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Thread: Tom Mutaffis Q&A

  1. #1
    Strongman Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Tom Mutaffis Q&A

    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!
    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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    Senior Member DMedley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mutaffis View Post
    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!
    Tom, If I could make a suggestion: If there is a way to have a locked thread, you could use it for the Q&A and get the questions from this thread. It would really help people find both the question and the answer. Open threads can become so cluttered with conversation it is often hard to impossible to sort through and find information.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Shemz's Avatar
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    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?

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    Strongman Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMedley View Post
    Tom, If I could make a suggestion: If there is a way to have a locked thread, you could use it for the Q&A and get the questions from this thread. It would really help people find both the question and the answer. Open threads can become so cluttered with conversation it is often hard to impossible to sort through and find information.
    I will probably clean the thread up after a week or two if it becomes too conversational so that it is just "questions" and "answers".

    If people find this to be a valuable resource then we can consider making it a sticky from there.
    Last edited by Tom Mutaffis; 11-01-2009 at 04:48 PM.
    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

    Supplements: www.AtLargeNutrition.com

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    Strongman Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shemz View Post
    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?
    Order of exercises should be determined by your priorities. If you have a weak deadlift and are looking to make the biggest gains then I would deadlift before squatting, the same holds true for the opposite. Both are demanding compound movements so it comes down to personal preference.

    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.
    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. #6
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Why does it burn when I pee? Just kidding Tom. Great idea.


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  7. #7
    Senior Member Shemz's Avatar
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    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 06:31 PM.

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    Strongman Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shemz View Post
    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..
    Your goals, experience in the gym, and previous programs that have worked for you would be necessary to give you suggestions.

    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.
    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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    A gallon a day, everyday! ThomasG's Avatar
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    What overload techniques do you recommend for overcoming being slow off the floor dead lifting?
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    Future Soldier CainMcCloud's Avatar
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    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?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Crankman's Avatar
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    Hello Tom,
    First thanks for doing this, i sent you a private message last week and there a copy of it..

    Hello Tom,

    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

    -Lifts:
    Push press:135x8 (think im not explosive enough with my legs or something)
    Bench press:225x3 (im stalling)
    Squat:275x5
    Deadlift:315x6

    -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.


    Questions:
    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!!
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  12. #12
    Strongman Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasG View Post
    What overload techniques do you recommend for overcoming being slow off the floor dead lifting?
    For a while this was my sticking point on the deadlift and I found that a combination of front squats and deficit coupled with changing my stance a bit gave me some great power from the floor.

    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.
    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. #13
    Strongman Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CainMcCloud View Post
    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?
    Going from (5) sets of 12 with a given weight to (8) sets of 12 with that same weight means that your strength endurance has increased. This is typically refered to as work capacity or conditioning. Strength endurance improvements do not always yield strength or muscle gains although in some instances they can help to increase hypertrophy due to the higher volume.

    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.
    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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  14. #14
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mutaffis View Post
    Going from (5) sets of 12 with a given weight to (8) sets of 12 with that same weight means that your strength endurance has increased. This is typically refered to as work capacity or conditioning.
    How can increased work capacity help strength gains or hypertrophy? Will it have an effect on increasing a person's recovery ability?
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  15. #15
    Strongman Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    How can increased work capacity help strength gains or hypertrophy? Will it have an effect on increasing a person's recovery ability?
    An increased work capacity is a beneficial tool for bodybuilding and strength training because it allows you to work out at a greater intensity or to handle additional volume. Strength endurance work as a standalone will not give you power/muscle gains though.

    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.
    Last edited by Tom Mutaffis; 11-02-2009 at 09:21 AM.
    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. #16
    Senior Member tnathletics2b's Avatar
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    Tom,

    Thinking about training for Strongman. What are the events you see most of? What events would be most typical at a local or state level strongman?

    Thanks!
    Most people pray for a lighter load in life...ever thought of praying for a stronger back?

    Goals as of 2/08/11 (current) goal:
    Squat: (505) 535, Deadlift: (475) 500, Bench: (325) 350 Total: 1305 (1385)
    BW: 225 as of 02/01/2011 Goal: 205 by May 1, 2011

  17. #17
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Thanks Tom. I've been slowly increasing volume plus adding in sled pulls to try and increase my work capacity. I am hoping it will have a direct effect on my 20 rep squats in that I will be able to fight off fatigue twards the end of the set.
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  18. #18
    Strongman Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankman View Post
    Questions:
    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??
    Crankman -

    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.

    Crankman Template:
    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.)
    Sunday- Rest

    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.
    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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  19. #19
    Strongman Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tnathletics2b View Post
    Tom,

    Thinking about training for Strongman. What are the events you see most of? What events would be most typical at a local or state level strongman?

    Thanks!
    Here is a list of some common strongman events:
    • Log / Axle Press (Thick Handle Dumbell & Keg for press medleys)
    • Tire Flip
    • Farmers Walk / Frame Carry / Farmers Hold
    • Yoke Race
    • Keg / Sandbag / Shield Carry
    • Conans Wheel
    • Atlas Stones / Keg Loading
    • Chain / Sled / Car / Truck Drag or Push
    • Deadlift Variations (Axle, Car Deadlift, Frame, Deadlift Medley)

    Almost every contest will have (1) overhead press event, (3) moving events, and then (1) loading event. In some cases the moving events may be a medley, which is a multi-part event.

    In terms of general training I would say to focus on the following:

    - Log Press
    - Tire Flip
    - Farmers Walk
    - Yoke Walk
    - Atlas Stones

    If you are proficient in those five events you would be competitive in any contest (they cover grip, technique, explosiveness, speed).
    Last edited by Tom Mutaffis; 11-02-2009 at 10:44 AM. Reason: Formatting
    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

    Supplements: www.AtLargeNutrition.com

  20. #20
    Senior Member tnathletics2b's Avatar
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    Thank you very much.
    Most people pray for a lighter load in life...ever thought of praying for a stronger back?

    Goals as of 2/08/11 (current) goal:
    Squat: (505) 535, Deadlift: (475) 500, Bench: (325) 350 Total: 1305 (1385)
    BW: 225 as of 02/01/2011 Goal: 205 by May 1, 2011

  21. #21
    Senior Member Crankman's Avatar
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    THANKYOU VERY MUCH TOM!!

    I have a few questions about your reply..

    The pressing day, do you actually choose one exercice only or two, bench or overhead press??

    If i willing to drop the 5/3/1 and deadlift and squat on the same day, what change would you made to my training schedule?(with more focus on pressing)

    Again thanks!!
    "Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen."
    Michael Jordan


    My training log;
    http://www.wannabebigforums.com/showthread.php?t=115003

  22. #22
    Senior Member Shemz's Avatar
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    What's the best way to train symmetry? Because for some odd reason the right side of my body seems to pack more mass than the left side. I work as much with dumbells or other seperate weights as possible i always work with the max weight of my weakest side never do more reps with my for example my right arm and yet it still seems to get bigger faster than my left..

  23. #23
    Strongman Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankman View Post
    THANK YOU VERY MUCH TOM!!

    I have a few questions about your reply... The pressing day, do you actually choose one exercice only or two, bench or overhead press??

    If I am willing to drop the 5/3/1 and deadlift and squat on the same day, what change would you made to my training schedule? (with more focus on pressing)

    Again thanks!!
    Here is an example of what I would do for a 'pressing' workout:

    Press Training:
    Warmup
    Incline Bench Press (5/3/1 Template) - Follow your current program.
    Dumbbell Flat Bench Press (2 sets of 8 reps) - Perform a drop set on your second set.
    Floor Press (2 sets of 3-8 reps) - Moderate weight.
    Decline Hammer Strength Press (1 set of 10-12 reps)
    Flat Bench or Cable Flyes (1 set of 10-12 reps)
    Flat bench Press (155 lbs for max reps)

    I tried to keep the volume down so that you can make good strength gains and train with high intensity. Ideally you want to go with about 3 minutes rest between sets on your first two movements and then speed things up throughout the rest of your training. The final set is for strength endurance and is a great way to keep your technique on the flat bench without having to worry about injury from doing a lot of heavy benching.

    On your triceps day you should include things like JM Press, Close Grip Bench Press, and Weighted Dips. These will give you good triceps power which is a key component of a big press.

    Here is an updated template:

    Crankman's Template - Press Focus:
    Monday - Pressing (5/3/1)
    Tuesday - Back (Chins, Rows, Cleans)
    Wednesday - Rest
    Thursday - Lower Body (Squats / Deadlifts / Machines)
    Friday - Arms (Biceps / Triceps / Deltoids)
    Saturday - Rest
    Sunday - Rest

    For your lower body workouts I alternate from week to week between squats and deadlifts as your first (primary) movement. You can continue to follow something similar to 5/3/1 for the intial movement and then treat the second exercises as an accessory (lower intensity). I would either do high rep squats, box squats, speed pulls, rack pulls, front squats, or deficit pulls for your accessory work. You can finish off with some light machine work if you wanted to add in some volume.

    In your arm workout you can do the exercises discussed above for your triceps along with some extensions or pushdowns. I would also throw in a couple sets of side raises for direct deltoids work and perhaps some face pulls for shoulder health. For biceps you really only need about 6 sets for them to grow but you can include some advanced principals like supersets or drop sets.

    This modified template is what I suggest to most people and it offers ample recovery time for all bodyparts to allow for intense training.

    Let me know if there is anything else that I can help with regarding your training / diet / supplements.
    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

    Supplements: www.AtLargeNutrition.com

  24. #24
    Determined View 1's Avatar
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    This is a general question. If someone asked you to lay out a very basic training template for the average joe who could only hit the gym 3 days a week ( your basic health club ) and wanted to gain some muscle and loss some body fat, what would you recommend?

    In regards to deloads, do you think most people need to deload more often and let there body recover, or do you believe that there are times when you need to push yourself and let your body adapt to certain types of training ( what ever that training may be, but generally something that has a little more volume, frequency or intensity than what that individual is use to )?
    Success is achieved by doing a little more than you thought you could, and a lot more than anyone else.

  25. #25
    Future Soldier CainMcCloud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mutaffis View Post
    Going from (5) sets of 12 with a given weight to (8) sets of 12 with that same weight means that your strength endurance has increased. This is typically refered to as work capacity or conditioning. Strength endurance improvements do not always yield strength or muscle gains although in some instances they can help to increase hypertrophy due to the higher volume.

    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.
    So, you wouldn't necessarily increase in muscle mass/size correct? Would doing high-sets/high-reps (4-10 sets, 8-12 reps) be good for someone who is wanting to burn fat and build muscle, or would it be better to just focus on Diet and stay at lower reps and lower sets?

    Thanks for this thread Tom, you are truly a bank of knowledge.

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