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KingJustin
04-10-2007, 01:18 PM
I feel like Charles Poliquinn always writes about stuff that I've long written off as useless. Then, I look at the fact that he's trained hundreds (?) of world class athletes, and is one of the best in the business.

So... what do you guys think of some of his ideas? Namely, there's four things that recently stuck out:

(1) BCAA's
Him and all the other T-Nation writers always talk about how important BCAA's are. They talk about decreased DOMS, preventing catabolism, increasing anabolism, & providing energy. He says that if you're not seeing big effects, you're not taking enough. Do you guys agree? Does this stuff actually make a noticeable difference to where it's worth paying for it?

(2) Slow Twitch/Fast twitch Fibers
He's always talking about training for the fiber types. In a recent article, he talked about how the hamstrings, when they act as knee flexors, need to be trained with really low reps for optimal growth, and the neck typically needs to be trained with really high reps. Do you guys buy this? Are there certain rep ranges that work better for various body parts?

(3) TUT
Poliquin is always trying to sell this time under tension ****. I always just focused on increasing the reps or the weight, but he makes it seem like this is paramount. How important is time under tension for hypertrophy? Should you make an effort to drop the weight a few pounds and keep your negatives slow so that you can hit the 30-70 seconds (lower if the weight is extremely high)?

(4) "Shock Effect"
This actually seems interesting to me and I might screw around with it from time to time. He said that when his athletes are struggling with a body part, he'll have them "shock" the hell out of it, by training it 3 days in a row, or up to 9x in a week. He mentions a "20%" rule, where you keep going until you can only bench 80% of what you started with.

First, do you guys buy this? Second, what exactly does this mean? If my 5rm is 300lbs and I do like 12 sets of 5, I'm down to 240x5 as the max I can hit. Have I finished my job now? Or, do I have to train like 4 days in a row, and when I come in and 240x5 is my 5rm on my first set, then I'm hitting the 20% rule? (referenced in the article)

Recent articles:
http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do;jsessionid=116012C05FB734F20F8B9A376D9F4C2D.hydra?id=1525300
http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle.do?article=8simpl

I posted this here and not in bodybuilding because I think most of these concepts are a little more advanced. This forum tends to be a little bit more experienced I think. If it needs to get moved, go ahead.

Sensei
04-10-2007, 03:10 PM
I think he's probably a great coach, but no I don't agree w. everything. Does that mean I think I know more than him? No way. Having said that, here's my humble opinions on the following things:


(1) BCAA's
Does this stuff actually make a noticeable difference to where it's worth paying for it?No.


(2) Slow Twitch/Fast twitch Fibers
He's always talking about training for the fiber types. In a recent article, he talked about how the hamstrings, when they act as knee flexors, need to be trained with really low reps for optimal growth, and the neck typically needs to be trained with really high reps. Do you guys buy this? Are there certain rep ranges that work better for various body parts?I agree w. this. Not necessarily a fiber-typing issue, but there are certainly some exercises and body parts that you could do nearly everyday and get away with it, even thrive on it. I think this idea has been around a long time - even old-timers knew that, for example, you could recover from curls a lot quicker than squats. You can jargon it up all you want, but that's the idea in
a nutshell.

(3) TUT
Poliquin is always trying to sell this time under tension ****. I always just focused on increasing the reps or the weight, but he makes it seem like this is paramount. How important is time under tension for hypertrophy? Should you make an effort to drop the weight a few pounds and keep your negatives slow so that you can hit the 30-70 seconds (lower if the weight is extremely high)?Time under tension is damn important, but I don't think it's something most athletes need to overly concern themselves with. The problem w. the whole "warrior-nerd" mentality over at t-mag, IMHO, is paralysis by overanalysis... It's nice to have a grasp of the concept, but come on.


(4) "Shock Effect"
This actually seems interesting to me and I might screw around with it from time to time. He said that when his athletes are struggling with a body part, he'll have them "shock" the hell out of it, by training it 3 days in a row, or up to 9x in a week. He mentions a "20%" rule, where you keep going until you can only bench 80% of what you started with.

First, do you guys buy this? Second, what exactly does this mean? If my 5rm is 300lbs and I do like 12 sets of 5, I'm down to 240x5 as the max I can hit. Have I finished my job now? Or, do I have to train like 4 days in a row, and when I come in and 240x5 is my 5rm on my first set, then I'm hitting the 20% rule? (referenced in the article)I'm not spending much time w. what you have here and I'm in a hurry, so I'm sorry if I'm not reading it correctly, but the basic idea is that you would use your performance in the training session to monitor volume - in other words, once you are unable to continue to maintain a certain threshold of performance, you're done and it's time to go home. I think the idea has a lot of merit and you'll see S&C coaches talk about "autoregulation" which is basically the same thing.
As far as "shock training" goes, Siff et.al write/talk about mixing up things to shock lifters out of plateaus - a lot of different ways to go about that.

RhodeHouse
04-10-2007, 03:16 PM
I've read some of his stuff. Here's my opinion. Don't waste your time with diving into the details.
1. BCAA's - you want to stop DOMS and stop catabolism and promote anabolism - take steroids

2. If you're an athlete, you should train explosively. If you want to be big and strong, lift heavy.

3. Ask Ronnie Coleman how much time under tension he has during his sets. Just lift.

4. This I agree with. Variety is the spice of life.

IMO - the ideas are pretty good, but he uses all this crap to sell product and make people feel like they don't know anything. As Dave Tate would say, "he's a Yoda."

Isaac Wilkins
04-10-2007, 03:30 PM
Justin,

As to the last point (I just read that article today, incidently) what he's referring to is creating a short-term overreaching status followed by recovery to create a supercompensation (growth, in this case). This is just like an athlete using high volume/intensity or both for a three week period, and just as performance starts to drop off, taking a week off to allow the body to slingshot performance to a higher level. This is done a lot in CNS-dependant activities like sprinting, plyo work, etc. Another example is the off week that Louie used to prescribe for benching every six weeks: Rotating exercises for three weeks, looking for the PR (so two 3-week cycles) followed by a week of six rep sets on Illegal Wide benches or dumbbell work.

Poliquin is shortening it down to a few days in his recommendation and using for hypertrophy. Some of Siff's work (I believe it's Siff, it could be another periodization researcher) indicates that a 20% drop-off in performance (in the short-term) indicates that the appropriate over-reaching state has been achieved. Much lower performance than that and the recovery time will be too long to achieve supercompensation, much higher performance and you haven't really done much.

You're better to err on the side of less rather than more (ie 15% performance drop-off) if you choose to use this method. You can always do more cycles, rather than **** yourself up. Charlie Francis has been writing some interesting stuff on CNS overreaching lately (again, dealing with sprinters).

As for the other parts of your post I agree with Sensei and Rhodes: Poliquin is generally a smart coach. He gets the job done. However, he also refuses to admit that there's not much new under the sun so in order to sell more products he either finds really out there topics or repackages simple things in complicated wrappings.

Guido
04-10-2007, 03:34 PM
I'm with Rhodey on his comments. He is trying to sell stuff and is a little dogmatic in his approaches, so take some of what he says with a grain of salt. Also, just because someone has trained hundreds of top-level athletes, doesn't make their advice always relevant to the average joe trainee.

The main thing I disagree with is #2. You can train for fiber types, but why? All muscles have both Type I and Type II fibers, in whatever proportion. However, none other than Mr. John Berardi explained it the best in one of his books that because the potential for fiber growth is so limited in Type I fibers, that trainees should focus their attention on stimulating the one's that have great potential for growth (the Type II fibers), no matter the ratio. Type II fibers are best stimulated through heavy weights for low reps, or through explosive movement. So focus on moving heavy weights and throw some explosive movements into your workouts every once in a while and you should see the best results.

Isaac Wilkins
04-10-2007, 03:37 PM
I'm with Rhodey on his comments. He is trying to sell stuff and is a little dogmatic in his approaches, so take some of what he says with a grain of salt. Also, just because someone has trained hundreds of top-level athletes, doesn't make their advice always relevant to the average joe trainee.

The main thing I disagree with is #2. You can train for fiber types, but why? All muscles have both Type I and Type II fibers, in whatever proportion. However, none other than Mr. John Berardi explained it the best in one of his books that because the potential for fiber growth is so limited in Type I fibers, that trainees should focus their attention on stimulating the one's that have great potential for growth (the Type II fibers), no matter the ratio. Type II fibers are best stimulated through heavy weights for low reps, or through explosive movement. So focus on moving heavy weights and throw some explosive movements into your workouts every once in a while and you should see the best results.

Bingo. Especially if one were more interested in sarcomeric hypertrophy and the associated strength gains.

For pure hypertrophy (and nothing but) follow the same protocol but utilize Rhode's recommended recovery method and some higher rep stuff to induce glycogen and sarcoplasmic supercompensation. ie make the body retain more **** to fill the muscle balloons.

Paul Stagg
04-10-2007, 07:05 PM
"Warrior-nerds"

Awesome.

Polquin is someone who makes 15 year olds overthink their training. Listen to the guys posting here.

Sensei
04-10-2007, 07:19 PM
"Warrior-nerds"

Awesome.

Polquin is someone who makes 15 year olds overthink their training. Listen to the guys posting here.
Yeah, they actually CALL THEMSELVES THAT!!!! I'm not joking!

Paul Stagg
04-10-2007, 07:21 PM
That figures.