Military Strength

“Excuse me, I’d like to speak with your manager, bleh-bleh-bleh-bleh-bleh.”


I’m over here in Iraq and a big Starting Strength fan. I’ve really made leaps and bounds in my strength and overall GPP by following Starting Strength and slowly reintegrating metcon workouts from my past as an underweight Crossfitter. I’ll be pushing my platoon to focus on strength and threatening them with disciplinary action if I catch them doing any workouts from Muscle and Fitness, and instead I’ll put up some posters of Magnus Samuelsson and Doug Young.

It’s been great discovering your 70’s Big site. It’s been good for a laugh and for some solid information. Hopefully I can find a way to choke down some more of the chow hall food here to help with my muscle mass gains…unlikely.

“LT”, 82nd ABN, Iraq

We have continued to see more and more military personnel realize that improving strength is going to have the biggest impact on improving performance in the field. This sentiment is echoed throughout the different branches, elite or otherwise. Think about it — we 140 pound guys are expected to haul 80 pounds of gear in 110+ weather on a routine basis. Is running or conditioning going to help him do that?


Here is a picture of Yosh (not to be confused with Yoshi) pulling 480 at a body weight of 165 at the 2009 Pride Powerlifting Bench and Deadlift Raw Nationals (he signed up for the deadlift). Don’t worry, he said he is on the way to 200 pounds.

Yosh pulling 480 at 165 lbs

Yosh pulling 480 at 165 lbs

43 thoughts on “Military Strength

  1. Just wanna rant – my gym was closed today because they”re building it up (maybe there will be 2! squat racks now!) So I couldn”t work out today, this coupled with wednesdays shit fest have left me pissed off to say the least.

    On the plus side its gave me an extra 90 mins to read some SS again

  2. PR Friday …

    Last Saturday my doctor weighted me at 244# (i think it was a little high), my scale reads 233#

    last week before getting in soccer shape.

    PRs this week
    Bench 1RM – 215#
    Press 3RM – 135#
    Squat 1RM/3RM – 315#
    Dead Lift 3RM – 405#
    Dead Life 1RM – 425#

    I”m hitting a CF total next Wednesday then taking a week off before hitting some metcon hard to get ready for soccer (a 90s small sport). But, I”ve gone from 200# to ~235# (I”m 6”1″) in 3 months and increased my lifts considerably!

    THANKS 70S BIG!!

  3. Just about to complete my fourth week of the full linear progression. Doing great so far. Here are the numbers from Wednesday (they are subject to change on Saturday):

    SQ: 345X5X3
    Bench: 250X5X3 (catching this back up to where is used to be)
    Press: 201.25/5 4 4 (need to repeat)
    Powercleans: 160X3X5 (still working the kinks out on the form)
    Deadlifts: 425X5

    Squattin, pressin and deadliftin on Saturday. Hoping to conquer 201.25 on the press this time or else a reset will be in order.

  4. Alright 82nd! I was too. Just wanted to second the LT”s comments. In garrison, when it seemed like all we did was run, ruck and take pt tests, the little 150 pound guys were always thought to be hot shit by the higher ups, because they could max the PT test. Well some of us were smarter and after work would lift instead of run. Granted we were ignorant and our training wasn”t anywhere near starting strength, but we were trying. Anyways once we deployed those 150 pounders were hurting. Most everyone carried a minimum of 100 lbs on our two day air assault missions. I carried 130 lbs, some carried as much as 140. Anyways, first mission, 30 guys from my company are medevac”d with heat stroke and exhaustion. Most of them were the “runners” that everyone thought so highly of. Like Rip says, “Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general.”

  5. Loving this website!
    Currently using Wendler”s 5/3/1
    Power Clean: 210x6reps
    Press: 140x8reps
    Squat: 230x10reps(Had to reset due to hip injury, but feeling stronger)
    Weight:(5”10)up to 215 from 198(some its fat and some muscle…probly tighten up the diet in the spring)
    I cant believe i used to crossfit…Knocking down PR”s in the big lifts is A LOT more statisfying than just trying to finish a WOD faster than the previous one….
    I was thinking the other day…which would i rather be…in inline 4 or a turbo diesel…the choice was obvious…

  6. The great thing about total novice linear progression is that every lift is a new PR.

    That being said I have set a bodyweight PR. 182. 22 pounds up from 160 on Oct. 4.

    I”m driving to 200 pounds like guided missile fueled by pizza, steak, and milk.

  7. I so am happy to have found this site. Love the topics, pic, movies and stories. keep it up!

    Fridays PR
    Weights in kilos
    Squat 115x5x3
    Press 55×5+4+4
    Dead lift 120x5x1

  8. I was hoping this day wouldn”t come so soon, but I”ve started stalling on my linear progression. will try a reset next week and hope to squeak out some more gains.
    5”10 @ 204

    Squat:335x5x3 (stall)
    DL:370x5x1 (still gaining)
    Bench:225x5x3 (stall)
    Press:160x5x3 (stall)
    P Clean: 210x3x5 (still gaining)

  9. Tested my 1RM this week as I am on vacation for 2 weeks. Still making gains on linear progression (Justin”s CFWF program – maybe that should be renamed now). BW is 202#.

    Press: 175 (5# PR)
    Bench: 265 (first time testing max, previous best before cycle 215×5)
    Squat: 375 (40# PR)
    Dead/Power clean: ???
    Pull-ups: 12 (1 rep PR)

    Didn”t test deadlifts because I tweaked my back/left SI joint last Friday on the work set (only 330×5), going to reset and fix form after vacation. Power cleans I maxed at 90kg a few weeks ago but form was disgusting.

    Very happy with the program. Started 13 weeks ago with 5×3 (other than PC 3×5, DL 5×1):

    Squat: 255
    Press: 115
    Power clean: 65kg
    Bench: 185
    Deadlift: 275

    Conditioning has remained the same or improved slightly with the 2 short metcons a week. Set a PR in 2K row this week as well.

  10. Nice lift Yosh!

    BW: 172 (up from 145).
    Age: 31


    Press: 135x3x5 (cleaned to the rack position). Felt good, though the fifth rep with presses are always an epic battle. There”s no other lift that feels as much like your tapping every last ounce of strength in your body.

    Squat: not really a PR, but 275x3x5. Also tried box-squatting for the first time, getting 295 with plenty more in the tank.

    DL: still struggle with matching the 440 I pulled at 145BW. But that was a REALLY ugly lift.

    Also, ran a short ultra marathon, with 18k elevation change, having never ran more than 10 miles and having trained with basically just heavy lifts plus GOMAD for a couple months before the race. I know it’s not a 70s big thing to do, but it was really just an experiment to see if we are right that improved strength is the key to almost any athletic pursuit. Seemed to hold true!

  11. FilthyBrit – holy crap, 18k elevation change?! Nice. Any more details?

    Homb – congrats! Now watch nature”s version of GOMAD in action. That baby”ll be squatting in no time.

  12. For the week:

    SQ 300#x5x3
    BP 235#x5x3
    PC 170#x3x5

    PR 160#x5,5,3
    What is the protocol on this? Do I do 160# next week and if I stall again drop back 5-10# the following week? Or do I go ahead and drop back my next workout?

    I PR”d on Fran today, 4:53, and realized that I don”t really care if my Fran time gets any faster.

  13. Whoa! Some amazing PRs here! Homb, that”s awesome! Congrats! Also, HoldFast74, that”s fricking beastly!

    Jacob, thanks! It was called the Quad Dipsea, run just north of San Francisco. It”s a little over 28 miles. One leg is 7.1 miles, and goes from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach, almost entirely made of steep hills and stairs. You run it 4 times back-to-back. Took just under 8 hours, and beat the crap out of my knees on the downhill, but other than that, it wasn”t as bad as I thought it would be (was able to squat again 3 days later). The squats I”ve been doing were an enormous asset on the uphill portions. Was able to make up a lot of ground (relentless forward progress was key). Something to keep in mind for the military folks that need to maintain running ability but still want to get strong (all 3 of my brothers are in the service, too).

    I ran it with my GF and 15 others from San Francisco Crossfit. We all had slightly different approaches to training (some ran more than others), but my focus was strength-based.

    Oh, and planning to do my first raw meet in 2010. Really looking forward to it!

  14. Damn! Stairs kill me – I would have never made that, congrats! I got some nasty ITBS last year when training for Rainier, and it was the downhill descents that always got me. I agree that squats help a ton. I did Mt. St. Helens and Camp Muir this summer without any leg soreness to speak of, except for that pesky ITBS, which would keep me from walking for a couple days. Good luck on that raw meet, make sure you post up your results!

  15. PR Friday, son! Six weeks into SS, all lifts are workset PRs except for power cleans which I reset for form.

    squats: 250
    bench: 207.5
    deadlift: 305
    press: 135
    Power clean: 155

    Weighed in at 228. And nice pull there from Yosh, I need to get my shit squared away and hit the 400s like that. On the way to 500 or 600 I mean. Damn there are some strong sonsabitches around here.

  16. PRs this week:
    Squat 155 5×3, 225 1RM
    Bench 175 5×3
    DL 265 5×1, 325 1RM
    Press 135 1RM
    PC 115 2×5

    I just got a belt today and can”t wait To start SS next week.

  17. Great pull Yosh!

    Cancelled training for tomorrow due to anticipated winter storms tomorrow and went in today…since I”m on a linear progression I get PR”s each time, so I bested Wednesday”s performance with the following:

    SQ: 355X5X3
    Press: 201.25X5X3 (this was the last chance and I had to put my game face on…gottem!)

  18. Blue Cheese what”s up man. Currently I”m living in Clarksville, TN. Volunteer orange hurts my eyes… Moved around a few times since I left school in ”02. What about you?

  19. Michael H. Living in Metairie. Graduated in 2000 with Shaq. That was the year of his infamous Love Shaq University speech. You ever go to

  20. Not trying to discredit Yosh or anything but its hard for me to think he weighs just 165.. still, some impressive deadlifting!

    Then go check the results of the meet if you don’t believe him. Why would he lie?


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