This is NOT the podcast Q&A. We are already back logged with questions for it. This is MY weekly Q&A.
I wanted to address the issue of the strong-15 and strength peaking yet again, since Erik had a life crisis over the phase 1 numbers. Not to throw him under the bus all on his own, I've answered plenty of questions about this. So many times, that you'd think people would just use the search function, or better yet REALLY REALLY read the book. You know, since I detailed a whole chapter as to why it works, and works damn well.
Basically, the fretting goes like this........
"Paul, what's the point in walking into the gym and only squatting X amount? I can squat X amount, so how will I get stronger if I'm only doing fairy weights?"
As explained in SLL, you cannot hold onto peak strength levels. In my interview with Eric Lilliebridge, we talked about this. If you don't click links, here it is.......
PC - right you beat yourself up bad enough going into a meet, and it doesn't take much to keep that foundation level of strength. and as we have talked about, I don't care what people say peaking is a real thing. You can only hold a peak level of strength for a short term.
EL - Oh for sure. People will write to me online and be like "well what happened to your lifts? you look weaker." And I'm like no shit. There is no way you can stay at that top level forever, there is no way you can. I can't pull 800 any day of the week. I only hit that number a couple of weeks before a meet or at the meet.
PC - Right and some people don't get that you're trying to peak and time that out, and you don't hold those levels for very long.
EL - No, you can't. I think you can hold it for a good two weeks maybe. SO you're competing and 14 days before or 14 days after that, you would be able to hit those numbers. But not in that time frame you're probably going to lose it.
Sam Byrd wrote over at elitefts, that he starts his squat cycle off with 60% of 700. Because 700 is something he can hit pretty casually everyday he walks into the gym. He then does 5x5 with that 60%, basically 410 and or some change, until he feels like he is moving it with the kind of speed he knows sets him up for a bigger squat.
Read that again. Sam squats over 800 raw. At 220. And he uses 400 and some change for a few weeks to prep for the big stuff.
Funny number, 60%.
Ed Coan started his squat cycles out at, I believe, something in that range, for a couple of sets of 10. So think about this. If you were running a 10-12 week cycle, and you wanted to squat 500, that means you're only doing a couple of sets of 10 with 300.
Now here is the difference in the mind of a 500 pound squatter, and a 800 or 1000 pound squatter like Byrd and Coan. They understand the importance of these early sessions, and how they set up big lifts for down the road. They know that you can't go in the gym, and hit PR's and then turn around and hit PR's at the meet too. Guys fuck this up all the time. Because they want to walk in the gym, and impress people. That's all it is. It's fucking ego. You will never be anything more than a gym lifter with an inflated ego if you don't put it away, and learn the lessons of knowing how not to get on the throttle too soon. If you do, you'll burn out, lift like shit, and then wonder what the fuck went wrong when you did so much good lifting in the gym.
I have this built in to the first 3 weeks of the cycle. It's a prep phase. You should be concentrating on moving those weights, as explosively as possible. If you plug in 500 as your goal, then you end up using 85% of that for phase 1. Which is 425 pounds. The highest weight you hit in phase 1 then, is 93% of 425. Which is 395. Roughly 80% of 500.
Want to see an interesting thing at work here?
In Coan's cycling, you use roughly 60%. 300x10.
300 * .03 * 10 + 300 = 390
That means, 300x10 is basically the same as a 390 single.
Well isn't that fucking fascinating????
All proper cycling starts light. It gives the body a chance to ramp up to using bigger weights, without stalling as fast. You can only hold your peak strength for a short while. The faster you get to your foundation level of strength, the lower the peak is, and the faster you will fall off the cliff. So if you squat 500, and you go into the gym squatting 455 for reps, your cycle won't last long will it? But if you go in and don't hit 400 until after week 3, how much room have you given yourself to ramp up? Quite a bit.
Guys want to walk into the gym and impress other guys. I know this. I wrote about it in SLL. If you deadlift 600, you want to walk into the gym and pull 600 every week. That's fucking dumb. This is demonstrating strength, NOT building it. The process of building strength is basically 2 phases.......foundation development (muscle mass), and then peaking with a new strength ceiling.
If you aren't training for a meet, you should constantly be training for a bigger YOU. Why the fuck are you doing singles and shit all year round, when that is the fastest way to find yourself stuck for a while? You should be eating solid, and building your foundation all year, until you are ready to either compete, or peak strength to see where you are at. Doing cycle after cycle of singles and doubles and triples, is not the best way to build a foundation. Spend your time getting big as fuck, and then when you do decide to peak, you'll blow your old shit away. I have to tell people this all the time.....and no one still listens. Wendler and I talk and are constantly disgusted at how much advice we give, after more than 45 years between us, that goes in 1 ear and out the other.
Back to the original point.
Phase 1 is for prepping. Use it properly. Who gives a fuck what you are lifting in the gym if you are preparing to lift in a meet? No one. Stop being a douche ego whore and learn how to train properly. Speed and explosiveness for the first 3-4 weeks. Then the last 5-6 weeks, should be peaking. Generally, you will peak at about 6 weeks. This is why it's SO important to start light and not get burnt early. The first 3 weeks of the cycle are prep, the last 6 weeks are peaking. This should make total sense.
For those who have run the cycle several times now, they will tell you, that even if you program properly you will get crispy by the end. And this is good. Because when you take that rest, and come back, you'll hit some good PR's and have a solid meet. That's what you're supposed to be training for. Not lifting shit at the gym to impress some Ed Hardy shirt wearing mother fucker.
Now ask some questions...........