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ThibArmy Programs - Which One?

Hey CT,
I watched both the videos of the max muscle mass and the strength + hypertrophy, i just cant decide on which too buy.
So my questions are -
Is the strength side a must if your only goal is maximum muscle ?
If my only goal was too look better which one would achieve this more ?
Also what one is more practical in a home garage gym ? (No machines)

Here’s my belief:

I believe that provided that you give your max effort and train smart, the way you train doesn’t matter that much when it comes to the type of physique you will build. I think that we are all “designed” to look a certain way and training with weights will simply allow you to reach your muscularity potential.

Now, if a program neglects a certain muscle (biceps for example) it might stay somewhat underdeveloped so there might be some very slight differences between the effects of several different programs, at least in the short term. But in the grand scheme of things, if you train hard for 10-20 years, eat well, you will end up looking the same way regardless of the style of training you used: the way you were designed to look.

Of course drugs change the equation. but for the natural trainee I believe it to be 100% true.

That means that you should never stress wondering if a program will work. Provided that it follows sounds principles and methodology and doesn’t neglect anything, it will work if you give the proper amount of effort.

I believe that the most important thing when selecting a program (or deciding NOT to follow a program) is that it fits your neurological/psychological profile. In other words you must be intrinsically motivated by your training, you must love doing it. The rest, unless you have to peak for a certain date, doesn’t matter.

Let’s take myself as an example. I love low reps, either heavy or explosive. I also enjoy partial movements, isometrics and eccentric overloads since they give me the superheavy feel I like. I HATE doing isolation exercises, pump work, high reps, drop sets, etc. In the past I forced myself to do these because they work… BUT EVERYTHING WORKS! They did stimulate growth, but did not give me a different physique than when I do only my heavy work.

So I decided to actually stop pretty much all isolation work (except for an occasional set here and there to work on mind-muscle connection).

The reason I dropped isolation pump work is NOT that it doesn’t work. It’s that I HATE doing it and it kills my motivation to train and as a result it negatively affect my whole training.

But for others it’s the opposite, they don’t like heavy lifting and prefer to pump away. That’s fine, if that’s what you enjoy, do that! If you give the proper effort it will work.

Personally I do not do well on “planned programs”… routines where the training sessions are designed months in advance KILLS my motivation. In the past I forced myself to do it because “that’s what you’re supposed to do”. But all my best gains came when I did not have a training program. I had an idea of what I wanted to do on all the days in the week but that was always subject to modification even while I was training. I went back to that and it’s going great.

Again that’s because it fits MY psychological profile. Having to stick to a planned program killed my motivation. For others it enhances it.

That having been said; if you enjoy the feeling of heavy lifting and getting strong I’d go with the strength & size program, if not go with the maximum mass plan.

BUT none of them are designed for a home gym and require machines, sadly.


Wow, thank you. Overwhelming.
This has clarified my ever wondering voice in the back of my head always second guessing myself with the what If that program would work better etc. If I’ve done, Hss-100, Manual Labour Strength Program, Currently on week 10 or so of The best damn program and it’s been my favourite and most enjoyable im guessing i should choose the maximum muscle mass program! Are you able to help me swap the machine exercises to your best suggestions with my equipment ?

Sure, just email me at chris@ballisticmanagement.com

So you’re saying work hard, use a smart/balanced approach, do what you enjoy and you’ll find your personal physique? By that I mean the best body that your genetics will allow you to have.

I find that refreshing b/c we so often hear that you have to do this or that or you’re not a man. Deadlift at least 500, squat 400, bench 300… or you’re weak and inferior.

Well I hate that crap b/c I don’t fit that mold. I’m strong in some lifts but not others. It has a lot to do with limb lengths, tendon insertion points, etc. None of us are the same but we’re told to strive for the same things.

Your point fits perfectly with your post about optimizing health, performance, and age related effects of training.

I’m in pursuit of a strong, healthy body that performs well in all aspects of life–not just the weight room.

Your recent posts are reminding us that there’s more than one way to achieve our goals. There’s also more to consider as we age such as optimizing performance for the long haul instead of maintaining the single minded approach for increased mass.

Thanks for your wisdom and refreshing insights that cause us to think and grow as individuals!

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Well the fact is that we aren’t all suited to be strong everywhere equally. I trained an olympic lifter who had a 200kg jerk (440lbs) and push press 160kg (352lbs) but he couldn’t military press 185lbs and could only bench press 225lbs x 3 reps!!!

Personally even when I could olympic (high bar, upright torso) squat 600lbs (and 550lbs x 5) and front squat 485, I couldn’t deadlift 500lbs on every day I tried!!!

Attempting to fit a specific mold is bound to leave you unhappy and unmotivated. We tend to forget what matters:

  1. improving our health so that we can look good and feel good in the long run
  2. looking better and feeling better about ourselves
  3. enjoying ourselves and forgetting about our problems for 90-120 minutes
  4. finding a way to improve

Now if for you getting stronger is important and give you pleasure, then by all means train for strength. But you don’t need a magical plan for that. If you don’t care about strength, don’t do it… you can get results without it.


What would you say are “healthy weights” for an average person? Like a typical 5’10 185lb male? I’m thinking any age between 25-60

Meaning for a person that doesn’t care about working out really but understands he needs to because it is important to be healthy.

I would think an average joe male human being that can (as a 5RM):

Front Squat 225
Deadlift 315
Overhead Press 135
Chin Ups 15
Run a mile under 7 minutes

Is generally lean, strong (opinions can differ on what that means) and healthy (in terms of physical capabilities)?

These are certainly numbers that I would qualify as strong enough… while they would not rank in the elite numbers, and powerlifters wouldn’t think much of them, they are numbers of someone who knows how to train. Anybody with normal genetics can reach those.

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This post should be on the top of Tnation. It is so frank and honest based on a career in the business, working along side every big name and clients across all spectrums. I myself am looking forward to picking a program from the 3. Most likely fat loss not for weight loss but because programmed cardio has made me feel better mentally.


I will say this… Because of your programs I can FS 305, Sumo/Clean Deadlift over 405, OHP 170 and BP 260 @ a bodyweight of 181. Thank you for helping me get stronger, clean up my diet and for designing programs that I get to look forward to for 60 mins.

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What a breath of fresh air. The older I get, the more I realize this.


Hey coach, I am finishing up the built for bad strength circuits.(. Week 6). Had good results as far as strength and muscle gains. But I put on a bit of a gut as I was to worn out to do any cardio. My questions is , are there any limitations on what type of work out I can do next. I was planning on doing the star complexes. Thank you in advance

That is not related to this thread, start a new one

I’m glad somebody finally wrote this. There are so many articles out there about “The Best Exercise You’re not Doing” but no one has ever written an article called “Design a Program that You’ll Enjoy.” Now, there are obviously limits. If the only exercises someone enjoys are bench press and curls, well, that might be a bit problematic if the goal is overall strength and health. It just so happens that I like the “big” exercises. I’ve tried hip thrusts after reading how great they are for glutes. They weren’t comfortable and I don’t like them. I’ve tried Turkish get-ups. An interesting movement, very yoga-like, but not a real fan. I’ll stick with squat, press, deadlift, and rows.

The answer to the question “What is the best program” is “the one you will follow consistently.”

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Christian you mantion you get best result with no training plan… how you than train on weekly j basic, go to gym and train as you feel or you have some plan in head for whole week?

Start a new thread instead of posting a new question to an old, unrelated thread