T Nation

Instructor Wants Me to Go to Failure


So I just started on Waterbury's SOB Training after completing TBT and WM. Today was my first day so I'm doing 10x3, and I'm setting up to start deadlifting when one of the fitness instructors approaches me asking me about my goals, workout program etc.

When I tell him about my 10x3 routine I'm doing today he has a hard time not laughing at me in my face. We go on and on but he's absolutely convinced there's no other way to induce hypertrophy than going til muscle failure on exercises. I'm sticking with my 10x3 routine but he keeps blabbing that I won't grow that way and it's purely powerlifting style and I'll end up a fat blob like all powerlifters.

Needless to say I disagree, yet I don't have the science to back it up. Anyone wanna help me to teach this instructor a valuable lesson?


How the hell does he expect you to get fat by lifting weights?



I personally don't think that routine is that great for beginners. You don't have much of a concept of truly heavy lifting or even consistency in the weight room. Hell, if you truly are a beginner, you don't even know where your limits really are. Others may disagree, however, for beginners, I don't see why you would take that route. That fitness trainer may not be completely wrong. Every training strategy isn't for everyone.

I won't even get into the fact that if you LOOK like someone who doesn't know what they are doing, more people are inclined to give random advice.


Don't bother. It's obvious that he already has made up his mind on the topic.

The best and likely only way to show him he's wrong is by making good progress with this type of training.


You could give him a copy of Chad's "The Science of 10x3." Otherwise, focus you energy on your workouts rather than wasting your time trying to convince someone who will probably never get it.


Why don't you just look up Chad's writing on 10X3?

I think he writes about it in the Waterbury Method and I believe he has another article that is about 10X3.

Print them out, give them to the instructor and tell him he has a lot more to learn about hypertrophy.


Print out the article where Chad goes into the science of 10 x 3.

That should help.



If it's working for you (you are happy with your progress) then don't worry about the (so called) instructor.

I would NOT give him a copy of the method as he will probably try to teach it to his clients, maybe even claim he invented it, and he will be getting paid for the info you gave him for FREE.


Thanks TC and others.

Prof. X, what would you recommend instead of SOB? I saw somewhere that CW mentioned SOB is a good followup on WM and TBT which I did previously.


Dude, you just listed a bunch of letters that I know nothing of. I understand the concept behind 10x3 and think it is a decent change or approach in training. However, as a beginner, you are still learning where your limits are and how to push past them. I think a more traditional training scheme involving 3 sets of 8-10 allows that much better than attempting to go all out with the most weight for 3 reps when you just started training not too long ago.

If you are at the point where you can look at a machine or a movement with free weights and know how it will affect your muscles before ever doing it, then you may be ready for something like 10x3 training. If you don't even know what all of your muscles do and often get triceps training mixed up with biceps movements, you may want to hold off.


One other thing that bothers me, much like one other poster who was reading a nutrionist's book but didn't even know about gluconeogenesis, some of you are so busy trying to learn the greatest newest training protocol when you have absolutely no sense of the basic concept of how your body works. That is a mistake. You won't know who is telling you bullshit or giving decent advice if you don't even understand the basics but can quote SOB's, TBT's, ABC's or any other letter grouping you can think of.


pradaboy, how long have you been training?

Since this is the beginners forum I suspect Prof X may be right.

In my opinion true beginners should be doing some higher rep stuff than sets of three. I don't propose sets of 20 either. Perhaps 8 to 10 range is best until your connective tissue is ready to go heavy as hell.

My one exception to this is deadlift. I do not like higher rep deadlift work. I tend to lose form and hurt myself.

I would like to see the experts opinions on when a beginner is no longer a beginner and can move on to things like CW's 10x3.

BTW, I also agree that you should print out the article and give it to the trainer in your gym. What he does with it is up to him, but you will have the satisfaction of doing the right thing by sharing the knowledge.


I would agree. Further, I was training two complete beginners. And both CT and CW advised me to keep them from lifting anything remotely approaching 1RM (10x3 was deemed to require too heavy a loading scheme) until they had been lifting for a solid year and had a really decent base of strength. How long have you been lifting?


I think that EC's notion to stick with 8+ reps per set for the first few weeks/months of lifting is a good one.


I would agree with Professor X on this one. Based upon your experience level in the gym, a 3x8-10, or even a 5x5, would be much more suitable/appropriate than a 10x3 at this stage in the game for you.

Good luck,


Agreed. However, I figure most beginners are going to lose form with higher rep sets.

Wouldn't it be feasible for a beginner to perform 10x3, but with lighter weights (say 8-10 RM) and shorter rest periods (15-30s)?


Sorry I thought most people around here are familiar with acronyms, there's an alphabet letter soup thread floating around I believe.

CW= Chad Waterbury
TBT= Total Body Training
WM= Waterbury Method
SOB= Son of a Bitch training

Anyway, I do know my fair share of biology and the anatomy of the human body. 10x3 might be too early for me though, you might be right on that one. It's just hard to decide on a training program with the enormous amount of programs out there.


Yeah, but why? I think higher rep work with reasonable rest periods that's taken to near failure would be much more effective.


According to their authors, none of the programs on this site are really appropriate for beginning lifters unless they are modified. They wrote them with intermediate to advanced lifters in mind.


I understand what Professor X is saying, but I didn't think of 10X3 as being heavy (not relatively very heavy anyway) since you're using a load that's approx. your 6 rep max.

Going to failure with your 6RM you might traditionally get 4 sets that look like this: 6, 5, 5, 4, and that's on a good day and you'd possibly be burnt out or exhausted. With 10X3 with your 6RM you'd get a total of 30 reps and you feel like you can do more, where you'd get only around 20ish reps with sets going to failure.

Just don't forget that with Chad's routines, he's suggesting a gradual increase in volume and of course starting out with a volume that you can handle, that is why so many people have success with his ABBH program; it's relatively low in volume.

People continue to have success with Chad's routines because the order that he recommends them in has a gradual increase in overall volume and you're constantly using many different compound movements.

Constant change (but not too soon) and continued increase in volume with fairly heavy compound movements mixed with lighter movements is almost guaranteed to get hypertrophy and strength gains and allows for central nervous system recovery if done right.

Also, don't forget that Chad (and any other coach writing an article here) writes them for the average person where the most people can benefit from them. They are not specifically designed for any one particular person so some adjustments may need to be made.