HighIntensity.net View Mike Mentzer Bodybuilding Topic

Hi guys,

This is a post I found in all my lurking glory. It′s written by a guy named Madcow2, who is a very well respected and highly regarded guy on some of the other boards out there. If you′ve done any looking around on the net, you′d definately have heard of him. He is very intelligent and has mounds of experience, and I tend to get a lot out of what he writes.

Anyways, this post spoke to me. As you all know, I followed HIT for 7 years and claim to have made consistent strength gains over the whole period, except for the odd workout here and there. What I didn′t consider, however, was what Madcow2 writes about here. It turns out that I was more likely fooling myself into thinking I was making substantial linear progress from workout to workout.

I know it′s long, but it may be well worth the read for most of you. It may put some of your previous experience in perspective, give you something to think about, suggest a way to improve the your training analysis, or spark some kind of discussion.


Originally posted by Madcow2 on bb.com…..

A bit on linear progress:

Whether you add reps or resistence, if it is done week to week or in some linear fashion over the short term that is still linear strength progress. Break out a 1RM calculator one will find adding reps with a given weight will increase the theoretical max (it′s a rough calc but this holds). So strength still increases linearly.

That kind of brings us to the point about strength athletes. It is very well known and accepted that one cannot make linear progress after a given amount of experience. Look at Louie Simmons and WSB, do you really think he′d prefer his conjugate method to just going into the gym and adding weight or reps every week or even in 50% of the workouts consistenly over time? Hell no. His lifts would skyrocket even if the assumption was a very small increase week to week or session to session. Periodization came about not to complicate training but to allow for progression once linear progress slowed to a crawl or stopped. No one wants to periodize or complicate training even the biggest proponents of it, why screw with progressing every 4 or 8 weeks when you can do it every week or every 2. The problem is that no one is able to regardless of method and this is why you don′t see HIT in a linear form being used in elite strength sports. Believe me, they′d want to use it – makes life easy. No one has been able to pull it off though.

That said, if you are going into the gym and constantly improving keep at it and milk it dry. Just make sure you aren′t improving by swapping around exercises, your benchmark lifts should be steadily increasing. You don′t want to squat 225×8 for a period, go to the leg press and work hard for 10 weeks increasing from 300-450, come back to the squat and after a few weeks of acclimation only manage 225×8. Your benchmarks should be rising over the mid-long term and this is a good way to evaluate wasted effort since if you got fundementally stronger, after some acclimation, you′d be breaking records pretty easily. Also, the true test of programming methodology is not how well something works over the first 4 weeks (i.e. if it′s different that what you have habitually done, it will progress just like swapping exercises) it is the long term progression that is the measuring stick.

So if HIT works for someone – do it and keep at it. Shoot, no matter how one feels about it there is a very logical and easy system for progression which tends to get overlooked in most people′s "routines". If you can keep it hammering for long periods and consistently move forward, go for it – I certainly would. However, like I said before unless you are a mutant linear progression will stop after a time but substantial progress is still available. This is when people gradually introduce more and more periodization to continue gains (over a long term it′s still linear – i.e. every 8 weeks or whatever but on a workout to workout or more traditional week to week view you won′t be breaking records). Now this is from a strength perspective, maybe BBing is different and larger muscles have nothing to do whatsoever with strength. That′s a losing argument though and I′m also not talking about 1RM but training within any hypertrophy range what I′ve said about increasing strength will hold…………..

I think if you break out some calculations and assumptions – then be conservative and slash them downward drastically for fun – you′ll find that 7 years of steady linear progress compounded arrives at an unfathomable number.

Here are some fun calcs assuming you train 8-12 reps and add just a single rep per week. So you start at your 8RM of 100lbs in the bench (calc′d 1RM = 124) and add a single rep of capacity each week to 12 reps and then move back to 8 after increasing the training weight. After the 12th rep, I assume you gain another rep meaning you could do 13 reps the next week because you gained a rep after the week of 12 reps and calculate a new 8RM from there.

I think this is pretty typical of what a lot of guys advocate for HIT and insist works for years and years at a time with no need to expand volume whatsoever or alter training. In addition to advocating it, plenty of people claim to have done over periods from 7 years in your case to if I remember right it was GAfromAZ who has 20 years in or something like that.

What we have let′s say is a 124lbs 1RM bencher gaining a paltry 1 rep per week and increasing the training weight every 5 weeks after he gets his 12th rep and resets at his new 8RM. He′s doubling his 1RM in 20 weeks and by week 40 he′s handling 540lbs in the raw bench and training with 376lbs where he can get 12 reps. Numbers and equations below.

Anyway, this is quite a fricking run for 40 weeks. Personally, you can cut it in 1/2 and it′s still just stunning for 1.5 years of progress – hell it′s impressive for 4 years or even a lifetime. We just increased this guy′s max by 437% just by adding a single rep per week.

I don′t think I really need to spell out my point but if there is a period of 7 years and linear weekly progress which is 9.1x the 40 week period below that produced the unfathomable numbers, even at adding a fraction of a rep per week (much less than what most people claim to achieve over these long periods), the numbers someone would be handling in the core lifts would have placed the collective strength world on it′s knees. This is the nature of compounding which is made such a big deal of in the investment industry ′power of compounding returns′.

So something′s wrong here – because obviously this doesn′t happen and has never happened. I think the oft quoted HIT timeline for reaching genetic potential in the 1970s was 3 years right? Something doesn′t add up there either even if you bias everything down and make it a lot less than 1 rep per week. Even if the numbers below are wrong (by the way none of the popular equations will produce substantially different results) or off in some way even slashing the time estimates to compensate still leaves a rediculous number. Welcome to the power of compounding, I just saved your financial advisor a lot of time.

So anyone who claims to have been making linear progress for year after year and consistently increasing their reps or training weights week to week (or even in 50% of weeks i.e. adding 1/2 rep per week on average) – I don′t know what they are improving at but it certainly isn′t any exercise I do. I′d gather that if they are being honest they had the impression this was happening from rotating exercises around a lot but not increasing fundemental strength to anywhere near what they thought and likely spending the majority of time not seeing true fundemental increases but just swapping training around with nothing real to show for it besides the illusion of progress (see my comments above about using the core lifts as a benchmark).

Once again, not saying HIT can′t work for people or at some point might not be optimal for a given person. What I′m saying is that there is a ton of BS that is often spouted and maybe these numbers make it a little more clear. By all means though, if you can keep adding reps and weight – ride that damn train and increase your capacity that way as long as you can because I think it′s obvious that at some point it isn′t going to happen anymore or we′d have a tremendous number of elite lifters getting there in a year or so and having to do very little work.

Week 1RM Reps Training Weight

1 124 8 100

2 129 9 100

3 133 10 100

4 139 11 100

5 144 12 100

6 150 8 121

7 156 9 121

8 161 10 121

9 168 11 121

10 174 12 121

11 181 8 146

12 188 9 146

13 195 10 146

14 202 11 146

15 210 12 146

16 219 8 176

17 226 9 176

18 235 10 176

19 244 11 176

20 254 12 176

21 264 8 213

22 274 9 213

23 284 10 213

24 295 11 213

25 307 12 213

26 319 8 257

27 331 9 257

28 343 10 257

29 356 11 257

30 370 12 257

31 386 8 311

32 400 9 311

33 415 10 311

34 431 11 311

35 448 12 311

36 467 8 376

37 484 9 376

38 501 10 376

39 521 11 376

40 542 12 376

Base equation is pretty standard:

1RM = (Weight Lifted) / (1.0278 – (0.0278*Reps Performed))

XRM = 1RM * (1.0278 – (0.0278*X))



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