T Nation

Matrix Training Experiment

I’ve decided to try the Matrix Principle by Dr Ron Laura.
I bought the book many years ago. I had good results back then and
now, after reading about at another site and talking to a much younger
trainer who swears by it, have decided to give it another try.

What is Matrix Training?
Essentially it works by increasing training density ie more work done in less time.
It does this in three ways

1/ short rests between sets
2/ Supersets
3/ Exercise rotation.

For example the chest workout looks like this

Sequence A

  1. Matrix Bench Press

    5 full reps
    5 reps half up
    5 reps half down
    5 full reps

    20 Sec Rest

  2. Conventional Dumbbell Flys
    12 full reps

    20 sec rest

  3. Matrix Incline Press

    5 full reps
    5 reps half up
    5 reps half down
    5 full reps
    Rest 3 min

Sequence B

  1. Matrix Dumbbell Flys

    5 full reps
    5 reps half up
    5 reps half down
    5 full reps

    20 Sec Rest

  2. Conventional Incline Press
    12 full reps

    20 sec rest

  3. Matrix Bench Press

    5 full reps
    5 reps half up
    5 reps half down
    5 full reps
    Rest 3 min

Sequence C

  1. Matrix Incline

    5 full reps
    5 reps half up
    5 reps half down
    5 full reps

    20 Sec Rest

  2. Conventional Bench Press
    12 full reps

    20 sec rest

  3. Matrix Dumbbell Flys

    5 full reps
    5 reps half up
    5 reps half down
    5 full reps

Finnish

Ok my first real test of this was yesterday
Legs and Shoulders
Here how it looked

Legs
Matrix Principles Used:

  1. Conventional Matrix
    5 full reps
    5 reps half up
    5 reps half down
    5 full reps

Workout

Sequence A
Squat Conventional Matrix
30 sec pause
Squat 12 full reps
30 sec pause
Leg press Conventional Matrix
30 sec pause
Leg press 15 full reps
3 min pause

Sequence B
Leg press Conventional Matrix
30 sec pause
Leg press 12 full reps
30 sec pause
Squat Conventional Matrix
30 sec pause
Squat 15 full reps

Notes
The book says to use 40% of 1rm max.I used only 10kg on both exercieses and my legs were totally destroyed.
6 weeks ago I could squat 87kg for 19 reps, now I’m looking like a real pussy.
The Gym owner asked me whats the matter?
‘can’t walk’ i replied
‘What did you do’ he said looking worried
‘Hard work’ i panted
Even trying to stretch afterward was pure pain.

Shoulders
Matrix Principles Used:

  1. Conventional Matrix
    5 full reps
    5 reps half up
    5 reps half down
    5 full reps

Workout
Sequence A
Roll Press Conventional Matrix
30 sec pause
DB Laterals 12 full reps
30 sec pause
Seated Press Conventional Matrix
3min pause

Sequence B
Roll Press 15 full reps
30 sec pause
DB Laterals Conventional Matrix
50 sec pause
Seated Press Conventional Matrix
3min pause

Seq C

Roll Press 15 full reps
30 sec pause
DB Laterals 12 full reps
60 sec pause
Roll Press Conventional Matrix
3min pause

Notes
Easier than the legs. only empty bar on the shooulder rolls.

Triceps,Biceps and Abs
Looking more solid in the mirror. Have to take some measurements. Quads have responded really well, especially lower down near the knee which might help with my old injury.

First full try at arms. Felt much stronger this time round.

Abs were not so easy; I felt pretty spent after the arms.

Triceps
Matrix Principles Used:

  1. Conventional Matrix
    5 full reps
    5 reps half up
    5 reps half down
    5 full reps

  2. Ascending Matrix
    4 full reps
    5 reps half down
    6 reps half up
    7 full reps

Workout
Sequence A
Lying Press Conventional Matrix
30 sec pause
Standing press 12 full reps
40 sec pause
Pushdowns Ascending Matrix
3min pause

Sequence B
Standing Press Conventional Matrix
30 sec pause
Pushdowns 12 full reps
40 sec pause
Lying press Ascending Matrix
3min pause

Seq C
Pushdowns Conventional Matrix
30 sec pause
Lying press 12 full reps
40 sec pause
Standing Press Ascending Matrix

Biceps
Matrix Principles Used:

  1. Conventional Matrix
    5 full reps 5 reps half up 5 reps half down 5 full reps

    Cumulative Matrix Alternates
    1 full rep
    1 rep half up
    1 rep half down
    2 full reps
    2 reps half up
    2 reps half down
    3 full reps
    3 reps half up
    3 reps half down
    4 full reps
    4 reps half up
    4 reps half down
    5 full reps

Workout
Sequence A
Barbell Curls Conventional Matrix
30 sec pause
Incline DB Curls 12 full reps
60 sec pause
Preacher Curls Matrix Alternates
3min pause

Sequence B
Incline DB Curls Conventional Matrix
30 sec pause
Preacher Curls 12 full reps
60 sec pause
Barbell Curls Matrix Alternates
3min pause
Seq C
Preacher Curls Conventional Matrix
30 sec pause
Barbell Curls 12 full reps
60 sec pause
Incline DB Curls Matrix Alternates

Abdominals
Matrix Principles Used:

  1. Conventional Matrix
    5 full reps 5 reps half up 5 reps half down 5 full reps

Workout
Sequence A
Sit-ups 12-15 full reps
30 sec pause
Leg Raises Conventional Matrix
50 sec pause
Crunches 12-15 full reps
3min pause

Sequence B
Leg Raises 12-15 full reps
30 sec pause
Sit-ups Conventional Matrix
50 sec pause
Crunches 12-15 full reps
3min pause

Seq C
Sit-ups 12-15 full reps
30 sec pause
Crunches Conventional Matrix
50 sec pause
Leg Raises 12-15 full reps

Here is an extract from Dr Laura’s site explaining the matrix system.
http://www.dr-ronlaura.com/matrix_bodybuild.html

Incredible as it may sound, I devised my first Matrix Principle when I was only seven years old, while living with my family in Boston and training with my brother, James, eleven years older than I.

He was a serious gridiron footballer and trained with a few team members in our basement gym in which most of the machines were designed by our father who was an extraordinarily talented metalworker and machinist.

To build muscle power and size for arms my brother would have his friends do 3-5 sets of 20 repetitions in the curl, for example, using heavy weights and a bit of body sway to ?cheat.?

Trying to keep up with them, I used a 24? long bar my father had made for me on his lathe, weighing about 3.5 kg.

Given that my brother and his team mates would perform the ?cheating ? reps at a brisk pace, I would do my best to imitate them by doing 7 reps half-up, then 7 reps halfway down and up, followed by 7 full reps.

My brother and his friends used to laugh at me, on the assumption that what I was doing was no more than a little boy?s ?cop-out?; that is what they thought anyway until they tried the partial-rep sequence and realized I had serendipitously come up with a great technique which actually increased the intensity of the exercise.

We called my idea the ?21 system? and the whole group of us soon used it to do every exercise, with impressive results for them and me.

The following year my brother went to California to work at American Health Studios, where he introduced my 21-technique to a group of servicemen who wanted a quick and effective routine that they could execute together in a circle as a way of motivating each other.

Consequently, my 21 System became known to some as ?The Platoon System? and in another of its guises has been used by many bodybuilders worldwide ever since, without knowing it was ?invented? by a seven year old boy, in a cellar home gym in Boston, U.S.A.

By the time I was in my teens I had developed twelve different partial-repetition techniques, which in a slightly revised form, were published nearly twenty years ago in my book The Matrix Principle, whose title reflected the name that I had by this stage given to my extended system of 21s.

In my competitive days I regarded this first program of 12 Matrix techniques as my ?secret weapon? and relied upon it almost solely.

It was not long before I became a champion powerlifter, eventually bench pressing a world record 350lbs at a body weight of 148lbs in 1963.

The rest, as the saying goes, is history…

I continued testing and developing effective variations of my original twelve Matrix techniques and have now created 48 Matrix Principles on patterns of partial-repetition movements for every body part.

With a growing interest in competitive bodybuilding I became close friends with Joe Weider, the legendary trainer of champions, from whom I leaned much and to whom I owe much of my success in the world of bodybuilding. Weider employed me as a ?ghost writer? and a feature writer for Muscle and Fitness Magazine, as well as Flex.

?It is without doubt the most advanced

and effective Weight Training program

for sports ever produced !?

                             - Joe Weider, Master Trainer & Father of Contemporary Body Building

I was also appointed an International Judge for the IFBB, attending bodybuilding contests around the world. I was thus afforded the rare opportunity of getting to know, interview, train with and introduce my Matrix System to a number of the world?s top bodybuilders, appearing in the Weider Video Collection.

My Matrix System for bodybuilding comprises five volumes, the first four of which each contain twelve distinct Matrix techniques, thus making 48 Matrix Principles in all.

My fifth book in the series, Matrix Mindpower, is a necessity for those understanding the role of the mind in bodybuilding and the way in which meditative mindfulness techniques can be used to maximise self-empowerment and success.

The Matrix System for Bodybuilding is designed to provide you a progressive training program of increasing intensity spread over a four year period.

You can use the Matrix System on its own or in combination with any of an array of conventional training programs.

The original results enjoyed by early Matrix bodybuilding trainees have been very impressive but, as the years have passed, and I have improved the system, the results which many trainees have achieved have been no less than astonishing.

Indeed, some of the gains made by drug-free Matrix trainees under my own supervision have not only been remarkable but almost unbelievable. For example, when Lee Martyn came to train with me 18 months ago (see photos in Matrix for Beginners), he weighed 61 Kg.

With two training Matrix sessions a week Lee now weighs 100Kgs.

In the year and a half he has been using my new Matrix Principles Lee has gained 5? on his arms (from 14? to 19?).

Although Lee is the most successful of my recent Matrix trainees, every student I train has made fabulous gains. (See other results in the testimonials on this site).

There is no doubt in my mind that anyone who follows the Matrix bodybuilding program will achieve outstanding success in a very short period.

I do believe, and I think it is now well-established, that the Matrix system represents a major breakthrough in the physiology of bodybuilding.

Why not put some Matrix Magic in your life and pull the fantastic body you have always wanted out of the hat.

Hi there,

I’m quite interested in your experiment, and wanted to encourage you to keep posting.

Perhaps one of these days I will be posting up an experiment of my own. Cheers!

Thus far, I have been on the Matrix program for about 6 weeks. I have reached the end of stage 1 as set out in ?The Matrix Principle?.The following is a report on my experience set out in several parts.

Part I
General Impression

This program is very intense. Very. If for example, your idea of a good workout is benching a cruisy three sets of ten while you high five your buddies, this is not for you. This is the only program where I feel nervous and really fired up before a leg workout. My previous HIT training helped with this. Although , the increased volume was uncomfortable and just a little annoying.

Part II
Strenght and Mass Gains

This is as they say the heart of the matter. We go to the gym for muscle size and strength. For some, like power lifters, it all about the latter. For others, they?d be quite happy just being BUFF. I ,like most, would prefer a lot of both. This is THE reason you are in the gym right?

Well for some it is obviously not. How many times have you said hello to someone in gym, just being polite, and they want start some lengthy Socratic dialogue about what? The weather , ice-cream, DC verses Hst , their latest psycho girlfriend or that classic porn movie called Private Teacher. How about I just lift some weights and get to you later.

Or there was that guy who set up 3 exercises to superset his leg workout. Nothing wrong with that; this is a serious way to do things. Except, I shit you not, he goes thru his workout texting people on his phone while he is repping it out! WTF?

Then there was that girl who insisted on wearing a white t-shirt and no bra to every workout. Damn lucky I didn?t get injured. Did get my hormones jumping though. But I digress?

Strength results
Two things need to be kept in when assessing my strength improvement, if any

1/ I had a layoff of about 8 weeks after dec 15 due to injury before starting matrix.
2/ That being so, muscle memory comes into play.

Barbell curl

dec 15 2008 35kg for 11 reps

March 29 2009 35kg for 12 reps

Not much in it for sure, but at least I?m not getting weaker. Also, this routine has taken some getting used to, so testing at the end of stage II may give a clearer result.

Mass Gains
No uncertainty here. I have regained all that I lost during the layoff and added new muscle. Everyone at work has noticed esp the girls. Legs and shoulders are the best performers. Also I should point out that I am dieting down at the moment. More muscle and less fat. Cool.

Congratulations on your gains bro. I will checking back to see how stage 2 goes.

Keep it up.

Some Conclusions
Part III

Frequency and Training Splits

If there was anything I had a hard time with nailing down the frequency and training split was it. Consistency is always a big factor in the success of anything and my near obsession with this issue almost threatened to shoot a big hole in all my efforts. Moreover, the lack of a clearly stated approach to this exacerbated the problem.

The problem lies with the book:? The Matrix Principle. Although it is very well written ,with extensive chapters on all the issues related to weight training, it has a flaw. It does not contain any table setting out an example of a recommended training split. This has been rectified in the two books that followed this one.

Dr Laura does discuss the issues of frequency and recovery, at some length, in the text. In it he states that 4 days training per week with each body part hit about twice a week is a good way to go. This, I thought, implies that you should do an Upper/Lower or Push/Pull routine on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. I also considered that the volume and intensity of this programme with that type of split would totally crater my recovery ability. Lucky help was forthcoming.

Through communication with others, I was able to discover that this is not what Dr Laura meant. Instead two body parts are worked in one workout with the body parts rotated from workout to workout.
It looks like this

Week 1
Mon-- Chest,Delts and Abdominals
Tues-- Biceps/Triceps
Thur-- Legs, Lats/Back Calf
Fri-- Chest, Delts,Triceps

Week 2
Mon-- Biceps, Back and Abdominals

Tues-- Legs, Triceps and Calf

Thur-- (restart the week 1 Mon workout)

Fri-- and so on

They also stated that once every seven days is also quite productive.
Like this
Mon - back/bi’s/calves

Weds - Legs

Fri - Chest/Shoulders/Tri’s

Interestingly, you can also do a whole body routine. Its pared sown to 7-8 exercises with just three sets each. Each set is a different matrix pattern. I tried it and its very hard. I wouldn?t be doing this more than twice a week.

Dr laura does have book on advanced Matrix called the Ulimate Matrix and I will discuss this at some later date.

Started stage II as set out in the book today.
Had to take a week off due to the flu:(

Anyway today was chest and delts.
I have made some modifications to the program mainly dropping the super sets and a few different exercise selection.

I love the Decline Bench Press; Nobody uses it but me. Seriously though, it’s a damn fine exercise.

A friend told me once " If you wanna lift something then bench. If you wanna experience something then do declines"

Too True.

Worked stage II Arms today. Got so pumped I thought my skin would split.

Biceps
Matrix Principles Used:

  1. Matrix Alternates
    5 full reps 1 rep half down 1 rep half up
    1 rep half up 1 rep half down 2 full reps
    1 rep half up 1 rep half down 3 full reps
    1 rep half up 1 rep half down 4 full reps
    1 rep half up 1 rep half down 5 full reps

  2. Ascending Matrix
    4 full reps 5 reps half down
    6 reps half up 7 full reps

Exercises
Cable Preacher curls - 15kg
DB Incline Curls -6kg
Barbell Curls -12.5kg

Set Sequence
1/ Matrix Alternates
30 sec rest
2/ Ascending Matrix
60 sec rest
3/ 12 full reps

Triceps
Matrix Principles Used:

  1. Matrix Alternates
    5 full reps 1 rep half down 1 rep half up
    1 rep half up 1 rep half down 2 full reps
    1 rep half up 1 rep half down 3 full reps
    1 rep half up 1 rep half down 4 full reps
    1 rep half up 1 rep half down 5 full reps

  2. Ascending Matrix
    4 full reps 5 reps half down 6 reps half up 7 full reps

Exercises
Skull crushers - 12.5 kg
Tricep Pressdown -15 kg
Reverse Grip Bench presss -12.5kg

Set sequence
1/ Matrix Alternates
30 sec rest
2/ 12 full reps
60 sec rest
3/ Ascending Matrix

Some Conclusions
Part IV
Complexity

A common comment, I am sure, when first seeing this Training Log is that this a complicated way to mess around in the gym. For example :

Matrix Alternates
5 full reps
1 rep half down
1 rep half up
1 full rep
1 rep half down
1 rep half down
2 full reps
1 rep half up
1 rep half down
3 full reps
1 rep half up
1 rep half down
4 full reps
1 rep half up
1 rep half down
5 full reps

Complicated, unnecessary and a big pain in the ass?
Well? yes and no.

No doubt this is a lot harder to keep in your head than just counting to Ten as bench your way to being THAT BIG CHESTED MOFO blocking the aisle in the supermarket. Not to mention the heavy breathing and severe lactic acid burn just make that it much harder to concentrate. And don?t forget the exercise rotation as well, ?WHICH FUCKING EXERCISE DO I DO NOW!?
Chill baby, Chill?

In fact, after the first few sessions your mind, as it does with many things, gets used to it and its no sweat. Until then you print out the workout sheets as I have done in the above posts and work with it.

How many have you or someone you know got really obsessive about their routine? The constant analysis of the rep speed, exercises, exercise order, cardio, type of protein powder, and on and on?. Do they really get anyway for all their trouble?

My point is yes this way takes some mental work, but not that much and you get used to it. It is worth the effort.

Still getting over the flu. Might do legs and back tommorow.

I’ve decided to make some changes.
You see, there has been something that has been bugging me about this system: The high volume.
I’ve been doing abbreviated routines for a long time and nine sets part bodypart is starting to annoy me.

On the other hand I’ve been making gains and injury free, which is no small feat; my joints are very weak for my age.

So I think i will chop the volume in half and
bump up the frequency a little.

I would have like to have the program to the letter. However, when it starts to grind you it might pay change a little.

There is now a Matrix Training Forum.
drronlaura.hqforums.com/

not so lonely now
haha

This guy won the WNBF using Matrix training. http://www.samsfitness.com.au/blog/uncategorized/lance-jensen-before-and-after-shots-?-matrix-powertec-training-program.html

Rocked up to the gym for Chest,delts an abs, only to find the door is locked.WTF? I find the gym owner inside.He had mistakenly thought that today was a public holiday.No… that was Saturday, Anzac day. He let me in and I had the whole place to myself.Heaven.

Arms are sore from Biceps/triceps yesterday
Exercises
Cable Preacher Curls
Incline DB Curls
Barbell Curls

Skull Crushers
Tricep Pressdowns
Reverse Grip Bench Presses

Matrix Principles Used:

  1. Matrix Alternates
    5 full reps 1 rep half down 1 rep half up
    1 rep half up 1 rep half down 2 full reps
    1 rep half up 1 rep half down 3 full reps
    1 rep half up 1 rep half down 4 full reps
    1 rep half up 1 rep half down 5 full reps

  2. Ascending Matrix
    4 full reps 5 reps half down 6 reps half up 7 full reps

Set Sequence
1/ Matrix Alternates
30 sec rest
3/ 12 full reps
60 sec rest
4/ Ascending Matrix

Completed all sets without rest/pause so increase the weight next time.:slight_smile:

After increasing the weight you may find you can’t complete the sets given. So what to do?

In the Matrix Principle Prof laura discusses this very question.
You can do three things
1/ Decrease the weight
2/ Do short rest/pause until you complete the set
3/ Increase the rest time between sets. Prof Laura strongly advises against this; the shortened rest times are integral to the success of MT.

I personally use rest/pause

With kind thanks to Matrixhealth.
Here are the first 8 of the 36 Matrix Principles.
They give, I believe, a fair picture of where your training goes if you follow the MT program.
They will also help those wishing to try MT, but don’t yet have the books, the ability to construct a workout for themselves.

  1. Conventional Matrix
    5 full reps
    5 reps half up
    5 reps half down
    5 full reps

  2. Descending Iso Matrix
    7 full reps
    6 reps half up
    5 reps half down
    4 full reps

  3. Ascending Matrix
    4 full reps
    5 reps half down
    6 reps half up
    7 full reps

  4. Matrix Alternates
    5 full reps
    1 rep half down
    1 rep half up
    1 full rep
    1 rep half down
    1 rep half down
    2 full reps
    1 rep half up
    1 rep half down
    3 full reps
    1 rep half up
    1 rep half down
    4 full reps
    1 rep half up
    1 rep half down
    5 full reps

  5. Cumulative Matrix Alternates
    1 full rep
    1 rep half up
    1 rep half down
    2 full reps
    2 reps half up
    2 reps half down
    3 full reps
    3 reps half up
    3 reps half down
    4 full reps
    4 reps half up
    4 reps half down
    5 full reps

  6. Matrix Ladders
    5 full reps
    1 rep 1/5ths up
    1 rep 2/5ths up
    1 rep 3/5ths up
    1 rep 4/5ths up
    1 full rep
    1 rep 1/5ths down
    1 rep 2/5ths down
    1 rep 3/5ths down
    1 rep 4/5ths down
    5 full reps

  7. Cumulative Matrix Ladders
    1 full rep
    1 rep 1/5ths up
    2 reps 2/5ths up
    3 reps 3/5ths up
    4 reps 4/5ths up
    5 full reps
    1 rep 1/5ths down
    2 reps 2/5ths down
    3 reps 3/5ths down
    4 reps 4/5ths down
    5 full reps

  8. Ascending Iso Matrix
    5 full reps
    1 rep half up (holding for 1 seconds)
    1 rep half up (holding for 2 seconds)
    1 rep half up (holding for 3 seconds)
    1 rep half up (holding for 4 seconds)
    1 rep half up (holding for 5 seconds)
    1 full reps
    1 rep half down (holding for 1 seconds)
    1 rep half down (holding for 2 seconds)
    1 rep half down (holding for 3 seconds)
    1 rep half down (holding for 4 seconds)
    1 rep half down (holding for 5 seconds)
    5 full reps