If I wrote up a meet report every time one of my clients made substantial gains, I believe my hands would be on an expedited path to severe arthritis.

No brag, just fact!

Every weekend I have clients break their own personal records and many times these happen to also be world records. I wish I had the time and readers had the patience to hear about everyone’s success, because the illegal moonshiner breaking a five-pound deadlift PR in his garage, the exotic dancer achieving her first night shift, or the Franciscan Monk that just feels more confident because of newly found physical prowess is as important to me as a world record.

RECENT: Why I Love Powerlifting: 2016 RPS Lexen Dog Days

This past week my client Rob Hall totaled 2226 raw at the Boss of Bosses 3 meet hosted by the legendary Dan and Sparkle Green. Not only is this one of the best totals of all, but in the six months I have coached Rob, he has put over 200 pounds on his total. No new equipment, no lax judging — this was done under the strictest of conditions.

My mission with elitefts is your progression to becoming stronger, be it mentally or physically. Here are five tips that have helped one of the best lifters in Texas become one of the strongest men of all time in half a year. If it works for someone at Rob’s level, it will work for you.

1. We increased his squat frequency from once a week to twice a week. This helped Rob display the skill of strength (AKA the squat) without overtraining and “squatting every day."

Take-Home Tip: The second day was lighter and the focus was speed and technique.

2. We eliminated overhead presses. Anyone who knows me knows I love the overhead press. However, loving a lift does not mean a sacramental commitment to its inclusion in a program. Overhead presses were killing his shoulders.; more rear delt work and eliminating the overhead presses helped his shoulders get stronger and healthier and equated to a bigger bench press.

Take-Home Tip: if you don’t do any rear delt work currently, take this out of the bodybuilding playbook. This brutal giant set is brutally effective.

3. We trained Olympic pause squats. These helped Rob gain weight, to the point he had to watch his diet to not go over the 308 weight limit he has competed at the last two years. This was a new challenge but these suckers add a ton of muscle to the thighs. That being said, they also are largely responsible for his huge increases in the deadlift.

Take-Home Tip: Olympic pause squats can be your primary squat variation in the off season. When peaking for a competition, they should be done after your primary squat movement or as a precursor to deadlifts.

4. Rob began using regular periods of deloading. Before this training cycle, every training day was always about going to the max, in weight or reps. Using this, his initial progress was fats, but eventually became sporadic and then to a halt. This was a game-changer in his progress and his consistency.

Take-Home Tip: If you are not deloading now, try it every fourth week. You may need it more or less frequently, but this is a good starting point.

5. We set Rob up to peak at the right time. So many powerlifters feel like they need to be game-day ready 365 days a year. The reality is that this number needs to be closer to three days a year. If you don’t address your weaknesses and you always display strength instead of building, you are setting yourself up for injury and perpetual failures at the platform.

Take-Home Tip: “Go heavy or go home” expressions are cute and may get you a lot of likes on Instagram, but they will end your strength career quickly. Leading up to a meet, I would take your last heaviest deadlift two and a half weeks out from the meet. Your last heavy squat could be 10 days to two weeks out and last heavy bench press anywhere from one to two weeks out. Eventually, you will be able to custom tailor this as you experiment to your own needs. I highly emphasize this is a good starting point, but keep in mind that the principle of individual differences and training style will dictate your perfect peak.

Final Thoughts

I wanted to honor Rob by giving him a shout out about his total. More importantly, I wanted to help you in your quest for strength. I pride myself in a highly-individualized protocol for each of my clients; however, success leaves clues and, of course, there will be outliers. A vast majority of the lifting population will benefit from utilizing these principles.

Now—drum roll!—see the video of Rob’s 2226-pound historic raw total.

Follow Rob on Instagram at @worldbreakersavage