Thib's Random Thought of the Day

Do you recommend using deadstop lifts to activate the CNS before going into the main lifts with the fast turnaround?

i.e. squat from pins before back squats and bench from pins before bench press?

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]kinghandle wrote:
For example:

Set 1. 200lbs x 3 reps — 3 FT reps
Set 2. 200lbs x 3 reps — 1 deadstop, 2 FT
Set 3. 200lbs x 3 reps — 2 deadstops, 1 FT
Set 4. 200lbs x 3 reps — 3 deadstops
Set 5. 200lbs x 3 reps — 3 FT reps (you should really be able to BLAST THOSE!!!)

Set 6. 220lbs x 2 reps – 2 FT
Set 7. 220lbs x 2 reps – 1 deadstop, 1 FT
Set 8. 220lbs x 2 reps – 2 deadstops
Set 9. 220lbs x 2 reps – 2 FT

Also assumin a 245 max for this one?[/quote]

Correct.[/quote]

A true max ? I doubt 2 reps with only 10 kg less than 1RM is possible for so many sets, especially the paused ones. Even if they’re, they’ll be far from explosive ?

[quote]Thy. wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]kinghandle wrote:
For example:

Set 1. 200lbs x 3 reps — 3 FT reps
Set 2. 200lbs x 3 reps — 1 deadstop, 2 FT
Set 3. 200lbs x 3 reps — 2 deadstops, 1 FT
Set 4. 200lbs x 3 reps — 3 deadstops
Set 5. 200lbs x 3 reps — 3 FT reps (you should really be able to BLAST THOSE!!!)

Set 6. 220lbs x 2 reps – 2 FT
Set 7. 220lbs x 2 reps – 1 deadstop, 1 FT
Set 8. 220lbs x 2 reps – 2 deadstops
Set 9. 220lbs x 2 reps – 2 FT

Also assumin a 245 max for this one?[/quote]

Correct.[/quote]

A true max ? I doubt 2 reps with only 10 kg less than 1RM is possible for so many sets, especially the paused ones. Even if they’re, they’ll be far from explosive ?[/quote]

Well, it is an actual workout that she did last week. But 245 was her previous best… she hit 265 that workout.

Im really excited to put these ideas into effect. I had kinda noticed the overhead press correlation with bench press but now with more validation im going to beef up my shoulder routine even more! The deadlift grip varients are going to be invaluable to me though as I still struggle to adequetly train my grip and forearms. Hopefully ill get some great progress with this addition to my routine.

This article about isometrics was gold:

http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2009/09/bench-press-plateaus-bill-starr.html

JANUARY 11TH

POWER UP: SOMETIMES, ‘CHEATING MOVEMENTS’ ARE FINE!

I’m generally a stickler for proper form. I’m not a form Nazi like some are (they don’t accept the slightest deviation from what THEY consider to be the perfect movement pattern) but most of the time I insist on someone using optimal form and regularly stop a set as form starts to break down.

However in some instances I do like to use what some call ‘cheating’ movements. I don’t like the term though… to me ‘cheating’ simply means utilizing a little bit of momentum to get the weight moving and thus be able to handle a bigger load. It DOESN’T mean using body english, or twisting and turning out of position to make the lift.

That’s why I prefer to call those movements ‘Enhanced Momentum Exercises (EME)’. In those you must still utilize perfect body position so that most of the training stress is still applied to the targeted muscles.

A well known example of EME is the push press. In that exercise you initiate the movement with a SLIGHT dip and leg drive to get the bar moving from the shoulders. Nobody actually calls a push press a ‘cheating exercise’. But you ARE using momentum to handle more weight. That is my definition of a EME.

A EME, when properly used, is effective for several reasons:

  1. It creates an overload on the target muscle(s). Yes you are using momentum created, but only a slight effort to get past the weak point. Once the weak point is passed, the target muscle should still be doing most of the effort (hence the ‘slight’ term) so they are getting overloaded.

  2. It overloads a movement pattern… you get used to handling more weight in a certain movement pattern. In this regard it is not unlike partial movements. While the transfer to ‘regular’ movements is not 100%. There is some carryover, mostly because of the psychological effect you’ll get from using bigger weights.

  3. It desensitizes the Golgi tendon organs, which increases your strength potential by reducing the inhibitory effect that the GTOs have on the contractile capacities of the muscles.

  4. It might, over time, increase your capacity to recruit high threshold motor units. The creation of momentum, followed by a high acceleration, requires a high level of power output. Which in turns relies on the activation of fast-twitch fibers. So you eventually become good at recruiting these fibers. There is also some evidence that the performance of plyometric exercises (or strength movements where you are using the stretch reflex) actually changes the profile of slow and intermediate fibers toward a fast-twitch profile. Which will increase growth potential and strength gains.

Such a technique needs to be carefully applied though. If overdone it can lead to injuries and bad motor habits.

Make sure that:

  • The amount of EME work is never more than 20% of a workout and only used in (at the most) 1 workouts out of 4.

  • Maintain perfect body position at all times

  • Only use a slight momentum that allows you to lift around 5-10% more weight, more than that and there will be no transfer to the regular movement and the risk for injury is higher

  • I don’t recommend EME for the lower body… use plyometrics or ballistic exercises instead

I like these movements for EME:

  • push press
  • shoulder width upright row to the sternum
  • power shrugs
  • 1-arm DB curl, bracing yourself with the free hand
  • 1-arm DB hammer curl, bracing yourself (holding on to a post)
  • 1-arm DB front raise, bracing yourself
  • 1-arm DB rowing, free hand on your knee
  • Bent over power barbell rowing; bar starts on the floor, use a slight lower back action to get it started

Mr Thib, I used to be a big fan of T-Nation about 2 years ago. I am very toung lifter but have been squatting pulling and pressing heavy since I was 13 and am 17 now. I stopped reading T-Nation because it seemed like the website started taking itseld far too seriously. The hardcore thing it was striving for was just lame…

Fot the most part as I have gotten stronger and found other stronger people, I have moved away from posting on internet forums and reading articles. However a training partner of mine told me he only visits T-Nation to read stuff you post (we are Oly lifters) so I figured what the heck, I hopped back on and began reading some of your stuff as well as others.

It seems T-Nation in general has continued the decline, however I just wanted to say thank you for providing some genuinely usful insight, as well as making me realise why so much of the crap I do as an Oly lifter would have amazing effects on the others. I found myself doing many things intuitively such as feel sets etc and and it has been great to see that someone of your calibre does it to.

Keep up the honest good work! (I hope you read this and someone doesnt think my language isnt rhetorical and hardcore enough)

This thread is gold and very enjoying. I hope it will keep going!

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
I like these movements for EME:

  • shoulder width upright row to the sternum
  • power shrugs[/quote]
    Should these 2 EME movements begin from a deadstop (just-above-knee) position?

JANUARY 12TH

THE CORNERSTONES OF ALL GOOD STRENGTH ATHLETES

What makes a strongman? Powerful legs? Hydraulic lift arms? Shoulders of steel? Armor-like pecs?

None of these, although they are all important.

If you look at all strongmen from the past and the current strength athletes (powerlifters, olympic lifters, strongman competitors, throwers, Highland games athletes) they all have two things in common: lower back and hands strength.

Some might be known for their strong legs, others for their humongeous pressing power and some more for their pulling prowesses. But they all have strong hands and an iron-like lower back.

I do not know of one ‘big lift’ that cannot be SIGNIFICANTLY improved by jacking up your hand and lower back strength.

Even pressing exercises like the bench press will be made more powerful if you gain hand and forearm strength. Don’t forget that in ANY movement where you are holding the weight, your hands are what is transferring force to the barbell; enabling your to lift it.

There is no way around it… weak hands = weak lift.

I’m not saying that if your hands, forearms and wrists are weak you can’t have big lifts. But I AM saying that if those are weak, then you will never be as strong as you could be.

It’s obvious that stronger hands and forearms will improve performance in the deadlift, curls, pulls, and Olympic lifting movements. But their impact on pressing is often underestimated. Stronger hands, thicker wrists and forearms provide a more solid base when holding the bar. That’s why powerlifters often wear wrist wraps when bench pressing.

Weak hands, wrists and forearms lead to more wrist strain and more energy loss when pressing. It also makes the bar feel heavier. Don’t believe me? Load the bar with close to your max and try to bench press it while keeping your hands and forearms as relaxed as possible: the bar will feel like it weighs a ton! Squeeze the bar as hard as possible and it’ll feel 50 pounds lighter. Having the bar feel lighter is a psychological advantage that you shouldn’t sneeze at when attempting a maximum lift.

The same actually holds true for a squat… put the bar on your back. Hold it, keeping your hands as soft as possible. Then squat…

Do the same, while gripping the bar as hard as you can… bingo feels much more solid and lighter!

And I’m not even talking about the lower back!!! The backbone of most major strength lifts like the deadlift, squat, front squat, power clean, power snatch. No lower back = you having the strength of a small woman!!!

The lower back also plays a role in every single exercise performed standing.

I’m telling you; if your strength and size gains have been stuck for a while DO A SPEC PHASE FOR THE LOWER BACK AND HANDS!!! I guarantee that shortly after your weight will get moving up again and your strength will skyrocket.

1 Like

[quote]tolismann wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
I like these movements for EME:

  • shoulder width upright row to the sternum
  • power shrugs[/quote]
    Should these 2 EME movements begin from a deadstop (just-above-knee) position?
    [/quote]

They can be done from a deadstop OR preceded by a prestretch (like if you were to perform a hang clean… lower the bar to the knees then explode up). I personally prefer the second option.

What would the lower back spec program look like? A mixture of barbell rows, back extension and rack pulls?

[quote]Mondy wrote:
What would the lower back spec program look like? A mixture of barbell rows, back extension and rack pulls?[/quote]

It depends on the movements you are comfortable doing… (olympic lifts for example)

Something like:

DAY 1
A. Power clean from the hang 2" from the floor
Ramping sets of 3 reps

B. Power upright row from pins just above the knees
Ramping sets of 5 reps

C. Two arms DB swing
3 x 15-20 reps

DAY 2.
A. Deadlift
Ramping sets of 3 reps

B. Deadlift 85% of A
5 sets of 5

C. Deadlift 85% of B
1 set of 10

DAY 3.
A. Romanian deadlift 1st pull (from 1" above floor to knee level)
Ramping sets of 5 reps

B. Seated goodmorning
Ramping sets of 5 reps

C. Heavy back extension
Ramping sets of 5 reps

D. Back extension - no weight
3 x max reps

You could also replace the power upright row with a power barbell row from the floor and replace the set of 10 reps on the deadlift with 3 sets of 5 one-arm deadlift with a bar.

Salut Christian,

Thanks for all the hard work, all this information is unbelievable.

Do you feel that specialization training has its place while on a cut? Do you feel that the low calories could be catabolic for the muscles that are left at maintenance? I was thinking of doinf a shoulder specialization while on a cut…

[quote]gogotheviking wrote:
Salut Christian,

Thanks for all the hard work, all this information is unbelievable.

Do you feel that specialization training has its place while on a cut? Do you feel that the low calories could be catabolic for the muscles that are left at maintenance? I was thinking of doinf a shoulder specialization while on a cut…[/quote]

A spec approach is arguably the type of training where you have the biggest chance of being able to gain muscle while losing fat. But this can only be done if:

  • You reduce the amount of work for the other bodyparts to maintenance level
  • Increase your caloric intake on the spec days and decrease it on the other days

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]gogotheviking wrote:
Salut Christian,

Thanks for all the hard work, all this information is unbelievable.

Do you feel that specialization training has its place while on a cut? Do you feel that the low calories could be catabolic for the muscles that are left at maintenance? I was thinking of doinf a shoulder specialization while on a cut…[/quote]

A spec approach is arguably the type of training where you have the biggest chance of being able to gain muscle while losing fat. But this can only be done if:

  • You reduce the amount of work for the other bodyparts to maintenance level
  • Increase your caloric intake on the spec days and decrease it on the other days[/quote]

Merci coach I’ll give this a try

CT: how much would thick bar work help with grip strength? I recently bought a set of fat gripz and am trying to incorporate them into my workouts. I use them on all pressing movements, and on some of the lighter pulling as it becomes a nightmare once you go heavy. Any tips on how to get the most out of them?

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
JANUARY 9TH

The FT does so by putting the muscle tissue under a large strain due to the ‘whipping’ effect of rapidly switching from eccentric to concentric. The DEADSTOP does so by forcing the muscle tissue to do the whole job (taking out the stretch reflex) thus having to contract harder.

Ironically both methods are exacts opposite, but they still create an overload of the same point […]

I FORGOT TO MENTION THIS … VERY IMPORTANT… when using these methods “deadstop” does refer to paused reps, not lifts from pins[/quote]

CT,

Sorry I’m not getting something.

You suggested a pause of 2-3 seconds … are we contracting the muscle isometically, or relaxing it? And does only 2-3 seconds totally dissipate the stretch-shortening reflex?

Thanks, and I like this random thought thread,

Brian

Hey coach. I have some decent lifts and alright size, but I always wanted some bigger pipes. I’ve done some type of form of autoregulation for awhile now and have recently included your methods and thoughts on it.

I was wondering if you could throw some ideas out there as far as “speccing” for arm growth.