Monday, April 6, 2009

The Big 5 Workout

Here is Dr McGuff - the guy that I recently interviewed.


Sabio said...

I think this is where you can get all the stuff:

Body of Science .

JB said...

A really good group of basic exercises...

But, that slow, time-under-tension methodology is suspect. Where in nature do we see muscles utilized in that manner?

The subject has hardly amassed any sort of visible musculature at all. He has the body of a teenager who has been lifting over a short summer, a thin teeanager.

He does look fit, so for that purpose alone, I think it would be okay. For athletics? Bodybuilding? Serious strength training? I have my doubts.


a feng said...

I've read the book and the science seems legit. Drew Baye is also a supporter and that carries a lot of weight with me. It's certainly not "primal" although it seems to reflect an understanding of human evolution that is very sophisticated. Just wondering anecdotally if anyone else has tried the BBS method?

Doug McGuff said...


You just made my day. I am 47 years old, so being compared to a "thin teenager" is quite the ego boost.

Go to and view my video tour of ultimate exercise. For whatever reason, this seems to demonstrate my development a little better. I will never be a bodybuilder, don't have the genetics. However, I've come a long way with the cards I have been dealt and can bury most 20 year olds when it comes to met con.

Thanks for your interest.

Doug McGuff

Albert said...

I skimmed your book and have a question for you. Is there any advantage to doing one set slowly for 90-120 seconds over doing a superset with descending weights?

In your book you talk about getting down to about 60% of 1 rep strength by the end of the exercise. Couldn't I do the same thing (and even lower than 60%) with a superset?

And if I do that, would form or speed be as critical since I work to complete exhaustion?


Doug McGuff said...


There are many ways to skin this cat. Supersets (especially pre-exhaustion sets that involve an isolation movement followed by a compound movement) can inroad quite deeply. More is not always better even WRT inroad. You will see that I stop my sets immediately at failure. I used to push statically at failure for at least 10 seconds, but the inroad was actually too deep to recover from.

Speed and Form certainly can improve inroad efficiency, but my main reason for slow cadence/good form is injury prevention. As an older trainee I can tell you that injuries that occur in your 20's may not express themselves until your 40's.

Doug McGuff

JB said...


You do look great and I do see an application for the sort of exercise you are shown performing, just not for most athletics or for maximizing strength and/or muscle size.

I recall going to one of the original Nautilus gyms in Dallas in the mid-1970s. I did the pre-exhaustion routine, then the lying hip machine. "Oh! You lift more than Mean Joe Green," the owner said. Well, I should have as I was strength trained for lifting, not for football. After a few weeks, my legs grew, for sure, but when I expected to go back to squats and break personal records, I found that my power up at the top end was "dulled" off.

Of course, just anecdotal machine-oriented in nature, not your slow-mo moves. And, at least one well known hammer thrower had very good luck training with sort of a long count system similar to what you espouse, so it can work in some cases.

Anyway, again, you look trim and lithe, so keep up the good work.


sybil said...

Thanks for posting these. Very educational - especially for those of us doing slow cadence without the benefit of local trainers with knowledge/experience to help us along.

I notice you don't record/note TUL - just take each exercise to failure. Care to share your opinion on this?


Chris said...

Doug thanks for the comments.

It is really useful to see how you train too. The videos are really helpful.

By the way, if I look like you in 6 years time (when I hit 47) I'll be quite happy.

Doug McGuff said...


I normally do record TUL and keep detailed records. On a workout-to-workout basis this keeps me in touch with how my recovery is. Over the long haul, the "aerial view" can help to recognize general patterns that you might not otherwise see.

In this video, I did not bother to record as I wanted it to be instructional for the viewer. I recorded my weights ahead of time and got my TUL off the video.

Doug McGuff

Sascha Fast said...

I'm now reading this book, because of some recognition even her in Germany.
The argumentation is in some parts a little bit poor. The empirical foundation is very selected. For most statements there are only few studies, but the vast majority of meta analysis is lacking.
There are not few fallacys, like in one paragraph the explanation of a metabolic pathway premisses the conclusion that high intensity training is produktiv to train all metabolic pathways.

The pictures of the free weight exercises show very poor technique, that will lead through relativ short training period to injury.

The statement, that maschine related training is equal to free weight training, is proven by a very small empirical evidence and not explaned by a theory. Even the studies here are lacking of a sophisticated design.

I have not read the whole book yet so some of my statement could be revised, but so far I am very disappointed.

Sascha Fast