PR Friday. Post training updates and PRs to comments.

I have a friend who is in the Army. To date, he’s been in over three years of combat deployment. Before his last deployment he went to Ranger School, a grueling 61 day combat leadership course that is known for a lack of sleep and calories. It’s typically the most difficult thing an American soldier will ever do. It’s not uncommon to lose 40 pounds in this course. All of the students don’t fantasize about women or a hot shower…they fantasize about food. Very elaborate things like Oreos dipped in chocolate or a Snickers ice-cream bar that is halfway thawed out, wrapper sweating with condensation. At the end of the course — assuming the student doesn’t get hurt or voluntarily quit — the new Ranger not only gets to eat a shit load of food, but he gets to have the Ranger tab placed on his shoulder. It must be one of the most powerful moments in their lives knowing that they accomplished this unbearable, rigorous task. Once that tab was on my friend’s shoulder, do you know what he did? He picked his eyes up, looked forward, and said, “What’s next?”

My friend had a goal set before him: pass Ranger school. Never quit. Once he completed that goal, it took him approximately two seconds before he pushed towards the next goal. Getting complacent in training is a curse, something that makes you soft. You are never good enough, strong enough. The moment you think you have “enough” of whatever it is you think you have — you have failed. The moment you think there isn’t anything left to improve — you have failed. Attack your training, and attack your weaknesses. Avoiding something because you aren’t good at it? Looks like you’ve gone soft, my friend. Strive ardently to improve; it isn’t enough to complete your training as if you were clocking in and out of work. Instead, tear open its rib cage, rip out its still beating heart, and consume it like a dangerous, dangerous animal.

What the fuck have you done lately? It doesn’t matter; you could be better.

62 thoughts on “Better

  1. As a (much younger) man I went into Ranger school weighing a pretty lean 195. I came out a very lean 163. I couldn’t lift shit, but I could walk a long damn way with a ruck on. I remember cutting my tongue on MRE wrappers as I licked every last bit of food off. Totally worth it. After I got tabbed, my immediate next goals were pizza, and a bed, in that order. :)

  2. PRs
    Box Squat 315lbs x 10
    Deadlift 480lbs… 500 was my goal at the start of the year and I’m inching ever closer. Once I get there… 600.

  3. Possibly the stupidest PR I will ever post on this site, and I feel terrible posting it, but I never get to post on PR Fridays anyway so screw it.

    I was at a crossfit, and decided I’m gonna do a muscle up, did it on my second try.

    I’d still like to hear training updates.


  4. PRs this week:

    Weighing in at just above 200#!

    Squat: 260# for 3 sets of 5 (260 used to be a 1 RM…)
    Press 135# for 3 sets of 5. First time to finish all 3 sets with 135#. Still more in the tank!

  5. “Never be satisfied. Never.”

    -Abadjiev to Suleymanoglu after he had just Clean & Jerked more than triple bodyweight.

    No real PR’s this week, been running some 10rep stuff. My traps are so fucking swole I could give Brent Kim a run for his money.

  6. No PRs… yet. Will check back this evening. Just wanted to say thanks to Justin for posting this. 70sbig mindset of taking names, setting goals, manning up and taking responsibility for getting your shit done applies to all areas of life, not just weights.

    And now, goddammit, I’m going to take the MCAT. Because I have a goal of being a doctor and there’s not a fucking thing I’m going to let stand in my way.

  7. 3×335 DL not 70s big impressive, but I think my form is improving, which should help. Still on my toes some…

    Really wanted to hit 225 or 215 on C&J but still stuck at 205.

    3×255 on bench.

  8. I did 340lbs 5×5 on squat. This shit was hard as fuck for me, but I did it. I lifted with a partner for the first time in about 9 months and was able to really push myself. My squat is still in the shitter, but I feel 400lbs is a go soon. I’ve avoided the squat for years, and it shows, and realized the error of my ways. On a lighter note I hit 300lbs 5×5 on the bench press, and I know I had another rep or 2 on my last set. I need another day to rest before I hit up my 5rm tomorrow. And I’ll hit up the deadlift tomorrow after 2 deloading weeks.

  9. Definitely ate some seriously 70sbig food after Ranger graduation. I highly recommend Cheesecake Factory for such an occasion – the portions are solid.

    Post Ranger goals – squat 405 and DL 500+ That plus getting ready to go to Afghanistan later this spring should keep me busy…

    (Oh, and for the record, the fact that a few elite military operators do your program does NOT make the program elite. I’m so tired of hearing people proudly declare how SF guys/Rangers/SEALs/etc. work out at their CrossFit gym, so of course it’s elite. Such a silly claim. Sorry to rant but I’m so tired of hearing that nonsense.)

  10. Awesome, fun lift PR: started doing the 1-armed barbell snatch this week. It was recommended to me by a number of A-class highland games throwers, and I can see why. The balance and core strength required (vs. a 2-armed BB snatch or a 1-armed DB snatch) are significant, and feel like the’ll have good carryover to the highland games throws. Plus it just feels fucking uber to hoist up a barbell with a single hand.

  11. MKingW–

    Followup from yesterday:
    As Justin said I’ve never heard of an ACL injury from squatting either, but squatting correctly can definitely help minimize the risk of ACL injuries in female athletes. There was a NY Times article awhile back talking about trying to fix that epidemic in women’s soccer through strength work to strengthen the knee’s supporting structures and through teaching women to run and jog with better and stronger form.

    Here’s a few of the links I found: Says one of the causes is hamstrings that are weak relative to quads–sounds like a job for LBBS and deads to fix. More about the hamstring/quad disparity, and about the tendency for women to run knock-kneed or land with straight legs. Doesn’t talk specifics on the lifting programs though. A lot of the same stuff, but also talks about women’s running posture compared to men. Unfortunately, based on the picture of the kid squatting I think any lifting he does is going to make the problem worse rather than better.

    IIRC, TBone has mentioned before that she played soccer at UNC and in the national development pipeline, so she’s probably got some relevant observations on the matter.

  12. Too early in my Starting Strength LP for any PRs yet. Still, squatting with a full plate on each side yesterday did feel like an accomplishment of sorts.

  13. Squat 250lbsx3x5

    Not impressive, I know, but I started a linear progression program about 2 months ago squatting 135lbs (and I was sore for a week). 250 yesterday felt easy.

  14. Squat PR 270x3x5

    Paltry weight, I know, but one of the best PR’s I’ve ever had. On my last set, I did 2 reps, and it felt like my knees were going to collapse. I racked the bar, stepped away and thought, well 270X2x5 is still a PR. Then I remembered today’s post and got back under the bar and did 5 pretty awesome reps. Felt pretty good.

  15. Overhead squat PR – 148 lbs
    Power clean and jerk – 143 lbs. That is the most I’ve jerked since fucking up my neck in February. And it was a split jerk and my splits were pretty. Crazy talk.

    This was a good week. I’ve had a shit attitude the last few weeks. Today, I worked on speed on my snatch, which is something I really need to improve. I also suffered through some new mobility work (huge weakness) and then got an amazing bounce on a front squat triple for the first time ever.

  16. I guess I could mention last Saturday’s PR’s

    Snatch 90kg
    Clean & Jerk 107kg
    Clean 111kg
    epic fail 115kg

    numbers still sub-par, but getting better.

  17. Had the day off so I was fresh and got to hit the gym during the day. Nice change of pace.

    Sqt 3x5x215lb
    Bn 3x5x180lb
    Pclean 5x3x115

    Weight up after some adjustments to eating. Managed to mobility work my way through a wonky shoulder on Monday and overall had a good week in the gym.


  18. Just finished a squat reset, hopefully new PRs soon. Deadlift PR of 396×7, only planned to lift it for a 5, but was feeling reckless because my arch nemesis and trainingpartner was caught secretly training behind my back, damn him!

  19. First PR Friday in a while, and no trolling for me today:
    Bench, 245×8 AND
    first time ever getting 2×10 dead-hang pull ups AND
    Tomorrow will be an age PR as I will have graced this planet with my awesome fucking presence for 24 years.

    Feels good, man.

  20. Only one PR this week if I don’t count my 2000M row time.

    Bench 242.5X5X3 I think I had 6 on the last set, but the spotter touched the bar even after I explained to him not to touch it unless I ask for help.

  21. Switching over from TM to Pendlay’s oly beginner program (I guess I have to HBBS ATG now).
    Tried out some snatches, made 100kg, up from my old PR of 90kg.
    I also got a puppy.

  22. Also has anyone had any experience with bursitis in their knees?

    A couple weeks ago I was thrown in judo by another very large player and landed on my left knee and my right then slammed into my left. I have had a lump on the bottom outside corner of my left knee ever since, and I still have pain on the inside of both knees whenever I stretch my hip flexors and quads by bringing my ankle to my butt.

    I have no pain when lifting and can squat with my knees out with no pain at all. Though they ache a little when I stand all day at work and sometimes when I wake up in the morning. I haven’t gone to the doctor bc I didn’t think it was too serious and my healthcare is crap.

  23. TM is progressing nicely, now on week 3.

    Intensity Day:
    Squat 365×3
    Bench 215×2 (would have had third, missed groove)
    Deadlift 455×3

    Question to Justin or anybody familiar with TM, should I rest a little longer before going on to bench/press from squats? (currently only waiting a couple of minutes between sets) I did upper body before lower for the past three months and I’ve just barely missed PRs the past two weeks. Volume day is no problem, it’s just intensity day after PRing squat that gets me. At least squat and dead are moving.

  24. Damn you Justin, I now have two bruised hands and it’s all your fault :)

    You and your damned inspiring posts… So I was feeling pretty sore and kinda was thinking maybe I won’t go by the gym after work, maybe just take an extra rest day and go tomorrow. Then I read your post today and said “Fuck yea, I have to do it, I’m not going to be a pussy!” So, I went, I lifted, I set PR’s and I also got cocky. I’m still on beginners linear progression and I knocked out my 5×5 at 315 (a PR). But that wasn’t enough, I still had gas left in me so I put on a couple of 10’s on each side and did 355 (another PR) for a rep. It went great, it made me feel even more invincible…. So then I thought, what the hell, and put on 405. 405 didn’t go as well, I got a third of the way up and my legs were toast.. I slowly went down despite any and all effort and came to rest on the safety bars. Problem is that I’m not used to failing, I haven’t stalled yet, so my stupid ass forgot to let go of the bar and I slowly drifted backwards a bit and smashed both hands between the bar and the front rack posts… Obviously, I blame you for this! It’s all good though, two bruises to remind me I will look failure in the face and give 110% anyway… That I’ll keep pushing while failing and never give up.

    So, a few PR’s this week.

    5×5 315lbs Squat
    1rep 355 squat
    new actual, real lifting shoes – no more squatting in my vibrams!
    A new, proper 10mm belt that has bruised my stomach for another badge of honor.

    I feel like I’ve been through a car wreck to be honest, but damned happy about it. Time for sleep now, and lots of it.

    Well, you got blindly reckless, which isn’t recommended. Hopefully you learn from that lest your hands fall off in the future.


  25. @Eric
    Thanks, brother! I appreciate the follow-up and the links. You and Justin are right about the rarity of ACL tears during squats. It was during the ladies’ other physical endeavors, like running or Zumba, that I was concerned. I should have elaborated better…my bad…
    I also remembered that I read a good article on this same topic over at EliteFTS, so I went back through the archives and found this write-up from Chad Smith (Juggernaut Method).
    Thanks again for the info.

    Great Post…again…

    Nutrition PR: I have consumed roughly 2lbs of chicken everyday this week. Noticeable improvement in recovery time between workouts all week. Feels good, man.

  26. Felt like shit most of this week. Have been fighting through fatigue for a couple weeks now and it’s finally starting to break me down. Will take a short deload before resuming training.

    Only two PRs this week due to schedule constraints.

    Squat 3×5 455
    Press 3×5 195

    Hoping to get back to work soon and make some more progress.

    On a good note, my gym opens in less than a month. Really looking forward to helping people train and having my own playground.

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