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10x3 For Fat Loss by Chad Waterbury

10x3 For Fat Loss by Chad Waterbury

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Published by Tim Donahey
10 x 3 For Fat Loss
by Chad Waterbury


The Magic of 10 x 3

My name seems to be synonymous with the 10 x 3 training method. In fact, when I first ran into John Berardi at a Piggly Wiggly in Shreveport, he said, "Hey, aren't you that 10 x 3 guy?" I carefully placed the jumbo-sized container of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food back into the freezer and replied with a nod.

Believe it or not, I did invent the 10 x 3 training parameters. I also invented the steam engine, the light bulb, Post-it notes, twist ties, nipple tassels, and the Internet.

Ah hell, I've gotta come clean: I didn't invent the 10 x 3 training method, but I believe I helped make it more popular. Indeed, it's one of the most effective set of parameters I've ever used, and the percentage of my clients who respond well to it is higher than any other method I prescribe.

What's so damn special about doing ten sets of three reps anyway? Honestly, I don't know, but the loading/volume combination seems to hit a "sweet spot" with most lifters. Whether the effectiveness is due to the sets, reps, loading, or rest periods is beyond what I'm willing to figure out, but it works — hella good.


But Does It Work For Fat Loss?

Oftentimes, when an advanced trainee hires me to add muscle, I'll start him on the 10 x 3 system by using compound exercises and medium-duration rest periods. His eating plan would consist of slightly above maintenance calories and the frequency of training would be 2-3 times per week, per body part.

Surprisingly, it wasn't until last year that I started experimenting with 10 x 3 for fat loss. Although I'd been using the system for over five years, I always avoided 10 x 3 with my clients who wanted to drop to single digit body fat. Why?

First off, trainees often get very sore when they embark on the 10 x 3 method. This soreness is usually due to them performing a set/rep volume that's larger than they're accustomed to with about 80% of 1RM (one rep max). After all, most trainees equate larger loads with lower volumes (3 x 3, 5 x 3, etc.).

Second, I often prescribed a load that caused my clients to be at or near failure during the last rep of the last set. This loading prescription often induced considerable fatigue accumulation (not bad for hypertrophy, but not good during dieting phases).

Third, I usually prescribed a progression that consisted of a 2-3% load increase with each subsequent workout. Anyone who's been on a fat loss eating plan knows how difficult it is to gain maximal strength while in such a deprived state.

Finally, I figured the combination of loading, frequency, and fatigue accumulation was excessive for anyone trying to lose fat. Nevertheless, I decided to address the 10 x 3 and fat loss issue. So, I pulled out the ol' thinking cap and went to the drawing board to find a solution.

Basically, I was looking for an effective "middle ground" that would take advantage of the highly effective 10 x 3 system, while managing the fatigue factor since hypo-maintenance eating plans impede performance and recovery. What I discovered was incredible, but it took some work.



Modifications for Rapid Fat Loss

The first issue I needed to address was loading. Even though a load of 80-85% of 1RM was great for hypertrophy, it needed to be adjusted during periods of restricted calories. I knew I needed to keep the load as high as possible to preserve maximal strength, but I didn't want to push the intensity level too high. Therefore, I discovered that a loading of 75% of 1RM, or a 10 repetition maximum was ideal.

Second, the cardiovascular demand of the workout needed to be enhanced. Yes, I know, weight-training doesn't burn many calories, but that doesn't mean that steps shouldn't be taken to increase caloric expenditure. As such, I shortened the rest periods from 70-90 seconds to 30-45 seconds.

Third, a frequency of three sessions per week, per muscle group, was excessive for a fat loss plan. Sure, I could've de
10 x 3 For Fat Loss
by Chad Waterbury


The Magic of 10 x 3

My name seems to be synonymous with the 10 x 3 training method. In fact, when I first ran into John Berardi at a Piggly Wiggly in Shreveport, he said, "Hey, aren't you that 10 x 3 guy?" I carefully placed the jumbo-sized container of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food back into the freezer and replied with a nod.

Believe it or not, I did invent the 10 x 3 training parameters. I also invented the steam engine, the light bulb, Post-it notes, twist ties, nipple tassels, and the Internet.

Ah hell, I've gotta come clean: I didn't invent the 10 x 3 training method, but I believe I helped make it more popular. Indeed, it's one of the most effective set of parameters I've ever used, and the percentage of my clients who respond well to it is higher than any other method I prescribe.

What's so damn special about doing ten sets of three reps anyway? Honestly, I don't know, but the loading/volume combination seems to hit a "sweet spot" with most lifters. Whether the effectiveness is due to the sets, reps, loading, or rest periods is beyond what I'm willing to figure out, but it works — hella good.


But Does It Work For Fat Loss?

Oftentimes, when an advanced trainee hires me to add muscle, I'll start him on the 10 x 3 system by using compound exercises and medium-duration rest periods. His eating plan would consist of slightly above maintenance calories and the frequency of training would be 2-3 times per week, per body part.

Surprisingly, it wasn't until last year that I started experimenting with 10 x 3 for fat loss. Although I'd been using the system for over five years, I always avoided 10 x 3 with my clients who wanted to drop to single digit body fat. Why?

First off, trainees often get very sore when they embark on the 10 x 3 method. This soreness is usually due to them performing a set/rep volume that's larger than they're accustomed to with about 80% of 1RM (one rep max). After all, most trainees equate larger loads with lower volumes (3 x 3, 5 x 3, etc.).

Second, I often prescribed a load that caused my clients to be at or near failure during the last rep of the last set. This loading prescription often induced considerable fatigue accumulation (not bad for hypertrophy, but not good during dieting phases).

Third, I usually prescribed a progression that consisted of a 2-3% load increase with each subsequent workout. Anyone who's been on a fat loss eating plan knows how difficult it is to gain maximal strength while in such a deprived state.

Finally, I figured the combination of loading, frequency, and fatigue accumulation was excessive for anyone trying to lose fat. Nevertheless, I decided to address the 10 x 3 and fat loss issue. So, I pulled out the ol' thinking cap and went to the drawing board to find a solution.

Basically, I was looking for an effective "middle ground" that would take advantage of the highly effective 10 x 3 system, while managing the fatigue factor since hypo-maintenance eating plans impede performance and recovery. What I discovered was incredible, but it took some work.



Modifications for Rapid Fat Loss

The first issue I needed to address was loading. Even though a load of 80-85% of 1RM was great for hypertrophy, it needed to be adjusted during periods of restricted calories. I knew I needed to keep the load as high as possible to preserve maximal strength, but I didn't want to push the intensity level too high. Therefore, I discovered that a loading of 75% of 1RM, or a 10 repetition maximum was ideal.

Second, the cardiovascular demand of the workout needed to be enhanced. Yes, I know, weight-training doesn't burn many calories, but that doesn't mean that steps shouldn't be taken to increase caloric expenditure. As such, I shortened the rest periods from 70-90 seconds to 30-45 seconds.

Third, a frequency of three sessions per week, per muscle group, was excessive for a fat loss plan. Sure, I could've de

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Published by: Tim Donahey on Dec 15, 2008
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