T Nation

Thib Q&A no.6


Post your training questions here.


I have 10 weeks to get shredded. Started off in decent condition, not great but not bad (avi pic is pretty current). I'm doing steady state 5X per week, 30 mins per session. Cals on lift days - 2,800, rest days - 2,250. Plus I pulse with a mag10 similar product. How often do you advise your people to cut cals? Every week? And when you do tell them to cut cals, how many do you cut? I was thinkng maybe 200 a week, but that may be too drastic...I don't know. I could post my diet if that would help as well.

Also, where did you learn so much about training/nutrition? Did you study in school, or learn on your own? I work at a gym, and the lack of knowledge that most trainers have is astonishing. They know almost nothing about training/eating. I literally heard my manager say to a big fat guy that if he did a zumba dance class once per week he'd have more adrenaline in his blood for the rest of the week and he'd burn more fat and add muscle. WOW!

Lastly, do you think it is necessary to lose strength on a real cut? I've been hitting PRs still, and feel that with pulses and good peri workout nutrition it is possible to increase strength. My current peri-plan is simple: 2 scoops Surge Recovery pre/during lifting, 2 scoops whey post. I think that it's hard to hit PRs when you're draggin ass, but it's possible! Thanks CT


In your "If You Want to Go Faster, Go SLower" -livespill you emphasized the importance of limit strength to speed development and mentioned overload partials and isometrics. How about heavy near 1RM singles in regular exercises for this purpose? Or heavy grinding triples? Do you use them at all? Could they be included into a complex, if one wanted to work the "mass" end of the power curve? For example:

1) 1/4 squat, singles or triples (heavy)
2) Full squat, singles or triples (heavy)
3) Clean, 3 reps
4) Jump Squat, 10 reps

Or how would you do it, if you wanted to focus on limit strength? Something other than complexes?

Thank you very much!


Hey CT,

I'm starting the fourth week of you HPMass priniciples. I have changed a few stuff around.

My routine looks like this:

2 days on, one day N Charge

Day One- Horizontal pressing and Rhomboid work
Day Two- Lower body (Deadlift focus) and Arm work
Day Three- Neural recharge
Day Four- Vertical Pressing and Lat Work
Day Five- Lower Body (Squat focus) And Arm work
Day Six- Neural recharge

My questions are:

  1. Is it OK to triple ramp on every third week of each cycle instead of wave loading? I get that it's not optimal but for stuff like dumbbells it takes a lot of time to switch weight (especially when someone's using it). Or instead of that is there another way doing it?

  2. How often should the MTW be retested?



Coach, I checked out your website the other day and you've written a lot of books. I'm looking for your book that contains your strength complexes, would you tell me which book it is please?


CT- I am playing lacrosse at a high level in college and have put on 20 pounds of mass in the off-season from a poorly planned bodybuilding program (lot of isolation movements and no olympic lifts). After reading some of your articles I have noticed your stressed importance in power lifts. This is the new plan i made for myself for during the season. What corrections should I make to this and what do you recommend?

Set and Rep Schemes will vary week to week.
Week 1: 3X10
Week 2: 5X5
Week 3: 4X8

Day 1: Squats, Bench Press, Push Press, Dips, Lateral Raise
Day 2: Power Cleans, Deadlifts, Pullups, Rows, Biceps
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Squats, Incline Bench Press, Plyo-Pushups, Dips, Lateral Raise
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Hang Cleans, Deadlifts, Pullups, Pulldowns, Box Jumps, Biceps
Day 7: Rest


hey thibs, following your carb cycling codex and getting great results so far! thanks alot!
my question is how you would structure carbs on a day where no training takes place! i have 150 g of carbs to play with on my low days!


Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raises

I have been performing them very strict: with my back straight; without rocking my body forwards or backwards; my neck is straight and I don't raise or tuck my chin during the movement; my arms are literlly straight out to the sides with very, very slight bends in the elbows; my thumbs are lower than my pinkie fingers at the top of the movement.

Am I being too strict with the movement (I am limited to using only 10-15 lbs dumbbells) or should I bend my elbows a bit more which causes the dumbbells to drift slightly forward more (I am then able to use the 25-30lbs dumbbells instead)?



I'm quoting Mike Robertson from this article: http://articles.elitefts.com/articles/rehabilitation/mike-robertson-stuff/

"Please stop performing exercises with your thumbs down. This is a provocative test for impingement. Why on earth would you want to train like that? Thumbs up on everything."

I thought of that article when I read your post. and wondered if it pertained to what you are doing.


Hey CT

I'v been suffering from rotator cuff injuries for the past year which is mainly from performing the bench press and military press. Whenever the pain is too much I drop the bench and military press for around 4 weeks and just work on exercises to strengthen my rotator cuff. This usually solves to problem (about 70-80% of the pain goes), however, as soon as I start pressing again the pain comes back so im considering permanently dropping both exercises altogether.

Being a kickboxer, is there any best exercises that I could use to replace the bench and military press which won't cause shoulder pain, whilst still improving my athletic performance. Alternatively, do you have a routine that can bullet-proof my shoulders??




That means that in 8 weeks you will be consuming 450 calories on non training days! :slightly_smiling: Hello Auswitz look!

Seriously, there is no need for a constant lowering of calories. The body is not a linear machine. I've had guys diet down to contest shape sticking with the same caloric intake over their whole 16 weeks prep. And I've had others who had to drop down the calories.

  1. Only drop down calories when you don't have a choice... the food you ingest gives you fuel to train and the material to keep your muscle mass.

  2. I prefer to increase workload before cutting more food. When you can't increase workload anymore and your fat loss has halted, drop down food intake a bit.

I do have a college degree in exercise science, but most of my real life knowledge I learned from the trenches... trial and error with myself and experience with clients. But I do not consider myself a nutrition expert. I'm a training guy... Shelby and Dr. Lowery are eons ahead of me in the nutrition department.

I ALWAYS aim to maintain, if not gain, strength while losing fat. That's the only way of being sure that you are not losing any muscle mass. My training partner Nick was beating PRs right up to the week before his contest. Daryl was actually at his strongest 2 weeks before the Olympia.


The problem is that when you grind out full reps, the nervous system gets drained and that prevents you from doing a high amount of work. And my training philosophy is to do more work.

HOWEVER you CAN (and should) do heavy singles, doubles or triples... just do not reach the point of grinding.


I haven't written one about that yet.


My fault, I thought you said something about that in your Live Spill. It seems like your Get Jacked book is geared towards somebody that wants to drop bodyfat? Is that true? What type of goals is that book geared towards?


When you say increase the workload, do you mean add 5 minutes or so on to fasted morning cardio? I don't know if adding more volume to my training routine would be great. In fact, I'm working out using your "Pump Down the Volume" article as a basis - 4 day split with antagonistic training. Chest/Back, Arms, Legs, Shoulders. I do 12-16 sets per major muscle group usually. I don't know if adding more weights would be the best way, but what do YOU think!!!!! I feel kinda drained during the day, so I guess my body is using all the nutrients and such. I think I'll stick with the kcals I have, b/c I don't want to look like a Holocaust victim...But I also want to get there, you know? So my best thinking is to just add more cardio. I also stopped doing HIIT, b/c I'm on the lower end of carbs (95-150g depending on training or rest day), so I thought HIIT might be a little much. I'm jsut doing 30 mins incline walking 5 X per week, probably going to add 5 minutes a week until I'm at 60 mins, 5X per week. Is this what you have your guys do? Or is there a better way to increase activity?


Man, I REALLY can't give you an answer ... seriously. Read my most recent stuff is all I can say. Want an example? A female figure/bodybuilding athlete I'm training is doing morning cardio, then sled work in the early afternoon and then strength work in the evening. That's a high workload. Increase the total amount of training you are doing. Do more work.

THERE IS NO BLUEPRINT WHEN IT COMES TO GETTING RIPPED. I can't tell you do this and eat this and in 10 weeks you will be ripped. Losing fat is easy... getting ripped (dropping down to super low levels of body fat) is VERY hard because that's against the body's nature. You have to make weekly adjustments up or down depending on how you are looking, feeling and progressing. If it were simple, everybody with half an ounce of discipline could do it.


CT, You mentioned in the HPMass article that after 6 weeks you personally will just retest your MTW. My question is how many times have you done the retest and had a few of the lifts actually be lower than your previous MTW after 6 weeks?

If this happend could it just be chalked up to like you say sometimes you progress and sometimes there are periods of regression or maintain? Or could there be something deeper? I'm not one to go changing things around when i don't see immediate results, i love the structure of this training, just curious.


Nope, thumbs are not pointed down... just slightly lower than the pinkie fingers to better engage the medial deltoid and less the bicep... I appreciate the interesting article though.


Thank you! The reason I asked about the grinding is because of my sport...I play defensive end and I'm relatively small compared to some of the offensive tackles I'm faced up with which leaves me often "grinding" in the line of scrimmage with a guy outweighing me 50-100 lbs. But I guess it doesn't really matter if I'm not grinding in a gym, as long as my limit strength is going up.

Just a quick follow-up question...how do you feel about your Beast Complex from your Beast Building program today with your current knowledge?


Make up for lack of size by having more speed. Speed kills, size and strength will come.

As for my old programs, please guys stop asking me about how I feel about them. It's like asking how you feel about an old girlfriend! I still like them, they worked then so they work now.