Review of Pete Sisco's Train Smart 2009 Program by Mike Westerdal
Pete Sisco bills his Train Smart 2009 Program as the "world's fastest workout." I think he's right-I don't think I've ever run across an entire training routine that can be completely in entirety as quickly as this one. The entire program is comprised of 10 different exercises-each of which is performed in about five seconds. Let's take a look and see what the Train Smart Program is really made of.
Lifting progressively heavier weights and getting plenty of rest between training sessions are two of the pillars of Train Smart. The third-and probably most unique-aspect of the program is this: the best exercise for each muscle is the one that permits you to lift the most weight. Pete is most definitely a believer in lifting heavy-and I do mean heavy-weight.
Pete put a lot of research into developing this program. One area in particular he looked at was the ideal length of time to hold a weight in order to maximize the stimulation of muscle growth. His research, experiments and observations showed that the time is actually pretty minimal-about five seconds or less. The results also stimulated his interest in learning everything he could about the peak of the lift. Why the peak?
Because that's where Pete discovered that the peak is where we achieve the greatest capacity to lift the most weight.
Lifting heavy weights and challenging the muscles through progressive overload is how we get stronger and bigger. Low weights and high reps can be great for toning, conditioning and improving overall physical fitness, but you'll never gain lean mass using that strategy. So from that perspective-lifting progressively heavier weights-Pete's program is on target.
Focusing on the peak-specifically, the strongest quarter of the rep range-is what really sets the Train Smart Program apart from others. Train Smart is all about a technique called Static Contraction Training, or in other words, focusing solely on those few inches of the lift that comprise the peak. This is also known as "partial repetition training."
Pete first wrote about this concept in his 1993 book, Power Factor Training. Train Smart is similar, but revised and updated to include lessons learned since. The lifting range and the length of time you hold the weight are the two biggest differences between the 2. Power Factor Training included longer lifting ranges (6-8 inches) and longer times holding the weight (up to 20 seconds). In contrast, lifting ranges in Train Smart are just a couple of inches and the weights are held for a maximum of about 5 seconds.
Unless you've got a home gym with the right equipment, the exercises in the Train Smart program need to be performed in a gym. Because the exercises focus on just the peak, they're not performed using a full range of motion so you really need the right equipment. For example, doing a bench press where you're only going to be lifting in the "peak," the starting position of the bar needs to be in the right spot. This is especially important given the fact that Train Smart calls for lifting some really aggressive loads ("Maximum Overload").
The workouts really are very radical. You start with 10-15 minutes of light cardio, followed by a few sets of warm-up sets using about 1/3 of the weight you're going to be lifting and then you dive right in. Pete includes both "Alpha" and "Beta" workouts in the Train Smart program. The Alpha workouts are 5 exercises, each of which is performed one time. You lift the weight a few inches hold it for 5 seconds and then move on.
The Beta workouts-which Pete says are only for those people who don't respond to the Alpha workouts-are the same exercises and range, except that you complete 4 sets within 2 minutes for each exercise.
Regardless of the workout you choose, recovery time is an integral part of both. The training schedule starts out with a Monday/Thursday schedule, alternating workouts "A" and "B". Light to moderate cardio is performed on the off days. After about 5 weeks, you drop to training only once a week or maybe every 10 days, but still alternating the A/B workouts.
Overall, Train Smart is one of the most unique and distinctive training programs I've ever encountered. And though his ideas really run contrary to a lot of generally accepted bodybuilding principles, Pete has done his homework, making the Train Smart Program well worth checking out.
Finally, strength workouts for the thinking person...
10 exercises.....5 seconds each....All the muscle you want! Guaranteed.