As Seen On

Archive for the ‘how to improve strength’ Category

New All Time PR on Deadlift – 550lbs

Monday, September 14th, 2015

It’s been since January of 2004 since I set a regular Deadlift PR, when I lifted 545-lbs. 11+ years.

I was 26. I’m almost 37 now, so it’s been a lengthy drought, you might say…

2004 is when I started experiencing routine back injuries that would sideline me for days or even a week at a time.

Unfortunately, my young, idiotic brain, just wanted to keep pushing harder and harder, and that meant the pain I’d experience would get worse and worse.

I’d hobble around for a week after my Strongman contests.

I’d literally limp through the hallway at my old job, after hard weekend workouts involving Deadlifts and Squats.

Finally, in 2008, I think, I had enough.

Since Squats and Deadlifts were so bad for me, I decided I wouldn’t do them anymore.

From 2008 until 2012, I rarely did heavy Deadlifts or Squats.

Of course, I continued to do Axle Deadlifts, because it’s a staple in Grip Sport competition, and I’d dabble every now and again with Squats and Deads, but never got back into them seriously until June of 2013, when I decided I was finally ready health-wise to get back under the bar and pull some weight off the floor.

For Squats, I literally started with the bar, hitting sets of 10. That’s how much I lacked confidence and stability.

For Deadlifts, I decided I’d guard my back by only doing Double Overhand grip (I was afraid of tearing a biceps anyway).

The Coan Philippi Deadlift Program

This Summer, I decided I was ready to finally train the Deadlift with some conviction, and I started a run through the Coan Philippi Deadlift Program.

I gotta say, it was AWESOME to push myself on Deadlifts! It was the first time I’d EVER followed a Deadlift Program in my life.

When you start the Coan Philippi program, it asks you for your starting max and your goal max at the end of 10 weeks, and then it computes everything for you.

I stayed a bit conservative and put in a 500-lb Max to begin with and a 550-lb Max for the end. My partner, Luke Raymond, started out with the same numbers, and it worked out really easy training with him, because we didn’t have to change the weights around at all.

The weights at the beginning of the program were super light, so Luke and I started on week 3 or 4. Everything went smooth until like Week 7. That’s when the volume caught up with me.

I struggled through to Week 9, when I hit 535-lbs, but my body just wouldn’t cooperate with me for Week 10, and I decided against going for a new PR on 3 separate Saturdays, until this past week.

The conditions still weren’t optimal, as I was up at 2AM to take my parents to the airport, and I trained at 5:30AM with my buddy, Brad Martin, but my back felt fully recovered after the 3-week layoff from heavy work, so I went ahead with the Week 10 plan.

And, I’m happy to say I was successful in my 550-lb lift, with potential for probably a few pounds more, although I didn’t push it.

Here’s the video:

Jedd Johnson All-Time PR Deadlift – 550lbs

What an awesome sensation, to FINALLY feel somewhat strong again.

Thankfully, after staying patient, working back slowly, and using my brain instead of my ego, I have been able to break one of my longest standing PR’s.

I must also say, I LOVE the Coan Philippi Program. It made me feel like a monster, and sometime this Fall, I plan on running through it again, once Luke’s schedule evens back out and we get train it together again.

Look for more updates, especially on my YouTube Channel, once I start the program up again.

All the best in your training.


7 Deadly Sins of Strength Training

Friday, February 27th, 2015

I had the amazing opportunity to put together an article for sponsor, Onnit’s magazine, Onnit Academy.

It’s called “The 7 Deadly Sins of Strength Training.”

Here’s a picture of the magazine:


Here’s what you’ll learn from the article…

No matter what your main objective in your training is, it takes a LOT more than just getting your workouts in, to be successful.

There’s other stuff you’ve gotta do to support your training and recovery in order to ensure you see the results you want.

Whether you’re trying to build a massive yoke, excel at strongman, or training to close bigger grippers, when you get these 7 things right, you see better results in your training.

As my sponsors, Onnit has sent me a special link so that my readers can get a copy of this issue, and all you need to do is pay the shipping charges.

Special Onnit Academy Link for my DIESELS

This is a complete STEAL of a price, too.

This is easily the highest quality fitness magazine I’ve ever seen. The cover and pages actually feel more like catalog quality than cheapo magazine stock.

Plus, the information is top notch. This issue alone features contributions from:

    Mark DeGrasse, me, Lance Brazil, Joe Defranco, Jim “Smitty” Smith, Travis Stoetzel, Travis Janeway, Trey Hardee, Doug Fioranelli, Evan Brand, Luke Hocevar, Marcus Martinez, Joe Daniels Ryan Mortensen, Ken Blackburn, and Matt Wichlinski

Plus, I flipped through the thing and found just ONE ADVERTISEMENT in the whole issue.

So you’re not staring and endless supplement ads as you go through it like most magazines that are out there.

Instead, you’re getting solid information.

So, get yourself a copy for as cheap as you possibly can, by just paying shipping:

Onnit Academy Magazine – pay just $4.95 to cover shipping costs

I hope you pick it up and let me know what you think of the article!

Thanks and all the best in your training.


Learn the Basics of Stone Lifting Today:
Stone Lifting Fundamentals

#Yoketober is Under Way – Workout 1 In the Books

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Yoketober is in full swing.

This month, we are focusing on the Yoke – the Traps, Upper Back, Shoulders, and Triceps – the parts o fthe body that make up your outline and help you cast a big shadow.

The objective – To Develop Monster Mass by Halloween.


Yesterday was Yoketober 1st, so Workout #1 went down in the garage. It was my Upper Body Push Day, with Yoke work sprinkled in for seasoning.

#Yoketober Workout #1/31

In the past months of specialized training, #AugustOfArms and #Legtober, lots of people were requesting workout plans, but I didn’t work ahead those months.

Yoketober is different. I put together an entire ebook that includes a full month of training for you from Yoketober 1st to Yoketober 31st.

You can pick it up here for $19 through the end of the week: Yoketober – Monster Mass by Halloween

It’s time to fill that shirt up with some serious slabs of muscle.

All the best in your training.


Close Bigger Grippers with This Proven
Gripper Training Program

Next Goal: Strengthen Everything from the Waist Down

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Pain Free Barbell Hip Thrusts

Build Stronger Hips With These Hip Thrust Variations


After having won the Overall at the North American Grip Sport Championship, I found out that I won an automatic berth into next year’s Mighty Mitts.

Mighty Mitts, as Andrew Durniat calls it, is the SuperBowl of Grip, taking place on the main stage at the Arnold Classic, and featuring some of the strongest hands in the world. Mighty Mitts is where the best of Grip Sport clash with Strongmen in some of the most challenging tests of hand strength imaginable.

And with that in mind, I have one clear-cut goal that is intertwined into all of my training.

To Get As Strong as Possible from Now Until March.

This means, I have some GLARING weaknesses that I MUST address body-wise. My overall Absolute Strength pales in comparison to the other competitors, especially my lower back and hip strength.

As I outlined in this post, Squats: Start Doing Them Today, due to countless lower back injuries, I barely Squatted from 2008 until 2013. This has left my lower back and legs extremely weak.

With that in mind, I have begun an all-out onslaught on my lower body training, hitting Squats, Deadlifts, Hip Thrusts, Reverse Hypers, and other exercises that target the hips as hard as possible.

Mission: Build Stronger Hips

With the idea of getting the Hips and Glutes as strong as possible, I wanted to share a couple of variations of Hip Thrusts with you that I have been performing.

I first learned about Barbell Hip Thrusts from Niko Hulslander of Garage Ink. I could not believe the amount of weight he and his crew were doing in this lift, moving close to or even more than 500-lbs in the lift (I don’t recall what it was exactly anymore).

When I started doing this lift in late 2012, I could barely handle a set of 10 with 135lbs, that is how severely weak my hip complex had become.

Once I started doing the lift regularly, the pressure on my abdomen from the barbell was so severe, I was left with marks for days and days after doing them.

I tried wrapping a pool noodle around the bar, which helped to reduce the pressure, but the pool noodle just kept disintegrating after each session. I then moved on to a 2.5-inch thick axle. This worked for a while, but it belonged to my friend JT Straussner, so when he took it back to train with at his gym, I had to find something else.

I tried slipping a big piece of pipe over it and that worked pretty well, but since then I found something even better – the Saxon Bar.

Barbell Hip Thrusts with Saxon Bar

The Saxon Bar is a loadable barbell that is used for pinching. I found that I could load this thing up HEAVY, and when I placed it flat over my abdomen, the pressure was spread out very nicely and I felt no pain at all.

Here is the Barbell Hip Thrust using a Saxon Bar in action:

The goal for each rep is to get a nice hard contraction and a pause at the top of the movement.

Heavy Bend Tension Hip Thrusts

I have also found another variation that I like quite a bit – this one involves Thrusting against heavy band tension, using the Blue Jump Stretch Bands.

Right now, the limitation here is being able to harness down the bands. I have been able to slip them underneath the feet of my Squat Cage up to this point, but I want to modify the cage a big so I can rig more band tension without having to pin the bands beneath the cage. Again, with these, I am looking for a pause.

For both variations of the Hip Thrust, I have been performing 3 work sets of 10 repetitions, aiming for a nice pause at the top in a flat table position. This is after 2 to 3 warm-up sets to get used to the work set weight.

Generally, I will work the Saxon Bar Hip Thrusts on one lower body day, and then the next lower body day, I work the bands. The Saxon Bar Hip Thrusts take a lot more out of me, so I do those as a stand-alone exercise.

The Band Tension Hip Thrusts only load up at the very top of the movement, so they don’t take as much out of me, and I usually pair them with another exercise, usually involving a heavy loaded barbell in the cage, that I can use for Barbell Shrugs, Partial Deadlifts, or Holds.

I really love these two movements, and plan on doing them for quite some time. My Squats have been feeling much stronger since working these in, and I have no doubt they will help with Deadlifts, Farmer Picks, and other heavy lifts that work the glutes/hip complex.

If you are looking for ways to work the hips harder, these could be two lifts that you might want to try.

All the best in your training,


Build Bigger, Stronger Arms and Wrists: Scale Weight Curls

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Build Big Arms and Strong Wrists

Superstar Billy Graham

One of my overall goals is to build my arms up to 20″ cold (no pump).

The way I see it, if you are going to get big, you might as well build strength to go along with it.

And if you are going to be strong, then by all means get as big as you can.

With these things in mind, I give you Scale Weight Curls.

A Scale Weight is a block-shaped weight that is used in industrial settings where scales are used.

These weights are calibrated to specific measurements and have handles so that they can be placed on the scale quickly and easily in order to test that a scale is reading accurately.


How to Perform Scale Weight Curls

Scale Weight Curls can be done like any other curl. They can be done free-standing or braced, and can be done in alternating style or both at the same time.

For me, performing them standing has gotten too easy, so I have been doing them in more of a Preacher Curl style, off my Glute Ham Machine. This allows me to keep the movement more concentrated (although cheating is not completely eliminated).

Also, what I look for is to try to keep my wrist in a neutral position throughout the full range of motion. This strengthens the wrist a bit more.

I can usually get up to 3 extra reps per set if I let my wrist buckle, so once I feel that I am losing my neutral position and breaking into ulnar deviation, I generally just stop the set.

Here is a video showing some recent Scale Weight Curls.

Scale Weight Curls

Scale Weights are somewhat hard to come by, because they are a specialized tool, sort of like anvils, and they can be cheap, but I have been lucky enough to score a couple over the years.

Believe me, the collection of grip tools I have amassed has taken me literally years to develop, tons of time to research, and of course, big expenses in order to build.

If you can’t find Scale Weights, another alternative is to try and curl your Kettlebells. Since the kettlebell handle sits out away from the rest of the bell, they will actually be much tougher to curl, and the weights will drop, but you will still get the Leverage Curl effect.

Still, I like the Scale Weight Curl a little better than Kettlebell Curls, just because I can use a bit more weight to challenge the biceps more, while also challenging my wrists.

To take it even further, you can attempt to curl your Scale Weight or Kettlebll in a supinated position. When you do this, you will have to CRUSH DOWN on the handle BIG TIME, or else you won’t be very successful.

I hope you enjoy this variation of Curls.

For more sinister ideas on how to build crazy arm strength, check out Call to Arms.


All the best in your training,