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No Bull Sports Training
January 09, 2007
Hello folks,

Here are my most recent article and q&a additions to

Creation of a Bodybuilder - The Quickest Way To Gain 50 Pounds of Muscle Naturally!

Figuring Out Your Metabolic Type

If you haven't already, don't forget to check out the new products:


New Q&A

1. Glute and ham recruitment

2. Conditioning

3. Westside Training

4. Isolated Hamstring Training - Good or Bad?

5. Sample Speed Development Split

6. Combat Training


Q: I just have a question about what exactly determines the degree of hamstring and glute activation and involvement during a certain movement such as a deadlift or squat. Are the two things that effect hamstring and glute activation the amount of bend at the waist and the degree of knee bend? For instance, If your back is completely straight up and erect with no bend in the waist, but you have a great degree of bend in the knees such as if you were trying to squat up from sitting in a chair while using the back support to keep your back completely erect do the hamstrings and glutes still get activated, or is it all quads?

A: The more you bend over at the waist the more your glutes are gonna be involved. This is true regardless of the movement. Also the deeper you go the more the glutes are involved. So a deep front squat hits the glutes hard even though the torso is completely vertical. A proper deadlift is glute dominant due to the angle of the torso.

With hamstrings, the more your hips get pushed "back" the more your hamstrings are going to be involved. Thus, a front squat or smith machine squat eliminate a lot of hamstring involvement and put more stress on the quads. They will still involve the glutes to a large extent assuming you go down far enough.

A box squat where you push your butt back to the box with your knees behind your toes takes the quadriceps out of the movement and places more stress on the glutes and hams.

Q: I need to lose a bit of body fat (I am about 12% and am trying to get down to single digits). I want to do some running as well as my jump training (I am currently doing the novice weight training program) but I do not want to interfere with my explosiveness. How much cardio can I safely do?

A: First off bodyfat loss comes mainly from diet and not from exercise. Don't use more activity as an excuse to eat tons junk. With regard to increasing your activity, your best bet is to engage in your sport a couple of times per week. Low intensity cardio at around 70% of Max heart rate is also fine. This can be done as frequently as every day because it is "free" activity that doesnt' drain the body whatsoever. Intervals are generally fine as long as they're not too intensive and not done too frequently. As long as you're not generating a ton of fatigue from your conditioning you'll be alright. You can use the treadmill for a lot of conditioning. Here are a couple of sample workouts:

Workout 1- low intensity interval option walk 3 minutes at 3.5 mph at 12% incline - jog 1 minute at 6 mph - repeat for 30 minutes total

Workout 2- Tempo option

Sprint 30 seconds at 10 mph walk 1-1.5 minutes Go for 20 minutes total

Workout 3- harder interval option Jog 1 minute at 5.5-6.0 mph at 10-12% incline walk 1 minute at 3.5 mph Go for 20-30 min total

Any of those workouts oughta work for you.


Q: I recently started a Westside program for beginners that empasizes on the Dynamic,Max,and Repetitive effort method. It is a 4 day a week program, 2 upper body(Dynamic,Max) and 2 lower body(Dynamic,Max). My question is do you think it would be effective if I combined my program with plyometrics for the upper and lower body. Would that combination be effective or counterproductive, if so do you think I should do the plyometrics by itself when I am finished with my powrelifting program any information would be highly appreciated.

A: The dynamic effort stuff is really not necessary if you're already performing plyometric training and to a lesser extent the revese is also true. Unless you're a 500 pund bench prsser and 600 pound squatter you might as well eliminate the DE stuff and just stick to plyos/movement work and basic heavy lifting.

Q: Great job on the muscle-building plan too! It's nice to see concepts rounded into one-big-whole, understandable picture. Impressive, just like your speed manual. Anyways, I got a question regarding hamstring training. I know you advocate GHR for hamstring strengthening. What do you think of Vern Gametta's statements?

"In order to select effective exercises to prevent hamstring injuries and optimize sprinting performance, it is necessary to understand hamstring function. The nature of the injury and the phase of the stride cycle where the injury commonly occurs provide a major indication of hamstring function as well as insights into the mechanism of injury. Despite this clear evidence of hamstring function and the biarticular nature of the hamstrings there is a continued search for ways to isolate the hamstrings in order to strengthen them. With the understanding of the eccentric role the hamstrings play in the stride cycle, some people (the authors' included) searched for ways to strengthen the hamstrings eccentrically. Unfortunately, most of those methods still relied on single joint movements, For example: 􀂃 Hamstring Curl (regardless of the position of the body) A Systematic Approach to Hamstring Prevention & Rehabilitation: 􀂃 Ham/Glute Raise This is an exercise that has gained much favour, but it still isolates the hamstring in a position of mechanical disadvantage. 􀂃 Kneeling Russian Hamstring Exercise Executed from a kneeling position with a partner securing the ankles. Slowly lower extending the knees. This puts undue stress on the distal hamstring. In the authors experience this has caused many hamstring problems. All of the above exercises certainly do work the hamstrings eccentrically, but the problem is that they all isolate the hamstrings by working at one joint, the knee. None of the exercises contribute to intermuscular coordination nor do they work the hamstrings at anywhere near the speednecessary to transfer to performance. Furthermore, the Kneeling Russian Hamstring Exercise in particular excessively loads the hamstring distally. All those exercises are contraindicated."

Contraindicated exercises: Based on Lieber's (2002) work on muscle architecture and what we know of muscle function from biomechanical studies there are certain exercises that are contraindicated. They are: 􀂃 Hamstring Curl - regardless of the position of the body (Bosch & Klomp, 2005) Roman chair hamstring/glute Raise Kneeling Russian Hamstring Exercise Swiss ball bridging exercises These exercises are contraindicated because of the non functional position of the body and the fact that they all work the hamstrings at one joint.These exercises are favoured because you can "feel the burn" when they are used. That is a poor reason to choose an exercise. The burn is felt because the hamstring is at a mechanical disadvantage.

.... Butt kicks This is a classic misunderstanding of the difference between similar and same. It appears to mimic what happens in the stride cycle, but in reality the legs flex as a result of ground reaction forces and momentum, the hamstrings contribute minimally immediately after toe off in the running stride (Kyrolainen, 1999). Remember that the hamstrings primary job is not to flex the knee. The butt kick is telling the hamstring to flexthe knee joint, in essence creating neural confusion. It is not an exercise worth spending much time on. Do you agree/disagree?

A: No I don't agree with all that. The problem is you can do all the hip extension you want for hamstrings but what if the glutes are overly dominant over the hams what happens?? The glutes do all the work and the hams do none. Most peple have the opposite problem but there are some that have this particular problem (I am one of them). Thus for these people before you integrate (hip extension), you would want to isolate (leg curl/glute ham etc.)

It's the same principle as something like bench press. If you have weak triceps you work more on your lockout. If you have weak pecs you work more on the bottom position. Various muscle groups can hold a movement back.

The main reason people strain hamstrings is the same reason a funny car breaks down a heckuva lot more than a Honda Civic. When you run with more horsepower you stand a chance of tearing/straining certain muscles - particularly if you don't give the body enough recovery time. You never see grade school kids tear hamstrings because they're not powerful enough.


Q: I first heard about you on T-Nation a few weeks ago. I found your site and recently read your article on speed training for simpleton's with great interest. I played lacrosse in college, but after having reconstructive shoulder surgery, I'm looking to get back to training. I once olympic squatted 330 lbs. at 149 lbs. bodyweight, but due the injury I've had to lay off of serious training for 10 months. I need to rebuild my foundation and get back up to those numbers and beyond.

I'm looking to use the program you outlined in the speed article, starting with the "basic setup." My questions are as follows:

1) That article outlined lower body lifting for twice a week (Mon. & Thurs.). I'm assuming you also contemplate lifting upper body twice a week (say, Tues. & Fri.). If so, what should that upper body lifting look like? The injury has limited me to things like floor barbell presses, dumbbell bench/incline/overhead, DB rows, chins, etc. Any idea what upper body lifting should look like in conjunction with the strength program you outlined in that article?

2) I don't have access to a GHR setup in my gym, so I'm thinking of substituting Romanian deadlifts (RDLs). With that in mind, here is what I plan to do:


Sprint Starts: 20 yds. x 510 reps.

Back Squat: 5 x 5

Box Jumps: 3 x 5

RDL (w/ shrug): 4 x 6


Sprints: 50 yds. x 6

Back Squat: 4 x 4 (w/ 1020% less weight than Monday)

Bulgarian Split Squat: 3 x 6 (per leg)

RDL (w/ shrug): 4 x 6

How does that look?

3) Is there any room for some moderate conditioning work after upper body lifting, or would that be overkill for this program? I figured a little training might be good for the heart, help with recovery, and help keep fat gains to a minimum as I try to increase bodyweight.

As a law student, money is tight, so I haven't been able to buy your books just yet. However, with some money from work and from the holidays, I'll be looking to buy your vertical jump book soon. In the meantime, thanks for providing so much free advice here on your site! Have a happy holiday season and God bless!

A: I like the templates you proposed. The only thing I might do differently is do a deadlift variation as a primary movement on the 2nd it'd look like this.

MONDAY Sprint Starts: 20 yds. x 510 reps.

Box Jumps: 3 x 5

Back Squat: 5 x 5

Single Leg RDL: 2 x 6-10/leg


Sprints: 50 yds. x 6


Bulgarian Split Squat: 3 x 6 (per leg)

leg curl (or any other assistance post.chain movement) 3 x 5-12

That approach works well if you're doing split squats in the 2nd upper body workout. The RDL's are fine as ghr might also try single leg deadlifts...there is some technique to them but once you get that they're a good assistance movement.

As for upper body work, there are a variety of ways to set it up based on 2 upper body workouts per week. One method is to have a heavy max effort powerlifting day early in the week and a repetition bodybuilding day later on in the week...or you can go horizontal pressing and pulling (bench and rows) early in the week and vertical pressing and pulling (chins and military press) later in the week.

You should be able to add in a bit of conditioning on those days as well. For someone like you who's just looking to burn calories and shed some fat I typically recommend some easy low intensity cardio at under 70% of max heart rate. Something like walking on a inclined treadmill at a 12-15% incline at 3.5 mph with an occassional minute of easy jogging at 5-6 m.p.h. thrown in every few minutes. This type of work will stimulate the cardiovascular system mildly and enable you to burn calories and best of all it's "free", meaning it won't kill your legs and interfere with your power work. Tempo intervals are another option....something like 3 sets of five 100 yard sprints with 30-45 second rests between sprints and 3 minutes between runs...just gotta make sure you err on the side of caution with regard to how fast you go...most people in my observation seem to screw up tempo work by running too fast. In the speed manual I have a rather lengthy section on how to implement all sorts of conditioning variants.

Q: Do you have any plans regarding an article or even an ebook that would contain information on how to apply certain techniques or exercises to a combatant or mix martial artist?

I know that you would grab the attention of plenty of combatants such as myself who are always looking for the 'extra edge' but still looking into staying within the rules specified by our organizations.

Thank you for responding....I greatly appreciate your reply and I will be purchasing your book.

A: When you get that speed manual you'll see that my process towards training fighters is really extremely simple with regard to developing explosiveness etc so I doubt I could write a book on it. What's complicated as a fighter is the conditioning and getting everything in without running yourself into the ground. With regard to developing explosiveness, it's really just a matter of getting strong in the right muscles groups (lats, shoudlers, triceps for a punch; glutes and thighs for kicks) and then practicing your sport for the direct "explosive training". So a simple low volume strength building program will work just fine every time. There is no real need for lots of explosive loaded movements for fighters IMO. Occassionally you get a big strong powerlifter or bodybuilder type who decides to start fighting...well this type of guy doesn't need to do ANY weight training at all in my opinion! He could get away from the weights for 2 years and still be more than strong enough. The art of training fighters IMO is recovery and conditioning - or getting optimal recovery from all the conditioning that is inherent to the sport.

Hope that helps!


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