PTTP bear starting weight

WarrenEllis

Level 4 Valued Member
I’ve ran many cycles of PTTP in the past, and have enjoyed using the structured wave cycle template. I’ve also enjoyed cycles of a modified 80/20 routine, and numerous kettlebell routines (ss, etk, etc)

For reference, my tested deadlift 1RM is 2x body weight.

Hypertrophy hasn’t been a goal for years, but I’ve decided to attempt a cycle or two of the PTTP bear.

When I began, particularly with deadlift, I decided to start with 80% of my 1RM, then backing off to 90% and then 80% of that for the remaining sets.

About a week in I decided to check the forums here, and discovered it is recommended to start with 80% of your 5RM, not 1RM. However, I’m on session 10/16 and still going strong.

I do 10 sets of bench, followed by 10 sets of deadlift, as that’s all I can fit in with my time constraints.

I do this 3x a week, following the structured wave cycle.

Thoughts? I do feel more overall sluggish (and hungry) than I did with my modified 80/20, but the workouts themselves aren’t suffering. Is 80% 1RM too high a starting point for this routine? Do 10 sets meet the requirements? Has anyone else followed the wave cycle with this? I’m not noticing a lot of hypertrophy, but not a lot is expected in four weeks. If realistic, I wouldn’t mind doing two cycles this way.

Thanks.
 

AndyMcL

Level 5 Valued Member
If it's working, stick with it.

When I've done the Bear in the past I normally start probably around 75% of 1RM and slowly increase that amount. I think starting with 80% of 5RM instead of 1RM will allow most people to handle a lot more volume. 10 sets is definitely on the low end for the Bear, but if that is all the time you have then that is all the time you have.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@WarrenEllis,

80% 1RM for multiple sets of 5 is really is a bit on the heavy side to start with. Better to start lighter, work up to and perhaps even through 80% 1RM until the going gets tough for a couple of weeks, then back off.

80% of your 5RM isn't exactly light, either. If you're basing things on 1RM, I'd go for 70-75% as your starting point. It'll get heavier soon enough. That "more overall sluggish" isn't a good sign. If you're going to have that, let it be at the end of cycle, not the beginning or middle.

-S-
 

LukeV

Level 5 Valued Member
The Bear as written is an add-on to the traditional PTTP periodised cycle. So whatever you did for your first set of five, do @ 90% for your second set of five, then @ 80% for the Bear sets. So let's assume your first set was your 5RM or 87% (as traditionally estimated) then your Bear sets would be 72%. That is 72% at most if you're following the program as outlined in the book. Assumedly that's why Pavel writes about being able to do so many sets. (My first attempt of The Bear was @ 75% with 30s rest periods and I couldn't make 10 sets.)
 

Erik

Level 2 Valued Member
In the past I have used several hypertrophy programs... than stopped training and lost the gains. Each time I was successful and got through a program it was more of maybe not heavy enough than too heavy. My opinion if it feels too heavy it is completely okay to reduce weight load. I believe in percentages and the feel of the weight.
 

william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
Not sure about the number... But I would go much lighter than you think. Start at 50% and wave the load up as far as you can reasonably go. Repeat and do it again, repeat and do it again, repeat and do it again...

It is now several years into the future... Your 50% is now the same weight where you used to end your cycle back in Oct 2020.

You are strong already (2x bodyweight deadlift). Congratulations! Keep at it!
 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
Do you do both deadlifts and bench 3 x a week?
If that is so I’d start on the lower end of things. This is quite a high frequency and volume for deadlifting. I used The Bear for about a month to break through old PR’s, using the third week as Old PR day and the last week as new PR day. I did the recommended 2 x a week bench plus 1 x a week deadlift.

With this I just reversed from my old PR’s for bench and deadlift so the last workout would be a PR ie deadlift goal was 375 x 5 with a previous 365 x 5 max so I started at 315, then 335, then 355 and finally ended with 375 plus the normal calculated back off sets. Same with bench but I took 5 lbs jumps. This worked for me as it seemed a logical progression to hit a 5 lbs bench 5 rm PR and 10 lbs DL 5 RMpr.
 

WarrenEllis

Level 4 Valued Member
Update. I’ve completed a cycle of the Bear without alterations to my initial approach. My first session was at 80% of my 1rm on bench and deadlift for the for the first set, 90% of that for my second set, and then 8 subsequent sets at 80%.
I stair stepped the weight per PTTP guidelines, My final sessions’s starting set was 30 lbs heavier than the starting set in my first session.
I did both bench and then deadlift in the same session, typically 3x a week.
Twice during my cycle I took a break from the routine and instead attempted PR’s. I hit two new PR’s on both bench and deadlift. Keep in mind I’m no power lifter, but I can deadlift above 2x my body weight.
I understand this is a hypertrophy program, and I experienced as much as you could expect from a single cycle.
I appreciate all of the responses, advice, and insight. A few things I’d like to respond to.
I understand it’s common knowledge in these forums the routine is to be dead’s once a week, bench twice. However. The book states bench and then dead, same day, for pttp, and the bear is the same program, lowering the weight and cutting back “slightly” on sessions to accommodate recovery. I believe the book even states to be “careful not to cut back too much” (on days/sessions). My interpretation of this lead to my approach in programming.
He also states to perform a money set, a back off set, and in the case of the bear, many more sets, vaguely, stating these can be as few as 5 or as many as 20. Given my time constraint and the decided intensity, I thought 10 sets was (and proved to be) a solid compromise.
I thought it was successful. Sleep and nutrition are a serious consideration when attempting this. I enjoyed it, the only problem being the time length of the session and some fatigue. I’ve decided to return to Pavel’s version of the 80/20 routine.
 

Timo Keskitalo

Level 4 Valued Member
Nice going with the program. I too don't understand "deadlift once" because the book says plenty enough. But I've understood that you do the volume sets (80% of the day) with short breaks, like 1-2 mins, until fatigue. If you use 60s the workout can't take that long. And the total volume will build slowly. Not in a fortnight.
 

LukeV

Level 5 Valued Member
Update. I’ve completed a cycle of the Bear without alterations to my initial approach. My first session was at 80% of my 1rm on bench and deadlift for the for the first set, 90% of that for my second set, and then 8 subsequent sets at 80%.
I stair stepped the weight per PTTP guidelines, My final sessions’s starting set was 30 lbs heavier than the starting set in my first session.
I did both bench and then deadlift in the same session, typically 3x a week.
Twice during my cycle I took a break from the routine and instead attempted PR’s. I hit two new PR’s on both bench and deadlift. Keep in mind I’m no power lifter, but I can deadlift above 2x my body weight.
I understand this is a hypertrophy program, and I experienced as much as you could expect from a single cycle.
I appreciate all of the responses, advice, and insight. A few things I’d like to respond to.
I understand it’s common knowledge in these forums the routine is to be dead’s once a week, bench twice. However. The book states bench and then dead, same day, for pttp, and the bear is the same program, lowering the weight and cutting back “slightly” on sessions to accommodate recovery. I believe the book even states to be “careful not to cut back too much” (on days/sessions). My interpretation of this lead to my approach in programming.
He also states to perform a money set, a back off set, and in the case of the bear, many more sets, vaguely, stating these can be as few as 5 or as many as 20. Given my time constraint and the decided intensity, I thought 10 sets was (and proved to be) a solid compromise.
I thought it was successful. Sleep and nutrition are a serious consideration when attempting this. I enjoyed it, the only problem being the time length of the session and some fatigue. I’ve decided to return to Pavel’s version of the 80/20 routine.
Thanks for the update. It's really helpful when people come back to the forum to let us know their experience. All the best
 
Top Bottom