Monday, October 3, 2011
Chaos and Pain - Emails Answered
Below is a collection of my dumbass email questions to Jamie Lewis, creator and proprietor of the Chaos and Pain methodology.
subject: Squat Partials
AB - You've blogged in the past about the benefits of utilizing partial squats from different heights. I've since been half squatting from pins with 10x3 and love the ever living shit out of it. This is a higher volume for partials I've used in the past (I kept ditching partials because I saw 0 progress in size or strength), but I was wondering about partial training frequency as well.
Have you found training squat partials for medium to high volumes to be useful? I noticed I did not feel too drained after 10x3 of half squats (too light I suppose), and I wanted to include either another round of half squats somewhere in my week, or heavier quarter squats/lockouts.
JL - I squat pracitcally every day, and partials comprise the majority of my workouts. I love the shit out of them as well, and find that provided I alter the movement somewhat, I can pretty much do them to my heart's content.
subject: Chinup Triples
AB - I've really enjoyed introducing squat triples into my routine. I wanted to grab your opinion on doing heavy chinup triples as well. I typically do reverse pyramid sets so I can start with my heaviest weight (BW warmup, 75+BW, 60+BW, 50+BW), and I want to try something new.
Would you approach chinup triples the same way you would for lower body exercises (ex: 10x3)? Also, how do you approach increasing the weight on your triples (if I do every set at a given weight, I'll usually increase everything by 5-10lbs for future workouts)?
JL - Yup- I love chinup triples. I add weight as I see fit, and don't restrict myself to a set and rep scheme- I go more by how much weight I want to hang off the belt on a given day.
subject: Rest Periods
AB - Just started a version of Chaos and Pain this week, and so far I'm loving it. For the most part, I've adopted your rep scheme and put in whatever the hell heavy exercise I feel like for the day. I have no issue with the volume, but I found that I needed to extend out my rest periods to 2min for 10x3 deadlifts (the last set ended up being 3 singles a minute apart, fail).
I wanted to know if you have always used 1min rest periods for your triples and doubles, or whether that was something you had to work towards? Am I losing some of the benefit by taking longer rests?
JL - I've pretty much always used rest periods between 30 and 90 seconds. I never time them- it's however long it takes me to walk to and from the water fountain. I play it entirely by ear, so I really don't think you're doing yourself a disservice by taking two minute rests. You'll find taht to stay at a given weight, you will be forced to take progressively longer rests as you go. A good rule of thumb is to rest as little as you need to.
subject: Squat Singles
AB - I finally broke through my squat max of 305 after a few weeks of heavy singles and triples, and was able to easily hit 315 on my first try. However, by set 5, I failed to hit a single with 315. Should I attempt it again next week with longer rest periods, or should I back down to 310 until I can get 10-15 sets of singles?
JL - I'd let your rest periods extend naturally. If you fail a couple of times with longer rests, drop it back, but only when you need to. That's awesome man! Congrats!
subject: Keto Runs and Training
AB - I've been training consistently for about 2.5 yrs, and for the most part I've followed a full body routine (not because of anything other than I like them). Over that time, I've neglected to dial in my diet, and I feel like I'm just working on damage control at this point. The latest book I've read on dieting was Better than Steroids, and I've become very interested in carb cycling and keto runs. However, there seems to be a lot of conflicting information in the book itself (sad) and even more on the internet (expected) concerning keto runs, especially when it comes to discussing the merits of pre/post workout nutrition.
I've read from your blog that you regularly practice keto runs Mon-Thurs, followed by different levels of refeeds on Fri-Sun. I wanted to know a few details on how you manage that...
1. Do you worry about imbibing carbs pre or post workout when on a keto run?
2. Do you worry about the amounts of carbs you take in (as in calculations for each day), or do you just do the best you can without making yourself crazy?
JL - I stick with Duchaine's recommendations and eat no PWO carbs on a keto run. If I'm eating paleo, rather than keto, I'll have some, but that's about it for me and carbs. On keto runs, keep my carbs at or below 30g. I don't stress about it too much, though- if I go a couple of grams over one day, it's not as though the sky starts falling.
You'll find that on every topic about nutrition, you'll find sundry conflicting recommendations- the key is to assimilate the most you can and experiment to determine what works for you- that's where the biochemical individuality I've discussed enters into it.
subject: Timing Rest Periods
AB - I've found that I keep myself more honest with rest periods (this only applies to triples, doubles, and singles) when I have a physical timer to separate out my rest periods. Without it, I spend too long in between sets and (correspondingly) too much time in the gym. Since I have started this method, I have been called anal and an asshole by friends and gym randoms alike.
This has been working well me for me, so they can go suck on AIDS. Even if I am being a bit anal about the rest between sets, am I overthinking things here by putting a defined time between work?
JL - Possibly. I think that timing one's self is a good idea to a point, but once you get the feel for what kind of rest period amounts to a minute or 90 seconds, you can probably dispense with the timer. Being a slave to a watch fucking sucks anyway. I generally just walk to the water fountain and grab a drink in between each set, then head right back for another set. That generally puts me in the 45-90 second range, assuming I'm not fucking around on the walk.
That said, however- stick with what works, and fuck anybody who has anything to say about it.
subject: Hating Doubles
AB - I've been making some good progress pushing forward my weight each week regardless of whether I hit all of my prescribed reps or not. Following a general guideline of 10x3, 12x2, or 15x1, I've found that I happen to spend most of my time working on doubles due to the fact that it's an easy intermediary range to work in.
Ex: Using Behind the Neck Push Press
(at this point, I would revert to 205x10x3 and move up again)
While I'm not moving too far down in my capabilities to lift, the wide range of weights I can use with 12x2 seems like it will hinder more than help my progress (triples and singles are just more fun anyways). Have you found any downside to only using triples and singles? The one upside I've found with doubles is the extra reps I can get in without having to sacrifice weight.
Conversely, have you ever tried using only doubles and singles for an extended period of time?
JL - You could always mix triples and doubles on your double days. That, or reduce your rest periods until the weight gets truly heavy. On certain exercises I'll find that I have a sweet spot on the number of reps, but it will vary widely, and my mood during the lift will also play a factor. In re your last question, most of what I do is doubles and singles. It's rare I do nothing but triples in a workout these days.
AB - Are you usually happy as long as you hit 15-30 reps (doesn't matter how you get there)?
JL - I train so much and so often at this point I don't even track it. Generally, I go until I can't, and then move on to something else.
subject: High Pull Height
AB - I've been using high pulls to supplement my other pulling work (powercleans, snatches, shrugs, etc), and have fallen in love with them because of the weight I am able to use. Like you, I tend to turn this Olympic assitance exercise into a backwaters retard trap movement more than anything else. I wanted to ask you what height I should expect to pull the bar to and still call it a high pull (I'm pulling 255 for singles, and they come to the bottom of my chest) or even see it as a useful exercise.
JL - I generally shoot for the top of my chest/chin, but once I get over 315 the bar start inevitably creeping downwards. I'd play with it to see which height you like best and benefits you most.