T Nation



Hey Team,

Well let's see...it's 116 outside, and I'm (thankfully) inside). Good time to answer your questions for a little bit.

Now here's my question to YOU:

What's the biggest issue/topic that's been a constant source of confusion to you, and how can we arrive at some clarity on that issue.

Any takers?


Wow! The only place I've been that was hotter than that was Kuwait. It was 120-130 degrees!

  1. I would say rep range-For ex: I want to increase my power clean/press and deadlift 1RM. Some people say to practice singles all the time w/varying loads and other people say that medium to high reps (sets of 5-10 reps) is better because the more total reps you get in the better. I know an easy cop out answer could be "try both" and that's cool but I'm sure one method is a little better. Which method is better in your opinion?

  2. When you sprint up hills do you: a. sprint 100% all out or 75% and b. can you burn fat by sprinting shorter distances like 40 yards (5-6 seconds) as opposed to sprinting 20 seconds and resting 40 seconds like your template?

  3. I'm not a thrower, but are there explosive benefits to be reaped by throwing a dumbbell around in my yard?

  4. As much as you are interested in strongman stuff, how come you aren't a fan of the sledgehammer stuff?


Hey Charles. Got some very good advice from CT on this. Wondering your thoughts as well. Here was my question:

"I'm interested in your thoughts on training teenagers. What are the limitations if any? I've started training my girfriends youngest brother who is 14. For now as a beginner, he is lifting in the higher rep range, but I ultimately planned to move him into heavy training. I'm trying to sort out the myths from the facts. I've heard talk about not going too close to 1 rep max. How close is too close? Any input would be great. Thanks!"

And CT recommended avoiding going below 5RM until the he's developed a very good strength base AND has at least 18 months of training under his belt.

What are your thought? Thanks!


Frequency. Im going with my thoery that upto 4 strength qualities should be trained per week for an advanced lifter and this is the upper limit for frequency. If Im training for Maximal strength, speed-strength, strength-speed and strength endurance, then Ill expose all my compound movements to the parameters required to train each of these strength qualities and this will determine my frequency per week.

But then I ask myself, why cant I train any one of the strength qualities twice and make my frequency for my lifts 5/week and this is where I get confused.

I know CW believes we are adaptation machines and have the ability adapt to almost anything gradually overtime but then even that gets out of control doesnt it?

So then comes in specialization of movements (bodyparts for bodybuilders) where you select a movement to specilize and do maintainance work for the rest which is what CW and CT mentioned theyre doing but Im thinking wouldnt an athlete have to generally specialize everything and peak in all movements before a comp?



Hi Mr. Staley,

Just received your "PR Zone" newsletter, which emphasised on farmer's walk. I have never done any famer's walk, would like to have a go with it but have no idea what weight/length/time I should start with. Could you give me a bit of hint to start with?


Training emphases: Basic fitness qualities needed in competitive Martial Arts (Strength, Power, Power-Endurance)

Body weight: 76kg
Weight training exp.: 2yrs
Deadlift PR: 85kg x 5
Squat PR: 115kg x 5
Bench PR: 70kg x 1
DB snatch PR: 27.5kg x 5

Equipment available at gym: 2xAdjustable Kettlebells, dumbbells from 12.5kg to 40kg, barbell

Thanks in advance,

Geek boy

P.S. I obtained my black belt 1st dan based on the training approach from your "Science for Martial Arts Training" book. Thanks very much!


Back-off sets! Just kiddin'.

I believe many trainees are befuddled by progression models. As I mentioned in this week's article, progression isn't merely related to adding more load to the bar. Although, that's an effective technique but it can't be used continuously.

Here's a leading question for you Charles, let's use the 10x3 method with 90s rest periods as an example. What do you think would happen to MxS levels if a trainee set up a progression where the rest period was decreased 5s with each subsequent workout? At the end of say, 6 weeks, how would this trainee perform better (if at all)?


Carb cycling with the goal to increase mass.

Right now I'm trying to eat the majority of my carbs in the morning, and after my workouts, but on my off/light-cardio days, I've been trying to lower my carbs considerable, and make up the calories with protein and fat. The lifting being every other day, and light cardio being 2-3 days of 20min uphill walking on a treadmill at a speed just under jogging.

I just started doing this after noticing that I'm gaining more fat than I wanted while 'bulking', but I don't want to sacrifice muscle gains.

I gained 12lbs (from 160-172), 1/4" on my arms (with no direct arm work), and 4" on my waist in the last 10 weeks.

Would it be better to just lower my overall carb intake as long as I'm still gaining muscle?

How important are carbs the day after a workout (on a non-lifting day)?

That last question being the most confusing for me.



I have a different question. Hoping you can give me some feedback on where I should go next with my training. My goals lately (past 2 months) have been to get leaner while gaining size and strength. For the first month, I did all three. Now, in the second month, the fat lost has slowed, but the size and strength are still coming along. Ideally, I'd like to continue with all three, or try to maintain strength while getting a bit leaner and adding some size.

Here's what I did during the first month:

Day 1 (3x3)
Back Squat
Barbell Bench
Barbell Rows
Hanging Leg raises

Day 2 (4x12)
Barbell Hack Squats
Decline Bench Press
Stiff-legged deadlifts
Upright rows
Hammer Curls
Swiss ball crunches

Day 3 (4x6)
Overhead Press
Close-grip Bench Press
EZ Bar curls
Russian twists

The following month was:

Day 1 (3x3)
Overhead Press
Close-grip Bench
Barbell curls

Day 2 (3x8)
Decline Bench
Lateral raises
Reverse Curls
Swiss ball crunches

Day 3 (4x6)
Barbell Squat
Barbell Bench Press
Barbell Row
Hanging Leg Raises

I do cardio/HIIT/GPP 1-2 times a week on off days usually consisting of sprints, stadiums, sled drags, kbell work, jump rope or something similar.

My diet consists of a variety of meats, veggies and fruits. Also yogurt, Low-Carb Grow!, Surge, almonds, eggs, and low-carb whole wheat tortillas. I eat 5-7 meals a day.

So how should I switch up the training for the next cycle? I train at home, in my garage and it tends to be 100+ degrees. I have a power rack, flat bench, Olympic barbell set, some kbells, some light dumbbells, some Swiss balls, med balls and an EZ curl bar. I've realized that I respond best to 8 reps or less. Anything more is a waste for me, as I only get a mild pump.


Yeah you took the words right out of my mouth- do both. That said, lean toward the low rep stuff, but it need not be all-out...leave at least one rep to spare on every set. I'd shoot for between 6-15 sets of between 1 and 3 reps per set generally speaking.

The answer lies in the inter-relationship between load and volume. No need to go 100% if you do enough repeats...with each new repeat, what was 75% becomes 80, then 85%, etc., etc, as you fatigue (assuming you maintain your speed).

Not really for MxS or body comp. It will improve speed strength however. Also makes for a fun warmup.

Just proximity bias: I've never really explored it too much...


I agree with CT. However, I'd still have them do many low rep sets as opposed to fewer high rep sets- just leave planty in the tank on each set. This way motor skills are developed more rapidly.


Well, as you might imagine I like that method a lot, for both psychological as well as physiological reasons. Obviously, as density increases, your LA tolerance improves commensurately, and MxS development won't suffer, assuming you don't decrease load or volume. I mean, if you can do 10x3 with say 87.5% in shorter and shorter sessions, it'd be hard to say you're getting weaker.

That said, I ALSO like keeping everything constant for several workouts, and monitoring my percieved intensity/difficulty each workout. Once I feel the workout getting noticeably easier, THEN we add weight.


SWR, I'm going to defer this question to my nutrition guru colleagues. I have my own opinions, but this is outside my scope of expertise. Sorry to bail on your question, but it's done with honerable intentions!


Next cycle, I'd use a "same but different" approach.

Meaning, modifications to ROM, grip, stance, etc.

For example:

Day 1 (6x3)
Back Squat to bench
Barbell Bench with 3-sec pause at chest
Barbell Rows
Hanging Leg raises

Day 2 (6x6)
Barbell Hack Squats
Decline Bench Press
Stiff-legged deadlifts
Upright rows
Heavy Cheat Hammer Curls
barbell rollouts

Etc, etc.

Also, I'd try to trim down your execise menu a little bit, just hit the really big drills, limit it to 3-4 exercises per session.


You'd need to use a barbell then and do a walking deadlift as I illustrated in the newsletter. I don't know how strong you are, but try doing this two days a week, where one day is for 50-ft carries and the other day is for 100-ft walks. How many repeats? Maybe 5 for both days.


Thanks Charles.

  1. I've been pretty much clean/pressing everyday (alternating between dumbbells and barbells and varying loads/volume)...

so if I'm clean/pressing pretty much every day to improve that lift, should I still do 6-15 sets of 1-3 reps or how about 5-7 sets of singles everyday?

  1. I gotcha. I guess just personal preference is to just do say 5 repeats at a higher intensity (100%) and get it done quicker as opposed to doing 15-20 sprints. It's much less time consuming. Do you think it's as beneficial? It is basically an intensity versus volume thing right?

Thanks again Charles.


The body can indeed be coaxed into adapting to ever more frequent sessions, but only to a point. I think your original thought, using 4 sessions per week, is getting close to the upper limit however.


Thanks. So, Eric Cressey's tip of lifting in the 8-15 rep range for beginners made sense to me. This is what I started him with. So, you're saying that you think a high number of low rep sets but with a lower loading scheme (perhaps comparable to standard higher rep loading parameters?) is preferable to this?


I enjoy reading health and fitness books, I have read "The Book of Muscle" "Hard-Body Plan" by Larry Keller and "Nutrient Timing" by John Ivy, PhD, & Robert Portman, Phd. I thoroughly enjoyed them all but I enjoyed Nutrient Timing so much I read it twice. Are there any books you could recommend that would be good educational reads?



Yes, that was a leading question since you're the EDT guy, and that's why I appreciate your expertise on the topic.

So, if I may be so bold, let me ask you a direct question. Would the aforementioned technique (10x3, constant load, shorter rest periods, 6 weeks) augment a trainee's 1RM? In other words, do you think the trainee's 1RM would be higher at end of 6 weeks?

If we quantified a typical loading progression, a trainee could probably increase his 1RM by 12% at the end of 6 weeks. How do you think the rest period progression would compare?


I'd shoot for every other day. Rotate between something like 10x3, 15x1, and 5x5

IOt's beneficial as long as you can recover from it.