Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What are you asking yourself?

  • Am I training too hard?
    • I am.  I'm tired and dread the gym. 
      • Back off and take time off until you're hungry again.
    • I'm kicking ass and enjoying myself and making boss gains.  Leave me the fuck alone, shit is going good.  
      • Nothing to see here.  
  • Am I training hard enough?
    • No?  Why not?  
      • I'm cruising and just having fun.  
      • I'm fucking up and needed a wake up call.  Thanks.
  • Am I training often enough, or too often?
    • Are you training more than 3X a week?  Yes.  
      • I'm doing some bodypart specialization.  It's cool.  
      • I've lost sight of my own philosophy.  Thanks for reminding me.  
    • No.  Shit is perfect.  You know this from decades of doing this shit.
  • What is my current short term goal?
    • Did I write that shit down or am I just winging it?  
      • I'm just winging it?  No wonder I haven't felt like shit is moving in any direction.
    • I wrote it down, dawg.  
      • I got a plan.  Watch me break my foot off in it's ass.
  • Am I getting enough sleep?  
    • I'm not, and it's fucking me up.  I need to get into a routine again.
      • Hit the Lunesta for 3-4 nights in a row to catch up.  Quit worrying so much.
    • Sleep has been great.
      • Really?  Wow.  That's unusual.  
  • Am I eating "right"?  
    • Fuck no.  You've been blowing your diet left and right.  
      • Get your fucking shit straight and get back on track.
    • Hellz yes.  Diet has been tight.  
  • Are you foam rolling?  
    • No.  
      • God dammit, Paul.  You are always so lazy about this and then cry like a bitch when your IT band gets inflamed.  
        • Start foam rolling again.  
    • Yes.  
      • Really?  
        • No.  
          • God dammit, Paul!  
  • Are you conditioning?  
    • Yes.  
      • Awesome.
    • No.
      • Twice a week to start.  Steady state for a week, then 10 40-yard sprints, then up to 15-20 over the next three weeks.  After that, hills once a week.  You know the routine.  
  • Are you including prehab work?  
    • No.
      • Get on it.  You know it doesn't take much effort to include it.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of torn adductors.  
    • Yes.  
      • Good shit.  
  • Have you reached or exceed a goal in the last 6 months? 
    • Yes.
      • Good man.  
    • No.
      • Read this list again.


  1. Been really struggling with sleep lately, it's definitely holding me back. Do you really suggest hypnotics?

  2. I love lunesta. Just take it on an empty stomach. Same for melatonin.

  3. Couldn't find any articles on your prehab/foam rolling. When and what do you usually do? I printed this out and will read this shit daily... haha


  5. Love it, although I'm just gonna sub your name for mine.

  6. Paul, I was thinking about something last night, and it might be worth considering for your book. I'm in my mid-30's and only started lifting last year. Most of the good information out there seems geared towards young novices and older, experienced lifters. Even if you believe the information you are going to provide for novices works well at any age, it might be worth saying so at some point, just so folks like me have that extra bit of assurance that what we're reading applies to us. Just a thought. Keep up the great work!

  7. Nilster - I am going to try and cover everything from training age to actual age. As much as possible, I want it to be an all encompassing read.

  8. Paul,

    I noticed in your prehab article you aren't a fan of the gurus, and I take that to mean the mobility/rehab guys. So out of curiosity, what do you think of the work from guys like Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson?

  9. You mean their methods? Not my thing. I think prehab can be boiled down to some pretty simple movements. As I noted, I cut out straining/tearing my adductors in a constant basis just by getting on the adductor machine. Guys like that are the kind that will tell you that those machines are worthless because it has no "real world application".

    Keepin it simple.

  10. How do you feel about Bulgarian / Average Broz type training? Im not sure if you've brought it up before.

  11. I agree with keeping it simple when it comes to prehab and rehab, however there's some exceptions for certain cases.

    For instance I noticed you mentioned leg extensions being a staple for post-knee surgery patients. That's definitely true. However, for cases such as knee tendinosis or VMO atrophy/inhibition (usually symptoms of both conditions), the leg extension is largely hit or miss and an outdated method of rehab in the PT world. VMO and knee health is more related to glute medius/overall glute activation and awareness. Conditions like tendonitis/tendinosis are almost always issues of a lack of activation, inhibited muscles/joints, and motor control, and rarely are simply a local issue. So from a rehab standpoint, some of the "weird movements" and odd ideas are very valuable for some people with some fucked up conditions.

    I know for myself, I've been rehabbing some knee tendinosis for almost 6 months (VMO was largely inhibited and atrophied), and only in the last 4-5 weeks when I began implementing reverse lunges (very low pressure on the patella due to low deceleration demands) instead of leg extensions, I have seen a major improvement in pain levels, activation, strength, and hypertrophy.

    If you're a strong and healthy dude already with good glute activation, hamstring strength, proper alignment and hip extension, then yeah leg extensions can be a great prehab exercise. For the rest of the dudes with underlying fucked up shit, it's not always going to prevent or solve a problem.

    I will also say that I don't know why anyone hates on leg curls...there's not really any other way to train the knee flexion function of the hamstrings. Although if the shit hurts for some reason....

    But anyway, once again I agree with your general points Paul. I think if someone is in good shape overall, then some simple prehab work for the elbows/shoulders/knees/hips + single leg work (and some soft tissue shit) is all that's really needed. For the really odd or fucked up cases, it may be wise to at least consider some unconventional (but logically sound) things.

  12. Anoymous - Don't like Broz type training. I think that's for a really small select few type people. It's a chew you up and spit you out meat grinder style.

    Anonymous 2 - You are going way beyond the scope. The truth is, only someone in person who knows what they are doing can do things like help teach you how to get certain dormant muscle groups to fine. If it's because of a structural issue then yes you will need more than simple prehab exercises. MY wife had hip replacement and it took stim therapy for her to learn how to fire her glutes. No exercise in the world was going to do it because her body never learned, from birth, how to fire her glutes properly. After the stim treatment with very specific movements done WHILE the stim work was going on, she eventually learned. But it was a long and slow process.

    The point about very simple prehab movements, is for people who don't have these kinds of problems. They just need to cover all the bases. I am not a fan of quirky movements because the truth is, if you don't know how to fire a muscle properly (as you mentioned) your dominant muscles will just take over, and do the work for you. This is one reason why I like and prefer single joint movements in machines for a lot of prehab work.

    If you're on an adductor machine, well, the only thing that CAN even do the work is the adductors. But doing some kind of split squat with bands around my legs on a wobble board or whatever? No.

    When you're doing prehab you're generally trying to isolate a single area that either has been trouble or could be trouble. When you use a multi-joint movement to try and hit that particular area, you run the risk of having the dominant muscle groups do the majority of the work. This is why I say use something leg a leg extension with the last small degree range of motion. You're not going to be activating anything else. If you do, it would be very minimal.

    And I don't get the hate on leg curls either. They actually do what the hamstrings are meant to do. In every EMG test leg curls blow everything else out of the water for hamstring activation. Imagine that?

  13. Hey Paul,

    I just wanted to get your opinion on cardio while trying to gain weight.

    Is it worth cutting out the cardio for a while to make gaining weight or do you think i should cut it down to like twice a week?

    I know its not a Q&A but if you say "i'm gonna start doing X on Monday" its not gonna happen.


  14. Definitely do cardio while trying to gain weight.

    1. It will increase your appetite.

    2. Keep your gains in "check" so to speak, so you don't get too fat.

    3. keep the BP and heart healthy while you are gaining weight.

    4. Helps with nutrient partitioning.

    Steady state in the afternoon or morning on every non lifting day is a great idea. A 30 minute walk is NOT going to impede you gaining mass, and more than anything will help give you more quality mass.

    1. Hey Paul,

      I am watching the Captain Kirk interview with Rip on Starting Strength and it made me think of you. You often talk about striking the iron and that's basically what he said happened with him when he did the 1,000 pound squat double at that meet in the 90's. He knew it might cost him his third attempt and maybe the meet but he just had to do it. If he didn't strike the iron then, he would regret it the rest of his life.


  15. Exactly. It's risky, especially if a meet is that close, but it can help you overcome some mental hurdles too.

    Did it cost him that 1017? Probably. But who gives a shit. I think everyone who has internet access and has seen it will say it's the single most impressive squat they have ever fucking seen. Regardless of what or where.

  16. Paul,

    Could you elaborate a bit more of your opinion on Broz style training? Have you done this style of training before or heard someone doing it? I'm interested in your thoughts as right now I've been maxing out on squats everyday for 3 and half weeks now followed with up to 20 singles or 15 doubles at 90-95% of daily max. I'm not really hitting any PR's right now, but he says there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    I'm worried about my overall mental health though, plus my body feels kinda beat up. With all your talk about prehab stuff, I'm beginning to want to explore other options. About a month ago, I said on your blog that I will max on squats with a push or a pull movement everyday for a year as well as taping it. I've been doing this religiously, but since I've been adding all these shit-tons of singles and doubles and triples and squatting for 3 hours outside in the cold (sometimes snow), it's very difficult and I'm scared I might hurt something.

    I've ranted off, but could you offer some words of wisdom?

  17. I just don't think this kind of training is needed or warranted for great gains.

    One of the biggest factors in making progress is enthusiasm. Once you start to dread training, you will not train with great intensity. I could never train this way because I would fucking hate it. I love to lift, but not everyday. I love chocolate chip cookies. But not everyday.

    Most everything in life that you do, will serve you best in moderation. From money, to sex, to food, to lifting. There is a balance in there. Sure, an abundance in money is awesome. Until it fucks your life up, like it has so many. A

    n abundance of almost anything has drawbacks.

    Training 3 times a week, will work for 99% of everyone that takes up lifting as a life long journey.

    Training in Broz style will work for about 1% of guys that take up training as a life long journey.

    I know you see guys training in that style and doing well, but they are the few, not the many. And the many have done just fine training 3X a week.

    1. true that, too much of anything has bothered me, like white castle burgers lol, p.s. on that note heres an idea "my PoTP log - phase 1 grading for leg day 85%, 15 on amap and i hit the 8+ good too. looking forward to phase 2.

      thanks! paul

  18. I've lost sight of my own philosophy. Thanks for reminding me

    Damn man,this one struck home with me. Ive been back at for a few years after almost a decade away. During the time back Ive overloaded myself with to much information some go some shit and allowed my own philosophy ( which worked) slip away.

  19. Don't most olympic weight lifting routines have their lifters lifting 5+ times a week?

  20. "Don't most olympic weight lifting routines have their lifters lifting 5+ times a week?"

    This is often a failed comparison by lifters. Olympic lifting and powerlifting cannot be compared training wise. Olympic lifting is largely without an eccentric portion of a movement. The eccentric portion of the movement is largely responsible for both muscular growth AND creating inroads to recovery.

    Guys can do shit like snatches and jerks and cleans many times a week because there is no negative. So what Olympic guys can do has no bearing on what or how powerlifters can or do train. It's completely apples to t-bone steaks. In no way, shape, or form comparable.

  21. Paul,

    Thanks for your answer, I needed that.

    What I want to know as well is how did you get your squat up from 300 to 400 and how long did it take you?

    I've also read that to build strength, one should do sets of fives, got this from an article on starting strength. I know there isn't a magical rep for building strength, but forgive me if I'm wrong, the back-off sets in Strong15 sometimes may push one to hit reps in the 8-12 range, how well do you think this will 1rm strength in powerlifting? Or is the program aim to build strength in all rep ranges? I'm sorry to ask you to justify your program for me, but I'm so inexperienced in training I'd like to understand a bit more on it.

  22. Will - You can build strength with sets of 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17.......

    There is no one way to skin a cat.

    If you go from squatting 315x8 to 335x8, do you think you can squat more as a 1 rep max?

    And if you went from squatting 365 to 385 for a single do you not think you could do more reps with 315 than before?

    Things in lifting aren't in a vacuum. If you get stronger, you generally get stronger across the board.

    The exception here is higher reps, which tend to carryover less to 1 rep maxes. But, I have no doubt if you go from squatting 315x20 to 365x20 well, you're going to have a higher 1 rep max.

    I hope that answers what you're asking.

    Basically, just get stronger.

    As far as going from 300 to 400, I'm not sure. Probably a few years. Everyone is different though. What I did in X amount of time has no bearing on anyone else but me.

  23. you combine knowledge and science and put them into words that any one of us retards can understand. Can't thank you enough.

    Using your LRB template of 1 pull, 1 push, 1 legs day weekly, do you think throwing in 2 days of snatch,cleans,jerk variations would over train most lifters? Most days working on technique and not maximal weights?

  24. Stew - Just do it as is. This program is very demanding, especially if you have not been doing the high reps like I have programmed in for the support work.

    After 6 weeks if you feel like adding that in is doable, give it a shot. But always give any program an "as is" run first to really see how it works for you.

  25. Hey Paul, just curious then if you consider lifting 4 days a week following Wendler's 531 template to be too many days in the gym? I really do prefer the 4 day split as it allows me to get more fired up for the one main lift of the day, as well as making each session a bit shorter than if I lifted 3x a week. Cheers!

  26. Jords - That's just kind of a question for "me". These questions should be tailored to whatever it is you know works for you. I can do 4X a week training and progress well but I need to set it up a certain way. Namely, one of those 4 days needs to be easy stuff, not beating myself up more.

    Point of this is to make a list of things you need to ask yourself to keep progressing.

  27. Okay, that makes sense Paul. Thanks man.