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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 08-13-2009, 07:37 PM   #1
Craig Adams
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Practical Programming for Hypertrophy

In his book Rip states that sometimes it is not only acceptable but neccessary for an athlete to need to gain mass by focusing on hypertrophy. With that in mind - and the disclaimer that I am not intending on doing anything particularly silly, like using isolation movements...and I am a crossfitter who intends to return to crossfitting after a period of mass focused training:

There are a few parameters in Rips book that are important to programming for hypertrophy.
1. 3-5 sets in the 12 rep range work best
2. 45 second rest periods between sets are optimal
3. hypertrophy training best utilizes 65% - 80% of 1RM for loading.

Would those of you who have experience programming for mass gain programs please comment on which of these should take priority. The reason I ask is that with those minimal rest periods, 65% can not be done for 12 reps after the second set for large multi-joint movements and on smaller movements (overhead press) can't even get to 12 reps in the second set. (got 11 today). So, is it more important to get all 12 in a set, if so increasing the rest period or dropping the weight might be needed. But if staying at a minimum if 65% is required, then maybe getting all 12 reps in a set is not as important as the other two parameters. Etc...

Thanks,

CA
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:06 PM   #2
Daniel Higgins
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Re: Practical Programming for Hypertrophy

I have done 5 cycles of Wendler's 531 and it was amazing. My original goal was based more on maximal strength and I was shooting for a 1000 gym total by March 1st (Sq, Bench, Dead; ohp wasn't spec'd but was worked on). I started out with a 315-265-375-170 (s b d o) and am now at 435-300-490-190 after about 6 months. I also hit 1200 in a PL meet 2 weeks ago...needless to say its worked wonders for both absolute (muscle mass-rep based) strength and maximal (1RM) strength.

Any of the alternative or intermediate prgms mentioned on SS wikia are likely to give you results in both hypertrophy and maximal strength. I liked 531 because as a novice lifter with a little experience under the bar I was able to focus on high rep/med intensity and also hit new 1RMs every month. I've never tried any 5x5 or 3x5, 3x3 etc programs because I was always bad at figuring my rep maxes and safe working sets. 531 aims at being conservative so you can go for hypertrophy in the 4 barbell lifts.

I also have to give due credit to my school's WL team for all of the guidance and especially with help on form and technique. I started out with the pec bench doomed to kill my shoulders but have since improved my power bench quite nicely. Make sure your experience with basic barbell movements in the entire rep range under like 80% is solid if you do decide to try 531 or a similar prgm.
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:24 PM   #3
Steven Low
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Re: Practical Programming for Hypertrophy

Lift heavy on any reps between 5-12 (this is approximately 65-80%...) and eat a lot.

You will get bigger.

Rest times really don't matter... anything in the 1-5 range generally works as long as the EFFORT is good
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:45 PM   #4
Ben Clark
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Re: Practical Programming for Hypertrophy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Adams View Post
In his book Rip states that sometimes it is not only acceptable but neccessary for an athlete to need to gain mass by focusing on hypertrophy. With that in mind - and the disclaimer that I am not intending on doing anything particularly silly, like using isolation movements...and I am a crossfitter who intends to return to crossfitting after a period of mass focused training:

There are a few parameters in Rips book that are important to programming for hypertrophy.
1. 3-5 sets in the 12 rep range work best
2. 45 second rest periods between sets are optimal
3. hypertrophy training best utilizes 65% - 80% of 1RM for loading.

Would those of you who have experience programming for mass gain programs please comment on which of these should take priority. The reason I ask is that with those minimal rest periods, 65% can not be done for 12 reps after the second set for large multi-joint movements and on smaller movements (overhead press) can't even get to 12 reps in the second set. (got 11 today). So, is it more important to get all 12 in a set, if so increasing the rest period or dropping the weight might be needed. But if staying at a minimum if 65% is required, then maybe getting all 12 reps in a set is not as important as the other two parameters. Etc...

Thanks,

CA
Standard bb for sarcoplasmic hypertrophy - definitely get the reps, let %max be what it is. Probably start 3*10 work up to 3*12 then add enough weight to drop to 3*10. You will probably adapt to the higher reps and push the % of max up over time anyway.

Best modern natural bulking program advice seems to be 3*6-8 of basic power movement plus 3*10-12 of a different movement in the same workout. ie
bench 3*6 db bench 3*12
squat 3*6 front squat 3*12

Above is just me passing on what seems to be the best available theory, if you saw me you wouldn't take fitness advice from me.

Last edited by Ben Clark : 08-13-2009 at 08:49 PM. Reason: kant spill nuthin
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Old 08-13-2009, 11:03 PM   #5
Michael Bruce Mailman
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Re: Practical Programming for Hypertrophy

Yeah, I know your question is about set and rep schemes, and you most likely know this already, but obviously eating is the most important thing.

I've stacked on muscle and fat by eating indiscriminately, and cut the fat later. If mass gain is your goal just lift heavy and hard and eat LOTS. Honestly, don't worry too much about set and rep schemes. Within reason, of course!
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Old 08-13-2009, 11:51 PM   #6
Steven Webster
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Re: Practical Programming for Hypertrophy

For hypertrophy to occur you need a significant amount of tension and a significant amount of time under tension. Now, you obviously need a balance here because if you raise the resistance too much you lose the amount of time you can stay under the bar. Too much time under tension and the fatigue builds up to the point where it eats into subsequent workouts.

What you need to be thinking about here is volume. Not just volume over one workout, but net volume. ie: the amount of work that gets done in a day, a week, a month, a year....

70-85% About 30- 40 net lifts per workout. Whether you do 10x3, 8x4, 6x5 or 2x15... I don't care, so long as you get the volume in.

If we could all choose to do 40 lifts with 95% of our 1rm max, we would. Thing is we don't choose to do 3 reps for strength, the weight determines the net volume and set duration. Strength and Hypertrophy is not clear cut... forget it, think tension and time under tension.

You need volume and tension for either/both, but you can't have high amounts of both.
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:12 AM   #7
Jason M Struck
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Re: Practical Programming for Hypertrophy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
Lift heavy on any reps between 5-12 (this is approximately 65-80%...) and eat a lot.

You will get bigger.

Rest times really don't matter... anything in the 1-5 range generally works as long as the EFFORT is good
I don't often do this... but I disagree with Steven.

I have direct experience with multiple clients implementing loads of 55-78% of 1RM in compound movements (predominantly the Back Squat) for very high volumes with VERY LOW RESTS, and while I think that all of those parameters are important, I would say that the most important for Hypertrophy is in fact the reduced rest periods.

So, his first two point are very correct in my mind, but on the third we disagree. I would place the emphasis first on volume, then on density. Ie, reduced rest periods. There are several research pieces regarding hormonal response and other blood work (lactate especially) showing increase endocrine response to protocols of reduced or incomplete rests. Add to this excess calories and you will see rapid hypertrophy.
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:21 AM   #8
Craig Adams
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Re: Practical Programming for Hypertrophy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason M Struck View Post
I don't often do this... but I disagree with Steven.

I have direct experience with multiple clients implementing loads of 55-78% of 1RM in compound movements (predominantly the Back Squat) for very high volumes with VERY LOW RESTS, and while I think that all of those parameters are important, I would say that the most important for Hypertrophy is in fact the reduced rest periods.

So, his first two point are very correct in my mind, but on the third we disagree. I would place the emphasis first on volume, then on density. Ie, reduced rest periods. There are several research pieces regarding hormonal response and other blood work (lactate especially) showing increase endocrine response to protocols of reduced or incomplete rests. Add to this excess calories and you will see rapid hypertrophy.
And if your clients use compressed rest and loads of 55% - 78% and their rep range per set with the compressed rest period starts dipping down to 2 or 3 reps to get in the required total volume, that is ok...that seems to work?
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:43 AM   #9
Steven Low
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Re: Practical Programming for Hypertrophy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason M Struck View Post
I don't often do this... but I disagree with Steven.

I have direct experience with multiple clients implementing loads of 55-78% of 1RM in compound movements (predominantly the Back Squat) for very high volumes with VERY LOW RESTS, and while I think that all of those parameters are important, I would say that the most important for Hypertrophy is in fact the reduced rest periods.

So, his first two point are very correct in my mind, but on the third we disagree. I would place the emphasis first on volume, then on density. Ie, reduced rest periods. There are several research pieces regarding hormonal response and other blood work (lactate especially) showing increase endocrine response to protocols of reduced or incomplete rests. Add to this excess calories and you will see rapid hypertrophy.
That's nice but....

I stole this image off some t-nation article way back when.. but it's true wfs:
http://img502.imageshack.us/img502/1...rtrophylp7.jpg

There's a couple different ways your body hypertrophies and rest times don't really matter except for increasing metabolic intensity like you said. The other two pathways don't rely so much on increasing density (volume & heavy lifting), so it really depends on what you're aiming for here.

If you're using the heavy weights and relatively lower reps for linear progression or intermediate loading like SS or Bill Starr's intermediate 5x5 or whatever else 3x5/5x5 programs novice/intermed/advanced/etc. program then you are then generally rest times will be higher..... and they will still be effective for hypertrophy (clearly).

Like I said I would defend my position that rest times don't matter (or rather should I say variable) depending on what exactly you are doing. Density work sure you're aiming for lower rest times. Volume lifting and heavy lifting the rest times will generally be a bit more. Volume is generally the most important one with heavy enough weight to do enough muscle damage to induce a hypertrophic response.
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Last edited by Steven Low : 08-14-2009 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:59 PM   #10
Steven Webster
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Re: Practical Programming for Hypertrophy

The less resistance the faster your workouts are going to be, it's as simple as that. Resistance determines how many reps and the size of the time frame necessary to complete the reps. At high resistance you sacrifice time under tension. If resistance were the end all be all some of us would do 1 rep then go home. Similarly if time under tension mattered alone then why even bother using any weight. Just move your arm up and down all day without any rest. You can't get stronger without volume just as you can't get bigger muscles without resistance.

Try doing a 20 rep squats with 70-75% of your 1rm under a minute. You would burn out pretty fast. Instead you might do 8 reps and rest-pause the other 12.

Rest time only matters if you're going to sit around playing chess or reading a newspaper in between sets. But what's the point in sitting around when you can be in and out the gym in an hour?
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