We recently caught up with strongman legend, Terry Hollands for a live Q&A on our Facebook page ahead of his trip to this year’s World’s Strongest Man competition in China. Read on to see Terry’s thoughts on training, nutrition and motivation.
Q. Connor Campbell: In regards to deadlifts, what sort of routine do you follow? How often are you maxing out etc? Cheers
A. Terry Hollands: I don’t follow a strict regime. I go a lot on how my body feels. I usually try work in 3-5 rep sets and 3-5 sets. I haven’t maxed out since Britain’s Strongest Man in May 2012.
Q. Jamie Hunter: Hey Terry. What is your best tip for motivation even when things especially in life are not going your way? Obviously everyone is different but it would be good to know what gets you going!
A. Terry Hollands: Jamie, I don’t really struggle with motivation but keeping a diary helps, you can always look back a year ago and see the progress. Sometimes it feels like you’re not progressing which can affect motivation but you are, just slowly.
Q. Darren Duggan: What do you advise I take creatine with? Mix it with water or just wash it down?
A. Terry Hollands: I tend to do all my drinks with as little water as possible especially around workout time. I hate the feeling of being full when training.
Q. Gary Robinson: Hi Terry, I’m currently recovering from a separated shoulder, any specific exercises you would put into a rehab program to strengthen it back up?
A. Terry Hollands: I would go on my physios advice but I would try keep mobility in so light behind the neck presses and lots of rotator cuff work would probably be what I would do.
Q. Zak Ramsay: When following a 5×5 routine should the percentage increase of weight always stay the same each week? Or is it essentially up to you to gauge it?
A. Terry Hollands: I would personally gauge it. I think you have to listen to your body as everyone works differently
Q. Scott Shaw: What’s the best way to strengthen the forearms? There’s loads for biceps and triceps but don’t know of many forearm exercises.
A. Terry Hollands: Scott, I like using a wrist roller for forearms. If I have no access I tape a rope to the end of an Olympic bar, tie weights to the bottom and roll it up.
Q. Jamie Bristow: What’s the best way to increase grip strength? Thanks.
A. Terry Hollands: Jamie, timed holds I personally feel I have the best progress with and thick bar work.
Q. Frank James: I want to know how much you eat in a day Terry.
A. Terry Hollands: Frank, it varies. I usually consume 6-8000 calories a day
Q. Steven Yeti Griffiths: What’s your fran time?
A. Terry Hollands: Steven, I’ve not done it but happy to try. After World’s Strongest Man I’ll give it a go.
Q. Louis Dodds: Hi Terry. I saw a recent pic you posted on your page on your current physique which is impressive if I do say so, what changes did you make to help you lean up? Did your training change at all or did you follow say a low carb diet or something to that effect? Cheers big man.
A. Terry Hollands: Louis, I increased my volume of training a lot, was up to 11 training sessions a week. I adjusted my diet a lot and took on a very strict diet.
Q. Stuart Nicholson: Hi Terry. I would just like to ask you a question about deadlifts. I started in January with a pb of 170kg and have now got to around 240kg but I have been stuck at this for quite some time now. I was just wondering what you think is the best way to further increase my deadlift? I have been doing 180kg for reps and will sometimes try to get up to or around my best in every deadlift session. I hope this makes sense, best of luck in China! Thanks in advance.
A. Terry Hollands: Stuart, have a look at Wendler’s 5/3/1 programme, I think it’s very good. Also the Coan/Phillipi routine is awesome but very tough to get through.
Q. Angelina Blyth: Any hand care advice?
A. Terry Hollands: Angela, I keep my callouses filed down. I have suffered with tearing mine a few times. I always find it’s the hard skin tearing off which causes the problem.
Q. Tom Grange: Hi Terry, purely out of interest of you 6-8000 daily calories, what % of these would you say are “clean”? As I would imagine trying to pack those calories from your typical chicken/rice clean food meals would be hard as hell…?
A. Terry Hollands: Tom I eat pretty clean now. I make my calories up a lot through shakes as it’s hard to hit that number eating clean food.
Q. Tony Boniface: Hi Terry, when it comes to strong man, how much is down to genetics / body type and how much is hard work? Are some people naturally built for strongman?
A. Terry Hollands: I would say 50/50 you could be very genetically gifted but a guy who works hard will beat you. Generally guys with a big frame do well but plenty of exceptions. Possibly the greatest ever, Mariusz Pudzianowski was not naturally massive.
Q. Jeff Hillyard: Terry what’s the best bit of training advice you would give a young Terry Hollands.
A. Terry Hollands: Jeff, seek out a coach would be my advice, I learned the hard way where if I’d had a coach maybe I would have not needed to learn through trial and error. Also, train like a strongman not a powerlifter or bodybuilder.
Q. Neil Falconer: Hello Tel. Apart from yourself, which GB strongman would you tip to do well? Just the one – no sitting on the fence (you’d only break it anyway lol). I like Hall but value your opinion. Good luck in China big man.
A. Terry Hollands: Neil, I’m sure all the Brits will do well but Laurence Shahlaei will be the main British threat to me. Ed needs a little more event experience to realise his full potential
Q. Ben Banfield: how would you go about training with a very painful herniated disc?
A. Terry Hollands: Ben I probably wouldn’t, I’d get it checked out by a good physio. You could probably train around it for most things then seek medical advice for the others
Q. Josh Armfield: How many sets/reps would you recommend for gaining muscle quick during a normal session?
A. Terry Hollands: Josh I always work in 3-5 reps for 3-5 sets but that is more for strength, for muscle I’d say 8-12 is where you wanna be looking for 3-4 sets
Q. John Beckett: Hey Terry, I’ve followed a few linear periodisation programs, most recently Wendlers, and got good gains in my strength. Do u follow a similar program and if so how rigidly do u stick to it? ie incorporating other programs to accommodate/advance on certain lifts eg running wendlers but also coan/phil for deads?
A. Terry Hollands: John, I go purely on how I feel. I think periodisation is great but you need some wiggle room. Let’s face it, if you’re having a tough day at work and gotta hit the gym after, there’s a good chance you’re not gonna lift as much as if you’ve eaten well and been resting all day.
Q. Neil Falconer: Last one from me. I’m 37 & struggling to “get big” (weight) mainly – only 14 stone. Any tips advice would be greatly appreciated. I seem to eat like a bloomin’ horse but I’m on my feet 8 hours a day walking around so my job probably burns a lot of that way. I know I’m knocking on a little.
A. Terry Hollands: Neil it’s never easy in that situation. There is always a way though. Try adding extra shakes and maybe carbs and peanut butter to the shakes too. You have to be putting in more than you’re burning.
Q. Scott Shaw: Just a quick one. Water or milk with protein shakes?
A. Terry Hollands: Scott I go water and as little as possible but if you’re trying to bulk milk would probably be better.
Q. Tom McMichael Armstrong: Terry, what’s been the best method for your overhead strength and squat/leg strength and have you changed anything in particular in training movements because of your height?
A. Terry Hollands: Tom, my overhead and squatting has always been my weaknesses. With regards to squats I started doing them 5 times a week, never overly heavy but always do them, this helped a lot. With my overhead, I’ve been training at a weightlifting club to try to improve it and actually work on technique. If you want a big overhead you’ve gotta smash those triceps hard and twice a week.
Q. Josh Armfield: Would you recommend a dirty bulk at all ?
A. Terry Hollands: Josh, I spent the first 5 years of my career on a dirty bulk but now I wouldn’t recommend it, no.
Q. Paul Gow: Just seen your instagram pic – great job on weight loss mate. Any chance of putting up a meal plan up to help people out with the same goals and especially one for people who train first thing in morning?
A. Terry Hollands: Paul, I follow a diet written out by the guy that runs www.mealplansite.com which has some great diets on it
Q. Ross McCue: Terry, when you feel like giving in, what do u look for to get inspiration?
A. Terry Hollands: Ross, I usually watch old World’s Strongest Mans – watching myself not winning gives me motivation to keep going.
Q. Graeme Dryburgh-Cook: How do you add serious weight onto a deadlift? I’m stuck and can’t break my current plateau!
A. Terry Hollands: Graeme, I added lots of speed work into my training. Main thing was just time though. From 260-360kg took me 8 months I’m now 8 years from that point and my PB is still only 440.
Q. Ed Hayes: How do you keep your hand grip strength up if you are straps for deadlifts?
A. Terry Hollands: Ed, most strongman events tax your grip hence why we are allowed to use straps in contest. Farmers walk would be a big one for working your grip.
Q. Martin Horman: What’re your favourite events and least favourite? Do you reckon Felix, Hall and Hicks will get through their groups at wsm?
A. Terry Hollands: Martin, my favourite is probably Deadlift but my best would be Truck Pull. I think all three have a chance but it’s never easy.
Q. Lewis Michael Thompson: Hi Terry, any recommendations on how to strengthen your lower back muscles? I have a pretty weak lower back from a pulled muscle last summer. Btw massive fan of yours since seeing you in 2007 strongman. Your training videos are great!
A. Terry Hollands: Lewis for any posterior chain weakness I’d always say deadlifts is key. Your lower back weakness might actually be glute weakness
Q. Connor Heaven: What training and diet advice would you give to a 16 year old who’s been training for over a year..?
A. Terry Hollands: Connor, I’d say just don’t rush it. As a strength trainer you won’t hit your peak till at least 25 so you don’t want to get to that point and be so beaten up that you have to stop.
Q. Tomas Klovas: How do you think, you have any chances against Savickas in China?
A. Terry Hollands: Tomas, he’s the man to beat but I have to believe that with the events we have I have a shot to beat him. There are at least 2 events in the final I regularly beat him on and a couple I sometimes do so it’s possible
Q. Dan Mahoney: Hi Terry, I’ve just damaged the nerves in my right arm meaning I can’t now compete in my first bodybuilding competition. I’ve been training for 18 months and cutting for 10 weeks. How do you get over the disappointment and down time from injury?
A. Terry Hollands: Dan, that’s a tough one. When I tore my bicep in 2010 I nearly threw in the towel, I’d never been so depressed in my life. That is where you need the support of training partners, friends and family. I was back in the gym 3 days after my surgery training everything I could with one arm just to keep myself motivated.
Q. Ellie Camacho: Good luck!! What colour socks will you be wearing this time?
A. Terry Hollands: Ellie, maybe blue or black this year, I may just mix them up from day to day.
Q. Gavin Patch: Terry, I heard a rumour you were looking to take on the body builders and win Mr Universe next year. I take it that won’t happen, even with your new diet?
A. Terry Hollands: Haha, Gavin, no. Aims for next year are to continue training, do a powerlifting meet and a weightlifting meet.
Q. Gavin Patch: No front cover of Flex then? lol.
A. Terry Hollands: Haha, no mate
Q. Nik Oliver: Terry. I’m a classic Ectomorph so find it hard to put mass on. I’m currently eating 4000 calories a day seeing steady gains eating oats, rice, shakes with whole milk, chicken and anything else high protein/calorie value, keeping myself feeling full. Is there anything else you could suggest? All the best for the competition!
A. Terry Hollands: Nik, add in more high calorie shakes. I believe it or not don’t have a big appetite so have to make mine up with shakes. I have made ones that are as much as 2500 calories each. Check out a link I posted in the comments and there’s a good recipe for a very high calorie shake.
Terry Hollands right time to sign off guys. Need to go train. Glad you all came over. Any questions feel free to tweet me @terryhollandsQ&A Interview with Terry Hollands by Mr Protein