T Nation

Game Changers for 2016


Ben Bruno’s 100 Rep Trap Bar Workout. Upper body somehow blew the fuck up after 10 weeks of that shit. The last session reminded me of the closing 10 minutes of Requiem For A Dream(watch it if you haven’t seen it)

531 for Hardgainers. Programming perfection in my book. Gain central.

Band Pullaparts. Endless shrugs and I still had the trap development of an 84 year old eunuch. That was until I hit 100 band pull aparts every session.

What’s changed the game for you this year?


Front squats. My legs are bigger and I can run faster. Don’t know why I didn’t get into them earlier.


‘Completing’ my home gym.

’ ’ because it will never be complete.


Dramatically decreasing my beer intake.

Finding a partner who is both consistent and stronger than me.


Direct core work more frequently.

Everything feels better: Overhead press, deadlifts, squats, and pullups all feel much stricter. Judo and BJJ posture improved


Started to use hard high rep work, 10-20 reps/set and some failure training. I normally stuck to 1-5 reps for high sets the last 4 or 5 years with some moderate rep sets has an afterthought - now many workouts high rep records are the focus.

I’m starting to believe high rep work and progressively getting stronger - at those high rep records/weight - is way more sustainable in the long run. Heavy lifting - relatively - just beats me up to much. But its still damn fun getting strong lol


Outstanding thread idea.

I spent the better part of 2016 recovering from ACL surgery, so things are a little screwy. That said, here we go.

1: The prowler. Oh my god why didn’t I get one sooner? It’s the perfect conditioning tool. Very little set-up for maximal benefit. You can push it, drag it, go high handles, low handles, sprint, walk, etc. It was a huge part of my ACL rehab, and I actually pushed the damn thing for over a mile (unloaded) as I was getting ready to get back into full on training. It was also great for getting strength back in the leg and blood flowing. I use it at least once a week now. Everyone, regardless of goals, needs to get one of these.

2: The axle. I had owned one for a while, but just didn’t commit to it. As a reward to myself for staying diligent in my rehab, I treated myself to the Ironmind Apollon’s axle, and because it was so damn pretty, I decided to use it a lot. I am now at the point that I use it for every training session; I bench with it, press with it, deadlift with it, and just recently started front squatting with it. Also use it for curls and continentals. Since the axle is super stiff, it makes deadlifting a real challenge, as it’s tough to break off the floor and it won’t whip to break through sticking points with hitching. It’s also a grip challenge with assistance work, while the larger circumference means the joints take less of a pounding. My wrist and elbows feel amazing. I never use my texas power bar anymore, and if I could do it all over, I’d rather have 2 axles than an axle and a power bar.

3: Nutrition. As I get older, I keep finding this more and more important. The better I eat, the better I perform. Who woulda thought.


Kept going to the osteopath/chiropractor even if I was only very slightly misaligned/annoyed by something.

Listened to myself on what to do in the gym and stopped bothering with the rest.

Forcing myself to do ab work after legs every week.


I felt like death on this program on the last few 10 rep days. The 8 rep days weren’t easy but something about the 10 rep sets really wiped me out. Wish I could say my upper body blew up, sadly no. It was good for a challenge there at the end, but I likely wouldn’t do it again.

The 5/3/1 hardgainers is coming up on my list of variations to try, it looks like great “fun.”


Finally starting 531. Never looked back.


This is something I’ve also been doing for a while. Have you tried CT’s 20 minute muscle builder routine? Its a cool program; the progression scheme is based on working from 15 reps up to 20 on each compound lift.

Edit: Here’s the original article https://www.t-nation.com/workouts/20-minute-muscle-builder


training less frequently. I’m serious. Seems I grow best training 3x a week.

EDIT: @ChongLordUno nice to see you posting again, mate. Hope everything’s going good with you.


Band work with a lot of tension and super slow negatives for arms/pump assistance work

Double dose of krill oil and HMB leucine with preworkout meal

One brutal HIIT session a week followed by whole day off training, got this from Joe Donnellys insta page(great tips):

Today’s conditioning session

  1. 800 meter jog

  2. (5 rounds)

  • 60 second jump rope (boxer skip)
  • 30 crunches
  • 12 squat jumps
  1. (5 rounds) - 40 yards frog jumps
  • 40 yards lunge walk back to start
  • 30 crunches
  1. (10 rounds)
  • 40 yard sprint
  • slow jog back to start - 30 second jump rope
  1. 10x110 yard sprints (35 rest)

  2. (4 reps) 2 mins rest

  • 200 yard gassers (length of field and back in sub 30 seconds.
    • Hate your life and this fucking heat


I should of mentioned i’m referring mostly to “assistance” exercises - dumbbell presses - flat, overhead etc, rows, dips, chins etc i’m would never try to do a 20 rep set of deadlifts personally - maybe for some kind of test but not a regular thing.

One thing i learn a longtime ago you can get in excellent shape with dumbbells only - its all i have to really work with right now and i actually don’t mine :slight_smile: . But for the basic barbell lifts i wouldn’t be doing high rep records. Maybe bench. If i still done back squats i would try that. But i front squat when i squat. Overhead press is more suited to low reps too imo - your lower back and basic standing will probably take more energy then the actual lift. Of course you can do high reps with any of the these lifts but i’m talking about balls to the wall 10-20 reps in one set. %100 your last set of the workout.


Using the StairMaster as a warm-up for every workout

Implementing CT’s Double Stimulation idea


Can you explain or give a reference to info about the “double dose of krill oil and HMB leucine preworkout”. Sounds interesting.


Training pretty much everything three times a week so far has been working really well (I previously used to think that I was maybe too advanced for such a strategy…turns out I was wrong!).


I have 1000mg of krill oil(2 caps of now brand) which really helps with work capacity and pushes back fatigue, also great for joints and feel they click less when warming up.

HMB add a couple scoops to a protein shake I have with pre workout meal. (If going for a big PR actually have up to 5 scoops!) Tried adding to workout amino drink and postworkout but didnt have same effect. I imagine each person would have to play around with timing

Helps with top end strength and PRs have been coming more regularly. Also believe the claims it would help hold strength on a cut.


I’m buying high frequency training hard right now too.


Fish oil, high frequency Olympic weightlifting variations. Not deadlifting.Granted OLs contain a deadlift but it not typically heavy for most people.