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When to "Palate Cleanse"

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  • When to "Palate Cleanse"

    Hi all,

    Just wanted some general thoughts on how people are deciding when they need a palate cleanse. For me, this would be in the form of the 3 or 4 day Hypertrophy template. I am finishing up Bridge 2.0 with a Press Focus, which I finished after Bridge 1.0. I would like to do another round of Bridge 2.0, but focusing on Bench. Generally, I see people are sticking the Hypertrophy program in between strength workouts. My original plan was to run Bridge 2.0 with a bench focus (eating slightly more calories) and then the hypertrophy (eating slightly less calories, getting ready for summer).

    I'm interested in both answers generally and specific to my case. How do people generally decide they need a palate cleanse?

    For me specifically, I will either do two low-stress weeks in a row (Week 8 of Bridge 2.0 and Week 1 of Bridge 2.0) and then continue to do Bridge 2.0 or do a Hypertrophy template and then run Bridge 2.0.

    I'm happy to provide more info if asked but wanted to keep the discussion slightly more general in nature.

    Thanks all.

  • #2
    It is not a "palate cleanse" per se. There is a strength component in the Hyp templates, including 1@8. The main difference between The Bridge(s) and Hyp is that during the 1@8, the down sets stay at 6 reps rather than decreasing with increasing RPE. A "palate cleanse" would be to go and do CrossFit then come back. I am using the culinary definition of palate cleanse which is a complete change between courses and completely different from the prior and following course (meat with a rich sauce followed by raspberry and lime gelato (complete palate cleanse), followed by a more delicate pigeon dish).

    Strength seems to have three components: (A) the skill in expressing strength in a single rep (for power lifting), (B) the nervous system in getting the muscle you have to contract to lift said weight, (C) the actual amount of muscle you have. (A) is a skill which is practiced using singles (thus the 1@8), (B) is the repeated bout effect (known as "RBE") where you get better at doing something the more you do it, and (C) is getting hyooge. (A) needs practice but the actual strength development is low-ish (it is more an expression of strength), (B) runs out in the medium term but drives actual strength development with the muscle you actually have at that point in time, and (C) is looooong term (depending on your current state 5 to 10 years plus). I highly recommend you listen to the three BBM programming podcasts by the good doctors which explain this more thoroughly and probably more correctly than I can.

    The BBM strength programs are composed of two possibly three phases/blocks; 1) hypertrophy (getting hyooge muscles), 2) development (i.e. strength development), 3) peaking (expression of strength). There is a fourth which is pivot but that is usually a week or two which serves as a wash out. The Bridge consists of 1 (first 4 weeks) and 2 (last 3 weeks). Hyp consists of 1 (with a sprinkling of 2 via the 1@8s in the last three weeks). 12 WS consists of all three.

    So repeating Bridge 2.0 doesn't develop the really hard one to increase sufficiently, that being muscle mass for hyoogeness. It will of course build some muscle but more volume is needed. That is why you see many do a strength focused program, then a hypertrophy program, followed by another strength, then another hypertrophy. If you don't actually have the muscle mass to contract, you can do all the skill work (A above) and all the strength development (B above); however, further progress is very limited. All three (A), (B), and (C) have diminishing returns; however, hypertrophy has the longest time to fully develop and may well be the hardest to develop.

    Note that these all have some fuzzy boundaries as strength development will build some muscle, but no where near enough, and hypertrophy work will develop some strength, but again no where near enough.

    A quick point, if you cut calories to lean up for summer, there is no muscle gain. The training is to retain as much muscle as possible. A suggestion (Greg Nuckols on how to fill out your weight class) 9 months gaining, being a combo of strength and hypertrophy for 9 to 10 months of a year, and 2 to 3 months leaning up (i.e. taking off the fat accumulated during the gaining predictor while retaining as much muscle mass as possible (some will be lost) to be primed for a new gaining period). That is assuming you are happy with the starting point. Rinse and repeat.


    • #3
      Thanks that was very helpful and insightful. I think the confusion for me lies in reading the description of the Hypertrophy Template (describing such as a "palate cleanse") and research on the forum that posters state something to the effect of, "I was feeling beat up after XXX strength template, so I ran the Hypertrophy template before moving onto another." I also was under the impression that running the hypertrophy program was like a "palate cleanse" to the effect that it was different (sets, reps and variations) enough to re-sensitize the lifter to the strength program again (Jordan's perfume in the room analogy).

      However, if your response is the correct way to think about it, that makes sense to me and easier for me to understand when to make a change in programming. That said, if there is a need for a "palate cleanse" then it would be good to know if there are any typical indications this is needed. But perhaps I just was not correct in my understanding.


      • #4
        I didn't realise "palate cleanse" was used in the Hyp template description. Yes it is a resensitisation of sorts with different rep schemes, but the range seems to be 5 to 8 for hypertrophy and 3 to 5 for developmental blocks, whether within a single program or compared between programs. My personal definition of a palate cleanse would be a body building program like Renaissance Periodisation with reps going up to 15+. That I consider a change of rep scheme and loading. That is my personal opinion and I could well be wrong.

        Is what I wrote previously the right way to think about it? Maybe. As time goes on with more research, the BBM doctors could be wrong too (and they have said they are willing to adapt and change, which they have done on a number of things). There is no hard and fast rule. You can run strength programs back to back as there is a hypertrophy component in each one. You; however, did note that most do a hypertrophy program in between strength programs, to in a sense "palate cleanse" also for the hyoogeness to then be able to train through a strength program with the extra muscle to develop strength (B) and expression (A). It seems from what the current understanding of how this stuff works that the limiting factor in absolute strength is muscle mass.
        Last edited by teddyd; 01-10-2019, 02:51 PM.


        • #5
          Well, I really do appreciate your insights into this. As always, more information leads to more questions - maybe others can provide some insight into this. If not, perhaps this is a post worthy moderated section.