Home Strength Training Reload vs Plan Strong—What is the Difference?

Reload vs Plan Strong—What is the Difference?

18 min read

By Fabio Zonin, Master SFG and Pavel

Earlier this yr, we launched “Reload: Your Barbell Strength Blueprint,” a concise e-book that includes individually-tailored, nearly-foolproof strength programming. Some of our readers asked the query that grew to become the title of this text. Here is our reply.

us start by clearly stating which training philosophy every represents:

On to the background and particulars.

Powerlifting Cycling: Progressive Overload, the Smart Way

Everyone is accustomed to the idea of progressive overload. Tomorrow you’ll carry extra weight, do extra reps, or get the similar work finished in much less time than yesterday. Next week, the quantity, depth, or density will probably be larger than this week… and so forth and so forth.

solely getting sturdy have been so simple as including a rep or a pound every week…

nevertheless, has its personal guidelines and timeline: in case you maintain going up and up in the
identify of progressive overload, you’ll attain the inevitable level when your body
simply calls it quits. Why? We don’t but know precisely, however nervous and endocrine
techniques’ fatigue undoubtedly performs an element. Russian specialists concluded that
the latter can tolerate solely two weeks of onerous loading out of 4. Violate the
“2 out of 4 rule” at your individual danger.

Unlike many health club bros brainwashed by the “high intensity” propaganda, profitable lifters are a wise and analytical lot. They realized to deload. “There were guys around who worked to their limit either on reps or singles all the time in their training, but they didn’t last long,” remembers powerlifting pioneer Dr. Terry Todd. “They either burned out or got an injury of some sort. Those of us who lasted and continued to improve found that we had to start out conservatively—to use light weights for a while and then go on to the increasingly heavier poundages. Then, following a meet, we’d always take a break before coming back, to begin with light weights.” 

is the essence of powerlifting “cycling” or “American periodization” born in
the 1970s and refined in the 1980s. Philosophically, it is nonetheless progressive
overload—a linear development—however one which complies with the body’s pure rhythms.

energy cycles designed by coach extraordinaire Marty Gallagher, you will note
four-week phases abiding by the “2 out of 4 rule.” The weight begins gentle and
goes up each week, sometimes matching an outdated rep PR in week three, and setting
a brand new one in week 4. This deceptively easy tactic produced
a few of the strongest males in historical past, from Lamar Gant to Kirk Karwoski. Other
than the Soviet Olympic weightlifting system of the similar classic, no different
training system has ever asserted such decisive and lasting dominance on the
lifting platform.

The energy of biking: Lamar Gant stood up with 693 kilos at 123 kilos of body weight—pound per pound, greater than anybody in historical past.
Set in 1982, this file is nonetheless untouchable.

Soviet Weightlifting Methodology: Surprising the Body, the Right Way

The Soviet system, in contrast to biking—or just about another technique
on the market—doesn’t prescribe progressive overload. There are not any objectives of a PR
triple in week eight and such. Instead, it employs Prof. Arkady Vorobyev’s
revolutionary variable overload.

Specific numbers properly inside the lifter’s capability are prescribed. Here is an instance from Plan Strong™ plan 501G for a girevik with a 40kg kettlebell navy press max (one in all the excessive quantity weeks):

Intensity, and particularly quantity, whiplash from day after day and week to week in a really non-linear method. And then comes the competitors or check day—and also you out of the blue put up a PR. 85% of the gireviks who adopted plan 501 pressed 44kg or 48kg eight weeks later.

Variable overload is
the confirmed different to the bro knowledge of “constantly surprising the body.”
Only as an alternative of adjusting the exercises or lifts, which prevents one from
getting traction in any one in all them, the quantity and the depth maintain
altering. The precise loading parameters and the patterns of their change have
been refined over many years of trial and error on Soviet weightlifters of all

Which is Better?

Which system ought to
you select, Soviet variable overload or American biking?

techniques are second to none, as witnessed by their observe data. Refer to Forward to the Past weblog for particulars.

The energy of variable overload: Yurik Vardanyan totalled 400kg in the 82.5kg weight class at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. This file nonetheless stands after virtually 4 many years.

each have their very own edges.

Russian system affords an unmatched alternative for finessing one’s lifting
expertise to the elite stage. Every carry is skilled a number of instances every week, principally
with masses heavy sufficient to demand respect but gentle sufficient to not query your
capability to carry them.

distinction, the American system often requires a lot decrease quantity and
frequency—and plenty of of the weights are both too gentle or too heavy for optimum

course, the detrimental is additionally a optimistic: the American system is far more time
environment friendly.

works greatest when one builds muscle together with strength. Marty Gallagher’s
traditional guideline requires eating sufficient so as to add a pound of body weight per week
in a twelve-week cycle. An ideal prescription for one—and disastrous for
one other.

Plan Strong™, the variety of ~90% 1RM lifts is
low—however they’re practiced repeatedly. That means you might be by no means too far out of your
peak. And you might be all the time assured with heavy weights. In distinction, when
biking, you’re going heavy solely in direction of the finish of a cycle, after months of
not touching something heavy. This may make you man up or girl up—or mess
together with your head and make you query your capability. And regardless of how powerful you
are, the cycle will get progressively extra worrying in direction of the peak and also you danger
burning out.

On the different hand, after getting run two or
three Plan Strong™ plans again to again, you may find yourself feeling mentally drained.
After all, for as much as six months you will have been dealing with weights above 70% 1RM at
virtually each training session and as much as 90-95% 1RM frequently. Your
joints may admire a break too.

Thus, a biking plan, with its a number of
preliminary gentle weeks, will become very restorative in your body and
your spirit. Your thoughts will probably be hungry for brand new PRs and your connective tissues will
be able to assist them. This is one in all the the explanation why even the largest followers
of the Soviet system will get pleasure from the advantages of an excellent ole’ American cycle as soon as
or twice in a yr. 

Plan Strong™ is extremely custom-made—which is an
asset and a legal responsibility. It takes an skilled coach 4 hours to put in writing an
eight-week Plan Strong™ plan for one carry (we additionally supply Plan
Strong™ individualized plans

if you don’t really feel like sweating with a calculator).

Cycling plans are a lot simpler to put in writing—however they
are additionally far more hit or miss.

“[Cycling] works properly for some, however I
generally hear lifters say they tripled extra in training than they did for a
single in a meet,” noticed Louie Simmons. “Missing a peak is one drawback with
such a training.”

The drawback is, conventional biking imposes
the similar price of development on athletes with totally different strength endurance—the
variety of reps they’ll do with 80% 1RM. As a end result, two lifters with the similar
1RM however totally different capability to rep out could have completely totally different experiences
with the similar cycle. One may undertrain and the different overtrain.

Enter Reload

StrongFirst we get pleasure from the problem of sharpening the chrome of traditional strategies.
We stand by “cycling” as one in all the greatest methods to construct barbell strength. We
additionally acknowledge that even timeless strategies profit from periodic updates.

While biking works nice for a lot of, it will probably fail others by imposing a cookie cutter development rhythm. To deal with this drawback, StrongFirst developed a sequence of simple checks and directions that can allow you to construct an influence cycle only for you. While at it, we saved the unique system’s spirit and ease. We examined and retested Reload. It delivered time and again.

Classic biking has an incredible legacy and it is with the best respect and humility that we have now tried to enhance it.

In The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, the nice scientist Richard Feynman wrote: “Each generation that discovers something from its experience must pass that on, but it must pass that on with a delicate balance of respect and disrespect, so that the race does not inflict its errors too rigidly on its youth, but it does pass on the accumulated wisdom… It is necessary to teach both to accept and to reject the past with a kind of balance that takes considerable skill…”

Get your digital obtain of Reload HERE.

Pavel Tsatsouline


Pavel Tsatsouline is the Chairman of StrongFirst, Inc.

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