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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:24 am 
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KenDowns wrote:
My problem with this approach is that there is no objective measure of how clean your rep was, so the decision to up the weights is always open to doubt. This may be fine for some people but it would drive me crazy.


Yeh, that is a problem with it, and lifting heavy in general. Some people have (and most develop) great body awareness and can tell when something falters. When you become a real technician with the lift you eventually learn by "feel". It takes a while, though.

Even at that, you can still miss out if you leave it to your own judgement. For example, after that 8 week program I mentioned, when it was test week, I went for 195, which was 5kg over pre-program max. I felt like it just fell apart, and was going to stop it there and be happy with the 5kg improvement. However i had a client video it (he was just in training himself at the time) and, when I seen the video, although it wasn't "perfect", it was actually quite clean and moved a lot faster than it felt. Seeing the video is the only reason I went for 205. Otherwise I would of left it. 205 looked as messy as 195 felt.

This "housekeeping" approach was originally 100% instinctive and I would do it when I found myself mulling over certain form issues but, never really having a chance to toy around with it because I was always going for weight or rep PB's. So I would go through a few weeks of playing around with moderately heavy weights i.e. 80-85% of 1RM but keeping the reps low to make the sets easy enough to experiment.

The 3-2-1 thing was really for when I started training people and had to write down an "instinctive" approach, so I wondered how I could somehow put a progression into it, as I couldn't write "just see how it feels".

In short you are right. When training on your own you can only judge form by feel or video. For me I have a good training partner, too, who I trust to be honest and can rely on his feedback. Failing that I video it. Obviously for clients, they have me there so that variable is covered.

The idea behind getting more reps across multiple sets is to build in some kind of progression. The main issue is it's almost like a "false" progression. You may get more reps on doubles week, and even more on singles week, but it still needs to translate to more reps in one set with the starting weight, or better reps with a heavier weight. So, although you technically progress every week with it, you don't really know if you have progressed until you rep out with the original weight and nail a clean and easy 5 reps, or you go heavier and lift better than you did before....

KPj

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:38 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
You move a lot of weight (even relatively) with the DL. I think that it's tempting to do a lot of weight that you aren't really prepared for. I think that if you train it carefully, paying attention to management of fatigue, spending time building work capacity, being conservative with volume at higher loads, etc., that you can DL pretty aggressively without overtraining.


This sums up perfectly what I was trying to say.

I think there's too many variables. There's also successful elite lifters who train it more.

Also, I've not had much experience on the powerlifting scene but, I've trained in a PL club and also trained with a couple of powerlifters for periods of time over the years and i've never seen one who was conservative with anything. I think NOT being conservative is what turns people to powerlifting in the first place. In the club I trained in for a few months, they referred to me as a "technical lifter" - because I deadlifted with strict form most of the time!

That's not a criticism - I love powerlifting. However, from the powerlifters who say you should basically train the squat and let the deadlift take care of itself, how do they pull? I would bet they probably pull with a rounded back, which is obviously common and for obvious reasons. However a rounded back deadlift will take much more from you and especially your lower back than a strict form pull. I follow a lot of elite powerlifter training logs, too and there's guys with 800lbs+ pulls who set up rounded and finish with hyperextension at the top. They're not known at all for text-book form.

One of the PL's (and ex strongman) i trained with used to say, "if the bar starts from the floor and gets to the top, it counts" lol. He's pulling 310KG now, too.

Again though, I'm probably just not strong enough yet to realise Kennys point.

KPj

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:53 am 
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Well, people are always saying these cautionary things about the DL. It sort of becomes a self-fulfilling fear. You treat it so carefully, limit volume, etc., and then when you push heavy you get sore, and sore in the low back scares people a lot more than a sore pec, so they conclude they're overtraining and back off. They never get to the point where they can tolerate the work.

With what you're doing, you build volume at a weight that you can handle well, and that will give you the basis to keep going up with the weight. I like it.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:36 am 
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KPj wrote:
KenDowns wrote:
My problem with this approach is that there is no objective measure of how clean your rep was, so the decision to up the weights is always open to doubt. This may be fine for some people but it would drive me crazy.


--snip--

...For example, after that 8 week program I mentioned, when it was test week, I went for 195, which was 5kg over pre-program max. I felt like it just fell apart, and was going to stop it there and be happy with the 5kg improvement. However i had a client video it (he was just in training himself at the time) and, when I seen the video, although it wasn't "perfect", it was actually quite clean and moved a lot faster than it felt. Seeing the video is the only reason I went for 205. Otherwise I would of left it. 205 looked as messy as 195 felt.


Well returning to the OP, I understood your question to be, "is anybody using form quality as a method of judging whether to advance weight?" To which my own answer is no, because my own inclination matches that of my trainer, which is to go to failure on max attempts, and not technical failure, but actual missed reps. Often they occur simultaneously, in which case your approach and mine are the same :smile:

I'm not arguing one approach is better than another, like everything it is a lot about goals and personality. In my case slipping form is as likely to mean a loss of concentration as fatigue -- for some reason I lose concentration and have to keep focusing. Maybe I should do more yelling and slapping myself in the face and all that stuff. So anyway I *always* repeat an effort when I experience bad form, which probably just goes to show one size doesn't fit all, the best program is one crafted to your weaknesses, and loss of concentration is a weakness I have to constantly address, which might be the larger part of why I don't take the approach you describe.

At any rate, interesting conversation!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:04 pm 
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KenDowns wrote:
I understood your question to be, "is anybody using form quality as a method of judging whether to advance weight?"


that's an interesting way of putting it. I think sometimes you have to push the boat out and grind out a couple of horrible reps, but use it wisely.

I use 5/3/1 percentages on my bench, and I save any horrible reps for my 1+ rep. The light and medium weeks I stay away from failure.

I don't go anywhere near failure on any lifts that involve the lower back (squats, deads and military press) but only because of my own injury history. Believe me, I would if I could.

The deadlift is a special case I think. Doing that awful fishing rod spine is so much worse than grinding out a horrid rep on something else. Lower back injuries are much more debilitating than a tweaked shoulder.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:41 pm 
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robertscott wrote:
KenDowns wrote:
I understood your question to be, "is anybody using form quality as a method of judging whether to advance weight?"


that's an interesting way of putting it. I think sometimes you have to push the boat out and grind out a couple of horrible reps, but use it wisely.


This is one area where my trainer's philosophy and advice is quite aggressive -- more so than the broad mainstream of opinion here on exrx. He reminds me frequently that this is a sport, even if you don't compete, and that it is very important to be able to adjust while "the ball is in play", ie, while the weight is moving. He makes the further stunningly obvious but necessary point that high intensity lifts will always feel heavy and if you can't adjust while the weight is moving and grind it out when it's heavy then you may as well go home.

Or as one guy in my gym put it very simply, "I like to lift heavy."


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:52 pm 
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KenDowns wrote:
robertscott wrote:
KenDowns wrote:
I understood your question to be, "is anybody using form quality as a method of judging whether to advance weight?"


that's an interesting way of putting it. I think sometimes you have to push the boat out and grind out a couple of horrible reps, but use it wisely.


This is one area where my trainer's philosophy and advice is quite aggressive -- more so than the broad mainstream of opinion here on exrx. He reminds me frequently that this is a sport, even if you don't compete, and that it is very important to be able to adjust while "the ball is in play", ie, while the weight is moving. He makes the further stunningly obvious but necessary point that high intensity lifts will always feel heavy and if you can't adjust while the weight is moving and grind it out when it's heavy then you may as well go home.

Or as one guy in my gym put it very simply, "I like to lift heavy."


haha, that's powerlifters for you. Us bodybuilder like it smooooooth


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:16 am 
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KenDowns wrote:
Well returning to the OP, I understood your question to be, "is anybody using form quality as a method of judging whether to advance weight?" To which my own answer is no, because my own inclination matches that of my trainer, which is to go to failure on max attempts, and not technical failure, but actual missed reps. Often they occur simultaneously, in which case your approach and mine are the same :smile:


Well, it wasn't a question as such, it was more, "Here's one way I like to focus more on quality than weight". However, I welcome and did hope it would bring out some discussion, and i've already learned from the discussion that's followed so it's a win-win situation, really :cheers:

I'm definitely all for "most" of which you mentioned. Interesting what you say about personality types - for me I need "reigned in". I need someone to tell me, "no, leave it there". I love to strain with a heavy weight and it's something I love to teach people, too, and I think it's key in getting stronger - learning to strain.

However I don't think failure should occur very much in a deadlift. Actually, I think if you are a smart lifter or have a good trainer, it should pretty much only happen on test day - IF you have a test day. That's not to say that there will be the odd time when "training" (not testing) the deadlift that your mind is just not there and you will miss, and I think a good trainer will know this.

I have a recent example of a surgeon I train, he was going for 170KG. He went down to the bar, done this usual set up, then adjust things a little more, and a little more, and some more, and just a little more. I was thinking to myself, "i'm just going to stop him" when he decided to actually pull. He missed about half way up. I just told him I knew he was going to miss and I should of acted sooner and told him to get away from the bar before he pulled. He got down there ready to pull then started talking himself out of it - it was obvious to me, because I see this a lot but, not to him.

We got his mind right and he not only did he make 170, but he also pulled 180 after that, it was a real grind but, his form was solid. Not to blow my own trumpet but, THAT is one value of a good trainer, in my opinion. It was one of those moments I thought, "THIS is why i'm here". It wasn't a case of having to take the lift to or near failure to see what he was capable of, I just knew what he was capable of. Call it knowledge, experience, instinct, all of these - whatever is, I just knew he had it. I knew he easily had 170, I knew he talked himself out of it, I knew if he got his mind right he would nail it, and when he nailed it, I knew he made it look good enough to then get 180. I knew 185 would be messy, and 190 wouldn't move, even before he got 180. However, 180 was a 10KG personal best and there's nothing better than hitting a PB whilst potentially leaving plates on the floor (even if it is just 2.5kg per side) <--- this has been a tough lesson for me to learn, personally. I may not even have it learned yet because as smart as I try to be, I get dumb when I take my personal training t-shirt off, put on my muscle vest and hit the weight room myself.

(I don't wear a muscle vest, for the record, lol)

I'm not even sure i'm arguing anything here. I pretty much agree with everything. Straining is where it's at for getting strong. I'm weary when I hear about purposely working to failure on a deadlift, though, even if you were competing in the lift.... You didn't say how regularly that happened, though, I would be more comfortable if it wasn't very frequent..

KPj

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:19 pm 
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KPj wrote:
KenDowns wrote:
Well returning to the OP, I understood your question to be, "is anybody using form quality as a method of judging whether to advance weight?" To which my own answer is no, because my own inclination matches that of my trainer, which is to go to failure on max attempts, and not technical failure, but actual missed reps. Often they occur simultaneously, in which case your approach and mine are the same :smile:


Actually, I think if you are a smart lifter or have a good trainer, it should pretty much only happen on test day - IF you have a test day.


Yup.

KPj wrote:
We got his mind right and he not only did he make 170, but he also pulled 180 after that, it was a real grind but, his form was solid. Not to blow my own trumpet but, THAT is one value of a good trainer, in my opinion. It was one of those moments I thought, "THIS is why i'm here". It wasn't a case of having to take the lift to or near failure to see what he was capable of, I just knew what he was capable of. Call it knowledge, experience, instinct, all of these - whatever is, I just knew he had it.


This is worthy of another thread, "what is the value of a trainer?" If I were hard pressed to say why I pay for the trainer, I might stutter a bit and then finally say, "he knows me." He watches every rep. It means all of his years of experience and knowledge come together in very specific advice and programming, and it has made a big difference.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:19 am 
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Well, I read the original post differently, too. We all see others' experience through lens of our own experience and prejudices.

What I think we're saying here is that there is a "sweet spot" or at least a sweet range for training for strength. It's the range that's heavy enough to make you stronger, but not so heavy that you can't do it with good form. I think a lot of people spend way too much time lifting lighter than will do them much good, and then try to go go heavier than they can really handle well. I hate to commit to a % of 1RM for that range, because I think it may be a little different for different people, and even different for the same person on the same day, but in my mind it's in the neighborhood of 90%. Most people can't do more than about 3 reps if they are really in that range. The more you hit good reps in that range, but better your max strength goes up. I've heard lifting in this range without necessarily pushing for new maxes called "consolidation". That's what I thought we were talking about when I saw "Owning a weight" in the title of this thread.

My best example right now is squat. I'm lifting doubles and triples in a range that was my 1RM a couple of years ago. One of the mistakes that I've made through the years is that whenever I feel tired and discouraged about a lift, I have reset to too low a range to be of much good, and then spent lots of time lifting for 5s or something. That's my biggest criticism of 5/3/1--the first week is like a deload, then the second week is light to medium, and the third week goes heavy, but only allows 1 set above 90%. And then you deload again.

So what you are doing is making yourself hit multiple singles, then multiple doubles then multiple triples in that sweet zone, building your work capacity and your confidence with those weights, and getting stronger safely, since you're doing it all with near-perfect form. You are consolidating gains. In short you are owning the weights that are near your max.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:28 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
You are consolidating gains. In short you are owning the weights that are near your max.


Perfect. "consolidating gains" - I've never heard that before but I like it.

KPj

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:55 pm 
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Jungledoc wrote:
My best example right now is squat. I'm lifting doubles and triples in a range that was my 1RM a couple of years ago. One of the mistakes that I've made through the years is that whenever I feel tired and discouraged about a lift, I have reset to too low a range to be of much good, and then spent lots of time lifting for 5s or something. That's my biggest criticism of 5/3/1--the first week is like a deload, then the second week is light to medium, and the third week goes heavy, but only allows 1 set above 90%. And then you deload again.


After 5 rounds of 531, I am in general agreement here. Back to what you were saying, I am just not sure we get enough reps with 531 to actually build strength. Maybe for younger folks who can build muscle much faster, perhaps they benefit from the high rep assistance work more. Doc, you have me moving more towards higher #sets with lower reps and higher intensity on lower body
For upper, I find the assistance work and better technique still having impact on the ability to continue increasing lifts. (yeah skullcrushers). Either that or more likely, my upper work has been more below my current real max, than the lower.

which leads me to say, I probably misjudge all sorts of things training related because I can't keep all elements steady while testing one variable long enough.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:05 am 
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I deloaded last week but went up to 190x3 last night. Felt good! That was my max 5 months ago. If my life depended on it I could of got another 2-3. I reckon it wasn't quite as clean as it should be although i'm not sure as I was on my own.

One thing i've been trying to master recently is pulling with more of a neutral neck and it felt like I was last night although I can't be sure. Just felt good.

Another client hit 10x1 on her singles week, (female pulling 110KG :grin: )

KPj

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:11 am 
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I trained with 2 clients yesterday. They wanted to deadlift with me (I tell clients they're welcome to train with me - occasionally, anyway)

I initially felt like crap for this because I had a heavy squat session on Friday and still felt the effects of it. However, lots of eggs and copious amounts of caffeine completely reversed this.

Also, last time I deadlifted was Monday of last week. This was ANOTHER deadlift session in the same week (Sunday/yesterday). Isn't that against the law or something? Now I don't know how to handle this week. Hmmmm. Anyway, get serious now...

I got 2x2 with 190, 1x200, and 1x210. Then a back off set of 170x8.


So I deviated from the plan. I justified it because I completed the point of the progression - I got more good reps than last week with the same weight. Rather than go for more doubles, I upped the weight. I was hyper on caffeine and just really wanted to go heavier. 210, according to feed back from my clients and training partner, "moved slow but well".

The 2 clients are women that I train, one mentioned in my last post who got 10x1 with 110KG. She pulled a new PB of 130KG, the other women who I have only trained a few months hit 110KG.

This made me think, I currently train 5 women who deadlift between 90 and 130KG. 4 of those are pulling 110-130KG. The 90KG deadlifter is 60 years old. Her 90KG is more impressive than the 130KG when you know the background info.

That's not including another women who is currently heavily pregnant who previously hit a 100KG but with the bar elevated by 3 inches and a previous client who also hit 100KG before she moved away.

I do have a couple of women who don't deadlift.

Before I started PT'ing I got told I wouldn't get many or any women who would want to train with me because of "all the weights".

KPj

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:52 pm 
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maybe they got something else in mind


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