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Why Chad Waterbury is Wrong and I'm Right (as always)- Part 3

Posted on November 16th, 2010 by Matt Schoeneberger

In Parts 1 and 2 I discussed 2 of the 3 references on Chad Waterbury’s Fat Loss Research page on I like Chad’s work, I just don’t agree with his use of these references. The science just isn’t behind his recommendations in the way he’d like them to be.

In this final (I hope) installation we’ll tackle the following paper:

Kelleher AR, Kackney KJ, Fairchild TJ, Keslacy S, Ploutz-Snyder LL. The Metabolic Costs of Reciprocal Supersets vs. Traditional Resistance Exercise in Young Recreationally Active Adults. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(4):1043-1051.

Waterbury says:

Research shows that when you alternate between two reciprocal exercises (presses and rows) you burn more calories and fat than if you did those same two exercises in a traditional way (three sets of presses followed by three sets of rows). So pair up your sets, or even better, perform three or four exercises in a circuit. (Kelleher et al J Strength Cond Res 2010)

Actually, the authors of the paper clearly state that there was no significant difference between traditional (TRAD) and super-set (SUPER) exercise protocols. What they do say is that since the SUPER protocol took less time to complete, exercisers could burn the same amount of total energy in less time.

“Great!” you say.

“Wait!” I say.

In order to accurately measure energy expenditure, researchers made sure to match total work. They had each exerciser first perform the SUPER protocol to volitional fatigue and counted their number of repetitions for each exercise and set. Then they had each exerciser match this work during the TRAD protocol, even if the exerciser could have performed more repetitions.

So in other words, it depends on what your goals are and how much time you have to exercise. If you’re looking to get strong or produce muscle hypertrophy, TRAD style training might be your best bet since you’ll most likely perform more volume for each exercise, even though it will take longer to complete. If you’re in a time crunch while exercising on your lunch break and you’re just out to burn some energy and breathe heavy, go with SUPER style training.

At no point did the researches mention anything about burning more fat, specifically. We can surmise that Waterbury assumes if you burn more calories per time investment, you’ll be losing more fat weight due to a calorie deficit. This, of course, is dependent upon your ability to put the fork down.

All-in-all, this study doesn’t tell us anything we weren’t already thinking. If you’re short on time, cut down the rest periods and get stuff done. If you have time and you like being in the gym, traditional strength training is just fine.

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5 Responses to “Why Chad Waterbury is Wrong and I'm Right (as always)- Part 3”

  1. Reuben says:

    What is your opinion of Chad Waterbury’s program, “Body of F.I.R.E.”?

    • Matt Schoeneberger says:

      Reuben, I’ve never seen it and it looks like it’s no longer available. Do you have a link to a current place to purchase or view it? It’s probably a good workout system. I like his workouts for the most part.


      • Reuben says:

        I could send you a zip file for you to review it. I didn’t know it was no longer available. I will try to find a link where you can check it out. If you wish, please email me at

        The question I have is that this program is so gruelling and difficult, that I have a hard time sticking to it. Is your program similar?

        • Matt Schoeneberger says:


          First if you have a hard time sticking to it, it may be too advanced for you right now. Could you modify it to make it a little easier? Working hard in the gym is one thing, but running yourself into the ground is another. It also could be that you’re not recovering well enough – sleeping to little, not eating enough or not eating high-quality foods, etc.

          Our program doesn’t really tell you exactly what to do in the gym. It’s more of a set of guidelines, so I’m not sure I could really compare the two programs. If you can find a link where I can purchase the program or Chad himself has made it available for free, that would be great. Thanks!


  2. Roxy says:

    Just a quick heads-up: If you used one of the available snippets to enable &#fIo0;2n8inite-Scr2ll” in a child-theme of twenty-Twelve, twenty-Eleven or twenty-Ten, the new update will break your wordpress and result in server errors (or white pages).Removing these snippets from the function.php of the child-theme makes everything work again.

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