T Nation

Thanks Dave Tate and Crew


For any of you that attended the Test-Fest, you should remember the first part of this story, for everyone else, here goes:

Back in October I hurt my low back on my last set of squats. I was on the second rep of 335x3. Needless to say, I didn't do the third rep, or any back squatting for the next several months.

Fortunately the pain was not excruciating, I could still work and work out. I was definitely limited on what I could do at the gym, especially lower body. I basically followed the RH program I outlined at Test-Fest.

So, in January I got the opportunity to start working out with Dave Tate and a couple of his training partners. I walk into the EliteFTS gym (which I have started calling the London Dungeon {it's in London, OH}) on Saturday morning, squat day, having not had a barbell on my back for about 3 mo.

Talk about the most humbling experience of your life. Here is Dave, who has squatted over 900#, Mike Ruggerio, 1050# and Todd Brock. Here I am not having squatted in months, plus learning to box squat with a new stance. I was stuggling with reps of 225. However, these guys were great, offering tips and encouragment.

Fast forward to this past weekend, and I squatted 500X1 (195# bodyweight). Huge PR for me, actually I had been setting PR's for several weeks, but this is one of those benchmark numbers.

I would never have done that in my life if it wasn't for the help of Dave, Mike and Todd. So, I thought I would extend them a personal note of thanks and let everyone in on the secret.

It all comes down to training environment and training partners. Surround yourself with people who are positive, encouraging and stronger than you and you will get stronger. Stronger than you ever could by working out by yourself or having someone spot you. This is an absolute! That is the secret. Worth it's weight in gold.

For anyone who does not know Dave,other than being the hard-core, tell-it-like-it-is, no BS guy you hear about, he is really a great person. He gave out a copy of his Under the Bar book to all the people at Test-Fest, and if you haven't read it, I would highly encourage you to read it. Great book about life and lifting.

So, once again thank you Dave. I appreciate the opportunity.

Take care,



Congrats on the PR and the recovery!

I too just finshed "Under The Bar". Great read indeed. One of those books I'll reread many times for sure.


Way to go Doc. I can see you getting 600 real soon. Was this a Raw squat or did you at least use briefs, belt and wraps?



Thanks. I appreciate it.

The book is definitely one to read over again every so often.


Congrats! Sweet number to hit. :slight_smile:

I'm jealous as all Hell, man. I've got my little iron dungeon/office down here in the basement, and couldn't find a training partner if my life depended on it. I can't stand commercial gyms, and in spite of hearing "I wish I were in better shape" like a freakin' chorus from my friends, not one of 'em can make time in their busy lives to lift a dumbbell.

(But apparently there's time to squeeze in hours of playing video games each week... I thought that was supposed to drop off when you reached an adult age?)


Agreed, great book its short and sweet. read it the day after the seminar



That's very inspiring, and very serious improvement after a debiliating injury.

I've read Dave Tate's advice on the importance of this kind of support in building towards strength goals. You're living proof.

On another front, may I post an injury question here or is there a more appropriate place for it?



I wore a pair of Metal briefs and a belt. I only wear the briefs and belt on max effort days. On speed days I go raw or just wear the belt.

I don't feel any rebound with the briefs, just more stable in the hips and they help keep me from going too deep in the hole. That may sound sacrilegious to the ass-to-the-grass crowd, but if you go too far past parallel, to the point where your pelvis starts to tuck under, then the risk of low back injury increases. So, I go a little past parallel, but I certainly don't want to bottom out with max weight. If I was going really light or doing OH or front squats, I will go a little lower.

Thanks for your encouragement, I'll keep plugging away. Onward and upward hopefully.

I'm sure if I had one of the famous Sully's T-shirts, that would easily add 50# pounds to my max.

Take care,



Excellent work, Doc! Clearly a lift to be proud of.

It's interesting how you talk about one of your biggest keys in the PR was environment and the people you surround yourself with for training. That was a big takeaway for me from the Test Fest back in January since Dave really emphasized it.

I've often wondered that if I was able to get to a more suitable gym and (more importantly) get a workout partner (which I have not had in at least 5 or 6 years), what kind of results I would get.

Keep us posted on how things go going forward...



What city are you in? You may want to start a thread looking for people in your area. Worth a shot.

Take care,




Send me a PM or start an injury thread.





Thanks, buddy. Sorry about your UConn Huskies, my Buckeyes blew it as well.

I've never had a workout partner and I can tell you that you reach a point where you seem to plateau...for years. That's why I love having the opportunity to workout with Dave and company. I get up early on Saturday morning and drive 50 miles to do it, but I love every minute of it.

I had a very mild pec tear about 6 weeks ago working out at another gym (pissed me off, I've never used steroids, so I was hoping to avoid those kinds of problems), so I have been working back from that. Fortunately it is doing well and I will start going down on Sundays for bench day. I maxed out at 325 (raw) prior to the injury and I think 405 has a nice ring to it.

I've got to start working on the deadlift more, I'm not a pulling machine like Cressey.

I will definitely keep you posted on any good news.

I hope you are doing well. I really enjoyed meeting you in DC.

Take care,



Hey Doc,

Is the rehab the you outlined in DC going to be an article soon? I know that there are heaps of dudes out there (like me) who would be very interested in it.

Congrats on the PR.


I feel like such a stooge. And here I was just a couple weeks back, posting an idle remark about how many T-Nation members seem to live in this general area.

I blame it on sleep deprivation. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

Best of luck with your milestone in the benchpress!


You don't want to know what Dan Fouts had to do to earn that shirt. If you hit 550 at 195 before I do, I'll send you a shirt and a hat. I hit 510 raw 4 weeks ago but haven't sqautted since. Now if I can only get Dave Tate to come to Vegas for a housecall.

Congrats again on setting a new PR.


It will be somewhere. I'm not sure if T-Nation is interested though.


I certainly don't want to know what the Bastard did.

Man your being tough. I'll work on the 550 although I can't promise it will be at 195. I would hope that I would pick up a pound or two in the process. I could always cut some water to make you happy. Since I'm not a competitive powerlifter I haven't really been concerned about weight. My bodyfat is 8-9%, so I look more like a body-builder, gasp!

Congratulations on your 510 raw. Pretty impressive!

Take care,



I do both, play video games and lift weights that is. It's just a matter of making the time.



Great story. I'm glad you are well again. I'm jealous, man. I would love to spend a day or 2 hanging out at EliteFTS and learning from the masters. I know that, just by applying the concepts that Dave talked about at the Test-Fest my squat (and other lifts) have improved dramatically.

Unfortunately there is not a powerlifter in sight at my gym, and most of the trainers seem to be masters of teaching the curl. So...no one around to give "verbal cues" and informed criticism. I do get some funny looks though :confused:


Hey Kuz. I was in DC and ate lunch with you TriGWU and some other folks on Saturday.

Anyways I saw you on Dr. Ryan's thread wondering aloud about training partners and environment. If you're really interested in finding some environment send Dave Tate and email asking who he knows in your area.

In my case, Travis Mash is an NC lifter and while he is 3+ hours away he knew where other really good lifters in the state trained. He gave me contact info for Kyle Robertson who he trains with on occasion. I had to work to get in contact with the right people (calls, emails), but it's been awesome.

It's still a little over an hour commute, but I go to lift with Kyle and about 4 other lifters 1-2 times a week (when my schedule permits). It is more than worth it, heck I'd move closer to the place if I could. They train in a typical fitness center, but have a monolift, glute ham, Reverse Hyper, chains, Bands, etc..

More important than the equipment though is exactly what Dave preaches: Environment is everything!! There is nothing more motivating. There is nothing more informative as far as technique than having people around you who've done it and know how it should be done.

Kyle is a 900+ pound squatter at 220 and Brett (who's helped me out a lot) has totaled over 1900 at 181. There are two to three other really solid lifters as well. There's not many people around that really love to train to be strong. If you show up as one of them they'll welcome you with open arms.