If you read my blog regularly you probably know that I have been working with Mike Robertson of IFAST for the last 2 1/2 years.  For the full story on why I went to see him in the first place, check out his interview with me here.  Long story short I had to take quite a bit of time off from heavy lifting to fix some major postural issues I was having.  It was awful and I hated it at times, but I knew it was what was best for me in the long run.  My main goals are to stay health and injury-free, have an aesthetically pleasing physique, and be as strong as a house… that’s not too much to ask, right? 😉

While I am interested in competing in Powerlifting again (I have dabbled in it in the past), I am not willing to sacrifice my long-term health and safety for it.  Some people are, and that’s fine for them and I admire people who are that dedicated… it’s just not for me.  That being said, I want to be as strong as possible while being as safe as possible, which is why Mike is the perfect Coach for me.

A couple of weeks ago, Mike told me that it was about time to test my maxes and I have been ecstatic about it!  I held off on testing my Deadlift max this time around because I haven’t deadlifted for 6 weeks due to a weird pulling going on in my lower back.  I have seen a PT for it, and she released some stuff in my right glute and it’s feeling 100% back to normal, but I won’t test my DL max until deadlifting has been back in my program on a regular basis.

Here were my previous maxes:

GYM (2009):

Squat: 235 (I squatted 245 but got a little help on it)

Bench: 150

Deadlift: 315


Squat: 237

Bench: 148

Deadlift: 341

RAWR! Thinking about the ladies of Girls Gone Strong definitely motivated me hitting PR’s!


I haven’t purposefully tested my 1 rep max in any lift since 2009, although I have squatted 245 a couple of times in the last 6 months.  The funny thing is, I thought that I was matching a previous PR and when I went back and watched the video I realized I got some help with 245, so I inadvertently sent a PR when I squatted 245 recently.

Anyway, I took last week off as a de-load week (read more about de-loading here) and the first several days of this week I just did some conditioning and a little light lifting.  I was PUMPED to go in tonight and smash some weights.  I was planning on squatting around 275 and benching around 165.  I started taking videos with my Flip Cam and then it pooped out on me… so I can’t access my warm-up videos on squat.  Oops.  Oh well… the rest is history:



So there you have it.  A 20 lb PR on squats and a 15 lb PR on bench press.  I was a little disappointed with my squat (hoping I would get 275) but all it has done is motivate me to work harder!  I am also including a video of some breathing and bracing drills that my partner Jim Laird and I have been doing with our clients and ourselves.  Jim learned them from Bill Hartman (Mike Robertson’s partner in IFAST).  It has helped my core stability tremendously and I definitely recommend it.  Enjoy!


So what do you think?  Have you hit any PR’s lately?  On any exercises?  1 rep max PR’s? Rep PR’s?  I would love to hear about them!  Thanks for reading and please share this blog post if you support what I do!  Thank you!

18 Responses to Testing My Maxes… Squat and Bench.

  1. Kyra says:

    I am absolutely bursting at the seams to get into a regular training program to begin focusing on these lifts. I’m based out of Medford ( just north of Boston.). Do you know of any resources to get started?

    • Elizabeth says:

      You should look into Total Performance Sports in Everett. Their facility is SO cool, you’ll be inspired by strong, dedicated people all around you, and they have a staff of great coaches.

    • molly says:

      Elizabeth – thanks for sharing the name of that gym with Kyra! I am not familiar with it myself… but I will have to do some investigating!

    • molly says:


      I am not sure how far outside of Boston you are, but MBSC (Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning) is in Boston and so is CP (Cressey Performance). Both are amazing gyms with fantastic staff! The majority of the clients at Cressey are baseball players, but I know they take other clients as well.

      I am not familiar with the gym that Elizabeth is referring to, but I am sure it’s worth checking out! =)

      Please keep me updated on how you progress with your lifts! =)

  2. Jim Laird says:

    More like you would have killed me if I touched the bar too early lol
    Nice Job !!

  3. Kalin says:

    Congrats on the new PR’s!

    I dig those breathing/bracing drills. I’ll have to mix those in!

    • molly says:

      Thank you! Yes they are fantastic! Let me know what changes you notice after adding them in!

  4. Jim says:

    I know it is not as awesomely as high as yours, but I personal bested 198lbs for my 1 rep max. Which having Schuermann’s Kyphosis, I was stoked! that was 176lbs in weights 22lbs bar..

    • Jim says:

      And that was for deadlifts btw

    • molly says:


      That’s fantastic! Good for you!!! I am so proud of you! And there is no need to compare your lifts to anyone else’s…. only your own past lifts! =)

      Keep up the great work!

  5. Magda 'Kowalski' says:

    Well done Molly! Great effort!

  6. Melany says:

    Gives me that got to lift electric feeling in my belly! I’m 42, just started lifting a couple of years ago and it has changed my life. I’ve had some pretty substantial set backs with back injuries and am working my way back. I want to be crazy strong, beautiful, healthy and injury free. Definitely not too much to ask :). As a mom, words lose their power, i want to show my 6 year old daughter she can be anything. She watched your lifts with me and said “that girl looks really strong, probably not as strong as you though” HA! How awesome is that? I haven’t tested my 1RM in a while… Soon! Working towards a 300 DL, 200 BP, 250 FS. I’ll get it, just a question of when 🙂

    • molly says:


      Haha that’s awesome! What a great example you are setting with your daughter! Yes I agree… I don’t think it’s too much to ask at all! =)

      Those are absolutely fantastic numbers you are working towards! Please keep me updated on your progress! Thanks for commenting!

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  8. tempest sharp says:

    i was wondering what purpose the arch serves.

    • molly says:

      Hey Tempest!

      It serves a couple including shortening the range of motion of the movement so you can use more weight, and also encouraging you to really pull your scapulae (shoulder blades) together REALLY tight to help stabilize the shoulder, and it also helps you tighten your whole body so that you have a more stable base to press from. Hope this is helpful!

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