1

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Compound Lift Workouts: Effects of Fatigue on Performance

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 05, 2013 at 6:09 AM

After performing heavy (near-max) sets of squats, benchpresses, and deadlifts, I move on to unweighted chins, some dumbbell work, and cleans with very light weight to practice form.

During the chinup sets I've noticed that my heart rate is skyrocketing by the 7th or eighth rep, and I am forced to stop the set due to feeling generally fatigued; no gas in the tank, slightly nauseous. I can perform at least 14-16 reps if I do chin-ups on their own w/o prior lifting.

Is this fatigue a symptom of glycogen deficiency? Or are there other mechanisms of action - it feels like my heart rate is skrocketing way too fast for the amount of work I'm doing. With chin-ups I generally stop due to muscle failure along with burning pain in the arms...not exhaustion.

This happens the lightweight cleans and isolation exercises as well -not just chins - after the powerlifts.

I'd like to understand the exact mechanism of action this type of fatigue occurs through - why my heartrate skyrockets and I become less functionally efficient later in the workout.

Links, science-based answers appreciated.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on March 05, 2013
at 08:36 PM

Martin's strength standards are pretty demanding, so if you lift at or near maximal effort, doing the big three on the same day is probably too much. Try doing fewer sets, less weight, and/or fewer exercises to see if it makes a difference in your short and long term recovery.

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on March 05, 2013
at 08:05 PM

I am slightly beyond intermediate on all the lifts except bench according to the leangains site: http://www.leangains.com/search/label/Training

06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

(1649)

on March 05, 2013
at 07:58 PM

From a purely logical standpoint it is too stressful. If you want a more specific recommendation I would spend some time on Martin Berkhan's leangains site. I don't see how you could adequately tax the muscles when you lump them all together like that. But as Wisper point's out above I guess that depends on lifting level.

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on March 05, 2013
at 06:44 PM

Thanks - I'm not low carb, but I will a carb-load before the next workout. I'm very strict on form - but can you elaborate on exactly why lifting near-max (90-95%) is not optimal? Apart from risk of injury due to form breakdown. Links appreciated.

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on March 05, 2013
at 06:38 PM

To clarify, my question is "why do I become less efficient at producing force later in the workout?" Keep in mind the muscles used in chin-ups aren't the prime movers in any of the powerlifts.

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on March 05, 2013
at 06:34 PM

I keep hearing the phrase "taxing your Central Nervous System" as if this explains something. Can you explain how or exactly what this means within the context of my question? Scientific links or explanations appreciated. Thanks for your replies.

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on March 05, 2013
at 06:29 PM

Why, specifically, shouldn't I lift the big three on the same day? I'm not interested in working out 5 days a week, I prefer once every 5 days, which works for this routine.

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on March 05, 2013
at 06:27 PM

This isn't crossfit. I take my time and rest for at least a minute between sets

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on March 05, 2013
at 06:12 PM

Depends on his lifting level. Starting Strength specifically prescribes the big three on the same day, and squatting three times a week. Probably not smart for someone who's intermediate or advanced, which the OP doesn't sound like.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 05, 2013
at 03:35 PM

Working in the 8-12 rep range blends sarcoplasmic and myofibular hypertrophy, which is much less taxing on your CNS, and therefore you can do a lot more of it, like 9+ sets per body part. However, if you're just fatigued or feel week and flat, it is probably that you don't have enough glycogen in your muscles for the workout that you are attempting. Feels like sh** doesn't it? If you suspec this is the reason, the simple resolution is to eat more carbs and concentrate post workout recovery.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 05, 2013
at 03:35 PM

Working in the 8-12 rep range blends sarcoplasmic and myofibular hypertrophy, which is much less taxing on your CNS, and therefore you can do a lot more of it, like 9+ sets per body part.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 05, 2013
at 03:24 PM

With heavy compounds, you are specifically taxing your Central Nervous System and nerve endings to the firing muscle group. Needs about 48 hours to recover.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 05, 2013
at 03:22 PM

The OP must be CrossFitting. Don't forget your kipping "pull ups!"

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 05, 2013
at 03:22 PM

The OP must be CrossFitting. Don't forget your kipping "pull ups"!

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 05, 2013
at 03:21 PM

He/she must be crossfitting. don't forget you kipping pullups!

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2 Answers

1
5ff5439ef59cce014d6e1873c30a8cd6

on March 05, 2013
at 05:28 PM

I was having the same issue a week ago. I would squat, deadlift, press and then i couldn't function on unweighted pull-ups. This happened when i took sweet potatoes out of my diet to cut down on carbs. there are two things you can do, you can eat 1lb of sweet potato a day or more depending on your goal to give you more glycogen, or if you are trying to keep your carbs low, then you're going to have to rest between sets for a longer period of time to let your body begin using fat stores for energy which is a lengthier metabolic pathway. I began resting between sets more but didn't like the increased time spent in the gym so i started eating sweet potatoes again. I dont believe you are doing to much work in the gym. Benching isnt that strenuous of a movement compared to basically all of them. I dont think you should be constantly working that close to your max on all the lifts.

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on March 05, 2013
at 06:44 PM

Thanks - I'm not low carb, but I will a carb-load before the next workout. I'm very strict on form - but can you elaborate on exactly why lifting near-max (90-95%) is not optimal? Apart from risk of injury due to form breakdown. Links appreciated.

1
06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

on March 05, 2013
at 02:22 PM

I am sure someone will chime in here with science, but off the cuff let me just ask.. Why in the world are you doing the 3 big moves at the same time? Bench, squat and deadlift should be spaced out on different days. Doing such strenuous lifts all together like that makes logical sense that you're heart rate is skyrocketing.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 05, 2013
at 03:22 PM

The OP must be CrossFitting. Don't forget your kipping "pull ups!"

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 05, 2013
at 03:21 PM

He/she must be crossfitting. don't forget you kipping pullups!

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on March 05, 2013
at 08:05 PM

I am slightly beyond intermediate on all the lifts except bench according to the leangains site: http://www.leangains.com/search/label/Training

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on March 05, 2013
at 06:38 PM

To clarify, my question is "why do I become less efficient at producing force later in the workout?" Keep in mind the muscles used in chin-ups aren't the prime movers in any of the powerlifts.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on March 05, 2013
at 03:22 PM

The OP must be CrossFitting. Don't forget your kipping "pull ups"!

06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254

(1649)

on March 05, 2013
at 07:58 PM

From a purely logical standpoint it is too stressful. If you want a more specific recommendation I would spend some time on Martin Berkhan's leangains site. I don't see how you could adequately tax the muscles when you lump them all together like that. But as Wisper point's out above I guess that depends on lifting level.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on March 05, 2013
at 08:36 PM

Martin's strength standards are pretty demanding, so if you lift at or near maximal effort, doing the big three on the same day is probably too much. Try doing fewer sets, less weight, and/or fewer exercises to see if it makes a difference in your short and long term recovery.

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on March 05, 2013
at 06:29 PM

Why, specifically, shouldn't I lift the big three on the same day? I'm not interested in working out 5 days a week, I prefer once every 5 days, which works for this routine.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on March 05, 2013
at 06:12 PM

Depends on his lifting level. Starting Strength specifically prescribes the big three on the same day, and squatting three times a week. Probably not smart for someone who's intermediate or advanced, which the OP doesn't sound like.

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on March 05, 2013
at 06:27 PM

This isn't crossfit. I take my time and rest for at least a minute between sets

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