T Nation

Mighty Stu, How do you Train?

Why hasn’t this thread been made earlier? The man came up with the idea of putting cottage cheese, MD and splenda together, for crying out loud!

I’ll start it off by sharing a PM Stu sent me when I asked about Front vs Back squats.

Stu’s always been a real cool dude, with a lot of useful info to share in a really accessible way, so I think that everyone could benefit from a look into how he trains.

[quote]TheMightyStu wrote:
I recall that I started doing pre-exhaust for a while, after warming up a bit, I’d try to kill my quads with extensions before going anywhere near a squat rack, and once I got there, I’d hardly ever go above 315, focusing more on slowly lowering, and explosively lifting the bar. I never really got into using the leg press machine, as I kinda saw it as a cop-out, which is kinda stupid, as I use it now while trying to refine a bit. I will say that the last year, focusing on front squats has really helped. A couple of back injuries really screwed up my leg training for about 2 years, so I’m totally self conscious about bringing them up now (I start most leg sessions with hamstrings). I’ll give you what I’ve been doing lately, and hope that gives some sort of idea what my current thinking is (everything changes, so I don’t know how long I’ll even stay with this):

-Recumbant Bike -5 mins (not for the legs, but I feel it warms up my lower back a bit)

-Front squats, usually 3 warms ups starting with an empty bar, and touching my calves to my ass if I can, then 2 sets with 135, and then either staying with 245 for about 5 sets of 8-12, or some days, I’ve gone as heavy as 275, and done lower reps just for variety sake.
-Leg sled with heels together/toes pointed out a bit, focusing on more of a partial movement, and heavy weights. I’m trying to add to my leg sweep a bit, as my quads seem a little narrow when viewed head on.
-Stiff leg deads, usually with dumbells (I feel a better stretch with them). I shorten the movement to the lower part, hoping to prevent my back from assisting, I basically move the weights from the floor (yes, I can touch the floor -lol), to about my knee level, almost getting a pumping/time under tension effect.
-1 leg hamstring curls. I think toov many folks go for the 2 leg variety, and use their entire body to jerk the weight up.
-Glute-Ham raises facing away on a pulldown machine - totally killer exercise, to which I will admit to holding a broom stick with one hand to assist when I actually have to reverse my body and raise my body with my hamstrings.

Occassionally, I may do a couple of sets of walking dumbells lunges, just to really burn things out.

Hope that paints some kind of a picture. It’s nothing out of a Poliquin or Waterbury article, just what I’ve selected based on my own readings, and experiences for the time being.


Looks like your hams came up nicely, btw! Right one looks like you have a pipe in your leg, lol.

Stu is the man. Very helpful, never antagonistic. Has a lot of class which even some of the vets here lack - also some of the authors, unfortunately.

I’ll buy the guy lunch if I ever hang out with him.

Beyond how you train, Stu, tell us how you’re eating (before you decided to sign up for that show).

Stu’s one of my favorites around here.

Agreeing with the good words already mentioned, I’ll add that Stu’s a no BS guy, serious about training, yet a quick wit when it calls for it. On top of that, the dude has one of the more rugged physiques on these forums.

I’m hoping to see him compete in May.

I’ll echo the words of everyone else.

However, I do have a beef with the OP. It’s THE Mighty Stue. Calling him Mighty Stu implies that there could be more than one. We all know that’s not true.

Obviously, Stu is someone that people should be listening to around here.

He clearly loves training and has certainly been very successful at it…

just wanted to join in on the nut licking… proceed :smiley:

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
just wanted to join in on the nut licking… proceed :D[/quote]

shit that made me laugh. Stu does have lots of experience, and unlike most on this board that are full of advice / criticism, has results to back it up.

I heard Stu doesn’t train, he just uses No-ExPlodez and photosynthesis to grow. Im curious to hear more from the man himself.

Do you hold your pinky out while doing bicep curls or tricep extensions?

Stu beat the shit out of Chuck Norris and The Stig at the same time.

Stu introduced me to the PWO fiber Pop-Tart.

He is a saint and better than all of you.

LMAO at photosynthesis and holding the pinky out.

Ok stu… We want to hear it all. No secrets anymore :wink:

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Ok stu… We want to hear it all. No secrets anymore :wink:




Uh,… Wow - lol. Thanks guys. Guess it’s weird to realize that I’m not a newbie anymore. I had the same feeling teaching college, all I could think of was the really great professors I had had, who were obviously better qualified than I was to be teaching anyone anything.

It’s certainly not like I have any secrets, I just think I have a pretty analytical mind, and have approached my training and nutrition in that manner. Luckily I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie on this board enough to share my own thoughts on things, without worrying about being wrong, and in most cases, it seems I’ve been pretty helpful to a lot of people (cool! -lol)

I’m not Christian Thibs here, but I’ll certainly answer any questions anyone may have. The number of PMs I get seems to have jumped a bit in the last year, so maybe I know what I’m doing afterall.

I’ll give a little BG if that helps, I certainly didn’t start out a big chunk of muscle, and was definitely not an athlete in high school (although I ran track and did martial arts). I was tha artsy kid in the honors classes. For those who don’t know, I’ve been working as an animator and storyboard artist since the mid 1990’s, so my view of bodybuilding was more sculpting than anything athletic. IN fact, I didn’t even start lifting until I was 20, and in my 2nd year of college. I was 5’9 (on a good day), and weighed all of 150 lbs. I thought I was in good shape because I could see some semblance of abs, I didn’t realize that it’s how the human body is supposed to look if you’re not fat.

IN hindsight, I did everything wrong. I was still running 9 miles a few times a week, was going to the gym every day, and I was eating a very very carb heavy diet (I could steal bagels from the school cafeteria to eat with peanut butter) with no regard to protein content, feeding frequency, or even overall calories. I’d also like to note that there was no internet, the only magazines were total crap (eventually muscle media 2000 came out and made me realize that pro BBers used steroids -lol), and even the coach to taught the weightlifting class didn’t seem to know very much (I realize this NOW).

For someone who was pretty new to athletics, let alone weight training, I got really strong really fast, which of course made me ‘chase numbers’ in the gym instead of chasing hypertrophy. After my 1st year training, even though I could now bench 315 lbs, I had maybe put on a grand total 1 lb! The guy I trained with, who was pretty big at about 5’10 and 220lbs, still wanted to train every day. He was in law school, but because he had attended my undergrad school, was allowed continued free use of the weight room. Eventually I managed to separate myself from training with him every day, and cut back to 4 days a week. The weirdest thing happened when I did… I actually started putting on a couple of lbs. I kept reading MM2000, and learned a little about nutrition. I started looking for protein in my foods. I would buy dented cans on tuna (cheaper!), small cans of peas, and store brand mac N’ Cheese in a box (25 cents each), and combine them all for a meal. I would buy fat free cheese and make tuna melts over expired bread that I bought at the Friehoffers outlet that was in town.

I got a part time job at the local GNC so I could read the magazines for free, and get a discount on totally cutting edge stuff, like Hot Stuff and Cybergenics (don’t laugh, we all did it! -lol). I read that old school BBers took Dessicated (whatever that meant!) liver pills and amino acids every few hours… I did likewise. I read that Ripped Fuel would cut you up like nothing else. I popped a handful and waited for things to happen. I was totally deluded by the supplement ads, and with very little in the way of knowledge, despite my modest gains from cutting back my training frequency, I quickly stalled out again. Even though I had cut out the running, I was on 2 intramural deck hockey teams, and didn’t even realize how badly it was compromising my recovery.

A few years later, I graduated and attended graduate school in Manhattan (NYU). As all of the classes were in the evenings, I pretty much had the entire day for myself (and my coursework). As luck would have it, my apt was one block away from the NYU gym. As a thank you for some work I had done for a family member, I had received a copy of Mike Mentzer’s Heavy Duty book. As Dorian Yates (reigning Mr O at the time) was always speaking highly of Mentzer’s theories, I quickly read the book several times over. I decided that the reason I had not fulfilled my full genetic potential in 2 years (as Mike said anyone could), was that I was grossly overtrained, and grossly undernourished. Well, seeing as how I had the perfect schedule, I was going to do something about this.

For the first time in my BBing life, I started eating every 2 hours. Protein Bars were a new idea (the 1st Metrx bars came out the year before), but the friendly guy at the local Vitamin Shoppe always hooked me up (on $40 for a box! -lol). I would eat 2 of them at once during classes, as well as having shakes between meals which always seemed to have my blender going (Usually Milk, Milk protein -no Whey yet!- Peanut Butter, Honey,and Flax Oil). I also reduced my training days to 3 a week (eventually I moved to 4, but that was my 2nd year). My workout was based on what I read in Heavy Duty, very little work on parts that were overlapped with larger parts.

Monday - Chest, Delts, Tris
Wed - Back, Bis
Fri - Legs

The reduced stimulation (and big weights, I should note that I got VERY strong during this period), large amounts of frequent food, and very sedentary lifestyle (classwork, and deskwork) all came together, and for the first time in my life, I felt, not like a guy who likes to train, but like I really looked like a bodybuilder. On my small frame, my 16" arms looks huge. I could finally fill out an XL shirt (although they were always a little too long), and I’d get checked out by gay guys in the village when I was walking with my girlfriend -lol.

I’m sure that’s probably a little more than most of you care to know, but I figure for those folks who look at other peoples’ avatars are think everyone else has great genetics, or was just born big and ripped… lemme tell you, I’ve worked damn hard for every ounce of muscle I’ve put on. From a scrawny 150 lbers, to my biggest, of 220 lbs (which I admit was a little less than ‘ripped’ -lol), it was a hell of a journey. It’s really only now that I’m trying my hand at my 1st bodybuilding contest that I think I truly have some decent perspective.

And on that note… I gotta take my dog out!

Questions? Answers?
(Thanks all, this was a nice little compliment)


Stu beats up Chuck Norris for his lunch money

[quote]rrjc5488 wrote:
Stu beat the shit out of Chuck Norris and The Stig at the same time.[/quote]

First of all, thanks Stu for being a great source of info and experience on here.
I noticed on your countdown to contest page you mentioned shoulder pressing the 150’s, and here you said in a year you benched 315 at 150 pounds. Just out of curiosity, what are your lifts like?

Cut the bullshit Stu, tell’em bout the photosynthesis!

[quote]elusive wrote:
Cut the bullshit Stu, tell’em bout the photosynthesis![/quote]

Stu is a walking anaerobe.

With an east coast (Joisey or Staten Island?) accent.

Remind me never to compete in the same weight class as this guy.

At least not naturally.