starting strength gym
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 30

Thread: What is stress?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2022
    Posts
    4

    Default What is stress?

    • starting strength seminar april 2024
    • starting strength seminar jume 2024
    • starting strength seminar august 2024
    Specifically, in the context of the Stress-Recovery-Adaptation cycle, I have heard Rip and other coaches refer to a workout as a dose of stress.

    The first definition that comes to mind would be, in line with Hans Selye, a disruption of homeostasis. Where I find this unsatisfactory is that this is not quantifiable.

    When some particular set / rep / weight increment protocol starts to fail (3 sets of five, adding 5lb per workout), the explanations tend to be that it is either too much stress (squat for example) or too little (bench), and we need to modify the protocol to adjust the stress.

    This implies that a physical quantity that would measure stress would be a function of multiple factors: reps per set, number of sets, load, range of motion…

    On the other hand, the practical approach I have heard from my coach is the following: if you are not recovered at the next workout, it means we applied too much stress and you are not recovering fast enough. If you are failing to lift the increased load, it means we did not apply enough stress to produce an adaptation. This is very simple, but does not allow us to compare two workouts directly. For example, moving from 3x5 twice a week to volume day (5x5) / intensity day (5x1) on the bench has the same number of reps per week, but the load on the volume day is smaller than previously on 3x5, and the load on the intensity day is higher. It is not clear a priori that this is more stress than 3x5.

    This is where the case for NLP and intermediate programming from PPST goes from first principles to phenomenology.
    Don’t get me wrong, both are necessary, but the further we can extend first principles, the better.

    All this prompts me to ask the following questions:
    What is stress? Is it quantifiable? Are the factors listed above sufficient to measure it?
    Or is it vain to try to quantify it, our only option being to measure stress by recovery and adaptation?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    53,340

    Default

    If the variables are standardized, stress can be quantified. If the ROM is the same on all the reps, the movement pattern is the same, and the warmup tonnage is essentially the same, the stress is quantified as the increase in load from the previous workout, since everything previous has been adapted to. This is fairly straightforward, and remains so until much more advanced training is necessary.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2023
    Posts
    338

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SamiTheFrenchman View Post
    On the other hand, the practical approach I have heard from my coach is the following: if you are not recovered at the next workout, it means we applied too much stress and you are not recovering fast enough. If you are failing to lift the increased load, it means we did not apply enough stress to produce an adaptation. This is very simple, but does not allow us to compare two workouts directly. For example, moving from 3x5 twice a week to volume day (5x5) / intensity day (5x1) on the bench has the same number of reps per week, but the load on the volume day is smaller than previously on 3x5, and the load on the intensity day is higher. It is not clear a priori that this is more stress than 3x5.
    This highlights a subtlety of programming philosophy that is often misunderstood.

    The programming adjustments extending from novice to intermediate programming often take the form of "reductions": light days are introduced, medium days are introduced, sets or reps are dropped, etc. People often seem to understand these as "pulling stress," because that is in fact what is occurring. Trainees who introduce a light squat day view themselves as unable to cope with the experience of lifting heavy weight three times a week, and so the light day is a "break" that they "have to take" before getting back to NLP level work on their "heavy" days

    However, this is not really the case. Even as each reduction is made, the weight on the bar is still increased. This means that, provided the reductions are sensible, each reduction cannot fail to result in an increase in stress over the long term. Is a volume day 5x5 at 90% of the last 3x5 more stressful than that 3x5? Maybe, maybe not. However we know for a fact that that same 5x5 will be more stressful than the 3x5 when the weights are the same, which will happen in a few weeks, because the weight on the 5x5 keeps going up. The goal of the intermediate program is not to inflict an NLP level stress on one day, and round the week out with a bunch of light weight, but to inflict a stress which is heavier than the NLP on one day, and then round the week out with NLP level stresses. However, the novice program represents the maximum (or at least, the practical maximum) stress that the trainee is capable of inflicting. So the "heavy stress" day is pegged to that level, and the rest of the week is done at an offset, with the understanding that very soon, the "light and medium" days will equal, and even exceed, the stress imposed on the first "heavy" day, at which point the heavy day will be authentically "heavy."

    This is because, to answer your question directly, stress *is* quantifiable. The quantity is available stamped or printed on the surface of your plates: it is weight lifted. Force production is the adaptation desired, and so is the stress inflicted. Heavier weight is more stress, lighter weight is less stress.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2023
    Posts
    247

    Default

    In other words, the volume day and intensity day are part of the same overload event. V day has more volume than your 3x5 and I day has more intensity than your 3x5, so when you combine them you have a more stressful event. It is just spread out over the week instead of one day to make it manageable.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2022
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Appreciate the no-nonsense answer, Rip. It definitely makes sense that the first contributor to stress is load, and that is the only factor that matters if everything else is kept equal.
    In an uncertain environment, using the simplest method and changing one variable at a time is the best we can do.

    Maybach, thanks for your explanation. The way I understand your point is that the stress goes up, but advanced lifters can’t recover from as large an increment in stress as novice lifters, so the stress needs to go up slower. Is that accurate?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    53,340

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by heinz83 View Post
    In other words, the volume day and intensity day are part of the same overload event. V day has more volume than your 3x5 and I day has more intensity than your 3x5, so when you combine them you have a more stressful event. It is just spread out over the week instead of one day to make it manageable.
    Precisely.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2023
    Posts
    338

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SamiTheFrenchman View Post
    Maybach, thanks for your explanation. The way I understand your point is that the stress goes up, but advanced lifters canÂ’t recover from as large an increment in stress as novice lifters, so the stress needs to go up slower. Is that accurate?
    It's not that they can't tolerate as large an increment, it's that stress takes longer to accumulate. Heinz highlighted the salient point: the overload event for an intermediate lifter is a week of training, not a day. The reason for this is because an intermediate lifter has gotten so adapted to the stress of force production that even performing a single workout at or in excess of their ability to actually perform it does not produce a strength increase. If the theoretical "ideal intermediate" performed a workout at the limit of their abilities (that is, a single extra rep will simply not move), even if they somehow fully recover (which, to be honest, is quite possible in two days if you're being diligent for even an intense workload), they will not have gotten any stronger. Their body does not perceive the workout (in which force was produced to successfully overcome external resistance) as a stress which needs to be adapted to. After all, you were strong enough to move it: surely, it can't get heavier? So you need to break up the stress into multiple days.

    The week is merely a convenient unit of time. Early adjustments to the novice program actually do see shorter intervals: stress required to drive the deadlift is acquired over brackets of two workouts, one of which uses the power clean to provide the additional stress to drive a deadlift increase on the workout following. The bench and press combine to provide a similar "two workout" pair, in which the stress of both the bench and the press combine to drive the increase for the next two workouts.

    That's the thrust of it: an intermediate requires stress in excess of that that can be provided by a single workout. Multiple workouts take multiple days, so strength increases can't happen until multiple workouts have been performed.

    The thing you're getting hung up on is that when intermediate adjustments are made, they come in the form of reductions. This is because the trainee is not capable of inflicting an increase: they're lifting as heavy as they can already (read, applying the most stress). A trainee who ends their NLP squatting 350x5x3 might "need" a dose of stress equivalent to 350x5x5, followed by 385x5 on Friday. But they can't squat 385 (and might not be able to manage 350x5x5 either). So you have them do what they can, and increase the stress from that point. Even if this entails a reduction, the purpose of this reduction is to *enable* the subsequent increase. That increase, as always, parametrized by weight on the bar.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    1,150

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SamiTheFrenchman View Post
    Specifically, in the context of the Stress-Recovery-Adaptation cycle, I have heard Rip and other coaches refer to a workout as a dose of stress.

    The first definition that comes to mind would be, in line with Hans Selye, a disruption of homeostasis. Where I find this unsatisfactory is that this is not quantifiable.

    When some particular set / rep / weight increment protocol starts to fail (3 sets of five, adding 5lb per workout), the explanations tend to be that it is either too much stress (squat for example) or too little (bench), and we need to modify the protocol to adjust the stress.

    This implies that a physical quantity that would measure stress would be a function of multiple factors: reps per set, number of sets, load, range of motion…

    On the other hand, the practical approach I have heard from my coach is the following: if you are not recovered at the next workout, it means we applied too much stress and you are not recovering fast enough. If you are failing to lift the increased load, it means we did not apply enough stress to produce an adaptation. This is very simple, but does not allow us to compare two workouts directly. For example, moving from 3x5 twice a week to volume day (5x5) / intensity day (5x1) on the bench has the same number of reps per week, but the load on the volume day is smaller than previously on 3x5, and the load on the intensity day is higher. It is not clear a priori that this is more stress than 3x5.

    This is where the case for NLP and intermediate programming from PPST goes from first principles to phenomenology.
    Don’t get me wrong, both are necessary, but the further we can extend first principles, the better.

    All this prompts me to ask the following questions:
    What is stress? Is it quantifiable? Are the factors listed above sufficient to measure it?
    Or is it vain to try to quantify it, our only option being to measure stress by recovery and adaptation?
    Given that the standardized variables are optimized (ROM, bar speed, proper execution, rest between sets, increments between sessions, sleep, food) the problem is always not enough stress AND recovery. The two need to be balanced in a way that allows the lifter to add more stress in the right window of time, not too early, not too late.
    Initally that window is 48/72 hours and the stress given by one workout is compatible with the recovery time so that after 48/72 hours you have a short window to add more stress.
    When the stress gets higher, given that the above mentioned variables are optimized and quantified as much as possible, the lifter needs a combination of more stress AND more recovery to reach the same adaptation window. So one workout of 3x5 heavy squat from Monday to Wednesday to get the adaptation becomes a 3x5 squat plus a lighter squat from Monday to Friday to get the adaptation.
    More stress, longer time frame.
    Ideally you want the lifter to have to change programming because he is over-stressed, not under-recovered. An increase in stress is what increases strength. The solution to under-recovery is more recovery, not more stress.

    If you picture the SRA graph with time on the x axis and performance on the y axis, and the baseline for homeostasis increasing, it's much more clear.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Posts
    20

    Default

    To an engineer, stress is force per cross sectional area. A 1/4 inch cable suspending a 200 lb load has twice the stress compared to a half inch cable approximately. (This is oversimplified since stress can vary a bit over tbe cross section) The same thing is true of human muscle, tendon, or bone. Do a google search of stress shielding in human tendons and you will see why Mark Rippetoe should be awarded a Nobel prize for his contributions to understanding human health. When a tendon is lightly loaded for a very short duration of time, such as by bouncing about with light weights, only the strongest and stiffest part of the tendon carries the load. During the last rep of a set of five squats the tendon is loaded for enough time, and with enough stress over the whole cross section, that even the weaker part of the tendon is loaded. Squats produce adaptation and rehabilitation. Much of what passes for exercise allows tendons to atrophy and raises the risk of injury.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,927

    Default

    starting strength coach development program
    Quote Originally Posted by RayK View Post
    …During the last rep of a set of five squats the tendon is loaded for enough time, and with enough stress over the whole cross section, that even the weaker part of the tendon is loaded. ….
    Very cool

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •