Note: Charles is here on a weekly basis to help you cut through the B.S. and get to the bottom of the biggest questions in health and training. Post your questions via social media or in the comments section below to participate in next week's mailbag.

 

Question #1: Can I Train Every Day?

READER: If time was not a limiting concern, how often should I train? Is training every day bad if I can do it?

 

CHARLES SAYS: Well, I do appreciate the qualifier to your question (“If time was not a limiting factor…”). Under those conditions, most people should ideally train more often than they currently do. I’m not sure that training every day would be advisable - no matter what anyone tells you, there are limits to your recovery capacity. But all else being equal, more frequent training is at least theoretically more effective.

 

Breaking Muscle Shop

If you decide to experiment with increasing your training frequency, keep your overall volume constant, at least at first. In other words, if your typical training volume is 60,000 pounds split over three training sessions, and you decide to start training five days per week, stay at 60,000 pounds. If/when your recovery feels adequate, then you can then allow your volume to creep up gradually.

 

"Bottom line: don’t do things that hurt. And when things do hurt, assess your form, and/or reduce intensity and/or volume until you reach a level of stress that’s tolerable for you."

With all of that said, it’ still important to appreciate the influence of Pareto’s law on decisions like this: training twice a week works much better than once a week. Three times a week is even better, but by a smaller margin. Four times? Better still, but by an even smaller margin. And so on and so forth.

 

Question #2: Knee Position During Big Lifts

READER: The debate about knee position when squatting and deadlifting rages on. How important is it? I just want to train and enjoy my gym time, but worry that I'm doing it all wrong and am going to hurt myself with the tiniest deviation in form. It's paralyzing.

 

CHARLES SAYS: Keep training, and keep educating yourself about biomechanics. When it comes to training technique, there are gradations of ideal technique, not just “wrong” or “right.” So you might not being doing it perfectly or even ideally, but strive to improve every day.

 

By the way it wouldn’t be a bad idea to post a video on Forum 46 in the Breaking Muscle discussion forums - my colleagues and I would be happy to take a look at your technique.

 

Question #3: Should I Be Running?

READER: Running - should I do it? I feel like we were built for it, but almost immediately (one week or so) after I start running regularly, lots of things hurt. Is this telling me that I need to run and work out the weaknesses or that I should stop before I do real damage?

 

CHARLES SAYS: You know what? I agree that everyone should be able to run (sprint? jog?) to some degree, but with that said, some of us are better built for it than others. From your question, it does seem that running isn’t the best thing for you, at least not yet.

 

You might try backing off and starting with shorter distances until your painful symptoms recede, and then from there, you’ll be able to increase your volume gradually.

 

Or it could be that your running technique needs improvement, and/or perhaps you’re just a big heavy guy and the cumulative stresses are just too high to tolerate.

 

Bottom line: don’t do things that hurt. And when things do hurt, assess your form, and/or reduce intensity and/or volume until you reach a level of stress that’s tolerable for you.

 

This Week’s Training

The main highlight this week was an unexpected 3RM of 440 for a new deadlift personal record. I’ve been playing with my psychology as well as mechanics on the pull, and this might be a sign of it paying off. More details when I’m a bit more clear about whether or not there’s a causal relationship.

 

 

Also, I’m sensing some good things to come with my bench press. This week I did 4x5 with 215, followed by 220x5 - very strong for me. I’m going to try and nudge this up to 225 (5x5) over the next few weeks if possible.

 

On the negative side, I did low bar squats for the first time in seven weeks this week, and they felt truly horrible! Hopefully they’ll start feeling fetter after a few weeks, but time will tell.

 

One other point to mention is that my volume this week is a bit contrived due to the fact that I did several sets of deadlifts, which artificially inflate the numbers quite a bit.

 

Health-wise, I’ve been dealing with a bit of what feels like tendonitis in my left knee - probably the result of my recent attempts to activate and develop my quads.

 

Thanks all - I’ll be back next week!


Significant Lifts:

 

  • Deadlift: 440x3

 

Weekly Volume:  83,540 Pounds (Last Week: 38,052 Pounds)

 

Monday, April 13, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 200.8 Pounds

Volume: 15,919 Pounds

Average Weight Per Rep: 130.48 Pounds

 

Power Snatch

  • Set 1: 45 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 45 lbs × 3
  • Set 3: 66 lbs × 3
  • Set 4: 66 lbs × 3
  • Set 5: 88 lbs × 2
  • Set 6: 88 lbs × 2
  • Set 7: 110 lbs × 2
  • Set 8: 121 lbs × 1
  • Set 9: 132 lbs × 1
  • Set 10: 132 lbs × 1
  • Set 11: 132 lbs × 2
  • Set 12: 143 lbs × 1
  • Set 13: 154 lbs × 1

Notes: IQ: 84.22 These felt particularly good today

 

Squat

  • Set 1: 45 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 95 lbs × 5
  • Set 3: 135 lbs × 5
  • Set 4: 185 lbs × 3
  • Set 5: 225 lbs × 3
  • Set 6: 275 lbs × 3
  • Set 7: 275 lbs × 3
  • Set 8: 275 lbs × 3
  • Set 9: 225 lbs × 5

Notes: IQ: 177.28

 

Hack Squat

  • Set 1: 90 lbs × 8
  • Set 2: 140 lbs × 8
  • Set 3: 140 lbs × 8
  • Set 4: 140 lbs × 8

Notes: IQ: 127.5

 

45° Back Extension

  • Set 1: 120 lbs × 8
  • Set 2: 120 lbs × 12
  • Set 3: 120 lbs × 8

Notes: IQ: 120

 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 200.4 Pounds

Volume: 16,302 Pounds

Average Weight Per Rep: 144.26 Pounds

 

Bench Press

  • Set 1: 95 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 135 lbs × 5
  • Set 3: 135 lbs × 5
  • Set 4: 185 lbs × 3
  • Set 5: 205 lbs × 1
  • Set 6: 225 lbs × 4

Notes: IQ: 151.52

 

Close Grip Bench Press (Pinkies On Rings)

  • Set 1: 135 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 185 lbs × 5
  • Set 3: 185 lbs × 5
  • Set 4: 185 lbs × 5

Notes: IQ: 172.5

 

Chest Dip

  • Set 1: 6 reps
  • Set 2: 6 reps
  • Set 3: 6 reps

Notes: IQ: 200.4

 

Seated Row

  • Set 1: 160 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 160 lbs × 5
  • Set 3: 160 lbs × 5
  • Set 4: 160 lbs × 5

Notes: IQ: 160

 

Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)

  • Set 1: 80 lbs × 8
  • Set 2: 80 lbs × 8
  • Set 3: 80 lbs × 8
  • Set 4: 80 lbs × 8

Notes: IQ: 80

 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 200.4 Pounds

Volume: 33,397 Pounds

Average Weight Per Rep: 260.91 Pounds

 

Clean and Jerk

  • Set 1: 45 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 66 lbs × 3
  • Set 3: 66 lbs × 3
  • Set 4: 95 lbs × 2
  • Set 5: 110 lbs × 2
  • Set 6: 132 lbs × 2
  • Set 7: 155 lbs × 1
  • Set 8: 175 lbs × 1
  • Set 9: 175 lbs × 1
  • Set 10: 175 lbs × 1
  • Set 11: 175 lbs × 1

Notes: IQ: 97.72

 

Deadlift

  • Set 1: 135 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 135 lbs × 5
  • Set 3: 225 lbs × 3
  • Set 4: 315 lbs × 3
  • Set 5: 365 lbs × 3
  • Set 6: 405 lbs × 3
  • Set 7: 425 lbs × 3
  • Set 8: 440 lbs × 3 (Video Below)

Notes: IQ: 281.25

 

 

Leg Press

  • Set 1: 180 lbs × 8
  • Set 2: 230 lbs × 8
  • Set 3: 270 lbs × 8
  • Set 4: 320 lbs × 8
  • Set 5: 360 lbs × 8
  • Set 6: 360 lbs × 8

Notes: IQ: 286.66

 

Back Extension

  • Set 1: +120 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: +120 lbs × 10
  • Set 3: +120 lbs × 10

Notes: IQ: 120

 

Friday, April 17, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 200.6 Pounds

Volume: 17,922 Pounds

Average Weight Per Rep: 144.53 Pounds

 

Bench Press

  • Set 1: 45 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 95 lbs × 5
  • Set 3: 135 lbs × 5
  • Set 4: 185 lbs × 3
  • Set 5: 205 lbs × 1
  • Set 6: 215 lbs × 5
  • Set 7: 215 lbs × 5
  • Set 8: 215 lbs × 5
  • Set 9: 215 lbs × 5
  • Set 10: 220 lbs × 5

Notes: IQ: 171.25

 

Chin Up

  • Set 1: 5 reps
  • Set 2: +25 lbs × 5
  • Set 3: +25 lbs × 5
  • Set 4: +25 lbs × 5

Notes: IQ: 219.35

 

Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)

  • Set 1: 70 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: 70 lbs × 10
  • Set 3: 70 lbs × 10

Notes: IQ: 70

 

Tricep Pushdowns

  • Set 1: 130 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: 130 lbs × 10
  • Set 3: 130 lbs × 10

Notes: IQ: 130

 

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