Paul Carter’s Base Building Review

TLDR: Paul Carter’s Base Building: Build a solid foundation of strength and mass for future gains

No great monument can be built on faulty foundations. And with that, no great body can be built without good foundations on the compound movements. Paul Carter believes that after foundational of base building work, the lifter can then do the ‘pretty stuff’ like bicep curls.

For this phase, strength qualities in the big 3 are emphasized, with higher volume in the lifts to instill good motor patterns, staying away from failure and limited accessories.

The focus in each compound lifts is to push as hard as humanly possible in the concentric phase, aka Compensatory Acceleration Training (CAT). On top of that, reduced rest periods are used to build work capacity, particularly at the lower percentages of the lifts. A lifter has an Every Day Max (EDM) for the lifts, and he works up to a percentage of that in the workout. This considers the lifter’s daily state and fatigue levels.

There are generally 3 training models for each of the big 3. At the bench, the lifter generally works up to 85%-95% of his EDM and then backs off to do some volume work. For the squat, a lifter works up to 75%-90% of his EDM and then backs off to do sets of triples to 5s. As for the deadlift, it is tiered for the strength levels of a lifter; the tiers are for people who pull under 500lbs, between 500-600, and above 600lbs. The first tier is very straightforward; sets of triples. The second tier is working up to a triple at 85% and back offs. The third alternates between normal deadlifts and deficit pulls.

Fatigue Singles can be used to basically push up the intensity to accumulate more reps at a higher intensity. There are many options provided, at varying frequencies, full body to minimalist work, and even strongman programs.

  • Strength focused workouts 
  • Focus on back work
  • Versatile to fit most situations
  • May not be enough frequency (big 3 once a week)
  • May not be enough volume


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