5 Training Tips From Champion Powerlifter Chris Duffin

Chris Duffin is a really strong guy, and his training logs provide a lot of insight for anyone who wants to get stronger.

Chris Duffin is the general manager of an aerospace manufacturing company. He also happens to be the world record holder for the raw squat in the 220lb class. And lest we forget, he also holds a Guinness World Record for the most weight deadlifted in one minute at 17,010 pounds (42 reps of 405lbs).

Between having the brain of an engineer and the brawn of a champion powerlifter, Chris knows how to train. He shared almost ninety of his weekly training logs with us, and along the way we learned the following five valuable lessons:

1. The Details Make All the Difference

All of Chris’s journals demonstrate the importance of putting in the work, especially when it comes to the little details. Well, we say “little,” but in reality they make a huge difference. For example, Chris discussed the importance of lat development and scapular mobility for the bench press in the following video:

You’re probably familiar with the next not-so-little detail that surfaces frequently in Chris’s journals: grip. Chris shared more about this aspect of his training in his entry, Hook Grip Development. “From a training perspective, I find I need to hold a load for time – basically a static hold – at least once a week, in excess of 400 pounds. If you can’t do that, work toward where you can hold 400 pounds.” Here’s what that looks like in real life:

2. Prehab Doesn’t Have to Be Boring

For some people, the word “prehab” automatically translates to “boring.” Not for Chris. His journals provide insight into how to make prehab more interesting and effective with out-of-the-box exercises.

One of the prehab exercises we saw frequently in Chris’s journals was mace swings, which he used to open the scapula before pressing and other shoulder-heavy movements. Chris demonstrated how to use mace swings most effectively for prehab purposes in his entry, Mace Swings for Shoulder Health:

3. Variety Is the Spice of Life

Are you bored with your current routine and looking to add some variety to your training? Look no further than Chris’s journals. He’s got plenty of ideas to spice up your workouts, but be warned: they’re not for the untrained.

For example, here’s a video of Chris doing bear crawls while dragging 100lb chains across the floor, from his entry Alternative Training.

And here’s another fun idea from his entry, Bottoms Up: bottom’s up kettlebell presses with 70lbs in each hand, starting at about 1:00 in the video below. Then you can do a few attempts with 88lbs, starting at 2:50 – just for fun. (And don’t miss the beer-assisted spinal decompression at the end of the video.)

4. Organization – It’s Not Just for Closets

In his entry, Tips for Organizing Your Training, which he shot while traveling for work, Chris discussed how he handles the ebbs and flows that come with juggling training and life. As he noted:

You just can’t have everything. You’re not going to be able to be a successful powerlifter and at the same time be the best marathon runner out there. If you try to do everything, it just doesn’t work and you don’t perform optimally.

Chris shared more about how he organizes all the aspects of his training in the following video, which is a must-watch for anyone wondering how to program their workouts most effectively:

5. Every Day Is Training Day – Even Holidays

When you’re serious about powerlifting – like, 17,010lb world record crazy – the holidays are no excuse to take off from training. Chris shared his Thanksgiving training, done over the holiday weekend while out of town:

Deadlift w/straps

Bent Over Row

Hook Grip Hold
495x45sec, 30sec

Pull Ups x8,8,8

And if you’re wondering how to celebrate the new year in 2015, why not aim for 800lb squats? That’s what Chris did last New Year’s Day to ring in the new year:

Click here to read all 88 of Chris Duffin’s journal entries.

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