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  1. #1
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    George Chen - Does Power Factor Training Work?

    If the claims are true, the many existing styles of resistance training can be compared head-to-head in an objective manner and it can lead to new training styles. Here is my theory and my personal training program!

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/powerfactor.htm

    HOW TO REVIEW: Post Your Review Of This Article - CLICK ON POST REPLY BELOW! You do NOT need to be a registered member to post a reply in this section!
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    From an e-mail I received about this article:

    "Basically, what this guy does is make a lot of claims for PFT that were never made...then shows why those claims are not true. A real cheap shot. It would be like me running an article titled "Top 10 reasons why Prolab supplements are not as good as registered pharmaceutical drugs." Obviously...you never claimed supplements were as effective as drugs...see what I mean? Cheap."
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  3. #3
    Member david90's Avatar
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    wwheww... nice article

    I just read the book on pft and i question it's claim. Thanks for the article.

    ps. your article was hard for me to read, use smaller words plz.
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    Angry

    Ok, this article sucked on a number of levels. The author made claims about the system that the Sisco and Little did not make themselves in the book. As stated above, a cheap shot really. He oversimplified the reasoning behind the use of partial reps. Read the book George, the use of partials is not chosen simply because it allows the use of heavier weights. That conclusion could have been arrived at by any novice lifter. Don't oversimplify the system only because you disaggree.

    Sorry dude but your stats don't exactly make a statement about how well your own system of training works. If you haven't tried PFT don't try to make claims about it's results (or lack thereof).

    Making a bold statment like this to a fellow trainee is rare for me. However I can't let someone bash a training system if he has never actually used it or even fully read about it's concepts.
    http://www.angelfire.com/ego/gethuge

    "He that teaches us anything which we knew not before is undoubtedly to be reverenced as a master." - Samuel Johnson
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  5. #5
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    Mr Chen makes valid points, but I think that the number of repetitions can represent the distance through which the force is applied. Therefore weight times the number of reps can be an approximation of the measure of work (W=F*d). As long as partial squat reps (preferably in a power rack with pins set at definite points) are compared only with partial squat reps of the same range of motion and not with full squat reps then I see no problem with the power factor method of measuring power output (P=W/t).
    You will simply maintain a PF and PI for partial squats and a PF and PI for full squats.

    The power index seems to me to be total work for an exercise times the average power generated while doing all of the sets of that exercise. I use this measure to quantify progression in my training. I call it the work power product.
    It can be written as:
    WP=(weight*reps)(weight*reps)/time
    That is weight times reps, squared, divided by time.

    W=F*d
    P=F*d/t

    Physics rules!
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  6. #6
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    Don't miss the point!!!

    The point of PFT is not to confuse the trainee with equations or complex physics - for God's sake, its barely algebra. Mr. Sisco's point of 'inventing' the power factor and index are to create an accurate way to track gains and recuperation for brief, high-intensity workouts. This Philosophy - which is based on some scientific principles - can be applied to virtually any type of physical training as a tool to measure progress. Since the measurement of intensity and recuperation are the most abused concepts in phyical fitness, cudos to Mr. Sisco for taking us ever so close to the real truth.

    Everyone who's ever taken a physics course knows that W=F*D and power=W/t. Good for you for knowing the difference Mr. Chen, but it's irrelivant to PFT philosophy. Think of PF and PI as normalized values that guage the overall intensity of a workout, not real work or power. And further, think about strong range partials and how they affect your muscles differently than a full range rep. How are they different? They're not!

    Let's apply the real physics that Mr. Chen was so eager to point out that he had a high level of expertise in, i.e., W = F*D and P = W/t. In PFT, it is recommended that you use heavy weight and partial reps for 15-25 - more than standard reps, 8-12. If a partial rep is 1/3 the distance of a full range rep, then PFT would provide only 1/3 the work of a full range rep. BUT, since you use 3 times more weght, the amount of work is equal. On top of that, you are exposing your ligaments to extremely high loads, causing them to get much, much stronger than they would with a full range rep. Think about the muscle and where it in its fully contracted position. ALL muscle fibers are recruited. Doesn't it seem like a waste of motion to do full range reps? It is! That's the next step in the evolution of muscle training! STATIC CONTRACTION!! The recruitment of all muscle fibers instantaneously and held for a number seconds. What a novel concept. Think of the implications. If people learn about how effective and efficient this type of training is, it will put gyms out of business. You can train at home and see maximal gains in less than a few minutes each month!!!

    Don't waste your life away in a smelly, indoors gym. Get in, get out quickly, recuperate and enjoy the finer things in life: your family, the outdoors, etc. Your attitude will change significantly. Your muscles will grow to your predetermined genetic potential. You wont have to spend half your paycheck on supplements. Unless you're a sucker for pain and displeasure, try power factor training or static contraction training. Stop wasting your precious time!!

    For the record, I have no relationship with Mr. Sisco, Mr. Little, any of the Mentzer's, or anyone in the bodybuilding industry. My reasons for writing this review stem from my persuit of truth in all things, and to help man enjoy his short time on earth. I am a scientist and I am an expert in the laws of physics. I'm also published author. Does any of that make me special? No By the way, PhD stands for Piled higher and Deeper, i.e, education does not preceed common sense.

    A caring soul.
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  7. #7
    Andrew Taber
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    I think Mr. Chen missed out by apparently not employing the Power Factor Program himself to evaluate from personal experience. However, I think he did an excellent job raising issues about the theory behind Power Factor Training--especially regarding how many reps you do and the distance of those reps. On the other hand, Mr. Chen seemed to ignore the benefits of heightened joint stress to promote ligament and tendon development.

    I have been on this program now for three weeks and my power factors and indexes are going through the roof, probably mostly due to neural effects but it is helpful to see my exact progress on a plotted graph. Previously my routines (constantly changing just like Mr. Chen) had no hard numbers to track progress.

    My concern at this point is that I can usually boost my total weights lifted by lowering the weight and raising the number of reps. I have refrained from exceeding 40 reps because to do so just felt like cheating. Such high reps just go against my grain for what I have always considered to be proper strength training. I can hardly wait until I hit my first big plateau because then I want to try some max lifts and see if my strength has really improved much or not. It sure looks like my strength has improved on the charts I have. Too bad Mr. Chen didnt make any charts for himself!
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  8. #8
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    Wink Static Contraction Training is better than PFT

    http://www.explosivefitness.com/?sect=index

    I tried this equipment 6 months ago and I have become a changed - WOMAN! I go to the gym for the cardio equipment ONLY and of course to gossip with the girlfriends! :-) (I don't want a treadmill in my home. It'll take up too much room and I need that extra room for my shoes!)

    I can see why Mr. Chen is concerned with the math and physics equations touted by the PFT posse, but since I am a woman and therefore inferior according to the good Prez at Harvard, I won't bother with comments in these areas. I digress... ;-)

    Static contraction training has worked wonders for me and I even convinced my dinky little women’s gym to buy the equipment. (You now have to sign up in advance to use the machine and we even have guys secretly coming during the late hours - our gym is open 24/7)

    I think Mr. Chen tends to over analyze things - like most men - and not consider that there could be merit in another person's ideas - again typical Y chromosome behavior. (And you guys claim to be God’s greatest creation???)

    Oh well, to each his own...
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  9. #9
    Registered User Andrew Taber's Avatar
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    It worked for me!

    I wrote several weeks ago while I was in the middle of the Power Lifting 10-week program. It worked! It really worked. My max bench was 215 kg before the 10-week program and it shot up to 225 kg. You cant argue with results. Try it. It works.

    I lifted 2X/week with tiny short range, high rep movements at VERY HEAVY weights. For example on my bench press I was up to doing 40 reps at 175 kg for 5 sets. It felt like it was going to snap my wrists at times. But that training translated into a 225 kg, full range, perfect form 1-rep max lift.
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  10. #10
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    PFT has worked well for me.

    My indices are up over 1200% since starting Sept. 1. The beauty of the system is that you can't get injured. People have noticed the change in my physique and the folks at Bally's are all starting to quiz me on what I'm doing. The staff there doesn't that all since for this type of routine, they are not needed. The last time I was there, the "personal trainers" were commenting and snickering from the corners. That just solidified my position on the efficacy of this program. Measurements and results don't lie. May not work for everyone, but it is ideal for me. As a backgrounder, I used to row on a national level years ago and did a lot of long distance running. Now I kayak a lot and the power behind my strokes has improved dramatically.
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  11. #11
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    Empirical Evidence

    No need for me to insert myself in the minutiae of the math involved. NOT my specialty.

    I'm 57 years old and have been involved in weight training since joining the Marine Corps is 1966. I think I have tried every weight training system that has come down the pike. My library is vast on this subject. Practically everything Joe Weider, Joe Gold, Arnold has published, all other authorities and their systems. Fast reps, slow reps, "Power Squats", the whole nine yards. Read the biographies of the greats, including Paul Anderson (maybe the father of "partials").

    I stumbled onto "Power Factor Training" in Barnes & Noble, looking for something to read as my wife already had a book, a table and a latte' staked out. I wound up reading the entire book and bought it on the way out. Came home, made some additions to my home gym and gave it a shot. By the way, don't try this in a commercial gym (unless you can pick a time of day when it is practically empty). Won't work! Timing is critical and if somebody changes your setup on a lift or delays you from your next set, it's not as effective. To make matters worse, you wind up spending your training time explaining what you are doing to the uninitiated after they watch you doing partial benches with 500 lbs or so.

    Very bluntly, I've never experienced anything like PFT. Talk about HURT! The first time I did the biceps exercise (preacher curls) alternated with the triceps (close grip benches), my arms literally hurt for 10 days. However, when they DID completely recover, not only did I add A HALF INCH in circumference, but my "Power Factor" (by any other name 'twould smell as sweet) was up 250% over my previous workout. The first ten weeks of PFT saw increases anywhere from 175% to almost 300%.

    You can do whatever you want to with your pencil, my friend... But in the only laboratory that COUNTS for me, MY body. There NOTHING else like it (including "Static Contraction Training", which I treid and went back to PFT).

    Based on my empirical evidence, you can lay on more muscle quicker with 10 basic exercises than with ANY other system. AND all you need is a power rack, a high/low cable machine and a sled (and, of course, steel, and a LOT of it).
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  12. #12
    The Zone
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    Angry George never tried PFT

    I have seen Mr. Chen's article before on Amazon, bashing Power Factor training. Its the exact same article. Mr. Chen has used this article in a paper that he wrote for college or some educational course. ( yes he had it posted on the web a few years ago) When I read it the first time it irritated me and now it has pissed me off. Too often I see articles written buy so called experts who have not tried the system that they are bashing and then use statistical formulas ( equations, graphs ) and a slew of referenced material to some how convince us, the lowly unenlightened reader that they are the demi gods of the truth. While this approach often works on professors - his comments read like a term paper and I am certain he got an A for the paper, he fails miserably in empirical conclusions. I have been a practioner of power factor training and I fully attest that it is one very powerful strength and muscle building system. The key is to use extremely heavy weights ( not for the beginner ) and to continue to increase the weights each workout and if you cannot then rest until you can make an increase. Simple as that. Follow this guidance and you are on your way to some very serious development. But for people like Mr. Chen who are impressed by so called science here is the equation; if A = discipline and B = partial reps then A + B = C ( serious growth! ) Now wasn't that easy! and as for Mr. Chen it looks like you need some PFT on those pecs!

    References: Try it Before Judging It from the Journal of Common Sense pp 1 - 2 and How to Use Statistics and Scientific References to make Youself Sound Smart from the Journal of Deception pp 8 - 10.
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  13. #13
    George Chen
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    Article revisited after 5 years

    I am George Chen, the original author of the article. It's been five years since this article was posted here, and I'm surprised it's still up! I'm writing here, because I need to set a few things straight.

    Over the years, my article has been posted and reposted, and I used to get much feedback about it through email. I actually lost interest in the topic many years ago, so I stopped responding to inquiries about the article and other aspects of my training.

    Yes, the article was originally written for an exercise physiology class that I took at Stanford University in 1997. The professor liked the article enough that she asked if she could use it as an example for future classes. After the course was done, I linked the text of the article to my personal webpage. The link was not given much prominence, but people on the web found it and began to post the link to more popular places on the web. After a couple of years, the article was being accessed more than 500 times a month from my Stanford account! This figure does not even include accesses to the text from remote sites.

    Anyway, five years ago, the admininistrator of bodybuilding.com asked if he could put my article on his site. Naturally, I said yes, especially since others have posted the article without my permission. However, the administrator wanted to put more than just my article on his site. He also wanted to post my pictures, my workout, etc., so that I, as the author, would be featured along with the article. I was less comfortable with this idea, but I agreed. Upon seeing the final page, I didn't particularly like the message it was sending with its headings ("Power Factor Training: Does it Really Work?", "What Really Works for Me", etc.) , but seeing how much time was put into the layout, I didn't object.

    So, for the record, the article about Power Factor Training is a critique of the scientific and biomechanical basis of the training concept. It makes no claims about whether Power Factor Training works or whether any of the techniques it espouses (like lifting heavy weights using partial reps) is effective. Like I said in the article, there may be other rationales for using partial reps, regardless of the validity of Power Factor Training. I do agree with Sisco and Little that lifting heavy weights is important for gaining muscle mass. I only object to their loose references to mechanical power in their definition of the "Power Factor". By the way, my email on the site is obsolete. My current email is gchen@dancescientist.com, in case you want to contact me.

    -- George

    P.S. -- I did earn my doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003 (my dissertation work involved biomechanical analyses of treadmill walking). I've now published 5 peer-reviewed papers. However, I doubt I will ever publish a paper as widely read as this article on Power Factor Training!
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  14. #14
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    PFT most certainly WORKS!!! Ask anyone who's blown a patella tendon or a rotator cuff or misaligned a vertebrae for goin ATF how "productive" full range reps are. Chen got overly technical...he basically over thought the problem. Try doin some Qtr. squats for 25,000lbs/min w/ a 2,000 power index. < That's more quad intense...i.e., PRODUCTIVE than ANY other leg exercise.
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  15. #15
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    [QUOTE=Unregistered;4440752]The point of PFT is not to confuse the trainee with equations or complex physics - for God's sake, its barely algebra. Mr. Sisco's point of 'inventing' the power factor and index are to create an accurate way to track gains and recuperation for brief, high-intensity workouts. This Philosophy - which is based on some scientific principles - can be applied to virtually any type of physical training as a tool to measure progress. Since the measurement of intensity and recuperation are the most abused concepts in phyical fitness, cudos to Mr. Sisco for taking us ever so close to the real truth.

    Everyone who's ever taken a physics course knows that W=F*D and power=W/t. Good for you for knowing the difference Mr. Chen, but it's irrelivant to PFT philosophy. Think of PF and PI as normalized values that guage the overall intensity of a workout, not real work or power. And further, think about strong range partials and how they affect your muscles differently than a full range rep. How are they different? They're not!

    Let's apply the real physics that Mr. Chen was so eager to point out that he had a high level of expertise in, i.e., W = F*D and P = W/t. In PFT, it is recommended that you use heavy weight and partial reps for 15-25 - more than standard reps, 8-12. If a partial rep is 1/3 the distance of a full range rep, then PFT would provide only 1/3 the work of a full range rep. BUT, since you use 3 times more weght, the amount of work is equal. On top of that, you are exposing your ligaments to extremely high loads, causing them to get much, much stronger than they would with a full range rep. Think about the muscle and where it in its fully contracted position. ALL muscle fibers are recruited. Doesn't it seem like a waste of motion to do full range reps? It is! That's the next step in the evolution of muscle training! STATIC CONTRACTION!! The recruitment of all muscle fibers instantaneously and held for a number seconds. What a novel concept. Think of the implications. If people learn about how effective and efficient this type of training is, it will put gyms out of business. You can train at home and see maximal gains in less than a few minutes each month!!!

    Don't waste your life away in a smelly, indoors gym. Get in, get out quickly, recuperate and enjoy the finer things in life: your family, the outdoors, etc. Your attitude will change significantly. Your muscles will grow to your predetermined genetic potential. You wont have to spend half your paycheck on supplements. Unless you're a sucker for pain and displeasure, try power factor training or static contraction training. Stop wasting your precious time!!

    For the record, I have no relationship with Mr. Sisco, Mr. Little, any of the Mentzer's, or anyone in the bodybuilding industry. My reasons for writing this review stem from my persuit of truth in all things, and to help man enjoy his short time on earth. I am a scientist and I am an expert in the laws of physics. I'm also published author. Does any of that make me special? No By the way, PhD stands for Piled higher and Deeper, i.e, education does not preceed common sense

    ^ ABSOLUTELY & UNEQUIVACABLY the BEST review I've ever read of PFT. The "unless ur a sucker for pain" line sums it up entirely. Steroids when combined w/ conventional training methods SUCK. The only reason why the "pros" are the size they are is the have 1 in a few million genetics. It ain't juice, sure it helps but steroids will NOT make a chump into a champ. For example, I am the same height as Casey Viator and currently outweigh him (when he won Mr USA in '71 by around 20lbs. Granted I have around 20lbs more fat on my body than he did but I still don't "appear" anywhere near as "big" as Casey. My butt & legs are probably larger than his but my fore & arms don't even come close to his.
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  16. #16
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    Mr Chen

    If bodybuilding was your interest for 10 years and your theory works so well then why are your results so poor.. The last time I worked out consistently was about 10 years AGO,.. and I think the total cumulative amount of months in my entire life that I have lifted seriously is around 18 months give or take a few. My body stats and strength stats are slightly lower in some measurements than yours (by 5-10%),.. Although I just read about PFT a week ago and have only done 1 PFT workout,.. I too think you should not knock something that you haven't tried... All I can say is judging by your pictures and your stats, and the fact that you have been lifting for 10 years, your plan isn't effective. We all have the same amount of muscles in our bodies and given the right amount of dieting and cardio we can all get definition, but brute strength and power clearly aren't what is to gain by your program,.. the numbers don't lie.
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  17. #17
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    Overlooked

    APART from the muscle gains I have experienced using PFT for years, it is my opinion that the single most important contribution of the book to the bodybuilding literature is this:

    To my knowledge... FOR THE FIRST TIME:

    The book gives an ironclad way to measure RECOVERY! I'm now 61 years old and started PFT in my mid 50s. From memory, the book said something like, "...we have all missed the amount of time it takes for recovery by the side of the barn..." TRUE!

    Measuring production by the PFT formulae, I have found that (for instance) an intense bench press routine will take me 10 days to 2 weeks to complete the recovery cycle all the way through muscle GROWTH. If I get back in the gym too soon, the PFT exposes this conclusively.

    If the book offered no other conclusion other than accurately gauging recovery, it is a landmark contribution to the existing literature.
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  18. #18
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    Let's test it out!

    I just finished reading up on the PFT info...and it seems great!....I of course am going to have to throw a lot of cardio in on the non-weight training days since my lifestyle is sedentary.... and I agree with numbers can't lie...SO, as soon as I finish up the program I'm on now (currently my 2nd round of P90X w/ my friend)...I'm going to get my starting numbers....post them here.....try PFT for 12 weeks with eating healthy and plenty of supplements (mainly just protein)...and then reply to the post again...and have some results on this thread..... Wish me luck! (oh, and I'm sure my weight will be about the same it is now when I start...which I'm roughly 6'1", 195lbs, 23% body fat) ...hoping one day to be able to get down to about 10% body fat with a lot more lean muscle and to weight about 185lbs.
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  19. #19
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    The proof is in the pudding, I believe the saying goes...
    I first tried Static Contraction Training about 2 years ago (lifting a weight 5 cm and just holding it) and my strenght increased - a lot - over 30% on most of my full range of motion exercises - then I went on the Power Factor Training and my strenght increased even more. I am tall (191cm) and not too heavy (85 kg) and have never really been able to gain muscle, or only gain it very slowly. But with Power Factor Training, I see tremendous results - not only for the PFT exercises, but also for my standard full range of motion exercises I like to do sometimes...
    TRY IT OUT YOURSELF - YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT.
    PS. Also, it is a lot harder to injure yourself with the PFT program :-)
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  20. #20
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    i believe it
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    MaBrast1972 is the lowest scum of the boards. (Worst Rank) MaBrast1972 is the lowest scum of the boards. (Worst Rank) MaBrast1972 is the lowest scum of the boards. (Worst Rank) MaBrast1972 is the lowest scum of the boards. (Worst Rank) MaBrast1972 is the lowest scum of the boards. (Worst Rank) MaBrast1972 is the lowest scum of the boards. (Worst Rank) MaBrast1972 is the lowest scum of the boards. (Worst Rank) MaBrast1972 is the lowest scum of the boards. (Worst Rank) MaBrast1972 is the lowest scum of the boards. (Worst Rank) MaBrast1972 is the lowest scum of the boards. (Worst Rank) MaBrast1972 is the lowest scum of the boards. (Worst Rank)
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    i really do
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  22. #22
    Registered User StrengthHealth's Avatar
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    Stats: 5'8", 225 lbs
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    StrengthHealth is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) StrengthHealth is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) StrengthHealth is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) StrengthHealth is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) StrengthHealth is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) StrengthHealth is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) StrengthHealth is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) StrengthHealth is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) StrengthHealth is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) StrengthHealth is a splendid one to behold. (+10000) StrengthHealth is a splendid one to behold. (+10000)
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    It never ceases to amaze me re: the negative reviews something that really works receives are almost always by little dweebs who physiques barely appear above average & nothing no matter how revolutionary it is, like PFT/SCT, is ever going to change that. So all they can do is huddle together w/ other equally inferior, hypertrophically frustrated little worms and knock anything new that's out of the norm or conventional. PFT/SCT works!
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