Loading protocols in strength training

I think that people take loading protocols for granted — I did!

When talking about loading protocols I am thinking on the main sets of a particular lift — reps and weights.

I would love to start a discussion regarding different loading protocols, their organizations, their purpose, their pro’s and con’s, their usage for achieving specific goals with specific athletes, their usage at a given period etc.

First I will define couple of loading protocols to be comented!
(* The loads would be written in X/Y format, where X represents hypotetical % percentile of 1RM and Y represents reps done. Warmup sets would be disregarded)

Ramping protocol
Used with Starr&Pendlay 5x5 method
45/5 55/5 65/5 75/5 85/5
The weight increment is arount 10-15% of the last set.
Purpose: Great for begginers and mediocre lifters. It prevents fatigue accumulation due smaller tonnage lifted. Allows for technique acquisition.

Platoue protocol
Used with Starr&Pendlay 5x5 advanced method
80/5 80/5 80/5 80/5 80/5
The weight is kept the same all the time. According to Poliquin, this method will allow athlete to “acustome” to a given weight as normal. This method increase tonnage/volume. It can be used in accumulation period, after which unload and intensification is done. Used with advanced lifters.


80/1 85/1 90/1 95/1+ 95/1+ 95/1+

87/2 95/1 87/2 95/1 87/2 95/1

82.5/2 90/1 95/1 82.5/2 90/1 95/1

70/10 67.5/10 65/10 62.5/10 60/10 57.5/10

75/10 75/8 75/6

70/1 75/1 80/1 85/1 90/1 95/1

Westside ME
50/3 60/3 70/3 80/3 80/1 85/1 90/1 95/1 100/1 100+/1 90/1 90/1

57.5/10 70/8 80/6 87.5/4 92.5/2+

92.5/3 92.5/3 92.5/3 87.5/5m 80/8m 70/13m

72.5/5 77.5/4 82.5/3 87.5/2 92.5/1

Double Pyramid
57.5/10 80/6 92.5/3 80/6 57/10

75/(failure) 75/(failure) 75/(failure) 75/(failure) 75/(failure)

etc etc…

I am interested in two issues and their implementation in strength training:

  1. Crittical drop-off point. If the athlete start to decline in weight lifted from 7-10% due fatigue (in the training session) or his reps with a same weight decline the training should be stopped and the next exercises should be done. If the same happens on second exercises the athlete go home. Continuing to lift will teach athlete to functionate at lower state, which is not a goal in athletic training (altought it can be disregarded in bbuilding). (BTW This is one of Poliquin principles)

  2. 10% Zone. The weights used in main sets should be in a given 10% zone of 1RM. If the weights passess various zones, the body will not be able to decide what we actually want from it. This may be not so important for bbuilding purposes, but it may have value with strength athletes. Stick with one zone. But, what about Ramping, Pyramid and other protocols that seem to break this rule? (BTW This is one of Poliquin principles)

I hope this will stimulate memeber for discussion regarding this “not-so-well” discussed issue.

I think your Westside ME method is a little too regularized. There are a lot of different way to wave ME work (some look like the other methods). The main point (as it appears to me) is to get 3-7 lifts above 90%. The other lifts (that approaches this) just serve as a warmup.

Thanks quark — I am familiar with that, there is an article at efs from Wendler about loading protocols for ME work! BTW, don’t look to much on posted numbers — as I said they are hypothetic! Do you have any experience, success with a particular loading protocol?

Here is the article regarding various max effort loading protocols in Westside

We ve done the last ME method from the Explosive Power book. Has a direct impact on the 30-40m segment of a 100m sprint.

Let me add this. Joe Kenn has this set up in his book. I have not tried it but it looked interesting and I was wondering if anyone has had success with it.

This is from his Perfomance Elite Cycle
Week 1 = 72.5% for 8 x 3
Week 2 = 80% for 10 x 2
Week 3 = 67.5% for 6 x 3 (deload)
Week 4 = Performance

The whole this is based off of Prilepins table. He says that it is “based on a rep-per-set scheme that optimizes the greatest amount of speed and strength per set”.

It sounds like a solid “theory” for sprinters and throwers. Anyone ever try it? Have any opinions?

Just looking at the book…

I was confused wih this when I first read the book (before 1 week) :confused:.

Altought Kenn puts this PETC in Effort Cycles, it seems this is something simmilar to “Conversion or power” phase, because % seems little small for me! Note that the PETC uses conjugated approach, so this percents are done only for Tier 1.
Can someone expand more on this PETC please? Thanks

BTW. Are you guys base your programs on reps schemes or percentage schemes? With who?

Time limited sets? I have read the book mentioding this approach, but I don’t like it really… didn’t tryed it, but something tells me it is hard to maintain form… Better jump or DE squats than this (my opinion).
Can you expand more on your experience?

Yes you are correct, to keep form we used a chair/bench to set the depth. Very tough deceptive exercise. We used it in preparation phase only.

When you say “theory” do you mean the use of Prilepin’s chart for sprinters? Or the use of that cycle’s setup?

Prilepins chart works like a charm. Good speed can be achieved every set and failure is extremely unlikely. Don’t know why athletes don’t use it.

Yes, I meant the use of that cycle’s set up. I have and do you Prilepins chart so I don’t doubt the usefullness of that. I was just wondering what kind of reward/gains were reaped from the above set up.