Monday, December 3, 2012

Freakin awesome testimonial......

Hi Paul

Not sure what the average demographic of your readership/blog followers is, but I'm guessing I'm not it. After reading an article posted on the Crossfit blog where I was training at the time, about a woman who basically got off the couch to set power lifting records.  I thought...hang on, I can lift nearly that...and I really wanted to. So, I cancelled my Crossfit membership and sought out a power lifting club.

6 months of training and 2 meets under my belt, one just this weekend. For this latest cycle our coach followed your template. I also read your blog (and SLL), and was mighty glad I did as the context of that program seemed to get lost on some people in the gym who were just following their 5,4,3,2,1,1,1 template.

I am 40 years old, so for me, staying in the game for as long as I choose to is key. I read your stuff, got my coach to decrease my maxes, did a shit load of things like front squats and presses after my first meet. I added to my back squat in 2.5# and 5# increments because it felt right, and I need to know I have "earned" bigger jumps. 

Going into this meet, I knew exactly which lifts were in the bag, and which were 50/50 and it had NOTHING to do with what I had lifted in the gym, on a good day, only doing that lift and not the other 2, with my fave tunes on etc etc etc. And I was right, which means you were right! 

Gym maxes actually meant jack shit on the day, and whilst a few of my club mates were totally bummed about this, I kind of expected it. In fact I had a meet where the result (good) was better than my performance (which was not great as following your program I added quite a bit of muscle but I foolishly chose not to go up a weight class and drained myself out in meet week).

So - just a shout out to say keep up the good work, looking forward to reading your new stuff, and keep on keeping everyone honest!

Best wishes, happy holidays etc, Jo Welsh

USAPL NJ State - 1st place
USAPL NE Regionals, 3rd place Open, 1st place Masters.

My response - 

If you want to look at my program, as it is laid out on paper or on a spreadsheet, and run with it, it will work.  If you do not understand the philosophies behind making those numbers work, your progress will not be as optimal.  

Jo, GETS IT.  

A few months ago I trained Chris Smith for the 100% Raw Worlds.  Chris argued about how light we were programming and how things felt.  I told him to trust in the process.  

What happened?  

4 PR's (squat, bench, dead, and total) and 4 world records for him.

Chase Karnes figured it out.  He took 2nd place at the North American Nationals because he got it, and I expect he will surpass that easily in just a few weeks.  

My "system" is not just numbers on a piece of paper.  It's about programming properly, picking the right assistance work, understanding the importance of actually building mass to be stronger between competing, instead of just "maxing out" or doing "max effort" type shit.  It's about CRUSHING your programmed weights in week after week.  

This is the methods that guys like Coan used.  However it's seems to have been totally lost on most people training for strength.  I constantly state this but so few get it.  Coan's deadlift programming involved doubling his opener.  That's what he programmed for!  In the meantime, you're programming to actually hit your max in the gym a few weeks out from the meet, then wonder why you aren't good for it at the meet?  Even though I've written so many times about how peaking is real, and how once you do expect to start to fall off the cliff shortly after.  

You can't be at your strongest year round, no matter what someone else tells you.  Steamrolling programmed weights going into a meet set you up for your best possible lifts, and gives you the greatest amount of confidence.  I think it's funny how often my guys and gals go 9/9 with PR's up and down, and then I have to hear "well they didn't go heavy enough if they went 9/9".  I'm sorry, I should let pro coaches know that if their athletes or teams don't lose they didn't try hard enough.  Where this thinking comes from, I don't know.    

Programming smart is what nets you progress, doesn't beat you up, and stays with you through every cycle.  

This is something I'm going over even more in the new 365 manual.  Once people start really understanding how to apply these things they will see huge jumps in strength.  Thousands of pounds in just a few weeks!  Ok no, not really.  

The issue is, everyone wants to constantly demonstrate strength, rather than build it.  And believe it or not, building strength, you can train far lighter than you probably have been and get the benefit of not taxing your recovery as much, and save your joints.  This is very backwards from how thinking in powerlifting and strength sports has been for a while now (except for strongmen, who get it).    

This came just in time for the upcoming year where you can really implement this fully into your programming for the year, and reap the rewards.  


  1. This all creates, whether competitor or hobbyist, longevity in the sport. After 40, man, is it easy to get/feel busted up and recovery takes a wee bit longer than it did back in the day.

    Congrats, Paul, on the praise.

  2. It seems to me that there is an inferiority complex within the sport of powerlifting that creates negative attitudes like missing lifts is necessary to show you pushed hard enough. It might be that many lifters were only moderately successful athletes in other sports previously and have found a new sport that has rewarded them more than before? In contrast the true freaks of the sport seem to downplay a lot of the uglier or negative elements and avoid silly things like 'pfft those football players have poor squat form' or whatever. Does that make sense?

    1. Yup. Exactly why I wrote the Lifer series......

  3. Great stuff. After digesting your knowledge bombs and devouring your blog as well as using EDT (Staley) and some elements of Starting Strength (Rippetoe) I am making fantastic progress. And best of all, really enjoying my training, because I am not constantly feeling like I am suffering the after effects of telling Mike Tyson that he is ugly and his mother dresses him funny. The common denominator here, that is what is at the heart of Paul's stuff and EDT is essentially to manage fatigue so that you can keep training smarter and not to look to punish yourself in terms of using pain as an indicator of a good workout or work done. I have to admit the checking your ego at the door is far easier said than done - you see it all the time. But as I stand before the gates of my 42nd birthday I finally get it too :-) It is sad really that it takes so long for that proverbial penny to drop. Thanks again for all the wisdom rockets (would have used knowledge bomb, but like the image of wisdom rocket) am looking forward to the new manual. Regards from Germany Andrew