T Nation

Strength n Stuff Part II

Ok, about a month ago I ran a mini-guest forum and I think it’s about time to do another. This time I can probably only answer questions through Wednesday, because I’m actually taking the plunge and getting married this weekend! After that I probably won’t be able to answer any questions for at least the next 2 weeks.

For the next 3 days, though, feel free to shoot me any questions you might have and I’ll do my best to get to all of them!

Stay strong
Mike

Hey Mike, congrats on the marriage.

I liked your ab article “21st Century Core Training” and have been setting up my ab workout including all movements. I usually follow a 3 day split (tier system) and include abs at the end of each workout. I’m about to switch to a westside template and was wondering if I should do abs on each day I workout (4 days per week) or just do two days per week of abs on my Sq/Dl days.

Paul

Hey Mike,

I love your stuff. My running has really improved since I incorporated those lunges off a 6’ box that you listed in you single leg supplements article. My abductors are much stronger.

I only workout twice a week with compound movements. I stick to bench press, chins, deadlifts, squats, dips, and rows, and some single leg movements. I change my rep pattern every three weeks, but I rarely change my exercises.

How often should I change my exercises. I’d prefer to vary them instead of completely changing, i.e., incline press and flat press, standard bent knee deadlift and sumo deadlift, ect… Is this ok? What would be the best variation for an Olympic back squat and how would you incorporate over head pressing. Would it be substituted for bench press or dips?

Hello Mike Robertson,

First congratulations on your soon to be marriage. Been married six years and it is one of the best things I ever did.

Well, I had questions on training my wife. She had neck surgery a little over a year ago. She had a disc C-5 I think taken out and had a bone graft from her hip that replaced that damaged disc.

Now she had rehab and it is done with. The problem now is were does she start on to get back into shape? Should we start with the " Neanderthal No More" articles and look at her weak points and strengthen them? And then start a regular workout routine. Any advice would be very welcomed.
Thank You,
“Sancho”

[quote]pauln78 wrote:
Hey Mike, congrats on the marriage.

I liked your ab article “21st Century Core Training” and have been setting up my ab workout including all movements. I usually follow a 3 day split (tier system) and include abs at the end of each workout. I’m about to switch to a westside template and was wondering if I should do abs on each day I workout (4 days per week) or just do two days per week of abs on my Sq/Dl days.

Paul[/quote]

Paul,

Thanks!

As far as your ab training goes, it could go either way. I, personally, prefer to do some kind of ab work daily just to make sure that I “Git-R-Done” as the hillbilly’s say. However, just doing it 2 days/week is fine, you’ll just have to crank the volume up a bit. Either way, I think you’ll be fine.

Stay strong
Mike

[quote]gar18 wrote:
Hey Mike,

I love your stuff. My running has really improved since I incorporated those lunges off a 6’ box that you listed in you single leg supplements article. My abductors are much stronger.

I only workout twice a week with compound movements. I stick to bench press, chins, deadlifts, squats, dips, and rows, and some single leg movements. I change my rep pattern every three weeks, but I rarely change my exercises.

How often should I change my exercises. I’d prefer to vary them instead of completely changing, i.e., incline press and flat press, standard bent knee deadlift and sumo deadlift, ect… Is this ok? What would be the best variation for an Olympic back squat and how would you incorporate over head pressing. Would it be substituted for bench press or dips?[/quote]

Gar,

First off, thanks for the compliments and glad to hear you’ve been getting good results!

I also love your exercise selction; more people should try a simplified routine like this one. Regarding your question, I like to switch up the exercises every 3-4 weeks. This gives you enough time to adapt and see some gains, without getting bored and stagnant.

As far as alternatives to high-bar squatting, you could incorporate low-bar power squats, front squats, safety-bar squats, box squats, etc. to get a slightly different training effect from each.

As far as the overhead press, you could throw in some single-arm military press or even some push press/push jerk to mix things up a bit.

Stay strong
Mike

[quote]Sancho wrote:
Hello Mike Robertson,

First congratulations on your soon to be marriage. Been married six years and it is one of the best things I ever did.

Well, I had questions on training my wife. She had neck surgery a little over a year ago. She had a disc C-5 I think taken out and had a bone graft from her hip that replaced that damaged disc.

Now she had rehab and it is done with. The problem now is were does she start on to get back into shape? Should we start with the " Neanderthal No More" articles and look at her weak points and strengthen them? And then start a regular workout routine. Any advice would be very welcomed.
Thank You,
“Sancho”[/quote]

Sancho,

Thanks for the kind words. I’m very excited; Jess is an amazing woman (she has to be to deal with me all the time!)

I’m a little leary of giving you advice re: your wife simply due to the magnitude of her previous injury. What is her current condition? The NNM program would be a great starting ground, but I would be very cautious of any exercises that put the load upon the stressed cervical disc. Even though she has done rehab, that is a tricky injury to work around. The best advice I can give is to try out the NNM program and make adjustments as needed. Some exercises could be very difficult, but you won’t know until you try it. Best of luck!

Stay strong
Mike

Hi Mike,

Congrates on the Marriage!!

A question on Front Squats.
I am quite tall an find it difficult to go deep with my toes pointing straight forward, is it ok to point out slightly as i do with back squats?

Thanks Deadly

[quote]deadly69 wrote:
Hi Mike,

Congrates on the Marriage!!

A question on Front Squats.
I am quite tall an find it difficult to go deep with my toes pointing straight forward, is it ok to point out slightly as i do with back squats?

Thanks Deadly[/quote]

Deadly,

Thanks!

As far as the squats go, I always point my toes out. This is one of the easiest ways to improve depth, and actually something that Ed Coan recommends to help improve balance as well. Good luck with the front squats!

Stay strong
Mike

Mike Robertson,

Congratulations!

I have read that performing the one-arm lockoff (a hold at the top of a chin-up) is an effective way to develop chin-up strength and endurance. I cannot yet do a one-arm lockoff, so I am doing weighted two-arm lockoffs. How long should my holds be, and how many holds should I perform in a session? If I should use different protocols for strength and endurance training, what would the differences be?

Thanks for answering questions,

Ross Hunt

i read the article “Body Type and Training Strategy” written by Charles Staley. he said we should train according to our limb length. like upper legs, if long, then use exercises for speed/speed strength, if short, then use pure strength exercise.

my upper arm is shorter than forearm, should i focus on strength ex.?
my upper leg is same length as my lower leg, so i should focus on strength or speed?

and how to choose ex. for shoulders?
speed/speed-strength/strength?

and can u give me some ex. for my upper arms and legs? is power clean for speed-strength?

[quote]Ross Hunt wrote:
Mike Robertson,

Congratulations!

I have read that performing the one-arm lockoff (a hold at the top of a chin-up) is an effective way to develop chin-up strength and endurance. I cannot yet do a one-arm lockoff, so I am doing weighted two-arm lockoffs. How long should my holds be, and how many holds should I perform in a session? If I should use different protocols for strength and endurance training, what would the differences be?

Thanks for answering questions,

Ross Hunt [/quote]

Thanks Ross!

To be honest, I’ve never used these in my training. Why hold in the position of greatest mechanical advantage? Instead, I would focus on performing negatives on the pull-ups, or even supine rows to start developing strength. I know CT wrote an article regarding pull-up training in the past, so I would check that out first.

Stay strong
Mike

[quote]Monster Wong wrote:
i read the article “Body Type and Training Strategy” written by Charles Staley. he said we should train according to our limb length. like upper legs, if long, then use exercises for speed/speed strength, if short, then use pure strength exercise.

my upper arm is shorter than forearm, should i focus on strength ex.?
my upper leg is same length as my lower leg, so i should focus on strength or speed?

and how to choose ex. for shoulders?
speed/speed-strength/strength?

and can u give me some ex. for my upper arms and legs? is power clean for speed-strength?

[/quote]

First off, let me say Charles is an amazing author and coach. I have the upmost respect for him.

A lot of how you train depends on what you are training for. If you are a powerlifter, spending tons of time on ballistic movements doesn’t make sense. However, if you are an athlete or someone who wants to get stronger, I would strive to develop all motor qualities.

Again, for shoulders, use a myriad of different exercises, set and rep schemes, etc. Figure out what works best for you and then use it.

Finally, the sets, reps, loading, etc. all determine how a movement is performed. For example, a squat can be used for speed-strength (jump squat), strength-speed (squat with accomodating resistance) or absolute strength (1-RM or similar weight). if you want to use the power clean for speed-strength, reduce the load and focus on moving the bar as explosively as possible.

Stay strong
Mike

Hey Mike,

Thank you so much for the reply. My wife is having a hard time with muscle spasms usually in the neck,trap, and the scapular right under the shoulder blades. Her orthopedic doctor said her muscle spasms are due to inactivity.

As far as the surgery, the doctor said the area of the fusion is stronger now than it ever was before. But I’m still a little worried with some of the exercises. She cannot do any overhead pressing or overhead pulling (pull-ups).

We are going to go over the NNM articles and see what won’t be painful for her to perform. I will be very careful too.

I was wondering if you could please answer just one more question. What kind of massage(deep tissue etc.)and stretching (static,ballistic,etc.) do you think she would benefit from? Thank you very much Mike for your advice.
“Sancho”

1.Just wondering your thoughts on program design. I take ideas from everything I read Westside ,T-nation,Milo

My workouts as of late consist of 4
exercises

day 1 Auto reg Clusters
Bench,p.clean(block)above knees
squat 5/3, hangin pike 2 sets of 5

day 2 Explosive lifting
explosive pushups 3 sets of 3
one arm barbell snatch below knees
sit jumps 3/3 ( depth jumps, jump squats)
hangin pike

day3 Max effort (conjugate)
Bench(floor press,close grip incline bench etc) 1RM,3RM,5RM
clean high pull from floor " "
Squat 4/2
hangin pike

I might have to fool around with the volume a little bit but 5 sets of 3 for squats on day 1 versus 4/2 of squats on day 3 equals 50% volume

On my explosive lifting day I have started on a bit on the low side regarding volume but I want to be sure I can handle it

day 3 I will rotate in different lifts for the bench but I will do this every 3-4 weeks same thing for the sit jump. With the clean high pull I will stick to it till I hit a plateau then I think I might hit a couple weeks of deads before going back.
Some exercises will also get a wave in the amount of weight used

I am feeling pretty energized so i think I am on the right track.

2.Do you think this program has a fair bit of balance to it.
I do my explosive pushups off of one rebox step on either side of me. I have read that to maximize power it is best to minimize contact with the ground.

3.Is there any merit to raising the height for these explosive push ups or doing shock landings.

[quote]Sancho wrote:
Hey Mike,

Thank you so much for the reply. My wife is having a hard time with muscle spasms usually in the neck,trap, and the scapular right under the shoulder blades. Her orthopedic doctor said her muscle spasms are due to inactivity.

As far as the surgery, the doctor said the area of the fusion is stronger now than it ever was before. But I’m still a little worried with some of the exercises. She cannot do any overhead pressing or overhead pulling (pull-ups).

We are going to go over the NNM articles and see what won’t be painful for her to perform. I will be very careful too.

I was wondering if you could please answer just one more question. What kind of massage(deep tissue etc.)and stretching (static,ballistic,etc.) do you think she would benefit from? Thank you very much Mike for your advice.
“Sancho” [/quote]

Sancho,

Sounds like a good plan brother!

I think a lot of the neck/upper back exercises outlined in the NNM program will be of benefit.

I would definitely recommend some deep tissue massage to decrease hypertonicity in the muscles and rid them of the spasm. Along those same lines, simple PNF contract/relax would be a great stretching modality. Not only do you get the benefits of motor control in the contraction, but it should also help reduce the spasm and increase flexibility as well. Hope this helps!

Stay strong
Mike

[quote]mattrose wrote:
1.Just wondering your thoughts on program design. I take ideas from everything I read Westside ,T-nation,Milo

My workouts as of late consist of 4
exercises

day 1 Auto reg Clusters
Bench,p.clean(block)above knees
squat 5/3, hangin pike 2 sets of 5

day 2 Explosive lifting
explosive pushups 3 sets of 3
one arm barbell snatch below knees
sit jumps 3/3 ( depth jumps, jump squats)
hangin pike

day3 Max effort (conjugate)
Bench(floor press,close grip incline bench etc) 1RM,3RM,5RM
clean high pull from floor " "
Squat 4/2
hangin pike

I might have to fool around with the volume a little bit but 5 sets of 3 for squats on day 1 versus 4/2 of squats on day 3 equals 50% volume

On my explosive lifting day I have started on a bit on the low side regarding volume but I want to be sure I can handle it

day 3 I will rotate in different lifts for the bench but I will do this every 3-4 weeks same thing for the sit jump. With the clean high pull I will stick to it till I hit a plateau then I think I might hit a couple weeks of deads before going back.
Some exercises will also get a wave in the amount of weight used

I am feeling pretty energized so i think I am on the right track.

2.Do you think this program has a fair bit of balance to it.
I do my explosive pushups off of one rebox step on either side of me. I have read that to maximize power it is best to minimize contact with the ground.

3.Is there any merit to raising the height for these explosive push ups or doing shock landings.

[/quote]

Matt,

I’ll answer your questions in order.

  1. I just sent TC an article about this recently. Hopefully he’ll like it enough to publish it! Let’s just say I use a little bit of everything in my programs.

  2. Time for some tough love here. Not sure what your goals are, but unless you are built to bench, I can’t imagine you staying healthy for very long on this program. There’s minimal emphasis on muscular balance; for instance, you are benching 3x/week, with no rowing or upper back work. Along those same lines, you are squatting almost daily, with no specific hamstring or posterior chain work. I’m all for simplicity in your program, but I think you’d be well served to include more injury prevention/prehab work to keep yourself healthy and gaining.

You are on the right track w/the plyo push-ups; the contact time or “amortization” phase should be minimized to improve reactive/explosive ability.

  1. As you get stronger and/or more explosive, you will want to vary the height of the boxes, but don’t overdo it. The upper body can’t take the pounding that the lower body can, so play it safe and periodize your training that you aren’t going off the highest box all the time.

Stay strong
Mike

Hey mike, nice articles, but somebody on here really needs to do an article on proper recovery, both CNS and metabolic-wise.

Thanks, and Good luck with the wedding.

goals get as strong as humanly possible
thanks for the feed back.you feel the snatch and the power clean are not enough upper back work.

1.Were do you rate high pulls for back developement

Well I think I will keep the workout as is for a couple of weeks. but I will sub in rows for my back

2.or do you think I would be better served doing one arm rows for 3 week,barbell rows three weeks, deads for 2 weeks followed by deads of 2 inch blocks for a week and then repeating(I have tried partial deads just below knees but it doesn’t carry over well to deads of the floor)

  1. One last question what are your thoughts on med ball training and or how about an article on this topic.
    Overhead for height,for distance in front or behind, ab drills, passing drills.
    where would you rate med ball tosses (bench style) for improving explosiveness and how would you know what weight ball to use max bench (265lbs) and distance a partner drops the ball from since the higher it is droped the more engery the ball would have

hey mike,

i have a question about improving the amount of chin ups that i can do (bodyweight). i will be starting football practice and lifting on the 18th and once school starts i will have non stop weightlifting and sports (i have weight training as a year long elective) so i wont get to do any full fledged t-nation programs, so i was wondering if doing say 2 sets pullups/chinups after practice when i get home at night every day would help increase my chin up performance? by the way i currently weigh around 150 and can do 10 chin ups on a thick (2-2.5") bar with my knees coming up a little on the 9th rep and all the way to my upper abs on the 10th rep so not all reps are perfectly strict :frowning:

anyways thanks for your help and congrats on teh marriage (sp?)

Timmy89