Hi Paul,What's your take on full body routines? I've been trying them out for the past 2 months and I really like them. I was just wondering what you think about them. Thanks!-Howard
I have used them many times and if they are programmed properly they work really well. I think a lot of people go wrong with them by going too heavy on everything too often. Two times I had surgery I used MadCow's 5x5 to come back and it worked really well in getting my strength back in a timely fashion.
Paul,I spent about 8 months on 5/3/1, took my total from 1100 to about 1250 and weight from 180 to 195. Over the final 3 cycles I cut out conditioning, reset my lifts to focus on higher rep ranges (i.e. hitting 6+ reps on the top set of the "1" week) and ate a shit ton, so I put on a solid chunk of mass. I need a change of pace, so I was thinking of doing strong-15, 3 days a week, focusing on 1 movement per workout with 2 days of conditioning in addition to that the day after a squat or DL day in the form of hill sprints: 12-16 sprints of 40-60 yards 6-8% grade. The goal of conditioning isn't to cut fat, more to aid in recovery and get myself moving again. The question I have is how should I accommodate the inevitable loss of strength that'll occur from the sudden increase in conditioning...should I underestimate my first attempt targets for the first 3 week cycle? How long has the adjustment sapped your strength in the past?And yes, as you would advise, I'm keeping my diet high in carbs...I like carbs, don't know what I'd do without them...Anyway, this has rambled on way too long for such a simple question, but I read the blog everyday and your insight has been invaluable,Thanks,Shanker.
Paul,Ever thought about doing strongman competitions in the future? No loaded question there, just seems like it would be a natural fit w/your background/interests.
Bigs - Yes I would like to do strongman but I have to figure out how I'd work that. My deadlift is not a strong point but my overhead is. If I could get the dead into the 750+ range I'd give it a whirl.Shank - Like I tell everyone, and do so myself, EASE into the conditioning. If you start running all over the place and doing hills and shit right out of the gate you will have issues. Just start with a good walk, 30 minutes a day 3X a week. That's all I did after my meet and trust me, it was enough at first. I was very deconditioned. Now I'm back to running hills, doing sprints and feeling good again. It did not take long, but I have kept the steady state stuff in because it does aid in recovery and does do a lot of good things for BP and your heart. So just go with that for a couple of weeks. When you "feel" your conditioning improving just pick up the pace for a couple of weeks. Guys end up losing strength and with overuse injuries because they try to do too much conditioning too fast. Just keep it simple and push the distance you can hit in that 30 minutes as you start to feel good. The strength won't take much of a dice, if any, until you start doing shit like hills and more interval work. You may actually see a strength increase over the first month if you are smart.
Paul, whats your take on training the deadlift in a 4 week cycle, working up to a heavy set of 5, a triple, or a heavy (but not maximal) single, and the stiff leg backoff sets for higher reps, with lighter pulling in the 4th week? I have been playing with this idea and wonder if you have had success with it or something similar.
I don't know if anyone mentioned it yet, but just wanted to let you know your total at the meet last month earned you spot #42 in the Powerliftingwatch.com 275 raw lifter rankings. Pretty damn good considering it is a really tough weight class, and includes totals with knee wraps. Plus I'm pretty sure you are one of the very few guys to lift beltless. I'm hoping to hit top 50 raw at 181 by the end of this year. Good job man.
Paul, what do you think is better for shrugs? Straps or deadlift grip? Also do you any brand loyalty to a certain type of lifting strap?
Paul,Just wanted to say thanks. I wrote in a couple weeks ago questioning about my bench and you thought maybe my elbows were flaring a bit. I started concentrating on tucking my elbows and also took your advice about trying out a thumbless grip and all is good. I'm up about 10 lbs on the max and my workout weight feels a little smoother!I think sometimes people don't say thanks enough and I really appreciate the advice!SamI'm looking into a powerlifting contest in December. The federation requires a singlet which i currently don't own. Any advice about singlet purchases? I wrestled in high school but not sure what I'm looking for? LOL!
Sam - There are a few options on the singlet. You can order one online, or you can try one of those sporting outlet type stores. They usually carry things like Wrestlting singlets. Last options is to go to the meet and take a chance and buy one there. Sometimes people sell them there. I'm glad my bench advice has paid off for you already.Robbie - I use double overhand with straps for shrugs after 405. Until then I just use my own grip. I got no loyalty to a brand.Mike - I did not know that nor look. Thanks for letting me know. What sucks is I should have easily totaled 100 pounds more. I'll make that up at 242. Thanks again.Bryce - I have been tinkering with my dead ideas as well. If I am pulling for a meet I go to singles. It seems like I respond best to just pulling singles in that regard. I'd just run a strong-15 3 week cycle, deload, then test. That's basically what I do.
Thank you for the response, I actually have not bought your programs yet, but I think I will today. Your advice on this blog has always worked well for me, especially for my deadlift. I spent 8 months doing TONS of goodmornings, back raises, etc etc. Never saw any benefit, as soon as I read your blog and started more upper back work, bam, PR's left and right. its a really great site.
Awesome to hear about the PR's. The whole "work your hams and hips for a bigger deadlift" never made any sense to me. Maybe for sumo guys I suppose but a conventional deadlift is about back strength.
PC -any thoughts on assistance work for deads? I like to do one week working up to a heavy single (and what heavy is that day depends on some factors) and the next week want to do more volume, lighter. But the lighter week seems more draining, even at pretty low levels. Thoughts?Squats seem like an obvious choice but my ankle break last year makes squats problematic as they approach reasonable depth. Am thinking about kb swings.Also, on that eXtend imitation formula from TrueProtein I mentioned previously -it's not that much cheaper than the Scivation. I guess if you find eXtend on sale, go for that, or do the mix if you're already ordering from TP. Cheers.
ja - Lots of rhomboid, low back, and trap work. Get those areas as strong as possible while working your dead in conjunction and you will see gains.
Paul,What all natural herbs will you be taking to avert the need to take BP meds? I am trying to get off of BP meds, I have started jogging and am getting back to lifting. I just want to stop taking all meds all together and it is on the horizon for sure. Just was wondering what all you are considering taking.
I have been taking 1000mg of hawthorn berry extract a day along with 150mg of grape seed extract and 150mg of celery seed extract. I also add in b-complex and extra B-6.
Paul,What would you say if I told you that, at my D1 college, which finished last year ranked in the top 10, our S&C coach claimed every single offensive lineman could bench over 500 pounds? Call BS? Or would you think it's legit?
Do not believe.
Yeah, I was skeptical too. But I try not to judge considering my bench is a massive 235.
The issue is, it has to be no hands on the bar from the spotter, and no bounce. That shit doesn't count, and that's what 99% of football weight room bench presses look like.
Sorry to post again, but as a follow up question to my earlier one, I looked back at a lot of your training and it seems you favor the t bar row. Any particular reason?
Feels more natural to me. I can kind of lean back and dig in with my legs in counterweight fashion. I also feel like I can squeeze with my rhomboids better.
yeah, i totally agree. at the gym i train at, everyone bounces the bar of their chest. it's ridiculous. i paused 325 for a 2 count the other day. biggest bench so far.
hey paul. just have a quick form question for front squats (clean grip). which part of my hands should be vertically beneath the centre of the bar? the part where my fingers begin, or more near the tips of my fingers?thanks
Bud - On fronts just get them into a position where the bar feels secure and you don't feel any kind of pain. Fronts are very individualistic in that way.
Hi Paul, you mentioned doing front raises for prehab shoulder work recently, I've seen rear and lat raises recommended for this reason before but never front raises, can you give a little detail on why they are important in that context? Thanks, Brian
What set/rep sheme and progression do you recommend for the head strap? Thanks,Zac
Zac - sets of 20. Don't get carried away with the poundage. Brian - The supraspinatus is one of the four rotator cuff muscles. For those that feel pain or like the shoulder is "not right" when doing overhead press, it's generally because this muscle is weak. Also if you look around at cuff injuries this is usually the one people deal with most commonly. The front raise strengthens the supraspinatus, just don't get carried away with the poundage.
Paul-I am considering running the three 6-week Ultimate Beastdom cycles beginning early next year. Out of curiosity, do you know if anyone has posted any logs for that program on the web? I'd like to see what kind of successes/obstacles other people might have dealt with on the program.
Some guys here have ran it, esp the conditioning cycle. They would need to pipe up about it.
Regarding your comment to Ja's post, above;"Lots of rhomboid, low back, and trap work. Get those areas as strong as possible while working your dead in conjunction and you will see gains."Currently running your Big-15, so i get a hefty dose of T-bars & Surgs, but nothing specifically for low-back. Do you have preferred exercises low-back work? Also, have you ever run big-15 using conv. dead on the 5/4/3/2/1 and RDL for the AMAP? Curious as to how that worked out, compared to using conv. dead on the AMAP. -Joe S.
I did that going into this last meet, pulled PR's in training. That's how I worked it. I did the singles up on the regular deads then the big back off set with the stiff legs.
Paul, Off topic question but just curious. Are you a confrontational person? The reason I ask is because a good friend told me that he felt I was a confrontational person because I confront any problems I have. I always felt that if I try to be honest, sincere and deal with any problems at the source I wouldn't ever be too worried and I really don't worry about problems anymore since I started this thought process.
I think if you asked anyone that knew me they would say yes. I am generally more honest than people care to hear, but I don't mean to hurt peoples feelings ever. But if I need to talk to someone about something, I go right to them and ask them. Or if someone asks me my opinion, I give it. I don't beat around the bush about it. I've def never been known for holding my tongue. LOLBe who you are. If it means learning some filtering that is ok too. But always be true to the person you feel like you need to be.
Just found your blog and its going to be one of the ones i read in the morning with breakfast.I recently pulled a muscle in my back while i was deadlifting and i was wondering if there was any exercises i could do to help speed up the recovery process.
Depends on what muscle it is. If it's the rhomboid then do prone rows lying face down on a bench with a LIGHT db. 4 sets of 15 everyday. Twice a day if you can work it in. Slow reps and squeeze. If it's a trap or erector that's a different story.
Thought i mention that it was in my lower back. I'm not that familiar with the muscles there but i'm pretty sure its around my lumbar spine. I feel it right above my hips around my spine. Is that an erector?
It's probably your piriformis. Look up the stretch for that muscle and see if when you do that stretch it if your pain radiates from there. I bet it does.
Everyone agrees that low reps are the only way for strength.For mass on the other hand there are alot of different claims.Low reps(max-ot for example, medium or high (20ish). What's your take on this?
Medium to high reps will work best for mass for the majority of peeps. Singles, doubles, triples, and 5's are your best strength staples. 5's will give some carryover to mass, but like sets of 12-15.
Couple of questions Paul...#1. What are your thoughts on using 50% sets, Rest Pause sets, etc. for assistance using 5/3/1?#2. Protein shake before meals for weight loss, protein shake after meals for weight gain?Thanks in advance
You mean all of Jim's stuff?I think it's good, works, and is simple.
Paul,Running the Big15 program and loving it. I have a small problem and wanted your opinion, I don't have access to any machines (I work out in my garage with a power rack and some dumbbell handles.) Any alternate exercises for leg press/hack squat/ calf raise machines?Thanks
Barbell Hacks, Db and Barbell Lunges, Step ups, Front squats, 1 legged db squats.For calves just do 1 legged calf raises holding a db or, using a belt you attach weight to.
hey paul,ive been following a pretty solid training program since march which i started after a few dislocated shoulders from rugby and an athroscopy. It involves reps of 5-6 for all the big lifts and reps of 10 for the isolaters (like incline press, seated row ect). ive seen some pretty good size gains, but im looking to change it up. i want to pack on serious mass and get alot stronger. get massive really. i weigh in around 81kg now, and i want to hit around 100kg eventually. its alot of muscle to gain but hopefully i can do it.my lifts are currently:Bench Press: 102.5kg for 5x5Deadlift: 165kg for 3x6Squat: 125kg for 5x5 (pretty sure glute strength lets me down)Military Press: 70-75kg for 3x6Any advice on how to better myself or on programs would be sweet.Cheers
Check my programs at the top. I'm not a big salesman but it's the stuff I used to gain pretty much all of my mass.