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What Content would you like to see from ATP?
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Commercial or Home Gym?
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Programming for the Novice / Beginner
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wnbfbrettfreeman
Jan 07, 2021
Hey Dustin, Really good question! 1) I define a novice or beginner as an individual that has less than 6 months of proper training under their belt. This is where training age is important yet can be deceiving- because by definition, a person that has been training 5+ years in the gym should technically be advanced or at least intermediate- yet may not be due to lack of progress via spinning their wheels. (Think of gym goers that haven't progressed yet have trained for years on end. Jacked Jimmy has been curling for decades yet no results so to speak.) *This is not to discredit their approach or throw shade- they simply just may have been misinformed. Such that, progression approaches for a novice/beginner can typically be seen on a weekly basis in the form of load or reps. Due to there being a clean slate so to speak- there is far more room for weekly strength gains, mastery of specific lifts, etc. So yes, adaptations are occurring at a much faster rate as opposed to an Advanced trainee who may not really "see" anything occur (hypertrophy/strength progress) until perhaps after a few training blocks. (Which is why "Beating the log book" weekly; while a great mind set and approach for perhaps novice/intermediates, can often be misleading and frustrating past a certain level of advancement because there will come a time where a trainee plateaus and can't add load/reps weekly. This is where interventions should be made towards programming for the advanced since there are different ways in which one can measure if they are in fact progressing.) 2) An actual beginner Vs detrained trainee will respond entirely different towards a reintroduction to training. (For example since you did not define this detrained trainee- is this someone who trained for only 6 months, 2 years, 5 years, are they coming off an injury? are they a former world class level athlete? etc.) But technically yes- this introduction back into training for these individuals wouldn't last too long but again, really depends on a multitude of factors. If the detrained trainee had prior exposure and an above average mastery of specific lifts (or perhaps previously had gained quite a bit of LBM)- they will progress far more rapidly Vs your average beginner who may have gone from couch-to-barbell due to muscle memory, etc. But again our rates of progression as a beginner really do depend since we all progress at different rates due to genetics. (Some individuals can also be naturally strong as hell- but still labeled as a "beginner" due to training age and rate of progression. So someone squatting 315 x 5 their first month of training Vs 135 x 5 can still be ranked beginners. One may just have a higher ceiling genetically for strength/size and possibly hit that intermediate stage a bit faster.) *So yes- progression does in fact come a bit easier compared to those that are intermediate/advanced. 3) I would progress beginners with single progression (or linear progression) and not increase set volume if they are progressing week to week. To quote Eric Helms from the Muscle & Strength Pyramids: "As a novice, you don't need much volume to progress, and if you are getting stronger session to session, it's a sign that volume is where it needs to be." (Page 108.) Using your example this is how I would most likely set up progression: Week 1: 3x8x130 Week 2: 3x8x135 Week 3: 3x8x140 Week 4: 3x8x145 *If reps are not achieved in one of these weeks such as: Week 1: 3x8x130 Week 2: 3x8x135 **Week 3: 3x8,7,6x140** **I would not increase load for week 4 and return to the same load until reps are achieved. Week 4: 3x8x140 *If reps and performance still decrease after 2 consecutive weeks- I would either reduce load by 10% or have that trainee take a deload week. For beginners- I think it is best to have a specific rep target Vs ranges so there is less room for error in assessment of what is/isn't working. 3x8-12x135 can cause sessions and weeks to look like: Week 1: 135 x 12, 10, 8 = 30 reps (4,050 tonnage) Week 2: 140 x 11, 8, 8 = 27 reps (3,780 tonnage) Week 3: 145 x 10, 8, 8 = 26 reps (3,770 tonnage) Week 4: 150 x 9, 8, 8 = 25 reps (3,750 tonnage) So while load is increasing and the trainee is progressing via weight on the bar- total reps/reps per set and tonnage are trending downwards. Regarding when to add reps/adjust rep schemes: I would recommend changing one variable at a time and assessing the response. (Add load- no set changes. Maintain load- add reps. Ride out one at a time and assess weekly/monthly how the individual is progressing. (Or regressing.) Adjusting everything all at once = too much noise. Which is what you may want to avoid because it will make assessing what has/hasn't worked that much more difficult. Hope this helps Dustin!
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wnbfbrettfreeman
Jan 03, 2021
Right there with you James!
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Welcome!
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wnbfbrettfreeman
Jan 03, 2021
Why hello dere Dan.
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wnbfbrettfreeman
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