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Martin Schulz

Steady State or Back Off Week?

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Hi people,

I was wondering about periodization recently and about what is better WITH FBEs (!): keeping all the sets and reps the same until the end of a cycle (Steady State Cycle) or always pushing 1-2 reps before failure and then taking a serious back off week after hitting a plateau in traininig (Backing Off).

I read about the latter approach in Steven Low's "Overcoming Gravity" and he has some valid points there. I mean, mostly it is the joints and connective tissue that get overused in training instead of the muscles. And although your work gets easier in a SSC, you still keep on putting your joints under pressure without ever giving them time to recover. And it seems to me (correct me if Im wrong) a SSC is not really necessary in FBEs and gives results a little slower than linear progression would.

It would be great to hear some experiences from you guys who tried both ways and to share your recommendations :)

I know that every body is different and I should try it out myself and I will. But it might be that I missed some points and you guys can tell me about your thoughts

Thank you

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Not really answering your question, but I really like the the modified PTTP approach. I can't say anything about the results yet, but my problem tends to be getting bored doing the same stuff from day to day and week to week. With PTTP I have bit different exercises for every week and that helps to keep things fresh.

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Flameous,

I know what you mean.

But isnt it better for gaining strength to focus on a very limited amount of exercises and to do them repeatedly per week instead of changing exercises up all the time?

What you are describing is more an approach for hypertrophy than for gaining strength, right?

Thanks for the quick answer

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I'm not really an expert on the matter, but how I understand this is subject is that if you keep with same exercise, you come very proficient with that one because your neural system learns the movement better and "muscle memory" comes into the picture. This however isn't all around functional strength. I actually think that for hypertrophy you'd actually prefer using the same movements a lot, because that way you cause less neural stress and can train more.

Obviously if there is one movement you want to turn great with, you practice just that.

I think you can see something along these lines with Coaches programming, there it takes couple of weeks for one exercise to show up again but the same muscles are trained via other movements meanwhile.

Also considering that I do horizontal and vertical push/pull and curls+dips, going through BtGBs progressions for each, the movements don't really change that much.

And as I said, I've been with this for such a short time that I can't give any results. I mainly do this because I find it much more interesting but according to Pavel and Coach, it's also very effective.

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I understand,

that sounds like a good way to go :)

But could someone please answer to the question I stated at the beginning of the thread? I would really like to hear an opinion about what is better for backing off. A set back off week or the decreased intensity in a steady state cycle.

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Many of the GB community doesn't use SSC for FBE's really. I did mainly because I was concerned about wear and tear on my elbow and shoulders. Elbow tendonitis would start rearing it's head if I trained too hard on upper body strength, especially with rings.

Unfortunately, I wasted way too much time doing this and went nowhere. Lack of intensity and volume...for me.

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... Elbow tendonitis would start rearing it's head if I trained too hard on upper body strength, especially with rings ... Unfortunately, I wasted way too much time doing this and went nowhere. Lack of intensity and volume...for me.

These are mutually exclusive statements; on one hand you said that you need to not train too hard or your tendonitis acts up and then on the other hand you said that you require more intensity and volume. Yet to do so would induce tendonitis, which would mandate rehab and recovery, which would in turn curtail any strength gains.

- In regards to linnear programming; be careful to never increase intensity and volume simultaneously. That will eventually lead to certain injury.

- The proper method is to increase intensity first and then later gradually increase volume to stabilize the strength gains. Before once again dropping volume, increasing intensity and beginning the microcycle again.

- SSC is not for everyone, beginners especially will struggle with implementing it correctly.

SSC can however work quite extremely effectively; if you are an advanced enough athlete/coach to take advantage of it.

For example, one year I did not change a single variable in Allan's conditioning; not an exercise or a set. I did not even adjust a single rep. Yet over the course of the year, Allan continued to grow stronger. His work capacity increased. AND he won a National Championship.

For these reasons, I now consider SSC to be an appropriate training tool for intermediate level and above athletes.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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if you are an advanced enough athlete/coach to take advantage of it.

Coach Sommer

I want to highlight this piece. Notice where he also adds in the Coach. Some of the things you will read and see about an athlete doing also take into consideration that a Coach or Trainer(knowledgable) is present to monitor the training and make changes on the fly if needed. The training will also typically be catered specifically to the needs of said athlete. This individualization should not be underestimated.

Programming can be quite complex and takes a long time to truly understand, even then those of us who have been doing it for years (over 10 in my case) still refine as we go.

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that is helpful, thank you.

one more question: do you keep training at the same volume (or even increase volume) throughout the year? I mean, there must be a lot of stress on the joints but I wonder if the underload period (when certain exercises get easy) is enough for your joints to recover or if I should deliberately take a week or so to give your joints rest. You said, programming is a constant refining process and I understand.

But how did you do it in the past?

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oh, I just reread Coach Sommer's Post and he mentioned dropping the volume after strength gains have been consolidated. So I guess that would be the "joint recovery-period"

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oh, I just reread Coach Sommer's Post and he mentioned dropping the volume after strength gains have been consolidated. So I guess that would be the "joint recovery-period"

You failed to read carefully. The recovery period only applies to linear programming and not to SSC.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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