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Total Body Training Question

I have a question about Total Body Training (3x/week). Chad Waterbury says every other week should be “antagonist” training, but not every workout will contain three antagonist groupings. He also states that you should mix-up the muscle groupings you start your workout with So, in his example tbt program after the first two weeks he mixes up the muscle groupings–however, the pairings are no longer even close to antagonist pairings. Therefore, during week four when you are supposed to be doing antagonist work you’re not.

So, my question is how to reconcile this discrepancy between his description of his program, and his sample program. Exactly how important is it to have the muscle groupings as antagonist muscle groups?


Exactly how important is it to have the muscle groupings as antagonist muscle groups?

See “The dope on antagonist training” answer

Maybe this can anwer you question, good luck!


The antagonist pairing I mentioned doesn’t have to be perfectly “opposing” muscle groups. I wrote the sample program to show that you can meet specific needs by majorly altering the exercise selections.

The purpose of every other week of non-consecutive exercise sets addresses the issue of changing rest periods to provide a different type of stimulus to the muscles.

For trainees without any specific weaknesses (i.e, they just want to train every major muscle group), pure antagonist pairing is recommended. Again, I wasn’t “pure” with my sample in order to show the leniency of the program.

A perfect anatgonist pairing could be:
barbell bench press/chest-supported rows

An antagonist pairing could be:
barbell bench press/chin-ups

Again, the program doesn’t have to be set up this way. A trainee who really wants to blast his shoulders/chest could use a pairing of: incline bench press/dips.

This is a good post, and it shows writers like me that there are always variables in virtually every program that remain unclear.

Hope this helps clear it up.

thanks for the quick reply. This does help clear things up. I do, however, have another question: what are your thoughts on using pairings that are not antagonist in nature at all? For example, chest/legs. Is this any advantages or disadvantages in using such a scheme?

Also, since the legs are such a large and important muscle group, is it possible to attain optimal development of them using just one compound movement and one isolation movement, rather than two compound movements per workout? One of the reason I ask is because I have a home gym set-up and its a real pain in the ass to unload the weights off the bar after a set of squats (I only have one olympic bar) put it on the floor, load the weights back on, then do a set of deadlifts.

Thanks for all the help,

P.S. I LOVE whole body training. This is the way I trained years ago, and it always made sense to me that this was how the human body was most effeciently and effectively trained.



It’s not necessary to use 4 compound exercises and 2 isolation exercises. For many, 6 compound exercises would be a better choice (beginners), but there are some good single-joint exercises.

No problem alternating between legs/chest, it’s another great variation.

As for the “one exercise per session” question, it’s not about how many exercises you perform, what’s important is how much total volume you perform each week. With 3 sessions, and relatively high reps (for my programs), you’ll get plenty of stimulus.

O.K., Chad,

I have a couple of other questions concerning TBT.

  1. I started TBT in the middle of a pro-steroid cycle. I’ll complete 4 weeks of your TBT program by the end of the cycle. After a couple of weeks PCT period should I start back on your TBT program where I left off (i.e., week 5), or should I start again from the beginning?

  2. I just assumed that I should alter my training during the two week PCT period; however, is this true? Should I continue your TBT program during my PCT period, or should I modify my training.

For example, should I go to two (2) full body work outs each week? If so, should I just continue with week 5 of your program? The reasoning being that you should back off on volume and intensity during this recovery period when your body may be affected by low androgen levels.

Should I keep intensity levels the same?

  1. When I start another pro-steroid cycle (right after my PCT cycle in a couple of weeks)I want to do a modified Fat Fast-type diet. I will however leave in about 80g./day of carbs.

As this involves rather extreme calorie restriction (and remembering I’ll be on a cycle of pro-steroids), should I modify your TBT program in any way–for example, again, maybe go to just two total body workouts each week?

Thanks for the help,




What’s PCT?

If it’s a reference to sub-maintenance caloric intake while dieting, the TBT isn’t for you. My Next Big 3 program is best for those trying to get ripped on low calories.

Ah, PCT must mean “post cycle training.” Sorry, I don’t spend much time on the Steroids forum so I’m not up on the abbreviations.

As for your PCT issue, my recommendation remains the same. Follow my NB3 program during the PCT and resume TBT once you get back on androgens. But don’t consume sub-maintenance during the PCT or you’ll lose your newly gained muscle. Be sure to keep protein intake and post-workout nutrition at sufficient levels.


thanks for you time!