T Nation

Live Q & A: Charles Staley

Welcome to our live Q & A session with Charles Staley!

Charles is one of the most respected performance enhancement specialists on the planet. He’s earned his reputation from more than 22 years working “in the trenches” with everyone from regular folks to Olympic athletes.

You probably know Charles from his various <a href="http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459874"target=“new”>EDT articles and <a href="http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=460066"target=“new”>interviews here at T-Nation. He’s also recently appeared on the Today show on NBC. You can learn more about Charles at <a href="http://www.myodynamics.com"target=“new”>Myodynamics.com.

Charles will be taking your questions for the next two hours. Refresh or reload often.

Fire away!

OK folks, it’s Go Time! (I love old Jerry Seinfeld references!)

Mr. Staley,

I am currently 6?6, 205 lbs, about 7% BF. I am pretty solid all over, except for my glutes; I seem to have a hard time really isolating my glutes during my lunges, squats, leg presses and dead lifts. My legs are scary long, and I have a shorter torso. I go as low on these exercises as I possibly can. I always seem to recruit mostly my thighs on these exercises, any suggestions how I can target my glutes without recruiting my quads without destroying my back in the process? Also any new exercises for the glutes?

Thanks!

6foot6

Hi Coach! Thanks for offering to participate and thanks for T-Nation for hosting this live session.

I have a couple of questions for you and hopefully you can help.

Current stats are 5’7.5", 187 lbs and around 15% body fat, age 39 years. My Goal this winter is to get to below 10% body fat and then start to build some mass. I ultimately want to gain back about 15-20 lbs of mass. My build is somewhat stocky and I believe I am somewhat of an mesomorph-endomorph.

====Question 1=====

Training History
Active in sports as a kid 10-25 years old. I played Hockey, Rugby, Soccer, Football, Baseball and Rodeo. My last year of Highschool I started Judo and competed at the University level for about 5 years. Trained with weights most of my high school days right through university. Basic strength conditioning program for Judo involved Bench, deadlifting, squats and chinups and not really into mass building at all because Judo competitions are based on weight categories. I competed in the 150 lbs weight class. I was pretty lean then, my guess was around 8% bodyfat.

Aside from all these activities I grew up on a farm and worked there until I went to University.

Injuries

  • dislocated both shoulders twice - both are a little loose
  • broken right collar bone
  • broke three ribs on right side
  • broken femur and tibia in right leg (indoor tobagan accident with my older brother) - lets just say that Testosterone got the best of me that day.
  • torn ligaments and things in my right ankle
  • torn rotator in left shoulder, am dealing with a strained pec tendon right now in this shoulder - I pulled it using a pec dec thing at a gym when I first started.
  • strained right knee
  • fractured vertebrae in neck and torn ligaments in there somewhere. I think it was the trap. It friggin hurt. No long term effects from this except for the occaisional flare up where I have to get a massage and take some Advil.
  • numerous broken toes fingers etc.

After school I continued playing recreational sports and lifting until about age 30. Then life hit me square in face and I got a full time job that basically kept me on the road 4 days a week and so my activity levels plummeted. I continued to play hockey in the beer leagues up here in Canada which never really did much for my fitness. Over the past 6 years or so I packed on alot of blubber.

I have been on a fat loss program for about 3 months now. Started Aug, 01/04. To date I have dropped 19 lbs scale weight, 10.7% body fat and gained 5 lbs of lean mass. This is according to Irontrainer 2 and my accumeasure calipers. Am Currently at 15% BF and 186 lbs scale weight with a lean mass of around 159 lbs.

For the last three weeks my body fat has not dropped, it stayed at 15%. My lean mass has increased 5 lbs in the past three months.

Diet is as follows;

1800 calories per day
180 grams of carbs per day
180 grams of protein per day
40 grams of fats (flax, fish oil caps)

What I have been doing is cycle 3 days of low carb, low calorie with one day of high carb, high calorie. The above is a low day.

High day is 2200 calories of a 50% Carb, 30% protein and 20% fat diet.
150 grams protein
250 grams carbs
44 grams fats

My foods on a typical day are;
=Proteins=
Canned Salmon
Chicken Breasts (skinless)
Whey protein powder
1% Fat cottage cheese
Top sirloin steak
extra lean burger

=Carbs=
plain rolled Oatmeal
Brown rice
Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Veggies, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce, zuchinni, carrots etc.
Fruit. Mainly bananas and apples
Fibre one Cereal
Red Kidney Beans
Fat free yogurt

=Fats=
Natural Peanut Butter
Natural Almond Butter
Flax seed oil
Sunflower oil
Olive oil
Fat free salad dressing

=Condiments=
Mixed herb spices
Tobasco sauce
Pepper
Salsa

I drink about 3-4 litres of water a day.

Now I am honest and can’t tell you that this is followed 100% of the time. I would say I cheat once every couple weeks and binge on a meal. I drink the occaisional beer but haven’t had one in about a month.

=Current strength and cardio routines=

I was doing a 4 day per week weight training program. 2 days upper body, 2 days lower body. Cardio until recently has been 4 days per week of continuous stationary cycling (45 min) at a heart rate of 118-150 it usually averages around 130 bpm.

I changed up my wieght training to 3 days per week full body and have started this monday. Am using Chad Waterburys latest program of three day per week. My cardio is 2 days of intervals and 2 days of continuous (45 min) per week.

I own a power rack, 300lbs of olympic weights, 90 lbs set of power blocs, ez curl bar with around 100 lbs of weights and an incline decline bench. I also have a stationary bike.

Seeing as I have hit a plateau (I think) are there any suggestions as to what I can do? I am willing to do anything now to break through this.

========Question #2======

What I have been noticing is my right leg is significantly weaker and not as flexible as my left leg. It is about 1/2 inch smaller than my left leg measured at the quad. I am wondering what exercises a person should concentrate on to bring this leg back up to strength. I have started doing step ups on my bench and also lunges. I tried single leg squats and can do about 3 of them off the bench with my left but can cant really do one with my right. Are there any other routines, single leg exercises or exercise progressions that I should be doing for this.

Thanks a lot for your time, Coach Staley! An opportunity like this doesn’t come every day. I figure I’ll take advantage of it, and ask a few questions:

  1. How would training for a martial artist (in the striking arts) that is around 5’5 and 140 lbs. differ from the training of a MA that is 6’2 and 180 lbs., and from another that is 5’8 and 120 lbs.?

  2. How important are plyometrics for martial arts?

  3. What method would you use for speed training (increasing speed of punches and kicks)? Would it be plyometrics? weight training? technique practice? What do you think of Chad Waterbury’s “Explosive Necessity” program from dragondoor for this type of thing.

  4. At what proportion should technique training be done in comparison to general physical training?

I know these are very loaded questions, and I would greatly appreciate the answer of someone of your expertise. Of course, if you can’t answer all of them due to time restriction, that’s completely understandable.

i only have 3 simple questions:
1)what kind of diet should i combine with EDT for fat lost?
(eg.T-dawg 2.0,Fat Fast…etc.)

2)i feel craving for sugar 1/2 hour after the workout, is it normal? what should i do to stop it?

[quote]6foot6 wrote:
Mr. Staley,

I am currently 6?6, 205 lbs, about 7% BF. I am pretty solid all over, except for my glutes; I seem to have a hard time really isolating my glutes during my lunges, squats, leg presses and dead lifts. My legs are scary long, and I have a shorter torso. I go as low on these exercises as I possibly can. I always seem to recruit mostly my thighs on these exercises, any suggestions how I can target my glutes without recruiting my quads without destroying my back in the process? Also any new exercises for the glutes?

Thanks!

6foot6
[/quote]

It might be a “problem” not in need of a fix. In other words, maybe that’s just the way your mechanical leverages work. If you try to “fix” it, you might be worse off. Actually, being as tall as you are, I’d expect that your glutes would take the brunt of everything you do, so your situation is a bit suprising to me. There are MANY exercises, but anything where you’ve got a lot of hip flexion/extension will do the trick. Deads, squats, pulls, etc. But to give you a concrete answer: long-step, alternating lunges, where you pull the front foot back with the rear glute. And DRAG the foot back along the floor, which increases the load to the rear glute

Well I certainly appreciate your attention to detail! As for question one, I’d back off a bit and relax for a few weeks. My gut intuition tells me you’re stressing too much. Result: high cortisol. Just a guess.

Question two: Strict attention to biomechanics. Videotape yourself. Look for clues. I can’t do that for you unfortunately. Might be due to a prior injury, or to everyday habit patterns.

Hope that helps…

[quote]iluminatae wrote:
Hi Coach! Thanks for offering to participate and thanks for T-Nation for hosting this live session.

I have a couple of questions for you and hopefully you can help.

Current stats are 5’7.5", 187 lbs and around 15% body fat, age 39 years. My Goal this winter is to get to below 10% body fat and then start to build some mass. I ultimately want to gain back about 15-20 lbs of mass. My build is somewhat stocky and I believe I am somewhat of an mesomorph-endomorph.

====Question 1=====

Training History
Active in sports as a kid 10-25 years old. I played Hockey, Rugby, Soccer, Football, Baseball and Rodeo. My last year of Highschool I started Judo and competed at the University level for about 5 years. Trained with weights most of my high school days right through university. Basic strength conditioning program for Judo involved Bench, deadlifting, squats and chinups and not really into mass building at all because Judo competitions are based on weight categories. I competed in the 150 lbs weight class. I was pretty lean then, my guess was around 8% bodyfat.

Aside from all these activities I grew up on a farm and worked there until I went to University.

Injuries

  • dislocated both shoulders twice - both are a little loose
  • broken right collar bone
  • broke three ribs on right side
  • broken femur and tibia in right leg (indoor tobagan accident with my older brother) - lets just say that Testosterone got the best of me that day.
  • torn ligaments and things in my right ankle
  • torn rotator in left shoulder, am dealing with a strained pec tendon right now in this shoulder - I pulled it using a pec dec thing at a gym when I first started.
  • strained right knee
  • fractured vertebrae in neck and torn ligaments in there somewhere. I think it was the trap. It friggin hurt. No long term effects from this except for the occaisional flare up where I have to get a massage and take some Advil.
  • numerous broken toes fingers etc.

After school I continued playing recreational sports and lifting until about age 30. Then life hit me square in face and I got a full time job that basically kept me on the road 4 days a week and so my activity levels plummeted. I continued to play hockey in the beer leagues up here in Canada which never really did much for my fitness. Over the past 6 years or so I packed on alot of blubber.

I have been on a fat loss program for about 3 months now. Started Aug, 01/04. To date I have dropped 19 lbs scale weight, 10.7% body fat and gained 5 lbs of lean mass. This is according to Irontrainer 2 and my accumeasure calipers. Am Currently at 15% BF and 186 lbs scale weight with a lean mass of around 159 lbs.

For the last three weeks my body fat has not dropped, it stayed at 15%. My lean mass has increased 5 lbs in the past three months.

Diet is as follows;

1800 calories per day
180 grams of carbs per day
180 grams of protein per day
40 grams of fats (flax, fish oil caps)

What I have been doing is cycle 3 days of low carb, low calorie with one day of high carb, high calorie. The above is a low day.

High day is 2200 calories of a 50% Carb, 30% protein and 20% fat diet.
150 grams protein
250 grams carbs
44 grams fats

My foods on a typical day are;
=Proteins=
Canned Salmon
Chicken Breasts (skinless)
Whey protein powder
1% Fat cottage cheese
Top sirloin steak
extra lean burger

=Carbs=
plain rolled Oatmeal
Brown rice
Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Veggies, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce, zuchinni, carrots etc.
Fruit. Mainly bananas and apples
Fibre one Cereal
Red Kidney Beans
Fat free yogurt

=Fats=
Natural Peanut Butter
Natural Almond Butter
Flax seed oil
Sunflower oil
Olive oil
Fat free salad dressing

=Condiments=
Mixed herb spices
Tobasco sauce
Pepper
Salsa

I drink about 3-4 litres of water a day.

Now I am honest and can’t tell you that this is followed 100% of the time. I would say I cheat once every couple weeks and binge on a meal. I drink the occaisional beer but haven’t had one in about a month.

=Current strength and cardio routines=

I was doing a 4 day per week weight training program. 2 days upper body, 2 days lower body. Cardio until recently has been 4 days per week of continuous stationary cycling (45 min) at a heart rate of 118-150 it usually averages around 130 bpm.

I changed up my wieght training to 3 days per week full body and have started this monday. Am using Chad Waterburys latest program of three day per week. My cardio is 2 days of intervals and 2 days of continuous (45 min) per week.

I own a power rack, 300lbs of olympic weights, 90 lbs set of power blocs, ez curl bar with around 100 lbs of weights and an incline decline bench. I also have a stationary bike.

Seeing as I have hit a plateau (I think) are there any suggestions as to what I can do? I am willing to do anything now to break through this.

========Question #2======

What I have been noticing is my right leg is significantly weaker and not as flexible as my left leg. It is about 1/2 inch smaller than my left leg measured at the quad. I am wondering what exercises a person should concentrate on to bring this leg back up to strength. I have started doing step ups on my bench and also lunges. I tried single leg squats and can do about 3 of them off the bench with my left but can cant really do one with my right. Are there any other routines, single leg exercises or exercise progressions that I should be doing for this.

[/quote]

Hi Coach,

I’d like to ask you about education. I have an ISSA cert. (expired) and I read everything I can get my hands on (T-nation, you, Alwyn Cosgrove, Fred Hatfield, I’ve even ordered Alwyn’s CD set and I have your bootcamp videos). Do you think it necessary to go back to college (I already have a degree in Crminal Justice and Psychology…big mistake), or would you reccomend self study? Any suggested resources or preferred sequence of study subjects?

Thanks

P.S. I just got a copy of “Getting Things Done” Great so far, and I love reading the success literature like you do…Stephen Covey is the man!

Hello Mr.Staley, first I want to thank you for this great oportunity.

Here are my question:

I have a powerlifting meet in 5 weeks and here are my lift (in pounds)
bench press 245RM stuck at middle
bent-over row 210RM
Seated front press 145RM
Squat 450RM
Deadlift 550RM

My problem is I have very weak front delt, trapezius and infraspinatus/teres minor (if you see other possible weakness please tell me)

I currently train 4 times a week on that split:

monday:rows and ext.rotation
tuesday: squat
thursday: bench and front delt
friday: deadlift/traps and hips stuff

I wonder simply how should I prioritise since I have a meet in 5 weeks and want to be at my best. I don’t think a 245 bench press fit very well with a 550 deadlift.

Thanks in advance, adonail

kligor wrote:
Thanks a lot for your time, Coach Staley! An opportunity like this doesn’t come every day. I figure I’ll take advantage of it, and ask a few questions:

  1. How would training for a martial artist (in the striking arts) that is around 5’5 and 140 lbs. differ from the training of a MA that is 6’2 and 180 lbs., and from another that is 5’8 and 120 lbs.?

Not much actually. However, shorter people might tend to have better levers anatomically - they’ll be naturally better at squats, etc. On the other hand, a shorter fighter might have more difficulty crossing the gap, therefore leg strength/power may be key.

  1. How important are plyometrics for martial arts?

    Sorry, depends on the athlete and his/her weaknesses. Plyos in general, have better short-term transfer to athletics than standard lifting.

  2. What method would you use for speed training (increasing speed of punches and kicks)? Would it be plyometrics? weight training? technique practice? What do you think of Chad Waterbury’s “Explosive Necessity” program from dragondoor for this type of thing.

    I like Chad but unfamiliar w that program. Typically, speed strength is best improved by using all of the above methods- you have to see which one is weakest relative to the others and then get after that.

  3. At what proportion should technique training be done in comparison to general physical training?

    Depends on what aspect of your preparation is weakest.

ECCENTRIC MUSCULAR ACTIVITY

Charles

Can you differentiate the trap bar deadlift from the hack squat?

Can you give an exercise or two to eccentrically train the rear delt?

  • Don?t confuse novelty with effectiveness.

Monster Wong:

1)I tend to like the Berardi approach personally.

  1. Take Surge immediately post workout.

Hi Coach, I have a fairly short question for you.

I like to vary intensity or volume as needed to get at least some soreness in at least one muscle group after every workout. Usually this means I’m doing extra sets or another exercise targeting previously worked muscles.

Am I impeding my progress by doing this at all? Off the cuff I’d guess I may be increasing my need for rest and recovery, but it’s hard to feel effective in the gym without that good “I’ve worked hard” feeling.

Hey guys, I can’t enter a chat with any of you because I’m replying to everyone’s posts!

Hello:

I am wondering what your opinons are on the total body workouts and sre you an advocate of this type of traing and if so. What would you suggest as a scheme?

Regards,

Charles what are your thoughts on the recent resurgent talk of HIT on this web page and how do you view HIT?

I have recently start this kind of training and I am seeing amazing results.

One other question provided diet is perfect and training is intensive enough how long apporx should it take someone to go from 5’ 10" 215LBs 16% to about 205 8-10%. This is person who three years ago was 283 and 43%BF.

Thank in Advance

Stick around for this q & A “chat” and afterwards please go over to this provided link to collect your participation prizes :

http://www.myodynamics.com

You will receive the instant download products by signing up for our free ezine:

  1. The Unnatural Athlete E-Book: A 214 page treasure chest of Charles’ most
    politically incorrect writings on eating, training, time management,
    motivation, you name it.

  2. A link to Charles’ recent interview with nutrition and fat loss guru
    John Berardi. John has forgotten more about nutrition that most of us will
    ever know, and now you can listen to an hour’s worth of his best strategies
    and tricks, any time and as often as you like.

  3. A 14 page special report called “The Ten Stupid Things People Do To Mess
    Up Their Workouts.”

JSMaxwell:

PROBABLY self-study. I think seminars are a tremendoues way to learn personally. Listen to and read everything you can. Hard to direct you more specifically since I don’t know what topics you’re interested in. I’m 100% self-taught btw.

[quote]Atreides wrote:
Can you differentiate the trap bar deadlift from the hack squat? [/quote]

Yes, I like the first, dislike the second!

[quote]
Can you give an exercise or two to eccentrically train the rear delt?[/quote]

Yes: Use maximum speed/momentum concentrically, then strict/slow eccentrically.