DCT, Dual Factor, Over Reaching and 5×5

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  • September 4, 2007 at 5:05 am #826

    I just read an article by this dude named Glenn Pendlay . It was directed at experienced bodybuilders who had been training for a few years or more… it went on about the lack of training knowledge in the crowd these days and how training someone fresh out of highschool is different to training someone who has been doing it for some time. I opened my fleck and Kraemer thinking I had the answers inside – with all its advanced studies in training in muscle gorwth….IN 17Yr Old Teens!!!

    Till yesterday, I didnt know what dual factor or over reaching was. Im not saying that Pendlay is a champion..but this article did get me thinking, maybe it can help u.

    September 4, 2007 at 5:10 am #4826

    Glenn Pendlay

    This isn’t directed at you by any means but it’s a good long rant and an explantion that’s a bit less PC than usual for me but might prove beneficial because I’ll just lay it on the line and tell it like it is.

    The typical split routines that have people training a bodypart once per week are —- I would basically just recommend that everyone stop them right now and move on. They are so fundamentally bad that it’s not worth typing up an explanation for them – the whole reason why people arrived at this idea was because they didn’t understand science and misapplied thinking that muscles needed to fully recover before training them again (look up the timeframe for complete tissue remodeling from a single bout of weight training – it’s beyond a month as I recall but in any event it is far far longer than any of these splits allows for). These splits are a major reason why most people in the gym are spinning their wheels.

    The other major issue is that most guys put together their split, choose exercises, and then just go in the gym and work hard at it (and some don’t even do that) – even using the 5×5 exercises and split as laid out under the 3 day protocol that I recommend (basically the best exercises and a solid frequency pattern) there is a major issue that will inhibit gains. The issue is that volume and intensity are not being regulated over a period to provide a training stimulus – this is the essence of loading/deloading and managing volume under dual factor theory which I will say again is at the near universal acceptance level everywhere in the world at the highest levels of research and athletic coaching but curiously most BBers couldn’t give and explanation should their life depend on it.

    For a novice lifter this isn’t a big deal, for an experienced lifter – they just won’t progress or at least no where close to optimally and once they get past a point even that progress will stop. Basically, the only way an experienced lifter is going to get gains is to use drugs and create an environment where just about any stimulus will work because the body’s response is so exagerated. That said, even the drugged lifter would progress much faster (or could use a lower dosage and achieve the same results) under a proper program.

    Look at the pority of Needsize’s 5×5 program. It uses good exercises albeit the 3 day split is present but the whole key is the progressive overload and systematically adding weight thereby increasing total volume. Also notice that stepping back and beginning again serves to deload. This is why people have success with it. There is no magic, it’s basically just a rough form of dual factor training that he arrived at by paying attention to what worked over a period of time. If more people were applying some brain power basic training methodology wouldn’t be so foreign.

    It kills me that the majority of the BBing/fitness world is so advanced when it comes to drug usage and diet yet so far behind when it comes to training. Yes I’ve had training conversations with multiple pros and worked for months right next to a guy who got his pro card just a few months later – he was unfit to coach a highschool team, his PT clients made for progress, his training was no better or more intense than many others at the gym 1/2 his size – his diet/dedication was admirable but if not for the drugs he’d be just another shmoe around the gym wondering why he’s plateaued. He’s not an exception to the rule either, anyone who knows training and watches the vast majority of Pro BBers train knows they don’t know anything in about 10 minutes and usually much faster. If they open their mouths on the subject it’s nearly instantaneous. , look at the 1980’s BBers training on nearly all machines and not squatting or DLing. They looked marvelous, way better than in the previous decade yet the training stimuli was garbage in comparison – the only difference were the dosages.

    EDIT: Okay, I do give props to Chris Duffy (pro back in the early 1990’s for getting people to DL again by speaking out a lot on its effectiveness).

    BBing is almost totally focused on optimizing and increasing the response (drugs/diet) rather than ensuring that the highest quality stimulus (training) is applied. This is why kids and men get frustrated after tweaking their diets and taking all kinds of supplements yet getting little gains – they look at the programs some of the big guys are using and their’s are not much different so they look to drugs and make some post like “I’m plateaued at 6′ 185lbs after 2 years of training, diet and training are perfect, help me plan a cycle.” I’m certainly not going to judge someone for using steroids and I myself have used them but a lot of younger guys just want to see some progress, they may want 20lbs but if they were at least progressing consistently they’d have more patience and likely wouldn’t be as quick to involve themselves in activities that could cause major issues in their lives down the road. Some will certainly still use drugs but I’d venture the proportion would be quite a bit less and hopefully those who have aspirations beyond what natural training can provide.

    The issue is that good training informaiton is simply not common and seems almost hidden. Most guys at Elite can probably tell you a ton about drugs/diet but ask them to explain dual factor theory or name a good book on training (hint: Arnold has not written one) and they are going to be lost – and that’s simply an unacceptable imbalance to my mind. I don’t know how training knowledge got obscured and glossed over for a few decades (I imagine the Nautilus machine , the near extinction of Olympic Lifting, and the white washed clean faux image of BBing that Weider has promoted to death over the years) but I’m a bit tired of honest people looking for training info and finding voodoo bull rather than basic fundemental information – I’m not even talking cutting edge here just basic training applied around the world.

    So if you ever wonder what purpose I might have in taking the time to write out lengthy posts and fully explain training info and make it digestable and available, this is it. I’m not trying to change the world or clean up BBing but I’d like to see training knowledge in the general potion advanced to the point where someone can look for and actually find basic quality information that will allow them to progress. I make no money from this, my line of work is so removed from this it isn’t even funny. When I see stuff like that printed in Flex, Muscle&Fitness, and Men’s Health – I’ll be happy and I bet there will be a lot more people making progress in the gym and enjoying the gratification that comes with laying out a plan and accruing results from solid execution.

    First of all – soreness has no correlation to the effectiveness of a workout. It is generally a product of low frequency and high volume training. Being sore is neither good nor bad – although it can impede another workout which is generally bad. Phenomenal gains have been made on programs where athletes almost never get sore. This is accepted as fact by every researcher and strength coach in the world – DOMS has no correlation to either a good or bad workout.

    As for recovery – do you really think muscles recover in a few days? Maybe a week right? Nope, look up complete tissue remodelming, it can take well over a month from a single bout of weight training if I remember correctly but regardless it is far longer than any split in use. Bottom line you are almost always training in some type of recovery deficit.

    Where did the 1x per week come from? It came about because BBers started talking about overtraining back in the late 1980’s (at the time just previous to this the common workout in the muscle mags was 3 on 1 off and I remember a fair amount of AM/PM days too). A few guys began to notice that if they took time off they came back stronger. They then thought that this was because their workouts weren’t optimally spaced and timed. This is the essense of single factor theory or Supercompensation where you go in the gym and work ultra hard pushing your muscles to the point of full exertion (welcome to the training to failure school). Then you retreat quietly and heal up slightly stronger. Just after you’ve gotten your growth response but before you begin to detrain and lose it you hit that muscle again and do the same thing. The idea is that you can link up a series of these and grow in a linear pattern.

    Pretty ing cool eh? Too bad it’s wrong. First, there’s no scientific backing. Arthur Jones is partially responsible for this and he’s long since recanted his short, intense, and infrequent methodology a la Mentzer’s Heavy Duty. I will say that this program does work for beginners but for an experienced lifter it is drastically suboptimal. Oh yeah – if you take a ty stimulus and magnify the response with enough drugs you can still make progress but for a given individual a supperior stimulus would allow for more gains at an individual’s given dosage or equal gains for that person at a lower dosage level.

    So where does that leave us? Well luckily people figured this stuff out a couple decades ago. There’s a fatigue factor that gets built into this stuff and managing this fatique is important (both central nervous system and at the muscular level). You see, you can make gains and train without being fully recovered, it’s actually better (think back to the people taking some time off and noticing they came back stronger – we’ll revisit this in a moment). Rather than thinking about a single workout as a stimulus, consider a block of training – let’s say 2-4 weeks. The fatigue is actually a recovery deficit that accrues during stimulative training. Unfortunately, a deficit means that it can’t continue forever because you are running your body into the ground – but wait! This is actually fortunate.

    You see, the idea that an experienced lifter can go into the gym and train once and then have his body respond with increased musculature on a consistent basis is ridiculous. The body is first and foremost a survival machine. Muscle is calorically expensive and it’s the last thing the body wants to add (people who had this genetic makeup died in famines very quickly and aren’t around to reproduce). So a single session for an experienced lifter won’t convince the body to pack on more muscle, and definitely not a short and infrequent stimulus because the body isn’t convinced there is need. Bring in the fatigue accrual – in a training block of coninuously increasing fatigue the body gets a different message. The message is that there is a frequent, sustained, and increasing need for adaptation and that the body is falling behind and will soon break down under the strain. This is the stimulus we are looking for.

    So now you train hard for 4 weeks and build up this deficit where you are right on the verge of overtraining (this point is called overreaching and the 4 weeks are called loading). The body knows it’s ed. What do you do? Pull the rug out and allow it to recover (deload). Generally you slash volume and frequency for a period to allow the body to recover and add some muscle in adaptation to the training stress. After a period of deloading you come back and load again – bigger and stronger (wait – remember about the BBers who took some time off and came back stronger – amazing fit is it not?).

    This whole idea is called dual factor theory. Now most BBers haven’t heard of it and couldn’t explain it. It’s largely greek to most of the people reading this. I mean, there are guys on here that know just about everything about drugs and diet but this is brand new to them. Well, it isn’t brand new. It’s not even remotely new or a little bit obscure. This is how 99.9% of the world’s elite athletes are trained. We are talking near universal acceptance by every researcher and strength coach in the US, China, Europe, the Eastern Block, the former Soviet nations – everywhere. It’s absolutely and totally prolific. On top of that there is a massive mound of scientific evidence to support it.

    So how do you incorporate something like this? I can take the best split and exercise selection and bust my ass in the gym yet the stimulus is subpar because I’m not providing for loading/deloading. Generally this is handled by managing volume. A high volume period and then a low volume period.

    There is a good program here that breaks many of the common rules in this thread (number of sets, frequency of training, all kinds of stuff). It has you squat 3x per week in addition to DLing once, rowing and benching twice. That won’t work you say no one can squat 3x per week. Well it’s actually not a problem and people have been running this program for 30 years and making huge gains. Several board members here are running it now or have just finished with big steroid like results but they were natural lifters (off the top of my head one is up 17lbs in week 7, another 16lbs in week 6, one younger guy was up 12 in week 6-7 but got that flu and has been out of commission). I didn’t make this program so I can’t take credit but it was orignally designed by Bill Starr, one of the greatest strength coaches ever, and later adapted by a Johnsmith182 from Meso who is actually one of the US’ finest strength coaches – incidentally this job entails adding LBM to athletes in time constrained environments and this program is as good as any designed at doing it and far far better than just about anything most guys are using around here to add muscle. It’s also avoided like the plague by weightclass constrained athletes who are near the top of their class as it simply causes too much weight gain and the diet restriction to prevent it is very severe. I ended up running it a few years ago and had to slash my calories twice in order to keep my gains down to the 8-10lbs range over 8 weeks (and I was not stuffing myself before). The cream of the program is that it is fantastic at adding LBM to an athlete but is also a very simple and easy to understand implementation of dual factor theory.

    So anyway – that’s the jist on training. None of this is revolutionary. It is in fact very standard stuff. The single factor camp is nearly empty devoid of anyone except BBers and I can certainly respect an educated choice to disagree in the face of all this but the fact that almost no one understands or has heard of what is the basic and dominant theory of training around the world doesn’t exactly give me confidence that this is the situation. In fact the situation is that BBing has fallen so far behind on training knowledge that something really needs to be done.

    I really hope this helps someone – I have no idea how training became all voodoo and the general potion separated so far away ( likely A.Jones and Nautilus, the near extincation of Olympic Lifting, Weider’s rosy image of BBing, the heavy reliance on steroids to compensate, who knows).

    September 4, 2007 at 5:15 am #4827

    Variation of the program is here, if anyone knows any better links , please post.


    oh and … enjoy

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