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  • Mitchell Rothbardt

Small Numbers

Yuck. That’s about all I can say. I finished up the Maximum Strength program over the weekend, and I must say my numbers were very disappointing. My broad jump went from 80″ to 93″ which I thought was an impressive increase and my three rep chin up went from 55lbs. to 70lbs, but my box squat, deadlift and bench press all stayed basically the same. I have my theories as to why this was the case. It certainly wasn’t due to lack of effort. I trained very hard the past four months. I think there were four reasons:

1. Injuries. I suffered two injuries, both while deadlifting. The first one happened about 6 weeks into the program when I messed my back up. You can read about it here but beware, there is some adult language. It definitely set me back.

The other injury was a hamstring pull that I got a couple of weeks ago, also while deadlifting. It felt fine about three or four days later and I didn’t feel it all on Sunday, but it cut my last heavy deadlifting session very short and that certainly didn’t help.

2. Weight loss. I weighed in at the beginning of the program at 185.5 lbs. On Sunday I weighed in exactly 10 lbs. lighter at 175.5 lbs. I wasn’t trying to lose weight, but I have been trying not to sit so much at work and I’ve been taking walks at lunch. I didn’t think about the weight loss much because I felt good, but 10 lbs. can be a lot to lose when you are trying to gain maximal strength. I think this hurt me most in my bench, which has always been a weak lift for me.

3. Core strength. I think this is related to my back injury, but I think I really need to focus on core strength. I think, overall, that’s what let me down in my squat and deadlift.

4. Lack of heavy singles. I have tremendous respect for Eric Cressey. I do my best to read everything that he writes and listen to any interview that he does, even though sometimes his thought process and knowledge are over my head. That being said I would like to know the reasons for the exercise selection in the last phase of the program. I am sure he has excellent, thought out reasons, but for me I felt like I needed more heavy singles with the primary lifts as opposed to the variations on those lifts, particularly deadlifts. If I get the chance to ask him that question, I am sure that he will give me a reason that will shoot down anything I think I may know about powerlifting program design, but I would like to know all the same.

Well, for posterity sake, here are the final numbers:

Bodyweight 175.5 lbs. Broad Jump 93″ Box Squat 385 lbs. (Blew 405 lbs. Probably had 395 lbs.) Bench Press 255 lbs. (I did 265 lbs. two months ago, but couldn’t get it Sunday) Deadlift 365 lb. (Couldn’t get 385 lbs. but the 365 lb. lift was very strong. Probably had 375 or 380, although I was too tired to try it after blowing the 385 lift.) 3-Rep Chin 70 lbs. (This is a three rep chin-up test with additional weight hanging from a weight belt.)

Well, that’s about it. A few updates, I have a new article coming out in the Castro Valley Forum/San Leandro Times next week. I will post the link when it comes out. I am also training clients at Medina’s Gym in Hayward. I like it there. Give me a call if you interested. Let me know what you want to get out of our sessions and I will put together a package for you. Call me at 510-754-7113 or email me at We can work on everything from general fitness to fat loss to size and strength gain. Just let me know. I’ll talk to you soon.

Mitchell Rothbardt (coming soon)

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