Everyone knows that Jason Coker is one of the greatest bench pressers of all time. He holds world records at 181 of 771 pounds and at 198 of 900 pounds and he is the former world record holder at 220 with 903 pounds.
But the real story is how Jason pushed his squat from 920 to 950 pounds at 181 and to 1,000 pounds at 220 and a 1,035 pound at 220 pounds after moving to Westside. His deadlift was a very meager 560 until the training at Westside helped raise it to 630 pounds at 220 pounds. Two things that are critical: his training methods and his training partners.
Let's look at the squat workout. It is a three-week pendulum wave that is constantly rotated year-round with just barbell weight. It is 75, 80, and 85 percent each week jumping 5 percent.
This helps avoid accommodation by altering the volume. And the intensity on the fourth week the bar weight is rolled back to 75 percent with a change in bars. Jason rotated from a bulldog to a safety squat to a bow and last a 14-inch chambered bar. This causes a new physical task to which the body must accustom itself.
This also works to avoid accommodation on speed strength day. This has worked for 26 1,000-pound or greater as well as six men breaking world records in the squat. To make progress at the very top first you must constantly raise volume at the correct bar speed. A bar speed of 0.9 m/s this builds speed strength.
Now, lets calculate the total volume for his 1,000-pound squat as Jason trains the squat by box squatting. Westside does five sets of five reps now. The reason is the fifth rep is as fast as the set of two reps.
- Week 1_500 x 5 sets of 5 reps x 250 BT = Volume 18,750
- Week 2_550 x 5 sets of 5 reps x 250 BT = Volume 20,000
- Week 3_600 x 5 sets of 5 reps x 250 BT = Volume 21,250
This is very high volume, but to lift at a high level this must be done to achieve record-breaking pace. After the speed squats, 20 speed strength deadlifts are performed with 50 percent bar weight and 30 percent band tension. This adds to 80 percent at lockout. Jason uses 315 plus 220-pound band tension.
This is about 85 percent at lockout for Jason’s pulls. This is about 10,700 pounds of speed pulls. Add this to his squat volume and it adds up to the average intensity of 80 percent. It is 30,700 pounds. His total volume is 150,000 pounds per workout. The speed pulls are done both sumo style and conventional style.
He pulls sumo style. Three main things that have raised his squat and deadlift: 1) widening his stance to force the hips into play, 2) learning to box squat correctly (Meaning releasing the hips and sitting back on the box, then squatting straight up), and 3) the small special exercises like reverse hypers®, inverse curls, ATP belt squat machine, back raises, and Goodmornings. If you want to raise your top squat and deadlift, don’t squat and deadlift more, but train your back and legs separately.
Max Effort Workout
Jason squats on Friday and pulls. Monday is his max effort day. The extreme workouts must be about 72 hours apart. The workout will benefit both the squat and the deadlift. The large barbell exercise is always rotated each week in no certain way.
Here is a list of max effort workouts that Jason and his training partners use.
- Low box squat close stance. It can be a safety squat bar, bow bar, 14-inch chamber bar and even front squat with our special harness. Mostly just barbell weight but 200 or 300 pound of chain is also used. It can also be done with very heavy band tension. The band tension can range from 375 pounds to 700 pounds at times
- Goodmornings are a main stay at Westside. Many styles are used from arched back, legs bent or straight to round back, legs bent or straight. Concentric Goodmornings are done off supportive chairs or off rack pins. A special good morning box squat is a regular for Jason. It is done two ways. One way is to lower with a round back, sit on a box, arch back, and squat up. The second method is to lower with back arched, sit on box, roll forward, round over, and stand up.
- Max effort deadlift method.
Rack pulls. Three pins are used with the plates 2.5-inch, 4.5-inch, and 6.5-inch off the floor. Just barbell weight is used or for our 700-pound up to 900-pound deadlifters, they use 250-pound or 350-pound bands tension. This is max effort work, meaning work up to a new personal record for one rep. Mostly conventional stance.
Box Deadlift. Jason has a record while standing on a two-inch or a four-inch box. Close stance on two-inch or four-inch box.
Sumo on a two-inch box. Other times the plates are on a two-inch or four-inch mats. While standing on a box, it is used to build leg drive. When the plates are on a two-inch or four-inch mat, it takes leg drive out of the lift, forcing the back to do most of the work. When box is on the platform, bands are on bar.
He uses 220-pound with mini bands, 280-pounds with monster mini bands. Both sumo and conventional styles are used. Always keep records. No one at Westside does power cleans or power snatch, but if you like, do them for max effort. Jason will build his flexibility by doing chair deadlifts. Jason does many stances from heels touching to ultra wide sumo deadlift. This covers most of his max effort barbell exercises.
Small Special Exercises
Small special exercises comprise 80 percent of Jason’s total volume.
He does two exercises that are high volume, but are also used for traction for fast recovery. He does these exercises in our ATP, a special belt squat machine. One exercise is a static hold in the belt squat machine, because a static hold will radiate 15 degrees in both directions. Some holds are at parallel with wide and close stance.
He also does holds in the half-squat position with a wide or close stance. He holds with the most weight at lockout or near lockout. The bottom is held for 30 seconds, the half squat for 30 seconds, and the top for one to two minutes. This can be done due to not holding your breath. A second method is to deadlift while belt squatting.
This builds both leg drive and all the back muscles at two accelerations. Both sumo and close stance are done. He also does box squatting with the belt squat with just the cable or with both the cable and a bar on his back or front squat.
Next, reverse hypers® are done with 400 to 480 pounds for 100 to 120 reps. This builds great strength while working as one of the best traction devices known. While both the belt squat and the reverse hyper® are multi-muscle builders, the next exercise isolates the hamstrings like no other. It is the inverse curl®.
This machine will make it possible to do Russian leg curls in just a few months by reducing the weight on the machine until you are doing a bodyweight Russian leg curl. All three exercises make it possible to gauge how strong a single muscle group is. Jason starts each workout with abs and abs are also the last thing he does. Last but not least is GPP for fitness and recovery.
Jason pulls a weight sled for trips of 60 yards. Six to 10 trips are common. He will also push our war wagon, a special wheelbarrow, for the same amount of trips instead of pulling a sled. He does some upper body sled work on off days or for his second small workout.
Well, this covers most of his work for the squat and deadlift. Look for even bigger things for Jason in the future as there is a lot left in the Coke machine.