Sean KatterleMastering Metallourgos: Specializing on the Bench Press and the Deadlift, PART 1
Do the thing, and you shall have the power: but they who do not the thing have not the power.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
As the fitness industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds, the number of training gurus also grows exponentially. With each new fad and system the blueprint becomes increasingly more complicated. You’ve got Russian Smolov, High-Intensity Training, Bill Starr’s 5x5, Progressive Periodization, Westside Barbell, Joe Average, Rippetoe’s Starting Strength, Sheiko Training, the Poliquin Principles, Cross Fit, Plyometrics, Dinosaur Training, Positions of Flexion, German Volume Training, the Weider Principles, the double split (made famous and partially created by Schwarzenegger and his training partners) and so on and so forth.
With all these training programs, systems and theories within reach of anyone who has access to the Internet or to a bookstore, the ongoing debate, not surprisingly, revolves around which system works best for who and who should be employing which workout. The abundance of choices causes novice lifters to change their training plans the way they change their socks. It’s rare for beginning lifters to give a system a year’s time to prove its worth and return on investment.
This is the first in a series of Power Surge installments written specifically for people whose main priority in the gym is to deadlift (without a powerlifting suit) and bench-press (without a bench super shirt) the most weight they can possibly lift for one to three reps. If you’ve got other iron goals that are higher up on your Maslow’s Pyramid, then you probably shouldn’t commit yourself to following this series and morphing into a benching and pulling monster. But if you look in the mirror and dream about having the build of a national-level push-puller—thick, dense back muscles, titanic traps, a bull’s neck, corded muscles running down your arms, boulder-sized front delts and a physique that’s built for a burst of maximal power output—then this might be the program for you!
Out of all the factors that influence your success in training, the four that are most important are, in order, nutrition, rest, training and biochemistry and genetics. The majority of steroid-using weightlifters are using way more anabolics than they really need to maximize their gains. Most steroid gurus at the gym, if they’re being honest, will cite test dosages ranging from 500 to 2,000 milligrams per week! And then on top of that they’ll discuss the options of orals plus additional injectables.
All that notwithstanding, on just a 250-milligram shot of doctor-prescribed testosterone for HRT, my levels jumped up the point scale to 1,600! It was 160 percent of the very top end of what experts believe a natural collegiate athlete’s testosterone levels could be. I’m suggesting that anyone interested in HRT should avoid the street dealers and Internet suppliers entirely and instead meet with an open-minded but safe-thinking endocrinologist and get some advanced blood work done. After that the doctor can put you on a program that will adjust your body’s chemicals so you’re best prepared for the rigors of heavy training and the recovery demands it imposes.
How far can lifters take their strength levels without the aid of prescription strength anabolics? One of the best examples of success is Brian Siders. For years he competed in USA Powerlifting and the International Powerlifting Federation. Because he pushed himself to the top of the heap, he was randomly and routinely tested for steroids. Not only did they test him at competitions, but he had to keep the IPF informed as to his whereabouts so they could show up unannounced at any time and insist on his taking yet another piss test.
Brian also consented to being polygraphed by a professional tester, and he passed every lie detector and fluid-based test he was given. So, assuming that all the testing validates him as being drug-free for his entire powerlifting career, we can look at his results as having stemmed from years of scientific training, intelligent recovery methods and advanced nutritional intake and supplementation. What’s more, without the artificial boost of powerlifting suits and bench press shirts, Brian has competition squatted 785 pounds, bench-pressed 650 pounds and deadlifted 810 pounds at a bulked up, mid-300-pounds bodyweight. Simply put, he is a giant with the power to match his mass.