In Powerlifting

July 01, 2011

PDF Article

Mark Bell explains how you can lift more weight by lifting less weight.

When you first get into strength training, it’s to get chicks or to make the football team—which could also lead to chicks. In addition, you also realized that with a better and stronger body you can probably kick the crap out of that jerk who punted your New York Jets football into the woods and then ride off into the sunset with his girlfriend. Everyone knows that having a big bench will increase your street cred.

When you first got into lifting, you got some results from doing a lot of basic training, like 3 sets of 10 reps. Maybe you took it a step further and started out overloading with more weight from one week to the next. I bet you started to get into everything you thought would make you better: forced reps, super sets, negatives and so on. The effects of your early training go a long way.

After a year or two of training hard, the gains started to slow down. The fun hammer was coming to halt your progress in its tracks. So how does a person continue to make progress and not get hurt? How do the pros like Shawn Frankl, Dave Hoff and Donnie Thompson make any progress after they have reached such a high level? What is their secret?



9 Comments on “Underloading Equals Reloading”


wrote …

Big bench gets you street cred!? Possibly, but not crossfit cred!! Just had to put that out there. lol. Anyone agree? Great article Mark, keep em coming. The knowledge you share is greatly appreciated in the our community.


wrote …

Good article with good information. However, I've just recently seen "Bigger, Stronger, Faster," and have to ask:

All due respect, how much are this guy's lifts without HGH?

Am I naive? Are all elite level crossfitters on HGH as well?

Not discounting the hard work they put in, but aren't the numbers skewed if they're taking HGH or steroids? Or does everyone do it and I need to jump on board?

Not trying to start trouble but as I am not a member of an affiliate I have no one to answer these questions for me. I love Crossfit and buy-in to the philosophy and training methods. I just have to ask these questions, that's all.

Thank you.


wrote …

@Jonathon McBride......

I think you're forgetting that EVERYONE in certain divisions of powerlifting- especially the top-end ones- use PEDs. Its common knowledge, and its considered a tool for the toolbox. It doesn't change the effectiveness of the programming itself. The same goes with Louie, who in that same movie admits involvement with PEDs for himself and some of his people.

If you want a solid example of it appearing in other "clean" sports, take Ben Johnson and Charlie Harris in 1988. Harris swore EVERYONE in track was taking steroids, which was why he had no qualms giving them to Johnson. He was ridiculed as a cheat and a liar. Turns out, he was right, and he's still revered as one of track's greatest coaches.

Why? Because his programming is highly effective, PEDs or not.

EVERY sport has some method folks use to get more from their bodies, from cold medicine to blood doping, and everything in between; I'd not be surprised to see PEDs of some sort having a large presence in Crossfit as well.


wrote …

Argh- Charlie Francis, not Harris.


wrote …

I really enjoyed the meat-head writing style in this article. Still absolutely informative as well as fun to read. The journal has a little bit of everything for everyone (constantly varied? i'll put the kool-aid down now) and i think this was kind of the missing link.


wrote …

Thanks Mark. I love your writing, it's entertaining and educational! I agree 100% with you on underloading. Using a Yoke bar box squat took my straight bar squat up 30lbs. in just a couple months. It exposed weakness in my back that I addressed with KB work and back extensions. I also use underloading in place of a true deload week. I really wish you would have said to just ignore the lifts you suck at, but it looks like deficeit deads are going to make a comeback in my training. I hate them with a passion!

Unfortunately I lift in my basement alone, so the "teabag method" is going to have to wait...

Thanks again.


wrote …

Thanks for all the comments both positive and negative.
What would you guys like to see next?


wrote …

I think a lot of guys would like to see some specific strategies for getting your press bigger.


wrote …

Mark, how do we get video of you guys doing some whiteboard and ME work with some CFers to first 1) Actually see each individuals weakness 2) Give your reasoning for RXing the training selection for each CFer. Maybe use just three folks to do so, and can be any size, shape or color. I think there has been a TON of interest in the Louie videos and such...but folks are still not sure how to implement them with their clients and themselves. PDFs are awesome, but a small video series will really allow you to show the implementation of weakness training and give us all a few more rocks to look under. Just an idea. Thanks again for the candid writings.

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