Thursday, May 10, 2012

Getting Strong: My Lifting Philosophies...

In general, I follow a Leangains style approach to lifting and diet, with a few tweaks of my own thrown in... I realize Martin probably wouldn't be too pleased, since changing up the protocol is what gets people in trouble, but for me it's worked pretty well so far. First of all, my diet is Paleo/Primal so no cheese cake (well, maybe a little bit, haha). Second, I tend to be on the low carb side of the diet. So, on days that I don't lift I generally eat VLC (no carbs besides those naturally in veggies), and on days I lift (generally Mon, Wed, Fri) I eat the equivalent to one good sized sweet potato or 1 cup of rice PWO, the rest is protein and fat (see The Leangains Guide for specifics on macro/calorie/timing/intermittent fasting specifics).

Now, for the lifting variations... I like Martins Reverse Pyramid Training, and I use it as part of my workout rotation (I generally switch it up every month or so, with a rest week thrown in-between). However, through all my experimentation with everything from high rep/lower weight to low rep/heavy weight lifting (and everything in between), I've come to the conclusion that my body works best when I lift relatively heavy. So, with a little bit of trial-and-error I've come up with a style of training I like to call Incremental Fatigue (IF). I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of this, and probably not the first person to write about it, but this is the method I use to train with the Big 4 lifts (Bench Press, Chin-up, Dead-lift and Squat):

The foundation for all exercises is 10 rep x 3 set (10x3), once you can do 3 sets of 10 reps at a given weight you increase the weight. That's all pretty standard, here's where it gets a little tricky... The 10 reps aren't done all at once, they are completed in "micro sets", with a maximum 30 second rest in-between. For instance, you might do 5 chin-ups, then rest 30 sec, do 3 more, rest 30 sec and then finish the last 2 reps. I have a caveat that I don't allow myself to do more than three 1 rep micro sets in a row, so if you get to 6 (say 4 rep, then 2 rep) and do three 1 rep micro sets you're done at 9, and therefore you wouldn't increase the weight next week (even if you could have done another 1 rep and made 10 for the set). Although lifting heavy worked the best for me, I was never able to get enough total reps (volume) to really feel like I was training optimally. 5x3 is only 15 total repetitions, but by using my method I could do twice as much volume with the same weight. You could always do 5x6 to get the same volume, but having the "micro sets" within each exercise with minimal rest I think helps stimulate muscular hypertrophy as well as muscle fiber growth (actual strength). Whatever the reason, this system works for me the best out of anything I've tried, and I tried a lot of different variations. So, if you've tried everything out there too, or just want to try something different, see if IF works for you! Let me know what you think...


  1. As far as I know, as long as you get a total 25-35 reps of a given exercise in then hypertrophy will result, so you're right on! Sounds fun and different :-) I'm into Tabatas, TRX, and high intensity calisthenics right now myself.

  2. Yep, it's kind of a hybrid workout... you get to lift heavy and still put in decent volume to stimulate growth! Best of both worlds...

    It seems like you're on the other end of the spectrum though, working on more of the aerobic/endurance/cardio side of things. I'm curious to check out TRX sometime ;-)

  3. jjtitus, this is That One Guy from paleo hacks and no I am not a stalker. I wanted to show you this bad ass email, I got from the rubenstein company about their salmon. I asked if the 7.5oz were the same as the 14.75. Here is the reply.

    The product is exactly the same as the 14.75 oz. cans. It is not skinless or boneless.

    And below should answer your BPA question…



    At Trident Seafoods we strive to be as eco-friendly as possible, but the primary purpose for our packaging is the protection of the product. The cans are made from tin-free steel lined with a laminate coating, which is used to protect the steel from corrosion.

    Please be assured, all of the packaging components used in our canning process are approved by the major world economy regulatory bodies, and have a proven track record for safety.

    Bisphenol A (BPA) CONCERNS

    We are aware of the concerns to some consumers surrounding the use of Bisphenol A (BPA). Our cans do not contain BPA. We use a specialty coating system which has no epoxy based coatings (which are the cause for potential Bisphenol A generation). The bodies are lined with a PET (polyester) film which is recyclable and a non-carcinogenic. The inside of the ends are coated with an aluminized polyester lacquer.

    Thank you,

    I don't know if the above statements about their cans mean its better than bpa cans, but who cares at this point.
    I am buying 24 pink and 24 reds. Anyway I hope this helps and have a good day.

  4. I don't know... I still think you're a stalker, haha! Thanks for sharing the email, I actually ordered a case of the 7.5oz Sockeye Salmon the other day, should be here this week. I'm looking forward to trying it out! You'll have to let me know what you think too.

    As for the coatings on the cans... I think BPA is the big concern, but any plastic is probably not the best (although it's better than raw aluminum can). However, PET is probably the best option out there right now so that's the best you can do...