T Nation

MR: 2 Hours of Power



I'll be on from 7-9 EST to answer your questions, but feel free to leave them here so I can get a running start!

Also, if you're reading this, make sure to wish EC good luck at his meet this weekend!

Stay strong.


I'm currently doing your designer athletes program with a few modifications (Olympic lifts and some max effort work as well to keep my strength up, and dragging a sled as a posterior chain exercise).
For one wishing to increase muscle mass would u recommend massive eating as a diet.
Should ab work be added to your program (I do sledgehammer work, saxon side bends and hanging leg raises).
My question is should plyometrics be added, I do some skill work for my sport of rugby which I'm quite new too.
Anything else you would recommend, agility work?


Yes, all JB's stuff is top notch.

For abs, you can add in one of the templates from my "21st Century Core Training" article, but I typically do some sort of ab training at each workout.

I don't think there's a need for plyos, speed or agility work unless it's a significant concern for the athlete. This is a "base" cycle for someone just coming off a layoff, and the purpose is to get back in the gym and put on some size and strength.

Stay strong


MR, any updates on your recovery? The new job?

You really need a blog so we can follow your daily life. Have you considered installing web cams everywhere you go?


G'day Mike,

Just wondering what you think the best way to do "Face Pulls" is, with a rope handle or the straight portion of the lat pulldown bar? Also, what is typically regarded as a good weight to use for this exercise? I've been finding that unless I lean right back I am getting pulled forward off balance a bit by the weight, and this is only with 35kg (I weight about 95kg!). Is it an exercise which should only use lighter loads and higher reps?



PS, How's the knee recovery going? From two previous knee injuries I know how frustrating it is not being able to move around properly.



The recovery is coming along slowly but surely. I like the surely part, just not the slowly part :wink:

The new job is kicking my butt; at my old job I worked bankers hours, now I'm out of bed at 3:30 most mornings, and last night I didn't get home until 7:30 pm. However, we have some amazing things on the horizon, and I'm really excited about a lot of the athletes we are already in contact with.

Yeah, I would love to do the blog thing, just don't have time for it yet (and not sure if TC is ready to see it!) I'm sure I'd have plenty of banter to fill up the space, just need to create some time to do it. Not sure how feasible the web-cam idea is, but that would be cool too!

What are you up to currently? Any news on the move?


I prefer the rope attachment, and I lean back quite a bit so I can use more weight. The key is to focus on pulling to different parts of the face (forehead, nose, chin, neck), and really working to retract the scapula.

Hopeully I answered the knee question in DB's reply. Let's just say my upper body is getting stronger :wink:

Stay strong


What are your thoughts on squatting wide and sumo deadlifting in the same week? Is this bad for my hips? I have a big belly and I don't have the best flexability, which is getting better thanks to your streching article. I never thought stretching could have such an impact on the way I feel and train. Anyway, I like to squat wide because I can move more weight plus my form on close stance squats sucks. Also I just about always squat off a box about 1"-2" below parrallel. I do sumo deads because I can't get that far down with my back arched. Any thoughts or suggestions?
I also wanted to know. How does the central nervous system repair itself? The same as a muscle?


Doesn't anyone want to show EC any love?


I can help you with the first part of your question, but the second could be an entire chapter of a book!

I know squatting/pulling wide can be done, but like you said, you need to be doing the appropriate things to keep the soft tissue healthy. Here are a few:

  • Stretch, static and dynamic
  • Massage/ART/foam roll
  • Hip mobility work, ala Get Your Butt in Gear
  • Listen to your body!

Just as an aside, if you know your close stance box squat sucks, you should probably work on it. Who knows, it could be the weak link that gives you a big break-through in your squat poundages!

Stay strong



I know youre big on heavy rowing and I always include it in my workout, however when I do it I tend to keep my back as flat as possible to avoid any cheating.

Obviously this takes away from the load I can use on the exercise so I'm nowhere near rowing the same amount of weight that I bench. Do you think I should loosen up the form a bit and stop using bitch weight? Thanks.


I have been trying to incorporate more close stance squats into my training. My feet want to point out like crazy and I feel unstable. I need a ton of ab work but thats the one thing I am always unmotivated to do.
Hey don't cop out of the hard questions. I seem to recall a post a few weeks ago about "How many of you utilize Prime Time?" You asked for it, you got it. I'm a mechanical engineering student just tryin' to learn the human side of life.
Thanks for your help Mike!



There's a fine line here, I know. I will typically do phases of lighter weight, high rep stuff with impeccable form, alternated with phases of low reps, high load and maybe cheat a little at the end. I never sacrifice form or put myself at risk for injury, but sometimes the slightest bit of body English helps us get that last rep.

Hope this helps!

Stay strong


No problem bro; get those hips loosened up and I think you'll be surprised at how good you feel!

Stay strong


[quote]Mike Robertson wrote:
Hopeully I answered the knee question in DB's reply. Let's just say my upper body is getting stronger :wink:

Stay strong


Just don't turn into a "lightbulb", OK? :slight_smile:

Personally I got into cycling as a result of my knee injuries and did that for a few years until the middle of last year when I decided to just try the leg weights again and haven't looked back since. My knee actually feels healthier funnily enough, starting to take fish oil late last year has probably helped as well.




Hi Mike,
I asked you for some advice about my radial head fracture about a week ago. I'm travelling in New Zealand at the moment so I haven't been able to get to a chiro.

I've had a good look on the internet for information regarding microstretching. There doesn't seem to be much actual information. Every "hit" seems to lead to the same website run by Nikos Apostolopoulos, the Founder of Stretch Therapy and Microstretching. He's removed most of the articles from his website due to the pending publication of his book. Is this the technique/guy that I'm after though?
Cheers Mike


Yeah, no worries about the light bulb thing; I like leg training too much to let that happen!

I'm pretty sure I have all my bases covered w/regards to the recovery, but I'm actually going to ask CT about how EMS could help promote possible "flushing" and helping to reduce inflammation. Not sure if it does, but it's a nice theory :wink:

Stay strong


Yes, you've found it.

The basic premise is to get in a stretch where you are only stretching at 30-40% of your capacity and holding for extended periods of time (a minute or more). As I stated, I had pretty good success w/this w/my radial head fracture patient. Good luck!

Stay strong


BTW, I registered the domain name of:


I hope to have my website up in the next month or so!


Hey MR, gonna jump on the face pull bandwagon with another question.

What angle is the best to keep your arms at? Should they be in the exact plane of your shoulders(IE: upper arms making a 90 degree angle w/ your upper body) or are your arms bent down slightly?

Secondly, I definitly feel it in my back but sometimes I get some shoulder fatigue. Is this normal or a sign of improper form?