Ending The Quest To Be Decent

Last November I started my quest To Be Decent. The Quest is based off the article Are You Strong?

What I need is a new quest. The exercises need to follow my principles.

  1. Safe
  2. Functional
  3. Strength (IOW – no high-rep nonsense)

I will be looking for a new plan. Perhaps I’ll reach out to some strength coaches to design a spine-friendly Quest. And failing that, I can try and design one myself.


Add yours

  1. Stuart Gilbert

    Apr 20, 2012 — 12:26 am

    Michael, the problem with trying to conform to external goals like this, which are set by someone else is that they, as I think you have found, a one size fits all target which doesn’t suit everyone. They also often lead the trainee to adopt a “I will reach those targets at whatever cost” approach. This leads to horrible form, which, over time leads to injury, short and long term. I would much rather adopt Richard Winett and Dr Ralph Carpinelli’s approach of “intrinsic training” where progress in weight and / or reps is made after first adhering to more internal markers such as workout focus, good form, rep speed, ROM etc. This approach has worked recently for Dr Winett who has been able to increase his frequency of training recently from years gone by where he used a Mentzer inspired Heavy Duty approach. He still trains hard, and is very strong for someone under 150lbs ( 5′ 6 ) and well into his 60’s. He has also found that a longer TUL of up to 90 seconds, ( more reps..he uses a 3/3 rep speed generlly ) has helped him recover faster and led to much less joint pain…less force on the joints each rep. In his publication ” The Master Trainer” he has promoted the work of Dr Carpinelli, who has done meta analyses on research which has largely found no difference in results in markers of strength and hypertrophy in alternative variables such as high and low reps, single and multiple sets, slow and fast rep speeds etc. I would always err on the side of safety ( being 45 with 2 arthritic knees and various other aches and pains. ) The work of Drs Winett and Carpinelli have gone a long way to help me validate my current approach. So has the work of Bill DeSimone…and in his book “Moment Arm Exercise” and his chest videos on optimalex channel, he states that it is more than likely not the angle of bench which determines the area of chest development…but more the path of the bar, as determined by the angle of the arms relative to the torso (arms closer to the body, more shoulder flexion rather than horizontal adduction , leading to more shoulder and clavicular head of the pec involvement).

  2. Stuart Gilbert

    Apr 20, 2012 — 12:35 am

    …also in a Facebook conversation with Bill, his view is that the front squat has similar spinal issues to the back squat, with similar dangers in the short and long term. Also the front squat lends itself more to spine crushing low reps, it’s not a high rep exercise. I like Bill’s suggestions of the leg press and split squat ( which I’m using successfully in my own training at the moment ) and the hip belt squat, which I plan on using sometime in the future…..keep up the good work Michael. I love it when writers such as yourself indulge in self reflection and analysis of their own approach…and as a result are not scared to admit that they made mistakes and got it wrong…and perhaps they didn’t and don’t know everything. This means that they are still prepared to learn. I’d much rather listen to someone like that than a dogmatic so called “expert” or “guru” who is rigid in their approach, even in the face of mounting evidence. In that sense, when it comes to fitness your writing falls in the category of Richard Winett and Bill DeSimone, who are very similar in their approaches.

  3. @Stuart – I agree with everything you said. My approach to strength training changed completely after ready Body By Science and visiting Ideal Exercise.

    I am unfamiliar with Richard Winett, but I like the 3/3 90second TUL idea. I’m going to give it a try the next time I head to the gym. Lately I’ve been thinking about how using the same cadence to go to failure every time might not be the best idea.

    The best thing about a front squat is it isn’t a back squat. I feel much better since I moved to slow goblet squats. Most of the time, I don’t do any squats.

  4. Stuart Gilbert

    Apr 20, 2012 — 8:01 am

    Michael…I would fully recommend Richard Winett’s publication “The Master Trainer”.

  5. @Stuart – back from the gym. I really liked the 3/3 tempo, especially in the early reps. Towards the very end, I slowed down the negative to 5 seconds. Old habits. 🙂

  6. Stuart Gilbert

    Apr 20, 2012 — 3:27 pm

    3/3 is what Richard Winett does…personally I do 2/2 and hold it for a second at the top for some contracted exercises. i just think 2/2 is slightly more natural and still keeps momentum out of the equation. A slower negative can actually be seen as a break in a rep..it makes it easier as you are stronger in the eccentric part of the rep. So it’s like you’re having a bit of a rest by taking a longer negative.

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