Friday, January 20, 2012

You wanted the best and you got the best - Q&A with Stan Rhino Efferding

I know I'm a small time whore.  That's ok.  But if I am going to do a Q&A or interview I prefer for them to be worth going out of my small time whore way for.

This Q&A most definitely fits that bill.

If you don't know who the fuck Stan Efferding is, well............

Stan is currently preparing for the IFBB Flex Pro in a few weeks so I didn't want to take up too much of his time.

Paul:  First off thanks for doing this Q&A with me.  You've been training for a long time Stan.  Were you strong right out of the gate?  What were some of your early numbers like in lifting?

Stan:  I started lifting seriously when I got to college at age 18. I had a soccer scholarship but my coach said i needed to hit the weight room because i was small.  I weighed 145 pounds and couldn't bench press 135!!!  Even after training for 3 years I competed in a bodybuilding show when I was 21 weighing only 160lbs.  Hardly big and definitely not strong!!

Paul:  What's the difference in your training when training for a meet, and training for a bodybuilding show?

Stan:  Training for a meet means fewer total workouts per week, lots more calories and sleep and rep ranges from 2-5.  Bodybuilding prep has more training sessions, less carbs and fats and more repetitions per set 8-20.

Paul:  I know you worked with Ed Coan.  Was there anything specific that Ed helped you with that you feel like made a difference in your lifting?

Stan:  Eddie made me pause squat which gave me more confidence in the hole knowing I could slow my rep down and find parallel and then explode.

Paul:  What does your split look like when you are getting ready for a meet?  How do you spread out the three competition lifts over the training week?

Stan:  I usually train squats Monday and Chest Thursday. I'll throw in deads with squats every couple workouts. At my age I've found that less is more when training heavy and recovery is most important so my joints stay healthy going into the meet.

Paul:  Which powerlift has been the hardest for you to bring up?  And what things have you found that helped you bring that lift up the most?

Stan:  Deadlift has been the slowest to progress. I hit a 782 raw dead in 1996 and a 794 in 2010. That's frustrating!!  I don't have an answer for whats helped with the dead, I need to spend more time training it with a great coach like Mark or Eddie.

Paul:  What goals do you have left that you would like to achieve in powerlifting?

Stan:  I've always had my eye on John Cole's 2,259 at 275. Both times I tried, I got injured but fortunately still finished with a respectable total.

JJ....stop frontin man

Paul:  Why does Johnnie Jackson still refer to himself as the strongest pro bodybuilder?

Stan:  You'll have to ask Johnnie. I'll let my numbers speak for me!!


If you've followed my blog a lot you will see a lot of shit I drive home every week.  There were a lot of gems in here........

  • Stan wasn't naturally strong, but consistency over time has paid off.  His dead hasn't moved a whole lot in 14 years.  The next time you get frustrated with progress, put that into perspective.  
  • Pause squats........pause squats......pause squats.  It's like at some point people will start to get it.  
  • Stan, like most of the strongest guys I know, trains less when training for maximum strength.  Not more.  
  • Pay more attention to sleep and eat more when you're training to get strong.  Partying and eating like shit won't cut it when you're trying to get maximally strong.  
  • Stan is his strongest in his 40's.  I've said this forever.  Your strength prime is in the late 30's to mid 40's.  
  • Wanna get big?  Higher reps (8-20).  Wanna get strong?  Reps of 2-5.  Lower reps do not build mass like higher reps, though there is SOME crossover.  Higher reps do not build maximal strength, though there is some crossover.  Use the best rep range for what you are trying to accomplish.  
  • I don't know how many strong guys have to drive all of these points home before people get "it".  No secrets, just time and effort need to pass in order for things to happen.  
Best of luck to Stan at his show and many many thanks for him taking time out of his busy schedule to do this.  My man crush on him is even bigger now.  


  1. Paul,

    Do you think beginners should be hitting heavy weights lot more frequently when training for strength? Or the rules of training less for strength applies to everyone?

  2. More often for noobs. More veteran guy know how to put more into each set, and obviously they load the bar more. Eventually your strength will outrun your recovery.

  3. Hey Paul,

    Great blog you got here! Question, can you train part of your body for size and another for strength at the same time? For example,lets say I want to bring up my chest (size) but I am primarily concerned about upping my strength every where else. Would it work to keep chest exercises in that 8-20 range and everything else low reps? So basically your are training one part of your body like a body builder and the rest like a power lifter. Is this effective and efficient?

  4. Why not just do both? That's what I program in my back off sets for.

    1. ....I figured concentrating on one thing would get you there faster. SO you mean train chest for strength AND size (both rep ranges) works better than just doing high reps - if you are primarily after size?

  5. Just preordered his new DVD, "proving it". Stan is the man! Thanks for this,

  6. You know he's a freak when you see he's only 15kg from a record held by a legend like John Cole. Then you find out he started as a 145 pound Soccer guy? That's impressive, that he started down that long road to this point of success. I bet he had to endure more than a few people telling he couldn't or wouldn't make it.
    Thanks Paul

  7. Anonymous - lower reps = strength higher reps = size

    You can still do both. Stan just doesn't train for low reps when he's doing bodybuilding because......he's bodybuilding. He doesn't do high reps when he's preparing for a meet because he's training to get stronger.

    See, this is smart. Train for what you are going to compete in. If you aren't competing in something, you can do both.

    I hope that answers it better.

  8. good shit right there, and it's raw. here's another interesting interview with rippetoe and karwoski if you havent seen it yet.