Monday, December 5, 2011

Weekly Q & A.......

Leave a name and a question!


  1. What's your take on intermittent fasting,especially concerning a strength athlete. I'm considering using it in part for making weight.

  2. Hi Paul,

    My incline bench, for some reason, is stronger than my flat bench. Whenever I flat bench , the bar path just seems to mess up. I seem to tuck WAY too much-- I've been reading articles from geared lifters too much and have also tried a thumbless grip which helped a bit.

    Recently, I've been running my program with incline bench as the main lift and then using flat bench as hypertrophy work, do you see anything wrong with this? Hopefully this will carry over to my bench-- I will try it out and see if it does.


  3. Dont know if youve mentioned this already, but whats your opinion on TnG vs. Resetting/Pausing each rep on Deadlifts and Overhead Pressing?

  4. Hey Paul, just won dering if you have any pearls of wisdom on the topic of chossing a career/finding a job after college?
    thanks man

  5. I'm thinking of going the prohormone route. Any specific advice you can give to make the most of my cycle(s)? What about things to help me keep the the gains post-cycle? Common mistakes to avoid?


  6. I'm looking at doing a 3 day/week program with your Big-15 percentages. Day 1-Squat, Day 2-Bench, Day 3- DL. How do you think it would go if I did a Squat, Push, and Pull every day?

    So, Monday is squat according to the Big15 spreadsheet, and then some light pressing and pulling; Wednesday has some light squatting before B15 benching and then some other pulling; Friday has some squatting and pressing and then the Big15 Deadlift.

    I know how much you love bastardized programs, so I'd like to hear your take on this.

  7. Cash - Try it. Looks good to me.

    Todd - Start your liver support early. And keep it up during and well after the cycle. Don't do the "if 2 tabs work good, 4 must work wonderfully!" thing. Too many guys overload on PH's. Take them as directed. Most guys go nolvadex for PCT.

    Bud - Good question. Do you want to make money, or do something you are passionate about? If it's about making money, be prepared to do a lot of shit you hate, and focus on the prize. If you do something you love, everything will fall into place, but you may not have the kind of money you first.

    Troy - I like stopping each rep on the dead. That's the way you have to do it in a meet. Some guys do well with TnG though. I think it's kind of a personal preference thing.

    Howard - My incline isn't far behind my bench, I don't think it's an issue unless you plan on doing powerlifting. A 405 incline is far more impressive than a 405 bench.

  8. Paul,

    Any tips for adductor rehab without having access to a ab/adductor machine?

  9. Hey Paul,

    I got a question concerning assistance work for reaching big overhead numbers (I'm talking standing overhead work, like push presses, presses or log presses), what do you consider to be important things to do in order to get your overhead numbers up? Strongmen usually highlight the importance of a strong core (heavy weight ab work and whatnot) and strong triceps. How do you feel about this?

  10. bigs - in place lunges to the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock position. So if you are standing on a clock face, lunge to where the 3 and 9 would be. But don't do em walking. Also 1 legged squats.

    Carl - Yup, ab roller, decline sit ups, hypers, deadlifts, etc all build the "core". The upperback also does a ton of stabilizing so make sure you take care of that with shrugs and rows. From there make sure you just overhead press enough, and again, do standing tricep french press as a good assistance exercise.

  11. Hey Paul,

    Any thoughts on Dan Johns suggestion that your 1rm should be equal for the power clean, front squat and incline bench? Personally my front squat is way ahead, not sure whether this is an indication I've got work to do on the other two.

  12. Interesting. My incline and front squat would be really close. 390-405 for each. I cannot power clean 405. No fucking way.

    It's probably a pretty solid recommendation. That's being well rounded in every way.

  13. Hi Paul,

    Been following your blog for a couple of weeks now. Pretty good stuff! Before I ask my question, a quick personal history: did 3x5 Starting Strength 3 years ago for 5 months, had a shoulder injury and stopped. 2 months later twisted my ankle playing basketball and at that point I stopped going to the gym until Sept 2010. In Sept I started doing p90x until December. Not the best program, but it got me lifting (not heavy though) again and I found my running/endurance better than everyone else in basketball. THen started doing Growth Stimulus Training from Feb-May (similar to 5/3/1, but more like 8/6/4/1-2). Now I'm following a plan similar to Martin Berkhan's reverse-pyramid training. Anyways, I'm somewhere in the novice-intermediate world but because I haven't kept to a single plan I don't know where I stand! Here are my numbers:
    BW = 160lb
    Squat: 255 x 5
    Deadlift: 305 x 5
    Bench Press: 180 x 6
    Chinup: (BW + 60) x 5 or (BW+90) x 1
    Overhead Press: 125lb x 1 (I know, pathetic).

    My question is about shoulder development, and more specifically shoulder imbalance. At what point does one start worrying about having to develop those shoulder muscles (the lateral and posterior delts as well as the supraspinatus)? RIght now the only direct and indirect exercises that hit my shoulders are the overhead press, bench press, pendlay rows, chinups, and I guess deadlifts. Should I even be worrying about doing exercises like bent-over lat raises at this point?

  14. Hi Paul

    Thanks for a great blog as always - it seems like it's even getting better lately :-)

    I'm thinking about my coming training year, and have a problem deciding whether to try some sort of periodization, and if so, what sort.

    On the one hand, I'm thinking of just going for a year of basic hard training, with 5/3/1 BBB 3-4 days a week, hill sprints 3-4 days a week, and let the results fall where they may. The advantage for me with this sort of training is that it is simpler, and harder for me to screw up.

    On the other, reading your site, and some Dan John stuff, it seems that going hard after a goal for a limited time period, and then giving priority to another goal, gives the best results. And this makes sense as well. It's just that the balancing act seems a bit difficult.

    I'm not an athlete, and my goal is general awesomeness, which to me means something like 100kg press/150kg bench/200kg/250kg deadlift, in good condition and around 10 % BF. Currently at 83kg press/128kg bench/150kg squat/190kg deadlift. 39 years, 6'3/225/16 % BF, and been training with barbells for about two years.

    So I guess my question is, how important would you say having some sort of periodization scheme is to progress at my training level?



  15. So I have tried the french press before are my elbows supposed to flair out at the bottom of it?

  16. Sepand - It never hurts to do rear lateral work. Just make sure the bulk of your stuff goes to the rows and deadlifts.

    Martin - Create goals! Do not dwindle around letting the results "fall where they may". Have a goal. Have short term, attainable goals. When you reach them, set new short term attainable goals. Program for those goals and go from there.

    Anonymous - Don't worry about it. Just make sure you're pain free on em. If the elbows flair that's ok.

  17. Thanks! If I may abuse this opportunity then I have one more question, but it probably requires me to explain my current workout. Like I said, I do reverse-pyramid training on my main lifts: deadlift, chinups, squat, and bench press, with the addition of bb forward lunges and overhead press. Each first set has a rep range (for example, for deadlift it's 3-5), and once I hit the upper rep then I add weight to the next workout. The second set is done by taking off 10% from the weight of the first set and adding one rep. The third set by taking 10% off the weight of the second set and adding one rep. The first set is the give-it-all set. So if I do chinups at +60 x 7 in the first set, then I take 10% off and do x 8, then another 10% off and x 9 .
    The rest of the exercises are done 3 sets, and the reps vary but the weight is kept constant until I hit all the reps:

    * Reverse-pyramid
    Workout A:
    Deadlift*: 2 sets of 3-5 reps
    Chinups*: 3 sets of 6-8 reps
    Pendlay: 3 sets of 5-7 reps
    Crok Rows: 1 set of 15-20
    Bicep curls: 2 sets of either 15-20, 10-12, or 5-8 (varies)

    Workout B:
    Bench Press*: 3 sets of 6-8
    BB Overhead Press*: 3 sets of 6-8
    Incline BP: 3 sets of 6-8
    Face Pulls: 2 sets of 10-12
    Rear lat raise: 2 sets of 10-12
    Side lat raise: 2 sets of 10-12

    Workout C:
    * Squat: 3 sets of 4-6
    * Deep Forward Lunge: 3 sets of 8-10 (for glutes)
    Romanian Deadlift: 3 sets of 5-8
    Front Lat raise (thumb in, pinky out): 2 sets of 10-12

    I listed all this because I'm having trouble increasing my overhead press (which happens to be my favorite exercise). It's been stuck at 100lb x 6 for the longest time, while everything else has been going up. And I rest 5 minutes between my bench and OHP, followed by 1 or 2 sets of warmups for OHP.

  18. Refer to my article about making the overhead press move.

    Bust your weight up, and reps down to singles and triples on the overhead press for a while.

  19. Steven Monteiro - what are your thoughts on Wendler's 531?

  20. I know you've expressed your thoughts on box squats for raw lifters, but what do you think of Westside barbell's training philosophy in general?
    I know they have a number of very strong lifters, and everyone seems to think the conjugate system is the best thing since the invention of the power rack, but everything about the way they present themselves, from the "secrets of the Soviet Union" origin story that looks like it came from a T-Nation article designed to sell an 80 dollar product, to the claims that reverse hypers cure everything from cancer to aids makes me suspicious. To be honest, it seems kind of like a cult, albeit the worlds strongest cult.

    I'm not saying their training system is bad; obviously something they're doing is working, but I think maybe they exaggerate the effectiveness conjugate method, and I was wondering what you thought about it?

  21. Steven - Wendler sticks cactus' up his ass. Tell him I said that.

    Nathan - Not a fan of the conjugate system. Never have been. Esp for raw lifters. My personal opinion is that you need to do the big 3 lifts in competition style, and get strong on the lifts USING the lifts. Not having ME days where you do everything BUT the damn lifts. I think WSB works great for geared lifters. Some say it can be tailored for raw guys, but I disagree. Spending time worrying about every weakness is chasing the dragon. A complete waste of time IMO. Just worry about getting stronger.

  22. Is it possible to have a "dynamic day" and a "max effort" day as a raw squatter? It seems to me neither of those qualities are mutually exclusive.

  23. How can you tell if your training volume for a muscle is too high? Would it just be a lack of progression in strength?

  24. Paul,

    I don't really have anyone to go to so I guess I'll ask you for your advice.

    There's a girl I've been seeing on and off in the UK for about two years, she has two kids, she lives on her own, there have been times we broke up but gone back together. She's a little crazy, as in when we broke up she began writing these angry messages to the girls on my facebook. And she's quite insecure, but she is very attached to me, makes me feel very good about myself and she is very attractive physically.

    So recently I got a PhD offer in china to study for three years and I've accepted it. So before I leave, I wanted to see her the last time before I go, but in my mind I want to get some pussy before I go. And though she tells me we shouldn't do anything but in my mind I know she wants to a little bit.

    I haven't told my parents about this, but they have given advice to me indirectly that I should avoid any girl who seems unreasonable, and in my heart I feel that she can be unreasonable and a bit unstable.

    I've told her that I won't see her on Thursday, she cried and I feel very shitty about it because she seems to care for me a lot.

    Did I do the right thing? Should I just follow my dick?

    By the way, I'm 22 and she's 27.

    Any advice or a verbal slap in the face to tell me I should man the fuck up would be really appreciated... I just feel shitty since I lost my virginity to her and blah and blah and the first real person I've been with...

  25. Right now, I really like doing an over warm-up and then Dogg Crapp style RP. I do this on upper-body day(press,chin,dip,row, sometimes arms) maybe every other week or so. The other days I just do straight sets usually to failure.

    Any guidelines, or am I heading for a flame out?
    I'd never heard of Dogg Crapp training until reading your blog but nothing I had done previously made me work as hard.
    Thanks, Frank

  26. Will - Interesting situation.

    Girls will tell you that "we shouldn't do anything" as part of their anti-slut defense. This is something a girl does so that she doesn't feel like a tramp for giving it up too easy. That if she at least says that, she wasn't just banging it out without putting up a fight.

    But that aside, the main question you have to ask yourself is, if you care about her and bang it just to get "some pussy" do you think you might regret it down the line? Or do you think you might regret not doing it?

    If you don't sleep with her, do it for the right reasons. Namely, that you care about her and want to hit it one last time, then make it count. Take her to a romantic dinner, and someplace special afterwards. Then have an awesome night you or her won't forget. If she's someone you care about, and know that you will probably be together again, make it worth remembering and saying "man that was fucking awesome." Don't just remember some shitty last ditch sex with a girl that was special to you. Go out in a way that one day, down the line, if your paths cross again, you can look her in the eye and feel good about things. Always leave a girl in a way that she would brag to her friends about you.

    That's my opinion on it.

    Ramon - I don't know, I think training that way is stupid.

    D - Start from scratch. If you can work up to 1 top set, and keep progressing, why add more?

  27. Frank - that's a great way to train. keep at it.

  28. dear paul carter

    lately for the past 3 weeks after deadlift training, my left hand which is my underhand grip has left my bicep feeling sorer than usual, my biceps never gotten sore, ive also started doing curls on a seperate day. is this a symptom of a future bicep tear?

    my next ? has to do with squats, few days usualy 2 after training squats my abductor or adductor the are on the outside of the hips around my glutes up my thigh, my right side is constantly sore but tight also, should i do the girl machine you mention in your training? also should i foam roll this area and do you know any stretch to hit that area because i dont

    can you also include any prehab for bicep tear prevention and abduction injury prevention because iremember you told me you had those injuriesi n the past and i would like to prevent them,

    thanks a mil Paul,

    - steve

  29. Yo Paul,
    Been adding some light running again to my strength program on days off after being inspired by your blog.

    In the past three years I've put on about 70lb of mass, and since then whenever I try to jog for longer than a few minutes I get wicked shin splints...I'm pretty tall and about your weight (240+ish?)

    I've read extensively about prevention/treatment methods etc for years on the net and none of them seem to help, I figure since you're a heavier guy and not a retard you might have some wisdom on the subject?

    It happens regardless of terrain but my current situation dictates that I run on paved roads anyway, aside from that I'm all ears...


  30. Steve - Sounds like you're bending your arm on your pulls. Video yourself and see if that's not the case. There really is no pre-hab work for a torn bicep. You tear the tendon off the bone with you tear a bicep.

    It's normal to be really sore in the adductors after you squat.

    SlowFuse - If I had to guess, you are overstriding. I used to get this same problem. Ask yourself this. When you jog, do you step out forward to jog, or do you let your heels come up behind you?

    What I mean is, when you jog do you reach out in front of you with your foot? If so, you are overstriding. The tibalis anterior now has to contract hard over and over again. This is how you end up with shin splits.

    The way to remedy this is to think about kicking your heels to your butt. Yes it will be exaggerated at first, but you will get the idea. Let the heels come up behind you. So your feet strike the pavement essentially BELOW your center of gravity. Not out in front of it.

    This video might get some visual clues........

  31. Paul, thanks for the advice on my chins. You suggested I take 3 upper-body sessions off from them (I had been super-setting chins between all my pressing sets; so twice a week). And do some rows or pull-downs during the 3rd session. I did this, and then was sick on the 4th session, so had trouble chinning and opted for Pendlays (to try them out) and some really controlled pull-downs instead.

    Yesterday was my first healthy day doing chins again. I felt much stronger in the rep range I was doing two weeks ago, and that's also at a slightly higher BW than I was back then as well.

    Also, I rediscovered how much I suck at rowing!

    So I got my chin-strength back, reminded myself to row more, and actually set some bench and press PR's in the interim as well. Think I'll go to chinning once a week, and rowing in the other session for a while.

    Thanks, Paul!

  32. Thanks for listening to advice and befitting from it.

  33. this blog is the shit, by the way paul come to think of it i do pull with my arms bent at first , ill stop that from now on, thank you man ill let u know how it goes

    - steve

  34. Make sure your arms are "long" and relaxed. Think of your hands as hooks.

  35. Hey Paul, I read your post "Master of None" last night. Wow, it really opened my eyes and made me realize what I should be doing, less accessory BS and more simple, strong lifts. It would be great if you could check out my split I made based off of the exercises you suggested, and tell me if you think I should move my workouts around or do another split entirely.

    Close Grip Bench
    Weighted Box Step-Ups (Suggestion to change?)

    Deads (Interchangeable with Rack Pulls)
    Stiff Leg Deads
    Shoulder Shrugs (Keep it here?)

    Front Squat
    Calf Raises (My calves are abysmally small)


    Thank you,

  36. Personally.......

    Upper - Bench/Close Grips/Row

    Lower - Heavy Squat/Light Dead

    Upper - Overhead/Dip/Chin

    Lower - Front Squats/Heavy Deads

  37. Hey Paul, thanks so much for your advice re shin splints.
    What you said definitely applied to me, just got home after my jog trying the new running technique, still a bit of pain but nothing remotely severe or debilitating.
    I wound up doing a kind of pathetic airborne shuffle, slow and hardly optimal but I'll keep practising - it sounds like a valid new avenue worth exploring. I don't spend any time hanging around serious runners or running boards, I didn't even consider form as an issue...running was just...well, running...and all most people mention are the usual suspects: stretching, myofascial release, shoes, terrain, bodyweight.
    Anyway, thanks again

  38. At first it will be awkward. Just try to think of a very small hell to butt jog. That's what helped me.

    Lemme know how you're doing in a few weeks.

  39. Thank you for the guidance Paul, I'm going to see her tonight, just hope she won't discover all the cactus porn on my phone!

  40. You never know, she might be into that...

  41. Hey paul, whats the best way to make progression when using a static weight for multiple sets instead of working up to a single top set?

  42. Amazed to see your body. If you don't mind I want to ask have you taken any bulking prohormones to shape up your body like this.

  43. Wanna read something more like this? Then click here, mate