According to Eric Cressey: "One of the more common mistakes the average weightlifter makes is training at more or less the same workload every week. Varying the workload from week to week is a far mor effective strategy for building strength in the long term."

One possible explanation for this could be that there is indeed a minimum effective dose for increase in training.

Past novice stage a lifter is not able to add weight to the bar every workout. So the increase in stress during a workout is minimal and therefore the adaption is minimal.

If instead the lifter were to do an extra set one workout this would trigger an adaption. This would in turn cause fatigue which he may not recover completely from until the next workout. The solution to this would be to do active recovery during the next workout; the volume is dropped. This workout would not trigger any new adaption but that would be OK since the body would still be working on adapting to the previous workout. Further one could imagine the body resensitizing to training volume during the low volume workout.

Madcow 5×5 seems to split the stress-recovery-supercompensation process: enter image description here

over 3 workouts. First workout is accumulation of stress, second workout is recovery and 3rd workout is displaying supercompensated strength.

In 5/3/1 every 4th week is a deload week. So in 5/3/1 a stress-recovery-supercompensation cycle takes 4 weeks whereas in Madcow 5x5 it takes 1 week and in Starting Strength it takes 1 workout (and the rest period until next workout).

This seems to indicate that 5/3/1 is a more advanced program than Madcow 5×5?

Beginners should use Starting Strength instead of Madcow 5x5. Is the more general principle that one should use the shortest stress-recovery-supercompensation cycle where one manages a minimum effective increase in training dose?

Finally is there difference between hypertrophy and max strength? Martin Berkhan has a reverse pyramid training program. I like the minimalism of this program (minimal for a hypertrophy or fat loss program that is). According to his description it sounds like it could be used as a forever program. It does not have any intensity modulation (periodization) but according to Greg Nuckols periodization is not necessary as long as different rep ranges are covered (1).
However it does not have any workout by workout or week by week modulation in workload, which seems to contradict the principles I have argued for above.

(1) Periodization: What The Data Say


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