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Author Topic: How much does training style affect gains in the long term?  (Read 1718 times)
bic_staedtler
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« on: January 28, 2011, 10:54:53 PM »

Does anybody actually think that if they do a special routine (either from a trainer or a magazine or elsewhere) that all of the sudden they'll make crazy gains?

I ask this because I've been training now quite regularly for the past 11 years, drug free.  I've read just about everything I could get my hands on regarding training, and have devised what I believe to be the 'best' routine for me.  This took the better part of the first five years to develop, with a lot of trial and error. 

The most important lesson I think is be consistent.  After that, I'd say the most productive excercises are the ones that allow you to use the most weight safely...safe on the joints, that is.  So things like benches, squats, dips...the core exercises, these are the most productive exercises, as long as they don't injure you.

Due to tendonitis in my elbow, I can't do certain triceps exercises like skullcrushers.  I've found ways around that, though, and still have arms as large as they have ever been.  It's that kind of experience that made me wonder, "Does it really matter what you do, as long as you do it long enough and it remains challenging?".

I'd like to hear thoughts on this.  I think that I may have reached my 'genetic potential' (whatever that really means) within the first six years, but I can't see I could add new mass on something like, say biceps, by doing a new type of routine.  I've stuck to what's worked over the years, and as long as I do that, I stay a certain size (depending on diet).

Of course I'm sure a cycle would make a HUGE difference, but that's really not in the cards for me and most likely never will be.  And maybe had I done something like a Mentzer style HIT routine from the beginning, I might have reached my upper limit a few years earlier.  But once you're in the game for a decade, is there really any reason to change styles in the hopes of a another few eighths of an inch on arms?....other than avoiding boredom?

PS...I'm using arms as an example but it could be any bodypart...with the exception of back, which just keeps getting thicker over the years.
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Yev33
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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2011, 08:44:25 PM »

Yes it matters,  a good routine will allow you to make incremental gains in strength followed by size over the years. I can guarantee you that there are tons of people that train on ass backward routines and never make any real gains and never come close to their potential. I have seen these guys in the gym always look the same, lifting the same weights for years .
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Yev33
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2011, 11:59:18 PM »

Just to add to the above post, when I went from
133lbs to 180 lbs at 5'9" I thought I reached my natural genetic potential . I have tried different routines but still couldnt make progress. Then I decided to take a look at how powerlifters trained and worked on adapting their traning philosophies to a powerbuilding type program. It took over a year of trial and error but I finally was able to put a routine  together. As a result I am now 200lbs ( last month been hovering between 198 and 203) and no longer think I am at my genetic limit. Problem with bodybuilding is that there is pretty  much no information out there that a natural trainee can use, since just about anyone that sticks with it seriously for more than 5  years ends up going the drug route. Strength gains will dictate size gains in the long run 100% of the time. I can guarantee you that if your squat and front squat go up by 50 lbs your legs will get bigger, if your barbell row goes from 225 to 315 your back will look very different. If your close grip bench goes from 255 to over 300 you will a have measurable increase on your arms.



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BigBinPbg
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2011, 09:14:35 PM »

I have had very good results with shocking my body every few months with a totally out of the box regimen,like for me I through in martial arts for 3 months. Then I did some pilates believe it or not,it really helped elongate my muscles and avoid alot of cramping I get from heavy lifting. I had to force myself to incorporate a variety because I dread cardio....
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local hero
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2011, 09:47:20 AM »

once you get past beginner stage, get used to using respectable poundages with propper form, feeling muscle working etc,, youl hit your max after 2 to 4 years, you wont make any major changes to your body after that, and thats a fact despite whatever some claim on here, only way to progress is to add gear, then high dose gear, then hgh then slin.... then youl max out on them


after 6 years of training and eating propperly, you have an 18" arm,, your not going to go much over that, thats what youve got, and its not lacking ambition or drive etc its just how it is

and im calling total bullshit on anyone who claims they make slow steady gains year after year, fuck off, it doesnt happen

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bic_staedtler
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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2011, 04:34:40 PM »

once you get past beginner stage, get used to using respectable poundages with propper form, feeling muscle working etc,, youl hit your max after 2 to 4 years, you wont make any major changes to your body after that, and thats a fact despite whatever some claim on here, only way to progress is to add gear, then high dose gear, then hgh then slin.... then youl max out on them


after 6 years of training and eating propperly, you have an 18" arm,, your not going to go much over that, thats what youve got, and its not lacking ambition or drive etc its just how it is

and im calling total bullshit on anyone who claims they make slow steady gains year after year, fuck off, it doesnt happen



This is, sadly, most likely true.  I think one can make incremental (and I mean in the smallest of increments in some lifts) strength gains, but in terms of size?  I'm not sure.  That is, without putting on more fat. 

But that doesn't really get me down, as you can usually tell the difference of a guy who has trained one year, five years, ten years or more...all drug-free.  As long as their training is sound and diet is good, they'll look the part.

My thoughts are that the specific training style doesn't really make as much of a difference as most would think.  HIT, volume, periodization...I'm beginning to realize that the 'best' one is the one that allows the most consistency in training.  I know this isn't some revelation, but it could be of some use to those just starting out.  After five years of good training, you should have a very good idea of what your potential is in terms of muscle-to-fat ratio.
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Yev33
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« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2011, 06:38:29 PM »

thing is though, a beginner and an advanced lifter can not succeed doing the same routine. For example a program like stronglifts 5x5 will work great for a beginner, but you put an advanced guy on it and it will run him into the ground.
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bic_staedtler
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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2011, 10:07:44 PM »

thing is though, a beginner and an advanced lifter can not succeed doing the same routine. For example a program like stronglifts 5x5 will work great for a beginner, but you put an advanced guy on it and it will run him into the ground.

What I'm trying to get at is this:  If you took three bodybuilders of roughly equal genetic composition, and one trained for five years using HIT principles, and the other using volume training, and a third who used periodization, I think that after five years each of them would be at approximately the same level of development were they to use a DIFFERENT method.

I'm thinking that the 'best' training method is one that allows you to be consistent in the gym, and that usually means you might 'like' a certain style of training even though it might produce results somewhat slower than someone using a more intense program.  And being drug free, that period of time where you're beginning to see diminishing returns will be shorter.  I think five years is reasonable, with consistent training.  Ten years of course would be better.

I can see how competitive bodybuilders would want the most bang for their buck, but I think for your typical gym rat, it just doesn't matter that much which method you choose, as long as you consistently put in the effort required.

Anybody agree?
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Yev33
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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2011, 11:25:11 PM »

I totally understand what you are saying, and I agree with you to a point. I agree that the most important factors are consistency, effort put in, and time. The thing is, I have seen guys at the gym put in plenty of effort on a consistent basis and get nothing back in return in years time. I had a period like that in my training career where I made absolutely zero gains in size or strength for over a year before I looked back and realized what I was doing was totally fucked. I also remember when I tried doing Max-ot for a while, worked good for three months then I hit a wall. Decided to push through it, got joint pain,pushed some more, started catching colds and flu's on a consistent basis because my immune system was shot. Tried HIT (more along the Yates or the early Mike Mentzer type), made small strength gains for a little while, put on some weight which I thought was muscle until I decied to measure my waist because I chose to ignore the mirror. So I just can't agree that any training system will get you to where you wanna go, some of them are just plain retarded. When it comes to bodybuilding training there is actually very little useful information on training, due to majority of people doing it seriously, using drugs. Problem with that is, you can take a guy who is natural doing an assbackward routine and getting nowhere, and put him on a cycle and all of a sudden he will make gains. Drugs cover up a lot of training and diet mistakes which makes pro's experts on drug protocols above all else and probably the only lesson you can take from them. You have said yourself that you eventually came up with a training plan for yourself through trial and error, which hints at the fact that not everything has worked for you and produced results. This is a totally logical approach and what people should do.
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Firemuscle
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2011, 08:48:44 PM »

 I think that no matter how you train, as long as you train hard you will reach your limits.

 Doesn't matter what your routine is or if your form is slightly off. With consistency and time you'll go to the top either way.

 That's how it is for a natural at least.
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bic_staedtler
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2011, 11:09:56 PM »

I totally understand what you are saying, and I agree with you to a point. I agree that the most important factors are consistency, effort put in, and time. The thing is, I have seen guys at the gym put in plenty of effort on a consistent basis and get nothing back in return in years time. I had a period like that in my training career where I made absolutely zero gains in size or strength for over a year before I looked back and realized what I was doing was totally fucked. I also remember when I tried doing Max-ot for a while, worked good for three months then I hit a wall. Decided to push through it, got joint pain,pushed some more, started catching colds and flu's on a consistent basis because my immune system was shot. Tried HIT (more along the Yates or the early Mike Mentzer type), made small strength gains for a little while, put on some weight which I thought was muscle until I decied to measure my waist because I chose to ignore the mirror. So I just can't agree that any training system will get you to where you wanna go, some of them are just plain retarded. When it comes to bodybuilding training there is actually very little useful information on training, due to majority of people doing it seriously, using drugs. Problem with that is, you can take a guy who is natural doing an assbackward routine and getting nowhere, and put him on a cycle and all of a sudden he will make gains. Drugs cover up a lot of training and diet mistakes which makes pro's experts on drug protocols above all else and probably the only lesson you can take from them. You have said yourself that you eventually came up with a training plan for yourself through trial and error, which hints at the fact that not everything has worked for you and produced results. This is a totally logical approach and what people should do.

I should say that any of the commonly used training plans (HIT, volume, push/pull, 3 on 1 off, FST7, POF, periodization, heck even Crossfit) will take you to within your natural limit as long as you're consistent and training with reasonable intensity. 

The question of intensity is tough to work around because it's such a subjective term.  If you do ten sets of 20 reps however, that's a fact...of course unless you choose to use weights which don't allow for some muscle failure to occur.  In fact, that's why I gave up on typical 'volume' training...the weights that would allow me to do five sets of 12 reps were so small that they didn't stimulate the same growth that four sets of 8 did...so I changed it up and haven't looked back.

While the pros have little to teach non-drug users in terms of training, their dedication is admirable to say the least.  And sadly, most of the typical muscle growth routines you read in other sources catering to regular folks, it's often training that's designed to combat boredom...at least that's how I look at it.  Typical Men's Health programs have you doing all these goofy (albeit challenging) combination exercises, some using such strange form that it's a wonder who figured out how to do them.  I know they do this for a reason: they need to sell magazines, and their marketing has shown that the majority of their readers get 'bored' with standard bodybuilding routines.

I don't blame them, but there's nothing boring about making muscle gains and losing fat while doing a relatively 'boring' routine...if fact, that's what keeps me consistent.  And when I do change things up, it's to other meat-n-potatoes type exercises. 

Bodybuilding is not a crime!  Grin
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