PTTP Update (June 14 Update Post #47)

freeflowme

Level 4 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.
Thanks for the perspective. I tend to be obsessive about things. I want to measurably know that I'm stronger every month. And I don't think I understand how strength / muscle is actually built. I feel the need to always be moving something that's pretty heavy for me (relatively heavy), otherwise I feel like I'll lose whatever strength I've already developed / whatever thickness I've developed in my legs, back, forearms, etc. which I'm really enjoying. I know cycling is a thing. I get that you can't be at your peak all the time. But I feel like if I were to spend time moving 155 I'd be losing something (albeit gaining technique). I get it. I'm a dense person. But I'm trying to teach myself better than what I currently think ROFL
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@freeflowme, be in the strength training game for the long haul. Miss a week whenever life requires you to do so and don't be concerned about it. Figure out a strategy, e.g., back up a week when you return, and just follow that. The only exception I would make is if you have a competition coming up and a schedule to keep, e.g., I joined LA Fitness just so I could keep up my training schedule while I drove halfway across the country. It that's not your situation, don't sweat it, just enjoy your time off.

One of the biggest things I learned - I wish I could remember the source - was that part of what's _supposed_ to happen during downtime from lifting is that you're supposed to become partially detrained, i.e., you're _supposed_ to become a least a little weaker. Get used to it, and get used to working back up to new peaks after your valleys.

-S-
 

LukeV

Level 5 Valued Member
I've deadlifted PTTP (50 reps over five days weekly) and Justa Singles #1 (63 reps over seven days weekly) without problem although higher frequency takes some getting used to if you are accustomed to training with lower frequency. I also did the hypertrophy version of Plan Strong on deadlifts which while three days per week reached some crazy volume and that was also fine although o did get sore. Just pay careful attention to weight and form
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
I've deadlifted PTTP (50 reps over five days weekly) and Justa Singles #1 (63 reps over seven days weekly) without problem although higher frequency takes some getting used to if you are accustomed to training with lower frequency. I also did the hypertrophy version of Plan Strong on deadlifts which while three days per week reached some crazy volume and that was also fine although o did get sore. Just pay careful attention to weight and form
I think I just ran my last mesocycle too long - it was 7.5 weeks of "waving" up 5lbs a day and then starting the next week 10 lbs heavier than I had started the last (so basically 5 steps forward, 3 steps back). I kept seeing gains so I kept chasing a new PR every week. But when it was all said and done, I ended up having to take almost a full week off to recover after that, though. I was so cumulatively fatigued that 60% of my 5RM felt like a max effort. That was a terrible feeling. I'm back to feeling fresh this week, though, and just had good week of training. Lesson learned (hopefully).
 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
Maybe 5 lbs. a day is too little. You're pulling 265 for 5 if I recall yes? It may be better to start lighter and bump it up 10 lbs. a day now. That way the cycles don't last so long, and the weight is more varied.
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
Maybe 5 lbs. a day is too little. You're pulling 265 for 5 if I recall yes? It may be better to start lighter and bump it up 10 lbs. a day now. That way the cycles don't last so long, and the weight is more varied.
Yes, I wish I had known about Pavel's article recommending larger jumps earlier on. But, now I know. I started a new cycle this past Monday with 15lb jumps, and it felt great. I think I should be able to hit a PR at the end of this cycle - 5lb jumps just kept me at 90-95% of my 5RM for too long and accumulated too much fatigue.
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
A month's worth of work is represented in me going from the 265x5 touch-and-go reps shown in post #1 to the 265x5 dead reset reps shown here. Honestly, I know that's progress, but I don't know how much it is, and I'm not super satisfied with it. 265x5 dead reset was definitely RPE10 for me today. I think I definitely would've failed a 6th rep no matter how hard I tried. And this is what makes me think that it's time for me to cycle away from doing PTTP deadlifts + presses for a while... if the gains are coming they're coming ever-slower, in spite of my best efforts.

I would appreciate any feedback anyone can give me on what changes (hopefully improvements) can be seen in my form.

265x5

240x5
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
That's not a set of 5, that's 5 singles.

I'm confused. You went from a set of 5 touch-and-go reps at 265 ;b, and now a month later are not able to do a continuous set of 5 at 265 as you used to be able to do? Singles should generally be easier, not harder.
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
That's not a set of 5, that's 5 singles.

I'm confused. You went from a set of 5 touch-and-go reps at 265 ;b, and now a month later are not able to do a continuous set of 5 at 265 as you used to be able to do? Singles should generally be easier, not harder.
Hi, @Anna C. I sort of share your concerns. I've worked really, really hard this month, and I'm feeling rather discouraged.

The reason I changed my approach to the set (touch and goes --> dead resets) is due to a few earlier posts in this thread:

Reset between every lift and do the 5s as a set-of-single. You'll take a breath or two (or three) in the reset. If I remember correctly this is how PTTP suppose to be.
@Shahaf Levin 's post made me start to think that the touch and go technique that I was employing wasn't strictly "by the book" for PTTP. After all, @Pavel does say, "For the next rep let go of the bar, stand up and start all over." (PTTP, pg. 92). I figured that for the program to work as intended, I should be executing the reps of the primary movement as close to the rule as I can.

And then:

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.
I hope that @Bill Been is correct in this. Everything I've been doing for the past month hinges on that last sentence. Otherwise, as you say, I've worked really, really hard for a month, and gone backwards. My hope is that he is right that completely resetting (as in my video from 6/14) and have to form your tension is measurably harder than maintaining tension between reps (as in my video from 5/17). My experience would tell me that it is. It felt much, much easier to stay tight, descend with the weight, let it completely sink into the floor while staying coiled like a spring, and then pull again with that stored tension.

But yeah. I'm feeling rather discouraged. The progress of a month's work is related only in an (albeit large) change in technique. I'm not so secretly hoping that a bunch of people chime in and say that the 2nd way I'm pulling is definitely a lot harder. ;)

EDIT: Doing a little googling, and came across this thread, which I think reflects what my experience has been: touch and go reps let you move more weight than you could doing dead resets, which is good for applications like hypertrophy training; dead resets, you're not going to be able to move quite as much weight in a set, but it's good for training your max strength for a single. In the context of PTTP, I think doing touch and goes makes you accumulate fatigue too quickly for deadlifting 5 days/week. Dead resets force you to use slightly less weight, which helps keep your workload in check.
 
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Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
the touch and go technique that I was employing wasn't strictly "by the book" for PTTP. After all, @Pavel does say, "For the next rep let go of the bar, stand up and start all over."
True and true. I don't know if most people would advise letting go of the bar and standing up between every single deadlift rep throughout the execution of the program (@Steve Freides could answer that). But you do want to fall with the weight as opposed to a controlled descent that preloads the muscles, and then let the weight rest completely on the ground and reset your position so that you are deadlifting it again each rep. That's all @Bill Been was saying. He coached me so I can say with confidence that this example is what he has in mind. The set in that video is what I would call a set of 5 deadlifts -- not touch and go, and not singles.
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
True and true. I don't know if most people would advise letting go of the bar and standing up between every single deadlift rep throughout the execution of the program (@Steve Freides could answer that). But you do want to fall with the weight as opposed to a controlled descent that preloads the muscles, and then let the weight rest completely on the ground and reset your position so that you are deadlifting it again each rep. That's all @Bill Been was saying. He coached me so I can say with confidence that this example is what he has in mind. The set in that video is what I would call a set of 5 deadlifts -- not touch and go, and not singles.
Interesting. I'm really curious to hear what @Steve Freides has to say. I found that standing up between reps, as opposed to holding onto the bar and resetting your back a la Starting Strength, gets me wayyy more winded. Like I get super gassed after 2-3 reps. I don't know if it's just a blood rush or what.

So, I've done 265x5 touch and goes. That was definitely the easiest. A month later, it's 265x5 "singles," and I was taking that much time between reps simply because each rep took that much effort and I don't think I could've done the set any more compact than that. That said, if I was doing Justa Singles, it would've been ~4x more rest between pulls so it wasn't suuper stretched out, by that standard. But, I think if I were to attempt 265x5 reps the way you demonstrated, I wouldn't be able to complete the set, so out of the 3 options that seems like the hardest technique for me. That's not to say that I shouldn't work towards trying to do sets that way, but just that it feels like my "progress" these days is not so much in just actual pounds added to the bar but rather in the way I'm executing the reps, which is a bit frustrating. Makes it tempting to go back to doing sets the way I did in the video in the original post, which was definitely a controlled descent that loaded me up for the next rep. Being able to keep adding pounds to the bar each week was addicting.

I get really confused by all the different perspectives out there. Pavel says, "There is scientific data suggesting that controlled lowering of the weights is more important than lifting them for making the muscle grow. Deadlift is one of the few exercises which enables you to safely drop the weight after you have lifted it." Rippetoe says that if you drop the weight you're a... rhymes with... um... wussy? Pavel says tighten up and descend to the bar. Rip says bend over, grab the bar, then flatten your back. Pavel says "let go of the bar" and "stand up" between reps. I guess since I'm currently doing PTTP I want to know what's the most textbook PTTP deadlift. My guess is that standing up between reps is a go, but taking so long between reps is a no go. And maybe that means that I just shouldn't cycle up to a weight that I can't pull 5x without catching my breath and psyching myself back up.

I think the bottom line is that it feels frustrating to spend 5 days a week all these weeks perhaps not doing the "right" thing, and not making as much progress as I could / should, or possibly not making any progress at all.

TL;DR: is it "by the book" to let go of the bar and stand up between deadlift reps a la PTTP, pg. 92? If so, how much time is permissible between reps?
 

JeffC

Level 7 Valued Member
Trust your program and do the reps. Drop down to 135lb or 185lb and wave back up in bigger jumps. See how far you get. If 5@100% are a 10 it’s too heavy for you right now.

First thing I would do is move my setup to a safer location where you can drop(follow) the bar down more forcefully.

Second get some chalk.

Third don’t mess around to much. It’s wasted effort. Develop your ritual.

I am a student of the barbell and I am also doing PTTP if you are interested. I am open to critical dialogue.

https://www.strongfirst.com/community/threads/fat-dads-gym.8898/page-53#post-238568
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@freeflowme and everyone else,

I'm not quite sure what the issue(s) is/are here. I've tried reading the last few posts here and watching the video.

There are a lot of ways to structure 5 deadlifts at a given weight. They all have their pluses and minuses. If you're completing a deadlift that would get white lights at a meet, you're following the program.

All the talk of CNS fatigue notwithstanding, the deadlift is the lift of choice for PTTP largely because of its focus on the skill of strength. The way the deadlifts are taught is directed at both people who are new to deadlifting and people interested in a fresh perspective on the lift. It is common at StrongFirst courses and certifications for half or more of the people in the room to achieve a new PR while at the course because of the way we teach strength. Those kinds of instant gains aren't the result of hypertrophy.

If you're tiring yourself out, you need to rethink your choice of weight or your technique or both. No one should be spending a lot of time in the range of 1RM that would cause undue CNS fatigue.

@freeflowme, I cannot comment on what Starting Strength suggests, but I can suggest that you pick their approach or our approach and follow only one of them. If you want to ask questions about their way, please go on their forum to do so.

If standing up and resetting between reps doesn't work well for you, there could be a variety of reasons. If you watch @Anna C's video, she is calling that a set of 5 and what you do 5 singles. I would call what she does either one - it doesn't matter. She is resetting at the bottom.

What PTTP recommends isn't singles where you drop the weight and walk away from the bar but rather singles where you do essentially what you see Anna doing, but you stand up, do whatever you're going to do before a rep, and then bend down and pull again. You'd be doing something closer to her timing than the timing I saw in your 265 x 5. Most of your time in a PTTP cycle shouldn't be so heavy that you cannot perform a set of 5 with a reset between reps that's essentially a single breath, maybe 2 or 3, but not more than that.

Note that the PTTP approach of not performing a controlled lowering and of resetting at the top most of the time is perfect for improving your 1RM and also for keeping the focus on skill and not hypertrophy. And let's not forget safety - slowly lowering a deadlift is where many people get hurt because it is a specific skill one has to acquire, and that skill isn't what PTTP focuses on since the lift isn't performed that way when testing for a 1RM.

When the weigh gets heavy, the volume will be lower - people don't pull sets of 5 at 90% of their 1RM as a rule. Longer rests with heavier weights makes sense.

I hope I've addressed some of your concerns - holler if anything's not clear or if you want to continue the conversation.

-S-
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
That's not a set of 5, that's 5 singles.

I'm confused. You went from a set of 5 touch-and-go reps at 265 ;b, and now a month later are not able to do a continuous set of 5 at 265 as you used to be able to do? Singles should generally be easier, not harder.
Hi again, @Anna C

I went back and watched all my videos from 3/18 to the present. On 3/18 I pulled what was then a PR of 225x5. The set was very much like my most recent video fo 265x5 - what you might call a set of 5 singles.

Looking back over my videos, I've always had the habit of doing a controlled descent. As my weights got heavier, I increasingly used the descent to load my next rep, to the point where the video that I posted from 5/17 of 265x5 was really only one "dead"lift followed by 4 more extremely loaded reps. Honestly, the first rep of each of those sets was the hardest, except maybe the 5th. The 2nd - 4th always felt much easier due to the loading.

In response to that video, I received the advice to "stand up" (a la PTTP, pg 92) between each rep and the guidance from @Bill Been that fully reset, truly "dead"lifts are much harder than touch and goes like I had grown accustomed to doing. So, starting on 6/3, I tried to incorporate that advice, which resulted in my most recent training cycle waving up to 265x5 again, this time with complete dead resets in between reps. I think there was some improvement there, in that I'm not using the descent to load for the next rep, but clearly the weight is too heavy for me to train a good set where I can bang out the reps without excessive pause in between each pull.

I think actually letting go of the bar and standing up in between reps makes sense for PTTP, because the book teaches setting up for the deadlift by tensing and descending to the bar. In order to be able to do that for each rep, you actually have to start over again in a fully upright position. I think my next goal needs to be to be able to work back up to 265x5 with just a second or two between each rep to stand, tense, and descend. If I can do that, I'll be stronger than I was doing this set of 265x5 "singles" on 6/14, which in turn was stronger than my set of super stretch-reflex loaded touch and goes on 5/17, which in turn was stronger than my set of 225x5 "singles" on 3/18.

I think I'm making progress. I do feel like I'm really dense sometimes, though, and it shouldn't be this hard to simply learn how to deadlift correctly o_O

@Steve Freides - Thank you for chiming in. I'll make sure to try dropping the weight from lockout starting this upcoming week. I've developed a bad habit of trying to slowly control the weight on the way down each rep, which lead to me getting used to kind of loading up the next rep at one point, and does open up greater possibility of injury.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Sounds like you're on the right track. I know it can feel like "as long as I'm putting in this much time and effort I need to make sure I'm doing it right", but really there's a lot more margin for effective stimulus than you might think. Just keep lifting and you'll learn more as you go.
 

Joe Fraser

Level 3 Valued Member
What's your flooring where you lift? I'd be uncomfortable dropping it by the looks of it without damage.
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
What's your flooring where you lift? I'd be uncomfortable dropping it by the looks of it without damage.
You know, I hadn't thought about it in months, but now that I think about it I think the reason that I've been practicing deadlifts with a controlled descent to begin with is because I'm doing this on our living room floor. Granted, our house is built on a concrete slab, so I don't think that I'll damage anything, but there's kind of a mental block about just dropping a couple hundred pounds over and over in the living room ROFL.

I'm glad you brought this up, it totally helps me make sense of why my technique has developed the way it has over the past few months.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I've dropped 300+ lbs many times on 1/2" thick DL mats that are on top of irregular, handmade tiles. Everything has been fine.

-S-
 

freeflowme

Level 4 Valued Member
I've dropped 300+ lbs many times on 1/2" thick DL mats that are on top of irregular, handmade tiles. Everything has been fine.

-S-
When I get back home and get back to PTTP-ing, I'm going to do my best to create a new habit of not controlling the eccentric portion of the movement at all (i.e. dropping the bar). I'm curious to see how much energy I conserve for the concentrics doing reps this way.
 
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