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Carl

Level 5 Valued Member
I was re-reading Simple and Sinister’s chapter on step-loading, it occurred to me my own (mostly) calisthenics based training has moved in this direction.


An example: Most pull up programmes (as written), are too much volume for me and my joints complain, so I end up modifiying.

I’ve learned to stay with a rep range (and more conservative volume), until it becomes easy,then progress (reps or to a harder progression). Sometimes this can be weeks, sometimes months.

This mindset also supports working on quality reps, rather than just chasing numbers (at the expense of form). I still train hard (for me) but feel no guilt about not exhausting the tank, each time out. A tendency I have to fight at times.

Not as catchy as ‘overnight gains’, or ‘hit PRs every week’ but I have learned to listen to my body.

I wondered if anyone has had a similar experience with bodyweight.
 

Adam R Mundorf

Level 6 Valued Member
I was re-reading Simple and Sinister’s chapter on step-loading, it occurred to me my own (mostly) calisthenics based training has moved in this direction.


An example: Most pull up programmes (as written), are too much volume for me and my joints complain, so I end up modifiying.

I’ve learned to stay with a rep range (and more conservative volume), until it becomes easy,then progress (reps or to a harder progression). Sometimes this can be weeks, sometimes months.

This mindset also supports working on quality reps, rather than just chasing numbers (at the expense of form). I still train hard (for me) but feel no guilt about not exhausting the tank, each time out. A tendency I have to fight at times.

Not as catchy as ‘overnight gains’, or ‘hit PRs every week’ but I have learned to listen to my body.

I wondered if anyone has had a similar experience with bodyweight.
This sounds very similar to Convict Conditioning.
 

johanness

Level 2 Valued Member
Hi,
I think (or: I hope) I did some of the same in the past, but with one hugh difference:

I was doing push-ups, pull-ups, running basically.
Today my max is 11 tactical pull-ups, mayby only 10 really nice ones. Back then I also could move "10 time up the bar".
If I think back the numers have nealy stayed the same (pull-up & push-up), but tempo and form progressed.
Now the big difference is that adjustments in tempo or form like ROM are very subtil, thus my effort was rahter constant - while the load increased continuosly.

(or that is bs and I just did not advance at all. That is the beauty of weights, easy countable progress...)

Anyway, now I hope to be smarter and will do more variation in loading (extra weight), exercise (e.g. handstand instead of push-up) by cycling the program.
 

Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
I was re-reading Simple and Sinister’s chapter on step-loading, it occurred to me my own (mostly) calisthenics based training has moved in this direction.


An example: Most pull up programmes (as written), are too much volume for me and my joints complain, so I end up modifiying.

I’ve learned to stay with a rep range (and more conservative volume), until it becomes easy,then progress (reps or to a harder progression). Sometimes this can be weeks, sometimes months.

This mindset also supports working on quality reps, rather than just chasing numbers (at the expense of form). I still train hard (for me) but feel no guilt about not exhausting the tank, each time out. A tendency I have to fight at times.

Not as catchy as ‘overnight gains’, or ‘hit PRs every week’ but I have learned to listen to my body.

I wondered if anyone has had a similar experience with bodyweight.
Elbow issues at the moment from pull ups, push ups, and probably kettlebell mile stuff with a 24. Was going fine until it wasn't. Was running FPP on a schedule and chasing a number, as you mentioned. Power push ups were getting sloppy. I was adding sets and decreasing rest time. Not paying attention. Thanks for the reminder.
 

the hansenator

Level 6 Valued Member
It's been my experience that progressing too fast never works out well. It's baby steps for me. I need to stay at the same level for a while and make sure my body tolerates it well before progressing.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
An example: Most pull up programmes (as written), are too much volume for me and my joints complain, so I end up modifiying.
Me, too. I tend to like to train at the lower end of most recommended amounts of volume.

Are you aiming for more reps or more weight? I found the more reps type of training didn't agree with me, so I typically focus on more weight (or harder variations which are, in many ways, the same) and then, if it's for something like a TSC, work on volume only leading up to the event.

And I mentioned this just yesterday, but I've had good luck with a weekly near-max day on pullups, and regular cycling of adding a rep each week for 3 weeks then a back-off week. You end up only adding one or two reps per month to your max, but I made steady progress that may and didn't end up overtrained. My formula (again, as mentioned elsewhere) was on Wednesdays, I'd do a warmup set, a near-max set, and then a backoff set with chinup grip. And on the other days, more weight but fewer reps and I also trained on a thicker bar on those other days.

-S-
 

Carl

Level 5 Valued Member
I need the reminder myself (often). I wish you a speedy recovery.


Elbow issues at the moment from pull ups, push ups, and probably kettlebell mile stuff with a 24. Was going fine until it wasn't. Was running FPP on a schedule and chasing a number, as you mentioned. Power push ups were getting sloppy. I was adding sets and decreasing rest time. Not paying attention. Thanks for the reminder.
 

Carl

Level 5 Valued Member
I did see your other post Steve and have seen you post this protocol previously. This is more my speed but I have to fight the tendency to want to chase more than I have earned at times.

More bodyweight reps have been the goal but, of late, I’ve fallen in love with wanting to make the reps as clean as possible, rather than just chase a number. This means some days are more, some are less but over the long haul (months) I should be going up or stronger in what I can do.

Trying to learn some patience. :)


Me, too. I tend to like to train at the lower end of most recommended amounts of volume.

Are you aiming for more reps or more weight? I found the more reps type of training didn't agree with me, so I typically focus on more weight (or harder variations which are, in many ways, the same) and then, if it's for something like a TSC, work on volume only leading up to the event.

And I mentioned this just yesterday, but I've had good luck with a weekly near-max day on pullups, and regular cycling of adding a rep each week for 3 weeks then a back-off week. You end up only adding one or two reps per month to your max, but I made steady progress that may and didn't end up overtrained. My formula (again, as mentioned elsewhere) was on Wednesdays, I'd do a warmup set, a near-max set, and then a backoff set with chinup grip. And on the other days, more weight but fewer reps and I also trained on a thicker bar on those other days.

-S-
 

GeoffreyLevens

Level 6 Valued Member
Not sure why it’s taken over two decades of training to make me fully realise this.
It is after all, at war with our modern "culture" which is all about bigger, faster, harder, more and you're a loser if you don't. Totally with you on this!
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Carl, if you're able to do a few reps with added weight, the thing I like about my protocol is that you can make RM (reps max @ bw only) progress by doing training with additional weight. For purposes of this discussion, that might mean if you can do 10 reps bw-only and can manage 5 reps @ bw + 16 kg, you could do some training @ bw + 8 kg, + 12 kg, and + 16 kg, and getting better at those should have some carryover to your bw-only reps. For me, it was reps @ bw + 12 to +24 kg having carryover to bw + 10 kg, but the same would hold true for bw + 5-10 kg having carryover to bw-only.

Am I telling you things you've already figured out?

-S-
 

Carl

Level 5 Valued Member
Really appreciate the advice Steve.

You are telling me something I have read from others (Pavel, yourself and more) here, but have yet to experiment with. Maybe it is time to give this a go, in my rotation.

The volume threshold seems real for me, however slowly I try to creep up on volume. Alongside my strength goals, I mostly want to be at this for life. Adding some weight might be a kinder route to my goals (and for my elbows). Your routine looks a sensible approach to mirror.

Thanks for the time and insight.

@Carl, if you're able to do a few reps with added weight, the thing I like about my protocol is that you can make RM (reps max @ bw only) progress by doing training with additional weight. For purposes of this discussion, that might mean if you can do 10 reps bw-only and can manage 5 reps @ bw + 16 kg, you could do some training @ bw + 8 kg, + 12 kg, and + 16 kg, and getting better at those should have some carryover to your bw-only reps. For me, it was reps @ bw + 12 to +24 kg having carryover to bw + 10 kg, but the same would hold true for bw + 5-10 kg having carryover to bw-only.

Am I telling you things you've already figured out?

-S-
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
I have a weight vest that goes up to 40lbs in increments of 4. I have thought about doing a "PTTP-style step cycle" by slowly adding 4 lbs at a time to a given exercise. I have yet to commit to this idea though, as I feel the need to get a little bit stronger at my chosen moves before adding weight at 4lbs a week or so...
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@bluejeff, that's what I liked about my cycle - I just went 3 weeks forward, 1 week backoff, and it went where it went. Since I had a "near-max" session once a week, however far I got in that session was however far I got. Typically, I went up a rep every week, which means only progressing by 1 or 2 reps every month, and I was kind to myself - if I did week #1 of one of these 4-week planned cycles and then on week #2, couldn't make the target, that became a backoff week, and I started over again. Basically, it was a combination of by plan and by feel.

-S-
 
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