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This is Eric Bach. Helping Busy People Look Great Naked and Optimize Performance Without Living in the Gym. Ask Me Anything

Eric Bach is a highly sought-after strength and conditioning coach and author. Eric specializes in helping busy people look great naked and optimize performance without living in the gym.

Find him at http://bachperformance.com/

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Question One: Bourbon, rye, whiskey, or whisky?

Question Two: What are your favorite/preferred introductions to plyometrics with “non-athletic” clients? Medball throws, shorter distance/lower height jumps? Basically, what regressions do you use to start getting plyos into a routine?

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I like your style. My go-to cocktail is a Manhattan which is technically supposed to be made with rye. If I’m sippin’ on the rocks, pass me the bourbon.

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Many people start way to advanced when it comes to plyometrics. Their muscles may be able to take the impact, but their joints are ill-prepared for the amount of power they can generate.

For upper body plyometrics, overhead medicine ball slams are a go-to. Make sure when you perform the slam that you keep your trunk engaged (don’t bend over) and chin neutral (so you don’t get smoked in the face.

Three sets of 5-8 reps with 60 seconds rest before upper body days is the way to go.

In regards to jumps I prefer starting with a static, single response squat jump.

A single response jump is one jump, stick the landing, and reset. Compared to a multi-response squat jump (multiple jumps tied together) you’re forced to optimize landing mechanics and learn how to maximally generally force.

When it comes to jumps, it’s crucial to emphasize generating as much force INTO the ground and sticking the landing rather than racing from jump-to-jump.

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Hi Eric, I just wanted to say that I appreciate all the articles you’ve written throughout the years. They’ve helped me optimize my training and prevented tons of injuries (probably). I don’t have any questions, just wanted to take a moment to say “thank you”.

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Thank you, brother. I appreciate it. If there’s anything specific you’d like to see/read free to reach out at any time.

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Hey Eric, just discovered your work a few months back and absolutely love it. I’m working through the athletic aesthetic program and am on my 6th week, just did a reload last week, and I am seeing more strength and power gains than I have in a while. My question is what sort of diet/nutrition plan would you recommend to supplement this in the interest of physique improvements? I’m a former college O-Lineman and have lost a ton of weight since my playing days, but would say I’m still 10-20 lbs away from where I’d like to be. I’ve been keeping the protein high and a moderate caloric deficit, but wanted to see if you had any more specialized advice. Thanks again for your work!

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Eric,

I am 51 an efforting to finally get lean. My diet is solid and I have dropped to about 17% BF (10 pounds weight loss) and want to get lower. I am doing a full body workout three times a week rotating the following:

A
Trap bar squats
Overhead Press
Wieghted Chins

B
Front Squat
Close Grip Bench
meadows row

I do works sets of 4X4

My cardio is walking daily about 7K steps and yoga twice a week.
Should I add anything or try to lean up with diet?
or should I drop a weight day and do some sort of conditioning work?

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Hello Eric,

With regards to the long-term goal of getting close to one’s natural muscle-building potential, in your experience, do you believe that there are mandatory exercises that should be done or can reasonable substitutions be used as long as you are working hard, eating enough, and not skipping conditioning?

Examples of reasonable substitutions I’m referring to above include using bulgarian split squats and front squats instead of back squats, or dumbbell overhead press instead of barbell

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Hey Tkill,

Thanks for reading my work and taking the Athletic Aesthetic Program for a spin.

In regards to your diet, it sounds like you’re on the right track. Generally speaking, if what you’re doing is working and the weight is still coming off, then don’t adjust too soon. If you are getting stuck, I would recommend the Matador Diet approach which cycles two weeks at maintenance calories and two weeks at about a 30% deficit.

You don’t want to stay at a deficit of 30% for long or you’ll start to hate life and potentially deal with some metabolic down-regulation. A two-week break at maintenance allows you to fire on all cylinders and consistently lose fat. During the holidays, this is even more beneficial because you’ll be able to enjoy life a bit without gaining the 5-8 pounds most people do during the holidays.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the Matador diet here: https://bachperformance.com/the-matador-diet-study-how-to-lose-fat-dieting-two-weeks-at-time/ or drop me an email at eric[at]bachperformance.com

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Hey Silvermind,
For now, keep your weight training as is. The primary goal of weight training during a cut is to maintain strength, muscle, and therefore optimal metabolic function. You may benefit from adjusting your rep scheme every few weeks though. Consider alternating training blocks of 4x4 with 3x8-10 every 4-6 weeks.

If possible, increase steps to 10,000 before adding additional workout days. This can do wonders for fat loss and overall well being.

In regards to your diet, it’s tough to say without having more information about what you’re currently doing.

I would ensure you’re getting at least 1g of protein per 1lb of bodyweight and eating at a 10-15% deficit if it’s working.

You don’t want to take the calories too low and hit a wall with nowhere to go but up.

If you can get more details on your diet I can get more specific.

Thanks

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Eric,

Thanks for reply. I will switch up my training blocks as you suggest. That might also keep me refreshed.
The steps sounds like a good way to move forward. I may add a weighted vest over time.
I am pretty diligent about proteins so I think I am good there. I just need patience now.

Thanks!

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Hey Anthony,

Thanks for dropping in.

I don’t believe in mandatory exercises, only mandatory movement patterns.

Those would be hinge, squat, row, horizontal push, vertical push/pull, carry, and lunge. There are so many differences between limb length etc. and training exercises that one-size-fits-all exercises generally cause more harm than good.

As far as your specific changes, I think you hit the nail on the head.

Front squats are a great exercise, but it’s hard to maximally demolish your legs before your upper back fatigues. So whenever I program front squats (generally lower rep schemes) bulgarian split squats, split squats, reverse lunges, or front-foot-elevated split squats fill the void.

When it comes to meeting your natural muscle-building potential the most important factor is training consistently. The most important component of training consistently is exercise selection.

Keep up the great work.
-Eric

You’re welcome! Keep me posted on the training blocks. Subtle changes can be enough to keep you focused and elicit the changes you’re looking for.

Stay the course. You’re on the way.

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Hey man I have a silly hypothetical for you. If you were forced to choose only two movements to build a strong, athletic body which would they be?

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Yo!

I’d go with squat movement patterns and a horizontal press.
Getting more specific, I’d have a front squat/trap bar deadlift (more of squat technique) and dips.

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Hey Eric,

Who are your influences, or are there any coaches or authors who inspired your style when you were starting out?

Are there any books or sources of info you’d recommend?