T Nation

Chris Colucci: How Do You Train?

[quote]Diddy Ryder wrote:
Chris, I was wondering if I may pick your brains about the complexes. I just did the first one today.

When you did the jump lunges in Complex C, were those just bodyweight?[/quote]
If I remember right (I’ve kinda blocked it out of my head), I tried it both ways but stuck with just bodyweight. I just re-read the article and I think it worked out fine. You’d likely have to cater the weight used to what you could handle on the lunges instead of the press if you did them weighted. We’d barely be leaving the ground with any added weight, especially since it’s the last exercise in the series anyway. If they seem easy unweighted (ha!), shoot for getting more height on the jumps.

5 (or 6) per leg, alternating each rep. With weight.

Ha, no prob, man. As always, I’m just glad to help. Stick with it and drop a note how they turn out.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
So I totally understand that 11 minute-long videos are ridiculous to sit though, but this just happened and figured I’d share.

Thought it might be neat to shoot the whole complex from start to finish, no edits or cuts. 5 exercises (6 if you count the front squat and push press as just one thruster), 75 pounds 6x6, 45 seconds between sets. It’s the same complex series as the previous video I posted (the 70 pound/4x5/90 sec rest).

Last set starts around 10:00, if you felt like shaving off some time.[/quote]

You did more reps in one session than I have done all year

[quote]Reed wrote:
You did more reps in one session than I have done all year[/quote]
Maybe, but I could say the same to you about weight lifted, so let’s call it a draw. :wink:

Just as a small update: The OVT, while it’s a great program on paper, just wasn’t for me. I made it about 6 weeks through and then, sorry to say, I just burned out. I’m not saying overtrained, just simply burned out.

The workouts were productive, but there was no getting out of the gym short of the two-hour mark and it was becoming a chore. That’s definitely not how you want to feel about lifting, so I just didn’t dig it after a while. The concept is rock solid (heavy lifting supersetted with slow TUT work), but eventually I started feeling stale, bored, and just not looking forward to training even though progress was still being made.

I recently started a(nother) new routine: Waterbury’s “SOB Training”.

Lifting 3 or 4 days a week - 2 upper body, 2 lower body, with 2 higher rep days and 2 lower rep. Each session has a vertical push or pull, a horizontal push or pull, a hip or quad-dominant leg exercise, and some “assistance” work (bis, tris, shoulders, abs, or calves).

What?!? Yet another “full body workout” program that includes direct arm work and isolation exercises? Yes. As it should be.

Kinda basic stuff, but the way it’s laid out is pretty brilliant. The sets and reps change slightly each week, so the exercises also change each session, but the overall concept and general movement patterns remain the same. One week is sets of 3 and sets of 30, another week is sets of 5 and 15, next week is sets of 2 and 50, etc. My last few workouts looked like:

A) Flat bench press 6x5
B) Neutral-grip pull-up 3x5
C) Hammer Strength high row 3x5
D) Wide grip deadlift 3x5
E) Conventional deadlift 3x5
F) Rack barbell curl 3x5
G) Pallof Press iso-hold 3x5ct.

A) Leg press 4x15
B) Seated cable row 4x15
C) Machine shoulder press 4x15
D) Standing lateral raise machine 2x15
E) Rope overhead extension 2x15
F) Seated calf raise 2x15

A) Front pulldown 4x15
B) Dumbbell RDL 4x15
C) Machine chest press 4x15
D) Preacher curl machine 2x15
E) Hanging knee raise 2x15

Next session is more work with 6x5 on the main lifts. I’m doing some easy bike rides or hitting the heavy bag on non-lifting days.

Definitely looking forward to the rest of this program, both physically and psychologically.

Yo Colucci,

You should start a log in the “training logs section”.

Have you ever tried any of the more basic programs such as 531 or 5x5? I personally find I get the best results out of those, although I did also have some luck with GVT. As you can tell I prefer more of the “simpler” programs.

And what exactly did you eat yesterday?

Uncle Bird.


Hey Chris,

I finished the complexes and made a thread instead of cluttering up yours. Got some really good results from it.

Interesting about the OVT. NOt so sure I’ll give it a try now, may just see the year out with 5/3/1.

[quote]theBird wrote:
You should start a log in the “training logs section”.[/quote]
I’ve considered it, but I know I’d bail on it after a while. I track my workouts in a notebook at the gym, and then usually leave it in my gym bag and forget about it until the next session.

I did 5/3/1 for a few months a year or two ago and played with different 5x5 versions off and on forever. They’re solid and reliable, not much more I can say about them that hasn’t been said. They are (or will be, in the case of 5/3/1) time-tested classics that are legit go-tos for most people.

Really? :confused:

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal with 2 scoops Metabolic Drive, 1 scoop leucine, about 1 Tbsp raisins, about 1/2 tsp cinnamon; bigass coffee with splenda

  • Chicken breasts, Italian sausage, peppers, and onions

  • Spike Shotgun

  • Chicken thighs with rosemary and thyme in a sherry pan sauce, par-boiled broccoli, roasted butternut squash

  • 2 scoops Metabolic Drive in water

[quote]Diddy Ryder wrote:
I finished the complexes and made a thread instead of cluttering up yours. Got some really good results from it.[/quote]
Yep, saw it and commented there. Cool stuff.

It’s a good program, but it is 30-40 sets per session with timed rests for efficient performance. Short-term, I was liking it, but it wore me down after a bit. I’m sure some people would definitely thrive on it though. And like I said, the basic concept of supersetting heavy work with slow, exaggerated negatives is something worth experiencing, if only to be reminded what it feels like to have pecs sore to the touch for four days straight. :wink:

How much protein was in that?

Uncle Bird.


That Waterbury program looks really solid, amazing how many good ‘forgotten’ programs there are on this site.

[quote]theBird wrote:
How much protein was in that? [/quote]
Don’t know, don’t really care. As long as a protein source is the focus of each meal, I trust the numbers to work out in the long run.

But for squirts and giggles, I looked it up and it’s just about 200g on the button. Training days is even more, considering workout nutrition. Any reason you’re asking?

[quote]RampantBadger wrote:
That Waterbury program looks really solid, amazing how many good ‘forgotten’ programs there are on this site.[/quote]
Ha, yep, and that’s exactly why I’ve been running through the Archives all this year. 15 years is a long, long time with a lot, a lot of info.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
Any reason you’re asking?
Just keeping you on your toes.


Small update for anyone interested: I’m just about wrapped up with the SOB Training. I loved it, felt great, and will be keeping some concepts when I go back to doing my own thing.

Rotating the sets, reps, and movement patterns each session allows back-to-back-to-back training if/when necessary without really overdoing things, even though it’s technically full body training each workout. The higher rep days almost serve as “active recovery” between the heavier/lower rep stuff, but that high rep work is still brutal when you’re not used to it.

The changing rep ranges also encourage, almost require, different exercises each workout. So you’re getting lots of great variety, keeping things interesting and dare I say ‘fun’.

Starting next week, I’ll be giving Dan John’s Twice a Week program a shot, probably until the end of the year (which isn’t all that far away. 8 weeks. Holy crap.)

It’s a pretty hard 180-degrees from what I’ve been doing, in terms of volume and frequency, so it should be interesting to see what happens.

What kind of results did you get from the SOB training? Quantitative or qualitative.

I like the idea of that 2x a week program, although I’m really enjoying CT’s layers. Took some time to wrap my head around, but there’s a lot of concepts I think I’ll keep around in the future.

[quote]LoRez wrote:
What kind of results did you get from the SOB training? Quantitative or qualitative.[/quote]
I haven’t been tracking things biweekly or anything, but I checked this morning. From my last weigh-in/measurements in early August, I’m up 3 pounds on the scale, waist is the same and the rest are up a small bit (pretty much 1/2in or less, if at all). Weight gain is pretty negligible for three months’ time, but my favorite t-shirt is fitting more snug in the arms, chest/back, and shoulders.

Also, most anecdotally, I believe I looked more… toned… during the week. Whether it’s something to do with hitting every rep range (2’s up to 50’s and everything between), training everything 3 or 4 times a week (not the first time I’ve done that though), or doing some kind of arm work 3 or 4 days a week (either bis or tris in each session), or some other reason that was strictly mental, it was a good feeling. Pretty unverifiable, but nice.

Yeah, the layer system seems solid and is definitely on my list to play around with, but there were other plans I wanted to get to first. I did use the snatch-grip high pull a few times, just to see what the deal was. Took a bit of fine-tuning to get it down, but I think it could be a keeper.

Probably my favorite recent gym story was when I was in a rack, resting between sets with the bar loaded and sitting there, when a kid comes up and asks to work in. No problem, of course. He does a few extra-short-range shrugs then steps aside, then I knock out some SGHPs, explosive and brutal as they should be, and notice his eyes just bugging out when I finish. Eh, seemed funny at the time. Maybe you had to be there.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
The higher rep days almost serve as “active recovery” between the heavier/lower rep stuff, but that high rep work is still brutal when you’re not used to it.

I hear you. My current routine has me doing 3 x 25 in the lat machine… it’s basically breathers on the last 5-10 reps of set 3. Oddly enough, though, 5 x 20 leg press is a breeze (must be too light).

I do you do those gripless squats in your avatar? Looks very functional.

[quote]1 Man Island wrote:

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
The higher rep days almost serve as “active recovery” between the heavier/lower rep stuff, but that high rep work is still brutal when you’re not used to it.[/quote]
I hear you. My current routine has me doing 3 x 25 in the lat machine… it’s basically breathers on the last 5-10 reps of set 3. Oddly enough, though, 5 x 20 leg press is a breeze (must be too light).[/quote]
Yeah, something weird with lightish, higher reps leg presses. Like after a point it’s just, “Oh yeah, I’m in a big chair, no biggie.” They just roll on and it seems easier. On the pulldowns, probably because the “rest” position is in the stretch, getting into that higher range takes that much more out of the muscle.

Either way, I think it’s definitely a good idea for most lifters to include some 20+ rep work at least once in a while. There’s a stigma about it being muscle-burning, pointless endurance work, but on the most basic level, there’s something to be said for hitting all rep ranges occasionally.

I swear, man, the best idea I ever had was to stop lifting weights and just ask them to lift themselves.

As far as the twice a week routine I started this week, if anyone’s interested…

Wednesday I did the first session.

A) Wide-grip deadlift 2x2
B) Deadlift 3x2
C) Barbell flat bench 3x10, 1x X
D) Neutral-grip pulldown 3x5-10
E) Standing dumbbell press 3x5-10
F1) Cable curl 3x5-10
F2) Cable overhead extension 3x5-10
G) Hanging knee raise 3x5-10

Next session (squats, flat bench, and more lower body stuff) will be tomorrow.

The bench is three progressively heavier, but manageable, sets of 10 followed by one even heavier final set for “whatever’s possible.” I got 7, and I’ll stick with that weight until whenever I get it for 10, then bump it up and basically repeat.

The “3x5-10” is basically an easy-ish set of 10 first, then a bit heavier for 5, then even heavier to almost-failure. Definitely an interesting take on “assistance” work (though I kinda hate calling it “assistance work” outside of a strictly-powerlifting or Olympic lifting context). It’s Dan John’s tweak on Thomas DeLorme’s old work from the '40s, which was the basis for the now-stereotypical “3x10” bodybuilding standard.

On paper, it almost looks like a straight-up maintenance routine. Not terribly high volume, frequency, or intensity. So it’s basically up to me to really push on the final sets when I can, to accumulate and progress throughout the program. I’m also adjusting my nutrition (scaling down portion sizes a little bit on non-training days), since I’m training 1 or 2 less days per week and the weather’s getting colder and darker sooner, so relaxing bike rides with my gal are limited to the weekends only.

Okay, all done. The year of the Archives is wrapped up. I finished with the twice a week plan last week and did the 365-Rep Challenge on New Year’s Eve. (Legs are still kinda tender.)

I’ll play around doing something today or tomorrow (we’re due to get a big blizzard overnight, so it’ll be garage lifting and plenty of snow shoveling), then take new baseline measurements/maybe pics over the weekend and attack things fresh at the start of the week.

The twice a week program, if I’m honest, I probably stuck with two or three weeks too long. My suspicions were right and it did more or less feel like an extended deload/maintenance plan. Low frequency and low volume. The lower body day was killer - there’s no easy way to get through 30-rep squats - but all in all, the plan didn’t kick my ass all that much. I also did seem to do well on that type of twice a week benching. Progress was slow and grinding there.

The good news is, I’m very ready to get back into doing my own thing. Everything in the Archives is solid, for sure, and I remain confident recommending people to consider trying any routine that’s been posted here in the last 15+ years. But at the end of the day, we always need to cobble together our own unique, individual, customized plan. Bruce Lee was right… absorb, filter, discard, always fine-tune.

Rough sketch of my upcoming plan:
Three workouts rotated through four sessions per week (so 1,2,3,1; 2,3,1,2; 3,1,2,3; etc.). I’ve really come to like the idea of mechanical advantage work, both for bodybuilding movements and strength work.

Each session is anchored to a pair of mechanical advantage movements (one for bench, one for the squat, and one for deads), followed by an “assistance”-type movement for the same bodypart, followed by something for the rest of the body. Everything’s worked with a variety of rep ranges through the week (4-6, 8-10 or 10-12, 15+) but the exercises will be swapped around in the last session of the week, so things aren’t carved in stone or repeated exactly.

Workout 1
A1) 3-count pause flat bench 4x4-6
A2) Pull-up 4x4-6
B1) Flat bench 4x4-6
B2) Pull-up 4x4-6
C1) Incline bench 4x8-10
C2) Pallof press 4x5ct
D1) Barbell row 4x6-8
D2) Leg Press 3x20-30
E) Alternate dumbbell curl 4x6-8
F) Rear delt flye 4x20-25

Workout 2
A) Front squat 4x4-6
B) Back squat 4x4-6
C1) Reverse lunge 4x8-10
C2) Slight decline dumbbell press 4x8-10
D1) Stiff arm pulldown 3x15-20
D2) Lateral raise 3x10-12
E1) Deadstop French press 3x8-10
E2) Hanging knee raise 3x10-15

Workout 3
A) Snatch-grip deadlift 4x4-6
B) Deadlift 4x4-6
C1) Neutral-grip pulldown 4x8-10
C2) 1-arm plank 4x5ct
D) Military press 4x6-8
E) Pec-deck 3x12-15
F1) Standing leg curl 3x10-12
F2) Plate hammer curl 3x10-12

It’s not as complicated as it might look on paper. Idea 1 - Heavy lift, back, chest, legs, shoulders, abs, and bis or tris in each workout. Idea 2 - Hit each bodypart with low, moderate, and high reps through the week. Beyond that, I can wing it.

Note: I do, obviously, reserve the right to completely ditch or entirely revamp this plan after a week or two depending on how it goes. So, we’ll see.