Superhuman Strength


Do you every have those training weeks or days that you feel like you have super human strength?  Like when every weight you use or movement you do feels light and easy?  And then you put the weight down or finish the movement and look around and wonder if anyone saw what you just did but you’re all by yourself? HAHA!  Well, last week was one of those weeks for me.

The cold does not agree with me and I’ve been busier than ever with Iron Body Studios and a few projects outside of my responsibilities at the gym, so I’ve been struggling with my training sessions this winter.  Therefore it was rewarding to learn last week that my weekly efforts to get through my training sessions were not futile.

I know I have not been writing as much about my training lately, but I am still working towards the Iron Maiden Challenge.  I plan to complete it sometime this year and I will likely keep training reports related to the IM on the down low until I complete the challenge.  The 10,000 Swings Program was a great break from my norm, but it was refreshing to get back to my regular strength-training program.  I’ve spent a long time cultivating a program template that, per Intervention by Dan John, is Park Bench versus Bus Bench in nature and has just the right balance of strength training and conditioning.

Dan John, Intervention

Bus Bench Workouts

When expecting results on time – like you’re hoping the bus will be.

Park Bench Workouts

An opportunity to explore and enjoy where you are in training.

Tony Gentilcore also wrote about Bus Bench vs. Park Bench this week.  I think we’ve been hanging out too much at kettlebell class on Sundays at Iron Body Studios, haha!  Just kidding ;)… He breaks down this concept with a little more detail HERE.

My program template is geared towards a slow development of strength that will stick.  You cannot rush strength.  You have to have patience, consistency, and dedication.  You cannot set a deadline for it.  You can hope to meet a deadline, but it doesn’t always work that way.  Strength that is developed correctly is built little by little, and then sometimes you have to let it marinate for a while.  Then it shows itself when you least expect it.

My primary focus in my training lately has been to improve and strengthen my 24kg (53lbs) press for the Iron Maiden Challenge.

I still have my 24kg pull-up.  I pull the 24kg once every other week or so.  This video is from last Wednesday 2/19….

24kg Pull-up

And I pistol squat the 24kg 1-2 times per week.  These two movements I could go in and complete on call, any day, any time, anywhere, starving, stressed, and sleep deprived.  The press is another story.  Since I have a small frame and weigh on average 115lbs, the 24kg press is pretty much a max effort press for me.  My goal is to get my press to match, or close to matching, the comfort zone I have for the 24kg pull-up and pistol squat.

 Since attending the Original Strength Workshop this past January 2014, I’ve incorporated Original Strength Resets, leopard crawling, and loaded baby crawling into my training.  I’ve also changed up my get-up training day, which is usually Wednesdays, from get-ups for reps to get-ups for time and I’ve incorporated some timed farmer’s carries into my training (lighter for longer) in addition to the already existing heavier carries for distance.

Backwards loaded baby crawl with 90lbs weight plus 65lbs sled.  Total 155lbs.

In addition, six weeks ago I started a half -bodyweight press program for my press.  (I’m not going to give too much detail about the program until I am done with it :)…) I had a bit of a battle with it because it was something COMPLETELY different than I had ever done before or that I was used to for training my press.  I think it took me until about week 4 to FINALLY come to peace with it and just trust the process.

I have a Type A personality (NO!!! REALLY???) so 1) I tend to analyze everything, 2) if something doesn’t go right I have to find a solution for it, 3) I have to have a plan, in advance, and 4) I have to finish everything or else my OCD kicks in.  Along with this Type A personality I have driven Eric crazy over analyzing the 24kg press, until recently I had this conversation with him and it helped me to put everything in perspective and truly have peace with the process.

 Me: “Why is it that I could pull or pistol squat the 24kg any day, any time, anywhere, but the 24kg press is so much harder for me?”

Eric: “Well, 1) you’re a very small person trying to press almost half your bodyweight overhead, and 2) How long have you been doing pull-ups and pistol squats?”

Me: “I’ve been consistently training pull-ups for about 6 years now.  Pistol squats, between ballet and kung fu, all my life practically.”

Eric: “How long have you been pressing and pressing heavy?”

Me: “I started to consistently press in my training, and pressing heavy well after pull-ups… so I’ve been pressing and pressing heavy for about 3 years now…”

Eric: “Well there you go.  You’ve been doing pull-ups and pistol squats much longer than you have been pressing and pressing heavy.  You have more practice with your pull-ups and pistol squats.  You need more practice with your press so it’s just going to take a little more time.”

Me: “That makes a lot of sense.  Sort of like Bruce Lee and the 10,000 kicks… I’ve practiced pull-ups and pistols 10,000 times but not pressing.”

Eric: “Yes.”


So why did I feel superhuman this past week?  Well, I haven’t been pressing anything heavier than a 20kg overhead, if even that, and last Monday I decided to feel how my tall kneel presses felt with 20kg.  I’ve done them before both tall kneeling and half kneeling with the 20kg, but when I pressed the 20kg last week from tall kneeling, bell felt light as a feather.

20kg (44lbs) Tall Kneel Press

Single Leg Dead-lifts with double 28kg (~123lbs) which is 107% of my bodyweight, felt like buttah.

Single Leg Dead-lifts with double 28kg (~123lbs)

Finally and most importantly, once a week I train a max effort day for my press program.  During week 4 the movement I did was a floor press.  The goal was to press it for 6 single reps.  I chose to floor press 28kg (~62lbs) which is about 54% of my bodyweight.  Week four I could only complete 2 singles on each side and the third set of singles was a stretch.  Only one week later, this past week during week 5, I chose to repeat the floor press on my max effort day.  I relatively, effortlessly press 28kg for all 6 singles.  Below is a vide of set four… it was bananas!

28kg (~62lbs) One Arm Floor Press

So remember, Park Bench is always more effective than Bus Bench.  Relax and let your strength marinate because it’s a journey not a destination ;)…

2 Comments on “Superhuman Strength

  1. Great advice. Like this post a lot. Eric is like the master and we are all Jedi knights. Look forward to future posts.

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