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.