T Nation

Back-Off Sets Intended for Every Exercise?



I had some follow-up questions for this article, "Burn 450% More Fat Without Cardio" ( https://www.T-Nation.com/training/burn-450-more-calories-without-cardio ).

I'm ramping myself back into my Starting Strength program, and, while I'm still working with weights that aren't super-stressing me out, I thought might throw in some additional work intended for conditioning. (or maybe the thing to do is just ramp the weights faster to push my strength limits--but I wanted to do a slower, standard progression to ensure that connective tissue has time to re-build, too--which takes longer, right?)

So I'd be doing squats, bench presses, power cleans (still getting the technique on that, supplementing with Snatch Grip High Pulls in the meantime) in one workout, and squats, overhead presses, and deadlifts in the other. Plus either chins or more SGHPs as time/energy/recovery allows.

So there's no "main lift" per se, and they're almost all big lifts. With the cautions in the article, it seems I should rule out rest-pause and cluster sets. So I was thinking of using a back-off set; drop sets and 50-rep challenge sets also seem like options.

The article is subtitled "Extend Your Last Set to Obliterate Body Fat".

Is the idea, you think, to do that for every exercise in your workout that isn't cautioned against by the "don't do it on your big, main lift, because your form might degrade and make it more likely to injure yourself" idea?

So, with back-off sets, for instance, would the goal be to do one for squats, then bench press, then power cleans on that day, and one for squats, then overhead press, then deadlifts on the other day?

Of course, I could imagine a wise move to be first just do it for one exercise, then two, then all three.

Also, since the exercise order of squats first, then press variation, then pull from the floor is intended to give you the chance to recover from the leg work of squats before the leg work of the floor pull, would you think, maybe, just to watch your own fatigue level to gauge whether doing it for squats is a good idea?

So maybe as an incorporation strategy, start by adding a back-off set (or drop-sets or a 50-rep challenge set) to the third exercise (the pull from the floor), then the second (press variation) and the third, and then eventually, all three squats, press, and pull.

...all this to be done while the weights are still light enough for the additional volume to be tolerated within my recovery requirements, and then backing off on that additional work as I approach my strength limits within my linear progression capabilities, I'd think.

...Thoughts? Or even a suggestion as to a better place to put this discussion/question?
(The article suggests and provides a link to discuss it on their Facebook page, but I scrolled back on their page to June bracketing their publish date of 6/24/2015, and only found a meme post on 6/21 and another meme post on 6/29 around the publishing date, so there wasn't a post/comment section in which to post my questions.)


My suggestion to you, seeing how you’re inclined to do more work, would be to transition over to Greyskull LP. It’s pretty much a modified starting strength, the one major modification being that for your last set of each exercise, you will try to get as many reps as possible. Google it, you may like it. I would be wary of adding five different concepts to a bare bones routine though - that would defeat its purpose.


Thanks for the gut check on doing too much before getting the basic program up and running, and thanks for the Greyskull tip.


Don’t mix. Don’t dable. Don’t you dare.

Follow the intent of the program or change (as mentioned above).

Greyskull, Mountain Dog (ah, you wouldn’t last a week), Waterbury, CT (any of his programs).


No. Drop sets and other beyond failure techniques kill your strength gains, which kinda defeats the objective of Starting STRENGTH.

Regardless, move on to this…

-a great beginners program and the complexes and 50 rep sets will give you the effect you’re looking for


Bad idea.

The aim of the program is to get stronger and it perfectly delivers it. Maybe you can get away in the beginning but later on, you’ll barely finish your required sets, let alone assistance.

There are a lot better ways to program conditioning, which i’d put it on off days, running/ prowler/ maybe sprinting

If your main aim is to burn fat, then maybe you can do whatever you want but won’t get stronger much

Good Luck


[quote]Shadowhawk wrote:
I’m ramping myself back into my Starting Strength program, and, while I’m still working with weights that aren’t super-stressing me out, I thought might throw in some additional work intended for conditioning.[/quote]
Just to reiterate what everyone’s saying, yeah, you need to pay attention to the goals and use the appropriate training for the job at hand. Starting Strength wasn’t meant to work with back-off sets or anything other than straight sets and simple linear progression.

If you want “conditioning” (which is a vague term. Do you mean fat loss or aerobic endurance), run a (one) quick mile, hit a heavy bag, or go for a walk on your non-lifting days.