Train Loco readers, it’s that time of the month again! We have an awesome and informative interview with the professor, researcher, trainer, speaker, author, and consultant, Brad Schoenfeld. We have been following Brad’s work the past couple of years now and can honestly say he has made a huge impact on our education. Through his articles, peer-reviewed journals, book, and podcasts. Brad is a true expert and educator in the fitness industry, a humble guy, and someone we have a ton of respect for, and look up to as a mentor. Without further ado, let us introduce to you the great Brad Schoenfeld.
-Eric and Chris
Could you give us a little background info on who Brad Schoenfeld is?
Above all, I’m an educator. This encompasses many different aspects of fitness including being a professor, researcher, trainer, speaker, author, and consultant. I have a master’s degree from the University of Texas in exercise science and a PhD from Rocky Mountain University where my focus was on the impact of resistance training variables on muscular adaptations. I’ve published over 40 peer-reviewed journal papers and currently serve as the assistant editor-in-chief for the NSCA Strength and Conditioning Journal. Those interested can read my full bio on my site: www.lookgreatnaked.com
You have a popular book that you released, “Max Muscle Plan,” can you tell our readers a little bit about what inspired you to start it and what it consists of?
The book was the culmination of years of both research and practical experience. As a former bodybuilder, I’d been frustrated by the lack of research-based material on training for maximal muscle growth. Until publication of my book, we had largely relied on gym lore and bro-science to dictate optimal training methods. As a student of science, this was unacceptable to me. Exercise is both a science and an art; but you can’t separate the art from the underlying science. So I set out to write a book that was grounded in what we know from current science and then provide insight into my extensive experience working with elite physique athletes. I’m very proud of how the final product turned out.
In your book, Chapter 2 talks about “Max Periodization.” Can you tell our readers a little bit about what this entails of?
Sure. In simple terms, periodization refers to the manipulation of training variables (such as reps, sets, and rest intervals), which are varied over time to optimize a training effect. The approach that I outline in the MAX Muscle Plan is a hybrid periodized program modeled with the “block” periodization concept. It begins with an 8 week strength phase, then moves to a 4 week metabolic phase, and concludes with a 12 week hypertrophy phase. Each phase is designed to build on the one preceding it. Within these phases, I employ a “step-loading” approach that varies intensity over the course of a training block (phases are subdivided into one month “blocks”). For example, in the hypertrophy phase reps will be 10-12 the first week, 8-10 reps the second week, and then 6-8 reps in the third week. This is then followed with a week of “unloading” where intensity is decreased to facilitate restoration and recuperation. The end result is a wave-like loading pattern that provides and optimal combination of intensity and recuperation. In addition, volume is systematically increased over the course of each block. This is primarily accomplished through an increase in training frequency as opposed to increases in the number of sets per session. As with intensity, the frequency of training is reduced during the unloading periods to allow for recovery. I’ve found this model extremely successful for maximizing hypertrophy in a broad range of clients–from recreational lifters to elite bodybuilders.
How does it feel knowing you are Dr. Brad Schoenfeld now? Can you tell us what it meant to you to complete your PhD?
Attaining my doctorate was one of the most gratifying accomplishments in my life. So much hard work, so many personal sacrifices made to attain the degree. But once I defended my dissertation and my chair said, “Congratulations Dr. Schoenfeld,” it was all worth it in spades.
What is your favorite lift and why?
I don’t look at exercise in terms of “favorites.” Training is more of a “job” to me. I don’t lift for enjoyment; I do it because it’s important to pretty much every aspect of my physical being. But lifting is a grind. I train very hard and, after more than a couple decades of training, it’s not all that fun while I’m pushing through a set. There are exercises that just don’t feel right to me so I don’t perform them, but given that my goal is maximizing hypertrophy, I employ a variety of compound and single-joint lifts in a systematic rotation to bring about results.
Where can our readers and supporters find your book, “Max Muscle Plan?”
The book is available at all major bookstores as well as on Amazon.com at the following link:
Where can our readers and supporters follow you and your work?
I have a website with an active blog. I’m also active on Facebook and Twitter. Below are the links:
Thanks for taking the time to let us interview you Brad.