T Nation

Unloading Protocols Question

-I was curious how you unload on your programs. Do you cut the accessory volume by 40% (like Poliquin) every 4th week, and then switch exercises?
-On ME work, how many weeks straight do you go? I’d assume about 8 weeks. How do you unload ME Lower? I doubt it’d be like the ME Upper approach.

Also a little unrelated, but what’s your view on overhead pressing? I know Coach X is starting to discourage many from doing them, but wouldn’t cycling in push presses and jerks be important for basketball players? I don’t see how they’d be more dangerous than flat presses with proper form.

Thanks for sharing your time and knowledge. It’s nice to see a coach willing to help without always asking for money.


I rotate ME exercises (upper or lower) every 1-2 weeks with my advanced college and pro athletes and every 2-4 weeks with most of my high school athletes. As far as the volume for accessory work, I don’t have set rules like Poliquin. This is because it is not a perfect world as far as training athletes is concerned. The volume of accessory work depends on WHO the athlete is that I’m training, HOW MUCH TIME I have with them and what part of the season that they’re in.

As far as overhead pressing is concerned, I’m NOT a big fan. On a personal note, I haven’t performed an overhead press in over 3 years. My friends and clients all know that my shoulders are fucked up! I’m actually typing with 2 huge bags of ice on each shoulder as we speak. Now, I’m not saying that I never have my athletes do them, it’s just not a big part of my programs. My exercise selection depends on the athlete’s sport, their genetics and their injury history. For example, I don’t feel that my bad shoulders are do to improper lifting, I feel it has more to do with my genetics. I have very wide shoulders (long clavicles) and I feel that this places more stress on my acromioclavicular joints when pressing. My dad has also battled through 3 shoulder surgeries so I think I was born with bum shoulders. One of my training partners, Ben Tonon, can bench press 4X/week and do behind the neck presses with 315lbs. and he’s never had the slightest pain in his shoulders. He was also an all-American linebacker in college where he was involved in many violent collisions. He also is built more “compact” than me with regards to his shoulders. Now I’m not saying behind the neck presses and overhead presses are the best thing for ANYONE, but some athletes can get away with doing them with no problems.

To make a long story short, athletes with healthy shoulders and good “pressing genetics” do some overhead dumbell presses with a neutral grip. Most of my other athletes stay away from overhead pressing.

Thanks for the quick reply. With respect to ME Lower lifts, I actually meant when do you unload from the heavy weights. Like with ME Upper on a more typical WSB scheme you replace it with the 3xMAX reps…did you have a similar method for Lower?
-Also how long would you suggest doing the program before a week off…8-12 weeks?

My doctor said I have “loose joints” and he could move around something in the shoulder. Sound like I should avoid overhead presses? Sucks, because they’re one of my favorite lifts. I’m training for basketball (& increased vert) by the way if that affects your suggestions.

For the accessory stuff, I meant just the stuff outlined in the new article…in the off-season, 1 yr. training age, desperately needed mass. Still maintain volume?

Was also going to sprint + Sled drags on Saturday, Conditioning on Tuesday w/ the MWF split if that affects anything.

Thanks again.


This interest me aswell. On the unloading week, I cut the volume by 40-50% but, I never know whether to:

  1. Increase the weight?
  2. Use the same weights as per the previous week?
  3. Reduce the weight?

Any recommendations?


Hopefully you can answer my previous questions as well.

I didn’t want to start another thread, but I wanted to see what your stance was on conversion of strength. It seems to me there’s three camps:

  1. Get stronger + oly lifts
  2. Get stronger + dynamic box squats/jump squats
  3. Get stronger + traditional plyometrics

I didn’t include med ball work as one because that seems to be more like something cycled in.

You use #2 rather than #1 because of training economy and time if I understand right?
-So, why do you believe in box squats (DE Lower) over traditional plyometrics and sprinting for improving power (#3)?