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Thread: Muscle and strength training (not WL)

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    Muscle and strength training (not WL)

    Little change of pace from the usual 'bulgaria, jon north, DUI, how do I squat 300' threads

    Some of us are in our good ol' offseason currently and as we know by now more muscle = more potential for strength and power. With that in mind, better body composition needs slightly different training as I don't think anyone will argue that snatch, CJ and squats alone are not the best for hypertrophy.

    What are your favourite ways to train to get bigger, stronger, more powerful, which aren't WL specific?

    Does anyone have experience keeping their snatch and clean & jerk abilities on hold for 3-6 months while focusing on other aspects of their athleticism?

    For the thinking man's experienced athlete like Brian DeGennaro (btw your private messages are full) and Jason Bourgeois, and esteemed coach Tony, does anyone feel that different muscle fibre types and the respective results on strength, power compared to size gains is not something most of us need to worry about? My opinion on the matter is that speed, rate of force production and genetic makeup of fast twitch vs slow twitch fibre density in your muscles is primarily genetic? I read on strengththeory (might be strongerbyscience now) recently that it was along those lines in the sense that the best way to increase strength is through hypertrophy, past mastering the movement. Please note that flexibility would not be overlooked.

    Oh and one other thing - does anybody have experience doing those crazy/great Tommy Kono style full body routines? In fairness they aren't that different to any WL plan with the frequency of lower body stuff, or LSUS really. They look like a lot of fun!
    Last edited by CNL; 01-11-2019 at 08:19 AM.

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    Thanks for pointing out the inbox was full, wasn't getting a notification (also weird it is capped at 40 messages).

    In my opinion, the Kono full body routine is nice and basic, you can't argue with general strength and hypertrophy work like that if that is what you need.

    This is a good question because my team just entered their volume/hypertrophy/positional phase with the beginning of the year and I've got them on this plan through May/June. We still do the lifts but the average intensity drops to 60-75% (still with the occasional single attempts over 80% 1-2x a week). I refuse to decrease the amount of practicing snatch and C+J regardless of a training phase and the intent. In my experience it is detrimental just in terms of familiarity and consistency. Simply take the intensity down to an appropriate level to accommodate the emphasis on higher rep squats, pulls, presses, and ancillary movements. I like using complexes for the lifts themselves that way you can combine pulling or squatting into the skill work and accrue more volume in that manner. This article has had a good influence on me in the past. Medvedyev suggests greater attention to <70% weights, the use of complexes, and repetition (6-10) squats to develop all muscle fibers in the absence of performance enhancing drugs. Coupled with a recent article from StrongerbyScience confirms my thinking you do not need to take exercises to failure in order to see strength and hypertrophy gains.

    Anyways I am getting away from the topic at hand: yes it is important to devote time to other skills besides the lifts. For my lifters right now we are focused on that (but not to the exclusion of practice). Increased repetition squats, pulls, presses, and complexes are a great way to break up the monotony of 1-3 rep work and develop type I and type IIA muscle fiber types. On top of that, it is important to develop stabilizing muscles with higher rep (15+) or duration (30 seconds or more) exercises. Focused efforts into dynamic flexibility work are programmed for example such as good mornings/RDLs or bar hangs or close grip OHS with the emphasis on using it as a weighted stretch. Plyometric qualities are very important to me as well so we a progressively training towards low-impact jumping to high-impact jumping over the course of the next few months as well.

    Regarding fiber type, most people have a pretty even split of slow twitch to fast twitch fiber types prior to training. Very few people have an abundance of fast twitch (IIx fibers) naturally. Interestingly enough, with training almost every gains a significant increase in the IIa fibers due to IIx fibers transitioning to IIa (going from more anaerobic to oxidative in function). It is really interesting that this is seen even in many power sports where there is actually a decrease in IIx fibers compared to the average population. Weightlifters also seem to have higher fast twitch abundance regardless of being National or World calibre, even compared to bodybuilders, sprinters, and powerlifters. There is plenty of evidence to support that muscle fibers can transition from IIx to IIa, and even from I to IIa or IIa to I dependent on training.

    Also in my opinion, I don't think you don't need to see actual increases on the scale to necessarily see hypertrophy gains. Hypertrophy can be an increase in actin and myosin filaments, myofibrils, sarcoplasm, and/or connective tissue. These adaptations don't necessarily tip the scale.

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    Nice reply Brian, interesting allround.

    I love a nice clean linear progression of weights for my strength work, so its difficult for me mentally to do much in the way of WLing in those phases as I want to be fresh for the higher priority stuff, but don't particularly want to snatch or c&j after a lot of squats and pulls. Tough one.

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    Simple things like just doing 5-8 sets of tall snatches or cleans as a warmup prior to the strength work would be good or doing some snatches/C+J as a warmup for deadlifts. As the StrongerbyScience article mentions, you don't need to take things to failure or progress linearly to see benefits. You don't necessarily have to feel wrecked from squatting and pulling in the days after. Lifting 50-70% should be doable at almost any time for you, so getting practice in ought to be manageable. It doesn't sound nearly as fun but in my experience you maintain proficiency.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b_degennaro View Post
    Simple things like just doing 5-8 sets of tall snatches or cleans as a warmup prior to the strength work would be good or doing some snatches/C+J as a warmup for deadlifts. As the StrongerbyScience article mentions, you don't need to take things to failure or progress linearly to see benefits. You don't necessarily have to feel wrecked from squatting and pulling in the days after. Lifting 50-70% should be doable at almost any time for you, so getting practice in ought to be manageable. It doesn't sound nearly as fun but in my experience you maintain proficiency.
    Yeah ok that makes a bit more sense as to how to do things to keep your hand in. I never really consider things like tall snatches/cleans or the like as something worthwhile. I guess I could do some sort of drill to start the day and then move on.

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    I actually think the higher rep / lower intensity work to help fill the gaps left by lack of naughty substances makes perfect sense and I have intrinsically felt this was the case for some time in my own experience and observations, so that was a great article to read. It supports a lot of my own beliefs and makes me feel warm and fuzzy.
    Last edited by CNL; 01-12-2019 at 07:54 AM.

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    I think it depends on how far you want to take it.

    If you're erring on the side of staying in a "Weightlifting" type program, I'll program one classic variation, and then the rest of the session is a push/pull with high reps.

    If you want a strictly dedicated hypertrophy block, I'll do an Lower push, upper pull, upper push, lower pull split.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b_degennaro View Post
    Thanks for pointing out the inbox was full, wasn't getting a notification (also weird it is capped at 40 messages).

    In my opinion, the Kono full body routine is nice and basic, you can't argue with general strength and hypertrophy work like that if that is what you need.

    This is a good question because my team just entered their volume/hypertrophy/positional phase with the beginning of the year and I've got them on this plan through May/June. We still do the lifts but the average intensity drops to 60-75% (still with the occasional single attempts over 80% 1-2x a week). I refuse to decrease the amount of practicing snatch and C+J regardless of a training phase and the intent. In my experience it is detrimental just in terms of familiarity and consistency. Simply take the intensity down to an appropriate level to accommodate the emphasis on higher rep squats, pulls, presses, and ancillary movements. I like using complexes for the lifts themselves that way you can combine pulling or squatting into the skill work and accrue more volume in that manner. This article has had a good influence on me in the past. Medvedyev suggests greater attention to <70% weights, the use of complexes, and repetition (6-10) squats to develop all muscle fibers in the absence of performance enhancing drugs. Coupled with a recent article from StrongerbyScience confirms my thinking you do not need to take exercises to failure in order to see strength and hypertrophy gains.

    Anyways I am getting away from the topic at hand: yes it is important to devote time to other skills besides the lifts. For my lifters right now we are focused on that (but not to the exclusion of practice). Increased repetition squats, pulls, presses, and complexes are a great way to break up the monotony of 1-3 rep work and develop type I and type IIA muscle fiber types. On top of that, it is important to develop stabilizing muscles with higher rep (15+) or duration (30 seconds or more) exercises. Focused efforts into dynamic flexibility work are programmed for example such as good mornings/RDLs or bar hangs or close grip OHS with the emphasis on using it as a weighted stretch. Plyometric qualities are very important to me as well so we a progressively training towards low-impact jumping to high-impact jumping over the course of the next few months as well.

    Regarding fiber type, most people have a pretty even split of slow twitch to fast twitch fiber types prior to training. Very few people have an abundance of fast twitch (IIx fibers) naturally. Interestingly enough, with training almost every gains a significant increase in the IIa fibers due to IIx fibers transitioning to IIa (going from more anaerobic to oxidative in function). It is really interesting that this is seen even in many power sports where there is actually a decrease in IIx fibers compared to the average population. Weightlifters also seem to have higher fast twitch abundance regardless of being National or World calibre, even compared to bodybuilders, sprinters, and powerlifters. There is plenty of evidence to support that muscle fibers can transition from IIx to IIa, and even from I to IIa or IIa to I dependent on training.

    Also in my opinion, I don't think you don't need to see actual increases on the scale to necessarily see hypertrophy gains. Hypertrophy can be an increase in actin and myosin filaments, myofibrils, sarcoplasm, and/or connective tissue. These adaptations don't necessarily tip the scale.
    I remember reading a Charniga translation about the Kazakhstan national team's training methods, citing a way to 'selectively hypertrophy the fast twitch units.' Is this a thing? I have found statements on both sides of the argument, but I haven't delved too deeply. Wouldn't keeping as many fibres as IIx be ideal for a sport like weightlifting? Is there a way to train for this?

    That article also states that hypertrophy of the fast twitch myofibrils wouldn't impact body weight much...I wonder how much of a strength gain could be attained if one used such methods and maintained the same weight.

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    No matter what happens with training, there is no way to increase the proportion of IIx as far as I know. On my phone at the moment but it is funny when you look at some studies and it takes trained individuals or even elite athletes (sprinting included) and notes that they have a lower proportion of IIx fibers compared to untrained people or that with even ballistic/pure strength training there is a decrease in the proportion of IIx fibers (although the area of the fibers do increase) In fact if I recall there are studies that demonstrate fiber shifting back to IIx when rest or immobilization occurs!

    I think the value of pure IIx fibers may be blown out of proportion because in general they will still make up a small proportion of anyone’s skeletal mass outside of maybe the genetic elite for power sports. If the area of IIx fibers still increase with training they are still going to produce more or the same force even with fewer fibers. If there is both an increase in the number and size of IIa and intermediate fibers then force output will have to go up even if those fibers are not nearly as strong as IIx. Sheer number will influence it.

    I would hazard a guess that IIx fibers are really the one and done type of contractions, so with training the body has to adapt to increased workload in some fashion. It would make more sense to increase the number and size of IIa fibers to accommodate the multiple sets and reps necessary for training even in ballistic sports. Even ballistic exercises and with single reps exclusively you are doing multiple sets of the exercise unless you somehow only do one rep per day or spread so far apart (hours) the fibers could recover. You would have to basically do like 1x10s sprint, then just rest in place for minutes/hours until those fibers are recovered and to only train them.

    As I stated in the post, hypertrophy is defined as increased actin/myosin filaments and other adaptations. If more actin/myosin crossbridges are formed in muscle, the more force can be produced. These filaments are measured in molecular weight. Myosin weighs 480,000 Daltons or 7.971 × 10^-19 gram. One gram equals 6.022x10^23 dalton. On top of these small changes, improved neuromuscular efficiency does help. I don’t think those adaptations are limited to the first few months of training.

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    https://www.strongfirst.com/work-capacity-part-i/

    https://www.strongfirst.com/patience-of-strength/

    Here are a couple articles by Pavel Tsatsouline that I have probably posted before. They relate to the idea of a preparation phase, which could include hypertrophy training. One thing I realized was lacking a while ago was the concept of timed rest periods. It is mentioned in the second article that the Soviets had 3 categories of rest periods: ordinary, stress, and stimulation. The stress period is less than 2 minutes and serves as SPP. Some people are looking at GPP these days, but SPP doesn't seem to be on the radar. Flipping tires doesn't automatically mean you will be able to handle a higher volume of snatches. However doing a high volume of snatch pulls in progressively shorter time periods will likely improve your recovery from snatch training. So rather than simply switching to high reps, using decreasing rest intervals could be a better option. Doing sets of moderate reps should allow the fast twitch fibers to be involved in a greater number of the reps performed. A potential downside of high rep training is the concept of hyperplasia, which is a muscle splitting rather than just growing in cross-sectional size. Ivan Abadjiev said high rep training was bad because it produced muscle fibers that only assist the main fibers in doing prolonged work. He was likely referring to hyperplasia. Here is a good article on that: http://www.theissnscoop.com/skeletal...r-hyperplasia/

    Another way of conditioning muscles targeting fast twitch fibers is high velocity movements. A very popular example is the kettlebell swing. You accelerate the bell with maximum force on each rep, and you do many sets of fairly short duration. For instance a set of 10 reps takes less than 20 seconds, so it isn't the same as a set of 10 in the squat. You can do 10-20 sets with short rest periods. A good exercise for the quads is the standard lunge. You step forward, lunge down, and then you have to use velocity to push yourself all the way back to the starting position. You can follow similar training protocols as the swing.
    Last edited by Matt Erdman; 01-17-2019 at 04:02 PM.

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