Best Advice

By Jonathan Byrd

I have been very fortunate to have been around some really skilled lifters and coaches. Without them, my progress would have been much slower, and my injuries may have even pushed me out of powerlifting all together. Great coaching and advice can really help you overcome a lot of issues with lifting. Now, I understand that these might not help everyone, but I feel it’s only fair to share some of these things with you.

Honestly, the best advice I have ever received in powerlifting is the deload. Previously to meeting Brian and training using 10/20/Life principals I only deloaded the week before the meet. I honestly believe that is what lead to many of my injuries. My hope is that if you take away thing away from 10/20/Life it is to utilize the deload! It really will help your body last and keep you in the game for longer. I regret not having that knowledge earlier in my lifting, and take a stern stance when my clients don’t take their deloads seriously, or ignore them all together.

When I moved down to Jacksonville, Florida I had just started to recover from my pec surgery. I was having a lot of issues with it, and I was a feet tucked under bencher, so I was not generating much leg drive. I was also having a lot of stability issues at the top with heavier weights. Paul Key made the suggestion that I move my feet from tucked to an “out in front” position, along with adjusting the direction I placed my toes. By doing this it really allowed for me to generate a lot of leg drive. If you look at my benches today verses when my feet were tucked, the amount of speed and drive isn’t even comparable. So, what little arch I had to sacrifice by moving my feet out, I was able to overcome with the increase in leg drive. For someone with my injury history, this was huge!

 As an equipped lifter, being a master of your gear is a must. Adam Driggers helped me a ton when it came to improving in those areas. The best advice he ever gave me was to deadlift with the straps tight even on light weights. In years past I would not pull my straps tight until the heavy working sets.  His point was that the bar is always the same distance away, and that my issues getting to the bar would only get better if I practiced it at all times. He was absolutely correct, and it always taught me to be patient in the bottom to get into good position. This small coaching point really helped change my deadlift form and my actual ability to perform the lift.

Jonathan Byrd using the versatile Inzer Ultra Leviathan Ultra Pro for deadlifts.

 As I said before, not all of these points could directly apply to you. I would encourage you to attempt each one and give them enough time to work. The point of powerlifting is to put together the best total you can on meet day. Many lifters spend too much time focusing on gym numbers and even though those numbers mean nothing in the big picture. The biggest piece of advice I can give? Learn to take advice openly.  It can only serve to improve your powerlifting total.

Want more great advice? Pick up a copy of the new 2nd Edition 10/20/Life and learn to become your own coach.

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Jonathan Byrd

Jonathan Byrd is a competitive powerlifter, with over 16 years of training experience. Byrd has been ranked nationally for the past 6 years under multiple categories. His total has ranked as high as second nationally in the 275 class. He currently has a best total of 2500lbs. Best individual lifts include a 1040lb squat, a 750lb bench press, and 735lb deadlift. His 1040lb squat ranks him 26th all-time squats at the 308 class. Jonathan currently trains out of Team Samson Gym in Jacksonville, FL. Before powerlifting Jonathan was a college athlete at Methodist University as both an all-conference football player and track athlete. Following graduation he played four years of arena football in various leagues.

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