Thread: Charles Poliquin Pyramid 4% Solution

1. Charles Poliquin Pyramid 4% Solution

Has anyone heard of this? My friend, who did his first bodybuilding show a month ago, has been using this routine and has gotten great strength results from it. I think I might start it when we start training together. Sorry I don't have any more info, but I think Charles makes you pay for all of it.

2. Charles Poliquin's 4/5% solution is quite different from his broad pyramid for strength training, which was based upon Tudor Bompa's "flat pyramid" set model.

The Five Percent Solution involves a set pattern of progression. The goal is an increase in weight of 4 to 5% each workout, while simultaneously reducing the number of reps each workout. By six workouts, you ought to have increased your strength by 10%. The following is quoted from an article Charles did on the 4/5% solution:

"People in the know in the field of strength training realize that the number of reps is the loading parameter to which an individual adapts the fastest, and the Five Percent Solution takes advantage of this fact. I'm sure people like Tony Little have no idea what I'm talking about, but no matter. The Five Percent Solution is based on the principle, "success breeds success".

Whenever people achieve goals, whether it's in business or athletics, testosterone levels rise. When T levels rise, your recovery ability improves. And, because you recover more quickly, you make more gains. Because you have more gains, you have more success and you make more testosterone, and so on and so on.

Before I give examples of the workout, let's talk about the loading parameters of the Five Percent Solution.

The Intensity Zone

Select a 3-rep bracket to start the cycle. The number of reps should fall between 3 and 8. For instance, choose to do sets of 3-5 reps, 4-6 reps, 5-7 reps, or 6-8 reps. The decision is somewhat arbitrary; just make sure you write down the rep bracket you selected and stick with if for the duration of the program.

Tempo

The tempo (the time it takes you to complete one rep) should be the same throughout the 6 workouts of the phase. Depending on your goal, the total time under tension per set determines the chosen tempo. For example, if mass is your goal, the set should last at least 40 seconds. If relative strength is the desired goal, the total length of the set shouldn't exceed 20 seconds.

Let's say the rep bracket you selected is 4 to 6 reps and your goal is to build mass. That means that it should take at least 40 seconds to do your 4 to 6 reps. Therefore, a suitable tempo for a set of six might be 412, where 4 is the number of seconds it takes to lower the weight; 1 is the number of seconds you pause; and 2 is the number of seconds it takes to raise the weight. Therefore, each rep would take about 7 seconds and since you'd be doing 6 reps, 6x7 equals 42. That means your total time under tension would be 42 seconds for that particular set.

Rest Interval

In order to allow the phosphagens to replenish and give the central nervous system enough time to recover and be able to activate the high-threshold fibers again, you need to rest 3 to 4 minutes between sets.

It may be difficult for many of you to take that much rest, but believe me, your discipline will pay big dividends in the long run. In fact, failure to take adequate rest between sets will negate the positive effects of this program. I recommend using a stopwatch that beeps after the rest interval is over. As a note, strength athletes generally rest between 4 and 5 minutes after sets of the Power Clean or other Olympic lifts. The technical element of these lifts is much greater than that of conventional lifts; thus the demands on the nervous system are much greater.

Number of Exercises

I don't recommend doing more than 1 to 2 exercises per body part because you'll be doing a high number of total sets. Of course, the odd genetic freak or the steroid assisted athlete might be able to handle 3 exercises.

Exercise Selection

I recommend that you select compound exercises that recruit a lot of muscle mass. Therefore, exercises like rows, squats, deadlifts, or presses are the best choices for this method. Hopefully, you can use at least 100 pounds in a given exercise because it makes the math easier. It also makes it easier to change the weight since 1 1/4 pound plates are a rarity. Of course if your strength levels are low, you can always use PlateMates or Record Disks to meet the 4 to 5% weight increase.

Frequency

Work every body part once every 4 to 5 days. Here's one possible split:

Day 1: Chest and Back
Day 2: Legs and Abs
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Shoulders and Arms
Day 5: Off

Duration

This program is designed to be used for 6 workouts per body part.

Do your initial workouts with the chosen number of reps and the predetermined weight. You'll then increase the load by 4 to 5% every workout for two workouts in a row. Concurrently, you'll also reduce the target reps by one rep for every weight increase. Then, after the third workout, you'll reduce the weight 4 to 5% but bring the number of reps back to the original starting point. If you've done this correctly, you'll have increased your strength by 5%.

If you're confused, I don't blame you, so let me offer an example:

The Five Percent Solution

Let's say you have a weak brachialis muscle and you want to improve your reverse curl strength. And, for the sake of this example, we'll say your best performance for the reverse curl is 100 pounds for 7 reps. This is what your rep/set cycle would look like:

Workout 1:
4-5 sets x 7 reps at 100 pounds

Workout 2:
Increase the weight from the last workout by 4-5 percent and do 1 rep less per set: 4-5 sets x 6 reps at 105 pounds

Workout 3:
Increase the weight from the last workout by 4-5 percent and do 1 rep less per set: 4-5 sets x 5 reps at 110 pounds

Workout 4:
Use the load you used in workout #2 for the workout #1 rep target. In this case, you're shooting for: 4-5 sets x 7 reps at 105 pounds

NOTE: If you achieve your goal, it means you're already 5% stronger!

Workout 5:
Use the load used in workout #3 for the workout #2 rep target: 4-5 sets x 6 reps at 110 pounds

Workout 6:
Increase the weight from the last workout by 4-5 percent and do 1 rep less per set: 4-5 sets x 5 reps at 115 pounds

By logical extension, if you did workout 7, you'd now be able to do 7 RM (repetitions maximum) with 110 pounds! That's a 10% percent increase in strength over 6 workouts, and that's excellent! (I don't actually map out the seventh workout because it would just be an exercise in vanity-the nervous system typically adapts to any workout program in 6 workouts and after that, it's time to move on to another type of program.)

Obviously, because of neuromuscular fatigue, you won't be able to achieve your rep target every set, but as long as you hit your goal on the first set of every workout, you're doing fine."

My personal experience with the program was great, and I ought to be doing it again soon. Maybe in a little while I'll post Poliquin's guidelines for dropsets for the neurologically efficient athlete.

3. Please do that was a good read I might try and do that for the next 5 weeks or so.

4. The program is only performed for six workouts, which, according to the split, would last three weeks. A six week protocol could work quite well, however, by changing your repitition parameters.

5. That is very similar to the workout outlined here (in the advanced section):

http://www.musclemedia.com/training/gvt.asp

I might do this after I finish the Add 50 lbs to Bench routine I'm working on...I'll have about 1 month more of lifting before Cross Country (ugh) starts, though I'll have to make the rest days cardio days.

6. German Volume Training is a great routine--however, it's probably not *the* best routine for hypertrophy. Being a cross country runner, however, it would be perfect for you, as the program builds incredible muscular endurance, and results in sarcoplasmic adaptation--you will basically be capable of running longer distances due to fiber adaptations and an increased glycogen reserve. Give GVT a try, but remember to super--set, and to avoid overtraining--Poliquin has some supplemental reccomendations such as an interesting creatine cycle, suggestions on BCAA use, and use of supplements such as Phosphatidylserine to help you balance your Testosterone/Cortisol ratio. PM me if you want more details.

7. German Volume Training is a great routine--however, it's probably not *the* best routine for hypertrophy. Being a cross country runner, however, it would be perfect for you, as the program builds incredible muscular endurance, and results in sarcoplasmic adaptation--you will basically be capable of running longer distances due to fiber adaptations and an increased glycogen reserve. Give GVT a try, but remember to super--set, and to avoid overtraining--Poliquin has some supplemental reccomendations such as an interesting creatine cycle, suggestions on BCAA use, and use of supplements such as Phosphatidylserine to help you balance your Testosterone/Cortisol ratio. PM me if you want more details.

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