Most intense strength training I’ve ever done


“I just finished the Big 24 today.  I must say that it was the most intense strength training I’ve ever done.  Around week 4 it was becoming a little boring and redundant but I stuck with it lol.  There was a definite difference in how my body responded during the first half vs. the last half.  I found that I had to adjust the weight in order to make the reps for some of the lifts, specifically squats and bench.  After the second assessment I had to adjust weight on bench and push press.  My lower body seemed to adapt much better to the regimen than my upper.  As such I made the biggest gains in my lower body, 35 pound increase with squats, 45 pound with lunges, and 30 pounds with hang squat cleans.  My upper body showed smaller increases but I did get stronger.  I gained 15 pounds in bench, 20 pounds with push press, and I don’t really know how to measure it but I got 12 pull ups with 15 pounds on the first assessment and 15 pull ups with 25 pounds today.  Speaking of pull ups, 30-40% was way too easy for me and so I went up in reps, as much as 65% of my max during the workouts.  I’m 42 years old, 5’7″, around 170 and I need to lose a few pounds around my middle, however, I’m pleased with my results.  My partner is 29, 6’00”, around 180, and not an ounce of fat on him.  Interestingly enough, although he’s stronger than me his average gains were the same as mine, around 30 pounds, give or take.  The shuttle runs and core work were fine and broke up the week.  I’m definitely interested in more of that kind of work.

My results are as follows:

squat: 295 lbs increase to 330 lbs

lunges: 85 lb dumbbell to 100 lb dumbbell with 15 pound sandbag across shoulders (100 is the heaviest dumbbells we have)

hang squat cleans: 175 lbs to 205 lbs

bench: 235 lbs to 250 lbs

pull ups: see above

push press: 180 lbs to 200 lbs

By the way the hang squat clean and push press are hellacious lifts that I’ve only rarely done but I’m very interested in them now.  After resting for the remainder of this week I want to do the relative strength assessment and see where I’m at and later try Operator Ugly.  My partner and I are Deputy U.S. Marshals and practical, functional training is very important to us.  I’d like to come by your gym one of these days but in the mean time I think I will be working on the “Spirits” package.  I’d hate to lose the strength gains I’ve made but I know my anaerobic capacity and endurance needs beefing up.  You had recommended that package to accomplish this and after my success with the Big 24 I am much more open to structured programming.  Thanks and take care.”