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Thread: Slow responder?

  1. #1
    Chris Hansen is offline Senior Member
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    Default Slow responder?

    Are there people who don't respond well to exercise? Because that's what I feel like. It seems like it takes forever to show any improvements. I could stay on a program consistently for months at a time and have only slight improvements to show for it, or get burned out trying to stay on whatever schedule the program might have. And it's not like I'm at an advanced level where people plateau or anything. Sometimes I seem to be making good progress and then go through a period of being tired and it will be like starting all over again.

    Anyway, I was just wondering if there are any tips for people who experience something like that. If there's a certain type of schedule or loading parameters that some people respond better to or anything. I suppose the best thing is just try different things and see what works best but I haven't noticed any obvious patterns yet.

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    306pelusa is offline Senior Member
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    If you followed Easy Strength to the letter for 40 days. Or PTTP for 3 months. I would be seriously amazed if you don't make outstanding progress.

    It's definitely about finding out what works for you. But programs like those above that make use of simple movements and cycling are effective on just about anyone.

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    Chris Hansen is offline Senior Member
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    I was thinking about Easy Strength but would like to try it with bodyweight exercises. A lot of the barbel exercises that would normally be used aren't really an option for me.

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    306pelusa is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Hansen View Post
    I was thinking about Easy Strength but would like to try it with bodyweight exercises. A lot of the barbel exercises that would normally be used aren't really an option for me.
    Well, this is the kind of mentality you want to avoid. Easy Strength works as written. Sub in your own calisthenics exercises, guesstimating how to make them easier/harder... that's a surefire way of not improving!

    If calisthenics is all you can safely do, then opt for a calisthenics program. TNW works absurdly well. People breaking records in a matter of days and weeks. The kind of improvements you can get from a steady diet of far-from-failure, max-tension Pistol and OAPU practices can't be overstated.

    I would be equally amazed if you didn't make outstanding and ridiculous improvements on 6 weeks of TNW. I used it to build up from 1 to 3 OACUs in a week. GTG works like nothing else.

    If KBs are an option, then a basic program of Swings and Getups like Simple and Sinister would be excellent. I frequent the StrongFirst forum. It's ridiculous just how fit everyone is getting with such a simple program.

    Once again, it isn't about finding out what works, or experimenting. Sometimes you just have to pick a program with an unbelievable track record and feel once again what it's like to make drastic improvements on a weekly basis!

  5. #5
    postandspread is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Hansen View Post
    Are there people who don't respond well to exercise? Because that's what I feel like. It seems like it takes forever to show any improvements. I could stay on a program consistently for months at a time and have only slight improvements to show for it, or get burned out trying to stay on whatever schedule the program might have. And it's not like I'm at an advanced level where people plateau or anything. Sometimes I seem to be making good progress and then go through a period of being tired and it will be like starting all over again.
    How do you measure or define "progress" or the lack of it?

  6. #6
    Chris Hansen is offline Senior Member
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    I define progress as lifting more weight or doing more reps or an easy run feeling easier or going longer before having to stop and catch my breath.

    I've had trouble finding a proven program that I can actually follow, they usually include equipment I don't have or exercises that I can't do, but I would welcome suggestions. The ideal schedule would be something that can be done in about 40 minutes after work.

    The issues that come up with pre-made programs include things like: My shoulder doesn't like one arm pushups, I can't really gtg during the day while I'm at work, I don't have the equipment for bench presses or a high enough ceiling for barbel overhead presses, my back doesn't like weighted squats, I'm trying to ease into deads and swings but can't really 'work out' with them just yet.

    I can however do two hand pushups and there are sufficient variations to keep me challenged for a while. Also pullups, rows, certain single leg exercises, a bodyweight squat variation, most ab exercises. PTP style side presses with a dumbell seem to be ok but kb military presses still bother my shoulder unless I go really light. 1/2 getups are fine but my one shoulder doesn't like supporting my weight during the leg sweep. That's been getting better with PT so maybe I should revisit it and see how it goes. I've been doing side planks to strengthen the shoulder stabilizers and that's improving.

    Anyway, I would welcome people's thoughts.

  7. #7
    306pelusa is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Hansen View Post
    I've had trouble finding a proven program that I can actually follow, they usually include equipment I don't have or exercises that I can't do, but I would welcome suggestions.
    If that's the case, it's just a matter of looking for one that matches your goals, with exercises you can do, and has a good level of success. There's no such thing as "slow responder". If you take a proven program and modify it, however, that's an excellent recipe for little to no success.

    If equipment is an issue, then calisthenics makes sense. If OAPUs aren't an option, and you seem very agaisnt GTG (if you do a set in the morning and a few in the evening, that's good enough but whatever), then go with another proven, basic, calisthenics routine.

    Can you take HSPUs with a wall? Can you do Pull-ups? Can you do some form of one-leg squat (Pistol is preferable, but Airborne Lunge is fine too)? If you answered yes to all of these, then try this for 8 weeks:
    The Anytime, Anywhere Bodyweight-Only Strength Program - StrongFirst

    Just 3 exercises, with some basic L/M/H loading and an emphasis in correct technique.

    Once again, if you don't make outstanding progress on ^THAT program above, I would be very surprised. Most people triple their HSPU rep maxes by the end of the program, and add 20-30 lbs to their Pistol and Pullup maxes in just 2 short months.
    Last edited by 306pelusa; 03-21-2017 at 02:17 PM.

  8. #8
    postandspread is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Hansen View Post
    I define progress as lifting more weight or doing more reps or an easy run feeling easier or going longer before having to stop and catch my breath.

    I've had trouble finding a proven program that I can actually follow, they usually include equipment I don't have or exercises that I can't do, but I would welcome suggestions. The ideal schedule would be something that can be done in about 40 minutes after work.

    The issues that come up with pre-made programs include things like: My shoulder doesn't like one arm pushups, I can't really gtg during the day while I'm at work, I don't have the equipment for bench presses or a high enough ceiling for barbel overhead presses, my back doesn't like weighted squats, I'm trying to ease into deads and swings but can't really 'work out' with them just yet.

    I can however do two hand pushups and there are sufficient variations to keep me challenged for a while. Also pullups, rows, certain single leg exercises, a bodyweight squat variation, most ab exercises. PTP style side presses with a dumbell seem to be ok but kb military presses still bother my shoulder unless I go really light. 1/2 getups are fine but my one shoulder doesn't like supporting my weight during the leg sweep. That's been getting better with PT so maybe I should revisit it and see how it goes. I've been doing side planks to strengthen the shoulder stabilizers and that's improving.

    Anyway, I would welcome people's thoughts.
    A mystery why you don't seem to progress even a little. Doesn't seem to be physiologically possible!😄

    Regardless of the program I followed, a couple of tweaks that impacted my progress positively were rest and diet. Not following any program to a T has actually worked to my advantage. I sometimes skip a scheduled workout for whatever (good) reason and do it the next day or maybe not at all that week. I'm definitely making gains.

    The other thing is I've been taking creatine for some months now as I believe my diet is deficient in it. Seems to have improved recovery and very likely led to strength gains.

    Regarding overhead pressing, one apparently doesn't need to press to lockout or even press standing. See Joe DeFranco's Shoulder Shocker article in T Nation. There's also Joel Seedman's article on squats which you may have read. And I'm sure you don't need to be told that there's a staggering variety of exercises to accommodate every conceivable constraint. I think you ought to try out several of these to see what works for you.

  9. #9
    Chris Hansen is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by postandspread View Post
    A mystery why you don't seem to progress even a little. Doesn't seem to be physiologically possible!
    Well, I do progress. It just seems like it takes a long time and the amount of progress is very slow. I've been told that I'm just not pushing hard enough but that approach ends up setting me back in the long run. I seem to do the best when I stay at a comfortable work load and only try to increase anything slowly, like maybe add one rep per week until it starts getting hard and then not trying to add reps for a while. When I try to push harder then that I tend to run into set-backs.

    I think sustainability is the key. I need to find what's sustainable and not try to push beyond that point.

    The workout in the link above looks interesting, maybe I'll give it a try over the summer. I actually don't have a wall for HSPUs but the Souped Up Pike Pushup will be challenging enough for now. My pullup bar is in the garage so I tend to do pullups during the summer and a lot of inverted rows in the basement during the winter.

  10. #10
    ad5ly is offline Senior Member
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    I have been doing Stronglifts 5x5 for 8 months. I found that since I changed my deload/backoff week from every 6 weeks to every 4 weeks my progress has accelerated. Just curious as to your age, also do you have any ROM limitations. If so, perhaps you should begin with fixing that...Dennis

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