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12 Week Strength - same lift subsequent days?

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  • 12 Week Strength - same lift subsequent days?

    So I’m going thru the “12 Week Strength” worksheet that details the program. The main competition lifts are all on days 1 & 2, while Days 3 & 4 are supplemental lifts, right? Only thing that seems unusual is squatting two days in a row on 1 & 2, and benching two days a row on 3 & 4:

    Day 1 - competition Squat (C-S)
    Day 2 - supplemental Squat (S-S2)


    Day 3 - supplemental Bench (S-B3)
    Day 4 - supplemental Bench (S-B5)

    …I realize this changes later in the program. So it’s not a problem to do the same movements two days in a row without a recover day in between? I’m just used to SSLP, Baker’s HLM, and Bridge 1, which have a day in between each of these so am curious.

    Last edited by mdelvecchio; 08-08-2018, 02:52 PM.

  • #2
    Actually it doesn't change later on, when it goes to 3 days it's still intended to be M/Tu/F. It's totally ok to squat on consecutive days, especially since day 2 is a very light variant. If you're going to do 4 day a week full body training you have no real choice but to train the same movement on consecutive days. I had no recovery issues with this when I ran through it.
    Last edited by PWard; 08-08-2018, 09:41 PM.


    • #3
      You'll be just fine


      • #4
        Cool I'm sure that's the case. But I'm curious why Day 1 & 2 (completion lifts) are in a row followed by 3 & 4 (supplemental lifts) in a row, rather than alternating them, and trying to program different movements for subsequent days.

        Keep in mind that while they are "supplemental" they are still RPE 9s. For example day 3's TnG Bench at RPE 9 is basically a competition lift, followed by day 4's Close Grip Bench at RPE 9, both near-maxmium exertion of the same movement. If we're saying it's just fine then why does ever other program space same-movements with a recovery day in between? Why is Bridge MWF instead of MTW? Recovery days serve a purpose.

        I'm sure they considered this, and there's a very good reason it doesn't, but it'd be great to know what it is.
        Last edited by mdelvecchio; 08-09-2018, 02:26 PM.


        • #5
          It's so you can get enough volume in within one week. Benching 2x a week on a traditional 4-day split just may not have enough volume or have to have a lot of volume on each -upper- day to make up for it, and thus, takes longer to recover from. Yes, they are RPE 9s, but you are using RPE to auto-regulate the weight on the bar. You're not trying to smash PRs every session or even every week, you're just piling on stress week to week to build a strength adaption in the end. As a post-novice trainee, you are not supposed to be fully recovered before each session. You need accumulated fatigue across many sessions. This is true even on The Bridge. Sure, you may be less recovered than you're used to, but that's fine, and RPE will allow you to always find an appropriate weight to put on the bar, so you get a correct training stress.


          • #6
            Interesting...I didn't realize that part -- that I'm not supposed to be fully recovered. True, using the RPE will allow me to stay at 9, even if that's not a PR. I noticed this already -- Day 3's TnG Bench after doing the press supplementals (incline bench) had me working below what I'm used to. It was just too hard if remaining honest to the RPE goal.



            • #7
              The most important metric is total volume over time (which for convenience sake we use a week as the standard). To get more volume in you can do super long sessions, or you can add more sessions and keep them reasonable length. This is a case of adding more sessions (aka frequency) to get more total volume. If you're following RPE, if you have fatigue on the second day, your RPE's will reflect that and the weight on the bar will be lower. That's totally ok. Mike T has stated that most lifters should feel reasonably recovered an average of about 2 days per week (obviously give or take depending on what phase you're in). So no, you don't have to be fully recovered for every session. Also keep in mind that your body adapts to the stress you put it under. So if week 1 is tough to do it back to back, week 2 won't be so bad, and week 3 will be just another day. The way the program is laid out is meant to balance fatigue by altering volume, frequency, and intensity over the course of the program. By the time you get to the end of the program and look back I think you'll have a clearer idea of how this works. For now, just know you'll be fine and work the program as written. Many of us have run this program with good results and no recovery issues. Don't nocebo yourself by over-thinking the program and putting false limits on your bodies ability to adapt. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with how well it balances all the variables over the course of the program.
              Last edited by PWard; 08-09-2018, 04:27 PM.


              • #8

                While I understand the concept behind a standard work week, in which volume, frequency, and overall fatigue is calculated over a 7 day cycle and reset the following week, I don't quite understand why you wouldn't separate exercises that recruit the same muscles for a recovery period of any less than 48-72 hours if the same amount of volume, frequency, and fatigue can be achieved while still achieving 48-72 hours between recruitment of those same muscle groups. In the past, I would typically separate pressing days from pulling days, ensuring that I had at least 48 hours recovery before working those same muscles. I.E. benching/overhead pressing/squatting on a Monday, deadlifting/rowing/etc. on a Tuesday, taking Wednesday off, Thursday back to pressing, Friday pulling, Saturday/Sunday off (or augmenting abdominals, obliques, or other muscle groups not specifically targeted on one of those days to include an endurance run or something along those lines.) I'm by no means an expert at programming or lifting in general, or else I wouldn't have purchased the template in the first place; I'm simply looking for a little better clarification. Am I completely off the mark or does what I have outlined above make sense from a physiological standpoint? I appreciate your time and I find the content on this site and the videos put out by Barbell Medicine, and particularly by Alan Thrall and Aaron Baraki, to be very insightful; it's helped me tremendously to fine tune my technique and prevent unnecessary injury. Keep up the good work.



                • #9
                  A couple questions as food for thought:

                  Why do you feel you need 48-72 hours to rest a muscle before using it again? Is it because there is some scientific research somewhere that shows it is better? Or is it instead simply because that's just what you've always done? What's familiar? What someone maybe has told you in the past? What just "feels" like the correct way? Something else entirely?

                  If you bench 2 days in a row, are they separate overload events, or are they a part of the same overload event?

                  Let's say exercise 1 is 5 sets of competition bench and exercise 2 is 5 sets of close grip bench. Do you think you would be able to lift more weight on close-grip bench if you did it on the same day immediately following competition bench, or if you did it the day following?

                  From a purely skill perspective, what is going to develop/ingrain skill and form for a particular movement pattern better: exposing yourself to a movement pattern 3 days per week, or exposing yourself to a movement pattern 4 days per week.
                  Last edited by PWard; 09-02-2018, 01:32 PM.


                  • #10
                    Of the articles that I have read regarding post workout recovery, 48 hours minimum recovery, particularly for a physical event as strenuous on the skeletal-muscular system as a powerlifting session, has been standard with several articles claiming that 72 hours or more may be necessary. As for scientific based research, I've not found much. In part because I haven't scoured the interwebs searching for it extensively and likely there is little as a model candidate for such studies would have to fit a fairly narrow set of parameters. Genetics, age, gender, nutritional regimen, sleep, physical activities outside the gym, stress, trained versus untrained athletes, the lifting regimen itself, among a myriad of other variables would have to be accounted for a purely objective analysis. Perhaps you have more experience in that area or have links to such studies? It would be a fascinating read. Naturally with a purely experienced based article you have to take what you read with a critical mind, just as you would a training regimen template.

                    You do bring up an interesting point regarding overload events, and in that is perhaps the answer I'm looking for. I've honestly not considered the necessity of subsequent recruitment of the same muscle groups over a two day period (a single overload event over two days, as you put it) in order to maximize muscle fatigue and the body's recovery response. Perhaps making the jump from novice to intermediate requires that additional stress in order to shift the body's equilibrium adequately, prompting an augmentation to occur. I've always assumed, perhaps wrongly, that this can be achieved in a singular lifting session and thereby maximize recovery between when I first worked a particular muscle group to the next time I worked those muscle groups. Analyzing the template with that in mind, I thought it best to achieve the same volume in any given week but in fewer sessions (frequency), maximizing recovery time for that particular muscle group.

                    I'll run the regimen as constructed and see what kind of progress I make. I appreciate the insight and I'll continue looking into it more. The entire physical training/nutritional landscape has changed immensely over these last few years that merely running a regimen without understanding why it was constructed in the manner that it was invariably doesn't lend to a keen understanding of regimenting itself.

                    Again, Thanks for your time,


                    • #11
                      Yep I think you're getting on the right track. A couple things I want to point out. You mention that you've read that it takes 48-72 hours to fully recover from a workout. This is probably true, give or take, for most lifters. However, the real question is why does one need to be fully recovered in order to work the same muscle again? Where I think you're getting stuck is in your understanding of SRA. SS book gives a conceptual overview of stress, recovery, and adaptation. But in order to drive the point home, they falsely paint it in isolation. However, in real life neither stress, recovery, nor adaption function in isolation. They are not a discrete cycle with distinct start and end points so much as they are constant processes. Your body is constantly undergoing an endless stream of stressors, and in turn it is constantly recovering and adapting from them. As long as you're living and breathing, there really is no such thing as being fully recovered. So if you bench today you are triggering physical stress, and your body is going to start recovering from it. Now if you bench tomorrow you will not be fully recovered, but that doesn't mean you can't add more stress to the equation to further drive adaptation. You also get the added benefit of extending the elevated muscle protein synthesis window by another day, effectively giving yourself about a 72 hour window for gainzZz by breaking this up into two back to back days.

                      Now your next point about "making the jump from novice to intermediate requires that additional stress in order to shift the body's equilibrium adequately", this is definitely a correct assumption. The more trained someone is, the larger dose of stress they need to get a (sadly) smaller adaptive response. This is part of why BBM is so adamant about conditioning, because eventually you reach a point where your body cannot recover from the amount of stress you need to further adapt. But by focusing on conditioning and adding in more volume over time, you train your bodies ability to recover. By doing this you increase the work capacity so your body can handle higher volumes, allowing you to progress further. So someone fresh off the LP definitely doesn't *need* the 4 day full body stress that the 12WS template provides... but there is still a dose/response relationship when it comes to total volume and hypertrophy, so it's still useful and fine for someone to run that template even if they don't quite *need* that level of volume yet. It's also not really possible to run a 4 day per week full body template without going back to back, any way you cut the cake it's just kind of part of the deal. But since SRA is a process not a discrete cycle, you really can just count total weekly volume as a whole and not worry so much about how it's distributed up throughout the week. Back to back days are perfectly fine, beneficial even in some ways, like for skill/form adaption.
                      Last edited by PWard; 09-03-2018, 10:28 PM.


                      • #12
                        Excellent insight, that was well thought out and written. Thanks.


                        • #13
                          What if on Day 1, you apply just enough stress to disrupt homeostasis but not enough to cause an improvement? Then on Day 2, you reapply a similar but different stress which takes you a little further? Think or lifting like dosing a medication. One dose doesn't really cause much of a response, but two doses spread closely together might. Repeat that every week and you make progress.

                          This is why it's SOOOO important to get all your lifting days in and not skip sessions if you really want to make progress. You have to look at stress as something that you apply cumulatively across the entire week. The 4-day template is designed to apply more stress across a work week, even if it means overlapping stress a bit.