Three Things I Learned From Strength Coach Charles Poliquin

This post is about some valuable knowledge I gained from Strength Coach Charles Polinquin

This article is in honor of Strength Training legend Charles Poliquin. Poliquin died last September after decades of contribution to the fitness industry. Poliquin was one of the most well known and respected strength coaches. He trained olympic athletes, bodybuilders, and powerlifters. He was extremely knowledgeable in fitness and I learned a lot from him and his team. I might not have progressed as much as I have if it wasn’t for him.

Sprint Workouts Are Not All Built The Same

I learned that not all sprint workouts were built the same. In the early days of my fitness journey, I knew that sprints were a great exercise to do. They burn fat, build muscle, and increase athleticism. I used to just sprint thinking that was enough to get all these benefits. I’m sure the sprints I did helped me make improvements int these areas but I wasn’t aware that different sprint workouts emphasized different areas of fitness. One day I stumbled upon an old sprint workout article on one of Poliquin’s websites. I saw different ways to sprint to maximize certain goals.

I’ve shared some of these goal specific sprint workouts in previous posts. These workouts have helped me when focusing on different aspects of fitness. I learned how to sprint specifically for athletic performance, fat loss, and muscle gain. Knowledge is power.


Different Strength Building Rep and Set Schemes

The great Charles Poliquin thought me different strength building methods that have helped me tremendously.  When I started focusing on strength, I just focused on the regular progressive overload approach. This approach works but sometimes you have to mix things up, especially if progress starts stalling. One of them is Cluster Sets. I mentioned cluster sets before but it’s worth repeating. Cluster sets are sets within a set.

An example is if you’re comfortable doing three reps per set for an exercise. Instead of doing all three reps continuously, you’ll stop at two reps rest for 20 seconds and do another rep. By taking short rests during each set, you’ll find yourself being able to do more reps per set and more reps overall.

Another strength building protocol I learned from him is wave loading. I’ve used wave loading. Wave loading is a way to help you work up to a new max. I use wave loading whenever I want to test a new max.

1st Wave:

  • 3 reps at 90% of one rep max
  • Three minute rest
  • Two reps at 95% of one rep max
  • Three minute rest
  • One rep at 98% of one rep max
  • Three minute rest

2nd Wave:

  • Same number of reps and rest time, the only difference is you’ll add five pounds to each set.

3rd Wave, if you have enough left in the tank:

  • Same as second wave but with another five pound increase in weights.

Earn Your Carbs

The idea behind earn your carbs is you should only be eating carbs on days you do challenging workouts. Since carbs are used for energy, there’s no point in eating a bunch of carbs if you’re sitting on the couch all day. You don’t need energy to watch TV. This idea focuses mainly on simple carbs like rice, pasta, and bread. since they’re the ones that contribute mostly to fat loss. You can still get carbs from fruit and beans.

This is one of the simplest pieces of advice for anyone trying to lose fat.I try to follow this principle as best as I can but I love eating carbs. I’m not perfect.

Closing Thoughts

As a student of strength, I’m truly grateful for the knowledge that Charles Poliquin has shared. I’ve made great progress in my fitness journey thanks to him. He’ll always be a legend in the fitness world.

Below are links from two of his main sites.

Author: Chris Ameto

I'm passionate about health and fitness. I want to use my personal experience and countless hours of research to help you reach your fitness goals.

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