Adapt, Don’t Accommodate
First and foremost, it is essential to understand that the Conjugate Method we employ at Pulse is a system of varying volumes and intensities. We wave the total volume and intensity of each workout based on the recommendations outlined in Prilepin's Chart, which is a breakdown of how the accumulation of sets and reps, based on a given intensity (percentage of 1RM), will stimulate various physiological adaptations. Stimulating and forcing adaptation is the goal of every athlete’s workout, but adaptation is a double-edged sword:
- Adapt to the same stimuli too often and the training effect decreases, putting the athlete’s progress in reverse: this is accommodation.
• Rotate and vary stimuli every week to force the athlete to only adapt enough to benefit from the training and therefore avoid accommodation and drive results. Change stimulus, force new adaptation, progress continues.
These same reasons are why we wave our volumes and intensities as a form of auto-regulation in our training programs. To better paint the picture I will walk you through a typical upper body day at Pulse. On these days we pick a variation of the bench press (incline, floor press, etc) and work up to a 1, 2, or 3 rep max. This builds absolute strength and raises the ceiling of your overall strength the most out of any other method, but it also causes the most wear and tear which is why we rotate through different variations of these weekly. Even a subtle change - like from a finger inside the ring on the bench press to a finger outside the ring - can pay dividends in forcing a new adaptation. It makes very little difference to the mechanics of the movement, but it makes a significant difference in terms of avoiding accommodation (At Pulse we take this one step further by employing specialty bars.. more on those later)
We will follow that up with a supplemental lift/ type of drop set. These are movements that we determine will make the main lifts stronger/ more technically sound or simply add volume and teach the athlete how to grind through a rep. When choosing supplemental lifts the key is to be specific on what we're trying to accomplish.If the athlete’s technique is fine and it’s just muscular breakdown (weak off the chest/in the mid-range/at lockout, etc.) then we will choose supplemental lifts that closely mimic the main lift and challenge their mini-max, or, the spot in the range of motion where they’re breaking down. If it's technical breakdown on the other hand, then we will prescribe more movement-based supplement work in the form of timed, tempo, strip, rest-pause and ascending drop sets.
Now onto accessory work. Following completion of the supplemental movement/ drop set we focus on improving individual weaknesses through the use of special exercises. We will target the triceps, upper back, shoulders, and biceps (lower body days we will target the hamstrings, legs, lower back, and abs). No two people will have the exact same accessory work as each and every person requires specific and individualized programming to improve her/his specific limitations. As such, set and repetition schemes are highly variable and entirely dependent on the situation. For example, one person may need to gain mass, in which case we would program higher repetition/volume work into their training. Whereas someone else may be need to lose weight while maintaining strength, in which case we would lower the volume and increase the intensity. Our initial assessment as we begin working with a new client will start out near the middle and work out one direction or the other from there.
We end every session with GPP work (General Physical Preparedness) GPP can be defined as the training which focuses on improving an individual's overall level of fitness. GPP will develop all athletic qualities such as strength, speed, endurance, power, flexibility, and perceptual awareness. Basically it is the most efficient way to just flat out get you in shape.
In summation, keep your body getting stronger and looking better nekkid by keeping it guessing and forcing it to adapt and you'll never stop improving!