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Questions Regarding Waterbury Method Program

He has a Full Body Template.

Try that first.

If you have to ask a question, you are not ready to program your own.

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Iirc, from his log, he’s been doing the full body template.

@samul how was your progress during the last two months?

Did weight increase?

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@JFG I was expecting this kind of answer.
As @dchris noted, I have been doing the template you are talking about.

Still, I was hoping to get some kind of answer to my question, even a link to a post I might be missing, just for learning purposes so that I can eventually get to the point where I can design a program by myself

@dchris thank you for taking interest. Please would you mind taking a quick look at my log and assess yourself how I’ve been progressing? Not that I’m too lazy to do it, but I’m not confident I can see if I’m heading in the right direction. Some exercises have improved, others may be not much.

One other temporary limiting factor is diet: I’m eating plenty of good food (as a matter of fact I think my diet is very solid as far as food choices) but since summer is coming I’m trying to keep fat at bay, which could be slowing down my gains.

What I’m doing looks more like a body recomp.

Once summer is over or at least well past the middle of it I will slowly increase food intake and see how it goes.

Let me know what you think, feedback is very appreciated

I have seen it before and my answer remains.

If you feel the high rep sets do nothing for you, you are doing it wrong. You have been following the program for a month? That is nothing. That should just be enough to get your weights right. 2 more months, consistently and you will be golden.

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Alright, I will keep doing the program.

As far as the new set of exercises (the program calls for a changes in exercise choices once every two weeks), what do you recommend?

If you look at my log, you can see the exercises I’ve been doing. Do you recommend I just return to the old set, maybe changing up a couple of exercises or changing the setup like my grip etc?

Also, since I don’t feel the need for a deload, should I start from next week with the new exercises as I normally did on week 1 (obviously with heavier weights)?

I’ve got two more questions as well:

  1. I’ve been reading about the high pull and I believe that would make for a good addition to the program (plus I want to learn some Olympic lifts and their variations, and thibadeau’s article about the high pull has gone a long way in getting me hyped up about the exercise). Is it okay if I practice it for the remaining 2 sessions of the week so that from next week I can include it in my 3x5 day? Also, should I bring down the reps on this specific exercise, maybe to 3x3 (or to 5x3 to keep the same number of total reps)?

  2. I feel like I suck at pullups. I would like to really work on them and increase my ability to do more. On the other hand, when I do them, it’s so hard to get the reps in that at the end I don’t feel like I worked my back. What should I do? Should I keep doing them, or should I move to lat pull downs where I can feel my back way more for the time being?

The program you are doing has a variety of exercise. Waterbury is a proponent of changing on a regular basis. Confusion theory. Just pick an exercise that you like or haven’t done and have fun.

Just keep the principals intact.

Once a month change is fine.

  1. I hate high pulls. My shoulder hate them more. I prefer the high pulls that rests on the shoulders (snatch??). But, why not? I would definitely put them on on 3x5 day. Once a week.

  2. I was lousy at any pulling. My shoulders are a mess. I started with 10x3 negatives only. Lots of articles here on how to get better. It took about 6 months before I could get 10x3 honest pull ups. Palms close together facing each other. Get better, you have nothing to loose. It will take time, just be consistent. I now love them. Same goes for dips. I hate bench presses now and love dips.

Good luck


@JFG Thank you!

So I tried to put everything together and this is what I’ve come up with

3-4x5 day

A1 high pull
A2 back squat
B1 pull up
B2 db incline bench press
C1 leg raise
C2 cable pullover

3-4x8 day

A1 standing db overhead press
A2 bent over BB row
B1 db rdl
B2 standing calf raise
C1 standing BB curl
C2 incline DB Tricep extension

2-3x15 day

A1 seated cable row
A2 close grip bench press
B1 db side lateral raise
B2 face pull
C1 lying leg curl
C2 cable crunch

How’s that look to you?

Change the 4x5 to 6x4, put the 3x15 day in the middle (he likes to put the lighter days after heavier days for a variety of reasons). Change the exercises on the 3x15 day to unilateral exercises (ie: 1 armDB row instead of BB row)

If you like Waterbury and want to take the guess work out of it just look online for his collection of programs in pdf/spreadsheet. It has all of his T-Nation programs, in order (increasing frequency as you go). Will give you at least 6-8 months of programming. Or if you want his most up to date ideas get his Huge in a Hurry book, he has changed how he handles sets/reps a bit since his original stuff.

edit: Really read and absorb this article if you want to get some more of this ideas down

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Do you recommend that I start with 5x4 and then I move to 6x4?

In case you don’t know, this specific template (which I actually found in another book from Chad, muscle revolution) has me progressing like this:

Week 1

Session 1: 3x5
Session 2: 3x8
Session 3: 2x15

Week 2

Increase weight and use antagonist training

###Week 3
Add one set
Session 1: 4x5
Session 2: 4x8
Session 3: 3x15

Week 4

Increase weight with the new volume and use antagonist training

Also, why do you think I should switch from 3-4x5 to 5-6x4? I’ve read that according to him, the best number of reps per muscle group per training session is around 25. Is that your reason? I’m asking this mainly for learning purposes

  1. I agree with you as far as placing the light(er) day in the middle, and one of the reason I can think of is to facilitate nervous system recovery according to what I learned so far. However now I’m left wondering why he put the days in that order to begin with. Is there any benefit?

  2. I read about using unilateral exercises in place of bilateral ones on Chad’s blog as well, but I still don’t understand why (besides maybe having to do more stabilization hence working the core to a greater extent but I’m not quite sure that’s the reason). Could you please explain me the reasoning behind that

  3. One more question which is unrelated to specifically what we’re talking about but still regarding this program. I see that Chad has me resting 60 s on the heavier day, 90 s on the 3x8 day, and as much as 2 minutes on the 2x15 day. I remember reading somewhere that he prefers to have you resting longer if you are doing more reps per set. If anything, it’s the opposite of what I’ve always been taught. Do you have any article to reference in which he explains the reasoning for this?

Thank you for your time

If you got the layout from Chad, do it as written. He has a reason for why he laid it out that way, so I wouldnt mess with it. Generically speaking, he likes to switch up loads and put the “most different” loading scheme closest together, and he likes to have at least 3 reps difference between sets (ie - 5x5, then 3x8. But not 5x5 then 4x6. Or even better, 8x3 then 2x12, but not 8x3 then 6x4)

He does have layouts where you simply increase the reps by 3 each workout (like 8x3, then 4x6, then 3x9), so maybe thats what he did here.

As for your questions, I’ll try and answer them as best I can.

1 - According to Chad he likes to put the most different days close together for nervous system recovery, as you mentioned, and to tap into different motor unit pools. Because he typically trains the whole body every training session its important to switch things up to try and hit different motor units even when training the same muscles. In this way you are training “the same but different”

2 - Unilateral exercises bring different muscles into the lift (stablizers, etc…). A lunge works many different muscles than the squat, for example. This is akin to point number 1, doing “the same but different”. And they tax the muscles similarly while sparing the body/spine the large amount of loading. Easier for recovery as well. So, using our lunge example, you can still tax the leg muscles with a 10RM but it isnt compressing the spine with 315 pounds

3 - A large part of Chads philosophy is managing fatigue. It’s the main reason he recommends not training to failure, and why he tends to organize his workouts in supersets/circuits. While you are working muscle B, muscle A is resting.

A set of 3, while hard (maybe even “harder” than a set of 15), takes less time to recover from than a balls out set of 15. A set of 3 largely requires nervous system recovery, while a set of 15 is both nervous system, cardiovascular, and muscular. I cant think of a specific article but I do recall him mentioning this in his writing.

In my experience Chad’s “system” took me several reading of his work to really get a grasp on. Keep reading his stuff while analyzing it at the same time and it will slowly start to make more sense. Feel free to ask Q’s here though, and on his blog which still seems active.


Thank you!

I read your post a couple of hours ago and I remember having some questions but I will have to reread it in order to recall everything.

Anyway I got some deeper insights from your post so thank you.

Besides that, I just updated my training log with some sample videos of today’s workout. Would you mind checking that out (along with other trusted users like @JFG) and giving me some feedback on my technique?

You can find the videos in this post: Samul's Training and Nutrition Log

I was in a hurry when I uploaded them and I did it in the poorest possible way (using Dropbox). If you have any difficulty seeing them, you might have to download them temporarily. Just right click (or tap and hold if you’re from mobile) and download the video, then open offline. I tested it on mobile and I had to refresh the offline page before I was able to watch the videos.

Thank you for your time

@Lonnie123 gave you a great answer. All I can add is empty your mind and let him teach you. 6 months it took me to get what he was teaching by doing and reading. I am now a convert.

It takes time, but it is the journey that’s important.

Good luck.

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Could you please check out the videos of my technique that I posted here: Samul's Training and Nutrition Log

I uploaded the videos to yt so it’s easier to watch them

Learning the high pull


Bb row BB flat bench superset

Try and keep your knees travelling slightly less forward on squats -basically shove your ass out a little bit more