I'm following your Big-15 program and currently I've got it set up like this..oh press (superset each set with chin ups bw 50+ reps)incline presscurlsdeadliftfront squats bench (superset each set with chin ups bw 50+ reps)dips bw 100+ repscurlssquatsstiff legged deadsThe more I simplify stuff it seems the stronger/bigger I get, but I want to make sure the above has most things covered. Would it be worth adding in dumbbell rows (my gym's dumbbells only go upto 100lbs, I can rep them 40+ times)?Wish you the best for your meet - all your lifts on your videos look real easy. I'm sure you'll total 1700+ fine
What do you do when you have hit your limit for your lifting? Meaning, you don't want to gain more body weight are at a body fat percentage you are happy with and have kind of maximized strength at that weight. Do you just maintain, or find other types of goals to pursue? It doesn't seem like you can just increase your lifts forever.
Rob - Looks good man. Don't worrying about covering "everything". If you wanted to swap out rows for one of the days you do curls on you'd be set.Anonymous - I'm never happy with my strength levels. But yes, that's what I do. AFter this meet I will drop lifting back to twice a week more than likely and worry about getting in awesome shape.
Thanks for the great blog! I've been having a bit of trouble with my squat. When I get up to my top weight it seems that I lose my forward lean that you mention in your big-15 program writeup. I guess I'm just nervous that I can't get the lift but it's like I'm trying to stay completely vertical. Are there any cues to make sure I get my hip drive, and lean in?Thanks Sam
Paul, Based of your response to anonymous above ^^^, i'm curious, which do you think is actually more important? I know it's a trade off, you can't be as strong when being in the best condition, and vice versa, but over-all, which do YOU value the most?Secondly, I think i might have read nearly every article you have, on THIS blog that is, and never have seen any mention of CrossFit.Can you tell me your opinion on it as a program? As in, do you think it has good principles for "everyday" use and how do you think it helps / hurts in the sport of MMA?Thanks,Frank T.
Hi Paul,I bought your two programs a while back with the intention of running them once my current programmed began stalling, I have been doing 5/3/1 since last October. However, I am still happy with it how it's going. Specifically, I have been doing your tweaks of it, written on your blog a few times, the last four months and it has been working really well.Going down the ladder, repping out, do a variation of the main lift on the way down, start with about 85% instead of 90. For me the 5x10 volume stuff did not work. I like getting my size with the strength. I credit that along with your eating ideas for me gaining 10 pounds in the last few months along with the increased strength.Good luck at your meet. Zac
Sam - A little more sit back at the start should help that. Frank - Great question. Obviously when I am training for a meet I value strength more. Otherwise conditioning. It would be hard for me to pick one over the other at all costs. I think a balance is great if you aren't competing. If you aren't competing I personally think that a 60/40 of conditioning to strength split is probably more optimal because of all of the great health/blood/heart benefits that come with conditioning.As far as Crossfit goes, I don't dog it because I know some of that shit is difficult to do. I don't know that it hurts MMA per say. The aspect I think would help is obviously the conditioning side of things. But you can be getting that from your MMA work on it's own.Zac - Great to hear! Keep the ball rolling and thanks for the luck.
Paul, So are you saying that you think the sport specific training that comes from the actual MMA training would be enough? It seems like the more fight specific training you do, naturally, the more efficient your body would be at those particular tasks. In a book I read by B.J. Penn, he was talking about the benefits he got from using the CrossFit system to keep him from adapting and becoming efficient, while also doing his MMA training of course. I believe his exact words were along the lines of, "Crossfit saved my life". On the other side of the coin i hear alot of people who bash it as "pussy workouts" and "not lifting heavy enough". After looking at it some, but never having tried it, it looked like to me it was a balance you were talking about, 60/40, Conditioning to Strength. I've been pretty obsessed with over-all Strength myself lately and i have to admit, my conditioning has suffered GREATLY because of it ( as has my waistline.) Would you recommend a "CrossFit" type setup for getting my Conditioning back to a "better" level,without becoming a "pussy" lol, or would weighted Barbell Circuits do the trick? The reason I ask is because my body is so efficient at my MMA stuff that my heartrate RARELY breaks 110 doing it.Thanks,Frank T.
You can try it and see how you think it works for you. I think for people who want to get into shape Crossfit is fine. I don't know why it takes the beating it does personally. The main complaint is that it isn't "specific enough". Well no shit. To me Crossfit is about being in shape, and building strength, but neither to such an extreme degree that one sacrifices too much for the other. So you don't become a marathon runner, nor do you develop the strength of a powerlifter. Again, if you're not competing in powerlifting then try it. I like trying lots of things to say I did them. Let me know how it works for you.
Ok i see what you are saying. Hopefully it will have some sort of effect on my heart-rate at least. From what it sounds like it's the "middle ground". I'll give it a shot after my Strength Phase is over and I fully regenerate. Frank T
Paul, Also, it kind of puts me in the mind of the P90X program, except with a little more strength involved.Frank T
Paul,I am currently 2 weeks out from beginning peaking for my first RAW powerlifting meet. I am planning on following your prescribed programs for all three lifts. However I have some probably stupid questions. What days would you suggest I train? And also how should I go about alternating squats and dead lifts week in an week out percentage wise? Parker H
I did Crossfit for a while. Some of the shorter metabolic workouts could easily be used as a hard conditioning session. The longer ones are a little too heavy on endurance, obviously, and the strength component is too irregularly programmed to see any kind of significant results. As a program, it's great for making you awesome at precisely nothing, but decent at everything.It's a fun time, and if you don't want to be super strong or big then it would be what I'd do all the time.Frank, look up "Fight Gone Bad" and give it a try. It's fucking brutal.
Crossfit takes a beating b/c of how often it is poorly implemented and the outrageous claims made by it's HQ. If you want a picture on how often it causes serious harm to people, and the way it's founder takes pride in the danger of the workouts, check out http://www.performancemenu.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5888&page=41 for some accounting. You can find a good Crossfit gym, but you can also find yourself pissing cola colored urine.
I think most people into crossfit because they don't know WTF they want to do really. They just want to "get in shape". And it will do that. As ja noted, you can find a good Crossfit gym and do fine. So just be weary of that.Parker - If you bought my programs I lay out a few ways to do the split. Also the spreadsheets that come with the programs lay out all of the lifts for you in prep for the meet.
"Fight Gone Bad" - I have had some of those in the ring. I think if all you are is tired at the end, it was a "Fight Gone Well."
Justin,Thanks for the input, i will defintily look into "Fight gone Bad" today. I'm not sure i'd want to be "decent" at everything but good at nothing lol. But i do see what you mean by that. I was thinking of using it for any benefits I might get in my MMA, so now im middle of the road, I'm already in shape but wanted to take it a little further by giving my Strength & Conditioning a challenge and a boost. Thanks again.Ja, That puts a totally different spin on things after just now doing some research on that link. It seems to me there's a lot of political nonsense that goes along with CF as a program. But i guess that can be said with anything being done on a national level. Either way you decide to go your going to get your goose cooked by oneside or the other. Either they hate you for doing it, or others hate you for not. But after reading all of that, thank you by the way, It makes it seem like it won't be a possibility because people in my area are uneducated enough as it is, I wouldn't dare trust my Strength & conditioning to somebody whowas already uneducated in life in general, and then decided to "train" other people lol. I guess I will have to try and figure out my own Barbell Complexes to improve my Conditioning while maintaining Strength and make it towork around 3-4 days per week of MMA training already in progress. Thanks again.Frank T
Paul,Finished up strong-15 and it resulted in all kinds of awesome. Here's the deal though. I'm a few months out from the next meet. Any downside to adding 5-10lbs. to each projected max and riding this horse again from week 1? Thx.
Just plan each cycle according to your attempts and you'll be good.
paul have you heard of convict conditioning? awesome book written a prison inmate who got himself ridiculously strong using only bodyweight exercise because of the lack of weights in san Quentin. cool book to check out. he mentiond that he once entered a powerlifting meet on a dare and finished third in his class dispite having never touched a barbell-nick
Hey Paul. Good to see your doing well as far as your training. Anyways, I plan to train athletes to get strong in the future. Especially with young guys, I think phases for putting on size are important especially for certain sports. I was thinking of something like this for a size phase: work up to easy set of 1-5 on main exercise, then kill the assistance work, balance out potential injury areas and pack on size. Once the strength phase comes in, cut down on assistance, and start working with real weight on the main exercises. Nothing to failure of course, love that about your training and I have implemented it with success. The size phase would have them working with 80-85 percent of their max for the main exercise while the strength phase would include 85 percent and higher. I hope you get what I'm saying, not sure if I explained it wellHey Paul. Good to see your doing well as far as your training. Anyways, I plan to train athletes to get strong in the future. Especially with young guys, I think phases for putting on size are important especially for certain sports. I was thinking of something like this for a size phase: work up to easy set of 1-5 on main exercise, then kill the assistance work, balance out potential injury areas and pack on size. Once the strength phase comes in, cut down on assistance, and start working with real weight on the main exercises. Nothing to failure of course, love that about your training and I have implemented it with success. The size phase would have them working with 80-85 percent of their max for the main exercise while the strength phase would include 85 percent and higher. I hope you get what I'm saying, not sure if I explained it well
Paul,Not sure if my last post worked, well whatever, I post a shorter version of it.Ive been searching around and I am finding counteracting information on whether full body training (alah Reg Park, Bill Starr, DC) is better than that of Split training (ie strong-15/wsb/531) is better for drug free lifters, looking for strength and mass.Whats your opinion on the matter?I, myself have found that I recover quicker using a full body template (heavy/light/medium) than that of a upper/lower body split.I ask this as I have a meet in 3 months, but also want to lean up a bit for a wedding in 2 months (not mine, just dont want to be spilling out of my tux).Thank you for your time, and I am a huge fan of your articles.Oh and good luck in your up coming meet.- Chris
Chris - Remember you can't serve two masters. A meet generally means being as strong as you can. If you're leaning up this means you won't be as strong as you can. However the meet is a month after the wedding, so you could eat up to that. However it would mean your work to get lean would be for nothing. Which one is really more important to you? Leaning up for the wedding or doing well at the meet?FA - Let me know how that goes. I plan on doing something very similar in my next training cycle.nick - I do remember that book. I also remember there being some question as to whether or not the author was who he said he was (behind the pseudonym) and some other things that were in the book.
Hey Paul, I've got a question for you. I just started working in a malt shipping warehouse. Basically it's 8 straight hours a day of lifting, carrying and throwing 25kg bags of wheat around. Obviously this beats up my body. Training has been hard that last 3 weeks since I started. How would you set up a 2 day/week split that would still allow me to make gains on the big 3 and my shoulder pressing? Curious on this. Thanks for your blog.
1 - make sure you eat a little more than you usually do. You can take care of this pre and post workout.2 - the low back will take a beating in those kinds of jobs. so give it plenty of recovery time...week 1 -day 1 - overhead pressdipschinscurlsday 2 - deadlifts - heavy but not reps, just singles and keep em "snappy"leg press - 3-5 x 15 not to failureabsweek 2 -day 1 -benchincline db pressdb rowscurlsday 2 - squats - same as deads the week before but up to a nice triple, keep the reps snappystiff legs - 3 x 10 semi heavy on the last setabs As you can see here, keep the reps and weight medium and snappy on the squats and pulls. coax the gains slow and steady there. on the upperbody stuff you can do a similar deal, however the upperbody tends to recover faster because it doesn't really do a whole lot during the actual day, where your legs and low back carry you around all the time.good luck!
Paul,Who are you taking on the Faber / Cruz fight? And also on the Wanderlei / Leben fight tonight?Frank T.
I liked faber and wandy, but I been wrong a lot lately so who knows!
I'm working with some athletes right now, but I'm only an intern so I don't have much power in their programming. You've made me want to give it a try on myself. The premise is sound and I have done similar things in the past with success.ps. I hope Wandy gets to pound in Sonnen's face. The man is talking too much bull lately (Sonnen)
Agreed, im taking Faber and Wanderlei too. I' thinking Faber and Cruz , knockout by Faber and if not i think by decision. I got respect for these littlier guys but i still wish UFC didnt buy WEC, just because 'm cheap and WEC has amazing fights without a hefty price tag! hahaFrank T.
alright,I totally missed it on that one. Wandy K.O'd in the first 30 seconds, WTF, wow man lol. Faber losing by decision, hell, at least Tito Ortiz PUNISHED Bader. If anybody DIDNT watch the UFC 132 last night, they missed a hell of a night of fights.Frank T.
Yeah I haven't been worth shit at picking lately.Shame how far Wandy has fallen. Used to be the baddest man in all of MMA.
Yeah I agree, he just came off a 16 month lay-off too. That's what i'm going to chalk that one up to. That and extreme confidence, he just came out hammering. And to me, Leben ain't half the man Wandy is. But thats MMA, any given day any blind squirrel can find a nut.Frank T
Paul, I love your blue collar eating for mass articles. I was able to put on some good quality mass using your ideas. Makes sense to use PBnJ and balanced meals! Do you have anything tips on blue collar weight loss? Or is that something you are currently writing (or did write and I can't find it.)Thanks!
Strange you would ask this. I'm going to write about the shake diet later this week.