I haven't updated my training log the last few days -
Sunday - Squats
High Bar -
315 x 8 sets of 5
Notes - Quad is still very tender. So I'm taking it very easy.
Monday - Press
Incline Press -
275x20, 9, 7 = 36
Hammer Row - 4 plates per side x 6,6 2 plates per side x 12,12
Upright Rows - 110x8,8,8
Notes - Working towards 50 reps over the three sets on incline. The 405 double was stupid easy.
Success story #1 -
I wanted to write to you about my meet on Saturday at the IPA Nationals in York, PA. I decided in
early September after being a reader of your blog over the past 2 years that I would finally fully
implement your Strong 15 program. I plugged in 10lb PR’s for each lift for Phase 3. (415 Squat, 275
Bench, 545 Dead) Prior to all of this, I’ve been in 2 meets. One in July 2012 where I totaled 1125 and
one in December 2012 where I totaled 1170.
Over the first half of 2013 I ran Sheiko based programs, but was plugging in maxes that were well over
my actual max. Additionally, I was using a belt for nearly all of my working squat and deadlift
training. Eventually, I beat myself into the ground and set myself up for injury. Ironically, I injured
my left lat when I was doing beltless squat training in May. The injury happened because I was out of
town for work and didn’t bring my belt. When I went to squat that night of the injury, I just took 30lbs
off my normal training weight and figured that would be good to squat beltless. I was wrong! I took a
week off from the gym after that injury.
When I started training after that injury, I decided to back the weight off a TON and I did 100%
beltless training. I started extremely low in weight and basically did 5x5 and 6x6 all summer adding
2.5-5lbs every session. By the time August rolled around, my beltless 5x5 squat was up to 335, which
was better than any of my previous belted squat work. As with any type of linear programming,
eventually you come to a halt and have to reset or back-off.
At that point in time, I decided I wanted to compete again and eyed up the IPA National
Championships in York, PA. When I decided to do the meet in September, I was 11 weeks away from
the meet date and the Strong 15 fit in perfectly with that timeframe. A couple key takeaways from
the 9 weeks of training: I didn’t institute using a belt until about week 7 of my training. I only did
about a half dozen singles with the belt on deads and squat through the whole program. All of my
back-off work was done without a belt. I only missed ONE lift the whole 9 weeks. It was the very last
week for deads training. I was training very late at night after a stressful and long day at work. On the
final back off set of 1x3, I only managed 2 reps as the 3rd rep only got halfway up. I loved the AMAP
work for bench. My final AMAP bench set was 235x7 paused, which I thought guaranteed my 275 3rd
I decided to cut to 198. Really the only reason I cut to 198 was because the 198’s and under all lifted
on Saturday. The 220’s and up lifted on Sunday. I had some previous family obligations so it didn’t
work out for me to lift on Sunday. After reading about your weight cut for Relentless, I had some
trepidation, but I still decided to move forth with my cut. The previous Sunday I was 216. On Monday
I started my water loading and carb/sodium cut. On Friday morning, I woke up at 530 am at 203.6.
Over the course of the next 3 hours, I hot bathed and steamed off the remaining 5.6lbs. When I got
to the meet site at 10am, my initial weigh-in was 198.5, putting me .25 over. The lady weighing me in
told me to go pee and spit out as much as I could. I maybe got a couple dribbles of pee out and I was
trying to spit whatever saliva was left in my mouth. 15 minutes later, I weighed in at 198.1.
After the weigh-in, it was a food smorgasbord all day. BBQ, Pho, candy, Hawaiian Punch, Mike & Ike’s,
tons of water, quesadilla’s. I went to bed at 214. I woke up the next morning and had a half of an egg
omelet at the hotel and a bunch of coffee and water. Off to the meet I went.
In regards to the meet, I have to say it was run pretty darn well. The venue was the USA weightlifting
hall of fame in York, PA. The Challiet’s run the IPA and run the meet and I give them a ton of credit.
Great venue, nice warm-up area, the hall of fame was really cool, a nice seating area for eating and
relaxing between flights, and a cool retail store run by York Barbell.
When I started warming up, I felt a ton of gas on my insides. Part of the problem with a 17lb weight
cut is that the recomp forces you to eat a ton of food which my body wasn’t prepared for. The entire
day of the meet my stomach was hurting. I must have taken about 10 dumps. Although it didn’t
affect my lifting, it wasn’t exactly comfortable.
The IPA doesn’t have distinctions between wraps and no wraps. I still decided not to wear wraps, but
I did wear my Rehband knee sleeves. (I don’t think sleeves add any poundage to your total, but they
are good for health) I’m not sure if I’m ever going to be a knee wrap guy. It just seems like a lot of
hassle. I’m not going to knock anyone else for wearing them, but they just ain’t for me.
Squats felt good during warm-ups. My opener of 355 was a smoke show so I went ahead and called
for my planned second at 385 which was also fast. I called 415 for the 3rd and that was also fast.
I probably left a good 10lbs on the platform on squat. I credit all of the paused squats in Strong 15 for
giving me a 40lb meet PR that day. It was also a 10lb PR over my best gym squat, which doesn’t
necessarily matter. If you’re curious, my assistance lifts during the 9 week training cycle was a lot of
high bar squats and leg presses. I used the 350 method most of the time. After squats, I was on cloud
9. I could have left the meet at that point and still have been happy, but I knew I still had work to do.
60 lifters were going that day and they had 3 flights. So I had about 3 hours of waiting until I went for
bench. My back started wrenching up during that time. When I was doing my bench warm-ups,
whenever I got into a good arch starting position, my back was killing me. I decided to go with a
milder arch than usual because of that. 235 went up fast on my first attempt, 255 also was good. I
called 275 for my 3rd.
I was pretty nervous about that attempt as I’ve missed 275 a couple times when I attempted it over the last year. I figured with a 235x7 paused bench in training, that 275 would be in the bag this time. Unfortunately, I misgrooved the lift. The bar landed about 2 inches lower on my
body than I normally like and I only got the weight halfway up. I also probably should have taken the hand-off that was offered, but for some reason I felt like I needed to be a man and unrack it myself.
The weight cut could also be part of the reason that I missed 275. Regardless, I think that I could get 275 under optimal conditions in the future.
Over the next few hours, I did a lot of foam rolling for my lower back, which seemed to help the
wrenching feeling. I also did a lot of bitching and moaning to my girlfriend about how long the meet
was. She was nice enough to hear me out! 60 lifters is a lot, but I also understand that it was a big
venue and the IPA had a lot to pay for, so it was probably an unnecessary evil to have that many
I started warming up for deads around 5pm. I believe my first lift was at 530pm. 465 was an absolute
smokeshow. Some of the other lifters said I could have cleaned it with the type of speed I had. 505
was also fast. I was nervous about calling 545 because of my missed lift on the last week of deadlift
training. I decided to call 540 because that was a 5lb PR. The lift was good and I had decent speed
with it. I didn’t shake through the lift like a lot of the other lifters did on their 3rd
I probably left about 15lbs on the platform with that lift. I think I underestimated how many pounds a
whippy bar can add to your deadlift. I will forward you the video I have for that lift.
Anyway, I was 8/9 for the day and ended up with a 1210 total which gave me a 40lb meet PR. Also
PR’ed 2 of my lifts. I want to thank you so much for your blog and the Strong 15 program. The
submaximal training is great for confidence and recovery. The paused squats and AMAP work for
bench are amazing. All of my beltless training gave me a ton of confidence when I finally decided to
put a belt back on. The 350 method is an awesome protocol for assistance that also saves me a ton of
time, which is great for a business professional like me.
I’m looking forward to your base building manual when it comes out today. I plan on doing some
base building throughout the remainder of November and first half of December. I’m then going to
start another round of Strong 15 in mid-December in preparation for IPA States in early March. The
only changes I plan on making in the next round of Strong 15 are doing deficit deads as my back off
work and doing more DB rows in the first two phases of the training for assistance.
-- Bryan Schaeffer
Success Story #2 -
Hey Paul, hope alls well. Just felt the need to drop a line on you and say I just finished my second cycle of your strong 15, I got good results from running the first cycle stock, as-is, other than a lack of deadlift progress. The second cycle I repeated the bench day, minus the back off set, on saturdays, and upped the volume of the pulls. My first cycle ended with a 27.5 lb meet pr in bench, 35 lbs in squat, and 5 lbs in deadlift.
My second cycle ended with a 15 lb squat pr, a 20 lb bench pr, and a 25 lb deadlift pr. Granted my squat and bench sucked ass to begin with, but either way, I moved from an 1092.5 raw and wrapless total at 165 to 1220 in 18 weeks with only a handful of reps above 90%
If it weren't for LRB I'd still be moving a sub 500 dead and sub 400 squat. You totally changed the way I looked at training
-- Colton Lynn