T Nation

CT Prime Time for the First Week of Sept


-The oracle of Thib will now answer your requests.-


HI there Christian. Figured I would get a head start on tonights prime time. First i was wondering if you got my email, please PM me for the address.

Secondily I was wondering how you felt about adding assistance work to your athlete pendulumn. In the strength week I am adding some upperback work(face pulls, seated rows) and some posterior chain work(pull throughs, back extensions) to the end of the workout using 3x8 or 3x6 parameters. I'll also add in some bicep,tricep and rotator cuff training occasionally. Could this work? and if so could it work for all the phases, hypertrophy and power.

My third question would be, is can you expose a muscle group to two sets of hypertrophy guidelins in the same workout. Could i do 8x3 for deadlifts and 3x8 or 3x10 for pullthroughs in the same session or would it be best to split up the exercise's within the training week.

My last question would be do you mostly use total body training routines with your athletes immediate before their preseasons and during their seasons or is total body training your most preferred method all year round.


I've been doing some thinking about training twice a day conjugate style but also using accumulation and intensification phases.
Here are the two ideas i had, either to just do my regular routine in the first workout, then do isolation work later on in the day.
2nd idea was to split my workout basically into, but only use slightly more volume than i would normally.
Which one of these would be best?


During the strength and power weeks you can add some assistance work, however I wouldn't add anything during the hypertrophy weeks as the volume is already quite high.

Normally you don't want to have more than 2 "zone difference" between two training guidelines.

The zones are:

1-3 reps = relative strength
3-5 reps = limit strength
6-8 reps = functional hypertrophy
8-12 reps = hypertrophy
12-15 reps = strength-endurance
15+ = endurance-strength

So if your are doing your main exercise in the 1-3 reps range you should use at the most 8 reps for your assistance work. If your main exercise is in the 3-5 reps range you can go up to 12 reps on your assistance work, etc.

Upper/lower split during the accumulation (higher volume) weeks

Whole body during the intensification weeks.


First i want to say that i am glad for all the support i have gotten and prayers from people at T-Mag and other places(in-laws,friends,pastor etc.)since my run from Katrina. My home for the last 4 years has been New Orleans and i am so glad that people care about us. I actually am shocked at the amount of private support that is out there. I just hope my house is not submerged! My question for tonight is btween the good morning and glute-ham gastroc raise which would be king? Which is better at making stronger the lower back?
Brandon Green


During an accumulation block your first idea is best and during an intensification block your second idea is best (because it will allow for better average performance on all exercises).


Two block questions:

1) In your book the third week has lower volume and higher intensity.
In this post


from a few years ago ... you explained how you distribute weekly volume in the blocks and you have the third week with greater volume?

2) Do you always set the block as?


and if not what else is possible (ex. Intro, Base, Unload, Shock)?


The reason i've been thinking about doing this twice a day is because it will keep me more focused on my goals of gaining mass and strength. And also give me two chances for post workout nutrition.
I actually I like the second idea better, similar to what you had in you east european bodybuilding article. something like this.

Day 1
bench- 2x4,2x2,2x6
bar row- 2x4,2x2,2x6
incline bench- 3-5x8-10
pulldown- 3-5x8-10
reverse curl- 2-4x8-10
dips- 2-4x8-10
Day 2
decline bench- 4-6x4-6
CSR- 4-6x4-6
military press- 3-5x6-8
bar curl- 3-5x6-8
lying barbell ext- 3-5x6-8

Day 1
2 board press
-work up to 1RM, then 5 singles at 90%
chest supported row
-work up to 1RM, then 5 singles at 90%
incline bench- 4x6-8
pullup- 4x6-8
Day 2
push press- 5x3
speed bench- 6x3
speed chins- 6x3
bench press- 3-5x3-5
bar row- 3-5x3-5

The reason the set ranges are so broad is because they will go up for 2 weeks to account for the accumulation of volume. I think this is pretty good for the 2nd idea, but i haven't done as much thinking about the first idea, how would you go about arranging that?


I feel that "the king" would be romanian deadlifts, followed by goodmorning, reverse hyper and glute-gastroc raise.


Blocks can have various structures (which are detailed in Supertraining by Siff).

The one you quoted is the original "base block"... however any variation will be good provided that there is at least 1 unloading week per 4 weeks block.

For example Jean-Pierre Egger (Werner Gunthar's - shot putter - coach) use a block structure where volume is gradually decreased over a 4 weeks period and intensity is gradually increased.


Week 1 = very high volume / lower intensity of the block

Week 2 = high volume / increase intensity

Week 3 = moderate volume / continue to increase intensity

Week 4 = low volume / maximum intensity of the block

Pierre Roy (former Canadian olympic lifting coach) used a flat block structure where weeks 1-3 are of a similar volume and intensity, and the volume is reduced by 40% on the 4th week.


Hi CT,

I would like to know if you would recommend to do morning cardio on empty stomach (following the L.L. recommandations) even while on a bulk-up phase? Do you think it could interfere with strengh gains while being on a strenght focus training program?

I'm asking you this because I am now at 15% b.f. and I was on a low-carb diet for all summer long but didn't make that much progress even if my diet was strict...so now I want to make some changes and take some mass for few months before returning low-carb.

I thought that still doing morning cardio something like 3 days a week would be great for limitate fat gaining while bulking up...What do you think?

Thanks a lot.


Cardio during a bulking period is a good idea if the intensity isn't too high. It will enable you to eat more without gaining as much fat and will provide a myriad of health benefits.

Now, you don't HAVE TO do it in the morning. You can do it after your strength work or any other time, as long as you do it. There won't be any significant difference.


Hello Mr. T,

Can you tell me if good bodybuilders do the bench press differently from powerlifters? If yes, can you talk a little about the technique and the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Also, besides db flyes, pushups, bench press, pec decs, dips, is there an even better exercise to hit the pectoral muscles?

thank you and congrats to you and Christianne.



I'm basically trying to get myself re-motivated after a back injury. Not a total lay-off, but I lost a lot of condition and lower body strength.

I've been toying with the following idea, tell me what you think if you get the chance. Ta.

Bench -
week 1 3/4/5
week 2 1/3/1/3/1/3
week 3 - 10-15 reps done cluster style (above 90% 1rm)
week 4 - back off. Test 1rm?

Front squat
week 1 - 6x4
week 2 - 4x6
week 3 - 8x3
week 4 - back off week

Dumbell rows
week 1 - 12/10/8
week 2 - 12/10/8
week 3 - 10/8/6
week 4 - back off week

Tuesday - 40 mins of squash

Box squat - as monday's bench
Chest supported rows - as monday's front squats
Dumbell bench (difficult to explain. Like 5x5 except that all 25 reps are done every week, regardless of how many sets. The aim is to reduce the sets to five (of 5) and then the weight goes up)

Thursday off

Pull-ups - like monday's bench
Military press - like monday's front squats
Rack pulls - like wednesday's dumbell bench

Saturday - strongman style training and tabata squat thrusts

Sunday 40 mins of squash

There is plenty of scope for variation - band bench/squat, change the exercises around so heavy front squats are done, change military for push press, pause press. Basic structure remains though.


hey thib

what changes, if any, would you make to ultimate diet 2.0 to enhance it?




I was going over some old school (saxon, sandow etc) work and then some of your stuff. All of it is great but I was wondering how you would go about building absolute strength and size at the same time? I am under the impression that high volume workload would probably be the best but I would like to see your opinion as to what would be better, either a few bodyparts a day (read movements such as deads and bench) or one compound xerecise for high volume and some type of assistance work e.g. bent presses (high volume) then low volume snatches and some abdominal work.

Also what are your thoughts of the 20 rep squat routine?


G'day Christian,

I remember in your Sandbag Lifting thread you mentioned an upcomming article on the same topic - is that hiding here somewhere or is it still in the works?

Only recently discovered sandbags (brick/rock bags actually, no sand around here) .. they're great!



Powerlifters use a greater lower back arc, bring the bar down in a straight line toward the lower portion of the chest and keep the elbows relatively close to the body. All of which increase the amount of weight you can lift by making the lift mechanically easier.

Bodybuilders normally use a bit wider grip, keep their lower back tight, but not arched too much, bring the bar to mid pec and press it up toward the j-hooks. All of these make the movement mechanically more difficult so the muscles must work harder.

I personally prefer the power bench.

Well, DB flyes flat out suck. They only provide resistance during the first part of the movement. Push-ups are not that good either, unless you are very weak. If you can perform more than 12 push-ups, you are wasting your time with that exercise.

The exercises I favor are:

Base movements (most important): decline bench press, bench press, incline bench press, dips

Secondary movements: DB decline press, DB bench press, DB incline press

Assistance movements (least effective): CABLE flyes, CABLE incline flyes, CABLE cross-over


I wouldn't make any changes. Lyle has built a tremendous system which is near optimal to stimulate maximum fat loss with minimal size loss.

Any changes would take away from the program because it's built on the synergy between the training program and diet.

That having been said, it's not a system I'd use all the time. But if strict fat loss is the goal, this diet is hard to beat.


The method I recommend is to focus on the limit strength zone (3-5 reps) and functional hypertrophy zone (6-8 reps) almost exclusively.

3-5 reps for the basic movements, 6-8 reps for the assistance work. I'd select 4-6 exercises per session; 3 base movements and 1-3 assistance.

Exercise selection could be among:

Basic = bench press, incline press, push press, deadlift, barbell rowing, squat, front squat

Assistance = any type of DB pressing, 1-arm snatch, 1-arm clean and press, 1-arm deadlift, lunges, etc.

About the 20 reps program (Super Squat) I used it with some athletes, but didn't find it to be all that effective.