T Nation

What Have We Learned?

I was just reading over some articles on the site and thought about different programs, exercises, etc. that worked for me.

I would be very interested to hear what things have worked really well for people, whether it’s increasing a lift, building your arms, lowering your body fat or whatever.

That being said, here are some of mine.

Increasing my squat: First I added Good Mornings after all sorts of back extension work couldn’t help me keep posture in the bottom, then I added lunges w. the rear leg elevated to help me get back from the bottom after all sorts of extra quad and low back work did not do the trick. I have recently added leg press which seems to help with getting through the mid-way point.

Increasing my chins: adding farmer’s walks and training chins only one day a week for no more than 8 reps and never to failure.

Hamstring Flexibility: 7 days a week of static stretching, stretching hamstrings after calves, low back, quads, inner thighs and butt. Once I got where I wanted to be it only takes about 2 days a week to maintain it.

These are 3 things which pissed me off to no end. I tried unsuccessfully for years to up my chins. I’ve always had tight hamstrings until recently and my squat was just stuck in neutral after all sorts of training did nothing (car pushing, plyometrics, walking lunges, one-legged squats, olympic lifting, front squats, etc.).

You know, this is a really cool posting, thanks for doing it. It’s really hard to get lost in the myriad of details supplied on this site (great, keep it up!) and it’s nice to hear a personal success story.

Now I’m going to do what you did. Because I keep trying to do everything and I get nowhere.

what works for me?

the best thing i ever did was get away from “traditional” BB training and start training heavier with lower volume. im not saying that there isnt a place for high rep trainoing, but for me its few and far between.

The Westside for Skinny Bastards routine. This routine has made me see significant growth in size and strength for the first time in years.

The other thing that is wonderful is the simple emphasis on compound movements. Too many years of doing kickbacks, six kinds of curls, etc. when all I had to do was heavy pressing and some weighted pullups. The Bodybuilding rags really have made it tough to disseminate the good info from the bad. This site has cleared that up.

There is so much info out there, but this is what I have learned.

Lift heavy. Focus on getting stronger.

Compound exercises.

Protein, protein, protein. Calories, calories, calories.

Sleep. Rest.

The rest is just fluff.

Hmm…ok, let me rephrase what I said.

What worked when you were stuck?

My bench was stuck for years until I started doing 5 reps or less and not to failure. A routine of singles only added 10 lbs, a Pavel routine added 20lbs, Bill Starr’s routine “Only the strong…” added 20lbs.

When everything else failed, what worked?

I’d like to see what has worked vs. unhelpful dogma (“just lift kb’s and you’ll be in the best shape of your life” or whatever. Or “you need to work your core more,” there’s a zillion core exercises, which ones helped you actually achieve something – bigger lifts, better abs, etc.). If a program leans you out but you lose a lot of strength and muscle then that program is flawed. The cumulative experience here is enourmous, and from that things have been picked up along the way. Please share.

Westside didn’t involve just Louie Simmons, it involved everyone he worked with, who he picked things up from. Adding, removing, refining. For example: my rectus abdominis has never been as strong as I’d like it to be. I would like to be able to do a back walk-over. Doing weighted knee raises, that weird bruce lee ab exercise, high-rep leg raises, weighted crunches, planks, one-arm push-ups, mountain climbers, L-Chin-Ups (and more) have all failed to make my abs as strong as I’d like them to be. Suggestions cultivated from experience vs. overheard nonsense would help me. I’ve heard that Paul Chek works out on machines because he likes the pump but tells people they should never go near them. No hypocrisy, keep it real dammit.