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Most Hardcore CT 4 Days Program

Hi everyone,

For the past years, ive been training 5-6 days a week where each session i was going all out. My training method was probably not the best, because i saw no progress on my body.

Now, ive read alot of CT post on tnation and I must admit that he got a pretty good knowledge and I love what his writting ! Right now , I ask for some help because I cant find the right program to suit my needs.

First of all, I want a program that I can go ALL OUT each session (even tought i can only train 4 days per week), a program that is oriented on hypertrophy (bodybuilding)/ strength and conditionning. (Powerbuilding style + conditionning)

Ive read almost all your post on your workout, so I know already wich program talk about what .

Thanks you veryyy much and I am sorry for my poor english :confused:
Have a good day everyone

Because you want to get the powerbuilding style of training I would say, go for The Complete Power Look Program ( https://www.t-nation.com/training/complete-power-look-program ). As the article says: you have to go heavy and hard on the assistance work, but you shouldn’t try intentionally to hit failure (on a regular basis).

If you want to add conditioning, you should ask CT how (and if) you could implement conditioning into the program. But since you have to hit your body hard to grow, I would say: go easy on conditioning. Maybe some brisk walking everyday, or doing some other kind of aerobic work. I think I would get killed if I pushed myself with circuits or something when doing The Power Look Program.

Thanks alot for the awnser !

Actually i was doing Built for Bad strenght circuit 5x per week (i did it for 13 days, and each day my lift was climbing up) but i am scared to not recover enough? (IE: for the dead-squat i went 4 plates for 2 reps to 4 plates and 5 lbs for 5 reps)

Shall I wait to stall on the Built for bad circuit then move on on this program?

What is the difference between the I, bodybuilder and the Power look program?

I would like to know CT opinion on adding conditioning w/ the program.

Thanks you very much again

Well first thing… I feel like your have the wrong attitude. I know saying that you always want to go all-out sounds hardcore and instinctively sounds like the right thing to do. But in reality the only thing that matters is progressing.

If training so hard that your eyes bleed at every session hurts your capacity to perform in some sessions, you are not making a good investment,

I’ll give you an example…

Two years ago I did the following lower body session:

It was a complex of 3 exercises done with very short rest between all 3:

A1. Back squat with slow eccentric. I had 365 on the barbell, 50lbs of chains per side and weight releasers (adds weight during the eccentric, then fall off of the bar prior to the concentric portion) with 60lbs on each side. So I would do the eccentric in 5 seconds with 555lbs during the eccentric and up to 465 on the concentric (at the top). I would do a single rep like that.

A2. Jump squat using 135lbs for 10 reps, jumping up as high as possible

A3. Depth jumps for 5 reps

I would rest 3 minutes… I did 10 sets like that.

Felt like a great workout… was whipped at the end.

Well for 14 days I couldn’t go down lower than a quarter squat, even without weights and it took me 21 days to be able to squat with a challenging weight!

Was that a productive workout? After the session I would have said HELL YEAH! But in reality it was one of the worst workouts I did as it basically ruined 3 weeks of lower body sessions.

That is an extreme example but you catch the drift: it is important to train really hard, but killing yourself by going all out should never be an objective: stimulating progress is.

It is a MISTAKE to pride yourself on how hard you are working. The ONLY thing you should take pride in is how much RESULTS you are getting.

You mention that you trained all-out 5 days a week but basically got no results. That should tell you something!

Now, two programs that would fit what you are looking for at the 915 and Power Look programs. Both are based on 4 hard training days a week and both are aimed at making you stronger and bigger.

What I’m afraid off however is that these programs use a specific progression model on the main lifts and you MUST respect that model for the program to work. And for the main lift you actually should NOT go all out, most of the weeks. Otherwise you will hit the wall before the end of the program.

If you absolutely have the need to go to your limit then I would suggest the layer system approach. In which you focus on one lift per session and train it using several different methods, or layers.

For example:
LAYER 1: Ramp up to your 2RM (maximum weight you can lift for 2 reps)
LAYER 2: Perform 2-3 cluster sets of 4-6 reps with 90% of your 2RM… a cluster set is a set in which you rest 10-15 seconds between every repetition (re-rack the weight)
LAYER 3: Perform 2-3 sets of 4-6 reps with 70% of your 2RM using a slow eccentric/lowering (5 seconds)
LAYER 4: Perform 1 set of maximum reps with 60% of your 2RM

You could use these lifts:

DAY 1. Overhead press
DAY 2. Squat
DAY 4: Bench press
DAY 6: Deadlift (this is brutal so keep the sets for layer 2 and 3 at 1 or maybe 2)

You can do SOME assistance/isolation work after the main lift but keep the volume VERY low. Om DAY 1 you can do some delts work, DAY 2 some quads work, DAY 4 some pecs and triceps work. DAY 6 some back and biceps work

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They aren’t even remotely similar. It’s like asking what are the differences between hockey and baseball

I would not add any condition work to a program that is designed to be done without it. A program is designed in such a way that you will stimulate gains but will be able to recover from the workload. If you add conditioning work to a program that is designed to be done without any you will exceed your capacity to recover and will not progress.

wow, thanks alot for your time sir !! Much appreciated.

I would like to know also the difference between the complete power program and the I bodybuilder in term of optimal hypertrophy and strength. Do you recommend 4 or 5 days a week training? thanks you very much again

IBB is not in line with my current views of training. Works well, any of the programs I created do. But if I were to recommend one among the 2 it would be the power look program

THAT is a great, and rare, answer…honesty and the ability to change one’s views regarding any subject is lost in this world. After reading your articles and performing many of your programs, i have seen the shift in your ideas on training.

Thanks for all you do

A lot of people are actually pissed off that I changed some of my views. That’s the thing with the internetz: the articles I wrote 15 years ago (wow, talk about a long time) can be read minutes prior to reading my newer stuff.

Show me one person in any field that has not changed some of his views in 15 years… I would not be doing a good job if I was not trying to learn new methods or techniques every day.


I don’t feel like hitting the “like” button justifies how much I respect and like that statement. That is the truly the very best approach a person can have.

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Late to the thread…been doing the layer system for >1 year and it’s extremely effective and easy to do.

3months: Strength (1rm)
3 months: Performance (2rm)

There’s one out there for 3rm: if you want to schedule that. Used to be always hopping programs, this one suits me perfectly!

1: Incline Bench
2: Back squat
3: high Pull
4: off
5 decline bench
6; front squat
7: high Pull
8: off
9=> repeat.

(Without plasma or good recovery rates perhaps go to 5 days)

[quote=“mbdix, post:12, topic:218192”][quote=“Christian_Thibaudeau, post:11, topic:218192”]
Show me one person in any field that has not changed some of his views in 15 years… I would not be doing a good job if I was not trying to learn new methods or techniques every day.

I don’t feel like hitting the “like” button justifies how much I respect and like that statement. That is the truly the very best approach a person can have.

Definitely agree. There’s a thread in PWI about “Why it’s hard to change your mind” and I feel like there’s so much parallel to this. One thing I am grateful for is that science values the ability to change your mind and learn new things constantly, which has helped me to evolve in a ton of ways personally.

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I’ve trained every day for the last eight under the Look Like/Perform Like program, and I’m enjoying it hugely. It’s intense but it’s also pretty well-tolerated, even though I thought I’d do a week at the full MTW to start off - I’m not too sore and I’m full of energy.