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  1. #1
    Registered User UFuckinMirin's Avatar
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    Spaced repetition system in bodybuilding and learning diverse abilities.

    I have thought of mastering as many exercises as possible in order for them to complement you in all the exercises you know.
    For that I have thought of a spaced repetition system.

    (IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT A SPACED REPETITION SYSTEM IS: It is basically a system used for learning stuff that follows a concept called window of forgetting, that says that when you recall something, you have a time X to forget it, called forgetting window; the measure you review that thing before forgetting it, the more it takes for you to forget it, so this system is aimed for recalling stuff in spaced terms)

    I suppose it can be a good idea because of the law of minimal returns and maybe 80/20 law: When you practice something, your gains on it tend to get diminished from a period. Therefore I suppose that training an array of abilities just to master them over time with a spaced is a good idea, because I suppose they will mutually aid each other and also your main lifts.

    What do you think about that?

    Also, what do you think about an approach of making a training routine based on a spaced repetition system and how could it look like?

    I am raising the hypothesis that the body may work just like the brain: The brain forgets in a time of a forgetting window just as the body loses its abilities in a window of time of not training a muscle (in which brain is involved).
    I am using a spaced repetition system called Anki to train some abilities in spaced intervals and I pretend to add new abilities and exercises.

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    You are essentially describing what training has to look like for people who compete in many different fitness-related events (ie, strongman competitions, CrossFit, decathlon). To some degree what you are describing applies to block periodization as whole. In these events you need to train several attributes at once while maintaining fitness accrued from prior training. The goal here is to develop several attributes of fitness.

    On a smaller scale, let's say the goal is to maximize your squatting ability, then what you are describing applies to focusing on several different assistance exercises to train the body to perform the squat as a whole.

    There is also evidence that incorporating greater exercise variety can lead to greater total hypertrophy as different exercises work muscle groups differently.

    There is a catch with the latter point though; if you wait too long between repeating exercises then the novel effect also causes more exercise-induced muscle damage and your recovery ability goes mainly to fixing the damage rather than developing new muscle tissue/strength.

    The downside to your approach, going back to maximizing the squat, is that there is simply no way to get around diminishing returns over time. Eventually if you are trying to incorporate new assistance lifts that allow a more novel stimulus (and thus avoid diminishing returns initially), they are going to become so far removed from a traditional squat that there may not be much carryover. This downside likely does not apply to overall athletics though; you can probably incorporate sufficient enough variety long term to consistently provide "new" training stimuli and then do more skill-specific work peaking towards a competition to ensure you have the neuromuscular pathways fine tuned to demonstrate your new fitness attributes.

    In terms of making a routine based on this approach, I'd consider looking at the training routines of strongman/decathlon athletes/CrossFit to get a variety of ideas. If you wanted to do this specifically for your main lifts and not all around athleticism then I'd consider a block periodization set-up with short blocks where you rotate exercises. I don't think this will be a very good idea if your goal is just to improve the main lifts though, particularly if you have a specific weakness that deserves more attention, though there are certainly some programming strategies that revolve around rotating the main lifts regularly.
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  3. #3
    Registered User klbbr's Avatar
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    I think muscle-memory and learning regular stuff is kinda different. Or at least you need shorter intervals. My single leg squat is really lacking, and if I'd try to get it right it'd need spaced repetition within a single day, with increasing intervals. Doing it again three days later, as I regularly do between leg days, is a way too long window.

    Originally Posted by U****inMirin View Post
    I am using a spaced repetition system called Anki to train some abilities in spaced intervals and I pretend to add new abilities and exercises.
    Do tell more about that.
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  4. #4
    Registered User UFuckinMirin's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by klbbr View Post
    I think muscle-memory and learning regular stuff is kinda different. Or at least you need shorter intervals. My single leg squat is really lacking, and if I'd try to get it right it'd need spaced repetition within a single day, with increasing intervals. Doing it again three days later, as I regularly do between leg days, is a way too long window.



    Do tell more about that.
    Let's say the interval progression for a spaced repetition system is 1,3,5,11,23,40 days.
    Let's suppose I want to train squats, deadlifts, and curls.
    Then I make for example 10 squats with 20kg and then I add "10 squats with 20kg" in my spaced repetition system. The program will remind me of making squats for the next 1, 1+3, 1+3+5, 1+3+5+11, 1+3+5+11+23 (...) days, and every time the program reminds me of making squats I shall beat my old benchmark. When I beat a benchmark I actualize the description of the remark. If I did beat my repetition score to 15 reps, I actualize the remark: "15 squats with 20kg".
    The same applies for deadlifts, curls, and any lifts and abilities.
    For endurance stuff I could add a time marker, like "Running 500 meters 120s". Then the measure the program schedules me to review it, I got to sprint 500 meters trying to beat my old record".
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  5. #5
    Registered User klbbr's Avatar
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    For mastering technique, spaced-repetition has some value. But I am not sure what the added value is for ankiing to set personal records in lifts? I do that every spring and autumn, so twice a year for running.

    I was most interested in what you wrote here about Anki: "learning diverse abilities" (i.e. outside the scope of bodybuilding). Anki is much used for languages. I've used it for other things, such as weeding out bad habits, and developing new habits.
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