T Nation

6-7 Days a Week Lifting

I was on another forum and someone posted some George leeman videos about his training style (5-15 reps, lots of volume, training every day) he says low reps don’t build strength but display it and higher reps build strength. Says over training is bullshit etc)

Anyway a bunch of the people on there have private coaching from george and their descriptions of workouts are 2-2.5 hours minimum, very high volume deadlifting and no clear routine but a style of lifting, eating as much protein and getting as much sleep as possible. Lots of isolation work. He has clients claiming to have gone from 300lb deadlifts to 500lb in a few months etc.

He also has some videos claiming set programs are stupid and 5x5 or ss or 531 will not get you anything other than mediocre results without having to think.

I am not planning on doing this, I was just wondering what people thought of this kind of training mentality and whether anyone had ever trained like this.

It looks alot like some of the old school bodybuilder training.

Personally leeman obviously know what works for him. How ever I have never seen video footage of any of his clients honestly making the gains he speaks of. Personally I think it is stupid. High reps def build strength I agree fully but obviously reps in the 3-5 range obviously build strength considering the majority of all power lifters train with them.

I stay in the 5-8 range mostly for training have a week of 3s every now and again but volume def pushes PRs. With that 6-7 days in the gym on a essentially random program of insane volume is just not going to work the majority of lifters especially if they are drug free. Just my two cents. 3-4 days at 1 amd half hours to 2 tops is more than enough to grow if your honestly working .

^Yup. Summed up perfectly.

I’ll add that i train 6 days a week BUT definitely time, volume and intensity is regulated according to recovery ability and on-going results. And the amount of training days is not based on the hope of obtaining above normal results through more frequent training, but how it fits into my lifestyle.

I get way more out of higher reps than lower reps when it comes to my deadlift training.

I think his comment on preset routines is spot on. In general, if you do what everyone else is doing, you’re going to get the results that everyone else is getting. If you look at everyone else, they’re all not doing very well. The outliers are the ones who do different things.

That said, most trainees simply refuse to spend the time it takes experimenting and finding out what works for them through trial and error, in which case, a prebuilt routine will placate them and allow them to progress.

Also, although not being completely in agreement with some of his methods, his overall philosophy is sound.

  1. The importance of building muscle mass to maximise strength.

  2. Overtraining, i.e, tolerance of workload is highly individual and often overstated.

  3. Optimal food and rest are just as important as training methods.

  4. Set programs may not be optimal for trainees to maximise their potential beyond a certain stage because they do not take into account individual weakness and other things such as response to volume, rep ranges etc.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I get way more out of higher reps than lower reps when it comes to my deadlift training.

I think his comment on preset routines is spot on. In general, if you do what everyone else is doing, you’re going to get the results that everyone else is getting. If you look at everyone else, they’re all not doing very well. The outliers are the ones who do different things.

That said, most trainees simply refuse to spend the time it takes experimenting and finding out what works for them through trial and error, in which case, a prebuilt routine will placate them and allow them to progress.[/quote]

The videos of george squatting 750 natty at like 18 are insane, however I think most people refuse to eat like he did and as a result won’t ever be able to get to 750lb squats at 18. The ammount of sleep and food he must of needed is staggering. Especially when he talks about 3 hour squat and overhead press sessions with 80lb laterals.

[quote]ScholesGoals wrote:
I was just wondering what people thought of this kind of training mentality and whether anyone had ever trained like this.[/quote]
“That’s the best strength gains you can get. Sets of 5 … That’s what we got Kirk [Karwoski] on.” - Ed Coan.

So we can chalk that up as two ginormous votes against higher rep training for strength. However, with that said, keeping the majority of your training in the 5-15 rep range (which is still a really broad range and doesn’t mention sets per exercise or total volume) is a nice, tidy, general idea that “should” be fine for most goals.

Total volume will have a bigger influence than just looking at rep range, so that’s how you can kinda tweak a given method more towards strength or more towards size.

5/3/1 has its one big PR set fall within that rep window, week in and week out, and, despite whatever Leeman said about the program, plenty of guys seem very satisfied with their strength gains on it.

That’s tricky to say, because old school guys (if we’re talking Golden Era, '60s-'70s) did generally focus on higher volume, moderate rep range stuff with plenty of sets and multiple exercises per bodypart (it’s one place we get the idea of “stereotypical bodybuilder lifting” from), but there was more emphasis on hitting muscular failure and/or going past it, which isn’t what we want to pure strength gains.

Also, there were still plenty of top guys who intentionally kept heavy/lower rep work as part of their program. Or at the very least, it gets muddy because you have guys at that time who got into bodybuilding after already building a major strength base with lower rep lifting.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]ScholesGoals wrote:
I was just wondering what people thought of this kind of training mentality and whether anyone had ever trained like this.[/quote]
“That’s the best strength gains you can get. Sets of 5 … That’s what we got Kirk [Karwoski] on.” - Ed Coan.

So we can chalk that up as two ginormous votes against higher rep training for strength. However, with that said, keeping the majority of your training in the 5-15 rep range (which is still a really broad range and doesn’t mention sets per exercise or total volume) is a nice, tidy, general idea that “should” be fine for most goals.

Total volume will have a bigger influence than just looking at rep range, so that’s how you can kinda tweak a given method more towards strength or more towards size.

5/3/1 has its one big PR set fall within that rep window, week in and week out, and, despite whatever Leeman said about the program, plenty of guys seem very satisfied with their strength gains on it.

That’s tricky to say, because old school guys (if we’re talking Golden Era, '60s-'70s) did generally focus on higher volume, moderate rep range stuff with plenty of sets and multiple exercises per bodypart (it’s one place we get the idea of “stereotypical bodybuilder lifting” from), but there was more emphasis on hitting muscular failure and/or going past it, which isn’t what we want to pure strength gains.

Also, there were still plenty of top guys who intentionally kept heavy/lower rep work as part of their program. Or at the very least, it gets muddy because you have guys at that time who got into bodybuilding after already building a major strength base with lower rep lifting.[/quote]

Apparently George starts to lower the rep ranges he uses as a meet approaches. So for example his usual training session will look like this (from his log)

so i took 3 days off, and it seemed to do the trick

incline bench
135x15
225x23

no bouncing, all controlled reps, i stopped most of them like 1 inch from my chest because they were so light. not a PR, but i cant complain considering its only my second workout on them, no lift off, elbow sleeves, wrist wraps etc.

pause bench (had a shoulder/chest pump from the high rep inclines)
135x5
225x4
315x3
370x6 5lbs on last time, probably do 385x6 fresh, and 405x6 with a lift off and elbow sleeves, belt, stickum for my arch, chalk etc.

dumbell incline
100x5
125’sx10 3 rep pr

dumbell flat
100’sx5
125’sx9 3 rep pr aswell i believe

incline dumbell fly
35’sx10
50x15 20lb pr

dumbell flat fly
50x11 20lb pr aswell i believe

i decided against doing hammer strength decline, i think my chest will get worked enough just doing that workout alone. i gotta start doing less chest/shoulder work because it overtrains my shoulder joint.

wide stance parallel/bellow parallel box squat. my hip crease is bellow the top of my knee…
135x5
225x3
315x3
405x2
495x5 had 10, next time 545x5

romanian deadlift
225x5
315x5
455x10 next time 495x10

calf raise
dc method

t-bar pulldowns
stack x 3x8

rear delt fly’s
3-4x??

curls
20x10
30x10
40x10
50x5
65x5
100x1 all the reps / pulldowns tired me out. I didnt rest much between sets

incline dumbell curls
20x10
30x10
40x5

hammer curls
20x10
30x10
40x10
50x10
75x10

standing calf raises
4-5x?

cable rotator cuff work
4x?

standing calf raise shrugs
3x?

standing dumbell rotator cuf work
15x15
22.5x10
30x7
35x4

decent workout, next time more on everything, or more reps.

Another example of his training

While I have no plans to immitate George and his style of training I don’t think the fact KK likes sets of five exclusively discredits George who is pulling 900+ at like 22 years old. For example Mark Rippetoe is a set of 5 guy and he has never shown extroadinary feats of strength comparable to Leeman.

Also Leeman does use alot of sets of 5, just not exclusively.

As a beginner i am not stupid enough to think I know more than either three of the guys named above, but I think all of them seem to have success with different training styles.

[quote]ScholesGoals wrote:
Apparently George starts to lower the rep ranges he uses as a meet approaches.[/quote]
Meet prep is a different animal and introduces its own variables.

It doesn’t discredit what he’s doing, but it does make it clear that Coan and Karwoski would giggle at Leeman stating “low reps don’t build strength.”

Be very careful with this kind of “logic.” A: Let’s see if Leeman is still pulling 500+ when he’s nearly 60 years old, and B: Rippetoe had a 611 squat and 633 deadlift at 220. That might not count as “extraordinary”, but he’s not exactly a beginner himself.

That’s fine. I’m not familiar with his training or methods, but if he says “train in the 5-15 rep range” and “low reps don’t build strength”, I think that’s a conundrum, since I consider 5 low rep, and even 6-8 lowish. Maybe that’s splitting hairs, maybe not.

This really is the moral of the story. Your best bet is to experiment on your own for a while and see what you respond best to. 10-15 reps per set might be gold for you, or they might be filler. Only one way to tell for sure.

Favourite Leeman video. Very heavy deadlifts followed by tonnes of assistance work.

Finishes off the video by eating 7 plates of steak with another 3 plates of food afterwards.

Even if you think his ideas are a bit shit his videos are freaking entertaining.

I don’t think anyone could reasonably think his ideas are “shit”. They clearly work.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I don’t think anyone could reasonably think his ideas are “shit”. They clearly work.[/quote]

Some people are not reasonable, I guess.

While you are in the thread T3hPwnisher, could i ask what you think about heeled shoes v something flat like chuck taylors? I saw some threads you posted in and you seem very experienced. I would also like your opinion on belts, I notice alot of raw lifters use belts and oly shoes even for low bar but most of the lifters I look up to like Eric LB, Leeman, Stan Efferding, Mark Bell, Brandon Lilly etc use either chucks or wrestling shoes.

I saw a video where Candito reckons everyone should use Olympic shoes because flat shoes make you lean forward and increase the moment arm in the sqat because you can only sit back so much in flats before you fall over.

I have never worn a heeled shoe to be able to have an opinion on it. I’ve always used either Chucks or Wrestling shoes, and of the two, prefer Chucks just because of the more wide and stable heel.

I think every trainee should use a belt, and it should be a 13mm belt. My assistance work is all beltless at present, but all of my heavy work is belted. It’s an incredibly valuable tool, and time spent using it is time spent using heavier weights.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I have never worn a heeled shoe to be able to have an opinion on it. I’ve always used either Chucks or Wrestling shoes, and of the two, prefer Chucks just because of the more wide and stable heel.

I think every trainee should use a belt, and it should be a 13mm belt. My assistance work is all beltless at present, but all of my heavy work is belted. It’s an incredibly valuable tool, and time spent using it is time spent using heavier weights.[/quote]

Any reason for 13mm or that just what most people use? Are 10mm belts ones for competition use and 13mm for training?

13mm are the thickest allowed in most powerlifting competitions, and as a result the thickest that tend to be commercially available without special order. It’s thicker than 10mm, which generally translates into more support.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
13mm are the thickest allowed in most powerlifting competitions, and as a result the thickest that tend to be commercially available without special order. It’s thicker than 10mm, which generally translates into more support.[/quote]

Ah okay. The best place for belts and sleeves and powerlifting/strongman gear is strengthshop and the 10mm is cheaper. I guess thats because they are less popular.

[quote]ScholesGoals wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
13mm are the thickest allowed in most powerlifting competitions, and as a result the thickest that tend to be commercially available without special order. It’s thicker than 10mm, which generally translates into more support.[/quote]

Ah okay. The best place for belts and sleeves and powerlifting/strongman gear is strengthshop and the 10mm is cheaper. I guess thats because they are less popular.[/quote]

I would imagine it is cheaper because it requries less material to make it.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]ScholesGoals wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
13mm are the thickest allowed in most powerlifting competitions, and as a result the thickest that tend to be commercially available without special order. It’s thicker than 10mm, which generally translates into more support.[/quote]

Ah okay. The best place for belts and sleeves and powerlifting/strongman gear is strengthshop and the 10mm is cheaper. I guess thats because they are less popular.[/quote]

I would imagine it is cheaper because it requries less material to make it.[/quote]

Is a belt nescessary for a new lifter straight away? Times are kinda tough right now and the cheapest decent belts in the UK are like £70.00. That seems crazy expensive.

[quote]ScholesGoals wrote:
Is a belt nescessary for a new lifter straight away? Times are kinda tough right now and the cheapest decent belts in the UK are like �£70.00. That seems crazy expensive.[/quote]

I have been training beltless for a year now, focusing on heavy compounds. I don’t feel like I am any worse for wear because of it. Am I “stronger in the core” because of it? I don’t fucking know. I am as strong as I am.

Some very strong men on T-Nation have, however, convinced me of the wisdom in belting up, and a high-quality belt is now quite high on my list of things to purchase.

Whether you end up getting a belt or not, I see no reason to delay lifting while you make that call.

[quote]ScholesGoals wrote:
Is a belt nescessary for a new lifter straight away? Times are kinda tough right now and the cheapest decent belts in the UK are like �£70.00. That seems crazy expensive.[/quote]

Nothing is ever necessary, barring the basics like food, shelter and security. I regret not starting out with a belt, and were I able to do it all over again, I would have gotten one from the start.