Author Topic: Stress oscillation  (Read 2504 times)

Offline Todd Becker

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Stress oscillation
« on: August 14, 2011, 10:24:43 PM »
Well, I know that my blog has been unusually quiet, with no new post for about two months.  Some of that is due to an unusually busy period on my day job, including a lot of overseas travel. However, a significant factor was the time I needed to develop a new concept that I think enriches the concept of hormesis.  It has always struck me as unrealistic to think of hormesis as the application of a low but "optimum" level of stress, as if there were some constant low level of stress that is beneficial.  For one thing, the right amount of stress for one person may be too much or too little to produce a benefit to a different person. For another thing, as a person becomes stronger, they may need to adjust the appropriate amount of stress to continue making progress.

But more profoundly, stress is not particularly effective when applied at a constant level.  All of our physiological systems -- digestive metabolism, muscular growth, sleep and waking -- are cyclical or oscillatory.   We need to alternate between stress and recovery.  But why is this, and what underlies this dynamic?  And how can we use this reality to find the "hormetic" or beneficial pattern of stress exposure in order to become stronger in every way?

Those are some of the questions i attempt to address in in my post of today:  Get stronger using stress oscillation
« Last Edit: August 15, 2011, 06:02:39 AM by Todd Becker »

Offline shadowfoot

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Re: Stress oscillation
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2011, 06:28:30 AM »
I don't have much to say right now other than that I think your description of stress oscillation is brilliant. It really fills in a missing piece of the puzzle.

Offline aelephant

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Re: Stress oscillation
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2011, 05:20:15 PM »
My weight lifting plan follows this principle.

Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday I lift weights.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday I rest.

Sunday is an "easy" workout where I go to failure in 1 set for each of my exercises. For example, I bench 155 x 20 reps, then stop.
Going to failure is taxing on the CNS, but not as taxing on the musculature.
CNS adaptation is important for strength gains.

Tuesday is roughly three times as hard as Sunday. I subtract 2 reps from my failure set, but do 3 sets. For example, I bench 155 x 18 reps for 3 sets. This is less taxing on the CNS since I have "something left in the tank" at the end of each set, but it is MORE taxing on the musculature since the increased volume leads to increased glycogen depletion, swelling, microtears, etc.
These factors are important for SIZE gains.

Thursday is the hardest of them all. I do the same as Tuesday, but add a set to each exercise. By the end of these days, I am usually very fatigued.

Then I get 2 days in a row to rest, before repeating the whole process.

The next Sunday, I will increase the weight incrementally, but keep the same design. For example, I bench 165 x (however many I can do). I typically try to do as many as I did on the last "volume" day. So if I did 155 x 18 for 3 sets, I will shoot for 165 x 18 for 1 set on the following Sunday.

This is linear progression with oscillations in volume, which still seems to be working well for me. Certain lifts have plateaued earlier than others. For example, my previous max bench was something like 185 (don't have records from back then). My current max is 235, but I seem to have plateaued here. Once I hit 235, if I can't go any further, I reset to 155 and work my way back up, doing more reps than I did last time. I've done this to 235 twice, but can't seem to break through.

Other lifts are still steadily progressing and I'm growing quite a bit, so no complaints.