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Panglossian

Review Of Eric Cressey's "Show And Go"

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Bluestreak asked me to prepare a review of Eric Cressey’s “Show and Go” program, which I finished nine days ago, April 29, 2012.

Three initial points:

First, this is NOT a beginner’s program.

Second, it is a complicated program with lots of new exercises. You follow a “template” also derogatively know in training circles as a “cookie cutter program.” In my opinion, however, it is a thoughtful program, by someone who knows what he is doing, and it provides many options (perhaps even too many).

Third, it’s not possible for me to write up a review in the same manner as the others on Ironstrong. Other reviews list the exact program; “Do X sets of Y exercise for Z reps at T% of your 1 rep max.” In contemplating how to write this review, I faced a problem. I can’t provide that in my review. No, I’m not being coy and I’m not trying to protect Cressey’s “super secret” formula. Simply put, there are too many new exercises to list and describe. How do I explain what a “Palloff Press” exercise is to someone? Or, the dynamic mobility drill “Side-Lying Extension Rotation?” Cressey uses a video library to teach these things, and for good reason. I can’t describe all the exercises; it’d be boring, and I’m not that skilled a word smith to make those descriptions bearable.

And, yes, I hear some of my hard boiled (former SL) friends’ wheels squeakily turning as they read the above paragraph; perhaps some version of, “Why hell do I need to learn and do other exercises? Sounds like a BB split routine. I know the big compound lifts, ‘nuff said.” I thought that way at an earlier point in my training career. If that’s how you feel, then this program is not for you. Stick with your current program. I’m not here to argue. You can stop reading now, and return to the rack for more 5x5s!

Here’s what I can give you guys and gals; my subjective experience with the “Show and Go” program, and an overview of what it includes.

Why I choose “Show & Go”

Prior to starting “Show and Go,” my body hurt consistently; I had a torn hamstring, and I was unable to bend to tie my shoes, my back was in pain, etc.

I’d developed strength in a very limited range of motion.

I’d lost mobility; I never took it seriously, and I was now paying the price.

I was eating 5000 calories a day, to maintain a fat 198 lbs. I was in fear that my lifts would plummet to the cold depths of hell if I stopped eating.

I lacked “athleticism.” Pretty damn vague, but wheezing as you walk up stairs generally sums it up. Specifically, I had lackluster endurance, and poor relative body strength due to focusing solely on absolute strength for over two years.

I read a bunch of Cressey’s articles at T-Nation, and his own website. I was impressed. He is articulate, and literate. He focuses on strength training. He is educated in the exercise field. He works with pro athletes who rely on him for results. In sum, I believe he knows mobility and strength training.

Check the many articles he has authored on the internet, and form your own opinion.

Also, he was a former skinny dude, just like me. I figured he knew how to “train smarter.” He’s got a 660lbs deadlift at 180lbs body weight and is 5’8” or so tall, so he’s got bone fides on the “lifts heavy shit” axis- he’s not a “theory only” guy.

I bought the program “on sale” for $65. I’d give it a try, and what could I lose? (Yeah, my money on potential snake oil….) I was happily surprised by what I got.

What is inside the “Show & Go” program:

You get a download of a pdf that has the training manual (66 pages long). The download also provides Cressey’s templates for three different training alternatives; twice a week, three times a week, and four times a week lifting session. The program involves four phases, each of which is four weeks long, so 16 weeks total. You also get some other miscellaneous stuff that is interesting (I read it all) but which I never used. The extra stuff has cute names like barbell complexes for conditioning “Five Fantastic Finishers,” the “Top Five Glute Exercises,” and extra stretching stuff (but the base program has a ton of mobility, so I felt no need or desire to add more.)

I choose the four times per week lifting template. Why? Because Cressey says in his manual that this is the option he preferred in terms of training volume to maximize strength. Also, I trained three times per week for the last two frigging years and I wanted a change, and a substantial increase in frequency. Twice a week was not an option I even considered (I think it was designed for those doing other time intensive sports but who still need a program to maintain strength.)

The program (whichever weekly plan you choose) involves three things; Mobility, strength training, and movement training for your “off days.” You have access to a video library which is password protected. The manual sets for the program, and provides a chapter of Frequently Asked Questions addressing questions about the program by phases (one through four.)

I did not do the movement training. Why? Because I am a natural skinny bastard who doesn’t want to focus on weight (err, muscle) loss, I didn’t have time to do extra exercise on my “off days,” I have difficulty with recovery (never get enough sleep), I was going to lift hard four days a week and do Tae Kwon Do twice a week, and I started the program with a torn hamstring which means I moved with as much grace as Herman Munster (fun to do TKD with no kicks). Cressey provides five options for “off day” movement training. I choose option number five, which was “do nothing for skinny bastards” (my words, not his).

So, I cannot comment on the Movement training.

Each of the four phases of the program (each phase is four weeks) has its own mobility programming. You look at the template and perform foam rolling, lacrosse ball rolling, then mobility drills. The foam rolling and lacrosse ball rolling stayed consistent in each phase. The Mobility drills changed in each of the four phases.

Cressey said in the video on the foam rolling and lacrosse ball rolling that the whole mobility part of the pre-workout should take about 5 to 10 minutes. Not in my universe! I keep fastidious notes on my time doing everything. The mobility portion ran from 15-22 minutes, usually running about 20 minutes. At first I disliked it. I felt goofy flopping around. But then I reminded myself to check my ego at the door and give it an honest effort since I was both broken and inflexible. Some of the foam rolling never became fun; foam rolling my pecs felt like I was going to tear off my nipples for the first two months, but subsided to barely tolerable by the tail end of the program (Anyone see the awful movie “Big Stan?” Remember the nipple toughening exercises Stan did before prison? Kind of like that….)

The dynamic mobility drills came after the rolling. Some were complicated and required me to watch the videos several time. They were all useful, and helpful, in my opinion. I felt loosened up and ready to go before I even touched a weight. I always started my lifting with a light sweat.

By the end of the four month program, I was a pro at doing the pre-workout routines. I still got stares from the jokers in the gym wondering if all that rolling and flopping around on a mat was my real workout, but whatever. They shut up their s*ing when they saw me deadlifting without fingerless gloves! Just leave your yoga pants at home, and you’ll survive- I did. And, you’ll also meet some of the women that actually do that rolling around on the floor mats as their “real workout” – they are good, limber people, too. (If you are friendly to them, you will learn the inside scuttlebutt on the good yoga instructors!)

The “Show & Go” workouts:

The lifting was the meat and potatos of the program. Each template on the version I choose, had four weekly workouts, entitled “Monday,” “Wednesday,” “Thursday,” and “Saturday.”

One brief example Cressey provides in the main manual is:

“Let’s examine Monday of Phase 1 as an example to further clarify

things:

A1) Front Squats: 5x3

A2) Quadruped Extension-Rotation/Scapular Wall Slides: 2 each x 8

This would equate to:

1. Front Squat set of 3

2. Quadruped Extension-Rotation set of 8 per side

3. Front Squat set of 3

4. Scapular Wall Slides set of 8

5. Front Squat set of 3

6. Quadruped Extension-Rotation set of 8 per side

7. Front Squat set of 3

8. Scapular Wall Slides set of 8

9. Front Squat set of 3

Then, one would move on to the next exercise(s).”

You probably don’t know what “Scapular Wall Slides” or a “Quadruped Extension- Rotation” is, but it’s either a static stretch, mobility drill, or dynamic stretch targeted to assist flexibility with that specific strength training exercise.

One novel element for me in terms of training methodology; was that Cressey has you perform the strength exercise in a superset with a dynamic stretch, or mobility drill. You utilize the typical rest period (when you’d normally be picking your nose, drinking water, breathing hard, flexing in the mirror, watching the gal across the gym in the tight shirt, etc.) with dynamic movements to stay flexible and warm. Then, after the brief mobility drill is completed, you continue your rest break for the time you’ve determined before returning to the strength exercise.

I like this approach a lot. I am going to incorporate this in future training, since I’ve found it to be helpful in staying flexible (and uninjured) over the long term. And it’s a bonus use of typical down time while resting that would be otherwise wasted. Instead, you put the “filler drill” in and get more benefit in the same time. That is smart.

Each day’s workout starts with your “money” lift such as: deadlift variations, squat variations, bench variations, etc.. Subsequent lifts have their own accessory lifts, or mobility/ flexibility drill associated with them.

Each day’s workout generally ends with one or two static stretches to bring the day’s work to conclusion. This practice accords with most of the current literature I’ve read which states NOT to do static stretches before lifting since that can actually weaken you before the effort.

The Pros:

  1. I only did the main lifts (Bench, low bar back squat, deadlift, barbell rows, pull ups, overhead press, Chin ups) before Show & Go. During Show & Go I did a huge variety of other exercises.
  2. A few exercises that I had never done before: Front squats (yeah, I know! But Rip didn’t advocate them and neither did Mehdi), Box squats both front and back, Paused box squats, Paused Bench press, Turkish Get ups, Speed Deadlifts, Speed Bench press, Natural Glute Ham raises, a variety of unilateral leg exercises like one arm dumbbell Bulgarian split squats, Dumbbell Cuban presses.
  3. Cressey doesn’t generally advocate using percentages of one repetition maximums “1RM” (he does with the speed work) to determine intensity (weight on the bar/dumbbell), instead focusing on using your last workouts’ top work set weight as your first work set in the next weeks’ workout on the same day. This is hard if you consistently push yourself.
  4. Work in varying volume; in terms of number of sets and reps each week. Fluctuating so as to give your body some rest after very intense workouts.
  5. Decent videos to watch to learn novel exercises. (Some weren’t see Cons, below)
  6. Different emphasis in each phase of the program. For example the first phase has no singles work. The fourth phase had a lot of single rep efforts!
  7. Chapter 5 of the main manual provides lots of exercise modifications for individuals without access to certain gym equipment or with physical limitations (for example, my gym lacked a Chest-supported Row machine so I used the dumbbell variation using an adjustable bench as Cressey described). This was also useful when I had to work around my torn hamstring. Folks with contraindicated exercises will really find this stuff useful. It also can provide additional exercises to substitute, if the main program’s huge exercise variety isn’t enough!!!
  8. Eric Cressey answers emails that you send him about his program. This is huge. If you don’t understand something, the author of the program takes his own precious time to graciously explain it to you. Note: I used this infrequently; perhaps two times over the four months. I also carefully read his FAQ section of the main manual, and the rest of the main manual BEFORE sending him an email question. Don’t waste this guys’ time with a bunch of bullshit, just ‘cuz you’re too lazy to read his program manual, or the template!!!!

The Cons:

  1. Some of the pictures of the static stretches in the main manual aren’t great. It could have used a better pic or perhaps two pictures.
  2. Most of the videos were good, or adequate. One or two sucked; bad camera angle, too short, can’t see the set-up for the exercise or how your body moves. For example “Face pulls with external rotation” (Had to go online to see it in another video for some other online site “Competitor.com”), and “Wall T-spine Dips” – the worst video (Had to go online to see Cressey’s buddy, Tony Gentilicore, do them in an unprotected video which wasn’t part of the program’s video library).
  3. A small complaint. Some of the templates for the program lacked lines, and some had them. They were inconsistent that way, and it’s annoying when you write everything down in OCD detail to have things mashed together.
  4. I had to study several of the exercises and mobility drills multiple times before I got them down, and felt comfortable that I was doing them properly. In fact, at the beginning of each phase with new exercises and drills, I’d review the template and spend 15 minutes or more watching the videos before each workout.
  5. I did enjoy the program. I felt it was well designed and improved my strength. That’s all I can think of. I will try to answer any questions if you send them my way.

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Jeff-

What were your gains in strength?

Would these gains have been possible without the program. Would you have felt and moved any differently had you stayed on your old program?

Upon reflection, would you have gone with the three day program as opposed to the four day one ?

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One novel element for me in terms of training methodology; was that Cressey has you perform the strength exercise in a superset with a dynamic stretch, or mobility drill. You utilize the typical rest period (when you’d normally be picking your nose, drinking water, breathing hard, flexing in the mirror, watching the gal across the gym in the tight shirt, etc.) with dynamic movements to stay flexible and warm. Then, after the brief mobility drill is completed, you continue your rest break for the time you’ve determined before returning to the strength exercise.

I like this approach a lot. I am going to incorporate this in future training, since I’ve found it to be helpful in staying flexible (and uninjured) over the long term. And it’s a bonus use of typical down time while resting that would be otherwise wasted. Instead, you put the “filler drill” in and get more benefit in the same time. That is smart.

This bit is pure gold, for me. I rarely find time to do extra mobility stuff outside of my pre-workout warm up. I play games on my phone while resting between sets. Never did it occur to me to use the rest time to do the mob work. Genius. Thanks for posting. I enjoyed the review.

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Hi Buffalo150 and markg,

I need to ask a Mod to fix the numbering under "Pros" and "Cons." I submitted the review with sequential numbering but the disappeared, and didn't realize some of my colorful metaphors would be edited!

Can a Mod fix the numbering, please?

Buffalo150, good questions!

Initially, I included a two or three paragraph section explaining my prior strength training (as context), and what I did as work sets on "Show & Go," which exceeded my prior 1RMs. Then, I removed it since I figured it may be egotistic (or not useful).

In short, before "Show & Go" my prior best deadlift was 372 lbs for 3 reps (using micro weights) before my injury. After a complete tear of my right hamstring on December 5, 2011, by mid April 2012 during this program, I pulled 380 lbs as the top work set of eight successive singles. This wasn't my 1RM. I think that shows improvement, especially in light of the severe injury five months earlier. This program is heavy on deadlifts. This was good for me since my prior training emphasized squats.

The program includes back squats, but emphasizes Front squats. I asked Cressey about this choice in one of my emails to him. He gave me a response that if I wanted I could substitute back squats for his programmed front squats (After consideration, I decided to follow his programming religiously.) I believe his primary concern was that back squats could be problematic for people with flexibility issues (ankle and hips) and thus Front squats were safer for general population who hadn't been checked for form, etc.

On bench, my prior 3 RM (touch & go, not paused reps) was 237 lbs. During "Show and Go," I did a top single on a group of work sets at 250 lbs (touch & go rep). This wasn't a 1RM effort, but after a slew of other singles, ergo, improvement.

I don't have a way to give you an answer about strength gain/ loss on back squats, since the program involved box back squats, speed back squats to a box, paused box back squats, BUT no heavy full ROM back squats. I did 370 lbs for two reps full ROM back squats prior to this program. This lift may have regressed since I haven't done ball busting, heavy full range of motion back squats since November, 2011(before my hamstring tear.)

One other relevant point, my prior best lifts (above) were completed at 198 lbs body weight. The current lifts I've reported we're made at 185 lbs body weight! Again, improvement.

In reply to your specific question, I don't know if I'd make similar gains on a different program. But, I doubt it. I was doing "SL" Advanced through the end of October, 2011. At that time Medhi advocated ramping 5x5s on Deadlifts. I understand he's subsequently revised "SL advanced" to only have 3x5s on that lift. I really strained my back twice in succession on that program doing heavy deadlifts at that volume. Being 42 has some disadvantages in recovery compared to younger guys, I believe. I now know that those two right sided lumbar back strains created tightness on my right side and directly contributed to my complete right hamstring tear doing a ballistic kick in Tae Kwon Do.

I choose the four day a week template for "Show & Go" for the following reasons:

1. The programs author said that was the best template version for strength gains;

2. I had always done long workouts (up to two hours, sometimes) three times per week. I wanted to increase frequency and decrease the length of my workouts. This version increased frequency by 1/3, although most of the workouts on "Show and Go" lasted between 50 -90 minutes, typically about 60 minutes, PLUS the pre-workout 20 long minute mobility stuff. So, I saved about 30-45 minutes per gym trip compared to the time spent in three times per week programs (SL 5x5, Madcow, SL advanced).

3. After my current layoff, I will be doing the three times per week version of "Show & Go" along with the movement drills. I'd like to lose a little fat and focus more on relative strength for the next four month training mesocycle.

Markg, I fully agree.

My comment about how I've typically spent rest breaks was my feeble attempt to inject a little humor into what may be a boring post.

However, whenever you can make productive use of dead time; you should! I found that the mobility drills, dynamic warm ups, and selected static stretches, which Cressey advocated matched up with the areas that tended to get tight on the paired exercise. Also, they seemingly took nothing away from the subsequent energy for the next lift in the group of sets. The drills usualy took about 1 minute or so. This was great stuff.

I also remember that Mehdi (the SL founder) said in his review of "Show & Go" that all the mobility stuff alone was worth the price of this program. Then, he said something like, "But my program is better for strength gain..." without providing context, nuance or distinction. Personally, I believe linear progression programs (like SL 5x5, SS, etc.) ARE better for beginners. But "Show & Go" is not a beginner program, I view it as appropriate for intermediate lifters who have milked linear progressions, and can't make progress on those for extended periods any longer.

Guys, I hope that helped.

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That was a really interesting write-up PG.

I'm really sory that you had that hamstring tear last winter. That sounds awful, but you came back, er, strong....

The program sounds a lot like a revised and expanded version of the "Caveman No More" program that Cressey published in T-Nation a few years back, especially with its emphasis on front squats, unilateral moves and dynamic stretches in the rest periods. (With the revision and expansion mostly in the variation of sets/reps/weights through the cycle whereas Caveman No More gave absolutely no guidance for progression, it was a one-off 8 week program.)

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Thanks for posting this review Panglossian!

I own S&G, been following Cressey for years and am a big believer in mobility work. I too remember Mehdi mentioning that, about his program being better.

Your review sums up a lot of my initial impressions about the program. I chose not to do it primarily because I was more into the beginner camp. My secondary concern is the sheer amount of learning involved, as you mentioned. Seems like my brain can handle learning a few things but too many new things can be overwhelming, especially when pressed for time.

Great to hear that you were able to recover from your injury. Sounds brutal!

I'm still keen on doing it one day. I remember someone else here (Helm?) mentioning he was thinking of doing it as well. If you have the time, it would be great if you could keep a log. I'd like to see how you get on and what you're up to.

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I bought Cressey's Maximum Strength book together with Magnificient Mobility quite a while ago - the book was even signed, woo. I watched the MM DVD, which is very good for understanding all the mobility stuff, and I've also read most of the book (lots of helpful tips), but I haven't tried the program yet. For two reasons: not feeling ready yet, as there were/are still some linear gains to be made, and due to the number of different exercises, which will require some initial learning and equipment.

So far I've only read good things about Cressey's programs, and I'm sure that sooner or later I will give it a go. However, then I'll have to find out what differentiates S&G from MS and which one to go with.

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Steelcutoats, thanks!

I think the hamstring tear drove home the point that I needed to address mobility seriously, and not take it as a trivial matter. I'm unfamiliar with the "Caveman No More" program. I'll look for it on T Nation. I wouldn't be surprised that it's similar since the author is known as the "mobility and strength" guy over at T Nation.

Bluesteak,

I'm like you in regards to disliking the complexity of the program! This issue was #4 in the "Cons" section.

I needed to watch many of the 30 second videos over and over again, an embarrassing number of times. I'd question myself, "Am I setting up properly? Doing it with full ROM? Etc."

I was so used to just doing my compound lifts that the variety was hard to deal with at first. Then, I grew to enjoy it. There was a challenge at the beginning of each phase as I needed to learn new exercises.

Also, I'm right side dominant and developed muscle asymmetry from doing only bilateral lifts. S&G has a crap ton of unilateral lift variations in the program. I believe this was extremely helpful for me!

Helm,

Somewhere on Cressey's website he mentions that "Show & Go" was for lifters who have completed "Maximum Strength." I wasn't aware of that when I started S&G. Subsequently, I've looked at his Maximum Strength book. It has a lot of useful stuff in it.

I really found the video library helpful versus static pictures (as in Max Str) of one or two points in an exercises ROM. One other thing, Cressey's puts cues to think about in a typewritten section under some of his videos in S&G. Those were uniformly helpful.

Maximum Strength is a polished, finished product. It was a professionally edited book. It's sold in bookstores. It discusses more theory (like competing demands, and how to tailor programs depending on body types, and specific goals).

In contrast, "Show and Go's" training manual is rough around the edges. It's more along the lines of "You know how to do the regular lifts, I'll show you new stuff and the program to do it. Go lift heavy crap and get even stronger."

"Show and Go" is NOT a pure power lifting program. It's a hybrid program focusing on strength and mobility.

The bottom line is that I've never aspired to compete in PL tournaments. Through my PL based training, I got strong AND fat AND inflexible. I needed a change of pace in my training regimen, and S&G fit that bill nicely.

S&G would be a poor choice for a beginner (and in my opinion, most folks are beginners for a lot longer than than are willing to acknowledge). It was only when I was beat up, and stalling on SL advanced, after 24 months of hard continuous lifting, that I decided to try something totally different; an intermediate program.

I'm happy with the decision, but it may not be the right program for everyone. The right program is the program that advances you as efficiently and quickly as possible toward your goals. First, identify your one primary goal, then pick a program and then stick with the program for its full cycle, then assess the results.

I'm going to be taking another DEXA body scan. I took one in January 2012, and I'll use the new scan results to see if I've improved lean body mass and dropped body fat, those objective results AND measurable increases in strength through my lifts will give me useful data to assess my performance.

One final point, I was badly screwed up for phases one and two of the program with a completely torn right hamstring. I'm sure I'd have gotten even better results if I'd started Show and Go healthy, rather than as a gimp!

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Jeff-

Thanks for the reply and all of your subsequent follow-ups to others. Good stuff...

And I believe the title of the T-Nation series is : Neaderthal No More. I've read it, and use a lot of the ideas...

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PG ---

I was thinking about one thing that you said in your review....

.I’d developed strength in a very limited range of motion.

Could you elaborate on this? While the bilateral emphasis of Stronglifts, Madcow, Stronglifts Advanced, etc, is not good for handling left-right imbalances, I had always thought that a full ROM on all the lifts was part of that style of training.

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Buffalo is right --- Cressey's old program was called "Neanderthal No More".... I should've remembered that, given Cressey's affinity for alliteration.

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Oats-

My two cents on the "limited range of motion".

Full body lifts done properly don't impede or effect range of motion ...for those lifts. But when it comes to moving from the gym to the "field" I think there's an re-learning of lateral motion and rotational motion. If you're a little "jacked up" in the hips or back you may not move as smoothly / freely / fluidly as you once did.

At least that's what I find when I get back to "movement" based sports. I'm OK moving straight ahead, but it takes while to get warm enough to turn or cut and thus trasnlate the strength gains into usable performance power.

FWIW...

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Buffalo150, thanks! I agree that Cressey writes well, and often on the web. It's a primary reason why I tried out his program.

Helm,

I forgot to address something you raised in your post; about equipment. The only new stuff I purchased to do this program was Lynx grips (2 sets), and straps. You also will need access to a good foam roller, lacrosse ball (or other hard ball of same size), an AB wheel and some exercise bands.

When going to the gym, I'd bring a Clipboard with the S&G templates for the phase I was doing, pen, my lacrosse ball, and my cell phone (to time my rest breaks in my OCD fashion.) On Deadlifting days, I'd also bring liquid grip ('cuz my wimpy gym doesnt allow chalk- I guess the chalk residue is messy, or its scary to non-lifters, or something ridiculous. I adapted to using it after using chalk for almost two years. It's similar.) Parenthetically, I've never used a weight belt. Cressey says they aren't strictly necessary unless doing 1 rep max efforts. My gym has foam rollers, and various exercise bands, and a couple of AB wheels. If your gym doesn't have those items, then you may need to purchase them. I wish my gym had a trap (hex) bar for deadlifting, but Cressey said slightly raised conventional deadlifts were an adequate substitute in the program template.

Cressey doesn't GENERALLY advocate using straps to assist your grip. However, there are always exceptions to generalities. One exercise in the four month program required wrist straps; I believe phase 2 had "snatch grip rack pulls." I'd never done these, and initially scoffed at the thought of using wrist straps. However, it was hard to really load up the barbell with the wide snatch grip without my grip prematurely exhausting. Cressey said this would happen to most normal folks who lack freakish grips. My gym had a pair which I used once, but they smelled god awful and I worried about catching flesh eating strep from the racid things! So, I bought them for phase two. They still look new as they gather dust in my closet. They'll see the light of day again in phase two when I do that exercise in the program again.

The Lynx grips cost me about $16 for two pair. They are rubberized plastic strips. You put one pair on top of the other, while doing chin/ pull ups (weighted) to make them a "fat" grip variation that works your grip harder. I think Cressey might be a part owner of the company! There are a lot of items on the market to achieve the same result, so in retrospect I wouldn't buy them. Also, I got them from a reseller on Amazon since the link in Cressey's training manual for them was dead! The company might be out of business. You can do "fat grip" pull ups by wrapping a hand towel around the bar; in sum, this item was ok but not necessary.

The last thing you'll need access to are sturdy boxes for box squats, and lower boxes (or something else) to raise the barbell a couple of inches for "slightly raised conventional deadlifts."

Steelcutoats,

I've done my prior programs with full ROM. You've read my logs from the SL days, so you know what I've done in terms of prior training.

"I'd developed strength in a very limited range of motion."

I was ambiguous with that statement. To elaborate, what I mean is that I'd become "good" (an admittedly relative term since in powerlifting circles I'd be considered weak) at back squats, overhead press, bench press, and deadlifts in that declining order of precedence. Those were the ONLY exercises (apart from accessory work like dips, reverse crunches, pull ups, chin ups, dragon flags) I'd done for over two years while following Mehdi's "SL Ladder of Strength." A better descriptive word than "good" is proficient.

There is a whole universe of variations to the main lifts that exist. They have value and utility. Yet for a long time, I was dogmatically attached to the SL orthodoxy. Perhaps, you understand what I mean. I put on blinders. SL was valuable as a beginner to get a good base of strength.

However, I believe I outgrew that limited viewpoint on using other exercises, and the modulation of training frequency, volume and intensity, as my training "age" or experience increased and also as my injuries accumulated. My hip flexors were totally screwed up by the end of SL Advanced. It was too much back squatting for too long. I literally could NOT bend over to tie my shoes ; I could barely reach them on some days! Yet, I could still consistently back squat in the upper 300s which out much problem.

I was good at the lifts in their "limited range of motion," but bad at almost everything else in my life! I was unbalanced.

As for the muscle asymmetry, I don't know if it's exclusive to me; but I'd hazard a guess that it isn't. I've read articles from smart and educated trainers that this issue is widespread among power lifting trainees. But, for competitive power lifters it isn't an imminent, relevant issue. Their main concern is lifting ever heavier loads on their competition lifts as soon as possible; and before the next comp!

Yes, there is an aesthetic concern, and certainly a functional one in muscular asymmetry, but as long as the lifts are going up then why take effort to correct that issue with unilateral lifts, and lose progress on competitive lifts. (The Westside training method would be a notable execption to my general observation, since they do lots of accessory and unilateral work; but not many folks with online logs follow real Westside training methods due to its level of complexity! How many folks can get Louie Simmons as a coach?) You don't see much volume on unilateral lifts for the PLs in their logs! I suspect addressing it is a distraction that most competitive PLs wouldn't seriously entertain while prepping for a comp. Maybe they address it in their offseason? I don't know?

I know that when I started physical therapy for the torn hamstring in December 2011, the muscle asymmetry I'd developed what obvious to my PT; he said so!

But I believe that objective measurements back up the subjective observations about my problem. I had a DEXA scan on January 17, 2012 which confirmed a marked degree of asymmetry. For example, "Total Mass (grams)" was: left arm 4,667.5, right arm 5,184; a difference of almost 500 grams. And, my left leg was 14,038.7 grams while my right leg was 14,815.6 grams; almost an 800 gram difference!

Muscular asymmetry, as I understand it, is normal. But, in my Case, I'd rather it not be so pronounced.

So, these were additional reasons why I was interested in trying the Show and Go program. I wanted to address these concerns.

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Thanks for the clarification. I definitely see your point, and I certainly have my own imbalances (the strength difference between my left and right arms is particularly noticeable). And I've definitely had my own issues with "getting stronger and fatter". So perhaps Show and Go is not a bad fit for me... maybe once I finish up my current project.

Anyhow.... the name of the program is "Show and Go". I figure that strength and mobility is the "go" aspect... but what is the "show" aspect?

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Thanks for the great write-up and detailed review, Jeff!:) I'm on Cressey's email list and occasionally read his blog, and this program piqued my interest a while ago. As I sit here at the computer with lower back twinges from crappy OHP form earlier today, I wonder if perhaps I might be an ideal candidate for this. We lifters tend to give short shrift to mobility work until circumstances (read: injuries) force us to incorporate it. Your decision to prioritize it indicates that you're probably wiser than most of us.;) Sounds like the program has done you a world of good. What's your plan going forward -- more Show and Go, or something different?

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Steelcutoats,

I think "Show and Go" is Cressey's tongue-in-cheek word play on the pejorative description of some lifters as "all show no go!" For example, lifters that look buff but are NOT strong. Cressey wants to both "Show" and "Go" with his program.

5, thanks for stopping by and checking the review!

I'm not wise, but I am able to see when I'm banging my head against a wall.

I'll do S&G the three day a week version AND include the movement training starting next week. I'd like to maintain strength while losing 5-10 lbs of body fat. Gotta get ripped for summer! LOL. So, that'll cover my training plan until the end of August, 2012

Thanks guys!

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I see what you mean about the name Panglossian. Dan John refers to it as "looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane"

Thanks again for this writeup. There are so many ideas. I think I'm going to go off and read that program again! I'm hoping to get more advanced and improve some basic BW exercises (i.e. chins) so I seriously look at doing this program.

As I mentioned before, it would be great if you could keep up a log. I'm sure many of us would be interested - myself included - to see what you're doing and how you get on with your next round of training.

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Bluesteak

Ben, I think you should change your username, because that ^^ is exactly what I always read :)

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Bluestreak,

I've got no plans to start a new online training log. The people on Ironstrong are awesome, and the support you provide each other is excellent. I do continue to track my workouts in detail, and believe it's important to do so.

However, this program is difficult to log in short form notation. And more signficantly, I've got limited time to devote to logging.

If you try S&G, I can guarantee that you will learn A LOT.

Jackbravo,

Thanks for stopping by. From a quick review of your stats, you have made great progress on your lifts. Congratulations!

In reply to your question about my future training plans;

I'll do S&G the three day a week version AND include the movement training starting next week. I'd like to maintain strength while losing 5-10 lbs of body fat. Gotta get ripped for summer! LOL. So, that'll cover my training plan until the end of August, 2012

Regards!

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hey PG,

Thanks :) It doesnt feel like great progress though.

I don't think I articulated whatever was going through my head correctly (forgive my poorly developed word-smithing abilities). I guess what I was trying to ask is if you think you'll espouse the S&G program, if it's going to be your "it" program for the majority of your training.

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Jackbravo,

S&G is my program for the next four months. Then, I'll need to reassess and see whether to continue, or change things.

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