OK, I am spitting out the law right now so listen up.
- Homeostasis: your bodies base level of fitness.
- Disruption of homeostasis: a stimulus of the fitness base level
- Supercompensation: Adjustment to a higher level of fitness in anticipation of the next training session.
There are a few reasons why our muscles refuse to supercompensate after a bout of exercise.
- Lack of change in intensity, volume or frequency: Muscles get used to your set and rep scheme with in 6 workouts if not changed or progressively loaded will not super compensate.
- Lack of intensity, volume or frequency: Muscles that are underworked do not cause supercompensation.
- Lack of recovery from intensity or volume: Muscles are overworked with too much intensity frequently which causes little to no supercompensation.
- Lack of calories: Muscles turn catabolic which causes no supercompensation.
- Lack of or too much progressive loading: 5 pounds for upper body and 10 pounds for lower body at every workout.
Example for Strength
Say a musclehead is doing a starting strength program 3x5 for all his exercises three times a week and makes decent strength gains for a while. He progressively loads all exercises with 5 pounds for every upper body workout and 10 pounds for every lower body workout.
On the umpteenth day, he stalls. What should he do? First he should lightening his loads by 10%, lowering his lower body progressive load to 5 pounds per workout. He should keep going until he stalls again.
After he stalls for the second time, the musclehead's muscles will have finished supercompensating with this amount of volume and intensity per workout. Basically he plateaus from lack of stimuli. Logically we should up intensity or volume and increase recovery time so musclehead moves on to the Texas Method:
- 5x5 at 85% intensity on Monday
- 3x5 at 62.5% intensity on Wednesday
- 1x5 personal best on Friday, 5 pounds heavier than Monday's workout
On Monday he will receive enough volume and intensity to make his muscles break homeostasis. Wednesday adds to the recovery process while Friday tests our super compensation without disrupting recovery. When Monday comes again, the musclehead adds 5 pounds to his 5x5 lifts and continues the process. The Texas Method will carry the musclehead's strength gains for some time.
Example for Building Mass
Say the musclehead is doing 3x8-12 on all his exercises working a body part twice a week and stalls. What should the musclehead do? Hee looks at his frequency twice a week for each body part. It is enough, but did he plateau?
Muscles adapt quickly within 6 workouts we can start seeing diminishing results. To change things up, lets's start with the frequency. Each body part needs to be hit three times a week with enough intensity. The repetition scheme also has to change ever two weeks or six workouts to prevent adaptation while building mass. Lastly, in order to eat all this frequency we need to lower the volume. So what does musclehead do now?
- 1x15 for each exercise for two weeks
- 2x10 for each exercise for two weeks
- 3x5 for each exercises for two week
- One week of unloading, only light weight and rest
So the musclehead does all his exercises every workout three times a week: Monday Wednesday, and Friday; or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. This will work for some time if you progressively load 5 pounds for all exercises every workout. For the naysayers, 1x15 and 2x10 will work. They are enough volume if performed three times a week for each exercise.
While a 10-15 repetition range is best for building mass, the lower repetition range needs to be hit for strength. Muscles mass can be stalled with a lack of strength and vice versa.
Calorie consumption - muscles need more calories than you think!!!
If lifting is yang, enough calories would be yin. - muscle proverb
If you fail to ingest enough protein, your body will break down its own muscle tissue to get the protein it needs for survival. This mechanism is convenient when you face starvation, but highly detrimental to building mass and strength.
I suggest eating every 2.5-3 hours to get your metabolism spiked and keep it there, you will never go catabolic when you do this and use the proper amount of proteins about 35 to 40 grams per meal, you should eat even at bedtime.