Q: You recently competed in your first powerlifting meet, tell us about your results?

A: On Oct. 23, I competed at the USPA Central California Championships in San Luis Obispo. I competed in the single ply division, but only wore a belt and knee wraps. Everything went about as well as I could've hoped. I weighed in at 299.8 pounds, which is three to four pounds lighter than I expected, but I guess my scale at the gym is a bit off. I squatted 800 (really 799.something), benched 463 and deadlifted 700 (699.something), to total 1962. I was really happy with how everything went and my training set up going into the meet. The only thing I felt could've improved for my first meet would've been to know my real weight, so I could come in closer to 308 pounds. I dieted down a bit a week out since I was 307-309 pounds on my scale and I also would've moved my warm-ups for the squat back about 15 minutes, but that is pretty insignificant.

Q: Tell us about your training leading up to the meet?

A: I did a 20 week cycle of training for this meet, which is pretty long, but it worked out well. The first 16 weeks of that were made up of a program I wrote called the Juggernaut Method, which I’m planning on releasing very soon as an e-book. The Juggernaut Method, for me, was about adding size, building volume and skill in the lifts (especially the deadlift because I had never trained that before), increasing my special work capacity, staying healthy and setting rep records.

I was very happy about how the higher rep training went and how I felt and the rep records I was able to set. Coming into the program my PRs were 665 x 1 squat, 425 bench and 600 deadlift. My best rep records in that 16 week period were a 550 x 11 and 635 x 5 squat, in just a belt, 390 x 6 bench and 600 x 7 deadlift. After those 16 weeks were over, I took about 3 and half weeks of doing one to three rep maxes, but I stayed pretty conservative with those (thanks to the advice of Jim Wendler) and tried to leave a rep or two in the tank each time. In those three weeks, the heaviest I went was 765 x 1 in the squat (with knee wraps), 445 x 1 in the bench and 655 x 2 in the deadlift. 765 and 655 pounds were the heaviest weights I had ever handled going into the meet. I felt really fresh coming into the meet and I think much of that can be attributed to the fact that I wasn’t pushing the limit too hard in training each week.

Q: I know you get a fair amount of questions on the Q&A regarding “The Juggernaut Method” but haven’t revealed much about it thus far, can you share with us about it here?

A: The Juggernaut Method grew out of some simple training cycles I had my athletes doing. They were doing something to the affect of…

Week 1

  • 5 x 5 at 70-75%

Week 2

  • 3 x 5  at 80%

Week 3

  • Work to a 5RM

Now I normally intend for a 5RM to be done around 85% and my athletes would complete their set of 5 with 85% and then often another with 5-15 pounds more. They would then either perform another wave of "fives" with a new exercise or move onto a similar program of threes in the same lift. The program was working pretty well.

During a break from my track competitions, I decided to give this plan a try myself. In the squat the first week I did 455 for 5 x 5. The next week I built up to 495 for 3 x 5 and in the third week I did 545 for 5 reps. Immediately upon racking the last rep, I had a realization, I should've kept going. Five reps wasn’t hard, I could've done eight. I should have done eight. That began the process of me critically thinking about this simple program, fine tuning it and making it grow into what you see before you now.

The Juggernaut Method has grown out of three main influences: Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1, the training of the great Doug Young and Block Periodization. It focuses on setting rep records (5/3/1), the quality of the rep records drives how you adjust your weights (Doug Young) and there are different phases set up each with a specific skill looking to be developed (Block Periodization).

So the program takes you through a wave of 10, 8, 5 and 3, where you set a rep record at the end of each wave (which last 3-4 weeks) and then move your working max up depending on your performance on the rep record.

We have had some pretty significant improvements with our clients on this program…

Chad Smith

Initial maxes SQ-665x1, BP-425x1, DL-600x1, MP-225x1

16 Week Results-SQ-635x5, BP-390x6, DL-600x7, MP-235x5

Drew Vyn

Initial Maxes SQ-275x3, BP-265x1, DL-385x3, MP-135x3

16 Week Results-SQ-325x3, BP-275x3, DL-465x6, MP-155x5

Sam Kuo

Initial Maxes SQ-295x3, BP-215x1, DL-435x1, MP-115x3

16 Week Results SQ-335x4, BP-210x3, DL-465x3, MP-135x4

Tommy Faust

Initial Maxes-SQ-385x1, BP-255x1, DL-405x3, MP-135x3

16 Week Results-SQ-415x3, BP-255x3, DL-465x5, MP-155x4

Q: Will the book be targeted just at powerlifters?

A: No not at all. Powerlifters will certainly be able to benefit from it, but I will address many aspects of athletic performance training. I’m new in the powerlifting game, and have a lot more experience training athletes, so that's where my real expertise is. The book discusses including sprinting, jumping, medball throws and conditioning into your program. I think it gives a very comprehensive look at what needs to be done to maximize your abilities for any speed/power based sport.

Q: What are your near-future powerlifting plans?

A: I am planning on competing again March 5, at the SPF Ironman in Knoxville, Tenn. That's going to be a much bigger meet than my last one and it will allow me to officially compete in the raw division, due to the SPF allowing knee wraps for raw lifters.

Q: What are your goals for that meet and what do you need to do to reach them?

A: My goal for the Ironman meet is to total over 2150 at 308 pounds. I’ve enlisted the help of Josh Bryant for programming in the deadlift and bench. He and I both think that I have a lot of potential in both lifts, and a good build to be well rounded in all three lifts. As far as numbers go, I want to squat 875, bench 500 and deadlift 785 at the meet. I’m also going to try and gain some weight, I ‘d like to be walking around at 315ish and then dehydrate to 308 and step back on the platform at 315. For those who haven’t seen me in person, I'm a pretty small 300 pounds (that sounds weird to say) and I think a lack of upper body thickness is hindering me in all three lifts.

Q: Anything else that you would like to say?

A: I’m excited to get deeper into powerlifting and represent EliteFTS to the best of my abilities. Jon Cole is an athlete I really admire and would like to pattern myself after (track and field background, well rounded strength athlete) and I want to stay healthy and chase his 2364 raw total record at 308 over the next several years. I’m in this to be the best and his record has been around since the 70's and I want to be the one to take it down.