10/20/life: What Makes It “Unique”?

By: Brian Carroll

My Philosophy

The fastest, easiest, most effective way to get stronger is through the big lifts—the squat, bench press, and deadlift. And the fastest, easiest, most effective way to improve your performance in these lifts is to analyze your weak points and custom-design your own programming that addresses them and gets you stronger.

Weak Points

When you fail in one of the big lifts, that’s a weak point. If you can’t lock out your bench press, you have weak triceps. If you’re pitching forward and getting stapled when you squat, it’s probably a hamstring or lower back issue. If you’re constantly training heavy, and ignoring these deficiencies, you’re not going to get any stronger.

Customized Assistance Work

You have to address your weak points through your assistance work. If you find out you have weak triceps, or weak hamstrings, you need to pay special attention to these muscle groups in your training—and not just follow some cookie-cutter template laid out for you by your guru.
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE): Your Personal Coach

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You’ve been hearing a lot recently about auto-regulation and products like Joel Jamieson’s BioForce HRV. The idea is to assess your state of readiness for the day, and to do just enough training to get the job done—no more, and no less. Instead of sticking to a fixed percentage for a particular day—and possibly overtraining or getting injured—RPE training allows you to train within the appropriate percentages for that day. It’s really the best possible way to train, and the fastest way to get strong.

Offseason and In-Season Training

Contrary to popular belief, it’s impossible to stay strong 365 days per year. Take a lesson from professional athletes and schedule your training accordingly, with offseason and in-season work. If you’re constantly in-season, when are you planning on addressing your weak points? If you’re always “on,” you’re going to come to a breaking point where you’ll either get injured or quit. Give yourself some highs and lows, and some downtime, and be strong when it counts.

Dr. McGill’s Material: It Works

Why would you possibly want to stretch, foam roll, and get loose before putting a heavy load on your back? That’s just stupid, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Instead, you’d be much better off learning how to stiffen your core so you can handle these loads and generate power and explosiveness. That’s how you get strong.


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Brian Carroll

Owner and Founder at PowerRackStrength.com
Brian is a retired world-class powerlifter with over two decades of world-class powerlifting. From 1999 to 2020, Brian Carroll was a competitive powerlifter, one of the most accomplished lifters in the sport's history. Brian started off competing in bench press competitions 'raw,' then, shortly into the journey, he gravitated toward equipped lifting as there were no "raw" categories then. You only had to choose from single-ply (USPF) and Multi-ply (APF/WPC). Brian went on to total 2730 at 275 and 2651 at 242 with more than ten times his body weight in three different classes (220, 242, 275), and both bench pressed and deadlifted over 800 pounds in two other weight classes. He's totaled 2600 over 20 times in 2 different weight classes in his career. With 60 squats of 1000lbs or more officially, this is the most in powerlifting history, regardless of weight class or federation, by anyone not named David Hoff. Brian realized many ups and downs during his 20+ years competing. After ten years of high-level powerlifting competition and an all-time World Record squat at 220 with 1030, in 2009, Brian was competing for a Police academy scholarship. On a hot and humid July morning, Brian, hurdling over a barricade at 275lbs, landed on, fell, and hurt his back. After years of back pain and failed therapy, Brian met with world-renowned back specialist Prof McGill in 2013, which changed his trajectory more than he could have imagined. In 2017, Brian Carroll and Prof McGill authored the best-selling book about Brian's triumphant comeback to powerlifting in Gift of Injury. Most recently (10.3.20) -Brian set the highest squat of all time (regardless of weight class) with 1306 lbs – being the first man to break the 1300lb squat barrier at a bodyweight of 303 lbs.
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