I have bad news for all of you: there is basically no research to back any claim as to recovery times, supercompensation, central nervous system overtraining, etc. I reviewed some of the research on underperformance syndromes, especially those related to sympathetic overtraining and there might (only “might”) be some correlation between that and what we, powerlifters, observe in high performance lifters after either an important meet, with a huge max, or too frequent maxes (inadequate periodization).

I spent the last two hours reviewing what I had already reviewed and there’s only very indirect evidence to any of what “everybody knows”. That’s too bad. This is where urban legend and guru knowledge comes from: the notorious gap between science and practice.

So, in practice:

  1. “Everybody knows” static stimulus (the type we do in powerlifting, for example) takes much longer to recover than dynamic stimulus (the type we do in weightlifting, for example).
  2. “Everybody knows” excentric training is extremely taxing over the body. There’s some research (with quite debatable methodology) showing you might have over 60% strength loss due to excentric effort produced injury. So, “everybody knows” you shouldn’t do it too often.
  3. “Everybody knows” weighlifters train few days before a meet with real high loads. Something that leaves powerlifters in awe or, worse, when they try to mimic weighliters, in total underperformance hell.
  4. “Everybody knows” the deadlift is what takes longer to recover. Nobody knows why.

Who’s “everybody”? Good coaches. People who observe, spend hours in pubmed and try to put two and two together.

But this is getting harder every day.

I do what I can, but I’m not a guru and I will never be one. I believe gurus feed mythology, not knowledge.

  • Chad

    The last frontier in training methodology will be “training frequency”. Almost every program I ever see are based on the “once every seven day strategy”. Even the most revered programs. Squat , Deadlift and Bench X amount of times in a 7 day week. Why seven days? Convenience maybe? Have you ever tried squatting or benching once every 10-14+ days. Try benching once every ten days. You will probably see a huge improvement in your performance and how you feel. A beginner can train each muscle 1 x week and see gains because the poundage’s aren’t as taxing. But as the poundage’s increase so does the recovery time. Conditioning work will never get the CNS to the same point the muscles are regarding recovery, at least in my opinion. The CNS will always lag behind the muscles. In order to get stronger the intensity needs to be ever-increasing and as long as that is happening the CNS is getting taxed, otherwise there is no need for the body to adapt. For me it seems like 10 days for bench and 14+ days for squats and deadlifts. Most people get anxious and lift too soon because they are addicted to the pump. I train 2 consecutive days in a row upper body and 4 consecutive days off for rest followed with 2 consecutive leg days and 4 days off again. That is 12 days between body parts and 8 total days of pure CNS and muscle recovery (getting stronger). The supercompensation takes place during RECOVERY DAYS. Trainees know this but they follow their hearts and not their minds. The training effect will not wear off in 12 days. Just keep reminding yourself that you are getting stronger during your days off and the more you enjoy those days off the stronger you will become. Most people lift weights to the point their body’s systems are out of harmony and then they quit or burn out. Just make each week 10-12 days and see what happens. Lift 3-4 x a 10 -12 day week instead of 7 days. Keep the body in harmony and it will reward you.

    • You’re right, and part of that was somewhat “subtexted” in block periodization theorists. Or wasn’t it? Or was it wishful thinking on my part to read it? Again, it’s something “everybody knows”: you do, I do, and anyone who trained high performance athletes or is one with more brains than guts…

      thanks! :)

  • sdfsdfds

    for me deadlifts is easier to recover from than squats