then a 3RM, back off, then a 1RM, then work with something like Soju and Tuba, then start over is a decent way to use something like starting strength but with bigger jumps.

An alternate would be to do max rep set the last set and when you get to a certain number of reps on that last set, add weight and repeat.
I tried the PTTP-step-BroMo today. It worked well. Repeat the step from yesterday's workout, which was a 5KG increment in the cycle. Then I took 8 percent of the bar. And then did 6 reps. That is after 3 straight days of benching two sets. I am just three workouts into a cycle. Day off tomorrow. Next workout will be repeat the step and try for 7 on the second set. After that up the weight on the first set. At this point the steps might get to 3, but I will just go by what I think I can accomplish regardless of the number of steps. Finishing the day with a slightly lighter set for reps is much more motivating. Thanks.
 

Bro Mo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I think if you're getting 8 reps, increase the weight and if you're not getting at least 3 reps, the weight jump is too much and you'll want to try something else. Additionally, in the event the max rep last set doesn't progress ideally, to clarify my thoughts on the first option too:

Start @ ~70% doing 2x8, add the smallest increment you can each session until you can't get 2x8.

Then, the next session, start about 10% less than where you ended with 2x8, doing 2x5 and adding the smallest increment each session until you can't get 2x5.

Then drop 10% off again and work up at 2x3 increasing each session at the smallest increment the gym has until you can't get 2x3.

Then drop 10% off from the highest 2x3 and do the same thing with 2x1 until you definitely couldn't do 2 reps and either start over or work with that static weight using a triple progression like Soju and Tuba.
 
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guardian7

More than 500 posts
I think of you're getting 8 reps, increase the weight and if you're not getting at least 3 reps, the weight jump is too much and you'll want to try something else. Additionally, in the event the max rep last set doesn't progress ideally, to clarify my thoughts on the first option too:

Start @ ~70% doing 2x8, add the smallest increment you can each session until you can't get 2x8.

Then, the next session, start about 10% less than where you ended with 2x8, doing 2x5 and adding the smallest increment each session until you can't get 2x5.

Then drop 10% off again and work up at 2x3 increasing each session at the smallest increment the gym has until you can't get 2x3.

Then drop 10% off from the highest 2x3 and do the same thing with 2x1 until you definitely couldn't do 2 reps and either start over or work with that static weight using a triple progression like Soju and Tuba.
I am not very experienced with benching and I don't have a spotter, so I will keep the second set simple higher rep version and repeated sets, but I appreciated seeing the thinking behind this other option. It seems to maximize owning the weight (some hypertrophy too I expect), but also makes sure that you are working as heavy as you can tolerate by reducing the volume WITHIN each cycle. This is in contrast to PTTP and reload etc. the same rep scheme is used and other variables are adjusted. Not explaining, just summarizing for my own understanding.
 

guardian7

More than 500 posts
In the PTTP program, Starting Strength and other barbell programs, there is a call for 5 pound and even 2.5 pound increments for the latter program. I know I can buy microplates but I don't live in the US and the gym where I am at only for this winter when I do barbell work has 2.5KG as the smallest plate.

I was just wondering if there is a benefit to repeating workouts instead and going up in 5KG increments. Like Pavel talks about owning the weight and big jumps in bell sizes. For deadlift, not as big a deal but bench? I am 50 years old, 74KG and bench is my worst lift which I only trained systematically for a couple of months last year. My deadlift is better. Thai boxing, bodyweight, and KB are my main workouts.

Wondering how I should approach this. Last year I made linear gains and it was not as much of an issue but I am starting with a weight I worked up to last year and I don't expect the same linear gains.

How would you approach the programming in this situation? Just go by autoregulation and repeat a workout until I feel confident to add the 5KG to the bench? Or add 5KG every second workout. The program calls for backing off 10-15 percent if you don't feel confident completing the second set.
Update

I looked in the SF Reload book and they explain jumps in weight further. Beginners should use 5 pound increments. More experienced lifters should use higher increments in their cycles. Two percent is the smallest weight increment you should use. There is no agreement but between 2 and 5 percent is what you should aim at. The book gives details on how to determine the optimum jump percentage.
 

Alan Mackey

More than 300 posts
While following PttP, I like 10% jumps between sessions and just 5% between cycles.

50/60/70/80
60/70/80/90

55/65/75/85
65/75/85/95

60/70/80/90
70/80/90/100(PR)

#################

55/65/75/85
65/75/85/95

60/70/80/90
70/80/90/100(old PR)

65/75/85/90
75/85/95/105(new PR)
 

guardian7

More than 500 posts
While following PttP, I like 10% jumps between sessions and just 5% between cycles.

50/60/70/80
60/70/80/90

55/65/75/85
65/75/85/95

60/70/80/90
70/80/90/100(PR)

#################

55/65/75/85
65/75/85/95

60/70/80/90
70/80/90/100(old PR)

65/75/85/90
75/85/95/105(new PR)
In the PTTP program, Starting Strength and other barbell programs, there is a call for 5 pound and even 2.5 pound increments for the latter program. I know I can buy microplates but I don't live in the US and the gym where I am at only for this winter when I do barbell work has 2.5KG as the smallest plate.

I was just wondering if there is a benefit to repeating workouts instead and going up in 5KG increments. Like Pavel talks about owning the weight and big jumps in bell sizes. For deadlift, not as big a deal but bench? I am 50 years old, 74KG and bench is my worst lift which I only trained systematically for a couple of months last year. My deadlift is better. Thai boxing, bodyweight, and KB are my main workouts.

Wondering how I should approach this. Last year I made linear gains and it was not as much of an issue but I am starting with a weight I worked up to last year and I don't expect the same linear gains.

How would you approach the programming in this situation? Just go by autoregulation and repeat a workout until I feel confident to add the 5KG to the bench? Or add 5KG every second workout. The program calls for backing off 10-15 percent if you don't feel confident completing the second set.
Here is what is working well so far.

PTTP but following BroMo the second set is for reps. Why? The issue is knowing when to add weight and when to repeat a step.

Two days ago, I repeated a step and then did 7 reps for the second set which was 11 percent lighter. A clear indication to add weight. Yesterday I added five pounds and did the five reps. The second set was 8 reps at 8 percent lighter. A clear indication that I should keep running the cycle. Today I will repeat the same workout for four consecutive days this week and see how many reps the second set will be. Then take the weekend off. Today is also deadlift which yesterday wasn't.
 
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