Weight Training Cycle – 16 Week Building Peaking Exercise Routine


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Strength Training Cycle 16 Week Building & Peaking Workout Program. This strength training cycle is comprised of 2 phases: 8 Week Powerbuilding Stage You will be trying to build strength and musclewhile using more conventional rep ranges. Workout Description. This is a 16 week bench press-building training system for late beginner to intermediate lifters. It is comprised of 2 distinctly different, but important blocks: Block 1 8 weeks of hypertrophy training.

The goal during this time is to get your reps in, build more muscle and work on exercise form. An ectomorph workout is a training program designed to build mass for skinny individuals. The ectomorph body type is often described as having a flat chest, small shoulders, and thin waist.

These individuals are often described as thin or skinny and have trouble putting on weight, possibly due to a faster than average metabolism (i.e. they are. Strength is displayed at 1 rep, not 5 reps, and there is a meaningful difference in technique, musculoskeletal forces, and nervous system activity between the two rep ranges. Thus, while training for strength is best done with multiple sets of 3-5 reps, training to peak your strength in a 1rm requires a more specific approach.

Using the program below, it’s not surprising to see a 20-50 pound increase in 1RM over a sixteen-week training period. I’ve even witnessed as much as a 90-pound increase. You’ll only deadlift once per week, preferably 3-4 days after squatting. You’ll also notice that you take every fourth week off from deadlifting.

This training approach is designed to hit your muscles hard three times per week and then allow enough time to promote growth and recovery. It has been most popular among strength-seeking lifters, because it has you training in the strength-building sweet. With that being said, during your training days, it is beneficial to perform full body workouts (2-3 training days per week) or upper/lower workouts (4 days per week). This will allow you to train with an optimal frequency to build or maintain lean body mass. Additionally, when you plan a year-long cycle, try alternating between different numbers of workouts per week.

For example, during a bulking phase you could workout 4-5 times per week, during a strength phase 3-4 times per week, and during a cutting phase 2-3 times per week. A well designed program will start off with lower weights and higher reps, and gradually increase the weights used while lowering the reps until you are peaking (lifting the heaviest weight you can), then there will be a week where you lower the intensity and use that time to recover. This would be one training cycle. Weight workouts suggested in the ATP are listed by strength phase and come from Joe Friel’s Training Bible methodology.

AA = Anatomical AdaptationME = Muscular EnduranceMS = Maximum StrengthMT

List of related literature:

You will learn more about how to structure training cycles based on a specific goal (periodization is the term used to describe this programming strategy) on here, and I provide several sample programs to get you moving in the right direction on here.

“Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training” by Bret Contreras, Glen Cordoza
from Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training
by Bret Contreras, Glen Cordoza
Victory Belt Publishing, 2019

For the next three months or so, I would round out the routine so that the exercises would be better balanced between weak and strong parts.

“Franco Columbu’s Complete Book of Bodybuilding” by Franco Columbu
from Franco Columbu’s Complete Book of Bodybuilding
by Franco Columbu
Creators Publishing, 2017

You will notice that these workouts generally follow a 2-week cycle, to allow for other moderate training exercises that will exist within the plan and bring diversity.

“Hal Koerner's Field Guide to Ultrarunning: Training for an Ultramarathon, from 50K to 100 Miles and Beyond” by Hal Koerner, Adam W. Chase
from Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning: Training for an Ultramarathon, from 50K to 100 Miles and Beyond
by Hal Koerner, Adam W. Chase
VeloPress, 2014

With this frequency you will see steady improvements in strength but will not compromise the rest of your training program because of excess fatigue.

“Advanced Marathoning” by Pete Pfitzinger, Scott Douglas
from Advanced Marathoning
by Pete Pfitzinger, Scott Douglas
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2019

This is the perfect cycle to get that extra training and you will find it easy to grasp your goals.

“The Ultimate Dictionary of Dream Language” by Briceida Ryan
from The Ultimate Dictionary of Dream Language
by Briceida Ryan
Hampton Roads Publishing, 2013

For advanced training (>3 days/week), it is recommended that a split routine be used (e.g., first and third day: upper body; second and fourth day: lower body).

“The Active Female: Health Issues Throughout the Lifespan” by Jacalyn J. RobertMcComb, Reid L. Norman, Mimi Zumwalt
from The Active Female: Health Issues Throughout the Lifespan
by Jacalyn J. RobertMcComb, Reid L. Norman, Mimi Zumwalt
Springer New York, 2014

The 4-3-2-1 Cycle (or modified 3-2-1 Cycle) described earlier is an excellent framework by which to periodize training for optimal results.

“The Rock Climber's Exercise Guide: Training for Strength, Power, Endurance, Flexibility, and Stability” by Eric Horst
from The Rock Climber’s Exercise Guide: Training for Strength, Power, Endurance, Flexibility, and Stability
by Eric Horst
Falcon Guides, 2016

These routines, like all the sample routines in this book, are only a guide to the possibilities for a diversified workout.

“Sculpting Her Body Perfect” by Brad Schoenfeld
from Sculpting Her Body Perfect
by Brad Schoenfeld
Human Kinetics, 2008

Training consisted of a multiset split-body routine of 8 to 11 reps carried out 4 days per 10 weeks No

“Science and Development of Muscle Hypertrophy” by Brad Schoenfeld
from Science and Development of Muscle Hypertrophy
by Brad Schoenfeld
Human Kinetics, 2020

The recommendation for the novice or the beginner to resistance training is to use frequencies of two or three days per week when training the entire body (4, 19, 22, 25, 51, 95).

“NSCA's Essentials of Personal Training” by NSCA -National Strength & Conditioning Association
from NSCA’s Essentials of Personal Training
by NSCA -National Strength & Conditioning Association
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2011

Alexia Lewis RD

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  • Hey Zack, I remember watching the videos about progressing relative intensity through a cycle. Do you have any general principles or guidelines for progressing volume at an appropriate rate similar to how you used relative intensity? Thanks, great content always!��

  • how would you tailor the program for non-olympic lifter? Squat is my favorite exercise and I squat just like Chinese olympic lifter(I’m Chinese myself lmao)-deep and explosive with a bounce at the bottom. But I found my squatting style might not really respond very well to typical power lifting program. At the same time, I am not training for clean and jerk and snatch either, so I do not have to worry about wasting training resources on that and can dedicate more towards things like squat, overhead press and deadlift. Will greatly appreciate your advice!

  • Why is it when I ask any strength or fitness organisation or channel about jump squats for weightlifting all I get is a wall of silence?
    Why is it such a mysterious subject?
    Why is it that no one ever talks about it?
    Why is there only 30sec clips of it all over YouTube with no speech whatsoever?
    Is it an amazing training tool that top coaches don’t want to reveal? Or is it utterly useless so no one bothers with it?

  • I’ve officially watched this 5 times and the entire thing in my spiral. I’m 11 weeks out and doing 2 strength blocks with a 3 week peak cycle. Looking for some awesome PRs in my second meet. Thanks Chad!!!!

  • Thanks for the material as always Chad much appreciated. I still can’t get over how much better my bench is. When I was hitting a wall I watched videos from some good benchers. Yours and Brandon Lillys has helped me more than all the ques work just perfect for me. Good way of breaking stuff down.

  • Zack might not be as elite as me, but this is the best squat advice I’ve heard Zack. This isn’t just coming from anyone, I am a legendary youth swim coach, with so many championship rings that I can’t turn doorhandles: so you can trust my opinion on squatting. Just the other night I was almost arrested on fake charges that my neighbor called in. I was told that unloading my firearm into a conjoining wall isn’t allowed; even though the US had just beaten England for the umpteenth time. Needless to say he hates America. Found out his nephew swims for my club team. Seems like I might need to accuse another swimmer’s family of extortion. Gonna enjoy the rest of my night with my 9th shot of fireball, and get ready to continue making history.

  • Good afternoon, I’d like to incorporate these principles into my training (current use The Juggernaut Method 2.0) & was wondering if they would be appropriate as a main assistance? For example on any given wave do the normal main lift & then a reasonably specific variation in this pattern.
    Week 1: Juggernaut Bench | High Incline Bench 4×4 @ 85%
    Week 2: Juggernaut Bench | Medium Incline Bench 4×5 @ 80%
    Week 3: Juggernaut Bench | Low Incline Bench 4×6 @ 75%

    If this isn’t the right place for this type of question, my apologies. I’ve managed to resist the internet until recently soi don’t know all the rules.

    Awesome video a lot of useful information. Thanks John

  • i just do 531,
    take 90% of your one rep max and use that for the programming,

    5x5x5 3x3x3 5x3x1
    65% 70% 75%
    75% 80% 85%
    85% 90% 95%

    last set each squat day is as many reps as possible

  • Is one exercise per category of training (acceleration, plyometrics, strength training) enough to provide a good stimulus for improving? Thank you for your knowledge

  • +Juggernaut Training Systems How, when and how often do you re-establish your max lifts?  Would that change based on the lifter’s experience?

  • 3:15
    That is one of the reasons I am a lifter, it is akin to building an RPG character however you want, but it’s YOUR OWN body.
    There are so many variables to play around with, resulting in ease of progress for those who venture beneath the regular workout plan. (aka rotating exercises to achieve different stimuli thus additional results)

  • $1/month is a beauty deal. I’m currently working with a PL coach but would like someday to return to weightlifting, hopefully this deal is still around!

  • Gentlemen another excellent video with excellent content such an excellent system using an individual’s goals common sense and science to regulate training you guys at JTS are at the top of the game!!!!������������

  • When considering volume, (particularly MRV), would all exercises that contribute to lower body fatigue be considered equally, or would movements like goodmornings and RDL’s contribute only to posterior muscles while squats, and front squats might contribute to both or primarily quads?

  • Hey Chad I recently signed up for Strong360. I was hoping there would be one there on peaking, just like the one on hypertrophy, but it doesn’t seem like it has been made yet. Can I please ask you do so? I’m really interested in learning as much as I can about programming and I feel I understand hypertrophy and strength training pretty damn well, but I would like to see how someone like you peaks. I have a general idea of it, but there is always more to learn.

  • Well since I am an sith I’ll deal in my absolute, absolutely max out every day. If you’re not pretending to train like a Bulgarian you’re not a true American lifter

  • I’m no expert but Zack doesn’t it kinda make sense to both front and overhead squat more often then back squat since they are more direct to they’re competition lift counterpart?

  • My squats are terrible. I can deadlift around 4x300lbs, power clean 155lbs, push press 150lbs, bench around 180 but only back squat 185ish. WHYYY

    Update as of Aug 2nd: did a heavy session and got a few PRs!
    Back squat: 95kg/210lbs
    Front squat: 80kg/ 175lb
    Super pumped!

    Edit Aug 16th: BS= 102kg

  • i put the numbers and program shown in the video into a spreadshit, hope it’s okay that i share.
    Just save the file and put your own 1rm’s into the boxes that say 100% it gives a good look at how the program would pan out (i havent made the %’s for accersory)

  • what does it mean when someone says “competition squat”? In other words, whats the difference between low bar and competition squat? Is it just a matter of whether you use the equipment you plan on using in a meet?

  • So someone who isnt preparing for competition should someone just train with heavier loads and more specificity since there is no peaking. For example 4-6 week block of with 85%-%90 1-3×5 with for example s,d,and bench. Maybe performed up to 4-3 times a week with a deload on the 7th week? I was thinking of doing 3 cycles then completing a hypertrophy block to prevent accommodation. Also do you have a set schedule increasing 1rm percentages numbers, or is it by feel? Do you do any DUP and if you do is it between the 1-5 rep ranges?

  • demetris parker https://youtu.be/JDn5755piog Check out my Powerlifting weighed in at 173 1300 total competition 565 deadlift 290 pause bench and 445 squat at age 20 overall Athlete football my and track in transition to college football and i run a 4.44 40yds 10.96 100m and 22.27 200m and 37in at 5’7 I really would love your help ikno I have potential to do 100% better

  • awesome video! would love to see how you peak after a strength block. I’m not quite an elite lifter yet but I do benefit really well from high volume training.

  • nice video and super informative! What do you think of the idea that you will lose a quality (for example hypertrophy) if you don’t train it frequently enough? So if you are following a linear-type program, by the time you get to your heavier weights, won’t you have lost some muscle size?

  • How do you determine the amount of sets you do for a given lift on a given day? Say you’re doing a light day and you do reps of 6 @ 70%…How do you know how many sets to do for that? Any answers would be greatly appreciated.

  • lets say someone is not going to compete for maybe a year or longer would you still have them go through these blocks or stay at lets say two blocks like hypertrophy block and then move to strength and back to hypertrophy or would you want them to peak to see where the person is and then restart the blocks again and so forth?

  • Any advice on choosing your assistance work in a strength block, in terms of selection, intensity and volume compared to a hypertrophy block?

  • hey coach. I have a question. What should be done after 4 weeks? go back to week 1 but with progressive overload comparing to the previous week 1? also the link for the hyperthrophy block cannot be used at the moment is there a valid link for now?

  • That intro was damn a-freaking-mazing. “And is their answer is anything besides “it depends” They’re doing you a disservice, because only a sith deals in absolutes” I immediately liked the video after that

  • do u guys know any youtubers similar to zack that deal with general strength/bodybuilding? it’s kinda what i do and people like omar are a good middle ground i find. many i see nowadays are just vloggers who go through their exercises with quite a bit of broscience and milk the 10 minute video gains. i know there are some out there, i’m just tryna find them lol

    and honestly i watch so much oly lifting because it fascinates me. props to zack too cuz he somehow interests me on the specifics of something i literally do not even do LMAO

  • I want to know If I don’t have competitions and just want to get stronger, can i just go through hypertrophy and general strength only without peaking? will that mess things up?

  • This may be a dumb question hopefully I can word it out properly. Going off your 1rm for your variations of your main lifts, for ex: competition deadliest, block pulls, box dreads// competition grip bench, wide grip etc etc. How did you find the time to find the 1rm of your variations of the competition lifts out? Was it one training cycle prior or?

  • @Chad: How should i train if i do not compete in near future?: )
    Should i go for a 3:2 ratio with Hyperthrophy Phases(3) and Strength Phases(2) without peaking phases?
    To me: I am a beginner


  • Not sure if I missed it, but what do you do after the 4th week? Guesstimate new maxes and use those as percentages? Or just add something you can manage to all your work sets, perhaps 5 to 10lbs? Or add a specific amount to the maxes like 5lbs to bench and 10lbs to lower body until you can’t handle the weight? Or do you go for a peaking phase always?

  • What are the thoughts behind specific exercise selection based on the daily stress of HI vs Med vs Low How do you choose to prioritize a specific movement for a specific stress vs another. Are high days best served with competition specific lifts vs variations while low days might better serve those variations?

  • What if you are a raw lifter who squats low bar. What would you suggest I do when it says comp squat then low bar? Would I do a different variation instead of more low bar?

  • Chad, I have no $$, and I must learn how to phase potentiate on my own. What would be a great help to me is for you to let me know which one of your posts I should study in order to prepare for a meet that is 20 weeks away. I need to design a peaking block and I will have to do it on my own. I want to use your posts to help me do that. I just got done with a meet last weekend and pulled 600 DL and a bench 290. I wasn’t able to do the squat because the meet filled up too fast before i could get my $$ in. I would have been going for a 525 squat.

  • Is there a reason that in your book the training intensities for strength block 75-90% while in this video you describe them as 70-85%?

  • 60 70% for hypertrophy I’ve found this to be true as well. The bro mags won’t tell you this though. Most people think that training in 90% and up is for general strength building in powerlifting when it is actually for peaking. Good job on setting the record straight. Also nice total, keep it up you might get number one.  Really sound advice here.

  • Not judging dude, just asking, why the suicide grip? With that much weight. I know it puts the weight over your wrist better, but damn, be careful dude

  • Great videos. I already bought myTudor Bompa book. So 80% relative int. its like 1 rep with 80% of 1RM. Its not much, a good point of start.

  • Do you have a spreadsheet that show this more clearer where i can plug in my maxes so i can use this method to get stronger in my main lift?

  • What would you do if you wanted to do more bodybuilding stuff? If one also would like to look good naked 😉 Should be possible to have sets of 8-12 on accessory exercises through the hypertrophy and strength-periods?

  • Hi chad, Was just wondering if i could get your opinion on block selection. Im a u93 lifter who is very underweight for my category, for reasons i won’t go into cutting inst really an option, but im 85kg at 6’1″. I understand in the long run running more hypertrophy blocks would be beneficial. That being said i have only 12 weeks until a meet I want to go to, my squat and deadlift are still progressing solidly and are at 190kg and 230kg, my bench is a pitiful 97.5kg and hasn’t moved in a year. My plan was to go Hyp/Str/Peak. I was wondering if maybe running two str blocks would be better.

    (In writing this i may have answer my own question, i normally have people to talk to while at uni but i stuck in the middle of nowhere here and its had without someone to bounce ideas off. Id still be interested to hear your opinion, I think i should probably just accept im a long way off my goals and get at that hypertrophy.)

  • Are you in an abusive relationship with your Periodization? Does time spent on your Blocks leave you fatigued and depressed? Maybe you just haven’t met the RIGHT Periodization for YOU! Well, we have a solution for you here at JTS!

  • So why do you wear Oly shoes for powerlifting? I’m thinking about making the switch from flat footed to Oly shoes. I’ve been experiencing knee pain and was wondering if the switch is worth it.

  • So would it be smart to apply this same undulation and progression with obviously more volume and less intensity as well as less specificity for hypertrophy and keeping me the reps from 6-12

  • Hey Chad,
    thanks for the very informative video:)

    One quick question on the part at 18:00 about the different rep schemes:
    Why is it that grouping them together in blocks (hypertrophy block, strength block, peaking block) is better compared to undulating the different rep schemes on a daily basis like for example monday squat strength, tuesday bench hypertrophy etc.?

    I personally find both approaches appealing and would like to know why one is superior to the other when guys like for example Eric Helms suggest the 2nd route with the argument that hypertrophy really isnt a real adaption that you can train for, but much rather a byproduct of strength training that occurs once you get sufficient volume above a certain intensity threshold in.
    I would appreciate a quick answer as I’m currently putting together my next training cycles after reading your book, which is awesome by the way, thanks man:)

  • Hey Chad, I was curious as to what approach you take in terms of programming your set ranges. Do you increase/decrease them according to feel or do you follow a basic guideline like Prilepin’s Table or something similar? Keep up the great content, these videos are incredible!

  • I’m not really sure what you mean by low medium and high intensity here. Isn’t 3 sets of 6 reps @ 75% of one rep max at 9 rpe the same “intensity” as 3 sets of 5 reps @ 80% of one rep max at 9 rpe? I. E., it would seem to me that both of the above examples would produce a similar stimulus amd fatiqueand and thus require a similar recovery time?

  • Is the bridge possibly a first step towards a Strongman AI? I think you’ve stated Strongman training had too many factors for an AI, but maybe you’re revisiting the idea?

  • Hey Chad, i can’t see mto find a clear answer to this question but how does someone decide on the overall volume to complete. I see indications towards ideal volumes for set intensities when focusing on different percentages. However how much over all volume should i be doing taking into account accessories

  • Hey Chad, thank you for the great video! It is amazing how much high quality content you put out there. I began to use your juggernaut training system 4 weeks ago and I love it! After 17 years of training I am already able to see a new boost in my performance. Keep up the great work and good luck for your competition

  • hey Zack on my channel I upload single lifts of elite lifters from major competitions so if you need to use short lifting videos for your channel and the related topic you cover go check what I have:-), just go on videos because on home page not all videos are displayed

  • For an athlete coming off an injury where they essentially could do very little lifting for an 8 week block, would you recommend running one or two hypertrophy” blocks in a 30 week competition prep?

  • Hey Chad,
    I was wondering, you said you’ll be running a strength block twice and the percentage are between 70-85% depending on the day whether it low/med/hi. So in every hi day for example, if my max bench is 100lbs and its between 80-85%, so every time its hi day for my bench, do i just keep doing 85lbs maybe even 90 or 95lbs. But do i stay around that ballpark everytime? Or do i add an extra set or even bump my max up?

  • Are doing calf raises necessary? Don’t all you need is isometric strength of the calves instead of concentric eccentric? And what are good ways to train the Achilles tendon?

  • Is there a particular total volume for the strength sessions, meaning like a rep range for all of your working sets? Here it seems as though you are hovering between 20-25. But is that adjusted as your training progresses to increase work capacity?

  • When you write 75-80% do you just cycle the same loads every time? Or do you work from 75% intensities to 80% as the weeks progress? So week 1 75%, week 2 77%, week 3 80%?

  • Let’s say I have a Powerlifting meet in 12 weeks time, should I have a hypertrophy block in these 12 weeks or should I just focus on a strength block?

  • Just wondering, would it would be a decent idea to use this split (mostly because I want to train my squat more than once a week), but train the lifts on the first 3 days with the JTM and use Thursday and Friday as speed/form/hypertrophy days?

  • If you have not bought the Scientific Principles of Strength Training book from JTS then I strongly recommend you do it if you liked this video as the book is more of the same, just more in depth. Really enjoyed reading the book and watching this video, thanks for sharing Chad!

  • hey Chad, this is awesome info, it’s really helped me add strength. as I’m about to run it a 2nd time, I’m wondering how do you suggest determining your numbers for the next block if you feel your strength has increased. is it always true 1rm, or do you add weights by %s? thanks for all the help!

  • @Juggernaut Training Systems This is one of the only times I’ve seen instruction on how to create your own program and the rationale.  It’s a great video I bookmarked.  Is all of this (and more) covered in the Scientific Principles of Strength Training?  Would I have been able to put a program like this together using that ebook as a guide?

  • Why sometime you increase set and reps still sane, and sometimes you increase reps and set still same, and if it s only 6 to 8 weeks to prepare the season is it same procède? And in case we have in pre season 3 double sessions weeks (morning and afternoon) how can program?? Thank u

  • Guys dont do training programmes you see on internet.These programmes are only for people who take drugs.The only thing you will evantualy do is overtrain your muscles if you guys follow these programmes

  • Hello.Can İ ask a question?
    İ live in Azerbaijan where It is impossible to find a good coach.Can I get stronger with only using your books, articles, sites?

  • Just curious for volume are you only performing 2-4 total volume or per exercise for plyometrics, and thus should only focus on 1-2 exercises?

  • Contra-indication. It looks like it has something to do with training but rather has something to do with indicating. I learned my lesson with that word from a friend making fun of me:(

  • I don’t get the dead stop to kill all momentum in the bench press, but than proceed to create momentum with hip drive at every new rep.. Can someone explain. Thanks for the video.

  • Thank you, Chad Wesley Smith. I just ran this with my percentages for 3 weeks, currently on deload and everything feels amazing. Breaking through all sorts of plateaus thanks to your programming!

  • I’m seeing great results. In November 2019 I started on AI 1.0. I was hurt from March till September 2019 and couldn’t lift. Both knees then hip then sciatica. So basically starting at zero in September. I programmed like what I was doing prior and it wasn’t really working like it did before injuries. Enter the AI. Pre injury I had a 365 squat, 305 bench, 405 deadlift. Then 6 months of back to back injuries. I started programming again and started building back which gave me my pre AI maxes. Pre AI 1rm 285 squat, 295 bench 335 deadlift. So I lost a lot. After one cycle on AI 385 squat, 325 bench, 435 deadlift. Pre injury numbers and more. It works if you want it to. And for someone who is a few months shy of 40 not horrible numbers.

  • In football discpline, in off season, we have 6 weeks to prepare to competitin and we have double session, in for 3 weeks how can i planified plyometric with other qualities, strengh and sprint and power. Thank u bro

  • Thanks so much for this. I literally had no idea how to program a strength block. All I’d do is go for the basic progressive overload training close to failure and just spend time training near 90% when I’d feel like hitting a 1rm in coming weeks. Definitely feel a little more confident now.

  • Why sometime you increase set and reps still sane, and sometimes you increase reps and set still same, and if it s only 6 to 8 weeks to prepare the season is it same procède? And in case we have in pre season 3 double sessions weeks (morning and afternoon) how can program?? Thank u

  • How would you go from your MEV to MRV (which requires increasing volume) but also use linear periodization in a hypertrophy block, where you want to decrease your volume to increase your intensity?

  • What is the reason people have different recovery capacity on lifts? (and also different volume thresholds for lifts and / or muscle groups?) Can the psychological approach a person has to the lift be something that plays a part like for example a person always gets hyped for a certain lift and thinks that lift is the hardest he spends more energy on that lift because he increases psychological and physiological arousal and thus its more fatiguing?