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More questions on yesterdays entry....

Looks like I sparkes some curiosity in the readers, so I will address a few questions from yesterday.

1) I just read your latest blog and I have a question about adding weight to the bar as a way of progessing. What about moving the same weight but with shorter rest intervals wouldn't that be a way to progress too or adding more reps with the same weight you never mentioned those things. Also, what about more advanced techniques like working with longer or shorter tempos and pauses (like pause squats).

This is a great question about progression. Yes, I did say that you should be putting more weight on the bar each time. The main thing I should have said was that you should be increasing tension. Putting weight on the bar is just the main ting that people think about when they think about improving in the weight room.

Our bodies respond and adapt to tension and stresses that we place on them. There are a few ways we can progress our training besides just adding more weight to the bar (although that is the ultimate goal. To get stronger and lift heavier). Lets look at a few variables that we can alter to increase tension and force an adaptation:

Rest interval
- I like to use decreasing rest intervals. For example, in week 1, lets say you bench press 250lbs for 3 sets x 8 reps with 90sec of rest. In week two, maybe you attempt to do the same 250lbs for 3x8 with only 75sec rest. This would increase the training density. Meaning that you are doing the same amount of work in a shorter period of time.

Rep tempo- Time under tension (TUT) is a very popular term when talking about hypertrophy specific training. I believe that isometric work and eccentric work also have their place in athletic/sports specific training as well. Lets say we take that 250lbs for 3x8 and week 1 we do a 3/2/1/1 tmepo. That is a 3 second eccentric, a 2 second isometric on our chest, one second to press and one second isometric at the top before starting the next rep. That is a 7sec repetition and a 56sec set (7sec x 8 reps). We can increase this tension increasing the amount of time it takes us to lower the weight. Say 5/2/1/1. Now we have a 9sec repetition and a 72sec repetition. There are a lot of ways to play with rep tempo.

Adding a set
- we can increase the training volume by adding a set. maybe week 1 we do 250/3x8 and week 2 we go for 250/4x8.

Adding a rep- We can add a rep to each set and increase the amount of work we are doing that way. One week we do 250/3x8 and the next week we do 250/3x9.

Try and play around with some of those examples to increase the tension without having to add more weight onto the bar (ofcourse at some point you are going to want to though).

2) When trying to loose body fat, I’m under the impression that we should cut our calorie intake slightly. So, my question is how to keep improving when we are down on calories? Unless of course by this you mean I calculate my LBM every two weeks or so and adjust my calorie intake. Eg: Week one I eat 2500 kcal per day and do my exercises, then two weeks later I eat say 2700 kcal a day to make up for my increased LBM gained in the first two weeks; all the while maintaining a calorie deficiency but at the same time gradually increasing my calorie intake to make up for my increased LBM, thus having the energy in order to have improvement like you say above.
I think I just answered my own question, LOL, but what do you think? Am I remotely right?

When trying to lose body fat, we should cut our calories sligthly, you are correct. You want to start slow and (a) leave yourself somewhere to go and (b) prevent from dropping to fast and throwing yourself into a metabolic hell and losing a ton of muscle mass. I don't understand your example at all. Why would you add 200 calories to your diet? Unless you are using anabolics, you are not going to be putting on muscle mass while in a caloric defecit (unless you are a rank beginner or very very obese and have a ton of fat to lose). If you aren't taking in sufficient calories to sustain tissue repair, then you can not grow. If you start by taking your calories down to 2700, you will do that for a couple of weeks, until you start to hit a wall and then you will lower them a little lower (maybe to 2500) or perhaps look towards adding in more activity/exercise (depending on what you are doing for your training and how you have it all set up).


Doh, how NooB of me, yeah you're right, when on a calorie deficiency, I won't be packing on muscle mass. Forget my example there. This brings me back to my original question then, how to keep progressing when one is on a calorie deficiency? Put another way, won't it be difficult, if not downright impossible to progress when trying to cut body fat? That's what I'd like to know. Yes, as you've mentioned, you can play with many variables such as tempo and reps (good info btw), but ultimately, I don't see the weights increasing when on a calorie deficiency. Please help.

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