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CT Prime Time


Just got off the plane from the Olympia ... Brain is functioning at around 10% but I'm reporting for duty!



I'm planning on bulking up to about 175, then maybe cutting back down. I'm not sure how big i want to get. I want to see how i look at 5'8 170lbs or so with a low body fat percentage. But anyway my question is, i'm curious what the best way for me to lean up would be once i get to 175.
I have a very very very fast metabolism, and have to eat around 4500 to 5000 calories to put on weight. Alot of these calories come from liquid nutrition, and fats- healthy or otherwise.
I was just wondering if you thought i would have to do much Energy System Work to lean up or if you thought i could just start eating a more regular food diet with lower carbs?


Here's a picture of Mike Miller (who has been interviewed by Shugs in the past) and Gene Rishlak (first man to bench press 1000lbs).

Big Mike is probably one of the friendliest man you'll ever talk too! Funny, charismatic, not to mention that he does carry some size and is pretty strong to boot (he is training for a 1300lbs squat!).


If your metabolism is as fast as you say it is, then cardio should not be required to get reasonably lean. If ever you wanted to achieve a bodybuilding competition leanness, you'd probably need to add some energy system work, but only after 4-6 weeks of reduced calories dieting. With the bodybuilders I train, "cardio" is only introduced after acceptable caloric restriction has ceased to achieve results. And even then, I prefer to start on the low side (maybe 2-3 weekly sessions of 20-25 minutes) and gradually building up from there as is needed (depending on how the body is reacting).


CT what do you think of Jay Schorders methods? More specifically how he trains Adam Artculeta? Have you seen the tape? thoughts?

Also in terms of Plyo work, would you say no more then 9 sets of 3 exercises?


I don't have access to bands or chains right now (don't ask why) and have pretty much maxed out my progress with traditional strength training protocols (low reps and heavy weights). If I was following a true periodized program I would've definitely been done with the strength cycle weeks ago.

With that in mind ,would a more traditional "hypertrophy" approach be the next logical step to increasing my strenth gains and eventual size? My reasoning is that more fiber CSA leads to increased force output. I can "hypertrophy train" for 6-8 weeks and then go back to some lower rep protocols to train strength again... hopefully be stronger eventually too.

What do you think is the next logical step to becoming a badder, stronger, more lethal human weapon?

My other idea is to incorporate a "hypertrophy" day and "strength" day in the same week, or simply alternate week by week. Never tried this though, so I don't have personal experience with it.


We bpth share some similar methods. For one thing we both make extensive use of isometrics, plyometric and eccentric work.So it's kinda hard for me to bash his work! However I feel that his plyometric volume is a bit on the high side and so is the frequency he uses. Intense plyo work should be used for blocks of 4 weeks with at least 3-4 weeks "off" of plyo.

Shock plyo quickly increases power and reactive strength, but after 3-4 weeks results stop and there can even be a certain regression due to excessive tendon loading.

In Russian literature it is recommended to perform no more than 3-4 sets of 10 reps (total of 30-40 ground contacts per workout) of one plyo exercise 2-3 times per week.

Plyo is functional training, it is best to do just a little but frequently than to perform a large volume of work in only one session.


Is this just a matter of your preference, or experience? Wouldn't it make sense to incorporate the energy system work first, while keeping the calories higher. What would you think of the popular philosophy of "burning" the fat rather than "starving" it. Not that you would starve anyone, CT :slight_smile: It seems like calorie drop should occurr later in the cut phase for various reasons - hormonal and training-related reasons. A lot of this may depend on the individual and their schedule and time allowance too.


CT, I know you like the westside approach to training and I recently picked up a couple of their booklets, particularly the templates book after you had referred to it.

I have shoulder issues and can't flat bench anymore, so I'm wondering how I should work around that (can I just substitute overhead work for all bench work?--I can do db incline bench). Plus, I'm interested in incorporating the olympic lifts into the templates. Any suggestions?



By all means do focus on hypertrophy for a period of 8 weeks.

I suggest 4 weeks of "total hypertrophy" training (working mostly in the 8-10 and 10-12 reps ranges) followed by 4 weeks of "functional hypertrophy" (working in the 6-8 and 8-10 reps ranges).

Then take an easy week and move back to limit strength & power training.

This is the approach I use with most of my athletes:

BLOCK 1 - Hypertrophy accumulation
Reps ranges: 8-10 and 10-12
Special techniques: supersets, drop sets, post-fatigue, tempo contrast, iso dynamic contrast

BLOCK 2 - Hypertrophy intensification
Reps ranges: 6-8 and 8-10
Special techniques: extended sets, drop sets, post-fatigue

BLOCK 3 - Limit strength
Reps ranges: 4-6 and some work in the 1-3 range
Special techniques: rest/pause, cluster, 2/1 technique

BLOCK 4 - Relative strength
Reps range: 1-3 and power work
Special techniques: cluster, eccentric overload, plyo, olympic lifts, balistic lifts.


I always start with a very low calories deficit, not more than a 10% reduction of current intake, and calories are reduced every 3 weeks.

ESW (cardio) can be used earlier by "general peoples" but for bodybuilders, simply switching from bulking diet to cutting diet can provide adequate fat loss at first. The key is a "small" reduction in caloric intake.


Get the shoulder fixed before doing anything extreme like Westside training or Olympic lifting. It sucks but you'll thank me later.

If you are able to perform decline pressing work, these would be an acceptable substitute for flat pressing. But In your case I would advice against excessive overhead work, at least until your problem is fixed.



I tried to post this in two previous PT threads but I think I got there too late both times. I'm doing a modified Renaissance program right now. I liked the legs/push/pull idea, but wanted to add in oly variations every day along with it. The GPP is changed to fit the equipment I have available (not much). I'm curious to know your opinion of it. Here's my program:

Begin each day with a 10 minute warmup either jumping rope or going through oly lifts with a broomstick or empty bar


Back Squat 2x5, 3x3
Power Clean 2x5, 3x3
Bench Press 5x5
Bent Row 5x5


Deadlift 5x5
One-Arm Snatch 2x5, 3x3
Military Press 2x5, 3x3
Pull-up 2x5, 3x3


Front Squat 2x5, 3x3
Hang Power Snatch 2x5, 3x3
Incline Bench 5x5
Upright Row 5x5

15 minutes of GPP using the following exercises as a guideline

Power Clean or Power Snatch Burpees
Gymnastics Conditioning
Farmer's Walks
Pull-up Burpees
Bear Complex and variations

Finish with 20-30 minutes of low-intensity cardio such as jogging, fast uphill walking, etc. (optional)


Yeah, I figured this would be the best approach. I gotta tell you, the heavy lifting is a little addictive and I'm actually kinda scared to abandon it even though I know better.

I should probably stick to many of the same exercises and/or their close relatives and just use the rep ranges you suggested.

I can probably expect some reasonable hypertrophy, as this will be a "shock" to my body.



Yes, stick to the basics. Just because you are training for hypertrophy doesn't mean that you should drop the exercises that are responsible for your current strength and development level. Simply change the exercises around with each block. Even a very slight variation like changing grip width by 2-3" is fine, don't need to do anything too drastic.

You should indeed see some nice size gains since your heavy lifting will potentiate your hypertrophy training because your fast twitch fibers will be more easily stimulated because of your good neural efficiency.


Hey CT, im doing the emphasis rotational program for chest and back. Can I add in any external rotation work cause they are kinda lacking in size and obviously the bigger they are, the thicker my back could look.



I had already asked this question to other forumites, but unfortunately didnt get the answer I was hoping for.

Thought I'd ask you for your opinion.

Hope you dont mind me copy/pasting:

Link to article:


I have a question regarding this article and other similar type of "bodybuilding" routines.

You'll notice that by the time we get to exercise "C" it prescribes 4 X 15 with a 313 tempo with 60 sec rest between sets.

Also notice that before we get to exercise "C", we have to do "A" and "B" which are brutal.

My question is what actual % of your 1RM would you actually select for C?

The reason I ask is because I've heard hypertrophy training should be done in the 60%-100% of 1RM range. And for many people 60% of 1RM = about 20 reps WHEN THEY ARE FRESH.

By the time you get to "C" I could only assume that you're using 40% of 1RM to complete the prescribed sets with the short rest intervals.

Does it matter that you're using such a low percentage of your true 1RM, or should we readjust the 60-100% hypertrophy range according to our fatigued state?

Thanks in advance.



What type of sprint/running and agility work would u use during specific blocks. Would u simply shorten the duration of each set for each progressive block. Also, which template do u prefer for overall athletic gains, Continuum Training or the Integrated Training Plan from TAMSPM. How would you implement running into one of these templates?

Thank you,



Yes, but only one exercise to start or end each specialization workout.


Hey Thib,

Thanks for taking the time tonight.

Okay, I stick exclusively to free weight movements, besides a few cable movements. Yet for bodybuilding purposes, I always hear that while they're not to be emphasized, machines "have their place".

Where exactly do you think their place is in a program geared toward hypertrophy, and why exactly would they be better than an additional free weight movement?