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MR Prime Time Action


All -

Looked like the coaching staff was kind of thin tonight so I thought I'd jump on a little early. Hit me up with some questions so I feel important!

Stay strong



would you take a look at this? Thanks if you do! :smiley:


Hi Mike,

What sort of effect/problem would I be facing if I (sort of) ignore vertical movements in a long run?

As you seen from my questions on your Prime Time the last few times, I have been doing WSSB. I only have 1 vertical pressing exercise (KB presses and variations) and 1 vertical pulling exercise (KB clean from floor, if you count it) as a supp lift in the programme. The volume and intensity of my horizontal pushing/pulling is much greater and I have been training like this for the last 2 cycles. Am I setting myself up for some trouble?

Thanks in advance for answering.

Geek boy



Nice D-Tap!

After I do some nice heavy box squats, I occasionally get a warm feeling down the back of my left leg. I'm pretty sure it isn't because I've shit myself. I do think it has something to do with my left glute.

I know the term sciatica gets thrown around a lot these days, but I don't think it is that. Like I said, it is a warmish feeling, not a stabbing pain.

I do regular foam roller work on the upper glutes and it seems to relieve the symptoms. I did rupture my L5-S1 about 10 years ago, and I have a lump of hardened disc fluid in the same general area.

Any idea on what is going on?


I'm not really sure what your question is in all that, but you need to focus on maintaining certain areas while pushing others up.

For instance if you want to improve your sprints, you'll need to focus on maintaining your distance work. Trying to improve too many properties at once is a sure-fire way to overtraining or injury.

Stay strong


I don't think you'll be too bad. A lot of powerlifters train in a similar fashion and seem to be doing just fine.

At certain times in my training I'll include a little bit more vertical pushing/pulling for the general strength benefits, but it's not something I'm going to prioritize when my only real goal upper-body wise is improving my bench press.

Stay strong


Thanks Massif, glad you liked it.

If foam rolling the area relieves the symptoms, it sounds more like a soft-tissue issue more than an issue w/the disc. How tight is your piriformis on that side? In certain populations the sciatic nerve actually passes through the piriformis, so increased tension in that muscle can lead to piriformis syndrome (which has many of the same properties as a bad disc).

Next, any chance that the hardened disc tissue is still impinging the nerve? These are just a few ideas w/regards to differential diagnosis. Let me know what you come up with!

Stay strong


What kind of importance should metabolic strength have in a S&C program?


Mike, I'm a competitive powerlifter who has settled on a schedule of two meets per year. I like to train on 8 to 10 week peaking cycles. What type of appraoch do you suggest during the offeason -- a time when I like to train raw or semi-raw? How do you structure your own training during your offseason?


Metabolic strength? Can you clarify or expand on this?

Stay strong


I train raw 95% of the year, meaning I'll only use a belt up until the month before my meet. I know a lot of "true" powerlifters might not agree with this, but it's the way I like to train.

I would focus on bringing up weakeness from EC and I's "Lousy Leverages" piece in the off-season, while getting stronger in the main lifts raw (if this is a goal). It's rare that I see someone get stronger raw and it doesn't equate to a bigger geared total.

Stay strong


I'm using the defenition given by Joe Kenn is his book The Coaches Strength Training Playbook. Metabolic strength is the ability to maintain a high level of strength play after play or point after point. When he refers to it in training he does what he terms "cluster sets" where the athlete performs one rep at anywhere b/w 80%-95% w/20-30 sec rest. Its like a form of rest-pasue i guess but the reps go as high as 10-15 in some instances. Wouldnt this be the best way to train anaerobic sports that require a mxaimal effore followed by a short recovery? I hope im making some sense and apologize if I can't make it clear enough. Thanks.


TJ -

Now that makes sense. I use cluster sets in my training (and that of my athletes), but to be honest haven't used them for anything over 5 reps. I know Poliquin outlined this system in his "Maximal Weights" article quite a while ago.

Needless to say, it's a pretty proven method. Try it out and let us know how it works!

Stay strong


Mike, thanks for the advice. I agree, and was telling someone after my last meet that gear mastery takes some time, but not as much as most would have you think. Raw training is definitely the way to go offseason. Thanks again.


Recently I've been training legs about twice a week, one session devoted primarily to squats and variants, and the other to DL and variants. About a month ago I felt a slight twinge in my upper-outer left thigh when in the bottom position of a squat. On my next leg day I was going to do DL but the twinge was bothering me so I switched to sumos instead and felt fine. I worked up to 405 for 3 reps over several sets. Over the next 2 leg workouts I managed to squat and dead-lift but with increasing discomfort in the upper outer thigh. On the following session I could not do squats at all so I did leg-presses, leg-extensions, and leg-curls. I hated not being able to squat. Anyway, next session I tried snatch-grip DL but my upper thigh was bothering me too much so I did sumo DL again. Everything was fine during that session except I think I may have pulled something. It started as a light - but sharp - pain in my left hamstring that felt like it originated just above the back of my knee. It was present only when I bent forward at the hip. This pain got a little worse, so during my last session I did no direct ham work, just leg-extensions, other machines and very light front squats. For about 2 weeks now, after every leg session, I've been massaging the affected areas, as well as stretching and using a foam roller for my lower body for at least 30 minutes. I still have pain in the two areas I mentioned though, they may be slightly better, but not by much. Today should be my next leg-day and I'm not sure whether to even train legs. I love to squat and DL, this situation sucks. Any advice would be appreciated.


Have you been to someone versed in ART or massage? That would be my first stop, especially if you think it's just soft-tissue.

However, next time the FIRST thing happens, get it cleared up before moving on. It sounds like your initial injury led to this one, as your body was forced to compensate.

Stay strong


I have one more question. I'd like to try this approcah but Im not sure how to cycle this approach. How long would you suggest I use this method and what kind of frequency as in upper/lower splits or body part splits. Thanks


When I did this we were training 4 days per week, but we only used the clusters for the first two workouts. We were going split-body (two upper, two lower) and we really only did the clusters for the primary exercise that day (e.g. squats or bench). I believe we used something like a 4x5 to start, with 20 seconds rest, then bumped the weight and reps up from week to week.

Stay strong


I wouldn't use the method for much more than 2-3 weeks without unloading.

Stay strong


Thanks coach, I'll give it a shot.