T Nation

Waterbury PT 7/20


I'm here for all your inquisitions!


Yo Chad, no one seems to have any questions for me, thought we might re-enact our discussion of the pro's/con's of back-off sets. With an emphasis on neurological activation/consequences. Wanna bat that around for a bit?


Hi Chad,
im a long time reader and big fan of your workout regimes. i just finished the waterbury method and stacked on 15lbs to my max bench and 35 lbs to my squat. my apologizes if you have already answered this question, but I couldn?t seem to find an answer. my question concerns lifting intensities. ideally, should i choose a weight where I can just make the last rep of the last set on your programs.

for example, i am doing singles club at the moment and on my incline bench day after 14,15, or 16 sets of 1 rep i could still squeak out a couple reps. should I increase weight such that I can just barely get up the weight on the final rep? thanks for your time.


First your assistance distracts me, then you put up a heavy post. Man, the Staley Camp is definitely keeping me on my toes!

I know our emphasis is neurological, but are we talking about the potential ramifications as they relate to hypertrophy or maximal strength?



I know you don't need another person to tell you how much you rock! I trained off and on for almost 4 years with very little results. I have seen huge gains in only a couple of months using your programs.

Ok...now for the question. I am currently doing ABBH II which I love, but my legs are a huge weakness for me. I'm interested in trying 20 rep squats to jumpstart them. Could I do those on squat day (day 7,15,etc..) or would that not fit in this program?

Thanks Again,



Well, let's frame it this way:

Let's say you squat 90% for 6x2. Now the question is, what are the pros and cons of following that up with 1-2 back-off sets with lower percentages for higher reps. I'll start:


1) You'll get more reps with that lighter weight than you would have if you'd hadn't done the previous heavier work.

2) Higher GH release.

3) Pump/increased delivery of blood to tissues following intense work.


1) Motor murkiness: Does the body "remember" the last set? Do you set yourself back trying to train 2 qualities during the same workout?

2) GH release may not really matter anyway.

OK, over to ya'all.


Your question is valid, and it basically relates to the "art" of knowing your body. Ideally, I'd like all trainees to be on the edge of failure on the last rep of the last set. But I know how tough this can be with a variety of different movement parameters.

As such, I recommend that you err on the lighter side. If you keep a rep or two in the hole, and if you follow my progression plan, you'll reap the benefits. On the other hand, those who reach failure on the first workout of my programs are constantly playing catch-up.


Hey Chad, i was wondering if the 10x3 method would be beneficial for me to use for abdominal muscles. if yes, what exercise should i use? im guessing it would have to be some kind of leg raise that i could easily add alot of weight to.


Chad and Charles having a live discussion? Wow.

This should be be surreal.



Thanks for the accolades! Don't change the parameters of ABBHII. Instead, push yourself closer to failure on your leg exercises. That'll do the trick.


Sure, you could use 10x3 with virtually any movement. I suggest cable crunches or Janda sit-ups.



I just finished w/o #2 of NB3 and added snatches per your suggestion. Hadn't done them before, but they felt good.

My question is re: the 2 workouts per week cycle you suggest. I doubt it would be conterproductive to do so, but could you do a 3 day cycle with

Day 1--cardio
Day 2--lift
Day 3--rest
Day 4--repeat

I guess this way you would get in an extra workout every 3 weeks

What do you think?



  1. It'll tap into the MUs that have larger oxidative capabilities. For some athletes who need to display high intensities for longer than 10-15s, this works well.

  2. It'll help athletes deal with lactic acid accumulation. Theoretically, such a technique might upregulate mechanisms to accelerate the buffering of lactate. This, of course, would also benefit some athletes such as wide receivers.


  1. It'll negatively affect maximal strength levels. For those who primarily seek MS, I've found traditional back-off sets to be ineffectual. In fact, I think it might be detrimental, to a certain extent (too long of an explanation required for that last point).

  2. Excessive neural/structural stress. 2 back-off sets to failure after 6x2 would cause some serious DOMS in some trainees (especially with an exercise such as squats). That's not good on a consistent basis when attempting to train a muscle group 3-4x/week.

Ball's in your court!


Sure, that sounds like a good plan.


If you're unfamiliar with cable crunches, check out Thib's ab training articles. The cable pulley should be over your head, and you should be on your knees.


I did neglect to state another PRO: increased hypertrophy potential, just due to the greater amount of mechanical work.

As far as this method having a negative effect on MxS, I think that could be mediated by not going over say 6 reps on the back-off set(s).

Also, from a psychological perspective, I think there is value in learning how to "grind."



I?d like any feedback you might have on the program shown below which I have put together. I have just completed two cycles of your Waterbury Method program (which resulted in great strength gains btw!), which I guess would be the ?Accumulation Block? for my current goal of improving my maximum strength. It?s now time to intensify things a bit and go to lower volume, higher load and more frequency.

I?ve decided to do an 8 day cycle through these workouts to allow a day of rest in between, but if you think any of the workouts could be done back to back I?ll be able to fit it in to 7 days.

Two of the workouts are ?heavy? days where there is a main lift using a double wave and the other lifts using low rep sets. The other two workouts are slightly more of a ?speed? day as I will do an Olympic lift on each day. Each workout also has a lighter pre-hab exercise. On the oly lift days I use the overhead squats as a warmup for the faster lifts.

Workout 1:
A. Back Squat (6/4/2/6/4/2 double wave)
B. GHR (4x4)
C. Bent Over BB Rows w/ pronated grip (4x4)
D. Close-grip Bench Press (4x4)
E. Face Pulls (3x12-15)
F. Trunk Flexion Exercise (3x8-10)

Workout 2:
A. Overhead Squat (3x8)
B. Snatch (6x3)
C. Incline Bench Press (6/4/2/6/4/2 double wave)
D. Chin Ups (4x4)
E. Cuban Press (3x12-15)
F. Obliques Exercise (3x8-10)

Workout 3:
A. Deadlift (6/4/2/6/4/2 double wave)
B. Front Squat (4x4)
C. Cable Row w/ pronated grip (4x4)
D. Dips (4x4)
E. Pull Throughs (3x12-15)
F. Trunk Flexion Exercise (3x8-10)

Workout 4:
A. Overhead Squat (3x8)
B. Clean & Jerk (6x3)
C. Flat DB Bench Press (6/4/2/6/4/2 double wave)
D. Rack Pulls (4x4)
E. Low Pulley External Rotations (3x12-15)
F. Obliques Exercise (3x8-10)

Any comments/suggestions would be appreciated.




Any tips on how a 5'10" guy can increase his vertical? Drop jumps, depth jumps, plyos, jump squats, heavy squats, deads, rack pulls? To give you an idea of my strength level, I weigh 185 pounds and squat 315x5, ~365 max. Maybe heavy squats to increase my maximal strength?



They are my two favorite coaches, and really the only two that I follow. Shameless plug. . . BOTH coach Staley and Waterbvury will be speaking that Charles's Bootcamp in Phoenix in early october (upon hearing the news of which soiled my underwear, jeans, and car seat). I think I saw that there were a few seats left. . . hmmm. . . .
I saw 2 hours of video from two boot camps ago, and was amped for 5 months. I really cant wait to meet both of you guys and hear you in person.


chad, i am interested in your diet....is there a single way of eating that you can suggest, any insight at all? thanks for your time