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Thread: A Hardgainer trick

  1. #1
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    A Hardgainer trick

    Here's something that I haven't seen mentioned here...

    Twards the end of a cycle, when lifts are stalling and you are thinking of deloading and restarting, here's a little trick...

    Say you are on Starting Strength and your pressing movements have stalled but your squats and deads are still sneaking up there...you can just drop the pressing movements or at the very least reduce the intensity. This will devote your full recouperative powers to the squat and deadlift and may be enough to spur on some further growth.

    I know most of you are saying that you don't want to stop progressing on the presses, but guess what, you'd already stopped progressing on them. And think how much that extra strength in the squats or deads will help you on the next cycle.
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    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Past experiences with this...

    I had a friend that was doing a typical Hardgainer style routine using the Trap Bar for his main BIG lift. He was dedicated to his 20 rep Trap Bar deadlifts. Deep into the cycle his deadlifts started to stall while the other lifts were going up nicely. He was frustrated because he was so focussed on his deadlifts and didn't care as much about the other lifts.

    I told him that Stuart McRoberts suggests to drop other lifts and just focus on the deads, so he did, just like that without any hesitation. He did nothing but the Trap Bar deadlifts and ended up adding 50 lbs to his 20 reppers, ending with 400 lbs x 20 reps. He was a happy camper.
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    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Nice! I will keep this in mind for the future when I start hitting some stalls again.
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    When progress comes to a halt I take it as a sign to carry on using the same weight but increase the volume.

    You can't keep putting weight on the bar all the time- volume peters out. The trick is to alter another variable. Instead of taking weight off, keep the same and get more reps in.

    Taking weight off is going backwards. If you must, take a few days off.

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    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairyback40k View Post
    When progress comes to a halt I take it as a sign to carry on using the same weight but increase the volume.

    You can't keep putting weight on the bar all the time- volume peters out. The trick is to alter another variable. Instead of taking weight off, keep the same and get more reps in.

    Taking weight off is going backwards. If you must, take a few days off.
    It is an amazing acomplishment to infinately increase the volume and weight lifted. You should be very proud of yourself.
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    No, the weight remains the same, the volume goes up, then the weight goes up again.

    If only the weight goes up, the volume peters out and no adaptation takes place, which is why the volume must increase or stay level whether during workouts or during the course of weeks months.
    Last edited by hairyback40k; 11-24-2009 at 12:00 PM.

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    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    So Hairyback, are you suggesting that deloads and ramping are not effective methods of progression?

    If so, how do you explain the success of programs like Starting Strength, Hardgainer, 5/3/1, etc.?
    Last edited by Off Road; 11-24-2009 at 01:54 PM.
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    NO

    I paritally attribute the success of those programs to EATING and GENETICS. Hardgainers do not look like Jim Wendler, nor will they.

    (Starting strength builds both volume and strength- well, volume increases with strength until the body no longer copes WITH the volume- so I'd say in light of that fact resetting is the answer to that particular program after a stall, OR ramping OR maginally reducing the volume for a few weeks but using the same top set of 5.

    not everyone in the world uses periodization as a training tool, you know.
    Last edited by hairyback40k; 11-24-2009 at 02:18 PM.

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    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Just because somebody won't end up looking like Wendler, or lifting as much as Wendler, doesn't mean the system isn't valid. That's like saying 5x5 is not an acceptable program because there is no way you will ever look like Reg Park.

    In Starting Strength, intensity (weight lifted) increases, while volume (sets/reps/exercises) stay the same. That is very similar to Hardgainer. So, why do you think people eventually stall on linear progression?

    According to what you said, people stall because of the intensity (weight lifted) and the way around this is to increase volume, correct?

    So, if the body can't adapt to the increased intensity, how is it going to adapt to the increased volume on top of that?
    Last edited by Off Road; 11-24-2009 at 02:58 PM.
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    I'm not invalidating any system- People that are kind enough to write like Jim, Mark & Bill deserve their popularity. The masses often do not belong to special clubs with special coaching- where's the money outside of bodybuilding? For the record I like SS, 5x5's and texas method. But I don't follow them exactly as prescribed. Generally, frequent, heavy lifting is a safe bet- (with occasional speed/technique workouts, lay-offs and maybe the odd heavy singles session, with some bodybuilding isolation exercises thrown in. Whatever...)


    ,...but you take a guy with great genetics, feed him 6000 calories every day, start him out lifting weights properly and he will have no problem getting big lifts no matter what program he is on. Take some natural weed, feed him next to nothing and you will have no chance getting him good lifts on any program. That's where you have to be clever... That's where you have to know a thing or two about real obstacles, without some 350lb monster telling you to eat and squat... very simple!

    The volume does NOT stay the same with starting strength. It INCREASES as you lift more weight until the body does not cope with anymore volume. The reps may be the same but if each workout incorporates higher weights the workload increases. The first thing to go is the amount of repetitons, or some of the workload for the week.

    Once again, people stall as they cannot cope with the workload, whether during a single workout or over the course of a week/month. I have suggested that progress can be made by increasing the weight, then as volume peters out, keep weight the same and increase volume. Then increase weight which results in reduced volume once again.
    Last edited by hairyback40k; 11-24-2009 at 04:01 PM.

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    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Our terminology is obviously different and I see volume and work load as two seperate terms. So you can see my confusion when you say that volume increases in Starting Strength...it does NOT increase, it remains constant. It is the intensity and work load that increases as you add weight to the bar.

    Volume (stolen from Tom Mutaffis) - The total number of sets performed in a workout, also used to describe the total number of training sessions or sets in a given program.

    Intensity - the percentage of weight lifted relative to your RM.

    Work load - Volume + Intensity
    Last edited by Off Road; 11-24-2009 at 07:07 PM.
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    Yeah, well, I don't count on you translating anything of what I've said...

    If I wrote that I use heavy weight frequently, then someone approached me and asked how many sets/reps I would tell them just that. I think you'll find that's what most people say and mean. No-one will ask you how much volume, because it doesn't tell you a whole lot.

    If it did apply to one variable -number of sets- then that's what people would say instead rather than making a vague reference to volume.


    Anyway, this is a stupid nitpick and I'm done here, so catch you later..
    Last edited by hairyback40k; 11-25-2009 at 12:47 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hairyback40k View Post
    ,...but you take a guy with great genetics, feed him 6000 calories every day, start him out lifting weights properly and he will have no problem getting big lifts no matter what program he is on. Take some natural weed, feed him next to nothing and you will have no chance getting him good lifts on any program. That's where you have to be clever... That's where you have to know a thing or two about real obstacles, without some 350lb monster telling you to eat and squat... very simple!

    Dont see the point of this statement in relation to the topic at hand.

    The volume does NOT stay the same with starting strength. It INCREASES as you lift more weight until the body does not cope with anymore volume. The reps may be the same but if each workout incorporates higher weights the workload increases. The first thing to go is the amount of repetitons, or some of the workload for the week.

    The volume does stay the same. My interpretation of volume is the same as that of Off Road, the number of sets performed, or even the total number of reps. In Starting Strength, you always go for 3x5 or 1x5 for your main lifts. Even if you could do 8 reps, you are not supposed to. This is different from 5/3/1 where you have one all out set which is described by a + next to the rep number. If more weight is lifted and volume remains the same, workload goes up.

    Once again, people stall as they cannot cope with the workload, whether during a single workout or over the course of a week/month. I have suggested that progress can be made by increasing the weight, then as volume peters out, keep weight the same and increase volume. Then increase weight which results in reduced volume once again.

    In my opinion, what you are stating is impossible. If i cannot do say 305 for three sets of 5, i am pretty sure i couldnt do 3x6+. Now i could increase the number of sets, but again, i am sure i couldnt do 5x5 with the same weight. Now, the only thing that would be possible, is decreasing the number of reps per set, while increasing the number of sets. This would allow more rest in between sets, an increase in volume (only if total number of reps increases, 3x5 is the same volume as 5x3) and also an increase in work load by increasing the weight for those reps.
    In my opinion, you will be the one confused by many articles not OR. What you have stated is incredibly hard to do and deffinitely so for hardgainers.

    OP: I thought Rip stated in Starting Strength that if you deload, you have to deload all the lifts, not just the lifts on which you stalled. I did notice that Wendler advises you to just adjust the stalled lifts. I guess both would work and depend on your bodytype.

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    I understand what your saying hairyback...and FYI if you say ANYTHING that isnt inline with Starting Strength on WBB youll find yourself in a biiiig argument. I am personally not a fan of it at all but sometimes it seems thats all the people here believe in. response to every thread ever is SS. psshhh
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    Yep, slating anything SS related is a big no-no on a lot of forums! but that doesn't stop me from foolishly trying to contribute. Someone comes up to me and says: I've stopped getting stronger what do I do?

    ME: Get used to the volume and maybe up it before lifting more.
    SOMEONE ELSE: Lift less weight. EH?

    I see this quite a lot in member journals. It goes something like this... Week 5: new pr 130kgs; Week 6 140kgs (Yes! go on m8) Week 7: new pr 170kgs. Week 8 175 x fail ... time for a reset.... WEEK 9: just squatted with 10 kgs- I'll be back up to 180 in no time. (Noooo! Ahhahaa, you just resetted. See you next year when you stall on less weight AND get injured)

    Anyway whether you reset really depends on which program BUT... if you're on Starting Strength then you're obviously upping workload and weight at the same time. Why not spread the workload out more into 4 workouts or reduce volume per workout when you can't handle it? 45 lifts per exercise is plenty er workload? er volume?

    So, we're on the topic of volume and it's being used interchangeably here with total number of sets. The reason we- well me for starters- don't use the terms interchangeably, is because volume means more than total sets. It encompasses weight or intensity also.

    So now instead of volume meaning weight plus total reps, it only means total sets/reps whereas workload means volume plus weight. I would of thought number of sets means number of sets, like if I said 10 sets is quite a lot of volume, isn't that the same as saying 10 sets is a lot of sets. Maybe I'm missing something here.

    Never mind..
    Last edited by hairyback40k; 11-25-2009 at 05:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hairyback40k View Post
    Yep, slating anything SS related is a big no-no on a lot of forums! but that doesn't stop me from foolishly trying to contribute. Someone comes up to me and says: I've stopped getting stronger what do I do?

    ME: Get used to the volume and maybe up it before lifting more.
    SOMEONE ELSE: Lift less weight. EH?

    I see this quite a lot in member journals. It goes something like this... Week 5: new pr 130kgs; Week 6 140kgs (Yes! go on m8) Week 7: new pr 170kgs. Week 8 175 x fail ... time for a reset.... WEEK 9: just squatted with 10 kgs- I'll be back up to 180 in no time. (Noooo! Ahhahaa, you just resetted. See you next year when you stall on less weight AND get injured)

    Anyway whether you reset really depends on which program BUT... if you're on Starting Strength then you're obviously upping workload and weight at the same time. Why not spread the workload out more into 4 workouts or reduce volume per workout when you can't handle it? 45 lifts per exercise is plenty er workload? er volume?

    So, we're on the topic of volume and it's being used interchangeably here with total number of sets. The reason we- well me for starters- don't use the terms interchangeably, is because volume means more than total sets. It encompasses weight or intensity also.

    So now instead of volume meaning weight plus total reps, it only means total sets/reps whereas workload means volume plus weight. I would of thought number of sets means number of sets, like if I said 10 sets is quite a lot of volume, isn't that the same as saying 10 sets is a lot of sets. Maybe I'm missing something here.

    Never mind..
    You are still confusing workload and volume and you have not clearly explained your initial point. I am interested to hear about your ideas so if you could just explain them more/better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the one View Post
    I understand what your saying hairyback...and FYI if you say ANYTHING that isnt inline with Starting Strength on WBB youll find yourself in a biiiig argument. I am personally not a fan of it at all but sometimes it seems thats all the people here believe in. response to every thread ever is SS. psshhh
    First of all, that isnt true. Of course there is a push of Starting Strength because most of the members here have had great results with the program. Also, its rather hard to suggest a program to someone if you havent done it yourself.
    There are also enough people that can give you tips on other programs, however SS is the simplest one out of the generally asked programs.

    I dont think we believe in Starting Strength, we believe in results, which is exactly what Starting Strength delivers in the most simplest way.

    Btw, having a big discussion is the point of a forum FYI .

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    i said arguement not discussion....also im not convinced thats starting strength is a good way to go for beginners simply because of the fact it takes a very long time to learn how to squat and deadlift properly. hell most beginners dont even have the flexibility for the 2 so why would you have them starting with a program that is centered around those 2 lifts so frequently...thats my biggest concern with SS
    the grass could be greener, and itll always be greener on the other side, but you just never know....this could be the one

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    Quote Originally Posted by the one View Post
    im not convinced thats starting strength is a good way to go for beginners simply because of the fact it takes a very long time to learn how to squat and deadlift properly.
    But that IS the point of Starting Strength, doing the lift frequently to practice the lift and get good at it.

    Quote Originally Posted by the one View Post
    FYI if you say ANYTHING that isnt inline with Starting Strength on WBB youll find yourself in a biiiig argument.
    My original post in this thread (read post #1) goes against Starting Strength traditions. The only guys to jump on me were you and Hairyback. The suggestion that I posted isn't Rip approved, it's from Hardgainer (but not exclusively).

    Quote Originally Posted by LuNalicious View Post
    OP: I thought Rip stated in Starting Strength that if you deload, you have to deload all the lifts, not just the lifts on which you stalled. I did notice that Wendler advises you to just adjust the stalled lifts. I guess both would work and depend on your bodytype.
    Luna, this is a Hardgainer tip that can be found in Sturt McRoberts writings. It just a way to prioritize a main lift to squeeze out a little more progress. There are other ways of doing the same thing, like adding rest days, increasing calories, microloading, splitting workouts. They are all designed to extend the cycle a few more weeks to get the most benefit from it. Rather than just stopping your squats because the total workload has forced you into overtraining, you can realize a few more weeks of precious progress and growth at the most productive time of your training.
    Last edited by Off Road; 11-25-2009 at 07:19 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    your pressing movements have stalled but your squats and deads are still sneaking up there...you can just drop the pressing movements or at the very least reduce the intensity.
    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    He was dedicated to his 20 rep Trap Bar deadlifts. Deep into the cycle his deadlifts started to stall while the other lifts were going up nicely.

    drop other lifts and just focus on the deads, so he did, just like that without any hesitation. He did nothing but the Trap Bar deadlifts and ended up adding 50 lbs to his 20 reppers, ending with 400 lbs x 20 reps. He was a happy camper.
    Off Road, just to clarify please. In the first post you said drop the stalled exercises. In the next post you stated drop all except the stalled exercise. Are these two different ways to arrive at the same point?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMedley View Post
    Off Road, just to clarify please. In the first post you said drop the stalled exercises. In the next post you stated drop all except the stalled exercise. Are these two different ways to arrive at the same point?
    I was showing how it can be used in two different ways. In the first, I was showing how it can be used to keep a non-stalled lift from stalling twards the end of a cycle when everything is tapping into your recovery. In the second, I was showing how it can be used to get a stalled lift started again.
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    Senior Member DMedley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    I was showing how it can be used in two different ways. In the first, I was showing how it can be used to keep a non-stalled lift from stalling twards the end of a cycle when everything is tapping into your recovery. In the second, I was showing how it can be used to get a stalled lift started again.
    Thanks Off Road! I thought that was the thinking but wanted to make sure. There are many ways to reach the same goal and this is a great example of that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    But that IS the point of Starting Strength, doing the lift frequently to practice the lift and get good at it.


    My original post in this thread (read post #1) goes against Starting Strength traditions. The only guys to jump on me were you and Hairyback. The suggestion that I posted isn't Rip approved, it's from Hardgainer (but not exclusively).


    Luna, this is a Hardgainer tip that can be found in Sturt McRoberts writings. It just a way to prioritize a main lift to squeeze out a little more progress. There are other ways of doing the same thing, like adding rest days, increasing calories, microloading, splitting workouts. They are all designed to extend the cycle a few more weeks to get the most benefit from it. Rather than just stopping your squats because the total workload has forced you into overtraining, you can realize a few more weeks of precious progress and growth at the most productive time of your training.
    Thats why i thought. Thanks for clarifying.

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    Off Road wasn't only talking about SS, or espousing SS techniques. He was referring to an old hard-gainer method. I don't really know where these arguments are coming from.

    OR, that's interesting. Its amazing to think that the body can really continue to adapt by just lifting heavy on ONE exercise, once or twice a week. I wouldn't want to limit my volume that much, but its worth bearing in mind when I find myself short of time and start to stall. Thanks for offering a real example of it working.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post

    Volume (stolen from Tom Mutaffis) - The total number of sets performed in a workout, also used to describe the total number of training sessions or sets in a given program.
    i don't agree with this definition, i think volume is the total tonnellage you lift in a given period of time (let's say a workout, or a training week, or the timeframe you wish to consider).

    So, 3x8 @ 100lb is 24 reps X 100 = 2400 volume
    5x5 @ 100lb is 25 reps X 100 = 2500 volume

    these are the reps/1RM percentage ratios that seem to work (the second column refers to reps per set), doing more or less seems to not be optimal and probably not proficient):

    Percent ***# of Reps ***#Lifts Per Workout ***Optimal # per Workout
    70% ********3-5 ***********12-24 *****************18
    80% ********2-4 ***********10-20 *****************15
    90% ********1-2 ***********04-10 ******************7

    i think hairyback40k was referring to this definition of volume. Or maybe i just didn't understand what the two of you were talking about.
    Last edited by shutUpAndSquat; 11-26-2009 at 07:05 AM.
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