An Issue of Transfer of Training and Frequency

It has been around two years since I first wrote A Practical Guide for Implementing Block Periodization for Powerlifting, which was recently posted again as an EFS Classic. In those two years, some things have changed. My total has kept improving (although not as much as I would like, but that is mostly due to meet day miscues more than anything), I was called a “Westside-bashing, American-hating, watered-down Russian” on an infamous powerlifting forum, and my thoughts on certain things I touched on in my first article have changed. The purpose of this article is to revisit that first article and revise some of the original thoughts I had of how to apply this system. The main point is to address the issue of transference of training and making the most of one's time, as well as to take a look at frequency.

Clearing the air

First off, I do not hate America, Westside, or lifters that use systems that are similar to the methodology used at that gym. I understand that the particular system has worked for many (myself included for a short amount of time), and I have never discredited what the lifters there have accomplished. Their results have been nothing short of amazing, and they have brought many innovations to the sport. However, this article will probably have some ideas that are in sharp contrast to that system. That does not mean that anything about that system or any other system is wrong.

Dynamic correspondence/transfer of training/stop wasting your time

Much has been said about dynamic correspondence. I could easily go into one of the articles The Thinker wrote and put the definition in here or pull out one of Verkhoshansky’s books and type it verbatim. But, rather than do that, I will give a simplified definition for everyone that is opposed to people speaking scientifically (since apparently it is a crime to do so). So, for everyone that is offended by technical vocabulary, dynamic correspondence basically means using movements that will help to improve your competition events. They should be similar in structure to the main movements. So let’s just do a quick quiz here and see if you know which has more carryover to the competition lifts.

Select the movement that will have the most carryover to a bench press:

A) Close-Grip Bench Press
B) DB Incline
C) Rolling Triceps Extension

Select the movement that will have the most carryover to a squat:

A) Close Stance Pause Squat
B) Chain Suspended Good Morning
C) Reverse Hyper

Select the movement that will have the most carryover to a deadlift:

A) Chain Suspended Good Morning
B) Deficit Deadlift
C) Zercher Squat to an 11-inch box with band tension and chains

In case it isn't obvious or you didn't know, the answers are 1) A, 2) A, and 3) B. Basically, these movements share a higher level of similarity to the competition movements. So, this brings me to my next point of not wasting your time. For a powerlifter who is concerned with increasing his total in three specific events and not much else, do not waste time on minor bullshit like triceps extensions, reverse hypers, etc. at such a great volume that it takes away from your main lifts and supplemental work that has a transference. And yes, I understand the point that some lagging muscle groups can hold back progress. However, you can correct this through a few sets in your warm up or a few sets after your main work. Also, if you are so inclined, you can correct this in extra workouts either later in the day (if you train in the a.m.) or the next day (if you train in the p.m.) through low intensity accessory work. This will not impede your recovery if the volume and intensity are kept in check.


When it comes to the subject of training frequency, this is probably where I have had the most significant change of thought. The first article I wrote featured a lot of upper/lower splits that are fairly typical of American lifters — with the bench being performed twice and the squat and deadlift being performed one to two times a week, with the appropriate special exercises after. While this method has produced results, and can continue to produce results, lately I have become more favorable to training the lifts more often in a week. This holds true in both the accumulation and transmutation blocks.

My reasoning behind this is the fact that the sport really boils down to how well you do in the squat, bench, and deadlift. A large part of any competitive event is based on how technically sound you are in the competitive events. By performing the competition lifts and closely related variants of them, you will become more technically sound. It also works on a principle known as synaptic facilitation. This basically means that the more times a movement is performed (with enough stimulation from proper intensity), the better you will become due to neural factors. This is the premise behind the high intensity, high frequency programs of the Bulgarians or the high frequency (albeit lower intensity) programs of the Russians and other Eastern Bloc countries.

Now, before I lead anyone on and have them thinking that they now need to find whatever the internet has led people to believe is the “Bulgarian” method, or that they should plug their numbers into some cookie cutter “Sheiko” spreadsheet, understand that those programs may or may not be appropriate.  Understand that some of the programs that have made their way to the internet were designed for a specific lifter who may have a much higher level of qualification than yourself. Also, consider that some of these were designed for Elite athletes whose days were solely comprised of training, eating, and sleeping, so outside stressors were virtually eliminated. They also had access to a plethora of restorative measures that may not be available to you. If you are currently training once a day for three days a week, do not think you can jump straight to six or seven days of high intensity workouts for multiple sessions a day (and for most practical purposes this really won’t work for anyone with a job or responsibilities outside of training). This is something that must be gradually accumulated over time. Start slow and, as frequency is the key variable, increase it gradually.

Putting it together


Let’s now take a look at a couple programs side by side. The first example I show will be identical to the one in my original article for an accumulation block. Notice the upper/lower splits and the high amount of general work (Incline DB, GHR, Reverse Hyper, Triceps Pushdowns, and so on).

Day 1: Bench

  • Close-Grip Floor Press: 55–70% for 12 – 30 reps
  • DB Incline Press: 30–50 total reps
  • Seated Rows: 36–60 total reps
  • Face Pulls: 36–60 total reps
  • Triceps Pushdowns: 3 sets for as many reps as possible

Day 2: Deadlift

  • Deficit Deadlift (Conventional): 55–65% for 18–30 reps
  • Good Morning (Barbell): 4–5 sets for 6–10 reps
  • GHR: 50–75 total
  • Shrugs: 2–3 sets for 10–20 reps
  • Abs

Day 3: Bench

  • Ultra Wide Bench Press: 55–70% for 12–30 reps
  • DB Triceps Extensions: 30–60 total reps
  • Lat Pulldowns: 36–60 total
  • L-Lateral DB Raise: 30–45 total

Day 4: Squat

  • Box Squat: 55 –70% for 12–30 total
  • DB Split Squat: 24–40 total each leg
  • Reverse Hyper: 24–40 total
  • Optional Upper Back (usually a shrug variation): 2–3 sets for 10–20 reps
  • Abs

Now, let’s take a look at how this can be changed to have a higher frequency and a greater amount of dynamic correspondence. On paper, the volume will look lower, but it is lower in the general exercises. While these exercises may be of use to the novice lifter or to those who have a glaring issue they are trying to correct, these exercises become less important as a lifter’s qualification rises. Some general exercises are still included, but they are at the end of the workout after the two main movements of the day are finished. Also, note the frequency of the movements. The following template will be four days a week with squatting variations twice, deadlifting variations twice, and benching on all four days. However, note how the volume and frequency are altered to account for the increased frequency.

Day 1: Bench

  • Close-Grip Bench Press: 60–70% for 12–30 reps
  • Front Squat: 3–6 sets of 4–6 reps at RPE 6-7
  • DB Incline: 3–4 sets for 6–12 reps
  • Row variation: 30–50 total
  • Upper back or delts: 3 sets for 10–20 reps

Day 2: Deadlift

  • Deficit Deadlift (Conventional): 60 – 70% for 18–30 reps
  • Floor Press: 3–6 sets of 4–6 reps at RPE 6-7
  • Weighted 45 degree hyper: 3–5 sets for 8–12 reps
  • Lat Pulldowns: 3–4 sets of 10–15 reps
  • Abs

Day 3: Bench

  • Close-Grip Bench Press (legless): 60–70% for 12–30 reps
  • Romanian Deadlift: 3–6 sets of 4–6 reps at RPE 6-7
  • Weighted Pushups or dips: 36–60 total
  • Row variation: 30–50 total
  • Upper back or delts: 3 sets of 10–20 reps

Day 4: Squat

  • Box Squat: 60–70% for 12–30 total
  • Decline Bench: 3–6 sets of 4–6 reps at RPE 6-7
  • DB Split Squat: 3–5 x 6–12/leg
  • Pull-Ups: 30–60 total reps
  • Abs

This template gives an example of using more general specific exercises closer to the competition movements and eliminating the excessive volume of general accessory work. In addition, the RPEs are listed as six to seven. While six may seem light, I included it because when you are utilizing special exercises, it sometimes takes a few sets to get an accurate weight. So, maybe the first set or two is six, but then slight increases are made to make it RPE of seven. Also, while there is benching four days a week, the volume and intensity is tracked and a lifter should listen to his body on this. All of the sets, reps, and percentages/RPEs are just a guideline. Nothing is written in stone and all will need to be adjusted.


With this now covered, we will take a look at a transmutation block being revised. While I included a four-day split with upper and lower days separated, I have not favored this approach as of late. It is still a viable option, but for the transmutation block I am more partial to a three- or even four- day schedule that has more than one competition variant trained per session. There are a few different ways this can be set up. The first is a three-day split similar to what I had outlined in my first article. It would appear as the following:

These are the main training days which would be spaced out over the week. It could be Mon-Wed-Fri or Sun-Tue-Thur, or any variation of that. As far as the terms and exercise selection: Comp stands for competition movements (done with competition gear, grip, stance, etc.), Sup is for supplemental (special exercise closely related to the movement–such as competition stance or grip, but less gear and possibly adding bands, chains, or tempo changes), and Dev for developmental (special exercise still related to movement but done with different grip, stance, and tempo). RPE is listed, and for the competition movements, percentages are also a viable option. To give an example of this, let’s say Lifter A is a geared, wide stance squatter that pulls sumo. His three-day transmutation may look like this:

If a lifter wanted to have a four day/week transmutation block, I would suggest the following:

So, to give an example of our above lifter, let’s plug in these movements:

As far as general accessory work, it can be included on these days as a brief circuit at the end, or it can be done in extra workouts on off days. This would be light, easy flushing work and could be used to work some neglected areas (lats, upper back, injury prevention for knees and shoulders, mobility work, abs, etc.) Do not turn these into a bodybuilding workout on your off days.


In reference to the realization block, I would keep the same approach outlined in the original article. This is meant to be a taper and the decrease in frequency and volume will serve appropriately.


When it comes to a question of getting the most out of your training, a time comes when some of the general exercises are no longer a priority. It becomes important to decide when a shift needs to be made in favor of a means of training that will focus on the actual competitive events. To continue to reach new levels of performance, a lifter will need to prioritize the correct movements. Additionally, when volume and intensity can only be raised so much, frequency is another variable that can be manipulated. The key is for a lifter to make a gradual transition and know when the appropriate time has come to increase this. This is something that is individual to each lifter and will have to be monitored closely.

Note from Inc Founder

I wanted to add a notation to this article so please excuse any typo's, grammar or spelling errors I may use. This is unedited. I have followed Gabe for many years now and he is the "real deal" I have always used 4 measures of how good somebody is; What is their education, Who have the trained under, What have they personally done, and Who have they trained.

Gabe is one of the FEW I can say has excelled at all four - thus the real deal.

The reason for my posting this is Gabe like so many others with his qualifications do not have the time and can't stand the over promotion that happens in this industry. My intent is to pass on that Gabe does do online programing and is very affordable.  Personally I do not think he charges enough for what he's worth. If you are looking for someone to handle your programing Gabe is someone I highly suggest.

For more information you can reach him at Gabriel Naspinski --

FYI -, myself nor anyone associated with the site is receiving any affiliate fee or benefits from this.  I feel posting this is in the best interest of the readers because they may not otherwise know that Gabe offers this service.

- Dave Tate


Here is a link to Gabe's Blog