T Nation

Thibs New Training Questions #3


Theoretically Thibs should be starting this thread, but seeing as the other is full, a new thread should be started. I don't really think it matters who starts it as long as he's the one answering questions. Plus, I figured I might save him some time.

I also thought that a number designated to each thread is better than having each new thread a different name (like going from the Thib Zone, to New Training Questions to New(est) Training Questions) seeing as you'd probably run out of names. It also makes it easier for people to navigate through the different threads.

CT, Feel free to have this post deleted and post your own if you feel like I'm steeling your thunder :wink:

So..........Post away?


Sure thing... go right ahead.



Right now due to my financial budget I can afford FINiBARs and Surge Recovery. I know the old protocol called for Alpha-GPC, Surge Workout Fuel, plus what I have.

With only these 2 products-what do you think would yield better results-taking the FINiBARs 30 mins pre, then taking Surge Recovery 1/2 15 mins before the gym, then the other 1/2 on the way to the gym, then having a whey +7g leucine shake, or just eating the FINiBARs as a pre-workout source and using the Surge Recovery PWO as its suggested?


This is my post from the locked thread, I hope you don't mind that I repost.

In that case my question is how would you address my long-term goal of going from 30kg to 50kg in weighted pull-ups? (I can and want to train it everyday is possible)


In the I,BODYBUILDER program, if someone have shitty arms, should he tweak the workouts somehow (since there isn't an "arm" spec phase)?


Thib, when do you like to incorporate box jumps in an Oly lifter's program? On my old team we did it every training session (4x a week), but if I recall correctly from your books you stated that you like to do them in 'phases'.


Here's a "controversial" topic: deadlifting to improve the Olympic lifts. The conventional wisdom is that squats are best for improving the Olympic lifts and that the conventional deadlift is a different pulling groove and should not be used, or at least should be used minimally. However, I've found that the deadlift and its variations (RDL, snatch grip) are better at increasing my pulling strength than squats. I do try and use a pull similar to the first pull of my clean. This tends to break down as the weight gets heavy, but that doesn't seem to matter - I get results even if I use a powerlifting deadlift. Am I just weird?


CT, My right quad is much less developed than my left. Especially the vastus lateralis. I think it might have something to do with my right ankle having much less mobility than my left. Do you have any recommendations on how to get my right leg even with my left? I am doing a couple ankle mobility exercises everyday and I am currently doing 5/3/1 with boring but big assistance work if that matters.



coach the program that you post for 1-arm dumbell snatch in the old thread is ideal to use for improve the barbell snatch from the floor?




I'm the same way. This is most probably (at least in my case) because I'm built to be a natural squatter and a lousy puller. So simply increasing overall pulling strength will transfer to an improvement in the OL whereas a increase in squatting strength (even a significant one) doesn't do much.

But in general it comes down to the relationship between:

Technical transfer (positive or negative) vs. strength imbalances

An assistance lift can either have a positive technical transfer (improve technique and coordination on the competition lift), a negative one (hurts technique and especially coordination on the competition lifts) or a neutral one (no transfer).

An assistance lift can also improve performance by fixing a strength imbalance (e.g. RDL and deadlifts can strengthen the posterior chain which might be underdevelopped compared to quads if you do not do any pulls but plenty of squats).

So if an assistance lift strengthen more than it negatively affect coordination, there will be a positive performance improvement. But if the negative impact it has on coordination outweight the strengthening effect, the performance will go down.

If your hamstrings, mid back and lower back strength is holding your performance on the competition lifts back, then deadlifts WILL improve your performance on the lifts, even if the coordination pattern is not specific to the competition movements.

If the strength of those muscles is sufficient for optimal performance, then they can have a detrimental effect.

This is why coaches of ELITE LIFTERS often find pulls to be ineffective exercises. At the highest level (WC level) these athletes rarely have weak hamstrings and lower back! And they coordination is so precise that even the slightest negative impact on technique can hurt them. A lot of elite lifters also have ideal body structure for pulling, so they normally don't benefit as much from deadlifts as they do from squats.

However non-elite lifters will often benefit from general movements aimed at strengthening the hamstrings and lower back.

There is also another issue to consider: the psychological aspect.

A lot of non-elite lifters tend to cut their pull short as soon as they feel that the bar is heavy in their hands. This leads to missed lifts either via insufficient pulling height or pulling the bar forward.

Heavy deadlifts (and even pulls) get you used to holding heavy weights so that the heaviest cleans you attempt feel lighter by comparison and it makes it easy for the non-elite lifter to stay with the pull.

Obviously elite lifters don't have that problem.


Box jumps are jumping onto a box. These can be done daily as opposed to depth jumps (dropping off from a box and jumping up upon ground contact) which should only be done for 4 weeks at a time.

I do believe in starting an olympic lifting workout with jumps, especially with less experienced lifters. Pierre Roy (former Coach of the Canadian National Team) had (has) his athletes start every session with roughly 15 minutes of various jumps.


Coach can you recommend any books written by Russian and/or eastern European strength coaches?

Also i cant find out how to setup my upperbody days doing the Smolov squat program. Would it be ok to throw in some upper body movements on the same days after performing the squats first?




You should see good improvement in your arms simply by following the program exactly as it is layed out. Your triceps are getting hammered during the Shoulder phase (I would imagine it'll be the same with the chest phase) and your biceps are getting hammered during the back phase. Adding additional arm work is probably overkill.

I may be wrong and would be happy to hear from some of the more experienced guys.




I'm still a bit confused on the frequency variable of autoregulatory training. How frequently could/should you train using such a system. I realize that since it is autoregulatory, it kind of takes care of itself, but won't it be overkill for the CNS if done more than 2-3 times per week for the same lift(s)?


Yes, this is me exactly. Especially on squat cleans - I've missed squat cleaning weights that I can easily power clean. Thanks for a thorough and helpful response.



I don't feel much power in the legs (quads) when deadlifting if I don't do heavy high pin squats prior to that, or just any squats. My technique is ok, I initiate with legs and keep tight back, I just don't feel powerful at the legs if they're not activated by squatting.

Any suggestion on how to activate the legs more with actual deadlifts and not squats ?


Are you asking how you can work your quads more with the deadlift? I guess I would ask why not just do squats? Otherwise, snatch grip deadlifts, deadlifts while standing on something elevated (weight plates, blocks), or the ultimate combo - snatch grip deadlifts while standing on something elevated. Keep you butt low on these. I also feel my quads more when I pull sumo.


Thibs, I can't seem to find the post where you mentioned that there was 8g of Leucine per serving of ANACONDA. Does that mean that there is a total of 40g of Leucine in the full protocol, or 8g? 40g seems high, but maybe not.


hey coach,

I don't hear much about muscle power cleans but i've been doing them lately cause i hurt my knee and can't dip under the bar. Are they worth doing since you can't do as much weight as a power clean?