Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

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Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#1

Post by Manveer » Mon May 07, 2018 8:54 pm

Mike Tuchscherer is interested in fielding questions from all of you strength nerds! He said he misses programming debates.

On May 22 at 12pm pacific time, Mike will be here to answer questions from you! To get the ball rolling, post some questions here for him to answer.

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#2

Post by PatrickDB » Mon May 07, 2018 11:40 pm

This is great. Thanks for agreeing to answer our questions!

1) In your recent interview with Jordan for the Barbell Medicine podcast, you mentioned you're developing a "stress index" based on RPE. Could you describe what exactly this is and how to calculate it?

Also, is it supposed to assess the "stress" (productivity of training stimulus) or "fatigue" for the session (how hard it is to recover from), or both? For example, if I do 5 sets of 20 at 10 RPE in one workout, that is highly fatiguing, but probably not very useful for getting stronger.

2) You've written two articles critical of speed work ("Why Speed Work Doesn't Work," "Speed Work: Not This Again"). You define speed work as follows.
For now, let’s define speed work as anything under a 7 RPE. If you complete a set and you could have done 5 or more reps, it counts as speed work. If you’re doing doubles or triples with less than 75%, it probably counts. If you’re doing singles with less than 85%, it probably counts. If this is just a warm-up to your heavier work, then it probably doesn’t count as speed work.

[...]

If you use speed work in your training, I encourage you to gradually migrate to something heavier. Don’t over-complicate it. Just gradually use heavier weights. Your prime work sets need to be at least an 8 RPE if not higher.
You also say,
The real question in any training discussion is not “what works”. Rather, you should ask, “What is optimal?” As Dr. Hatfield says, it’s always a question of good, better, best. The evidence shows we can get higher peak force production by increasing the RPE beyond 7. To do this, should increase the weight until you are getting RPEs of 8+ for the number of reps you are performing.
Let me concentrate on the 75% example. According to the RPE/percentage chart, if I were to perform 8 reps, that's about RPE 9. Your reasoning seems to suggest that doing those 8 reps in one set is preferable to doing 2 sets of 4, because the high RPE set has higher peak force production. (Please correct me if I'm wrong). But the last four reps of the set of 8 will be done in fatigue, so it seems I would be able to produce more force if I took a short break after the first four and then did another set of four, since I'd be lifting "fresh" and able to generate more force. Could you explain your thinking here?

More generally, how do you reconcile your argument in these articles with the fact that Sheiko (and perhaps also Dietmar Wolf) seems to have had a lot of success with rep schemes that accumulate volume in low RPE sets, such as 5 sets of 3 at 80%?

3) Have the results of your high frequency Project Momentum experiment (and related experiments like the one with the Norwegian powerlifters) influenced your programming at all? Is there any reason we shouldn't be programming some sort of squat, bench, and deadlift session variation every session (perhaps a less stressful variation to accommodate recovery)? I notice that while you seem to program high frequency benching for your lifters, the frequency of squatting and deadlifting variations seems more varied. Shouldn't the same reasoning that leads to high frequency benching also lead to high frequency for the other lifts (spiking muscle protein synthesis and practicing the motor patterns)?

4) In your interview with Jordan, you mentioned that you use variations on the main lifts as a sort of individualized way of correcting technique problems. For example, pin squats might be used to fix a chest fall pattern. For a lifter without significant technique deviations, are variations still useful? I notice you seem to really like them, and often program the competition lift only once per week. I'm curious what your reasoning for this is.

5) What was responsible for the success of Louie Simmons and Westside? On one hand, I don't see any top USAPL lifters using a Westside setup (specifically, ME and DE days with a huge number of variations and bands/chains). (It's possible they're out there -- but I haven't found them.) On the other, Westside lifters hold (or held) dozens of world records. (Their website boasts of "over 140.")

Did they get anything right about programming, or is their success just attributable to some combination of drugs, unique training environment, and the particularities of equipped lifting?

6) Returning to the speed work articles, you write
Measurements of peak force production using 75% of 1RM were approximately 85% of the peak force that was measured when using 90% of 1RM for the same number of reps. In other words, lighter weights produced about 85% of the peak force value that the heavy weights did.
How did you take these peak force measurements? Do you remember what the numbers were for 80% and 85%?

7) If someone were training only for hypertrophy, how would your programming for them be different from your usual programming?

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#3

Post by tdood » Tue May 08, 2018 3:35 am

Have you successfully trained people who can only train 2x/week? How would you program diffeeebtky for those folks? What are you're thoughts on that kind of training?

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#4

Post by Murelli » Tue May 08, 2018 3:43 am

1) How do you approach programming for athletes in sports non-related to lifting?
2) What progress have you seen in subjects using flexible templates? Do people keep moving up in the mesocycle only when they did all their planned work?

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#5

Post by stevan » Tue May 08, 2018 3:48 am

What dumbell/machine/unilateral exercises do you usually use for driving up the competition lifts and how do you set up their progression?

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#6

Post by PatrickDB » Tue May 08, 2018 3:51 am

stevan wrote: Tue May 08, 2018 3:48 am What dumbell/machine/unilateral exercises do you usually use for driving up the competition lifts and how do you set up their progression?
To expand on this question, I think RTS usually classifies this kind of work as "Supplemental Lifts" (and includes certain non-competition lifts done with a barbell, etc.).

So I'd be interested in which supplementals lifts you think are the most valuable for the typical raw lifter.

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#7

Post by quark » Tue May 08, 2018 3:54 am

Do you disagree with anything in this model of training: viewtopic.php?p=73291#p73291

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#8

Post by Allentown » Tue May 08, 2018 5:12 am

inb4 @Cody
What recommendations do you have for trainees with very limited time (say, <1hr a day) for training?

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#9

Post by Wilhelm » Tue May 08, 2018 5:25 am

In the introduction to your recent discussion with Julien Pineau, you mentioned having implemented or tried ideas of his in training.
Things that you didn't fully understand, or that possibly didn't make immediate sense to you, but that when you tried them, they worked.
What are some examples of those ideas, and are there any that you have adopted on an ongoing basis for yourself or any of your clients?

What are some of the further questions you have for him for your next discussion?

I really enjoyed listening to you and him.

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#10

Post by unruhschuh » Tue May 08, 2018 6:41 am

What devices, including bar speed meters, have you used to measure proxies for RPE and/or inter/intra set fatigue and what worked, what didn't and why?

Fun bonus question: What do you think of my invention, the BiteClock™, which is basically a handsfree stop watch, operated with your mouth to measure the time of the concentric phase of a given lift as a proxy for bar speed / RPE?

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#11

Post by Toxguy » Tue May 08, 2018 6:56 am

You and Jordan spent a good bit of time discussing the psychology of the lifter and how some individuals may 'stress out' about performing certain exercises/rep ranges (example Squat singles or a 3RM), or for people who rate their sets as "@9, or @8)" when really it was @7. For a lifter who is interested in getting as strong as possible, how do you address this? Do you program more singles to build confidence? Or just stick to submaximal work? What sort of psychological cues do you use to help with individuals like this?

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#12

Post by mgil » Tue May 08, 2018 9:30 am

First and foremost, thank you Mike for doing this Q&A and helping move the sport of powerlifting forward.

Questions:

1. I know people don't often ping on you for nutrition, but you've stayed pretty lean while being a big dude. Do you have any tips or tricks that you've figured out along the way?

2. How is life affecting your lifting? Getting older, becoming a dad, all of that stuff. Balancing life seems to be something all of us try to do and I'm curious regarding your perspective.

3. What tools are you using to analyze your lifters' data? It seems like someone on staff at RTS is doing some number crunching and that TRAC is a nice first movement towards some AI-type of programming. Additional insight into this process or what you think the "next steps" are regarding the data collection and analysis informing near real-time Rx decisions would be awesome.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#13

Post by Cody » Tue May 08, 2018 9:51 am

Mike, my man! Thanks for taking the time to do this!

First, double the mentioned above about training with extremely restricted schedules, I.E. only 2x/ week taking OR extremely short sessions, like 45ish minutes.

Second, how would you go about implementing a velocity based setup for training instead of RPE? There are a good many folks who really like the concrete nature of velocity using something like an open barbell who aren't super competent and/or comfortable using a more "subjective" rating. In fact, the perception that RPE is "subjective" is the chief complaint of a section of the lifting world (despite the clear and consistent results at national and international meets using it, and even though it is simple, and proven reliable in those who use it consistently...). Those individuals might be more receptive to velocity as a proxy for readiness, fatigue, performance, etc.

You're the man.

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#14

Post by Allentown » Tue May 08, 2018 10:01 am

mgil wrote: Tue May 08, 2018 9:30 am First and foremost, thank you Mike for doing this Q&A and helping move the sport of powerlifting forward.
+1.

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#15

Post by perman » Tue May 08, 2018 10:03 am

1) Unlike proper conscientious lifters who utilize RPE-based programming successfully through meticulous logging in TRAC like @Manveer here, I'm lazy when it comes to logging. I've still tried your emerging strategy by just repeating a training week. The way I've gotten around this lazyness has been evaluating progress purely from logging weekly e1RM of the big three based on weekly singles @8 in a spreadsheet on my computer. Do you think evaluating progress based on those weekly singles can be sufficient to make your emerging strategy viable or do you recommend more traditional top-down programs for lazy loggers?

2) Also, my shoulder has been wonky for several months and I can't bench more than 40-50% of my old e1RM bench nowadays. Therefore I've been rehabbing based on pain pretty intuitively, with substitutions based on what feels good that day if the planned lifts don't work out. Doing a lot of suspension push-ups, and also rotator cuff work based on the advice of a physical therapist I saw. All bar work (bench press, incline, shoulder press, and so on) hurts my shoulder too much nowadays. Do you have an overall strategy you believe in for rehab? I think following your intuition seems somewhat necessary for rehab, but I have a feeling my approach nowadays is still too unstructured.

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#16

Post by augeleven » Tue May 08, 2018 11:35 am

What do you recommend for your new clients who have stalled on a lift? I assume that you have new clients that have signed up for RTS after being frustrated with their previous lack of progress.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#17

Post by MattNeilsen » Tue May 08, 2018 1:23 pm

Hi Mike,

A couple of questions (if you've answered these elsewhere, feel free to redirect me):

1) What has you most excited about programming theory right now? Perhaps stated another way: when you go into full nerd-mode with friends, what's the topic of discussion?
2) Are there any staple (or highly recommended) supplemental lifts/movements that you think most lifters should be incorporating into their training to facilitate long-term health? Obviously, your specialty is helping world-class lifters win in competition, but since injury-prevention is a big part of that I'm curious to hear your perspective.
3) Is there anyone in the world of programming/training/nutrition/etc who you wish more people knew about?


Thanks,
Matt

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#18

Post by VinceC » Tue May 08, 2018 5:38 pm

What other coaches and lifters have you learned from the most?

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#19

Post by mettkeks » Fri May 11, 2018 6:23 am

You post a lot of Front Squat video's on Instagram. Do you still Backsquat regularly? If yes, how often, if not why?

If someone was to focus on his Deadlift and did a high volume of pulling and direct assistance/accessoire work for the posterior chain, would front or back squatting with emphasis on hypertrophy be sufficient, to drive long term progress for both the DL and Front Squat?

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Re: Q&A with Mike Tuchscherer

#20

Post by damufunman » Fri May 11, 2018 10:42 am

Thanks for giving us your time, Mike!

You've mentioned before that you've used bar speed to adjust RPE by up to 0.5 point, but that the subjectivity of RPE is important. Could one turn this around and base training on bar speed, with RPE adjustment? It seems like having a more concrete, objective measure like bar speed would be beneficial, instead of using this squishy, bogus feel thing (joking). Having a new born, I've been inconsistent with training lately, and wonder if autoregulation that leans more toward objective or subjective would be more appropriate?

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