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roman

After week 6 of basic strength training I'm stuck.. help!

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roman

Hi Coach Sommer/Everyone else on the forum,

I've been following the basic strength program as outlined in the GB book for 6 weeks now, and I just started the 7th week now!

I've been doing integrated training, where I pair every static move with it's corresponding dynamic move like coach Sommer outlined in the book.

My routine is:

Back Lever/Pulling

Planche Leans/Pressing

Front Lever/Legs

V-Sit/Core

I train 4 times/week, each day I pair a different dynamic exercise to each static hold. I take 1 minute of rest between sets, and I do no more than 3 sets of the dynamic exercises (either 3x3 or 3x5 depending on the exercise), and 9x7sec sets for the static holds. So an example would be - Back Lever/Pulling:

7s BL, 5xTFL Rows, 7s BL, 5xTFL Rows, 7s BL, 5xTFL Rows, 7s BL, 7s BL, 7s BL, 7s BL, 7s BL, 7s BL! (1min rest between each set).

My plan was to do this for about 8-12 weeks as part of a steady state cycle, and then re-evaluate my strength gains and plan for the next cycle accordingly.

The first 4 weeks or so were going pretty well! I had some workouts that were stronger and some that were weaker, but overall I felt I was getting stronger and I was seeing good progress! Every week or so I would have 1 and sometimes 2 workouts where I would peak in terms of strength and all the holds and dynamic exercises would feel stronger than ever - almost effortless. Still, I applied some self discipline and didn't increase the difficulty or the volume in order to not deviate from the steady state cycle rules.

During week 5 I started to feel a little weaker, so I played around with reducing the volume by 50% on some of the holds in order to dissipate the fatigue and come back strong again in a few workouts. This seemed to work great in the past. But not this time. This time I didn't feel the fatigue was going away, I still felt rather weak. So I decided to take stronger measures and dropped the volume by 50% on ALL exercises during the whole of week 6, hoping that that, combined with the couple of consecutive rest days prior to starting week 7 would do the trick.

However, I just had my 1st workout of week 7 and now I feel even WEAKER! So I'm really confused as to what to do next! According to what I read about the steady state cycle, this shouldn't really be happening since I followed all the instructions to the letter and didn't increase the difficulty or the volume throughout this entire time. However this seems so conform to the well known rule which states that after about 4 weeks your body adapts and no longer responds well to the same training stimulus. Which of course contradicts the rules of the steady state cycle. Hence my confusion!

So what should I do next? Should I just keep the volume at 50% for another week and see if that helps? Should I just take an extended rest and do nothing? Should I do some high volume training with more basic exercises for "active recovery" ? Or should I perhaps just do low volume dynamic exercises and give it a rest with the statics altogether for a week?

All you strong experienced trainees out there, please help with some advice!! And of course if Coach Sommer himself can answer me that would of course be really awesome! :)

Thanks for reading! :P

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JL

I absolutely hate when you are working hard, but getting weaker. Then, you take a 1 week break, only to come back weaker. In my case, it happened with pistols squats. I changed routines, and upped the volume on an easier variation. My guess is the increased volume made me overtrain/overreach my work capacity, and the lesser overall intensity made me lose my strength out of the bottom of the ROM, due to not working as deep of a joint angle. The fix, simple enough, was to change routines back to the one that worked.

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Joshua Naterman

I have to agree with JL, but I want to point something out.

It sounds like the program you put together was a bit too much. I don't know what your training history is, but doing all of that 4 times a week is kind of a lot.As an example, let me tell you about my programming. I do some static work but I only work my dynamics 1-2 times per week at the most, and just work high intensity. I squat and deadlift once every 8-14 days, depending on how I feel. I never do SLS or GHR/NLC heavywork more than twice a week. I do some sissy squats and some brief NLC work sometimes on other workouts, but we're talking like 50% of the intensity I use during heavy days. Same thing goes with PPP and bench. I'm only benching like once a week at the most, and I am getting stronger every time. I do PPP work maybe twice a week and only one of those workouts is super hard. Same thing with the pull ups. I do regular bodyweight pull up progressions maybe 2-3 times a week, for active recovery or warm up, but I only work weighted pull ups once a week at the most. Front pull/Front lever pulls are the same, I never work them heavy more than once a week. I will do some pure bodyweight reps for warm up sometimes, but I even keep that to a minimum. I am seeing fairly rapid progress with my strength doing this, because I am giving the various muscle groups a "rest" for long periods of time in-between strength sessions, with some static work and maybe light dynamic work in-between for active recovery. It's working well, I have to say.

You have to be careful with your integrated programming, it's easy to do too much or rest too little. I honestly think that your problem is that you're doing too much work per workout.

You could start having one day a week where you work each integrated pair hard, and the rest of the time do significantly easier work for the dynamic exercise. For example, 4x a week of back lever is quite a lot if you're working hard each time. If the flat tuck is hard work for you, try just doing tuck for the next few workouts, along with easier pull ups instead of front lever rows(as an example). Intentionally dial down the intensity so that you can recover properly. Then go back in on the last workout of the week and blast it again. You'll probably find yourself even stronger! The key is understanding why you're doing what you're doing. The back lever is there to develop connective tissue strength in the elbows primarily. This stuff heals slower than muscle. So by toning down the next two workouts for those muscle groups and movements you will allow healing to occur. The volume is less important than the intensity, as you are finding out the hard way. If you go do heavy squats and come back the next day and just do one set of heavy squats again, you're going to interfere with the healing and growth process. If you come back the next day and do two sets of body weight squats you're going to help the muscles heal, partially because you're promoting blood flow and partially because you're using a different set of muscle fibers than the ones that are the most damaged from the heavy work. This concept applies to all the holds.

Let's pretend you are working out monday, tuesday, thursday, friday. It should look something like this:

Monday: Hard back lever/pulling work, easier planche leans/pressing, easier or moderate front lever/legs, moderate or hard v-sit/core.

Tuesday: easier back lever/pulling, hard planche leans/pressing, easier front lever/legs, easier v-sit/core.

Thursday: easier back lever/pulling, easier planche leans/pressing, hard front lever/legs, easier v-sit/core.

Friday: Depending on how you feel, hard or moderate back lever/pulling work, easier or moderate planche leans/pressing, easier front lever/legs, hard v-sit/core.

You could also have Monday and Friday be hard for everything, with tuesday and thursday being easier. You are probably always going to be running into over-reaching issues if you try to do a steady state integrated cycle, especially with the frequency you describe. If you do this on purpose for two weeks and then take a really easy week, you could use that as a great way to increase your strength in the dynamic movements, but your statics you have to be a little more careful on, especially planche and back lever.

I think it would be interesting to hear what Coach has to say. You have to remember that his athletes are younger and have recovery abilities beyond what we can handle due to adolescent hormone levels, and that they may be able to do what you describe, but I think that would be a bit much even for them, honestly. I am having great success with using easier variations as active rest and having a very hard workout infrequently. I do think this will work well for you as well, but you need to examine your previous routine and determine why you were making gains then but not now. I think you will find your answer in the total amount of work you were doing before, as well as the frequency of intense exercise for similar kinetic chains.

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Quick Start Test Smith

Wow, Slizzardman! Thank you so much for such an informative post. It cleared up so many things for me! :D

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JL

My earlier post was incomplete, because I just became tired of reading and typing.

What were you doing before you started that program? You might have cut something out that was critical to your strength. like what I did with pistols squats.

What exercises are you getting weaker at?

Should I just take an extended rest and do nothing?
I have had less than stellar results using this method. I'm not talking about 1 to 4 days. I mean, when I have rested more than 7 days, I have always gone backwards a bit.
Should I do some high volume training with more basic exercises for "active recovery" ?
This sounds like the mistake I made with pistols squats. A while back, I was doing singles with my 2-3 rep max at least 5x a week. I slowly tried building up the volume. When I started hitting a plateau, I panicked, and read crap how if you stick with intensities of 90% (~3RM), you will hit a wall. I also sat down on the box before rising back up, and I worried this wouldn't transfer well in the long term. As a result, I switched to doing reps with a lesser intensity, which mean't a shorter range of motion, and I would barely touch the box with my butt. I made some progress for about a week or two, and after about a month, I crashed. I simply had nothing. My legs felt weak, and my coordination was bad. I tried my old 3 RM technique and couldn't do two good reps. I believe I overtrained a shorter range of motion by piling on the volume weekly, while I simultaneous lost strength in the lower joint angles. So, after I rested a week or so, I had now been away from working the lower position for at least 1.5 months. I think more than any other method, you better really know what you are doing when you substitute exercises.
Should I just keep the volume at 50% for another week and see if that helps?
I think this is the safest bet. Because you maintain working the specific exercises which are important to you. I've used similar methods in the last 3 weeks to get past some point where I felt a very similar weakness I had with pistols a while back. In a nutshell: 1) I never rested more than two days in a row. 2) I would cut volume in half almost every other day. 3)Never pushed it when I felt weak (A mistake I made often in the past). I would do half the volume, or less, and quit. I'm also biking m,w,f, which messed with my recovery. I just used easier gears, and slowed the pace. Thus far, it is good, I'm moving foreward every 2-4 days.

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Joshua Naterman
A while back, I was doing singles with my 2-3 rep max at least 5x a week.

WOW. No wonder you lost strength :) That's just way too much intensity and not nearly enough rest. I hate to tell you, but shortening the range of motion doesn't lessen the intensity directly. Within that range of motion, unless you drop weight or use assistance, the intensity is the same. You'd have done better to take a few workout days and just do two-legged squats for active recovery.

I see way too many people trying to work out like they are superman or something. You can not train at the same intensity 3 or 4 times a week if the intensity is at 90%. That's just not going to work well, you WILL run into recovery problems. I don't care how low you cut the volume, it's not going to work as well as keeping the same volume, and maybe cutting a little on some days, but taking the intensity way, way down to the point where you are focusing on a different group of muscle fibers altogether. That way you keep the "groove" "greased" without inhibiting your recovery. If you take a good look at the workouts of the day here, there are drastically different focuses on each workout. This allows adequate recovery. Take a look at the WODS, the intensity levels recommended by Coach, and how often similar movements are trained. There's quite a bit of rest.

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Philip Papandrea

I believe you misinterpeted the integrated training section of the book and are adding too much volume to your workout. It says in the book "In integrated training, the steady state cycle established for your static strength work will be set asside in favor of either the PTTP or the steady state cycle that you will be following for your basic strength work." You are doing four extra sets of statics in your current workout. If you are doing 3 sets of 5 for the dynamic exercises you should only be doing 3 sets of statics. At least that is how I interpeted that section. Hope that helps.

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Blairbob

1m of rest is rough. I'm guilty of only using this much at times to get through the workout quicker but ugh.

I played around with a few different things, 1 was doing that 4 days of 3 sets of FSP+FBE. Another was 2 days of doing the FSP and finishing them (using appropriate rest) and then tackling the FBE (generally 60s or 7-10 holds+4 sets of FBE- quite tough, takes a long time with ample rest periods). I am guilty of doing the 3 sets of FSP+FBE to just get through the workout quicker when it's getting late or I'm short on time. Sometimes, I add in a 4th round of FSP only.

I prefer to pair my FL work with core work because that's what has been shown on the mainpage WOD (but not in the book). When I remember, I try to work V-holds and straddle-L holds before hitting any of the FSP's because it just has been worthless doing them at the end of the workout. I've also down them right after the WU before skill work (straddle-L only) and then done V-holds before FSP's.

Another solution is on two of those days to only do FSP's or FBE's. This could be day 2 of the 2 day cycle.

One of the things I played with was splitting the workouts into 2 workouts per day. Generally skill work during the day and strength/conditioning at night besides food and hydration in between. I also tried limiting my skill work to only 2 out of the 4 days but ideally even 4 days of skill work isn't enough training time for skills and routines. However, I did have to limit it to 2 days to ramp up to 4.

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JL
A while back, I was doing singles with my 2-3 rep max at least 5x a week.

WOW. No wonder you lost strength :) That's just way too much intensity and not nearly enough rest. I hate to tell you, but shortening the range of motion doesn't lessen the intensity directly. Within that range of motion, unless you drop weight or use assistance, the intensity is the same. You'd have done better to take a few workout days and just do two-legged squats for active recovery.

I see way too many people trying to work out like they are superman or something. You can not train at the same intensity 3 or 4 times a week if the intensity is at 90%. That's just not going to work well, you WILL run into recovery problems. I don't care how low you cut the volume, it's not going to work as well as keeping the same volume, and maybe cutting a little on some days, but taking the intensity way, way down to the point where you are focusing on a different group of muscle fibers altogether. That way you keep the "groove" "greased" without inhibiting your recovery. If you take a good look at the workouts of the day here, there are drastically different focuses on each workout. This allows adequate recovery. Take a look at the WODS, the intensity levels recommended by Coach, and how often similar movements are trained. There's quite a bit of rest.

Oddly enough, though, I never really had much problems on the program, and I was on it for like month or two. I started to stall, and thought the box squat style would be bad for long term progress; I think I was wrong about that, because I know people who built up their pistols with a full sit since then. By the book, so much 90% work is not a good idea, but those same books also incorporate huge volume with other rep ranges. When I was doing it, I wasn't pushing myself like an animal. It was an instinctive program. If I felt good, go for more, if I felt bad, rest. Certain days I would do one rep, feel bad, and quit. As far as shortening the range of motion, I would believe it matters more where you shorten it. Of course, if you shorten it in the weakest leverage position, it isn't going to have much of an impact. Maybe worse if your time under tension goes up significantly. For the pistols, I was not going to a hard leverage position, just to a point where I was between my 5-8 RM. So, under those circumstances, I would imagine the intensity would be lower.

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Joshua Naterman

As a whole, the intensity would be lower, but that doesn't make it the most effective thing to do. Singles training isn't bad, and if you expect to reach your maximum strength potential there is no other way to get there, but I honestly don't know if you're at the point where you will be getting maximum benefit from singles.

Singles at 90% is just too low to be getting the most out of them. I realize that you did that so that you could do singles more frequently, but I honestly think you'll do better working one hard workout and then some recovery work. In the end, the only thing that matters is that you get what you want, whatever that may be.

I don't really know what you mean when you say you were going to your 5-8RM, but if you're training there you're training way too hard to be that frequent and get long-term positive results. A program that gives you consistent results month after month is better than a program that leads to over-reaching, which causes the situation you describe. You were just doing too much work for your body to keep up with. You slowly ate away at your recovery reserves, so to speak, until there was not enough left to continue making gains. As you get stronger you need more rest. You can't train the same way when your SLS + 100 lbs is a 5 rep max as you could when your bodyweight SLS was a 5 rep max. Just because you stay in that range doesn't mean you can get away with the same recovery time. That's just how metabolisms work.

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