When you talk to most people about their fitness goals, it usually falls into two categories: gaining muscle or losing fat.
That’s how I’ve always trained, too.
That’s why when Jim Stoppani released this challenge for people to see how much you could increase your strength, I immediately signed up. The goal of this program is to increase the max rep for your squat, bench, and deadlift.
After taking a few months off lifting, I thought this would be the perfect kick back into the routine.
Countdown to Strength is the official program on Jim’s site. (Shortcut to Strength – another popular Jim program – is a slightly different program, but it has the same goals.)
Countdown to Strength is a 5 week program.
The breakdown is like this:
Week 1: 5×5 lifts
Week 2: 4×4 lifts
Week 3: 3×3 lifts
Week 4: 2×2 lifts
Week 5: 1 RM
For this program, you workout 5 days/week. Thankfully, you aren’t just doing the big lifts over and over, you’re also adding in other lifts every day to add to your overall strength.
For this program, I just continued to eat around my maintenance for the first 4 weeks and then cut carbs down to under 100g’s in the last week.
Jim gives you a Dieting 101 article so you can create your own plan depending on your goals (aka if you want to gain muscle, lose fat, or maintain).
Results of Countdown to Strength
Of course, most people just want to know if something worked or not. So, yes this program totally works.
20 lbs added to squat
50 lbs added to bench (but started out with a shoulder issue, so keep that in mind)
54 lbs added to deadlifts
To be fair, I think I was much stronger in the beginning than the first numbers reflected, I just had some mental blocks about pushing myself since I don’t typically train for just strength.
Before and after: