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Thread: Tom Mutaffis Q&A

  1. #101
    Strongman Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Natn_25 View Post
    Hi Tom, great thread going here...a couple of strongman questions:

    1-Do you recommend training events on a separate day or incorporate events with the gym lifts?

    2-Would you do front squats in place of back squats for a gym routine with a strongman focus?
    Natn -

    I would keep your event training seperate from your gym work, with the exception of conditioning and pressing work since neither of those will be overly taxing on your body or CNS.

    For a beginner strongman sometimes they can benefit from additional event work with very light weights but it will have to be very carefully planned and monitored to avoid overtraining.

    With regard to squatting, Front Squats are definitely going to have more carryover to strongman events. I would not necessarily go ahead and eliminate exercises but I would start off with Front Squats and then do ATG, Power, or Box Squats as a secondary movement. There are some very good strongmen who squat frequently and others who almost never squat. A lot of it depends on your squat technique since a wide stance powerlifting squat really has very little (if any) carryover to strongman.

    I wrote an article on putting together a strongman training routine that you may want to take a look at:

    http://www.atlargenutrition.com/effe...an_routine.php

    There is also a strongman gym training program that I created for another individual posted earlier in this thread.

    Let me know if there is anything else that you would like to brainstorm.
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  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Y2A View Post
    Tom - is cheating on the day of your heaviest session ideal for muscle growth? It would make sense to me that if you lifted heavy in the morning and ate a ton of carbs and protein all day (overate) that it would be the best setting for you to grow. Is that why you do it that way?
    Y2A -

    Yes, that is exactly why I set up the protocol that way. On the day of your most taxing workout the additional calories/nutrients will enable you to recover better than on a day when your diet is restricted.

    For those who are eating very clean and planning on hitting a heavy training session sometimes they will benefit more from doing a 're-feed' the night before so that their body is well fueled for the training session. I have found both methods to be quite effective for strongman training.
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  3. #103
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    Tom,
    I like the strong man stuff. The training is so much fun and it keeps me motivated. I doubt I'll ever try out a contest, but down deep we all want to believe we can do it some day. So, for someone that just wants to include some events in their regular weight training, would you recomend a seperate events day (like in the article) or would you recomend using an event as a "finisher" to your regular workout...like finishing off your squat day with some sandbag carries or loading drills to finish off a deadlift day?
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  4. #104
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    Thanks Tom for your input.

    Would you suggest doing 2-3 light passes of moving events(farmers,yoke,tire etc) after your main DL and SQ sessions?

    I suck badly at moving events so I think the extra practice might help a bit.

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by famous636 View Post
    Hey Tom, thanks for this thread. Anyway I was hoping you could help me set up a deadlift schedule. All of my other lifts I know what I need to do to move them along. However my deadlifting is very inconsistent. My current numbers are 320x1 and 310x5. This brings me to another problem. When ever I try for any thing over 275ish it takes a couple trys on the first rep to get it moving. I also have no clue why my max is so low, its like that for all of my lifts. Thanks!
    Famous -

    I would be happy to put something together for you, but do need a little bit more information first.

    Are you looking for a specialized deadlift program or just a rep/exercise protocol for your weekly workouts?

    Also, since you said that you are weak off the floor I am curious about what exercises you typically perform. Do you do any deficit deadlifts or front squats?

    Please let me know and we can formulate a good program from there.
    ASC 105 Kg Pro Strongman | My Website | Facebook Fan Page

    Weight: 218 lbs | Gym PR's -> Front Squat: 510 lbs / Overhead: 375 lbs / Deadlift: 700 lbs

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  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by snikez View Post
    Hey I have a cutting question, if you wouldn't mind answering it to the best of your ability...

    Ok so I know that if you continue to lift weights while cutting, your body will know to preserve as much muscle as it can. But my question is: if you are losing strength but still going to failure on each set, will your body still know to preserve the same amount of muscle mass as it would if you were gaining strength and still going to failure?

    One would think it would maintain the same amount of muscle because you're still going to failure...but I'm not sure.
    Snikez -

    I believe your question is: "If you are losing strength does that mean that you are losing muscle?" - is that correct?

    Please clarify and then we can determine how to potentially adjust your diet/training to make sure that you are effectively cutting bodyfat without losing a lot of muscle mass.
    ASC 105 Kg Pro Strongman | My Website | Facebook Fan Page

    Weight: 218 lbs | Gym PR's -> Front Squat: 510 lbs / Overhead: 375 lbs / Deadlift: 700 lbs

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  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by View 1 View Post
    Seeing that the new defranco program did not quite live up the hype some of it still seem interesting to me.

    With that being said if you took the original west side for skinny bastards ( which is also the washed up meat head template in wsfsb 3 ) program ( one day bench ME, one day lower ME, and one day upper body RE ) how would you add some conditioning to this type of routine in your opinion? Super sets, max effort push ups etc..
    View 1 -

    Are you looking for something to add on a seperate day or do you want to incorporate something at the end of one of these workouts?

    Also, what does a typical RE day look like for you?

    We can definitely come up with some creative ways to add in some GPP work once I have a better idea of your overall split.
    ASC 105 Kg Pro Strongman | My Website | Facebook Fan Page

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  8. #108
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    Can't thank you enough! Nice people like you, willing to share their knowledge, are rare. I hope to meet you some day and shake your hand Thank you so much man. It's so nice to learn from the pros. I have my answer now Thanks a bunch man

    Squatting is the best thing that happened in my gym life There is absolutely nothing like Squats!! Feels so good to squat.


    Thanks Tom!!
    -█--------█- Squat: 285 x 3
    ......\☻/...... Bench Press: 235 x 3 (stuck there)
    ........▌....... Skull Crusher: 110lbs ez bar
    ......./ \......Standing Shoulder Press: 115lbs (barbell)


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  9. #109
    Senior Member Drew92's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mutaffis View Post
    Famous -

    I would be happy to put something together for you, but do need a little bit more information first.

    Are you looking for a specialized deadlift program or just a rep/exercise protocol for your weekly workouts?

    Also, since you said that you are weak off the floor I am curious about what exercises you typically perform. Do you do any deficit deadlifts or front squats?

    Please let me know and we can formulate a good program from there.
    I am looking for a rep/weight protocol. However you mentioned I was weak from the floor so various exercises would also help. I have one day a week dedicated to the dealift and can add others if need be. Such as max effort or dynamic effort. I have never done a deficit deadlift before or front squats. I could never figure out how to properly put the bar on my shoulders. Thanks for the help, I hope I answered all of your questions.

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mutaffis View Post
    Mchicia1 -

    Glad to hear that you are making gains on most of your lifts. It can be tought to make progress on all lifts simultaneously though so it is not uncommon that certain movements may fall behind a bit or progress at a different rate.

    In general, your military press is actually right about where it should be (assuming that you are using good form and full range of motion). My barbell military press was always about 100 lbs less than my bench press, although I will admit that I did not put a lot of focus on that movement.

    One of the most important muscle groups for both military press and bench press is your triceps. Are you doing any direct triceps work? Specifically weighted dips or close grip bench press?

    I would recommend perhaps swapping out bench press for close grip bench press; the improved triceps strength will have carryover to all other pressing movements. You could always throw in some dumbbell military work (light/low volume) to give you some direct deltoids work. The problem with a high frequency general compound movement routine is that certain muscle groups do not get a lot of direct attention, which is something that you have also noticed with your upper back.

    For upper back work I have always liked doing weighted chins and high pulls or hang cleans. In my opinion those two movements will give you everything that you need as long as you are also doing some type of deadlifting and rowing occassionally.

    Now, how do we bring all of this together?

    I would created a modified MadCow that incorporates more variation but still sticks to some of the basic principals of the standard program.

    Mchicia1's Modified MadCow:
    Monday: Squat (5x5), Row (5x5), Close Grip Bench (5x5)
    Wednesday: Chins (BW for 25+ reps total), Bench Press (light), Dips (BW), Squts (light)
    Friday: Squat (3RM), Rows (3RM), Close Grip Bench or Board Press (3RM), Dumbbell Military Press (2 sets of 5-10), Front & Side Laterals (1 superset/drop set)

    These modifications should help to bring up your lagging bench press and military press without having a negative impact on your squats or rows.

    If your body does not respond to the changes then we can re-evaluate the program again in a few weeks.
    Tom, thanks for the response. I actually do direct tricep work on Mondays and Friday. Just 2x8 of skullcrushers, nothing too crazy. I will give this a shot . On the close grip, I am assuming this is to be done with heavy weight?

  11. #111
    Senior Member snikez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mutaffis View Post
    Snikez -

    I believe your question is: "If you are losing strength does that mean that you are losing muscle?" - is that correct?

    Please clarify and then we can determine how to potentially adjust your diet/training to make sure that you are effectively cutting bodyfat without losing a lot of muscle mass.
    Well yes basically. If you are losing more strength on a cut, are you losing more muscle mass as well? I'm alright with my diet, good protein consumption/one pound lost a week/ strength is basically staying the same...

    BTW: how important is fat intake when cutting or bulking?
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  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    Tom,
    I like the strong man stuff. The training is so much fun and it keeps me motivated. I doubt I'll ever try out a contest, but down deep we all want to believe we can do it some day. So, for someone that just wants to include some events in their regular weight training, would you recomend a seperate events day (like in the article) or would you recomend using an event as a "finisher" to your regular workout...like finishing off your squat day with some sandbag carries or loading drills to finish off a deadlift day?
    Good question.

    Strongman training is a great GPP/conditioning tool and should not be reserved only for those who plan to compete. Since you are not going to be doing any max effort work you can easily incorporate strongman movements into your routine after your gym training without having to modify your split.

    I would not necessarily include a lot of volume on a day when you already may be pushing your recovery to the limit, but on days that are a bit easier (upper body).

    All that you really need is a sled and a keg/sandbag, and you can come up with a number of different workouts using those two implements.

    Let me know if you would like for me to come up with a detailed program based on your current split and equipment.
    ASC 105 Kg Pro Strongman | My Website | Facebook Fan Page

    Weight: 218 lbs | Gym PR's -> Front Squat: 510 lbs / Overhead: 375 lbs / Deadlift: 700 lbs

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  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Natn_25 View Post
    Thanks Tom for your input.

    Would you suggest doing 2-3 light passes of moving events(farmers,yoke,tire etc) after your main DL and SQ sessions?

    I suck badly at moving events so I think the extra practice might help a bit.
    I would not recommend training farmers, yoke, and tire that many times per week.

    If you want to improve speed then I would have an experience competitor critique your events and help you with technique. You can always video yourself if you train alone. You can also increase the volume of work during your strongman workouts if you feel like you are not getting enough time on the implements, but remember to lower the weights if you are going to increase volume.

    One of the biggest mistakes that I see is people who do not have a respect for the events and assume that a yoke walk is just like squatting. In reality these events can take a lot more out of you and training them heavy every single week will leave you discouraged or injured. A lot of people train beyond their current level and then wonder why they never make progress.

    Training events 2-3 times per week would also force your gym training to take a back seat and likely halt your progress there. I trained like this for quite some time because gym lifts did not really matter to me, but in the end you still need to be strong and technique will only take you so far.

    Where do you train? Maybe I know some people in the area who can help you.
    ASC 105 Kg Pro Strongman | My Website | Facebook Fan Page

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  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by famous636 View Post
    I am looking for a rep/weight protocol. However you mentioned I was weak from the floor so various exercises would also help. I have one day a week dedicated to the dealift and can add others if need be. Such as max effort or dynamic effort. I have never done a deficit deadlift before or front squats. I could never figure out how to properly put the bar on my shoulders. Thanks for the help, I hope I answered all of your questions.
    There is a program that I mentioned earlier in this thread that is quite effective, and the Coan-Phillipie is another good one for deadlift specialization.

    In terms of a standard training protocol for someone who is looking to improve their deadlift from the floor I would perhaps look at something like the 5/3/1 progression.

    Here is a basic explanation:

    - Week 1: (3) sets of 5, progressively working up to a pseudo max 5 rep set
    - Week 2: (3) sets of 3, progressively working up to a pseudo max 3 rep set
    - Week 3: Set of 5, set of 3, set of 1 (sub-max)
    - Week 4: Deload - very light training session
    - Week 5: Repeat week 1, slightly heavier.

    Along with this rep protocol for your standard deadlifts I have found that deficit deadlifts and front squats have drastically helped my deadlift. You may also want to look at your setup for the deadlift. I always struggled from the floor until I added front squats and since then I have been able to break from the floor more than I could lock out.

    Here is what I would do in terms of your complete workout:
    • Deadlift - (3) sets, follow protocol above.
    • Front Squat - (2) sets, 3-5 reps
    • Deficit Deadlift - (2-3) sets, 2-5 reps (lighter, pause each rep)
    • Weighted Low Back / Ab Work - (4-6) sets, This is important for building your deadlift power.

    Make sure that you are also doing heavy upper back work such as rows and weighted chins since your upper back is involved in the deadlift.

    On the deload week for your deadlift you could even cut out the deadlifts all together and go a bit heavier on the front squats, although make sure that you are not going overboard to where it would impact your recovery.

    Hopefully this is what you are looking for, let me know what you think.
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  15. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by mchicia1 View Post
    Tom, thanks for the response. I actually do direct tricep work on Mondays and Friday. Just 2x8 of skullcrushers, nothing too crazy. I will give this a shot . On the close grip, I am assuming this is to be done with heavy weight?
    Skull crushers are a good movement but will not do as much for you as close grip bench or dips in terms of building your pressing power. For the CGBP I would follow the same protocol that you were for your bench press, which I assume was a relatively heavy 5x5.
    ASC 105 Kg Pro Strongman | My Website | Facebook Fan Page

    Weight: 218 lbs | Gym PR's -> Front Squat: 510 lbs / Overhead: 375 lbs / Deadlift: 700 lbs

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  16. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by snikez View Post
    Well yes basically. If you are losing more strength on a cut, are you losing more muscle mass as well? I'm alright with my diet, good protein consumption/one pound lost a week/ strength is basically staying the same...

    BTW: how important is fat intake when cutting or bulking?
    There are a couple of reasons why you can lose strength, but drastic strength decreases can be an indicator that you are losing a fair amount of muscle mass. Typically most poeple try to maintain strength during periods of caloric or carbohydrate restriction and then gain strength when following a maintenance or 'bulking' program.

    If your strength is steady right now and you are losing 1lb/wk then it sounds like you are on the right track.

    Fats are very important for a number of reasons. Your hormone levels are influenced by your fat intake and it is also a source of energy. Along with that fat is much more calorically dense than carbohydrates or protein, making it a great tool for bumping your calories when bulking. Regardless of your diet objectives it is important to moderate your fat intake when consuming high amounts of carbohydrates, as the increased insulin production will lead to fat being stored. The source of fats is another consideration as 'healthy' fats should be a part of every diet (nuts, avocados, olive oil, EFA's, etc.).

    A lot of people assume that they need to be losing drastic amounts of weight in order to lose bodyfat. In reality it is not all that challenging to maintain bodyweight and muscle mass while improving body composition, as long as you have the right program.
    ASC 105 Kg Pro Strongman | My Website | Facebook Fan Page

    Weight: 218 lbs | Gym PR's -> Front Squat: 510 lbs / Overhead: 375 lbs / Deadlift: 700 lbs

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  17. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mutaffis View Post
    Strongman training is a great GPP/conditioning tool and should not be reserved only for those who plan to compete. Since you are not going to be doing any max effort work you can easily incorporate strongman movements into your routine after your gym training without having to modify your split.

    I would not necessarily include a lot of volume on a day when you already may be pushing your recovery to the limit, but on days that are a bit easier (upper body).

    All that you really need is a sled and a keg/sandbag, and you can come up with a number of different workouts using those two implements.
    I am currently doing sled drags on my off days after lower body sessions. I'm also doing the cleans (GPP) on the off days following upper body sessions.

    Now I'm considering the possibility of doing the GPP work right after the gym work. My thought is that it would have a greater impact on work capacity. Also, it would leave my off days free to just rest and do some active recovery like walking.
    Last edited by Off Road; 11-17-2009 at 12:03 PM.
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  18. #118
    Senior Member snikez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mutaffis View Post
    Fats are very important for a number of reasons. Your hormone levels are influenced by your fat intake and it is also a source of energy. Along with that fat is much more calorically dense than carbohydrates or protein, making it a great tool for bumping your calories when bulking. Regardless of your diet objectives it is important to moderate your fat intake when consuming high amounts of carbohydrates, as the increased insulin production will lead to fat being stored. The source of fats is another consideration as 'healthy' fats should be a part of every diet (nuts, avocados, olive oil, EFA's, etc.).
    Ok I see. But would high amounts of fat and carbs (in same meal) really put extra fat on your body if you were only gaining a pound a week? Like, wouldn't you be gaining the 1/2 pound of fat and 1/2 pound of muscle anyway as long as you didn't go overboard with the calories?

    Like if you had a high carb and fat diet but kept calories low, how would that diet compare (In terms of fat gain) to if you kept carbs and fat low, but calories high?
    Last edited by snikez; 11-17-2009 at 03:02 PM.
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  19. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by snikez View Post
    Ok I see. But would high amounts of fat and carbs (in same meal) really put extra fat on your body if you were only gaining a pound a week? Like, wouldn't you be gaining the 1/2 pound of fat and 1/2 pound of muscle anyway as long as you didn't go overboard with the calories?

    Like if you had a high carb and fat diet but kept calories low, how would that diet compare (In terms of fat gain) to if you kept carbs and fat low, but calories high?
    I am confused by your first statement/question. In my post above I said that you would want to moderate (limit) your fat intake when consuming high amounts of carbohydrates because this causes fat to be stored.

    There is no real reason to want to gain fat unless you were undersized and looking to improve leverages for a sport. In that case then eating simple carbs with a high fat meal is a good way to put on a lot of mass (bodyweight). I would not recommend this for most people though.

    With regard to your second statement, eating a high carb/fat but low calorie diet would make you 'skinny fat'; basically a lighter or smaller person with poor body composition. Eating low fat/carb but high calories is fine.

    Here is a simple way to break down dieting.

    Calories = Bodyweight (3,500 calories is one pound)
    Macronutrients & Macronutrient Quality = Body Composition

    Most people gauge the success of their 'bulking' by how much weight they gain, not how much muscle. Many trainees also gauge their cutting programs by how much weight they lose, not bodyfat percentage. Using both of these common metrics would be a mistake. When you bulk you should try to gain as much muscle as possible without a ton of excess weight and when you cut you should try to lose as much bodyfat as possible without sacrificing hard-earned muscle.
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  20. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    I am currently doing sled drags on my off days after lower body sessions. I'm also doing the cleans (GPP) on the off days following upper body sessions.

    Now I'm considering the possibility of doing the GPP work right after the gym work. My thought is that it would have a greater impact on work capacity. Also, it would leave my off days free to just rest and do some active recovery like walking.
    It makes sense to incorporate your GPP on your training days as long as you can manage the sessions so that they do not run much longer than 60 minutes. Sometimes you can get away with a workout that goes a bit longer but it would depend on the volume/intensity.

    Typically what I like do to in terms of a specific workout for GPP/conditioning is either 3-5 sets of 1-2 exercises or 1-2 long duration sets. Something as simple as dragging a sled with (1) 45 lbs plate around the block makes for a great GPP builder, or you can just do 3-5 sets of sled drag sprints up and down the driveway. The same goes for the barbell work; one high-rep set will work or multiple lower intensity sets with short rest periods. Either way your conditioning workout should not take longer than about 10 minutes.

    As you mentioned this will free up your off days so that you can do some active recovery work or just relax.
    ASC 105 Kg Pro Strongman | My Website | Facebook Fan Page

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  21. #121
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    Thanks Tom. I will finish this cycle as I've started it. Next cycle, I'll make the change to doing it all on the same day and see if I can notice any benefits.
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  22. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mutaffis View Post
    I would not recommend training farmers, yoke, and tire that many times per week.

    If you want to improve speed then I would have an experience competitor critique your events and help you with technique. You can always video yourself if you train alone. You can also increase the volume of work during your strongman workouts if you feel like you are not getting enough time on the implements, but remember to lower the weights if you are going to increase volume.

    One of the biggest mistakes that I see is people who do not have a respect for the events and assume that a yoke walk is just like squatting. In reality these events can take a lot more out of you and training them heavy every single week will leave you discouraged or injured. A lot of people train beyond their current level and then wonder why they never make progress.

    Training events 2-3 times per week would also force your gym training to take a back seat and likely halt your progress there. I trained like this for quite some time because gym lifts did not really matter to me, but in the end you still need to be strong and technique will only take you so far.

    Where do you train? Maybe I know some people in the area who can help you.
    Well,Tom I am not in the States-I'm across the pond.

    Thanks for your input so far. I guess I will do my light/back off events sets after the heavy ones.

    I have another question regarding my log press. My sticking point is when my triceps are just above parallel. If I can get past this point, I can lock out the weight coz my triceps are relatively strong(I think much stronger than my shoulders). What is my weakness in this case? Weak shoulders?

  23. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by Natn_25 View Post
    Well,Tom I am not in the States-I'm across the pond.

    Thanks for your input so far. I guess I will do my light/back off events sets after the heavy ones.

    I have another question regarding my log press. My sticking point is when my triceps are just above parallel. If I can get past this point, I can lock out the weight coz my triceps are relatively strong(I think much stronger than my shoulders). What is my weakness in this case? Weak shoulders?
    I do know a few International competitors; what country do you live in?

    Regarding the log press, that is a common sticking point. It sounds like you are not getting good transfer from your leg drive or perhaps having trouble bringing your head through. Front squats will build leg drive and push press with a barbell is a good way to learn the timing since it is easier than a log. In terms of technique you want to make sure that you are keeping your elbows high and that you have the log racked tightly before you initiate the press. Once you start to press you want to drive the log back over your head and bring your head through, you do not want to press the log out in front of you or try to muscle it.

    The easiest way for me to critique your form would be if you could post a video of your log press. In many cases some simple form adjustments can make a huge difference.
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  24. #124
    Getting There... Irish Pilot's Avatar
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    Thinking Back To Your BB'ing Days & Training...

    Tom Ive seen you suggest (in that thread regarding routines that people prefer) that you still believe a split form of training is optimal for BB style-hypertrophy gains. Ive also seen you mention this...

    Quote Originally Posted by TomMutaffis View Post
    ...
    What I like to do is hit 3-8 reps for my compound movements for 3-5 sets and then perform an additional (2) sets of 8-12 reps for an additional 2-3 isolation movements.

    For example a chest workout might look something like this:

    - Incline Bench Press: (3) sets, 3-8 reps
    - Flat Dumbbell Bench Press: (2) sets of 10
    - Decline Flyes: (1) sets of 12
    - Hammer Strength Incline Press: (2) sets of 8
    - Cable Crossover: (2) sets of 12

    This is a total of 10 sets which gives you a good amount of volume for Chest, with (3) heavy sets and (7) volume/hypertrophy sets.
    Any chance you have a rough outline of an old split that you liked using these two thoughts that you might share? I need a change of routine and would certainly like to see anything you might suggest regarding your above methods.

    Thanks again for this informative thread btw!
    - Slave & Master At The Same Damn Time -
    Hoping To Compete Natty Early 2011

  25. #125
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    Sorry to bother again Tom, or any one else that can answer my question.

    Are knee supports used when heavy squatting?

    I am concerned because I am at 255 right in the squat and I don't feel anything on my knees yet, but I am concerned about when to use knee support things.

    I say this because before I injured my back doing T-rows, a friend of mine who is very experienced told me to get a belt when I got to 2 45lb plates in the T-rows. I got to 3 plates and never used the belt and BAMMMM, I got injured. Maybe the belt would have helped me not get "too" injured.


    Any suggestions? Bad or good? Necessary, not?
    -█--------█- Squat: 285 x 3
    ......\☻/...... Bench Press: 235 x 3 (stuck there)
    ........▌....... Skull Crusher: 110lbs ez bar
    ......./ \......Standing Shoulder Press: 115lbs (barbell)


    "I am always doing things I can't do, that's how I get to do them." Pablo Picasso

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