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Getting Stronger with Minimal Volume

Coach Thibaudeau,

For athletes who have to practice their sport a lot during the week, how do you structure their training to get stronger and more powerful?

Would the 915 or the Complete Power Look program work without the assistance exercises or you have better methods for that kind of situation?

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Here’s the problem. People do not understand how the Power Look program works. It’s not the progression model on the main lift that build most of your strength and size. That portion of the program is mostly to gradually learn to apply your strength in a maximum effort.

Most of the strength comes from the assistance exercises. So taking them out would not be very effective.


And to be 100% honest with you, few athletes actually gain strength during the season. Maintaining what you built during the off season would actually be pretty good. I’ve worked with a lot of pro athletes and most of them come back about 10lbs lighter and 10-15% weaker after the season.

What about athletes that never really have an off-season?
My sport is Muay Thai, so my off season really is when I have no scheduled fights so I back off at the conditioning part. But it’s not like let’s say football off season where they don’t do team practice and focus only on strength. I think generally for fighters practice and technique work is done without a break year round.

Why not just not schedule a few fights for awhile. I used to box and when I would want to put on strength, I would do a 3 day strength split and just keep up with minimal conditioning. Afterwards I would switch back to heavy conditioning and sports specific training and lay off all the heavy lifting. Its near impossible to put on strength and muscle while training especially in a sport that requires you to be fast with your limbs.

In this case could see Power Look working really just doing it twice a week -one day upper, one lower: basically just spread out over 2 weeks

Not really. The power look is based on 4 lifts. And the bulk of the gains will come from the assistance work. If you were to cram the program on 2 days you would have to do 6 HARD exercises with plenty of volume at every session. There is not way anybody can do that and have a high quality of work.

I think RampantBadger means to extend a week of Complete Power Look to two weeks, e.g. Week 1 day 1: Bench; week 1 day 4: squat; week 2 day 1: push press; week 2 day 4: deadlift. So, it’s still 3 hard exercise each training day.

Yeah, this what I meant.

I honestly dont see it working. Not enough frequency for each lift. If you do only 2 sessions a week you’d have to use 4 main lifts instead of 4

That’s what I’m planning to do mate, I won’t have a fight until December to focus on strength, but still I have skill practice every day and sparring once or twice per week. So I was just wondering if there is a method to keep me fresh for Muay Thai but still help me get stronger…

@Christian_Thibaudeau Coach, I think I am not so strong to need crazy volume to get stronger and I don’t need to become crazy strong just decent.

I currently front squat 185 for 5, deadlift(double overhand) 315 for 3, bench and row 185 for 5 and hang power clean 205 for 3.
My goal is to hit front squat, power clean, bench and row 275 for 1 and deadlift around 400 for 1.
Is there any progression model to help me get closer to those goals in those 4 months?

Also I currently haven’t used any kind of supplements for about 2 years and I think about starting to use some Mag-10 and maybe Plasma to kick start my gains. Is it good for my situation or it will put too much mass on me? What supplement protocol would you suggest?

Wouldn’t a program like Bill Starr’s 5x5 work in that kind of situation?

I think the key for you would be to keep the nervous system fresh for muay thai training, so maybe you should not lift above 85% from your max and you should never go to failure.


@deit23 what @P0SEID0N wrote seems like a good idea.

Generally, I think you are a bit on your own on that.

There isn’t any coach that really has an answer for your situation or would risk saying something that might not work. Strength training for someone who has to do a ton of other stuff that come with fighting, is one of the most-if not the most- challenging/complicated program to design.
Anyone can get stronger by eating like there is no tomorrow and training hard on a decent program, but increasing your relative strength while having a ton of other sit to do is complex.

In my opinion your best bet would be to just train hard and hope for the best.


Coach, do you think the following would work for him?

Day 1 (Mid Week)
Power Clean: 5x2/80%
Bench: 5x2/80%
Pull Ups: 50 reps as fast as possible

Day 2 (Last day of the week before resting)
1.Power Clean: ramp up to 5rm or 3rm
2.Squat: 915 Progression Model
3.Bench: 915 Progression Model
4a.Squat Assistance: 4x6-8
4b.Bench Assistance: 4x6-8
4c. Rows: 4x6-8

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Under the circumstances it looks pretty good

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Thanks a lot man! I’ll try it and see how it works!

Coach is there anything you would change about this or I should do it as is?