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  • Progressing in hypertrophy rep range = muscle gain?

    Couldn't really think of a better thread title, so bear with me...

    When one works in a very low rep range, say 1-3 reps, and increases week to week, there is a chance that person may have hardly gained any muscle, but simply got more efficient in recruiting all of their motor units for that given movement.

    Now, let's say your rep range is 8-12 and every time that lift comes up in your rotation (assuming 3 way rotation), you increase by 1-2 reps or 5-10 pounds. The chance that increased muscle is responsible for the gains goes up, right?

    The reason I am asking is because I am currently on a cut right now. I have cut down from 245 to 219 using carb cycling. I am using a DC inspired routine with a three way rotation. All my lifts have been progressing by at least 1 rep or 5 pounds every time that lift comes up....

    Now regardless of rep range, if you train a movement frequently, it will go up simply because your body is adapting to the movement. But I only hit a given set of movements every 10th day.

    So if you theoretically cannot gain muscle on a cut (if natty), what is going on? Why am I still gaining every workout deep into my cut? (12 weeks in).

    I am not trying to prove that you can gain muscle on a cut, that is not the purpose of the thread. I just want to understand exactly how one can add significant pounds to the bar on a cut in a high rep range.

  • #2
    Originally posted by mchicia1 View Post
    I just want to understand exactly how one can add significant pounds to the bar on a cut in a high rep range.
    How much do you really want to dig into this? You could write a thesis on this topic. Are you looking for neuromuscular & muscle and connnective tissue adaptations & endocrine response differences between strength training and hypertrophy training? Because you will see differences in those with different training styles. Or are you looking for how those are effected by nutritional changes? Are we to assume by "cut" you mean weight loss versus fat loss (assuming one can reduce body fat while gaining or maintaining weight). And how much of a calorie restriction are we talking about? Tell us a little more about your what your training was like prior to now and what it's like now. And, how was your nutrition and what does it look like now. Off hand, I know when people "cut", although you mentioned cycling carbs, that often means simply being more strict with your diet. If that's the case, despite a lower calorie count, the consistency and quality of what you're eating may be improving and leading to more strength and likely hypertrophy.
    Last edited by Knickerbocker24; 06-15-2011, 11:31 AM.

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    • #3
      Now, let's say your rep range is 8-12 and every time that lift comes up in your rotation (assuming 3 way rotation), you increase by 1-2 reps or 5-10 pounds. The chance that increased muscle is responsible for the gains goes up, right?
      You mean compared to lower reps? I don't really think so. You can gain skill and coordination in any rep range.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Knickerbocker24 View Post
        How much do you really want to dig into this? You could write a thesis on this topic. Are you looking for neuromuscular & muscle and connnective tissue adaptations & endocrine response differences between strength training and hypertrophy training? Because you will see differences in those with different training styles. Or are you looking for how those are effected by nutritional changes? Are we to assume by "cut" you mean weight loss versus fat loss (assuming one can reduce body fat while gaining or maintaining weight). And how much of a calorie restriction are we talking about? Tell us a little more about your what your training was like prior to now and what it's like now. And, how was your nutrition and what does it look like now. Off hand, I know when people "cut", although you mentioned cycling carbs, that often means simply being more strict with your diet. If that's the case, despite a lower calorie count, the consistency and quality of what you're eating may be improving and leading to more strength and likely hypertrophy.
        I have no idea how many calories I was taking in when I was 245...all I know is that I ate a ton of shitty foods(lot of fast food). I would estimate 4500 cals.

        For the last 12 weeks, I have been using the Shelby Starnes diet he outlines in his lean gains book.

        I put together a very basic diet that I adhere to 90% of the time, with the occasional cheat day on weekends...

        Low Day:
        3k cals. 106g fat, 142g carbs, 367g protein
        Used on off days.

        Med day:
        3500 cals. 113g fat, 252g carbs, 378g protein
        Upper body days and leg machine day.

        High day:
        3800 cals. 59g fat, 500g carbs, 286g protein
        Squat and deadlifts

        All clean foods...chicken, steak, brown rice, oats, and protein powder. I will eat the occasional dirty meal on Saturdays.

        I ran this for roughly 8 weeks, but the last 4 weeks I have been using zero to very low carb days on my low day with good success. That turned into a 2500 calorie day.


        I train every other day and rotate upper/lower on a 3 way rotation. I bring one set to failure on everything, and if feeling well rested, I will add either a rest-paused set or one extra straight set.

        I would consider myself an advanced-intermediate lifter. I dead in the mid 500's, squat in the low 400's, and bench in the low 300's.

        I used similar training prior to the cut, so not much has changed there. I just thought it was odd that I have been progressing faster and more consistently at 219 pounds versus when I was 245, that is all.

        You may be right though, it is probably very difficult to try to understand why. But I was just curious since this is the first time I have ever attempted to lose fat and everything I have read says that you will get weaker the longer you diet and it is impossible to gain muscle while losing fat. So maybe what I read is just simply BS.
        Last edited by SkinnyMike42; 06-15-2011, 11:47 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mchicia1 View Post
          I have no idea how many calories I was taking in when I was 245...all I know is that I ate a ton of shitty foods(lot of fast food). I would estimate 4500 cals.

          For the last 12 weeks, I have been using the Shelby Starnes diet he outlines in his lean gains book.
          BINGO! That's what I was looking for. I'm sure the strength increases you're seeing are the result of the quality of foods you're eating, despite a calorie decrease. That's not unusual at all.

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          • #6
            I would never use a high rep range when cutting but to each its own.
            Disclaimer: I am not a DC trainee/expert/guru/coach, anything I say is purely my opinion based on experience and research I've read

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Carlito Gambino View Post
              I would never use a high rep range when cutting but to each its own.
              Not even as high as 8-12 as the mchicia1 notes?...

              How lean have you been?...

              -S
              The Book Has Arrived!
              The Book Has Arrived!

              Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, used up, worn out, and shouting, "Holy #$&^%$^... What a ride!!!"


              www.TrueNutrition.com

              2012 NPC Master's Nationals HW 5th. Mid-USA HW & Overall
              2010 NPC Jr. USA HW 4th, Pacific USA Heavy 2nd
              2009 NPC Mr. Arizona HW & Overall, Jr. Nationals HW 16th, Smoked at USA's

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Knickerbocker24 View Post
                BINGO! That's what I was looking for. I'm sure the strength increases you're seeing are the result of the quality of foods you're eating, despite a calorie decrease. That's not unusual at all.
                That's awesome then. Glad I shelled out the money to buy his book rather than venturing into uncharted waters on my own.

                Originally posted by Carlito Gambino View Post
                I would never use a high rep range when cutting but to each its own.
                Why?

                Originally posted by homonunculus View Post
                Not even as high as 8-12 as the mchicia1 notes?...

                How lean have you been?...

                -S
                I forgot to mention...

                The reason I use the 8-12 rep range is because I have a bum left shoulder. I go a little higher (10-14) on DBs.

                For legs, I work up to a very heavy single (for me) on squats and deads, then do a back down set of 10-12 reps. Last DL day was 520 for a single then 415 for 10. Last squat day was 415 for a single, then 315 for 12.

                Again, training everything to muscular failure. For legs, that means 1 rep before form breaks down dramatically. For upper body, it is literally failure.

                Comment


                • #9
                  LOL @ myself...jinxed myself so bad. I had such an awful squat workout today...first one since I started the diet 12 weeks ago. Anyway, I predict I will be 215 next week...that will be a 30 pound drop and I estimate I will be 12% BF. That is perfectly fine for me to stop the cut. I went from barely hitting the 4th hole on my belt,I mean really had to struggle to get it, to hitting the 6th hole easily today, so I dropped significant body fat around the mid section.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by homonunculus View Post
                    Not even as high as 8-12 as the mchicia1 notes?...

                    How lean have you been?...

                    -S
                    No something like 8-12 seems alright to me, I was just referring to the kinda guys that use 12+ reps on cuts. I prefer sticking to around 3x5-6 on cuts. It allows me to hold onto more strength and thus more muscle.
                    I just get burned out on higher reps when I'm in a calorie deficit and that just leads to strength receding real badly.
                    Disclaimer: I am not a DC trainee/expert/guru/coach, anything I say is purely my opinion based on experience and research I've read

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Carlito Gambino View Post
                      No something like 8-12 seems alright to me, I was just referring to the kinda guys that use 12+ reps on cuts. I prefer sticking to around 3x5-6 on cuts. It allows me to hold onto more strength and thus more muscle.
                      I just get burned out on higher reps when I'm in a calorie deficit and that just leads to strength receding real badly.
                      How lean have you been?...

                      -S
                      The Book Has Arrived!
                      The Book Has Arrived!

                      Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, used up, worn out, and shouting, "Holy #$&^%$^... What a ride!!!"


                      www.TrueNutrition.com

                      2012 NPC Master's Nationals HW 5th. Mid-USA HW & Overall
                      2010 NPC Jr. USA HW 4th, Pacific USA Heavy 2nd
                      2009 NPC Mr. Arizona HW & Overall, Jr. Nationals HW 16th, Smoked at USA's

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        10% according to some cheap ass calipers I bought from the same place I buy my whey. Look I'm not doubting that higher rep ranges are useless, I'm saying that I don't functional well on them when calorie intake is lower.
                        Disclaimer: I am not a DC trainee/expert/guru/coach, anything I say is purely my opinion based on experience and research I've read

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Carlito Gambino View Post
                          10% according to some cheap ass calipers I bought from the same place I buy my whey. Look I'm not doubting that higher rep ranges are useless, I'm saying that I don't functional well on them when calorie intake is lower.
                          In my opinion, how lean you've been is an important qualifier to your statement, "I would never use a high rep range when cutting but to each its own," especially when the OP was referring specifically to an 8 - 12 range (which you later qualified your stance on.

                          For many folks, getting to 10% doesn't put a dent in performance in the gym in the least (if they don't go too fast). Going from 10 to 5% is a whole different world than going from 15 to 10%, for many people.

                          I don't know of any bodybuilders who would train solely around "3 x 5-6" when dropping down into contest condition.

                          I sure as hell agree with you generally speaking though - Dance with the one who brung ya and keep the loads as heavy as possible. "Never" is pretty much as strong a term one could use, especially without qualifying the statement in the context of something of what a person has actually never personally done (gone to the 5%BF area).

                          -S
                          The Book Has Arrived!
                          The Book Has Arrived!

                          Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, used up, worn out, and shouting, "Holy #$&^%$^... What a ride!!!"


                          www.TrueNutrition.com

                          2012 NPC Master's Nationals HW 5th. Mid-USA HW & Overall
                          2010 NPC Jr. USA HW 4th, Pacific USA Heavy 2nd
                          2009 NPC Mr. Arizona HW & Overall, Jr. Nationals HW 16th, Smoked at USA's

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by homonunculus View Post
                            In my opinion, how lean you've been is an important qualifier to your statement, "I would never use a high rep range when cutting but to each its own," especially when the OP was referring specifically to an 8 - 12 range (which you later qualified your stance on.

                            For many folks, getting to 10% doesn't put a dent in performance in the gym in the least (if they don't go too fast). Going from 10 to 5% is a whole different world than going from 15 to 10%, for many people.

                            I don't know of any bodybuilders who would train solely around "3 x 5-6" when dropping down into contest condition.

                            I sure as hell agree with you generally speaking though - Dance with the one who brung ya and keep the loads as heavy as possible. "Never" is pretty much as strong a term one could use, especially without qualifying the statement in the context of something of what a person has actually never personally done (gone to the 5%BF area).

                            -S
                            Thanks for the detailed response, looking back it was a bit of a strong term. I blame the lack of sleep I've been getting thanks to my new job and upcoming exams.
                            Anyhow, there's definitely a huge difference with getting to very low bodyfat and hanging around a maintainable one. I've stated before that I've never competed (and probably never will, but it still fascinates me) so I try and soak up as much as I can on here from guess that do compete just to see what sort of methods they use to get in contest shape, I guess I should have thought that post out a bit more. My apologies if I sounded a bit like a pompous ass back there.
                            Disclaimer: I am not a DC trainee/expert/guru/coach, anything I say is purely my opinion based on experience and research I've read

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Carlito Gambino View Post
                              Thanks for the detailed response, looking back it was a bit of a strong term. I blame the lack of sleep I've been getting thanks to my new job and upcoming exams.
                              Anyhow, there's definitely a huge difference with getting to very low bodyfat and hanging around a maintainable one. I've stated before that I've never competed (and probably never will, but it still fascinates me) so I try and soak up as much as I can on here from guess that do compete just to see what sort of methods they use to get in contest shape, I guess I should have thought that post out a bit more. My apologies if I sounded a bit like a pompous ass back there.
                              It's all good, Bud. The tone / level of discussion of threads here and especially across different boards covers such a broad range, it can be difficult to contextualize appropriately. (In another thread, speaking to someone else who was just not getting that idea that big weights build large muscles, etc., tossing out a absolute statement like that might help get your point across.)

                              I really had no idea how lean you'd been (and I actually no idea what your physique looks like, to be honest), so I was interested in learning to, in case you had dieted to 4% keeping reps below 6 on all exercises, all the time. (You never know!)

                              Congrats on the new job, BTW! (I think. )

                              -S
                              The Book Has Arrived!
                              The Book Has Arrived!

                              Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, used up, worn out, and shouting, "Holy #$&^%$^... What a ride!!!"


                              www.TrueNutrition.com

                              2012 NPC Master's Nationals HW 5th. Mid-USA HW & Overall
                              2010 NPC Jr. USA HW 4th, Pacific USA Heavy 2nd
                              2009 NPC Mr. Arizona HW & Overall, Jr. Nationals HW 16th, Smoked at USA's

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