When stalled on a lift...
1.) Is it benefitial to increase recovery and limit the overall volume, allowing yourself to focus all your energy on that lift? (HIT - Hardgainer)
2.) Or is it best to work more volume and add accessory movements, conditioning the lift to more work and strengthening the weak links? (Conjugate)
Which camp are you in?
I think older and/or cutting/recomp is better suited for #1 and younger and/or bulking/maintenance will be better on #2.
I dont think there is a blanket answer, except for patience,dedication,consitency and hard work!
"The deadlift is more functional in that it’s very hard to imagine a more useful application of strength than picking heavy *h*t up off the ground" Rip
Max 3x5 Goal 3x5 by 12/31/11 *1X5
Bench (245) (275) 285x1x1 335
Dead (385)* (445) 435x1x1 505
Squat (320) (355) 355X1X1 405
Squat (195) (275) 20 Reppers!
(950) (1075) 1075 1245 Goals (Not including 20 reps)
5'10" 288Lbs 02/01/2011 Goal Weight 230 On my way back from a Break!
I think the answer largely depends on the context of how the person is training when they stall. If they are doing a bunch of volume and stall, it's probably best to cut back the volume. If the person is on a low volume program when they stall, the might need to increase the volume of the main lift and/or assistance work. My natural tendency is to do more when I stall, but I suspect I've done that many times when in fact it would have been better to focus more on cutting back the fluff and recovering better.
Hmmm... this is definitely a complicated question with lots of unknown variables, but I'll give it a shot.
Option #1: I think option #1 can work if implemented when the trainee first stalls on the lift, assuming he or she was previously doing a routine with significantly higher volume and accessory lifts. Also, is the best option if the trainee has not taken any type of break from training for several weeks...
...That said, the load intensity (weight) should be high for the selected lift(s) for the low volume routine; however, the volume drops so much that it can be considered as almost a deload in comparison to the previous, higher volume routine. This similarity to a deload period in and of itself may be why option #1 can be so effective. This then raises the question: Would it be more effective to just do a full on deload and reduce intensity too, before returning to a higher volume routine? Either way, it is essentially periodization.
Option #2: Increasing volume and adding accessory work can work well in the following 2 scenarios, as I see it...
- This option makes the most sense if the reason for the trainee stalling was actually due to "weak links" and/or if the trainee failed to adhere to the basics of progressive overload (i.e. was the trainee being a lazy-ass and not truly challenging himself on all related lifts - not just the lift in question). On the other end of the spectrum, the approach of increasing volume and adding accessory exercises only works if the lifter isn't already overreaching/overtraining, which may in fact be what was actually causing the lifts to stall (practically, overreaching would make more sense); so if this is the case, see option #1, above.
- The other scenario that makes sense for choosing option #2 is if your lift stalled while you were doing a more basic, lower volume routine (such as described by option #1). This makes sense, since you have to continually challenge your body in order to progress (again, progressive overload); you can only do this so much by increasing load intensity until you hit a ceiling. So #2 makes sense in this situation since one certain way to challenge yourself is by increasing volume and adding ancillary movements (you could manipulate frequency instead of, or in addition to, volume...for those wondering)... This situation can apply to all levels of experiences. However, it's basically like when beginners "run out" of their newbie gains, so they need to change something about their routines to continue building strength (and/or muscle mass).
Summary: So the key to making the optimal decision is to be able to identify the needs of your body (e.g. needs for recovery, improvement of weak body parts, additional workload), which is easier said than done! After identify the needs, you should pick the most applicable workout approach. As a trainee, you naturally go through this learning process through trial and error; although you can learn your body faster and with better precision if you actively look for indicators and, of course, track your progress.
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We have some very good answers and thought provoking discussion. I agree that a lot of the choice has to be based on the level of the trainee and his/her past experiences. As a blanket recomendation, I think option #1 works best with beginner to intermediate lifters working on a linear progression scheme. I think option #2 works best when the trainee has developed a higher percentage of their genetic potential and will need something more complicated to keep progressing. We muddy the water when we realize that both options will work at any stage, at least for a while. Later on in your training you'll have to rely on option #2 because it offers the most possibility for change over a longer period of time. You can only take option #1 so far before it becomes too limiting, but hopefully by that time your numbers will be greatly improved.
Well you're either stalled because you're accumulating so much fatigue that it's hindering progress, or because you're not doing enough work to drive adaptation in the first place. Figure out which, and then act accordingly.