Josh Bryant: How A Strongman Can Get You Ripped
Josh Bryant was the youngest person to bench press 600lbs raw. He is based out of Arlington Texas and works mainly with people who want to put on muscle mass and get as strong as possible. When it comes to putting on maximum amounts of size, Josh Bryant is your man! In this episode of Sheer Strength Labs, he talks with our Josh Baker about powerlifting, power bodybuilding, and strongman.
Meet Josh Bryant
Josh’s biggest meet total was 2294lbs. He was raised in California and trained with a powerlifter until he was around 20 years old before moving around the United States and training with a variety of the best people in the world. Afterward, Josh got his Masters in Education and says there is no way you can maximize yourself as a trainer if you haven’t been in the ‘trenches’ yourself and have real world experience.
The core movement of the bench press or squat remains at the nucleus of the powerbuilding program. To fully develop a muscle fiber you have to do a wide variety of training of really heavy and ultra high reps. The benefits of powerbuilding are incorporating strength development and progressions.
The biggest contributing factor to myofibril hypertrophy is using heavier weights. If you were on a twelve week program Josh Bryant suggests a deload every four weeks. The program would be set up in blocks and progress from what is happening within that training block, deload a week, then move on to a new block. The amount of variance in the block would depend on what the person needs.
For powerbuilding, the average sessions are four to five per week. In order to maximize your muscle building potential you need to evaluate what you are doing. If you aren’t getting the gains you want and always follow a traditional muscle magazine type workouts, then scrap that and try a powerbuilding workout, or vice versa. If you have done powerbuilding and haven’t been strict on your form, then try bodybuilding, get strict and figure out why things aren’t working for you. At some point you need to hire an experienced coach in order to avoid injury and have real progress.
Learning From Mistakes
In world class lifting, you are already taking a risk by simply doing the lift correctly. Josh Bryant said he has learned not to go too heavy on certain accessory movements such as arm work. The only reason to do a skull crusher with 315lbs for 15 reps is to brag and satisfy your ego rather than actually fitting your purpose. Ask yourself if the maximal loads on exercises are attributing to your strength in your big lift.
The explosion of CrossFit has impacted powerlifting and the strongman scene. The CrossFit type of gym has taken on a lot of elements of strongman and powerlifting, so the general population’s interest has been piqued. At first Josh Bryant used strongman as an off-season training regiment for his deadlift. He started to like it and began participating in meets and competitions. If you don’t have atlas stones or a log press, you can replicate some of the strongman activities such as the farmer’s walk. Any tire disposal yard will give you a free tire, so you can work out with that too.
The prerequisite strength for squats has more to do with numbers than ‘times your body weight,’ so if you are a lighter weight then 2.5 times your body weight on deadlift and 1.25 on push press. Josh Bryant wouldn’t recommend competing until you can deadlift 600lbs and do around 300lbs for push press.
In order to eat for maximum growth, Josh Bryant says a lot of guys will need to eat 20 calories per pound of body weight. When he was at 315lbs, his breakfast was a couple of chicken breasts, six eggs, two orders of hash browns, and toast. Two hours later, Josh would drink a weight gainer shake and go to a Chinese buffet for lunch, have another shake, and then a large dinner. He didn’t count calories but it would have been upward of 6,000 per day.
For maximal strength and growth, Josh Bryant advises the proven basics when it comes to supplements such as glucosamine, creatine, branch chain amino acids, multivitamin, zinc, and magnesium.
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Links to Resources
Built to the Hilt
Metroflex Powerbuilding Basics
Size and Strength Blueprint