Written by Team Juggernaut
Each week on the Juggernaut Training Systems Facebook page, Chad Wesley Smith and other members of Team Juggernaut will answer your questions during a live Q&A. Like Juggernaut’s page and keep your eyes peeled for the weekly live Q&A, so you don’t miss an opportunity to get your questions answered by some of the strongest athletes and smartest coaches in the World.
Check out some of our favorite Q&As from the last few weeks…
Q: Tyler Landis-Chad, I read awhile ago that you use isometric deadlifts to peak for a meet. Could you describe the frequency, intensity, rack height and set/reps you use?
A: Chad Wesley Smith-I normally will use isometric deads for the last 3 weeks before a meet. I do 3 sets at about 2” off the floor and 3 sets about 2” from lockout, because that is where I’m weak. One set is a 6 second pull against the pins with 405 (just over 50%). Isometrics are a very powerful but taxing tool, so they must be used cautiously.
Q: Robert James Gonzlez-What is a good exercise for core stabilization for Olympic lifting?
A: Chad Wesley Smith-I’m a big fan of the ab wheel and really loading it up with a weight vet or chains, but the best thing you can do is squatting, pulling and cleaning without a belt on.
A: Dan Green-I prefer the ab wheel. Higher tension yields strengths. If the ab wheel is getting easy put weight on your back and if that’s easy do the ab wheel on your toes, not your knees, that wont be easy, I promise.
A: Brandon Lilly-For core stability, in my mind a much overlooked part of strength, you need to have multiple approaches. Ab wheel, static holds, planks, oblique work all go into having a powerful and stable midsection.
Q: Justin Buckels-Hey guys, I think front box squats have really helped my deadlift, what are some of your favorite assistance exercises and what kind of sets and reps are you doing?
A: Brandon Lilly-I think the box is a good TOOL. Too many people though become dependent on the box and fall apart without it. I like to tell people who insist on using the box to use it for speed work, but remove it for rep work and heavy work. Snatch grip pulls from blocks have really helped my deadlift.
A: Chad Smith-If you really think they help you I would use them as a supplementary lift after your deadlift each week. Most supplementary work like that I try to keep between 3-8 reps. My ‘gold mine’ exercise for the deadlift has probably been defecit pulls standing on 3” blocks. I’ve done these for either 2 sets of 3-6 reps or more recently for 4-10 sets of 1 with 45-75 seconds rest between sets. For the squat, dead squats are my go to.
A: Dan Green-Justin, I do a lot of front squats (no box) in my training. I find that they are the best strength building exercise I do in the offseason. I do 3 sets of 5-8 reps and then a heavy single or double. This year I haven’t had enough down time between meets to incorporate higher reps, so I’ve mostly focused on the 1-3 rep range. I always do them on their own day. For me, that is Wednesday and I back squat on Monday and deadlift on Friday.
Q: Jim Mortimer-I’m entering my first powerlifting meet in November, any advice on how to train the week prior to the meet and any useful tips for the day of?
A: Chad Wesley Smith- Week of the meet I barely do anything besides some super light work on Tuesday, if the meet is on Saturday. Day of the meet, make sure you get all your stuff (shoes, belt, food, wraps, etc) together the night before and check it twice. Bring plenty of water, gatorade, shakes and easy to digest food that will give you quick energy like Rice Krispie Treats.
A: Brandon Lilly- I take Monday and Tuesday and do light full body workouts, then I’m off to rest and eat until meet day.
Q: Chunk Green- Chad big time fan of JTS first of all. My question is this: I’m a men’s league rugby player here in Texas and while my strength and speed are up to par for my level of competition my mobility and ability to generate power in a broken down position leave something to be desired. So any drills or changes in ROM(to certain strength training movements) I can be making to assist in this?
A: Chad Wesley Smith- Thank you. Be thorough in your warmups each day will be the first place to start. All sorts of different jumping varieties will help the power, standing jumps, seated jumps, jumps for distance, single leg jumps, jumps from a kneeling position. Always focus on soft landings and controlling your body.
Q: Andrew Armstrong Reed-I’m planning on starting the Juggernaut Method in 2 weeks. I’m setting up my template as a 3 day program (T-squat TR-press/deadlift S-bench). I’d like to do light bench on my squat day and vice versa. what weight % and rep scheme would you use for the light work? Thanks!
A: Chad Wesley Smith- doing speed work on those off days could be a good move. 1st Week-10×2 on squat and 10×3 on bench at 50%, 2nd Week-8×2 and 8×3 at 55% and 3rd week-6×2 and 6×3 at 60%, make sure to keep your rest periods short (<45 seconds) and alternate your grips on bench.
Q: Rodney Miller- I’ve found that above 90% of 1rm on any of the powerlifts I shit the bed technique wise. How can I incorporate higher percentages into a training program without burning myself out? I’ve tried WSBB template in the past and found it didn’t work too well training by myself.
A: Dan Green- What your experiencing is what I like to differentiate from your absolute max as your technical max. Usually your technique falls apart because of one weak body part. I used to turn squats into good mornings because my legs were not strong enough…easy to address. My recommendation is to 1. train as heavy as you can as often as you can WITH GOOD TECHNIQUE and 2. find the supplemental lift that will strengthen that weak body part.
Q: Johnnie Farkas- I prefer the hex bar for deadlifts over the straight barbell. I feel more balanced when pulling heavy weight & avoid the bloody shins. Have you any good experiences with the hex bar? Am I losing something by not using the straight barbell?
A: Chad Wesley Smith- If you are training for PL you obviously want to use the straight bar, if you are just using it for general means, than the trap/hex bar is a fine choice.
Q: Eric Mannes- What are some of your favorite drills and progressions that you use with your youth athletes age 10-12? What skills do you want them to master as youth athletes that would give them advantages as older athletes?
A: Chad Wesley Smith- I don’t work much with that age group but they need to focus on extensive jumping (rolling hops, ninja box jumps-multiple response box jumps with an emphasis on soft landings) to teach body control. Medicine ball throws are a huge part of their training and postural strength work for the posterior chain and abdominals and most importantly make it fun!
Q: Benny Taylor- Chad, as a raw lifter, what is the ideal frequency to train the big key lifts? I see some big name raw lifters training squat 3 times a week plus deads on top of that. I know many variables come into play but in general what have you seen most effective. Plus if you’re going to squat and deadlift in the same workout, what are the general guidelines so the workout doesn’t contradict itself? Thank you!
A: Chad Wesley Smith-Everybody is different. Eric, Brandon, Dan and I would all have different answers. For PL I deadlift on Day 1 and Squat on Day 6 of a 9 day training week. For Strongman I squat and DL in the same session, one week is heavy deads and squats with 75-85% for reps, next week is the opposite.
Q: Christopher Powell- What are the best assistance exercises for helping the midpoint on a deadlift?
A: Brandon Lilly- I think pin pulls, pause Deads, and static pulls are awesome builders for the middle of the DEADLIFT.
Q: Anthony Pipola: How strong is “strong enough” in a weight class sport thats not a strength sport? At what point does an athlete need to stop chasing barbell numbers, and level off so to speak? Or should one keep pushing the weight?
A: Chad Wesley Smith- That point is going to be different for everyone because all sporting qualities will exist on a continuum of sorts, the better your technique is the more likely you can succeed with lower general strength. I can’t give you a cut an dry number, but I can guarantee you that the top athletes in a sport like MMA aren’t the best barbell lifters in their sport. You should always strive to develop general strength, in conjunction with special strength and technique. Good technique is what allows you to efficiently express your general strength.
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