Saturday, July 26, 2014


Do you think novices in their 30s and 40s should train the same as younger novices? Should novice and less expericed trainees at above 20 percent body fat work to increase their strength to a certain level or concentrate on becoming lean first?

For the most part, all novice trainees should train similar.  Unless there are serious extremes in ages or injury history, i.e. a 10 year old or 80 year old.

The best thing about being novice is that if you're overweight you get a nice window where you can indeed lose fat and gain muscle at the same time.  It won't be equal, mind you.  But it will be one of the few times where you can pull this off.  So yes, a novice that is above 20% bodyfat (male) should get their diet in order to lose the fat.

What do you find works best to increase your ability to hold onto the bar on the deadlift as the weight gets heavy? 
Special grip exercises, deadlift holds, ect ect.
Thank you in advance for your advice.

I've never had a grip problem.  Never lost a deadlift due to grip, but the one thing I have used with people is to do dumbbell holds for time.  Find the heaviest pair you can and hold them for as long as possible.  Do that twice a week and try to beat the time each week.

What's the carry over of deficient deadlifts been for you?

I do all of my deadlifts from a deficit.  Very small for regular deadlifts, and a big deficit for stiff legs.  Since I never pull from the floor it's hard to say.

1. What training programs and templates do you think work well together?

I don't know what this means.  I am vehemently against combining training programs.  Do them AS WRITTEN.

2. Do you feel there is a large difference between doing pyramid sets verses sets of the same reps but increasing weight each set?

They both have benefits and drawbacks.  If you want to sort of "pre-fatigue" yourself by staying with the same rep range all the way to the top set, you can.  If you want to save a little more for the top sets, then pyramiding is probably a better way to "warm up".

3. What is your stance on assistance work, are rep ranges as important with these as with the Big Lifts? Should you be consistent and follow the same exercises week by week? (I feel this is probably dependent on your goals: ie: BB, PL, Strongman)

It all depends on what support work you are doing, and why.  For example, I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would do sets of 6 on leg extensions.  Single joint movements don't tend to lend themselves to lower reps.  Where multi joint movements tend to like both high and low reps.  However some multi joint movements, like say front squats, tend to work better with lower rep ranges because of limiting factors (in this case, holding the bar).

Have you ever thought about doing a publicly posted skype conversation with pete rubish about gear usage? Both of you have done this but it seems that each you guys were the only knowledgeable person in each interview. It'd be a nice change of pace to see both parties bringing good information to the table. Stop yelling.

I can always ask Pete about it.

Pausing every rep for high rep sets on bench(8+) vs touch n go?

I like to pause ALL my reps on bench.  I feel like that is a great way to build power and speed from the bottom.  But if you're using the bench for hypertrophy reasons then touch and go would work well.

For someone who's been lifting for several years specifically for hypertrophy stimulation, that is now wanting to move toward powerlifting, what program and changes to lifting style should be made?

You need to focus on the big three, obviously.  You need to learn the difference in "moving weight" vs making the muscle work.  For example, bodybuilders can/do use the bench press to make the pecs work.  However in powerlifting the bench press involves everything from the legs for initial drive, and more tricep involvement.

What is your opinion of "pre-exhaustion", for mass gain purposes?

I did lots of that back in the day, and liked it a lot.  I did very well with pre-exhaustion.

High bar vs low bar squat as far as power output

All depends on the leverage of the lifter, and how they are built.  There have been lots of great high bar squatters, and lots of great low bar squatters.  My advice is to do both throughout the year.  Possible even in the same workout.  One thing I like to do is to do my pause squats high bar, but my meet training squats low bar.

Knee sleeves- elitefts or rehbands. 

I don't even own a belt, Andrew.

Any new music you're listening to for training lately

Lots of Trivium and Five Finger Death Punch.

Thoughts on including body weight movements outside of training ex. Push-ups sit ups pull ups during a base building phase.

I would like push ups as a bench day finisher.  Sit ups are an all around good movement no matter what people say.  There are a lot of muscle involved in a sit up.  Not to mention that it IS a very "functional" movement.  After all, "sitting up" is something you have to actually do every day.

Chins of course are awesome.

Lifting with knee pain

Depends on where it is.  If it's under the knee and feels like patella then get a brace for it.  If it's above the knee it could likely be IT band or even hip flexor related.  Lots of times pain radiates into an area above or below the actual problem area.

have you got any thoughts on groin hernias and recovery from surgery or nerve pain stemming from said operation? wondering if you have spoken to others that have experienced this?

Never dealt with that.

how is your training schedule? do you rotate the "big" exercises while using the base building model? squat bench deads front squatoverhead press sldl incline.

Generally it's lower body one day, upperbody the next day.  If my legs don't feel recovered I will throw in an extra upperbody day before another leg session.  But it's usually something like more back or arm work.

Other than discipline and sticking it out to it is there anything that you do to help with dieting down. You look like you did it with ease.

First thing I did was just cut out ALL junk.  No ice cream, no candy bars, etc.  Then after that I actually switched over to the diet Mike created for me.  Which was essentially no carbs on non-training days, then carbs mostly based around the training window.

Jonnie Candito - How big is your penor?

Slightly over 7".  I left your name in there Jonnie so that everyone knew you asked about my pinnis.

In general, what are some of the main underlying factors of hip hip pain at the bottom of a squat/hip impingement?

Generally that is related to glute medius/piriformis.  The best thing about that is, the same stretch tends to fix the issue.  Look up piriformis stretches and do some everyday.  It's an easy fix.

How do you effectively peak/prepare while avoiding over-training prior to a meet?

You DO need to overreach before a meet.  That's how super compensation kicks in if you time it properly.

What is your opinion on oly shoes for squatting?

If you squat like an Oly lifter, closer stance and more upright, then they tend to work well.  If you're a really wide squatter then I think people do better with more flat soled shoes.

How can a less experienced athlete (in terms of nutrition) calculate a reasonable amount of carbs for a refeeds and when should redress be done?

That's a very in depth question.  Ask my diet coach Mike Israetel.

For the over warm ups how much, percentage wise, should you go over your work set roughly?

Generally it's in the range of about 85%.

How would you rate a guy ready to use the Base Building? 
I mean, with which 1rms on big-3 at bw

If he has to ask if he's strong enough use it, he might not be.  However I've used it with fairly novice guys with great success as well.

Any merit to increasing squatting frequency and volume when a goal is systemic hypertrophy? Example going from conjugate style to 3x per week waving volume and intensity. going to work on mass for 12-18 weeks before beginning base building

Sounds like a bit of chronic routine changing to me.  Conjugate to 3X a week of madcow type stuff, then Base Building.  Mass training is largely dependent on calorie intake.  No mass building routine is going to work on a calorie deficit.  That being said, I prefer medium to high reps on multi-joint movements for mass training.  I'm not a big fan of squatting and pressing multiple times a week for "mass training".  Those kinds of programs are generally in place for practicing the lift.  Sure, you may gain some mass as side effect of it, but there is a reason why bodybuilding routines have stood the test of time for mass gain.

How to tackle the "dont ask, dont tell" culture of steroid use we currently have. It was really refreshing hearing you talk to Bret about this.

People just need to be educated better.  The media is still fairly ignorant about anabolics and still acts as if they are these horrible substances that are only used by people with low morals/cheaters.

Not progressing on OHP - even after resetting weight and building back up, any suggestions?

Overhead press with more volume, and multiple times a week, but keep bar speed good.  Don't grind out reps.  Lots of triples and sets of five.

How do you recommend a powerlifter eat the day before and during the day of a competition?

That depends on if he has been cutting weight or not.  If not, then he needs to stick with the foods he or she has been eating normally.  Don't all of a sudden add in something you weren't eating on a regular basis.  The last thing you want the day before or day of the meet is a case of the shits because of some new "super food" you had not been eating.  If you aren't cutting weight, then I suggest eating foods high in sodium to get somewhat bloated.  That does indeed help with lifting.  But you can do this by simply adding salt to healthy food choices as well.


  1. Haha Jonnie, you young whipper snapper

  2. I am working through a pulled hamstring. I can perform squat and deadlift if I do a good warm up with little pain, but it does hurt after.

    Would it be better to give squat and deadlift a rest for a period of time or drop the weights/volume while my hamstring recovers?


    1. If you're not having pain DURING you're ok. Just don't think about adding weight until all of the pain subsides, i.e. even after training.

    2. Cool. thanks.

  3. I couldn't care less if your penis is eleventeen inches...

    1. Then why are you posting about it?

    2. Sorry, just a (poor) joke. Was trying to reference your comment about not caring if someone could lift eleventy billion pounds. No offence intended.

    3. No worries. Context is often lost across the net.