In 2017 I made a run at a 300 pound bench press and hit 290 before getting bored with it. Earlier this year, on June 8th, I set a goal to bench press 300 pounds before my 40th (on December 26th) and announced it on Instagram.
I fucking did it!
Out of everything I’ve been able to do in my 8+ years of CrossFit, I might be the most proud of this achievement. 🙂
Growing up I wasn’t strong and I didn’t have muscles. Soaking wet, I might have weighed 165 pounds in high school. During and after college, I think I got up to a 205 pound bench press. Getting 300 pounds was never a realistic goal for my size and strength.
I gained weight over the years. When I started CrossFit I tipped the scale at about 190 and had never seen 200+. At the time I had a goal never to be 200 pounds. Silly! During that first year of CrossFit, I leaned out and got down to 173. Then I slowly but steadily got stronger and built muscle. It my heaviest, in 2017, I weighed 217. Right now I’ve been stable at 202-203.
Why does this matter? Generally the bigger you are, the more weight you can lift. Mass moves mass. It also shows how my relationship with weight and my understanding of what is healthy has evolved. So much for never weighing more than 200 pounds! I think I carry my weight pretty good for a guy turning 40. 😉
If you want to call it bragging, humble bragging, or whatever… go shit on someone else’s lawn because I don’t give a fuck. I’m proud of my hard work. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. I love me some me.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, but if I can do it, so can you. Set a goal, tell people, pick a timeline, make a plan, do work, and have patience.
What do you want to do for yourself? Start today.
I tweaked my back pretty bad during the CrossFit Open this year. It seemed a good opportunity to lay off the squats and deadlifts to ease up on my back. I found what looked like a good upper body focused lifting program from Hybrid Performance Method, which they call their Push Only program. The main focus was on bench press, but there was also a fair amount of overhead pressing, pull-ups, and accessory work as well. I started it on 4/4/2017.
The program was structured to be 4 workouts a week for the first 10 weeks, a 3 workout deload week, and then 3 days of testing max lifts in the 12th and final week. Since I still wanted to attend a couple of CrossFit classes a week and not lose too much conditioning, I planned from the start to stretch out the program. It usually took me 8-9 days to complete a full week of the programming. Today, 109 days (15 weeks + 4 days) after starting, I finished.
Before following this Push Only program, the longest special program I’ve followed is my Thruster Attack, which takes 10 weeks, but is only two workouts a week that take 20 minutes or less. This program was a total of 46 workout days and I did 44 of them. I skipped two of the pull-up focused days in the last four weeks and I think I skipped some accessory stuff on two of the lifting days. Well, I skipped a lot of the accessory stuff in the final week, which was all about hitting maxes. At that point I was ready for the program to be over and change my focus.
Overall I really enjoyed the program. For the first 7-8 weeks, each workout was taking me about an hour to complete. Once the weights got heavier, the time commitment increased. All of the upper body accessory work was perhaps the best part of the program. My shoulders have never felt this good for so long.
If I had to go back and change something, I wish I had increased some of the weights 10# instead of 5# from week to week, because it seemed like I wasn’t lifting anything heavy for the 3 main lifts until the 8th or 9th week. That very well could be by design though. I can’t help but wonder if stretching the program out over 15+ weeks affected my results in a positive or negative way? I’ll never know.
I saw improvements across the board (all weights are in pounds)…
- Push Press: 245 -> 260 (video)
- Bench Press: 275 -> 290 (video)
- Shoulder Press: 180 -> 185 (video)
- MAX Strict HSPU: 11 -> 17
- MAX Kipping HSPU: 14 -> 23 (video)
- 100x Bench Press @ 135#: 9:37 -> 8:43 (video)
I highly recommend checking out any of the Hybrid programs, which only cost about $35/month.