Overrated vs. underrated exercises, Q&A and more [Podcast]

Are the powerlifts overrated for bodybuilders? Which parts of the shoulder does overhead pressing actually work? In this episode of ReviveStronger, Steve Hall and I discuss underrated vs. overrated exercises. You can jump to sections you’re interested in via the timestamps below or have a look at the automated transcript to see which parts you want to listen to. Enjoy!

 

 

Timestamps

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 09:00 How to deal with severe injury and general injury advise
  • 15:36 Exercise selection: Overrated vs. Underrated exercises
  • 20:21 Overhead pressing any good?
  • 23:40 Deadlifts for hypertrophy
  • 30:38 Aren’t there any muscle groups being trained enough or are not worth it?
  • 41:31 Is it possible to grow specific parts of the quads?
  • 45:43 Listening to music during training?
  • 50:15 Only training with machines?
  • 55:25 Exertion headaches
  • 57:14 High protein vs. high carb refeeds
  • 59:03 Massing/Mini Cut vs. Massing/Maintenance

 
 

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Automated transcript

This is an automatically generated transcript of the podcast.

Intro

Steve 0:04
Hey guys, welcome back to the Revive Stronger Podcast. I’m your host as always, Steve Hall, and today I’ve got Menno back on the show. It’s always a fantastic time talking to Menno. I asked him the questions you guys sent in over on my Instagram . As a side note, if you ever are looking to ask questions as the guests, that’s generally where I source them. So be sure to follow me over on Instagram Revive Stronger Podcast., that’d be fantastic. I also post a bunch over there and hopefully some useful stuff. But in this episode, we talk about a bunch of different things from over and underrated movements for hypertrophy and injury management and much, much more. Loads of great takeaways within this episode.

As always, guys, so you know, we do have spots available with our team for online coaching. If you’re interested in growing some muscle, dropping some fat, what have you, photoshoot contest prep. We’re here to help you. So, if you’re interested in that, you can check out our online coaching service in the description below. And you can always book a consultation with one of us.

But for now, guys, let’s get into the chat with Menno.

Hi guys, welcome to the Revive Stronger Podcast, I’m your host as always Steve Hall, and today I’ve got Menno back on the show. It was actually only four months ago since you were last on, or at least we last released an episode, so, it’s probably about four months since we chatted that was episode 296. It’s actually your 16th time on Menno. I don’t think I’d ever checked, but because we’ve done so many because you’re great for the roundtables. So we’ll bring you on often to like to have those discussions as well because I think you bring a great different perspective. So yeah, 16 times majority is still so low, but there’s been plenty around tables that have gone down, so I just want to say a massive thank you for kind of being on here. I know people love to kind of hear your perspective and hearing your knowledge. So I love chatting to you too. So yeah, thank you so much.

Menno 1:49
My pleasure. I think your podcast is great and to ask good questions. You know, you’re in the know. So you asked the right questions and the right kind of detail. So I always appreciate to talk.

Steve 2:00
So and as we’re speaking about welfare unfortunately, I was just asking Menno,
just kind of how’s he going? That sort of thing, and I said, a couple of men have brought up back injuries. So a few people. When I did put out for questions, were asking kind of like, “How’s the back?, “Has that changed any perspectives on things?” So I thought I’d just let you kind of let people know because I hadn’t actually seen what’s happened to your back. I know you’ve had like a bad injury in the past. But that was kind of different to what this is, so yeah, how are things there?

Menno 2:31
This is the same injury. So, it’s bad. I thought it was soft tissue, and probably it was because something bought and that was September last year. And originally it rehabbed okay, I was basically pain free couldn’t squat or deadlift yet, but basically pain free, could do everything else. Still doing hip thrusts, no issues for a couple of weeks and then suddenly doing it fast, massive pain search from my abs, which is, it’s a very weird injury-I’ve talked to quite a few people about it now and nobody can really lay a finger on the cause or diagnose it. So I had an MRI scan done because this time it wasn’t healing. It seemed to be. Unfortunately, nothing hurts except squatting, deadlifting, walking or standing. Which is,as you know you, a lot of.

Steve 3:26
it’s the same injuries that last time . Oh my gosh, so, so, sorry.

Menno 3:31
At that time, it wasn’t really healing, and I did an MRI scan, since then. And it’s not just soft tissue, which is what I feared because soft tissue doesn’t take that long to heal. And normally my soft tissues heal quite well. It’s actually a herniated disc, maybe two with bone splinters. So, it’s going to be a long one. And the prognosis. I mean, if you look at the MRI, the prognosis looks good. It doesn’t look that bad. I mean, all the doctors have talked to say like, you know, I’ve seen much worse, and they still didn’t need surgery. Although in my case, it’s more like going by symptoms and recovery time. It’s bad, but there’s no surgical target. So I don’t even really have the option of surgery. But it’s, yeah, it’s gonna be a tough one. Probably. I’m thinking. I’ll be happy if in one year I can be fully pain free and hopefully squat and deadlift again, I think, so I’m kind of thinking long run squats and deadlifts, probably not so great, especially because I have one herniated disc, one slightly bulging; so L4, L5 is definitely screwed. And then L1, L2 seems anteriorly herniated. It’s like 50/50, depending on who you ask. They’re like, yeah, that’s bad. And the other half was like nah, but I think that’s MRI artifact looks remarkable. So that’s that’s a bit weird, but in general, there’s ‘s a big discrepancy as usual between the MRI and the symptoms, and the symptoms also don’t match that of a normal hernia. It’s just a super weird, complicated injury. There’s no true diagnosis. It doesn’t heal well. And I have no basic needs to go by. So I have had many, many injuries. And I’d say I’m actually quite good at rehabbing injuries, because I have a lot of -almost all my clients- are quite serious. So, injury rates are relatively high compared to someone who has like clients who do, you know, twice, three times a week training; many of my clients are five, quite some do daily training, powerlifters bodybuilders contest prep, you know injury rates are higher. And I’m very successful. I would say rehabbing all those kinds of minor in golfers, golfers, elbow, tennis elbow, patellar, tendinopathy, sprains, strains, no issues. The main thing all of these things have in common is there are pain signals, or at least some deficits and functional range of motion. For me there’s nothing so I never know what’s making it better or worse. The only indicator I have is somewhat the next morning because every morning, I’m in pain pretty much or it’s much worse. Right now. I don’t feel stiff, but not really any pain. Most of the days, the first two hours I’m in pain regardless, and it seems to be somewhat worse after certain things. But it’s a very rough signal to notice. So, it’s extremely difficult to know what I can do. And it seems to be some things that are you would think are almost trivial. For example, I tried bands external rotations because I currently can’t basically do nothing for my glutes. And I would think, okay, surely bands external rotations are fine, there is no belted movement. There’s no spinal loading. Nope, it did not seem to be the case. So, it’s a super complicated. On the bright side, I’m confident it will make me a lot better as a coach and also for injury rehab. And most of the semi experts on MRI reading and the herniated disc at this point. So, that’s good, and I mean, long term perspective, I think it is still okay, I think I’m gonna take boxing, powerlifting was probably not in the cards for me anyway. So, maybe there was my bench press not squat and deadlift but yeah I’m thinking long boxing, lower volume, just maintain and at the moment, my volume was cut down into a third roughly, it’s it might not even be minimum effective. I’m just trying to sort of hold on to muscle mass, which because I found that sort of the total amount of daily physical activity I have seems to be a factor. So I can do like a two-hour workout, feel absolutely nothing. Don’t do any exercise that even has theoretical spinal loading or Belgian movement or whatever, and the next morning is worse. So, it’s definitely a bad one.

Steve 8:08
I’m so sorry to hear that. There’s nothing worse than injuries for like, like us. People that just love training. Like for you, I think you actually were doing every day, weren’t you? So, it’s like an anchor for you. Are you still going like most days, just real minimum amount?

Menno 8:25
Yeah, doing at least like the McGill big free kind of rehab movements, those kinds of things, and the minimum just to get out and do something, because the standard advice is you should stay mobile, and I’ve tried to sit still and that doesn’t work either. So there is just an extremely fine line for me between If I do nothing it doesn’t heal, then if I’m too active, it also doesn’t heal. So, it’s just difficult to know what to do. But yeah, if I do absolutely nothing that also doesn’t help, I think with mental health and everything.

09:00 TO DEAL WITH SEVERE INJURY AND GENERAL INJURY ADVICE

Steve 8:57
Yeah, no, absolutely. I guess at this point, you’re kind of near that genetic ceiling as such. And so the difference between you like the amount of work you had to do to try and see any gains versus maintain your gains. Huge difference. So at least right now, it’s like you’re still in very good shape, and I’m from the sounds of things you can train every muscle group to some extent,

Menno 9:19
Except glutes and erector spinae.

Steve 9:21
Okay, so maybe you’re gonna lose a little bit there. But again, I guess, you’ll know this better than anyone the research on like muscle retention, I mean, muscle memory. So, when you come back in, and you are able to start loading that you’re gonna get all these, like, should hopefully rapidly or come back. So, it’s just I guess the day to day not being able to kind of go for walks and yeah, like, like I think like the things that are distressing for me and normally active. And so, I can’t imagine what it must be like to have that taken away. Is there anything like you found to fill that void a little bit for you? Is it work or?

Menno 9:58
No, no, no. I also like being active, and when I think I like to walk, so that also sucks. I can’t do that, but at least I’ve learned to just sit and think, and it’s not really worse. It’s just starting to get used to it. I’m just much more sedentary than I’d like. But that’s the least of the problems. I mean, in the very, very long run, I’m quite confident like, I can rehab this, I’m not 100% confident unfortunately, but quite confident. Because you know, I’ve talked to many, many experts now and their methods also don’t seem to work. But I’m quite confident I can return to even squatting and deadlifting long term. But then it’s definitely you’re asking about long term perspective. It’s definitely shifted long term perspective, not in terms of giving up, or you know, being demotivated but simply as a risk /reward, because I know exactly as you say, I was pushing everything to the limits to gain, you know, to be happy to gain a pound per year. And I can still do that for most muscle groups, maybe the lower body is going to be a little trickier. But I’m gonna answer also an interesting case study to show how far you can get without squats and deadlifts. And I think you can actually do perfectly well. At the moment, like I said, glutes and erector spinaeare big issues, but long term I think even that can be managed, Powerlifting is well, it wouldn’t even be completely out of the question. But the risk reward is just too poor. Because even if you fully rehab something -and the research on herniated disc is quite positive if you stay active-even full hernias over the course of say five years, they fully resolved. So if you rehab it well, and not just beyond the initial pain period, that’s in the coming years, it’s a very prolonged process. If you do that well, there’s a good prognosis that you’re at the minimum your functionality will be 100% restored, and you will not be in pain anymore. And even structurally speaking, on the MRI, it might even fully be gone. However, even then, most research still indicates that prior injury, in general, this is true for almost any kind of injury. The strongest predictor of future injury is prior injury. So any tissue that has been damaged, there are simply there are some scar tissue, some tissues just don’t 100% heal, your body compensates finds a way around it, but there is still some damage. That will always pose some risk for bad cases such as these.

Steve 12:28
And I guess like there’s not even like a nice takeaway for this or is even imagine challenging few because the initial injury that has led to this then coming in again was random. Like it wasn’t something you really like you could, What could you have done to prevent that? Like it was just something that a freak accident. So like there is an advice to like, I guess actually if I was to ask you in terms of like when you’re taking your clients for this and the perspective you took to limit injuries as much as possible. What do you do? And then I guess, the advice of if you are injured, kind of the perspective to take how do you help your clients through that in terms of most injuries aren’t as severe as what this one was being?

Menno 13:06
I mean, in general, it has changed anything. The general take-away message is, sometimes life sucks so you just gotta take it and deal with it. And it’s almost a rite of passage. You know, like if you look at all high level lifters. In fact, 80% of individuals have had or will experience debilitating back pain, not just back pain but debilitating back pain at some point in their lives. And for lifters, spinal injuries are quite frequent, especially powerlifters. I can name off the top of my head that doesn’t. We’ve had really bad injuries and there are many success stories of people who have, you know, risen out and still competed at a high level. Also, some stories of people who have done that, and then in the long term, still you see there’s a real injury, and it’s even worse and bad cases like or semi success stories like Ronnie Coleman, successful through himself, he kept going but well where do you end up at the end is probably not where most people want to. So, I think there’s not much of a take home message in my case. There’s no general injury advice. There are a lot of things that I think are very useful. High reps, control tempo, not being focused on fixated on having to do certain movements. In particular, the power lifts have some sort of magic status for a lot of people that aren’t powerlifters, and that is not entirely unjustified in the sense that especially the bench press and squat are very good exercises, squats, mostly I would say. But, it’s definitely unjustified in the sense of it being an absolute necessity to perform these movements. It isn’t for bodybuilding purposes, for recreational purposes, overall strength functional training, unless you’re a powerlifter, you can do perfectly well without power lifting your program. And many people have these kinds of fixations on certain exercises, and it tends to become worse when they become injured. So when they, you know, they do biceps curls, and they feel like “I’m kind of getting bored with the biceps curls”, I’ve seen these in many clients, then they get injured they get tennis elbow”, for example, which is a result of overuse or just freak accident or something with elbow flexion, at least usually. So, maybe even their biceps curls are the main culprits. And then, when they cannot do it anymore, they feel extra restricted when they can so they feel like I have to do biceps curls, whereas just two weeks ago, it was kind of boring with this exercise. I feel like I can switch it out. Two weeks later, I have to do two biceps curls.

15:36 EXERCISE SELECTION: OVERRATED VS. UNDERRATED EXERCISES

Steve 15:37
Yeah, like, and actually that’s a really good reminder for people about like the exercises in there aren’t particularly like magical ones out there. And that’s actually a question that came up was kind of, I think, excellent selection. I think we spoke about this last time seems to have taken like a surge, particularly the biomechanics, functional anatomy kind of scene, because someone asked, In your opinion right now as it stands like, across social media and what you’re seeing what some exercises, you’re seeing that overrated hypertrophy, and others that are underrated. So, you mentioned that the barbell movements, OHP: like barbell, overhead press always comes in there. So I’d be interested to hear that.

Menno 16:12
Big barbell overhead press is a great movement. I have heard much more towards dumbbells, departing for injury risk management, but also, there’s actually research showing for the overhead press at least, that doubles results in higher shoulder muscle activity in the delts than a barbell and especially the lateral delts. It makes sense because, with a double, you can move the arms out further liberally laterally to the sides. Whereas with a barbell, you’re always restricted and having the elbows somewhat in front of the body. I typically coach the lift to be as much lateral as possible to really focus on the side delts because nobody has trouble developing their front delts, and it’s the side delts most people have the most issues with, of course, the rear arms, but don’t do that with overhead pressing. So I’m a big fan of doubles. Loading is an issue; getting the weight up for sale at some point for some people becomes an issue usually is that that’s bad technique of getting the weights up, but it becomes an issue when you’re lifting like half of your body weights. And with you also get more range of motion, especially in the last, roughly speaking. So you can use can just get the elbows way out to the sides. You can get them way down. With a barbell that’s not always possible. And then you have the adults mobility for the elbows, wrists, keep our people’s joints happy. It is worse for the triceps. But overall, pressing, in general, isn’t great for the triceps. Research is now quite conclusive that, in particular, the long head of the triceps, because it’s a bi-articular muscle, it remains under-stimulated from pressing movements. And since it’s this lateral head might be more prominent, but the long head is a very big part of the triceps and the meat of the back of the arm. So I think you want isolation exercises for that in general.

So I’m a fan of both barbell and overhead barbell pressing, barbell bench pressing, and barbell overhead pressing. But I prefer dumbbells, and I like 15-degree incline dumbbell bench press a lot and properly using the range of motion. That’s very important. Most people don’t do that. And like I said, the bar lifts are probably mostly the most overrated, not because they’re bad, or though the deadlift, I would argue, is actually quite bad in terms of pure muscle hypertrophy. It’s isometric for the back; the range of motion is arbitrarily determined by the radius of the 45 pound plates. It’s just overall; if you look at things that actually stimulate mechanical tension in the muscle fibers, doesn’t rank that well. Squats are much better. Bench press is good. But they’re still overvalued because they are treated as magical. So it’s not that they’re bad or anything, but they are overrated. There’s overrated exercises? I don’t know; they come and go. In my experience, the sit-up lat prayers have increased in popularity a lot since I wrote my article on it. Like that, I see them in multiple countries.

Steve 19:10
I think I’ve at least obviously keep a close eye on like the team for wrong guys, Charlie, and Mike, Jared, and they all are doing it so they I see kind of the people I follow. I’m quite close connected to that circle. So I see a lot of people doing those but yeah, they were getting like you came up with those a long, long time ago. I remember doing them at like years and years ago and actually another one I literally posted about it just recently. I remember actually I saw again, I think I got it from Mike who kind of re popularized it for me, but originally it was you with the butterfly dumbbell lateral raises. Mike I think calls it kind of like he might they might be slightly different in terms of how you go about prescribing them.

Menno
Yeah, I got it from these Chinese weightlifters, but I gave it a name.

Steve Yeah, the butterfly lateral raise. So is that still one that you like to employ and use? Yeah, because I get a lot from that movement, like, during the set of my like, I’m not sure and then afterwards, I’m just like my shoulder like my delts just completely blow up like nothing else. So I love that movement a lot. And actually, that’s something I was going to ask you about the overhead press because that’s what people essentially and this is an argument I’ve used. This is a bias I have where I suck at overhead pressing. I always have. I also have a shoulder injury that made it worse. And so I barely ever program it for myself, unless I prefer to the side delts and maybe some triceps to get into it.

And kind of the argument you probably heard, the argument you get lots of anterior delts through all your pressing. So kind of overhead pressing does kind of really hit that. And so the side delts are the better hit via just doing more lateral raises, and the overhead press can be quite fatiguing. So is that an argument you have time for, or do you have another kind of argument against it?

20:21 OVERHEAD PRESSING ANY GOOD?

Menno 20:45
No, I agree. I think it’s a good argument. But it doesn’t mean overhead pressing is bad. And I think, in big part, it’s due to the coaching style. Many people do overhead pressing. When they, first of all, they don’t have an Olympic lockout. So when, if you look at them from the side when they look at the barbell it’s almost like they’re doing a major incline press, rather than a full Olympic lockout where the barbell is actually almost behind your head. That helps lots and then in the bottom position, many people take a too close a grip, I think, which makes them have to come down with the elbows close to the sides, whereas you want to come down with the elbows way out. Some people, I even have them start with the snatch grip, and then you’ll feel the side delts they definitely get to work. It’s hard on the shoulders. So for you, for example, I’d be hesitant to do high reps first, really it is into it, but you will feel the stretch. If you do a snatch grip, barbell overhead press, really focused on moving the elbows out to the sides rather than forwards, you’ll feel that stretch and probably the next day you might even get them sore, which in my experience is very difficult to get the delts sore.
Steve:
Yeah.
Menno:
So it’s in a large part coaching style but it’s overhead presses, again ,are not an exercise you have to do and there are many people who have overactive tolerance, in part to the shape of their chromium, past injuries, shoulder injuries are so common. So I have quite some clients as well that don’t do overhead pressing and with lateral raises, even just lateral raises, you can do quite well butterfly lateral raises if you think about is our sort of a full range of motion overhead presses without involving the triceps. So they basically make overhead pressing redundant. So I fully agree with you on their arguments that overhead pressing is not necessary. It can be effective. There are exercises, however, that are probably more effective purely for side delts with particular with dumbbells
and lateral raises, but they do have a place in a properly designed program.

23:40 DEADLIFTS FOR HYPERTROPHY

Steve 23:00

That’s something I get frustrated with is I don’t know if you’ll have the Instagram, like red cross, and then it’s like green tick. And it’s like, well, the one on this side isn’t like terrible. I don’t know, it could be an overhead press there. For example, like side delts , no do lateral raises tick is like people then look at that. And they’re like, Oh, this is means this is bad. This is good. Like you said, it all depends on context. And so I’m actually going to have to try it because I think I’d been often kind of coming in and kind of tucking the rest a little bit and that’s going to automatically be more anterior delt, so I might try doing like quite a wide one and just see how it feels to me, because that’s something I have, like, I can’t remember if I’ve ever had one side delts sore, so to be able to get them sore would be something special. You mentioned deadlift, I just want to bring it up just so people I imagine people might ask, you’re specifically talking about conventional deadlifts off the floor, I think.

Menno 23:50
Yes, yes. For example, Romanian Deadlifts (RDL) I love.

Steve 23:53
What about like, Do you differ between a straight leg deadlift to RDL or do you kind of call them the same thing? Or?

Menno 24:01
Yes, I think it’s actually important to differentiate between the two. I think a stiff legged deadlift should be referred to as a deadlift that’s actually performed with stiff legs. So straight legs or a straight leg deadlift. If you bend the knees, then it’s a Romanian deadlift. And by that definition, I think so the arguments that’s there’s no such thing as a good and a bad exercise, which is fully true. It can be exaggerated, though, to the extent that some exercises are in fact for maybe not 100%, but 99% of purposes better. And in this case, I would say that the Romanian version is at least the safer and probably also the more effective version of the stiff legged deadlift. So true stiff legged deadlift. You get a great stretch in the hamstrings and most people think that’s because of that, because they feel it so well, that it must be great to build the hamstrings, but you can do a stiff leg deadlift without any weight, and it would be deemed a hamstring stretch. You’ll get a very good stretch as well. But it’s just a stretch. It’s because the hamstrings, in fact, are going into passive insufficiency. They’re stretched so long, their muscle length for so long, that lactin and myosin can no longer form effective cross benches. That’s what passive insufficiency means. And the result of passive insufficiency is that there’s essentially no active mechanical tension from the muscle fibers. So it’s mostly glutes and passive tension. Now passive tension can also contribute to muscle hypertrophy, But I think it won’t counteract for the massive decrease in active muscle tension that you can generate with Romanian deadlifts, and that’s also the reason you can lift so much more with a Romanian deadlift. So in that context, I asked I would ask people like, what justifies the like three-fold increase in loading potential that you could otherwise have? It’s not just leverage, just like the leverages are more favorable with Romanian deadlift, but if you do the math, you can see it’s not just leverages that make the difference. I think you can make an argument for like keeping the legs a little stiff and hopefully get into to be a bit more of a compromise between the two, maybe growing on the side of passive tension and still getting decent active tension. But a pure stiff legged deadlift I think, is very risky. It’s also very difficult not to tilt the pelvis down because the hamstrings our hips are basically restricted and out of range of motion. So any further motion very quickly comes from the spine and the pelvis. Which can be a risk factor. So with that in mind, I’d say it’s a very relatively high risk, low reward exercise compared to either an intermediate version, I think, for example, Jeff Nippert coaches, the intermediate version, I like a pure Romanian deadlift focusing on basically moving as much weight as possible through a full range of motion without trying to actively lock out the knees or anything.

Steve 27:00
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, actually, I think that was well described because when I think when you hear straight leg deadlift and stiff legged deadlift, I know in the past when I had attempted to do them many years ago, like I just ran my lower back like I look back at some video footage on like, my legs are nice and straight. But my like, it just looks awful. Like, and I kind of felt good doing them. Whereas now, when I think probably why I’m doing and why prescribe to clients, you could call like the intermediate version or like a stiff legged RDL. Because you’re right, like even if I don’t even know if I could try, like it would just feel so wrong trying to load anything and have straight legs like or basically completely straight legs. I’m not sure I could do it without like I just would get no range of motion, would feel terrible. So no, I think that’s a good qualifier as well for the conventional deadlift. What about like a sumo deadlift? Or do you think from maybe a deficit, or I guess some people do like a snatch grip deadlift, any of those?

Menno 27:54
For muscle hypertrophy, they all suffer from similar problems. The fact that you’re loading the bar in the bottom position that you’re dropping it on the floor, itself, is a problem because you have no more muscle tension at that point. And most people, even when they try, they will drop the weight. So they’re losing out on quite a bit of the eccentric contraction. And you have to start producing movements from nowhere which can also be injurious if your techniques not ideal, which in many cases, you’ll see that when it gets more difficult they start to run their back when getting the weight off the floor. In fact, for many people, I think the sticking point in the deadlifts is right on the floor, which explains why research has a lot of difficulty finding the sticking region or the sticking points of the deadlifts is because there is none. Well, there is one, but it’s before the movement even starts. It’s on the floor. And you see that on a lot of people I think researchers have, I don’t know that, maybe it’s lack of listening experience. But all of these are like we can’t, we can’t find it like there’s a lot of controversy. But if you look at people, just in practice, there are a lot of people who can get the weight off the floor, and then they lock it out, or it just goes nowhere, and I’m one of them. So the sticking point, it does exist, but it’s right on the floor; and sumo, I mean sumo, yeah, you change the stimulation a bit. You become a little more glute focused, evolve the abductors, abductors are not really relevant for aesthetic purposes generally. Maybe for contest prep, even though there’s just so hard to even visually discern, it’s questionable. Snatch grip that I like, because it’s kind of a compromise. It’s basically either a snatch grip or deficit deadlifts. You just take a normal deadlift, but at least you solve the problem of the range of motion being arbitrarily determined by the radius of the standard plate. And then you increase the range of motion. So in the off season, for powerlifters, for example, they do that or for some people, that for some reason, one reason or another, they need to deadlift heavy, or they want-they care a lot about your deadlift, which is still a lot of people because it’s a popular exercise. And then I tell them okay, so these are the problems with the deadlift. You want strength and hypertrophy. So how about we do, SNATCH GRIP deadlifts or deficit deadlifts? I think the deficit is a little safer but more impractical. So in practice, snatch grip is easier. They just use the same thing more or less motion, you have to get deeper, and you have a decent blend at least, and then you really want to coach people on perfect form and controlling the weights also on the way down, at least until the point where they can keep their spine in a neutral arc.

30:38 AREN’T THERE ANY MUSCLE GROUPS BEING TRAINED ENOUGH OR ARE NOT WORTH IT?

Steve 30:37
Now that’s very well described and the only other question I have for you you mentioned the abductors, that’s something that I think is become a little bit more I don’t know fashionable to isolate them in like train the don’t know I can’t remember if it’s meant to be good girl bad girl. And both of those names I think a lot of people have problems with anyway nowadays. So I don’t blame him for that. But are there any muscle groups, including the abductors and things, any that you think aren’t isolated enough? Or that you do isolate or some that you think is like I don’t know the traps, for example, maybe you shouldn’t isolate those or that there’s just not warranted?

Menno 31:11

Quite a few. I would say. There are a lot of muscle groups that are generally just neglected. And I would say that overall, the wisdom of the crowds is in some effect here. Because those muscles have either some issues or most people don’t want to develop them. For example, upper traps. I think most people don’t develop them properly, if they even give them the proper attention in terms of volume allocation. Then they do the standard kind of shrugs with barbell or dumbbell. Whereas, you probably need to use a wide grip to truly involve the upper traps because the fibers of the upper traps don’t. They don’t run vertical. They run quite horizontally and depending on your trap anatomy, if you’re like this, for example, with fibers, especially the lower fibers, they go almost fully horizontal, and then some of the fibers are almost vertical, but those horizontal fibers will be almost completely inactive, quite possibly completely inactive. When you do a standard truck with your arms at your sights, so you need to use a wide grip to abduct shoulders, then those fibers can contribute. However, do you want bigger upper traps? In my experience, you probably don’t. If you’re male, it’s still questionable. It depends a lot on your structure, because if you already have a relatively narrow shoulder structure, and then you get big upper traps, then it’s kind of off the tracks from the v taper. Plus, some people just don’t like the look in the first place, but it is something to take into account to evaluate someone’s structure and see what kind of traps you have, what kind of physique you want?, and based on that, do we want to fully develop the traps? And also, in some hard gainers for example, I tell them, look, we will take muscle growth anywhere we can. So, we’re also going to train the abs, we’re also going to train the traps-there is no risk of anything becoming too big- forearms? We’ll ’ll take it. SO, then you can just do anything, and that brings us to the next ones, like, forearms, abs. Forearms are basically a lot of work for a very little reward, and the injury risk is also non-trivial. I think that’s largely caused by people not keeping muscle tension and just letting the weight sort of slack in their connective tissues. But, even then, for a lot of people full range of motion, wrist movements are not super comfortable and you can train all the forearms you want. If you’re already doing biceps curls, pulling movements, deadlifts-the additional gain is there. There’s actually research showing it’s there, like if from a full range volume program like a traditional kind of program you would see in many programs online, If you add forearm work, the forearms will grow more. You will be able to see it, for example in an MRI scanner; visually, however, you might be able to see it, but other people will see very little difference.

I think the biggest bang for your buck exercises here are the traditional wrist curls and wrist extensions of curls being the best, in particular because they also have the benefit of helping you keep the bar straight during barbell pressing and often when you see the elbow slack
back during double pressing, it’s a risk factor both for risk and for elbow injuries because the arm goes a little bit like this… suddenly there’s torque on the elbow joints. If you’re a strong presser, it’s a lot of torque on relatively weak joints that’s much more stable, if it can remain directly under the bar with a straight wrist. So there’s a little bit of extra functionality to the wrist curls. But still even those, we have to do quite some volume to make not so much difference. Abductors? I’m not sure if you want me to list all of them, by the way.

Steve 34:55
I was the only thing I was, I will be interested in here. The rest actually, but on forearms, you perfectly described my experience. Like I injured my left wrist and I had like big thick wrists that just don’t generally get injured. I kind of pushed through it, I shouldn’t have done that. And my left wrist has not felt the same for like a couple of months now since having just like pushed through a little bit. And like you said, it’s complete and utter like it’s essentially a ball ache to have to do the amount of work you have to do and yeah so very much describe my experience reforms, but I’d be interested in the abductors as well.

Menno 35:25
Yeah, Abductors are even, they’re not so risky, although people do get crazy sore often from them. So there’s some risk in that regard. I actually did, just coincidentally, I did a set of abductor work, like a week ago, just because I was so bored. I felt like I needed to do something and I’m not training my abductors at all. So I thought okay, maybe it’s good to at least do a set so that they don’t get definitely atrophy into, you know, old man category. And I thought, I know I’m gonna get super sore if I do even just one set. So I’m gonna do a half-assed set, and I was still crazy sore for a week. Literally it was basically warm up level and I probably could have pushed the reins motion even a little bit more. And I was still sore for a week. So yeah, many people have this issue. I’ve heard it from a lot of my female clients as well. They feel they have to do the exercise. And they say, “Oh look, every time I do this, I can barely train, I can barely squat for the next few days.” And then it’s actually counterproductive. Isn’t that a science? You also have to factor in the best case scenario, if you see anything is that you sort of post a five gap which may or may not be possible for me. I don’t want it because I already have the issue that my legs are big enough that they rub against each other..pants and everything, a lot of pants break down there. It’s a hassle when buying any type of pants. So yeah, I definitely don’t want my abductors to get even bigger, so it rubs against each other even more. Even though onstage I would think maybe you know if you’re so lean that you can see the muscle striations I think it can make a difference. And then with the right kind of posing essential, essentially, you’ll have rubric loss because it will seem like your quads, sort of keep going to the sides as well. But even if you have really crappy abductors as long as you’re lean enough, and you do the posing, right, you just don’t show the insights fully, then it will barely be visible to the judges. So yeah, I think the return on investment of an abductor work is very, very, very poor and then you have a erecto spinae, actually the lower back. I think those might be neglected, but I will still generally not have people do more work than they are doing. If you’re doing squats and deadlifts, going back to back injuries and how relatively frequent they are and how debilitating they can be. Look at how many lifters they’ve taken out, sometimes permanently, more than any other type of injury. Because the back heals very poorly. It does heal, but very poorly. And it’s hard to get any relief because, you walk, you stand so for some people it’s something that hurts, so it’s hard to get relief and the erector spinae again, aren’t a huge muscle group. So you can train them quite effectively with isometrics or squats and deadlifts. But if you really want them to maximum growth and there is also a study showing this, that you want active back extension work in there. And I found the best ways to incorporate this probably are nearly full range of motion, actual back extensions, but probably sticking to body weight and low weights like sets of 20-30 reps to keep the injury risk minimal. And you can do that on a 45 degree hip extension bench, for example, and you’ll feel the difference. It definitely develops the erector spinae more than squatting and deadlifting.
The back extension machines I think are very hard to miss. I’ve seen a lot of people describe them as painful, or because it’s very unnatural to half the pelvis stuck in a chair like that. And interestingly, research actually finds that back extension track strength in a machine is just not just poorly correlated with deadlift and squat strength, but uncorrelated. I think there are three studies now that show it’s uncorrelated. That’s, for people that don’t realize what that means, it’s crazy, it’s almost unimaginable. I don’t think anybody that hasn’t seen this research would have imagined uncorrelated, like both are a measure of back extension strength. They have to be correlated. Right? And they’re not significantly correlated, it’s crazy. It probably is because of the six-step position that just makes it a very different, very unnatural movement pattern. It’s also strength wise, they’re essentially useless and purely for size. They’re still quite awkward and in my experience, many people get pain from them, quite injurious, and it’s also awkward to get full range of motion. So I’d much prefer on my hip extension bench or Arnold style rows where you do like seated cable rows, and you let yourself get dragged all the way forward and then all the way back. I think that also is a pretty good compromise, for arguably even the best total back builder if you need it, you know the silly kind of if you could only do one exercise to show here. Well theoretically that’s what’s for the back, actually, would probably be one of the best ones because you develop erecto spinae, the traps, the lats everything.

Steve 40:43
Yeah, this is so interesting, quite a lot I used to be on my chest supported machine rows very stickler. Like I used to just think okay, so your chest should stay on the pan and like should always just do this, whereas now I kind of got like kind of got this from Mike as well kind of letting the whole backstretch over it and then like almost arching off it, and you keep the stomach kind of on the Padlet for that support to hit the kind of erectors in that sense of us kind of Yeah, so I find that that’s worked really, really nicely for it as well. So, again, I think you talked through this as well with some like your experience in the field with your clients and what you see but also your shorter describe like some people are like individual you might get this one guy that just I don’t know they really need this area to be built up. or what have you. I’m very much similar to you, my abductors like I don’t need them bigger. I need my kind of the outside the court suite bigger. I don’t know if you have any thoughts on, like, being able to grow specific areas of the quad or and that sort of thing. I don’t know if that’s anything you’ve struggled with personally as well.

41:31 IS IT POSSIBLE TO GROW SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE QUADS?

Menno 41:43
My main thought is that it’s impossible, in terms of at least isolating the VMO or even preferentially activating it, any differences that have been found are minimal, or with crazy and practical exercises. I think there’s one study that’s quite robustly found you can emphasize the VMO if you do wall squats with a bosu ball in between your legs, and you’re squeezing the ball together with your legs. Well, great, very, very effective practical exercise. So I don’t think it matters. The only thing with quads, is that’s what is neglected is the rectus femoris, the middle hat; you won’t train it with squats, well barely, because it’s a bio-articular muscle. It’s also involved in flexing the hips and raising the knee. And, in a squat that’s the opposite of the movement, you want to add hip extension, so the rectus femoris cannot contribute at the knee without sabotaging it and therefore the body doesn’t recruit it, essentially. Leg extensions however do train the rectus fermoris the research we see that the rectus fermoris goes more from neck extensions than from squats. In a sense, leg extensions are a better, more complete exercise, ironically, than squats, even though squats are the more compound exercise. For the quads, specifically leg extensions are actually the more compound exercise. And I think, if I would ascribe leg extensions as something that’s definitely improves my quads.

I used to be like, way, way, way, way ago my original roots in fitness were probably mostly like functional training. Okay, so I was kind of like if I had a bias, it would be functional training for like, bias towards compound exercises. My first article, you can see that, was kind of biased towards compound exercises, even though I couldn’t really justify it. You see that often by the way, if you have someone, and they always cite their work or scientific references, and then they make some claim, and they can’t cite that they have to think is that the bias? Or is that because they really have a good argument, and it’s just that research isn’t there yet. Both are possible, but always be extra skeptical for uncited claims. Yeah, so you want some kind of like essential movement or CC squat maybe or reverse Nordic ham curls if you’re a masochist-that’s ironic.

Steve 44:25
I think Brad said he’s going to do some research in, like on body weight CC squats. So it’d be interesting to see if there was, because the stretch you get on those is unbelievable, especially compared to a leg extension. They load the length of the muscle very differently, actually. So I imagine they’re probably well if you’re a masochist leg extensions into a CC squat is like horrendous but very productive as well. So that’s something I’ve enjoyed . Have you ever used the CC squat machine, where it kind of keeps your shins vertical? And you then like sit back into it?

Menno 44:58
You mean, the just the path on the floor?

Steve 45:00
Yeah, essentially, its like got to like you put your shins against a pad, and then you’ve got a pad behind you kind of. Yeah, kinda, I found those to be really cool as well. But I don’t know if they’ve been researched.

Menno 45:11
I don’t think so. They are tough on the knees, but they are great for the quads.

45:43 LISTENING TO MUSIC DURING TRAINING?

Steve 45:16
That’s what I found when we were in lockdown. I bought one because it’s like, I was buying anything I could fit in the flat at the time and train my quads that weren’t more barbell back squats. But I did find my knees took a beating after a while on those because any like get a really nice stretch and like sit really deep into them. But it does. Yeah, it does really pull at the knees. So anyway, I should get to some of the additional questions. I kind of went to a complete side tangent there, but I really enjoyed that. Someone actually asked, I thought you might have an interesting answer to this. Do you listen to music during your training? Do you have any recommendations surrounding that.

Menno 45:53
Cyclically. I currently don’t. I even currently train at a gym that doesn’t have music, which is very odd. And it’s fine. I have these phases where I just get very zen, good focus without any sort of distraction. And then there are phases when I feel I need the extra kind of motivation, and then the use of music, but I’m very, very critical of music. Like many artists, I like maybe one or one of their songs. So there’s not that much music I like which means I go through a relatively finite list of music really pretty fast if I always listen to it, so I sort of save it for the periods when I’m either if it’s a super noisy gym, or if it’s I’m just not as motivated as normal. Or I feel like I can really go wild. For example now, I wouldn’t listen to music because I feel that music also makes you slightly more reckless. It helps you push, but it also makes you push when you shouldn’t. So if I feel, for example, that now if I listened to, especially metal or something, I’d be more likely to make a movement that I shouldn’t make. Actually I do all of my workouts with like every exercise it was like a core workout because I’m like focused on keeping the entire course stable. And I feel like you kind of let go of that a little bit in favor of just pushing. When you have music and research only finds it just the motivational effects of waiting-of course it’s not like there’s physical. I mean binaural beats and everything. Some people think there’s physical effect, but overall, it’s mostly just psychological. And yeah, I think you should use them as your personally like research findings on this are quite obvious and intuitive. Like, self selected music works better than other music. However, it is interesting to note that if you have bad music on, non-selected, bad music, like some gyms or PT sometimes put in put on a gym in the morning when they’re not awake yet, but you have to train in the morning, and they put on on this lounge music, it can actually decrease your performance even in motivated individuals. There’s just a limit to how much you can push the body when there’s very relaxing music playing. So then there will also be a scenario and I have actually had that when I was a business consultant at the gym, I really needed the music because the gym music was just too horrible.

Steve 48:12
Well, that makes a lot of sense. And it’s actually funny that you yeah, you have such tastes as it’s like I’m the opposite. I like have, I probably had no taste in music. I just put anything in that has like… Something I do find though I’ve had this, I think it’s movements I have it for but something I’ve gone through recently with Hack Squats. Is that if I put on too heavy of just a tune because I’m getting to a level of just like every time I come to do Hack Squats, I get like anxiety around am I going to be able to get this lift? If I just do this, like you said kind of put this song on and just go for it. I know like my call is gonna go loose, something’s going to go off, I’m going to fail the lift earlier than I should. You’ve ever find that like element of riling yourself up for some lifts you kind of use a bit sparingly, or if you’ve ever experienced that?

Menno 48:56
I definitely have that with caffeine. I’m quite caffeine sensitive, so If I look at the dosages of caffeine used, especially the standard six milligrams per kilogram, which is for like many guys, six cups or bigger guys, it’s like six cups of coffee, that would not be beneficial for my performance, that is way into over stimulation territory. For my, I think, that the best lift that I did with Romanian deadlifts which was 216, I did actually taper and use caffeine. But the maximum I could tolerate that was, I think, it was three Red Bulls, and then I was really… you can even see that video, I’m like my mouth is shaking.

Steve 49:37
So yeah, I guess actually that’s a great way to put it’s like over stimulation, that’s what I get like I am like, I need to control my nerves at that point for that lift because then you get into like the psychology of it as well which can make it worse. So I kind of found out to get into a rhythmic kind of song, I could just go with the flow and just focus on that.

Menno 49:56
I think for squats its most relevant. Because for deadlift, if, especially for me, for many deadlifts, the technique is so ingrained I could ,you could wake me up at night and I could

50:02 like step, hinge, step , hinge, step hinge and every rep would look exactly the same. But a squat is so technical. It takes so much practice before that gets perfectly ingrained, and you can just focus on pushing. I think almost nobody really gets there.

50:15 ONLY TRAINING WITH MACHINES?

Steve 50:19
Yeah, no, exactly. So yeah, that’s pretty cool too. Uh, So someone asked, is it actually on these same sort of lines, any downsides if someone just trains using machines and no free weights? You somewhat answered it, but…

Menno 50:34
Definitely, you will. It’s a downside. It’s a downside for strength in non machine movements for one, of course, it doesn’t transfer as well. There’s great research on this. And it’s mostly due to the specificity of the movement. There’s also a much greater risk of what’s called pattern overuse injury or….yeah, I think it’s pattern overuse injury…there’s a different word for it, but that’s what it means essentially, where you’re like if you’re doing a double bench press, you’re doing the same movements all the time, but every rep looks slightly different. In a machine, it still looks slightly different, but it’s almost identical. And in particular, it’s like the handles are identical and the handles making basically identical movements. And that’s just like repetitive strain injury when you use a computer a lot, poses additional injury risk in the sense that most injuries are very, very specific. In most cases, if someone if one of our clients says I have a little bit of a knack or something there, you take out one movement or even adjust the technique, problem solved, if you’re early. With machines, you have much greater risk of developing this kind of overuse injuries. So I often find that machines can seem to be more injury friendly in the short term and if you have a shoulder injury, for example, machines are great because they provide the stability that your shoulder at the moment may not be able to provide, but in the long run I find that there are more injuries. So that’s another downside. Other than that, I think, well, there’s just a limitation of, you need a very good set of machines to really just use machines. But other than that, I think it is actually viable.

Steve 52:15
I think that’s a really interesting perspective because I think myself included I think machines probably less injury but not many people talk about the fact that you could get this kind of repetitive repetition like, especially I think if you’re using that machine multiple times in that week, do you find then the solution would just be to rotate that more often and would you preemptively do that, or would you do it when you see the signs coming on?

Menno 52:38
You can, you can do it reactively. I think if you’re well, if you know your body well, then you can see the pain signals coming. In clients, I’m a bit more reluctant. So I generally just try to avoid these movements, or I do the more short term. For example, there are some movements I call primary movements and I use them as long term benchmarks of strength and then there are movements like the machine work. If I for example, do a face with someone instead of the barbell bench press as soon as their machine chest press start stalling. I’m like, Okay, we switch it. Whereas with the ball bench press I would be like okay, we’ve started implementing daily underlying periodization, see if we can squeeze out more long-term progression, and we are going for these old-time PRs to really ascertain that we’re getting big increases in muscle mass. With a machine, I don’t care how much you’re just pressing on the machine um, although I would say that when we’re talking about horizontal machine chest pressing, convergence machine chest presses are an awesome-underrated movement because they provide something that you cannot get even with a dumbbell you cannot have the convergence resistance. So if you have a machine where you’re pushing not just away, but you’re also pushing the hands towards each other, most people instantly feel that if you have one like that, that also allows a good range of motion, it’s great for the packs, and it’s pretty shoulder friendly.

Steve 54:00
I’m thankful I’ve recently moved to a new gym and they have these nice converging machines and things and I’ve been using partly because my shoulder is kind of being annoying and so it’s just the stability factor is really helpful. So that’s interesting though. In terms of like, when a movement stalls, you’re not necessarily like you have a bit of a different way of going about that machine versus a free weight and how you might rotate things, do you find, I would imagine more advanced clients get stalls, they stall a little bit sooner and so maybe you rotate exercises more often for them then..

Menno 54:30
Yes, in a beginner, I have some clients who they’re almost on the same program for maybe even a year. And it’s just they’re just riding the newbie train, newbie training game, and yeah, it’s just everything is going perfectly as planned. So don’t fix what isn’t broken. In advanced training, you can never do that.

 55:25 EXERTION HEADACHES

Steve 54:53
Yeah, I think some people get it’s kind of similar to the stubbornness they have with like the squat bench deadlift, maybe where they’re like, I can’t rotate this, or maybe they just have an exercise like it could be for me the hack squat, we’re just like, I’m stalling. Yeah, I think it’s the best movement for my quads. So I keep it in just for the sake of GPM. But rotating, it could be exactly what I need to do to keep the progress going. No saying that’s happening to me just, yet I haven’t stalled, but it’s nice to hear from you that that rotation might have to happen a little bit more readily for advanced trainees that kind of goes along with what you’d expect, I guess as well that stimulus becomes a little bit more sterile, faster for that person who hasn’t got as much adaptation to make. The next question that’s come in is on exertion headaches. Have you ever experienced one, and do you have any advice surrounding them?

Menno 55:25
I’ve never have headaches, unless I consume stimulants. I’ve become even more sensitive to them, and now I get headaches which is annoying, but other than that, no and I don’t have that much experience either. For most people, it just comes down to being lean, a good diets, all these things they tend to help and listening to your body a bit, but I haven’t really found any magic hacks or anything for it.

Steve 56:01
That’s good. I have only experienced a true exertion headache once which was like a knife being stabbed in the back of your skull, which was horrendous. So it kind of came out as kind of like a freak thing where I have no reason to know why it happened. But I my only advice for this person because they said it’s been happening going on for months. Actually, I just say like, really back off. Like if you feel it coming on, don’t push through it because you kind of go back to step one basically every time like any injury is an injury to the brain, I guess.

Menno 56:30
You have to distinguish between sort of true exertion headache, but it really is the exertion that triggers it or which we often see in all these cases now that many people talk about burnout and depression, but actually, it’s stress, just stress, and it’s often not gym related stress in the first place. It’s just that the symptoms manifest in the gym. But the real cause is the fact that you’re sleeping five hours a night, and you’re chronically overworked. And then you get these kinds of issues. Stress really is bad for everything.

57:14 HIGH PROTEIN VS. HIGH CARB REFEEDS

Steve 57:01
What’s the saying stress stresses stress. I always remember that saying.Uh, one of the complete side tangent everything we’ve been talking about, but someone has asked, Do you still and I hadn’t known actually that you’ve done this, recommending high protein refeeds over high carb refeeds. I don’t know if that. Is that something you advise?

Menno 57:20
I occasionally do it in contests competitors, not often. But it’s mainly a strategy for when someone feels like they have a real refeed day and they probably also aren’t going to control themselves in any way. Then, if you do a protein refeed day, there really is almost no risk. But you have to be very strict. And it’s not a strategy I think is psychologically very healthy or sustainable or even very enjoyable. But if you just eat protein for a day, you can literally eat as much as you want. And you pretty much cannot do any damage, like the conversion to glycogen and subsequent fats, and everything is very, very poor. So you can overeat significantly more than if you were to do a carb refeed without any risk.
And the lack of palatability is actually also somewhat of a bonus because you’re also not going to eat as much.

59:03 MASSING/MINI CUT VS. MASSING/MAINTENANCE

Steve 58:19
I’m thinking you probably have somewhat strict guidelines surrounding like you can’t just go and have like a fatty steak, and like a burger and I don’t know, protein bars. It’s like chicken breasts. Yeah, well, you taught me anything d like protein powder can be tasty, but like you just get over sweet and once you’ve had like a bit of I don’t know how much you could eat of that. So yeah, even in a contest prep. Like I would get quickly sick of that. So that makes a lot of sense. Makes a lot of sense for the person who you’re not necessarily wanting to do like a refeed. Like it’s a psychological in that matter, and you don’t want to take time away from potentially dieting and fat loss makes a ton of sense. Especially because, like the data is revealing, i’s mostly your psychological release, at least at the moment. I just had Bill Campbell on about diet breaks as well. And again, we’re kind of like in this. Well, they’re doing much here, I don’t know.So it’s really interesting.

So the next question was thoughts on massing and mini cutting versus massing and then maintaining your top body fat like you mess up and then just they said actually main gaining, so like, trying to maintain and still make gains.

Menno 59:25
Mini cuts, I’m a big fan of. Mini cuts, are very underrated. So many people are stuck in this idea that they have to do long cuts, long or as you can be quite flexible. I think short bulk does not work, because you just cannot track progress well, and there was probably also a little bit of a wind uptime before you’ve found the sweet spot energy surplus and be before leptin and all these hormones have normalized that you’re in a fully anabolic environment. We’re talking at least you know a couple of days, so I think for a bulk probably below a month there’s very little point. You could better, if you can cut, then cutting is more productive. So mini cuts. I’m a big fan of. Main gaining, or just maintaining in general, I think it is generally a waste of time. So you can, you’re almost always better off either lean bulking and even if you tried to lean bulk, but you’re so conservative that you end up maintaining, I think it’s still a better ideal than that you’re just maintaining. I’ve also found that some people like the idea of okay, now I’m just gonna sort of take a step back maintain, but I found that for other people, it can definitely backfire, in the sense that they feel like, okay, we don’t know what to do , so I’m not achieving anything. Yeah. And, physiologically speaking, there’s not in an advanced training in particular, there’s nothing really that will improve, other than maybe psychological resets or something. So I think, at least theoretically, you will almost always be better off than like slight energy surplus or just cut.

Steve 1:00:54
How does your ,when you go for a mini cut? Is there anything you do differently to in that versus another cut, apart from just maybe a more aggressive rate of loss?

Menno 1:00:55
Yeah, that’s the only main difference, it can be a bit more aggressive. Maybe you don’t cut the training volume. If it’s only one week, you can maybe you can just suffer it, because otherwise in cutting I would cut the training volume compared to a bulk and especially a two-day kind of like to crash diet days. I sometimes I do that, we just don’t lose a lot of fat. But for some people, it really helps to at least just to get the Bloat off and everything, and you will lose a little bit of fat, and then they feel like they sort of see themselves as if they were cutting and then like okay, I’m actually I’m not really fat. I’m mostly bloated.

Steve 1:01:39
Yeah, that makes sense.
Menno 1:01:40
So that helps.
So yeah, I’m generally a big fan of all those kinds of mini cuts things.

Steve 1:01:48
What’s the, you mentioned two days. What’s the general? Like, do you have a general like number of weeks that you run it for, like a maximum and minimum that they tend to go?

Menno 1:01:57
I like one week or two weeks, I find that those are very, very psychologically palatable for people. When people if you tell them, you know one week, everyone’s like “great”. In fact, during a bulk, at some points, people may feel like“ nice, a week without force-feeding”. But after that, one week, you’ll be back to “okay, I’m hungry, I want to eat”. And two weeks is also still very, ok you can tell them you know, push it for one more week. And probably the thing actually, I like most about mini cuts is that if they psychologically settle for one or two weeks, they very often see that once they’re in the flow, and it’s going well and they start off with a relatively aggressive rate of loss, they get great results. Then they end up saying, you know, I think we can just cut, and I’d like to be six back lean again. And it’s a very low effort way because they don’t feel like they’re really cutting, and it feels very optional, whereas otherwise it always there is the idea of “okay, if I want to get lean, I need to continue cutting”, and now it’s like it feels more, it feels a lot more volitional when it’s an extended mini cuts, and I’m saying “okay, you know, we can extend it for another week if you want, We can keep bulking, or we can go back to bulking one more week”. “Okay, one more week”. And sometimes you see okay, it’s two months now we’re shredded again. So we basically did a whole cut, but they’re like “Yeah, no, I didn’t really feel like I did a cut. I just stopped when it became difficult.”

Steve 1:03:21
It’s so fun. I think it was you who really brought it to my attention in terms of how when we die, so much of it is psychological like in terms of hunger and everything that we feel there. So I know I think Alberto is going through his contest prep at the moment, he’s not tracking. So I can’t imagine like if you’re able to pull that off, I can imagine that being, and I think actually even for your contest prep, you did something very similar, right until maybe towards the end.

Menno 1:03:44
Yeah,I did something very similar right until maybe toward the end, yeah I tried until like the last eight weeks, I couldn’t get like the shredded glutes. They’ve, it just wasn’t working. I was eating like four kilos plus food a day. And there was no more fat loss. So at that point, I really needed to start tracking. Basically, just suffer hunger.

Steve 1:04:01
Yeah, for sure. Menno, thank you so much for coming on. It’s always a great time going through these questions. I know people really appreciate it. If you’ve got anything in the works. If people want to kind of follow along and see what you’re doing, where they should head.

Menno 1:04:13
Just keeping up the good work on social media, and ipt courses coaching So nothing major plans and rehabbing my back of course. So yeah, they’re just expect more steady. I’m probably gonna do a bit more social media content.

Steve 1:04:31
Fantastic. Well, I’ll make sure that’s all linked below, so people can follow along, and they can see everything you’re doing because yeah, I really enjoy your social media content as well. So if there’s more of that, that’s good, more, more learns, and I hope that your back heals as quickly as it can, and you keep being positive because now much like and I know the audience are the same, but wish him well in the comments. At least, share this around so everyone can enjoy it. And it gives sympathy towards Menno.Thank you so much, guys, for listening, and we’ll catch you very soon.

 


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About the author

Menno Henselmans

Formerly a business consultant, I've traded my company car to follow my passion in strength training. I'm now an online physique coach, scientist and international public speaker with the mission to help serious trainees master their physique.

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