I would like to create an open Q&A in place of Private Messages. It is hard for me to respond to PM's in a timely manner sometimes and there seem to be a fair amount of crossover between similar questions.
This way everyone here will have access to various custom routines and diets, along with immediate responses.
If you have recently sent me a PM and did not get a response please post in this thread. Thank you!
Should i squat before i deadlift or deadlift before i squat?
And also, do your genetics influence your training? Lets say for example i have good genetics for bodybuilding, would it be better for me to do "this" program or "that" program to make better progress. Or doesn't it do that much?
Yes, genetics are a big factor when it comes to developing or choosing a program. Each person responds differently to training and some have better recovery abilities, tendon strength, CNS, bone structure, etc.
I have seen individuals make gains with minimal work but who cannot handle high volume, and have also see people who need to train a muscle group two times per week in order to make progress. Your goals will also be a factor, since there are different protocols that are generally more effective for each specific objective.
I am a mesomorphic type. Maybe you could give some names of programs which best fit the 3 types? Because i am wondering which program would work best for me since i am mesomorphic, concidering volume and reps and sets etc..
Last edited by Tom Mutaffis; 11-01-2009 at 07:31 PM.
Mesomorph is generally the ideal bodytype for bodybuilding, while endomorphs typically do well with powerlifting and ectomorphs are suited for strength endurance / general fitness. There are different routines that will yeild the most gains for each goal depending on your body type.
What overload techniques do you recommend for overcoming being slow off the floor dead lifting?
Front squats are a great way to build leg/hip power with a similar stance to your deadlift and an upright back, while deficit pulls get you used to really driving from the low position.
Typically for decific work I will use either a 2" or a 4" block and go with moderate weight for low reps and higher volume. Something like 75% of my standard deadlift 1RM for (5) sets of (2) reps. On front squats I typically train in the 3-5 rep range with one heavy working set each session and a series of relatively heavy warmup sets.
You may want to try taking a slightly wider stance or pointing your toes outward a bit, this has helped me to get more drive off the floor as well.
When does doing too many sets of a certain amount of rep do little? Example: 5 sets of 12 reps, what happens when you can do like 8 sets of 12? Is it useless then? Will you grow muscle still since your doing more reps?
First thanks for doing this, i sent you a private message last week and there a copy of it..
Been reading a lots of stuff you have written on the forum about training in the last few days and i have a few question for you if you dont mind(also read your article)..
first here my stats:
-34years old (almost 35)
6ft and 202lbs(weight usually between 195-205)
Trained for 12 years/on,off with playing sports
Natural, never used roids
Push press:135x8 (think im not explosive enough with my legs or something)
Bench press:225x3 (im stalling)
-Im know my pressing movement are my weakest link!!
-Last year been doing Wendler 5/3/1 with some good results on squat/deads/push press but not so much on bench press
-I still hit the gym about 4 times/week with one or two hockey game(still playing ) do not compete seriously anymore, just for fun and get some cardio work
-My goal:no bodybuilding, just get jacked and strong with big shoulderss
-What keep me motivated is the PR in 5/3/1,it give me a reason to go and train hard, i also track some PR in assisancte stuff...if your familiar with the 5/3/1 i do 2 to 3 assistance exercices 5 sets about 8-12 reps for each exercices.
1-Do you think i should just keep going on Wendler 5/3/1 for all 4 main exercices?
2-Do you have any template of your own i can follow with the 5/3/1(been reading about your complexes idea and others),template with arms day,maybe squatting and deadlifting on same day??
3-Do you think doggcrapp training will be a good idea for me??
4-Best supplement you think i can order from your site??
Anyway im sure you understand what im wondering and any advized from you will be great, thanks!!
"Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen."
My training log;
It sounds like you have already made some good progress in the gym, here are my responses to your questions.
1. The 5/3/1 works well for steady strength gains on compound movements. There is a good mix of variation, intensity, and rest.
2. I do not have a pre-made template so here is something basic that incorporates the 5/3/1 principals but also allows you to do some direct arm work. The thing with 5/3/1 is that you cannot squat & deadlift on the same day with that protocol, so I have to split them onto different days in the program.
Monday - Squats (5/3/1), Lower Body Machine Work.
Tuesday - Pressing (5/3/1), Chest
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Deadlift (5/3/1), Back (Chins, Rows, Etc.)
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Arms / Biceps & Triceps (Dips, Curls, Extensions, etc.)
I wanted to start off the week with pressing since that is a focus for you, but in order to leave two days of rest between squatting and deadlifting I had to bump pressing to Tuesday. I did leave one day of rest before and after your most intense workout (Deadlifting & Back), and then your arm work leaves two days of recovery prior to pressing so you can include some compound movements like weighted dips and close grip bench.
You basically follow the 5/3/1 rep protocol from week to week on squats, deadlifts, and the press movement of your choice. If you were willing to abandon the 5/3/1 protocol then I could devise a program with squats/deadlifts on the same day and more of a direct focus on your pressing.
3. DC Training is a good program, but it is a big commitment especially for a natural trainee. The workouts are demanding and to properly recover you need a very high protein intake and plenty of rest. If you have a lot of other priorities in your life then it may not be the best choice as you really have to embrace the principals of the program in order to be successful. With this in mind, someone with your experience level could make some great gains on DC Training if it is something that you are willing to do. You would likely also need a training partner since you want to have a spotter for rest-pause work.
4. The best supplement for your goals would be 'Results'. For a natural trainee this is the #1 strength product available. There is actually a thread in the supplement section asking what people would take if they could only use one product and a number the responses were 'Results'.
Hopefully this is what you are looking for. We can re-evaluate your program a bit and use the 5/3/1 only for pressing while maximizing your accessory work relating to your press if you are pleased with your current squat/deadlift.
The way to optimize muscle/strength gains would be to increase the weight used for the (5) sets of 12 once you are able to complete your working sets and continue to progress from there.
If you were training for a specific sport that required strength endurance then it would make sense to continue adding volume as you progress by increasing the number of sets.
Hopefully this is what you were looking for.
One example of this would be if you took an individual who went from being able to perform 75 pushups to 100 pushups. His increase in strength endurance would be 33%, although his 1RM bench press would likely remain about the same. This individual's 10RM bench press may see some increase but that increase would not be as drastic as the strength endurance percentage. With the increased 10RM the trainee could build more muscle/power, but the strength endurance alone will not give them the size or absolute strength.
With regard to recovery, there are a lot of factors that increase recovery. Intensity is one of the main factors and an increased work capacity would lower the intensity of your workout if you were performing the same workout as when work capacity was lower. The thing is that most poeple train to match their abilities and running through an easy workout would not satisfy the majority of us, so you would likely increase the intensity/volume and recovery remains the same (but you can make greater gains now).
Hopefully this makes sense. Basically strength endurance/work capacity is a great tool to help you to get bigger and more powerful but will not automatically make you bigger and more powerful.
Thanks for this thread Tom, you are truly a bank of knowledge.
Tom, I am making steady gains using madcow 5x5. I am sure you are familiar with it, but its basically just ramping 5x5 sets on monday, a recovery medium day wednesday, and a ramping up to 3 rep PR on friday. Squats, bench, and rows basically.
I am making good progress on my squats...I am up to 340 x 5 and its getting easier and easier. Rows is going up as well to 225x5. However, my bench has stalled...I have been stuck at 265 x 3 for 2 weeks straight and I think it is largely due to not getting enough upper back work/lat work (I feel very unstable and I am benching the way Dave Tate demonstrates in his video). Also, my shoulder press is really falling behind my bench...I can only do 145 x 5 military.
I was thinking of basically swapping bench for military press on monday/friday while maintaining my bench press and doing it only once a week on wednesdays. I also wanted to mix in some more volume for my back on one of the days (maybe the wednesday workout?). I was thinking 6 weeks of this to catch my military up and then swapping back to benching twice a week. What do you think?
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?
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.
My name is Dustin Reed and Im 18 years old and have been training to compete in strongman comps(first show is actually in two weeks Central Georgia Novice Light weight) and have been trying to come up with a good routine as I have never really focused on strength training other than oly lifting. But I was wandering if you would please look over this routine for me. I am actually using a template you wrote that focuses on pressing as I am a weak presser. Just wandering if there is anything in your opinion I should change rep, sets, or whatever just want to grow.
Monday: Technique Pressing Day
Standing Military Press: 5x5(strict)
Wide Pulldowns: 4x8
DB Rows: 5x5
BB Curl: 4x8
Tuesday: Heavy Squat/ DE Lower Body
Close Squats: 6x3
Power Clean: 5x3
Glute Raise: 4x10
Weighted Abs: 4x10
Thursday: Heavy Press and Triceps
Standing Military Press: 5x3
DB Push Press: 5x3(focus on speed)
Rope Press: 6x6
Saturday: Moving Events
I will switch my technique and heavy press days between a log and a fat bar once I am able to obtain them just taking longer than I like. Also every week the assitance exercises will be changed as well but, will work same muscle (ie.. glute ham alt with RDL).
My stats are:
5'7 with shoes lol.
Strict Press:155 for 3 or 4 reps.
Thank you so much for your time.
I can bench 6x225, deadlift 4x315, squat 8x315....i have been doing splits since the beginning of time. I want to gain mass/strength...i'm about to go on an activate extreme + x factor stack...is it worth trying a solid full body or upper/lower split with this stack even if its my first time? for my goals + supp + never having done a full body oriented workout...any thoughts?
if you feel strongly about either, or both for that matter and theres a routine you think would be best for me, please post it
( 5'11, 195, want to gain mass and get stronger...i have an almost natural 8 pack so i'm not worried about my inabiltiy to get those back...thats not a concern for me at this point...)
thanks in advance tom
A full body split is not something that I would recommend for an experienced trainee. You could go with an upper/lower split although they can be pretty demanding. You may want to look at a 3-day or 4-day split that can have two upper days and two lower days, but a bit more variation to allow for recovery. I can write something custom for you if you would like.
How is your diet? That is going to be one of the biggest factors in achieving your goals.
Hello Tom, I noticed that you help out a lot of people so I was just wondering if you could help me out with a good diet. I am going to be lifting two times a day, 3 days a week. I also play football and it starts next week, so I was just wondering what I should do about my diet. I'm about 200 pounds and I take Results (every day) and Nitrean (after i workout)... But other than that I don't know what I should try to fit into my diet. I want to stay about the same weight but I also want to gain muscle so my muscles can pop out more lol... i don't really wanna be ripped = too much work lol.
But yeah, if you could help me, it would be freakin awesome.
Edit: Forgot to mention that I will be lifting at about 5 am then go to school and list at about around 7:30~ for my weight lifting class... So its going to be kind of close and for breakfast I guess a protein shake would be best? I will be alternating lifts so I get a full body workout 3x a week... .I hope thats not bad (2 different types of workouts.. i hope thats not bad) and I can't take multivitamins because I take Accutane and it says that high doses of Vitamin A can cause side effects (side effects are really bad... so I'd rather not take them)
Other than that, I have no idea.. I can squeeze some eating time during school aswell.. even if taht means that I have to run to the bathroom and chomp down a sandwich...
Last edited by GWilly; 08-08-2010 at 10:15 PM.
Here is an example diet template:
GWilly's Diet Program:
Early Morning / Pre-Workout:
- Banana (Or other piece of fruit).
Breakfast / Post-Workout:
- Opticen Shake or Nitrean Shake blended with Cooked Oatmeal
- Fat Free Greek Yogurt or Novus Bar
- Meat (chicken, beef, fish, etc.)
- Choice of Sweet Potato, Baked Potato, Vegetables, Brown Rice, Pasta.
- Natural Peanut Butter Sandwich on Whole Wheat Bread
- Meat (chicken, beef, fish, etc.)
- Baked Potato, Wheat Pasta, Vegetables, or Brown Rice
- Fat Free Cottage Cheese or Can / Packet of Tuna Fish.
- Drink 1-2 glasses of water with each meal to ensure that you are adequately hydrated.
- Stay away from anything with high fructose corn syrup (soda, poweraid, etc.).
- If you want to drink Gatorade that is OK but mix it 50/50 with water.
- Fruit juice is alright in moderation as long as it is 100% juice (preferably not from concentrate).
- Additional options include a handful of almonds for afternoon snack or packet of tuna.
Please let me know what you think of this program and I can customize things for your specific needs and food preferences.