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Ben Nadel at cf.Objective() 2012 (Minneapolis, MN) with: Jason Seminara
Ben Nadel at cf.Objective() 2012 (Minneapolis, MN) with: Jason Seminara ( @jseminara )

Project HUGE: The Last Workout Of 2010 Starts With Personal Best

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2010 has been a rough year for Project HUGE. I made some very quick progress on my few new years resolutions, hitting 405lbs on the deadlift and 315lbs on the squat; but, those victories quickly gave way to aches and pains and loss. The latter half of 2010 has been spent trying to mend one joint or another. As such, for the last workout of 2010, I really just wanted to put a lift in the "Win" column - I needed to end on a victory. And, as luck would have it, not only did I end on a victory, I ended on a personal best!


My form in this video is not fantastic. You might not be able to see it from this head-on position, but I was, let's say, less-than-cautious with my back. What can I say, I really just needed that win - something to bring me into 2011 with a sense of accomplishment. I can already feel the soreness creeping up my posterior pulling chain, but nothing at all feels injured.

One thing that I am super excited about is my discovery of chalk. Before my lift, you might have noticed that I rubbed something on my hands. That was chalk. It's like nature's glue! It freakin adheres your hands to the bar. This is, by far, more weight than I have ever lifted without straps and there's no chance I could have done it without chalk. Heck, I don't think I ever went above 365lbs without straps.

Here's hoping that 2011 brings even more hugeness!

Reader Comments


Oooh. Nice gunshow ; ) On a serious note that's pretty impressive bro. Congrats. You've inspired me to go do some heavy lifting of my own, and by heavy lifting, I mean finding a snack. Watching that video was tiring work!


Hey Ben, nice lift!!

Glad to see you have dropped the straps and started using chalk!

Good luck in 2011, my thing for 2011 is the overhead squat.... bring it on



Happy New Year to all!

I am dumbfounded by Ben's attempt to lift heavier when his body has been telling him it's killing his body, his joints and more. Why on earth are you doing this to yourself, Ben? How old are you? Careful big man!
You're too smart and good looking to screw your body for life.

A friend of mine is a medical oncologist w/ 2 earned doctorates. He has sustained, hard to believe, a torn rotator cuff. Now he's debating resting vs healing, and wants me to train him. I've told him I'll train his lower body (he has lots of work to do in his legs) and arms, but no chest nor shoulders training... Back workouts will be wait and see. He is impatient! Sound familiar? "just needed that win"

There are two types of pain that one earns when training, no matter what type of training - bodybuilding/strength, crossfit/stamina, marathon/endurance. The first type of pain is muscle ache. It's normal. It's healthy. It's expected. When you push your body/musculature to levels you wouldn't ordinarily achieve, the body will react accordingly. I's a dull pain. This is happen when training legs after not training it for months. You like it. You know you had it coming. Your body reminds you of it. Keep doing it. Train, eat, rest and grow. Pretty simple. IF you can grow 10 lbs of solid muscle in one year, you're fortunate. It takes time to get "huge", with all do respect to Ben's "project huge". Great passion. Easy on the idealism.

The second type of pain is acute. Like with excessive deltoid training and/or crazy weights for incline chest (110 lb dumbbell inclines), one shouldn't push the body to a level that your total surrounding tissue can not sustain. In a nutshell: just because the musculature can do it, doesn't mean you should! Your tendons are not muscles and they will not grow. They are inelastic compared to muscles. Same goes for ligaments. Obviously for bone and cartilage as well. When you train your pecs, hams, biceps, are also involving your connective tissues (ligaments, tendons, etc). Inflammation of one of these results in acute doesn't go away when you walk out of the gym and is worse when you repeat the range of motion outside of the gym. Listen to your body. Pain is your friend, as the adage goes. Torn rotator cuffs, torn tendons at the bicep, damage miniscus at the knee are all very common training injuries. Then there's disc damage to your back. Not cool. Huge setbacks for a trainee.

As my oncologist friend/client realizes now in his mid 50s, he has screwed his body for at least 6 months at his age. And that is a crying shame for such an intelligent and gifted healer like him.

Chalk is a great solid substance to create bonding at the slight whiff of moisture. Ditto for leather gloves. Careful with calluses. Once a callus splits open, not only is it painful it makes you a dead great target for MRSA -Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, which is found everywhere in gym equipment, benches and surfaces. Then there is fungus in showers, folliculitis on preacher curls, and so forth.

Let your training be intense. But be smart. listen to your body.
If you're over 35, you'll appreciate this post. If you're younger, don't get so cocky. You only have one body.



Bigger, faster, stronger I hope :)


Yeah, I'm loving the chalk! Although, I have to sort of use it secretly since I am pretty sure they don't allow it at my gym. That's why I carry mine around in a little baggy :)

Over head squats are just insane. Good luck with that.


Actually, yeah, sometimes. I was definitely light-headed in this video, which can sort of hear me mumble to big Rob at the end. He was trying to talk to me and I could hardly hear him.


Despite this particular video, I like to think I am fairly cautious in my training. I've had enough knee / shoulder / wrist pain over the years to know that if I don't keep good form and be safe then my body will suffer as a direct result. What you're not seeing in this video is the fact that it was like my 8th set. I do a whole lot of warm up to get to a point where my muscles and joints are all nice and lose. If I didn't, my knee would definitely be in pain.

A few months ago, I wouldn't be able to do even deadlifts without pain; but, my knee is definitely on the up and up lately. I even did some back squats last night for the first time in probably like 4 months or so. I was completely winded, but, I concentrated on my form and my depth to make sure that I didn't push it too hard. I actually recorded a video for my physical therapist so he can see the way knee is holding up throughout the movements:

NOTE: Please excuse the fact that I look like the jolly green giant in that video :)

In the video, you can probably even see that I really throw my hips back; it's actually quite exaggerated at times. This is my attempt to be as kind to my knee as possible.

What I think I am gonna do is go back to full-body training. After my knee started hurting, I fell back into an old-school bodybuilding style routine where I had "chest" on one day and "back" on another day, etc.. Now that my knee is starting to feel better and I can actually do some work on it, I'm gonna go back to the legs/push/pull full-body workouts 3x week.


Hey Ben, I'm curious what you think about P90X, and if you've ever considered trying it. I routinely work out and I decided to try it last summer, and I had some very visible results after the 3 months. The program includes things I never considered doing, like yoga and jump-training.

It was a hard program for me to stick to, tho. It's 6 days per week, from 1 to 1.5 hours per day, and there's a nutrition plan you need to follow. I want to do it again, but need to find a good start time.

It's hard for me to get results since I'm the tall and lanky type. For someone like yourself, already in good shape, it might work wonders. It may be just what you need for Project HUGE.


(Note: this is not an advertisement for P90X. I'm not affiliated with it in any way. I'm just a fan of it.)



I've never tried P90X myself (though I have to admit, I have watched the infomercial numerous times at like 8AM on a Saturday morning). I've heard nothing but good things about it. It really centers on the concept of muscle confusion - that is, constantly hitting your body with different stimuli thereby preventing your body from becoming habituated to the stimuli.

I think, like any workout routine, part of the magic is just having a routine to stick to such that you stay motivated and stay consistent.

This is part of what I love about the Huge in a Hurry program - you get a large variety of exercises; though, it sounds like the variety in P90X takes this concept much farther.


Congrats man! That's seriously impressive. Looks like you could have ripped off a few of those. Within the last year I've ditched all of my isolation exercises in favor of compound movements. Now I'm strictly doing squats, deadlifts, bent over rows, bench press, lunges, dips, etc. I feel a lot stronger but in a different sort of way.

Really though, great job man!

I believe in love. I believe in compassion. I believe in human rights. I believe that we can afford to give more of these gifts to the world around us because it costs us nothing to be decent and kind and understanding. And, I want you to know that when you land on this site, you are accepted for who you are, no matter how you identify, what truths you live, or whatever kind of goofy shit makes you feel alive! Rock on with your bad self!
Ben Nadel