T Nation

Waterbury Method Impossible?


This is the 2nd time I've done it, and I must have miscalculated my #'s the first time as I got through the program. My max now is 305[bench] and I used 295 to base my %'s off of, and I still bombed.

Today, my training partner and I [who's max is 345, but used 335 to base] were doing the 85% bench day using 90 sec instead of 70. He got all 10 sets (barely), I only got 4 and had to drop weight 2 times until I was using 225 by the last set. What the fuck is that? I felt drained the rest of the workout and still feel like that.

I guess I'm wondering who all has gotten through the program as written, and what does that say about my makeup? There's obviously NO WAY I get through the 87.5% week, so we're calling it quits after this week. That's with adding rest to the initial recs. Let me know folks, thanks.


I missed any justifiable reason to quit in your post..Don't tell me you can't handle three total body workouts a week. If you have to drop weight or rest a little more, go for it. But, please don't quit a 3Xweek program. Go ahead and take a week off when you finish it.

I might be different than you, but I make all Waterbury's stuff more difficult, but you are a good amount stronger than me, so you deserve credit for that.

Try throwing one rep max calculators and percentages of them out the window. I really like the new concept of "light, medium, and heavy" much easier and better. Say you want to do 5X5. Pick a weight you think is appropriate. Only get 3 or 4 reps, no problem, take off a little weight. If it's light, squeeze in a few extra reps and then add weight. Both ways, you haven't wasted your time at all.


Then I wouldn't be doing this program. Anyone who understands weight training, feel free to chime in.




drop the weight you start with. progress as able.
Cookie cutter routines can't work for everybody or the optimum routine would have been discovered a long time ago and remained unchanged.
Any other distractions? nutritional, stress? work? sleep? anything else at all?


I understand that. I was wondering if there's anyone out there that can do 10x3 with 80,82.5,85 and 87.5% of their max with 70-90 sec rest? It seems IMPOSSIBLE to me. As I said earlier, I actually used 10lbs less than my max for the base weight, and I've bombed the last 2 weeks. I do enjoy the program, but I'd like to do it as closely as possible, and that's just not happening.

Eveything's pretty good on my side. Eating well [3800-4200 cals daily]sleeping well, am only taking 1 class and working minimally, getting a fair amount of ass etc... I will say that I have gained a little weight since I started and [other than today]feel good when leaving the gym. If I started with too much less weight I'd kinda be defeating the purpose of the program. I'm already using less than prescribed.


I didn't have any problems going through 10X3 with the loads you mention. Back when I was only benching 110 kg, I would do 10X3 with 102,5 kg. I couldn't lift that load for 4 reps though. Probably couldn't do 4 reps with 97,5 kg either.

People are different, some guys lift 300 and can only do 5 reps of 225, while other guys can do 12.


I agree with eraserhead, its just a matter of muscle endurance. Everyone is different. Yours might me on the low side, making the program more difficult for you.

My buddy max benches about 40 lbs more than me, though I can bench 135 many more times than he can. I think this is what is happening with you.


Chad has said many times that he doesn't really like telling people what %max to use because he knows people are different and need different #s. So, drop the weight to something you can handle and build from there

just because you aren't using the exact numbers he says doesn't mean you "aren't following his program"


EVERYONE is different. This is why cookie cutter programs are not that hot, they tend to be OK for the novice but things have to be very specific as a person advances. If you had a coach they would pick up on this immediately. But just blindly following a routine in a book or on the web is crazy, unless that routine has some built-in method of adjusting load based on feedback from your workouts as you go along.

Some people can do a lot of reps close to their max weight (but, their max might not be that great). Others get stuffed from doing a lot of work near their max. Most people are somewhere in the middle. It depends on your fiber makeup and also training level.

It seems obvious to me that you are getting stuffed from doing a lot of volume near your max so you need to adjust things accordingly.

Personally in your situation instead of dropping the weight a lot I'd drop off a few reps per set. See how that goes. Only you can work out what is going on.

Alternatively you might need a completely different approach, a different system.

good luck


If Waterbury himself would come through and answer some of my questions that'd be great.


Take a look at his locker room - see if you find the answer or ask your question.


I have had similar experiences using Max percentage lifts. I found the first time I encountered this program I started using weights which were too high and got to around the 7th set and then had to start dropping weight.
I found that when I re-did the program it was more effective both in strength and size gains to start with a weight which would see me reach the 10th set (fail on possibly the last two reps - last set - rest/pause to complete).
CT has written concerning percentage max program organisation - specifically that these do not take into account stress and fatigue and thus may not be applicable.
Also as mentioned some individuals obviously handle rep ranges very differently from others.


Sounds to me like you have one of two problems. You started in to this program fatigued from what you have been doing, I.E you need to take a extra day or two and rest. Or it's your conditioning. From the symptom you described it sounds like fatigue. Take an extra day off, go do something fun and try it again.

I tried the circuit training like Chad described and it kicked my ass, but not only did I do the circuit, I did two of them. Unfortunately, I was running low on time for the second circuit so I chose a 5 x 5 methodology to get through it a little faster.

My first circuit was heavy as fuck pulldowns w/ neutral narrow grip, then hanging snatches into shoulder presses, then heavy, frog stance leg presses. The second circuit is strait-leg dumbbell-deads, bent-over dumbbell rows, and bench.
It kicked my ass but I did it, and I am going to do something similar to that today. I am 35 and I can do it, so can you.


This is new? Did Waterbury invent this along with hot sauce, the internet, and lifting fast?


Man Al Gore is gonna be pissed.


quit being a baby and just lower the weight to begin with... u think that u should drop the program because u cant follow its parameters exactly??

programs, even cookie cutter ones are still guidelines, furthermore Chad has said many times that 1 rep max may not be the best way to calculate and that u can also use ur 6RM to start for the 10x3
(i seem to remember him actually saying this was a better method but i can't source that)

i have gotten through the Waterbury method as written.. and without calculating any of my maxes.. i simply used my 6RM to begin with

I get the impression that Stronghold likes Waterbury


It's not fatigue. I took a whole 7 days off before starting the program. To all the jerkoffs that tell me to stop being a baby: If I alter the program any more than I already have, I'm not doing this program. I've said this multiple times. You'd think in the time it's taken each of you to attain internet hardass status you would've picked up some reading comprehension skills.


WhiteFlash if that's the program you want to do and you want to do 10x3 with a set weight then pick a set weight you can do it with, there isn't any other answer here.

Could I do 10x3 with 87.5% of my max? HELL NO

Would I come to the forum saying it was impossible and forget that individuals are differnet in what loads they can handle for certain rep schemes? HELL NO

Make the program work for you with whatever weight is necessary or do something else.


I guess everyone here is clueless about weight training..Maybe be a little more appreciative of free advice. What is the purpose of your thread? You ask, we do our best to help, and it even happens to be pretty unanimous. Too bad if we're not telling you what you want to hear. Your ego is the main issue here, not WM.