More on Sticking Point Avoidance

Posted: September 30, 2020 in Uncategorized
Bill Stanley National High School Javelin Throw record holder and OSU alum from back in the day(pictured)

Pick your basic exercise like Squat, Bench, Weighted Chin, Deadlift, etc. Choose a weight that equals 80% of your latest achievement in these movements. Therefore, the weights should be handled quite comfortably and with confidence. Do not put out less effort on these sets because they are lighter. Push with as much effort as you possess. The confidence will come in handy when you enter the more challenging part of the cycle. Over the next 4-6 weeks, work back up to your previous best poundages on your movement. When you get about 10 pounds or so under your previous bests it is helpful to really slow progression to about 2 to 3 pounds per week. Buy yourself some little 1 pound plates and use them accordingly. Block out the negative comments from the gym rats about the ridiculous little plates because you will soon leave them in the dust. I would be really surprised if you didn’t complete your old personal records with power and have room to spare.

     This part of the cycle can last as long as you can continue to progress. It may last as long as 15-20 weeks if you are conservative in adding weight to the bar each week. By conservative, I mean 1-2 pounds on larger bodypart exercises and 1 pound on smaller bodyparts. Sound ridiculous? What is ridiculous is being stuck at the same level of size and strength for years. Be patient and your shrewdness will pay off. If you are too aggressive in adding weight, this part of the cycle will last 5 weeks or less. Don’t get greedy. This means if you may have another rep in you wait for it, don’t do it. The choice is yours. To further delay the termination of the cycle, it may be advantageous to take an easy week every third or fourth week. Use no more than 85% of your scheduled poundages.

     There are several schools of thought concerning variation during this part of the cycle. Some trainers such as the late Charles Poliquin advocate plenty of variation in exercise choice, number of sets, repetitions, and rest between sets. He explains that this is more important for creating hypertrophy than it is for creating strength. I have definitely found this to be true. In my own experience when seeking strength, I have found it more productive to stay in the groove and pound away at the same movements until the weekly gains all dry up. I suppose the solution is to alternate between these two philosophies for maximum results. In other words, take 1 cycle and look at it more as a strength cycle and take the subsequent cycle and utilize it as a hypertrophic cycle where you would use more variation during the resistance phase. It is still a good idea, even if primarily seeking strength, to change some exercises from cycle to cycle. The human body is a remarkably adaptive organism that loves to maintain homeostasis, therefore some variation is always helpful to evoke some new gains.

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