PTTP Update (June 14 Update Post #47)

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Perhaps we should define "heavy."
I disagree on all counts.

I will define “heavy” as any low-bar back squat for the purpose of this discussion. I have nothing against it for those who desire what it can give, but all the things you cite will be worked and developed, albeit in different ways and with different results, by deadlifting heavy.

Minimalist programs are best for many people.

Playing American football? LBBS.

Playing the violin? LBBS will take more than it gives.

And for anyone in interested in being stronger without requiring significant change to their body composition, the deadlift is a better choice.

-S-
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
I disagree on all counts.
OK, we can disagree. :)

I do agree with you that there's a point at which the loaded squat takes more than it gives. That varies by the person and by the person's other priorities. I just think that point is somewhere closer to 300-400 lbs (or for women, maybe half that) than it is to a goblet squat. If a person is trying to get overall strong, the loaded squat is a powerful tool in the strength training toolbox.
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
As you may know, I’m also a musician for a living, and although I mostly teach, I have both a synagogue job and a church job every weekend, so I know what you mean about needing to not feel knackered when you have to play on a regular basis.

In your place, I’d stick with easy strength type of programs. I wouldn’t squat heavy. I’d keep a press and a pull in your program most of the time, and set yourself a goal of a DL-only participation in a powerlifting meet somewhere in the six- to eighteen-month range.

-S-
Does EES count as an "easy strength" program? It's name would seem to imply that it does, but I'm not sure which programs fall into that category as you'd define it. If so, I could have a push, pull, squat, hinge, and carry and kind of cover all my bases. It's a lot more volume than PTTP every day, though...

Playing the violin? LBBS will take more than it gives.

And for anyone in interested in being stronger without requiring significant change to their body composition, the deadlift is a better choice.

-S-
I'm not pushing back on what you said at all, I'm just generally musing and trying to synthesize information. Having been around the Starting Strength camp for a while, I feel like I just have it hammered in my head that Rip believes the exact opposite - that the deadlift is the exercise that can quickly overtax the CNS and lead to too much fatigue and no way can it be trained frequently. It's interesting to hear the same said about the LBBS instead of the deadlift. It sounds like almost completely opposite philosophy, unless I'm misunderstanding something.
 

Oscar

Level 6 Valued Member
I'm not pushing back on what you said at all, I'm just generally musing and trying to synthesize information. Having been around the Starting Strength camp for a while, I feel like I just have it hammered in my head that Rip believes the exact opposite - that the deadlift is the exercise that can quickly overtax the CNS and lead to too much fatigue and no way can it be trained frequently. It's interesting to hear the same said about the LBBS instead of the deadlift. It sounds like almost completely opposite philosophy, unless I'm misunderstanding something.
I'm interested in this as well. I always wondered how Pavel can write a successful program deadlifting 5/week while other systems say that more than once every 2 weeks can be too much.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Does EES count as an "easy strength" program?
Yes.
If so, I could have a push, pull, squat, hinge, and carry and kind of cover all my bases. It's a lot more volume than PTTP every day, though...
Minimalism has its benefits - lots of energy for the rest of your life is one of them. But the idea of Easy and Even Easier is that the load is low enough that it's not going to produce too much fatigue, and you go for new best when you're feeling it and not according to any preset schedule.
I'm not pushing back on what you said at all, I'm just generally musing and trying to synthesize information. Having been around the Starting Strength camp for a while, I feel like I just have it hammered in my head that Rip believes the exact opposite - that the deadlift is the exercise that can quickly overtax the CNS and lead to too much fatigue and no way can it be trained frequently. It's interesting to hear the same said about the LBBS instead of the deadlift. It sounds like almost completely opposite philosophy, unless I'm misunderstanding something.
We don't say anyone else is wrong, only that we know that what we're teaching works - it's proven safe and effective, and often life-changing. I won't attempt to explain someone else's approach. I think the "why" of what we do is well-explained in Pavel's books - please read and, if necessary, reread.

-S-
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
One little question re: warming up as you mentioned - In PTTP, I think it says not to warm up (maybe I should re-read, I could be wrong), so I never have. I assumed it has to do with adding either unwanted time or more importantly unwanted volume to your workout. But I think warm up sets might really help me with technique and activating the right muscle groups.
I checked my PTTP book and I don't really see the answer there. I didn't find a mention of warm-ups.

Personally I do, but I only did PTTP for a few weeks. Other programs were 5/3/1 which did have warm-ups, and Starting Strength which did have warm-ups.

Here's what I did today and is fairly typical: 135x5, 185x3, 225x2, 265x5. About 1-3 minutes between each of these. (If I did another working set at 265, I would rest 4-5 minutes between the working sets). The warm-ups are minimal but they are good practice, and prepare the body for the working sets. They also provide additional volume without much stress. But, you'd want to do whatever the program expects in order to generate the intended stress.
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
As you may know, I’m also a musician for a living, and although I mostly teach, I have both a synagogue job and a church job every weekend, so I know what you mean about needing to not feel knackered when you have to play on a regular basis.

In your place, I’d stick with easy strength type of programs. I wouldn’t squat heavy. I’d keep a press and a pull in your program most of the time, and set yourself a goal of a DL-only participation in a powerlifting meet somewhere in the six- to eighteen-month range.

-S-
My wife asked me earlier today if I'd ever considered a meet, and I laughed and tried to describe to her the types of weight people move there. I've never thought about it, mostly because I'd be ashamed of myself unless I was pulling 500 or something. Maybe I need to mull this over, as a concrete goal might be good, and maybe I need to do something I'm a little afraid of.

Perhaps we should define "heavy."

It's not unusual for a man to have a hard time doing a proper low bar back squat with 95 lbs, when they start out. 75 lbs may be "heavy" for someone not trained in the squat, and I would argue that these individuals would be very well served to spend some time training it. This training will help their legs, their back, their abs, their fortitude, and many other physical and mental attributes, including their deadlift! Almost any male can work up to 225 lbs for sets before the squat is truly anywhere near "heavy" in a general sense. And almost any male can reach 400 lbs or more if they train for 6 months to several years, depending on their approach. (And I would agree, not everyone needs to do this). Just my thoughts with regard to a "heavy" squat....
Can we talk about this for a minute? Because it's really true for me. And this is precisely why I've wanted to start practicing a squat. As my deadlift has gone up ~230% doing PTTP, I've noticed that my ability to get under a bar and squat has gone practically nowhere. I've definitely had a WTH! effect on pull-ups, as my grip and lat strength has gone up (I feel like I fly off the floor now, without having done any pullup training since January), but no joke a 45lb barbell feels uncomfortable and heavy when I get under it and squat for kicks and giggles. It's like there's been 0 carryover. I know the deadlift doesn't emphasize the quads, but still... I figured the hamstring, glute, and core strength would help. And I think the squat is just way too fundamental of a movement to plain suck at.

I disagree on all counts.

I will define “heavy” as any low-bar back squat for the purpose of this discussion. I have nothing against it for those who desire what it can give, but all the things you cite will be worked and developed, albeit in different ways and with different results, by deadlifting heavy.

Minimalist programs are best for many people.

Playing American football? LBBS.

Playing the violin? LBBS will take more than it gives.

And for anyone in interested in being stronger without requiring significant change to their body composition, the deadlift is a better choice.

-S-
Can you help me understand why this is true? Again, I'm just operating under the philosophy that I've heard so much that I've just assumed it was true - that it's the deadlift that'll tax you more than any other single barbell movement under the sun, whereas squats are doable with higher frequency because of lower CNS load.

EDIT: For example, just perusing the first page of the barbell forum, I came across these quotes in a thread:

"As Louie Simmon said about the Deadlift, "Why do something that take more than it give back?"

As Tom McLaughlin (PhD Exercise Biomechanics/Former Powerlifter) noted in a series of Deadlift Training article years ago in Powerlifting USA, "The lower back is quickly and easily overtrained."

Powerlifting programs traditionally limit the Deadlift to once a week. That due to the fact that lower back recovery is takes longer than with Squat and the Bench Press.

With that in mind, "Less is definitely more" with the Deadlift."

I don't know how to reconcile what seem like diametrically opposed views on the squat vs. the deadlift. I guess just try different training programs that emphasize the movements differently and see how overall strength progresses (i.e. experiential conclusions)?
 
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Kaisersemmel

Level 2 Valued Member
I am not experienced enough to give you any advice on the squats vs. deadlift question. But i just started squatting after moving my conventional DL in the 300s using PTTP and enjoy it a lot. Started out real weak and even with the low weights I am working with my legs and whole lower body gets worked much more thoroughly. Lot's of potential for improvement that should carry over very well to other lifts.

But I am sure you can continue to make progress for a long while with whatever approach you are choosing as long as you stick with it and put in the work.
 

Bill Been

Level 6 Valued Member
The reason the Deadlift is thought to tax your CNS more than the Squat is the lack of an eccentric component that creates a stretch reflex. Controlling the descent of a heavy bar on your back preloads the muscles and powerfully prepares them to exert high force at an advantageous end-range ROM. All the drive of what was originally called the “dead weight lift” is mustered from Zero with no stretch reflex. This difference can demonstrated by doing one set of Deads using a very short “reset” at the bottom, and another set staying fully braced and just “kissing” the floor with the plates. Having to “gather up” that tension at the bottom is much harder, much more tiring.

As to why PTTP can prescribe so many sessions/sets of Deadlift while others make statements like above and program only 1-3 sessions per week, the answer lies in the loading. PTTP starts very, very light and is usually executed ad a “cycle” of defined length. So by the time the loads become challenging, it’s very near the end of a “cycle” - where the OP is now. Additionally, there are effectively no other lifts competing for recovery resources. Doing 3 sets of 5 Squats at 5RM load, then 3x5 Bench at 5RM load, THEN deadlifting as another popular program would see you doing would not couple well with the frequency of PTTP.

Lastly, due to the aforementioned eccentric muscle action, where the lifter/barbell center of mass is located in each lift, the fact that one must insert oneself between the load and the floor in the squat making it much more difficult mentally, the liad being carried on the bak vs in the hands, and finally a much more profound need for and subsequent development of balance - the squat is much less interchangeable with the deadlift than is often assumed. It’s also extremely valuable for overall strength development and the hypertrophy we desperately require as we age.
 

Glen

Level 7 Valued Member
My wife asked me earlier today if I'd ever considered a meet, and I laughed and tried to describe to her the types of weight people move there. I've never thought about it, mostly because I'd be ashamed of myself unless I was pulling 500 or something. Maybe I need to mull this over, as a concrete goal might be good, and maybe I need to do something I'm a little afraid of.



Can we talk about this for a minute? Because it's really true for me. And this is precisely why I've wanted to start practicing a squat. As my deadlift has gone up ~230% doing PTTP, I've noticed that my ability to get under a bar and squat has gone practically nowhere. I've definitely had a WTH! effect on pull-ups, as my grip and lat strength has gone up (I feel like I fly off the floor now, without having done any pullup training since January), but no joke a 45lb barbell feels uncomfortable and heavy when I get under it and squat for kicks and giggles. It's like there's been 0 carryover. I know the deadlift doesn't emphasize the quads, but still... I figured the hamstring, glute, and core strength would help. And I think the squat is just way too fundamental of a movement to plain suck at.



Can you help me understand why this is true? Again, I'm just operating under the philosophy that I've heard so much that I've just assumed it was true - that it's the deadlift that'll tax you more than any other single barbell movement under the sun, whereas squats are doable with higher frequency because of lower CNS load.

EDIT: For example, just perusing the first page of the barbell forum, I came across these quotes in a thread:

"As Louie Simmon said about the Deadlift, "Why do something that take more than it give back?"

As Tom McLaughlin (PhD Exercise Biomechanics/Former Powerlifter) noted in a series of Deadlift Training article years ago in Powerlifting USA, "The lower back is quickly and easily overtrained."

Powerlifting programs traditionally limit the Deadlift to once a week. That due to the fact that lower back recovery is takes longer than with Squat and the Bench Press.

With that in mind, "Less is definitely more" with the Deadlift."

I don't know how to reconcile what seem like diametrically opposed views on the squat vs. the deadlift. I guess just try different training programs that emphasize the movements differently and see how overall strength progresses (i.e. experiential conclusions)?
I cannot speak for others but I have personally found Deadlifts for me and for clients are more stressful on the body - when intensity and volume are equated compared to the squat. Reasons potentially being
*squats have a stretch shortening cycle which Deadlifts typically don't
* squats are typically limited by leg strength compared to back strength, what was said by loerrback fatiguing easier is true IMO
* Squats are more technical, once form breaks down typically you fail, Deadlifts can often be ground out with form deterioration which leads to greater relative intensity for equivalent RM

That being said a deadlift can be trained regularly (PTTP, daily Deadlift etc) the thing with any poison is the dosage. Volume/ intensity/ relative intensity needs to be moderated more on a deadlift high frequency program compared to a squat high frequency program which can be programming almost to a technical max everyday.
 

Steve A

Level 6 Valued Member
Pavel T once expressed an opinion on doing squats as part of PTTP. Adding Squats to PTTP?

I don't think there is that much reconciliation of diametrically opposed viewpoints to be done. PTTP is aimed at a different set of lifters than Simmons and McLaughlin.
 

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Beast Tamer
As always the "devil is in the details" but so is the benefit.

Yes the DL can be taxing on the CNS - If pushed into higher percentages and/or volume.
The PTTP approach does neither of those things and good programming always takes into account recovery etc... to avoid the CNS fatigue.

To squat or not to squat
Should we squat - yes.
Which type is up to the individual and with someone learning to squat the Goblet Squat is a great starting point that can progress into other types. But not everyone needs to barbell squat.

Getting some coaching from an SF Certified Instructor to get started would be a good way to begin squatting.
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
Pavel T once expressed an opinion on doing squats as part of PTTP. Adding Squats to PTTP?

I don't think there is that much reconciliation of diametrically opposed viewpoints to be done. PTTP is aimed at a different set of lifters than Simmons and McLaughlin.
Thanks for the link. I love Pavel's signature short and to the point response in it. For those interested, he suggested doing PTTP with 2 days/wk deadlift, 2 days/wk back squat, and in that particular poster's case 2 days/week flat bench. I'm debating alternating 2 week cycles of deadlift/press and back squat/row. Should keep me balanced and progressing in all 4 movements without over-taxing and in minimum daily time.

Is it overly reductionistic to say that PTTP is aimed at newer lifters, while Simmons/McLaughlin programs/ideology more at more intermediate/advanced? Or just lifters with different needs and goals?
 
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Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
PTTP is aimed at a different set of lifters than Simmons and McLaughlin.
From what I know of the other names, mentioned, yes, this is true.

The PTTP book offers ample explanation on its choice of lifts. I recommend you start there - no need for me to repeat all of that here.

And a big +1 from me to everything Brett said.

I'm just operating under the philosophy that I've heard so much that I've just assumed it was true ...
Whether you choose to "dare to be different" is, of course, completely up to you.

I don't know how to reconcile what seem like diametrically opposed views on the squat vs. the deadlift.
I look forward to hearing about what you decide to do and what results you achieve, @freeflowme.

-S-
 

Steve A

Level 6 Valued Member
Is it overly reductionistic to say that PTTP is aimed at newer lifters, while Simmons/McLaughlin programs/ideology more at more intermediate/advanced? Or just lifters with different needs and goals?
To quote from PTTP "Time to start by buying a 300 pound Olympic weight set: a barbell with plates. Even if you are as weak as your grandmother..." from which you can infer the target audience. Most of Simmons and McLaughlin's stuff is aimed at powerlifters that are probably using more than that in their warm-ups. So different goals, different stages.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
The reason the Deadlift is thought to tax your CNS more than the Squat is the lack of an eccentric component that creates a stretch reflex. Controlling the descent of a heavy bar on your back preloads the muscles and powerfully prepares them to exert high force at an advantageous end-range ROM.
* squats are typically limited by leg strength compared to back strength, what was said by loerrback fatiguing easier is true IMO
Some great points here. With the squat, I can use the biggest muscles in the body, work them harder with more volume (productive stress for development of muscles, strength, and balance), fatigue the lower back and CNS less (unproductive stress, after a point) relative to the deadlift, and in the process, drive my deadlift strength up despite doing less of it. Add in a low volume of deadlifts -- because nothing can replace the deadlift -- and we have a very efficient way to build a strong body. I can tell you it works, because this describes my training from March 2018-March 2019, coached by @Bill Been. And I've found that that the strength is transferrable to kettlebell, bodyweight strength, and life. It is not easy, but it also was something I did for this year-long period in 3 training sessions per week, without significant fatigue or soreness, and no injuries or setbacks.

Staying on that path towards being a powerlifter brings a cost of adaptation; a specialization that crowds out other attributes. But not in weeks or months -- more like, in years. For most of us, a focus on getting strong for a while and then using that base for whatever we want it for describes the premise of "StrongFirst."

The SFL spends plenty of time on the squat -- low bar back squat, high bar back squat, zercher squat, and front squat. So while everyone has a different take on this and is entitled to their view, I don't think there's a universal StrongFirst stance on whether or not heavy squats are useful or recommended for general strength development. Barbell squats are available for anyone to use to fit their own goals and objectives, and are one of the great tools taught by this StrongFirst school of strength.
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
For what it's worth, @freeflowme

Starting as a complete barbell newbie, a SF high frequency DL program brought me from ~245x1 to 300x1 over a few cycles (on and off, not continuous). I then pulled 290x5 after 12 weeks of exclusively 28kg-32kg A+A snatching (WTF?).

Then, SSNLP took that 290x5 to 325x5 in 12 weeks, pulling only one heavy set of 5 per week (power cleans were also part of the program) but 3 days of 3x5 heavy squats (from 115x3x5 to 250x3x5).

Not making a point one way or the other, just another testimony that deadlift and squat are complementary (mostly in the "squat drives deadlift" direction), probably due to the stretch reflect in the squat that others mentioned.
 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
A lot of interesting discussion going on here.

Also note, that the in squat vs. deadlift discussion, there are a few advantages that make the deadlift a more reasonable lift to train in PTTP
  • Minimal equipment. You have your barbell at home yes? Are you going to get a squat rack?
  • Easier to learn the DL alone, then the squat. The deadlift is the working woman's or man's lift.
  • Less BW gain as deadlift strength increases as compared to squat.
It is important to note, the best way to improve a lift, is to practice that lift. So if you practice the squat and put the deadlift on the sideline, your deadlift proficiency will diminish, temporarily at least, but not for loss of strength but for neural reasons, i.e. lack of coordination, practice. But you also may experience gains later in the deadlift earned from squat training that develop as your relearn your technique. Only amateurs are always at their best and your deadlift gains won't all but vanish if you put your focus on developing your squat.

Now, I love the back squat, and I do believe you can practice it a la PTTP style....Olympic lifters squat nearly daily, but never to their limits, which are usually close if not surpassing that of powerlifters. Also, the squat isn't a "quad exercise", it's an everything exercise, like the deadlift, but different. The lift starts before you unrack the barbell. There's rack height, foot position, bar position, bracing, breathing and IAP and walkout that all have to be practiced perfectly every single time you unrack the bar, not to mention the lift itself. I don't think it feels heavy because of lack of quad strength, but more of lack of putting a bar on your back often and with good technique.

Once again, there are many, including myself, who think the whole idea of deadlifting taking more than it gives is kind of overblown. Bob Peoples did okay deadlifting heavy pretty often, if I recall. Dave Dellanave, owner of the heaviest pound for pound Jefferson Deadlift advocates frequent pulling. I think the deadlift is just easier to abuse, as it's "forgiving" as @Glen said, with poor form, meaning you can still make a rep when your technique has flown the coop. If you try to do so with a squat, you're dead meat. The prime movers of the bench are much smaller than the other two lifts, but ask a guy who goes and maxes their bench every week how his shoulders feel, or his bench progress is. Also, you almost have to generate virtual tension. With the deadlift, you don't get the advantage of "feeling the weight", before you lift. Tension has to be generated almost out of nothing, whereas unracking the weight let's you feel the tension before you actually do the main movement.

I wonder if it's not the lack of eccentric, but the lack of preloading the body correctly before the lift that really causes the fatigue after a heavy lift. After all, there's no eccentric in a clean and press but you do get to "feel" the weight before pressing. It is an advantage, whereas pressing out of a rack, if you don't pretense, your body is suddenly "shocked" with a heavy weight. I wonder if people do this in their deadlifts, causing excess fatigue. It is not the PTTP way.

The deadlift can tax the lower back, if intensity/volume are not kept in check, just as every other lift can falter from the same thing. Using Olympic lifters again, they probably pull hundreds of heavy weights a week from the floor, and squat on top of it. They succeed because they they train only in perfect form, and don't push to their limit's in training. Also, the Olympic lifts are much lighter and less forgiving in technique flaws than a deadlift. Go figure. Lots of reps, but none to failure or technique falter.

In conclusion,
  • Any lift can be practiced often if there's a good reason, as long as intensity/volume/form are regarded.
  • The squat is important, but that doesn't mean it has to be heavy, as @Steve Freides noted, goblet squats are excellent for training the pattern, and with just a kettlebell, you could continue training at home without having to Steinborn your bar and worry about your living room floor's integrity.
  • If you want to get a strong back squat, you must back squat, deadlifting alone won't do it.
  • If you wish to squat and deadlift simultaneously, there are many, many programs to choose from i.e. Starting strength, LP's are probably where'd you'd start. The simpler the better.
 
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freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
I've done some thinking over the past few days and decided that sticking with PTTP and the DL / OHP combo is the best thing for me right now. The main reason is that I don't have much time to train (alas) and my recovery is super taxed at this point in life. I have found the deadlift to be exactly what Pavel says it is - the single best overall exercise for building whole-body strength with one single movement. So, I'm going to keep seeing what I can get out of it.

Now, if anyone could help me analyze my logs / cycles and see maybe what I've done right and what I've done wrong, it'd be helpful. By this past Wednesday (5/22) I had accumulated so much fatigue that the weight I pulled that day felt WAY heavier than when I pulled it the previous Friday (5/17), and so much so that I cut the cycle short and did a light Mind over Muscle workout on Thursday (5/23) and Friday (5/24). I think I pushed my macrocycle WAYY to far. So, here's what I've done since I started PTTP in February.

Cycle 1: 2/4-2/22 (3 weeks, 15 training sessions): 115-185 in 5lb jumps (stopped because 185 felt heavy enough)

Cycle 2: 2/25-3/8 (2 weeks, 10 training sessions): 150-200 in 5lb jumps (stopped because 200 felt heavy)

Cycle 3: 3/11-3/18 (8 days, 8 trainings sessions [oops...]): 175-225 in 5lb jumps except going 205, 215, 225 on the last 3 workouts (I really wanted to hit 225 before we left town for a week, tweaked my lower back a bit and spent the trip trying to loosen it up)

Cycle 4: 3/26-3/28 (considered this "reacclimation"): 150-165 in 5lb jumps (my back still didn't feel great after the trip and I wanted to ease back into things)

Cycle 5: 4/1-5/22: Each week I did a "wave" going up 5lbs/day M-F, resting S Su. I decided waves would keep me near a productive 80% of my 5RM instead of being either really light for half the cycle and really heavy for the other half.
  • Wave 1: 185-205
  • Wave 2: 195-215
  • Wave 3: 205-225 (hit my previous max from 3/8 on 4/19 with much better form and with tons left in the tank)
  • Wave 4: 215-235 (somewhere around in here I started doing more "touch and go reps," which in retrospect I regret)
  • Wave 5: 225-245 (couldn't believe I hit this - wanted to keep going up!)
  • Wave 6: 235-255 (really couldn't believe I hit this - how much farther can I go?!)
  • Wave 7: 245-265 (this was insane! I should really stop but I want to see if I can hit 275!
  • Wave 8: 255-265 (stopped on W... 265 was pretty much a 5RM, plus all the accumulated fatigue)
So, looking at it, I tend to get really fixated on a number (225 = 2 plates!, 275 = 2 plates + 25s!, 315 is the next big one in my mind!, etc.) and try to push hard to that number. My last "cycle" of weekly waves lasted nearly 2 months, and in retrospect that was probably foolish. But it's so hard to stop a cycle! My legs were getting thicker. My back was getting thicker. My forearms were getting thicker. I felt like a boss everyday moving the weight. My technique was getting better (minus switching to touch and goes). I wanted to ride that train forever.

Now I'm going to have a really hard time starting another cycle over because I've done several weeks and all my "PRs" as touch-and-go reps. I'm going to have to eat it and go back to dead reset reps, which feel 25% harder. I'm not as strong as I wanted to think. And that leads me to my next point - It's really hard for me to tell whether I'm getting stronger or if I'm just exerting myself more. I mean, I'm definitely stronger than I was when I did my first deadlift on 2/4 of 115lbs, but I'm not 2.5x stronger just because I pulled 265. I was pulling way, way, way harder on that than I did on 115, or 200. I feel like I just don't know how to work cycles to where I'm actually getting stronger without simply exerting myself harder every day.

[EDIT] I just thought of another way to put it - the RPE scale. When should you cut your cycle off? When you're at RPE 10? I think part of my problem is I tend to do my whole last week at RPE 9, and then my body is just toast for like 4 days.

[EDIT 2] My plan for Monday 5/27 is to start a new 4-week cycle that will last until we leave town on Friday 6/21. That gives me exactly 4 full weeks of training. I'm thinking I'll start over at 225 with totally dead reset reps, and wave up 225-245 the first week, 235-255 the 2nd, 245-265 the 3rd, and see if I can hit 275 before we leave town on my last week. Then I'm planning to train swings / get ups or presses while we're traveling, since I can just stash a KB or two in the trunk.
 
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Steve A

Level 6 Valued Member
Sounds pretty aggressive. If 265 was a 5RM with touch and go, and now you are going to be doing dead stop, 275 in a month is getting fixated on a number. Trying to hit some number before a break got you hurt last time, why do it again?

If it were me, I'd start at 155, focus on perfect reps, add 10 lbs a session, and go up 10 lbs each week if form was good and the body felt good. Just let the month be for developing perfect form. Make sure you goon travel with a back that feels good.
 
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