Questions about PTTP

Kaisersemmel

Double-Digit Post Count
Hi everyone! :)

I have 3 questions about the PTTP program.

1. How much cardio is acceptable and when should you do it? So far I have done a 10 minute warm-up on the treadmill before my workout but I would like to bump my cardio up to the 30-45 minutes of steady state cardio 3-4 times a week that is often recommended. I train at the gym at my work place during lunch break and it would be convenient for me to address both lifting and cardio during that time period. But is it a good idea to do both so close together?

2. Can I add some extra upper back work like pull ups and rows? So far I have done curls but I guess I could drop them for something a bit more useful given I spend a lot of time sitting and think my posture and upper back are somewhat under developed.

3. Are there updated guidelines on programming using the PTTP format? I think the linear cycles should work for some time but the more advanced cycles from the book look a lot more complicated.

Some background info:
I am 29 years old and started lifting in August using the PTTP program. So far I have alternated between a 2 week block of {Incline Bench Press, Conventional Deadlift, DB curl} and {Flat Bench Press, Sumo Deadlift, BB curl}.

My top weights so far:
Incline Bench: 70kg x 5,3,2
Flat Bench: 77.5 x 5,3,2
Conv. DL: 110 x 5,3,2
Sumo DL: 110 x 5,3,2
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
It's a great program. Try any and all of the variations on cycling you find. A newer variant is 5-3-2 reps but with the same weight.

Cardio - as much or as little as you wish. I would save it for off days and/or for after the heavy lifting is done.

Upper back work? Sure.

I wouldn't alternate between 2-weeks blocks of anything until you feel like your progress has stalled or is getting very difficult on the basic plan.

-S-
 

Jak Nieuwenhuis

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
1. I'm not a huge fan of cardio but lately I've been doing a 1 hour ruck @ 20lbs once a week. and well, it helps. So much so that I'm going to add a second ruck each week. I would just train PTTP on the lunch break though, and save the cardio for outdoor activities in which you're not so crunched for time.

2. I see a lot of people on here doing deadlifts (PTTP) + pull ups. I imagine how you did spaced out your volume would be key though. You could probably just GTG with chins/pullups/rows a few days a week so long as you kept it low.

3. Not sure about this one. You could also try Daily Dose Deadlift Plan | StrongFirst if you wanted to, instead of PTTP. @Phil12 currently pairs this with pullups, bent press and running. Kind of similar to what it sounds like you want (you could switch out bent press for side press).
 

Shahaf Levin

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
2. Can I add some extra upper back work like pull ups and rows? So far I have done curls but I guess I could drop them for something a bit more useful given I spend a lot of time sitting and think my posture and upper back are somewhat under developed.
The snatch grip deadlift will take care of your upper back if you stay within the PTTP framework. If you want to add pullups (for ex.) do it after lifting, and if you have pullup bar at home than do them on separate session.
 

Kaisersemmel

Double-Digit Post Count
Thanks for the welcome and tips. I will stop alternating exercises every cycling and slowly bump up the amount of running I do to see how things go.
 

Chrisdavisjr

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
+1 for adding pull-ups if you can. They're a nice way to work both the upper back and biceps as well as taking the load off your spine, which feels particularly good after heavy deadlifts.

Hanging from a bar after a set of heavy presses is a treat for the shoulders as well.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
I think the answer to the question of "Can I add..." is usually found in the answer to the question, "Are you progressing on your main lifts/program?" If your progress is stalling in your lifts, then whatever you are adding is probably competing for your recovery resources and you should cut back on the extra stuff and see if it makes a difference. If you're still getting stronger in your lifting and feeling recovered between sessions, then your additions may work fine for you.
 

Bro Mo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
  1. I would rather do cardio on seperate days or at least a different session. Concurrent training is time consuming.
  2. +1 to snatch grip deadlifts. I superset deadlifts with pull-ups and feel they supplement each other more than detract from each other.
  3. I like starting out a cycle a little low, making 5% jumps each week for a few weeks until it gets really hard, then starting over with 5-10# more than the last time works well for a long time.
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
I walk quite often for cardio, mobility and alertness exercise and I find it interferes zero with my other activities like S&S and judo, only makes them better.
 

vegpedlr

More than 500 posts
Of course walking counts as cardio. But depending on your goals, it might not be the best option.
 

Kaisersemmel

Double-Digit Post Count
Of course walking counts as cardio. But depending on your goals, it might not be the best option.
OK, maybe if you are walking real fast or real long or up a mountain. But when I take my dog for a brisk walk through the local park I barely crack 120bpm walking up the steepest hill. No idea how much I would need to do of that to actually get a training effect. :)
 

Bro Mo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I think that super low HR is providing an extremely significant training effect of improving capillary density when performed over long periods.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
OK, maybe if you are walking real fast or real long or up a mountain. But when I take my dog for a brisk walk through the local park I barely crack 120bpm walking up the steepest hill. No idea how much I would need to do of that to actually get a training effect. :)
I used to think that way, too. I remember writing about it in my training log, so I found it and here's some of that passage...

"... shift in my thinking about aerobic training. Two things, primarily: 1) ditch the "zone" thinking... really. As a bike endurance athlete, my mindset had been entrenched into an aerobic "zone" for training. Let's just say that for me, above 135 is where I am no longer aerobic and begin to rely more significantly on glycolysis (yes, I know there is no "switch"; but most agree there is a HR than can be a somewhat reliable marker of the top end of mostly aerobic, or oxidative, fueling). Well, I really felt like if I wasn't somewhere close to that, like within 10 bpm, I wasn't doing myself any good. 115? Waste of time. 105? Hardly doing anything. I felt like I had to be something like between 125-135 to be training aerobically. To make a long story short, my thinking was wrong. Unlike the top end of the "zone"; e.g., 135 which is somewhat critical, the bottom end is NOT critical at all. Time spent with HR elevated, even if not close to that top end, is very healthy and can stimulate positive changes. And this is related to #2), which is, elevating the HR throughout the day is a GOOD thing. I'm a desk worker, and therefore mostly sedentary for many hours. This is not healthy, as most people know. But I think that somewhere in my mind I was "saving" my elevated HR times for quality training; i.e. might as well rest and not waste good heart beats unless I'm training in the "zone", right? Wrong again. And while I didn't exactly think to that extreme, there was some element of this mindset there. My new mindset is, take every opportunity that I can during the day to fire things up a bit. A few jumping jacks, my GTG pull-ups, a few kettlebell swings, a brisk walk whenever possible, a long leisurely walk sometimes, generally more EASY activity; the more, the better. Be intermittently active as much as possible, like my hunter/gatherer ancestors. This is my new goal."

Now I know that doesn't prove anything or provide any science, it just describes the shift in my thinking which occurred about 3 years ago and has persisted since then. And I'm not sure I could come up with any proof or science now either, but bottom line is that I have come to believe that walking with HR ~100 bpm is a healthy aerobic and cardiovascular activity. Whether or not one chooses to call it "training" is debatable, but doesn't really matter anyway. :)
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
OK, maybe if you are walking real fast or real long or up a mountain. But when I take my dog for a brisk walk through the local park I barely crack 120bpm walking up the steepest hill. No idea how much I would need to do of that to actually get a training effect. :)
I totally disagree with you. When I don't keep up a good three days at least of walking for 75 minutes or more a week, I lack stamina for judo, tend to pull muscles and have more soreness, lack flexibility, but in any case let's get back to cardio. It takes about 15 minutes to get the heart up to 120 bpm, which is twice the resting heartrate of 60bpm (on average for a human). Doubling your heart rate and then keeping it there for an hour or more is excellent heart and vein exercise, let alone all the work walking does towards correcting your posture and stretching and realigning joints. Running gets it up to 150bpm. Judo or HIIT/HIIRT gets it up to 180bpm, but you can't keep it there for long!

Frankly speaking, the people I know who lift weights (including kettlebells) but don't walk or jog look fat to me. I suspect this has more to do with the body not being "realigned" properly with the natural effects of walking or jogging more than anything.

Walking does a lot for my cardio, and trust me, I know because judo is an insanely intense cardio workout.

So, in sum, I'd say if you're more of a keener, running and jogging are likely to be preferred, but if you're not up for those, and I'm certainly not most of the time, walking for a good length of time is almost as good!!! It needs no special equipment, no motivation, nothing, yet you're getting and keeping your heart and body in excellent health. I'd also say that walking keeps your legs pretty strong, and your back reasonably strong too. What walking lacks in my experience is handling the 180bpm type exercise. It grants a sort of baseline to tackle this, but I can still gas quickly at judo when going very intense without HIIT training to help me. Also, walking lacks heavy weight lifting strength.

What makes walking priceless is that you can get your heart rate up to 120bmp and then keep it there for a very long time. Length matters in exercise, and keeping your heart rate up like this for hours is very good for you!
 

vegpedlr

More than 500 posts
OK, maybe if you are walking real fast or real long or up a mountain. But when I take my dog for a brisk walk through the local park I barely crack 120bpm walking up the steepest hill. No idea how much I would need to do of that to actually get a training effect. :)
Ask someone who can’t walk around the block.

For purposes of general health and longevity, research shows low intensity CV exercise such as walking is fine.

But if someone has different goals, walking might not be enough. Marathons require more endurance training than dog walking will provide.
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
Ask someone who can’t walk around the block.

For purposes of general health and longevity, research shows low intensity CV exercise such as walking is fine.

But if someone has different goals, walking might not be enough. Marathons require more endurance training than dog walking will provide.
I'm a walker and I think it's excellent. One reason it's excellent is I can get decent (I'm not saying ideal, but decent, very decent in fact!) cardio in a way that is perfectly safe, does not tire me out for weights or judo, and takes zero motivation; it also teaches and maintains a sense of balance and a decent base level of strength. Also, as a walker who has experimented with incorporating running, and I do run from time to time, there is no question that running or anything more intense is "better" cardio, if you can and will actually do it. I don't bike so I can't speak to that, but something tells me that upright walking or running is a more natural development of the physique, something I also think about roller and ice skating, although both biking and skating seem to be more cardio-demanding than walking and maybe easier than running(?).

In any case here in Canada I see almost no one at all running in the winter time, but I'm out there almost every day walking. So who is keeping more fit?
 
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