Saturday, August 13, 2011

Some e-mails/messages I have received....

Just a quick note really to say after running your strong15 for a full cycle I just PR'd on all 3 lifts with 200kg on both squat and deadlift and 136.5kg on the Bench. Thanks for putting pen to paper, the shit seems to work

All the best




I had sent you a PM a few months ago letting you know that the template you had given me (in response to a different PM) was going well, especially the bench.

You asked me to write it up, and I didn't. At the time we were in the middle of a complicated house move along with other stuff.

Well I just kept my head down and kept training around the template you provided. I backed some stuff off to keep my workouts short and dropped down most weeks to only 2x a week. I was content to hold on to my gains. But for my 36th birthday, after stringing together a great 6 weeks or so of training I hit a bodyweight-ish bench press, after just over 1.5 years of training.

A little background. I started weight training out of the blue in October of 2009. Basic linear progression. When I started I weighed 165 and I first benched 3x5x70. Obviously I was weak as a kitten. Also my levers for the bench really suck. I'm 5'11. My arms are 6'1". Skinny as hell of course.

In January 2010 I hurt the hell out of my shoulder benching 135 for the first time (I was so excited to have the big plates on there). So for the next couple of weeks I used my right arm to put my left hand into my jacket sleeve. Then I finally saw my doctor. Some kind of soft tissue damage, maybe tendonitis. I never bothered getting an MRI, I'm not going under the knife so it doesn't really matter.

Well, that was it for benching for me. I kept pressing, but w/out benching to compliment it my press just hovered between 95 and 115. Also my shoulder was fucked up.

So fast forward to mid-Jan 2011 when I PMed you asking for help. My low back, hips, and ass were beat to shit from heavy, heavy, heavy on 531. My shoulder was still all fucked up and I was just wasting my time only pressing the same old 95-120.

Well, I didn't give you any of this background and you shot me back a template with a bench day.

Well, I didn't want to be that guy, "Oh Paul, I can't do this because of my fucked up shoulder, whine whine whine... blah blah."

So I did some reading and talking to my internet training partner and we decided to sub in close grip floor presses, start light, and see what happened. We figured that my major problem is that my long arms put my elbows so far below the bench. Floor presses are legit, but they limit the ROM, so we figured that might work.

So that first week I floor pressed 5x120 and then a backoff of 15x100. And followed it with light DB sets. Incline and seated, and finally bench dips.

I woke up the next morning and my shoulder was sore... But ok. I stretched and foam rolled it hard and next week came around and I floor pressed again.

I Kept doing that and adding weight/reps until my basement flooded. Can't floor press in a puddle. Ok. What now? Fucking pin presses! Well that first night I pin pressed 150 which was a major fucking PR for me. But I could tell I only got it because I set the pins to high.

Ok. Basement was continually damp because we were in the start of what would be the 3rd wettest spring in Indiana history. I couldn't count on being able to floor press. About that time I saw some random video of EFS guys pressing off half of a foam roller. I read Tate's comments on it being much more like a regular bench press than using boards. Well, fine I'd do that.

So from March on I've been close grip pressing off a 3" half of a foam roller.

Ok. So lesson 1 limit the ROM a little bit and don't worry about being a pussy. I'm not getting on a platform anytime soon.

Lesson 2. DUMBBELLS! This, I think, is where you really saved my ass. Although I own a complete set of hex DBs from 5-50; I never used them. Why? I have no idea. But once I started using them in your template my shoulders started feeling a lot better. There's no doubt that pushing myself on the DBs fed right back into benching. Being able to press with the DBs in a natural movement that was pain free was amazing.

Anyways, my shoulder continues to hang there, I continue to get stronger. My arms and shoulders really thickened up over the last 6 months.

Thanks a lot Paul. I really appreciate your generosity with your training knowledge.



Thanks to both guys for the updates.  This kind of stuff is why I write on here and offer up any advice that may help.  


  1. Love reading your stuff Paul. You are doing a great service to people by putting your views out there. You are one of the most no-nonsense guys I've come across in the fitness blogs.