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  1. #1
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    How do y'all program a strength week in a hypertrophy 3x8 program?

    I train mostly for hypertrophy with the heavier/compound lifts 3x8 and lighter/isolation movements 3x12-15. I do a modified bro-split with legs every day along with upper body. Chest/Quads, Back/Posterior, Shoulders/Quads, OFF, repeat.

    I want to start adding a "strength" week where I go heavier for strength.

    Curious if any of you do something similar and how you program it? What have you found to work the best?

    How often do you cycle it? What rep/set programming?

    Do you do the entire week strength-focused, or each week do you pick one day for heavy and rotate such day every week (i.e. this week will be heavy chest, next week heavy back, next week heavy quads, etc..)

    Post a "strength" workout, do you jump right back into your prior program the following workout with slight overload from the levels before the strength week?
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    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    That's entirely dependent on how you define strength and what your strength goals are

    3x8 is still training for strength as much as hypertrophy.

    So what do you mean by strength for this program and what are you strength goals

    I'm in what I could loosely term a work capacity and general strength/hypertrophy block at the moment.

    Each day consists of mostly 4 - 8 sets an exercise and on my 5 day set up, each has a main upper body, lower body, upper back compound exercise.

    There are 4 main exercises that use slightly lower rep ranges for the block, and quite a few assistance exercises that use a slightly higher rep range

    My goals are to build work capacity with compound movements, get a bit bigger again, and get my main lifts up number wise. Mostly 3 to 5 rep max atm. But 1 to 10 strength in general.
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  3. #3
    Clearly Irrational blue9steel's Avatar
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    A single week is really too short to be considered block periodization so what you're really talking about is a form of concurrent training. Go take a look at 5/3/1 or Juggernaut for some inspiration.
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    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Hint: just because you do more than 5 reps doesn’t mean your muscles are like “welp, now we’re training for size and won’t get any stronger”

    I do 3x8 almost exclusively and have outlifted nearly everyone trying to show off with “heavy” (for them I guess) singles
    Last edited by BeginnerGainz; 06-22-2020 at 12:57 PM.
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    When I lift 3x8, it's relatively slow & controlled. While it reduces how much I can lift, I feel strongly it also reduces my injury risk while potentially leading to better hypertrophy. I know the line between strength and hypertrophy is blurred and these goals overlap within 4-20 reps

    My goal in training for "strength" and using heavier weights is to help with continued progression in 3x8 (and related muscle mass gains) and to just to mix it up occasionally. It's fun to occasionally push for a heavier weight. I really don't care what numbers I put up.

    Due to injury risk, I have no interest in testing heavy singles, and even 3 reps makes me slightly cautious. So i was thinking I would do a 4x4 and use a bit more explosiveness in the movement than my normal cadence.
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    Originally Posted by VTLifts View Post
    When I lift 3x8, it's relatively slow & controlled. While it reduces how much I can lift, I feel strongly it also reduces my injury risk while potentially leading to better hypertrophy. I know the line between strength and hypertrophy is blurred and these goals overlap within 4-20 reps

    My goal in training for "strength" and using heavier weights is to help with continued progression in 3x8 (and related muscle mass gains) and to just to mix it up occasionally. It's fun to occasionally push for a heavier weight. I really don't care what numbers I put up.

    Due to injury risk, I have no interest in testing heavy singles, and even 3 reps makes me slightly cautious. So i was thinking I would do a 4x4 and use a bit more explosiveness in the movement than my normal cadence.
    The bold is untrue friend. controlled and explosive concentrics have been shown to be superior for strength and hypertrophy goals, and overly slow eccentrics have been shown only to increase muscle damage for no added benefit.
    I would strongly suggest not to intentional slow reps other than as a variation for technique work.

    There's no reason for 3 reps to cause fear of injury, or singles, especially non max singles.

    That said adding 4x4 work with controlled explosiveness would be an excellent addition regardless
    What I would encourage is having at least a main heavier variation a week for that, and then having at least 1 assistance exercise and that assistance can be whatever higher rep lower load rep range you choose.

    For your examples I'd have something like this -

    1x (a week) Back Squats with belt, 4 sets of 4. Rpe 7-8 (or equivalent %)

    1-2x Paused/pin/tempo/front squats, 3 sets of 8 @8-9 rpe or eqv %

    and so on for the rest of the lifts you feel like training heavier
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  7. #7
    Registered User philibusters's Avatar
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    Interesting debate. My understanding is more with VTLifts that controlled speed on the eccentric is good for hypertrophy and that going heavy for less reps in harder on the ligaments and tendons than lighter weights for more reps. The eccentric portion of the movement definitely does damage the muscle but you have to damage muscle to build it.
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  8. #8
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    Originally Posted by philibusters View Post
    Interesting debate. My understanding is more with VTLifts that controlled speed on the eccentric is good for hypertrophy and that going heavy for less reps in harder on the ligaments and tendons than lighter weights for more reps. The eccentric portion of the movement definitely does damage the muscle but you have to damage muscle to build it.
    The last part of that is completely false, the role of muscle damage in aiding hypertrophy is small at best.
    https://www.strongerbyscience.com/muscle-damage/
    Science and Development of Muscle Hypertrophy. In that book, he also discussed the “challenges to the exercise-induced muscle damage hypothesis” and noted that downhill running can induce significant damage to muscle tissue without corresponding growth, citing a review by Brentano and Kruel (2011). Based on this observation, he concluded that “muscle damage by itself is not sufficient to induce significant muscle growth.” And that if it does play a role, “it can do so only in the presence of resistance-based mechanical overload.” In epidemiology (my field of study), we would call this a component cause. As we’ll see shortly, this component cause does not seem necessary for hypertrophy. This suggests it’s of lesser importance and leads me to believe that it plays a minimal role in muscle hypertrophy overall.
    The rest..I don't think it bears out based on what I've read and listened too, if you have evidence to the contrary I'd be happy to read it
    Though I'll point out I never said not to control the eccentric, or that control was an issue. Just that intentionally slow eccentrics, and even worse slow concentrics are not good ways of inducing a good hypertrophy response


    Side note:

    https://open.spotify.com/episode/6jw9ddCUs3J6oVzl1ZtoHr

    Iron Culture have some of the best podcasts around on hypertrophy and other related topics
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  9. #9
    Registered User philibusters's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link. Perhaps I jumped the gun in saying muscle damage causes hypertrophy. They may only be correlated and not have a causation relationship.

    In terms of the paragraph you quoted it says muscle damage without mechanical tension doesn't produce hypertrophy (e.g. I kick you in the thigh damaging your quad muscles, you should expect to get stronger from it). It says perhaps mechanical tension, a component cause of muscle damage can cause hypertrophy, but its not the actual muscle damage causing the hypertrophy.

    Going back to VTLifts point, the eccentric part of the lift and can cause hypertrophy. Even if the mechanical tension ultimately causes hypertrophy through some way that is not necessarily through muscle damage.
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    Originally Posted by philibusters View Post
    Thanks for the link. Perhaps I jumped the gun in saying muscle damage causes hypertrophy. They may only be correlated and not have a causation relationship.

    In terms of the paragraph you quoted it says muscle damage without mechanical tension doesn't produce hypertrophy (e.g. I kick you in the thigh damaging your quad muscles, you should expect to get stronger from it). It says perhaps mechanical tension, a component cause of muscle damage can cause hypertrophy, but its not the actual muscle damage causing the hypertrophy.

    Going back to VTLifts point, the eccentric part of the lift and can cause hypertrophy. Even if the mechanical tension ultimately causes hypertrophy through some way that is not necessarily through muscle damage.
    Yes eccentrics contribute towards hypertrophy.
    However intentionally slowing reps limits load, less load = less mechanical tension.
    There's quite a lot of research on rep speed and hypertrophy responses
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  11. #11
    Wha?========== AlexSays's Avatar
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    Thanks for the interesting discussion guys, i always assumed time under tension to be very important but seems like higher load (even for a shorter duration) always supercedes this in most cases?
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    Originally Posted by AlexSays View Post
    Thanks for the interesting discussion guys, i always assumed time under tension to be very important but seems like higher load (even for a shorter duration) always supercedes this in most cases?
    Not always. It's nuanced.

    Lower relative intensity with high rep speed has been shown to be fairly efficient.

    The important thing about time under tension is qualifying the amount of tension. Without some measure of tension the time is meaningless (think benching the empty bar for 100 reps, lots of tut. Very little effect).

    Load matters, quite a bit, but it's not the entire picture either.
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    Good discussion.

    When I said slow & controlled, I mostly meant under control and aiming for great form with good mind/muscle connection . Not explosive by any means, but not overly slow to the point of diminishing benefit.

    Blue9steel, i'll check out some of those programs. Thanks.

    Perhaps I'll give a periodic explosive 4x4 session alongside my regular 3x8 and see how it goes.
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    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by VTLifts View Post
    When I said slow & controlled, I mostly meant under control and aiming for great form with good mind/muscle connection . Not explosive by any means, but not overly slow to the point of diminishing benefit.
    I think it's understood what you mean. I have a hard time believing you aren't slowing down your own progress doing this.
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    OP it sounds like you are overthinking what “strength” means. If I were you, I’d keep doing the 3x8 and be as fast with the concentric as you can without sacrificing form.

    An 8RM squat will tell you a lot more about yourself than a 1/2/3RM will.
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    OP it sounds like you are overthinking what “strength” means. If I were you, I’d keep doing the 3x8 and be as fast with the concentric as you can without sacrificing form.

    An 8RM squat will tell you a lot more about yourself than a 1/2/3RM will.
    that's a strange claim lol. Sounds like you have a heavy bias there.

    I don't think any rep max from 1-50 tells you anything about yourself lol, other than what you can do with that weight
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    that's a strange claim lol. Sounds like you have a heavy bias there.

    I don't think any rep max from 1-50 tells you anything about yourself lol, other than what you can do with that weight
    Just from personal experience.

    Watching people throw up as much weight as they can, while looking terrible doing it, then complain about “not building muscle” or not “getting stronger” or in other words, training like something they are not instead of focusing on the quality of their reps, volume, cumulative fatigue, etc.

    Someone doing 8 solid reps
    vs
    1/2/3/4 of increasingly chitty form
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    Just from personal experience.

    Watching people throw up as much weight as they can, while looking terrible doing it, then complain about “not building muscle” or not “getting stronger” or in other words, training like something they are not instead of focusing on the quality of their reps, volume, cumulative fatigue, etc.

    Someone doing 8 solid reps
    vs
    1/2/3/4 of increasingly chitty form
    I've seen the reverse just as often. Clean crisp triples and doubles. Horrible high rep sets with no brace or thought other than more reps.

    This is more about focus on training than any particular reppage.
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