Charles Poliquin - Justified criticism?

SimonSams's picture

I have no doubt this guy knows his fair share about training and nutrition. I have no doubt he is among the most qualified. But consider the following points re: Poliquin.

I have highlighted the parts to which I call your attention.

1.) ""If your goal is to fit into Armani's midriff-baring design, Charles Poliquin believes the key to a flat stomach lies in diet, strength training and a little relaxation. "Stress affects the way we store fat," explains Poliquin, who is considered one of the world's most successful strength coaches. "Women who have trouble losing weight in their abdominal region have high levels of cortisol as a result of stress." Poliquin adds that applying licorice root gel on your abs every morning will help your hormones reset themselves. If you use a little every morning, you'll see results in 10 to 14 days.""

2.) "Adam Nelson, two-time Olympic silver medalist in the shot put, is an example of an elite athlete who neglected his rotator cuff development. One exercise he could not do because it caused so much pain was the power snatch. After several weeks of performing external rotator cuff work I prescribed, he power snatched 286 pounds for 3 reps. In fact, working these muscles also helped his pressing strength, because after six months of training he increased his incline bench press, using a 3-inch-thick bar, from 285 pounds to 525!"

3.) "I realize how anabolic food is every time I go teach in the Dominican Republic. Last time I taught a Biosignature Modulation course in the DR, the students took my body fat Monday morning. I was at 8% and weighed 198 pounds.

Now, there's no such thing as grain-fed in the DR; they can't afford it, so cows eat grass. And if you eat a mango over there you have to eat it over a sink because it's so juicy. The eggs too are far more anabolic. They're orange and full of omega-3s, like all eggs naturally were thousands of years ago.

A DR avocado tastes like butter it's so rich in nutrients. Eating avocados over here is like eating fiberglass once you've had a DR avocado. It's like having sex with Pamela Anderson then having to have sex with Rosie O'Donnell.

Anyway, five days later, after eating only Dominican Republic foods, I weighed 209 at 6% body fat. My business partner came to finish the seminar, took one look at me and said, "What happened to you?!"

cliffs: charles gained 13 lbs of lean mass in 5 days from eating secret Dominician food.

4.) Statement by Charles:
"If you have trouble falling asleep at night, your workout intensity is too high. If you wake up feeling like you didn't get enough sleep, your volume is too high."
- I assume this was given in context so I didn't bold anything. If it wasn't then everyone will agree he may be jumping to conclusions.
I do get what he is saying and I think it may be true.

5) Quote by someone on bb.com forum: "Oh man, in the new Ironman Poliquin has some real doosies. Like: Deep connective tissue massage can increase strength 2-10%, even in elite athletes."
- my question here is if you're dealing with the top of the pop, how many are going to get direct results from deep tissue work in the form of 10%. Again... I know from guys like doc and todd and others that deep tissue is good and can work, but these figures - like many of Charles' - seem outrageous. In any event I think he should specicy that 10% would be the rare exception rather than anything resembling a norm. But this is just my guesswork as a layman.

6.) Some other poster on bb.com: "I've read him recommend something like 30-40g fish oil per day.
Are there any studies or anecdotal evidence other than from Charles' archives that back up this recommendation?

7.) "If asparagus makes your urine smell you are deficient in Vitamin B9 and B12. Taking these B vitamins will help prevent Alzheimer's"
- Are there sound medical grounds for backing this`?

8.) "However, there's some evidence to suggest that the leg press might result in more hypertrophy of the quadriceps. One study showed that for the same number of reps, the leg press resulted in a higher amount of GH being produced than squats. As possible evidence, the leg press is the exercise of choice when it comes to speed skating, and I've personally worked with speed skaters whose legs made Tom Platz's look like Woody Allen's. While I'm loathe to recommend leg presses instead of squats, I merely present it as an interesting discussion point."
--- this one speaks for itself!!!!! to quote Doc, UGH! It's basically disrespectful.

9.) A friend of mine mentioned that Charles argued that the stomach acid in (most?) humans is too high/pH too low, which results in sub-par uptake of nutrition in foods. My friend then mentioned that medical research conducted when examining how ulcer medicine affected digestion completely counter Charles' statements.

I have also read much criticism that Charles "pushes" the very supplements he himself sells (which I guess in some ways i a general t-nation problem).

SimonSams's picture

More:

10.) ""Canada and Norway are among the toughest countries with respect to anti-doping enforcement. In the pro sports ranks, the NFL is the toughest. Interestingly, major league baseball has a serious drug problem, but it's not anabolics; it's amphetamines! Apparently, baseball is so boring even the players have trouble staying awake.
""
--- Can someone direct me to all these people who have been caught using amphetamines?

11.) ""Compared to other pro sports, soccer is a good 45 years behind in terms of training methodology. Charles says that the players are too weak, too aerobically fit, and have no power. They do, however, deliver headbutts with a zeal that would make Goldberg proud.""

"the players" is a very broad statement. Appearently Charles could make a whole new revolution in soccer...if of course you pay his fees to have him come teach the team.

Pardon my rhetoric, but the only people I see making as outrageous claims as Charles are either crazy or have something to sell. Again I DO NOT argue that he doesn't make many valid points. I do point out though that he also makes many OUTRAGEOUS CLAIMS.

It's nice to know all I have to do is fly to the Dominican republic and I'll gain 13 lbs of lean muscle in 5 days. But we can probably assume there isn't a direct drop off after 5 days. Maybe if I stay 10 days I'll gain 20 lbs of muscle. Not 10 grams of testosterone/week could do the same...

SimonSams's picture

My impression - I may be

My impression - I may be wrong - is that Poliquin has points and arguments behind everything he says. Even all the "outrageous" stuff.

... it just comes out exaggerated.

A lot of this stuff

A lot of this stuff definitely seems a little crazy. I mean, a 285 incline press to a 525 incline press in 6 months? If that actually did happen, how much of that was just relearning the movement. I mean, how much had that guy incline pressed before he go to CP. 505?

It should be noted that he does keep records of every client on everything with extraordianry detail, and a lot of the things he says are based on all of those records. I don't think he's going by studies done by scientists, but by looking at all of his records, which are basically studies.

I recall in an article

I recall in an article Charles Poliquin claimed that our ancestors used to be bigger than us and more muscular than us and he used this as an idea to support his claims on how wonderful fish oils were supposed to be, because the creatures he was talking about were supposed to be scavengers or something like that and they had to eat brains and bone marrow.

Based on what I read from National Geographic, the creatures Charles talked about actually fit the description of neanderthals, creatures that were more muscular than us, needed twice as many calories than us, and their diet consisted of mostly meat. I would imagine that due to the limited resources they probably ate brains and bone marrow as well. Additionally it was said that during the same time of neanderthals, modern humans had a more diverse diet (just like we do now) because they had the correct societal structures to do gathering as well as hunting and they didn't need to hunt as much because their calorie intake was half that of neanderthals.

Well, according to all the most recent scientific claims I have seen on this subject, neanderthals and modern humans are both divergent species from something else. That means that neanderthals were not our ancestors. They are actually a significantly different species than us, which means it's completely silly to compare their diet to what we should be eating.
Additionally, Charles made it seem like the creatures he was talking about were more muscular because they had more omega 3's in their diet. Well, neanderthals actually were more muscular because they needed to be because of where they lived; it as an evolutionary factor that had nothing to do with diet.

I don't remember if Charles exactly mentioned neanderthals in his article. But I'm pretty sure that was what he was talking about; as I said, neanderthal fit the picture. And if he was, then he was wrong.

Hey man, I'm not saying omega 3's aren't good for you. I mean, countless studies point to reason that it's good for you. As for Charles Poliqin, does extrapolation and incorrect data come to mind?

And yes, in a lot of his articles he has to mention some sort of supplement that's supposed to work. How about hot rox extreme for example? It will help you loose water weight, but that's it; the fat loss claims are bologna.

Whether or not Charles knows what he is talking about, he has to make a living. And t-nation pays him. So her has to come up with new articles all the time and they have to have the ads in them. That's life. Charles has definitely written some good reads, but I found out for myself later on that training and making gains is definitely a lot more simple than what everyone makes it out to be.

Imagine a balloon and let

Imagine a balloon and let its contents represent exercise science. In the early days the balloon was limp and lots of 'science' could be shoved into it. Now it is taught and very very very cramped. Filling it any further is increasingly more difficult because the bulk of what is there to discover for this particular balloon has already been discovered. I think that is why outrageous claims have to be made for things that make sense otherwise. Eg better food in dominican republic... well DER... better food makes you better...... i mean come on.

To have any real chance at being a discoverer or an investigator of new science and ideas you need a new balloon. Personally i see that balloon and field being genetic research and application.

I am under the impression that poliquin, aside from his good thoughts, is just really really desperate to create heaps of original content... i cant see that happening for real.

NOTE: I do understand that there is plenty of research being done in the highest limits of the field of exercise science for elite athletes, but that by no means constitutes a bulk of useful information, just a minor amount of highly specialized information that very few people reading T-mag, etc could possibly care about or use.

This isn't an attack on him or anyone else for that matter, the guy knows his stuff. His writing style just seems to carry the message that he is really desperate to be a trend setter or a guy with new ideas to do the same old thing.

;----------------------------------------------------
#strongman on EFNet
(nvm quall, hes our resident anti-troll)

Todd Wilson's picture

1.) ""If your goal is to fit

1.) ""If your goal is to fit into Armani's midriff-baring design, Charles Poliquin believes the key to a flat stomach lies in diet, strength training and a little relaxation. "Stress affects the way we store fat," explains Poliquin, who is considered one of the world's most successful strength coaches. "Women who have trouble losing weight in their abdominal region have high levels of cortisol as a result of stress." Poliquin adds that applying licorice root gel on your abs every morning will help your hormones reset themselves. If you use a little every morning, you'll see results in 10 to 14 days.""

### This is all true.

2.) "Adam Nelson, two-time Olympic silver medalist in the shot put, is an example of an elite athlete who neglected his rotator cuff development. One exercise he could not do because it caused so much pain was the power snatch. After several weeks of performing external rotator cuff work I prescribed, he power snatched 286 pounds for 3 reps. In fact, working these muscles also helped his pressing strength, because after six months of training he increased his incline bench press, using a 3-inch-thick bar, from 285 pounds to 525!"

### Bigger, Faster, Stronger had a good article on Nelson a few years ago. I talk about balance on this forum a lot. People who email me and want me to help them with programs a lot of times get pissed because I don't generally write out a program without being provided some strength ratio information. The body works as a finely tuned unit. A cog not working in the right spot, will affect a sprocket somewhere else. Nelson was a fairly strong athlete already. Once he got balanced in his upper extremity musculature his strength skyrocketed. I have never seen personally with someone I worked with a strength increase like that. But I have never worked with someone who had the genetics to be one of the top 3 shot putters in the world for close to a decade either. But I have seen staggering increases in strength from simply working the external rotators of an athlete, or from eliminating benching and doubling upper back volume, etc. Elite athletes have elite accomplishments. After more notoriety came from writing for T-mag, and he began working with more genetically gifted clientele, Chris Thibaudeau noticed this. Genetic freaks do things the rest of us can only marvel at.

3.) "I realize how anabolic food is every time I go teach in the Dominican Republic. Last time I taught a Biosignature Modulation course in the DR, the students took my body fat Monday morning. I was at 8% and weighed 198 pounds.

Now, there's no such thing as grain-fed in the DR; they can't afford it, so cows eat grass. And if you eat a mango over there you have to eat it over a sink because it's so juicy. The eggs too are far more anabolic. They're orange and full of omega-3s, like all eggs naturally were thousands of years ago.

A DR avocado tastes like butter it's so rich in nutrients. Eating avocados over here is like eating fiberglass once you've had a DR avocado. It's like having sex with Pamela Anderson then having to have sex with Rosie O'Donnell.

Anyway, five days later, after eating only Dominican Republic foods, I weighed 209 at 6% body fat. My business partner came to finish the seminar, took one look at me and said, "What happened to you?!"

cliffs: charles gained 13 lbs of lean mass in 5 days from eating secret Dominician food.

### This is an ignorant criticism. He basically related how eating organic food made a big difference in a short amount of time. I mean, was it 13 lbs. exactly? I didn't weight him. But the only real argument you have is to question the efficacy of organic eating on health. That or just say you don't believe the guy.

4.) Statement by Charles:
"If you have trouble falling asleep at night, your workout intensity is too high. If you wake up feeling like you didn't get enough sleep, your volume is too high."
- I assume this was given in context so I didn't bold anything. If it wasn't then everyone will agree he may be jumping to conclusions.
I do get what he is saying and I think it may be true.

### Makes since......high intensity will have the nervous system on edge. High volume can be draining to the thyroid hormones. He never said that those are the only reasons you may have trouble going to sleep or waking up.

5) Quote by someone on bb.com forum: "Oh man, in the new Ironman Poliquin has some real doosies. Like: Deep connective tissue massage can increase strength 2-10%, even in elite athletes."
- my question here is if you're dealing with the top of the pop, how many are going to get direct results from deep tissue work in the form of 10%. Again... I know from guys like doc and todd and others that deep tissue is good and can work, but these figures - like many of Charles' - seem outrageous. In any event I think he should specicy that 10% would be the rare exception rather than anything resembling a norm. But this is just my guesswork as a layman.

### Absolutely true! Better stated, it doesn't result in an increase in strength, but it prevents adhesion build up, scar tissue, tight fascia, etc. from causing that 2%-10% decrease in strength. Even with relatively healthy shoulders, the 6 weeks after my first ART treatment I made very quick gains in my incline press.

6.) Some other poster on bb.com: "I've read him recommend something like 30-40g fish oil per day.
Are there any studies or anecdotal evidence other than from Charles' archives that back up this recommendation?

### How much would you get if instead of cow and chicken you ate fish 4 days a week? I mean this is common sense. What's more, we use to get more Omega 3s from dairy and beef before we started feeding them grain.

7.) "If asparagus makes your urine smell you are deficient in Vitamin B9 and B12. Taking these B vitamins will help prevent Alzheimer's"
- Are there sound medical grounds for backing this`?

### This is pretty commonly known and accepted.

8.) "However, there's some evidence to suggest that the leg press might result in more hypertrophy of the quadriceps. One study showed that for the same number of reps, the leg press resulted in a higher amount of GH being produced than squats. As possible evidence, the leg press is the exercise of choice when it comes to speed skating, and I've personally worked with speed skaters whose legs made Tom Platz's look like Woody Allen's. While I'm loathe to recommend leg presses instead of squats, I merely present it as an interesting discussion point."
--- this one speaks for itself!!!!! to quote Doc, UGH! It's basically disrespectful.

### He mentioned this on t-mag.........he expressly stated that he didn't necessarily agree with it, and that he still felt that squats were the quad movement of choice......though obviously that wasn't quoted. As for a viable movement for speed skaters.....At a seminar I attended Charles related a story of how his speed skaters were winning Olympic and World championship medals consistently, but in an effort to improve even further, he got away from prioritizing the low back in their training......then they all cam in second one year. Therefore, the next year, he went back to prioritizing the low back. When prioritizing the low back, quad dominant movements can at times become problematic if you need to take some load off of the low back. Obviously leg presses could be an option at times. But understand, regardless of how much he uses the leg press, just look up some of his programs online. You'll see the squat in 20-50 programs for everyone one that list the leg press as a movement......therefore, don't try to jump to too much of a conclusion here.

9.) A friend of mine mentioned that Charles argued that the stomach acid in (most?) humans is too high/pH too low, which results in sub-par uptake of nutrition in foods. My friend then mentioned that medical research conducted when examining how ulcer medicine affected digestion completely counter Charles' statements.

I have also read much criticism that Charles "pushes" the very supplements he himself sells (which I guess in some ways i a general t-nation problem).

### If I remember right, this was a bogus exchange on the t-mag forums. The fact is that gut health is a serious issue, and most people do have low stomach acid. I have no way of knowing what this guy was talking about with regards to ulcer medications, but ulcers definitely don't from someone merely having high HCl in the stomach. It's typically a host of unhealthy variables that contribute.

### And yeah, he sells supplements. So? He recommends them because he believes in their efficacy. Doc does too. Both are guilty of teaching people to fish so to speak when it comes to lifting weights. If you run a fish market, teaching people to fish is bad business, because they will not be repeat customers, but if you also sale bait and tackle, then they will come back to buy products even though they already know how to fish. Just as fisherman need bait and tackle, someone serious about improving their health and fitness is going to need supplements. Why is someone a bad guy for recommending and using products they believe in? Furthermore, it's dumb and bad business to have a platform like there's in which thousands take your advice, and then have them go to other places to buy products that you use. In addition.....I've been aware of Charles and his Writings for 10+ years now.... I cannot count the articles, interviews, etc. in which he has mentioned good brands or sources of supplements that increased a companies sales when he didn't get a dime from it. No doubt Doc did the same thing before he decided he could offer better supplements at similar prices. It just makes sense from a business standpoint.

10.) ""Canada and Norway are among the toughest countries with respect to anti-doping enforcement. In the pro sports ranks, the NFL is the toughest. Interestingly, major league baseball has a serious drug problem, but it's not anabolics; it's amphetamines! Apparently, baseball is so boring even the players have trouble staying awake.
""
--- Can someone direct me to all these people who have been caught using amphetamines?

#### If they were being caught it wouldn't be a problem would it?

11.) ""Compared to other pro sports, soccer is a good 45 years behind in terms of training methodology. Charles says that the players are too weak, too aerobically fit, and have no power. They do, however, deliver headbutts with a zeal that would make Goldberg proud.""

"the players" is a very broad statement. Appearently Charles could make a whole new revolution in soccer...if of course you pay his fees to have him come teach the team.

### Frankly, most ACSM personal trainers could makes waives in most soccer leagues. His assertions about soccer are true. Baseball is only a little ahead of them. I had a freind who is a baseball coach argue with me the other day that baseball players as a group were in great shape! Whatever! If you lift weights, and your shoulder width is wider than your waist, you are in as good or better shape than most baseball players.

Pardon my rhetoric, but the only people I see making as outrageous claims as Charles are either crazy or have something to sell. Again I DO NOT argue that he doesn't make many valid points. I do point out though that he also makes many OUTRAGEOUS CLAIMS.

### First, I don't see too much I consider outrageous when you look at the info presented from a knowledgeable, unbiased, and contextual light. What's more outrageous is people out there making claims on programs and systems that in no way work. They get some mediocre results with rank beginners and use that as their proof. That's more outlandish that if Charles were to say that he trained a sloth to outrun Bolt.

It's nice to know all I have to do is fly to the Dominican republic and I'll gain 13 lbs of lean muscle in 5 days. But we can probably assume there isn't a direct drop off after 5 days. Maybe if I stay 10 days I'll gain 20 lbs of muscle. Not 10 grams of testosterone/week could do the same...

SimonSams's picture

Quote:

Quote:
"applying licorice root gel on your abs every morning will help your hormones reset themselves. If you use a little every morning, you'll see results in 10 to 14 days.""

### This is all true."

Applying licorice root gel on my abs every morning will help my hormones reset themselves?
Hey if it's true, I'll do it. But how do I know it's true? It does sound a little out there, don't you think.

Quote:
### This is an ignorant criticism. He basically related how eating organic food made a big difference in a short amount of time. I mean, was it 13 lbs. exactly? I didn't weight him. But the only real argument you have is to question the efficacy of organic eating on health. That or just say you don't believe the guy.

If you look at the BW numbers and BF% numbers he gives then yes it comes out to 10+ lbs, and that's being conversative. NO ONE is in such a short time going to gain that much lean mass from eating organic food or from injecting Jay Cutlers stack. You know this as well as I do...no one is going to add that much lean tissue that quick - it's simply impossible, perhaps save for that myostatin-deficient german baby.
Actually I direct no criticism of organic food being good... I direct criticism and questions towards his impossible claims of adding that much lean mass that quick. I almost get the impression that one shouldn't question him. But at one point should one then? 10 lbs in 5 days? 15 lbs? 20 lbs? 30 lbs?
FACT: Charles claims to have gained 10+ lbs of lean mass in 5 days eating organic food.
Fact: Impossible.

Quote:
### How much would you get if instead of cow and chicken you ate fish 4 days a week? I mean this is common sense. What's more, we use to get more Omega 3s from dairy and beef before we started feeding them grain.

Yeah but 30-40g of fish oils? Does it not also carry with it possibly bad effects?

Quote:
### He mentioned this on t-mag.........he expressly stated that he didn't necessarily agree with it, and that he still felt that squats were the quad movement of choice......though obviously that wasn't quoted. As for a viable movement for speed skaters.....At a seminar I attended Charles related a story of how his speed skaters were winning Olympic and World championship medals consistently, but in an effort to improve even further, he got away from prioritizing the low back in their training......then they all cam in second one year. Therefore, the next year, he went back to prioritizing the low back. When prioritizing the low back, quad dominant movements can at times become problematic if you need to take some load off of the low back. Obviously leg presses could be an option at times. But understand, regardless of how much he uses the leg press, just look up some of his programs online. You'll see the squat in 20-50 programs for everyone one that list the leg press as a movement......therefore, don't try to jump to too much of a conclusion here.

I am arguing on the point about tom platz, not the worth of doing leg presses. I think his rhetoric about tom platz is downright disrespectful, and you and I know it to be a flat out lie/obvious exaggeration.

When Charles Poliquin says he's worked with speed skaters who made tom platz's legs look like woody allens...what is his point?

Obviously they didn't. So, why does he write it? That's the problem I get from his rhetoric. "everybody else is doing it wrong". Tom appearently should've just been trained by Charles doing leg presses and he wouldn't have had matchstick legs...

you wil agree with me this is a little disrespectful?

Quote:
### If I remember right, this was a bogus exchange on the t-mag forums. The fact is that gut health is a serious issue, and most people do have low stomach acid. I have no way of knowing what this guy was talking about with regards to ulcer medications, but ulcers definitely don't from someone merely having high HCl in the stomach. It's typically a host of unhealthy variables that contribute.

Ok I'll try to ask him later and get him to elaborate, maybe come on here and explain it. I don't know the details so I shouldn't comment any further on it right now. But if it was a bogus exchange then I assume that means he doesn't stand by it now.

Quote:
#### If they were being caught it wouldn't be a problem would it?

No, but in that case he has inside knowledge we don't Smiling

Re: that shotputter, obviously doing RC work alone is not gonna add 240 lbs to a bench press. That's his writing style I am critical of, it's almost as if he is implying cause (as the only or siginificant cause).

SimonSams's picture

Follow ups: - if baseball

Follow ups:

- if baseball guys were using so much amph. as Charles points out..why don't they get caught? They would be using them during their games. They are tested during games and amph. can be traced 2-5 days following. So, where are all these amph. cases?

- fish oil: Have there NOT been studies done testing high doses that found no improvements over low doses?
Why do you recommend 10-15 grams then Smiling
And from an evolutionary perspective is it realistic that cavemen ate 30g of fish oil worth of fish on a daily basis? sounds very unrealistic to me.

- re: not sleeping at night due to high volume. I have a girl friend (not girlfriend), working to become an MD who is currently studying hormonal effects of training. She would very much like to see references that thyroid hormones are influenced by volume. I assume that's what we're dealing with... thyroid hormones being "pressed"? As I understand it there is a lot of research on hormonal responses to training, so I assume this should be possible.

SimonSams's picture

ps - here is a collection of

ps - here is a collection of poliquin Q&A

http://rapidshare.com/files/118110810/Q_A_Charles_Poliquin.pdf

Lots of good stuff, good for reading.

um...specifically with

um...specifically with regard to fish oils, its not so much the amount but the ratio. medically the research suggests we start to see health benifits when there is an omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of 3:1 with 1:1 being ideal. so it would depend on how much fat and how much omega 6 your already consuming.

Todd Wilson's picture

Applying licorice root gel

Applying licorice root gel on my abs every morning will help my hormones reset themselves?
Hey if it's true, I'll do it. But how do I know it's true? It does sound a little out there, don't you think.

*** You can't JUST apply licorice root cream. Stop trying to look at things in a vacuum. If you want to know if something is true, research it. Frankly, I have not tried it out, but the information available on it, the logic and reasoning behind all sound reasonable enough that I might. Also, it should be mentioned that it works better for women.

If you look at the BW numbers and BF% numbers he gives then yes it comes out to 10+ lbs, and that's being conversative. NO ONE is in such a short time going to gain that much lean mass from eating organic food or from injecting Jay Cutlers stack. You know this as well as I do...no one is going to add that much lean tissue that quick - it's simply impossible, perhaps save for that myostatin-deficient german baby.

*** Under certain conditions it is possible to put that kind of weight on.

Actually I direct no criticism of organic food being good... I direct criticism and questions towards his impossible claims of adding that much lean mass that quick.

*** Then simply state that you do not believe him.

I almost get the impression that one shouldn't question him.

*** Why the hell not?

But at one point should one then? 10 lbs in 5 days? 15 lbs? 20 lbs? 30 lbs?
FACT: Charles claims to have gained 10+ lbs of lean mass in 5 days eating organic food.
Fact: Impossible.

*** Don't be naive enough to assume that that was the only factor in play. I mean, he may have lifted weights. Possibly been taking other supplements. Again, you can't take a statement out of context and reality, look at it in a vacuum and attempt to come up with a conclusion that is going to pass the test of logic.

Yeah but 30-40g of fish oils?

*** What's the difference of 30-40 grams in a capsule than 30-40 grams from meat in the diet?

Does it not also carry with it possibly bad effects?

*** Not according to empirical evidence or the literature.

I am arguing on the point about tom platz, not the worth of doing leg presses. I think his rhetoric about tom platz is downright disrespectful, and you and I know it to be a flat out lie/obvious exaggeration.

When Charles Poliquin says he's worked with speed skaters who made tom platz's legs look like woody allens...what is his point?

bviously they didn't. So, why does he write it? That's the problem I get from his rhetoric. "everybody else is doing it wrong". Tom appearently should've just been trained by Charles doing leg presses and he wouldn't have had matchstick legs...

you wil agree with me this is a little disrespectful?

*** Well then email Charles and tell him that he's an idiot! Frankly, I took it as how I read it, not as some literal factual statement that Charles is lobbying to be added to the Bible.........in that he was merely pointing out that speed skaters have incredibly hypertrophied quadriceps. Also, I don't doubt that there are some speed skater's that have some quads that frankly were comparable to Platz's, not to mention some weightlifters, shot putters, football players, powerlifters etc. Bodybuilders, even guys like Platz aren't as big as the magazines make them look, but they are very well defined, oiled up, etc. that gives a great visual. Plus most of them are pretty short. Arnold and Ferrigno were virtual giants in the bodybuilding world.

*** But again, I never took it that Charles' was literally saying that he could line up 40 speed skaters and each of them's quads would have outmeasured Platz in his prime. Charles has a dry, sarcastic sense of humor that comes across very entertainingly in a seminar, but people who get anal retentive over any little things he says have a hard time catching it on paper.

#### If they were being caught it wouldn't be a problem would it?

No, but in that case he has inside knowledge we don't Smiling

*** I don't think it's inside knowledge. I mean, I've seen on TV guys chugging red bull like it was beer at a bachelor party. I don't know of anybody who drinks 1 can of red bull at a time. Most are obsessive. Now, Red Bull isn't an amphetamine, but guys looking for an edge may want to try to keep themselves amped high because speed highs be it amphetamines, caffeine or the combination of them, are only fun while you have them. Crashes can be ugly. I mean look "nobody" had knowledge that the Tour de France was the biggest chemistry experiment on earth annually until they found out not one damn rider was clean. I stated that on here years before the drug scandal on the tour occurred. It as amphetamine use in baseball is known. I mean, don't think that Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden were the only players in the 80's doing blow. Hell, they weren't the only Mets! I'll tell you another dirty sport that nobody talks about, but it's well known. Tennis! Also, despite the money and and importance placed on Div. I college football, there are very few DI players who use. Didn't say there were none, but not many. There are plenty of games played between big schools in which every player would test clean. However, you would be hard pressed to find a Div. III game in which every player was clean, as Div III football players are about 10 times more likely to use anabolics than Div I players.

Re: that shotputter, obviously doing RC work alone is not gonna add 240 lbs to a bench press. That's his writing style I am critical of, it's almost as if he is implying cause (as the only or siginificant cause).

*** I call BS on that because I've seen phenomenal improvements when doing something as simple as rotator cuff work. I believe that fully and think that you just don't know what your talking about.

fish oil: Have there NOT been studies done testing high doses that found no improvements over low doses?

*** Yes, and there are studies that find the opposite as well, hence you have to look at the total body of evidence and draw logical conclusions instead of basing a belief on one singular piece of data.

Why do you recommend 10-15 grams then Smiling

*** Because depending on individual diet that's the best starting point in my opinion. Once you are taking them you can increase or decrease the amount as individual need indicates.

And from an evolutionary perspective is it realistic that cavemen ate 30g of fish oil worth of fish on a daily basis? sounds very unrealistic to me.

*** Yes, but not just from fish, all wild game has high amounts and better ratios of moega 3s than do domesticated livestock. Venison and Bison have much higher omega 3 content than do beef. Even grass fed beef.

- re: not sleeping at night due to high volume. I have a girl friend (not girlfriend), working to become an MD who is currently studying hormonal effects of training. She would very much like to see references that thyroid hormones are influenced by volume. I assume that's what we're dealing with... thyroid hormones being "pressed"? As I understand it there is a lot of research on hormonal responses to training, so I assume this should be possible.

*** She should look it up then.

1. Thyroid hormones and

1. Thyroid hormones and stress.

T3 is suppressed initially with high levels of cortisol, but cortisol also lowers TBG thus making the T3 hormone plasma concentrations normal.
This is a classic example of knowing enough about a subject to sound smart to the layman, and enough to sound like a complete ass to the professional.

2. Fish oil and health.
I would like to see a study that shows 30-40 grams of fish oil is beneficial. I have never found any studies remotely suggesting this on pubmed, so this would be a real eye opener.
I especially looked at the insulin sensitivity question. Here most BB authors suggest fish oil in high amounts, odd because this really only works for rats in the research I have seen and the research they usually quote.
What is important to humans is the ratio of saturates to polyunsaturates. It is a very expensive, limited and potentially harmful practice to get the correct ratio via fish oil.
I don't believe Poliquin talks about studies to back up his claims, he talks about the benefits he sees with his clients.

3. Absorption and PH values.
I would love to see the mounds of research he is referring to here.

4. Gluten intolerance.
2 of my friends went to his seminar and came back saying 60% of the population is gluten intolerant. Gluten intolerance leads to loss of micro villi in the colon. This means malabsorption of nutrients = weight loss. In Northern Europe where we live we don't see 60% of the population being unable to gain weight, the opposite is closer to the truth.
Has he got the diagnosis wrong here?

5. Adrenal fatigue?
Low cortisol output induced by high chronic high stress levels has nothing to do with the adrenal glands inability to secrete cortisol. The low cortisol release is caused by a lack of response to stress induced ACTH levels. If ACTH is injected at high enough levels the adrenal glands will release cortisol.
An inability by the glands to secrete cortisol at any ACTH level is called addison disease.
Why not look at the research, use the right terms for the illness/state and not go with som sciency mumbo jumbo?

There are so many points where he either exaggerates.
There are numerous claims of widely prevalent illnesses or dysfunctions he claims to have evidence for but I have never been able to track any references of what he describes.

His huge range of supplements (mostly unproven) should be a red flag to any rational observer.

Poliquin is on a mission to sell his product range, this much should be obvious to any critical thinker. he exaggerates and uses "Guruspeak".
A look at the late Mell Siffs guru terminology kit is in order here..

It is a bit sad, Poliquin has brought a lot of interesting concepts to the strength and fitness crowd and has a firm understanding of strength training. His foray into performance nutrition and health... An explosion of myths, alternative medicine and mumbojumbo

SimonSams's picture

New Charles Poliquin

New Charles Poliquin gem:

"The biggest quads I've ever seen on any member of the human species belonged to a female speed skater on the US team. She made Tom Platz's legs look like coach Mike Boyle's. (Well, not that skinny.)"

I am attacking only this assanine statement - not Poliquins credentials in general.

And this statement is just as crazy, assanine and disrespectful as the first one about Tom Platz's legs looking like Woody Allens.

Obviously Tom was a short guy, so his legs will not be as big in terms of sheer size as some tall, superheavyweight lifter.

To make these statements is to disrespect Tom Platz's incredibly, incredible, superhuman training intensity.

I'd love it if Poliquin would deliver his statements without the overuse of sarcasm. I love sarcasm! I love irony and comedy. But he could and should deliver without disrespecting.

Criticisms of Poliquins work

I completely agree with your post regarding the criticisms of Polquins work.

I am a strength coach with a professional team in a strength and power sport. Two of my athletes have been “indoctrinated” by a couple of Charles Poliquin certified trainers so I have had to deal with the guru terms and the exaggerated training claims for the past few months.

Its a shame because in essence some of what he says I think may be valid. For example there are many people who are gluten intolerant (note: this is different to being allergic) and this can make some significant changes when it is addressed. I have also advocated many different forms of deep tissue massage for the last 10 years also but to claim a 10% strength increase from this alone is absurd.

Going back to my two prodigal sons for a moment. Both claim to have made massive strength and power gains since following a CP (based) program (actually a program downloaded from a website recommended to the trainers on the course). In fact both have got weaker(according to their 1RMs) and I find that as a coach in a strength power sport the programs they have followed have completely lacked in exercises which will stimulate the CNS so both in the gym and on the field I have noticed a drop off in power. It is interesting at this point to note that (and this is my understanding) CP level 2 does not include any Olympic lifting as this is viewed as “too complex” and difficult to teach over a weekend. It raised a smile when my athletes told me that cleans were too advanced for them and they weren’t ready for them (this despite the fact that both had performed and improved in their cleans, snatch and derivatives for a number of years).

Now this is not CPs fault. This is just bad practitioners who happen to have gone on a CP course or two. Right? Well actually I think this type of thing is as a direct result of the way CP courses are delivered and the style he uses to make his “scientific” claims. For example the claims that by becoming more balanced athletes have become massively stronger. Now I don’t doubt this for one second however lets look at a how this might happen in the real world.

1. An athlete may have a goal of increasing push press strength.

2. A coach may identify that there are specific imbalances that will need to be addressed in order to do this. They are addressed perhaps through regression or selection of appropriate supplementary exercises or perhaps even deep tendon massage or myo-facial release.

3. The athlete focuses both mentally and physically on improving push press through a properly periodised strength training program.

4. Push press improves

Now the way CP would state it a coach with a limited background might think that step 2 and only step 2 is important. I know (or at least I suppose) this is not what CP actually thinks but his exaggerated and sarcastic statements lead poorly educated coaches to think this.

As far as supplements go a number of people haven’t quite grasped the significance of CP vested interests in promoting fish oils (which by the way are great and every athlete should take them) or any supplement. If I review a product which I want to sell and make money off it then this is a massive source of potential bias. One of my athletes whom I referred to above informed me the other day that oily fish are not an adequate source of fish oils and that supplementation is the only way to get them. Now again this is not CP making this claim, this is more poor advice from poor practitioners, but these are people who he has essentially endorsed. I’m sure that this advice had nothing to do with the fish oil special on the CP online shop…. Sorry. As stated above sarcasm is not helpful in these situations.

Edit: One of my major bug bears with CP courses and all short courses of a similar ilk is that people go on them and then assume they have all the info they need to be a great coach. In fact they have a very very narrow spectrum of training that is highly contraversial in many ways. It does make me mad as I have spent 10 years educating myself and I will never stop. By the way the two CP coaches I have refered to above claimed to be more qualified than a strength coach with 25 years experiance and a Phd due to the fact that he had a CP certification 1 level below them!

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