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Hypertrophy Strategies for the Non/Low Responders

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  • Hypertrophy Strategies for the Non/Low Responders

    Hi guys!

    I've noticed in some of the more recent studies (especially from Austin's weekly readings etc.) that older people as well as non or low responders to RT appear to have an increased stress/immune response post workouts, blunting their MPS compared to the high responders (among other things such as lower AR count).

    Now I think since this is relatively new there isn't much, if anything at all in the literature per se, but I'd still be interested in your thoughts or ideas on how one could try to optimize outcomes in this population. I think some of the training parameters could tame the immune response, while still providing enough training stimulus. But the question is which or which combination could potentially make sense. Here some parameters of the top of my head that I think could have an impact :
    • reps/set
    • reps/exercise
    • intensity
    • RPE
    • training frequency
    • movement frequency
    • exercises per workout
    • rest between sets
    • isolation vs compound type exercises
    • ...
    I have no idea whether any of this would actually do anything at all but some of my thought processes were for instance the more obvious things like increasing volume while at the same time reducing intensity and rest between sets (kept volume and intensity very general here but it could mean more sets, more reps/set, less weight on the bar, less RPE or even a combination of these things). This could provide enough or maybe more stimulus targeting the muscles while reducing fatigue on the CNS and maybe reducing the stress/immune response.

    Or maybe increasing the training frequency while at the same time reducing the number of exercises (e.g. 1 main exercise and 1 lighter secondary or maybe 1 main exercise and 2 myorep exercises, etc.). This might provide more frequent stimulus for MPS, while reducing the immune response to each single workout.

    Or maybe increasing the # of exercises per workout but reducing the amount of compound exercises, as these tend to generate more fatigue.

    ...

    Most of these ideas (I'd really just call them non-thought-through examples to just to give you an idea what I'm looking for) go against what I've considered sensible training in the past but while I wouldn't go so far as to say that these parameters would even have an impact in the grand scheme of things, I don't think it's that unreasonable to believe either. I'd really love to hear your ideas on this topic and how you'd change these parameters to optimize outcomes for the non/low responders (even if I'd be more experimental than anything else).

    Thank you!

  • #2
    It really depends and I wouldn't lump older individuals together with low responders, as they are independent of one another.

    In general, I think low responders should first consider changing the formulation of the programming, e.g. rep schemes, exercise variations, and average intensity. The rest of the variables either change the dose (volume) or don't matter, e.g. rest between sets.

    If that doesn't really work, then adjusting volume would be the move. Frequency is another tool to adjust volume.

    If hypertrophy is the sole goal, I do think people will end up doing more isolation work because you can get more stimulus for less fatigue.
    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
    ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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    • #3
      I wonder if the immune response could be minimized by staying far from failure. So for example 10-15 sets @6 instead of 6 sets around @8.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
        It really depends and I wouldn't lump older individuals together with low responders, as they are independent of one another.

        In general, I think low responders should first consider changing the formulation of the programming, e.g. rep schemes, exercise variations, and average intensity. The rest of the variables either change the dose (volume) or don't matter, e.g. rest between sets.

        If that doesn't really work, then adjusting volume would be the move. Frequency is another tool to adjust volume.

        If hypertrophy is the sole goal, I do think people will end up doing more isolation work because you can get more stimulus for less fatigue.
        Cool thanks! Would you just change and observe what happens in an individual in terms of outcomes or do you have a general feel in what direction things should be taken for low-responders regarding the rep schemes, exercise variations, average intensity, volume etc.?

        And yeah I'm more concerned here in terms of hypertrophy as it's an important driver for other things anyway.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jwls View Post

          Cool thanks! Would you just change and observe what happens in an individual in terms of outcomes or do you have a general feel in what direction things should be taken for low-responders regarding the rep schemes, exercise variations, average intensity, volume etc.?
          I'm not sure what you mean here, as I discussed how I make changes in the last response. That said, it's always a guessing game and we do our best with the data we have to work with


          Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
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          • #6
            Originally posted by HansAndFranz View Post
            I wonder if the immune response could be minimized by staying far from failure. So for example 10-15 sets @6 instead of 6 sets around @8.
            https://player.fm/series/barbell-med...-immune-system
            Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
            ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post

              I'm not sure what you mean here, as I discussed how I make changes in the last response. That said, it's always a guessing game and we do our best with the data we have to work with

              I mean would you just titrate those parameters up/down randomly and observe what appears to work better in the individual or do you have a general direction in which direction you'd take them, knowing you're dealing with low responders? E.g. reps -> up, intensity -> down, volume -> up, etc.

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              • #8
                I listened to the podcast which argued that if anything there is a beneficial immune response post exercise (via white blood cells being sent from the bloodstream to the tissues).

                But in the exchange above it seemed that you did not object to the formulation: "that older people as well as non or low responders to RT appear to have an increased stress/immune response post workouts, blunting their MPS compared to the high responders (among other things such as lower AR count)."

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jwls View Post

                  I mean would you just titrate those parameters up/down randomly and observe what appears to work better in the individual or do you have a general direction in which direction you'd take them, knowing you're dealing with low responders? E.g. reps -> up, intensity -> down, volume -> up, etc.
                  As mentioned above, I typically don't change volume first. Rather, I modify the makeup of the program by changing variations, rep ranges, and/or average intensity. It really depends on the individual, particularly their preferences, previous training, and goals.

                  While the changes aren't random, there is no cheat sheet here for a universal approach.
                  Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
                  ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by HansAndFranz View Post
                    I listened to the podcast which argued that if anything there is a beneficial immune response post exercise (via white blood cells being sent from the bloodstream to the tissues).

                    But in the exchange above it seemed that you did not object to the formulation: "that older people as well as non or low responders to RT appear to have an increased stress/immune response post workouts, blunting their MPS compared to the high responders (among other things such as lower AR count)."
                    Do you have a timestamp for what you're talking about, as I'd like to place this into context.

                    That said, sure, if the stimulus is too great for an individual I would expect less training adaptations. I don't think that I'd correlate immune response to training outcomes, however. Further, I don't really think differences in MPS magnitude from training matter that much, if at all.
                    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
                    ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post

                      Do you have a timestamp for what you're talking about, as I'd like to place this into context.

                      That said, sure, if the stimulus is too great for an individual I would expect less training adaptations. I don't think that I'd correlate immune response to training outcomes, however. Further, I don't really think differences in MPS magnitude from training matter that much, if at all.

                      The positive immune response I'm referring to is what Baraki first mentions around 27:10 in the podcast, the white blood cells going into surveillance mode or something like that.

                      The bit I quoted was from the first post in this thread.

                      The first post in this thread said something about current research suggesting that non-responders have some kind of immune response that interferes with MPS, and then asked about possible training strategies to minimize this problem. You took up the training strategies question which I took to mean that the first part of the question seemed reasonable to you.

                      Sorry if this is getting tortuous, I'm just not sure what to make of the "increased stress/immune response blunting MPS" notion which doesn't really seem consistent with your podcast #96.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post

                        Do you have a timestamp for what you're talking about, as I'd like to place this into context.

                        That said, sure, if the stimulus is too great for an individual I would expect less training adaptations. I don't think that I'd correlate immune response to training outcomes, however. Further, I don't really think differences in MPS magnitude from training matter that much, if at all.
                        If it helps I was referring to this:

                        Early applications of transcriptomics have shown that older adults, and lower hypertrophic responders in general, express a pro-inflammatory gene profile at rest and respond to an acute bout of RE with an exaggerated inflammatory response, linking inflammation with an attenuated muscle growth response to RET.
                        https://f1000research.com/articles/9-141

                        and subsequently these specific studies mentioned there:
                        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3680779/
                        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2825766/
                        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3365403/

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by HansAndFranz View Post


                          The positive immune response I'm referring to is what Baraki first mentions around 27:10 in the podcast, the white blood cells going into surveillance mode or something like that.
                          Ah, I see. I thought you were claiming that I said "that older people as well as non or low responders to RT appear to have an increased stress/immune response post workouts, blunting their MPS compared to the high responders (among other things such as lower AR count)" and I was asking for a time stamp. The time stamp provided does not say this at all and I certainly wouldn't agree with that.


                          Originally posted by HansAndFranz View Post
                          The first post in this thread said something about current research suggesting that non-responders have some kind of immune response that interferes with MPS, and then asked about possible training strategies to minimize this problem. You took up the training strategies question which I took to mean that the first part of the question seemed reasonable to you.

                          Yea, I don't think it is correct at all.




                          Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
                          ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jwls View Post

                            If it helps I was referring to this:

                            Early applications of transcriptomics have shown that older adults, and lower hypertrophic responders in general, express a pro-inflammatory gene profile at rest and respond to an acute bout of RE with an exaggerated inflammatory response, linking inflammation with an attenuated muscle growth response to RET.
                            https://f1000research.com/articles/9-141

                            and subsequently these specific studies mentioned there:
                            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3680779/
                            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2825766/
                            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3365403/
                            Yea, I don't think these articles say what you are saying here. There's a wide variety of responses to the same training program and it would surprise me if there wasn't a difference in immune response, though I don't think you can modify that really in this context. Further, I wouldn't be thinking about this at all from a programming management standpoint.
                            Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
                            ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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