The background

17.3 ^e first requirement for realizing a very demanding goal are loads of resolve, heaps of persistence and tons of effort. Whether your demanding goal is 300 x 20 in the squat, 350 x 20 in the deadlift, 300 x 5 in the bench press, or whatever, you really have to want it. ^ere is no easy way to reach a demanding goal. If you do not want it enough to pay your dues, overcome expected and unexpected obstacles, and give your pound of flesh, you will not get to your goal. ^e names of our game are effort and progressive poundages. While cycling training intensity does not mean full-bore effort at every workout, you must get into sustained periods of intensive workouts.

17.4 ^ere are two crucial considerations to keep in mind when viewing my personal training achievements:

a. I have never taken bodybuilding drugs, and never will.

b. My genetic endowment is almost the opposite of what is needed to develop great strength.

17.5 While 400 x 20 is fine deadlifting for a hard gainer, it is not much in today's world where the genetically gifted elite grab the publicity and attention. But while some of these men are awesomely strong, more than a few of them are far less strong than their posed lifts (sometimes using fake plates) suggest. I did not use a lifting belt or any lifting gear other than grip support. I was 195 pounds—at 59" and about 15% bodyfat—when I did the 400 x 20, so I was pulling over twice bodyweight. ^is was in July 1992 when I was 33 years old.

17.6 When appraising my genetic endowment for lifting weights, there is nothing to marvel at. Two areas come out as better than average, i.e., calves and body structure for the deadlift and stiff-legged deadlift. Everything else ranges from average hard-gainer material to worse-than-average, with arms in particular being the pits for bodybuilding.

17.7 I had extensive work and parental responsibilities during the deadlift cycle. ^ese prevented my resting and sleeping as well as I should have in order to recuperate speedily from training. I am a real-world person, not someone who can devote himself to his training with little or no thought for other aspects of regular life. As typical working hard gainers it is not just our genes that work against us. ^ere are other out-of-the-gym factors as well.

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