Showing posts from October, 2008

New Article: Pivot Point Training

So check out the November/December issue of Planet Muscle. I have an article titled "Pivot Point Training," a follow-up to my T-nation article The Shotgun Method. Pick up a copy the next time you're at the supermarket or bookstore.

Anyway, I get questions all the time about training, but here's one that even surprised me:

"I have just recently completed certification for training, and I have a training interview for a local gym, and they want to design a 30 minute workout. The person comes from an athletic background, general fitness and wants to lose about 10 lbs. No injuries to worry about. I was wondering if you could help me with an exercise plan that would help me do well for this test?"


My Answer: Jake are you paying me to write up this program? You just got certified as a trainer, but you want me to write a training program? I don't know what certification you've got or what your training background is, but you should already …

Percentage Based Lifting

Q: I read with interest your article on Vince Gironda's 10-8-6-15 program for ectomorphs. What I am not clear on is how to choose the appropriate weight for each set. For example, if my maximum lift for one repetition in a particular exercise is 100 pounds, how much weight should I use for each of the sets? My plan is to use the following weights based on a maximal lift of 100 pounds:

50 pounds for 10 repetitions (which I view as a warm-up set)
75 pounds for 8 repetitions (which is a working set)
85 pounds for 6 repetitions (which is a working set)
50-60 pounds for 15 repetitions (which is a flushing set)

Is the above plan what you and Vince Gironda had in mind with the 10-8-6-15 program? Thank you for your attention.

Bob M.

My Answer- Yep Bob, that looks good. Frankly I don't care for calculating percentages, because your strength tends to vary day to day. On a given day, you might lift 7 reps with your 85% 1RM, the next day it might 5 reps. It is better to pick a weight that y…

Shoulder Stability

Q: "It's an honor being able to contact you via email. Whenever I read one of your writings, I am impressed. I'd like to ask you a question regarding shoulder health. Do you think it's important to balance out vertical pushes (like shoulder presses) with pulls (like pull-ups) as well as horizontal pushes (like bench press) with pulls (like seated rows or dumbbell rows)?

"In other words: if I do military presses, do I also have to do pulldowns, pull-ups, or chin-ups? If I do bench presses, do I also have to do seated rows? I've read that this was important to avoid shoulder injuries due to lack of balance (rotator cuff, etc.)."

Thanks for your time, Sir!

My Answer: Yes and no. How's that for an answer, huh? Anyway, what I mean is that for shoulder stability, yes, you do need to have movements that balance each other out. But it's not necessarily in the manner that you're describing. For example, to counterbalance horizontal pushing …

Leg Presses and 5x5

Q:What's your opinion on the 5x5 training programs? They are very well liked by many. 

Also, because of tight hamstrings, I like leg presses better than squats. Are leg presses effective? Squats are very useful and build overall strength. Can the same be said about leg presses?


My Answer: The 5x5 is a solid program and has been around for a long, long time. Of all the programs floating around in the gym, it is second to the 10-8-6-15 program as far as popularity. But while the 5x5 is a solid program by itself, it works even better as a decompression program, which I go over in Strength and Physique: The Articles.

As far as leg presses, it really depends on what your goal is. If you're an athlete looking to gain real world strength and size, then the leg press won't do anything for you unless you're a speed skater. If you're just concerned about size and nothing else, then the leg press is good choice, even better than the squat.

Q:Early July I wrote for advic…