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 directly to Charles in the Breaking Muscle Forums.

 

Question #1: Why Box Jumps?

READER: Seems like literally everyone is doing box jumps these days. Am I missing out on anything?

 

CHARLES SAYS: I’m not a huge fan, although I totally get that box jumps are a fun exercise.

 

The first thing is that box jumps aren’t an accurate indicator of your jumping ability, since they’re really a combination of a jump and the landing, which is done in a squat position. So if you’ve got a really deep squat position, you can jump on a higher box than someone else who has more jumping power but less hip mobility. A better test is the vertical jump, and (in my opinion) the best test is the standing broad jump, which requires absolutely no equipment and cannot be “cheated” like a Vertec device can.

 

box jump, jumping, plyometrics

In my opinion, the risks outweight the benefits when it comes to box jumps.

 

The second issue is that I’ve seen a lot of people rupture their Achilles tendons with this exercise. I’m honestly not sure what’s behind that, but about nine months ago, four of my Facebook friends sustained this injury doing box jumps in a single week - and that really caught my attention.

 

So, I guess if you like box jumps, that’s fine, but you should carefully evaluate the cost and benefit of everything you do. For me, box jumps don’t score too well on that scale. 

 

Question #2: Greasing the Groove

READER: Can I put in many short, intense sets (say, max pull ups) throughout the day and gain strength and muscle?

 

CHARLES SAYS: Sure. My colleague Pavel Tsatsouline calls this “greasing the groove.” There are a few different explanations for why this method works well for a lot of people. First, by spreading out your training volume over large time frames, you’ll be effectively managing fatigue. Second, by performing manageable sets frequently over the course of a day, you’ll be getting in a lot of quality practice.

 

This strategy works best for exercises that you don’t need equipment for and/or movements you can do with whatever equipment you’ve got at home (pull up bar, kettlebells, etc.).

 

Question #3: Waiting Between Sets

READER: What can I do besides wait in between sets?

 

CHARLES SAYS: I usually text my friends and check my Facebook feed. A smarter thing to do, though, might be some foam rolling and/or mobility work if you’ve got problem areas that need addressing.

 

Now, in truth, I work with a small group of training partners, so between sets, I’m usually changing weights, spotting, or coaching. But if that weren’t the case, I’d probably take the time to stretch a little. For example, on an upper-body session, I might do some bodyweight squats with long pauses at the bottom to loosen up my hips.

 

Oh, and I also look for opportunities to document advanced athletes going through their paces. Here’s an example of some footage I took last week:

 

Here is a gentleman performing what appears to be some medium-heavy sets of hip-elevated torso pumps.

 

Question #4: Protein Consumption

READER: Is it true that you waste anything more than 25g of protein consumed per meal?

 

CHARLES SAYS: No. In fact, Dr. Bob Wolfe recently conducted a study on that subject (unpublished) where he showed that a 70g protein meal resulted in greater net protein balance than a 40g protein meal.

 

Now, of course, there are practical limits to extremely low meal frequency. In fact, I recently saw Dr. Mike Isreatel state that if you were to eat all your protein in a single meal at 8:00am, by 8:00pm, your muscles would no longer be up-taking amino acids. This means if you habitually ate all your protein once a day, your muscles would be lacking sufficient amino acids for half of each day.

 

So eat between three to six protein-rich meals a day, and you’ll be fine.

 

This Week’s Training

This Week’s Volume: 100,458 Pounds (Last Week: 24,291 Pounds)

 

Significant Lifts:

 

  • 2.5” Deficit Pull: 365x10
  • Dumbbell Bench Press: 190x9

 

This is week one of a six-week hypertrophy phase, where everything will be in the eight to twelve rep range. Despite the high volume (and frequency - five days a week for this phase), I managed to put up a few nice performances.

 

Just as an aside, what I’m calling a “hypertrophy phase” here might be better termed an “atrophy prevention” phase, since my muscle-building days are probably behind me at this point in time. But preventing muscle loss is a valuable goal nonetheless, and there are work capacity and joint-restoration benefits to high-rep work, as well.

 

I’ll be looking to add weight, reps, and/or sets over the next six weeks whenever and wherever I can, and making an effort to ensure my protein intake is adequate, as well.

 

Thanks everyone! Enjoy the videos and keep those questions coming!


Monday, June 15, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 202.4 Pounds

Volume: 26,765 Pounds

 

High Bar Squat

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

 

Stiff-Leg Deadlift

  • Set 1: 65 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 95 lbs × 10
  • Set 3: 135 lbs × 10
  • Set 4: 185 lbs × 10
  • Set 5: 205 lbs × 10
  • Set 6: 225 lbs × 10 

 

Leg Press

  • Set 1: 180 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 230 lbs × 10
  • Set 3: 320 lbs × 10

 

45° Back Extension

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

 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 202.8 Pounds

Volume: 13,745 Pounds

 

  • Close Grip Bench Press (Pinkies On Rings)
  • Set 1: 45 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 95 lbs × 5
  • Set 3: 135 lbs × 5
  • Set 4: 165 lbs × 10
  • Set 5: 165 lbs × 10
  • Set 6: 165 lbs × 10

 

Incline Dumbbell Press

  • Set 1: 100 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: 120 lbs × 10
  • Set 3: 120 lbs × 10

 

Machine Row

  • Set 1: 90 lbs × 6
  • Set 2: 90 lbs × 6
  • Set 3: 90 lbs × 6

 

Hammer Curl

  • Set 1: 80 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: 80 lbs × 10
  • Set 3: 80 lbs × 10

 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 202.6 Pounds

Volume: 32,628 Pounds

 

2.5" Deficit Pull

  • Set 1: 135 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 135 lbs × 5
  • Set 3: 185 lbs × 5
  • Set 4: 225 lbs × 5
  • Set 5: 275 lbs × 10
  • Set 6: 315 lbs × 10
  • Set 7: 365 lbs × 10 (Video Below)

 

 

19" Box Squat

  • Set 1: 95 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 135 lbs × 5
  • Set 3: 185 lbs × 10
  • Set 4: 185 lbs × 10
  • Set 5: 185 lbs × 10

 

Back Extension

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

 

Seated Leg Curl

  • Set 1: 100 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: 100 lbs × 10
  • Set 3: 150 lbs × 10

 

Friday, June 19, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 201.4 Pounds

Volume: 19,110 Pounds

 

Bench Press (Dumbbell)

  • Set 1: 80 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: 120 lbs × 10
  • Set 3: 160 lbs × 10
  • Set 4: 160 lbs × 10
  • Set 5: 180 lbs × 10
  • Set 6: 190 lbs × 9

 

Close-Grip Lat Pulldown

  • Set 1: 100 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: 100 lbs × 10
  • Set 3: 120 lbs × 10
  • Set 4: 120 lbs × 10

 

Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)

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

 

Tricep Pushdowns

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

 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 201.8 Pounds

Volume: 8210 Pounds

 

Military Press

  • Set 1: 45 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: 45 lbs × 10
  • Set 3: 65 lbs × 10
  • Set 4: 85 lbs × 10
  • Set 5: 95 lbs × 10
  • Set 6: 95 lbs × 10

 

Lying Tricep Extension

  • Set 1: 65 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: 65 lbs × 10
  • Set 3: 65 lbs × 10

 

EZ Bar Curl

  • Set 1: 65 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: 65 lbs × 10
  • Set 3: 66 lbs × 10

 

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Photo courtesy of CrossFit Empirical.

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