Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Weekly Q&A

We haven't had one in a while.  This is my usual Q&A, NOT for the podcast.

Fire away.  Name and question......

162 comments:

  1. I know you're a huge fan of pause squats and pause benching for building strength out of the bottom position of the 2 movements, but do you think pausing is useful for overhead pressing as well? Thanks, dude.

    -Dan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. I think making bottom position work harder will always pay dividends down the road.

      Delete
  2. Paul, been on the SPPC Challenge since February, I’ve completed two cycles of 9 weeks. In both cycle I felt same thing: everything went ok till week 5 or 6 then I felt beaten and I struggled to complete the cycle. Any thoughts about shortening the cycle from 9 weeks to 6 (so 2 weeks for opener, 2 for second attempt and 2 for last attempt) ?

    Tank you,
    Marius

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Program even lighter for the next cycle, and really cruise the first 3-4 weeks, then the last 5 weeks or so should be the only difficult ones.

      Most guys just keep programming too heavy each cycle. There's nothing wrong with programming behind where you were for a cycle in order to move 1 step forward.

      So instead of thinking about shortening the cycle, think about making the back end of the cycle harder (the last 5 weeks) rather than the first 5 weeks.

      Make sense?

      Delete
    2. Perfectly, tank you !
      Marius

      Delete
  3. It seems like everytime i squat for a longer period of time, i end up hurting my right knee. I am now focusing on improving my form by doing loads of sets with low reps with a moderate weight. My knee seems okay so far, but last time i was squatting i noticed, which i also heard from an earlier training partner before, that the bar is sitting uneven on my shoulders. When i setup and get my elbows under the bar, it seems like one of my elbows automatically points more backwards than the other, and for some reason it happens to be in the same shoulder that i often experience problems with pulldowns and chinups. I also believe that my stance might be uneven too, but as im training alone, it is kind of hard to figure out and correct it.

    I know this is a shit load of info, but what would you advise, since i'm sick and tired of my squat being stuck at a shitty level, as i always end up injured after 3-4 weeks of squatting.

    Casper

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    Replies
    1. Switch to high bar squats. Sounds like you could have a structural imbalance. If that's the case, this will keep happening over and over again.

      Delete
    2. Hey Paul, sorry to jump in, but this sounds exactly like what i have , i e one shoulder higher up, uneven stance, chronic one sided knee pain , and an injury every few weeks. Also my mother never loved me but that's besides the point. What I have is pelvic rotation, which is causing a curvature of the spine, which is causing one shoulder to be higher up. I have dealt with this shit for years, but only found out recently what it is after a string of useless physiotherapists. A chiropractor is finally helping me with it and I am finally making progress. I could find nothing on this problem online, there doesnt seem to be much on it. It might be a good idea to go and see a very good chiropractor or pyhsio. If it is like my thing at All, as Paul said it will not go away. Paul, sorry to hijack, I just know how shitty a problem this is , if it is it. Your blog is, along with Jamie's, the best online as far as I'm concerned, keep it up! Jack

      Delete
    3. Jack that is what I suspected (the pelvic issue, because my wife had it) but it's something I don't really like "diagnosing" online.

      Delete
    4. I think the pelvic issue is correct, as Jack wrote, it matches everything he experienced. A chiropractor or physio is not really an option at the moment, since im still a teenager living with my parents, and that shit is expensive as fuck here in Denmark. What would you advise then both training and prehab wise? I guess i should stop squatting at least, and then focus on fixing my hip, but how would one go about that?

      Casper

      Delete
    5. My guess would be chiro. But find a good one, or you will just get stolen from.

      Delete
    6. The problem is that just is not possible at the moment... Since it's not affecting my everyday life except for training, my parents won't pay for it, and i don't have that kind of cash for treatment right now.

      I know this isnt optimal, but i cant really change it.

      I want to continue training obviously, and i guess deadlifting should not give me any problems?
      Casper

      Delete
  4. Very true. Jumped the gun, sorry. Something that has drive me nuts for a long time, and which I just wish I saw someone experienced about sooner. Was in the dark about it co a long time, but Diagnosing online is silly,you are right. On another note backloading is definitely the most enjoyable way of eating I have found without becoming a fat bastard again, and strength is way up, although admitedly still crap . Jack

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm still in the prep phase, but feel good.

      Delete
  5. Hey Paul,

    Long story short, my new job has me working 60 hrs a week.
    I've scaled back training to three to four short sessions in order not to tax my recovery too much.

    Don't know if you remember, but a while ago I posted a basic outline of a diet I wanted to follow to gain some weight (potatoes and beef).

    My appetite has taken a beating and I'm craving more sleep than food sometimes.

    Basically right now I'm eating enough to feel well-fed, I'm also pretty energetic, and I'm making some slow and steady progress, though I'm not as high calorie wise as I used to be.

    So my question is: is eating enough to fuel my workouts and get through the day, enough to keep making gains and slowly climb up the weight ladder (like in lean mass gains?)? Or is force-feeding a lot more part of the weight gaining game?

    I'll stop here, if you need to know anything else ask away bro.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All questions you can ask yourself and get answers to.

      Is your strength climbing?

      Are you gaining weight, but slowly?

      If yes to both, you're on the right track.

      Delete
  6. Raw powerlifter using gear to supplement training. Good idea or bad idea?

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    Replies
    1. I've known some guys that said their gear training did in fact help their raw strength. I've also known lots of guys that came out of gear or wear gear too much that have shit raw strength.

      The myth that gear guys are as strong as raw guys is just that. It's not so in every case. I know some guys that lift some big lifts in gear, but aren't strong at fucking all out of it. And I know some guys that use gear that are strong raw.

      But back to your question, I think you could probably get some benefit out of it, depending on how you did it.

      Delete
  7. Paul, I've noticed that every time I bench my right shoulder starts tweaking and ticking like crazy. I've done countless deloads, tried as best as I could to master my form, but nothing works. Flat bench, incline, decline, close-grip; No matter what I do my shoulder keeps acting up.

    I've seen Jamie recommend reverse grip bench to help with shoulders. However, this exercise looks a bit dangerous and I work out at home (the closest gyms are Plant Phagness and YouFit, no way in hell I'm going there). Would you recommend it, possibly starting at a really light weight and working my way up, or qould you recommend something else?

    P.S. I'm also doing dips and military presses, neither of which aggravate my shoulders and the weight has been climbing normally on both. My press is about to surpass my bench even.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My question would be, are you going to do competitive powerlifting? If not, and your overhead and dips are kicking ass, just do that.

      Delete
  8. Training the same lift everyday, your thoughts about it ?

    My squat is shit, my overhead press is shit, I'm seriously considering emulating Oly lifters and doing both those lifts everytime I'm in the gym or at least 3 times a week. Surely I don't have the base of an oly lifter, but used to be a professional gymnast back in my teen years and have been doing competitive gymnastics and wrestling since I was 6, that ought to count for something.

    The only thing I'd chance from training session to training session would be possibly alternate between front squats and back squats/military press and koklov press and change rep ranges.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you do this, you can't really go that heavy. Not unless you're some brute. If you're not very close to your strength ceiling, I'm ok with it. Some guys like Jamie can do this, but he's the exception IMO.

      I do think you can overhead press pretty often, just make sure that you vary the type you do.

      My other recommendation is to just squat once a week, then first squat that same week rather than squatting a whole bunch of times.

      You can go heavy both times, but since the front squat will regulate how heavy you're going, the systematic recovery isn't so difficult to crawl out of.

      Overhead pressing 3X a week is fine. Just do different types.

      Delete
    2. I was thinking about doing this too for OHP. By different types do you mean variations? If I was to do straight standing OHP 3x a week what sets/reps would you recommend, similar each day or switch up the intensity/volume etc?

      Delete
    3. class 3 olympic lifters trained by the russians, squat 3-4 days a week with 3-5 sets @ 3-5 reps between 70-85%, but they will alternate back squat and front squat, either 2 and 1 of each or 2 of each, but never the same intensities as the previous back or front squat sessions, the bulgarians rotate squat and front as well but go for the daily maximum allowed that day ( not an all out max) so yea it seems best to rotate, just my 2 cents from what ive seen and read

      -steve

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    4. What would your three pressing recommends be then? Not to hijack shit, just curious. Maybe PBN, clean & press and a DB press? Coincidentally that's what I'm doing and it's working well.

      Delete
    5. That's my three. Nailed it.

      Delete
    6. Yeah those are my favorites as well. I noticed you do your DB presses seated though, any particular reason? I do 'em standing (and with one arm, though all the threads on Reg Park presses over on IM.com have made me curious about them), because I figured, I'm always standing when I press anyway, might as well do these standing as well.

      Delete
    7. I've done both seated and standing. I find for db pressing my delts get way more smoked if I do them seated. If I am standing with the db's all I ever feel is "tired" after.

      Delete
  9. Would you rather sleep with one 10/10, or three 7/10s? (Assume you're single for the purposes of this question........)

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    Replies
    1. Are the 3 7's at one time? If so, the 3 7's.

      Otherwise the 10 easily. How often do you find a 10? Pretty much never. My "10" list is very very tiny. So the 10. Unless I can get the 3 7's at the same time.

      Delete
    2. At the same time, naturally.

      Delete
    3. Wow that's tough! Because I've had many 3somes, but never a 4some. Yet banging your perfect chic........hmmmm

      Maybe this is a discussion for the podcast.......

      Delete
  10. What's your opinion on full body 3x per week programs like SS vs. splits for beginners?

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    Replies
    1. I'm ok with them, but I think there is a better way personally.

      Lots of training, squats, inclines, rows, and chins.

      Delete
    2. what do you think is the "better way"?

      Delete
  11. i've posted this before but maybe it was too long for the podcast. Great job on those btw, the where really entertaining.
    - will doing full body workouts not be beneficial for muscle gains?
    i usualy go heavy (1-3 reps) for sets (2-10) depending on how i feel with 90 sec rest, or with 45 sec rest if suppersetting a compound movement with an isolation movement (for ex. klokov press with db curls or pull ups with triceps ext). also i do something explosive, and squats every workout. This is brutal and never gets boring.
    - i am not intrested in competing in powerlifting or olympic lifting, but i am interested in getting as strong as i can, so as far as squating, what is the best type of squats i can use? should i focus on squating with a bounce like olympic lifters? maybe pause squats? i don't realy like box squats.
    - standing overhead press vs bench press, is one better measure for upper body strength than the other?
    thanks in advance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. Any routine that focuses on progression with good food will allow for muscle gains. I don't really get this question. If you go from squatting 300x10 to 400x10 you will be bigger. Whether or not you do your whole body in a session isn't relevant. Lots of guys got big and strong doing whole body routines.

      2. Just squat a lot and figure out what kind feels most natural for you.

      3. I don't judge strength that way. If you can deadlift 800 but can only bench 350 that's not strong to me. People get mad about this but I don't care. Being strong to me, means being strong at most everything. Not being "strong" in 1 thing because you were born with great leverages for that movement. I know too many guys that have shit leverages for a lift but got good at it (me deadlifting for example).

      So what I am getting at here is, get good at both. Be strong on both.

      Delete
    2. thank you for your reply.

      Delete
  12. So I've been shedding some fat (which is going pretty well so far -- I've lost 18 pounds already), and I was thinking of running the Big-15 program after reaching my goal weight. Do you think it's a good idea to maintain for a few weeks after reaching your goal weight before going into a mass building phase, or does it not matter very much?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great question.

      I think what you should do is, diet down BELOW where you want to be. So if you want to get to 10% bodyfat, get to 8%. Try to get stringy, if you will. This way when you start eating, your rebound effect will be even larger. Anyone who has dieting for a long time will tell you this. Just don't go fucking bananas on the eating right after you are ready. Add calories back in slowly, and don't venture above 12-15% again after that.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the reply. I managed to get close to 30% after a long stretch of SS + GOMAD. Although it was fun never missing a lift, I did look and feel like crap afterward. Never again.

      I've been basically lifting 4x per week, one session for bench/row, one for squats, one for ohp/chins, and one for deadlift, with minimal assistance. Like doing 5/3/1, but I keep the intensity as high as I can without cycling the weights. I also do long, slow distance for 30 minutes 3x per week. So far I've managed to drop fat without losing much strength and muscle.

      However, it's been hard to find a good, definitive program for shedding fat -- what I'm doing I decided to try after reading some perspectives from around the 'net. I've run across lots of guys who know how to lose lots of fat & maintain muscle in theory, but seem not to have applied it themselves. What we need is a Lean-15 program. :-)

      Delete
  13. If your young(age 25) and on TRT for life because something went wrong with you and it couldn't be fixed(unknown cause- no drug prior use, etc), is there any reason NOT to do steroid cycles? Since there is no PCT and your always going to be on something, why not give it a bit more few times a year? Taking into account good training,diet, and good gear.

    Or do you still go as far as possible on TRT dosage(which puts in normal range on testosterone blood work scale) and save blasting for later in life?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Personally, I say get your blood work done, and if you're good to go from a test level standpoint, just stay there.

      The truth is, for MOST guys, there can't tell any difference between 400mg of test a week and 800mg of test a week. Once you get to a gram things do pick up, but then it's all about managing side effects.

      Find a dose you can use week in and week out, but you still need to pay attention to training and diet. Even if you're on for life, don't become a cycle junkie. It should always be about the bar and plates.

      Delete
    2. TRT dosage is 100mg per week, puts me at middle range. Doctor won't move above that dosage.

      Problem is if I go higher I need to hide it from blood work every 6 months. I'd be happy with say 250 per week or something year round....but docs put you at dosages which aren't great. So I was thinking of just boosting test only 12 weeks twice per year, giving 3 month cycle, 3 month TRT and repeat. Good enough to get some gains, but still plenty time to keep in bloodword ranges for doctor tests. Is that still too much and am I just being greedy?

      I see what you're saying about going overboard, and don't want to be at 2g's per week trying to push for gains....just kind of want to make up for years of lifting while pretty much going backwards because of own endocrine system.

      Delete
    3. That's easy mang.

      Just avoid shots for a couple of weeks before you go in for blood work. It'll drop. Trust me.

      And dude, I know what you're feeling in terms of training for years and moving backwards. I've been on replacement therapy for 3 years now.

      My advice to you, is to find a sweet spot that allows you to train hard, but not so much that you deal with any sides. And just stay there.

      Delete
    4. Few weeks I think he will know something is up...but yeah I get what you're saying. Just wish I had a doctor wanting to get me to that ideal dosage to train hard but not crazy levels while being healthy. Next tests I'll pin a few days early to get the same dosage in for the week but leave a few more days between shots and bloodwork than been getting.

      Still training my ass of now anyway, have been since before TRT and am seeing some small gains even with 100mg per week. I'll try to convince him to shoot for upper range and not leave me in middle as well.

      Even if I need to supplement abit myself, I'll keep it reasonable and look for that sweet spot. Thanks for feedback.

      Delete
    5. not a problem.

      just run your last pin about 10-14 days out from the bloodwork and you'll be fine.

      Delete
  14. Hey Paul,

    This is a broad question, but it's been on my mind for a while, so I have to ask it the way it is. What would you suggest a person do if he wanted to train a little bit of combat, with the goal of having minimal takeaway from lifting, but be good enough to defend himself/family from random street thugs.

    Essentially, my main goal is to become bigger/stronger, but I don't want to be caught with my pants down if I have to get into a fight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Krav Maga. I'm biased yes but I've taken many different styles of martial arts, and it's the only one dedicated to surviving real hand to hand combat with no bullshit.

      Delete
    2. Goddamn that was fast. My follow up question is, can you program it in such a fashion that it doesn't negatively impact your training?

      I'm not trying to serve two masters. I just want to be "literate" in fighting, not the next Overeem.

      Justin

      Delete
    3. Lift big twice a week. Small once a week.

      Get in to fight 2-3 times a week.

      This is doable.

      Delete
    4. what do you mean "lift small"?like 1xhvy upper + 1xhvy lower + 1x lgt upper? thanks paul

      Delete
  15. Right now, I'm doing around 7 exercises per workout, at 4 sets of 10 reps each. I'm dying 3 times a week; and I can sometimes barely finish all the exercises, is there a way to reduce the amount I do and still keep gaining? I just started training 3 months ago. I do:

    Squats
    Flat Bench
    Deadlifts
    Military Presses
    Weighted Chin Ups
    Weighted Tricep Dips
    Bent Over Barbell Rows

    Thanks,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL yeah. Have you listened to the podcasts????

      Two big movements at the most per session. This is something Jamie and I have talked about many times. After two big movements, I'm pretty wasted. Sometimes I can get three in, but generally one of those three isn't hit as hard.

      Did you look at my SPPC (squat, push, pull, condition) program? Lots of easy answers to this question.

      Delete
    2. Nope, I'm a new reader to your blog, my friend sent me your "At war with a demon" article,(Great motivational stuff by the way), but I'll search for the SPPC program and listen to the Chaos & Bang stuff.

      Thank you

      Delete
    3. Here you go dawg........

      http://www.lift-run-bang.com/2012/01/your-challenge-2012-squat-push-pull.html

      I can't imagine how you'd get through a session with that many compound lifts. Pick two big ones, and 1 small one, and start from there. Or read that link.

      Delete
  16. Lets say you had to fight an army of midgets. How many of them would it take to take you down? (Same question to Jaimie for the next CnB.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good question. Will add to the podcast.....

      Delete
  17. What are your thoughts on DC training. Been training for 3 years. My bench is at 315, squat at 430, and deadlift at around 500. I was very weak when I started so I have made huge improvements (150-200lbs and lean). I feel like I my technique is solid, but I also hear DC is for more advanced trainers. Do you think its too early to give it a shot?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did it for 2 years. It's def an advanced training method. You're at the 3/4/5 range. Add another 40 pounds to each other those and you'll be in a better position for it.

      Delete
  18. Whats your opinion on combining carb backloading with IF? Ive been doing keto for about 5 weeks now, the last 2 of those weeks ive been skipping breakfast after reading leangains IF and have noticed better results. But my plan was to start 16/8 IF while still doin keto for a while then maybe move on to a Keto IF with carbs postworkout only, which is basically carb backloading on an IF diet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought about this, but I'm going to do the carb backloading how Keifer describes. But I def think it can work. You would just have to play with it a little bit.

      Delete
    2. My plan is to fool around with different combinations of Keto, IF and Backloading until I find something that ill be able to continue doing for most of the year.

      Delete
  19. What other trap exercise would you use on your small trap/delts days if you couldn't do upright rows?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Which type of row would you say has most bang for your buck? I noticed you like t-bar rows, how do you feel about chest supported ones

    Keep up the good stuff Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For me personally, low cable rows. After that t-bar, then db. I don't like the chest supported rows because I feel like my chest is getting caved in, and I also feel like even strict rows need just a very slight amount of whole body in them, where the chest supported ones don't allow that.

      Delete
    2. Much obliged Paul, I agree concerning a bit of body english in rows, it's just a necessity after a while. The problem with my gym's cable row is that it doesn't go all that heavy. Would you advise people to go the t-bar route once they've maxed cable rows?

      Delete
    3. People go too heavy on rows most of the time. Do 5-6 sets of 12 with little rest between sets, and really squeeze the shoulder blades back together. My guess is, the stack goes plenty heavy enough.

      Delete
    4. This would build strength and mass properly in your opinion then? My goal with rows is to build upper back strength (and mass, but the two are related as everyone knows) to help stabilize my presses (overhead that is).

      Delete
    5. Would I recommend it if I thought it wouldn't? It's what I do as well.

      Delete
  21. arnold
    been getting some bad shoulder issues from chins lately, i read somewhere that the shoulders are less internally rotated on pulldowns ( assuming decent form) than chins. Will the switchover affect my strength too much?
    Go watch the avengers soon-HULK SMASH!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. week 1 - heavy chin

      week 2 - bodyweight only 7 sets of 5

      week 3 - heavy pulldowns

      week 4- repeat

      I've been giving people this split for a long time and no one is listening.........this is how I got my chinning strength up.

      Delete
    2. im savin this right now, this is how to get chinning strenght up, how many sets and reps for the heavy chin and heavy pulldowns?????

      Delete
    3. do some warm ups, a few singles. Then 5,4,3,2,1 and a back off set.

      Delete
  22. What's your opinion on a staggered stance military press to get a little more leverage, i.e. placing one foot about 4 inches forward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't like it. I hear people say this but I don't think that's the case if you're strict pressing.

      Delete
  23. Koklov Presses, how are you liking those ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mean Klokov? I like em, but they are hard as fuck. Hardest pressing movement I've ever found.

      Delete
    2. Klokov press but with a clean grip / a bit wider than shoulder width is my press of choice lately, deadstop on the back between reps, hard as fuck. My olympic weightlifting coach taught me those, they got him to an easy 172.5kg bounce bench press @82kg

      Delete
  24. Been trying to use the good girl/bad girl machines after squats lately but I get a sharp pain on the outside of my right knee on the bad girl machine at the end of the rom. have you any ideas about what this might be or if it might be serious or just more mobility stuff needed? I had hoped the machine would help stretch out the ad/abductors but maybe not. It generally doesn't happen during any other exercise including squats even when I try to push my knee out. Any thoughts? Thanks,
    B

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will roll it more and for longer so, thanks. B

      Delete
  25. any examples of a leg specialization routine?
    -nick

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will cover that in the new training book.

      Delete
  26. What do you think could be causing back spasms? It happens to me at least once a year. I usually get them when deadlifting or front squatting. The pain is pretty crippling(feels like an intense shock) when it happens and my hips, obliques and low back are sore for about a week after it happens to the point that I can barely move, sit down, heck it even hurts to lie down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. almost for certain your piriformis. stretch it and see if that isn't what hurts like a bitch.

      Delete
    2. Could it be a bulging/herniated disc? B

      Delete
  27. will u be covering prehab in ur new book, like for elbows, squatting pain, back problems, foam rollin etc

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely. It gets a whole chapter to itself.

      Delete
  28. hey paul on ur rotation of heavy chin ups and heavy pulldowns, do you pyramid up the sets or do you keep it straight set? also can you do a 50% technique on those too??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For the chins I run the big-15 basically.

      The next week I just stay with body weight for the 7 sets of 5.

      The next week I usually do 4-5 or more sets of pulldowns with the same weight.

      I don't do 50% sets in this particular rotation. Though you could add it to the back off set the weight of the big-15 chins.

      Delete
  29. Paul,

    Having trouble with my grip strength for deadlifts. Any suggestions on exercises that can improve my grip in addition to deadlift reps?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Get rid of your straps.

      Double overhand shrugs after all your deads. No straps.

      Timed heavy db holds. Try to beat your time each week with the heaviest pair at the gym.

      Delete
    2. Trying to improve my grip as well. Maxed out on my db (only have a few sets in the garage gym, top being 75#), but I do have a loading pin (and could make another).

      So, is it kosher to do heavy holds one arm at a time? Or should that put too much stress on the spine?

      Delete
    3. Just go with double overhand barbell shrugs

      Delete
    4. Paul,

      Thanks for the response

      Currently training 3 days a week, alternating deadlifts every second workout, suggest that I do them once a week?

      Delete
    5. Is it currently working? Are you getting stronger?

      Delete
  30. "Lift big twice a week. Small once a week.

    Get in to fight 2-3 times a week."

    Can you give an example of a lift big twice, samll once routine please?

    thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Day 1 - Big
      Press
      Chin
      Dip

      Day 2 - Small
      Upright Row
      Bent Laterals
      Curls

      Day 3 - Big
      Squat or Deadlift
      Lunges
      Calves

      Delete
    2. yeah, looks good! 1st exercise on the "big" days done 5/4/3/2/1+back-off set style?thanks.
      geo

      Delete
  31. Fuck me, 99 comments and counting! Loving the blog and the effort you put into it.

    Paul, do you think never training to failure for strength is legit, or is it okay to still incorporate a back off set to failure and still be able to gain strength? Hope that made sense - thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I trained to brutal failure for years with great success. It's as I've gotten a little more mileage on me that I tend to leave a rep in the tank now. It's all about where you are at in your lifting life.

      Delete
  32. Something that would be cool to hear on the next podcast...

    You and Jamie watching the new Expendables 2 trailer and saying what you think about it. Like you did with the Van Damme advert last time out. Trailer looks pretty badass imo.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Not hating here, but for folks that find themselves asking questions a great deal during the Q&A, you might take the time, at least once, to read back through the entirety of the blog. For many of the questions to get asked here, the topics have been covered much more thoroughly in previous posts.

    Paul, you're awesome about answering questions, and I think there's value in hearing you reiterate a lot of these points, however I also think there's a ton of great content in the archive here, and folks should make sure to take advantage of it.

    $0.02

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I throw in my 0.02 here as well.

      Most people don't take advantage of the search function as well as they probably should.

      Delete
  34. What would you do if you were dating a single mom, and her kid turned out to be a total wigger asshole douche?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well if she allowed or let him evolve into that, that's a reflection on her as a parent. Yes I know, kids make their own decisions sometimes, but good parenting does matter.

      Personally? I'd dump her. I hate shitty kids, and there's always more trim in the world without that headache.

      Delete
    2. That's basically what I decided as well. I have no idea how he turned out that way, but it is what it is. It's a shame.

      Delete
  35. Hey man, what's a good number to aim for in a 1arm DB row for 200 BW? (with a little body english but not too much)

    Just want something to compare my progress to lol.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Goddamn, my post won't go through so I'm typing this up again. Basically, I'd like to know if you have found that certain movements interfere with other movements if they follow on the next training day. Recently I've found that heavy pendlay rows on Thursday tire out my low back to the point that my deadlift is weaker on Saturday. Obviously I should change the order of those two or add more time between them, but have you run into anything like this with other movements? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always think about this. And yes, I have run into this many times.

      If I trained triceps too hard, and then tried to bench or press just a day after, no go.

      Same for biceps and chins.

      Squats and pulls, or vice versa. This is why most of my splits are the way they are. To allow for adequate recovery between such sessions. It's why throwing squats and deads together work so well, and then having a day for chest, shoulder, triceps, and then back, and biceps work so well.

      Delete
    2. To elaborate a bit on this, what do you think of routines that have you working the entire body in a single day, like squat-bench-rows one day, rest one day, squat-press-deads one day, rest one day, and repeat? Or something of that nature. I tried a beginner's routine like this, and didn't see good results with it, although admittedly there were other problems; my form was probably bad, and so was my recovery since I'm pretty sure I wasn't eating enough, and I wasn't resting well enough between sets. I would do the first two exercises, and be completely gassed out by the third to the point that I didn't go as hard on it as I wanted to; sometimes I would even be gassed out by the middle of the second. Now I'm training at a powerlifting gym. My form is a lot better, and I'm really focusing on the food side of things, but it bothers me that now I only do one of the Big Three every training session; the rest of the day gets taken up with assistance movements which, while important, seems far too light a load for a beginner like myself. I want to do more, and I feel like I ought to be able to do more, and push my lifts up a little faster than they have been. My deadlift is shooting up like a rocket compared to bench and squat; my squat max is probably only twenty pounds greater than my bench max, but there's a hundred pounds or more difference between my bench and my deadlift max. And relatively speaking, it's not like my deadlift is even that high; it's still less than twice bodyweight.

      I suppose I should just shut up and listen to my coach, since if my lifts are going up, why should I argue? It's just that I have this sense that I am training in a manner that is not particularly conducive to my circumstances. Then again, maybe there is a reason that a full body program did not work very well for me, beyond my poor recovery due to insufficient food.

      Anyway, thanks for reading this novel, lol.

      Maru

      Delete
    3. Fake edit because I can't edit my first comment: well, I'd still like an answer if you don't mind, but I think I answered my own question. Basically, my answer to myself is, give it another try, experiment, and see what works. If three lifts a day doesn't work, break it down to two a day and do more days a week. Assuming I do press first, there's no reason why I shouldn't be able to do deadlifts after it. Same for bench and squat, although squat might benefit from having its own day. Dips and chins can be done a third day, and rows and curls a fourth. Alternately, experiment with doing deads after squats, like you said. Follow bench with pull-ups.

      Long and short of it is, I need to take your and Jamie's advice and just try something. I'd still appreciate your view though.

      Maru

      Delete
    4. My advice, if you are doing something that's working, is to keep doing it until you bleed it dry.

      Delete
  37. Paul,
    You are a good dude. Thanks for the work you do. I am becoming increasingly pessimistic about humankind, but you are a shining beacon of hope. Haha, well you do hard shit and are open to the world around you. These are qualities that are diminishing in our world today.

    I'm working on getting into med school, and I am constantly amazed at how lazy people are. I will include myself in that sentiment. I have a long ways to go to become the man I wanna be. That being said where do you draw the line between criticizing yourself, and being happy with who you are?

    A chemistry instructor of mine who doesn't lift, and doesn't exercise asked me this question. "What's the point? You spend all that time lifting weights and running, while I get to do whatever I want and enjoy myself." You can't convince people anything, and I just kind of said if thats your mentality then you'll never understand.

    Today we were making biodiesel and the dude couldn't open a jar that was screwed on pretty tight. I walked over, opened it and said "that's the point".

    Keep up the hard work man, you never know who you might inspire.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First off, if I'm a shining beacon of hope, we're all in trouble. But thanks for some props thrown at me.

      Second, bravo on teaching the teacher. However, I always love listening to opposite view points of what I believe, but I think it helps to make you well rounded and see things from the other viewpoint and understand why someone might feel the way they do.

      I have said many times, that I will lift forever. I am a Lifer. If human kind ended tomorrow, and I were the only one left, I would still lift.

      Why? Because I enjoy it.

      No different than whatever the professor does to enjoy his time. In other words, his belittling of your time in the gym is a very hypocritical thing. He does what he enjoys outside of his work, because that's what he likes. If you like lifting weights, and running, and doing such things because you enjoy it, what's the difference? Nothing. Except that you get specific dividends that lots of other recreational things do not.

      For example, if someone likes to bird watch. Well, that's fine, but there is no actual benefit that you get from bird watching that is external to everyone else, or that offers you the ability to do something. If you get stronger, you can open that jar that he can't, or get laid by some chic who likes built guys. These are benefits that you don't get really, from anything else.

      I've wondered for a long time, how people can live in their own skin and not care how they feel in it. It's amazing to me to see guys with huge guts and bad overall health. I know they feel like shit, but that stack of ribs and pancakes or whatever, gives them more "joy" than the ability to say no to it, or drag fat ass to the gym.

      Life tends to always be about balance though. When the pendulum swings very hard to one side, it always makes its way back to the other side, but with far more momentum. You have to decide how you want your lifes pendulum to swing. If you're comfortable with big risks, go for it. If you like steady, make changes so that your life does't cause waves.

      In the end, only you have to live it. And the "point" of it all, is living your life in a way that makes you unconditionally happy.

      Delete
    2. My sentiments exactly my friend. Don't get me wrong. There are a ton of great people out there, but I just see too many people who passively go through life expecting so many things, and that's not how I want to operate.

      I am stoked for the superhero movies coming up. Every time I see a superhero flick the 7 year old in me wants to become one. I guess I am trying.

      Delete
    3. Me as well. I'm going Sunday morning for Avengers.

      Delete
  38. Hey Paul, what do you think of frequency method pushups? I've been doing them for a while now and think they might be negatively effecting my presses. Do you have any experience or opinions on the matter?

    Thanks man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I was training for the military I did 100's of push ups daily. I was only training the overhead press at the time outside of that, I believe.

      Anytime you add in that much frequency, something will probably take a hit. Localized muscular recovery is still an issue. If a muscle is fatigued it's not going to contract as hard, i.e. you'll be weaker. Plain and simple.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for that Paul.

      I have another quick question if you've got the time. I've been running 531 for the last 3 months now and my pressing is feeling heavier than it should. So I'm trying to be smart and just make one change at a time to determine what works and what doesn't work (hence my question about the FM pushups which I have now dropped). Within the 531 template, how important do you think it is, as Wendler says, to "pick your battles"? It seems that my presses were going better when I was leaving a few reps in the tank, or only really pushing the AMRAP set once or twice a month. What is your experience and what would you recommend?

      Also, realistically, in your opinion, how much can one expect to put on their bench in say a year? I'm currently just under 180lbs and benching 265lbs and would like to slowly make my way to 300lbs while gaining another 5 to 10lbs of LBM. I have been trying be patient and think long term and have only been adding 2.5lbs to my training max each cycle.

      Delete
    3. Jordan - The press can be a stubborn lift at times. I personally would say drop the push ups and see what happens. Don't make too many changes at once.

      I can't answer the question about how much one can realistically expect to add to their bench in a year because there are FARRRR too many factors at play. Gain weight? Lose weight? Injuries? Training method? On and on and on......

      Delete
    4. Thanks Paul. Cheers.

      Delete
  39. paul thanks for answering all the ?s here, and i do agree with the above statement about using the search engine, i still go back and look at the posts and routines from like when you first opened the blog up.

    last thing paul do you have an updated table of contents to your new book?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not yet. I did add a chapter about training at home with absolute minimal equipment.

      Delete
  40. Speaking of Avengers, were your physical efforts ever inspired by fictional characters? I have to admit my interest in weight lifting and martial arts came partially from reading Batman comics and watching the Rocky and Rambo movies.........

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of yeah for sure. I'm a HUGE Punisher fan and was since I was like 10-12 years old. I find this a very common theme with lifters. A inspiration by fictional characters. I think it plays right in with that theme of trying to be something we are not.

      Delete
    2. wolverine and venom for me

      Delete
  41. Hey Paul,

    Have you ever dealt with anxiety/panic attacks? It seems like I am meeting more and more lifters these days who have this disorder, myself included. It could go away for 6 months and then come back out of nowhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. I did when I was 17-18 and have again for the last few years.

      I'm not sure why or what it is but you learn how to deal with them, and know it will pass. I'm pretty good about it now because I know just relaxing during the onset of one is key.

      Delete
  42. Paul,

    Quick question about my current training program and your advice on my changes that I hope to make.

    Current:

    WO1:
    Decline Press 5x5
    BB Rows 5x5
    Squat 5x5
    Seated Calf Raise

    WO2:
    Military Press 5x5
    Deadlift rack pins set at two inches below knee 5x5
    Decline Close Grip BP 5x5
    DB Hammer Curls 5x5 (using repetition method before increasing the next DB poundage)

    Next is what I am thinking of doing and would like your advice on.

    WO1:
    Decline Press 5x5
    Military Press 5x5
    BB Rows 5x5
    Seated Calf Raise 5x5

    WO2:
    Squat 5x5
    Deadlift as stated above 5x5
    Decline Close Grip Bench Press 5x5
    DB Hammer Curls as stated above 5x5

    What do you think of this revision or what advice or changes would you make to the above. I plan to train 3x per week but the third workout will be a bodyweight only workout.

    Thanks

    Daron

    ReplyDelete
  43. I guess I'd have to ask what's up with all of the decline presses and 5x5?

    What's the goal? what is it you are trying to do. I can't really give an opinion about something unless I understand what it is you are working towards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Basically running my version of Reg Parks 5x5 so 2x5 progressively heavier warm-ups with 3x5 with work weight for the day.

      Delete
  44. Paul,

    Basically looking to be as strong as possible and while looking muscular and jacked(meaning 8-10% bf)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. then I personally wouldn't recommend 5x5.

      Delete
  45. Day 1 - Big
    Press
    Chin
    Dip

    Day 2 - Small
    Upright Row
    Bent Laterals
    Curls

    Day 3 - Big
    Squat or Deadlift
    Lunges
    Calves

    Any particular set/rep scheme you'd advise with that type of program? something like 2nd routine in your "blue collar" article perhaps? thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use the big-15 scheme for my main pressing and chin. I can't squat as normal right now, but that's what I'd do there. For deads the strong-15. for lunges, tons.

      Delete
  46. Two possible questions for podcast:
    1) Have either of you considered/looked into competing in other strength sports like Strongman, Highland Games, Arm Wrestling, etc.? I think Jamie may have mentioned strongman but had trouble getting his arms around the stones or something.

    2) If the two of you teamed up, how many of these guys could you take out in a street fight:
    http://michiganprotectors.weebly.com/members.html
    (watch out for Beesting. He just got arrested for going after someone with a shotgun.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jamie already did a strongman contest. I probably will someday.

      2. I don't know, but those guys are cool.

      Delete
    2. Nah, I was a Punisher fan. No mask for me.

      Delete
  47. Hi Paul,

    Can you go into a little more detail about your experience with TRT?

    I had bloodwork done for my last physical, and my total testosterone level came back at 467. I'm 26, and I would much prefer to be at the higher end of the 200-800 "normal" range. I don't know if I'm going to be a candidate for TRT at this point, but I want to be. Do you have to test below normal to qualify for TRT, or is sort of a "wink-and-handshake" thing with your doctor?

    A few other questions:
    How did you pick a doctor to work with?
    Does insurance cover TRT? If not, is it super expensive?
    What delivery methods are best?

    Any input would be awesome. Thanks for all you do. Really looking forward to the book!

    -Jay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was 200 or so, 3 years ago. I go through legit means to get my stuff. I went through a therapy clinic. Insurance can cover it, but in my case it didn't.

      Generally the doc will try you on androgel at first, and if that doesn't help (it won't) he'll go with an injection. Obviously it's best to learn how to do that yourself. And don't be a bitch about it if you have to. It's no big deal.

      At 467 I don't think you're going to qualify personally. You'd have trouble getting a legit doctor to prescribe test for you at that range.

      Delete
  48. any specific advice to training the shot put besides weightlifting and throwing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Get strong as fuck in the upperback, shoulders, and midsection. PRactice your craft as much as possible.

      Delete
  49. Can't wait for the book.

    I've been having trouble for some time with proper spinal position and it's really hurt pretty much every lift. It might be due to bad posture from sitting oddly in front of a computer the majority of the day but I'm not sure what can make it work again. Some problems I've encountered are hyperextending the lower back when doing the 'chest up' cue, inability to keep the bar on my back in a back squat (low or high) without pushing back with the arms, stomach caving in when taking a deep breath, and so on. I've looked up drills/exercises online but haven't had much success. Never feels like they accomplish what they promise. Any cues or suggestions on making it work? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A shit ton of upperback work. Rows and shrugs till your hands bleed twice weekly.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the quick response. Got it, will focus on that for the time being.

      Delete
    3. Went to work on it doing a bunch of rows, shrugs, and rear delt work. At first it definitely felt like the motions were terrible in quality. Once I got into the rear delt stuff and worked on it a bit, it became a bit more natural. I also noticed that when I focus on contracting the rear delts with the 'chest up' cue I get some semblance of thoracic extension. Will keep this up, along with some bodyweight stuff, and see where it takes me until I can do the main compounds again. I'm sure it was obvious, but apparently I needed somebody to tell it to me straight.

      Delete
  50. hey paul what do you think of dan johns mass made simple program on tnation? thinking about running it with the goal of gaining some quality mass
    http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/mass_made_simple&cr=
    -john

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try it, and tell me. Remember a routine is only as good as your "buy in".

      Delete
  51. Absolutely loved the strong 15 program. 1 day left of max testing, do you recommend jumping right back into another cycle or spending time on things I've been neglecting? Upper back volume, traps, arms, grip... Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That depends on what you want to do. You have to answer that question for yourself. Or you can just incorporate a little bit of that stuff into the next cycle......

      Delete
  52. Paul,

    What type of warm up would you reccomend for a full body lifting day?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just a general warm up.

      I don't get some of these full body workout questions. There isn't anything special about doing a full body working than there is any other workout. All the normal rules still apply.

      Delete
  53. Paul,

    I friggin love your site and the new podcast. I have a quick question: I'm going away on business for a week and won't be lifting heavy. I've been adding weight to my big lifts lately, but I've been feeling a little run down too. While I have the week off do you recommend I eat sparingly or feast in the name of 'refueling/recovery'?

    Mikey

    ReplyDelete
  54. I'm curious as to how you'd work in paused reps to 5/3/1. I've seen you recommend sets of 5,5, and 3 with respect to each week. Just curious as to how much volume you'd recommend - is 3 sets enough to cut it?

    My routine would look like:

    Squat 5/3/1
    pause squat
    GHR (sets of 15-30)
    upper back work

    Bench
    pause bench
    dips (sets of 15-30)
    DB rows (1 set of 20-30, heavy)
    upper back work

    Appreciate your insight,

    Brandon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't need separate movements. Just pause a rep here or there to show control and to build strength.

      Delete