06-21-2012, 02:37 PM
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Putting Myself in John Meadows' Hands by Dave Tate
I enjoyed this.
T NATION | Iron Evolution: Phase 9
If you've read through all the installments in this series you're probably wondering what I think is the absolute best training from my thirty years under the bar.
What would I do if I had access to a 13 year-old Dave Tate who wanted to be the ultimate bad ass? How would I train him to make him among the strongest men on the planet, yet jacked and muscular, with outstanding health as well?
Next to Westside, what I'm doing now with Meadows is the most productive training I've ever experienced. But neither of these systems is appropriate for a novice.
Most raw novices are too weak for either method. Hell, most are too weak for weight training period.
A raw novice's time would be better spent doing bodyweight training. You should be able to perform 100 push-ups, minimum, before even approaching a bench press. Add in pull-ups, lunges, and the other bodyweight staples to complete the program.
After a decent base of bodyweight strength has been developed, I'd next perform a sensible linear progression routine until respectable strength levels are achieved. 5/3/1 by my friend Jim Wendler and Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe would fit the bill perfectly, with assistance work programmed to target any emerging weak points in size and strength.
However, after a certain threshold of development – say a 1.5 x bodyweight bench press, a 2 x bodyweight squat, and a 2.5 x bodyweight deadlift – it's time to step it up.
I'd follow a Meadows-type hypertrophy routine for about 7 months of the year. If the primary goal was bodybuilding, the programming would be designed to bring up any lagging body parts (delts, biceps, etc.).
If powerlifting was the main goal, the programming would try to stabilize any weak points such as the hamstrings and lower back. I'd also perform more sets of 5 reps or below.
After this 7 month phase was complete, I'd do 4-6 weeks of transition work in which I'd slowly scale the reps down while working in the traditional powerlifts.
Then, it's strength time. I'd do 12-16 weeks of Westside training, ideally leading into a powerlifting meet if that was the end goal. If not, the assistance work could shift to address any aesthetic weak points that might benefit from heavy, basic loading.
After this 12-16 week phase, I'd take 2-3 weeks to do absolutely nothing before reassessing my physique and identifying any weak points again. Then I'd start the whole system over.
Would such a system create the absolute best powerlifter or bodybuilder? No, some coveted muscle fullness would be lost in the Westside phase, and some strength would surely go during the long bodybuilding phases.
It would, however, create an athlete that's truly the best of both worlds – muscular, strong, and well rounded.
And with that, my evolution is complete. I hope you've enjoyed reading this series as much as I've enjoyed revisiting it. It's brought back a lot of memories; some painful, some cherished, but all a part of my evolution as a man of iron. I know my training will continue to evolve, and I look forward to sharing it with T Nation readers in future articles.