T Nation

Training with Josh Bryant


M son and I I recently started online training with Josh. My son is about to finish week three and I'm done week six.
It's working very well, but it is a tremendous amount of work. My son fir example had a squat max of 255 raw at app 135, 16 years old. He just got done wrestling season and has been eating large and took his weight to app 148.

His last squat workout had him do over 50 reps with 185,maybe 70 % roughly for his max.

I have seen a 25 lb increase in my two board and set rep prs the last two weeks in the deadlift. My best is 585, but I never tried more than one rep at 500 or more before . High top end, but sucking at reps.

It's worth checking it out. No disrespect intended towards 5 3 1, which my son used previously . But he said the difference was night and day in difficulty. I'm making sure his nutrition and rest, stretching etc is on target. Same for myself.

For example my son did an easy 360 fl in his meet last September . He was good for app 380 at the start of this program. He was to do 300,330 x3. Then six sets of four with 300. Rest periods were one minute for the six sets. He missed two reps on one set and had to take 2 and 3 reps on the last two sets. It looked like his brains leaked out of his head. Then he finished the workout.


I'll actually be more interested in seeing your progress, as a guy who's already BEEN training for a while, and specifically your 1RM, not necessarily the rep stuff, which will naturally go up since you haven't trained it much ever.

I've never really been able to understand Josh's training (based on his logs and Chris Vaughn's whom he trains) it sorta just seems like a whole lot of variations on an exercise, whereas I've always subscribed to the "what the hell are tricep pushdowns gonna do for me that the 3-board presses I just finished didnt?" (who was it that said that? JM? Childress?)

Don't get me wrong tho, the guy's programming Chad Smith's bench and dead, and Orlando Green just pulled a hell of a deadlift at a pretty light BW on Bryant's training


Didn't do a max yet. From what I gather I was work deficient. As fir progress, the first week I missed a paused 2 bd with 335. I easily doubled 345 a week ago. Paused that is. So I'm repping more than my max if six weeks ago. I can't do full rom benches due to a shoulder issue. Straight bar squats are also out so I use a ssb.

As for tri exercises I do paused 5 bd for 8-10 reps waved up weekly. Rolling db tri exts are also done on the same day. On my light upper body day I'm starting with jm presses waved up from 8 to 10 for five sets and high rep pushdowns. Believe it or not, they're the hardest. Five sets of 15-20 waved up weekly.


I think it's a matter of just doing more work kbc. Here's an example of an old ME workout. First pin pulls, plates about 3" off floor, my weak spot.

45x 10,135x3, 185 x 2,225,275,315,365,405 x 1, 455 x 1, 545 x 1, pr.
Four total reps at 365 and up. Did a few auxillaries after that. 3 sets ghrs,3 sets hanging abs.

Last week of my last block :

Dl 45 x 10, 135 x 3 , 185,225 x 2 , 275,315,365,405 x 1, 455, 495 x 3

speed deads , 390 x 3, 10 sets, 1 min rests. Failed to move it on set ten.
35 reps of 365 or more. Old workout , 4 reps.

Yesterday, dl same warmups , 470,515 x 3
speed deads 430 x 3, 5 sets two minutes rest .

22 reps at over 400, old workout , 3 . 365+ new 23. Old 4

new workout is followed by bor 225 x 5, 3 sets. Three sets shrugs 390 x 12, three sets.
Platform still legs, 3.5 " defici. 290 x 6, 3 sets

three sets rh, 4-1-4 tempo, 50 x 6,6,6
spread eagle situps 10 lbs x8,8,8

A helluva lot more work. Due to the increased workload I make a week 9 days. I absolutely must not miss stretching post workout
. And nutrition is dialed in calorie wise and protein wise.
I'm not cutting it trying to gain, but bodyweight is up 3-4 lbs on the scale to 205. Thinking my muscle mass gains are more than that , based on appearing leaner and thicker.

I think Josh just works people harder . Beginning to question workloads etc. on a lot of programs.


When I first got my program I thought WTF !, holy shit! I have to do this? Doesn't he understand I'm old? But I committed to it and put in the time at all angles. After a month I signed up Jr. He told me his first deadlift was the toughest training session he ever did, of any type, wrestling practice, football, 5 3 1 etc.

He is only sixteen , but has trained . In a conversation with Josh he mentioned the old Finnish deadlift program was an influence on him . If you've ever read that , it's a ton of work.


Thanks for that man, I hope it works for you. Like I said, I will definitely be interested to see how it works for you. I just get suspicious of special exercises cuz when I did a westside template teh first time I got better at all my ME exercises without my bench going up - now, that's probably my fault, I probably picked the wrong exercises, but I've just had better results with programs that have you hit the basics hard - 531 or progressive overload, or other variations where you're working the lift you want to improve w high intensity, low volume and typically only one working set. I'm very suspicious of what comes off as work for work's sake

One small question, when you write "speed deads , 390 x 3, 10 sets, 1 min rests. Failed to move it on set ten." - was this your old program or bryants program? The reason I ask is I never understood this concept, of "speed sets" that are diffcult. I mean, I guarantee if you couldnt do set #10, then set #9 wasnt all that "speedy" - so is it supposed to be a speed dl or a rep dl? I dunno, that always confused me w the coan philippi program too


You know, then again, maybe I've gone too far in the other direction (low volume, little exercise variety). I dont want to come off as bashing it, jsut something I've been interested in, but whereas 531, or westside, intuitively made sense to me, I'm still trying to "get" this one. And it's tough for me to trust what I dont "get" is all


Supposed to be speed sets, but niot the westside way, more bust your ass and make you puke way.
Week one was 6 sets, then 8, then 10.

This block he raised it 30 lbs the first week and cut sets to 5. Two minutes rest. Then 10 lbs more next week. Then ten more lbs cut down to four sets. Assistance is the same.


You're supposed to try to be fast. Josh likes to say , " commit to the pull." Like a mental toughness thing.


I think we've been conditioned to think we can only handle so much work. I've never done this much before , but it's working do far .

Look up the Finnish dl routine, twice per week on the deadlift . A ton of work , but they were great pullers .



Here's an article from elite .


I'd be interested in seeing your progress too Tom, keep us updated if you wouldn't mind mate!

Sounds good so far!


I'll keep people posted on both. I'm advanced , but older. My son is younger and less experienced . We have similar programs now . But there are differences .

The second block is slightly less volume
. App twenty sets per workout. First had app 28.


I have some health issues so I'm limited in certain lifts. Benches, presses, regular squats are out.
My main interest is the deadlift .

My son is doing 3 lift meets .


Did 350 x 2 two board today. This was a rep pr. Give years ago I dud 360 x 1. But it was touch and go. Maybe more like smash and fly.
Reps are paused now. It was tough but setup was solid and felt strong.


350x2 paused is pretty impressive, thanks for keeping us updated.


Thanks, it's my highest paused ever. Touch and go was more like smash and fly.


My son just finished his first block. This week will be a deload .

Today he did triples with 300 I think and 345. This was followed by ten sets of 300 for 4. Rest periods were supposed to be one minute. He averaged 1:20. Tore his hand on the 4th set and had to tape it up. This was followed by three sets of deficits with 270 I think. For app five reps. I forgot but I'm in the ballpark .

He was at his mom's this weekend fwiw so I'm just sure about the 345 and 300 sets.

This was 46 reps with 300 or more , or app 60 with 270+. he's 148 now and 16. Last year he pulled 360 on a second at -
132 to give you ideas of his strength levels .

My point? Josh has made me rethink my ideas on work capacity and pulling. 16 years old and 47. And both are soaking it up.
I think it's a matter of making up your mind and doing it.


I dont know Tom. we have "known" each other a long time, I think we are about the same age, so I think you have a fair idea of who I am and where I am coming with my next few comments. I say this as I want to make sure that no offense is taken as I mean no offense at all.

When I hear you say you have not been healthy, but you are thriving on such an increase in volume...It makes me wonder how "unhealthy" you really were.

when I decided I was a using the "I am old and injured" excuse a little too much, and I decided to drastically up my volume, and pay attention to warm ups and recovery techniques, it lasted about 6 weeks, then as usual when I push myself and start making progress, I start to fall apart.

Now in addition to my partial left meniscus tear(knee), bilateral bad shoulders, a left triceps that maybe 15-20% of what it used to be prior to surgery, I have a recent new lumbar disc issues, that my neurosurgeon says is not fixable, bilateral carpal tunnel that will need surgery, and a tore left quadriceps that may need surgery(debating on getting a consult for a MRI at this time)

I am not sure what I am trying to say, I guess that no matter how hard you are willing to work, that at some point you cannot squeeze blood out of a turnip.

My work ethic is there, My body is just betraying/failing me now.


Very true I'd say, I think it's having someone tell ne what to do . I never did this before. Also, my back issues were temporary . I'm limited with shouldef stuff and can't push it, no presses ever, benches . Hell, even talking on the phone is am issue.

My gall bladder was a eight month side track. Also temporary, and along the way I lost the "why". Then my son started and dad had yo step up .

Obviously there are physical limits and sometimes joints are oftentimes past the point , but my only one is my shoulder. Three lift meets might be gone forever. But deadlifts are still there . Soon I'll be top ten powerlifting watch masters in tge deadlift and around mid 20s open in geared, deadlift suit users . Raw would be about the same.

But I think my health issues were treated well . I didn't let them get yo far . I just needed a push .
I think it's like that old Japanese saying, " when the student is ready, the master or teacher will appear."

Ready means a lot of stuff. Mind , body , timing.

And I think you're right that the issues weren't that bad . But they were bad enough that I couldn't lift for a time . But it wasn't forever .

I'd still recommend Josh if you'd like a coach . It's so great to not have to think for a change . It's a thrill to open up an email and see what this week he has on store for me. It's a kid at Christmas feeling . And I figure if he says to do it , I guess I'm capable .