T Nation

Robertson on Prime Time 8/23


I'm here...shoot me some questions!



I am just starting to train for MMA and would like a program that would be great for maximal strength with mild hypertrophy. my goal is to put on some muscle but mainly get stronger so that i will be very strong for my weight class. i have done CW's programs with great success and just wanted to see what you might reccommend.
current stats:
24 yo
9% bf

i can understand if you dont feel like typing it all out here, just a basis would be great. thanks mike.



Thanks for your response from your last Prime Time.

Just one more question: On my WSSB Upper body max day, I have the following horizontal push exercises:

Inclined press: 4x4 @ 6RM
DB press on Swiss Ball: 3x8 @ 10RM

On an antagonistic approach, would I be better off doing:

1) Two rowing exercises, one at higher intensity, one at lower?
e.g. T-bar row 4x4 @ 6RM after inclined press, Cable row 3x8-10 after DB press


2) Just one rowing exercise, total set/rep higher than pressing?
e.g. T-bar row 5x10 @ 12RM, it gives 50reps, which is higher than total pressing reps (40).

Or in fact both options are bad?

Thanks for answering in advance.

Geek boy



Unless you are in an off-season program where you'd want the higher reps for connective tissue strength, the majority of your work should be in lower rep ranges (e.g. 6 and below).

As well, don't get caught up in the "I fight fast so I have to train fast" concept. Use the weight room for what it's for, getting stronger and more powerful. Sparring and ring-work is where you should be working on your conditioning base, as very little that you do in a gym will resemble a real match.

Is that what you wanted?

Stay strong


I like the idea of using two exercises, one a heavier, pure strength exercise with lower reps, and then another exercise with higher reps.

For example, I'll often do heavy rows of some sort say 4x6, and then also do either rope pulls to the neck, band pull-aparts or scapular wall slides (perhaps super-set) to get more scap retraction/depression work. These are typically 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps. Hope this helps!

Stay strong


Thanks Mike, it certain helps, however I am not familiar with the exercises you gave out:

  • band pull-aparts
    Is it like "scarecrow"?

  • scapular wall slides
    Can't say I heard of it. Does it come from any of your articles?

Geek boy


quick question about bilateral symmetry. I have a noticeably lowered right shoulder, which pulls my head to the right. This (I think) is causing the left side of my neck, left trap, and left lat to knot up. I also sometimes feel a tightness or pain radiating from my armpit into my left tricep. No pain in the right shoulder/neck/trap. The nagging pain is killing me as I have a very physical job installing carpet.

What can you pull from your bag o' tricks for me?

Thanks. I appreciate the time you put in on this forum.

  • Rob


Scapular wall slides are described in my "Back on Track" article.

Band pull aparts are described in one of Dave Tate's "Toolbox" articles, although I'm not sure which one.

Hope this helps!

Stay strong



In my "Hardcore Stretching" article, check out the stretches for the left lat, pec, SCM, and upper trap; chances are they are all significantly tighter on the left side. (Note: This doesn't mean NOT to stretch the right side, you probably just won't need to do as much).

No problem putting time in on the forum; I really enjoy doing this! I keep telling TC to give me a job already...I guess a guy can dream!

Stay strong


Almost forgot...

If you have access to it, have someone trained in ART or deep tissue massage work on these areas as well.

Finally, to help re-create balance around the left shoulder girdle, you may need to do more rowing/scap retraction/depression work. Wall slides (discussed above) would be a great exercise, as they can be performed unilaterally.

Stay strong


Cheers Mike, thanks a lot for your help!

Geek boy


No worries Geekboy!

BTW, I've had some computer issues tonight, so I'll hang out a little longer if you guys still have questions!

Stay strong


For my info , what is the best rep range for connective tissue strenght.



For most people, 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps works well, especially strength/power athletes that don't normally do much work in this range.

Stay strong



I read your knee thread, which was very informative. Would you also be the one to ask about shoulder and loback injuries? If yes, I will post a brief history of my injuries, and hopefully you have some rehab exercises or advice. Thanks.



I love to tackle all injuries, not just knees!

However, there are times on the shoulder things when I have to defer to EC though...the man is like a walking shoulder reference!

Fire away!

Stay strong


Great, let me begin. I apologize if its very long. I suspect my left shoulder is impinged. In Nov 2004, I first felt a flare of pain immediately after a set of heavy incline db presses. The pain dissipates after a few seconds. In Jan 2005, I began doing military presses (off clavicle.) However, I did them with protracted scapulas, which worsened my shoulder pain. As I neared June 2005, my bench press increased from 205 to 225 for 6 reps. Several times, when I was fatiguing, I allowed my left scapula to slide up slightly to finish the last rep (bad mistake). If I hold my left hand to my ear (cellphone) for a while, there will be intense pain when I put my arm back down. If I sleep on my left shoulder, I will be in alot of pain when I wake up. Everytime I lift my arm overhead, I hear grinding and clicking noises. If I purposely wing my left scapula and protract it at the same time, I feel pain (That's how I test if its inflamed). I tried icing and ibuprofen. Not that effective. Considering the long time period of this injury, what do you think is the problem? Shoulder impingement, bursitis, tendonitis? I would love to hear your opinion on this matter.

-20yo, 5'8", 176lb, 10%bf
-narrow acromion width (narrow shoulders), small rib cage
- Military press 155lbx4
- Bench press 235lbx4
- Deadlift PR 405lb, used same alternate grip for a year, never switched (left pronated, right supinated)
- Left pec larger than right. Left upper trap alot thicker than right.

If you're ready for my loback history, let me know. Or tell me to catch you tomorrow. Thanks alot.



Please forgive my mistakes. I was only 19yo, and had nobody to show me correct form. Nor did I have access to this great site: T-Nation. I shall begin my loback history.

April 2004: strained Left rhomboid?? (docs never knew) while deadlifting 405lb PR

July 2004: Deadlift for the first time after rhomboid injury 315lb bad form, shoulders in front of bar - left loback (QL??) pain

July-Nov 2005: stopped doing deads. Squatted occasionally. I constantly experimented with ways of working around my injury. Leg press, hack squat - they all hindered my loback recovery process b/c they all caused the loback to pop. Whenever my Left loback pops, I know I will be in pain the next morning.

Dec 2005: First time deadlift - worked up to 345lb 1RM - small pop. So I stopped deads for a few weeks.

Feb 2005: Read numerous deadlift articles on this site (including yours). I realized my mistake, I used to deadlift and squat with a very arched back & major anterior pelvic tilt. This placed alot of pressure on the L5,Sacral vertabrae area. I began deading with a slight pelvic tilt (flat back) and my loback held up. I have powerful glutes. Hams are normal, but weak compared to quads (I have genetically strong legs, when compared to my upper body). With a posterior pelvic tilt, I could not recruit my hamstrings as much, but I'd rather not kill my back again. So I began deading light at 225lb.

April 6, 2005: dead 295lb 5x4reps

April 7, 2005: loback sore. I was hyped to try out the snatch, which I've never done before. So I warmed up with the bar, then 95lb. When I exploded my hips, I felt a sharp pain blast across my sacroiliac area. I was in pain for a few minutes. Stopped deads for the next few months.

June 7, 2005: back feels better, so I do rack pulls. 225lb 6x4reps

June 10, 2005: a girl stepped on my back to massage me and the next morning, loback pain. It's been downhill from there.

August 2005: the pain seems to be in sacrospinalis tendon where it inserts into the anterior side of the hipbone on the iliac crest. The left side seems more injured. My friend lent me a pair of gravity boots. If I hang for 5 mins, the back will loosen up, no pain, no tightness. Sometimes it loosens, sometimes it doesn't. There is no pain in my legs so no nerve pinching. I don't think its a spine issue. Maybe a torn ligament or tendon in the sacroiliac region.

I apologize if this is long. I'm in mental agony and depression from not being able to train. I recently read about Westside, and was so eager to try it. But shoulder & loback injuries prevent me from doing Max Effort lifts. Do you have any advice or rehab exercises? Thank you so much for your time.


PS: some more tips that might help
-I used to lug a duffel bag (10-15lb) hanging on my right shoulder. Maybe that's what pre-exhausted the left QL and made it more prone to injury during heavy squats and deads.

-My leg workouts used to be squats, leg press, and finally deadlifts. Got that from Arnold's encyclopedia.

-When I used to dead in 2004, I never retracted my scapula at the top, maybe that's what led to my rhomboid injury in April 2004.

-The left leg is about 3/16" lower than my right. Thus, I always catch myself favoring the right leg.


I'll be on from 7-9 EST tonight, so leave questions here and I'll answer them if I must!

Stay strong


I have a slight internal rotation of the arms, or so says the sports massage therapist I saw. Is this enough information for you to recommend some corrective work?