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Old 07-02-2010, 01:38 PM   #21
Jacob Israel Briskin
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Re: Negative Reps

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Originally Posted by Nolan Womack View Post
(powerlifters often use rows to offset all the bench training, though it is a stretch to compare beginners and powerlifters
This is true, and sometimes for this reason I'll let a trainee on linear progression do some chinups at the end of his workout.
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:44 PM   #22
Chris Mason
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Re: Negative Reps

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Originally Posted by Jacob Israel Briskin View Post
It seemed easier to respond this way; my comments are in bold.
Jacob, you are wrong, beginners have relative weaknesses.

You asked about progression with a conjugate system and then replied with a statement about PRs in linear progression. I am not sure why?

Not switching exercises will lead to over-stressing the CNS and overtraining in relatively short order. That is why people talk about beginner gains. They stop gaining because they are overtraining.
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:01 AM   #23
Steven Low
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Re: Negative Reps

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Jacob, you are wrong, beginners have relative weaknesses.

You asked about progression with a conjugate system and then replied with a statement about PRs in linear progression. I am not sure why?

Not switching exercises will lead to over-stressing the CNS and overtraining in relatively short order. That is why people talk about beginner gains. They stop gaining because they are overtraining.
Relative weakness can generally be addressed by activation exercises (such as hip thrusts/bridges/glute medius exercises for those with inactive glutes) in most cases where it's a huge problem, but most of the time can be addressed by the specific exercises themselves.

The end of linear progression is partially about overreaching, yes, HOWEVER, most of that is due to need for increasing complexity of programming as strength and mass go up.

Especially if they are following the program AND doing the proper deloads with reramping at stalling points.
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:12 AM   #24
Jacob Israel Briskin
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Re: Negative Reps

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Originally Posted by Chris Mason View Post
Jacob, you are wrong, beginners have relative weaknesses.
The relative weaknesses I'm thinking of can be corrected, as Jamie said, with full squats, presses, and pulls from the floor. What kind of weaknesses are you referring to? EDIT: never mind, I just saw Slow's post.

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You asked about progression with a conjugate system and then replied with a statement about PRs in linear progression. I am not sure why?
You said that on the conjugate method "you are going for a PR each week." In contrast, a novice on a linear progression is lifting more weight than he has ever lifted before every time he trains. (Assuming that the trainee has never trained the lifts before beginning his linear progression, and even in that case if the trainee is Doing the Program, he will surpass his old PRs in pretty short order.)

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Originally Posted by Chris Mason View Post
Not switching exercises will lead to over-stressing the CNS and overtraining in relatively short order. That is why people talk about beginner gains. They stop gaining because they are overtraining.
I really hate to bring this up, because it makes me feel as weak as a kitten, but...Justin Lascek linearly progressed his squats to 3x5x465, and his friend AC did the same to at least 3x5x410 (I say "at least" because 3x5x410 is the heaviest workout I can remember seeing video of). These guys' other lifts increased comparably during this period, which for both of them I think lasted six months. I think that during this period they reset only three or four times. (Please don't quote me on this.)

The point I'm trying so laboriously to get to is that these guys were squatting three times a week, and it was several months before they got to the point where they couldn't continue, during which time they got stronger at a prodigious rate. Of course, these guys were both exceptionally disciplined in their adherence to the program, including that whole eating thing that so many people forget about, and their results are far from typical.

My point is that with proper dedication, the "beginner gains" can be made to continue for a good while. In closing, I think we can agree that the success of a strength program should be measured by the trainee's progress on the main lifts (since after all, the conjugate method was developed for powerlifting). So as long as that progress can be effected without any assistance work or switching of exercises, why not do so?

(By the way, all this talk of conjugate method made me realize that I saw your name somewhere, then I realized it was in the CF Journal. So I'll have to go look at that article you wrote a while back.)
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:25 AM   #25
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Re: Negative Reps

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Relative weakness can generally be addressed by activation exercises (such as hip thrusts/bridges/glute medius exercises for those with inactive glutes) in most cases where it's a huge problem, but most of the time can be addressed by the specific exercises themselves.

The end of linear progression is partially about overreaching, yes, HOWEVER, most of that is due to need for increasing complexity of programming as strength and mass go up.

Especially if they are following the program AND doing the proper deloads with reramping at stalling points.
So a beginner with relatively weak triceps should use activation exercises to address the problem?

I assume you also feel linear progression is best for beginners? If so, why? I don't want a just because, I want a real physiological reason why you think it is better.
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:29 AM   #26
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Re: Negative Reps

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Originally Posted by Jacob Israel Briskin View Post
The relative weaknesses I'm thinking of can be corrected, as Jamie said, with full squats, presses, and pulls from the floor. What kind of weaknesses are you referring to? EDIT: never mind, I just saw Slow's post.



You said that on the conjugate method "you are going for a PR each week." In contrast, a novice on a linear progression is lifting more weight than he has ever lifted before every time he trains. (Assuming that the trainee has never trained the lifts before beginning his linear progression, and even in that case if the trainee is Doing the Program, he will surpass his old PRs in pretty short order.)



I really hate to bring this up, because it makes me feel as weak as a kitten, but...Justin Lascek linearly progressed his squats to 3x5x465, and his friend AC did the same to at least 3x5x410 (I say "at least" because 3x5x410 is the heaviest workout I can remember seeing video of). These guys' other lifts increased comparably during this period, which for both of them I think lasted six months. I think that during this period they reset only three or four times. (Please don't quote me on this.)

The point I'm trying so laboriously to get to is that these guys were squatting three times a week, and it was several months before they got to the point where they couldn't continue, during which time they got stronger at a prodigious rate. Of course, these guys were both exceptionally disciplined in their adherence to the program, including that whole eating thing that so many people forget about, and their results are far from typical.

My point is that with proper dedication, the "beginner gains" can be made to continue for a good while. In closing, I think we can agree that the success of a strength program should be measured by the trainee's progress on the main lifts (since after all, the conjugate method was developed for powerlifting). So as long as that progress can be effected without any assistance work or switching of exercises, why not do so?

(By the way, all this talk of conjugate method made me realize that I saw your name somewhere, then I realized it was in the CF Journal. So I'll have to go look at that article you wrote a while back.)
I know linear progression works. I get it. I have done it. I did it for years. The question, and one which you have never addressed, is why do you feel linear progression is superior? Why should a lifter tap out their linear progression progress prior to switching to a conjugate based system? I contend, and I have already provided one valid reason, that a conjugate system will net superior results right from the very beginning.

I haven't even touched yet on injury and overuse issues from the same movement repeated over and over and over not to mention detraining from not performing movements which stress other muscles that may not be hit with just repeating squats over and over again (for example).
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Old 07-03-2010, 11:27 AM   #27
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Re: Negative Reps

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Originally Posted by Chris Mason View Post
So a beginner with relatively weak triceps should use activation exercises to address the problem?

I assume you also feel linear progression is best for beginners? If so, why? I don't want a just because, I want a real physiological reason why you think it is better.
Activation work PLUS normal compound movement work. True, if you are being hindered by a significant weak link THEN it may be a good idea to add in some isolation work; however, this is not usually the case until you get into the high intermediate/advanced ranged.

Gross motor function for beginners is much more applicable assuming you can use activate work to stimulate correct motor pathways.


I have no problem with a conjugate system for beginners for upper body. Lower body, however, in the beginning I would feel it's best to stick with core lifts (aka squat and dead) for a sufficient amount of time.

The only problem I don't like with rotating exercises relatively frequently is that most people who are the ones who are posting frequently (and hence the ones we are mostly likely to answer their questions) are likely to switching programs every couple weeks and thus not make progress.

I'd rather stick with a program that goes through a basic linear progression for at least 5-6 weeks with a deload if necessary. If they still are getting significant gains let them decide if they want to switch; if not, then switch up the exercises.

Basically, if whatever is working is still working then don't fix it. That's the great appeal of linear progression for novices and helps ingrain good neural patterns for the common lifts which is only going to help with gaining strength and mass. As a trainer with clients you should be able to notice (at least the good ones) if their form is crappy or if they have some deficiencies that may lean to increase propensity to injury. These can generally be addressed with specific mobility work though....
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Old 07-03-2010, 07:46 PM   #28
Anthony Bainbridge
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Re: Negative Reps

Chris, how many beginners have you taught to squat? I'm not talking about the 19-25 year old athletes that used to do leg press. I'm talking about the middle age soccer moms who can't squat more than 3 inches without falling over backwards because their glutes and hamstrings have been dormant for 30 years, their achilles shrunk about 2 inches because they wear heels every day, and they can't even remember what a "squat" is from session to session. How many of THOSE beginners?

I can understand that pushing conjugated periodization is important because of your involvement with the westside seminars, but it is overkill for most, never mind beginners. Linear progression is superior for beginners because:

1) they aren't coordinated enough to test a 1RM properly

2) they aren't strong enough or coordinated enough to do speed work properly

3) they need to develop a base level of gpp and strength with the repetition method first (even wendler says this)

4) they will make faster progress by adding 5-10 pounds every session compared to using percentages or waves

5) everything should be made as simple as possible for as long as possible

And arguably conjugated periodization is not even ideal for those who want the extra strength. Most lifters in the IPF use Sheiko ... not Westside. Only in feds where monolifts and multi-ply gear are used is Westside the dominate training method.

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Old 07-03-2010, 08:06 PM   #29
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Re: Negative Reps

Believe it or not, I have actually trained a few and I have found that it is not that hard (with patience) to teach someone proper form.

With that said, I am not frankly speaking about soccer moms, more like people that actually want to get real strong. I am also not speaking of using the conjugate method from the very first session with weights a person ever participates in. I recognize someone needs to learn the exercises etc., but I would very quickly transfer someone to optimal training (i.e. conjugate).

I don't think your characterization of most lifters in the IPF using Sheiko is accurate. I WOULD agree with the statement more lifters.

In addition, the strongest lifters in the world compete in multi-ply feds. They could just as easily compete raw etc., but usually the best want to go against the best. The best of the best are simply not competing in the IPF.
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Old 07-03-2010, 08:25 PM   #30
Jeff Smith
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Re: Negative Reps

RE: PR's. The 5/3/1 allows you to:

*set pr's every week
*avoid CNS stress
*the use of submaximal weights for strength gains, which has been proven time and time again to promote strength gains regardless of training level. Feel free to research this in any translated Soviet manual (and their training programs).
* Can limit volume on main exercises and use various assistance work depending on needs for the individual.
* Allow for progress (planned and autoregulated) in every workout.
* Can be fully customized to any athlete/situation.

Believing a rack pull vs. a deifict pull is that big of a change of the wrongly named/defined "conjugate system" to avoid "CNS burnout" and pattern overload can only be regarded as the regurgitation of a worn out dogma.
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