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: What Is Your "IQ"?

READER: Charles, you have some interesting numbers attached to your workouts - your IQ and volume numbers. What do you use these for, exactly? Do they help you program your weeks? How are your training sessions periodized?

 

CHARLES SAYS: IQ stands for “intensity quotient,” which is the average weight per rep for each exercise and also session. The two primary factors that govern the adaptations I’m mostly interested in are volume (which is probably the primary driver for hypertrophy) and intensity (which is the primary trigger for strength development). Given that, I track both indices constantly.

 

"I’m also revisiting linear-style periodization, which I’ve been critical of in the past."

Breaking Muscle Shop

So, for example, this month I’m running a hypertrophy phase, so needless to say, my volume is way up. But as that happens, I’m trying to make sure my intensity doesn’t deteriorate too much. Some erosion is inevitable, but I’m trying to keep it in check as much as possible.

 

Each time I repeat a given workout, I look back at my volume and intensity for the last time I performed that session, and then I try my best to improve upon those numbers. This month, the main target is hypertrophy, so I’m mostly interested in driving up the training volume, but as I do so, I’m still trying to maintain as much intensity as I can. During a strength phase, I’m focused on driving up my IQs while at the same time trying to maintain as much volume as I can.

 

This Week’s Training

Weekly Volume: 88,791 Pounds (Last Week’s Volume: 38,864 Pounds)

 

Significant Lifts:

 

  • Clean & Jerk: 198x1

 

After doing a fairly careful Evaluation Inventory, I’ve decided to put more time in to hypertrophy development, so I’ll be targeting that as a primary goal for the month of March. So, you’ll be seeing lots of sets of eight and ten, which is something that I rarely do - hence, my need for more hypertrophy.

 

I use to argue that you could basically get the best of both worlds by simply doing a bunch of sets of three as a way of racking up sufficient volume to trigger gains in muscle mass. In theory, you can actually do this. In practice, though, it’s simply very difficult to do (for example) ten hard sets of three, simply because it requires so much time and energy. In reality, it’s much more efficient to lift in the eight to twelve range.

 

Concurrent to this, I’m also revisiting linear-style periodization, which I’ve been critical of in the past. But after doing quite a bit of research, I’m feeling confident that it’s probably the best approach for most lifters. I’ll probably have more to say about that in a future post.

 

In this week’s video, I discuss a recent revelation regarding one of my personal shortcomings as it pertains to training and nutrition. I think you’ll find it worthwhile, so definitely have a watch.

 

 

Thanks, and please leave your questions and comments below!


Monday, March 2, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 201.4 Pounds

Volume: 20,658 Pounds

Average Weight Per Rep: 132.42 Pounds

 

Hang Snatch

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

Notes: IQ: 83.96

 

High Bar Squat

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

Notes: IQ: 163.18

 

Leg Extension

  • Set 1: 130 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: 130 lbs × 10
  • Set 3: 130 lbs × 10
  • Set 4: 130 lbs × 10

Notes: IQ: 130

 

Hack Squat

  • Set 1: 140 lbs × 5

Notes: IQ: 140

 

45° Back Extension

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

Notes: IQ: 120

 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 202.4 Pounds

Volume: 18,626 Pounds

Average Weight Per Rep: 134.97 Pounds

 

Bench Press

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

Notes: IQ: 171

 

Chin Up

  • Set 1: 8 reps
  • Set 2: 8 reps
  • Set 3: 8 reps
  • Set 4: 8 reps

Notes: IQ: 202.4

 

Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)

  • Set 1: 70 lbs × 8
  • Set 2: 70 lbs × 8
  • Set 3: 70 lbs × 8

Notes: IQ: 70

 

Skullcrushers

  • Set 1: 45 lbs × 8
  • Set 2: 65 lbs × 8
  • Set 3: 65 lbs × 8
  • Set 4: 65 lbs × 8

Notes: IQ: 60

 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 201.6 lbs

Volume: 32,202 Pounds

Average Weight Per Rep: 223.62 Pounds

 

Clean and Jerk

  • Set 1: 45 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 66 lbs × 3
  • Set 3: 88 lbs × 2
  • Set 4: 110 lbs × 2
  • Set 5: 132 lbs × 2
  • Set 6: 154 lbs × 1
  • Set 7: 154 lbs × 1
  • Set 8: 176 lbs × 1
  • Set 9: 198 lbs × 1

Notes: IQ: 98.05

 

Deadlift

  • Set 1: 135 lbs × 8
  • Set 2: 135 lbs × 8
  • Set 3: 225 lbs × 8
  • Set 4: 315 lbs × 5
  • Set 5: 405 lbs × 3
  • Set 6: 315 lbs × 8
  • Set 7: 315 lbs × 8

Notes: IQ: 245.62

 

19" Box Squat

  • Set 1: 95 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 135 lbs × 5
  • Set 3: 185 lbs × 8
  • Set 4: 185 lbs × 8
  • Set 5: 185 lbs × 8
  • Set 6: 185 lbs × 8

Notes: IQ: 168.33

 

Here’s a short video explaining what I’m trying to accomplish with these squats:

 

 

Back Extension

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

Notes: IQ: 120

 

Friday, March 6, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 202.6 lbs

Volume: 17,305 Pounds

Average Weight Per Rep: 134.14 Pounds

 

Bench Press

  • Set 1: 135 lbs × 8
  • Set 2: 135 lbs × 8
  • Set 3: 185 lbs × 8
  • Set 4: 205 lbs × 8
  • Set 5: 225 lbs × 3
  • Set 6: 185 lbs × 10

 

Bench Press (Dumbbell)

  • Set 1: 200 lbs × 6

 

Seated Row

  • Set 1: 150 lbs × 8
  • Set 2: 150 lbs × 8
  • Set 3: 150 lbs × 8

 

Bicep Curl

  • Set 1: 45 lbs × 8
  • Set 2: 65 lbs × 8
  • Set 3: 65 lbs × 8

 

Tricep Pushdowns

  • Set 1: 90 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: 110 lbs × 10
  • Set 3: 130 lbs × 10

 

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