Conversations With "The Champ": Training Strategies

In our first installment of Conversations With "The Champ", we will be speaking about the conversation "Torres" and I had about training strategies.

Torres: "What do you think Coach? You and me before the Pacquiao fight?"

Me: "You and me? ... You and me, What?" 

Torres: "You and me ... we fight before the Pacquiao fight? It will be nice ... Afterwards I could say some nice words about you at your funeral. Have your picture up there and everything."

Me: "Kind of like Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York, when he had the picture of Priest on the wall and spoke of him as the best man he ever beat."

Torres: "I am proud of you Coach. You are finally getting it."

Side note: For those of you thinking this has nothing to do with training, you are correct. Nevertheless, it has been included both for your entertainment and to show you how quickly "The Champ" can change gears during a training session.

Moments later ....

Torres: "Coach, How come I see guys in here that look good, but they do things we would never do? For example, I see them overhead pressing with bad form, they do partial reps, or they use light weight and do a ton of reps? Is this something we should be doing to get huge?"

To answer "Torres" question, we need to evaluate each one of his questions individually.

Before we do that, I must state that "Torres" has made some insane gains. Here are his increases over the past 6 years, which have included long seasons of baseball where hardcore training was minimized.

  • Increased his bench 145lbs (from 195 to 340)
  • Increased his deadlift 50lbs (from 315 to 365)
  • Added 20 reps to his pull-ups (from 4 to 24)
  • Added 7" to his broad jump (from 98.5" to 105.5")
I will be the first person to say that "Torres" has not done everything right along the way. In fact, he has hardly done anything right along the way. His Soft Points alone make me ill.

Regardless, every moment when he is the gym (and not tormenting me) he is working towards breaking down each lift and perfecting his technique.

"Does bad form make you big?"

Cheat Curls
If used properly, "bad form" can make you big with minimal risk to injury.  A good example of this would be using a slight swing during cheat curls. The swing allows you to move past a sticking point that you would not normally have been able to overcome with perfect form.

Unfortunately, not many lifters are disciplined enough to use "bad form" without blowing out their shoulders, knees, and / or lower back.

If you want to be big for a few months and injured for the rest of your life, bad form is definitely the way to go.

"Do partial reps make you big?"

Partial reps will absolutely make you big, as they allow you to move greater loads over short distances or across sticking points.

While many ignorant lifters out there consider partial reps cheating, more advanced lifters consider them an integral part of their training strategy.

Good examples of this are board bench pressing and deadlifting from pins.

Partial reps are also an excellent option for people who are recovering from an injury or who currently lack a full range of motion.

Imagine someone with poor ankle and hip mobility. Forcing them to squat to parallel would only result in injury.

"Does lifting light weights for a lot of reps make you big?"

The short and simple answer to this question is "Yes".

The longer (and much more entertaining answer) is covered in my favorite article ever ...


"Is this what we should be doing to get big?"

While our program is mainly focused around power, speed, and explosion, there are definitely elements centered on gains in size.

We do partial reps.

We do high rep training.

We even do cheat curls once a decade.

So why is this not good enough?

Because these things will make you big, but they won't make you as big as the guy with gifted genetics who focuses his training purely on hypertrophy.

That guy may look sick, but he is not the right role model for the guys in our program.

The right role model for our guys is the one for which nothing comes easy. 

He is the hard-gainer. 

He is the one who has had to master every lift just to not be considered weak. 

He is the one who has had to eat pure just to not be fat.

He is the guy to follow.

Everything he has achieved, he had to earn it. He had to dissect every lift and dig through every nutrition program in order to squeeze every ounce of potential out of his body.

The guy with the genetic gifts, he can get ripped just by walking into a gym a few times a week.

That guy doesn't train with us.

He doesn't need to and he wouldn't want to.

Conversations With "The Champ"

As "The People's Coach", I feel it is only fair that I begin sharing with you some of the many ridiculous* (yet highly informative) conversations I have had with an athlete I train known as "Torres".

For those of you that don't know "Torres", I highly suggest you watch from 6:10 to 7:30 on the video below. I believe this says it all ...

Over the past 6 years, "Torres" has given himself many names. One of them is "The Champ"(after winning a handful of Challenges in the gym).

He has then invited other athletes to "Train with the Champ", "Party with the Champ", and for the real lucky ones, "Talk to the Champ".

"The Champ"

In an effort to both educate and entertain those who follow Advanced Training, you will soon start to see articles titled "Conversations With the Champ".

These articles will document real conversations I have had with Torres, highlighting such important topics as why you shouldn't eat all of your daily calories in one meal and why texting me 9 minutes after your lift started is not acceptable.

Stay Tuned ...

One of the first "Conversations With the Champ"

Note:  While many of these conversations will seem ridiculous, it should be understood that "Torres" is a savage competitor and an integral part of the environment of Advanced Training. His intensity and motivational tactics make everyone around him better (including me).

Our relationship quite closely resembles that of Batman and the Joker. 

While they seem to be polar opposites, they both need each other to exist and grow. 

Stay Tuned ...