2

votes

Muscle glycogen?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 08, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Hi guys,

I've been following the Stronglifts 5x5 - plus HIIT right afterwards - for about 3 months now, gone paleo for 1. I just hit my first plateau on bench, 65kg. Now, though I am training at what I'm guessing is my bodyweight (no scale), could the plateau be blamed on muscle glycogen depletion, as well?

-N

D15d6820ef1545edac65e975cc2d8949

on January 20, 2011
at 10:09 PM

Alright; thanks for the explanation/clarification, Chris!

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on January 13, 2011
at 02:04 PM

Interesting--thanks

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on January 13, 2011
at 09:27 AM

Mikael: You're described so called "undulated loading", standard periodization does not necessarily involve alternating high/low intensity as you outlined. Also the purpose is not to hit other muscle fiber types.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on January 13, 2011
at 09:14 AM

Ed: not necessarily, I've reviewed some literature suggesting high intensities (ie Wingate Test, repeated sprints) can deplete significant glycogen in short periods of time.

B1b9f0574aa9571f6aec6adb81d43190

(578)

on March 09, 2010
at 01:42 PM

Those are both great comments. I'm not particularly in this for gaining mass (I was previously quite a fat kid). If I need to gain strength at a slower pace as a cost for finding an optimal body composition, I can take that. Besides, we're talking about one stall, which I can overcome. That being said, I do agree with periodization; I've never done the same routine for three months straight, so I don't know why this has happened. Time to change up, then go back to the Stronglifts after a cycle. Thanks, all.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 09, 2010
at 02:22 AM

You may also want to add sweet potatoes and possibly dairy (preferably raw and grassfed, possibly goat milk) to get extra calories and dense carbohydrates, especially post workout. That seems to be Robb's standard prescription, which takes advantage of post-workout insulin sensitivity, if I understand him correctly. Note that I am not advocating eating 4-5000 kcals every day for the rest of your life, but if you want to get bigger/stronger, you may have to go this route temporarily. Personally, I find it hard to gain weight on less than 4500 kcals daily.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 09, 2010
at 02:18 AM

NickW, at first glance it looks like you're not eating nearly enough. Eating for mass/strength gains is not the same thing as eating Paleo for long-term health/longevity. I think your food intake looks ok from a health POV but not for mass gain. (Unless your drumsticks are 8x the normal size for some reason.) You probably need more protein and more food in general. Have you gained any weight since starting SL? I'd prob. eat about 2-3x as much as you are now. One resource for you to look at is Robb Wolf's post on mass gain: http://robbwolf.com/2008/10/24/mass-gain-experience/

B1b9f0574aa9571f6aec6adb81d43190

(578)

on March 08, 2010
at 09:33 PM

Jae, when I was thinking through your answer, I started to write down what I had to eat today. Maybe its the amount of food I'm eating, though I've normally eat when hungry. I started a training log, check here for my results and nutrition for the day http://bit.ly/9oe0Al .

B1b9f0574aa9571f6aec6adb81d43190

(578)

on March 08, 2010
at 07:28 PM

My stats and background to help out: 21 yr old ex-competitive rugby player, 5'5, 145# (about), about 8hrs sleep per night, stress-free school. Diet: intermittent fasting twice weekly. I don't track my food, but I get a piece of fruit, handful of nuts, about 0.5kg of some sort of meat (salmon, chicken, etc.), and veg is about a 0.3-0.5kg of cabbage, zucchini, carrot, broccoli, etc. Hope that helps.

D15d6820ef1545edac65e975cc2d8949

on March 08, 2010
at 12:38 PM

Periodization is where you do a cycle of another routine, e.g. lower intensity, but increase volume, to hit other muscle fiber types. Specifically, you want to focus on muscle growth, followed by a period where you focus on neurological adaptation which is muscle-independant. Korte 3x3 does this by first going low-intensity (58-64%) at 5-8 x 5 in four weeks, then ups the intensity to 80-95% at 1-2x1 and 3x3. The specifics are in the text.

D15d6820ef1545edac65e975cc2d8949

on March 08, 2010
at 12:37 PM

Periodization is where you lower intensity, but increase volume, to hit other muscle fiber types. Specifically, you want to focus on muscle growth, followed by a period where you focus on neurological adaptation which is muscle-independant. Korte 3x3 does this by first going low-intensity (58-64%) at 5-8 x 5 in four weeks, then ups the intensity to 80-95% at 1-2x1 and 3x3. The specifics are in the text.

B1b9f0574aa9571f6aec6adb81d43190

(578)

on March 08, 2010
at 12:26 PM

Hmm, maybe. Then again, I'm doing burpees (sans pushup), sprints, and the bear - not really hitting the chest/arm region. Other than the bear, but that's done sparingly because it's quite chunder inducing. The rest/protein is a great point. Can you explain periodization? The link wasn't quite specific on that one.

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4 Answers

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4
77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 08, 2010
at 06:18 PM

Glycogen is not the first thing I think of when I hear that you've hit a plateau.

It may be that:

You are not eating enough You are not eating enough protein You are not sleeping enough Your form needs to improve You are doing too much HIIT You need a back-off week to recover more completely

Or any number of things. It's difficult to give you accurate advice unless you provide more information about previous training and athletic background, your height and weight, diet composition (calories and some macronutrient estimates), sleep schedule, stress levels, and maybe post a video of your lifts for critique. =)

B1b9f0574aa9571f6aec6adb81d43190

(578)

on March 09, 2010
at 01:42 PM

Those are both great comments. I'm not particularly in this for gaining mass (I was previously quite a fat kid). If I need to gain strength at a slower pace as a cost for finding an optimal body composition, I can take that. Besides, we're talking about one stall, which I can overcome. That being said, I do agree with periodization; I've never done the same routine for three months straight, so I don't know why this has happened. Time to change up, then go back to the Stronglifts after a cycle. Thanks, all.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 09, 2010
at 02:22 AM

You may also want to add sweet potatoes and possibly dairy (preferably raw and grassfed, possibly goat milk) to get extra calories and dense carbohydrates, especially post workout. That seems to be Robb's standard prescription, which takes advantage of post-workout insulin sensitivity, if I understand him correctly. Note that I am not advocating eating 4-5000 kcals every day for the rest of your life, but if you want to get bigger/stronger, you may have to go this route temporarily. Personally, I find it hard to gain weight on less than 4500 kcals daily.

B1b9f0574aa9571f6aec6adb81d43190

(578)

on March 08, 2010
at 09:33 PM

Jae, when I was thinking through your answer, I started to write down what I had to eat today. Maybe its the amount of food I'm eating, though I've normally eat when hungry. I started a training log, check here for my results and nutrition for the day http://bit.ly/9oe0Al .

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on March 09, 2010
at 02:18 AM

NickW, at first glance it looks like you're not eating nearly enough. Eating for mass/strength gains is not the same thing as eating Paleo for long-term health/longevity. I think your food intake looks ok from a health POV but not for mass gain. (Unless your drumsticks are 8x the normal size for some reason.) You probably need more protein and more food in general. Have you gained any weight since starting SL? I'd prob. eat about 2-3x as much as you are now. One resource for you to look at is Robb Wolf's post on mass gain: http://robbwolf.com/2008/10/24/mass-gain-experience/

2
1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on January 13, 2011
at 09:24 AM

Congrads on the 1x bodyweight bench press.

There are a number of things that can make your bench or other lifts plateau, glycogen depletion is an unlikely culprit.

A more likely culprit, as Mikael pointed out, is program staleness. Try out some other rep schemes (8x3, 6x4) and alternating your rest periods. Remember volume and intensity are inversely related.

It is also likely you have weak external rotator strength. Poliquins data suggests you should be able to perform 8 external rotations with around 15 pounds.

http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/achieving_structural_balance

2
6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on March 08, 2010
at 01:51 PM

Nick, RE: muscle glycogen, it usually takes about an hour of steady activity to deplete muscle glycogen. Glycogen is usually not a factor in resistance training, unless you train after a hike, bike ride, etc., or train for more than an hour. How many days a week are you doing resistance training? Recovery is an individual phenomenon, but some people need as many as 3 to 5 days between resistance sessions for proper recovery. It could take about 3 months (the period you've noted) to hit an overtraining plateau. Also, I agree with Mikael that HIIT should be separated from resistance work. It doesn't sound like a glycogen issue.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on January 13, 2011
at 09:14 AM

Ed: not necessarily, I've reviewed some literature suggesting high intensities (ie Wingate Test, repeated sprints) can deplete significant glycogen in short periods of time.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on January 13, 2011
at 02:04 PM

Interesting--thanks

2
D15d6820ef1545edac65e975cc2d8949

on March 08, 2010
at 12:05 PM

The HIIT could be to blame, as it causes a signal opposite to that of muscle building to be sent out. Any HIIT/LISS should preferably be moved as far away from resistance training as possbible.

After that, making sure you get 1) enough rest, 2) enough protein are the two important things.

Stronglifts 5x5 has no periodization, which could be useful in your case. Have a look at Korte 3x3 at http://www.fituncensored.com/forums/sistemi-di-allenamento/128-korte-3-x-3-revolutionary-approach-powerlifting.html (text in English)

D15d6820ef1545edac65e975cc2d8949

on March 08, 2010
at 12:38 PM

Periodization is where you do a cycle of another routine, e.g. lower intensity, but increase volume, to hit other muscle fiber types. Specifically, you want to focus on muscle growth, followed by a period where you focus on neurological adaptation which is muscle-independant. Korte 3x3 does this by first going low-intensity (58-64%) at 5-8 x 5 in four weeks, then ups the intensity to 80-95% at 1-2x1 and 3x3. The specifics are in the text.

D15d6820ef1545edac65e975cc2d8949

on March 08, 2010
at 12:37 PM

Periodization is where you lower intensity, but increase volume, to hit other muscle fiber types. Specifically, you want to focus on muscle growth, followed by a period where you focus on neurological adaptation which is muscle-independant. Korte 3x3 does this by first going low-intensity (58-64%) at 5-8 x 5 in four weeks, then ups the intensity to 80-95% at 1-2x1 and 3x3. The specifics are in the text.

B1b9f0574aa9571f6aec6adb81d43190

(578)

on March 08, 2010
at 12:26 PM

Hmm, maybe. Then again, I'm doing burpees (sans pushup), sprints, and the bear - not really hitting the chest/arm region. Other than the bear, but that's done sparingly because it's quite chunder inducing. The rest/protein is a great point. Can you explain periodization? The link wasn't quite specific on that one.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on January 13, 2011
at 09:27 AM

Mikael: You're described so called "undulated loading", standard periodization does not necessarily involve alternating high/low intensity as you outlined. Also the purpose is not to hit other muscle fiber types.

D15d6820ef1545edac65e975cc2d8949

on January 20, 2011
at 10:09 PM

Alright; thanks for the explanation/clarification, Chris!

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