Watched an interesting interview with coach, Christian Thibaudeau the other day who spoke on a range of topics including
- high performance training and its components
- why bodybuilding methods suck for the majority
- progression and improvement
- fatigue management
- program design
- weakness correction
- relationship between strength and bodybuilding
- hard gainers (some very interesting points here)
- digestive issues
- Ben Johnson training methods
The thing I like about CT is that in a field of “science-gurus” and “experts” who are able to cross reference every statement and “gym-floor-plate-clang” with a list of Pub-Med citations and smug condescension, the guy is actually putting the time into his own strength and performance development.
The interview by Sean McGarrity stretches for nearly two hours and contains a lot of applicable theory and content. I watched it twice and summarised the main points for those who want a brief overview on what was discussed.
0:01-8:00 – preamble
8:00 -the desire to experiment creates a problem solving tool box that enables CT to select from a wide variety of techniques to use. What separates decent coaches is the capacity to pinpoint weaknesses and what exactly needs to be used to solve the issue.
10:30– most successful coaches are all based on improving performance – making the body being able to perform at the highest level – in doing so you can induce the best physical changes in your body without the mental distress associated with the minutiae management of bodybuilding methods.
Bodybuilding will often bring out the worst if you’re not mentally strong – become too focused on looks – ruins your mind
if you train for performance – it’s more objective – more easily measurable – there’s more satisfaction training at a higher level. Not constantly elevating stress hormones so easier to get leaner.
you instinctively eat better because you want to maximise performance
13:00 – overthinking and overstressing all the details kills your results – it drains the nervous system
training high performance explosive work- makes the body more sensitive to insulin —>store more nutrients. Accentuating slow eccentrics —–> muscle becomes insulin resistant —–> training recovery becomes harder
people are addicted to stimulus and not to results —–> taking pride in doing more work because they can’t get the results they want ——> get even less results —–> so do more work = a vicious cycle.
it doesn’t take a lot of work to get results – and doesn’t take a lot of work over that “work prescription” to start short circuiting results
22:48 – some training methods induce overwork quicker than others – eccentrics – more than 3 eccentric reps in a session too much for most
lifting with bands – took CT 21 days to recover to a normal level.
John Meadows says that using bands for more than 3 weeks for bodybuilding = lose muscles size.
24:30 – best performance is achieved in first stage at overtraining
happens a lot when we achieve our best performance and BOOM! get injured
ways to test for fatigue/overtraining
– heart rate – sudden increase 7-8 beats pm/ overstressing nervous system – more related to intensity
– body temperature – volume related – metabolic systems under too much stress – too much volume if temp drops
– tap test – iPhone App – how many taps in a time period (CNS fatigue)
– vertical jump – test state of nervous systems – could be slight change in technique that makes false result
– increase in blood pressure – sharp increase that stays elevated after session – verge of overreaching – don’t want it to be sustained.
30:00 – some people will respond better to typical bodybuilding program if hormonal profile is optimal (high test, low cortisol, optimal insulin levels)
– gains getting from program right now may be due to what you did before – eg HIT Training. – works not because system is good but because of the response to decreasing previous volume and allowing for supercompensation.
32:30 – higher performance trainees have better physiques on average compared to those that do bodybuilding routines. More failures on bodybuilding type routines.
34:00 – training in a gym environment around other high performers is probably best thing you can do to skyrocket your performance. – start to believe that believe it’s possible.
psychology is as important as training methods
38:00 – he most important thing for clients to achieve results is the client has to have 100% belief in you and your program.
39:48 – doubt is number one enemy of progression – it’s why Jim Wendlers 53/1 program is number 1 selling book – weights are mapped out in advance so no question as to what you need to do next. More you meet short term goals – more cumulative confidence you gain
42:50 – number one mistake PTs make is designing “sexy’ programs to show off what he knows rather than giving client what they need.
Knowledge is double edge sword – too many tools – analysis paralysis
44:00 – changing program too much with varied exercises gives the illusion of “progress.”
1st week – awkward – haven’t mastered motor pattern
2nd week – slightly better – system knows the task better – decent strength gains
3rd week – rapid neural gains – muscle recruitment – coordination better – rapid strength gains but muscle development not there yet. Slower progress from 3rd week – need to build muscle is longer process – then the coach will change exercises = Boom rapid progress again
Keep basic exercises – and occasionally use sightly different methods – change exercises only if solves particular weakness in clients. without adding in overall stress (volume) in program
predictable progress is what good coaching is about- solving issues and adapting to work capacity of individual
49:00 – High Performance Training has 3 components
1) being able to accelerate quickly – being explosive
2) being very strong – in basic methods
3) being able to sustain power for longer periods with shorter rest periods – 80% of capacity for 20 mins. Can be achieved through density work or carries – farmers walk, kettlebells.
4) weakness correction – fixing one weakness at a time not too many at once.
54:00 – Advising the “hard-gainer” to force feed with multiple meals may not be giving him… the best advices
program design concentrates first on strength component and then exercises to fix weaknesses
58:00 force feeding hard gainers over-stresses digestive system -becomes less efficient at getting nutrients
– not eating too frequently is better for hard-gainers
– really put a lot of carbs and protein before workout – contracting muscle pulls nutrients into muscle.
– hardgainers should really focus on performance training – stronger and explosive – but won’t gain as much in 1-3 rep range – “train like a woman” – less efficient at recruiting high threshold motor units so 3-5 reps lowest rep range – 6-8
– do better using shorter rest intervals – recovery rate between sets.
– lower amount of fast twitch fibers or difficulty recruiting them.
– doing explosive heavy work reprograms fibers (slow twitch fibres begin to develop faster twitch characteristics —> then switch to hypertrophy training)
– hardgainers or burned out people need to INCREASE frequency drastically reduce session time
1hr:04 – hardgainers should perhaps train 6 times a week for 30 minutes —–better to train 12 times 20 minutes — reason is hard gainers becomes better acclimated to stress and body doesn’t respond as hard.
107: 00 – muscle growth is less about tearing the muscle fibers muscle than the body sending the signal to adapt. As more mechanical load is imposed on the body the more growth it will induce. The stress has to be on muscle and tendon skeletal structure to adapt – only build muscle tissue if it perceives a threat to survival .
– need to have a certain strength level for higher rep work to be effective.
– John Meadows started off at Westside – can squat 180kg at 20 reps.
111:00 – eccentric accentuation – mTOR- loaded stretching – you don’t need much eccentric work for mTOR to be activate. Emphasizing decreases insulin sensitivity and increases inflammation in muscles and tendons. Some inflammation desirable – Excessive inflammation chronically tendons and muscles = less growth.
Muscle protein synthesis 24 hours after session dictates a significant part of the growth process. You need to turn on the signal to build muscle without excessive inflammation
116:00 – fasted cardio not a good way to get lean.
Losing fat not about just using more calories – it’s about creating an optimal anabolic milieu
Cortisol highest when wake up.—–>then fastest cardio increases cortisol even more
because of increased need for energy will lead to increased cortisol needing nutrients for fuel – muscle amino acids, glycogen, burn more muscle for fuel.
Hormonally optimal to be leaner – explosive work–do cardio while some nutrients are available – small amount of protein and carbs.
If cortisol levels are high and you jack it up then it stays elevated for longer periods of time – adrenal stress – water retentive – muscle gains, recovery
124:00 If you want to be lean you should do carries, farmers walk, sandbag walk etc
– very low intensity – brisk walk blood flow mobilise your fat.
126:00 – eat foods that are easier to eat/digestible
– reduce fiber and vegetable for a while reduce bulk in system
– better to eat less frequently
– you have to make changes gradually
– high quality curcumin best thing for fast digestive relief – IBS and Chrohn’s Disease.
1hr:32 – Ben Johnson – training revolved around half squats (to 90 degrees) and then ¼ squats for 3 weeks to minimise injury
his program was minimalist – bench, chins, half squats, reverse leg press, reverse hypers
– not everyone is built for the full squat – long legged person turns it into hip and back exercise.
– half squat is more stressful on knees than full squat.