400 lb Bench Press, 550 lb Squat, The Perfect Rep And Stuff You Should Read

September 28, 2013 — Leave a comment

I hit two big PR's this past week (among many).

Got a 550 lb low bar squat, which was a goal I wanted to reach for my new years resolution.

Also nailed a very smooth 400 lb reverse grip bench press, which is a milestone weight and puts in the 400 lb bench press club!

Here they are:

Low Bar Squat: 550 lb x 1 (1RM)

Reverse Grip Bench Press: 400 lb x 1 (1RM)

Really surprised at how super smooth this went!


The Perfect Rep

With the 550 lb squat and the 400 lb bench press I did a few days ago, they both felt like the perfect rep.

It felt like the bar moved perfectly inside the groove during the rep, everything is "on", and I just nail it.

No struggle, no missteps, no grind.

Just a perfectly executed rep from beginning to end, using a load that I've never successfully completed before.

Feels good.

I'm not very articulate today, but maybe this feeling is similar to Dwight Schrute's "Perfectenschlag":

Actually, it's probably more similar to Samuel Ander's description of "perfection" from Battlestar Galactica (Season 4, Episode 19: "Daybreak" Part 1:

If you want to know the truth...I don't really care about the stats. Or the cup, or the trophy, or anything like that. Um, in fact, even the games aren't that important to me, not really. What matters to me is the perfect throw...making the perfect catch...the perfect stepping block.

Perfection is what it's about.

It's about those moments when... you can feel the perfection of creation. The beauty of physics, the wonder of mathematics. And all the relation of action and reaction. And that is the kind of perfection I want to be connected to.

I want to experience more perfect reps.

Other PRs

Reverse Grip Bench Press: 300 lb x 9 (9RM)

Pecs and shoulders feeling sore and worn out, so I decided to do my warm up (missed at 370 lb though; usually it's no problem) and then rep out as many as I could with 300 lb.

Previous max number of reps at 300 lb was 7. Would have settled for 8 reps for an 8RM, but I went for 10. But after the shaky 9th rep, I was pretty sure I would have failed the 10th rep, so I re-racked the bar. NEX TIME.

Front Squat: 330 lb (Paused, No Belt 3RM)


Overhead Press: 230 lb x 4 (4RM)

Pretty tough! Shaky last rep, but I stuck with it and locked it out.

Pretty happy with this PR. OHP PRs are rare to come by these days.

Low Bar Squat: 500 lb x 3 (3RM)

3 reps with 500 lb FINALLY! I attempted 3 reps many times with 500 lb, but missed on the 3rd rep in the past.

Prior to this, I attempted a 555.5 lb squat to, but missed. Hit the uprights while walking back, and the bar didn't seem to sit in the right position during the lift.


Got my CPF record certificates in the mail this past week. They look a lot better than an Excel spreadsheet!

Stuff You Should Read

  1. Powerbuilding: You Don't Grow In The Gym by Stan "Rhino" Efferding
  2. Assessments are Not Complicated by Alexander Cortes
  3. Wisdom from a Master (Notes From A Training Session With Dan Green) by Brian Hill

John Phung

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Ever since I started taking strength training seriously, I was bitten by the Iron Bug. Then it burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart. Now those eggs are hatching and I... the feeling is indescribable.

Quick Stats
Height: 5'4" on non-squat days
Weight: 200 lb 210 lb ~220 lb (FOREVER BULK BRAH)


  • Texas Method: March 4, 2011 - April 28, 2013
  • Smolov Jr for Bench Press: June 4 - 22, 2012
  • Starting Strength: Nov 29, 2010 - March 4, 2011