T Nation

How to Predict What Would Work Best?


Just doing some thinking here.

Are there any ways you think are effective in predicting what training/exercises will be best for a certain person?

Things that cross my mind are muscle fiber dominance testing (which, I suppose, could be done by taking a high percentage of a 1RM (85% maybe?) and seeing how many reps someone could do with that weight... the more reps they could do the more slow twitch dominant they'd be, I would guess).

Also, torso/limb length (I think I remember something about it from the "overcoming lousy leverages" article).

Maybe Poliquins earth/air/fire method?

Hell, maybe a combination of all of them?

What do you think??


I think that if you would work as hard as you think... you'd probably see some nice results.

Now go pick up something heavy.



I'm sorry, thinking not your strong point?


Now don't get all defensive. Maybe you already do work as hard as you think. Either way, its good advice. A lot of people over analyze their training and lose track of the basics.
Here's my prediction for what will work best for your bodytype, (because I've been stalking you, so I know what your bodytype is):

Military Press
Pull up

I'd bet a dollar you'll make most of your gains off of those.


As far as I'm concerned trial and error is the only truly reliable method. You may get some pointers in that regard from formulas and tests, but I am unconvinced that anything short of empirical verification is going to tell the real story.


......did I ask what would work best for me, or did I ask what indicators you find as being reliable for what will work for anyone?

You people need to learn to read the words that are in front of you and not some secret message you think is in those words.

Trust me, I'm a big boy. If I was wondering what you thought would work best for me I'D ASK "WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD WORK BEST FOR ME?"



Good point. I just think its an interesting topic to consider. I notice that it comes up a lot in Poliquins writing, and it think its because he needs to be able to use stuff like skinfold tests, etc, for indicators because he has such a limited time to train people before they compete.


See, what annoys me is that when I write something like:

"Do you think red cars are more likely to get into accidents?"

Too many clueless people read:

"I have a red car, do you think I will get into an accident?"

Like I told the other guy, if I was asking about MY training specifically, I'd say so. But I'm not. I'm bringing up a general topic to discuss. Thats it. Thats all. No hidden meaning or ulterior motive or code or anything to figure out. I'm not asking what will work best for me, or what exercises I should do, or anything like that. Its just a topic that crossed my mind and I was looking to hear what other people on the site think.

So, please, re-read the original post and respond to it WITHOUT INTERPRETING ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE WORDS YOU SEE IN FRONT OF YOU.



I think you missed the obvious irony here :wink:

If he doesn't know you, yet tells you what exercises work best for you (the big basic compounds), this information is also true for anybody else because he knows equally much about them as he knows about you (nothing)

Read: This exercises will be best for everybody, regardless of any other factors.

Since you have to constantly switch set/rep schemes anyway to maximize gains, its quite irrelevant to predetermine what 'would be best'

So there is no 'absolute best' anyway, only a momentarily best, and that one changes all the time.

In conclusion, your original question makes very little (if any) sense to anyone with even a remote understanding of the subject matter, hence some people making fun of the post (but nevertheless giving the 'right' answer)


You're welcome?


My point... the whole lifting, getting bigger/stronger etc is not rocket science. Yes there is some science here. But, this is the beginners forum, and your post had me believing that you are overthinking this.

As far as predicting what will work for others??? Basics, hard work, good food and sleep. Individual exercises will likely come from trial and error as posted above.

I really didn't mean to come off the top rope...



I think I will echo the sentiments of those above in that it is wise to start with the basics and just learn through trial and error. Also the guy who said "there is only a momentary best" is spot on. For a long time I just didn't get good mornings.

I couldn't use any sort of meaningful weight on them, the form felt weird and just... wasn't a good movement for me. I'd still rotate them in from time to time because the Westside guys did them but I never felt like they were really doing anything for me.

However, this spring, something in my body just clicked and for whatever reason, good mornings started working well. My form was great all of the sudden and I could feel the right muscles being activated. I did them every week for about 12 weeks in a row, got a lot stronger on them and last week I hit a huge deadlift PR, which I attribute largely to the strength I gained in good mornings.

Now in a couple months I might lose this feeling and another lift might be doing the trick. I think you gotta feel it for yourself.

I don't think that this is a dumb topic, but I think it is better to learn via trial and error than to try to predict. I believe (and have learned through actually doing them) that the muscle fiber typing tests are basically just reflective of what training you've been doing, the earth/aire/fire/whatever typing is retarded and that you can't always put a blanket statement on somebody because of limb lengths.

Case in point, I helped a buddy of mine train to walk on to a D1 basketball team. He's 6'8". We didn't throw out the back squat, we just started lower and he had to constantly work on his form. Now he's gotten a ton stronger, squats with pretty much perfect form and has seen a lot of dividends from that movement.

I also think that consistency is very important. I think too many people go through and totally switch up their program too frequently. If you change 5 of your exercises every 8 weeks, how are you going to know what is working and what isn't.

Whereas if you change say 2 things (be it different movements, methods, set/rep schemes, arrangements, etc.) every 8 weeks or so, then when you do make improvements, it is pretty easy to see what made a difference for you.


Yes, clearly, who would EVER think that certain indicators may give clues as to what type of training would be of most benefit to someone....





......clearly, makes no sense.... thanks buddy.


I read it recently, here maybe, about personality types possibley needing different training plans. I thought this was very interesting and something I had noticed but never really put into words before.

I think it's purely for the psychological reasons however, everyone will gain on adding weight progressively to key exercises. Some might get "into it" more if the program fits their personality. Just my thoughts


Work best with respect to what? Development of absolute strength? Power? Hypertophy?


So here's the thing. I lied. I haven't really been stalking you. I don't really know what your body type is. I was trying to be witty, oops. I thought you would realize that since I obviously don't know your body type, that those six lifts are actually my prediction of what would work best for EVERYONE, not just you.

The indicators? well, everyone who is big uses those lifts in some way or another. I would say thats a pretty good indicator that they will work well for body dimensions "xyz" with a height of "f" and a weight of "g"

Now go lift heavy shit


Spoken much better than I could have.


Looks like you already have the answers, and of all the people who responded, no one "gets it" like you do. So I suppose you should stop wasting your time reading our ignorant posts, because we're just dumbing you down.

Perhaps a more productive activity than reading all of the above responses and applying the basics, would be to spend 25 years conducting numerous studies and tests, utilizing a huge sample size of all body types and using all training methods, then come back and let us know the truth, for we are obviously all just clueless meatheads.


You do have a valid question. It turns out Dr. Squat has given this some thought. Try this article.




Hm. My understanding is that there are general rules for development of certain aspects like strength/power/hypertrophy/endurance/etc.

My thinking was more along the lines of.... if certain people are designed for certain qualities (some people make great distance runners, others make great sprinters, etc, etc), do you think there are reliable tests to indicate which qualities someone is built for?

I just think its a cool topic to consider, and, if reliable methods are produced, it could help people more quickly find what they excell at (instead of, for instance, someone who is built to be a great distance runner constantly training to sprint).