Glenn Pendlay: Derek Alford Interview

Glenn I noticed you posting here at T-Mag and was curious if you might be able to expand on the statement by Derek Alford in the recent interview at EFS?


“Glenn Pendlay trained a high school kid (Quarterback-6? 190) for 4 years alternating 5x5, 6x3 & 8x1, doing only Squat, Front Squats, Cleans & Snatches, Hang Cleans & Snatches, Bench and Overhead Presses, and Core Work. After his senior year he Olympic Back Squatted 600 with no wraps, suits or drugs and power cleaned 395. He is currently the strongest football player at Rice University as a QB.”

In all fairness, i cant really take credit for this kid, Mark Rippetoe who owns the Wichita Falls Athletic Club (one of the facilities where i coach weightlifting) coached him. Don’t hold it against Derek for getting that wrong though, Mark and I work together, use the same basic methods, and on occasion have “traded” athletes back and forth in search of better results. But Mark is responsible for the athlete in question. I don’t know what else to say about the kid though, he was a hard worker from the time he started, and was all-around strong, not just strong on the specific lifts he did in training. For instance, he reverse curled well over bodyweight on a 2" bar, even though that was not an execise he had ever done before. Lots of kids could be this strong or stronger in HS or collegiate football, but few do the correct training to get there, or work hard enough to get there.

So what kind of shedule would you give for someone wanting to achieve similar results??

training split?? intensity progresion? recovery methods? taper weeks?? nutrition?

any help apreciated

To really answer that question would take writing a book. My methodology, and i don’t want to speak for Mark too much but I think it’s safe to say his too, is based on things like training heavy, focusing on breaking personal records, sticking with the basics, training movements and not muscles, and really concentrating on the squat and squatting often.

I’m sure you’ve heard all that before, I suppose sometimes the devil is in the details. A few that i think are important are… Most of the athletes i train squat 3 times a week. Most focus heavily on multiple sets of 5 in the squat. We pull from the floor hard and often, doing some form of pulling (cleans, snatches, deadlifts, clean or snatch pulls, romanian deadlifts) almost every training day, usually 3-5 days a week. My guys know how to clean correctly, and use big numbers on the clean and snatch, with many of them cleaning above 80% of their best back squats. We train when tired, we train when sore.

We maintain a competitive atmosphere in the weightroom. Record boards with all-time best lifts, another board wiped clean every monday morning which lists as the week goes by the “good” performances that week, athletes of the same peformance levels training together and trying to drive each other into the ground, these are all part of the motivation to kick butt and improve every time you step into the weight room.

I don’t think there are any gimmicks that work, and i don’t think there are any secrets other than learning to do lifts correctly and working very, very hard.

I know I didnt post much about specifics of manipulating volume or intensity. Within the basic framework given above, there are so many different things we do, and it would be really hard, even dishonest, to sit down and say “this is what we do” because it is always changing, adapting, and hopefully improving.

Work, marriage and family has put my training to a minimum lateley.

I figured the best way to get the most out of it was to stick to compound movements and practice them.

I have been playing around with lifting 5 days a week (M-F) in the AM for about 40-45 mintues each day. But I seem to have trouble judging intensity or exercise selection when frequently lifting with all compound movements.

When I saw the interview at EFS it seemed like exactly the style I have been looking for.

I definately do not have a problem with squating 3 days a week. I probably squat too much sometimes, because my hips really feel it.

If you can think of any more advice it would be much appreciated.

Anyway…thanks for your time…