Brandon Lilly – Forced Adaptation

Powerlifting, PROFILES

IMG_20160513_192419 (1)On Friday May 12, 2016, I travel to Total Performance Sports at their new location in Malden MA. Brandon Lilly, Greg Panora and Cory “Swede” Burns presented a hands-on strength athlete seminar covering all three lifts and accessories. Among many gold nuggets, Brandon described a concept “Forced Adaptation” that really got me thinking. To understand, visualize a machinist that works long hours in a machine shop. Over time, his hands, arms, shoulders begin to grown in size and strength. His body had to adapt in order to keep up with daily rigors. Brandon explained, “with zero conditioning, your body can walk for thirty-miles before it gives out!” He has applied this phenomenon to his training with great success. Currently Brandon is squatting every day of the week, varying his weight, reps, speed, technique and equipment, while applying (Max Effort and Dynamic Effort and Repetition Method). He is forcing his body to adapt.

As a side note of importance, Brandon developed a method of training called the “Cube” which follows a three week wave of squats, bench and deadlifts modeled after the Max and Dynamic Effort and Repetition Method.

Week 1-Max Effort
Week 2-Dynamic Effort
Week 3-Repetition Method

Brandon says, “I call it ‘Cube Training’ as when its mapped out it looks like a cube. I never lift heavy on two lifts in a week. If I dead lift heavy, my bench is dynamic, and my squat is for reps, and as the weeks rotate the effort is rotated also. In the form of a cube.”

Here’s the setup:
WEEK    1     2     3
Deads-   1     2     3
Bench-   2     3     1
Squats-  3    1      2

Brandon says, “Sundays are always a bodybuilding day. Just pick a few exercises to focus on weak points, and I always include Military Presses, and leg presses as I like keeping my quads, and shoulders strong. This method has worked extremely well for me, in preventing burnout, and building excitement for my heavy days. Any muscular deficiencies addressed on Sunday.”

We know that the Squats, like the Bench and Deadlifts are “Compound exercises”, arguably the Squat is best for building overall strength to your entire body. Before I deadlift, I squat to get my hips fired up before pulls. I often deadlift after I squat, usually sumo or conventional. So is it bad to Squat every day?  I’ve been educated to work in volume and moderate to heavy weight. Speed had always been “fast”! As Dr. Squat, Fred Hatfield would say, “You never lift a heavy weight slow!” But back to the question, can or should you squat every day? There answer is, it depends on your goal. Do you have a goal?

Greg Panora argues that you can get strong lifting lighter weight with high reps, and he’s obviously extremely strong, brilliantly tactical and technical in his approach to training as is Swede. (As a side note) Greg recently posted to Facebook a brilliant thought about the current state of Powerlifting. “When I see Westside being done in gyms other than Westside it is a mess. 4 boards with reverse bands, high boxes, high pin pulls to give the illusion that you’re moving weight. That isn’t Westside. Louie hated that shit. These things aren’t supposed to be done in place of full range movements, they are to bring up weak points. It’s the same problem I have with gear and a lot of other things I’m seeing in lifting. Gear was supposed to magnify already strong motherfuckers. It’s not for weak guys to break obscure federation world records and hashtag natty and avoid real competition. Go to the USAPL. It’s the realest fed out there right now. This wasn’t what Louie had in mind when he taught America how to lift weights.”

But for Brandon, “Force Adaptation” appears to be working. Not only has he forced his body to adapt, he has built his strength up obviously faster than a typical once a week routine, and he has achieved this with little fatigue or over training. The reason why, he doesn’t perform that same squat exercise each day, he always changes his squat exercise, which reminds me of “Conjugate Method”.

Brandon mentioned the five pillars of success, and in this order. #1 Water, #2 Nutrition, #3 Sleep, #4 Training, and #5 Supplementation (I may have #2 and #3 out of order). My point being, Brandon puts drinking water more important than training. As most power lifters will agree, if you fail to follow one or more of these five pillars, you’re going to wind up posting yet another biceps, hamstring or chest tear to your Face Book timeline, and spin the story to say that you’re “Hardcore” or bad ass! But deep down what you’re really thinking is how stupid you are not following proper protocol, dumb ass!

Brandon is on an amazing journey that few will ever understand.