T Nation

Maximum Strength with IronAbrams

Greetings and salutations ladies and gentlemen,

This will be my log for Eric Cressey’s Maximum Strength Program for the next 4 months. I’ll be starting this right after final’s week ends and I finally get home!

A little background on me:

18 years old (19 in July).
Training age: 1 year consistent (+1 more useless year of bad training and diet)
U.S. Army ROTC Cadet and Exercise Science student

Bench Press Sticking Point: Bottom to 2 inches up
Squat Sticking Point: Low midpoint
Deadlift Sticking Point: Off the floor

I’ll get the max effort test lifts (Broad Jump, Box Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift and 3 rep Max Chinup) on Friday hopefully with some progress pics.

I’ll be posting on this with basically the same material at bodybuilding.com (no hatin guys :D) @ forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?p=163880041

Starting Weight: 169
Bodyfat %: Unknown (someplace between 14 and 18)

Chest: 37’
Waist: 32’
Hips: 38’
Bicep: 10.5’ (12’ flexed)
Forearm: 10.5’
Thigh: 22’
Calve: 14.5’
Neck: 15.5’
Shoulders: 44’
Wrists: 7’

Packing Day (Starting Maxes)

Broad Jump 81"

Haven’t jumped since HS track, felt great.

Box Squat 275

Went up decent.

Bench 205 (Miss), Max @ 200

Definitely my worst lift- I need more raw pressing strength. Funny thing was I got the worst hamstring cramp in both legs that I’ve ever had right when pressing.

Deadlift 355 (miss), Max @ 340

That one did not want to come off the floor.

Weighted Chinup +45x3 (no vid, sorry guys)

Proud of this.

Box Squat: air in your belly, and control the descent a little more slowly

Bench: get your feet out a bit wider and tuck them up under your knees a bit. You aren’t getting any leg drive. I’d imagine that you’re pulling your legs up (firing hamstrings) instead of forcing your feet into the ground.

Deadlift: what shoes are you wearing? Looked decent, otherwise - you just need to learn to grind on 'em a bit.

Nice work.

Thanks for the input!

First workout will be tomorrow, today was my last day of freshman year at college and I had to say a lot of goodbyes and move a lot of stuff. Definitely felt surreal, this year went by SO much faster than any year of High School.

Phase 1 : Week 1
Lower Body Day #1

Box Squat 5x4x225
Unfortunately my high school gym doesn’t have any boxes so I had to use a bench, put me a few inches above parallel; I am more than welcome to any and all suggestions.

Speed Deadlift 8x2x175 (50% of max)
These popped the fuck up, I’m used to the Speed Deadlifts on Ed Coan/Phillipi that are too heavy to do speeds with and become regular deadlifts lol.

DB Lunges 4x8x30s
Oddly these were the hardest of the bunch. I will admit that while I have always done posterior chain work religiously I can’t say the same for unilateral leg work. But that’s why the program is written the way it is!

Reverse Crunch 3x12 superset with Prone Bridge 3x30s
Bridge was done on a Swiss Ball.

Not bad for a first session but I have to REALLY find an alternative for using the bench for a box. The high box really did not feel natural at all.

Have a nice bout of glute, VMO and adductor soreness today.

Phase 1, Week 1
Upper Body Day #1

Wednesday, 5/14/08 5:15pm-6:40pm

Bench Press 5x4x155

I made sure to follow all the cues I’d been given based on my last video; today was the first time that I’ve ever been able to really feel and use leg drive. I also lowered the bar to my upper to mid chest rather than lower and it worked great.

Neutral Incline DB Press 3x10x45s

This one is going to take some getting used to.

Chest Supported 30 Degree DB Row 4x10x40s

Subbed for Cable Row (Medium Grip), which unfortunately my high school gym doesn’t have. Didn’t feel like it was a good substitute.

Prone Trap Raise 3x12x7.5s

This will also take some getting used to.

Side Lying External Rotation 2x12x7.5, then 6 reps

I fatigued REALLY quick on this.

Side Bridge 3x30s

Nothing new, do a fair number of these in Army PT.

All in all a productive session. God damn I was sore from yesterday though…

Good luck with the program :slight_smile:

Having been a guinea pig for the program outlined in Maximum Strength book, I’m looking forward to following this.

[quote]Side Lying External Rotation 2x12x7.5, then 6 reps

I fatigued REALLY quick on this.[/quote]

Stick to 5# on the external rotations and get all the reps in. Add reps if necessary since this is more an activation exercise than anything.

[quote]Doug Adams wrote:
Stick to 5# on the external rotations and get all the reps in. Add reps if necessary since this is more an activation exercise than anything.[/quote]

Sounds good. I was reading the Structural Balance article by Poliquin today and realizing just how pathetic those numbers were lol.

What were your results on the program and what did you and Eric learn/change?

Phase 1 : Week 1 (High)
Lower Body Day #2

You’ll take my life but I’ll take yours too
You’ll fire your musket but I’ll run you through
So when your waiting for the next attack
You’d better stand there’s no turning back!

Friday, 05/16/08 5:20 pm - 6:40 pm

Had a little less soreness than yesterday, but not much.

Having no classes and nothing to do except eat, sleep, play GTA4 and lift means that I don’t keep track of date or time outside of this log until my summer classes start. This lead to me forgetting that my high school gym is closed on Friday nights lol.

Paid a walk in fee at another gym the next town over.

Front Squat 4x6x155

God damn I thought I was going to die on these. My original plan was to go balls to the wall with 185 but that wasn’t happening today. For reference I’ve done 225 for an easy single before.

A question for Eric: I sometimes get shooting nerve pain on my left foot (somewhere around the medial longitudinal arch on the top of the foot) while front squatting. This has happened in my regular shoes and VS Athletics Weightlifting shoes, but I’ve never tried it barefoot. Do you have any insight?

Rack Pull from Knees 4x6x275

I finally encountered one of those Texas Chainsaw Massacre bars that Rippetoe was talking about in Starting Strength. The knurling was cutting straight through my albino layer of chalk lol.

DB Split Squat 3x6x20s

My balance sucks :(. I’ve also noticed that my right leg is worth at least a few more reps than my left, but that’s something that I already knew.

Pull-Through 3x10
Reverse Crunch 3x12

Nothing new.

Phase 1 : Week 1 (High)
Upper Body Day #2

Walkin tall machine gun man
They spit on me in my home land

Saturday, 05/17/08 9:45 am- 10:50 am

One Arm DB Push Press 4x6x40

First time performing these, the weight is definitely not there. My left arm was holding me back by a lot.

Neutral Grip Chinup 4x6xBW

Subbed for Close Grip Chinup. The narrowest hand spacing on the pullup bars in my gym is shoulder width (wtf m8) due to our weird power racks, so I went with a neutral (Hammer) grip instead.

Pushup 3x10xBW (Decline)

Nice and slow, feet elevated on a bench.

One Arm DB Row 3x8x45

Trying my best to follow the Row Right article and get my form perfect.

Kneeling Cable External Rotation

My new favorite unknown exercise, seriously. Everyone should try this. With the handles forcing the positioning of the arms you get into the right groove to externally rotate EVERY time. It’s awesome.

Side Bridge

Still hate these :D.

[quote]IronAbrams wrote:
What were your results on the program and what did you and Eric learn/change?[/quote]

My squat went up 20# on paper, but I when I did packing day it was on a higher box so that number should be higher.

Bench and deadlift went up about 30#. I forget the broad jump and chin-up numbers, I’d have to check the book again because my results are in there. While these numbers aren’t great, they were better than the zero gains I was making beforehand.

There’s a few changes between what we did and what’s in the book. Here’s a couple off the top of my head:

  1. We did speed deadlifts for singles instead of doubles.

  2. We did DE box squats instead of jumps in phase 2.

  3. We did 3-board presses in phase 3 as an assistance movement.

Right now I’m going through the program again, wrapping up phase 1 this week. I’ve made one change and that’s doing front box squats instead of back squats, only because my squat form needs a lot of work and these force me to be more upright.

Keep up the good work!

[quote]IronAbrams wrote:
DB Split Squat 3x6x20s

My balance sucks :(. I’ve also noticed that my right leg is worth at least a few more reps than my left, but that’s something that I already knew.

Make sure you’re keeping your abs tight and activate the glute of the non-working leg. I’ve had a lot of trouble with balance on the split squat and remembering to do these things has helped.

Phase 1 : Week 2 (Medium Loading)

Tell your children not to hold my hand
Tell your children not to understand

Lower Body Day #1, Monday 05/19/08 5:25 pm - 6:25 pm

Box Squat 4x4x230

Still off a bench; definitely the hardest part of the workout for me. Even after all this time I’m still not used to having a heavy weight on my back, even if it is more comfortable now that I’ve found my groove (mostly).

Speed Deadlift 8x2x190

Quick, trying to go for perfect form on these.

Walking DB Lunge 3x8x35s

Much better this week. Last week I was DYING, but my balance is becoming better and better.

Reverse Crunch 3x12
Prone Bridge 3x30 sec

Legs feel a little weak but the workout overall was pretty invigorating. Preparing me for the horrors of next week no doubt :D.

Happy Birthday Eric! And grats to Cressey Performance for getting the Pallof Press into Men’s Health by another name :D.

Phase 1 : Week 2 (Medium Loading)

Upper Body Day #1, Tuesday 05/20/08 5:20 pm - 6:25 pm

Bench Press 4x4x160

I’m getting more confident and stable as time goes on.

Neutral Grip Incline DB Press 3x9x45s

Much better time with this, still not my favorite.

One Hand Cable Row 4x9

Subbed for a regular Cable Row, this was done on a Cybex cable pulley station standing. I think that it’s a much better substitute than the chest supported DB row I was using before.

Prone Trap Raise 3x12x7.5s

Much better mind-muscle connection this time.

Lying External Rotation 3x12x5

This is becoming one of my favorite exercises just by how humbling it is to be struggling with a freaking 5 pound weight in your hand.

Side Bridge 3x30 sec

Nothing new.

Phase 1 : Week 2 (Medium Loading)

Camping with my family this weekend, so I condensed Lower Body and Upper Body #2 into one.

Thursday, 05/22/08 5:25 pm - 6:25 pm

Front Squat 4x6x160

Hard but satisfying.

Rack Pull 3x6 (1x6x315 + 2x6x280)

Had a much better bar to work with this time, might start using chalk + straps soon but my grip isn’t a limiting factor yet.

One Arm DB Push Press 4x6x40

This is with just a leg drive- whenever I use a lot, I seem to get a strange sharp pain in my shoulder that never happens with a regular barbell push press.

Neutral Grip Chinup 3x6xBW

Love chinups.

Kneeling Cable External Rotation

Still my fav.

Because of Memorial Day, this week is going to be pretty funky. I’ll do my best to merge the workouts according to the guidelines on Eric’s blog.

Very High loading this week, you’re going to see some brutal volume.

Phase 1 : Week 3 (Very High Loading)

Elements of this weeks’ 4 workouts have been condensed into one, following the guideline’s posted on Eric’s blog.

Tuesday, 05/27/08 5:20 pm - 6:50 pm

Today was the christening of my Chuck Taylors; it felt like they added 20 pounds to my squat easily.

Box Squat 8x3x225

This was a piece of cake, honestly I should have went with another 10 lbs. With the chucks I can spread the floor and push through the heel A LOT easier- I don’t know what I was doing with my old regular pair of sneakers.

Rack Pull 4x6x285

Easy. I seems to get a lot of pressure in the rhomboid area whenever I do these that I don’t get with regular deadlifts though.

DB Split Squat 4x6x25s

Much better, I think I’ve found the right positioning for these finally.

Cable Row 4x10

Nothing new.

Prone Trap Raise 3x12x7.5s

REALLY felt these for the first time.

Lying External Rotation 3x12x5

Good activation, not quite ready to move up in weight though.