Home   |   Contact   |   Help

Get Our Newsletter
Sign up for our free newsletter to get training tips and stay up to date on Catalyst Athletics, and get a FREE issue of the Performance Menu journal.

Go Back   Catalyst Athletics Forums > Training > Olympic Weightlifting

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-13-2008, 08:03 AM   #1
Mark Fenner
Member
 
Mark Fenner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 165
Default Minimal Volume for Maintaining Strength Qualities

Hi folks,

Strength qualities have different levels of persistence (for example, see Practical Programming, pg. 222). From longest lasting to shortest:
Hyp - Str - Musc. End. - Pwr - Tech - CV End.
Anaerobic-Glycolysis (should, I think) persists at about the same rate as technique (i.e., it's fairly fleeting if you stop practicing).

I'd love to see an answer to a related question:
"What is [are] the minimal volumes necessary to maintain each of these qualities?"

The only answer I've seen is in Zatsiorsky, Science & Practice (pg. 104):
"The level of strength an athlete has achieved can be maintained during the season (the competition period of a macrocycle) by retaining loads. Two short (30-40 min) heavy resistance workouts per week usually provide a load of sufficient magnitude".

Certainly, the answer to these questions is relative to the individual's capacities. "Heavy" for Zatsiorsky is probably at least 80% 1RM and possibly higher. 30-40 minutes limits us to something short and sweet like 5-3-2, 3x3, 1x5 for two or three exercises (upper push and pull + lower or something similar).

Have you seen similar recommendations for other qualities? I'm sure bodybuilders know minimal volumes/intensities for maintaining hypertrophy and Oly. lifters, throwers, etc. know minimal volumes/intensities for technique. Likewise for endurance athletes and CV Endurance. CF studs know what they need to maintain (but likely not improve) their times.

Maintanence over longer periods of time (greater than 6-8 weeks) may lead to regression (no progressive overload). That's ok. It should at least be a slower degradation than it would otherwise. Put together with persistence levels and block periodization, this information is quite valuable for programming athletes in sports that need varied qualities.

So, can we fill in this table:

Quality
Minimal Volume/Intensity to Maintain for 6-8 Weeks
Hyp
probably more volume than under "Str"
Str
"2 30-40 minutes heavy workouts a week"
Musc. End.
similar to Hyp? -- do these (Hyp/Musc. End) maintain together?
Pwr
may be similar to Str with more explosive movements (i.e., Pwr Cleans or jump squats instead of DL/SQs)
Tech
??? - but highly dependent on athlete level - let's assume intermediate athletes -- beginners need tech. all the time, advanced know what they need
Glycol. End.
again, 2 hard sessions a week seems likely (is this a recurring theme?)
Aerobic End.
can this be dependent on Glycol. End. -- if you are maintaining both, can you get away with less of each -- if you are increasing one, the other might be maintained for free -- more likely in the Glcol --> Aerob ... we prob. agree that it doesn't work the other way
Actually, we play LOTS of games with if you are developing X, then Y needs less maintenance. Let's stick with each in isolation for the moment. Then, we can work on some "complimentary" rules.

Regards,
Mark
Mark Fenner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2008, 09:33 AM   #2
Greg Everett
Administrator
 
Greg Everett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,738
Default

I don't think there is an answer to this - you could, with an epic amount of observation and data crunching, come up with statistical averages, but this is going to vary dramatically among individuals to the point that I don't think any "answer" you could come up with would be helpful.
__________________
Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches

"Without a doubt the best book on the market about Olympic-style weightlifting." - Mike Burgener, USAW Senior International Coach

American Weightlifting: The Documentary
Catalyst Athletics
Performance Menu Journal
Greg Everett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2008, 11:20 AM   #3
Steven Low
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,091
Default

Diet, sleep, outside stress and genetics will all play a HUGE role. Like Greg said.. I don't think it's very clear at all and every dependent on the person.

Also, coming right off training pretty hard you get a nice supercompensation week or so... which doesn't count towards a week lost (except fleeting qualities like any type of conditioning). Often times you'll easily maintain or gain strength, hypertrophy, power but lose endurance, conditioning, technique, etc.
__________________
Posts NOT intended as professional medical, training or nutrition advice.
Site // Bodyweight Strength Training Article // Overcoming Gravity Bodyweight Book
Steven Low is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2008, 08:36 PM   #4
Mark Fenner
Member
 
Mark Fenner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 165
Default

I think we all appreciate the difficulties in generalization at the human level. Yet, programs like 5x5, CF/CA/Burgener WOD, Sheiko, etc. _work_ for large swaths of humanity. Personally, I'm not surprised by this. We (homo sapiens) are far more alike then we are different. Further, I hate answering questions with "you can't answer that" or "the answer is meaningless/useless". Good grief. Is there any more hopeless perspective in existence?

I would bet ($.05) that retention is less variable across genetic make up than development. Evolutionary pressure doesn't go for "maxes" -- it goes for long term survival -- keeping what you have. But, that is silly anyway. This question (and mine, as Greg points out) is an empirical one.

Super-compensation ... absolutely, "delayed transmutation" in some Russian translations ... one of the rules of thumb (a heuristic, if you will) for the lower volume time periods (i.e., to allow for super-compensation and/or display of ability) is the "rule of 60%" (Zatsiorsky and Supertraining): you do 60% of your max. volume in the minimal volume weeks (persumably with similar intensities). Comments indicate that this is applicable over varying time frame (workouts, weeks, months).

Seriously, Greg - you can't tell me the approximate loading your would put an intermediate lifter on to maintain their C+J and Sn for a month? I guarantee you could come up with something and I suspect it would work pretty decently. You might not know the rules you are following to prescribe it, but I bet you know it.

Regards,
Mark
Mark Fenner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2008, 08:56 PM   #5
Greg Everett
Administrator
 
Greg Everett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,738
Default

It's not hopeless, Charlie; it's practical.

My response in its essence is that it depends - not on some general notion of homo sapiens' response to training, but on the other training being performed, nutrition, recovery, etc. And you can't tell me there aren't dramatic variations among homo sapiens in regard to response to training and nutrition. 2 individuals can perform identical training and share nutrition - and look and perform entirely differently. These are not tiny little variations you can sweep into a few % points here and there.

As you said, CF and other studs know what they need to maintain X - they know what works for them specifically. Start swapping training and nutrition among athletes and you're going to see a big change in each in most cases.

So yes, I will indulge you - You can draw broad conclusions and make some very basic guidelines. If I want a guy to maintain strength while CFing, I'm going to make sure he's lifting 85-90% + on the lifts in question. However, volume is another story entirely. One individual may do well on a heavy single per exercise per week; another may need multiple doubles or triples. Maybe that seems like a tight spectrum to you, but in my mind, it's pretty wide. And both the intensity and volume I can use will depend on the volume, frequency, intensity and movements of the CF training.

Re retention/development, I'm not sure I see why the two would be different. It seems reasonable to conclude that what allows an individual to develop a quality and what allows him to retain it are essentially the same mechanisms; so considerable variation between the two wouldn't seem likely to me. Again, I think this is apparent through casual observation of larger numbers of people.

Now, as an example of "it depends", consider two examples. Dude 1 is doing nothing but snatching, clean & jerking and front squatting for singles. He never goes below 80% on any training day, and attempts 100% or more maybe once every 2-4 weeks. Dude two is deadlifting, pulling, back and front squatting, pressing, push pressing, etc. while never snatching or clean & jerking above 70% for doubles. Both of these approaches will maintain and improve Dudes' snatch and clean & jerk - but you have a 10-30% variation in loading and even more in volume. This is why I'm reluctant to sit down and come up with rules. I'd much rather consider the individual and the circumstances as they come up. In each situation, I have ideas of what works and what doesn't in terms of intensity and volume; but as those examples and my explanations suggest, I can't just plug them into any situation involving homo sapiens.

Maybe I'm just a negative, cynical asshole.
__________________
Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches

"Without a doubt the best book on the market about Olympic-style weightlifting." - Mike Burgener, USAW Senior International Coach

American Weightlifting: The Documentary
Catalyst Athletics
Performance Menu Journal
Greg Everett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2008, 10:33 PM   #6
Craig Loizides
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Hillsborough, NJ
Posts: 120
Default

This is pretty closely related to tapering. Here's a good article:

http://www.abcbodybuilding.com/taper1.php
http://www.abcbodybuilding.com/taper2.php
http://www.abcbodybuilding.com/taper3.php

A good rule of thumb is maintain intensity or even slightly increase intensity, decrease workout frequency to about 80%, and decrease workout volume to about 1/3 - 1/2. This seems to hold pretty well from endurance to strength. If this is going to last for several weeks you might want to gradually decrease volume.
Craig Loizides is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2008, 07:55 AM   #7
michael cooley
New Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 25
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Fenner View Post
I would bet ($.05) that retention is less variable across genetic make up than development. Evolutionary pressure doesn't go for "maxes" -- it goes for long term survival -- keeping what you have. But, that is silly anyway. This question (and mine, as Greg points out) is an empirical one.

Seriously, Greg - you can't tell me the approximate loading your would put an intermediate lifter on to maintain their C+J and Sn for a month? I guarantee you could come up with something and I suspect it would work pretty decently. You might not know the rules you are following to prescribe it, but I bet you know it.
First, evolutionary pressure is a red herring, because evolutionary pressure not only hates maxes -- it hates strength training and muscular hypertrophy in general. Compared to fat deposits, muscle tissue is heavy, non-insulating, and calorically expensive to maintain. The body is designed not to want excesses of it (which is why it's so damned hard to gain in the first place). So, even to maintain a level of strength is to continue to fight against the body's long term survival instinct and evolutionary pressure. That's why it's still such a variable question.

The other problem with your question is that it's not clear what you're trying to "maintain." From your first post, I thought you were looking for some application of the 80/20 rule -- i.e., how little can I do to maintain most of my current strength levels. Your last post, however, asks what an intermediate lifter should do to maintain his SN and CJ for a month. At what level? 100% of current 1RM? It isn't going to happen (unless you're a total novice or the 1RM wasn't real).

As Greg alluded, I can do damn near anything in the gym (as long as it's reasonably strenuous) and maintain 85-90% of my current strength levels. Zatsiorsky's 60% weeks continued indefinitely, however, will not maintain strength levels anywhere close to this level for an extended period of time. They're not designed to. Peaking cycles aren't about "maintaining" strength over time - they're about allowing the body to recover sufficiently so that supercompensation can occur and you can demonstrate (hopefully) even greater strength performance.

mpc
__________________
"Think of Tiger Woods out there hitting a bucket of balls. He's not swinging the 5-iron to get stronger -- he's swinging it to hone the groove. Hone the groove."
michael cooley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2008, 06:33 PM   #8
Mark Fenner
Member
 
Mark Fenner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 165
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Everett View Post
It's not hopeless, Charlie; it's practical.
I suppose practicality and optimality are eternal foes. Maybe we can meet in the middle.

You can do VERY different things ...
Quote:
and look and perform entirely differently. These are not tiny little variations you can sweep into a few % points here and there.
If it is %s of 1RM, %s of previous training volumes, etc. ... that is, %s of that individual's ability ... I think there's a lot of sweeping that makes sense.

Quote:
Start swapping training and nutrition among athletes and you're going to see a big change in each in most cases.
Certainly.

Quote:
So yes, I will indulge you - You can draw broad conclusions and make some very basic guidelines. If I want a guy to maintain strength while CFing, I'm going to make sure he's lifting 85-90% + on the lifts in question. However, volume is another story entirely. One individual may do well on a heavy single per exercise per week; another may need multiple doubles or triples. Maybe that seems like a tight spectrum to you, but in my mind, it's pretty wide. And both the intensity and volume I can use will depend on the volume, frequency, intensity and movements of the CF training.
One heavy single versus multiple doubles/triples ... are they really similar or really different? Well, it depends on what the 1RM is. You have a 500 pound deadlift and those are pretty darn different things. You have a 300 pound deadlift and they are much similar. (Which is the relativity you spoke of above) But, I still think the relativity is with respect to some quantifiable characteristics of the individual in question. Just like a periodization plan that lays out four week of %s. The %s are relative to that individual ... and that relativity counts for (enough?) of the variability of that individual.

Quote:
Re retention/development, I'm not sure I see why the two would be different. It seems reasonable to conclude that what allows an individual to develop a quality and what allows him to retain it are essentially the same mechanisms; so considerable variation between the two wouldn't seem likely to me. Again, I think this is apparent through casual observation of larger numbers of people.
No real response: I think the biologists can tell us about this. But, I might agree that individuals with better adaptation abilities to a particular quality will also have better retention abilities for that quality.

Quote:
I'd much rather consider the individual and the circumstances as they come up. In each situation, I have ideas of what works and what doesn't in terms of intensity and volume; but as those examples and my explanations suggest, I can't just plug them into any situation involving homo sapiens.
Every coach worth his salt would rather work with an individual than work with a prototype.


Quote:
Maybe I'm just a negative, cynical asshole.
Negative? Doubtful. Cynical? Likely. Asshole? No grounds for judgement.




Quote:
Originally Posted by michael cooley View Post
First, evolutionary pressure is a red herring, because evolutionary pressure not only hates maxes -- it hates strength training and muscular hypertrophy in general.
Only excessive muscular hypertrophy.

Quote:
Compared to fat deposits, muscle tissue is heavy, non-insulating, and calorically expensive to maintain. The body is designed not to want excesses of it (which is why it's so damned hard to gain in the first place). So, even to maintain a level of strength is to continue to fight against the body's long term survival instinct and evolutionary pressure.
Except: strength is largely (at least 1/3) neural in nature. Also, in any environment that favors movement over stasis, muscle (at least some amount of it) becomes quite necessary.

Quote:
The other problem with your question is that it's not clear what you're trying to "maintain." From your first post, I thought you were looking for some application of the 80/20 rule -- i.e., how little can I do to maintain most of my current strength levels. Your last post, however, asks what an intermediate lifter should do to maintain his SN and CJ for a month. At what level? 100% of current 1RM? It isn't going to happen (unless you're a total novice or the 1RM wasn't real).
My apologies, but I think you are being pedantic. Over any long term, maintenance is really going to be a process of fighting decay. If there is a level of training, following the Pareto principle, that can keep me at only 1-2% loss for 1 (2,4?) months ... I want to known it and use it when I want to develop other qualities more intensely and/or other factors in life dictate that I can only work on maintaining one quality.

Quote:
As Greg alluded, I can do damn near anything in the gym (as long as it's reasonably strenuous) and maintain 85-90% of my current strength levels. Zatsiorsky's 60% weeks continued indefinitely, however, will not maintain strength levels anywhere close to this level for an extended period of time. They're not designed to. Peaking cycles aren't about "maintaining" strength over time - they're about allowing the body to recover sufficiently so that supercompensation can occur and you can demonstrate (hopefully) even greater strength performance.
mpc
Sure, that's why I specified a smaller time frame: one month. I don't think Zatsiorsky was referring to peaking. He is referring to periods of low volume/low intensity training that are a lay off from progression seeking.

Thanks for your thoughts, guys.

Regards,
Mark
Mark Fenner is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:31 AM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.6.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Subscribe to our Newsletter


Receive emails with training tips, news updates, events info, sale notifications and more.
ASK GREG

Submit your question to be answered by Greg Everett in the Performance Menu or on the website

Submit Your Question
WEIGHTLIFTING TEAM

Catalyst Athletics is a USA Weightlifting team of competitive Olympic-style weightlifters with multiple national team medals.

Read More
Olympic Weightlifting Book
Catalyst Athletics
Contact Us
About
Help
Newsletter
Products & Services
Gym
Store
Seminars
Weightlifting Team
Performance Menu
Magazine Home
Subscriber Login
Issues
Articles
Workouts
About the Program
Workout Archives
Exercise Demos
Text Only
Instructional Content
Exercise Demos
Video Gallery
Free Articles
Free Recipes
Resources
Recommended Books & DVDs
Olympic Weightlifting Guide
Discussion Forum
Weight Conversion Calculator