This article is an intimately documented account of Dave's current love affair training agreement with JL Holdsworth. These records are taken directly from Dave's most personal, private letters with JL. For information on how this process all began, read Dave's log post, "JL Holdsworth is fixing my squat. 90 pounds PR after first session." 

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June 30, 2016

Dear JL,

I told you when we got back together that I was bad for you. I told you this kind of love won't stay unbroken. I told you I wasn't deserving and will test your boundaries.

It's been a long time since I've walked the edge and have gotten to peak at what most never see. You took me to that edge and told me to look fast and step away.

I told you I would but I really liked the view. It's been SO long that a peak just wouldn't do. I pitched a tent and stayed several days. It rained, it snowed and I stayed on the edge.

Then right when I wasn't looking a gust of wind shot me over but I held on, pulled my fat ass up and came back to you today...weathered and broken.

But before the wind knocked my ass over I did hit a close grip incline press record (kinda) of 315x3. This was on Saturday when I trained with John Meadows on my pretend-to-be-a-bodybuilder day. This was our second movement (we did four working sets of 10 on the machine press first). I'm sure had I done the incline first I would have been good for 200 pounds more.

Yeah, I'm lying. You see, if I admit to these little lies you won't be able to tell when I tell you the real big ones.

Oh, when I did the incline press there was no pain, and I did have spotters incase something bad happened. No, not high school kids that don't train, but actual lifters who I trust in case I tear some shit off.

We then did more boring bodybuilding stuff and talked about "pumps", "lean protein", and "biceps" because nobody can tell what you lift by looking at you but can always see what you look like. Or something like that, I can never get that one straight because I really don't care what I look like. But you already know that, because that's part of what makes us 1 + 1 = 3, right?

The next day I was back to pretending to be a powerlifter. Box squats with SS Yoke Bar and choked average bands. Three plates per side for 8 sets of 2 as explosive as I could. I tried to blow my nuts out again but they stayed in. Dammit! Oh, the bands add like 900 pounds to the top and the accelerated eccentrics make me strong AF.

Right into speed pulls with bands. Big mistake because I hate to pull, hate bands, and my timing was fucked. Oh, well, did them anyhow. My powers were taken from me like some nasty trick from hell.

RECENT: The JL Letters — Passages 1 and 2

Onto reverse hypers, abs, and then home to die.

Half way home — lower back pump from hell. Had to stop and pull over, then groin cramped. Good times!

Spent the rest of the day watching Netflix without you with ice behind my knees and on my back. I'm damaged and broken — and you want and think you can fix me? Until today I didn't think that was true.

After meeting you today I think I may have learned my lesson because I don't want to go through the pain and heartache you gave me this morning. My head is still ringing and my heart and ribs are killing me.

I don't say this often and mean it, but I'm sorry. I'll stay at an 8, you can bet your ass on that.

I thought it would be cool to break your work and now I know what happens when someone does that. Next time I think I'll just select being punched in the face.



PS: This relationship thing is way harder than I thought

PPS: Fuck you

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July 8, 2016

Dear JL,

By now you must be wondering how strange it is to keep getting these letters from me since I’m not one to write anything more than a quick thank you card. You flew back into my life like an angel at a time I wasn’t expecting one so I am compelled to do so. As time has gone by, how I look at you has changed. Our lust phase was great! Sweet pain. Sweet, sweet pain. The more you dug, in the more it hurt — but the more I liked it. As with most relationships this lasted a few weeks and then…

Yes, and I am so sorry for having to tell you this in a letter.

I needed a break. Things were getting serious so quick. I was having a hard time processing and while my own strength was dramatically increasing, I was scared. When I get scared I pull back, don’t say much, and as you noticed, the letters stopped. It’s hard to tell someone you just need time alone. Time to figure shit out. I've been hurt too many time before and have scars to prove it.

All this happened without you knowing. After our third session I hit the gym, cleared my drivers, and hit close to 400 on the floor press. I could have done more but you told me to dial it back to a 7 so I left two more jumps in the tank.

After shutting that down I rode the wave!

The Tsunami Wave. I hit three plates per side for 4 sets of 6. Now when I do these I do not do them in a way that makes me look like a fucktard. I do one rep, let it settle and do the next. The weird thing here that I don’t understand is that I was able to touch the bar to my chest. This was really cool because after breaking myself and suffering the wrath of your pain (the worst ever, by the way), I was shocked at how this played into my range of motion.

For my “sit down and stand up” movement (Can you really say what I do is squatting?) I changed things up again. You know, keeping the body guessing. This time I really made my body think and tried to do box squat with the Tsunami Bar. Try this sometime. Oh, and remember I can’t hold the bar on my back and have to tie sled straps to the bar so I can hold the straps to keep the bar on my back. Here’s the really messed up part (like this is already not messed up enough): when you sit on the box the weight is still moving down as the bar is still bending.

Now at some point the weight begins to flip back up. Deal with that shit while trying to time standing up off a box. Oh, with having to carry the bar up high on your neck because it’s fat as fuck and you have to use straps to hold it down.

Let’s just say this was a “different” experience but I still worked up to 4 plates per side and damn near broke my neck twice. But it’s all good. Need those GAINZ.

After this and all sessions for that matter I do one hard supplemental movement and then a complex. Without going into detail an upper body complex may be four rotations of 15 of:

  • Flies
  • Extensions
  • Side raise
  • Front raise
  • Hammer

You get it. Not really lazy shit, but kinda lazy shit. I would better describe it as I want to get out of the gym but still have shit to do training.

I just saw you Wednesday and I have to admit I sat in the parking lot for 20 minutes before coming in. I REALLY wanted to just turn around and leave. But "something" pulled me in. Love has a strange way of changing people.

You know that “needing space” thing. I also heard you were seeing other people and while we didn’t say we were exclusive I was mad. When I saw the text from Eric about the pain you caused him, it was like an arrow through my heart. I’m sorry. I know forgiveness is more about me than you, so I forgive you. I am actually lucky you gave me a second chance after I broke all the work you had done. I was so selfish and promised to never do it again.

Our last session was wonderful — just the right amount of pain with no pleasure. It was great to have you sweat on me again and I was finally comfortable enough to take my shirt off.

We are making some great strides.

You told me to stay at 8.5 this week so Wednesday night I killed some dynamic bench work and felt great. Speed was there and I was able to use more than a dime and a chip per side. I did some other shit and wrapped it up with another complex.

Last night I did reverse Monster Mini Band Spider Bar box squats for max effort work. I had to use the mono with the kilo plates. I can’t add that shit, always forget what the bar weights and have no idea what the band really takes off. All I know is I wanted to use the “future method” because I hear it predicts my future.

Before I was done I got to a weight that I felt I would be able to do around 50 pounds more and stopped there. I figured this would be around 8.5 on the JL scale.

The one thing I wanted to test was if all my tightness, new techniques, and drivers would hold if I went full out Zippy mode. I knew the weight wouldn’t be an issue so I really didn’t have to do this but wanted to know because if I am going to gone down this road less traveled I will need to summon Zippy before it all done and all of this will be worthless if it doesn’t hold when Dave leaves the building. The problem is when I do this I normally don’t remember the lift at all so I had a bit of an issue. Yeah, I could have filmed it but I use my phone to play Slayer in the gym and that was more important than filming a stupid box squat. I can feel the weight. I can’t sing Slayer in my head.

Based on what I was told, some of the shaking was there so when I go “dark” I am not doing everything I am supposed to. This means I need to add more volume in so it becomes automatic.

After taking a pic of the weight I think between the bar and plates it was somewhere between 770-790 for the last set. The bands, who the fuck knows. Let’s just say I did 780 with reverse Monster Mini Bands and leave it there.

Finished with another complex with ankle weights, neck, abs, and lower back work. I will keep things at an 8.5 and see you again next week. Hopefully, together, we will be a 10.

Yours truly,

- Zippy

PS: The back of my head was bruised for a week

PPS: I think you also broke my fat roll

PPPS: It was hot AF in the gym last night. I wish you were there.

power rack