T Nation

Thursday/Talk Shop With EC

I’ll be online tonight from 8-10 PM, so I figured I’d give you all a head start on posting some questions for me.

So, without further ado, let’s see some questions!

EC, I’m getting frusturated! Things have been tough the last few months with my dad having cancer and helping take care of him, and the fact that I was laid off from work and my training took a back seat for a while (luckily, I start my new job Monday and my training has been good lately). Not to mention that I’m sick for the third time since January (stress??).

After losing quite a bit of strength, I’m almost back to where I was, however, I want to maintain size and strength while getting a little bit leaner. I find myself trying to cut back on calories and carbs, but I am also hungry all the damn time and end up eating huge meals. I’m eating 5-6 times a day, and I always eat healthy (protein with every meal, most meals based on JB’s recommendations).

So what can I do to get leaner without feeling like I’m starving? Should I just drop the carbs and eat more protein/fat meals?

As for training, I’m sticking with heavy loads and lower reps with moderate to high volume. I’m following an upper/lower body split. Oh yeah, I’m currently 5’4" and 160lbs at ~15-18%. Thanks bro!

Eric,
I have put your tips on form for benching to use and they have worked very well. I was wondering- How often should I use this form? I am currently doing one day a week on speed at 60% 1rm, and one day a week singles starting at 260 and working up to 290 in 10 lb. increments.
So, should I ue the back arched,legs tucked form all the time, or just when I’m realy going for it?

Hello again Eric!

I created a training plan(it’s just the first 2 weeks block) to heal some postural issues and i would like to have your opinion on it. My internal rotators are much more powerfull than my external rotators, so i used more volume on horizontal pull/external rotators+serratus work and stuff like that. It’s also affect my posture since i have internaly rotated hand.

I did the same to help develop hamstring vs quads that are already more than enough.

My erectors also get stiff by all the school work i have to do seated on a chair all day, often on night too. Don’t know really of i can do something in addition to stretching every hour.

see by yourself…

Week 1-2 Accumulation 15-20 sets
Session last:

Full body workout
1-Jumping rope 2-32min (body core temperature)
2-Full body range of motion movements
Control drills Lying supine abductors extension 1
5-20, 311, 0-30sec
Limited range (1/3) dumbbells rows 210-20, 212, 0-30sec
Front mirror low cable external rotation 2
10-20, 212, 0-30sec
Thin tummy variations-(lower abs-TVA) 1-210, 313, 0-30sec
Side raise on roman chair loaded -(lateral flexion) 1-2
10-20, 212, 0-30sec
Snatch grip deadlift on box+scapular retraction (NS)
15(40%), 14(70%), 311, 3min
26 (up to)
1
8-12
Romanian deadlift on block (clean grip)+scapular retraction
14(50%), 26-8, 311, 2min
Single leg dumbbell calves press 15(40%), 2AMRAP, 311, 1-2min
T-Bar row pronated 14(50%), 36-10, 311, 2min
Shoulder press to the front (WG/seated)
15(40%), 14(70%), 311, 100sec
26 (up to)
1
8-10
Chin up (WG/Front)
15(40%), 14(70%), 311, 100sec
26 (up to)
1
AMRAP
3-Post workout nutrition+static stretch

Session last:

Lower body workout
1-Jumping rope 2-32min (body core temperature)
2-Lower body range of motion movements
Control drills Light leg extension 2
15-20, 212, 0-30sec
Assisted squat 110, 311, 0-30sec
Lying supine leg/ hip/tight extension 2
5-20, 202, 0-30s
Full Knee up on incline-(lower abs) 1-210-20, 311, 0-30sec
Lateral trunk flexion on bench (lat.flexion) 1-2
5-10, 0-30sec
Squat (HB/NS) 15(40%), 14(70%), 311, 2-3min
26 (up to)
1
10-12
Increased ROM Romanian dumbbells squat 14(50%), 26-8, 311, 2min
Bent-knee seated good morning 14(50%), 26-8, 311, 2min
King deadlift (knee on floor) 14(50%), 1AMRAP, 311, 1-2min
One leg-Leg curl feet pointed in 14(50%), 26-8, 311, 2min
Barbell shrug (MG) 15(40%), 14(70%), 2*6-8, 311, 2min
3-Post workout nutrition+static stretch

Session last:
Upper body workout
1-Jumping rope 2-32min (body core temperature)
2-Upper body range of motion movements
Control drills
Scarecrow 2
5-15, 202, 0-30sec
Flutters 210-20, 202, 0-30sec
Side lying Ian King dumbbell elevation 2
5-15, 202, 0-30sec
Slow up/Slow down -(upper abs) 1-210, 515, 0-30sec
Russian twists in v-sit loaded -(rotation) 1-2
15-30, 202, 0-30sec
Bent-over row (MG/to the pecs)
15(40%), 14(70%), 311, 100sec
26 (up to)
2
8-10
115-2050%
Incline bench press (WG/to the mid pecs)
15(40%), 14(70%), 311, 100sec
26 (up to)
Ez-bar curl (MG/Pronated)
1
5(40%), 14(70%), 311, 100sec
2
6-8 (up to)
Dips
15(40%), 14(70%), 311, 100sec
26-8 (up to)
Hammer incline front shoulder raises 1
4(50%), 2*8-10, 311, 2min
3-Post workout nutrition+static stretch

By the way, i have not changed of training goal, i still train for the sprint, the intensification block will be loaded of speed strength/reactive strength and maximal strength. It’s just that i still want to take care of these issues.

Thanks
adonail

I find that my Olympic-style squat is the slowest to improve of the squat styles I use (powerlifter-style, front, and overhead are the other styles I use). I’ve been thinking of dropping OL squats entierely. Do you see this problem often (progressing well on most squat styles but royally sucking at one)?

I’ve been mending a sore hip flexor (tore it years ago but has been bothering me for a couple months now)

I’m ready to get back to squatting and a full lower body routine, can you suggest a simple plan to get back into it? I havent seriously squated in 6 months and previously got up to something like 265x5 @ 140lb BW… Also I train 3 days a week…

any help would be great!

Eric,

Is the DB RDL a strength exercise or an exercise to correct imbalances?

The movement just doesn’t seem to use enough weight.

EC.

I have this injury that happened and I’m wondering if you can shed some light on how the hell it happened.

I was doing low volume/high rep workouts then I injured my RIGHT bicep…(my own fault of course…not enough rest/day…was working out on the 8 day week with GPP in between iron days…and 8th day off).

Got therapeutic massage for it and ixnayed on the upperbody work (hard to work upperbody while not using right arm). Now somewhere in the process (I am not joking) of massage the pain MOVED INTO THE LEFT SHOULDER! honest. I thought it was “just one of those things”…but when I went back to working out…the bicep was fine, but soon (very soon) the shoulder was in too much pain that I had to stop again (for fear of permanent injury).

Now…4 weeks later I’m (hopefully) able to go back to working out (upperbody iron) in 7 days.

I’m wondering if you have ANY idea on how this happened.

2 things you should know…1) I’m in a non-English country and I don’t know the language…we’re going on the
Docto: “Hey, does this hurt?”
Me: “no”
Doctor: “Does it hurt when I do THIS?”
ME: “F YEAH THAT HURTS!!”

Oh yeah, when I come back I’m going to to NNM…I have a LOT of checkmarks in “Internally rotated humeri”, “Excessive Kyphosis” and 2 in “excessive Lordosis”…in case any of those will help you in figuring out anything.

TB

[quote]Nate Dogg wrote:
EC, I’m getting frusturated! Things have been tough the last few months with my dad having cancer and helping take care of him, and the fact that I was laid off from work and my training took a back seat for a while (luckily, I start my new job Monday and my training has been good lately). Not to mention that I’m sick for the third time since January (stress??).

After losing quite a bit of strength, I’m almost back to where I was, however, I want to maintain size and strength while getting a little bit leaner. I find myself trying to cut back on calories and carbs, but I am also hungry all the damn time and end up eating huge meals. I’m eating 5-6 times a day, and I always eat healthy (protein with every meal, most meals based on JB’s recommendations).

So what can I do to get leaner without feeling like I’m starving? Should I just drop the carbs and eat more protein/fat meals?

As for training, I’m sticking with heavy loads and lower reps with moderate to high volume. I’m following an upper/lower body split. Oh yeah, I’m currently 5’4" and 160lbs at ~15-18%. Thanks bro![/quote]

Hey Nate! Good to hear from you. Hope your dad is doing better.

A few thoughts:

  1. Try adding a fiber supplement to some of your meals if you’re not getting much in normally. A little psyllium husk powder can actually make a world of difference.

  2. Just stick with plenty of vegetables. I know it sounds hackneyed at this point, but you really can’t get enough.

  3. Replace olive oil with nuts.

  4. Don’t hesitate to drop the carbs sustantially. I only eat 1-2 carb meals per day on my training days, and one of them is Surge. On non-training days, it’s all P+F.

  5. If you can find a way to incorporate some energy systems work here and there, it’ll likely give you a bit more wiggle room with your diet so that you can afford to eat a bit more.

Good luck!

[quote]mindeffer01 wrote:
Eric,
I have put your tips on form for benching to use and they have worked very well. I was wondering- How often should I use this form? I am currently doing one day a week on speed at 60% 1rm, and one day a week singles starting at 260 and working up to 290 in 10 lb. increments.
So, should I ue the back arched,legs tucked form all the time, or just when I’m realy going for it?
[/quote]

That depends; are you training to compete as a powerlifter? I don’t see any need to really accentuate the arched back and tucked leg set-up unless you’re preparing to compete. Some arch is valuable for everyone, but you don’t need to take it so far if you’re just benching for aesthetics or improved performance in another sport.

If you are powerlifting, though, definitely practice as you would compete. The more often you’re in this position, the more comfortable you’ll be. Speed days can be awesome for teaching technique - especially in those who are struggling to master leg drive in the bench.

Hey Eric,

What are your thoughts on “fatigue” training for lower back injury prevention?

And what exercises lend themselves best to this type of training? I don’t have access to the obvious choices, like a GHR or hyper bench.

How often would you say it should be done? And what about number of sets and duration?

Thanks

[quote]adonail wrote:

My erectors also get stiff by all the school work i have to do seated on a chair all day, often on night too. Don’t know really of i can do something in addition to stretching every hour.[/quote]

Fidget more often. The best posture is one that is constantly changing.

[quote]Week 1-2 Accumulation 15-20 sets
Session last:

Full body workout
1-Jumping rope 2-32min (body core temperature)
2-Full body range of motion movements
Control drills Lying supine abductors extension 1
5-20, 311, 0-30sec[/quote]

What’s an “abductor extension.”

[quote]Limited range (1/3) dumbbells rows 210-20, 212, 0-30sec
Front mirror low cable external rotation 2
10-20, 212, 0-30sec[/quote]

Is the mirror just for feedback?

Eliminate this. Isolated work for the TVA is garbage, and thin tummy work is even worse. Learn to brace your core and you’ll be healthier with better performance.

[quote]Side raise on roman chair loaded -(lateral flexion) 1-210-20, 212, 0-30sec
Snatch grip deadlift on box+scapular retraction (NS)
1
5(40%), 14(70%), 311, 3min
2
6 (up to)
18-12
Romanian deadlift on block (clean grip)+scapular retraction
1
4(50%), 26-8, 311, 2min
Single leg dumbbell calves press 1
5(40%), 2*AMRAP, 311, 1-2min[/quote]

The calf work won’t do much to improve classical postural abnormalities, but it sounds like your problems are more specific to the upper body, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

[quote]T-Bar row pronated 14(50%), 36-10, 311, 2min
Shoulder press to the front (WG/seated)
15(40%), 14(70%), 311, 100sec
26 (up to)
1
8-10
Chin up (WG/Front)
15(40%), 14(70%), 311, 100sec
26 (up to)
1
AMRAP
3-Post workout nutrition+static stretch[/quote]

Shoulder pressing and doing chinups are just going to be working against your goal, so be cognizant of using too much volume. A few heavy sets shouldn’t be a problem, though.

[quote]Lower body workout
1-Jumping rope 2-32min (body core temperature)
2-Lower body range of motion movements
Control drills Light leg extension 2
15-20, 212, 0-30sec[/quote]

Leg extensions are silly.

[quote] Assisted squat 110, 311, 0-30sec
Lying supine leg/ hip/tight extension 2
5-20, 202, 0-30s
Full Knee up on incline-(lower abs) 1-210-20, 311, 0-30sec
Lateral trunk flexion on bench (lat.flexion) 1-2
5-10, 0-30sec
Squat (HB/NS) 15(40%), 14(70%), 311, 2-3min
26 (up to)
1
10-12
Increased ROM Romanian dumbbells squat 14(50%), 26-8, 311, 2min
Bent-knee seated good morning 14(50%), 26-8, 311, 2min
King deadlift (knee on floor) 14(50%), 1AMRAP, 311, 1-2min
One leg-Leg curl feet pointed in 14(50%), 26-8, 311, 2min
Barbell shrug (MG) 15(40%), 14(70%), 2*6-8, 311, 2min[/quote]

I wouldn’t worry about doing shrugs with the amount of deadlifting you’re doing, especially considering that they’ll confound your problems.

[quote]Upper body workout
1-Jumping rope 2-32min (body core temperature)
2-Upper body range of motion movements
Control drills
Scarecrow 2
5-15, 202, 0-30sec
Flutters 2*10-20, 202, 0-30sec[/quote]

Not sure what a flutter is.

[quote] Side lying Ian King dumbbell elevation 25-15, 202, 0-30sec
Slow up/Slow down -(upper abs) 1-2
10, 515, 0-30sec
Russian twists in v-sit loaded -(rotation) 1-215-30, 202, 0-30sec
Bent-over row (MG/to the pecs)
1
5(40%), 14(70%), 311, 100sec
2
6 (up to)
28-10
1
15-2050%
Incline bench press (WG/to the mid pecs)
1
5(40%), 14(70%), 311, 100sec
2
6 (up to)
Ez-bar curl (MG/Pronated)
15(40%), 14(70%), 311, 100sec
26-8 (up to)
Dips
1
5(40%), 14(70%), 311, 100sec
2
6-8 (up to)
Hammer incline front shoulder raises 14(50%), 28-10, 311, 2min[quote]

This day is pretty bad; there’s way too much internal rotation work. Incorporate the incline front raises down the road; stick with more isolated work for the serratus anterior first (single-arm DB protraction) and devote this volume to more horizontal pulling.

[quote]By the way, i have not changed of training goal, i still train for the sprint, the intensification block will be loaded of speed strength/reactive strength and maximal strength. It’s just that i still want to take care of these issues.

Thanks
adonail
[/quote]

Good luck.

[quote]downintucson wrote:
I find that my Olympic-style squat is the slowest to improve of the squat styles I use (powerlifter-style, front, and overhead are the other styles I use). I’ve been thinking of dropping OL squats entierely. Do you see this problem often (progressing well on most squat styles but royally sucking at one)? [/quote]

It’s probably the version you’ve been utilizing the longest, so chances are that you have more progress to make on the other lifts. You don’t really need to worry about Olympic squatting if you’re front squatting, as it’s a very quad dominant movement that’ll accomplish the same goals. Many time, the best way to progress on a lift is to stop doing it altogether for a while and then come back to it later.

[quote]JNeves wrote:
I’ve been mending a sore hip flexor (tore it years ago but has been bothering me for a couple months now)

I’m ready to get back to squatting and a full lower body routine, can you suggest a simple plan to get back into it? I havent seriously squated in 6 months and previously got up to something like 265x5 @ 140lb BW… Also I train 3 days a week…

any help would be great![/quote]

Well, I certainly wouldn’t jump back into it heavy right away. You might consider squatting in the 8+ rep range one day per week, and then coming in to just groove the form with lighter weights a few other times per day. Give your posterior chain the attention it deserves and really go out of your way to keep your hip mobility up with lots of stretching for the psoas major and minor, iliacus, ITB, TFL, piriformis, hamstrings, and lumbar erectors, and you should be good to go.

Some DB single-leg work would be a great idea, too; it’ll let you test out that hip flexor in a safer situation while improving strength and hypertrophy and teaching frontal plane stability.

[quote]basementD wrote:
Eric,

Is the DB RDL a strength exercise or an exercise to correct imbalances?

The movement just doesn’t seem to use enough weight. [/quote]

It’s a movement for beginners only, in my opinion. The grip will always be a limiting factor for those with any appreciable amount of deadlift strength. I rarely write it into programs.

[quote]Trailblazer wrote:
EC.

I have this injury that happened and I’m wondering if you can shed some light on how the hell it happened.

I was doing low volume/high rep workouts then I injured my RIGHT bicep…(my own fault of course…not enough rest/day…was working out on the 8 day week with GPP in between iron days…and 8th day off).

Got therapeutic massage for it and ixnayed on the upperbody work (hard to work upperbody while not using right arm). Now somewhere in the process (I am not joking) of massage the pain MOVED INTO THE LEFT SHOULDER! honest. I thought it was “just one of those things”…but when I went back to working out…the bicep was fine, but soon (very soon) the shoulder was in too much pain that I had to stop again (for fear of permanent injury).

Now…4 weeks later I’m (hopefully) able to go back to working out (upperbody iron) in 7 days.

I’m wondering if you have ANY idea on how this happened.

2 things you should know…1) I’m in a non-English country and I don’t know the language…we’re going on the
Docto: “Hey, does this hurt?”
Me: “no”
Doctor: “Does it hurt when I do THIS?”
ME: “F YEAH THAT HURTS!!”

Oh yeah, when I come back I’m going to to NNM…I have a LOT of checkmarks in “Internally rotated humeri”, “Excessive Kyphosis” and 2 in “excessive Lordosis”…in case any of those will help you in figuring out anything.

TB[/quote]

Compensation patterns are very tricky. In situations of unilateral injury, trainees will unknowingly shift the emphasis to the strong side to protect a weaker area; you’ll often see left shoulder pain emerge when the right shoulder is the one injured. In your case, it could be tendonosis of the long head of the biceps; although this is usually experienced at the shoulder, individuals will often get pain at the distal aspect (elbow) as well. If your right biceps were a bit irritated, the left side would likely take on more of the load when doing barbell work.

Bicipital tendonosis is pretty damn common in people with poor posture, so I’d be willing to bet that you’d see some improvements if you addressed these issues.

Here’s my deal…

I’ve currently been trying to overcome a gnarly amount of posterior pelvic tilt. As such I’ve been doing lots of ab work and trying to stretch the hip flexors. If you have any other suggestions or unique/awkward exercises that will help me in my quest, please, clue me in!

[quote]violentvegan wrote:
Hey Eric,

What are your thoughts on “fatigue” training for lower back injury prevention?

And what exercises lend themselves best to this type of training? I don’t have access to the obvious choices, like a GHR or hyper bench.

How often would you say it should be done? And what about number of sets and duration?

Thanks
[/quote]

Well, I’m assuming that you’re referring to fatigue in the sense that it’s the opposite in programming than frequency? In other words, you want to train it to a significant drop-off and then wait a considerable amount of time before retraining it?

Honestly, I prefer the frequency approach when it comes to injury prevention and rehabilitation just because frequency is such a powerful stimulus when it comes to establishing appropriate neural patterns. It’s one of the reasons that I’m so in favor of daily GPP exercises to teach glute activation, scapular retraction, etc.

Endurance of key stabilizing muscles is certainly important when it comes to preventing back injuries, but you can build considerable endurance without fatigue approaches (although I’ll still use them); frequency periods should comprise the majority of your training year.

[quote]CU AeroStallion wrote:
Here’s my deal…

I’ve currently been trying to overcome a gnarly amount of posterior pelvic tilt. As such I’ve been doing lots of ab work and trying to stretch the hip flexors. If you have any other suggestions or unique/awkward exercises that will help me in my quest, please, clue me in![/quote]

I think you mean anterior pelvic tilt. Am I right?

I should have been more specific. I meant timed sets. Like holding a back extension for x amount of time as a test for likelihood for back injury, and as an exercise to improve low back stamina.