Thursday, September 11, 2008

Eric Cressey's Maximum Strength: Phase 2 Wrap Up

So I just completed month 2 of Eric Cressey's Maximum Strength Program. All I can say is I hate clusters.

No silly, not those clusters, though they suck too!

The clusters with the front squats were by far the worst. For those of you who don't know what a cluster is, it goes like this. 5 sets of 4 x 2 with 10 second pause would mean you would do 2 reps, wait ten seconds and repeat that for a total of 4 times. That would count as one set. Take a 2 minute break, and chat it up at the water fountain with all the hot chicks and then do it all over again until you've done that sequence five times. Doing this with front squats really tests your commitment to getting stronger mentally as well as physically.

Go ahead, chat it up, you got 2 minutes!

NOTE: I completed phase 2 for the first time in November, so this is roughly 10 months after the fact. Here are a few of the main exercises where there have been good improvement.

Best set the first time through is in black, best new set is in red.

Straight Bar Deadlift 185x5, 305x5
Front Squat Cluster 135x4x1x10sec,175x4x1x10sec
Close Grip Bench Press 135 x 5, 170 x 5
Pull Up Clusters: A whole lot of assistance from bands, Unassisted Body Weight Clusters (and it should be noted these are even harder because I've put on some weight.)

The biggest improvement has been in my deadlift. I think finally doing some straight bar deadlifting form work has helped out significantly and my upper back just feels a lot stronger which was expected after my success in phase 1's rack pulls. I don't straight bar deadlift often and normally use a trap bar, but I think the carry over is pretty good. I should be able to do a single around 350 would be my guess, but that test won't happen for another 8 weeks in which I hope to go well beyond that.

I'll be doing a quick wrap up of each phase of Maximum Strength so look forward to the phase 3 wrap up next month. If you haven't picked up a copy of Maximum Strength yet go here and order it already!

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