Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More on peaking and weekly Q&A

Now I don't have to ask someone to leave a name.  Amazing.

This is NOT the podcast Q&A.  We are already back logged with questions for it.  This is MY weekly Q&A.

I wanted to address the issue of the strong-15 and strength peaking yet again, since Erik had a life crisis over the phase 1 numbers.  Not to throw him under the bus all on his own, I've answered plenty of questions about this.  So many times, that you'd think people would just use the search function, or better yet REALLY REALLY read the book.  You know, since I detailed a whole chapter as to why it works, and works damn well.

Basically, the fretting goes like this........

"Paul, what's the point in walking into the gym and only squatting X amount?  I can squat X amount, so how will I get stronger if I'm only doing fairy weights?"

As explained in SLL, you cannot hold onto peak strength levels.  In my interview with Eric Lilliebridge, we talked about this.  If you don't click links, here it is.......

PC - right you beat yourself up bad enough going into a meet, and it doesn't take much to keep that foundation level of strength. and as we have talked about, I don't care what people say peaking is a real thing. You can only hold a peak level of strength for a short term.

EL - Oh for sure. People will write to me online and be like "well what happened to your lifts? you look weaker." And I'm like no shit. There is no way you can stay at that top level forever, there is no way you can. I can't pull 800 any day of the week. I only hit that number a couple of weeks before a meet or at the meet.

PC - Right and some people don't get that you're trying to peak and time that out, and you don't hold those levels for very long.

EL - No, you can't. I think you can hold it for a good two weeks maybe. SO you're competing and 14 days before or 14 days after that, you would be able to hit those numbers. But not in that time frame you're probably going to lose it.

Sam Byrd wrote over at elitefts, that he starts his squat cycle off with 60% of 700.  Because 700 is something he can hit pretty casually everyday he walks into the gym.  He then does 5x5 with that 60%, basically 410 and or some change, until he feels like he is moving it with the kind of speed he knows sets him up for a bigger squat.  

Read that again.  Sam squats over 800 raw.  At 220.  And he uses 400 and some change for a few weeks to prep for the big stuff.  

Funny number, 60%.  

Ed Coan started his squat cycles out at, I believe, something in that range, for a couple of sets of 10.  So think about this.  If you were running a 10-12 week cycle, and you wanted to squat 500, that means you're only doing a couple of sets of 10 with 300.

Now here is the difference in the mind of a 500 pound squatter, and a 800 or 1000 pound squatter like Byrd and Coan.  They understand the importance of these early sessions, and how they set up big lifts for down the road.  They know that you can't go in the gym, and hit PR's and then turn around and hit PR's at the meet too.  Guys fuck this up all the time.  Because they want to walk in the gym, and impress people.  That's all it is.  It's fucking ego.  You will never be anything more than a gym lifter with an inflated ego if you don't put it away, and learn the lessons of knowing how not to get on the throttle too soon.  If you do, you'll burn out, lift like shit, and then wonder what the fuck went wrong when you did so much good lifting in the gym.   

I have this built in to the first 3 weeks of the cycle.  It's a prep phase.  You should be concentrating on moving those weights, as explosively as possible.  If you plug in 500 as your goal, then you end up using 85% of that for phase 1.  Which is 425 pounds.  The highest weight you hit in phase 1 then, is 93% of 425.  Which is 395.  Roughly 80% of 500.  

Want to see an interesting thing at work here?

In Coan's cycling, you use roughly 60%.  300x10.

300 * .03 * 10 + 300 = 390

That means, 300x10 is basically the same as a 390 single.  

Well isn't that fucking fascinating????  

All proper cycling starts light.  It gives the body a chance to ramp up to using bigger weights, without stalling as fast.  You can only hold your peak strength for a short while.  The faster you get to your foundation level of strength, the lower the peak is, and the faster you will fall off the cliff.  So if you squat 500, and you go into the gym squatting 455 for reps, your cycle won't last long will it?  But if you go in and don't hit 400 until after week 3, how much room have you given yourself to ramp up?  Quite a bit.  

Guys want to walk into the gym and impress other guys.  I know this.  I wrote about it in SLL.  If you deadlift 600, you want to walk into the gym and pull 600 every week.  That's fucking dumb.  This is demonstrating strength, NOT building it.  The process of building strength is basically 2 phases.......foundation development (muscle mass), and then peaking with a new strength ceiling. 

If you aren't training for a meet, you should constantly be training for a bigger YOU.  Why the fuck are you doing singles and shit all year round, when that is the fastest way to find yourself stuck for a while?  You should be eating solid, and building your foundation all year, until you are ready to either compete, or peak strength to see where you are at.  Doing cycle after cycle of singles and doubles and triples, is not the best way to build a foundation.  Spend your time getting big as fuck, and then when you do decide to peak, you'll blow your old shit away.  I have to tell people this all the time.....and no one still listens.  Wendler and I talk and are constantly disgusted at how much advice we give, after more than 45 years between us, that goes in 1 ear and out the other.  

Back to the original point.  

Phase 1 is for prepping.  Use it properly.  Who gives a fuck what you are lifting in the gym if you are preparing to lift in a meet?  No one.  Stop being a douche ego whore and learn how to train properly.  Speed and explosiveness for the first 3-4 weeks.  Then the last 5-6 weeks, should be peaking.  Generally, you will peak at about 6 weeks.  This is why it's SO important to start light and not get burnt early.  The first 3 weeks of the cycle are prep, the last 6 weeks are peaking.  This should make total sense.  

For those who have run the cycle several times now, they will tell you, that even if you program properly you will get crispy by the end.  And this is good.  Because when you take that rest, and come back, you'll hit some good PR's and have a solid meet.  That's what you're supposed to be training for.  Not lifting shit at the gym to impress some Ed Hardy shirt wearing mother fucker.

Now ask some questions...........




102 comments:

  1. Best thing(s) to deal with DOMS? (I am dealing with some unprecedented posterior chain soreness at the moment...)

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    1. The BEST thing to do, is do the same workout or movement that made you sore. That will get rid of them fastest.

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  2. "If you aren't training for a meet, you should constantly be training for a bigger YOU. Why the fuck are you doing singles and shit all year round, when that is the fastest way to find yourself stuck for a while? You should be eating solid, and building your foundation all year, until you are ready to either compete, or peak strength to see where you are at. Doing cycle after cycle of singles and doubles and triples, is not the best way to build a foundation. Spend your time getting big as fuck, and then when you do decide to peak, you'll blow your old shit away."

    I noticed in SLL that you say your big 15 is more for advanced lifters, which I totally get. Above (and elsewhere) you implore us to spend most of our time getting bigger (ie: moving heavy weights in moderate rep ranges), which I totally get as well. So how would one go about getting strong enough to get big using your big 15? In your opinion, should a 5"8, 175lb guy with a 260lb bench, 350lb squat and a 440lb deadlift still be trying to drive is 1RM up, or lifting in moderate rep ranges and getting as big as possible? I guess this is where the intermediate program listed in SLL might come into play?

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    1. Okay, but is the 5,4,3,2,1 over-warmup in the intermediate program percentage based and does it follow a cycle (big 15/strong 15)? This was one aspect I couldn't quite understand. Cheers.

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    2. It is an over warm up, but it is not programmed because the intermediate needs to learn how to go a little more by feel rather than programming. A intermediate will always over program (just notice this whole thread and article) because he can't leave his ego at the door, or doesn't know how to back off the throttle.

      More importantly, that split is 4 days a week. And I would never have an advanced guy training heavy 4 days a week.

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  3. Alright Paul, Great article again,

    What you said then about training cycle after cycle of singles and doubles and triples, is not the best way to build a foundation. It reminds me of what Dr ken used to say all the time about training the deadlift. Train the lift for about 10 reps and get strong as fuck with abit higher reps. (Yes I know your thinking not this english guy asking about dr ken again haha). My question is have you ever used a trap bar for deadlifts. I have one in my garage gym here. I know Dr Ken always goes on about them. But I prefer a straight bar. What do you think about training deadlifts with a straight bar for higher reps?.

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    1. I think the trap bar is a solid way to train some pulling off the floor without adding even more stress to the low back.

      And if KK likes it, that's good enough for me.

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  4. How do you feel about Lyle McDonald's Bulking Routine (http://jcdfitness.com/2009/01/lyle-mcdonalds-bulking-routine/)? Looks very similar to your intermediate off season template. Lot of guys hate on Lyle, what about you?

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    1. Looks good.

      I think Lyle gets hated on for other reasons.

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    2. I always figured it was because he tells people how to get big even though he isn't hulking massive himself. I could see how that would bother people, but honestly I'd rather take advice from him (seeing as he bases his reasoning on logic and science) than from one of the huge guys in my gym that thinks (and I shit you not) doing light weight, very high rep single arm tricep pushdowns will give you huge triceps.

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    3. I think that Lyle is a smart guy, but he has a bad habit of running his mouth in a way at times that makes him look like 100% asshole. It doesn't mean his advice isn't sound, but he can def come across badly at times.

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  5. bought your book, and well it is really good, wanted to say thank you :) from this post i think ive done something wrong i.e in Strong 15 i should use my goal weight for calculations ? or should i use my current 1RM ?

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    1. Either one works. Are you training for a meet, or just cycling to get stronger?

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    2. I've got (probably, unless something goes wrong) a meet on December 1. I'm assuming for that, I should program the Strong15 with a small PR in mind? For instance, my third attempt at my last meet at the start of June was 423.5: Would programming for 430 make sense for the December meet?

      Also, already noticing less trolls form the change. Kind'a funny what happens when people have to actually sign up (even if they don't have to use a real name), eh? Heh.

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    3. That'd be perfect.

      And I think I "know" most of the trolls. One of whom I think is a good friend, but the others were just fucking assclowns from a a couple of particular boards I know of.

      fuck em.

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    4. Awesome, thanks!

      And I was moreso thinking the not-funny trolls, rather than the ones joking around and whatnot.

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  6. You mention the piriformis stretching in the rehab section of the book but don't go into detail. Is the stretch just where you're sat and put one leg onto other thigh? Lower back has been aching lately (only when sat down/driving, it's fine deadlifting and squatting) so I'm guessing it's my piriformis.

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    1. Yes, it can be the sitting one or the lying one. Basically the same movement either way. Foot on opposite knee, pressing that knee down and leaning slightly forward.

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  7. also another question (sorry i havent put it in the last one ) is in LRB template you wrote that there is no back off sets, this is due to overhead pressing before benching setup ? or i should ignore that and do strong 15 as written with this template?

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    1. If you run the strong-15 with the LRB template, then run the strong-15 as is. If you run the LRB template as written, there are no back off sets.

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  8. I know you dont lift geared, that being said i know wendler used to. Did you guys have any discussions regarding How peaking would change while competing geared? I would think the same principles would apply just curious if you or jim had any additional insight.

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    1. Jim has more insight to that than me. I can't really add anything to a geared guys cycle. I have no point of reference.

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  9. Advice on whether to take a week and max out after big-15 or just add 5-10kg to each lift and keep plugging away?

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    1. To get new maxes to base the cycle off? Or would you just plug your best max into the 1 calculator and use that?

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    2. You don't really need a true max to base a big-15 cycle off of. Hell, you can even figure out a weight you just want to rep for a shit ton of reps and program something in that sets you up for that.

      So say for example, you wanted to rep 225 in the bench the whole time. Just program in what you need so that 225 is your back off set. I do this shit all the time.

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    3. I now feel smarter. I did exactly that with the spreadsheet when the 1RM I plugged in gave me a weight I knew I wouldn't get more than 8 or so. I tweaked it until I got something I know I'd get 10 with, and am working with that and striving for 15.

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    4. That's good thinking right there, Joe.

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  10. Great article. It's very easy to get rapped up in the doing the singles and triples every week. I've tried hard to take your advice and not do this. In addition, I've implemented the pause on the top and bottom of benching. When doing the AMAP set do you factor a pause on every single rep into it? The test (BIG 15) projection is below my max. Touch and go, I'd say I'd be slightly over.

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    1. I generally do pause the first rep, but sometimes I will just touch and go like last night.

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  11. Hey,

    im a little bit confused right now. Is it ok to run your strong 15 routine year round or is it supposed to be only for meet preperation?
    Sorry for the stupid question....

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    1. wow sry didn't refresh the page for a while...

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    2. I meant in the article.

      I would never run any 1 thing, year round. AT some point you get close enough to your ceiling, that you can't get any stronger. Your only choice then, is to get bigger. So why would you keep running 1 rep max based programs?

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  12. for few months i will just cycle for strength, then meet..ah i got confused( my english is not too good these days), LBR use strong 15 without back off set, BUT i can use LBR template with strong 15 as written is that right ?:)

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  13. Paul, very interesting, and thanks for the link to the interview. That is a gold mine right there.
    I've tried some 1RM based programs in the past and aside from increased injury/fuckup risk, the biggest problem I had was that psychologically they can really fuck with you. I love getting under a heavy (for me) bar etc, but sometimes you just aren't on... and it can really fuck with your head if it happens regularly.

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    1. That's because of seratonin levels. The longer you stay above 90% the more you will hate doing it. This is pretty much with everyone. Eventually the body and mind revolts from it.

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  14. Suppose you weren't interested in competing, but you wanted to be strong as possible any day of the week incase it's necessary. Is it worth peaking at all and away from that how much does cycling matter?

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    1. Just get strong repping then. If you aren't going to compete then why are you worried about maxing out with singles?

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    2. Cheers. I'll keep this in mind.

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  15. Any solutions for fixing a supinated deadlift hand grip issue? Like I feel like I have a ton of juice strength wise, but that one piece has me limited. Notes: I am a low 500 lb deadlifter anything high 4's to low 5's and that hand gets a little iffy. I use no straps on anything. Thanks!

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    1. 2 things.

      timed holds. grab the heaviest db's you have in the gym, and just hold em for as long as you can. just watch the clock while you do it. try to beat that time each week.

      the second, is above the knee deadlifts, but for holds. no straps, load up as much as you can and then do the same thing that you did for the db's. timed hold.

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  16. Man I was lol'n at the shit you wrote about being a "chest day, dude"...sorry I've been busy as balls with work and meetings this past 10 days and have been catching up with several posts at a time, better late than never. I live in Dallas and the Gold's I go to here is full of them, as are all gyms all over the country. Mine is particularly bad for dude's wearing the damn vibram toe shoes and wearing their weight belt while they are on machines or are doing curls. Anyway, shit grates on my nerves...

    ..Paul my question is about elbow pain--don't freak on me, I've read everything in the book about it and doing the 3x20 supinated curls 3 times a week and I've done the stretching you've demonstrated in SLL and this shit has been bothering me for like 3 months now--typically it will come around once a year for a month and a half or so and I just train thru it and it goes away. This year it has been worse and shit lingers like a nasty fart. It is only in my left elbow and bothers the shit out of me--just a sharp pain on the inside of it-the right elbow is 100%. Should I just continue doing what you have said and wait it out? I don't really want to go see the doc or anything...Good news is I have been hitting my legs much more frequently than I already do and it has been paying off...if you have any other thoughts or advice it would be much appreciated man.

    ...also I love the points you make of the ego issue, that shit is so true about training. Being humble and realizing how weak you are and respecting the iron is something that is tough to swallow because of our ridic dumbass ego's, but once you learn to let that go and train for yourself and don't give a shit what others think it is quite liberating...therapeutic even, haha.

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    1. Did you get some neoprene sleeves? That's a good start.

      Other than the things in the book and sleeves, and the Pendlay wrap, I don't know of anything else that really fixes elbow issues.

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  17. This is more out of desperation than anything else, as I have USAPL regionals coming up in 3 weeks: Over the course of the last 6-8 months I have added a fuckton of grip and forearm work to help alleviate my elbow issues. Lots of fat gripping: curls, chins, rows. The good news: elbow issues appear to have gone away and my grip strength has gone through the roof. Bad news: with 3 weeks to go it feels like I have 10 different trigger points in each forearm. Any recommendations? Maybe I just take a week and half off from benching, test openers and hope for the best.
    Anyway, thanks as always,
    Shanker.

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    1. That reads like a "see that" injury. In other words, you got retarded with fat grip work, and now you have a "see that" injury. Like as in, see, that's what you get for getting retarded for doing that much fat grip work.

      I don't know how your training cycle has gone but if it's 3 weeks away I'd just train my balls off for 2, rest for the 1, and let the chips fall where they may.

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  18. Nah, I forgot to include that...I have not gotten the sleeves yet, that was my next plan, will do. Really enjoying the book BTW, thanks a lot man.

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  19. This is exactly what I'm doing for my long (12 week cycle) - very low weights - I haven't got anywhere near my best weights for ages - along the way I should be hitting weights that I know will be challenging for me at the 8,5 and 3 range . I have planned a few blips on the way (I have 13 weeks to make 12 progressions)

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    1. Coan and Capt Kirk talked about running 12 week cycles, and never missing a weight. You know why? They programmed smart, and checked their ego at the door.

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  20. Yes, first time poster getting a whole blog post done about him!
    I'm not sure how much of it is ego. The reason I was so surprised is I have been fucking brainwashed by Westside style type training - it's all I know for powerlifting and I don't even know it well. But I am so fucking used to to training at my 100% 1RM (with different variations of the movements), that this is foreign to me. And it shouldn't be, because it makes fucking sense.

    So yeah, I'm gonna reread the book.

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    1. Remember erik, the first few weeks you should be moving the weight as FORCEFULLY as possibly. Not just "lifting" it. You should be moving it like it tried to rape you in a mens reststop bathroom.

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    2. They don't max out the whole time at Westside.
      Have a read of this:
      http://pastie.org/4298697

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  21. Excellent post! This really struck a chord with me. I think part of what drives most of us to be committed and disciplined enough to be consistent "lifers" in the gym, is also what we need to keep in check in order to program smartly and make the most progress. I admit that the ego is hard for me to control when it comes to programming lighter training weights, and even trying to train through injuries or illness when I'd be better off resting. Recently, I've taken your advice and reset ALL of my weights lighter for a conditioning cycle to set up my next year of training correctly. It was tough to get over the initial doubts, but once I committed I felt great. I've dropped some bodyfat, feeling much more in shape, and mentally excited to build through a productive year. I bought your book last week (yeah it took a free t-shirt to get me off my ass), and looking forward to reading. Thank you for your dedication and all the information you provide.

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    1. Great to hear, MC. It's amazing what happens when someone takes advantage of all of someone else's years of learning.

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  22. Not a question, but I wanted to tell you that I asked a girl in a bar how much it would take for her to give a hobo a rusty trombone granted that he had been tested for HIV and syphilis and ended up getting laid. do I get a chaos and bang prize?

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    1. Did you get it on camera? If so, I would send you one.

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  23. i haven't heard all the podcasts but it seems jamie and you have very different opinions on reps... He seems far more into heavy singles all the time... have you guys discussed this in an earlier podcast? if not it may make for a really interesting debate.

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  24. Really informative post Paul. It touches on some of the same points Wendler and others point at. Using sub-max weights is the shit. When I hit 500 in a meet back in the March, other than a STUPID ego attempt 8 at weeks out at 500, which wrecked me and screwed up a week of training, the biggest training weight I put on my back was 425. 10 days out I worked up to my opener or just above it, I think it was 455. Never flirted with anything remotely close to my goal. Smoked 500 come meet time. Hitting the goal was sweet, but I learned a lot looking back at my training and realizing how "light" I had kept it.

    Now a question. Does it ever make sense to focus on one lift or part of the body for a while? My bench is flat out AIDS. Right now I'm in fat loss mode, so I'm not sweating strength, but I was thinking come winter, I might put a heavy emphasis on upper body work and just have a single lower body day focusing on maintaining squat and DL strength. Does this make sense?

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    1. You're def not going to press more while losing fat. That is pretty much the opposite of what will happen to your press. Those two things just aren't peanut butter and chocolate.

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    2. Right. I get that. So I'm not sweating it for now. But just in general, once the fat is gone, does it make sense to overemphasize the upper body?

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    3. If it's really lagging, sure. Train it twice a week, with lots of big pulls and pushes and a couple of small sessions to boot.

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  25. Paul, just wanted to thank you for some ideas and inspiration. Took a shot at your 6 sets of 12 with 65 curl challenge a while back and got absolutely crushed (couldn't finish 3 sets). Went at it diligently for a couple months and was making good progress (got up to 4x12 hard sets). Watched your barx100 video a few weeks back and started repping out the bar for a few weeks (got to 85 a few days ago). Today, I took a shot at the 6x12 challenge and completely destroyed it. Amazing how adding reps to your sets works, huh?

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  26. paul i wanted to ask you, im training 2-3 times a day now usually 2 days for 5-6 days and only 3 times a day for boxing/mma, after a full session of pulling and squatting or pressing (2 day a week training)i get these muscle tweaks and cramps on my lower back during and on my hamstrings during grappling because of the strenght work in the morning but if i lift in the evening last ill be weaker, i was wondering since i dont compete in powerlifting but want to be stronger can i just train a lift one day of the week for 5 days straight via big-15, like sun-fri, squat,bench/incline, dead or stiff, dip, curl, and chins or rows on the last day??

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    1. Just train twice a week and do your MMA stuff on the other days.

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  27. Hey Paul, congrats on SLL. I remember you mentioning a couple of times how you got in ridiculous shape for the military (or something like that). I've looked for a while on how you did it, but no dice. Could you outline it again?

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    1. Here is what I wrote.........

      I ran 3 times a week. On Mondays I would run a fast 1,2, or 3 miles. As fast as I could for time. I would then go to the pool and do 500 to 1000 meters in the pool. All depending.

      Wednesdays I would go to the track, and I'd run 12 laps (1/4 of a mile) in 90 seconds per lap, then rest for 2 minutes in between.

      Saturdays I would run for time. Usually 90 minutes. I didn't run fast, I just jogged for the 90.

      Every morning I got up, I did 100 push ups right out of the bed, and 100 crunches. At work, after lunch I'd walk around the building at a fast pace as it was 1 mile.

      1 day I lifted heavy still, with squats and stiff legs, then lots of lunges after. The other days usually consisted of 1 heavy upperbody movement, then a metric fuck ton of dips, chins, sit ups, and flutter kicks.

      I worked up to all of those over a period of about 8-10 months.

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    2. Cool, what was your weight back then if I may ask.

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  28. hey paul,
    i fucked up, did to much presses and neglected my back. now i am not hurt as i can do all kind off lifts without pain (maybe a lil bic tendonitis but its not bad if i dont back squat, i do fronts instead). the only problem i have is no power at the bottom for bench and for military press if i go lower than my nose i also have no power. it doesnt hurt, but i just cant get the weight moving. what to do to get my power back? i focus now on back exc. croc rows, shrugs, face pulls, pull aparts and rehab for rotator cuff. like i said i have no inflammation or any real pains. just a lack of power.

    thank you s.

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    1. I don't think that comes from a lack of back work. I think it could just be that you are a bit fatigued from a local musculature standpoint.

      Just take a week off and come back.

      Delete
  29. i already took 2 times 14 days off. i got this problem end of february. i returned from a business trip and i trained too heavy too soon. i had front shoulder and back shoulder pain. i couldn't lower the bar (no weights) for ohp and bp. hell it even hurt when i made a pressing movement without any weights. so i took time off heavy training and just did some really light rehab training for about 6 weeks. now i dont have pain but my strength in pressing is gone. between feb and now i took 2 x 14 days complete off and when i restarted i only took really really light weights for reps for rehab. now i can dl row front squat etc without any problem and i feel strong and get my original strength back. but pressing i have no power. i have made a viking press it has a neutral grip and my arms/hands are close to the body, i dont feel pain here and i can use some weights ( building up easily ). but if my arms go away from my body to the side i have no force.
    thank you for your help.

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    1. Ok this makes more sense.

      So let's examine......

      You got hurt.

      Took time off.

      Doesn't hurt now, but you feel weak.

      This is normal. The injured area is no longer injured, but it is weak.

      Instead of trying to train it like you did before, you have to start over.

      Start with 5 sets of 20 on 2 pressing movements. Add in cuff work and face pulls/pull aparts. 5x20 on each of those as well.

      Do this twice a week. On the pressing stay LIIIIGGHHHT! I mean like 65 pounds to start on bench and the empty bar on military press. After week 1, add 20 pounds for that week. Keep adding 20 pounds until you can't make the 5x20.

      Get back to me in a few weeks.

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  30. ok thanks very much. i 'll do it exactly like that. to be sure i understand it right. i bench and military press 2 x a week and not on the same day i guess. i train every week day so no problem. i train at home so i can train whenever i want.

    thanks s

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  31. Question for you Paul

    Your thoughts on doing dips twice a week?
    On Bench day and Press day/

    - Sep -

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    1. If you are, just keep it at bodyweight IMO. Get the reps in.

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  32. Paul I'm doing legs/Press/back and I'm wondering where to put in the Interval work right now I'm doing sledge right after back wonder if I should do sprints right after legs.

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    1. Either one would work just fine. I am back to training twice a week and that makes it much easier to work the conditioning around.

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    2. Thanks Paul first time doing conditioning in my life so i have no idea whats a bad idea or not.

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  33. Paul, just read this article and thought you might like:
    http://jasonferruggia.com/the-death-of-muscle-building/

    Have a good weekend, man.

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  34. I probally overthink the assistance exercises...

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  35. Paul, if starting light is the way to go (which I believe it is), then wouldn't your original big-15 spreadsheet be superior to the new method in the book? Seems like ramping over the weeks with the old way would be better than trying to start with one weight, and attempting to beat that same weight repeatedly week after week. Or am I missing the bigger picture here?

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    1. Either way is fine, however focusing on a single goal of beating the shit out of a weight is an awesome way to keep focus as well.

      It's also a way to force you to start light, or get your ass handed to you. If you're hitting 5 reps week one, you know you programmed too heavy. If you get 10, you're probably about right. Now double those reps. Are you not bigger and stronger?

      Pretty simple.

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  36. Hey Paul, I'm having trouble figuring out which program to start with next. Mainly, I'm not sure if I'm advanced enough for the Big 15 or if I should go with something like the 1 on 1 off intermediate mass split you outlined in the book. I've cut down my bodyfat a lot this summer and should be sub 10% by end of august at which point I want to focus on adding quality mass. My lift PR's are 535 Dead, 435 Squat, 275 Bench and 200 OHP. I currently weigh 210 down from 247 in January so I have obviously lost a bit of strength but am hoping it will return relatively quickly after I start to increase my calories again. Any insight you can offer would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks for the fast reply, I'm so pumped to run this. Shit looks awesome.

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  37. Paul is it normal to feel like shit (tired) while losing bodyfat?
    Currently i am lifting twice a week and conditiniong 3 times a week.

    - sep-

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    1. Absolutely. No matter what anyone tells you, when you're in a calorie deficit you will feel pretty shitty most of the time. This will go on until the body levels out in terms of fat loss to energy deficit. Hang in there.

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  38. Paul I'm joining the Marines and I was wondering what branch you served in?
    God Bless,
    Robert

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    Replies
    1. Awesome. I'm an Air Force brat my dads been in 17 years. Thanks for your service.

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    2. And thanks to your dad for his.

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  39. I don't have a question. Just wanted to share this with you.

    You said in SLL that ice didn't help you with injury rehab, right? I think I have injuried my low back, so I've been stretching all day long and icing before sleep (when I was in pain, it was great).

    I found this video of some very smart guys (one of them is Kelly Starrett, DPT) talking about how ice isn't good for your recovery. It's pretty interesting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UmJVgEWZu4&feature=g-all-u

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    1. Interesting.

      All of my "knowledge" comes from free thinking, and actually using my brain. So I noticed that icing never worked for me in terms of helping to speed along recovery. At least, not in every instance. Generally it was heat that seemed to help me the most. YMMV.

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    2. In nursing school I was taught to use the RICE method for the first 24hrs to reduce inflamation. Then use heat after that for strains n sprains.
      Nothing bout grapes tho.

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    3. RICE for the first 24hrs seem ok, since you may be bleeding. But using it for longer periods of time doesn't seem effective. Also, according to that guy, inflamation might be a good thing.

      When it's a muscle/soft tissue injury, the general recomendation is to work the injuried muscle with light activity, so the blood can flow in that region and you can recover faster. This is true; and it work wonders. So why rest if light work is better?

      Compression increases blood flow to the area. It also reduces pain and help you to recover faster.

      Ice does the exact oposite: it makes the region go numb and reduces blood flow. Ice may be great to reduce pain, but it's not good to help recovery. Heat on the other hand, seems to help, as you and Paul noted.

      Btw, I did some research, and found no evidence suggesting that ice can help you recover faster.

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  40. Hey Paul,

    I recently started cutting and strong-15 (to try maintain as much strength as possible). However, I'm going on holiday in a month for 10 days. I can probably still get in a few training sessions but maintaining the diet will be harder.

    Do you have any tips/suggestions on what I should do? I know it's a time to relax but I also don't want to just let training and diet completely slip.

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    1. Do what you can while you are there (bodyweight stuff, cardio, etc) and eat to the best of what is presented to you. But remember, it's vacation.....relax.

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