Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
December 14, 2011

Setting Yourself Up to Win: A Body By Science Approach

By Guest
254 Comments

It is with great pleasure that I bring you today’s guest post. As you may know, I’m big on identifying and implementing Primal lifestyle hacks that deliver max results with the least amount of pain, suffering, sacrifice and time as possible. So when someone comes along saying they have a research based approach to fitness that will get you amazing results in just 12 minutes a week I listen up. If you are not yet familiar with authors Doug McGuff and John Little‘s Body By Science read on to get a great overview, and check out the BBS website.

Before we get into it let me point out that I agree with Doug’s position that before you start throwing stones or dragging heavy rocks you should achieve a certain base of level of fitness. That’s why I developed the Primal Blueprint Fitness protocol that scales for all fitness levels, emphasizes injury prevention and prepares people for more natural, functional movement patterns. But, as they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Doug’s methodology is one such way – a way that I encourage you to test in your experiment of one.

Enter Doug McGuff…

When one is ?rst beginning to make the change to a Primal lifestyle, the dietary approach can seem a little intimidating, but the exercise portion can seem hopeless to those who are signi?cantly out-of-shape. Much of the exercise in the Primal approach is a functional activity-based approach. In essence, you are trying to recreate the types of movements and activities that our ancestors might have carried out. In the process of doing so, an exercise effect is achieved as a byproduct of the activity. This is how it occurred in our distant past, and it is what our bodies are evolved to do.

The problem when starting out is that the Primal approach to diet can be challenging because we have suffered metabolic damage that makes it challenging to revert to our genetic default state. There are addictions to overcome, and new metabolic trails to be blazed. This is the beauty of Mark?s 30 day challenges…they help you to navigate through the transition period.

While the dietary changes can be challenging, the challenge of exercise can be almost insurmountable for those just starting out. The one signi?cant problem with a functional approach to exercise, is that it assumes a given level of ?tness…a level that may not exist. Further, the activity is simply a re-enactment of what a human should be capable of with an exercise effect occurring as a by-product or side-effect. Also, functional movements (running, crawling, jumping, dragging heavy objects) all involve encountering signi?cant forces. Without an appropriate level of conditioning, these forces can produce injury, and sometimes the injury can be bad enough to permanently sideline any effort at achieving ?tness.

Do not get me wrong, these functional activities are an important part of a Primal lifestyle, but they should (in my opinion) be the joyful expression of a body fully capable, not an arti?cial mimicking of the past as a means of producing an exercise effect. So before trying to throw stones or drag heavy rocks, let us discuss how the beginner can start to establish a degree of ?tness that will actually make these activities what they are supposed to be: a joyful expression of a strong body.

Setting Yourself Up to Win Step 1: Decide How Much Time Per Week You Can Honestly Spend on Fitness

Be realistic. Most people shoot themselves down with too much enthusiasm. Don?t think in the realm of 6 our 8 hours, because you know this will not work out in the long-term. Remember, we are looking for a lifestyle change. If I could convince you that you could make major changes in your ?tness with just 2 total hours per week I suspect this would make you feel like this is doable. Once you have some hope, you are on your way. So 2 hours it is….120 minutes out of a whole week. Perfect!

Setting Yourself Up to Win Step 2: Take Your Answer from Step 1 and Divide by 10

Yup. You heard right. Divide 120 minutes by 10 for a grand total of 12 minutes. That is all I?m going to give you to get into condition to become a functional human animal. Do not let yourself become skeptical. Do not say to yourself “there is no way 12 minutes is enough”. Simply embrace the fact that there is NO WAY that you will be unable to carve 12 minutes out of your week.

Setting Yourself Up to Win Step 3: Be Willing to Be Shown a Way of Exercising That Is So Hard That 12 Minutes Is All You Can Stand

This is where the catch is. If you do this properly, 12 minutes will be all you can stand. The thought of extending this to 13 minutes will not cross your mind. In fact, within the ?rst 90 seconds you will start to think “how much longer till this is over?”.

Setting Yourself Up to Win Step 4: Do No Other Formal Exercise for the Rest of the Week

That?s right…no other planned exercise. But what if you get antsy and want to work out 2 times per week? Fine, but if you do, it needs to be two 6-minute sessions AND they need to be so hard that 6 minutes is all you can stand. In the initial weeks it is perfectly acceptable if you do nothing else. In fact this is encouraged…up to a point. After 4-12 weeks (depending on your starting level of conditioning) you will get the uncontrollable urge to do something active. When (and only when) this happens, you should cautiously go out and do something. It can be as physically demanding as you like, but it must NOT be formal exercise. This activity should be experienced as PLAY…even if others de?ne it as functional exercise. As you become better conditioned, the active genotype that is deep within your DNA will wake up and it will drive you to be more and more active. Once you are at this level, continue to do  your once a week workout with ever-increasing intensity, progressively improving your strength and metabolic condition. As you become ever more conditioned, then you will be well-protected as you learn the skills of a fully functional human.

How To: Getting Started

Your 12 minutes of exercise should be composed of 4 or 5 movements. These movements should be basic compound movements that require very little skill to perform. You should aim for low skill movements because all of your attention needs to be focused on effort and rapid fatigue not performing a complex movement that requires a lot of concentration. If you have access to a commercial gym, performing these movements on quality machines will allow you even more focus on effort as opposed to the movement. The best equipment available in commercial gyms would be from Med-X or Nautilus. Plate-loaded equipment such as Hammer Strength or Pendulum is also a good choice. Cybex and other common pieces can work as well, but are generally not as good as the ones listed above. The movements to perform are as follows:

  1. Pulldown: A palms up, slightly narrower than shoulder width grip is best. This can also be done as a chin up (weight assisted chin-ups are available at many gyms).
  2. Chest Press: Set up so starting point is hands just below nipple level and not too deep (hands even with the front plane of chest-shoulder and elbows at about 90 degrees).
  3. Compound Row: A pulling motion in the horizontal plane.
  4. Overhead Press: Use a palms facing each other grip as opposed to palms facing forward which externally rotates your upper arm and impinges the shoulder joint.
  5. Leg Press: Starting point should be leg and hip joint at about 90 degrees. An extremely deep starting position is not necessary.

Each of these exercises should be done until you cannot produce any further movement of the weight. You should perform them in a way that keeps the muscle under constant stress. Here are some tips: Start the movement very slowly. Take at least 3 seconds to crack the weight stack and 3 seconds to move the ?rst inch. After moving the ?rst inch, just try to keep the movement going along smoothly. Done properly the cadence from that point should take you 5-10 seconds to complete the lifting phase of the repetition. On a pulling movement, hold the contracted position for 2-3 seconds if it feels harder to do so, if it feels easier to hold, simply begin the lowering portion smoothly. On a pushing movement end the positive about 10-15 degrees before your limbs fully straighten. If you fully straighten your limbs the weight will be resting on a bone-on-bone tower and the muscles will unload and get a respite. When you reach the point of 15 degrees before your joints lock, smoothly reverse direction and lower the weight at about the same speed you lifted it or slightly faster. As you approach the end of the lowering phase…slow down. If the weight stack touches at the bottom of your movement, you should allow the weights to barely touch without completely setting them down. Once you barely touch, you should barely start the next repetition, allowing 3 seconds to cover the ?rst inch, then just try keeping the movement going. By about the third repetition you will be pushing as hard and as fast as you can, but you will only be able to go fast enough to move the weight through the positive in about 7-12 seconds. Once you fail or get stuck, do not heave or jerk in order to get another repetition, simply keep trying to produce movement (even though no movement occurs) for another 5 seconds or so. A properly selected resistance will allow between 4 and 8 repetitions. Once you have gone through this procedure on the ?rst exercise, move briskly to the next exercise. You should not rest any more than 30 seconds between the end of one movement and the start of the next. Ideally, once you become more metabolically conditioned, you will have about 5-10 seconds between movements. If you would like to see this workout on video, it can be seen at www.bodybyscience.net. Look for the videos of the Big 5 workout. You can also check out the directory section which lists the personal training centers around the world that use the BBS approach. The most ideal way to experience this approach would be under professional instruction. Most facilities do not require a membership. Even a single workout would provide a great benchmark for you to shoot for when on your own.

If you cannot go to a commercial gym, you can get started with simple free-hand exercises that I will describe to you now.

  1. Chin up: This can be done with a chin-up bar that mounts in a door jam, on a sturdy tree branch or rafter board or playground equipment. If you are not strong enough to do chins, you can set the bar height so you can assist with your legs. If this will not work, simply do them negative only by jumping or climbing to the ?nished position and lowering yourself as slowly as possible.
  2. Pushups: If you are too weak to perform strict marine pushups, do them from your knees. If you are too weak to do them from your knees, then do only the lowering portion, lowering as slowly as possible. If you are strong enough to do classic pushups, do them with a few modi?cations. First is slow movement. Start the ?rst inch very gradually, taking 3 seconds to move the ?rst inch and then keep smooth movement going. Divide the movement in halves. Do the ?rst half (bottom position to elbows bent at 90 degrees) until complete fatigue. After you have exhausted the bottom half, do the top half until complete fatigue (elbows from 90 degrees to almost complete extension).
  3. Squat: Start ?rst by doing a static wall squat. Place your back against a wall and descend to a seated position where your hip joint and knee joint are both at 90 degrees. Hold this position for as long as possible. You are done when you start to slide down and cannot hold the 90 degree position any longer. Once you are worn out on the static, do a deep knee bend but with the movement divided in half. Do the ?rst half until fatigue (from hips and knees at 90 degrees/thighs parallel to ?oor, up to the halfway up point where knees are about 45 degrees). Once you can?t do the bottom half any more, then do the top half of the movement until you can?t go on. Remember to not straighten your legs completely, but to turn back around when your knees get to about 15 degrees.
  4. Static Lateral Raise: This movement is done using a door frame. Stand with your feet just outside the door frame and bend slightly forward at the waist. Place the backs of your open hands in the opening of the door frame with your elbows slightly bent. You should be positioned like you are going to a lateral raise with dumbbells. With your hands in the door frame, begin to slowly and smoothly press laterally against the frame. Gradually build up to a 50% effort and keep up a 50% effort for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, gradually ramp your effort up to 75% effort and continue for another 30 seconds. After this 30 seconds is up, gradually ramp your effort to 100% and continue for a ?nal 30 seconds. When you ?rst start you will think “this is silly”. However, by the end you will realize that this is probably tougher than anything you could do on a weight machine.

Setting Yourself Up to Win Step 5: Rest, Recuperate and Repeat

Finally, realize that the exercise you have done does not directly produce any physical changes. Rather, it simply stimulates your body to produce an adaptation. For your body to produce the physical change you desire requires rest and time. Simply follow the Primal Blueprint in your diet and lifestyle and wait at least 5-7 days before you perform this workout again. Do not incorporate any other deliberate forms of exercise. Be as active as you like, but keep the intensity low. After 6-8 weeks you will start to develop the urge to become more physically active in ways that are more vigorous and challenging. This will tend to occur lock-step with your increasing strength. At about this time you will notice that you are now performing unexpected feats of strength. A common example is lifting a heavy bag of dog food or cat litter into a shopping cart with one hand and suddenly realizing “hey…did I just do that?”. Once these sort of things begin to happen your active genotype that is locked inside your skeletal muscle will “wake up” and you will have the natural tendency to become very active. It is at this point that you can start to incorporate functional exercise and experience the joy of a body fully capable.

Setting Yourself Up to Win Step 6: Don’t Forget What Got You Here

Functional exercise by its very nature is of higher risk. The forces are higher and less controlled. The exercise that occurs is a byproduct of the activity rather than its direct goal. Despite these realities, it is very tempting to forget what got you here and simply transition to this form of exercise permanently. In my opinion this is the wrong thing to do. At this point you are actually strong and capable enough to bring about forces high enough to exceed your enhanced capabilities and get injured. No matter how good you think you are, it is always best to survive to play another day. The best way to do this is to continue a program that is focused on delivering high intensity and low force as a way of continually improving your condition. By continuing a BBS style condition program once every 7-10 days, you can be assured of maximal strength and conditioning so that you can play and partake in functional movement with the highest level of performance and least risk of injury.

Grab a Copy of Body By Science and Start Your Own BBS Self-Experiment Today!

TAGS:  guest post

Subscribe to the Newsletter

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

Leave a Reply

254 Comments on "Setting Yourself Up to Win: A Body By Science Approach"

avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Sparta
4 years 9 months ago

An awesome workout really doesn’t require more than 4 or 5 compound exercises. The simplicity of this is great.

Primal Toad
4 years 9 months ago

Mark’s approach has 4 exercises… push-up, pull-up, squat, plank… its all I do for the most part.

I enjoy burpees, lunges and even a touch of random yoga now…

Abel James
4 years 9 months ago

Burpees. Rock.

Claire
Claire
4 years 9 months ago

Yes they do!!!

TokyoJarrett
4 years 9 months ago

I’d lost a lot of flexibility after changing my body composition with lots of added muscle. 7 minutes of yoga after some reps on the ab roller in the morning (don’t want to do yoga without warming up at all) has returned my flexibility to my high school days! Even being 6’2″, because of yoga, being able to touch my toes has become normal.

And I LOVE bouldering! Thanks to the this lifestyle we’re living, my strength to weight ratio has increased by leaps and bounds 😀

Roy Walker
Roy Walker
1 year 8 months ago

Too bad if you can only walk, according to most of the blogs by Mark, you will be overtaken by cortisol and your body will quickly go to fat.

Merry
Merry
1 year 8 months ago

LOL at your name!

Suz
4 years 9 months ago

This completely takes away the excuse from all those people who say they “don’t have time” in their lives for exercise!

Spincycle
Spincycle
4 years 9 months ago

Great timing for me. I’m starting Stage 2 of The New Rules of Weightlifting for Women, and while it’s a good workout, I’m questioning whether I really want to spend that much time at the gym (3×45/week). I’m going to read this again and give it a try to see if I can gain some of my precious time back!

liberty1776
liberty1776
4 years 9 months ago

Check out Art Devany and his 20 minute work outs.

Side note: I thought of the 7 minute/6 minute abs video debate between Ted and the Hitchhiker in “There’s Something About Mary”. haha

John Pilla
John Pilla
4 years 9 months ago

This looks a lot like, almost identical to “Power of 10” by Adam Zuckerman!

Bob
Bob
4 years 9 months ago

That’s exactly what I thought.
It’s a great workout. Even better when combined with a paleo diet.

John Pilla
John Pilla
4 years 9 months ago

This looks a lot like, almost identical to “Power of 10? by Adam Zuckerman!

rob
rob
4 years 9 months ago

I am very much against all of this, if you can’t spare an hour, hour and a half a day to exercise then there is something seriously wrong with your life. There are 24 hours in a day but you can only devote 1/5 of an hour to exercise … give me a break.

Dustin Bopp
4 years 9 months ago

Really? Why wouldn’t you want to do the most effective, efficient workout and have time left for other pursuits? I really don’t find working out all that fun. If you do, have at it. Doing BBS has given me more time to play rather than going through the motions of a typical weight lifting routine. I used to spend six hours a week in the gym. It bordered on misery but I did it because I liked the results.

Primal Toad
4 years 9 months ago

Are you being serious? An hour to an hour and a half? I love working out. I love quick, 20-30 minute workouts however. More than an hour? Your crazy unless you are talking about serious PLAY.

Hooligurn
Hooligurn
4 years 9 months ago

Less time adjusting your weight belt and chatting maybe…

Dave, RN
4 years 9 months ago

Umm…. I think he was being facetious.

John L
John L
4 years 9 months ago

Gee Rob, I’ve been doing Doug McGuff’s protocol for 20 months. About 15 minutes a week. That’s it. I’ve dropped weight from 215 to 200, have increased muscle mass by 15-20%, have reduced my body fat index from 23 to around 16, and have increased my strength in most muscles (measured by weight lifted) an average of around 25-30%. At 55, I’m in better shape than at any time in my life. Yes, 15 minutes a week, or LESS. Often I go on two week intervals. JL

tfarny
tfarny
4 years 9 months ago

Hmmm. 20 months for 25% gain? If you were not already very strong, that is not impressive at all. A year of barbell training more than doubled my measured strength. Actually, 20 months on any non-retarded strength program ought to get you more gains than that.

John L
John L
4 years 9 months ago

McGuff writes that everyone has a different genetic response to weight resistance. He cites studies where some people get 2x-3x gains compared with others doing identical protocols. I’m 6’5″ and thin boned and not sure I have the body type to put on serious muscle. A 30% strength gain after 16 hours of gym time seems pretty reasonable to me.

Frankly, strength gain is OK, but I’m far more excited seeing my body fat drop 40% and muscle mass increase 15-20%!

Matt
Matt
4 years 9 months ago

Dude. Do your math. 12min/1x week for 20 months = aprox 960min. 25min/3x week for 12 months = aprox 3600min. You can’t look at the strength gain in 20 months without considering time invested. 25% gain with only 960min invested is quite nice.

I for one love the BBS regime combined with play. On the leg press I’ve gone from 109kg to 146kg (33.9%) in 9 BBS sessions (aprox 12min spent totally on the leg press).

FoCo Girl
FoCo Girl
4 years 9 months ago

Please re-read. He specifially says you should only do 12 minutes of “formal exercise” per week. He says when you want to do something active, go ahead as long as it is not structured, formal exercise.
“It can be as physically demanding as you like, but it must NOT be formal exercise. This activity should be experienced as PLAY…even if others de?ne it as functional exercise.” (step 4)

Ernesto
4 years 9 months ago

Trust that if you’re doing BBS right, you’re not going to WANT to do more formal exercise in the week. What Dr. McGuff hasn’t said here, in order to simplify the process for non-experienced readers, is the need for rest and recuperation is critically important.

You COULD go to the gym and work out again, but you would actually be working against the gains you made with BBS. You would be making yourself repeatedly weaker as you interrupt your body from repairing itself.

Dawn
Dawn
4 years 9 months ago
I have to agree with Rob here. Do you guys seriously not enjoy your workouts? Some of the best times of my week are training on the ocean with my outrigger canoe team (4x/week, at least 1.5hrs, yes we compete, so yes it’s hard). On my off days, I love smashing it at my local crossfit gym or catching up with the girls for yoga. When you work out, your mind it calm and your body is alive and switched on. You create endorphins, hunger, and pleasant exhaustion for the night. And you don’t take office stress home to the… Read more »
Gayle
Gayle
4 years 9 months ago

Well put and I agree wholeheartedly

Gino
Gino
4 years 9 months ago

No, I seriously do not like to work out, just the results. I understand that you do, and that is great for you. You and tfarny need to slow your role and realize that different people have different likes and dislikes, as well as different time allocation priorities. I have two kids, work and am finishing my masters. Twelve minutes a week for working out seems pretty right for me

Ernesto
4 years 9 months ago
What you’re missing is a mountain of information regarding BBS. When you’re training with your canoe team, your team is doing a lot of skills development. The timing, the movements, etc. What you would probably come to wonder about after understanding more about BBS, is whether your team in fact actually needs 4x week 1.5 hours of such hard wear and tear work and if there is a way to take that out of the equation but still keep the skills development part of it. That’s not say that stuff isn’t enjoyable. I love playing soccer, but what I now… Read more »
Caite
Caite
2 years 8 months ago

kids.

greg grok
greg grok
4 years 9 months ago

or people are just busy, ie 9 hour job, travel to and from work, making meals, playing with kids (which can be is exercise), chores, socialising and time to relax. No body needs to spend more than 30 mins a few times a week max to get excellent results. if you read pretty much most modern ideas on working out the idea is short and intense. i’d be interested to know what your workouts consist of as i’d be inclined to think you arent working intensely enough?

greg grok
greg grok
4 years 9 months ago

that is i’m assuming you are referring to high intensity resistance work as that’s what the article is about.

Isaac
4 years 9 months ago

I don’t mind training for an hour a day…but I’d much rather sweat, hurt and get it done so I can spend that hour on some random hobby (something exhilarating like stamp collecting ;P). If 12 minutes gets results, I’m all for it

Ernesto
4 years 9 months ago

You wouldn’t believe it unless (until) you try it.

Personally, this has been a game changing working regiment for me.

EZ
4 years 9 months ago

Don’t forget people sometimes don’t LIKE exercise, if this gets them started then at least its something. More than likely they will do this and get more energy for FUN exercise-playing. Its the only kind I like, I hate formal exercise. I prefer going out to shovel snow above a conventional workout!

Gayle
Gayle
4 years 9 months ago

I have to agree with you, although I would say 1/2 an hour to 1 hour a day. Plus I don’t want to do 12 minutes so hard that I can’t stand more. Yes I do Tabata sprints like this about once a week but that is for 4 minutes.
I like the ‘moving frequently a slow pace’ as the bedrock of my fitness with occasional sprints

homehandymum
homehandymum
4 years 9 months ago

you’re kidding, right? Do you work full time and have children? If not, go away.

skinnymom
skinnymom
4 years 9 months ago

spoken by someone who’s obviously never had full responsibility for small children. as I write this I’m being pulled from the chair by a 2 yr old.

Ben
Ben
4 years 9 months ago

you sound stressed… have you tried the gym?

Kate
4 years 9 months ago

After working 10+ hours, commuting, parenting, occasionally volunteering during this holiday season, cooking and eating appropriately primal meals for my family, cleaning (admittedly not very well), and then finally getting to sleep before I drop… there is something SERIOUSLY WRONG WITH MY LIFE if I can’t find an hour or more each day to devote exclusively to exercise?

Kat
Kat
4 years 9 months ago
Actually, if you are working 10+ hours a day, and on top of that have all these responsibilites, after which you get to sleep before you ‘drop’, there’s definitely something not entirely healthy about your lifestyle. Not you, but your lifestyle. Primal lifestyle isn’t just about food, it’s about balance. and while i deeply, DEEPLY sympathise with you having to do all that in order to survive in today’s world, i woudn’t recommend to ANY of my personal training clients who want to achieve superior health and longevity, to do so much work, before play, cooking, kids etc even come… Read more »
rabbit_trail
rabbit_trail
4 years 9 months ago

You either don’t have children, or you’re not the one who takes care of them.

Deanna Eberlin
4 years 9 months ago

Seriously? What about those of us who work 40 or 50 hours a week, and attend school full time, putting in no less than 12 credit hours a semester? Add in time for commuting, food, and sleep… yeah, there’s a lot wrong with my life.

mm
mm
2 years 10 months ago

you must have a boring life

Dustin Bopp
4 years 9 months ago

I’ve been following McGuff’s protocol since May of this year. It’s brilliant, really. Prior to that I was doing P90X with okay results but it was like having a part time job. This is so simple, not easy, but quick. I walk out of the gym quivering. I work out fasted ala Leangains. I’ve tracked consistent but not phenomenal strength gains. Once I was convinced I wasn’t losing muscle I decided to keep up with it. It’s like having an extra five hours a week to PLAY.

Ernesto
4 years 9 months ago

Exactly. And your strength gains are actually what your body can handle. No one “gains” overnight anything… well unless you don’t eat paleo.

Mary
Mary
3 years 5 months ago

Do you guys still follow this protocol? If so, have you continued to make progress? If you no longer use it, may I ask why? I’m considering trying it.

John Pilla
John Pilla
3 years 5 months ago

I am still doing it twice a week. Though after about 4-6 weeks, I switch to Barbell/dumbbell similar exercises – then go back to the 5 machines. Variety, muscle memory, etc. I also do some warm-ups with dumbbells, push-ups, squats – prior to doing the 5 machines.
Yes, I continue to make progress.

Dustin Bopp
3 years 5 months ago
Actually, no. However, I still HIGHLY recommend it for most people. I switched to http://stronglifts.com/ 5X5 because I was looking to put on some serious muscle. Now, after a year, I’ve made some nice gains. I think the real drawback for me was I don’t think I was ever working my legs enough on BBS since the leg press machine at my gym wasn’t adequate to really stimulate growth. Stonglifts 5X5 is all free-weights and relies on barbell squats each of the three workouts a week which really goes a long way to stimulating muscle growth in all parts of… Read more »
Andrew
Andrew
4 years 9 months ago

I’ve read Doug’s book and tried out the protocol (for a short while), but I’m still not convinced that this is a suitable plan for me. It just seems like the gains are too slow, although I appreciate the reduction in stress on the joints and other areas. I’d definitely consider moving to it when I’m older as more of a strength maintenance program.

Are there any examples of people achieving an elite level of strength following something like this program (say, 1.5xBW bench, 2xBW squat, 2.5xBW deadlift)?

Mountain
4 years 9 months ago

I wouldn’t say those multiples are elite, but yes, I’m curious too =)

Dr. McGuff, how would you work this into a powerlifting program?

Andrew
Andrew
4 years 9 months ago

Yes, that might be more intermediate. Forgot to mention I’m comparing it to a standard compound lift-based strength progression program like 5/3/1 or Starting Strength performed 3-4 days a week.

Ernesto
4 years 9 months ago
Rob
Rob
3 years 1 month ago
The idea that you can get significant results from 12 minutes per week is very impressive. But let’s not be confused here. You get your deadlift up into the 400s by doing heavy deads, not by slow burning on the nautilus machine. Not to be a wet blanket about the article or anything but if you want to know how to get to be freakishly strong, look at the guys that ARE freakishly strong and emulate them. You don’t see the Bulgarian oly lifting squad training slowburn circuits on machines once per week. They do 2 a days 6 days… Read more »
JP
JP
4 years 9 months ago

Before commencing this protocol about a year ago, I was a mid fifties man who had never done resistance training. While I certainly don’t consider myself “elite” or even “intermediate,” I am near or at these ratios now.

JP
JP
4 years 9 months ago

Was also diagnosed and had surgery for prostate cancer after I began the protocol which necessitated six weeks of no exercise. Perhaps my results would have been better without this time off.

I had a recent DEXA bone scan recently and my bone density has improved to a Z and a T score of 2+.

Bob C
Bob C
4 years 9 months ago

This protocol doesn’t call for the use of free weights. Are you just assuming you’re close to the 1.5xBW bench, 2xBW squat, 2.5xBW deadlift quoted above? How is your range of motion? A squat that isn’t below parallel isn’t a squat.

jakey
jakey
4 years 9 months ago

i’m very much inspired by doug’s ideas, and his book, which is great (buy it if you don’t have it). however, i do deviate from the superslow, one set to failure option. i believe in sticking to compound movements, taking plenty of rest, but i think you can embellish a bit from there.

Damien Gray
Damien Gray
4 years 9 months ago

This is also very similar to Slow Burn, which I have been doing for several years. I love it. I also agree with the caveats on functional exercise. Even being in shape, I managed to pull a back muscle last weekend after hauling heavy rocks for 45min – but it did take 45 min 😉

Nate
Nate
4 years 9 months ago

So basically, this is a crossfit-esque workout.

Mountain
4 years 9 months ago

Not really…I would almost call this the anti-Crossfit.

Kris
Kris
4 years 9 months ago

This is really nothing at all like Crossfit. You never do anything this slowly in CF, you certainly don’t do it on Nautilus machines, and you always do with full ROM.

Ryan
Ryan
4 years 9 months ago

Definitely not Crossfit.

Ilya
Ilya
4 years 9 months ago
I have the book and have been following “Body by science” super-slow type protocol for months. The exercises I focus on are pullups, bodyweight squats and pushups/dips. Prior to this protocol I was doing higher rep regular ( more explosive ) pullups, attempted one arm pullup, one leg squats ( pistols ) and assortment of one and two arm pushups. I did injure my joints somewhat with high stress one-arm and one-leg varieties, so I switched to the above “slow” exercise protocol which is supposed to be gentler and less wear on my joints. I experienced several issues with this… Read more »
moreporkplease
moreporkplease
4 years 9 months ago
So I began doing Superslow with a trainer here in SF in August, just doing the Big 5. My first leg press session was 90 lbs., for 1 min 15 secs, for example. I have consistently been able to add weight every week, following the protocol exactly. Yesterday I did a leg press at 285 lbs for 2 mins. My other exercises have showed similar gains. Please note I’m a 40yr-old woman with a deskbound computer job. I began at a size 16 Levi jean and now wear a size 12. I expect to cross 300 lbs on the leg… Read more »
billy r.
billy r.
4 years 9 months ago
Could you say more, please, about your statement that superslow causes arthritis? I haven’t heard that anywhere before. Also, it is not my experience, after a year, nor is it backed by the science, that going to failure will leave a person unable to walk or drive afterward. It is absolutely true that I have been often unable to stand immediately after doing a leg press to failure, however, the slow and medium twitch fibers recover fairly quickly, within minutes, and by then you could run full tilt. This failure, by the way, is the entire point of the Body… Read more »
John L
John L
4 years 9 months ago
Super slow causing arthritis? Hmm, I would think just the opposite (compared with more rigorous and rapid protocols). Not my experience at all (I’m 55). Do you have data behind this claim, or just personal experience? I guess this all depends on your goals. Do you want to work up a sprinter’s body, or a marathoner’s body? Both have merit for their goal. Super Slow is like a sprint – short, extreme. And when I compare body photos of top marathoners with top sprinters, I think the sprinters look FAR more natural, healthy, and vibrant. But that’s a personal preference.… Read more »
Ilya
Ilya
4 years 9 months ago
It’s not about cosmetic mass for me. It’s about functional, or I could say, gymnastic strength. All I am saying is my explosive strength is missing on this protocol. In fact, per NASA research, As far as arthritis on super slow, the cartilage is fed by constant ebb and flow of surrounding glyco-protein fluid due to natural motion. In my experience, the more static the activity, the less is the ebb and flow, and the worse joints feel. Complete isometrics being the worst, super slow is (?) because speed is highly subjective. Heavy weights lifted slow seems to be the… Read more »
Chris
4 years 9 months ago

Sprinters would never train in this manner. Everything they do is the exact opposite. Explosion explosion explosion, heavy heavy heavy.

JP
JP
4 years 9 months ago

I’ve not heard about Super Slow (SS) causing arthritis either. As I describe above, I’ve had bone scans as a result of a medical issue and SS seems to be helping instead of hurting. Wolff’s law according to the doctors.

Matt
Matt
4 years 9 months ago

You are confusing momentary muscular failure with complete failure… It’s true that after a particularly hard leg press under this protocol it will be hard to walk for a bit… but you should be able to recover.

Ernesto
4 years 9 months ago
This has not been my experience at all. I have gained both strength and explosiveness because the gains I’ve gotten out of BBS. The point of going to muscle failure is exactly for the glycogen depletion that we all need in modern day man with overabundance of food energy. And doing low intensity, high repetitive exercises only allows one to reach our slow twitch muscle tissues (endurance), not really deep enough muscular development. Sure right after working out to failure, I’m not exactly jumping off the gym seat, but after I catch my breath for a few moments, I am… Read more »
RICO
4 years 9 months ago

12 min a week is a total crock. It’s absurd. Just playing up to lazy people looking for the magic pill/bullet. Show me a person who works out 12 min a week (basically doesn’t work out!) and I”ll show you chronic disease waiting to happen

moreporkplease
moreporkplease
4 years 9 months ago

“12 min a week is a total crock.”

If you insist. While you waste your time in harsh words, I’m soon gonna be leg pressing 300 lbs for 2 mins. and laughing all the way.

Superslow/BBS really works. Sorry, dude.

Ilya
Ilya
4 years 9 months ago
Please try searching the internet for injuries caused by static contraction training. You will find plenty. Usually people are statically holding this super-heavy barbell in super-intense contraction and suddenly the connective tissue goes “pop” and that’s it. I hope you are indeed genetically gifted to play with 300lbs but everybody’s metabolism is different and I found lots of material suggesting to stay away from heavy weights. The bottom line is that muscle is a well fed soft tissue and it grows fast and strengthens fast. But the joints the muscles are hinged to also need to be in harmony with… Read more »
billy r.
billy r.
4 years 9 months ago
Interestingly, the BBS protocol wasn’t invented but rather discovered by working with senior women who suffered osteoporosis. It was conceived as a gentle protocol that ensured no risk of injury to an aging body. Certainly some have now worked up to heavy weights, but that is only because they are so strong that those weights are not heavy to them. There is no explosive movement in the BBS routine, so the weights are actually much much lower than usual. They only get enormously “heavy” after 2 minutes. The weight has to start very low in order to continue moving it… Read more »
Geoff
Geoff
4 years 8 months ago

Slow repetitions are NOT the same as static contractions…

Ernesto
4 years 9 months ago

😀

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqgPQTGTJuU&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

If that guy looks really lazy and unhealthy, then I don’t know what a healthy person is suppose to look like.

El Goyo
El Goyo
4 years 9 months ago

12 of the most miserable, gut wrenching and painful minutes of your life. Not absurd.

Dustin Bopp
4 years 9 months ago

Yes, much like Tabata sprints. I’ll take intensity over duration any day.

billy r.
billy r.
4 years 9 months ago

Rico,

Please have a look above. I was skeptical, too, until I tried it and examined the science and the clinical results. I am a surfer and anything but lazy. I’m interested in results, not in time logged on the machinery.

Kris
Kris
4 years 9 months ago
My skeptic’s hat is on for this for sure. I guess I can acknowledge that there may be some benefit for this kind of protocol if you are morbidly out of shape as a kind of pre-habit training. But overall this is the antithesis of functional movement – super controlled movement assisted along a single plane with a limited range of motion? It’s only addressing one of the dimensions of fitness, and not even fully at that. The beauty of functional fitness is that with a bit of ingenuity almost every movement can be scaled or substituted to any ability… Read more »
Josh Frey
4 years 9 months ago

I read BBS, but can’t remember — what’s your take on developing power? The slow, controlled stuff is great, but how is that efficient for developing athletic ability?

Christoffer
Christoffer
4 years 9 months ago

Been following the BBS big 5 routine for almost a year now. It have worked wonders to my strength gain. I have also got 5 work buddy’s to try it out and there all hooked now 🙂

All of them have different training backgrounds and all of them have been getting some really nice results from BBS.

Thomas
Thomas
4 years 9 months ago

The post lost me at the machine focus.

Further: if the preferred place to work out for this program is the gym then it is ridiculous to claim 12 min per workout. Why spend ca 20-30 minutes on getting to the gym, changing clothes etc. to work out 12 min? Stupid, and the whole session takes roughly 40 minutes (depending on location of gym).

Stupid.

Dustin Bopp
4 years 9 months ago
Which is more stupid: spending 20-30 min. to get the gym, work out 12 min. and get great results or spending 20-30 min. getting to the gym, working out for 90 min. realizing the same or less results? That’s easy math for me. Same results for less time expended. I wouldn’t care if if I could just walk in the gym turn around and drive home if I was able to get the same results. I see people doing little more than hang out at the gym, hogging machines, and just basically getting in my way. I get in, bust… Read more »
Thomas
Thomas
4 years 9 months ago
Well monsieur de la carburateur you must not have understood what I meant. The initial text of the post gives the understanding that 12 minutes a week is all the time the workout will take. I am saying that this is not the case when you go to the gym since there are other aspects affecting the workout time. As with all programs there are always the warmup part, skill part, cool down, stretching etc. and I am quite confident that when reading the full book the whole time spent on the presented workout is significantly longer then the 12… Read more »
Ernesto
4 years 9 months ago

Yeah, I wish gyms would let me get a reduced membership, as I only need 15 minutes a week (throwing my keys in my locker takes a couple).

Probably best to check out some videos to get a real sense how this workout goes.

You’re not going to WANT to do more than 12 minutes if you do it correctly.

Till
Till
4 years 9 months ago

This isn’t new at all; I mean, Mike Mentzer anyone? Even though it CAN work for muscle size, it doesn’t do anything for

a) explosiveness
b) long-term strength gains
c) cardiovascular health
d) calory burnoff

Long story short: in most cases, this IS too good to be true.

Brad
Brad
4 years 9 months ago

Have you read his book?…No…Okay.

Explosiveness is covered.

Cardiovascular Health is covered.

Calorie (or Calory) is covered.

All strength gains…covered.

Pick up a copy…read it, then refute it…dont just post your opinions (which todays science doesnt support) and claim “in most cases, too good to be true.

Brad
Brad
4 years 9 months ago
As for Calorie burn off, this method burns far more calories AFTER your workout – due to EVERY muscle fiber being impacted – than running, swimming, walking, general gym, etc. Explosiveness comes from your “Fast twitch muscle fibers”….do you honestly think that you are working these out by routine lifting without any resistance or failure, say 50% of your max?…The science behind muscle fibers doesnt support you if you say “Yes”…so, indeed…this method taps the fast twitch (explosiveness) muscle fibers AND the slow twitch – because they both end up fatigued and have to rebuild for that fatigue and stress… Read more »
Ilya
Ilya
4 years 9 months ago

Agree.

If someone only works out super slow or static contraction, eventually people approach ridiculously heavy weights and admittedly it’s cool, but what about a simple task of pulling yourself into the boat from the water ?

Losing contractile proteins
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isometric_exercise#NASA_studies

Geoff
Geoff
4 years 8 months ago

Why do you keep posting about isometrics? BBS is not isometrics…

Toby
Toby
4 years 9 months ago

I agree. I did Occam’s Protocol (basically the same concept) for 3 months and was very pleased with the muscle gain, but it does not increase flexibility, stamina, or the overall feeling of “being in shape”.This is a protocol used by bodybuilders to add mass by getting the body to release natural growth hormones. it is not a workout for novices or someone looking to “get in shape”. In the context it is presented here, though, I agree it should increase confidence and the desire to workout.

Geoff
Geoff
4 years 8 months ago

Your reply does not make any sense. Obviously, building muscle is a huge, if not the biggest, part of “getting in shape”. Therefore, if the protocol increased your lean muscle, then it is helping you achieve that goal.

Kathy
4 years 9 months ago
My husband and I are 60+ and we have been following the BBS protocol for over a year with very good results. We have modified it slightly (as he recommends for older folks). We work out on a 2 week interval. That gives us more days to fully recover and feel great and just a few days of tiredness. Also we are not going quite to total exhaustion. I think I would need a coach with me to actually go to true exhaustion reliably. Previously I hated going to the gym and now I actually look forward to it. Also… Read more »
Dharma
Dharma
4 years 9 months ago

I only exercise 15 or so minutes once or twice a week. Usually pullups, planks, chinups, pushups, and overhead press, I do them at moderate speed till failure, and I am in damn good shape. I dunno about the super slow movements though.

Ilya
Ilya
4 years 9 months ago

You mention that you do pullups, etc. at regular speed, to failure. What do you actually mean by “failure” ? I think you actually mean “until you can’t do them any more”. That is “fatigue”, not failure. In “Body by Science” context, the “failure” is actually a complete neuro-muscular junction failure, meaning, that you push until the muscle no longer responds. For example, immediately after super slow pullups you can’t hold a steering wheel, a banana seems heavy, etc. A failure is a failure, not a degree of fatigue.

Dharma
Dharma
4 years 9 months ago

You are correct, fatigue is what I meant. Very few times in my life have I purposely worked till failure.

Lisa
Lisa
4 years 9 months ago

Mark,

I wanted to inquire how long it took you of primal living to end the popping knees of your arthritis? I was recently diagnosed with early osteoarthritis.

Lisa

BFly
4 years 9 months ago

Lisa, you might want to try using magnesium oil and massage it into your joints.

Captain Obvious
Captain Obvious
4 years 9 months ago

You might also want to check out MSM and DMSO…

They helped my knees.

Drew Baye
Drew Baye
4 years 9 months ago

If you have a hard time understanding how so little exercise can be effective it is because you have never experienced the level of effort McGuff is talking about. If you’re doing it right not only is that all you require, it’s all you can stand.

If you’re spending more than an hour working out, much less an hour and a half or two, you aren’t working very hard. Not even close to this.

Mcgragor
Mcgragor
4 years 9 months ago
Drew, Watched some of your videos today–I used to train so hard doing similar to this that after squats I was almost sick-I worked up to 250lbs 5/5 for 8 reps-got stronger in all of my lifts, but no muscular size increase-seems like this is great for strength but not for size. Contrast that with me now in my 40’s and I started doing high reps (15-30) stopping well short of failure, but still training about once every 4-5 days doing squats, flys, and pulldowns-and I’m not sure how much muscle I put on, but after dieting down, my body… Read more »
Brad
Brad
4 years 9 months ago
I really do enjoy reading comments from sleptics who havent read the book…havent read the papers and data that influenced the book and havent dedicated one moment to understanding the “Science” behind this routine… He doesnt recommend this workout as a “Primal” workout method – obviously noone 10,000 years ago worked out in this manner or routine; it is influenced by the evolution of humans and the physiology of the human today (and in the past)…READ THE BOOK; then try and suffeciently explain WHY this method is non-sense and why this method is bad. He explicitly explains in the book… Read more »
billy r.
billy r.
4 years 9 months ago
How about we just get 10 McGuff followers and ten conventional trainees and we go in the street and rumble. Would that settle it? Instead, is it possible that there is no one perfect protocol for everyone? Is it not possible that there are as yet not understood principles that must be refined at the individual level? I tried the level of carbs that Mark recommends for instance and kept at it for months waiting for an adaptation, and it never happened. It doesn’t disprove Mark’s recommendation, only that this organism wants something slightly modified. Body By Science works, and… Read more »
Brad
Brad
4 years 9 months ago
Depends on the definition of “works”… If the goal is to achieve massive muscles; doubtful it will “work” for everyone…this is also explained in his book – Genetics. The goals that will be met for everyone are noted in his book; specifically those regarding health…eat right and exercise appropriately – everyone can achieve a maximum amount of health (excluding outside influences of course). The main question is “Compared to What?” How does this approach compare to others categorically…regarding every known drawback and benefit of the differing exercises? How does this approach compare to doing nothing…? People read muscle magazine articles… Read more »
Aaron McCloud
4 years 9 months ago

As long as you have the effort, the gains will be there. If you’re really curious, track your progress or your body composition for the first few weeks.

I admit I was skeptical, but I tracked myself and put on 5 pounds of muscle in 1 month. That was way more than I expected – I guess I just needed to add some extra rest to my workouts!

Wayland
Wayland
4 years 9 months ago

If you train slow, then you move slow, period. If you want strength, train for strength which is generally a 5×5 set/reps routine at about 85% of a 1-rep max and if you want power you could train at 75% for 6×3 sets/reps. Strength is about moving the greatest amount where speed doesn’t matter and power is about moving a weight quickly or explosively.

Brad
Brad
4 years 9 months ago
Dont be baffled when you are having endless pain and almost certain joint surgery after your “Power” approach. Your muscle cells are biological; your approach at “Power” is pure physics. Yes…power = work/time; so the shorter time the greater power…this is one side of the scenario. What applies the work?…your muscles. Training your muscles in a “work/time” approach doesnt necessarily mean they are now trained to provide more “power”…your muscles are living organisms. Dougs book explains in detail why the BBS approach has been designed the way it has and specifically devotes pages to explaining the muscles and how they… Read more »
Geoff
Geoff
4 years 8 months ago

Slow training does not cause slow moving…that has been thoroughly debunked over and over.

toaster for sale
toaster for sale
4 years 9 months ago

This is totally unrelated to the article, but I thought I would mention that I just saw the season finale of ‘Biggest Loser’ and Courtney, one of the contestants, briefly mentioned (at 25:36) that she is doing Crossfit. I thought some might be interested.

Jim Arkus
4 years 9 months ago

Machines? Super slow “feeling the movement” movements? Lateral raises? This entire article troubles me. I’m going to need to reread Brooks Kubik’s “Dinosaur Training” tonight just to properly recover.

NSWM
NSWM
4 years 9 months ago

Out of complete shallowness: will this be able to produce visible changes in your physique?
That’s what some of us exercise for (despite the constant dread of doing it).

Christoph Dollis
Christoph Dollis
4 years 8 months ago

It’s hardly shallow. In fact, it probably follows depths and magnificent curves, done properly. Certainly the starting point of the face is inspirational.

BFly
4 years 9 months ago

I like this website, but I don’t agree with this approach at all. Maybe at 3 days a week sure. The other issue is a beginner might not have the strength to control a rep for 5-10 seconds, hold for 2-3. Also, lose the leg press. Do a goblet squat holding a dumbbell or kettlebell at your chin. I would recommend Dan John’s Easy strength 40 day program any day of the week.

Brad
Brad
4 years 9 months ago

Read his book…or YouTube his videos.

He explains in detail why the 3 days a week (2 day rest) is not appropriate for most people – some people, yes…most people…No.

Muscle tissue takes on average 7-10 days to recover fully…this is where the once a week approach comes in.

Christoph Dollis
3 years 5 months ago
I also don’t agree, but with you. 1. The research doesn’t support that 3 times per week is necessary for those who wish to optimise results per unit of time. To maximise results, maybe, but the law of diminishing returns kicks in. 2. “The other issue is a beginner might not have the strength to control a rep for 5-10 seconds, hold for 2-3.” Nonsense. Notice that resistances are adjustable. The beginner — in particular one who is older, has orthopedic challenges, less than developed tendon strength, etc. — is precisely the person who should start with a lower resistance… Read more »
Mcgragor
Mcgragor
4 years 9 months ago

I’ve done similar training in the past and I will agree you can gain strength and protect the joints etc…however, I have yet to see anyone put on much muscle doing this. I didn’t-but I did get very strong.

I don’t believe in evolution like many on here, but just to play along, primal man didn’t move super slow when hunting big game or running from a mountain lion.

Youtube Dr.Mcguff doing his workouts and you will see that he is in shape, but that’s about it-not that lean muscular look many on here are looking for.

Chris Wardle
Chris Wardle
4 years 9 months ago
I’ve been doing Doug’s Big 5 workout for about 6 months. I’ve found it at least as effective as the previous workouts with a fraction of time investment. I also sprint occasionally and do some light running and the occasion short race. I used to run much more and but I cut down and went barefoot about the same time I started on the Big 5. Despite doing hardly any endurance training my race performance is now better than ever which amuses me when I keep beating guys who are grinding out the miles and look terrible on it! I’m… Read more »
ced
ced
4 years 9 months ago

I read BBS, and have been following a system very close to it. I have also read Drew Baye’s materiel which is similar and also very valuable. I have had good results, going from 175 to 200 lbs (muscle gain) in 6 months on the program.
I enjoy it. It makes sense. And you waste no time.

steve
steve
4 years 2 months ago

Hi,

I’ve been thinking about doing BBS but my major concern is does it gain noticeable muscle mass as this is what I’ve struggled with for many years. From your data, looks that it worked. Also I’m gonna have to check out baye’s work maybe it’s better than BBS.

Curious, what was your diet like? Did you eat low carb? Also what estimated calories?

Thanks

Adam
Adam
4 years 9 months ago

It is truly surprising to me to hear some of the “Nay Sayers” about this workout protocol. In fact it reminds me much of the Nay Sayers who says the Primal/Paleo diet doesn’t work!
I recommend checking out the 21 convention videos featuring Doug McGuff and Drew Baye then trying it. If you have enough time check out Mark’s presentation, its killer!

McGuff Presentation
http://www.the21convention.com/2011/03/05/doug-mcguff-t21c-2010/

Drew Baye Presentation
http://www.the21convention.com/2009/09/08/drew-baye-t21c-2009/

Drew Baye Demo Workout
http://www.thedreamlounge.net/2011/04/30/drew-baye-super-charged/

Sisson Presentation
http://www.the21convention.com/2011/04/05/mark-sisson-t21c-2010/

rose
rose
4 years 9 months ago

I’ve been doing BBS for about 14 weeks. I love it! As a recovering gym rat, it was a little hard at first. Even my gym’s trainer asked me, after I demonstrated the Big Five on him, “But what are you going to do the rest of the week?” I laughed and replied, “Live!”
It is a very different feeling than regular strength training. When I walk out of the gym, it looks like I am experiencing my own person earthquake. Always cracks me up.
Try it!

Jen
Jen
4 years 9 months ago

This is exactly the kind of inspiration I need to get back into my workout routine – except for the routine part. I’m taking up this plan instead. No room for excuses here! Awesome!

Durga Walker
Durga Walker
4 years 9 months ago
I’m the beginner Doug was referring to when he wrote, “So before trying to throw stones or drag heavy rocks, let us discuss how the beginner can start to establish a degree of ?tness that will actually make these activities what they are supposed to be: a joyful expression of a strong body.” Exercising is a special challenge for me. I have fibromyalgia and a very temperamental back. While these exercises are strenuous, it’s possible for me to take them slowly and keep an eye on my body while I’m doing it. Since committing to Primal fitness, I’ve been walking… Read more »
Isaac
4 years 9 months ago

Definitely a fan of compound movements.
There’s nothing worse than seeing a newbie to exercise doing a whole lot of bicep curls because that’s just ‘what you do’…I’m pretty sure our bodies weren’t made to just lift an object from our knees to our chest in isolation a hundred times…Grok would have just pointed and laughed (and then thrown a dead animal over his shoulder)

Brad
Brad
4 years 9 months ago

The BBS routine is basically the HIT (High Intensity Training) method as put forth by the famous body builder Mike Mentzer and others before him. The BBS “Big-5” routine and technique is closer to traditional HIT (not to be confused with HIIT) than to “superslow”. There is tons of info out there on it. Drew Bay has a good (but long) two hour vid on Youtube that parallels BBS. Drew’s video is a good intro to get your feet wet before reading the book – as are videos on Youtube from the author (Dr. McGuff)…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rNm4kSl3Og

digitalgypsy
digitalgypsy
4 years 9 months ago

To be honest, I don’t do any formal exercise. The closest is swimming and i do that for fun. I’m an active diver, biker, hiker, have a small garden and animals. And at 50 I’m in better health and physical shape than I’ve ever been.

Alykhan
4 years 9 months ago

Mark,

BBS sounds like a great program. I’ve done some other programs which are similar in that they are based around functional moves and are so intense that you cannot sustain the workout for more than 10-12 minutes. These types of workouts are time-efficient and great for boosting your metabolism.

Alykhan

palo
palo
4 years 9 months ago

The static wall squat and static lateral raise described in the article are clearly isometric exercises.

Applying the intensity protocol described for the static lateral raise, why not do the other movements – pull ups and pushups – isometrically?

You could also increase the intensity of the static wall squat by doing them with one leg.

Rick
Rick
4 years 9 months ago

That’s a good point. Look how much isometric and slow work gymnasts do-and they are JACKED!

I’m a bit skeptical, but this is a very good point…

Mark
Mark
4 years 9 months ago

Something tells me the gymnasts with the huge shoulders and six packs will do more than 12 minutes a week.

Brad
Brad
4 years 9 months ago

Not to mention that gymnists that you see on TV are genetically tuned differently than the average joe; so being “jacked” is essentially in their DNA. (with effort applied of course)

Rick
Rick
4 years 9 months ago

That’s very true, but you can’t deny the possibility of effectiveness though I don’t think. Elite powerlifters spend a lot more time than I do strength training. That does not mean that my strength training workouts are not effective.

Nicole
Nicole
4 years 9 months ago

I’d love to try this but would feel more comfortable with a trainer. Unfortunately, the closest one in the directory is 45 minutes away and that seems kind of far for a 20 minute workout…but it is only once or twice a week…

mcgragor
mcgragor
4 years 9 months ago
Must say I am very disappointed with Dr. Mcguff. After posting a couple of times on his “Body by Science” site asking about this type of training and muscle growth I finally thought he was leaving my comment up–today I checked and I can’t find it (obviously deleted). He should have atleast enough courtesy to post the comment whether he himself responded to it or not. Its a fair question. When things like this happen you have to question why? What are they afraid of? Maybe this doesn’t produce much muscle after all compared to the “pumper” routines out there.… Read more »
Sonia
Sonia
4 years 9 months ago

He may not be snubbing you. I attempted to post my BBS WOW on his site once and it never got posted either.

garymar
garymar
4 years 9 months ago

A lot of people can’t seem to post there. The regulars send their comments to Ed Garbe and he posts it for them.

Christoph Dollis
Christoph Dollis
4 years 8 months ago

I’ve had comments not go up there several times — not censorship, just a flawed site/anti-spam design.

Bert Vila
Bert Vila
4 years 9 months ago
Hey NSWN I am a SS & Medx Certified instructor as well as the 1992 South Florida Overall BB Champion(Mind you not that was with chemical enhancement;but I was not the only one taking them).Yes this program will produce visible & physiological changes better than any other.I will get more tone,more fit,& along with a Paleo diet extremely ripped.I am now 48 am five foot three inches tall,I weight 135(been drug free since 1994) & am think dense & have striations thru out my muscular body.Do the Body by Science workout it is the best in the world.The contradictory information… Read more »
NSWM
NSWM
4 years 9 months ago

Thanks!

Neha
Neha
4 years 9 months ago

This reminds me of one of the workout protocols in Tim Ferriss’ book. “From Geek to Freak”, he calls it. 🙂 His way consists of doing just two exercises in each workout in a 5/5 cadence.

Christoph Dollis
Christoph Dollis
4 years 8 months ago

Tim recommended 4-7 compound exercises per workout, twice per week.

Audrey H
Audrey H
4 years 9 months ago

I read this a while ago, and I found it excellent in its explanations and the way it backed up its methodology. 😀 Definitely worth a full read, everyone.

Jered
Jered
4 years 9 months ago

I’m confused. In the beginning of this article it makes it sound like BBS is a stepping stone to more formal, intense programs of functional fitness. But at the end of the article, it makes it sound like you shouldn’t go back to “functional fitness.” I thought the primal blueprint was functional. Anyone else confused or is it just me?? Do we just stick to BBS or PBF or do we go on to more advanced programs??? Crossfit anyone?

Christoph Dollis
Christoph Dollis
4 years 8 months ago
McGuff is presenting this as an alternative to formal programs such as Crossfit or even the PB fitness protocol. What he’s saying is use this as your formal program, and then do physical play when you feel like it, which may include many primal-type activities and even sports. Clearly, if one is a sportsman or solider or similar, one must still keep up with their skill training, which may include a heavy physical component — in which case, McGuff advises you to reduce your formal “exercise” (strength training) component still further, which he outlines in his book. So you COULD… Read more »
Doug McGuff, MD
4 years 9 months ago
@All, Thanks to Mark for allowing me to guest post here. Thanks for all of you comments. Kudos to MDA readers for being open to novel ideas. For those that are doubters, I can only say that I would not want you to take anything just on my say-so. If you are so inclined, give it a try and see for yourself. We have been training clients in this fashion since 1997. We have made many tweaks to the process along the way, but nothing has made as big a difference as incorporating the Primal Blueprint with our clients. I… Read more »
mcgragor
mcgragor
4 years 9 months ago
Dr. Mcguff, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt as to why my post didn’t make it on your website-I appreciate that you responded here and have given me an opportunity. You said- “your muscular response to BBS or any other adequate resistance training protocol is almost entirely determined by genetic elements” I couldn’t agree more-I’ve studied McRobert, Hutchins, Darden, Hahn, Jones, etc… BUT, this muscular response is “linked” to the ability to gain weight and put weight on the bar. The argument is always train hard, eat well, and allow adequate rest. Every workout if you can ad… Read more »
Christoph Dollis
Christoph Dollis
4 years 8 months ago

I would look forward to Dr. McGuff’s contemplation and thought on this comment.

steve
steve
4 years 2 months ago

hey mcgragor,

i’ve struggled for muscle mass since I started working out 2-3 years. any chance I could contact you via email or something and get a little more information from you on what you did.

from what you wrote, it just seems like you bulked up with food, worked out a little, and then cut down…which worked wonders.

Sonia
Sonia
4 years 9 months ago
I’ve been doing BBS for about eight weeks now. I’m 46 and I’ve done all kinds of exercise programs over the years. I had been sedentary for at least 10 months when I started. I have to say that I can really feel my muscles getting harder and despite a generous layer of fat on my legs, I can see the muscle development when I flex. I am using a trainer because I don’t think I could achieve the kind of failure described in the book on my own. There is an intense mental discipline involved in this that is… Read more »
wpDiscuz