I predict the "next big thing" in training articles

With so much marketing going on in the corners of the internet that house strength and training bandwidth, there's an ever-increasing need to re-market old concepts.  These concepts are laundered, accessorized  and given catchy names so they seem new and innovative.   We've got cubes, juggernauts, westsides (and probably eastsides), exotic routines (sheiko, smolov, bulgarian, german volume), methods named after states and then renamed with new wrinkles, routines using odd numbers (because "2, 4, 6, and 8" were already claimed by the cheerleading industry?), and a whole bunch of variations of linear progression schemes.

There are plethoras of articles about training frequency, from very little to very often, articles about training at very high intensity and extreme definitions of muscular failure to articles that recommend leaving a rep in the tank.  Some recommending a PR everyday, some recommending PR's only be hit on the competitive platform. What they almost all contain as their goal is measurable progress in 1 RM, in most cases, a wave or sawtooth pattern of progressively higher lifting achievements.  They avoid what all lifters seem to want to avoid and that is the dreaded plateau.

Search any internet forum geared towards strength or hypertrophy training and there is post after post about what to do to avoid or break a plateau.  The word "plateau" is so reviled that internet lifters come up with alternative terms to avoid writing or saying it.  "Stall" is a common substitution.  Its reminiscent of how many golfers hesitate to speak or write of a "shank", probably the most horrifying shot in golf.  Instead of "shank", players refer to "hosel rockets" or "laterals".  "Plateau" is the "shank" of the lifting world and both are akin to saying "Candyman".  Say either too many times and something bad happens to you.

Because internet marketers need to continually find new territory to mine, my prediction is very soon there will be claims staked on rich veins of "plateaus".  Rather than pushing to hit new PR's every day, there will be training programs that actually chase the plateau.  Already there are some that are touching on the concept, calling their programs "base building".   What I envision will be the next wave of guru-articles that embrace the plateau.

Here's how I think it will go:

First it needs a metaphor.  The metaphor is critical because it paints a picture that neither science or practice can satisfactorily describe.  For my Plateau Program, my metaphor is a step ladder.  Without a step ladder, one can only reach so high.  And for a brief instant, on tip toes and reaching as high as possible, one can momentarily touch as high as possible.  However due to fatigue and loss of balance, that ability to touch high is fleeting.  That represents the PR one just hit.  The plateau is represented by the ground.  The base.  Given enough time to rest and enough attempts, one can reproduce that highest touch.  However, while standing on the ground, one will never touch higher.  Popular programs emphasize a trainee's attempts to stretch and reach higher because the gratification is instant rather than delayed.

In order to touch higher, one needs to raise off the ground.  That's a new plateau.  The idea behind the plateau program is not to increase the ability to stretch and reach but to build a step on the ladder so one's current ability to stretch and reach is augmented.  

This fictional program will give the internet hand-wringers hope because instead of seeing a "stall" or "plateau" as something to despise and a reason to program hop, impressionable lifters will be re-assured and continue with their lifting.  They will embrace the plateau and continue putting in time and repetitions with loads that result in their body adapting to the stress.  This program will succeed because time and consistency matter almost above all and it is virtually impossible to narrow down the reasons for progress to single factors.  It won't matter if the trainee progresses due to skill development, work capacity improvement, adaptation of bone and connective tissue, or good old-fashioned hypertrophy.  The only thing that will matter is the trainee will stick with a consistent schedule and remain patient and as a result, they will make progress that they wholly attribute to the new "program" that they're on.

In the end, the programs will look exactly the same as all the programs that came before it but the key word emphasis will be new and that will draw trainees to it like moths to a flame.  




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