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Thread: Thoughts on accessory work

  1. #11
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    The main utility of higher reps is that they're lighter. You use them when the intensity of fives or lower reps is something you can't handle. This is why bodybuilders use them: because they are training in aggressive deficits full of drugs that turn their connective tissue to silly putty.

    The idea that "high reps" cause more hypertrophy seems to come from the fact that a lot of people in fitness just aren't too sharp. "High reps" are the "hypertrophy" range in the same sense that a fine paintbrush is for "details." Looking at your training and saying "I want to my muscles to get big, I don't care about getting strong, so I'm going to do high reps" is like looking at a scene you want to paint and saying "I have a lot of leaves to paint, so I'm going to do the whole thing with a 00 miniatures brush." Hypertrophy doesn't make your muscles bigger, faster: it (theoretically) provides some stimulus to growth, while (again, theoretically) omitting the cost of strength increases (namely, handling heavy weights).

    This is why so much of the "hypertrophy" work is focused on maximizing stimulus: hitting each "head" of the muscle, getting it from the right angle, myo reps, slow eccentrics, and so forth. That's why they're isolation exercises, and why they even use high reps: these are the only way your body can be convinced light weight is worth adapting to. If you apply ALL of these (and of course, a few special sports supplements) you can convince your body that it's a force production stress worth adapting to.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Why do people sell battery-operated cars?

    Because they have no balls?

    Tendons are essentially avascular. The tendon sheath is vascular. Why would high reps provide better blood flow than 5s?
    OK you got me. I donít know. But if better blood flow management and oxygen supply was the result it ďseemsĒ it could be helpful to the tendons. Although low reps per set, the elbow epicondylitis protocol worked to great effect with the high volume chin-up routine. That got rid of my problem in 2 weeks.

  3. #13
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    Is there not an endurance adaptation with sets of 8? Doesn't it say that in the gray book?

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by heinz83 View Post
    Is there not an endurance adaptation with sets of 8? Doesn't it say that in the gray book?
    Right, but how does an endurance adaptation help you in an exercise where endurance is not the limiting factor?

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maybach View Post
    The main utility of higher reps is that they're lighter. You use them when the intensity of fives or lower reps is something you can't handle. This is why bodybuilders use them: because they are training in aggressive deficits full of drugs that turn their connective tissue to silly putty.

    The idea that "high reps" cause more hypertrophy seems to come from the fact that a lot of people in fitness just aren't too sharp. "High reps" are the "hypertrophy" range in the same sense that a fine paintbrush is for "details." Looking at your training and saying "I want to my muscles to get big, I don't care about getting strong, so I'm going to do high reps" is like looking at a scene you want to paint and saying "I have a lot of leaves to paint, so I'm going to do the whole thing with a 00 miniatures brush." Hypertrophy doesn't make your muscles bigger, faster: it (theoretically) provides some stimulus to growth, while (again, theoretically) omitting the cost of strength increases (namely, handling heavy weights).

    This is why so much of the "hypertrophy" work is focused on maximizing stimulus: hitting each "head" of the muscle, getting it from the right angle, myo reps, slow eccentrics, and so forth. That's why they're isolation exercises, and why they even use high reps: these are the only way your body can be convinced light weight is worth adapting to. If you apply ALL of these (and of course, a few special sports supplements) you can convince your body that it's a force production stress worth adapting to.
    Iím not really wondering if the high reps would get me bigger, Iím already getting huge from the 5s. Iím more curious if they are helpful in not making my body ache, almost like active stretching of the tendons and muscle or if they have some kind of therapeutic benefit. Like Iíve been doing some face pulls at home in btw workouts with bands just to loosen up my yoke and that seems to be helping. Iíve just been plagued by all kinds of tendinitis since Iíve been packing on muscle and weight.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nico Garcia View Post
    In my path to get strong is there any benefit in adding higher rep accessory work into my programming?

    Iím referring to what are typically seen as body building movements like dumbbell rows, or cable rows, dumbbell press, curls, good mornings, leg ext etcetera. Iíve read some texts by Andy Baker and some articles on Westside Barbell that refer to this. Westside published some stuff about high reps to avoid injury and build mass in the upper back to aid in squat leverage. Andy seems to reiterate this idea to a degree.

    Or is this mainly for guys that are really advanced in their training and already humongous beasts?
    Getting back to your original post, Nick, that last question is an important one. Westside is invitation-only, with prerequisites like a 2000+ lb powerlifting total (unless you're pretty small), and a certain mindset, set of commitments, and practices. They're selecting for unabashedly medicated people with freakish genetics, pursuing goals that do not prioritize long-term health, and already brutally strong. As Baker and others have pointed out, a set of 8 or 10 or 12 at 405 is a vastly different event than one at 95 or 135. You and I are not these people. Even the golden age bodybuilders got extremely big and strong with the compound lifts, most of them around 5 reps, before they started "sculpting".

    A lifter who's in those elite ranges has adapted to those weights over time, but the basic building blocks are still the same across human beings, even when some of them have more of them, more density of them, or whatever. We focus on improving the one metric - weight on the bar - but that doesn't mean it's a monovariable system. Think of the law of diminishing returns and the blue book chart with complexity over time.

    My n=1: I've been training for going on eight years now, and I'm in my early 50's now. I'm solidly in the intermediate range, at least. I occasionally take my body measurements out of curiosity, so I know that, in the past twenty months, I've put on 1.5" to my neck, 2.5" on my chest, a solid inch on my upper arms, and 1.5" on my thighs, and that's been with compound lifts of 5s or less, steadily pushing up my PRs for those rep ranges. No DBs, cables, or machines except very occasionally when traveling, just to exercise... Every once in a while, I play around with curls or calf raises, but that's just for entertainment, and goes straight out the window if there's a hint of interference with the primaries.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nico Garcia View Post
    I’m not really wondering if the high reps would get me bigger, I’m already getting huge from the 5s. I’m more curious if they are helpful in not making my body ache, almost like active stretching of the tendons and muscle or if they have some kind of therapeutic benefit. Like I’ve been doing some face pulls at home in btw workouts with bands just to loosen up my yoke and that seems to be helping. I’ve just been plagued by all kinds of tendinitis since I’ve been packing on muscle and weight.
    You really need a coach.

  8. #18
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    Do you think the fives are somehow...not actively stretching the muscle?

    "Active Recovery" is a myth. Adding a bunch of extra volume isn't going to heal tendonitis.

    The pin-firing thing hits a very weird little corner of the psychology of the lifter in that the idea is that any ache or pain can be solved by just beating the crap out of it until it works again. But it mostly works because epicondylitis is developed in tissues that are not directly being inflamed during the barbell lifts. It exists at a kind of "equilibrium point" that a very small dose of stress tips over into something your body devotes resources to healing. If, for example, doing chin ups GIVES you epicondylitis, then pin firing isn't going to heal it, is it?

    Most isolation exercises don't really work at right angles to the barbell lifts. You're moving the tendons on mostly the same way, so if s tendon is inflamed by the barbell work you're *already doing*, inflaming it *again* isn't gonna work.

    It honestly sounds like it might be time to pull some volume, not increase it. This is the free version: pay for a coach.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maybach View Post
    Do you think the fives are somehow...not actively stretching the muscle?

    "Active Recovery" is a myth. Adding a bunch of extra volume isn't going to heal tendonitis.

    The pin-firing thing hits a very weird little corner of the psychology of the lifter in that the idea is that any ache or pain can be solved by just beating the crap out of it until it works again. But it mostly works because epicondylitis is developed in tissues that are not directly being inflamed during the barbell lifts. It exists at a kind of "equilibrium point" that a very small dose of stress tips over into something your body devotes resources to healing. If, for example, doing chin ups GIVES you epicondylitis, then pin firing isn't going to heal it, is it?

    Most isolation exercises don't really work at right angles to the barbell lifts. You're moving the tendons on mostly the same way, so if s tendon is inflamed by the barbell work you're *already doing*, inflaming it *again* isn't gonna work.

    It honestly sounds like it might be time to pull some volume, not increase it. This is the free version: pay for a coach.
    Thanks for the response. OK understood. If there ever is a SS coach in Sweden Iíll book a session. For now Iíll just keep trucking along. Still getting stronger and dealing with the pains.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    You really need a coach.
    Get someone going in Stockholm, Sweden!

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nico Garcia View Post
    Get someone going in Stockholm, Sweden!
    Can't you just fly to Brussels one day and back the next? Isn't that why people live in Europe?

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