A week before that meet I had pulled 635x3 no belt from a deficit so I felt solid about going in and pulling a nice PR. This is not something I'd usually do because I think full meet numbers carry more weight than single lifts done before or after a token lift.
Regardless, my deadlift had been going pretty well for a while so I thought "what the hell?" and drove up. Well as things have gone for me lately, I started feeling very shitty on my way up there and when I woke up the next morning I felt like someone had water boarded me all night and then decided to recreate the scene from Casino where Peschi and his brother got a taste of hickory for 10 minutes.
After warming up on bench that day, and barely being able to unrack 275, I knew something was way off, and I texted my best friend Jason Pegg and his response to that was "shut it down. Now."
Going against my own desires, I listened. And in retrospect it was the right choice.
At the meet however, I watched my buddy Eric Lilliebridge squat a very easy 925. He looked good for 950 honestly, and I think in the next year he'll be up around 975 which is just insane.
But the very cool thing about Eric's squat jumping up so much is really what he did to lay the foundation for getting there.
For years Eric squatted high bar. And he broke the world record going high bar. However since then, he's switch to a low bar squat, and his squat has REALLY taken off to an even higher level.
I really believe that Eric going high bar, which is a much more difficult way to squat, is what set him up for where he's at now. Low bar puts the bar closer to your hips, and the bar itself obviously doesn't travel as far through space so more weight can be lifted.
So now that Eric has switched to low bar, there's a whole new world waiting for him to conquer now that his titan strong quads will get a little bit more of the hips involved in the movement. But I believe that building his base around all those high bar squats is what has set him up for all of his latest success.
From my own experience this has been happening with my bench press. I decided after the Iowa meet that I would move my grip out a little bit. Not a ton, because my shoulder won't allow it, but basically the same grip I use on incline.
Since I have done so, my bench is now moving at a very fast clip. I did 405 x 5 this past week very easily, and then did 5 sets of triples all paused with no grinding. For me, this is VERY good as I believe I can probably eek out several sets of 5 at this point.
I believe that this is happening because I have spent many years benching with a very, very close grip. Basically about 15" apart. Now I'm just a fraction outside of the smooth.
The key here, if you take note, is that both Eric and I spent YEARS doing something in a more difficult manner before moving on to a method that is more advantageous from a leverage perspective. Now this is not a new concept, however most guys think that doing a 6 or 8 week block or phase is enough to give this same advantage however I honestly believe it's something that needs to be done over a much longer period to give the same kind of rewards. This doesn't mean you have to neglect the competition version of your squat, deadlift, or bench press but it does mean you should be spending the majority of the year using a version of that lift that is less advantageous from a leverage standpoint.
So for squats, if you are a low bar squatter most of the year should be spent doing high bar work. For benching, extremely close grip work, and for deadlifting you would do it from a small deficit.
I will be going over more on the blocks and phases you can incorporate these ideas into long periods of training so that you can really maximize the benefits of this.
More to come.