View Full Version : METAMORPHOSIS into a BEAST

10-18-2008, 04:25 PM
I grew up as weak as they come, got a little stronger after hitting the gym in college, but then got extremely weak due to significant muscle loss after a month long coma/brain surgery resulting from a near fatal car accident 10 yrs ago. I worked out since in desperation and gained decent strength, but the over-eating sparked development of Diabetes due to a genetic pre-disposition. That got me extremely dedicated to my diet, and Jan '08 onwards, I leaned down from 29% Body Fat to 17%, while maintaining strength. My progress pics can be seen on my site www.zackattack.info

Since the accident, I had come a very long way after benching only 75 lbs & squatting just the bar on the smith machine. However, I felt I was still a weakling. On my birthday in July '08, I set my mind to acquiring serious Strength over 3 yrs and reducing body fat level below 10%. My progress over the past 6 months has been remarkable and documented on on my YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/ZackAttack1978 Hopefully my Quest will motivate others who don't believe in themselves.

6 month Progress Summary:
START Jul '08 : BENCH 215, SQUAT 165, DEAD 265 = 645, 28" jump

CURT Dec '08 : BENCH 240, SQUAT 250, DEAD 335 = 825, 32" jump

GOAL Jul '09 : BENCH 275, SQUAT 315, DEAD 375 = 965, 36" jump

GOAL Jul '11 : BENCH 405, SQUAT 505, DEAD 605 = 1515, 50" jump

6 month BENCH Progress: +25 lbs
6 month SQUAT Progress: +85 lbs
6 month DEADL Progress: +70 lbs
6 month Box Jump Progress: +4"

Initially stated Jul '11 SQUAT & DEAD goals have been raised to 505 & 605 respectively due to surge in lower body Strength

10-18-2008, 08:17 PM
Kudos to you for pursuing a life of fitness. And that sucks on the coma.

Let me just say....I almost **** my shorts when I watched the 275 deadlift fail. That was one of the scariest attempts I've seen in a long time.


Your squats aren't terrible, but you aren't quite committing to the ASS OUT part of it as much as you should. You look a little more like our body is being crushed under the weight of the bar, and collapsing at the center.

I'm not an expert in form on either of these, but I can say with certainty that the deadlift form is non-existent. I saw your deadlift form video, though, and that one was solid. You need to slow down on the maxes, and see where you're losing the good form you have at 135. Work up slowly. You're pulling everything with your back, and you're going to hurt yourself.

Which brings me to point number two..


You shouldn't be wearing running shoes for squats or deads. Get something with a hard, flat sole. Converse Chuck Taylors, any skateboarding shoe from DC or Etnies or Vans will work. I prefer skateboarding shoes because they're not only hard and flat, but they're tough as nails (designed that way) and stable. Plus, Chucks are uglier than Jodie Foster in the 80's, and especially ugly with shorts, and I rarely wear pants because squats pull your pants down when you have a squatters ass (which you'll hope to achieve, right?).

Squishy soles will hurt your form as well, because you can't count on your feet for the stability you need. It's just not there. Plus, you can damage your knees, or even your lower back as you try to compensate for stability problems with lare amounts of weight teetering aimlessly on your back.

Get a solid foundation.

That is all.

10-18-2008, 08:30 PM
Welcome to the site. Are you planning on keeping a journal in this thread? Is so, it really belongs in the journal section.

10-18-2008, 08:47 PM
work on ur form first bro

10-18-2008, 09:01 PM
Good luck bro, nice to see you progressing. Like the others said, be safe and work on your form.

Don't wanna see you back in another coma!

10-18-2008, 09:55 PM
Wow, agreed on the form. If you can, purchase Rippetoe's Starting Strength - not that you're a starter, but it goes into vast detail on squat and deadlift form. Nix the running shoes, lie mrelwooddowd said and purchase some squatting/deadlifting shoes. Good luck.

10-19-2008, 08:20 AM
Hey everybody! I hear y'all big time on the form. Working on it consistently. mrelwooddowd, thanks for the write up. It helped today as you'll see below. With time I hope to earn everybody's respect on form on all my lifts. Hopefully others out there can observe a learner and clean up their stuff too.

Squats felt easy this morning as I warmed up and acclimated toward a max attempt. Instead of trying for 215 (the weight I failed at last week), I went for 225. That didn't seem all that hard either as I unracked the weight
and started the eccentric. Being taken aback by the ease, I failed to go parallel and racked the weight. Reseted 5 min and retried going a little lower next time. Still wasn't satisfied. Rested 10 min and went lower the 3rd time.
Felt I had 235 in me. Next time. Finished off with 3 sets of 185x6.

Considering I have been on a 2k cal diet all week to lose the extra 5 pounds gained recently, I attribute the sudden jump in squat poundage to the following factors:

1) Have not maxed or lifted heavy on the DEAD for 11 days
2) Quads recovered stronger from last heavy SQUAT session 8 days ago
3) Switched to barefoot, which activated the strength reflex better
4) Motivation ?? (Youtube poster commented yesterday that my legs are weak and I told him I would try max @ 225 within a month)

Attempt # 1 225 x 0.5 : youtube.com/watch?v=nvoARHo2Ygk
Attempt # 2 225 x 0.75 : youtube.com/watch?v=yPcMYoVwvHg
Attempt # 3 225 x 1 : youtube.com/watch?v=sDH4mEx6zIg
SQUAT Reps 185 x 6 : youtube.com/watch?v=aXqQzWXcVa8

Celebrated PWO with a hot choclate pop tart, whole milk, and this delicious omlette (6 ew, 1 yolk, 2oz turkey breast, low fat cheese)

10-19-2008, 10:37 AM
You're welcome, and good job on the 225.

Notice your heels came off the floor during the squat. That means you're too far forward. You might even lack some core stability. I still think you'd probably benefit from working on committing to getting your hips back at the onset of the squat.

Here ya go...

Sensei's SquatRx videos are great. He's great at explaining the movement. Watch these.


I'm not a fan of barefoot squatting because of two things....foot sweat (slippage), and there's no stability at the feet. I've never used real squat shoes, though, so I don't know if the stability is necessary. However, I think the sweat is dangerous.

10-23-2008, 09:29 AM
mrelwooddowd, will keep the pointer about the hips and heels in mind.
Like rbtrout also advised, I intend to purchase squatting/deadlifting shoes in the future.

primal21 and must_eat, yup form is of utmost importance :nod: I can execute better if not maxing out, but am striving over time to adhere to strict form even on the max lifts.

cphafner, yes I'd like to turn this thread into a journal. Hopefully it will motivate all the bros into truly believing the sky to be the limit when it comes to training. I wish people could have seen me struggle with benching 75 lbs and not squatting my body weight, but my consistent videos on the path to beastness will exemplify what the mind & body are capable of.

10-28-2008, 11:29 PM
First SQUAT max attempt at 245 failed miserably. Took BCAA pills and ate a choclate protein bar for motivation. Came back 30 min later..lo and behold, 245 went up easy.


Prior to embarking on my quest for strength, I had been stuck at plateaus on the 3 major lifts for several months. After incorporating Kelly Baggett's planned over-reaching techniques for 12 weeks, I have made significant progress in poundages - first concentrated on BENCH, then DEAD, then SQUAT. How long a layoff would be advisable before returning to a new over-reaching cycle?

START Aug '08 : BENCH 215, SQUAT 165, DEAD 265 = 645; Caliper = 17.42%
CURRT Oct '08 : BENCH 235, SQUAT 245, DEAD 335 = 815; Caliper = 16.80%
GOALS July '11 : BENCH 405, SQUAT 405, DEAD 505 = 1315; Caliper = 10%

BENCH: +20 lbs
SQUAT: +80 lbs
DEADL: +70 lbs

10-28-2008, 11:58 PM
I will by no means claim to be a squat expert but I see the same thing that mrelwooddowd pointed out earlier on your squat form which was that you weren't really getting the concept of "ass out" as he put it. I could be wrong but in my opinion you are not really utilizing proper hip drive or engaging your posterior chain, however you want to phrase it on your last max out of 245 (although with the camera angle it is kind of hard to tell). I believe this video on youtube by rippetoe could be beneficial for you to look at. The site would not let me post the link without having atleast 10 posts but if you go on you tube and type in "Mark Rippetoe: Fixing the Squat: Hip Drive" it will pop right up and I think it would help you out much more than myself trying to explain it.

11-04-2008, 01:52 PM
Love2Lift, thanks for that video link. I will sure find it helpful.

I wrapped up a 3 month program utilizing Kelly Baggett's techniques of planned over-training. I am now trying Pavel Psatsoluine's Grease The Groove Strategies, which involve executing a desired lift very frequently and never going to failure. This is described in his book "Power to the People".
You do 2 sets for the lift each time. On day 1, Set 1 is supposed to be a comfortable 5 reps. Set 2 is 90% of the weight used in Set 1. If one desires to up the intensity, they can do multiple sets (5-20) at 80% of the 1st set with 30-90 sec increments. Every time you train, increase the weight 5 lbs, eventually peaking at your PR of 5 reps.

I will train the 3 lifts and the MILITARY few times a week, periodically doing multiple sets for any 1 lift. Here is my current cycle:

Nov 1:
BENCH 155x5, 140x5, 10 sets of 125x5 with 30 sec breaks
DEADL 220x5, 200x5
SQAT 155x5, 140x5
MILIT 75x5, 70x5

Nov2: Rest

Nov 3:
BENCH 160x5, 145x5
DEADL 225x5, 205x5

Here are couple of the vids:



11-05-2008, 11:54 PM
The program is pretty much a sure way for anybody to increase strength fairly quickly. However, the trade-off is supposed to be very little or no muscle gain.

I am enjoying it so far and my cycle will soon pick up momentum.

Tried Bench Press reps today and hit a PR of 135x23
Here is the vid youtube.com/watch?v=ev9IBlGi0qE

11-30-2008, 08:59 PM
Over the past month I have been squatting almost daily. To squat ALOT you have to squat ALOT. The results speak for themselves. Additionally, me embarking on a bulk and eating more than normal may have given me extra strength?

Last week I maxed out at 250x1 youtube.com/watch?v=00_OZ91Lcj8 and today I knocked out 5 reps @ 225 youtube.com/watch?v=NEmP05Wj6_Q - I barely lifted 225 once little over a month ago youtube.com/watch?v=sDH4mEx6zIg

The SQUAT strength has also translated to my DEAD strength. Here is my attempt at 345 youtube.com/watch?v=KHHu2f9XLMY

If this trend continues, I may consider trying out for the 2012 olympics :)
Regardless, I am now more confident than ever of attaining my short term July 2009 goals of 275 BENCH / 315 SQUAT / 375 DEAD and have upped my long term July 2011 goals to 405 BENCH / 505 SQUAT / 605 DEAD

12-06-2008, 02:12 PM
My Bench form was shaky in initial videos @ 225 & 230 and the recent attempt @ 245 (video not posted) had the same problem. On my last lift @ 225 youtube.com/watch?v=mJtjQZHV0is, I tried to Bench in a slow/controlled manner with no feet/butt movement, keeping back arched and shoulder blades pinched. may need to pause a split second at the bottom to further improve the lift. I will redo the max lift @ 245 in 6 weeks.

I am reducing Back Squat volume and focusing on Front Squat in my new Squat cycle; will add weight daily till I peak, rest a couple days, and then attempt a Back Squat PR @ 265

12-10-2008, 05:29 AM
Front Squat cycle progress 145x4 135x6:


12-14-2008, 07:21 AM
After Front Squats every day this week at light/medium weight, I did a 1RM on Back Squat today (got 205 lbs - 45 lbs less than my PR of 250) and finished of with an attempt @ 135x20. Quads were very tight from the first rep onwards and I didn't think I'd make it past 10..so was content with 16 reps. Will rest 3 days and start a new Squat cycle.

SQUAT 205x1 / Attempt @ 135x20

5 Month Progress Summary:

START Jul '08 : BENCH 215, SQUAT 165, DEAD 265 = 645, 28" box jump

CURT Dec '08 : BENCH 240, SQUAT 250, DEAD 335 = 825, 32" box jump

GOAL Jul '09 : BENCH 275, SQUAT 315, DEAD 375 = 965, 36" box jump

GOAL Jul '11 : BENCH 405, SQUAT 505, DEAD 605 = 1515, 50" box jump

Videos on my YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/ZackAttack1978

12-20-2008, 10:02 PM
I have started preparation for BENCH PR attempt @ 245 in 4 weeks:

Bench 205x1 (full second Pause) Fly 30x10 195x3 (no pause)

I will be striving towards 20 Rep Squats regularly. When I get 20 reps, I will increase the weight 5 lbs. Got 1 rep more this time:

FrontSquat 165x1 BackSquat 135x17

12-22-2008, 03:19 PM
SQUAT 18 reps @ 135 after a single @ 215

BoxJump 30" made / 32" made / 34" failed

12-22-2008, 07:32 PM
Okay this was so funny, I had to share as soon as I got to my computer. After reading feedback from youtue users advising me on pretty much the same thing to correct my Box Jump technique, I head to the gym to see if I could clear the failed 34" jump in the vid above.

The guys in the gym heard me slip, saw me laying with my back flat, but weren't sure what was going on??? One of them, who later told me didn't know what box jumps were, asked what I was trying to do :evillaugh:

34" Box Jump, ALMOST !!!

Spectator Interview

12-31-2008, 06:44 PM
Was very weak on all lifts after being bed-ridden with no appetite for a week. Could consume no more than 500 calories per day. Someone told me I had the flu which has no symptoms except from the neck down (weakness/mild body aches). Someone else told me the signs I mention are of one that is over-trained.

Either way, I am excited to attack 2009 with renewed vigor. Even though the recent strength loss is a huge setback, I am not letting it devastate me emotionally.

Thus, I am exploring a new terrtitory of exercises - exercises where I have no mental records to compare my current performance to a previous performance.

One of these exercises is the Overhead Squat. I tried it out today.


01-04-2009, 03:28 AM
Another new exercise I tried is the GoodMorning

Back to striving towards 20 Rep Squats. When I get 20 reps, I will increase the weight 5-10 lbs. Squat 135x20 :

01-22-2009, 04:54 PM
My invention of modifying Triceps DEATH to destroy the tris - preparing for upcoming Bench PR attempt @ 245

OH Ext 95x6 (PR) / PushDowns / Triceps DEATH - Giant Set


01-26-2009, 11:42 PM
2 months ago I experimented with The BEAR and barely managed 1 circuit rep @ 95 lbs. Yesterday I got 5 reps!

BEAR 95x5 / Snatch 95x1 / db Press 65x3 / PushPress 135x2 (PR) LilDance :)


01-27-2009, 04:05 PM
I will by no means claim to be a squat expert but I see the same thing that mrelwooddowd pointed out earlier on your squat form which was that you weren't really getting the concept of "ass out" as he put it. I could be wrong but in my opinion you are not really utilizing proper hip drive or engaging your posterior chain, however you want to phrase it on your last max out of 245 (although with the camera angle it is kind of hard to tell). I believe this video on youtube by rippetoe could be beneficial for you to look at. The site would not let me post the link without having atleast 10 posts but if you go on you tube and type in "Mark Rippetoe: Fixing the Squat: Hip Drive" it will pop right up and I think it would help you out much more than myself trying to explain it.

No, please don't listen to anything Mark Rippetoe has to say about the squat. I followed his low bar advice as a beginner and later I realize my form is **** because of it -- it causes way too much forward lean. You want to be more upright to actually work your quads and not feel like you are about to **** out your spine on heavy attempts.

This is perfect squat form for a bodybuilder:

Notice how ****ty Mark Rippetoe's technique looks in comparison:


01-30-2009, 04:36 AM
OGROK, I hear ya. I am very unimpressed by Ripp's squats.

DEAD PR Attempt @ 355 / Superset Tris & Bis / DEAD 225x7 / DL Progress Summary

01-30-2009, 09:33 AM
I understand that one, as well. After reading Ripp's form on squats and deads and watching my own, there are some, I can't say flaws, but things not taken into perspective. On deads - guys with shorter limbs, arms or legs, will have different placement and starting positions than guys with longer arms or legs. I didn't quite agree with everything on squats, either. BUT, it is a good guideline to learn from.

02-03-2009, 06:30 AM
WalkLunge/ FrontSquat / Blooper / FastLunge / JumpSquat / Squat PR Summary


02-08-2009, 03:01 PM

02-16-2009, 01:03 PM
Hypers / 225 Bench / TireJumps / 235 Bench / KettleSwings

Shoulder DB Presses

02-20-2009, 01:54 PM
I am excited about simulating a PL meet next week that I will post a vid of. I will perform a 1 rep max lift on the Squat, Bench, then Dead adhering to competition standards as much as possible. I am aiming for 275 Squat, 245 Bench, 360 Dead.

8 month Progress Summary:
START July 2008 : BENCH 215, SQUAT 165, DEAD 265 = 645, 28" jump
CURNT Feb 2009 : BENCH 240, SQUAT 260, DEAD 355 = 855, 33" jump
GOALS July 2009 : BENCH 275, SQUAT 315, DEAD 375 = 965, 36" jump
GOALS July 2011 : BENCH 405, SQUAT 505, DEAD 605 = 1515, 45" jump

8 month BENCH Progress: +25 lbs
8 month SQUAT Progress: +95 lbs
8 month DEADL Progress: +90 lbs
8 month Box Jump Progress: +5"

Here are couple video clips of my workouts in preparation for this:

Try Bench PR @ 225x3 / Try Incline PR @ 185x1

Front Squats / PR Summary

03-12-2009, 08:44 PM
I simulated the meet by attempting to max out on the Squat/Bench/Dead.
While warming up for Squats, I felt my right quad or knee giving way..to prevent aggravation of the slight injury I suffered during the 1st set of the Front Squats in the vid above, I decided to forego the Squat max.

Feb '09 PL Meet Simulation - Try 275/245/360

After starting working on 20 rep squats @ 135 lbs, I have incremented to 225 lbs over the months. This vid is part 1 of my race to 20 reps. After I get 20 reps, I will add weight and start again.

Squat 185 ATG 3 Sec Pause / Race to 225x20 part 1

DEAD Race 315 x 20: Act 1

SQUAT Race 225 x 20: Act 3: Try 6 reps

03-14-2009, 03:08 PM

03-16-2009, 01:55 PM
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03-19-2009, 04:43 AM

03-30-2009, 01:46 PM
Failed at the 11th and 12th rep in my Squat Race to 20 reps in past few days (no video posted). But this time I was rested, well fed, psyched, and very confident. However, an unusual experience...

People stare now & then, give double/triple takes, and walk away. But this moron stared the entire set and threw me off. This gives me taste of how PL meet pressure with everybody watching affects the way you lift. I HATE making excuses but I knew I had 12 reps in me..I was pissed.

04-14-2009, 03:01 AM
Last time I tried to DL 360, it was cemented. This time I managed it, but suffered a grazed burn above right knee and also had to interrupt my workout to use the bathroom! Anyone else have a similar experience with a ME Deadlift or Squat? Literally squeezed the crap out of me...