So let's kick this Columbus day off right then, shall we?
Your own training chronological timeline -
The last few weeks, for whatever reason, I have spent a lot of time thinking about my training and how it has evolved the last decade or so. I wrote that piece about the chronological timeline of my training, and it got me to thinking about all of the days that I spent pushing sets as hard as possible, with rest/pause and strip sets and all various ways to force my body to respond to training stimulus.
Over time, I have adopted a more methodical approach to my training. Leaving a rep in the tank, going conservative in programming, and coaxing out little gains here and there. I personally believe that both methods are warranted and have a place. It just all depends on where you are at in your training life.
I've had a lot of guys write in to me that got a late jump in life to lifting and seem bummed because they feel they "lost" out by not lifting when they were young, and having all of those years to build their base. Maybe, maybe not. What I do know is, you won't get any further sitting around worrying about lost time. The second thing I know is this. Because you're still a beginner, you can train your balls off using all of those perceived intensity methods, and make up for lost time.
The one thing you should have noticed in my training timeline was that, it only took me a few years to get to about 85% or so of where I am now. I honestly feel this is pretty normal. Now, is that work "cemented" like it is now? No. What I mean by that is, is the strength foundation as solid as it is now,after 23 years? Of course not. I wouldn't expect it to be. The initial makings of it were though. The difference between me and 14 when I started, and me just 4 years later at 18 were nothing short of miraculous. I see no reason why if you start at 33 or 40 or 51, that you can't have the same kind of results in a similar period of time.
So my answer to your question(s) of "did I shortchange myself by starting so late?" is a general "no". Yes, you lost some time on having your foundation already in place by starting late. But from a results standpoint, you could be in the same place strength/conditioning/muscular wise at 43 if you started at 33, then if you started at 18 IF IF IF you are smart about your training. That means not fucking around for years doing unproductive shit. So the real shorting coming is this, you can't spend any time bouncing around from routine to routine, trying to find "shortcuts" and ways to circumvent the process.
Going back to my point about hard training vs coaxing.......you need to train fucking hard. I mean ball busting hard. There's no reason you can't if you're still a noob. Your strength is shit, your recovery is good in relation to it. Go balls out to failure for medium to high reps and try like hell to get more reps, or more weight on the bar every week. It's that simple.
There will come a point where doing that, no longer pays the kinds of dividends that is worth the effort. In other words, if your effort is a 9 on a scale of 1-10 and your results are a 8 or 9, then keep blasting your balls off. Eventually the body will get closer to it's genetic ceiling, and most of that kind of training returns a result of about 4. Not worth the level 9 effort. Coaxing gains is slow and methodical, but it works, and you don't have to beat the living shit out of yourself day in and day out, week after week.
You just need to be honest with yourself about where you are at in your training life cycle, and what level of effort you need, and what level of effort you can generate on a weekly basis.
Let me also say that if you train long enough, you may need to return to those ball busting roots every so often to get over a hump. There is no perfect way to time or plan all of this out. It really comes to back to your own desires and goals. I had years there where just training was good enough. I had years where the desire really burned to get past some plateaus as well. Over the course of your training life, there will be an ebb and flow to it. This is pretty natural. Otherwise, you're just going to burn yourself out with the ball busting shit, or you're going to go nowhere because you coasted for too long.
No one can give you a lifetime plan for when you need to wake up to realize you haven't gotten better in the last two years, or to tell you "hey, you've gotten injured 14 times in the last 6 months...it's time to slow down." You need to figure some of this shit out on your own.
So I wrote an article last week about repping, and happenstance has brought me across more and more and more shit that just speaks volumes to me how repping is really the cornerstone of getting fucking strong. Not god damn singles.
Kaz is possibly the strongest human that ever walked the planet top to bottom. That we know of. Kaz lived on sets of 10-20. During his bench cycle he did eventually work down to a triple, but outside of that he repped his nuts off.
|Lived off reps|
Stan Efferding. The strongest bodybuilder of all time. Lives on reps for the majority of the year. In other words, that's where his foundation comes from.
Derek Poundstone. Reps.
Dorian Yates. Reps.
Doug Young. Reps.
|Lived off reps and chest pubes|
Strongmen in general. Reps.
Yes, drugs and all that jazz too, I got it. The game is the same on the natural or drugged end. None of the biggest and strongest guys on the planet got that way, training predominantly on singles. NONE.
I write this again because I see so many guys now that live on singles as the mainstay of their program. I don't care what anyone tells you, living in the 5-12 rep range will give you everything you need, 95% of the time. Sprinkle in some weeks of singles here and there (or use them as your primer for your back off sets like I do), but BEAT REP PR's. Again, 90-95% of your training should be in that 5+ rep range work. Triples are fun too, and triples can do anything singles can do really, so why bother living "single"?
For every one guy you can tell me that used singles predominantly to build an elite level of strength I will show you 20 that used reps as their mainstay.
I don't need to whip out studies to prove this. I will just whip out 5 decades of bodybulders, then powerlifters, then strongmen who all based their training around reps. I know this seems like such a simple concept but certain training philosophies, mainly certain geared training philosophies, have pushed max singles on a weekly basis.
Mix in some heavy singles from time to time. Just don't live on them.
LRB/365 is in the works and is going to be pretty damn cool. LRB/365 is for you guys and gals, that may not want to compete, but still want to be as massive, strong, and conditioned as you can get. Not everyone wants to don a unitard and lift in a boring and slow competition that is called powerlifting. If you don't, but you still want to be strong and fucking awesome, this will give you an entire year of planning to strength peak, cut bodyfat and get into shape, maintain your strength foundation while doing so, strength peak again, then build mass. All setup so that you only need to figure out what your specific goals are for each cycle.
My training -
To tie all of this in, I have really started going back to my roots for this training cycle. I've needed to do this for a while, and it's time. My quad still isn't 100% so I am going to have to dial down expectations for this meet, squat wise. A cort shot should be in the works this week, I hope. Aside from that, I think that going back to what I've always known, and that's beating rep PR's, is a great option for my squatting right now. I intended to do that yesterday but something popped in my low back (I feel fine today) and my calf. Both are just a little tender and I know why it happened. I had some drainage for a few days and had been on sudafed. Generally if I am on sudafed I have to be very careful because it really dries me out something awful.
So expect to see me really implementing reps back into my squat training again. I honestly doubt at this point I will go heavier than 500 in prep for this meet, then let the chips fall where they may on meet day. If I can have 4-5 more productive squat works using a lesser intensity but busting some rep PR's, I think I still might do ok. My enthusiasm is a bit more tempered because last week I felt great with no pain, but this week I've been fairly achy.
Facebook Sausage Fests -
I've had it. Fed the fuck up. I am so done with seeing hot women put up pics of themselves for nothing more than the adoration of sackless sheep, aka beta and omega males, to line up and write "omg you're so beautiful." Or "if I were there I'd treat you like a princess."
I haven't figured out which I hate more. The brainless bitches that do this, or the sackless fucks that line up to tell her how hot she is. Jason Pegg and I have been blowing up these little sausage fests now, and we thoroughly enough it.
Let me spell it out to you fucking bozo's that do this shit, and I hope none of my readers do this shit.
You're never going to get that, ok? Fact.
You lining up and selling your manhood and self respect by groveling over a chic on FB just makes you look like a fucking douche. Stop doing this shit, and get your sack back. You never EVER see men with options (read, THAT CAN GET WOMEN!) doing this shit. EVER. Why? Because they know it actually lowers their value in that chics eyes.
I grew up with this chic that ended up in Playboy. On her Facebook page, she literally would put shit like "I need my yard mowed...." and 15 guys would post "I'll come mow your yard." She told me once that more than a handful of guys showed up to mow her yard. My response to her....."and none of those guys have a shot at the pussy."
You know why? Because when you do that shit, you're a god damn chump. You are owned. Women don't want chumps, they want champs. And champs are a challenge. They are men that have enough self respect not to salivate over them, or throw themselves helplessly into the beta male fray just hoping for a taste of the sweet nectar they dream of and premature ejaculate to every night. Women want, what they cannot have. Women don't want yard mowers.
The guys that do this, that throw themselves at women like this, are the enablers of women who have over inflated opinions of themselves and become first class bitches. Yes, I blame you beta and omega males for this shit. Why? Because it doesn't happen if all eleventy billion of you don't tell her how hot she is 45,000 times! You don't think she's been told she's hot before? I mean, you think she's going "WOW, I didn't know!"
NO! She's aware! She's got big tittays and a big round ass. She wears dental floss for a bathing suit in a 35 degree photo shoot. You telling her she's hot, and her "liking" it, does not mean she wants your dick. I know, world crushed. Deal with it.
Stop doing this god damn shit and get your sack back. Have some self respect and stop groveling at the feet of unworthy women. Pay more attention to that chic who spent the last 6 years cultivating something awesome about herself, like an education or working at the humane society. Give that attention to the woman that can sit down and have an intelligent conversation with you, and can talk about something more than her god damn Brazilian hair treatment or designer nails. Leave those shallow bitches to the guys with faux hawks, spray on tans, and affliction shirts. Those aren't men, those are brainless douchers posting as men because they physically possess male parts.
I love a hot woman just as much as the next guy. The difference is, I don't throw away my manhood just to tell her something she already knows. Don't be another sausage fest guy. Separate yourself from that pack and be something better. You'll be rewarded for it. I guarantee it.
And speaking of Facebook, here is the LRB page. You can tell me I'm hot.
This is Monday however, so I hope you get blasted with 1,000 MPH nerf footballs at some point in the day.
lol Paul posts drunkReplyDelete
That explains the errors.ReplyDelete
Good stuff in here. One question though. I have been through one phase of the SPPC Challenge which is programmed using the Strong-15 with the singles. This phase was used to drop some fat and get in shape. Your recent writings have suggested to do reps. Would throwing in 2 cycles of the Big-15 in between Strong-15 be ok for mass or will doing the challenge "as is" help with getting bigger? So instead of doing 4 phases of Strong15, do 3 phases with 2 cycles of Big15
Strong-15 Phase 1 - 12 weeks
Big-15 - 6 weeks
Strong-15 Phase 2 - 12 weeks
Big-15 - 6 weeks
Strong-15 Phase 3 - 12 weeks
Would this work? Don't want to bastardize your challenge, but with your recent writings on reps vs singles, I just got to thinking.
Well that's not the SPPC challenge, but that's a great setup none the less, and exactly the kind of thing I recommend to guys. Though you can usually stack 2 6-week cycles of the big-15 back to back.Delete
I remember hitting the like button on Lolo Jones facebook page just to see what the big deal was about her. Every picture had over 700 fools saying "you so bootiful" or "you go lolo, I'd marry you." I'm like "you all know this broad isn't even reading any of this shit, right?" This chick is an olympic athlete who has had the shot at getting international cock, Team USA basketball team cock and probably a few rich guys for good measure. What in the fuck would she want with your broke, jobless and overweight ass?ReplyDelete
Off topic, I still don't buy her shit about being a virgin and if she really is a 30 something year old virgin, what a boring piece of ass that will be.
No kidding. Who wants to bang a 30 year old virgin? Jesus fuck, that sounds awful.Delete
All this reps talk is making you sound like the hodge twins.
I was thinking you might secretly be their hulk/alter-ego. As in when the two of them get mad, they morph into you? Confess Paul.
Reps PR today in your honor: Press 135x10. Chump change I know, but a big deal from 18 months ago. Thanks for all your programming wisdom.
It's not chump change if it matters to you. Remember that.Delete
I do the overhead plate raise while holding a shrug the whole time. Can I do this? is this changing the program too much? Am I allowed to think for myself? LOL j/kReplyDelete
Anyway, you should seriously try it if the the plate raises aren't giving you much of a challenge. Hurry and write a 5 page article about it on t-nation before I file a patent for it.
"None of the biggest and strongest guys on the planet got that way, training predominantly on singles."ReplyDelete
And then there's Jamie haha
Even Jamie doesn't train predominantly on singles. Not only that, Jamie is far bigger genetic outlier than he wants to admit.Delete
Have not tried that. I've been doing 100 rep upright rows for fun as well.ReplyDelete
This whole reps thing has finally dropped with me the last 12 months. I've always seen awesome results from things like 5/3/1, your Big-15, EDT...basically anything where i'm repping.ReplyDelete
For some reason i'd always get cocky with my results and then forget all the things that brought me to that point and go fuck it up with some idiotic "lets max out all the time" low rep program and end up grinding for singles what i was repping before. Usually would burn-out in a few months, and go back to volume to "rest up" before my next "cycle of proper training".
One day fairly recently the whole thing fell into place and i get it now. My new rule #1 is "don't be retarded". Just glad the last few years haven't been a total wash. Was honestly like discovering real training after doing bodybuilding mag stuff when i was just starting out. Same feeling of "oooooh i'm so fucking stupid. This is much better."
Too much typing, i need breakfast.
What's the best thing I can write when I see kids commenting on girls photos?ReplyDelete
Pegg and I basically just bust the shit out of them. Generally we just mock them. It's fun.Delete
Only reason people love singles so much is because it works well with their egos and they're easy (a hard single still doesn't compare to a hard set of 10-20). That's it. I think Jamie has a lot of good ideas but I remember getting all caught up in his philosophy and doing 15x1 (with 45sec rest), and I still wasn't as gassed (or really felt like I was getting stronger and working hard) as I did when I do a hard top set of 10-15. As for Kazmaier, his routine (the one that's posted all over the web) is criticized nowadays for being to "bodybuilder"-esque, but I think it's just people being lazy as fuck.ReplyDelete
I won't necessarily blame Westside, but the monopoly those guys hold on being the holy grails of powerlifting is ridiculous. Also, here's an article you might find interesting:
It basically echoes what you've been telling people for years, but with lots of examples and some scientific mumbo jumbo behind it as well.
What do you think of maximum muscular potential calculators like this one?
Does it match your experience for accuracy? Being in the 240's at 5'11" (right?) do you have gimongous ankles and wrists?
or do you think calculators like this are nonsense? They seem to have a lot of research behind them ...
I've written long articles about this before but just to shorten it.....yes those calculators are pretty spot on for about 98% of the population.Delete
My bad, I even remember reading this and must have forgotten about it. It's solid and answered my questions.Delete
Quick question I am currently training the squat and deadlift in the same workout using the strong-15 but wondering is if it is necessary to go through the full over warm-up for the deadlift. I was thinking of starting at the 3s weight and doing couple triples and moving to the 2s and doing couple doubles and finishing off with the singles before the speed work and the back-off with SLDL.
Great question that no one ever asks!Delete
No it's not. You should be plenty warm from the squats. I start at the triple on the 5,4,3... so you had it right. Nice job of thinking for yourself.
Does what I talk about for squat and dl apply to incline press and press behind neck if they are both cycled in the same workout do can I start at the 3s for the overhead work?
So long as you feel good with. That's what I do but I generally only have 1 lift I run the cycle on. Not 2 in the same workout unless it's squat dead.Delete
Loved the part about facebook guys. You could also add the guys that hit on the bikini girls and figure models at my gym to the list. The girls know they're hot. If your hitting on them the first time didn't work, hitting on them every single time they workout isn't going to get you anywhere.ReplyDelete
Paul - Do you need to peak after running big-15 for 12 weeks? Could you just keep running it? Is it good to alternate the two? If so, why?ReplyDelete
PS - the book is awesome, kudos
Why would you NEED to peak after running it? You can, but you don't HAVE to.Delete
True, I don't NEED to do anything. So I'll rephrase, are there any benefits to alternating the big-15 and strong-15 that you can't get from running the big-15 alone? Let's say over a one year time frame with the goal of adding muscle and creeping towards 400/300/500.ReplyDelete
You can push the rep PR's all day and get stronger and bigger.