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Emerging Strategies in the Context of a Meet Prep/Fixed Test Date

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  • Emerging Strategies in the Context of a Meet Prep/Fixed Test Date

    As far as I can tell, the key idea when using any sort of bottom-up or emerging strategies based programming is to keep running a particular block if the lifter is responding well to it, as measured by e1RMs, subjective measures of fatigue, etc. More "traditional" programming may be planned out into discrete blocks that the lifter will transition into regardless of their response to the prior block. So, here's my question: is there anything to be lost (in terms of absolute weight on the bar in a 1RM) if a lifter responds well to a lower-intensity block that was planned early in the meet prep and continues running it, forgoing some of the heavier training that would usually be placed directly before a meet? In this scenario, the meet date is fixed (as they tend to be).

    I know that this question depends so much on an individual's response to a number of training variables, but is there a point when you should increase specificity to the 1RM test even if the lifter is responding very well to lighter and less specific work? I think it's impossible to really know, unless you have two powerlifting clones that are willing to perform A/B trials (exercise science seems like it isn't quite at this level yet). I feel like the answer is to ride the success of the less specific block for longer than you anticipated when you wrote it out, but to stop a few weeks from meet day and increase specificity, then use this data to inform your future programming.

  • #2
    Before I answer the questions in your post: I want to note that Emerging Strategies is only one kind of bottom-up program design technique, just as Block Periodization is only one kind of top-down program design technique. These terms can not be used interchangeably since they are not the same thing, requiring that my answers be provided for Emerging Strategies specifically since it is a specific kind of bottom-up program design.

    Originally posted by Jonathan Webb View Post
    So, here's my question: is there anything to be lost (in terms of absolute weight on the bar in a 1RM) if a lifter responds well to a lower-intensity block that was planned early in the meet prep and continues running it, forgoing some of the heavier training that would usually be placed directly before a meet?
    It is theoretically possible that forgoing heavier training later in the cycle could result in a cycle not yielding maximum benefit; however, this can only be said if the lifter has completed heavier cycles in the past and did demonstrate a favorable response to these cycles. Due to the nature of Emerging Strategies specifically, you only implement cycles that are known to provide the most favorable changes to a lifter's e1RMs. This means that running a low intensity cycle before a meet would be done solely because it is known to most favorably change a lifter's e1RMs and therefore would not leave kilos off their total.

    Originally posted by Jonathan Webb View Post
    I know that this question depends so much on an individual's response to a number of training variables, but is there a point when you should increase specificity to the 1RM test even if the lifter is responding very well to lighter and less specific work?
    Not within a pure Emerging Strategies framework. As I mentioned, the point of Emerging Strategies is to find a set of cycles to which the trainee responds most favorably and then implement one of the cycles when a peak is needed.
    Last edited by Alex Kovaleski; 11-19-2018, 03:40 PM. Reason: Typo.

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