Guest post by Andy Bolton of Deadlift Dynamite
1. Realize that strength training is a violent pursuit
You may have never thought about strength training as something violent, but it is. Think about it: when you squat, you put a weight on your back that could potentially cripple you if it all goes wrong. When you bench, you lift a bar above your body that if dropped on your neck will probably kill you.
And the deadlift encourages you to lift weights from the floor that could break your back if you don’t have the correct form and know how to stay tight.
Indeed, if you don’t get a buzz from watching MMA, boxing, rugby, American football or some other “violent” sport, you are probably not cut out for serious strength training. However, if you do get a kick out of watching those sports and have a passion for getting stronger, you need to develop…
If you want to dominate the kind of weights that the average lifters can’t even hope to lift, you have to be aggressive.
When you are in the hole on the squat, with your max on your back, you have to drive that bar back to the start position like your life depends on it.
The same goes for the bench press: when the bar touches your chest, you have to crush it with serious aggression and drive it back to the start position.
And as for the deadlift, I don’t think any other lift is so dependent on being in the right state of mind. Watch my world record deadlifts and you will see my training partner slap my face beforehand for several minutes. As Dave “Bulldog” Beattie does this I am allowing my aggression to build. When the time comes I push Dave out of the way (not easy to do given that he’s 300lbs) and then I unleash hell on the bar.
That’s the kind of attitude all the best guys have. If you want to see aggression, watch me lift, watch Captain Kirk lift, watch Chuck Vogelphol lift, watch my training partner Brian Reynolds lift—all great lifters, all very aggressive. You can get ok strength without aggression, but if you want to be super strong, you have to be an animal.
With that said, you also need…
The ability to think clearly and see things as they are is of vital importance to the strength athlete. Only when you think clearly will you be able to objectively work out your weaknesses and address them accordingly.
Only when you think clearly will you know when to push and when to hold back, when to get psyched up before a lift and when to just be aggressive when you are actually under the bar. Only when you think clearly will you be able to stay injury free and ensure your own longevity. Clarity is essential for success. Most people are unclear and unsuccessful. There is a pattern right there.
Visualization is a simple yet highly powerful mental skill that all successful people have. Science has proven that if you think about something over and over again and with enough intensity, your brain can’t actually tell the difference between whether or not you have actually done what you are thinking about or just imagined it.
So… the trick is to visualize yourself going for and SUCCEEDING with personal bests over and over again before you actually attempt them. I “saw myself” lift 1,008lbs thousands of times before I actually pulled it for real. When the time came to do it in competition, I actually felt like it was nothing new. Embrace visualization and use it to help you get stronger.
At the same time…
5. Avoid excess negativity
The reason why I say to avoid excess negativity and not just to avoid negativity is because we all have negative thoughts and we always will have. The difference is that some people dwell on negative thoughts and allow them to sabotage their success, while others quickly eliminate them and/or work out if there is a hidden message.
In relation to lifting, the biggest example of negativity is people who see themselves missing personal bests. Never, ever do this and if you catch yourself doing this, stop it straight away and imagine yourself succeeding 10 times. In order to ‘catch’ negative thoughts before they get out of hand, you must have…
Tony Robbins says that most people live their lives like a leaf on a river. In other words—they go where the river takes them, with no real control over where they are going. If you want control over your life and your strength, you must be like the speed boat on the river; able to pick its course and do what it wants—instead of being dictated to by your surroundings and circumstances… you must take control and make things happen.
When you are focused, you will naturally take control and spend your time more wisely. Right now, do a quick exercise that will get you focused…
• Take out a sheet of paper
• Write down three 30 day goals
• Write down three 3 month goals
• Write down three 12 month goals
• Write down a big, outrageous 3 to 5 year goal
Read these goals every day and tick them off as you do achieve them. Finally, you must be:
Bruce Lee talks about flowing like water. You must be the same. No matter how well you plan, things will always need to be tweaked and altered along the way. That goes for strength training and everything you do in life.
Do not be stubborn, be flexible. If something’s not working, be man enough to change it.
Andy Bolton is an English powerlifting and strongman legend. He was the first guy to deadlift one thousand pounds in a powerlifting competition. Andy won his first competition at the age of 21 and just kept going from there, never looking back. He is the current World Powerlifting Organization world record holder (2,806 pounds) and holds the WPO world records in squat (1,213 pounds) and deadlift (1,009 pounds). His best competition bench press is a whopping 755 pounds.
In his latest work, Super Size Your Strength, Andy teams up with fellow powerlifter Elliot Newman to share their insiders’ secrets for driving your squat, bench press and deadlift to new, amazingly powerful highs. Let’s take a look and see what they have to say.
Supersize Your Strength is a 16-week training program to build raw/unequipped strength. In other words, if you wear knee wraps on your squats this program is suitable for you but if you wear squat and deadlift suits and bench shirts, then you need to look elsewhere.
The book is broken up into eight easy-to-read chapters that cover everything you need to know to follow the program and build your squat, bench press and deadlift. The sharp focus on these ‘big three’ exercises is one aspect of this book that I really like. If you’re a powerlifter this sharp focus makes perfect sense. If you’re not a powerlifter but just a guy who wants to get strong, this approach still makes sense because by focusing on the big three lifts, you’re building absolute strength from head to toe. In other words, Supersize Your Strength helps you build the foundation you need to grow all over your body. All of this is covered in chapter one.
The next chapter provides an overview of the complete 16-week program. The program is designed for a four-day training schedule and is designed to be followed exactly as-is, without modification. The only modification allowed is a switch to a 3-day switch schedule.
Chapter three covers the all-important warm up. If you expect to be lifting the kinds of weight these guys do, it is absolutely critical that you properly warm up—no exceptions. Extensive photographs are provided for each warm up exercise.
Chapter four outlines the 16-week training program. The guys include handy charts that cover each four-week period of the program. The number of exercises performed each day ranges from a low of four to a high of seven. Rest periods between the sets should be between 60 and 180 seconds, depending on the type of exercise you’re performing. You’ll need to read chapter five though first, because this is where all of the exercise movements are laid out for you. Again, like in chapter three, pictures demonstrate proper form.
The very few modifications that are allowed in the Supersize Your Strength program are covered in chapter six. For example, if a four-day cycle doesn’t work for you, it is acceptable to switch to a three-day split routine by combing certain exercises. The program includes 20 minutes of cardio per week. However, you are allowed to add some additional cardio time to this schedule. Keep in mind though that the goal of the program is to build super strength so it is important that you not spend too much time doing cardio.
Chapter seven is focused on things you can do to increase your strength gains. Specifically, this chapter highlights pre-, during- and post-workout nutrition, along with the all important recovery. I found the nutrition section of this chapter especially useful. The guys provide a lot of great information about carbs, protein, timing your nutritional intake and more. Remember that nutrition is the foundation of all gains in size and strength. You can lift until you can’t lift any more, but if you don’t have the proper nutritional foundation, the gains just won’t happen. The recovery section in chapter seven is also very well done.
The last chapter outlines your post-program strategy to maintain your gains.
Andy and Elliot also include four bonus books: Explode Your Squat; Explode Your Bench; Explode Your Deadlift; and Bigger Lifting Through Stronger Abs. Each of these volumes provide a nice range of tips and tricks to keep exploding your results beyond the 16-week Supersize Your Strength training program. All-in-all I’m happy to give the program a solid recommendation. Andy and Elliot obviously know what they are doing in terms of strength training and they do an excellent job of conveying their knowledge and wisdom to the reader.
Do THIS And You’ll Get Bigger, Stronger And Faster – Guaranteed.
By Andy Bolton author of Supersize your Strength
You may wonder what it is that I’m referring too. After-all, to guarantee that you’ll get BIGGER, STRONGER and FASTER is a pretty bold claim, right?
But it’s a claim I can back up with results.
My own results (multiple world records and titles).
My training partners results.
My clients results.
Now, what the hell am I talking about?
Here’s your answer…
I’m talking about Training Program Design.
You see, the right training program can accelerate your gains in the gym faster than virtually anything else, but the wrong program can leave you without any gains for months (or even years) and can lead you down a road of injury and frustration.
The trouble is, it sounds easy – all you have to do is write an effective training program and you’ll achieve all your muscle-building and strength goals.
BUT – it’s not easy!
Not by a long way.
I see many guys hurt themselves and make little or no progress in the gym because they are clueless when it comes to training program design.
Some Bench Press 6 times a week.
Others only train the ‘mirror muscles’.
Others only train their upper body’s.
The list of mistakes goes on and on.
The most important things you need to get right if you want to get big and strong are:
- Good sleep
- Proper nutrition and hydration
- Lifting technique
- Training program design
Without a good training program you are doomed to failure. With a good training program it can be like removing the brakes, adding the Supercharger and saying “HELLO” to a whole new world of gains.
When I was starting out in the world of strength I found the best lifters I could and I studied what they did. At first I copied their programs and made decent gains.
Over the years I added my own unique flavors to the mix and made even better gains. Now I share my knowledge and wisdom (20+ years worth) with other lifters and athletes and they very often experience the best gains of their lives.
They add muscle.
They get stronger.
They get faster and build explosiveness.
If you’d like me to help you to get bigger, stronger and faster, by providing you with a “kick-ass” training program, click the link below:
January 17, 2012 by Mike Westerdal
Filed under Bench Press, Bodybuilding and Muscle Building, Muscle Building, Powerlifting, Recent Posts, Reviews, Strength Training, Strength Training Reviews, Training
Ask most anyone that lifts weights what the three most critical lifts are and I can almost guarantee that he will say the bench press, the deadlift and the squat. Of the three, the squat is arguably the most important compound exercise you can perform because it not only works all of the major leg muscles but it strengthens the core and supports muscle growth throughout the body too.
Each of these three exercises is a compound movement that simultaneously recruits multiple muscle groups, making them all critical to explosive gains in strength and mass.
Even more important, all three movements push the body’s endocrine system into overdrive, triggering the release of powerful hormones such as testosterone that drive strength gains and muscle growth.
A guy named Andy Bolton understands this concept better than just about anybody. He’s spent more than 20 years figuring out what works and what doesn’t and has gotten really good at it. Andy is a 7-time WPC World Powerlifting Champion, a 2-time WPO Champion and the first man ever to pull a 1000 lbs Deadlift in competition. In fact, he’s squatted an unbelievable 1214 pounds, benched an incredible 755 pounds and deadlifted more than 1,000 pounds, not once–but twice!
His “Explode” books (one for squats, one for the bench press and one for the deadlift) outline Andy’s techniques for making these critical moves the foundation of a training routine that will blast out more size and strength gains than you ever thought possible.
Although each book covers a different topic, the overall layout of each is very similar. In all three the first couple chapters offer some interesting and useful background information. First, in each book Andy starts out by discussing the spotlighted movement, providing a historical overview of his strength gains in each movement over the years–it’s pretty impressive.
In the Squat and Bench Press books he then moves into a discussion of raw movements, which means that you’re not using any equipment other than a lifting belt, knee wraps or wrist wraps. In the next chapter he moves on to talking about doing the movements equipped. In both cases, this chapter is primarily geared towards competitive powerlifters.
In the Deadlift book, he talks about what to wear and then points out the differences between a “Sumo Deadlift” and a “Conventional Deadlift.” This is excellent information because it enables you to determine which of the two is best suited to you. Some trainers favor one style over the other and try and force their beliefs on everyone, which can lead to injuries.
After these discussions, in all three volumes Andy launches into the heart of the matter, starting with proper set-up. Here he talks about how setting up is the most fundamental element of a solid movement. Obviously, if you aren’t on-target with this critical step from the start, you won’t get the results you want and more important, you set yourself up for failure and even serious injury. In all cases, Andy includes clear descriptions and a photo to demonstrate proper set-up.
In the subsequent chapters, he walks you through all of the various phases that make up the movements. I like the fact that his descriptions are clear, providing enough information so you can perfect the movement, but not so much that it’s distracting. Pictures help you to make sure you’re performing the movements properly. Throughout all three books he offers tips and suggestions to help you get the most out of each exercise.
Afterwards, he shifts to a discussion that to me, is one of the most important chapters in the book and a personal favorite of mine. Here, Andy talks about the importance of having the proper mindset. While yes, proper form and executive are both absolutely critical, if you don’t have the mindset of a champion, you’ll never see the results you want to see. It’s not a very lengthy chapter but Andy does provide his most important tips and suggestions for mentally positioning yourself to explode your squat.
One look at his incredibly impressive record of triumphs and it becomes very apparent that Andy Bolton knows what he’s talking about. Here’s your opportunity to learn from one of the best. So if you are really looking to experience explosive gains in size and strength like never before, check out Explode Your Squat, Explode Your Benchpress or Explode Your Deadlift (or all three) for yourself and see just how far you can go–you might be surprised!
Guest Post by Andy Bolton Creator of Explode Your Powerlifts
When people ask me how I train they very often don’t believe me.
I have lost track of the number of times in my lifting career that people have said – NO WAY Andy, you must train more than that to have gotten as strong as you have.
But here’s the thing – I might not have trained as much as some of those crazy dudes doing Russian Volume type programs, but I have always trained SMART.
And smart training (not work for the sake of work), has built me a 1214lbs Squat, 755lbs Bench and 1008lbs Deadlift.
With all that said, here are 3 huge mistakes I see people making that prevent them from building their squat, bench press and deadlift to their true potential.
Huge Mistake #1: Lousy Technique
Simply put, most lifters have room for improvement on the technical side of their lifts.
If you improve your technique, you get stronger and minimize your injury-risk.
By lifting with bad form you hold yourself back and risk injury sooner or later. I think you know what to do!
Huge Mistake #2: Over-taining
Some lifters do so much work that they can’t recover from it.
You have to remember that the body has a limited ability to recover from the demands you place on it in the gym. If you exceed these limits you end up over-trained and progress becomes impossible.
So by all means push yourself hard in the gym, but do not do so much that you can’t recover from it.
Huge Mistake #3: Weak Mind-Set
To get to the top of Powerlifting or Bodybuilding or even just achieve a high level, takes a strong mind-set.
As a lifter, you can not fear the weight – you have to believe that you can do whatever you set out to do.
As a bodybuilder you have to have the mental discipline to eat right and train hard at the same time.
Getting good aint easy and getting to the top is extremely hard, but if you want to get good or get to the top you have to develop a strong mind-set that empowers you and doesn’t hold you back.
Guest Post by 1000 Pound Deadlifter Andy Bolton
Whatever your goal – whether you want to get stronger for the sake of being strong, stronger to increase your muscular size and build a harder, denser physique or stronger to improve athletic performance…
The 3 powerlifts will help get you stronger faster than anything else you can do in the gym.
The 3 powerlifts are of course the Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift.
Now here’s the thing…
These days you are bombarded with choice when it comes to what you do in the gym.
You can do the 3 powerlifts, or you can do Olympic Weightlifting, or you can do Strongman training or you can lift Kettlebells.
But, when it comes to building absolute strength, the powerlifts RULE. They always have and they always will.
That’s not to say that the other methods of weight training aren’t valuable, of course they are – but when it comes to getting a STRONG AS POSSIBLE… you can’t beat the squat, bench press and deadlift.
Think about it…
The biggest Kettelbell is 48kg. Is that likely to build the same strength as squats with 500 pounds or more and deadlifts with 600 pounds +? I think not. And I use kettlebells myself, but they are an assistance movement, not my main thing in the gym.
The Olympic Weightlifts are awesome for building explosive power, but when it comes to limit strength, they are still second to the powerlifts.
Strongman training can build a ton of strength as well but not the same way as the powerlifts can.
There’s a clue here by the way… Many olympic weightlifters and strongmen use the powerflifts to improve their strength.
For instance, weightlifters tend to squat a lot and strongmen tend to squat and do a ton of deadlifting.
I think what I am saying is clear.
If you want to develop absolute strength and the kind of rock hard, tough as nails kind of physique that only strong dudes posses – you should be doing the powerlifts.
The next thing we should discuss is how to actually squat, bench and deadlift.
It is my experience that most gym rats are always looking for the ‘mircale’ training program.
The one that’s going to add 400 pounds to each lift in 8 weeks.
Well, guess what? It doesn’t freaking exist!
However, if there is something that is more important than you’re training program – it’s your technique.
Most guys have truly awful technique and could make rapid improvements in their strength by improving their technique.
I have seen technical improvements add 50 pounds to a lifters Bench in a single session.
The same cannot be said of a particular training program.
And you are probably in the same boat. You probably don’t have perfect form and you should work on it. It’ll make you STRONGER and reduce your injury-risk.
A nice ‘double whammy’.
I’ve been in the iron game over 20 years and I’ve squatted 1214lbs, benched 755lbs and deadlifted 1008lbs.
And do you know what?
I still work on my technique each and every time I train and I have my clients do the same.