By: Josh Bryant
Julius Maddox’s easy 705-pound bench press and gallant attempt at 723 pounds.
On February 17, 2018, Julius Maddox put out his hands and caught a beautiful white dove. That white dove was a 705-pound RAW bench press that moved faster than the damned Tijuana Two step, perfect synchronicity to use a Jungian Term.
The white dove was enjoyed but since released, and it will be captured again with the all-time world record.
A white dove moment is a place where there is a focus so intense, it leads to a sense of ecstasy, clarity: you know exactly what you need to do from one moment to the next even though time disappears. It’s joy and a near perfect emotional state, you surrender to your subconscious and things flow because you are unconsciously competent.
I want to share with you four strategies that helped Julius catch his white dove, an analogy learned from the great Kaz.
Scripture tells us in Matthew 17:20, “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Think about the powerful affirmation.
For the scientifically inclined, a 2014 review of 53 trials compared elective surgical procedures to placebos and found that sham (aka fake) surgeries provided some benefit in 74 percent of the trials and worked as well as the real deal in around half.
Here is the bottom line, when you hit your lifts each week in training, you develop a positive momentum. It’s like a force bigger than you takes over and you believe you are never going to miss a lift. Being in the zone, this psychic chemistry tells you nothing is beyond your capacity. If the bar is loaded you will lift it. This place is a euphoria few experience but almost of the powerlifting greats have.
Bottom line is, Julius conceived the notion of 700 a long time ago. Now he believed, and therefore he achieved.
Belief is everything, thoughts are things, no one is born a winner or loser but everyone is born a chooser. “Conceive, believe, achieve!” said Bill Kazmaier.
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Decrease Bench Press frequency
Sure, untrained college kids that #bencheveryday make better gains than ones that do not as we learn from pseudo-scientific Instagram hashtag heroes. Paraphrasing Johnny Paycheck, they can take that bench press and shove it!
These folks are neutrally inept when compared to a high-powered machine like Julius Maddox. His tissue so efficient, he has so much fast twitch muscle fiber and lifts so much weight it takes him a long time to recover. As Julius progresses in strength, he needs longer to recover between sets and sessions. These past few months, Julius has been bench pressing heavy twice a month and once light. This has enabled Julius to stay injury free and approach each training session with great enthusiasm.
Application point: People that are easy-gainers need to train less often and with lower volume. The biggest lie in the last 50 years perpetuated by self-anointed gurus is those with poor genetics should train less; nope, they need to get busier than a mosquito at a nudist colony! Fast gainers have much more fast-twitch muscle fibers and more efficiently recruit a greater number of muscle fibers, all which requires greater recovery. The less gifted you are at something, the more often and frequently you must practice to become a Jedi master!
Lee Haney said, “Stimulate don’t annihilate.” That is exactly what Julius did on his accessory bench day. Behind bars, Jailhouse denizens make gains with daily bodyweight training; you simply recover faster with bodyweight training than with pig iron.
So, on Julius’ accessory bench press day he worked his way up to doing 10 sets of 35 push-ups with a two-minute break between sets. That is a lot of volume for a guy that weighs 400 pounds. The extra push-ups helped Julius gain muscle in the chest and triceps, while keeping his joints healthy to make the all-out assault on 705.
If you are having trouble recovering from multiple bench press sessions in a week, try swapping in some push-ups, and there is a good chance you will get stronger from the new stimulation and your joints will feel better. Julius started at 10 sets of 10 and built up to 10 sets of 35 without lengthening the rest period over a six-month period.
Increase Upper Back Training Volume/Frequency
Last meet Julius’ ass was grass and 688 was the lawn mower he got destroyed with; he was madder than a bob cat in a piss fire. I am not one of these people that think that a strong upper back is the most important component to a big bench press, but as Kaz says, “Strong man equals strong back.” The bench press is no exception. A big, strong upper back gives you a nice, robust shelf to bench press off and even provide a little spring on the press up. Looking at all of Julius’ numbers, his upper back was proportionally weak compared to the opposing muscles on the front side of the body.
Julius trains four times per week with weights, albeit an extended week. One day is devoted completely to upper back training and the other three days included minimally one exercise for his upper back. I have found, purely by anecdotal observation, that the upper back responds very well to high frequency/high volume training, regardless what of what type of gainer you are. Julius did a minimum of 30 sets of upper back work per week. The lower back does NOT recover quickly, so to increase upper back training frequency, use things like pull-up variations, lat pull downs and keep rows chest supported.
In 2015, Julius looked like the only training he had been doing was at the International House of Pancakes! Currently, he is much leaner and muscular. Besides aesthetic benefits, Julius is reaping performance benefits from following a regimented nutritional plan. His high protein, moderate fat and moderate carbohydrate five meals a day are prepared by Kentucky-based Gourmet Meals to Go.
The body thrives on a routine! Eating nutritious meals at regular rest intervals will help you perform, feel and look your best.
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Julius is a fully committed athlete. If you are lacking the cojones or work ethic, strategizing will be as useless as tits on bull frog.
Everyone is different but success leaves clues. Bruce Lee said, “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless.” So, in the words on Sinatra, you will find your way.
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