I had to break up the story of “SBOAT” into two posts. First, I had to get into the back story of how it all came to be. Now, it’s time to actually talk about the program.
First, the name. People have asked what SBOAT actually means and I usually don’t tell them. It stands for “Strongest Bastard of All-Time”. Why? Because Kav is a ball-buster always jokingly called me that because I won the SB911 contest in 2015. He asked me what we should call it, and, since he always had jokes about it, I came up with the acronym.
PHASE 1 – FIRST 12 DAYS
This sucked. There was nothing enjoyable about this phase. Ask anybody that’s run this program before. It’s brutal. Normally, the first phase of a program is usually a breeze where you get your body acclimated to lifting. Not this phase. I don’t believe in mental toughness training being done in the gym, but you will learn a lot about yourself in these first 12 days. How badly you want to reach your goals will be tested here.
Basically, the first 12 days consists of training for 5 days straight, take a day off and repeat. You do the same exact thing for 5 days. The purpose of this phase is to prepare the tissues, ligaments and joints for the heavy lifting and volume that will come in the later phases. There’s also a hypertrophy element to it. One of my goals was to build up my chest because there really wasn’t much there, so that was a focus.
For each day, I’d do three chest exercises and two leg exercises for two sets of 20 with a 303 tempo, which means three seconds up and three seconds down. In between the chest exercises I’d do a max-rep set of a pull-up variation and in between each set of legs I’d max out 100-pound, one-arm dumbbell rows. There was no tempo for the back exercises.
I hate this phase, but it really taught me a lot about myself and what “one more rep means”. My goal was to get into the best shape of my life and this phase basically makes you prove that you want to reach your goals. I was sore after the first day. By Day 4, my chest, lats and quads were so sore that I didn’t know if I would be able to continue. But, a strange thing happened: Day 5 hit and the soreness was going away. By the last day, I was sore, but nothing crazy. My body actually adapted and I was able to increase all my lifts from the first day.
On Day 1, I could only one-arm row 100 pounds for five reps and do six pull-ups. On Day 10, I rowed 100 pounds for 12 reps and did eight pull-ups.
PHASE 2 – MORE TEMPO WORK
For the next 12 days, you go three days on and one day off. This phase is more hypertrophy focused as you do two body parts per day and about five-to-six exercises. Instead of 2×20, you’re now doing three sets of 20 and the 303 tempo is still around.
This phase isn’t much fun either, but, in a weird way, it was refreshing because I wasn’t doing the same exercises every day and three days off in between body parts.
PHASE 3 – TWO WEEKS AND NO MORE TEMPO WORK
The first 30 days were not much fun, but the genius in the program is that just as my body adjusts to a phase, Kav switches it up. This phase was two weeks long and each week consisted of four days, two upper body and two lower body. There’s still high-volume work on the lower body days, with 20-rep front squats on one day and 20-rep sport back squats on the other lower body day, but it helps going at a regular tempo.
The body was a little beat up, but I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and knew that the fun stuff would be coming soon. The first couple of upper body lifts were surprisingly tough. The weight felt heavier than normal. I was worried, thinking that I actually got weaker. The good news is that was short lived and I felt I was getting stronger at the tail end of the second week. It’s now time to get strong.
For the first 30 days, I lost six pounds.
PHASE 4 – HIGH VOLUME, HEAVY LIFTING AND FIELD WORK
This phase is everything I thought it would be and where I could see the first 30 days pay off. This is what I was excited about when Kav told me he would be writing me up a program. This phase lasted five weeks.
For the lifting, there were four days, two upper body and two lower body. There would be a heavy day and a lighter day for each. Also included in the lifting would be a primer to help me improve my hang clean. I was very interested in the Olympic lifts at the time and wanted to get better at them. The lifting would be heavy and the volume was high. For the bench press, I’d do five sets and close with a double. The sumo deadlift would also be five sets and end with a heavy single. There was a lot of accessory work.
In addition to the way the lifting was structured, I also liked getting to do some speed training. I never did a real speed program before SBOAT and this program really taught me a lot about how to structure one. There were three speed days in this phase and each had a different focus: acceleration, change of direction and tempo runs. We ran this for four weeks and then Kav added in a day where I ran four 400-meter sprints. They were not fun at all, but helped shave off body fat.
Some days I did the speed work on a different day than the lifting, other times I did two-a-days. For the two-a-days, I’d go to the field earlier in the day and then get the lift done in the evening. At first, I thought my lifts would suffer. It actually turned out to be the opposite. I felt more energized going into the gym and felt my lifts, especially for the lower body, improved. This included days where I would run in 90-plus degree heat.
I lost just three pounds in this phase, but could see I was looking much better.
FINAL PHASE – PR’S AND CUTTING WEIGHT
After all the prep, this is the phase where we let it loose and see how far I’ve come. This phase lasted three weeks, but I went for my PR’s in the second week. For the third week, we focused on cutting weight before my trip and manipulated some things diet wise. I’ll talk about that in a bit.
The volume was reduced a lot in this phase as the focus was on the main lifts and lifting as much as possible. This phase had three lifts, two upper body and one lower body, and I kept the running days in. I knew I was going to reach my deadlift goal when I hit 445 pounds for four reps on my last set of sumo deadlifts in Week 1. It was a weight I was suppose to do for two, but it was just flying on this day. This was a day I sprinted beforehand, too. This blew my mind because my previous one-rep max was 455 pounds for a shaky rep. In Week 1 I also hit 230 pounds for a double on the bench press, which was the first time I did more than one rep with more than 225 pounds.
In Week 2, previous records fell to new ones. One of my main lifting goals was to deadlift 500 pounds and I was finally able to do that. I also increased my bench-press max 10 pounds up to 255 pounds. My previous all-time best was 245, even though I only maxed out at 230 pounds when I tested right before the program.
For the last week, we worked on body composition as I did some lighter tempo work, similar to the first phase. It was the first time I went no carb and learned that it is tough to lift that way. I only did it for a week, but I sympathized with those body builders who are dieting down and lifting hard as they peak before a competition. I lost five more pounds, but put two more on when I went off the diet to finish at 187 pounds. I was thrilled with my progress.
- I lost 12 pounds and went from 199 pounds to 187 pounds.
- Sumo deadlift one-rep max went from 455 pounds to 500 pounds.
- Max-rep set of 100-pound, one-arm dumbbell rows, I went from five reps to 17
- Sport back squat increased from 275 pounds for eight reps to 315 pounds for 10 reps. I didn’t use the back squat as my main lower-body lift.
- Strict pull-ups increased from 7 to 12.
- Bench Press one-rep max increased from 245 pounds to 255 pounds.
- I got a tan for the first time in my life.
First, I have to give a big thank you to Kav for writing this program up for me. I learned so much about training and what my own body is capable of doing. This program made me a better coach and I feel so much more comfortable programming, especially with speed.
This program goes against the grain and goes against a lot of what you read from popular coaches on the internet. This program makes you think and question things. If I was to tell these coaches what my goals were, they would have told me they were too extreme. When you know the right people, you learn anything is possible.
This program was a confidence boost to me. I learned I could do so much more than I thought. You really learn what true intensity and training hard is all about. This program is like my ace in the hole for when I need results quick. It’s not easy and it’s not a quick fix, but when you follow all the protocols and bring it every workout, you will get the results.