PTTP program

RollTideRoll

Double-Digit Post Count
I really like PTTP program so far. How long can a person expect to make gains on this program? I know everyone is different but just wanted an idea. I like looking in the long term of things when it comes to training.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
It works until it stops working. I've heard people say one year but there are too many variables. And you can revisit it - or other, Easy Strength type programs, again and again as the years go by.

-S-
 

RollTideRoll

Double-Digit Post Count
I really like the short workout time in PTTP. I'm not lazy or anything it's just I work 12 hour shifts during the week and i never can stick to the long marathon type programs. Are there anymore programs that Pavel has written that are similar in workout time?
 

Pavel Macek

More than 2500 posts
Master Certified Instructor
@RollTideRoll

Step 1: Do your PTTP! and don't worry about anything else (other tools, programs, how longs, etc.)
Step 2: Continue with PTTP!, according to the instructions in the book, and enjoy the practice
Step 3: Post after you don't improve from cycle to cycle
 

wespom9

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
I followed the PTTP program for only 8 weeks, and upgraded my previous best of 5 reps from 235 up to 5 reps of 305, officially hitting my 2x BW goal. I feel I could have stayed on it much longer - I only stopped as I reached my goal and then moved on to other goals with KB's. As RollTideRoll mentioned, I loved the idea of short workout times - get in, accomplish what you set out to do, and get out. With PTTP as well as S&S, I feel like I leave the gym feeling stronger and more energetic. You may like S&S for similar reasons
 

Cearball

Triple-Digit Post Count
I also work 12 hour shifts days & nights.

This programme arguably should work in more adverse conditions than some other programmes due to only doing 2 exercises. However it was suprising how tired I got on the last few workouts of a linear progression cycle.

I ran it to up my deadlift so wasn't too worried about my press/bench.

I also did 10 mins of cardio either KB or bagwork at the end of each workout to try & keep a little bit of cardio.

I went from a 130kg dead to a 150kg dead at 80kg bw.

gained maybe only 5kg on my bench.

The progress was steady at 5kg every 3 months until I hit 150kg then progress stopped.

I tried tweaking variables such as intensity, frequency & type of cycle but with no joy.

I have since changed programmes, although I have only really added one extra exercise being squats.

Been stuck at a 150kg dead for about a year now cant find a programme to tip it up to 160kg.

Anyway that is my experience with it.

one thing to note about this programme even though I followed it for a long time (a fair bit over a year) I didnt really lose too much off my squats or pullups (my pullup 1rm actually went up) for example so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

Hope that is helpfull.

If you search for threads I have created you will find more info about my time on the programme & some of the changes I tried.
 

Wasabko

Second Post
Hello Everyone,

I would have couple questions to PTTP programe.

  1. Warm-up and session length

As discussed in other threads, recommendation is 5x70%, 3x80% a 1x90% of working weight for that day.
So does it mean that you enter the gym. Jump straight to the bar and hit the warm up sets? Do you warm up for both lifts first or separately before each lift?

My usual routine is:

  • 5-7 minutes OS Rests or Super Joints exercises, Foam roll
  • 5-7 minutes mobility drills (Halos, KB Arm-bar, Wall Squats, Prying Goblets, Glute bridges, Cossack, TGU regressions or such)
  • 3-5 minutes stretches (Hip Flexor, Hamstrings, T-spine, calves)
I hit the warm up sets of Bench. I like the last warm up single to be cca 110% (just more then 100%) of working weight. This is a trick, so the weight then feels lighter, as well to prepare mentally and assure myself I will handle the load and lastly to test how I feel that day.

Rest some and start working sets.

The same for DL, warm-up sets, rest, working sets

The whole session with relax stretching at the end takes around 60-70 minutes. That seems to be a lot for "just" 4 total working sets.

So the question is, if this is okay?
Should I move some of the warm-up drills to a different day and jump right to lifting?

2. Programming

During a seminar it was laid out to do 2 sets of 5 with working weight.
The original PTTP program calls for 1 set of 5, then set of 5 with 90% of that weight.
Pavel T. even published tweak to Set of 5, then 3 and 2 reps with the same weight.

Can you please tell me the difference or any pros and cons of either variation?

And the same about different cycles, is there any recommendation which type is better? For instance, if the linear cycle is good to start with and then switch to waves?

3. Form

Bench press - Do you have any tips when bridging, how to avoid lumbar spine bend and maximize only thoracic bend? What T-spine stretch is considered to be most effective and safe?
It is also hard to flex my abbs during the bridge.

DL - Do you have any tips or drills for wedge phase, please. I am having hard time to have completely vertical arms (under shoulders), without shifting my butt down. It seems like I need to go deeper with my a#@ right away (Go not only back, but a bit down as well), to be able to move shoulders above the bar.

4. Rest

What can I do during the rest, besides fast and loose or hanging on the bar? Some articles recommend mobility and stretching drills, others say just rest and do not much more then sit and walk around.

How long to rest in between the reps is acceptable? Should I go up and back down again or can I shake off some tension before hitting another rep (lets say 3 sec)?

5. Others

Is it possible to include another lifts according to Easy Strength? Lets say some Swings, Abb work or may be chin ups?

Bear Routine - is it meant to be done 4-5x a week as well? Is there any recommended cycle or anyone can be used? For how long should one stay on bear version, does it make any sense doing it more then 6-8 consecutive weeks?

Thanks much for any tips!
Wasab
 

Steve W.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@Wasabko, Everyone is different, YMMV, etc, etc, but here's my experience:

1. I've always done anything up to a 5RM dead cold. Zero warm up altogether. If I am tapering reps to peak at the end of a cycle, I might ramp up to my working weight with three progressive singles. To me, a set of 5 or even 3 is a work set.

By the way, I'm 51 and a high mileage basketball player, but the only weightlifting injuries I've had were from dumping a squat in my 20s, carelessly picking up a kettlebell to move it (not during a training session), and some elbow tendinitis. So I'm not just being young and stupid (at least not the former).

2. I'm a fan of the original PTTP scheme: 5 x 100%/5 x 90%.

It's very easy psychologically to really focus on nailing that first set and then go downhill from there. The 532 scheme with a constant weight is based more on simplifying calculation and reducing plate changes than any difference in training effect. It does give a higher average weight for the session, but I would not expect any noticeable dfference in results. To me, the 100%/90% scheme feels more "downhill" than having to pull the top weight two more sets (albeit with descending reps). I also find it a big psychological boost when you reach a weight for a back off set that was a top set earlier in the cycle.

For programming, I am very partial to 4 steps forward/3 steps back structured wave cycles. I like the rhythm of light, medium and challenging sessions. You don't spend a long time ramping up with a lot of consecutive very light sessions at the beginning, and you don't get into a death march of consecutive heavy sessions at the end.

I worked up to 425lbs at 5'10"/185lbs BW (and 465 on the trap bar). Earlier on (I recall my first cycle ended with a shaky 235 single), I could use small jumps between sessions and end each cycle with a new max. This meant I was doing a lot of sessions at a relatively high percent of my max and there was not a lot of waviness from session to session, even with a "wave" cycle. As my max got higher, this became a problem. If I started a cycle at relatively easy weights, the cycles ended up very drawn out, with waves that were more like ripples, creating an overall linear pattern of a lot of easy sessions early on, slowly ramping into a death march of hard sessions at the end.

Using bigger jumps between sessions in each wave, and smaller jumps from start of one wave to the next, created a much wavier rhythm of easy, medium and harder sessions within each wave and each cycle.

I also did a lot more back cycling before trying for a new max, rather than feeling I had to end each cycle with a PR.

3. Don't have much to offer here. I'm not a bench presser. The DL starting position problem sounds like a mobility issue. Are your hamstrings tight? Have you tried a sumo stance (I prefer medium/narrow sumo)? Other workarounds are using a trap bar or lifting off blocks to reduce the range of motion.

4. I just pace around between sets. Alternatively, I may alternate my DL and press sets. This way I rest a little less than I normally would between sets, but still get more total time between sets of the same drill (less time between DL and press, but more time between DL and next DL).

Between reps, I don't really think about it. With lighter weights I might do consecutive reps without standing up and resetting. With heavier weights I do stand up and reset, but I don't worry about how much time it takes. I don't deliberately take a long time, but I never want to feel rushed.

5. You can include other lifts. Chin ups or pull ups and ab work are fine after deadlifting. Swings you have to be a little careful about since they overlap so much with deadlifts. Just be conservative, monitor how you respond and make adjustments as necessary. The easy strength/40 day template tends to use a lower and more constant weight, so you can get away with more lifts and more ballistic reps. If you look back through the blog, Pavel has a couple of article about combining swings and DLs, but IIRC none are more than 3 days/week and don't use the PTTP template.

Bear routine should be done less frequently, 3x/week, because of the greater volume and need for recovery. I once did a hybrid routine, with additional back off set but fewer than in the bear, that was 4x/week.

Hope this helps.
 
Last edited:

Wasabko

Second Post
Thanks Steve!

I used to play basketball as well, so hopefully your tips will work for as well.

DL - My hamstrings are okay. I do not feel tightness or stiffness at all. It just feels like I have not optimal body to limbs length ratio. I use narrow sumo too.

I like the waves better as well. Tell me do I understand correctly, that you prefer shorter waves with lets say bigger increments? How much do you add from session to session, 10-15 pounds?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Have a good one.
 

wespom9

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
Hello Everyone,


2. Programming

During a seminar it was laid out to do 2 sets of 5 with working weight.
The original PTTP program calls for 1 set of 5, then set of 5 with 90% of that weight.
Pavel T. even published tweak to Set of 5, then 3 and 2 reps with the same weight.

Can you please tell me the difference or any pros and cons of either variation?

And the same about different cycles, is there any recommendation which type is better? For instance, if the linear cycle is good to start with and then switch to waves?

3. Form

Bench press - Do you have any tips when bridging, how to avoid lumbar spine bend and maximize only thoracic bend? What T-spine stretch is considered to be most effective and safe?
It is also hard to flex my abbs during the bridge.
I've done both 1x5, 1x5 at 90% and the 5, 3, 2 method. I love both for different reasons. 5, 3, 2, gives you practice with a heavier weight while the other 90% method to me seems less stressful.
As far as cycles go, I had amazing success with DL and a couple years later again for BP with the wave, specifically 4 steps forward 3 steps back. I found it mentally smoother to know that after a tough day I was going to get some "easier" practice for the next couple sessions before pushing it again. I should note, though that I tend to have much greater success with minimalist/low volume programs so think about what has worked for you in the past.

As far as form goes, I find the number one thing that opens me up for the BP was/is the KB armbar
 

ian72

Still New to StrongFirst Forum
It works until it stops working. I've heard people say one year but there are too many variables. And you can revisit it - or other, Easy Strength type programs, again and again as the years go by.

-S-
One of the factors I don’t hear talked about much from PTTP is the slow reps.
3-5 seconds up on a deadlift is very slow. I never see people do this in PTTP videos on YouTube. Is super slow
Reps still considered very important?
Thanks
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
@ian72, welcome to the StrongFirst forum.

If you're saying that the book says one should take 3-5 seconds per rep when deadlifting, I don't recall that - please give a page or an exact quotation or both.

Thank you.

-S-
 

krg

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Hi Steve - it's in the 'Slow and Steady wins the race' section. Location 1217 onwards in the kindle version.

exact quote '

Apart from safety, there are many reasons to lift and lower your weights slowly: three to five seconds on the way up and three to five on the way down is the Power to the People! rule.

Tsatsouline, Pavel. Power to the People!: Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American (Kindle Locations 1230-1231). DD Publications, Inc. Kindle Edition.

It's an interesting contrast to Wendler who emphasises bar speed.
 

vegpedlr

More than 500 posts
I knew there was a reference to slowly lowering the DL but wasn’t sure where. But elsewhere doesn’t he say to drop it?
 

Sean M

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Hi Steve - it's in the 'Slow and Steady wins the race' section. Location 1217 onwards in the kindle version.

exact quote '

Apart from safety, there are many reasons to lift and lower your weights slowly: three to five seconds on the way up and three to five on the way down is the Power to the People! rule.

Tsatsouline, Pavel. Power to the People!: Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American (Kindle Locations 1230-1231). Publications, Inc. Kindle Edition.

It's an interesting contrast to Wendler who emphasises bar speed.
Later though he says to drop with the weight for deadlift (not let go, but hinge and go down with it). I was confused too but first he’s talking as a general rule, with an exception for the deadlift.

Edit: found it.
 

Attachments

ian72

Still New to StrongFirst Forum
Hi Steve - it's in the 'Slow and Steady wins the race' section. Location 1217 onwards in the kindle version.

exact quote '

Apart from safety, there are many reasons to lift and lower your weights slowly: three to five seconds on the way up and three to five on the way down is the Power to the People! rule.

Tsatsouline, Pavel. Power to the People!: Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American (Kindle Locations 1230-1231). Publications, Inc. Kindle Edition.

It's an interesting contrast to Wendler who emphasises bar speed.
Right; it specifically says 3-5 on the way up, and drop on the way down. I was curious if Pavel still agrees with this. That is a SUPER slow deadlift
 

krg

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
But once they left the floor they got quicker and quicker.

That's really inspiring lifting @Anna C , great work.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Thanks! Yeah, off the floor is the hard part for me. If I get it to the knee, the rest is easy. Maybe something to do with years of kettlebell swings...

This was after squats and bench press, so that definitely accounts for some of the grindiness of these reps. The interesting thing was that I did another set of 3 after this one (with 8 minutes rest between), and it moved faster than this set!
 
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