Bench Press 400 Pounds & Squat 600 Pounds Or Stay In Prison: An Analysis
I’ve just finished watching a very thought-provoking video from Jason Blaha on YouTube – a very clever idea from him I have to say. The video was titled: “If Put In Prison Until You Could Bench 400 & Squat 600 What Would YOU Do?” This is a powerful question that could also be applied to fat loss, particularly to Men Over 40.
Watch the video here. It’s interesting to see other people’s answers. I didn’t read all of them, but I don’t think any of them were exactly the same as mine – they varied to some degree.
In case you weren’t aware, a 400 pound bench and a 600 pound squat is an outrageous amount of weight, and an outrageous level of strength. A highly sought after total in powerlifting for most (very strong) men has typically always been 1200 – 500 deadlift, 400 squat, 300 bench.
However, this scenario is on another level from a 1200 total. Progress is not linear, and going from a 1200 total to a 1400 total (for example) will be SO MUCH HARDER than going from 1000 to 1200.
So we’re talking extremes here. It might not be extreme in terms of YouTube/Instagram standards, but I can assure you that if you walk into any old-school weightlifting gym, not many of the beasts in there will be capable of performing these kinds of numbers.
Anyway, now we have an idea of just how strong this is, let’s look at this scenario. You’re in prison, life kinda sucks as you have zero freedom. The way I see this, is that this is a do or die kind of goal.
When you think about how insignificant we are and how little total time we are actually alive (in the grand scheme of things), the whole point of life is to enjoy it. Personal freedom is the biggest contributor to happiness, and this has been proven in numerous studies on the topic – it’s all very interesting stuff. My main point is this: in prison you have zero freedom, zero happiness and life is basically not worth living if we’re talking a lifetime of imprisonment in my opinion, so this really is a do or die pursuit.
Okay, so how exactly would be go about this theoretical do or die pursuit?
As always, nutrition is going to determine most of your results. I don’t care how good your damn training is, if you only weigh 180 pounds, you ain’t benching 400. Not. Gonna. Happen. Unless you’re a genetic freak who also happens to be on 3 grams of tren. Bench also happens to be the lift that is most heavily determined by your total bodyweight.
I would honestly eat myself into oblivion. If that’s the price I have to pay for long-term freedom, I would do it. It just isn’t going to be possible for me to bench 400 pounds, drug-free below 250-275 pounds bodyweight. Now, I wouldn’t jump straight into this, the calories would gradually increase. But we’re still talking huge volumes of food. I would be eating from the moment I woke up until bedtime, widening that eating window as far as possible.
I would also start eating sugar at some point, as this is the only way I would be able to have the appetite to stomach that kind of caloric intake without throwing up from being so full. Can you see how desperate this situation is? I would do anything to succeed.
In the video, Jason stated that he would be training 3 times per day (!!!) I agree with his logic, but I would NOT jump straight into this. I would be making optimal progress on 3 times per week, at least initially, so doing this level of frequency would be a waste of time. Plus, where do you go from there when you stall?
I would begin with 3 times per week for both bench and squat, and I would gradually increase the frequency to the point where I was training twice per day. Total volume being the largest factor, this would slowly increase from week to week.
Another issue with jumping straight into multiple training sessions per day is that you’re asking to get injured, which means more time in prison. Not good. We want to have high training volumes, recover from said volumes, but not get injured.
This would require deloads.
Although training is important and you will need a lot of volume, gradually increasing over time, the biggest factor is nutrition. You can’t escape this. Realistically, you aren’t going to slack off on the training whilst you’re in prison. I mean, it’s the only thing keeping you from hanging yourself from boredom.
Yes, food is where we would struggle. We’re talking starting off with about 3500 calories, but moving up to 4000, then 4500, then 5000+.
This will get incrementally harder, as your body tries harder and harder to fight back, assuming this is clean food. Eventually you would need some junk in there. This is the price you have to pay for freedom, and you can always lose the fat later.
Where I disagree with Jason is his question at the end of the video: “why aren’t you already doing this?”
Well, because hitting outrageous numbers isn’t that important for most people – it’s simply a nice to have. Just like being shredded isn’t the meaning of life, and most people just want to lose a bit of blubber and look better. I’m realistic when I talk about Hugh Jackman, for example, and that not everyone over 40 is going to want to look like him.
People want to have success and happiness in multiple areas of life, rather than a success at any cost (including health) mindset.
For me specifically, I don’t want to become fat in order to hit huge numbers. That’s not a win in my book. Just like I don’t want to see people develop eating disorders and/or hormonal problems when pursuing low levels of body fat.
So I don’t advocate this mindset overall. BUT, where Jason does have a point, is that this thinking can be useful if you are not currently progressing towards your goals. Asking yourself this question is almost like being your own fitness consultant. With any goal you are currently struggling with, ask yourself this:
“Why am I not progressing? What would I be doing differently if I was in prison, and the only way to escape was to hit this goal?”
That is when this question not only becomes useful, but also very powerful. Men Over 40 would be doing themselves a disservice if they didn’t ask themselves this question with regards to fat loss. How would you act differently if your life depended on it?
Ask yourself now. Get a pen and paper out, and write down a list of what exactly you would do if your freedom depended on hitting your weight loss goal.
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