Kettlebell Throwing the Baby Out with the Bath Water: Have we taken AGT too far?

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North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Sluggish, carb-deprived trainees running on caffeine fumes and trying to perform high-rep Olympic lifts - this will not end well. In fact, this has been cited as one of the reasons for the high injury rate among CFers.

The short answer to your question is that you can probably survive near-daily metcons as long as you replenish your glycogen stores, i.e., eat more carbs. My understanding is that the athletes who compete in the Crossfit games eat as many carbs as they want. If you are feeling sluggish then you should definitely take note of what is going on with your body.

Shorting your carbs on a high octane workout regimen is just (stupid) misguided. That would be dogmatic 180° from where you want to be.
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
I'm just trying to get a genuine handle on this. I honestly don't even consider it when training. I change up rep and loading to vary the time under and level of mechanical tension, and this seems to reliably effect strength, size or endurance depending. If a set in a given rep range takes me 20 seconds or 60 is not on my radar, though I do pay more attention to rest period minimums as I've gotten older and don't train with strict rest period cut-off times at all.
I get the impression that you missed the clear distinction between endurance and strength/hypertrophy work when talking about AGT/A+A.
Nobody said that you should avoid the glycolictic area if e.g. hypertrophy is the goal. Hypertrophy training is naturally glycolictic.
The AGT recommendation is for endurance/base-building work only***.

The problem with HIIT today is that, mainly because of crossfit, people think they can use high weights for high volume with little rest to build strength, hypertrophy and endurance all at the same time...

***EDIT:
Just to clarify. Strength and hypertrophy can be a byproduct of A+A. If you start out snatching a 24 and then some way down the road do the same amount of repeats with a 40 you clearly became stronger and possibly added some meat to your frame aswell.
It's still not the main goal of the "modality".
And while it improves your endurance it's an addition, but still no substitution for traditional base building (e.g. running).
 
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North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
I get the impression that you missed the clear distinction between endurance and strength/hypertrophy work when talking about AGT/A+A.
Nobody said that you should avoid the glycolictic area if e.g. hypertrophy is the goal. Hypertrophy training is naturally glycolictic.
The AGT recommendation is for endurance/base-building work only.

The problem with HIIT today is that, mainly because of crossfit, people think they can use high weights for high volume with little rest to build strength, hypertrophy and endurance all at the same time...


That would be my mistake in understanding, as I could have sworn much of the A&A is intended to bypass GT as much as possible, segregating it for the most part.

As for CF, it might be their mistake in not reading the available literature before suiting up...
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
I could have sworn much of the A&A is intended to bypass GT as much as possible
Yes, but not "as much as possible".
For example you can have your hypertrophy training (which is glycolictic), but you certainly don't need it all the time.
Look at this...
In intermediate and fast fibers, mitochondria are developed by pushing the fibers into light acidity (slight local fatigue)
It's from the article "Long Rests": A Revolution in Interval Training | StrongFirst which today is 3 years and 2 days old. Even back then Pavel said that light acidity (-> glycolictic area) is ok.
It's the "Deep and frequent glycolytic training", as @aciampa put it in the same article, that you should avoid unless it's competition time.
I highlighted deep and frequent in the quote, because that's the important part.
So yes avoid GT most of the time, but not "as much as possible", because "as much as possible" would mean to totally avoid it.


For me this all is very similar to traditional periodization. Most of your time is spend increasing raw strength and/or building a big endurance base (depending on sport). Then you follow up with some hypertrophy work or speed work (again depending on sport) and then go into event prep.
During the hypertrophy/speed and event prep phase you'll work in the glycolictic area to reap the benefits of it.
Overall this won't be more than 20-30% of your training though.
 
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jca17

Level 5 Valued Member
In fact, this has been cited as one of the reasons for the high injury rate among CFers.

I have never participated in a CF workout, or trained for CF. But is there a source to show that injury rate is higher than we would expect for any training endeavor a person can undertake?
It seems intuitive that when we get a wide mass of people interested in Olympic Lifts, we will run into injuries. Is the injury rate actually higher than amateur weightlifting, running, other training modalities?
So far, powerlifting has been the safest modality for me (I've had less "tweaks" or setbacks than with kettlebells).
I'm guessing the more a training style has you support weight overhead, the more likely a broad, sedentary populace will get injured as they dip their feet into it.
 

Adam R Mundorf

Level 6 Valued Member
I have never participated in a CF workout, or trained for CF. But is there a source to show that injury rate is higher than we would expect for any training endeavor a person can undertake?
It seems intuitive that when we get a wide mass of people interested in Olympic Lifts, we will run into injuries. Is the injury rate actually higher than amateur weightlifting, running, other training modalities?
So far, powerlifting has been the safest modality for me (I've had less "tweaks" or setbacks than with kettlebells).
I'm guessing the more a training style has you support weight overhead, the more likely a broad, sedentary populace will get injured as they dip their feet into it.
I think what makes CrossFit more susceptible to injury is the fact they compete with lifts for time. With amateur weightlifting you walk up to the platform and perform a single rep with hopefully impeccable technique. Same with powerlifting. With CrossFit they can set a timer for 5 minutes and see who can do the most snatches. Form goes right out the window and with highly technical lifts, that's a recipe for injury. People will do anything to win.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
I have never participated in a CF workout, or trained for CF. But is there a source to show that injury rate is higher than we would expect for any training endeavor a person can undertake?
It seems intuitive that when we get a wide mass of people interested in Olympic Lifts, we will run into injuries. Is the injury rate actually higher than amateur weightlifting, running, other training modalities?
So far, powerlifting has been the safest modality for me (I've had less "tweaks" or setbacks than with kettlebells).
I'm guessing the more a training style has you support weight overhead, the more likely a broad, sedentary populace will get injured as they dip their feet into it.

Powerlifting has the highest injury rate according to some studies:

Which strength sport is most likely to cause an injury?

Injury-rates-in-strength-sports.png


bodybuilding the lowest, CF falls in the middle with straight up Olympic lifting. Low back and shoulder seem to be the most common across the board. Anytime you slack on form there is a better chance of injury, whatever the reason. In my experience it is a lot easier to hurt yourself doing unrelated tasks than while training, but anytime you push yourself there's potential to lose footing, shift your grip wrong etc.
 

Manuel Fortin

Level 6 Valued Member
I'm not sure this table allows you to say much. If you look at powerlifting, the Keogh study has an injury rate five times larger than the Brown study. This tells me that the "real" answer is not really known. There is only one crossfit study. It fits in the middle of the powerlifting studies, a bit closer to the upper rate than to the lower limit, but we don't know if another study would come with a larger or smaller injury rate. This is all in addition to having to compare studies related to different populations with different methodologies. The only conclusion I would buy is that bodybuilding seems to be safer than powerlifting and olympic weightlifting, even if I doubt that this is statistically significant.

I won't get in a statistics rant here, but such studies have so many variables and drawbacks that they really should not be used to determine your choice of training modality or to get you to feel smug about your preferred training style. If one modality is consistently more injury-prone than other ones, yes, I would say that this is to be taken into consideration, but the effect would have to be consistent and large. Say one modality causes between .1 and .5 injuries per 1000 hours and another one causes between 5 and 10 injuries per 1000 hours, then I would say that a comparison is valid. In the table above, the effect is not large enough (except maybe for bodybuilding) to draw any conclusion.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
I'm not sure this table allows you to say much. If you look at powerlifting, the Keogh study has an injury rate five times larger than the Brown study. This tells me that the "real" answer is not really known. There is only one crossfit study. It fits in the middle of the powerlifting studies, a bit closer to the upper rate than to the lower limit, but we don't know if another study would come with a larger or smaller injury rate. This is all in addition to having to compare studies related to different populations with different methodologies. The only conclusion I would buy is that bodybuilding seems to be safer than powerlifting and olympic weightlifting, even if I doubt that this is statistically significant.

I won't get in a statistics rant here, but such studies have so many variables and drawbacks that they really should not be used to determine your choice of training modality or to get you to feel smug about your preferred training style. If one modality is consistently more injury-prone than other ones, yes, I would say that this is to be taken into consideration, but the effect would have to be consistent and large. Say one modality causes between .1 and .5 injuries per 1000 hours and another one causes between 5 and 10 injuries per 1000 hours, then I would say that a comparison is valid. In the table above, the effect is not large enough (except maybe for bodybuilding) to draw any conclusion.

I agree 100%, that's why I qualified it by including "according to some studies". Over at Stronger by Science there's a good article that reports a pretty high prevalence of acute injuries over the course of the respondents's careers, over 60%. No rate per hours of training is possible based on the reporting, but it sure looks like more a 'when' than an 'if' for folks that stay with it. Or at the least it is far from uncommon.

An interesting line from the article --"The most surprising finding of this analysis was that no training variable meaningfully predicted injury risk, including weekly training volume, per-lift training frequency, or proportion of training with loads in excess of 85% of 1RM."--

The chart I linked claims per 1000 hrs of training, that's probably about 3 years minimum for most folks even with a lot of volume.

Anyhow, we are getting a bit off topic without including some sort of metabolic injury rate.
 

Robert Noftz

Level 5 Valued Member
There are many reasons we want to stay out of glycolysis:
1. It can lead to acidosis (too much hydrogen ions) that affects the signals from our neurons.
2. Acidosis inhibits ATPase, which is needed to create ATP from creatine phosphate. We need that ATP for contraction and relaxation.
3. Acidosis blocks muscle contraction by affecting tropomyosin.
4. Acidosis affects calcium from being reabsorbed (so our muscles can't relax as fast).
5. Large amounts of acidosis damages mitochondria.
6. By using the aerobic system more, we become better at burning fat for fuel. We also shrink the glycolytic window (how much you need to be in glycolysis). Using the AGT style protocols builds a better aerobic base.

Thus, it seems that AGT training is on the right track. For the most part, our aerobic system can clean up the messy parts of the glycolytic system (uses the by-products of the glycolytic system to create ATP). The key is we need enough rest. If we don't get enough rest, then our body starts getting acidic as the aerobic system can't keep up.

As I read the awesome discussions, I see almost an aversion to going into glycolysis. There are great discussions about using the talk test and staying below the Maffetone number. I wonder whether there is a more nuanced view? There benefits to being slightly acidic and using the glycolytic system (e.g., it gets rid of less than optimal mitochondria, it can lead to hypertrophy). If we push into glycolysis and recover, then we can enjoy the benefits of the glycolytic system without the side effects.

In the below graph, we see how different training affects lactate, which we can use as a proxy for acidosis (too much H+ accumulation). (above 4 is getting a bit acidic in most people). In the top line, sixty seconds of work pushes into glycolysis and the 120 seconds of rest is not enough to stop the accumulation. The second work to rest interval of 30 seconds of work and 60 seconds of rest is slightly acidic, but does not get too far out of control. The bottom line shows much of what we want to accomplish with AGT work. We do short amounts of work with enough rest to do it again.
dGcCun4NSC04PO2DoT-8AOftlc4Rx1rmwPxgLmVGtwDnLHnad5395p1VW9U4OZR1K_5jP0vWE0dli2MnPVcuIVCYhfDwgBdw1SfHUclUfOA3irWQUdjS6qAP4xLxVhVSoaAZsuQYEaA


About two years ago, we experimented with a protocol that included about 30 seconds of heavy swings (think 25 swings with a 48kg for a male). There was then a 10 minute rest period (maybe 4 to 5 sets). During the 'rest' we did a Plan Strong styled press program of a few sets of presses. People on this style of plan experienced a great deal of hypertrophy and fat loss (they were also frustrated with me with the super long rest intervals). By pushing into the glycolytic zone a bit more, but not staying there a long time, people benefitted from the effects of a little bit of acidosis, but did not have the long-term problems with too much.

My main point in writing this was that we don't have to be too afraid if we go over the Maffetone number or can't do the talk test after every set. We can create cycles of training where we are strict on our Maffetone number and other cycles where we touch into glycolysis and then back out. Furthermore, our peaking programs likely need to be glycolytic in nature to prep us for events (but a peaking cycle should be quite short and only once in a great while)

I am likely going to use this as a start to an article (so feedback is appreciated). We also cover this topic in Strong Endurance and All-Terrain Conditioning seminars.
Generally, correct. It becomes a bit more complicated as we need to consider intensity of the work involved. We can shorten rest if our intensity is reduced.

The fun part is changing the work time, intensity, and rest. It is fun to get into all the details.

Strength training rest over 3 to 4 minutes restores a good amount of CP. It takes about 8 minutes to get almost completely restored. It is a logarithmic curve with CP recovery coming quickly and then slowing down (the below figure is from mice). Playing with rest in strength training tends to affect GH and testosterone release, but that is a whole different topic.
View attachment 5427
I wonder if there is really much risk that people will miss out on the benefits of glycolytic training. Like many people I was brought up in a culture that encouraged me to train to failure and go for the burn. Sayings like no "pain no gain" and "the more you sweat in training the less you bleed in combat" are probably familiar to most people. HIIT and crossfit seem to be the dominant mindset in most of the fitness enthusiasts I know.
It seems to me that people in that situation don't need to be told it's ok to get a little glycolytic. To capitalize on the benefits of antiglycolytic training perhaps what most people need is some encouragement to have focused A&A sessions.
 

jca17

Level 5 Valued Member
Being a scrawny 27 year old, I didn't have the influence of pop fitness culture saying to chase the burn or go to failure. I came across Dan John and Pavel early and learned from this site. Before my first Spartan race last year, I did team training once a week for a few months. We did 3 hour, heavy glycolytic sessions. I had so much fun. My resting heart rate before sleeping dropped to sub 50, having never been below 60. I had heard too much of the anti-glycolytic argument without any glycolytic background (which is probably an unusual background, so this might not apply broadly). For people who mainly get their information from this site, I think it would be good to show more of what good glycolytic training looks like, like Brett's original SFG preparation plan.

Having just turned 29, I also am doing a program where you push to near failure (Greyskull LP) in every exercise every session. I am growing bigger and stronger and eating more and I'm like, wait, this has been my goal for years, and somehow I had this notion that there's never a place for this style of training, yet here I am finally reaching my goals by doing what the gym bros have been saying all along (and Marty Gallagher, and countless American powerlifting legends). According to Marty, the reason they don't fail reps is that they psych so well that they hit reps that would have failed by less intense trainees of the same physical capability. Marty says give 105% of your best every session (yeah, I'm not sure if if that's how percentage works either haha). I was like, ok, I've been always saving reps, using higher volume programs (ie, more sets, but less reps per set), but now I get to a top work set and put everything into it. Right now I'm still nudging up my 10 rep max in the AMRAP in all the lifts, so we'll see how recovery feels when I'm hitting my rep maxes at 5-6. I'm having to mind my mobility and recovery a lot more though. I can see how doing this without care for joint health or recovery is a bad idea, and I don't plan on staying on this bus bench indefinitely.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Being a scrawny 27 year old, I didn't have the influence of pop fitness culture saying to chase the burn or go to failure. I came across Dan John and Pavel early and learned from this site. Before my first Spartan race last year, I did team training once a week for a few months. We did 3 hour, heavy glycolytic sessions. I had so much fun. My resting heart rate before sleeping dropped to sub 50, having never been below 60. I had heard too much of the anti-glycolytic argument without any glycolytic background (which is probably an unusual background, so this might not apply broadly). For people who mainly get their information from this site, I think it would be good to show more of what good glycolytic training looks like, like Brett's original SFG preparation plan.

Having just turned 29, I also am doing a program where you push to near failure (Greyskull LP) in every exercise every session. I am growing bigger and stronger and eating more and I'm like, wait, this has been my goal for years, and somehow I had this notion that there's never a place for this style of training, yet here I am finally reaching my goals by doing what the gym bros have been saying all along (and Marty Gallagher, and countless American powerlifting legends). According to Marty, the reason they don't fail reps is that they psych so well that they hit reps that would have failed by less intense trainees of the same physical capability. Marty says give 105% of your best every session (yeah, I'm not sure if if that's how percentage works either haha). I was like, ok, I've been always saving reps, using higher volume programs (ie, more sets, but less reps per set), but now I get to a top work set and put everything into it. Right now I'm still nudging up my 10 rep max in the AMRAP in all the lifts, so we'll see how recovery feels when I'm hitting my rep maxes at 5-6. I'm having to mind my mobility and recovery a lot more though. I can see how doing this without care for joint health or recovery is a bad idea, and I don't plan on staying on this bus bench indefinitely.

What I'm seeing is that you are finally giving your body an adequate strength stimulus and it is responding. I'm guessing you are also prioritizing adequate sleep and nutrition to support your program. To me those are the relevant factors in what you've written here. Energy systems are probably not that big of a factor.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Being a scrawny 27 year old, I didn't have the influence of pop fitness culture saying to chase the burn or go to failure. I came across Dan John and Pavel early and learned from this site. Before my first Spartan race last year, I did team training once a week for a few months. We did 3 hour, heavy glycolytic sessions. I had so much fun. My resting heart rate before sleeping dropped to sub 50, having never been below 60. I had heard too much of the anti-glycolytic argument without any glycolytic background (which is probably an unusual background, so this might not apply broadly). For people who mainly get their information from this site, I think it would be good to show more of what good glycolytic training looks like, like Brett's original SFG preparation plan.

Having just turned 29, I also am doing a program where you push to near failure (Greyskull LP) in every exercise every session. I am growing bigger and stronger and eating more and I'm like, wait, this has been my goal for years, and somehow I had this notion that there's never a place for this style of training, yet here I am finally reaching my goals by doing what the gym bros have been saying all along (and Marty Gallagher, and countless American powerlifting legends). According to Marty, the reason they don't fail reps is that they psych so well that they hit reps that would have failed by less intense trainees of the same physical capability. Marty says give 105% of your best every session (yeah, I'm not sure if if that's how percentage works either haha). I was like, ok, I've been always saving reps, using higher volume programs (ie, more sets, but less reps per set), but now I get to a top work set and put everything into it. Right now I'm still nudging up my 10 rep max in the AMRAP in all the lifts, so we'll see how recovery feels when I'm hitting my rep maxes at 5-6. I'm having to mind my mobility and recovery a lot more though. I can see how doing this without care for joint health or recovery is a bad idea, and I don't plan on staying on this bus bench indefinitely.

To me, training to failure every so often keeps me honest, and this is something many trainers who use it also note - if you always stop short, how do you keep calibrated on 100% effort or loading? When I was hardcore BB, you could see the folks who trained at higher intensity and to failure at least once/week on target lifts got or stayed a lot bigger and stronger. Those who didn't made much slower gains and often were somewhat discouraged as they spent the same amount of time training. The real exception were the power lifters, and they arguably were training to failure whenever they tested 1RM.

There's a place for everything. I have never accepted the assertion that glycolytic range = adaptive or metabolic failure and should only be trained sparingly. It is another range in a series of three (really four) overlapping ATP generation strategies and we have muscle fibers generally tuned to make use of all four.
 

jca17

Level 5 Valued Member
That's right Anna, cardio has not actually been part of my training. I was more talking about the bigger picture of dismissing "no pain no gain" from Robert's post above. I think there is something philosophically congruent about ATG cardio and far-from-failure strength training. And I think for both "park bench" styles, its good to aware that massive gains in performance come when you do flirt with exhaustion either in energy training and strength training. That last rep in my squat that I used to leave in the tank makes me understand what "pain" means in the saying "no pain no gain". It's not pain in the sense of injury, or joints. It's that strong discomfort as we squeeze the last ounce of tension from our bodies.

For many people's goals, PTTP and S&S will be all they ever need. But sometimes in these forums a vast part of Pavel's work is discarded. His writings on gut busting glycolytic snatches. His old school wide variety of strength feats/drills. He has never been big on higher rep sets or training to failure, but that style has already been laid out well by others. I think its good to still discuss the "American" style more for those unaware. I personally have gained immensely from it. My very successful run through Faleev's 5x5, I made another addition that I may not have mentioned. I made sure the last set I did as many reps as I could without form breaking. So maybe I did 6,6,6,6,8 for DL one day (I started at 8,8,8,8,8 as Faleev originally suggests). My biggest problem was that while lower body lifts were cruising, my upper body strength was stagnant. I remembered members like Antti, North Coast Miller, and very loudly and influentially, Bill Been, argued for making the most of beginner/intermediate gains by pushing to the limit and then repeating again as soon as possible.

I think we've both been on similar journeys in exploring different programming strategies (you're still exploring Starting Strength, right?), built on the skills of strength taught here at our beloved SF. You are such an inspirational member of this community!
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Good thoughts, @jca17 , and yes I think we've both learned a lot over the last few years in trying different/similar things. Yes I'm still doing the Starting Strength NLP and keeping track of it all in my training log.

I agree, there's a lot of value in pushing the limits at times - if nothing else, to see where they are. Younger and healthier people can get away with this more often. Untrained and older people quickly run into trouble. So much of it is about context and how much you can recover from. And how much you can recover from is something that can be continuously reassessed -- as you train, your capacity for stress and recovery increases. So what was true last year may not be true this year, and things may change again. Conversely we can become less trained if we do the same thing month after month, because our bodies have adapted to that stress and we're no longer providing stimulus to get stronger or more fit in whatever capacity. It's important to find that edge where you are pushing some parameter, challenging your body to provide something and then giving it a chance to recover and adapt to that stress to improve your capability. It's all part of the journey...
 

Robert Noftz

Level 5 Valued Member
I am finally reaching my goals by doing what the gym bros have been saying all along (and Marty Gallagher, and countless American powerlifting legends). According to Marty, the reason they don't fail reps is that they psych so well that they hit reps that would have failed by less intense trainees of the same physical capability. Marty says give 105% of your best every session
I would suspect that part of the reason they don't fail on reps is because they have a good idea of what they can accomplish at a particular time. It doesn't matter how much they psych themselves up, if they put more on the bar than they are capable of lifting they will fail.
 

Robert Noftz

Level 5 Valued Member
Being a scrawny 27 year old, I didn't have the influence of pop fitness culture saying to chase the burn or go to failure. I came across Dan John and Pavel early and learned from this site. Before my first Spartan race last year, I did team training once a week for a few months. We did 3 hour, heavy glycolytic sessions. I had so much fun. My resting heart rate before sleeping dropped to sub 50, having never been below 60. I had heard too much of the anti-glycolytic argument without any glycolytic background (which is probably an unusual background, so this might not apply broadly). For people who mainly get their information from this site, I think it would be good to show more of what good glycolytic training looks like, like Brett's original SFG preparation plan.

Having just turned 29, I also am doing a program where you push to near failure (Greyskull LP) in every exercise every session. I am growing bigger and stronger and eating more and I'm like, wait, this has been my goal for years, and somehow I had this notion that there's never a place for this style of training, yet here I am finally reaching my goals by doing what the gym bros have been saying all along (and Marty Gallagher, and countless American powerlifting legends). According to Marty, the reason they don't fail reps is that they psych so well that they hit reps that would have failed by less intense trainees of the same physical capability. Marty says give 105% of your best every session (yeah, I'm not sure if if that's how percentage works either haha). I was like, ok, I've been always saving reps, using higher volume programs (ie, more sets, but less reps per set), but now I get to a top work set and put everything into it. Right now I'm still nudging up my 10 rep max in the AMRAP in all the lifts, so we'll see how recovery feels when I'm hitting my rep maxes at 5-6. I'm having to mind my mobility and recovery a lot more though. I can see how doing this without care for joint health or recovery is a bad idea, and I don't plan on staying on this bus bench indefinitely.
I see from your post that you have been training for about 2 years and you are in your twenties. I'm not saying this to diminish your accomplishments in anyway, but with that short amount of training you can expect to make good progress even if you use training approaches that are less than optimal.
I have had experience with making rapid gains when starting a new program. During the first year of consistent training I noticed dramatic increases. Then after a couple of years the gains are smaller and take a longer period to time to achieve.
I do remember a time I decided to take up running. I had not done any cardio training for a while and was on the high end of the healthy bodyfat range. My first week I learned how long it took to run a certain distance on the trail near my home. After a couple of months I had taken about 5 minutes off my time. One day I was chugging along and feeling pretty good when a woman ran by me. She was lean and she was running like a deer. In a short time she was out of sight on the trail. She left me in the dust.
I say this to bring up a point. In my early stage of training it was very easy to make a dramatic improvement in performance. For someone like that woman who is very well conditioned it could take a great deal of time and intelligent training to make even a small improvement in her best time. She is already so good.
It was very easy for me to make good gains even using a very basic approach to running that required no planning or cycling.
In regards to some other points, I do think your experience may not be typical. Pretty much everyone I have ever met and talked to who is a fitness enthusiast is grounded in the HIIT or go for the burn type of training. They follow the train to failure approach. Then again, I have never trained in a power lifting gym. Just health clubs. I only learned of the antiglycolitic approach a little over a year ago. I do suspect that more people are getting starting to pick up on it and write about it.
 
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North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
My training history is a total hodgepodge going back from my older brother's Bullworker to basic barbell work with a buddy in my early teens, HS wrestling conditioning, a stint at Ballys doing machine circuits. I was in my late teens when another buddy introduced me to structured programming with stuff like forced reps, 100's, super sets etc.

It wasn't till my mid 20s that I began training in a serious gym - meaning competing powerlifters, a pro armwrestler, former pro boxer, collegiate wrestling coach, assorted LE and martial artists. Plenty of BB folks though only one or two were competitive. This was in the late 80s, early 90s. These people were getting results, virtually all of them. It was interesting to see new men and women come in out of shape and if they survived the initial intimidation and were able to ask questions and learn, their body comp would literally change at a pace you could see.

While there were variations on the theme, virtually everybody who trained there used a variety of rep ranges from 3 rep max 20 second efforts to super sets that might run 90 seconds or more. Training to failure occasionally was a staple, though is it really "to failure" if your spotter keeps the movement smooth and you complete every rep you attempt - you might not even be aware of their % contribution.

Anyway, I have never trained in such an intense environment before or since. At 186lbs or so I was the smallest and one of the "weakest" there though my numbers were pretty respectable - 275 flat bench for reps, 255 seated BNP for reps, 375 squat for reps. I felt absolutely fantastic, none of this walking burnout or bloated useless muscles I have read about, I was using a full range of reps from 2 or 3 to 20 depending.

My philosophy formed from those days is to train in a variety of rep ranges often, or you are leaving low hanging fruit on the tree. At 50 yrs old I feel this to be so even more. Making compromises to accommodate specific training implements and environments is my only concession, not every tool can be used in ways that make a wide range of reps and loading schemes practical.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
There's a place for everything. I have never accepted the assertion that glycolytic range = adaptive or metabolic failure and should only be trained sparingly. It is another range in a series of three (really four) overlapping ATP generation strategies and we have muscle fibers generally tuned to make use of all four.
I believe that this is what Craig is also saying.

Our thread has roamed - we’re talking about health, about strength performance, about endurance performance, and more. I think it’s perhaps helpful to focus on one outcome, e.g., how do we best improve health, or how do we beat improve sparing our bodies while still passing the 5-min snatch test.

-S-
 

jca17

Level 5 Valued Member
Robert, no worries, I do not yet have any accomplishments to even demean yet anyways haha. But your statement proves the point I'm making. I've trained for a few years, hovering around 150 pounds at 6 feet tall and rarely making noticeable improvement. Now in the last 6 months I've made more progress than I made in the 2 years combined before.

you can expect to make good progress even if you use training approaches that are less than optimal.
Unfortunately, I wasn't even making good progress on the less than optimal approach. The best approach for a 50 year old with high mileage is not the best approach for a 20 something guy with less responsibilities and healthy movement. Even though I think there aren't that many 20-somethings in this forum, its good to be aware of the training alternatives available that may be far more optimal. I'm glad we have contrarians like @Bill Been who have dramatically changed my training and expectations.

Like Anna said, its about finding the program for where you as an individual are at. For a very wide demographic that is missed over by many philosophies, Pavel has presented simple and sinister approaches with multiple modalities that do not draw to heavily on recovery abilities. I will revisit these programs.

As for a novice barbell lp program, I'm 20 pounds heavier now than I was at the start of January and around 10% body fat. Beginner gains, yes, but after 2 years of not getting beginner gains with easy strength type programs. I think once someone has some amount of muscle mass to speak of, the skill style training/easy strength will be more effective in utilizing that muscle. I did not have that prereq.
Squats and milk do wonders. And I'm not going crazy with either. Just adding a quart of milk a day, and two squat sessions a week, with one AMRAP set each session and continuously incrementing load.
 
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