paul, i would love to know what (if any) blogs you check out regularly? training related or not. also, what are your favourite books?
I check CnP because I like Jamie's over the top writing style, and WildGorillaMan's because he has so many hot women on it. I read so much at work and on the net I don't often read books too much anymore. Although I want to sit down and read the Art of War. It's shameful that I've not read it yet at this point in my life.
Hey Paul,I was wondering (with regard to the restoration days), would you do the steady state fasted? I assume you don't because you advise people to do curls, rotator cuff and calf work afterwards, but I'm not completely sure. I remember reading you advised people to do grip work on one of the restoration days as well (speaking of which, what sort of grip work do you recommend?), would forearm work be allowed to be done on these days as well?Lot of questions but the restoration days seem really useful so I want to make the most use of them that I can.
Hi Paul i'm at a bit of a dilemma in my training at the moment. I'm a raw powerlifter whos between 2 weight classes and can't decide wether to bulk to fill out my current class or lean out to drop into the class below. I'm about 87-88kg in bodyweight i guess my bodyfat is about 15% i can kind of see abs but not ripped or anything. I'm a junior lifter and this is my last year as one so i really want to win the nationals in september. the weight classes are 83kg and 93kg and the weigh ins are same day. Do you think it would be best to lose 5kg of fat to be the top of 83kg or try to gain 5kg of weight and minimize fat gain up to 93kg. My best lifts are squat 202.5kg bench 130kg deadlift 240kg at 88kg. I've never really tried to bulk or cut before so your advice would be greatly appriciated.Mark
Bane - Yes do it fasted. You can throw in some forearm work, grip work, curls, calves, whatever. Just don't make it hard. More of a "feel good" kinda thing. You should feel a lot better after these workouts than before you started. Go easy.Mark - If you can lose 5k of fat and compete at a higher level in a lower weight class do that. Be the strongest small person you can be. I don't mean to be "small". I mean if you compete at the top of a lesser weight class, but middle of the pack at a higher one, go to the lower weight class.
Paul,Still rocking PR's on strong-15. After about the 4th time, I'm noticing a few things:1) Squat and deadlift remain eternally awesome2) Bench is slowing down big time (but still clawing its' way up)3) Squat weeks 7-9 take a solid 4-5 days to recover from. Those mobility scooter commercials for the elderly are starting to look tempting40 lbs. from a 600 pull. Good stuff.
Bigs - 1. this is great2. this is normal3. drop all assistance and just squat, pause squat, and deadlift when you start to feel that happened. save it all for the big lifts.get that 600 pull on vid.
Alright thanks a lot for responding so quickly. I'll keep the steady state fasted then (always have mind you, I was just wondering how this would work with regards to the assistance work you do on that day but it would hardly be taxing enough to warrant a preworkout meal).Hate to be a bother with more questions, but how much carryover do you feel there is between DB and BB work? For instance, I've found since I've upped my regular strict press I can press bigger DB weight as well. The opposite rarely rings true for me (e.g. I remember being a noob and being able to DB bench 40kgs per hand but I still couldn't bench 80kg). Now I've read that Jamie feels the same, in the sense that DB work is nice for working things unilaterally and keeping things interesting (and for some movements they're a must, such as split leg squats) but that he felt they didn't have any meaningful carryover to BB movements.What's your take on this?
Have you ever tried the Anabolic Diet?
Hah! Yes. I did it for about 5 months and got smaller and fatter and weak as fuck.
I'm just starting it this week, I'm currently small, fat and weak. Going to give it a couple of months try tho. What's worked best for you?
Just eating correctly. Good solid quality foods and minding portions. That and my shake diet.
Paul,For the rotator cuff work on recovery days, I've seen you mention front and rear lateral raises, and band pull-aparts. Am I missing anything? I've never had any shoulder issues, so I'm not sure what to focus on here.Thanks,Brian
L-Flyes and pullaparts are good. Start there.
Sheiko CMS as a lead in to strong-15 meet prep: thoughts? Haven't done anything considered to be volume training in almost a year. GPP is solid now (12-16 40 yard hill sprints with ease) and thought it might be interesting to shake things up.As usual, thanks for all the work you put into this.-Shanker.
Paul, UB question: had my first DL day yesterday. Doing the power shrugs (never done much BB shrugging before) I went with about 85-90% of my DL max. Seems about right as I only got 11 reps. I'm concerned that my grip feels really unstable at the bottom of each rep, though. Should I invest in some straps or add some grip work? If grip work, anything in particular?
Shank - As a lead in? I don't think it needs anything to lead into it. The first 3 weeks are a break in period, if you will. Nilster - Get some straps for shrugs, dawg.
Three questions:1. Relating to the other shoulder thing, I love the barbell overhead press but it gives me some acromial impingement when I do it heavy. Are there any exercises that can reduce impingement that you've found work, or should I give up my beloved OHP?2. How do you feel about front squats vs. back squats? More specifically, how do you feel about the front squat and deadlift contributing to the back squat?3. Can something you do as cardio also help to increase your lifts? Let's say I do sprints or knock out like 150 kettlebell swings as my arbitrary cardio. The swings make my legs and back bigger. Does that increase their potential for strength?Thanks for your time,-Nick
Anonymous, had the same problem with my shoulder. Building up my upper back muscles (PBN/Log Press/OHS/Carries) and working on shoulder/chest mobility & flexibility did the trick. Slam a shot-put in your AC joint and move your arm though a full ROM. Priceless...
1. Play with your grip. Try PBN with a wide grip, and try db press for a while to see if that helps.2. I think that will vary everyone. I know some guys that did fronts only for months that hit PR's on the back squat after that, and I know some guys that get zero carryover. It will all be in the mechanics of how you do each movement as to how much carryover you might/might not get.3. Sure, but it would need to be interval style work. Like sprints.
Paul, I really want some big traps, can I add some heavy shrugs to the Squat-Push-Pull template or is it not worth it?
Hey Paul, Recently i was having a conversation with a couple of friends about the effects of aging on strenght. One of them pretty much stated that once you hit 35+ it's all over and your strenght will start sliding down the toilet. Now don't get me wrong, i'm not saying you can go and set olympic records but i believe with smart training you should be able to keep your strenght well into your 50's. Since you've been training way longer than us and propably seen older lifters what are your thoughts on this? What about mass? (Note that i said KEEP your strenght not build it when 35+, that obviously is way harder)Thanks.
Will - This is the time to build on a foundation, not do specialized work.Peri - This is wrong. In fact it's the opposite. You hit your strength peak in the 35-45 range. Ask your friends who the strongest raw guy in the world is. It's Stan Efferding. He's in his 40's.
I just bought the Black Album, so. . . Favorite Metallica song?
Fade to Black
When I say "lead in" I mean more broadly in much the way RTS cycles periods of volume and periods of intensity. How do you feel about using a period (4-6 weeks, then a deload) of volume prior to running strong-15. It doesn't have to be Sheiko CMS/MS per se. I've run strong-15 exactly the way you recommended in the past, so it's basically just the bare essentials with increasing intensity and non-big-3-movement based assistance. In theory wouldn't a volume block (with the requisite caloric surplus) preceding what is essentially 9 weeks of progressive intensity give you at least a slight increase in your strength ceiling?I for one will never be one to argue that volume is the answer to every weak point or weak lift, but it's been my observation in my limited body of work, that an intensity phase is greatly supplemented by volume work the phase before it.
I would agree with that to a degree. That if you've been doing a lot of lower volume work, upping the strength, that doing some volume for a while, like I have been doing lately, will spur on some new gains.Take a shot at it. I'd go 4 weeks of some higher volume and frequency, then run the strong 15. But, I would base the volume and frequency in more of a hypertrophy style, with a lot of reps and sets. Not strength based lower rep work.
Interesting... but is Stan Efferding natural? Cause if he's on AAS then obviously he's gonna be able to hold onto the strenght much longer than the average Joe that sees his hormones plumet as he ages... Then again most hormone studies are focused on normal, sedentary population not trained lifters so i have no idea really.
Dude, do you really think that guys can be 275 pounds ripped with 850 pound squats naturally?
Oh now i realised who he is haha! So does your previous statement about peaking at 35-45 stand true for natural guys too?
Paul,Have you tried the rumble roller? Do you think it's worth the price? If so, which one should I get, the black or the blue one?
Am I hurting my development if I use the SSB exclusively for squats. Feels more comfortable than the bar, but if I am hindering myself I can alternate. My goals are to just get big and brute strong, not necerssarilly meets or anything else.Love the site thanks for everything
peri - still standsWill - I need to get one. I was just looking at one two days ago actually. Jeff - If you don't plan on competing do what you progress best on, doesn't cause you pain, and gives you the most bang for your buck. However I would still keep the good ol straight bar squat in there no matter what.
Hey Paul,Thanks for your great blog and taking the time to help and put out so much information! Your articles have been really helpful to me, my brother and my girlfriend. Just wanted to give some feedback actually and a short question and the end.My girlfriend is doing a routine I put together for her inspired by the one you outlined in the "Strength Training for Woman" article. She has been going at it for 16 weeks, 2x/week now. In the beginning she wasn't even able to do a single chin-up and even had trouble with 1 push-up.. on the knees that is! Not to mention her conditioning was totally shit. Now she can do a few sets of 2 reps for both the chin-up and push-up, on the feet of course. Next to that she is of course squatting, deadlifting, pressing, running, jumping rope and everything else (and is starting to train 3 times a week from now on). She loved that article btw, she said every girl and woman should read it and I totally agree.So I wanted to support you by donating some, but since that wasn't possible I bought your e-book instead a few weeks ago and man how glad I am that I did that. Have printed them and re-read several times, my brother is also reading them now. Can't wait for the new version of Strong-15, will definitely be buying that one too. We've already implemented some of it in our own training, but will be starting a "full cycle" of strong-15 next week. Am thinking of running it a few times until we make our goals for the coming period (strength is the main goal for now), then running your LRB template to get a bit leaner (I'm at 14% and my brother at 12%), and finally run big-15 a few times to gain some quality mass before we go into strong-15 again. How does that sound? I've got a good feeling about it, have been running 5/3/1 for over a year with great results and I've got the same feeling now as I had back then when I started planning out my 5/3/1 cycles.Anyway, sorry for the long post, one thing I was wondering is whether you think strong-15/big-15/LRB can be used by guys from all levels of strength? ("beginner"/"intermediate"/"advanced") Or if it would suite one better than the other.Thanks again man.LH
Of course they can. It's all about calibration. I would recommend that a beginner use something closer to my SPPC routine. Building a big base for a few years and then going from there.I don't get too caught up in "beginner routines" and "advanced routines". Shit, when I'm training for a meet I do very little other than the big 3. Lots of people would call that a beginner routine. Do what you buy into the most. That's the most important part of any training methodology. Your buy in. If you believe it will work, it will.And awesome progress by your girlfriend!
Hey Paul I know your big into mma and various martial arts but what would you say is your favorite to train in? I've been taking Thai boxing and BJJ for a year now but I was out of town for a month and there was a krav maga studio down the road from my place and I trained there about 15 times before I left and it was fucking unreal. I honestly think that that 1 month of krav maga will help me protect myself on the street more than the full year of Thai boxing and BJJ. I noticed the krav maga link on the side of your blog , do you train in krav maga religiously?-nick
Do you have a link to the "strength training for women" article that LH just mentioned? If not, do you remember about when you wrote it, so I can hunt in the archives for it? Thanks!Jay
Nick - I've been out of krav for a little while because as you noted, it's a very intense training style. I can't train for meets while also in krav. It's too demanding. But yes training in krav has been my fave style to train in. Jay - http://www.lift-run-bang.com/2010/03/strength-training-for-women-get-lean-in.html
paul, what is your opinion for cutting weight for a meet? i feel better growing into, i see a lot of guys drastically cutting weight to make a class then hydrating it back on. it doesnt sound to fun. this week i start training for a meet on march 31st, i would like to lift in the 220's but im already 235. i think i may be better off in the 242's as losing that much weight while trying to gain strength just doesnt seem possible to me. i dont know? could i cut that much weight the day before weigh in, do you recommend it?
I personally don't do it. I think it's just another thing you have to worry about and lots of people have enough nerves at the meet as is. Also, from training with lots of fighters I know that some cuts, you feel fine after, and some, even though you gain it all back, you feel weak and like shit. I think it's one of those things that you try out on your own with no pressure on the line to gauge how you are going to respond first. So I'd say before you try it for a meet, give it a test run first some other time.
Paul, thanks for the reply. I see, I guess that's why I never see you talking about routines for beginners etc. Guess I should stop being too caught up in that too.The SPPC routine looks great too, something I'll definitely be doing once I want to go back to a full body again and am sure I can do the full 1 year. Just feel like trying out some different things now even though I still consider myself a beginner.Before I injured my shoulder about 4 years ago I had been doing Rippetoe and Madcow/Bill Starr 5x5 for quite some time over and over. After a very long layoff and losing a lot of my gains, because of the injury, I started 5/3/1 with the intention of forcing me to progress slowly back to where I was, while still rehabbing the shoulder and not doing anything stupid. Did that for about half a year with the standard 3days a week 5/3/1, after that when I felt solid again I started doing a full body version of it for about half a year again. Once I was sure I could train full blast again I went for 12 weeks of Madcow, also with great results.This is where I currently am:BW 165 (14%) - Deads 460 - Squat 365 - Bench 265 - Military 180 - Chins BW+90lbs for 2 reps.Pretty good conditioning, body fat should be a notch lower though.I'll get back to you with some feedback after a few months of running your templates.LH
tips for making the thumbless grip safer ?
Safety is for pussies. Use chalk, and still grip it tight with your fingers. That's all I got. I don't care about safety.
Hello Paul,You said that single leg work is invaluable for injury prevention, do you think it's possible to do it but use very light weights (or just bodyweight) and still get the benefit out of it? It's just I'm using Jim's 531 full body template at the moment, and he didn't put in any single leg stuff in there, but I was thinking maybe I could use it on one of my off days as restorative work, i.e. using some BW lunges, maybe a couple sets of 5s of pistols thrown in. Cheers bro
Just throw it in after squats or tugs.
What's your take on D-Aspartic acid?
Don't have one.
Does "Bang" mean intercourse?
It certainly can.......
hey paul carter i ahvea ? i know this is random, but due to the atheltics , i keep reading about a high correlation with sprints speeds or accelerations and the vertical jump compared to squat maxes in athletes. i was wondering if u heard of this and ever tested ur jump say on a rim or a box jump being how u squat over twice ur body weight. would u say u jump high or touch rim ? how tall are you by the way?
Yes I've heard of it. I've never done box jumps but when I was younger I could dunk at 5'11". I'm not sure I'd even want to try it now.
5'11 dunk whoa wytf
Whats up dawg, 2 months ago you wrote a good piece bout overhead pressing. Since you introduced your 54321 philosophy in detail, I figured I'd draw from your experience. I want to get real strong on overhead, would you use Strong or Big 15 for that, I'm going to approach it like the other big 3. The reason I ask is because of the last point in that article, going heavy for 3 or less. Just looking for experience insight
Keep it heavy for standing overhead work. Lower reps so program that with the strong15.
Re: SPPC - on the workout where its squats(back-off) + cycle deads.Obviously the "back-off" squats aren't actually following squats so, specifically for the (wk3) "testing" week, how would you structure the warm-up sets to the test weight? i ask this because i've always found 54321 then back-off to facilitate higher reps on the "lighter" test weight. Maybe still "warm up" to a weight higher than the 1xAMAP weight?Hope i'm clear what i'm asking here Paul?Thanks
Just do the scheduled back off. I know what you're saying but just warm up to the scheduled back off on that week.
that's tonight! ok thanks paul, will see how it goes.
sorry, no it's not thats later this wk its cycle squats + back-off deads tonight! thanks.
started the 2012 challenge, I'll for sure have a progress report at the end of the year. Just curious, why and how did you decide on the 10,8,6,5,5,5 for the pushes and one pull? And is there kind of a percentage for each set you had in mind? Not trying to jack with it, just wondering
Just a good warm up to some heavy sets.
Hi Paul,I'm not sure if it's too late to ask a question here but I have one comment and one question:1. I have struggled with my bench for a LONG time and after switching to a thumbless grip, it got better but it still felt like I was front raising it. A few weeks ago, I came across a post from Jamie Lewis about Reverse Grip Bench Presses and I decided to try them. They feel really good and seem to take advantage of my excessive elbow tuck (which I can't seem to get rid of). 2. I've been reading your chin up post again and I've been trying to increase the number of videos I can do. However, I don't seem to feel my lats working when I do them, is it because I'm not doing enough reps per set? (My max is around 10 strict reps) I feel my arms doing most of the work especially when I use a palms facing grip. Thanks!
Howard - It's more than likely because you're just arm dominant pulling wise, and don't know how to engage the lats better. A good way to start doing this is doing 1 chin at a time, and concentrating on arching the low back and getting the chest out, and pulling with your elbows. Think of pulling your elbows down, rather than pulling your body up. Sometimes it's just mental things to get certain muscle groups more involved. I'd start out by doing 10-12 singles. Arch the low back as hard as you can, get your chest out, then pull with the idea that your elbows are coming down. Hope this helps.
Paul,Thanks! I'll try that out.