Which is Better – SCT or Power Factor?

Power Factor Workout - Power, Endurance & Size editionIn the coming weeks I’ll be discussing the new Power Factor Workout – Maximum Power, Endurance and Size Gains edition in more detail. One of the most common questions I receive is “Should I be doing the Static Contraction routine or the Power Factor routine?” They both build muscle and which one you need or prefer depends on your personal situation and preferences.

Static Contraction is “the world’s fastest workout” and appeals to those who want training efficiency as a priority. The workouts are both very brief and infrequent. This new Power Factor Workout is specifically designed for people who want more volume in their training, particularly as a way to increase the endurance of their strength. It also is better for those who know from experience that they need more exercise volume in order to see gains in muscle size. This workout solves the dilemma of generating high intensity but also sustaining that intensity for a much longer duration than Static Contraction.

The chart below summarizes the major elements of both systems.

Static Contraction vs Power FactorFuture posts will discuss these elements in more detail.

 

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177 Responses to Which is Better – SCT or Power Factor?

  1. Paul Shipkin at #

    Hi Pete,
    I just read the new Power Factor workout. On page 124, in response to the question…”Is there a secret to getting ripped?” you answered “reduce your fat with long,
    frequent, low intensity aerobic workouts or activities that burn calories.”

    From my reading, and I have no idea if this is accurate, the general push seems to be short intense interval training rather than long aerobic activities. Do you have any thoughts regarding this aspect of training? Thanks for all your great work over the years. Paul

  2. I also think the future of cardio training is H.I.I.T. But I’m not going to undertake the education of people on that subject at this time. Daily exercise such as walking, however, is something virtually everyone can do immediately and for the rest of their lives. It’s a good, sustainable way to burn extra calories and also get additional health benefits.

  3. Dan Thomas at #

    Pete,
    I’m confused by the statement about PFT versus SCT.
    If SCT is more efficient and takes my muscles to failure and as I long as I progressively increase each workout then why would any body need more volume in their training to produce larger muscle gains??? Isn’t strength a direct correlation to muscle size?
    What am I missing?
    Please share your insight here.

    Dan Thomas

  4. Brian at #

    Also, cardio that becomes H.I.I.T. can tap into your recovery from weight training. It is all a matter of priority. If you need more muscle mass, resistance training becomes the priority. If you need an elite level of conditioning (for a sport) or personal interest, then you work towards that. Don’t forget those 62 lbs per year burned when you add 10lbs of muscle too!

  5. Pete, I’m sorry about my ignorance, but what does H.I.I.T. stands for? I’m trying to get rid of a couple of chinese rolls stuck to my belly, ha, ha! and I more than wellcome any tips on that!

  6. Greg Gilbert at #

    Hi Pete,
    Just started the PFW Im sure it suited to my body build (Beta athletic build) I get more burn from the work out than the STC work out.
    I know there was also a Beta work out in the STC version but this way I can see results from graphs & it gives me direction in which work out to target.

    Love your work Pete.

    All the best

    Greg

  7. ARMANDO at #

    Hi Pete,

    I’m a small bone person, if I want to make the most out of my work outs, should I do the SCT or the Power Factor, just need to see which will give me the fastest gain.

    Thank you for all your help.

  8. H.I.I.T = High Intensity Interval Training. Usually in the form of running sprint intervals.

  9. We’ve never tested to see what method gives “faster” gains. You just have to decide which type of training is more attractive to you because that’s the one you’ll stick with longer – and that will make the most difference in the end.

  10. Hi Dan! As much as I’d like to say SCT can be all things to all people, two factors get in the way: personal preference and personal need. Some people get more satisfaction from doing more volume in their workouts. The problem for those people is a way to generate high intensity over a period of time. The combination of Power Factor and Power Index numbers ensures that. Also, some people want or need to train for sustained power and the best way to do that is with sustained high intensity (the definition of power). These are often the same people who claim they cannot get size gains without more volume. All of that said, if a person does not have these personal preferences or requirements SCT is still the better way to get all the health benefits, because of the factors you stated.

  11. Hi Pete,
    Do you have any examples? Of success stories. Where men and women have gained muscle and strength with before and after pictures and a little testimonial?
    Demetrius

  12. If you want to read about people who had success you can visit this page: http://www.precisiontraining.com/testimonials/
    Also, you can read the articles at this page: http://www.precisiontraining.com/tag/success-stories/
    As for photos, please read the articles listed at this page: http://www.precisiontraining.com/tag/before-after/

  13. romano at #

    Hi,
    one simple question.I am 55 and i DO NOT want to have BIGGER muscles ( they are big enough), but just define and harden the muscles I already have.So, I want HARDER, not BIGGER muscles.For this purpose is STC better?Or Powerfactor?Of any other technique?

    Thanks,Romano

  14. Hi Romano. Static Contraction has the least wear and tear on the body of any workout there is. As we get older that’s a factor for most people. (Why beat ourselves up if it’s not required?) The Train Smart SCT program will give you what you want. http://www.precisiontraining.com/products/train-smart/

  15. Jim Coene at #

    Hi Pete,
    I started your static contraction workouts about a month and a half ago. I’m 47 and have been working out 3 or 4 times a week in a gym for 10-15 years regularly and worked out some even before that. I’ve never been looking for body builder muscles or anything, just to stay in shape so that I can maintain an active lifestyle. I have to sy that your ideas about overtaining etc make alot of sense and from my limited experience so far I have seen that I have been able to increase my static holds on the twice a week workouts. As I’m shifting into once a week I bought your power factor workout and did the first one yesterday. It didn’t really take any longer than the static contraction workout (start to finish time). My complaint with the static contraction was that it took alot of time for me to setup in the gym for a total of 25 seconds of workout. The setup time on the power factor workout is less and more of the time is spent working out (for me a plus, others may prefer the other). Both methods are worth knowing and will make my time at the gym be less frequent and more productive than ever before. Thanks for that.
    I have a few questions. I used to do some exercises that I feel are not covered by these workouts, namely: leg extensions, hip adductors, hip abductors, and wrist curls. I can see benefits to me to keeping these exercise in my repitor, but taking a more power factor workout approach to them. Would you suggest making a workout D for them, or just add one or two of them to workouts A, B, & C. Thanks, and great information.

  16. Brian at #

    Hi Armando, I too am a small ( actually really small) boned guy. I buy in the boys section for many of my clothes. LOL. While I remain fairly lean due to a clean diet, I struggle with getting more muscle (plus I am 45). I have found that volume training works better for me. I did the static holds, and they are great no doubt. It is exciting to hear the bloggers get great results from them. I just started on the PFW as soon as it was published. It was tough. I have never performed an exercise for up to two minutes before. I had soreness on top of my soreness. Although that is not a prerequisite to building muscle I knew I had worked my hardest. Plus, with PFW you are not working with as heavy of a weight. I have a lot of injuries, and even working in my strongest range, I still encountered pain. This method is perfect and with the first workout, I already saw great results. My spouse has been calling me “muscle man.” Ok, that’s TMI. Either method, the take home message is that it is all about performance. You must beat your numbers each time. As long as you are getting stronger, the muscle follows.

  17. Larry at #

    Hi Pete,
    I’m also a little confused about differences; in this case, the differences between SCT, PFT, and the SCT Hybrid routines (which include forearms and different ab workouts). I was all set to go with the Hybrid when you came out with the PFW-PES workout. What attracted me to purchase that was the ability to track my progress with the spreadsheet/graphs. As I’m 56 years young and not getting any bigger, I’m really looking for gaining as much muscle as I can for as long as I can.

  18. Ken Jakubowski at #

    I am 59 years old with a surgically repaired shoulder. I was told not to bench EVER AGAIN but did so after purchasing the SCT workout. I am now doing 405 WITHOUT PAIN! I just finished reading the POWER FACTOR workout and am excited about its potential. I think the most important factor in choosing which workout is best suited for you is easy: They are both developed by Pete Sisco, so you know they will work!

  19. David Bowland at #

    The problem with doing a lot of HIIT at the same time as SCT (or PFT) is that you make it harder for the body to recover and your results will show it. I have to do one or the other but not both at the same time or i fail to get meaningful results in either and feel burned out all the time. Would you agree, Pete?
    And thanks for being a beacon of hope for rational people but also realizing that some people like to “work out” and don’t want a short workout thus designing something scientific for them. You are a smart man.

  20. Kris Wragg at #

    I bought PFT about a month ago and have seen some gains in size after months of no increases, I also recently bought Train Smart and like the idea of SCT.

    I am just wondering, is it possible to combine the two? For example, do my short range bench as normal, then once I have done my regular sets do a maximal 5s hold as mentioned in SCT?

    I have my own home gym that’s decently kitted out and enjoy the longer sessions of PFT.

    I’m 5′ 10″ and currently weigh 140lbs and am very lean, trying to add muscle has been hard work though, but the hardest thing at the moment is trying to only train twice a week as opposed to 4 or 5 times like I used to!

  21. charlie sanders at #

    back in the game today, i will do some static holds, just to put it in writing…gotta get off my duff and try this beta and measure my numbers.

  22. It’s a problem that people get confused. I’m not sure what to do about it. The pages that describe those workouts run up to 3,000 words. But people still get confused about what to buy. Next week I’m going to remove the Hybrid Workout. I’ve learned the hard way that too many choices confuses people and sales actually go down instead of up.

  23. Thanks very much for the kind words. Recovery is the forgotten element of most training programs – especially the “insane workout” BS that so popular right now. Mixing H.I.T with H.I.I.T. is fantastically demanding and it’s nuts to do it without careful measurements that reveal overtraining. And it CAN be done. Knowing you need measurement is 90% of the battle.

  24. Thanks, Jim. You can add any exercise you want or need to. if it’s not too demanding, like wrist curls you can just tack in on an existing workout. If it is a big lift you might want a Workout D. Ultimately it’s you numbers that dictate – if you are making progress then you are doing it right.

  25. Jim Coene at #

    Thanks for your reply Pete. It would be nice if I could add a few rows to that great spreadsheet so that I could track the other minor exercises along with the great ones you have, but the spreadsheet is password protected, preventing me from doing that.
    I also have an idea of another possible thing you could add to the already great package. I made a recording for myself, on my ipod where I talk myself through 3 deep breaths and start the timing of the workout on the third breath exahalation. I then have Men at work’s Ain’t nothing going breaka my stride…. in the background as I announce the time remaining, etc. I’m sure you could make a few motivational tracks like this that could be played on an ipod while we do the exercises. Just a thought.

  26. You can make a product like that for your use, but if I offer it I need to license the music from the artists.

  27. Brian at #

    I have been doing some calculations and comparing the chart (ref pg 45). I observed that the person A’s PF began to decrease at workout#7 and B’s at workout #11. There appears to be a lot of wiggle room as to how you want to set up your workout. Based on these subjects, if they had tried to reach the same #of reps with a heavier weight, over time their PF’s would have gone back up. While this may be a hypothetical data, it is interesting to see that the subjects’ best record was at about 60 reps. Once they no longer attained that rep range, the PF and PI dropped. Could it be that 60 reps (which is almost moderate reps if you look at it 15 reps per 30 seconds) is a good place to baseline?

  28. I might be, Brian. It’s hard to come up with a rule of thumb for these things. After two or three workouts most people are getting into the right zone. Not to get too technical, but there is a logic problem of never knowing what today’s best result could be, so experimentation is about the only way to move toward a meaningful answer for the individual.

  29. Brian at #

    Absolutely. Just for the record, my first two workouts averaged 34 reps per two minutes timed. I have NEVER gone two minutes on any single exercise. I did try a timed program (Escalating Density) a year ago. It was ok, but not feasible in a gym since you tie up several pieces of equipment for 15 minutes. Plus too many transitions can mean poor execution of exercise, in my opinion. Look forward to other blogger’s experiences with this new PFW.

  30. Bob at #

    Pete,

    I am a hardgainer,and from the chart you use,it looks like I should have bought the power factor book for better size gains instead of buying the train smart book.Maybe that is why my progress has stopped so quickly in the strength department,with very minimal size gains to talk about?I have purchased all your e-books from you except the superrep abs book.It sounds like the power factor book would be a better choice,now that you are making different claims between the two,at the same time saying they are both “equal” in their own right.I would love to buy the book to see for myself,but I am becoming somewhat skeptical.I may not be using the right routine for me(the SCT routine)Could you help me understand some of this,Thank you…

  31. Your progress should not have stopped. Do you lift weights so heavy you can only hold them 5 seconds but no longer? Are you getting enough rest between workouts?

  32. Bob at #

    Pete,
    I am training 2 times a month now,maybe I need less training.I will give that a try.
    Don’t know what else to do.I will try to experiment a little and see what happens.
    (3-5 seconds are what my hold times are right now).Thanks Pete for all you advice.

  33. Your training frequency can never remain fixed (except in maintenance mode) so when progress slows down it’s time to add days off. My advice would be to not buy any other training program from me (or anybody) until you get your frequency figured out and start making progress again.

  34. Brian at #

    First two workouts under the belt this week. I averaged 34 reps per two minutes as workout zero. Interesting feeling and results. Sore like I have not been in many, many years. Please note that soreness is not a pre-requisite for building muscle. However, it definitely felt that I gave it my all. Just to give a bit more info on how the workouts went. Take the bench. By the time the 2 minutes approached, I was barely able to get 2-3 reps at a time before resting. Some of it was catching the breath, but the majority was feeling like my pecs were going to come out of my skin. Wow! Nice feedback from folks I know. Several told me I looked like I was getting “buff”. While that was cool, a lot of it was probably due to blood flow, nutrients etc. However, I am still pumped and shirts/tanks still tight. Works for me. The testament will be shooting for more weight on the next sessions and try to hit the same # of reps. If you review the graph on pg 45, to increase your PF and PI numbers you have to keep whatever reps worked for you consistent and the numbers will go up as you add weight. Good luck. Can’t wait to hear more stories on how you all did.

  35. charlie sanders at #

    OH MAN! missed the blog a couple days on account of a cable debacle.
    so i put it in writing that i would get back to really working out and here is what i did.
    Starting from the worst condition of my life, just turned 38. 6’6″ and 208. makes me sick- 25yrs and 72lbs of effort wasted over last 8 yrs. so i am all in.
    Wednesday- leg press and toe press. I have a Static machine so i can’t do reps exactly.
    I did my sct attempts and peaked at 1548lbs and then i walked around, came back and held a static hold for a minute trying to keep the scale at 900 lbs.
    i had to rest a few times over the minute, with a clock in my hands and my eye on the scale readout.
    Thursday, bench, military, abs, and lateral raises(delt). hung the clock on the wall in front of machine. Figured out and charted how to measure/track output and create a power factor and index. i start with sct attempts to get my peak, then as reps i ‘guess’ a weight to aim for and hold for 4sec and rest for 1sec six times in 30 seconds. the reps will be fixed at 6 and time at 30 seconds and i will only raise the target number for the holds when i ‘Pass’; meaning that i rate the set 1-5 if it was easy i raise the target for the next workout more than at a 3 where i just raise it a little and 1 would be a fail where i would add rest & note any problems i incurred that day…then i can schedule the next workout and how much i will shoot for on the 6x4sec holds in 30 sec.
    THIS WAS TOUGH especially to do the 4 exercises in 15 minutes total with setup.
    30sec of attempts at peak + 30sec of 6 holds = major fatigue in 1min.
    Friday
    1 hour hike in the AM then after work; Lat Pull, Dead Lift, Shrug and Bi-Curl.
    Note to self, military the day before shrug = pain in the neck.
    THIS workout is intense, i used to do more than 5 attempts at a peak over a few minutes and that seemed tiring but timing 6 holds after my peaks is major tiring.
    Saturday
    I will do the C workout- Squat, Leg Press, Toe Press. “What about rest” you say?
    Ok then i will start taking days off
    Workout A on tuesday, B on thursday and C on weekend until downtrend.
    I hope to get 5 workouts in by end of june. or maybe i hope to need more days off and only need 4 workouts by end of june…i love this stuff and thanks for reading me.

  36. charlie sanders at #

    show us your numbers man! please?

  37. charlie sanders at #

    i personally intend to see my weights go up and keep the reps around the same, maybe a little drop in reps when we raise the weight and the next workout maybe keep the same weight if the reps drop enough to lower our power index
    or
    we could calculate for the new weight we will use how many reps will ensure a progressing PI and make sure we get that many reps…
    i wish i still had reps to do and not holds, but i will learn soon enough, curse 24hr fitness for bamboozling me out of my 19yr membership rates…

  38. Stevie at #

    I do my SCT on my {SCT machine} and just about every time when i get new records on my lifts the next couple of workouts i don’t do as well. Its like i take 2 steps forward and 1 step back. I have experimented with rest periods (taking as little as 2 weeks off and as long as 2 months off) but its always the same. My numbers are going up (slowly) but i just find this a little wierd and wondered what your opinion is on it. Should i maybe give the power factor workout a go?

    thanks

    stevie

  39. If your numbers are going up (even slowly) then you are mostly doing things right. You mentioned ‘experimenting’ with rest periods. You can never go backwards on rest. If you need 3 weeks you can’t rest 10 days just as an experiment. You can experiment by deliberately adding more. Again, if you know you need 3 weeks off you could try going 5 weeks and see if you get more improvement.

  40. Brian at #

    I wanted to make another “plus” for the PFW. I have posted that I have felt a phenominal pump this week doing the first two workouts. While my shirts feel tight, arms nice and pumped and cut, I stepped on the scale and had a loss of 2 lbs. No change to diet or cardio. In fact, I actually ate a little more. I added a second meal at night. Ok, here’s the wonderful news. According to a study, when your body produces lactic acid (as in PFW), that lactic acids helps in burning fat. In addition, it also helps increase growth hormone, which is beneficial to gaining muscle. You will feel a lot of “burn” in this workout. That is the lactic acid. Don’t worry, it will clear once you are done.

  41. charlie sanders at #

    pete i think he meant that he experimented and got no progress with extended rest, would he still not go back? like it was not really what was needed?
    i too have started a new workout and routine, should i automatically be back to once a month which i was 2 yrs ago?

  42. Bob at #

    What numbers?That I can do a 415lb bench press static contraction 4 sets with 5 second holds)and that I can do Pulldowns with 300lbs same sets and holds.I am a male that is 5’5” 155lbs small bone structure and wrists that are 6.5 inches around,42 inch chest,14.5 inch arms,and 33 inch waist.I need more size but am not receiving it.I think that training 1-2 times a month which I am now doing is pretty low for doing SCT for less than 9 months of this type of training,and not 9 years.

  43. Progress. Your numbers should improve on every exercise, every workout. No exceptions. For most people that’s news. They train over and over and never measure progress in an objective way. You can’t measure your chest after very workout. You measure the weight you lifted for 5 seconds. If it didn’t go up you wasted your time and effort. All this is in the e-book.

  44. charlie sanders at #

    BOB -awesome, thanks for the numbers. i can see that you really want more size but i don’t see why you would ‘need’ it. the picture i get in my mind is that you are pretty built already. do you know your bodyfat range? estimate? %? what is your leg press like? what other activities take your resources?
    why do you do 4 times 5 seconds and in what amount of time are you doing that? have you been training for years already with some results? i was training at once a month in my first year, so don’t be surprised that with that volume of work in a workout that you need time, also if you can do it 4 times it cant be the most you can do. the other thing that is calling to me is FOOD. i am guessing that you are pretty lean and strong like under 12%BF and pretty well proportioned. for me i never gained much mass over time until i just flat out stuffed my face. i gained 50lbs in 9 months and ate about twice what i did before like over 6oooCal/day. went from 230 to 280 and would say that only 10lb of it was more FAT than what i started with. this was long before i knew of SCT but my weekly split routine was pretty intense and i should have spread that out even more. plus i did lots of recreation like hours of swing-dancing in a night and would come home and eat 1000cal before going to sleep. i just had to to keep mass on. start early in the morning and go to bed stuffed and be on the scale daily. lots of H2O too.

  45. charlie sanders at #

    OK 4 days in a row of my new routine….lol plus another uncharacteristic hike at SD Wild Animal Park with the kid on my back most of the 5 miles or so i trekked.
    i did leg press toe press and squat on my static machine with 30 sec of attempts at a new peak followed by 30 sec of ‘4sec hold 1sec rest’ like 6 reps at some target number on my meter. LegPress went up 150 from thursday to 1704 toe press was 1026 w/700lb holds, then 30min break before squats of 500 peak and 400lb holds.
    now i will rest till tues. and do A then thurs. B then sat. C again. then i will be at 1 week apart already and hopefully making progress and needing to spread it out even more because i am back up to old peaks by end of june. Did i mention that i am sore as #$%$!!!? not too bad but it is there and hopefully my legs will have mercy on me. so far i think this will be great, not too much volume and able to do SCT max. hope so. any comments?

  46. Brian at #

    Week one done. I completed all the exercises. It has been years since I worked this hard. Again, I am sore all over. The 5 second hold may be hard from a “max weight” perspective, but it is over so quickly. Two minutes is daunting. I did reduce all my weights to gauge how this would go. As I mentioned in a previous post, I averaged about 34 reps per the two minutes. So I think my target will be 40 reps in the two minutes (at least for now). I got some strange looks from the gym goers as I used my cell phone alarm clock. I set the time for the next minute. That allowed me to gear up for the grueling set. I could focus on performance. If you are alone, I don’t advise looking at a clock plus counting your reps. You will have too many things to focus on and form is key with this method. Good luck all!

  47. charlie sanders at #

    i second that
    sore all over and
    watching the clock and my meter is crazy hard but i am learning to coordinate

  48. charlie sanders at #

    oh boy sore today, from B routine
    legs are pretty good though

  49. Rama at #

    I am just wondering, (I dont know if you have answered this question before) but why do you do both leg press and squats?

  50. charlie sanders at #

    this is a problem of mine, i started just to see how i did and how it felt. i knew how much i used to do with squat holds. i had it on my old log form and would sometimes do them when i did not have the time to set up the horizontal legpress or as a pre fatigue feel for leg press, i like the familiarity of the squat, i like what it does with my back like a deadlift hoist without the arms. i feel a little more confident with it i guess. i usually did it with longer holds, maybe seeking a little more endurance instinctively, i used to do a lot of squats. but, these are not good reasons and as soon as i am losing intensity it will go…thanks.

  51. Tom Strong at #

    Although I bought the new PFW book I have decieded to stay with variations of SCT, Super Rep Arms and CNS. I did a modified workout A Saturday after a 10 day rest from Super Rep Arms; I recorded gains on both days for all exercises. I will wait 10 more days before doing a CNS version of workout B. That puts me at 30 days between each individual workout.

    I noticed that some of you had mentioned the difficulty of timing; and perhaps I am somewhat resistant to going with PFW because of that. I also had lost the worksheets for record keeping. Would it be possibable to have those sent to me?

  52. Jim Coene at #

    I noticed a few people mention soreness with the PFW and I will mention that that has been a problem for me also. So far I only did the A workout, one week ago, and am scheduled to do the B workout today. My experience with the A workout was that I could really tell I was working my muscles safe and yet hard during the workout. I felt pumped for a day or two afterwords, but then on the third day I went to the golf range to hit golf balls. I didn’t feel nearly as smooth as normal with my swing, and I felt very sore for the rest of the day. Then on day 5, I played golf (very poor by my standards). I could get my muscles loosened up sufficiently and felt sore while playing. The next two days I have felt normal. Both my power factor and power Index on the exercises in workout A were waaaayyyyy better than what I had done so far with static contraction (4 weeks of that, after years of the normal 3 x a week workout “normal” routine). As the sorness, for me, puts a damper on some of my gains, I think I will try going only 30 seconds for the routines, for now, and see how that feels. Is there any specific reason for choosing 2 minutes as the starting duration for the first 7 workouts? I’m guesing that is what is best for optimal muscle growth. But for me I have other objectives, like being able to be and feel athlecitc between workouts (golf, playing with kids, etc). My impression of my first static contracton routines were that when complete I had not felt like I worked out, even though I could see I lifted heaver weights than ever before.

  53. pverb at #

    A good, unobtrusive way to mark the time is to record something onto an mp3 player – maybe announcing-15 second intervals to two minutes.

  54. Eli Lambert, PT at #

    I hope you don’t mind my two cents on the topic of squats and leg press both as components of an SCT workout. I use SCT with many of my low back pain patients; which might surprise some. Even with severe disc degeneration, the protected positions usually (note that word) prevent irritation. In fact, I have come to the conclusion after five years that the SCT squat is the best core stability exercise that exists. So I use it both clinically and personally.
    [Side note: The simple addition of SCT squats AND deadlifts to my practice has significantly improved the proportion of patients that fully resolve symptoms.]
    …If you have back pain, keep in mind there there is an exhaustive amount of assessment and preparation before any patient touches a weight. Don’t try to self diagnose or treat.
    Anyway, I don’t think that contradicts any of Pete’s info pertaining to leg press being the superior muscle building exercise. It’s just a fantastic stabilizing exercise. So I say, keep the squat.

  55. MikeW at #

    I wonder if you did any warm up and stretching before you began playing golf, Jim. As a 63 year old, I sometimes feel like a tin woodsman in need of an oiling, not to mention the soreness. However, if I get my heart rate up a bit (air squats or some pushups can do that pretty quick) and then begin some dynamic (not static) and range of motion stretching, this really seems to help loosen me up.

  56. Brian at #

    That’s great Eli. Do you have your patients use a bar the traps, for example, or another type of squat? Although the leg press is now the bread and butter of my routine, I always do a dynamic warm-up prior to any lifting session, which includes body weight squats, lunges, and other mobility work.

  57. The first workouts are 2 minutes because the routine is specifically about developing exercise endurance. After 7 workouts users have the ability to add even more time and more endurance. In that respect it’s at the opposite end of the scale to SCT which is maximally efficient and focuses on Alpha strength. You have also discovered the additional demands on your body that endurance training demands – hence the bad golf game. You just have to pick the trade-offs that suit your priorities. That’s why it’s nice to have productive workouts that define both ends of the spectrum. (SCT and PFW)

  58. Thanks. There are third party apps for this. One of them is here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/interval-timer/id287827994?mt=8# I haven’t used this and I know there are others. It seems like a great idea to me. Music can be hugely motivating.

  59. Thanks, Eli. I agree. Squats are an excellent exercise when done properly. (note that word) Haha. The issue I have is how often people do them improperly and injure themselves. Between the pressure on the neck from the bar and the fact they can’t match the quadriceps load of the leg press I’ve avoiding putting them in my routines. So your patients are fortunate to have you looking out for their interests and showing them how to use squats in a productive way. They work!

  60. I sent you an e-mail with the link, Tom.

  61. charlie at #

    i am of the same opinion about the stability from squats, also a long time believer of the squat, or heavy ‘core’ work stimulating the whole anabolic response. i will take you 2 cents on that, it still might go after a while, we will see.

  62. charlie at #

    Date: May 31 A1 bodyweight:214
    days since last:5 Done on a statics machine
    Rate
    PEAK 6x4s@ 1-5
    Bench 561 350 5
    Abs 422 300 5
    Deltoid 205 150 2
    Mili-Press 223 175 3
    milipress was actually down, i killed it on the deltoids doing extra work i think.
    6x4s@ means 6 holds of 4sec with one sec rest in 30seconds at some target weight.
    rate 1-5 is my assessment of how i did on the holds and how i gauge if i passed and increase for next workout…

  63. Jim Coene at #

    Actually, right before heading to the range on 2 days after workout A, I did 20 minutes of cardio and stretched for about 10 minutes. Prior to playing golf on the 4th day after I did my normal 10 minutes of streatching prior to playing.
    I think, for me, with my current level of beta strength, it unreasonable for me to expect to recover quickly enough from the 2 minute workout sets to be able to expect to have my normal level of fluidity in my golf swing within about 5 days after this workout. I can do the workout, no problem, but it is taxing and I will have to pay the price short term to reap these maximum gains in beta strength. Still for me the static contraction version doesn’t get me as much volume as I can currently handle.
    I did 30 seconds sets 2 days ago for workout B. I will see how it goes at the driving range today. The amazing thing is, I did about the same number of reps I used to do prior to learning about this stuff (in the 30-48 range), but I did them in 30 seconds with about double the weights I previously did (used to take me 5+ minutes to do 3 or 4 sets with full range of motion). I estimate that I did 1/2 the number of reps that I could have done in 2 minutes, as I was just approaching the time when I would have had to take a brief rest on the clock anyway. It felt more taxing than static hold to be sure, but not nearly as much as 2 munutes worth.

  64. Eli Lambert, PT at #

    You’re right. It can be rough on the neck. I use a plastic piece that clips to the bar, and spreads the weight distribution to the neck and shoulders. It’s called a Manta Ray. You can find it online. I got mine from Amazon. It works great. Last month I forgot it, and had to do an eight plate SCT squat with only a worn old bar cover. I still have a patch of swelling on the back of my neck.
    In my mind, I don’t even classify the SCT squat as a muscle building exercise of the legs. Obviously, it works the legs. But it’s the stabilizing of the bar in space by the muscles of the trunk that is so valuable. Plus I have to admit that I love the crowd I gather, and the stimulus of muscle growth of course, when I do a leg press with 15 plates on each side, using one leg. 🙂

  65. Right! And that Manta Ray device is a winner. The maker sent one to me many years ago when he started to market them. I used it in my squat days and it’s a big help.

  66. charlie at #

    This week in sports….
    actually i posted tuesdays workout previously
    thurs and sat are here…i should rest more, one full round of 7 days apart. then 9 probably.
    days since last:6 B1
    Date: June 2 Rate
    BW:211lb. PEAK 6x4s@ 1-5
    Lats 429 325 1-pain
    Low Back 484 300 2 =
    Traps 727 500 5
    Bicep 205 160 3

    Date: June 4 C1 days since last:7
    BW 213lb Rate
    PEAK 6x4s@ 1-5
    Leg Press 1813 1100 5
    Toe Press 1092 750 5
    Squat 545 450 4

    OH and i cant forget
    my 2yr, 7.5month old son leg-pressed 151lb first time ever trying on the machine.
    the seat is longer than his legs so i had to use a phonebook and pillow. AWESOME

  67. charlie at #

    uhoh!
    the spacing did not work
    so there are 3 columns
    my peak, my target weight for 6×4 second holds and then the rating i gave my ‘set’ of holds.
    i will fix that next time with …..s

  68. charlie at #

    oh yeah this looks bad sorry will fix the spacing next week.

  69. Brian at #

    Charlie, that is the best post! I almost fell off my stability ball reading your entry. LOL. I wish I had been introduced early to exercise. I had to do it all on my own as a overweight teen. Congrats doing that with your son. Both my brother and I were overweight as kids/teens. Now, we both keep very fit and people don’t believe me when I tell them what I used to look like. Keep up the good work!

  70. Anonymous at #

    thanks Brian!

  71. armando at #

    Thanks Pete,
    also wanted to ask, my friend is a very petite would she be ok by using either of this programs and not get bulky?

  72. Nobody ever gets suddenly and unexpectedly bulky. There is zero chance of accidentally building a body that is too muscular or ‘bulky’. No worries. Have fun.

  73. charlie at #

    the great thing is she would be able to choose when to lay off and slow into a maintenance program to keep where she wants to be, everything is measured and therefore manageable.

  74. charlie at #

    here’s today’s- man it felt good can hardly believe my progress.
    Tuesday June 7 -A2 7 days since last BW:217lb up 6lb in 12 days
    Ex………..PEAK…6x4s@..1-5Rating
    Bench…….604…..375……..5
    Abs……….438…..325……..5
    Deltoid……229….150……..3
    Mili-Press…240….180……..3

  75. Jamin at #

    Hello Pete and/or Greg,
    Maybe you can help me get clarity on something. I have an xf-7000 and have simply been doing static workouts with it as usual. However, instead of doing one rep I do 3 to 5 per excersice. My reasoning is that I as long as my numbers go up I am making progress in strength AND endurance.
    So here’s my questions: 1) Is there any reason, since I have an old static machine, to do the PFW with short range reps or is it more beneficial to do repetitions of static holds and keep measurements of my times? In other words, why not swap PFW reps for reps of static holds and still apply the measurements of power factor and power index (since I have a machine)? 2) Does the cadence of Power Factor reps that increases my muscle endurance have a bearing on muscles size, or can I theoretically gain just as much muscle size with pure static holds?
    I began thinking about this after Greg gave the explanation of muscle structure and function. I know these hybrid workouts will be experimented with more especially when the new machine is released. In the meantime though, please help my clarify this.
    You guys are doing some fantastic work! This forum is great and thanks for your hard work.
    Statically Dynamic,
    Jamin

  76. Jamin, you are on to something. Try doing “reps” with a static hold. What matters to the muscle is the time under tension. When you do your 3 to 5 reps your muscle is using the energy sources to generate force. By pushing as hard as you can and doing multiple “reps” it allows you to tax those energy sources and engage new energy pathways which causes the muscle to grow by not only building new muscle fibers but also increasing the enzymes inside the muscle that allow it to generate energy. Hope this makes sense.

  77. Brian at #

    I am on week three of the new PFW. The numbers are going up, some a bit gradually, but I think that is because of the Beta portion. It is tough to lift for two minutes. I am about to start putting more space between the workouts. I really love this workout. I always lose a pound or two after. So it is helping me add muscle plus continue getting leaner. I am also a performer (singer/songwriter) so I need that endurance component. I am also getting ready for a photoshoot for an upcoming project and I am using this workout to dial it in.

  78. charlie at #

    ah, today was miraculous, after one intense tuesday workout i was sitting and lifted up my son and just felt a strain in my left midback, still sore as heck today
    but
    strangely enough could do the back workout today
    after 7 days since last back workout that strained my right rear delt
    here it is
    Date: June 9 workout B2
    BW:214lb…………………….RATE…
    ……………PEAK…6x4s@…..1-5
    Lats ……435…….350………5
    Dead Lift…490…….300………5
    Shrug…….822…….550………5
    Biceps ..228……175………4
    feeling slimmer too like some fat is meltin off

    ps- my boy wants to do sct bench and leg press now….hes not yet 3yo.

  79. charlie at #

    jamin
    here is what i am doing on my XF7000 i wrote this a couple weeks ago on this same thread…
    leg press and toe press. I have a Static machine so i can’t do reps exactly.
    I did my sct attempts and peaked at 1548lbs and then i walked around, came back and held a static hold for a minute trying to keep the scale at 900 lbs.
    i had to rest a few times over the minute, with a clock in my hands and my eye on the scale readout.
    Thursday, bench, military, abs, and lateral raises(delt). hung the clock on the wall in front of machine. Figured out and charted how to measure/track output and create a power factor and index. i start with sct attempts to get my peak, then as reps i ‘guess’ a weight to aim for and hold for 4sec and rest for 1sec six times in 30 seconds. the reps will be fixed at 6 and time at 30 seconds and i will only raise the target number for the holds when i ‘Pass’; meaning that i rate the set 1-5 if it was easy i raise the target for the next workout more than at a 3 where i just raise it a little and 1 would be a fail where i would add rest & note any problems i incurred that day…then i can schedule the next workout and how much i will shoot for on the 6x4sec holds in 30 sec.
    THIS WAS TOUGH especially to do the 4 exercises in 15 minutes total with setup.
    30sec of attempts at peak + 30sec of 6 holds = major fatigue in 1min.

    now 2 weeks later almost i am noticing that i am not taking a whole 30sec of attempts at a peak # on most exercises and i am more coordinated with the watching the meter and the clock but i am not usually getting right to the 4 second holds immediately after the peaks…
    but so far so good, progressing each time on both sets of numbers and feeling a difference, probably need to spread the workout further apart….will decide on the weekend if i should skip legs till tuesday or try legs on weekend and skip tuesday and spread it all to 9 days apart….or just proceed with 7 between till numbers fall…

  80. John wright at #

    Ive been working with captain of crush. Hand gripper using the sct approach . I find I make good progress training a static hold every ten days . So far ive closed up to captain of crush number 2 and just purchased captain of crush 2.5 . This has taken me 2 years to get to this level .

  81. Well done. Those are serious grippers.

  82. charlie at #

    i have a number 2 and had the trainer which i guess is #1 or T.
    my gramps at 75 was the only other man i saw close it. mechanics construction workers etc. i lost it for about 5 years…after he passed i found it.
    had been doing some different things in that time, got into NSA care for my nerve system, gained 35 or more pounds of muscle and had done SCT for about a year.
    never trained my grip. aside from the nsa care i know the SCT made a huge difference especially the shrug….on deadlift i dont really need straps so that might help me too….i shrug about 915 at my peak…with straps and my grip improved in this way
    before i lost the gripper i could do 2 reps in a row….5 yrs later with no specific grip training….10 reps i hope you are doing DL shrug and lat pull with SCT and calculate that into your rest interval for grip…#3 here you come

  83. charlie at #

    well my kid chickened out on the leg press today but my body did NOT…
    oh my god
    am i on steroids? just my own!
    my mid back is still sore but i did get adjusted and network(NSA) yesterday, finally.

    here is my workout C2 from today 6/10/11 with 7 days since last BodyWt: 212lb
    all my holds were easy and rated a 5+ some i did 100lb over the target because i was blown away by my legpress, almost hit my personal best from 18mo or so ago….
    …………………….PEAK……6x4s@
    Leg Press………..2116……1200
    Toe Press………..1119……775
    Squat …………….651…….475
    WOW!
    – toe press seems to enhance tight calfs so i am gonna do longer holds soon.

  84. charlie at #

    here it is, no steroid feeling today though
    Date: June 14 A3 days since last:7 BW:214
    …………………..PEAK……..6x4s@……..1-5
    Bench………….624………..400………….5
    Abs……………..440………..350………….5
    Deltoid…………236………..160………….4
    Mili-Press………239……….185…………..3 and peak was not beat this time 1 lb off. was spent though by the time i did the others.

  85. Jamin at #

    Hey Kris,
    I would recommend using the opposite sequence, e.g. do your static holds first as a priority and then finish your excersice with your short range reps if you have much left in the tank for endurance work. I’m of the opinion that the strength work is the priority if you are looking for size gains, and then you can increase your endurance as a secondary goal.

  86. Wendall DeVera at #

    Hi Greg & Pete

    Just started the Power factor workout. Question on weight selection: Do I keep the same weight for the 2 minutes, or do I add on? Also with weight selection: Do I pick a weight that I can do a lot of reps with or a weight that I can do 8-15 reps within two minutes?
    Thanks
    Wendall

  87. Mike at #

    Hi Pete, this is a little off the topic but did not know where to post this and I guess you could say I see it as a disadvantage with SCT compared to PFT since you would most might not max out the leg press machine with PFT. The one thing I find about SCT is for the leg press very quickly you max out the machine?. The only thing I could think of is do one leg at a time, is there a good solution other then the specific machines for STC

  88. Hi Wendall, you don’t want to switch weights because it uses up too much time and you only have two minutes. You need to use a weight that is so heavy you can’t lift it any more when the time runs out. It takes a bit of experimentation to find that weight on each exercise. That’s why we track and graph it every workout. Pretty soon you’ll be getting more out of your muscles than you ever have when working blindly.

  89. Sure. See the tag cloud on the left side of this blog? It has an alphabetical list of words; click on “cheats” and you’ll find help for several exercises.

  90. Brian at #

    Hi Wendall, just some tips from my experience. I used a weight that I could lift about 15-20 times before fatigue set in. After my first couple of workouts, I was averaging about 35 reps in two minutes for most exercises. Now, if you look at the graph on pg 45. the data reflects this individual hit their highest PF at about 63 or 64 reps in the two minutes. After that, the person continued to add weight but the reps continued to decline which decreased the PF and the PI. So, what I did was try to hit the same number of reps or more as I increased the weight a bit at each workout and my numbers continued to go up. I also found that if I went to full fatigue right away, there was too much lactic acid built up and I could not keep going. For example, I would do 15 of the deadlift, stop wait about 10-15 seconds, and try again. I did this until I needed more rest time to complete more reps in the two minutes. It is very challenging. You may find that you are barely getting any reps by the end. It will be the workout of your life! Good luck!

  91. charlie at #

    Date: June 16 B3 days since last: 7 BW:214
    ……………………….PEAK……….6x4s@……..1-5
    Lats ………………463…………375…………. 2
    Dead Lift……………498…………350…………..4
    Traps ………………..849…………650………….5
    Biceps …………..211…………190…………..1

    seem to be slippin a bit. gonna rest legs 10days then 9days for the others
    basically skippin this weekend and doing legs on tuesday instead of sat.
    need more food.

  92. Pieter at #

    Hi Pete,
    What’s the difference between the power factor workout and the hybrid workout? I’ve been using a variation of timed sets and measuring total weight lifted and time taken to complete total workout and my numbers have been going up every week for 6 weeks straight but havent seen any noticable muscle gains yet… Body fat has decreased slightly though… Just wanted to know difference between your 2 programs to see which one might suit me better…

  93. In a word, the difference is volume. If you are making good progress with SCT, stick with it and you’ll see the size gains eventually. A stronger muscle is a bigger muscle. But if you know for a fact – from previous personal experience – that you need extra exercise volume in order to see size gains then the new PFW routine would be a better fir for you.

  94. Ralph at #

    Could anybody with extensive experience with SCT elaborate on their procedure of adding weight to the bar, to try to zero-in on their 5 second hold with maximum weight. My workouts (a three-way split, Workout “A, B, and C”) are spaced out to every three weeks, so its pretty frustrating not to achieve a lifting gain due to human error, not from muscle weakness or overtraining from lack of recovery. I fully realize that weight trumps hold time / reps. If the goal weight feels relatively light getting off the pins, is it better to hold that weight for 10 – 20 seconds, or dropping it immediately to add more weight risking not to lift it off the pins? My experience is the latter, I get too greedy and add too much weight. After failing the lift, I then reduce the weight to the original goal weight and fail again to lift off the pins. This has happened to me too many times. Does anybody have advice? I think that is why a lot of folks flock to Power Factor, you lift a weight you know you can lift and tear it up.

  95. JW at #

    For squats, to avoid potential back/neck strain and injuries,
    hook up a weight belt that rides on top of your pelvic girdle
    (ala around your waist), similar to what’s sometimes used
    for standing calf raises.

    Load up lots of weight, then straighten legs, using arms,
    as needed, for stability and maybe to help with the initial
    move.

    You get all of the lift benefit, since the weight lifting force
    is riding around your waist, without -any- of the
    ‘blow out your back’ problems.

  96. Bob at #

    Thanks,and yes I do want more size.My bf is about 16% roughly,I do no cardio,because I want all my focus on as much muscle mass as possible.
    The 4 sets of 5 seconds is something of a beta training route for SCT,from the train smart e-book.I think I may switch back to 1 set of 5 seconds to avoid over-training,as these training methods are extreme.As with food you are somewhat right,I find myself needing more food due to the SCT.Water does also play a big roll,I need liquids all the time.What I do fail in is the lower body,I can not work low back hard due to disk degeneration and also some knee problems.My training is modified to fit around me.I suppose you could say,I probably could gain more if I found a safe way to work legs,not easy,since I work out at home.Thanks~B

  97. Bob at #

    Pete,

    Just a quick question.Is it ok If I fail at a weight at 3 seconds every now and then for SCT,or should it be straight on 5 seconds?Thanks…

  98. 3 seconds is fine as long as momentum wasn’t part of it. When we have proper SCT machines and accurate instrumentation I think we’ll prove that less than 5 seconds stimulates new muscle growth. I’m quite sure of it, actually.

  99. Bob at #

    Pete,
    I was just curious,if I was safe or not.Maybe I will experiment a little with more weight and less hold times,and see what happens.At least with what I have to work with.The SCT machines probably would be better to use for a more accurate measure.

  100. Stuart at #

    Started SCT a month ago and my benchpress hold has gone from 315 to 455! I would probably be a little bit higher than that but I suffered an injury that shut me down for a week.
    I feel motivated,excited and a little nervous every time I go to the gym. Someone would have to pay me to go back to weak-range lifting.
    You are the man Pete.

  101. Thanks, Stuart. Did you injure yourself in the gym?

  102. Stuart at #

    Yeah but not because of SCT.
    I work out alone at night and use the smith press.I was really pumped up last week because I was progressing so quickly and went for my hold without the spotting bars in place. I couldn’t rack it and dropped it on my chest.I know, really dumb right?
    Needless to say I was sore for a week(my chest and my ego).Haven’t made a rookie mistake like that since the days on my high school weightlifting team.

    Btw I have experienced very noticeable muscular size gains in the last month alone along with my strength increase. I don’t know why some individuals have such a tough time growing with SCT. I eat a good amount of calories, so maybe it’s a diet issue?

  103. Ouch. Glad you’re OK. Yes, I also suspect people under-eat and cheat themselves out of muscle gains.

  104. Mark at #

    I’m currently using Power Factor Training, doing a Beta routine. In the past, I did 1 set per exercise, and it didn’t work for me. In fact, it always lead to decreased muscle size. However, I read about the Beta workouts in my Train Smart eBook, and decided to give that a try, since my full-range workout (Max OT) had plateaued.

    Finally, this type of training is working for me. Beta workouts are what I need. I do 4 sets for each exercise, and I’ve not only gotten growth from it, but I also feel like I have more testosterone and confidence as well.

    I was thinking of switching to SCT, to shorten my workouts. I love being as efficient as possible, and SCT looks like it’d be a good fit. However, can Beta workouts be done for SCT as well? Can I continue to do 4 sets? I have also tried SCT in the past using only 1 set per exercise, and I had similar poor results like I did with Power Factor.

    Thanks in advance.
    Mark

  105. Yes there is a Beta program for SCT. The problem is you don’t know for sure whether it’s the extra volume of the PF workouts giving you gains or if it’s the increased intensity compared to your old workout. SCT has even more intensity but less volume. The only way to find out is to do some experimenting with SCT.

  106. Mark at #

    Well, I’ve done PF before (3 different times, actually), and it didn’t work, so it’s definitely the extra volume. And I’ve also done the standard SCT workout (twice), and that didn’t work either. Your theories always made sense to me, but they never worked in real life, until I started using the Beta Workout.

    I honestly can’t believe how full and hard my muscles are right now, doing the Beta workout of PFT. I’m an experienced lifter, and have tried every different kind of routine out there, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen results so quickly.

    You mentioned in Train Smart that 10% of the population doesn’t respond to Alpha workouts, so I guess I’m in that minority! I’ve always been a very lean guy with blazing speed and lots of fast twitch muscle fibers (can run very fast and jump very high).

    I’m going to one more Workout B of PFT, then switch to SCT Beta, and see how it goes. I’ll post my results in a month.

  107. Vick at #

    Hi Pete, I recently started to practice SCT. I think your ideas are revolutionary. Being a martial artist, I did Beta workout A two days ago – when you push around that kind of iron, you walk out of the gym feeling like the hulk! Time will tell for me how all of this works.

    My question is regarding fat loss. My goal is to lose fat around my waist and gain muscle. I have found that HIIT works amazing for the former. I can do a 12 minute workout on a cycle or an elliptical that works very well for me and shreds my belly fat. 1.5 minute normal pace, .5 min all out burn, repeat 6 times, done.

    However, this type of training is very intense and I wondering if it’s too intense that it shoots my SCT in the foot?

    Another question – my calves are extremely strong, but disproportionately small compared to my thighs, is there anything I can add in my training to make them grow while I do the normal routine for the rest of my body?

    Thanks Pete.

  108. HIIT is a good way to train and feels pretty intense. But compared to leg presses or deadlifts the muscle intensity is actually pretty low. That said, any activity adds to your recovery time so you have to allow for it. The great thing about both SCT and PF training is that you have numbers for every exercise so you know immediately whether you got adequate rest. So do all the HIIT you need and just watch your numbers to make sure you aren’t training too often.

    The toe presses you are doing should squeeze all the muscle development out of your calves, there is no more intense calf exercise than that.

  109. Jordan at #

    Hey Pete.

    My high school football season will be starting next month and I was wondering if these excersizes will help with that kind of strength.

    Thanks

  110. Sure. There is nothing different about football or hockey or baseball in terms of building muscle. Football strength is the same as any other strength.

  111. Kevin at #

    I bought your e-book and am enjoying tremendous results from the workouts. Thank you. One question…How do I know when to add weight vs. just keep increasing the reps? Again thank you for everything you have done for bodybuilding and strength-training over the years.

  112. If you’re doing SCT you add weight when your hold time goes past 5 seconds. If you are doing PF you try to add weight every workout. You track your PF and PI numbers to see what is working.

  113. Tom Strong at #

    I had bought the PFW book but as I don’t have a stop watch I hadn’t been successful on tiiming. I have gone back to modifications to CNS and Super Arm Reps and feel that I am back on track.

  114. Kevin at #

    Thanks. I didn’t specify that I was speaking about the new and AWESOME Power Factor E-book. And if anyone hasn’t gotten it yet, what the hell are you waiting for? I did your old Power Factor Training 10 years ago. It put 25 lbs. of muscle on a friend of mine in 2 months. We were in the Cayman Islands training and he had the entire leg press loaded to capacity and did it with ONE LEG. Your new e-book takes it to the next level! I think if Arthur Jones was ever proud of anyone, (or at least admitted it), he would probably be proud of what you have done. Thanks again and keep fighting the good fight. It is greatly appreciated on this end.

  115. Thanks, Kevin. That’s a hell of an endorsement. I hope people realize you and I are not blood relatives. Haha. Keep doing it right.

  116. Matt at #

    Hi Tom, if you have an iPhone then put the timer on 3 mins, watch it count down to 2 mins while you’re psyching yourself up, and then punch it from 2min down to 0.. that way you can focus just on counting the reps!

    If you don’t have an iPhone, then why don’t you have an iPhone? lol

  117. Brett at #

    Pete, I started the PFW a while back and am a bit confused with my chest workouts. I have done three sessions on bench press: 315 – 87, 365 – 69 and the I took your advice and dropped to 340 and did 65 reps. My power factor dropped again. I had similar results with SCT with my chest. Any suggestions on where to go from here? I was expecting considerable jumps in my first few sessions. There were 9 days between each workout. Thanks!

  118. If your other 9 exercises improved, leave chest out of the rotation next time to give those muscles more recovery time. If you did not improve on the other exercises take 16 days off of all training to get full recovery.

  119. Tom Strong at #

    Thanks for the advise. I don’t have an iphone because I don’t even use my cell phone that much; 70 yrs and retired.

    I could buy a stop watch or iphone if I really needed to make the PFW work, but I an happy with my progress with CNS and Super Arm Reps.

  120. charlie at #

    kitchen timer/ egg timer
    or i bet any cell phone has a timer, my 8 yr old nokia has one

  121. Andre West at #

    Hello Pete,
    I consider myself an athlete, that needs more strength. I love strength training, but have been out of the actual training and regular workouts for a number of years now. (many reasons include time, and lack of equipment at my gym-of which I have a paid lifetime membership) I’m a ‘hard-gainer’, very thin. I have picked up running as a sport over the past 2 years, and am working on decreasing my times and increasing my distances. However, I would like to begin body-building again. I need strength and muscle mass for the functional strength of moving furniture, to the strength and agility needed for various sports.

    I just get so confused, though, with all the advice that is out there. And even now, with SCT and PFT, there are a few levels of confusion introduced (I’ve read a few of your books over the past couple years, but I am having trouble putting the various editions and updates into proper sequence). I like the chart above where you compare the two, and it helps me to see that PFT is for me.

    My main question: How do I fit my running workouts into body-building workouts? How do I make sure that I continue to make gains in functional strength (and size) of my legs and glutes (etc.) while still training my cardiovascular system for faster times in my running? How do I do all of this while still maintaining my small waist, and muscular appearance (looking ‘cut’, or ‘shredded’—that’s the new term out there now)?

    I just want to start (again) on the right foot and maintain my health. I’m 43 years old, 5’7″ 143lbs. My goal is to gain 10 solid pounds of muscle mass and see how it looks and feels.

    I was considering buying the latest PFT, which includes the charts. Any additional advice that you can provide is greatly appreciated. These questions are the only things that are holding me up right now.

    Thanks so much!

  122. Hi Andre! The way to cut through all the confusion and BS is to measure what you are doing and watch for improvement or decline. In your case you want to measure your running distances and times week to week and month to month along with your P.E.S. workout numbers. This article might also help you with the training frequency concept: http://www.precisiontraining.com/scheduling-aerobics-and-static-contraction-training/

  123. Rob at #

    Hi Pete.
    Not sure if this is the place to post this but I saw someone mention they use a static contraction machine. I have the original explosive fitness machine. I was wondering if you or anyone else who has used it has found the dead-lift and shrug on it effective. I could never get use to the dead-lift on it. I am getting ready to start SCT again and would like peoples opinions on using this machine. I would like to use it since I spent a lot of money on it but if it is not very effective I don’t want to waste my time with the machine and just switch to weights. I didn’t use the machine consistently so I can’t judge based on my own results.
    Thanks

  124. Bob at #

    Pete,
    I was wondering if doing the static training and the power factor training were the same,as in distance wise?
    Where static training,you for example lift the weight around 2 inches or so,but remain static for five seconds?Is this true for power factor training,where you lift the weight 2 inches or so in the strong range of motion,but for reps instead of holds?Is that description right?Thanks again for your time Pete.

    Bob

  125. Yes, they are both in your strongest and safest range of motion. In general, that’s not one specific point but a small range of a few inches.

  126. Brett at #

    Pete I have been doing static holds for biceps where I hang as if I’m doing a chinup with my eyes about level with the bar with weight attached to a belt. Would you consider this a good strongest range contraction position?

    Thanks!

  127. Bob at #

    Pete,Thank you for the reply.I thought that is what it was,but I wanted to be sure.

  128. It sounds like that is the very top of your biceps range. Try it with the top of your head just below the bar. See if your biceps feel more load there.

  129. Andre West at #

    Great Info!

    Thanks for the help and for the reply. Bottom line: take the measurements, monitor improvements, adjust accordingly, AND do PFT Workouts on different days than running training days.

    I will jump on the ‘track’ and see how the next few months treat me….

  130. Daniel at #

    Hey there Pete and Greg,
    I have 2 quick questions.
    1) I recently found out that i have a disc in my back, at its starting point now. I blame this on full-range training that i did for 2+ years, although i got nice results. My question is are there any exercises i should avoid from train smart workout, i feel a little pressure i think it is on my spine from seated shoulder press recently. Should i try standing shoulder press and wear a belt or continue seated with a belt. My belt is thick and wide all round, powerlifting belt.

    2nd question, what is the difference between pfw and the new edition? Is it just the more volume or is there more to it?

    Also, thanks to your program plus the arm specialisation routine, my arms are a bit thicker/dense, started since 29/04/2011
    Any reply much appreciated,

    All the best,
    Daniel

  131. 1. You mentioned you “have a disc” in your back. I assume you left out a word indicating a problem disc. I never give medical advice. I can tell you that I’ve always felt too much pressure on my spine doing a seated shoulder press and for that reason I do a standing press. I also like the way my legs can assist getting the bar where I need it. Belts amount to personal preference since there are pro/con arguments for them. If it helps you, by all means use one.

    2. Do you mean the 1993 PFT workout? The new P.E.S. workout uses newer test data to create a higher volume workout that also has higher intensity. It’s the best Beta workout ever. If you prefer Alpha workouts and ultimate efficiency you still can’t beat the Static Contraction workout.

  132. Daniel at #

    Thanks for the tips Pete.
    Yes i meant the 1993 version. Is it more like an alpha strength version as compared to the p.e.s edition ? and in the 1993 pfw it has preacher curls for biceps, can i use standing barbell curl instead of the preacher curl?

  133. We learned how to get more out of Beta workouts. We evolve. That’s why the newest PF workouts are better than the old ones. And yes, the standing and seated curl are great biceps exercises.

  134. Rene Kittelsen at #

    Where’s this beta SCT at? Something I missed?

  135. It’s multiple “reps” of SCT, in the Train Smart e-book.

  136. Hi, I did SCT 4 years ago and loved it, I did it at a local gym with a trainer for 8 months. Got great gains and muscle growth. I moved interstate at the 8 month mark and stopped. I have recently started again and am getting 5% strength increases every week. I have been training for 2 months and the 5% is consistent. I have also doing crossfit 4 times per week and am getting amazing strength gains in my full range motion exercises.
    Unfortunately, I have only gained 1 kilo of actual muscle though. I am training with maximum weight in strongest position for 12 second holds x 3 sets. for each muscle group. I train Tuesdays (upper) Fridays (lower). Can you please give me some feedback, is this an advisable method of sct? Why am i getting good strength gains and no muscle mass gains?

  137. I’d try these two things; a) don’t do 12 second holds, they require much lighter weights, do 5 second holds. b) eat more calories in case you are starving your muscle growth – people who diet and train hard can stall muscle that wants to grow but isn’t getting fed.

  138. lambros at #

    Hey Pete,

    I just started your Static contraction workout 4 weeks ago. I am slim build and have lost 3kgs since commencing. I would say this is from my waist given that my belt size has dramatically decreased. However, I have also noticed my shirts are tighter – so I think there might actually be some muscle growth happening 🙂

    I have always had difficulty putting on and maintaining size so my question is – how long should I give static contraction a go for before considering changing over to power factor training – in the event where I don’t get enough gains from SCT?

    Cheers

    L

  139. 1. Don’t guess about muscle gain / fat loss, get a bodyfat scale or a pair of calipers and make sure you know the facts.
    2. As long as SCT is working for you there is no point in abandoning it. Keep training and watch your numbers.
    3. If you already know that you respond better to more volume in your workouts then do the Power Factor routine now.

  140. Stephen at #

    Quick question. Can SCT training get me very strong without adding to much extra bulky weight? I would rather be slim and able to lift super heavy weight because its more impressive and I don’t want to be to big because I might be enlisting in the Marine Corps soon. Thank you for the reply.

  141. There is zero danger that you will suddenly and unexpectedly become bulky. Zero!

  142. craig at #

    hey pete,
    i have done the sct for a short amount time because of health issues. when i did it my strength shot up. after my second hip replacement i am ready to get back in it. but i am going to try power factor. i am a little slow so please bear with me. in power factor you talk about weight and time and sets. can it be done with only 1 set instead of 2,3,4 etc?
    go all out 1 set? be easy on me…just because i read it doesnt me i get it.
    thanks
    craig

  143. Hi Craig! Absolutely you can do just one set. The old PF workout was usually one set and it worked well. (The new P.E.S. workout is for people who deliberately want to use more volume.)

  144. Leighan at #

    Remember that Strength usually always comes before size
    As long as you are getting stronger your muscles will HAVE to grow eventually.

  145. Dennis Peters at #

    I am running out of weights at my YMCA. I currently do single leg static contraction holds for 15-20 second. I am using 770lbs per leg. I can go up maybe 100 more pounds then I am out of room and weight. Any ideas to make this harder?

    I also am stuck on chin-ups. I am doing a static hold for 10-12 seconds. I weigh 275 lbs. I was using lat pulldowns up to 300 lbs for holds, but my bodyweight could not pulldown the bar so I could slide under the pad that holds my legs down. Running out of weights. I cant get past 10-12 second holds. I used to workout every eight or nine days. Recently I am working out once every two weeks.

  146. peter james kirkpatrick at #

    I agree. I dont grow much despite eating heaping sometimes but then again i can go with out food for ages without feeling hungry and can see that this can be cheating myself out of gains

  147. Brett at #

    Pete I am doing the PFW routine. For whatever reason I can’t seem to progress on the bench press. I was hoping you could analyze my numbers…..

    Oct. 17 – 295 – 103 – 3min
    Oct. 31 – 315 – 45 – 3min
    Nov. 06 – 325 – 55 – 2min
    Nov. 16 – 335 – 58 – 2min
    Nov. 29 – 340 – 37 – 2min

    Everything else is progressing nicely. I eat and sleep well. I weigh 212lbs.
    One thing I think may be an issue is the smith machine I use. The stops are situated where to get the range of motion I’m looking for I have to set it lower than I’d like. I think I may be expending alot of energy getting it back up after I pause, because it is set so low. I would appreciate your thoughts. I consider myself a reasonably strong guy, 335 and 340 seem like low numbers.

  148. Hi Brett! Machine limitations aside, when I see numbers going backward it always looks like overtraining to me. You did increase weight each time but a 5lb increase that cuts your reps nearly 40% is at least a yellow flag. My bet is some regression will start to show up in some of your other exercises soon. Add 50% more time off on ALL your exercises and watch what happens.

  149. Igor at #

    Dear Peter Sisco.
    Started working on your system statiticheskih deductions. Before, I had a powerlifter andbodybuilder’s past. My main task is to address to compete in bodybuilding. I choose your program for training. I’m just shocked the result is simply phenomenal.
    Here are some examples
    Retention in the deadlift with 520 kg
    Retention in bench press kicked with 2700 kg
    Keeping in tritsesovom bench press with 440 kg
    Thanks to the system is running.
    Rest between workouts – 16 days.
    My weight is 152 kg!!

  150. Ben at #

    Hi Pete,

    I am an English/Russian/English interpreter/translator.
    It looks to me that Igor (who is most likely Russian) used an electronic or online translator, so much of the meaning is lost. If Igor needs his comments or questions for this blog to translate into English (as opposed to electronic translator English:)) I would be happy to do it as an appreciation for your blog and all the e-books and info you offer through this blog (website).
    Thank you,

    Ben

  151. Michael at #

    Hello Pete,

    I don’t understand why can one cheat the numbers? One who holds 300lbs for 10 seconds will have a lesser PF number than one who holds the same amount for only 5 seconds. And the difference (50%) is rather significantly! It could be discouraging for one in trying to achieve failure because he would want to keep his numbers rising.
    Is there any other type of measurement?

    Thanks in advance.

  152. You’re mixing training systems. You don’t use PF and PI on static training. If you hold 300 lbs for 5 seconds you are stronger than if you can only hold 250 lbs for 5 seconds. It’s obvious. But you can’t mix the variables. e.g. 400 lbs for 5 secs. vs 300 lbs for 12 secs. vs. 3 reps with 280 lbs.

  153. philip at #

    Hello.. I just came across your site.. I am very interested in the static contraction program.. My gym doesnt really have a lot of weights/machines.. IS it possible to purchase a static contraction machine.. does one exist that I can follow your program from home using such a machine?

    Philip.

  154. Hi Philip. A few years ago there was an SC machine in limited production. They are not being made any more. You could visit Ebay and search for and create an alert for “Explosive Fitness machine” or, “XF machine” or “Static Contraction machine.” They do appear from time to time and they really work effectively and efficiently.

  155. Brandon Votaw at #

    I am a sprinter, and long jumper. which program would work best for me, SCT or PF?

  156. If you want explosive power that you don’t need to maintain for minutes, I’d say give Static Contraction a try. You’ll hoist weights you thought impossible.

  157. Marc Swerdlick at #

    Peter

    I’ve been using SCT for years…and I love it. Great gains, especially when I’m feeding my muscles with enough protein.

    Quick question…what is the latest version of Train Smart? I have 1.2….and I always want to make sure that I’m not missing anything. Thanks for all that you do!

    Best,

    Dr. Marc Swerdlick

  158. You’re up to date. SC is so simple and fundamental (Absolute heaviest weight possible under ideal and safest conditions, for only 5 seconds) that it does not require frequent updates. The biggest work is getting your recovery right – most people refuse to believe how long it takes before the weight can increase. But numbers don’t lie.

  159. Daryl Wolf, DC at #

    Hi Pete,

    I have enjoyed reading your articles. I just started the Static Contraction program (Train Smart Program) after reading the book. I noticed that all of the examples of weight lifted on your website graphs appear to be based on the multi rep program using the time frame of 30 seconds. My question is how are you rating the improvement when one uses the SCT program? The SCT program consists of using one’s max weight for one rep of 5 seconds. Now in the multi reps for 30 seconds program lifters are doing more than one rep in a 5 second time period are they not?. To get the weight lifted per minute using the SCT program the math is: weight x 1/time = pounds per 5 sec x 12 = pounds per minute. Under the SCT program the weight lifted for the workout is going to be less than if one uses the Power Factor Workout is it not?

    Daryl

  160. The math is completely different for PF and SC. And there are multiple reps in 30 second, but only one – motionless – static hold with a weight so heavy it can only be held for 5 seconds using SC.

  161. Daryl Wolf, DC at #

    Understood. Is my math correct? To measure improvement for SC is it just noting an increase in the amount of weight held for the 5 second period?

  162. Yes. With SC the 5 seconds never changes. So improvement = heavier weight.

  163. Daryl Wolf, DC at #

    Thanks so much for your insights Pete. I am in week two of my SCT. I still need to buy more weights for my legs. At 6′ and 150 lbs I did 565 lbs in a pure vertical leg press on my smith machine like apparatus and I could do more. Outstanding program you have here. It is giving me a renewed enthusiasm for weight lifting.

    I know that SCT is the most efficient method for building muscle mass, but does the new Power Factor program build the most muscle mass over the same time period? Or do both the SCT and PF pretty much build the same mass over time. Or is it different for different people. I know the two differ in the type of strength. But using your sprinter and marathon runner analogy the sprinter has bigger muscles than the marathon runner.

  164. When we ran our informal study of SC and PF side by side over 10 workouts, the PF guys doing 30-second sets gained the most mass. (And neither of those is a ‘marathon’ scenario.) But I could never say it was ‘best for everyone’ because there is so much variation between individuals. You’ll gain either way, so I’d say pick the one you enjoy more and call it a win.

  165. Daryl Wolf, DC at #

    HI Pete,
    Again thank you for your input. This is great science.

    With the weight at the strongest and safest point in an exercise’s range of motion what is the difference in doing a 30 second max hold vs doing as many partial reps in 30 seconds as in the PF training?

    I ask because so far in my 3rd week of the SCT program I find it hard to find the 5 s hold weight. I either can hold the weight a good 10 s or not at all. For example, after a warm up set I go for what I would think would be a weight I could hold for only 5 s, but fail – no lift (245 lbs bench). I lowered the weight a little and do 10 s easily (235 lbs bench). I move back up to the failed weight amount after about a minute rest and I can do it 10 s (245 lbs bench). Every week I do go higher and higher in weight in every exercise, but I can’t find that 5 s weight. Am I doing something wrong?

  166. It’s one of two things, probably.

    1. You don’t respond well to absolute peak output training and stimulation. Maybe you have a low ratio of fast twitch fibers, or something related. Holds of 10-15 second might work better for you.

    2. More likely; you aren’t fully recovered. Whenever a guy says, ‘Last week I could lift 300-lbs and this week I can’t!’ It points to just not being fully recovered. Nothing more exotic than that.

    You can train frequently OR you can make progress. Nobody can do both.

  167. Daryl Wolf, DC at #

    Hi Pete,

    Again thank you so much for your input. I understand the recovery aspect, and to be honest being able to lift this heavy using your programs inspires me so much that it makes it hard to stay away from lifting, but I do. Remember I did not say that I could not hit a new high each workout. I just need to do an intermediary non-failure 5-10s rep or two every time after the warm up set and than I hit new highs on the final max set/rep. But for most of the exercises I cannot get that one and only first 5s failure rep yet, and I can only get close doing the procedure described above. It is either 8s or more or none at all. So logic dictates that I may fall into your #1 statement. I just was not sure that it was an option using your program. The only e-book I have not read yet is the Power Factor one, so it may clarify this option. I do not know. I did do some tests many years ago that seem to support the theory that my fast twitch fiber ratio is medium low for my upper body and a little lower for my lower body. But it is a theory.

    I am going into my fourth week and I can tell that I will need 10 days in between the next workouts instead of 7. I am lifting so much on the bench (265 lbs for 8s) for my skinny frame that the last workout I strained the right mid back for a moment. It went away within a couple minutes. Just so much pressure pushing my ribcage into the bench pad I may have to do cable flys in the strongest position using arm straps around my upper arms as a substitute (like a pec deck movement). What do you think?

    The bench system I am using is a Image 4.0 by ICON Health & Fitness, Inc. I bought it about 20 years ago, but I have modified it so I can do all of your prescribe exercises. I love doing the 90 degree leg press with the bar bolted to the sliding rack. The Bar Rack is only suppose to hold 310 lbs, so I modified some 4×4’s as supports to hold much more weight. I am now at a 90 degree leg press of 600 lbs for 10 to 15s. I do the leg press and calf raise at the same time. This is not going to create a problem for the leg workout is it?

    Anyway to get to my original question: With the weight at the strongest and safest point in an exercise’s range of motion what is the difference in doing a 30 second max hold vs doing as many partial reps in 30 seconds as in the PF training?

    I hope I am not asking to many questions. If so I apologize. I just want to learn enough that maybe some day I can open a fitness center using this program working along with a Chiropractic center. Thanks again for your input.

  168. 1. We’ve tested cable crossovers and they just don’t deliver the same intensity. I’d say find a way to supplement the padding on your bench.
    2. Most people can leg press and toe press about the same weight. That’s why you’re tempted to do them simultaneously. I don’t think you’ll gain anything. If you do them separately you might discover you can leg press more than you can toe press. I’d say do them separately until you know for sure.
    3. I’ve never run a side by side comparison between 30sec PF reps and 30sec SC holds, so I can’t tell you what you want to know. I do know 30sec PF reps work better than anything I’ve found so far, but I suspect the new Compound Reps routine might be better.

  169. Daryl Wolf, DC at #

    I thank you dearly for your input. This is great stuff. I look forward to read the PF workout book.

    1. Sounds logical because the whole arm (elbow and wrist) is being stressed creating a weakness in the muscle chain and holds back the intensity the pec muscles could do just like a full lat pull down is less intense to the lats because of the weakness of the arm/biceps. What about using a machine that stresses the pec like the pec deck machine does. Only the upper arm is used. The weak chain of muscles of the elbow and wrist are taken out of the kinetic chain. Only the shoulder joint is stressed. Does your data include this exercise test?
    2. I will give it a try. How much weight can a regular home Olympic bar take?
    3. I do not think I have not read about the Compound Rep routine. What is this all about?

  170. Daryl, I’m not going to be able to answer all the questions you have in detail. I’m pretty busy with a lot of things right now.
    – the weight a bar can hold depends on the manufacturer. It’s usually 600+ lbs.
    – Compound Reps is here: http://www.precisiontraining.com/invitation-compound-reps-workout/

  171. Bent Nissen at #

    I have The Mass Gain Study Part 1 & 2 . I saw some powergains the 1. month after that the results went down. After training, I could feel that I had trained breast and wings and back-shoulders, but nothing in the legs. But I have no mass gain at all.

  172. Bob Saunders at #

    Greetings Pete…I’m a 70 year old male with some arthritis in my lower back & chronic sinusitis but no other significant health problems…I’ve been mostly sedentary for several years & am much weaker than I want. My doctor says I’m plenty healthy to take on a weight training a program as long as I don’t over do it. So, basically, want to know is whether or not. Perhaps I should a half hour consultation with…Many thanks.

  173. Hi Bob. I’d be happy to speak with you if you’d like. I work with a lot of people your age. All the same principles apply, the secret is to progress at an even, sustainable rate without hitting it too hard.

  174. Darryl Collins at #

    Hey Pete, I’ve been receiving some of your emails for some years now and never did much with any of it. I’m 65 and beginning to feel it. Not ready to retire, but feeling like I don’t have the strength I would like to have. Not overweight, no known health challenges. I am ready to do something with ESG.Just 1 question. If I have never trained before how do I know I’m lifting correctly?

  175. Darryl, all the exercises I recommend are very common. (Bench press, deadlift, etc.) But if you have literally never done any of them before you could either watch instructional videos on YouTube or you could pay a Personal Trainer to instruct you at your gym. That done, you’ll be switching to the safest possible way of lifting when you use only your strongest range inside a power rack or Smith machine that protects you from most injuries. (Although you could use a full range on any of my workout if you really wanted to for some reason.)

  176. Francis at #

    Hey Pete,

    Liked your comment on cardio going H.I.I.T. I think you should offer an opinion on running and high weekly mileage. The rate of injury amongst runners is about 100%, give or take. Elite runners are the walking wounded, very serious injuries and they are experienced athletes. Maybe, they should be running every ten days or 2 weeks as you advocate for strength training. I wonder if there are runners who would take this advice ?

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