Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Weekly Q & A

I apologize for not having a Q & A lately.  With Dozer passing and a bunch of other personal issues I have been more flaky than usual.

Remember to please leave a name!



  1. Hey Paul,

    Hope you get back on track in quick order. Question is how to salvage a 3rd attempt deadlift. Had a meet this past weekend and for the most part met all my goals. Totally gassed by the final DL, which is good in a sense but also a 9/9 would be cool one of these days. Would better conditioning help to push through? Thx.

  2. Paul,

    Your 2/5/10 method described on Elitefts made a lot of sense to me. Is this something you use for most of your workouts? Or do you normally do something like working up to a new rep max each workout with a different rep (ie 5rm, 3rm, 10rm)

  3. Dano - That scheme is something I used in the past years ago with really good success in getting up past 250 for the first time ever (that and a dozen banana muffins a day).

    For pure mass work I like sets of 10+ and use what I would call moderately heavy weights. When I am training for powerlifting I stay in the 1-5 rep range most of the time but go to 8-10 on assistance stuff. Hope this answers.

    Bigs - First off, how did the meet go?

    Second, not sure on why you missed that final dead. It could be that it just wasn't in the bag for the day, or that you ran out of gas at a long meet (that's happened to plenty of guys). You could always set it up so that you go for that PR on the third deadlift attempt ONLY. So you pull something light for the opener, then something medium for the second attempt, then leave everything in the bag for the third shooting for that 5-10 pound PR, or whatever. This isn't a bad strategy. Neither is just making it on your second attempt and passing on the third. But if you really want to go 9-9 and still get some PR's just be modest in your PR attempts. 5-10 pounds for each, and then you just had a career day.

  4. Meet went good. PR's on squat, deadlift and total. 30 lbs. short of elite, but man how tough it's getting to cross that line! Want to thank you again for all the info you put on here. Your tips played a huge role in the improvements from last time.

  5. This is awesome bigs. Be patient with the additional pounds and you will get there.

  6. Paul,

    How do you and/or what do you recommend for warm ups at a meet?

    In the past I just warmed up like I do to train, but was curious if you do it by feel/have a set warm up or what? Any other pointers for warm up sets to get me ready to go? Any differences between warming up for the 3 lifts? Focus on form/speed or other mental cues?

    Sorry for all the questions, I'm 2.5 weeks out from my meet and starting to obsess a little...

    Would probably make a great article in the future


  7. Paul,

    What are your thoughts on Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 method for raw lifters who haven't yet hit that 300/400/500 mark on their bench/squat/deadlift?

  8. Jacque - Try to use your opener as your LAST warm up. So warm up in the back, then open on the platform with the weight you would consider your last warm up before you go for that 5-10 pound PR on the second attempt. Make sense? I just wrote an article about a week and a half ago on what to do with your attempts at a meet. Check it out. :)

    Daniel - I think Jim's method is great. For beginners what I would do is run up and then down the percentage ladder each workout. So you end up doing 5 sets total. So on the 5 rep day you do 65% x 5, 75% x 5, 85% x 5, 75% x 5, 65% x 5.

  9. Paul,

    First, I want to say that this blog is an awesome resource, and thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

    Second, I was wondering what you consider the optimal rep range to deadlift in? Singles, doubles, triples, or higher reps? I'm looking to get my deadlift up to 500 (my current PR is 450, and my best squat is 335 and going up).


  10. Kyle,
    Singles, doubles, and triples is what I consider optimal. Some guys do like higher reps but I personally have found that my dead only moves when I pull in those ranges, with some sets of 5's here and there too.

  11. Paul,

    In response to your earlier 5/3/1 queestion, would you then forego the rep maxes if you were running up and down the % scheme for the day?

  12. When my pull up or chinning strength increases I sense my levels of awesomeness increase as well. But when my row strength increase, not so much.

    Could U please explain why this is what it is?

  13. Because anyone can row. Not everyone can chin.

    Daniel - You can work that a lot of different ways. You can still do the top set all out, or do the first back off set all out, etc. I just like getting that amount of volume in for beginners because I always feel like they need it.

  14. Hi,
    regarding the 5/3/1 question: would you still have the beginner then do the accessory work, such as for the Boring but Big template?

    I'm guessing yes since you just said a beginner needs more volume anyway :)


  15. Yeah I like the BBB template for just about everyone.

  16. How would you add pause work for the bench and squat into 5/3/1? I was thinking about just doing 3 sets of 5 after my top set.

  17. One easy way for bench is to simply just pause the first rep of each set no matter what. Done.

    For pause squats just use the first set of the 5/3/1 percentage. So on the 65-75-85 day just use 65% x 5 for pause squats after you are done. Same for the other days.

  18. Hi,
    I was wondering what kind of routine would you recommend for a beginner ? I'm coming back from an injury (broken foot) and while searching the internet for some info on setting up a good plan, I must say the amount of contradicting information is quite overwhelming.

    I'm not training for powerlifting as I do thai boxing but getting stronger would help.
    What should I do in the gym ?


  19. Pete - When I came back from surgery I had really good success using the MadCow 5x5 routine plugging in some VERY conservative numbers. I eliminated the squat on the mid week workout too. See if you like it.

  20. Paul,

    Wonderful blog! Best information I have seen on the net hands down.

    So sorry about your dog. I am a huge dog man myself and I have unfortunately been in the same place as you. Hang in there.

    My training question has to do with using an A/B split. For a trainee looking to increase strength and size while maintaining a base level of conditioning, what kind of A/B split would you recommend?

  21. Generally a squat and deadlift day then a day with bench/military/chin/row on the other. Remember all of this is just variations of the same shit.

  22. Paul,

    Do you think strength gains can still be made if one is devoting himself to MMA training quite a bit?

    How would you go about setting something up for a BJJ/MMA guy looking to get stronger/build muscle?

  23. Jon -


  24. Thanks for the reply Paul.

    In response, would anything change if that MMA fighter was in his off-season and wanted to lose fat?

    Would the practices take care of the fat loss? Just watch the diet and train the same?


  25. Abs are made in the kitchen so I'd just keep up the sport practice, then adjust the calories down until the fat came off at a good pace. So yeah just get the diet in check and keep up the disciplines involved.

  26. Similar to the MMA question, I am wanting to diet down and then start my muscle gains as I get back into weights again. Condition 4 day a week with 2 low and 2 high intensity, and 2 weight training days. Should I manipulate my diet and just work with it until I am losing about 1 pound ever week or so? I am going to try your 3 solid meals and 2 snacks. Ideas on the meals and snacks? Thanks Paul

  27. 3 squares a deal, just make sure it's all good food and go light on the snacks. Like a protein bar or an apple with some almonds, etc.

  28. What do you consider to be a square meal? Protein carbs and fats?

  29. Yes. So 1.5 servings (your fist is a serving size) of protein, 1 serving of carbs, and serving of fat. The fat is tricky. Just go easy on the fats and they generally take care of themselves. So for like breakfast go with some avocado slices or a tablespoon of natural peanut butter or almond butter, etc for the fat. So 4-6 egg whites and oatmeal with that.

    Then for lunch do a tuna sandwich with mayo (that's the fats) on a good whole wheat bread with an apple and banana.

    Then for dinner do a lean protein like chicken or beef with brown rice or sweet potato and salad with a good oil on the salad.

    That's 3 squares. :)

  30. Paul-
    You have written before about a great training templates for beginners, intermediates and advanced lifters that you have come up with. Any info on this template?

  31. Paul, what do you think of training to failure/Yates' training/Doggcrapp?

  32. Dave - Not sure which one you are referring to.

    Martin - I love that kind of training. Has been my bread and butter for a long time. Great for mass and strength IMO.

  33. In response to your Doggcrap/failure response, what do you feel constitutes training to failure? Cluster sets? Rest-Pause training? I would like to try this to kick start my strength and mass gaining.

  34. The rest/pause for DC is good. I took everything to complete failure. What I did even, was to finish on the negative portion of the rep. So when you knew you couldn't get another rep, I would lower the weight really slow. So you need to do a lot of stuff in a smith or power rack with the rails up.

  35. Paul,

    Wanted to tell you that the information you put on this website is top notch! I recently started dieting down a bit using your 3 square meals a day. Using some advice you have given out, along with some advice I read from Wendler I am slowly but surely dropping weight and not feeling like I am going to die from dieting. In fact the other day my lunch was a turkey sandwich and a cookie. One of my colleagues said you look like your losing weight and that is what you eat? Haha Thanks for all you do!

  36. This is awesome. And it's easy yes. Keep up the good work.

  37. Paul,

    Yep easy! Thanks for this great website. I was 210 and I am trying to get under 200 for the first time in quite a while. Losing about 2 lbs. a week.

  38. Paul:

    I just started reading your blog and find it kind of addicting. Not always easy to find good training info to glean from on the web. Especially from someone who actually trains heavy. I agree about it being easier to knock out reps in the DL. Have you ever done sub-max multiple singles for DL training? If so, what's your opinion of them? It's the way I like to train the DL, waving the weight up for a few weeks, then backing off to go again. Repping out in the DL seems to take more from me than it gives. What do you think?


  39. Frank - I did that for a while when I was using Brad Gillingham's program and it took me up to 615 in the dead which was a PR for me at the time. I am not a great deadlifter so I have to search out all sorts of ways to improve mine.

    Funny that you brought this up because Andy Bolton does a lot of light-speed style deads from the floor, then does all of his really heavy stuff off of blocks below the knees. If I weren't so close to this meet I would implement that style because I really like it. I may do that next time out.

  40. Paul,

    Going to start gaining mass, trying to build up to about 220-230 range. What are your thoughts on using a 3 day a week A/B? split that looks like this:


    10 minutes hill sprints

  41. Hey Paul,
    Wonderful website! What would you recommend for someone trying to get back into lifting that can workout 3 days a week?

  42. Darren -

    Don't overdo it. You don't want to feel like someone kicked your ass 6 ways till Sunday right out of the gate.

    Keep it simple. Do squats, pulls, bench, overheads, chins, and rows. Use weights that feel good, not heavy.

    Pick a goal to meet and see it out.