About Charles Staley

Charles I. Staley, B.Sc., MSS, is a sports conditioning specialist and consultant based in Santa Barbara, California. A former martial arts competitor and trainer, Staley is also an Olympic weightlifting coach, as well as a master's level track and field competitor (discus event). He has coached elite athletes from many sports, including martial arts, boxing, track & field, football, Olympic weightlifting, and bodybuilding. Staley has written over 100 published articles, and has lectured extensively on the topics of human performance and sport training. He has recently authored a text on conditioning for the martial arts, and has several other books in the planning stages. Staley's award-winning web site is consistently ranked among the top 50 in the world in the health & fitness category.

Are Chin-Ups the Best Exercise for Lat Development?

Q: My favorite author said in a magazine that chin-ups were the best lat exercise, hands down. Do you think this is true,? and can I benefit from this exercise if I can only perform three or four repetitions per set? [Read more…]

Recovery from Eccentric Training

Q: I’m on a split routine, working out each body part twice a week. My partner and I are trying a new exercise tempo, really emphasizing the the negative. When our second pec day came around, we were both too sore to get anything done. Do you need more rest after negatives? [Read more…]

Training Alone and Home Gyms

Q: I always (or usually, anyway) train alone in my home. For chest, I always bench inside my smith machine for safety because I don’t have a spotter. I’m well aware that top body builders don’t get big using machines, so could you recommend any changes that could increase the effectiveness of my pec workouts while keeping them safe? [Read more…]

Misconceptions of the Effects of Resistance Training

Q: I just joined a gym to lose weight and tone up (I feel very cliche saying that, but it’s true!). After filling out the paperwork, the sales guy introduced me to a trainer who showed me how to use aerobic and circuit training equipment. It’s not my intention to look like the female bodybuilders I see on TV, so should I keep the reps high on the machines, or just stick to the aerobics to slim down? [Read more…]

Sports Massage and Performance

Q: The other day, I had a long massage just before my workout, and I think it actually made me weaker. I always hear that massage is supposed to help improve recovery, so do I maybe need to seek out another therapist? Or should I avoid massage before workouts? [Read more…]

Bicep Curls Useless for High School Athletics

Q: My football coach will not let us do curls he says they have no place in training, but I say they do. The biceps must be there for a reason, right? [Read more…]

Weight Training for Martial Arts

Q: I read your book “Special Topics in Martial Arts Conditioning” which emphatically encourages weight training for improved martial arts performance. After implementing a few weight training cycles into my Tae Kwon Do competition preparation, I ended up slower and feeling unusually awkward. What do you think I’m doing wrong? [Read more…]

Goal Orientation: Venturing Into Uncharted Athletic Territory

Someone recently asked me if I’d ever like to be able to bench press 500 pounds. I replied that, no, not really, because obviously, if I had really wanted a 500 pound bench, I would have taken the steps necessary to get it, which I obviously haven’t. Now of course, it might be the case that even if I applied maximum effort and resources to the goal of bench pressing 500 pounds, it might not be in the cards for me anyway. But my point is that self-actualized people make things happen, rather than hoping they will happen. (Incidentally, I’m also philosophically against playing the lottery, because it takes you away from making it happen and toward hoping it happens.). [Read more…]

Mixed Qualities Training for Anaerobic Events

The majority of competitive athletes compete in events where a variety of motor qualities must be developed to a great degree. Sports such as judo, bobsled, football, decathlon, boxing, highland games, and nordic skiing (to name only a few) require liberal amounts of absolute strength, power, anaerobic strength endurance, and often, muscular hypertrophy as well. The problem from a programming point of view is, how does one construct a training plan which will facilitate such multi-sided development as efficiently as possible? [Read more…]

Creative Applications of Circuit Training: Fatigue Management Strategies for Bodybuilders, Part 2

Circuit Training (CT) for Various Objectives – I’ve put together several sample circuits for different objectives such as maximal strength development, lean mass gain, and explosive strength development. Please use these examples as templates from which you can create your own solutions, rather than viewing them as the “Holy Grail” of CT. In other words, when I point the way, you shouldn’t be looking at my finger! [Read more…]