Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Base building teaser.......

Building your own masterpiece -   What is base building?

No great monument, building, or structure can be built on a faulty foundation and remain standing for very long.  The foundation is where it all starts, and what sets the stage for building greatness.  Without a thick, solid, and tight base (that’s right I just went there) there can be no magnificent “anything” to behold. 
Building your physique and strength has the same underlying principle.  You need to build all of the components that create a great foundation, before you can flesh out the rest of it.  You must put in the long hours and years of hard work in order to create the masterpiece you desperately desire.

Can you imagine an artist trying to paint a masterpiece on a thin sheet of notebook paper, rather than a dense piece of canvas?  Our children’s wonderful artwork aside, the majority of great masterpieces were not painted on flimsy material.  The material the artist chooses is of great importance.   

Base building is the creation of that material.  It is the laying of the foundation for the masterpiece you want to create. 

If you’re a powerlifter that might mean an elite total.  The elite total would be the manifestation of the accumulative work you put in.  It is your masterpiece. 

If you’re an athlete, it might be your day winning a championship or turning professional at that sport.

If you’re a complete novice, it might mean making it to that year mark without missing any planned training sessions.

They are your milestones.  They are the fruits of your labor. 

They are the masterpieces you work to create.

Base building is what we do to lay the foundation for eventual individual greatness.  Whatever “greatness” that is, is completely unique to the person putting in the time and effort to achieve it.  However it cannot be achieved by trying to short circuit the processes known as “consistency” and “effort”.  Those processes must be embraced and endured. 

If you’re willing to put in the effort, and do so consistently, then you will see your goals eventually come to fruition.  They will be realized.  Your masterpiece will get painted. 

This is what base building is.  


  1. Base building is the shit, So stoked to read your thoughts on it. I'm a noob and I so look forward to the rest of my life under the bar. In 6 months I've brought my lifts up so much, and lost a huge amount of bodyfat. 3 cheers for being young. My Bench went from 95 to 135. Squat from 135 to 245 and dead from 155 to 275. I've ground out a heavy single maybe twice in that time. Looking back now, I just need to throw in more volume to help my upperbody. Base building works because it takes the "slow and steady wins the race" approach. I plan to spend years under the bar, so being smart about programming helps in the long run.
    Thanks again for all you do

    1. Yeah, nothing like the automatic gains that come with being a noob. I've been lifting about 3 and a half months myself. Brought up my starting lifts from 225, 125, 90, and 65 (all 3 sets of 5) to 305, 225, 135, and 115 (all 1 rep maxes tested about 3 weeks ago, running 5/3/1 for now). On 5/3/1, I'm breaking rep records nearly every session.

      I've also lost 20 pounds while adding muscle thanks to being a noob.

  2. I like the intro. Definitely looking forward to the meat and potatoes. Base building works for a lot more reasons than just the slow and steady race.

    Paul, with your permission, this article really helped me fill in the missing pieces in my head regarding training and base building: http://gregnuckols.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/increasing-work-capacity/

    It helped all the information swimming in my head from your base building articles to solidify.

    Oh, and regarding expectations, from the same guy http://gregnuckols.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/expectations/ -- so with intelligent programming like Big-15 and similar programs you can keep making some serious progress beyond the 2 year mark. I just made it past 2 years lifting, and based on my past experience this year doing it Paul's way, it looks like I may hit my year long goals early. Which just means screw year long goals. Just go to the gym and smash stuff.

  3. Hi,

    I can’t seem to find your email and have a quick question about your blog. Could you email me?


    1. There's a contact me button at the top.


  4. I've been training off and on for 24 years, only with any real consistency for the last few. I may have a base, but I will be buying this book.

    My favorite mentor has a saying..."The more you know, the more you know that you DON'T know".