My Introduction to 10/20/Life and the HUGE Improvements!

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By Danny Vega

I started powerlifting in May of 2013. Although I had lifted weights since 14, played college football, and even had a short career in collegiate strength and conditioning, I had never pursued the sport.

Having never trained for the sport except for during football (how many football players do you know with good form?) I had a lot of form issues. Initially, I had someone put together a haphazard, 5-6 week meet prep and came in and totaled 1505 (565/305/640). The low bench was mostly due to this person widening my grip to an ungodly width, and destroying my shoulders.

My second and third meet, I hit totals of 1610 (605/355/650), and 1675 (640, 400, 635). I continued to progress on the bench and squat, but my deadlift was stalling, mostly due to comically poor form. This is ironic, since I am built to deadlift. I never felt comfortable reaching down and grabbing the bar during my set-up, so I would just raise my hands in the air like a maniac and grip and rip. As a result, I could only pull heavy every other week since my back was fried. I had absolutely no leg drive.

Terrible – no tightness or loading at all…

I met Brian Carroll and Jonathan Byrd May of last year, and had just bought the 10/20/Life e-book. First thing they both told me is that I need to fix my deadlift form—that, and that I should be benching much more. I read the book, and loved it for two main reasons—first, for its simplicity. What I saw was a way of training year-round that would allow me to correct form, get healthy and put on muscle in the off-season; and peak properly during meet prep. Secondly, I don’t have a coach, so I really appreciated the attention that was given to working on weaknesses and tailoring the program to fixing them. I learned about the lifter’s wedge, which is the position that gives you the best leverage on squat and deadlift. I began practicing this in the off-season, and I’m glad I filmed myself because I could see an obvious improvement in my form from 25 weeks ago.

Already so much better and tighter

I started my first off-season block in June, and did about 2 full blocks before starting my 10 week meet prep. This off-season I was able to stay healthy while slowly cutting down to 220 from 236, and most importantly set myself up for big PRs on my deadlift. On December 21st I pulled 302.5kg (666.9lbs). This pull felt so light and moved so fast that I surprised myself. I honestly could have pulled another 20-25lbs that day. So to make a long story long, this program works—If you follow it and trust the process.

Realizing the gains at the meet – when it counts! 20lb PR and EASY!

A few keys to making this program work for you:
1) Be honest with yourself about what your weaknesses are. If you’re not sure, film yourself and get a few pairs of eyes on your form so you can see where your sticking points are. The book gives you suggestions for every possible weakness.
2) Follow the warm-up. I always felt primed and ready before all three lifts after doing the McGill big 3, and hitting a lot of reps with the bar before I put some weight on.
3) Embrace the deload. I never felt beat down over a period of almost 6 months.

It’s that simple.

Get your copy HERE

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Danny Vega

Danny Vega is a 220lb raw powerlifter with meet bests of 640 squat in wraps (610 raw), 400 bench, and 700 deadlift. A native of Miami, Florida, Vega received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University in 2004, where he was a member of the football team and a three-time Dean’s List recipient. Vega earned his masters of science in human performance from the University of Florida, where he worked with the national championship men’s basketball team along with women’s basketball, tennis, and golf programs. He then went on to become the Strength & Conditioning coordinator for VCU basketball. The Rams were 2007 conference champions and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
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