Biotest

Christian Thibaudeau Log 1

The Pros Are Here!
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I’m very excited for this, can’t wait to see the full scope of what you’re currently doing, CT.

I’m always learning something new and interesting from your training, this will be a log to keep a close eye on, thank you for doing this!

Micro-PA and my condition both forced me to change the way I’m now training. Obviously one was for a more positive reason than the other!!!

As you know I’m a high threshold lifting kinda guy. I’m all about explosiveness and heavy lifting. And that has obviously been reflected in my work over the years.

This has even led some people to think that I was anti-bodybuilding… far from it… if anything I’m a closet bodybuilder (or body builder). While I personally have no interest on stepping on a bodybuilding stage I AM interested in two things that MAKE bodybuilding what it is: (1) gaining a lot of muscle and (2) getting super lean.

So in that sense I guess that makes me a body builder!

Micro-PA has made me begin to study one side of training that I haven’t paid that much attention to in the past: the optimal use of “hypertrophy methods” and how to blend them with my love of high threshold lifting to give me both the body I want and the performance level I desire.

See, Micro-PA works best with methods that aimed the greatest increase in mTor stimulation. And it turns out that accentuating the eccentric, maximizing the pump and putting the muscle in a stretched position under load are the key concepts… far from my performance-based lifting!

So I had to come up with some new weapons for my arsenal.

Over this journey I will periodically provide you with new informations about how to optimize your own training through my own experimentations. I will obviously teach you how I combine high threshold lifting with hypertrophy methods to get the most out of my training and Micro-PA.

But first I want to tell you how Micro-PA has changed the way I do high threshold work.

Simply adding “bodybuilding work” to my heavy lifting would have been the easy way out, and I do not believe that it would have been optimal.

So I started from my own base: high threshold work… how to modify it to make it better suited to optimizing Micro-PA… because I refuse to think that I can’t make that very important part of my own training benefit from Micro-PA.

So here is how I am layering my high threshold work. This morning this is what I did for squats. Now, keep in mind that because of my health issues (mostly the bleeding hemorrhoids that prevented me from doing leg work for 5 months) that my leg strength and size where down quite a bit. In fact in the past I could afford to not train legs hard for months without losing leg size, not anymore.

I started my high threshold leg work by doing accentuated eccentric squats to get the mTor going: I did 2 sets of 6 reps with roughly 60% of my maximum. Each rep was done with a slow eccentric (5-6 seconds down) and a smooth (not explosive) concentric. Basically for these 2 sets, only the eccentric really “counts”, each time I lift the weight back up it’s either to start a new eccentric rep or to not die under the bar!

Then I increased the load to 70% and I began to do triples (sets of 3 reps), gradually adding more weight until I reached the most weight I felt that I could lift in perfect form. I ended up doing 5 sets. NOW, the important part is HOW I DID THOSE SETS. The FIRST REP of every set was what I would call an “mTor rep”: I went down slowly (maybe not as slow as my first two sets, about 4 seconds down) and lifted as explosively as I could. The other 2 reps were done normally, like when I do regular heavy lifting (going down fairly fast, but still under control).

I then finished with 2 sets of “loaded stretch reps”. I used 50-60% and did sets of 5 reps. I would go down into the full squat position and hold that position for 2-3 seconds before driving out of the whole. The eccentric part of the movement was done under control, but not super slow.

So the whole squat layer looked like this:

Sets 1 & 2: 60% ; 6 reps ; 6 seconds eccentric

Sets 3 to 7: 70 to (approximately) 85%; 3 reps ; 1st rep slow eccentric (4 sec) and explosive concentric, 2nd and 3rd reps normal.

Sets 8 & 9: 50-60%; 5 reps; 2-3 seconds hold in the stretched (low) position for every repetition.

That was my high threshold work for squats. To that I add “hypertrophy/pump work”… but not on the same day… the day after (got your interest?!)

Stay tuned :wink:

Exciting stuff, CT. Thanks for sharing.

I imagine when doing something similar for the bench press it would be best to do either DB bench press or dips for the last 2 (stretch) sets?

[quote]BiP wrote:
Exciting stuff, CT. Thanks for sharing.

I imagine when doing something similar for the bench press it would be best to do either DB bench press or dips for the last 2 (stretch) sets?[/quote]

Correct. Actually it would probably be best to use DB for all sets.

And I must say that it pains me to say that given that I am normally a barbell man. Strictly for hypertrophy purposes the DBs seem to work a bit better than a bar when it comes to the bench press. They are cumbersome to use and I hate the picking them up and bringing them back to the rack part (I’ll buy the hooks that allows you to put hang the DBs on a bar so that’s taken out of the equation). But for maximizing growth they are superior IMHO.

Lucky for me my main focus over the next few weeks will be on movements that I neglected in the recent past (or just past): squats, chin-ups, push presses.

I kinda lost my thunder by answering BIP but here are the high threshold lifts I will be focusing on in the next few weeks.

  1. Push press
  2. Chin-ups
  3. Back squat

I neglected those movements over the past years and found them to be lagging behind. Not only that, the muscles I want to build the most right now are my delts, lats and legs.

  1. Even though I can get well rounded delts, I am “narrow” and when I lose weight my delts are the first thing that goes. Because of my health issues and the fact that I couldn’t train very hard over the past 5 months my delts have regressed a bit and I want them back … NOW!

Furthermore, if you read my latest bench press article you know what happens to my bench press when I lose shoulder mass (it gets weak and it hurts when I do it) so I wont actually be doing any bench pressing until I get my delts back up to par.

BTW, and this will stimulate some discussion: I believe that doing a lot of bench pressing can hurt when it comes to building the delts up… I’ll expand on that a bit later (yes I’m a tease).

  1. I never had lats… well that’s not 100% true… I had them when I did a lot of ring stuff, but I burned myself out and messed up my right elbow. Furthermore I was pathetic on the chin-ups… heck I could high pull 180kg, bench press 190kg and couldn’t do more than 5 goog body weight chin-ups!!! Something has to be done. Being trap dominant makes it harder for me to stimulate the lats, but it’s time to solve that issue!

  2. As I mentioned earlier, legs were always a strength of mine. As an olympic lifter I used to squat every day, twice a day for 6 years. Even 10-12 years later I could maintain decent size, shape and leanness without much direct work (when the picture for my log was taken I was doing zero leg work). But being hospitalized, losing weight and not being able to do any lower body work (well I could have done leg extensions and leg curls, but I didn’t bother) for 5 months left me with small legs for the first time in my life (when I started lifting weights at 13, all I did was legs… I played receiver in football for my first 2 years and thought that all I needed were strong legs, didn’t train upper body until I was 16).

My hypertrophy work will centered around hitting the muscles involved in those lifts:

Push press: delts (focus), triceps, some chest
Chin-ups: back (focus), biceps and some traps
Squat: quads (focus), hamstrings

My hypertrophy work will be done THE DAY AFTER my high threshold work for a lift. I will explain my reasoning and how I put this together soon enough… remember when I said that I was a tease? I didn’t lie. I guess you’ll have to keep showing up!!!

Sorry I pulled you out of the writing groove :wink:

Regarding chin’s - I stole a page out of Dave-G’s book and started doing sub-maximal ring chins between the first 2/3 sets of the ramp (starting during the eccentric-focus sets). Already seeing some extra back width within 2 weeks. This gets me about 30-40 reps 4-5 times a week.

[quote]BiP wrote:
Sorry I pulled you out of the writing groove :wink:

Regarding chin’s - I stole a page out of Dave-G’s book and started doing sub-maximal ring chins between the first 2/3 sets of the ramp (starting during the eccentric-focus sets). Already seeing some extra back width within 2 weeks. This gets me about 30-40 reps 4-5 times a week.[/quote]

I think that staggered work is great, especially for movements with a low neural fatigue risk. I used to do a lot of staggered abs work and still use that approach with figure competitors starting at 6 weeks out until 2 weeks prior to the show.

That chin-up technique sounds like an interesting way of “greasing the groove” like Pavel would say.

I also want to point out that I’m doing olympic lifting technique work in a PM session. This is only technique work, nothing heavy just to work on timing and form until I decide to make these lifts a priority again (if I do). It’s normally about 45 minutes long and I only do one of the two lifts, not going heavy.

My “building work” is done in my AM workout. You’ll learn more about the structure of these tomorrow.

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
That chin-up technique sounds like an interesting way of “greasing the groove” like Pavel would say.[/quote]

Yup. I’ve always had problems going all the way up on chins. By keeping the reps fairly low (5 in week one, 5-6 now), always having 1-2 reps in the tank even on the last set, I have improved to the point where almost every single rep is perfect from top to bottom.

[quote]BiP wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
That chin-up technique sounds like an interesting way of “greasing the groove” like Pavel would say.[/quote]

Yup. I’ve always had problems going all the way up on chins. By keeping the reps fairly low (5 in week one, 5-6 now), always having 1-2 reps in the tank even on the last set, I have improved to the point where almost every single rep is perfect from top to bottom.[/quote]

What I found was that accentuating the eccentrics on chin-ups is actually one of the best ways to be develop the capacity to be able to “muscle through going all the way up”, and it’s the first thing that got my lats sore.

I also believe that the slow eccentric on chin-ups allows you to develop the strength to better control your body in space… wasted energy trying to bring the body back in balance is probably the no.1 cause (for strong people) of not being good at chin-ups.

3 weeks ago doing 5 strict bodyweight only chin-ups was hard. Now I’m doing sets of 6-8 reps with 40-50lbs attached to my waist in perfect form, bringing the bar to my collarbone… nothing spectacular, but a vast improvement.

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]BiP wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
That chin-up technique sounds like an interesting way of “greasing the groove” like Pavel would say.[/quote]

Yup. I’ve always had problems going all the way up on chins. By keeping the reps fairly low (5 in week one, 5-6 now), always having 1-2 reps in the tank even on the last set, I have improved to the point where almost every single rep is perfect from top to bottom.[/quote]

What I found was that accentuating the eccentrics on chin-ups is actually one of the best ways to be develop the capacity to be able to “muscle through going all the way up”, and it’s the first thing that got my lats sore.[/quote]

Thanks, I’ll give that a try on Sunday. I imagine my reps will drop down to 3 per set :wink:

[quote]BiP wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]BiP wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
That chin-up technique sounds like an interesting way of “greasing the groove” like Pavel would say.[/quote]

Yup. I’ve always had problems going all the way up on chins. By keeping the reps fairly low (5 in week one, 5-6 now), always having 1-2 reps in the tank even on the last set, I have improved to the point where almost every single rep is perfect from top to bottom.[/quote]

What I found was that accentuating the eccentrics on chin-ups is actually one of the best ways to be develop the capacity to be able to “muscle through going all the way up”, and it’s the first thing that got my lats sore.[/quote]

Thanks, I’ll give that a try on Sunday. I imagine my reps will drop down to 3 per set ;)[/quote]

At first, my 2 eccentric sets were done by only doing the eccentric portion of the lift, bringing myself back up with a bench, doing sets of 6-8 reps. When I got to 8 reps I added some weight. When I was able to do 8 slow negatives with 30lbs I started doing full reps with a slow negative (bodyweight only).

I used that technique (slow eccentric only for 2-3 sets at the beginning of the workout) and he went from doing ZERO bodyweight only chin-ups to doing 5 reps with 15 or 20lbs in 3 weeks.

This will be a very tun and interesting thread to watch. CT… I’ve always wanted to follow what you are currently doing and I understand the things you are doing now are a mix of your health issues and using Micro-PA, but I am going to stick with heavy work, for awhile, and either Waves/Ladders or Heavy Singles. Looking forward to seeing your progress!

@CT… Having acquired a dense, hard look to your muscles through the years using lots of high threshold, fast twitch fiber dominant workouts, I’m really curious as to whether the setup you are now (teasing haha) outlining to us might change the look of your muscles other than being hyoooge and way lean?

Can’t wait to see how this all pans out :slight_smile:

I’m VERY interested in your results from focusing primarily on performance to meshing in the hypertrophy specific techniques as you outlined above. Honestly, I tried your performance focused training, and though I found it enjoyable as a “break” from the norm, I never really ended up gaining as well as the hypertrophy specific methods I primarily have used throughout my training experience. Now, I will be the 1st to admit that I perhaps was not doing things correctly to realize optimal gains from performance based training. But I have gone back to my tried and true which focused primarily on hypertrophy techniques.

I was one of those who thought you were completely anti-bodybuilding in the vein of Mr. Chad Waterbury. Though your excellent training articles never really stated this outright, somehow I got that impression, and quite honestly (and unfortunately) tended to categorize you in the cross fit camp (the outrage!). I hereby humbly apologize for that terrible assumption!

Your condition makes your journey here all the more interesting and unique. I really think your experience here will teach me the most .

Best wishes CT; I want to see you gain your mass and strength back dude! Of all people who will figure it out, it will be you. Impress us like I know you will.

[quote]buffd_samurai wrote:

I was one of those who thought you were completely anti-bodybuilding in the vein of Mr. Chad Waterbury. Though your excellent training articles never really stated this outright, somehow I got that impression, and quite honestly (and unfortunately) tended to categorize you in the cross fit camp (the outrage!). I hereby humbly apologize for that terrible assumption!

[/quote]

It might not be “common knowledge” but I DID compete in bodybuilding a few times in 2005 and 2006 (4 competitions if I remember correctly). I also trained several bodybuilders for competitions, both pros and amateurs. Heck, I did train Amit from when he started bodybuilding right up to until he won his pro card. My ex-girlfriend (she was a national level bodybuilder) and I even went on TV twice to talk about bodybuilding.

So it really isn’t true that I’m anti-bodybuilding, far from it!

[quote]buffd_samurai wrote:
I’m VERY interested in your results from focusing primarily on performance to meshing in the hypertrophy specific techniques as you outlined above. Honestly, I tried your performance focused training, and though I found it enjoyable as a “break” from the norm, I never really ended up gaining as well as the hypertrophy specific methods I primarily have used throughout my training experience. Now, I will be the 1st to admit that I perhaps was not doing things correctly to realize optimal gains from performance based training. But I have gone back to my tried and true which focused primarily on hypertrophy techniques.

I was one of those who thought you were completely anti-bodybuilding in the vein of Mr. Chad Waterbury. Though your excellent training articles never really stated this outright, somehow I got that impression, and quite honestly (and unfortunately) tended to categorize you in the cross fit camp (the outrage!). I hereby humbly apologize for that terrible assumption!

Your condition makes your journey here all the more interesting and unique. I really think your experience here will teach me the most .

Best wishes CT; I want to see you gain your mass and strength back dude! Of all people who will figure it out, it will be you. Impress us like I know you will. [/quote]

Furthermore, if you go read my articles from 2006-2008 you’ll find a lot of bodybuilding stuff. Heck I even had a series called “Bulk up, get cut” which addressed how to correct aesthetic development (lagging muscle groups) issues.

Hey Christian,

Are you doing all your new training at the Biotest Training Lab right now??

[quote]benh2891 wrote:
Hey Christian,

Are you doing all your new training at the Biotest Training Lab right now??[/quote]

No, I’m back in Canada at the moment.