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Another ABBH Question

I didn’t want to hijack the earlier thread , but nonetheless i am a little frustrated with my abbh experience.
What was i doing wrong??

here we go with some backstory:

  1. previous regimen:
    prior to abbh, i was working out 3 or 4 days a week, completing a “cycle” every 8 days - cycle = horiz. push/vert. pull day + horiz. pull vert. push day + DL day + squat day.
    usually i did 5x5 for the “biggest” exercise (increase strength) plus 3x8 for 2 or 3 excercises to supplement the main one, varying angles, etc. i.e., on bench day, i would add db inclines, and lunges on squat day.

i ate big, although i didnt count calories, and gained 5-7 lbs, and looked bigger too. i am 5’11" and started at 175 - and hit 182 7 wks later.

  1. abbh
    after 7 weeks of the old, i decided to go for abbh (right when abbh2 came out)in order to save some time and put some order in my routine.

i did it exactly as proscribed, although once or twice early on i skipped the ab part of the workout, and many times i would add a few sets of DB dorsiflexes to rehab my shinsplints.

  1. results
    my experience was that i always felt like i was underworked, and did not see any size gains! strength also went down, but i think this was because i used my “imputed” 1RM from a calculator, and my real 1RM might be fairly close to my 3-5RM since i am still a relative beginner.
    this was in all exercises except front squat and pullup, which i hadnt done too much… if nothing else, abbh1 did teach me how much i love pullups!!!

so, i might have used too little weight. also, another factor is that i lost some of my free time and ended up eating worse during abbh1, or, actually just less i should say.

  1. broke abbh routine
    i hit day 17 according to the plan, and then managing the rest of the days (19,21,23) over the next 2 weeks.

  2. since then
    i have laid off 3 weeks and have seen 5lbs weight loss, probably i think due to creatine. in fact, now that i think about it, it is possible that the whole time i was on my old plan and abbh1, the 5-7 lbs weight gain could have mostly come from creatine/water.

SO,… what does the readership think? i would value any suggestions about what to add to the program: i would like to try abbh again, but this time maybe get the weights right. i want to see some growth within 2-3 weeks, and am not adverse to trying something with a tad more volume, more sets, more intensity, etc.

humble apologies for the length, and THANKS for any help!!!

Try either adding 1/4 to all sets on orginal ABBH’s or go for chad’s quattro dynamo. I imagine you just had worked up to a fairly high work tolerance, and so did not have enough overload to your training. ABBH was designed as a primer to QD, and QD to singles club. Then again, you could just go back to your old program, which sounded reasonably good.

It sounds like the load you chose was too light. You should be at/near failure on the last set of each exercise. If you didn’t reach that intensity, then the load should have been increased.

Give my Quattro Dynamo routine a try if you want to hit each muscle group more often. After that, you can come back to the ABBH with a larger load.

[quote]Chad Waterbury wrote:

Give my Quattro Dynamo routine a try if you want to hit each muscle group more often. After that, you can come back to the ABBH with a larger load.[/quote]

I tried to use the Search for this. What year/issue was it so I can go directly to it, por favor?


Since we are talking about weight selection. I chose what I believed to be 80% 1RM, week 1 near failure @ 3 reps but hit all 10 sets, week 2 failed to get all 40 reps missed on 38 reps, and finally on 5 rep week around set 6 I could only get 3 reps so I ended up hitting a total of 41 reps over the course of 10 sets.

Did I over estimate my poundage or was this to be expected with the increased volume?


The article ran last January

thanks owen70 and CW: great input.

i had not considered QD but it sounds like that would be a good choice. i like getting to the gym more than every other day, and like staying for more than 30 minutes.

btw, i had not mentioned that my goals are to add lbm, while not particularly focusing on bf% (i can still kinda see abs, and go by the philosophy that you have to bulk 1st without regarding bf% too closely, then cut 2nd… i cut up real easily when i run a little, so no problem.

i now think the key thing i wrote down in the first post was that i was never very tired or near exhaustion at the end of workouts, with the exception of the pullup day - i was weak on pullups! i can probably tolerate greater loads in ABBH.

of course writing the program and results down is a great way to think more critically about what actually happened, so thanks for the input, and i will go to QD, and then retry ABBH when i get through QD.

also, i figure, starting a food log and starting at about 300 kcal above maintenance (1lb every 10 days) and reintroducing creatine would help.

Gracias all!!

Let me just chime in and say that QD is, in my experience, far and away the finest mass-building program there is. I went through the program once, adding a week of low volume work at the end, about 3 months ago, using Mag-10 all the way through, and eating btwn 4000-4500 kc/day…I started at 208, 12%BF, and finished at 236, 14%BF…that represents a gain of about 20 lbs LBM…granted, Mag-10 causes some water retention, but I’ve held on to most of that lean mass in the time since…it was an unbelievable experience for me, thank you Coach W.
I recommend the program wholeheartedly…

Best of luck

uh, i am not really a dumbass, i now have read QD and have revised my eating goal for something like 4000-4500 kcal, or, “eat everything in sight”

progress reports to come:
right now: 176lbs, unknown bf%, but everything looks smaller masswise than it did a couple months ago, when i started ABBH the first time.

Use2ruck, concerning ABBH, what I find a bit difficult was to assess my 1 RMs for a superset program. Therefore I used the first 4 training days to evaluate the proper loads to use for a 10x3 and 5x10 scheme. Then I restarted ABBH from day 1. Nevertheless I found sometimes difficult the 5x10 scheme for example military presses/latpulldown (day 5),deadlift (day 39)benchpress/barbellrow (day 41). So it happened that I performed 7-9 reps in the last 2 sets instead of 10. During ABBH my bodyweight remained constant (187 lbs). My upper body has certainly improved.

Hey man, just wanted to give my input…I personally think that chad waterbury’s programs are awesome. I used ABBH as well as quattro dynamo, and both I believe worked very well. The thing you have to assess is what type of set/rep scheme your body responds to best. Being a beginner, you have some time to go before you have an intrinsic “sense” of what gives you the best gains, strength or size wise. The cool thing is, because you’re just starting out, virtually everything you do is going to work reasonably well. I would just recommend keeping a training log and always focusing on pushing yourself to up the weight for your sets (within reason, of course). Hope that helps.


This may have been asked and answered before, but the search isn’t working so… I hit 3 reps on all 10 sets during the 1st cycle of ABBH, but during the 2nd go round I missed a few reps on the last 2 sets, getting only 3 reps instead of 4. On my next time thorough at 5 reps per set, if I start to drop reps say at the 6th set, should I continue at the same weight for the remaining sets, even though the reps may drop down to 2 or 3 or should I adjust the weight each set to try to maintain 5 reps per set?

bigbugga and luca, great advice… i am eagerly anticipating returning to the gym after i finish moving and my last final exam this week and part of next.
a more detailed workout log is in order as well, and i will dedicate the first few minutes of a couple of sessions to finding out my 3RM, 5RM, etc., for QD and for my next go-through of ABBH.
thanks again

It’s normal to miss a rep on a set or two. Don’t adjust the load for your 10x5, just perform as many 5’s as possible. Even though you might not think this is ideal, it makes very little difference with regard to the results you’ll achieve.

[quote]Chad Waterbury wrote:
It’s normal to miss a rep on a set or two. Don’t adjust the load for your 10x5, just perform as many 5’s as possible. Even though you might not think this is ideal, it makes very little difference with regard to the results you’ll achieve.[/quote]

So are you suggesting that we stop when we can’t get 5 reps, or continue to bang out as many reps as possible to get 10 sets.

What’s going on physiologically speaking: When I get the later sets, I can knock 2-3 reps easy but then all of a sudden the bar feels like it’s way heavier. Is this an endurance issue or CNS issue?

Sammy, good questions.

I want everyone to perform all 10 sets, this is mandatory. Just try to complete as many reps as possible. One of the drawbacks to writing programs for thousands of readers is just that - there’s thousands of people trying the program. MOST trainees can perform the progression precisely as I prescribed, but some can’t. Either way, you’ll still reap the benefits.
Physiologically, or more specifically, neurologically speaking, a trainee who suddenly fails before all ten sets is neuromuscularly inefficient. No big deal, your neuromuscular efficiency will drastically improve with ABBH. That’s one of the many benefits of the program.