Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Weekly Q & A

Leave a name and question....321 go


  1. Hi Paul,

    I am currently running your UB Hypertrophy cycle and am thinking of using the assistance outlined in your 'Making your strong points stronger part II' post for my next (3rd) cycle:
    Squats -
    Pause Squats

    Bench -
    Paused Bench/T-Shirt Benches/Cambered Bar Benches

    Deadlifts -
    Block Deadlifts and all pulls below the knees

    Would you suggest rounding this out with some higher rep stuff? Obviously I'll still do the Overhead day too as per UB.


  2. ive beeen having some problems with my elbows(tendinitis) wat can i do ?

  3. For the pause squats they work best with triples and 5's.

    For the block deads stick to 1 top set of 5-8

    For the paused bench and t-shirt benches sets of 5 too.

    So as you can see, the ones you picked are built around getting stronger at the bottom, and not really hypertrophy. If you want something with higher reps add db incline press after those, chins after deads, and leg press after squats would be ideal.

  4. Paul,

    I seem to lose strength when I don't do a movement often enough. I've tried the once a week thing and I just seem to get weaker. Is this possible? Am I a puss? What's the solution? Stick with the ole Upper/Lower?


  5. Anonymous - Elbows: Avoid skull crushers for one. Strengthen and stretch your forearm muscles. Ice after pressing, and mainly ease up for a while.

    Matt - What are your current strength levels?

  6. Paul,

    Deadlift question. When the bar is slightly below mid-shin, my legs have fully locked out and it's a good morning for about 3/4 of the entire lift. I'm not big on the term 'hips shoot up', but I guess that is how you could visualize it.

    1 - Is this necessarily a bad thing as many articles would have you believe
    2 - If yes, how would you go about getting better at staying down on the bar

    FWIW, I'm at a 540lb pull for 1RM and have been at it (training) about 5 years.


  7. Bigs - I'd need to see a video to comment and be accurate. But lots of guys are high hip pullers. I am as well. You shouldn't be stiff legged that low however the leverages at mid-shin do suck ass. If you get a video up let me know.

  8. Paul,

    I would love to see you write more training programs similar to what you have done in the past with the UB series and the ADD guys guide to mass. Any programs forthcoming?

  9. Paul, I'd like your thoughts on my program. Returning back to training after shoulder surgery. Goals are just to get stronger overall.

    Squats 3 x 5 (add 5lbs from last squat workout -reset by 10% when can't hit reps)
    Pendlay Rows - 35-50 total reps
    BW Dips - varying rep schemes (weighted every 3rd workout)
    Back Extensions (alternate A/B style w/ Ab work)

    Good Mornings - 3 x 3
    S[eed Deadlifts 60-70% 1RM for 8 x 1
    Close-Grip Bench - 3 x 5 (add 5lbs every other week)
    BW Chinups - varying rep schemes (weighted every 3rd workout)
    Crunches - weighted (A/B)

    Squats 3 x 5 (add 5lbs progressively)
    DB Rows (35-50 total reps)
    Back Extensions (A/B style)

    thanks for your help.

  10. Anonymous - Yessir. In the works on some programs.

    Zaj - It's a bit ambitious after a shoulder surgery. You are pressing every workout. I'd ease back into things. Press once a week and supplement it with laterals of various kinds until you feel 100%.

    When you are back to 100% you can run that. It's awfully ambitious and I wouldn't do it personally, but everyone is different.

  11. thanks paul. I had my surgery at the end of July and finished up my physical therapy at the end of December. I've been doing some pressing work since then trying to get back into things slowly, but things definitely aren't 100% yet in terms of general aches and soreness. I'm told that full recovery takes about 12-18 months.

    Since it's been a little while since the surgery, does that change your answer at all? I'm handling less weights than prior to surgery and generally being careful otherwise.

    If your advice is still the same, which one of those pressing movements (or any other) would you recommend that I do once weekly?

    thanks again.

  12. Yeah I would just ease into things and see what you can tolerate. Be smart with getting back under the bar.

    Once you are comfortable with pressing heavy again I would still limit it at most to twice a week.

    Just my own opinion.

  13. Paul,

    Thx for the critique. Deadlift is the bane of my existence

  14. Ahhhh yeah you are letting the hips rise first and THEN pulling.

    Part of that is the angle of your torso. Look at where your chest is when you start the pull. It's facing down. So your hips rise first because of the angle of your torso to hips. Try to get your chest facing forwards more if possible.

    The other part is, you're just simply straightening out your knees too soon. Your hips and knees should lock out at the same time in a perfect world. However when you pull a max single it's not going to be perfect form.

    Lastly, I see you have long legs, so you may end up just pulling kind of in a semi stiff leg style. Nothing wrong with that if it works for you either.

    Play around with those techniques and see if that helps.

  15. Hey Paul,
    I have had some fairly stubborn problems with tendinitis-tendnosis in my gluteus medius mostly. Probably squatting too wide. Any suggestions for rehab work?

  16. Paul, what do you think about doing stiff-legged deadlifts to improve your regular deadlift start?

    I general, whatever I can get off the floor to the knees, I can lock out. Last year I focused on deadlifts while standing on a box for a while, but they really screwed up my form due to getting my hips too low(I am one of those high-hip pullers).

  17. Anonymous - Foam roll it. Also stretch your piriformis really good as those two tend to work together. Stretch that hip flexor as well. Also bring your squat stance in. This is just another reason why squatting wide is bad. Eventually the hips will take a beating. It's not natural.

    Ber -
    It may work and it may not. I say that because I am learning more and more that some of us don't respond to hamstring work at all in the deadlift, and back work is the ticket.

    I personally don't like standing on blocks to help the pull for the reason you described. I get my hips low and get too much quad into it. This defeats the purpose of what you are really trying to do.

    I would pull from mid-shin and do a shitload of shrugs. Not heavy either. Like 4-5 sets of 20 reps with as heavy as you can go for 20. I'm going to write about this soon.

  18. Paul - My last workout I did this:

    Squat - 335x5
    Deadlift - 335x5
    Bench - 245x5

    Two days before I did Pendlay Rows 205x5 and Standing Press 165x3. The sets are 5x5 ramped. I have been using a Starr model, 4 days, where I have 2 heavy days, 1 med, 1 light. I have been running this for about 7 weeks. I figure I could have gotten 2 more reps on everything, and I'm probably good for another 2 weeks of adding weight before I am done.

    So this routine is 4 full body days. When I try a 5/3/1 like split, I get weaker. Even 5x5 ramping acts more like a peaking phase. I still feel like I need volume (straight sets) and frequency. Is this a beginner thing?

    Thanks and sorry I got long winded.

  19. No I don't think so, I think it's just a "you" thing.

    We're all different. I don't do well with high volume. I get beat down and lose strength. I do better with limited volume and higher intensity. Even early on this was better for me, so I don't think it's beginner related.

    If that's how you do best, and you have documented that through your training logs, then tailor your training that way. Train more often with lots of volume. Just make sure you have a plan regarding progression.

  20. Paul-

    Do you think that the body adapts to it's stressors? For example...if a workout program is beating you into the ground, and you stay the course with it, do you think you will eventually adapt and make progress?

    Bulgarian Oly lifters come to mind. They workout 3 times a day, 7 days a week. I read somewhere that as part of their camp, you either adapt and get stronger, or wash out.

    Also, freaks like the 50 marathons in 50 days come to mind. It seems like that is way beyond over reaching and over training, yet he had conditioned himself to do it.

    What do you think?

  21. Hmmmmmmm.

    To a degree yes. That degree will be different for everyone.

    I could never be a great long distance runner. Even when I was light and small and I could run fast, but not far.

    Oly lifters are different in that, a lot of guys do train often. There is no negative portion of an Olympic lift and this is the main reason why guys can do them more often. The negative portion is actually the hardest part on you from a recovery standpoint. This is a major factor there.

    When you talk about extremes, you also have to take into account the genetics behind the people that got there. That their ceiling and capacity for doing those things was already there. After that, did they have the desire to it.

    There is usually going to be a weak link in the chain for most of us when it comes to doing extreme type training. Whether that be the general lack of ability to do it, or something like the connective tissue not being able to hold up or other factors.

    There is a reason for a high failure rate in High Speed military units. Not everyone is able to adapt to the stress of it. A lot of that is mental. I think that's the case for most extreme type training. However lots of guys wash out do to overuse as well.

    So my answer would be yes, and no. Some can, some can't. If you're not meant for it, you're going to find out at some point. So you'll either quit, or persevere through it.

  22. Paul,

    This is bleeding over from another topic elsewhere, but you mentioned it here, too - how some people respond better to back work over hamstring work to increase the deadlift. Would you say there's a specific bodytype for this difference? Maybe longer-legged people need more back work or vice versa?

  23. I'm not sure. That's going to be one of those trial and error things more than likely.

  24. Hey Paul,

    first thanks for the great answer in the post before, about training for a long limbed lifter. that really helped me alot! yeah, im trying to train for powerlifting, i deadlift sumo because its the most comfortable style for me. front squats feel better to, i think i will split my training up, so i can train the squat and dead in the same training session. what would you advice for the bench press? i avoided it so long because with long arms, there're better ways to build the pecs, but in powerlifting, i have to train it!

    thanks and i really appreciate, that such an athlete like you is giving advice to newbies :)

  25. I have a question regarding how I should progress in dips. I've had 2 shoulder surgeries with the last one being 2 years ago and just within the last few months I've been able to do them pain free, but since I added them as my main assistant exercise for pressing it definitely is providing a good carryover to my main lift. I've worked up to being able to do 5x12 with bodyweight and no added weight. I was wondering if I should just keep trying to push the reps up for added volume, or if I add weight what type of progression I should start with? Thanks!

  26. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for your previous reply.

    I'd like to ask another if I may, do you have any tips/tricks/routines for getting the forearms to grow? (I never use straps on chins, rows, deadlifts etc) Not that mine are overly small but I definitely think they are one of those muscles which can't be too big!!


  27. Paul
    I bench with a 26" grip(pinky on the ring). After working up to my top weight for the day, I like to do my down sets with a narrow grip(index touching smooth) to help keep my shoulders healthy. Lately, I've gotten back into doing dips for the down sets instead.
    Is there one that is preferred over the other(NG bench or dip)?
    My goal is to increase 1 rep max(on 26" grip bench) while keeping my shoulder joints feeling good. I used to bench at 32"+ with shoulders that were sore all the time. After I found your blog and read Wendler's 5/3/1, I dumped the wide grip and my shoulders don't ever hurt anymore(thanks, big time!).


  28. 2 questions - what do you make of doh deads with straps (http://squatrx.blogspot.com/) - interesting read I thought - my grip has been good always (sub 500 dead but able to do the #2 COC for years)
    Second question - where else do you post other than P&B ?

  29. 1369 phil -

    1 - I don't use straps for deadlifts. I know that a mixed grip turns the spine a bit but people have deadlifted like that for decades.

    2 - Nowhere really. I'm not a big message board poster anymore. Shit ran it's course a long time ago.

  30. Frank - No reason you can't do both is there? do the back off close grips one week, then the next week do the dips for the back offs. Best of both worlds.

  31. Nick - Regarding dips, when I was able to do them regularly this is what I liked to do.

    I liked to do dips each week and I would rotate what weight/rep scheme I was going to do each session.

    Week - 1 body weight for reps. I think I did 40-something as my best ever.

    Week - 2 +90 pounds 21 reps was my best ever here

    Week 3 - +45 pounds (don't remember my best ever here)

    Week 4 - +135 pounds 10 reps was my best ever here

    Week 5 - start over

    So I did a bodyweight week, a medium week, a light week, and then a heavy week. I tried to hit a PR each week for the various weights. This works well and keeps motivation high and the training fun.

    If you are wondering what weights to use, just pick something that you can hit around those rep ranges I hit my PR's in.

  32. Dan - Forearms

    LOL again I'm not the best guy to ask about this. My forearms are fairly large and it's all genetic.

    I will say that I think that rest/pause work is the best thing you can do for forearm growth because they have such a big mix of slow and fast twitch.

    Behind the back wrist curls for 40-50 reps using rest/pause at the end of all of your pulling work should do the trip. Then on an alternate day do reverse curl for 20-30 reps rest/pause stylet as well.

  33. Anonymous on training the bench for long arms -

    Thanks for all the compliments, to start.

    Second, for long arm guys I am a big believer in getting the actual pecs as thick and strong as possible to limit the ROM, and also building the triceps up as much as possible to aid that long press.

    So do your usual bench stuff, then follow it up with flat flyes for 5 sets of 10 reps to a good top set.

    After that do seated french press with the e-z curl bar for the same. 5 sets of 10 to a top set of 10.

    Don't neglect rhomboid work, so do lots of rows and lat work to also minimize the ROM. The thicker you get through the torso the easier your benching is going to be.

  34. i was thinking the exact same thing as far as the mental aspect goes. I think it is more mental then anything else, of course not counting an injury.

    I knew a guy who ran 100 mile ultra marathons...had Human Physiology with him one summer. Older guy who had gone back to college for a career change. If you saw him, you wouldnt think he could run a regular marathon. He was tall but not overly lean...muscular build. He said the first 26 was the hardest, after that, you just glide over the ground.

    I am starting to really think the "over training" phenom is more bullshit then science. I guess I will know more the farther and harder I push without taking time off. Like you said, you will either quit or adapt.


  35. biglifter, I had the same problem and this set-up helped me out. You might give it a try...good luck:

    1) Walk up to the bar and place your shins directly against it.

    2) Bend and the hips and knees and lower your hips until your shoulders are behind the bar. Arch your lower back and stick your chest up. Look up slightly, but not so much that you are looking at the ceiling.


  36. Hi Paul,

    Looking forward to the piece on shrugs. Will you be dealing with different types of form? There seems to be a lot of variations possible and all have different effects/purposes/results.
    Also, what do you do for rear delts, if anything?
    Also, what do you think of crowbar?

  37. Brian - Mainly I was talking about just doing a lot of regular ol barbell shrugs but there are a lot of variations there too. I do em strict.

    I do bent laterals for rear delts. I don't go heavy and do sets of 20+.

    LOL Crowbar, wow. I haven't heard that name in a while. They were from my neck of the woods. They were ok. Like the Dollar Store version of Pantera.

  38. Paul,

    I have been looking for good healthy recipes to try, what do you and your wife do for dinner cooking?

  39. Generally she cooks. And dinner usually looks something like this.....

    6-8 ounces of steak
    1 sweet potato
    large salad


    8 ounces of chicken (grilled)
    1 sweet potato
    salad or veggies

    That's about it. I don't need a lot of variety in my meals.

  40. Paul,

    I have are what Wendler and others think about using rest/pause for 5/3/1 assistance. What are your thoughts?

  41. Works good. I highly recommend it.

  42. Paul,

    I have never coached or trained anyone in my life. My cousin wants me to help get him started and we are gonna start training together every saturday because thats the only time I have for him. He is completely untrained and never did sports.
    I was thinking of starting him working on bench, military press, and pull ups. And working on GMs and ab exercises till his midsection is strong enough to handle SQing and Deadlifting properly because i`m pretty sure his lower back wont be strong enough yet to maintain the arch.
    Is this a good idea? Not really sure where else to start.


  43. Kev - When I start training people I actually use a lot of bodyweight stuff at first because it takes care of a lot of issues for me.

    1. develops coordination

    2. no weights required for balance yet

    3. they don't get so crazy sore that they lose motivation.

    I generally do something like

    db floor press

    lunges or 1 legged squats

    push ups

    assisted chins

    db rows

    manual resistance side laterals

    After a few weeks of this I will go to box squats, because it's easier to teach the squat this way. I will transition to barbell bench, t-bar rows, deadlifts so forth and so on. After a few weeks of that I will start regular squats.

    I have found the transition to be easier that way for me and the trainee.

  44. I completely forgot about balance and cordination! Thanks paul

    I`m usually doing conditioning with a pushing sled and dragging sled on saturdays too.
    Think it would be good to have my new trainee doing exercises on the dragging sled?

  45. Yeah should be fine. Conditioning work should start day 1.

  46. Paul,

    I have been thinking about using 5x5 as a rep scheme to help add strength and size in a few compound lifts that are lagging. Starting light and adding 5 lbs. when I get all 25 reps. What are your thoughts/experiences with the 5x5 progressive overload scheme? Thanks!

  47. I had good results using the MadCow advanced one, but you plug in your numbers and go from there.

    I don't have any experience in doing what you are talking about here.